Recruitment to the Editorial Board

Recruitment to the Editorial Board of the UNSW Law Journal is now open. Written applications are due at 5pm on Monday 29 August 2022. Applicants who are invited to complete an editing exercise will be given the exercise on Monday 12 September 2022 (see below under Recruitment Process’ for further details). Successful applicants will begin as editors in November 2022.

About the Journal

As one of Australia’s leading academic legal journals, and one of the few to be entirely produced by a student board, the Journal is UNSW Law’s flagship publication and one of the most widely cited legal reviews in Australia. Supported by premier sponsors, Allens, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Herbert Smith Freehills, and King & Wood Mallesons, the Journal publishes four Issues a year. Two are General Issues, in which articles can address any legally significant topic, and two are part-General, part-Thematic Issues, in which articles focus on a particular area of law with contemporary importance. In 2022, the thematic components of Issues 45(1) and 45(3) are Abuse of Power’ and Law and Economics’, respectively.

Who reads the Journal?

The UNSW Law Journal has a diverse and influential readership. It is distributed among Justices of the High Court of Australia, Federal Court of Australia and Supreme Court of New South Wales. Subscribers also include government departments, non-government organisations, law firms and over 250 universities worldwide. Submissions for publication are received from local and international academics, judges and a wide range of legal professionals.

What are Journal launches?

Each Issue of the Journal is launched with a formal evening held at the offices of a leading Sydney law firm, at which the Issue editor and specially invited speakers introduce a selected article, where launching a General Issue, or the subject of the Thematic Issue. Recent speakers at launches include the Hon Robert French AC, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia; the Hon Michelle Gordon AC, Justice of the High Court of Australia; the Hon Steven Rares, Justice of the Federal Court of Australia; and the Hon David Hammerschlag, Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

What is the Editorial Board?

The Editorial Board is the body of students responsible for the production of the UNSW Law Journal. The responsibilities of General Members of the Editorial Board include:

  • editing papers from leading legal academics and practitioners that are selected for publication in the Journal;
  • attending Journal Issue launches, dinners and other social events; and
  • attending meetings of the Editorial Board.

If later elected to the Executive Committee after serving as a General Member of the Board, Members of the Editorial Board also have the opportunity to assume editorial responsibility for an Issue of the Journal. Course credit is awarded for these positions.

Why join the Editorial Board?

Membership of the Editorial Board exposes students to the most recent critical analyses of legislation, legal policy and judicial decisions, and presents a unique opportunity to make a lasting contribution to the Law School. Appointment as a member of the Board is highly sought after, attracting considerable prestige within the legal community at-large, and in particular among employers and postgraduate scholarship committees. Journal alumni have held tipstaff or associate positions in various courts, including the High Court of Australia and Supreme Court of New South Wales. Moreover, two of Australia’s Rhodes Scholars from 2015 are recent alumni of the Journal.

What is the Executive Committee?

The UNSW Law Journal is managed by an Executive Committee, chosen each year from the Editorial Board through a competitive election process. The Executive Committee comprises seven members.

  • The Executive Editor is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Journal. The Executive Editor chairs meetings and deals with issues that may arise with the rest of the Executive Committee, liaises with sponsors and printers, ensures issues are sent to legal deposits, oversees financial and budgetary concerns, responds to copyright release requests, coordinates launch organisation and manages general inquiries from the public.
  • Four Issue Editors produce the Journal’s Issues over the year, being either General or Thematic Issues. In the course of producing their Issues, the Editors liaise with academics, anonymous peer reviewers and the Editorial Board to coordinate editing. In addition, he or she must organise distinguished keynote speakers for the Issue launches and work with the Forum Editor to solicit comments and responses to articles and topics raised in their Issues.
  • The Forum Editor produces the UNSW Law Journal Forum as an online companion to the Journal.  In the course of producing the Forum, the Forum Editor must liaise with academics, anonymous peer reviewers and the Editorial Board to coordinate editing. In addition to soliciting original content, the Forum Editor must also work with Issue Editors to solicit comments and responses to topics and articles raised in their Issues.
  • The Digital Editor is responsible for developing the Journal’s online presence. The role involves writing the Journal’s quarterly newsletter, updating social media, and maintaining an alumni register and online database of back issues. The Digital Editor also manages the UNSW Law Journal Student Series, which offers UNSW Law students the opportunity to distribute their academic works online.

Q&As

Name: Veronica Sebesfi (Journal Alumni)
Board Member: 2016–20, Editor of Issue 41(3) (2018), Digital Editor (2020)

When did you decide to join the Editorial Board?

I joined the Board at the beginning of my second year of university, and learned a lot about the AGLC and academic writing through the application process and though editing. Do not be discouraged from applying just because you are earlier on in your degree.

What has your work on the Board involved?

Being an editor for the Journal involves editing one article for each issue, going beyond merely checking for AGLC compliance to also checking the accuracy of the citations in the article. Each edit takes a few days to one week to complete. Prior to final publication, the Editorial Board then collectively undertakes a final proof of the articles in the issue, which usually takes a few hours per article. Editorial Board members attend the launch of each issue as well as the occasional meeting and social event.

What have you most enjoyed in your time on the Board?

