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Law Review Orientation

The law review orientation program reviews: law review board policies, research tips, the writing process, and cite checking responsibilities.

The Article Writing Process


Writing an article is a multi-step process and here is a brief outline of the writing process:

Step 1: Abstract and Bibliography
A brief synopsis of the potential topic selected by the author.
Include a list of potential sources that the author believes will be beneficial in further topic development.
Demonstrate a good faith attempt to select a topic that has not been preempted with sufficient material upon which to write.
You may consult with faculty while selecting your topic. Thereafter, you may not enlist the help of faculty members during the writing process.

Step 2: Background and Facts
Establish the relevant facts from the case(s) selected.
Present the salient points for the selected topic that make your topic novel or unique.
Provide the facts from the cases you have selected to support your topic.

Step 3: Meeting with a Senior Editor
Shortly after you have submitted your Background and Facts, you will have a meeting with a Senior Editor to discuss your progress and any questions you may have as you prepare the first draft of your article. The amount of work and preparation you put into these initial steps in the writing process will substantially affect the quality of the article that you are able to produce.

Step 4: First Draft
The primary purpose of submitting the first draft is for your Senior Editor to review your work and provide feedback. To ensure that this is a productive step, you are expected to submit a complete rough draft that has been edited for style, grammar, and content. Furthermore, citations should generally comport with the standards set forth in the Bluebook.

Step 5: Final Draft
Your acceptance into the Northern Kentucky Law Review will be contingent upon your final draft meeting the publishable quality standards set forth in this General Style Guide.

Step 6: Submission for Publication
Following acceptance, you will have a short period to make additional changes to your article prior to resubmitting your article for publication consideration. At this point, you may seek the input of faculty members.


The Golden Rule for formatting is: do not format. Whatever you do, err on the side of doing nothing. After we have determined which articles will be published, an Editorial Board member will run a program that will format the articles to the specifications of the publisher.

In the body of your article, do not format anything in terms of font, spacing, margins, alignment or any variation thereof. Simply type in Times New Roman, 12 font, single space, and left justified. The only formatting that should take place is any bluebooking that is required in terms of italics, etc.

In the footnotes, simply use Word’s format. In the body hit ctrl-alt-f and type away in the footnote. HOWEVER, please do bluebook your footnote properly.

The reason for all this is that once we have determined which articles will be published and we receive the final drafts, a member of the editorial board will run a program that will format the article to the specifications of the publisher.

As for the headings, follow the Golden Rule. Place one space before and after each heading and left justify them. DO NOT add any styles such as bold, underline, italics, etc. The order of headings goes as follows:

A. Capital Letter Subheading


             1. Numbered Subheading


                      a. First Lettered Subheading


When we are done formatting your final version, it will contain all the indentions. When you are drafting your article, PLEASE do not add the indentions. This is just to show you what labeling and order is required.


While there are no per se limits on article length, a reasonable law review article is roughly 30 -35 pages, 12 -point font, Times New Roman, and double-spaced.  Articles of less than 25 double-spaced pages will be rejected unless pre-approved by your Senior Editor and the Editor-in-Chief.

As a general matter, it is better to have a concise, shorter article than a longer, "padded" article.  Articles of greater than 40 pages in length will be rejected unless re-approved by your Senior Editor and the Editor-in-Chief. 

If there are any questions regarding length, please contact the Editor-in-Chief at Desiree Isaac <> .

How to Footnote


a. When presenting ideas of another person.
b. When quoting a case, article, book, or other source.
c. When referring to a case in a heading or sub-heading.
d. Virtually all sentences in your article will need a footnote.
e. No footnote is needed for roadmap sentences, original ideas.

a. Use It at All Times!
    Have Bluebook out at all times when writing.
    Familiarize yourself with Bluebook early – it is essential that you learn the rules.
    Pay special attention to General Rules (pp. 21-53 - parentheticals, style, etc.) and
    Tables in back (Courts, Law Reviews, abbreviations, etc.)

a. Make sure all footnotes are in proper format each time you turn in another draft.
b. You may want to go back and increase complexity of footnotes.
    Complex footnotes are most often used when discussing other cases that may be pertinent, but distinguishable .
    Read the footnotes of the articles you found during research to understand the way different authors use footnotes.
    “Domino Effect” – poor footnoting now means someone else has to fix it during subcite process.
    Be sure to use pinpoint cites as often as possible.

    As you add or change footnotes:
      1. Be sure to check footnotes occurring afterward to ensure the short cite rules are followed.
      2. Check that internal cross-references still match up (i.e. supra, infra, etc.)

a. If the Bluebook has a rule directly on point, follow it.
b. If the Bluebook is silent or allows for discretion,
    Consult NKLR Editing and Style Conventions, document provided by Law Review.
    If not addressed, consult the Student Articles Editors.
c. Style questions
    First, refer to the NKLR Editing and Style Conventions, document provided by Law Review.
    Second, refer to Student Articles Editors.

Further Reading


Avoiding plagiarism requires understanding what it is.

The Legal Writing Institute offers guidance, Law School Plagiarism v. Proper Attribution.

The Writer's Handbook describes how to quote your sources and avoid plagiarism, Quoting and Paraphrasing.

Chase College of Law has a policy on plagiarism and academic integrity see the Student Handbook.