April 22, 2005

Learning Our Own Lessons

by Chris Geidner

This year, I served as the Editor-in-Chief of the law review for which I have toiled during the past two years. On Thursday, I said goodbye to the Ohio State Law Journal. As I told the members of our journal, I truly have enjoyed my experience over the past two years, as well as the opportunity I was given to lead such a nationally prominent scholarly publication. The experience has not, however, been without its difficulties.

Although I came into the position of Editor-in-Chief with ideas -- many gathered from Journal members before and in the immediate aftermath of my election -- of how to implement my "vision" for the Law Journal, I quickly found that reality was much more challenging than "vision."

In the first months of the school year, I believe I came up with more ways to apologize for missteps than our law school has students on law journals. There were many challenges, issues, and whatever other words you can come up with to avoid the word "problem." Trust me, Iíve tried.

The problems I faced at the Law Journal were not due to incompetence or lack of caring from anyone. To the contrary, they came about because I had failed to appreciate how much everyone -- not just me -- wanted to see the journal succeed, and was willing to make it happen. Although it took me a while to truly understand that, and although the job of Editor-in-Chief easily fits the bill as the most challenging task I've yet taken on, I wouldn't give it up. Not a day.

Student-edited law journals teach us law students about the law, about how to deal with authors, about legal writing, and -- of course -- about Bluebooking, and they do so in unique ways that are very worthwhile to law schools and the legal profession. They do much more though, in a way that makes me continue to support their dominance in todayís legal scholarship marketplace just as much as I did when I joined Law Journal.

As U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley remarked at a recent panel discussion held at the Moritz College of Law, the administration and faculty of a law school have many opportunities to teach students about professionalism. Sometimes, however, he noted that the best lesson our schools' professors and deans can teach us is achieved by pulling back and letting us struggle. We have to learn for ourselves how to become professionals. We need to work together -- in good times and bad, as it were -- to find some of the solutions on our own.

That is, in effect, the greatest lesson I will take from my time on Law Journal. Although I was enthralled by our symposia and thoroughly enjoyed picking and eventually publishing articles and student notes, the difficult lessons I learned about my own strengths and weaknesses are lessons that will stay with me forever. They are lessons all of us learned in the past year, and we, as well as the legal profession we are about to enter, are all better for it.

Although, as I said, I wouldn't give up this past year for the world, I am honored to take my leave of the journal. In a few short weeks, another year of law students will take on the Ohio State Law Journal as their own. The same transition is happening at student-edited reviews at law schools across the nation.

I wish the classes of 2006 the best, and I hope they learn from the experience as much as I have -- about the law and about themselves.

April 22, 2005 02:05 AM | TrackBack
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