Legal Scholarship for Social Justice
The NYU Review of Law & Social Change was founded at the height of the political turmoil of the 1960s. Unsettled by the gap in legal discourse on inequities along the lines of race, gender, class, sexuality, age, socioeconomic status, and ability, activist-students and professors at NYU Law built it as a platform for legal scholarship that responds to injustice in all its forms. Today, Social Change remains true to that commitment in the articles we publish, the events we sponsor, and the democratic way in which we run our journal. We proudly publish the work of scholars, legal practitioners, activists, and NYU students.
What makes Social Change unique?
PAGE-TO-PRACTICE. Social Change is guided by a vision of page-to-practice scholarship that considers the relationship between the law and lived experiences. The goal of page-to-practice scholarship is to directly shape and support the work of practitioners. Social Change broadly interprets page-to-practice as encompassing articles that promote novel theoretical approaches to legal problems, concrete policy suggestions, and advice to litigators and direct service providers.
COMMUNITY. Social Change is not just a journal—we’re a strong and vibrant community. Our office is a home for work and play, filled with new friends and lively conversation. We are known for our array of snacks, coffee, and comfortable couches. The journal hosts social events throughout the year and sponsors progressive events for the larger NYU community. Most prominent among these events is our popular annual Symposium, which provides opportunities to connect and work with leading practitioners in the field. This past year’s Symposium focused on reparations for slavery by imagining the possibilities—and limits—of the law in facilitating truth, reconciliation, and reparations.
INCLUSIVITY. Social Change is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming space for students of diverse racial, ethnic, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability status, immigration status, educational, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. This is a community open to anyone who has a passion for social change—whether you’re heading straight into public interest work, to a firm, or you haven’t decided yet. What unites all of us is our shared commitment to publishing high-quality scholarship that combats systemic inequities and promotes meaningful change.
EXCELLENCE. Social Change is proud of its national reputation in the progressive legal community. We have been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States, enjoy a high rate of article submission, and are selective about the work we choose to publish. This allows us to publish well-rounded collections of quality pieces that are highly regarded for their contribution to critical legal thinking and practice.
What is the editing process like at Social Change, and how do new members play a role? What is it like to be a Staff Editor on Social Change?
Social Change is deeply committed to engaging Staff Editors in all aspects of the journal. All rising 2L members serve as Staff Editors in their first year on the journal. Being a Staff Editor on Social Change means being a part of a community. Staff Editors have a hand in practically every element of Social Change, from article selection, to editing, to planning the yearly colloquium. Staff Editors enjoy a wide berth of freedom in their work, vote on journal governance issues, and are encouraged to provide substantive feedback to authors. Staff Editors are invited to join committees on inclusion, sustainability, accessibility, our digital publication, and more. Staff Editors have the opportunity to publish through our Student Practitioner Partnerships program and our online publication, The Harbinger. Through the former, Staff Editors work with leading practitioners to produce content. Through the latter, Staff Editors develop and publish shorter articles on pressing social justice issues.
Social Change works closely with authors throughout the editing process and provides multiple rounds of feedback. Issues of the journal are published quarterly, with four issues to a volume. Staff Editors contribute to this process through their weekly assignments. Every Sunday evening, the Managing Editors send out each Staff Editor’s assignment for the coming week. Each editor has a weekly “office hour” requirement. Staff Editors typically complete two to three office hours each week. Make-ups and other accommodations can be scheduled for these office hours to provide Staff Editors with the flexibility necessary to meet their other time commitments and life events. Staff Editors must also attend an orientation at the beginning of the fall semester, and Staff Editors may be asked to complete a few assignments over the summer August.
How does Social Change select new members? What does the journal consider when reviewing writing competition submissions?
Social Change is focused on bringing together students who are committed to the journal’s mission. As a result, the personal statement is an important element in an application when deciding who would make a great Staff Editor. This year, students applying to Social Change do not need to submit a writing sample. However, applicants who wish to submit a sample may submit their lawyering brief instead of writing a comment using the journal packet materials, if they so choose. By providing the option, we hope to give applicants the tools they need to minimize stress and put their best foot forward. While we focus primarily on the personal statement and resume, we will also look at your Bluebooking and whichever writing sample (either brief or comment) that you provide. Above all, successful applicants to our journal demonstrate a genuine commitment to promoting radical change through high-quality legal scholarship and a desire to be part of a dynamic, diverse community.
How will Social Change support me as a Staff Editor and a student during my time on the journal?
Social Change is a warm and welcoming community. Staff Editors are an integral part of the team from the moment they join the journal, and are supported as such by the Board. Want to talk about a journal assignment that you’re struggling with? Editors are always around, either over email or during weekly office hours. Need a space to plan your student group meeting? Just reserve one of Social Change rooms. Looking to hang out? Come to the office for a drink during our weekly “Chill Beer Thursdays.” Journal members are part of a wide range of student groups and causes on campus, and Social Change hopes to foster collaboration between these groups in order to amplify their work. The journal also has two dedicated Community Education and Accessibility Coordinators (CEACs), Nina Haug (email@example.com) and Lucy Trieshmann (firstname.lastname@example.org), who support diversity, inclusion, and accessibility on the board, and are available to provide support to journal members.
