Article Submission Guidelines

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Trial Article Submission Guidelines

Writing style

Articles should be brief and to the point. The emphasis should be on the practical, not the esoteric. As much as possible, keep sentences and paragraphs short and in plain English, avoiding legal, scientific, and technical jargon.

Try to express your ideas conversationally. Write in the active rather than the passive voice; avoid trite metaphors and clichés; and, where possible, write from personal experience, including anecdotes and injecting humor, if appropriate.

Use subheads where they would help to organize subject matter.

Content

Trial has a national readership, and authors should tailor their articles accordingly.  Where possible, avoid citing authority from just one jurisdiction. Often this can be done by noting that a legal theory or holding that you are discussing follows the majority or minority rule on a particular legal topic, citing authority from several jurisdictions to support your proposition.

Use gender-neutral language. Use "he or she," "his and her" where necessary, but cast sentences in the plural where possible to avoid these somewhat awkward constructions. If a gender-neutral term is available, use it ("mail carrier" rather than "mailman," "police officer" instead of "policeman").  It's OK to use terms like "spokesman" or "spokeswoman" if the speaker's gender is obvious.

Peer review

All articles submitted to Trial are subject to peer review.  The peer-review process typically takes between two and four weeks to complete.

Editing

Trial aims for readability as well as accuracy. All articles accepted for publication are checked for accuracy and edited for style and clarity. Edited drafts are sent back to authors for their approval.

Length

Articles should range from 7 to 9 double-spaced typed pages, including endnotes (roughly 2,000 to 2,500 words). 

Endnotes

Endnotes should be kept at a minimum—most Trial articles have around 20 endnotes. They should be compiled on a separate page or pages at the end of the article, not at the bottom of each page of text. Double-space endnotes. Most legal references should follow the ALWD Citation Manual (Third Edition), Association of Legal Writing Directors, including using authors’ first names. Information about this legal style and how it differs slightly from the Bluebook Uniform System of Citation can be found at http://www.alwd.org/. The main exception is that Trial cites only to the West reporters. Do not include parallel citations to state reporters.

Biographical sketch

Please submit a brief biographical sketch, including name, occupation, firm, city, state, and (if desired) an e-mail address.

E-mail submissions

Authors may submit articles via e-mail to trial@justice.org or to the e-mail address of a Trial editor.

Submissions to other publications

Please do not submit any article that is under consideration by another publication.

Policy for authors

Authors must be free from pending disciplinary action in which the public finding of probable cause, or other similar finding, has been made. Articles by authors who have been disciplined will not be selected for publication except for good cause.

Online publication

An article accepted for publication in Trial will appear not only in print but also in the digital edition of the magazine and on AAJ's Web site, http://www.justice.org/.


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