BY CLINTON DICK
After two years in which committed students had embarked on a journal-approval adventure, Unbound was accepted on a probationary basis by the administration to become the latest Harvard Law School publication. The announcement comes just in time for journal editors to begin thinking of how they will lure the lifeblood of any journal, incoming 1Ls, away from other journals.
Unbound will be published exclusively online and “will involve creative article formats which will incorporate streaming video, author profiles, and links to related avenues for legal activism,” said 2L Lena Salaymeh, who has worked since the beginning for administration approval and will be co-editor next year along with 2L Aaron Lamb. “Unbound has a distinct intellectual mission: to implement an interdisciplinary, external approach that analyzes the underlying assumptions and consequences of the legal system and attempts to suggest alternatives.”
The editors of the journal hope to encourage more interaction between faculty and students through a faculty lecture and lunch series and by creating affiliated faculty profiles. “Unbound will utilize the creative possibilities of the e-journal format in order to facilitate a discourse for law school students interest in various critical approaches to understanding law,” Salaymeh said.
Prof. Terry Martin, Chair of the Journals Committee, said at first most committee members were skeptical of the concept of an online journal. Citing the lack of office space and resources as the main impetus for the rejection of the proposed Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, Martin found something different with Unbound. “Unbound was willing not only to publish in cyberspace but operate there as well,” Martin said. “They did not request an office. Since the journal will be free, Unbound did not require subscription management or business support.”
Martin also said the journal needs to have a system of measuring its own progress. “We need to establish some benchmarks of success or failure. … We need to be sure the product is good and the experience of participating is a positive one for our students. But I am hopeful that this experiment will be a success.”
The journal will be in operation next fall and interested students can apply for positions on the Board of Editors and as article editors. Professors Duncan Kennedy and Christine Desan, who acted as faculty advisers during the approval process, have both submitted articles for publication, as have several HLS students.