Are you interested in publishing written pieces on legal developments while on co-op? Recently I sat down with Stuti Kokkalera, L.L.B., L.L.M. (and current doctoral student in Northeastern University’s Criminology and Justice Policy program), to discuss tips that she followed and that are worth thinking about in order to publish while being an intern. These four tips are valuable tools to develop written-work during your co-op, and you can continue to use them when you return to the academic quarter.
1. Utilize your initiative in your co-op network.
If an interesting topic comes up during your co-op, take the initiative to write about it and its legal development. Go for it. There are a number of benefits to this. First, as a co-op student you have a variety of resources at your disposal to help with your research. You often have access to computer sources like Westlaw or even PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). You are also surrounded by many colleagues who may already be familiar with the topic you are writing about. They can help with your research and support you in the process. Second, you can often reach out to your colleagues or supervisors at your co-op for comments and edits during the writing process. This is important as they can provide you insight from a practitioner’s point of view. Third, if you are developing a piece from a lead you are taking, this is often not as structured as creating traditional legal documents. You have a little more freedom to research and write. Fourth, performing well on a task like this shows your strengths as an intern, and will improve your writing overall. And last, part of this writing could be published on your own in a law review! So what are you waiting for!
2. Think of choosing a co-op at a firm that does advocacy work or an agency that does human rights work.
Often a co-op based on human rights, based in advocacy work, or at a law firm with practice in these areas has job tasks around policy development in addition to traditional litigation or drafting. Look at the job description itself to see if writing skills, writing development, or publications are discussed. These tasks can provide more opportunities for writing. Further, these types of co-ops are often willing to support additional research and written work that you take the initiative to explore. A co-op invested in this work can open a student to many legal developments worth researching.
3. If not in the job description, think about co-oping with a judge.
If you are not inclined to take the human rights or advocacy route, consider working with a judge on your next co-op. Judges are very much in tune with legal developments, and often love to immerse in interesting and new legal topics. Case decisions in particular as new legal developments would be important to discuss. Many of your activities as a judicial intern, including discussions with the judge, could prompt a student note or short paper. Additionally, in a judicial co-op, as you are in the context of cases being decided, there are a number of sources at your disposal as well as many interesting questions to ask.
4. Don’t just write to publish. Write to network.
Finally, another reason to connect with your co-op supervisors and colleagues on writing about legal topics is to increase your network. As you delve into new legal topics, you are in touch with not just what is happening in the law but by whom. Further, your co-op employers will notice your initiative and think about you when another opportunity comes around. If you are continuing to write after your co-op, you can continue your relationship with your co-op by having your supervisors be involved in the editing process of a publishable piece!
Good luck writing!
Let us know if you have additional tips to publishing and writing on new legal developments while on co-op: