Student Journals and Honors Programs
USC Law hosts three journals: The Southern California Law Review (Law Review), The Interdisciplinary Law Journal (ILJ), and The Review of Law and Social Justice. USC Law also hosts one in-house Moot Court competition: The Hale Moot Court Honors Program. Each of these programs is considered an "Honors Program." Students who are selected may participate in one honors program only in any one academic year.
The Southern California Law Review is a journal of legal scholarship managed and edited by students and published six times each year. Founded in 1924, the Review's circulation is among the largest in the nation. The student members of the Review conduct independent legal research, prepare notes and comments for publication and edit the works of their peers and articles and book reviews submitted by faculty members and other scholars. New members are elected by the student board of editors on the basis of outstanding academic ability exhibited either through first-year grades, or through a writing competition. The "write-on" competition is generally held the first two weeks following the end of each academic year. Students choosing to participate are given a package of resource materials, instructions, and specific questions that must be answered in a journal-style article. Authors of the best submissions, as evaluated by the editorial board, will be invited to join the Review staff. (The same competition is used by the Interdisciplinary Law Journal and The Review of Law and Social Justice.)
Members from the editorial board and staff of the Southern California Law Review sponsor the annual Southern California Law Review Symposium. Professors and practitioners from throughout the country participate in, and attend, this conference. Topics that have been covered include: property; legal interpretation; legal implications of human error; and judicial selection.
The Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice (RLSJ) is an honors law journal that promotes the discussion and examination of issues lying at the intersection of social justice and the law. RLSJ publishes legal narratives and analyses of case law and legislation that address the law's interaction with historically underrepresented groups and highlight the law's potential as an instrument of positive social change. These narratives and analyses borrow from the perspectives of a wide range of disciplines. The goal of RLSJ is to influence the development of the law in ways that encourage full and equal participation of all people in politics and society. Staff members are selected by the student board of editors on the basis of outstanding legal scholarship and performance on the write-on competition.
The Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice holds an annual symposium on a timely social justice topic. RLSJ publishes three issues a year that consist of professional and academic articles and student notes. Student editors and staff members receive academic credit for their participation in RLSJ.
The Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal publishes scholarly articles analyzing the law through other fields of study. ILJ publishes the work of law professors, economists, medical doctors, anthropologists, and others who apply the latest findings in their field to legal issues. Almost all law journals publish interdisciplinary work to some extent, but ILJ tries to publish ideas which have not yet been introduced to the legal academy and may reflect the direction the articles in other law journals will go in the future. Staff members are selected from the second year class on the basis of outstanding legal analysis and writing ability exhibited through excellent academic performance in the first year and/or standout performance in the write-on competition (described above).
Staff members edit the journal and write notes of their own for publication. Third-year board members and senior editors are selected from the staff in March of each year. Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal is an honors program.
The Hale Moot Court Honors Program, in existence since 1948, provides students with an opportunity to develop written and oral appellate advocacy skills. During the spring semester of the first year, at the end of the Legal Writing and Research class, each first-year student writes an appellate brief and presents an oral argument. Those briefs and arguments are scored by the legal writing professor and by students in the Hale Moot Court Honors Program. On the basis of their written and oral performance, forty students are invited to participate during their second year in the Hale Moot Court Competition. During the Hale competition, the second-year students write an appellate brief, attend an oral advocacy clinic, participate in videotaped practice rounds, and present their arguments before panels of judges from state and federal courts, practicing attorneys, and faculty members. In the spring semester, the competition culminates with four students competing in a final round of argument before a panel of distinguished judges. Awards are given for the best oral arguments and best briefs. Students who participated in the competition can apply to be on the next year's Moot Court Executive Board and National Moot Court team. The Executive Board is made up of third-year students who administer the next Hale competition, while the National Team is made up of third-year students who represent USC law in national-level moot court competitions around the country.