Content Submission and Subject Matter Guidelines

We welcome professionally written articles and publications. To submit a publication to be published on our website please use the following as a guideline. All publications published on our sites will require the writer/submitter to transfer all copyright ownership rights to us, this form must be signed before articles are published on our site.

If you would like to hire our research team to write content please, go here.

INTRODUCTION

Why do we need legal research articles? We use your articles for a variety of purposes including:

  • To drive traffic to our website
  • To add credibility to our organization
  • To keep current on legislative and judicial changes in policies
  • To keep our clients and readers informed

OUR CONTENT GOALS

The goal for any given article will be unique to the assignment.

Some articles are meant to tie to an existing product or service (i.e. an article describing a case where a company owner lost the right to use his name because he didn’t file a trademark would link to trademark filing service), while others will have more general goals like summarizing the useful takeaways for a specific audience from a recent event.

LENGTH

Most of our articles should range from 800+ words, sometimes more, sometimes less. Our goal is quality over quantity.

The article should explore the most important aspects of a case and extract a lesson for the reader to take with them after reading while avoiding simply rephrasing or parroting the source.

PROCESS

Write the article, then at least 6 hours later, ideally, a day or two later, come back to it and re-read it out loud.

We know it sounds ridiculous, but it really works. I know you are thinking “well, that takes too much time! I just want to be done with it and send it in!” –the problem with that is, then our editors have to go through and make those changes and send them back to you where you are going to see a lot more red on the paper (trauma!) and spend the same amount of time reviewing the changes that you would have made in the first place.

NOTE: If publications do not meet our guidelines, the submitter may hire our editors to edit the articles so that it meets the guidelines. Our fee is minimum is $250 USD and each additional hour is $250 USD for writing and editing.

Much of what we change is for my personal style and flow (and we do not charge for this) but there are also important grammar and punctuation changes that we make which all content submissions must be conscious of.

Examples include:

comma splices, using a semi-colon instead of a colon, forgetting periods in the end of footnotes, capitalizing “court” when not referring to the Supreme Court, italicizing the case name and Ids, using acronyms without providing the full title first, etc.).

We may also change some of your phrasings not just for style, but because what you intended to say actually means a totally different thing than what you wrote in industry terms.

(i.e. “. . . he was given the option to participate in the company’s drug-free workplace program which included random drug testing for three years” actually tells the reader that he could opt-in to the regular drug-free workplace program for all employees in the workplace and part of the random testing pool with everyone at the company. What the author intended to say was: “. . . he was given the opportunity to participate in the company’s drug-free workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which mandated randomized follow-up drug testing for three years following his return to duty.”).

Now, of course we don’t expect you to know all of these nuances when you are writing the articles, but we would hope that you would read and internalize the changes we make so that you can understand cases better in the future and avoid similar mistakes in phrasing and terminology in future articles.

Article Structure

TITLE: Do this last. Use the lesson in your conclusion to help come up with something catchy but focused on what you want your reader to get out of the article.

Example: “Saved by the Settlement: How a Union Settlement Trumped an Unconstitutional Return-to-Work Drug Testing Program”

INTRODUCTION: Do not label sections, but your first paragraph should introduce the topic and tease the lesson for the reader.

Example: Is testing an employee under reasonable suspicion a violation of his or her 4th amendment right to privacy? What are some examples or reasonable suspicion factors courts have considered constitutional? The United States Court of Appeals in the Sixth Circuit answered these employment concerns in Knox County Education Association v. Knox County Board of Education. In that case, the Knox County Education Association (KCEA) raised an action challenging the Knox County Board of Education’s drug and alcohol testing procedures. . . .

KEY TAKEAWAYS: Provide 3 or more bullet points as the most important points to take from the article.

CASE SUMMARY: Give the facts necessary to provide a small  backdrop and to analyze the rule or rules in the case. This could be as short as three sentences or as long as three paragraphs. It all depends on the rule.

ISSUE ANALYZED: Look at the final court’s analysis and put it in your own words.

Example: The main issue the court analyzed was whether Boeing Company’s policy and actions were discriminatory and retaliatory.

ANALYSIS: Use the facts and the rule as applied to explain to the reader how the court came up with its decision. Try to avoid legal jargon or define when necessary.

Read other articles posted online to get an idea of what analysis should look like.

STUFF LEFT OUT: Were there other issues or claims the court considered but which were not the focus of your article? Throw them in before your conclusion so the reader knows about them, but make it short.

Example: Kelly also brought claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and the Oregon Family Leave Act (“OFLA”); however, the court found that, under either FMLA or OFLA, his request to leave was not a factor considered in his discharge and therefore there was no cause of action under those acts. Similarly, Kelly’s claim under common law for wrongful discharge and the intentional infliction of emotional distress were also dismissed.

CONCLUSION: This should not introduce any new information, should summarize the case, but most importantly tie everything you taught the reader to something tangible they can take with them. What should the reader do or not do with this information?

Example: Employers must take measures to avoid discrimination against employees with disabilities; however, if an employee is discharged for a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason, employers may be required to show a good faith belief in support of that reason to justify the dismissal. Similarly, if an employer knows a report or other foundation behind an adverse action is false, then it cannot have a good faith belief that the reason for the discharge is valid.

FORMATTING

All articles should conform to “Law Review Footnotes” style of the BlueBook, Twentieth Edition as applicable.

  • To insert a footnote in Word click the “References” tab and then “Insert Footnote”.
  • Unless you are referencing the case in general, always start with a signal (“See” or “See also”)—signals can be found in Rule 1.2 (p. 58 of the Bluebook).

CASE NAMES

Using Lexis or Westlaw, you can get a complete/nearly perfect citation format by highlighting a portion of the case in your web browser, and clicking “Copy Advanced”

Note that the citation will automatically insert a pinpoint based on where your highlighted text appears, so make sure that matches what you need. For example:

Nw. Envtl. Def. Ctr. v. Brown, 640 F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th Cir. 2011).

ID AND SHORT CITES

Id. and Short Citations are used when you have already mentioned a source somewhere previously in your article. You will use this quite often when summarizing a case as it may be the only source you use through the entire article.

Our rule is that you may only have a total of 4 Id.’s in a row before you have to make a “short-cite” to remind the reader which case you were talking about. This rule applies regardless of page number. (i.e. page 4 has 3 Ids in a row, page 5 starts with the same cite, you can use Id. again, but then must use a short cite if using it a fifth time).

To make a short cite for a case, follow this formula:

  • Take the most unique part of the case name while still retaining its meaning, add a non-italicized comma, then restart the cite with the volume, reporter, then “at” followed by the page number. For example,
    • Envtl. Def. Ctr. v. Brown, 640 F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th Cir. 2011).
    • , 640 F.3d at 1067.

POINTERS

  • When in doubt, look it up in the Bluebook
  • Use Table T1 to check to make sure the reporter is right
  • Use Table T6 to check to make sure the abbreviations are right.
  • Use the front inside cover for quick reference to formatting other sources.

AUTHORSHIP

NAME

  • Including any relevant designation (Dr., J.D., C.P.A., etc.)
  • PROFESSIONAL IMAGE
  • High Resolution, Professional Portrait with White Background
  • BIOGRAPHY
  • 150-300 word author biography
  • SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook

All content submissions can be sent to [email protected]

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