Being an editor for the Journal has given me opportunities to engage with a broad range of cutting-edge areas of legal academia, and as an Issue Editor I had the ability to contribute to academic discourse by putting together the thematic Issue for this year. Beyond the satisfaction of a completed edit and the excitement of Issue launches, the Journal has also given me lasting friendships with many passionate, driven and high-performing members of the law school whom I have looked up to and learned from. I couldn’t imagine my time at law school without them and without the Journal!

Name: James Emmett SC
Profession: Barrister at Banco Chambers
Board Member: 200103, Editor of Issue 26(2) (2003)

What skills did you gain from your time on the Editorial Board?

The main skills I gained while on the Law Journal were improved legal research, improved legal writing and greater precision in formulating arguments. I also learned a lot of interesting things about areas of law I wouldn’t otherwise have pursued, in the course of proofing articles.

What was your favourite aspect of Board membership?

My favourite aspect of Board membership was, on a personal level, the other Board members. On a professional level, it was the opportunity to be quite closely involved in the academic process, in a way one’s not often able to as an undergraduate.

Would you recommend the Law Journal to students today?

I would recommend the Law Journal without hesitation to any student who is interested in the law as an intellectual pursuit (whether in the academy or in the profession).

Recruitment Process

General Recruitment Stream

Recruitment to the Editorial Board comprises a three-stage process. First, applicants are required to submit their most recent academic transcript, their curriculum vitae and a cover letter detailing relevant skills, experience and reasons for applying. Second, applicants selected to proceed must complete a substantial editing exercise and attend an interview with members of the Executive Committee. Finally, the current members of the Board will hold a meeting to elect the best candidates to the Board.

Applicants must be a currently enrolled law student at UNSW Sydney and have at least one academic year left to complete from the time of joining the Board. They must also have completed at least one term at law school. While a strong interest in editing academic articles is essential, prior editing experience is not.

In assessing applications, the Executive Committee will consider, amongst other things, the following factors:

  • An applicant’s motivations and enthusiasm for joining the Editorial Board;
  • the general standard of an applicant’s academic performance (please note that there is no strict WAM cut-off);
  • any relevant experience by an applicant (particularly editorial work);
  • the ability of an applicant to work in a team, including the ability of an applicant to cooperate with the existing Editorial Board;
  • an applicant’s attention to detail and communication skills; and
  • any involvement by an applicant in extracurricular activities.

The timeline for the General Recruitment Stream is as follows:

  • Monday 29 August 2022 at 5pm: Applications close.
  • Monday 12 September 2022: Applicants moving on to the next stage receive an editing exercise and will be asked to state preferences for an interview between Monday 24 October 2022 and Saturday 29 October 2022 (anticipated).
  • Monday 26 September 2022 at 5pm: Completed editing exercise due.
  • Monday 24 October 2022 – Saturday 29 October 2022 (anticipated): Interviews take place for those moving on from the editing exercise stage.
  • Saturday 5 November 2022: The current Editorial Board meets to elect new General Members.

Indigenous Recruitment Stream 

The Journal is committed to increasing Indigenous voices within its Editorial board. The Indigenous Recruitment Stream offers a pathway for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander-identifying law students to join the Board and contribute to legal policy and academia in Australia while gaining invaluable legal research and writing skills along the way.

Indigenous applicants will be supported throughout the recruitment process. Applicants will receive one extra week to complete the editing exercise, meaning three weeks in total. Applicants will also have the opportunity to be paired up with a buddy from the Editorial Board during the recruitment process to help answer any questions. The buddy program will be offered to eligible applicants after they submit their application.

As with the General Recruitment Stream, applicants must be a currently enrolled law student at UNSW Sydney and have at least one academic year left to complete at the time of joining the Board. They must also have completed at least one term at law school. While a strong interest in editing academic articles is essential, prior editing experience is not. Applicants will be assessed using the same criteria that apply in the General Recruitment Stream, set out above.

The timeline for the Indigenous Recruitment Stream is as follows:

  • Monday 29 August 2022 at 5pm: Applications close.
  • Monday 12 September 2022: Applicants moving on to the next stage receive an editing exercise and will be asked to state preferences for an interview between Monday 24 October 2022 and Saturday 29 October 2022 (anticipated).
  • Monday 3 October 2022 at 5pm: Completed editing exercise due.
  • Monday 24 October 2022 – Saturday 29 October 2022 (anticipated): Interviews take place for those moving on from the editing exercise stage.
  • Saturday 5 November 2022: The current Editorial Board meets to elect new General Members.

Frequently Asked Questions

What year do I have to be in to apply? Law students can apply after completing their first term.

Can I apply if I am going on exchange? Yes! However, if you are in your final year of university and are going on exchange, the Executive Committee will be less likely to progress your application on the basis that you may only be on the Board for a short period of time.

Do you have a WAM cut-off? Applicants with a distinction average or higher are preferred; however, there is no strict WAM cut-off. As part of the selection process, the Executive Committee also considers work and volunteer experiences, extracurricular activities and interests in joining the Board.

Do I need to submit an official academic transcript? No! The unofficial transcript is sufficient.

What should I include in my cover letter? Reasons for applying, any relevant experiences that would make you suitable for the Board, anything from your CV you particularly want to highlight or expand on.

Applications

Applications for this round are open.

Please email your application, including a cover letter, CV and academic transcript, (or questions about the application process or journal editing) to law.journal@unsw.edu.au, with the subject heading ‘UNSWLJ Editorial Board Application’. Please label the file name of your cover letter, CV and academic transcript with your full name and the relevant document type (for example, ‘John SMITH – CV’).