Please feel free to contact our friendly Staff Development Editors with any questions about our journal or the writing competition: Alina Tulloch (email@example.com), Kendall Cox (firstname.lastname@example.org), Maya McDonnell (email@example.com), Julie Rong (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Zoe Zakin (email@example.com).
The Faces of Social Change
Hear more from former members of Social Change, below.
Sonali Seth, she/her/hers, Editor-in-Chief
I joined Social Change because I wanted my time at NYU to be about something bigger than myself — I loved the idea that I could be a part of this organization that functioned as an important cornerstone of legal academia but nevertheless continued to push the boundaries of what legal academic scholarship could look like and for what it could advocate. I also joined Social Change because of the warm and welcoming community of social justice advocates that it houses: folks that have become close friends and have even given me valuable advice about public interest career choices, classes, and clinics.
I decided to join a journal because I think that it’s important that I use my skills to challenge oppressive structures in the law. This is the foundation of my motivation in public interest law, but it doesn’t have to wait until graduation. In a field that is too often self-congratulatory, I find it exciting to occupy the forefront in legal academia that is challenging the traditional hierarchies of law and bringing judgment to bear on the injustices with which our legal system is complicit.
In my time as a staff editor, my most memorable experiences were in community building with other folks on the journal who have become valuable mentors. It felt extremely rewarding to finally have a place at NYU Law to call home, in which I was surrounded by like-minded individuals who are committed to using their careers in the law to further social justice. Our time at Social Change is just one piece of those larger puzzles. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremy “Remy” Burton, he/him/his, Editor-in-Chief
A native of Chicago, I came to law school because I recognized that the legal system was failing to serve and protect marginalized communities in a fair and just way. My primary legal interests are in criminal justice advocacy and reform. I’d like to work in criminal defense and creating/reforming police accountability mechanisms through policy and impact litigation. I wanted to join a journal because I see them as the only institution within the law school that’s directly driven by and responsive to students’ legal interest. I wanted to join Social Change because of its commitment to pushing NYU and the larger legal community forward by lifting up social justice-oriented scholars and ideas. email@example.com
Marigny Nevitt, she/her/hers, Managing Editor
I am one of the current Managing Editors, and I am working to become an appellate public defender. I was largely drawn to Social Change because I was looking for a way to get more tapped into the public interest and social justice community at the law school. Many of my closest friends from 1L were on the big law path, and I could tell from the first day of orientation that Social Change was going to provide such a different atmosphere. I have loved getting to know more folks passionate about the kinds of issues I care about, while also learning about new niche issues and ideas within the legal discourse by working on articles throughout the production process. firstname.lastname@example.org
Teddy Fenster, he/him/his, Managing Editor
Social Change really saved my law school experience. As someone intending to pursue a career in voting rights litigation, I found the 1L curriculum and teaching deeply lacking in any structural analysis of inequality or institutionalized racism. Social Change was crucial in providing a space and a community for me to think through the realities of the law and to contest its reinforcement of existing hierarchies. I am grateful for the active role I got to play as a 2L staff editor and the community I built along the way. email@example.com
Samantha (Sammy) Bosalavage, she/her/hers, Executive Editor
I started on RLSC as a Staff Editor and worked on the Colloquium planning committee. I enjoyed reading submissions to the journal and giving my opinions as to whether the journal should publish them, editing articles selected for publication, and planning this past year’s colloquium on reparations. While my specific area of interest and background is in criminal justice, I love being part of a journal with folks who are passionate about a wide range of issues and scholarship that aims broadly to combat systemic inequities and promote meaningful change. I worked in New Orleans, Louisiana for four years before law school doing anti-death penalty work at the Promise of Justice Initiative and the Capital Appeals Project. I interned at the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project last summer in New York and will be interning at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia this coming summer. firstname.lastname@example.org
James deBoer, they/them/theirs or he/him/his, Student Articles Development Editor
I have enjoyed being a part of Social Change because it’s a great opportunity to bring together my academic legal studies and passion for imagining alternatives to the world as it is. At Social Change, it’s not enough for a prospective article to be interesting, novel, or nuanced, but it must also advance social justice in a practical way. I would also highlight the strong sense of community that’s unique to Social Change. Prior to law school, I worked as a minister and a community organizer, and after graduating I plan to practice either immigration law or employment law. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions! email@example.com
Lauren Wilfong, they/them/theirs, Colloquia Editor
This coming year, I’ll be co-organizing the 2021 RLSC symposium. After graduation, I hope to work with groups challenging state violence through community-based litigation. To be honest, I had no interest in legal academia, but was considering clerking after graduation and knew that journal membership was practically prerequisite. I became excited, though, when I learned about RLSC. As a generalist journal that had a progressive, social change filter, I knew that no matter the topic, I would find the articles I worked on interesting. While some journals reserve substantive decision-making over article selection and editing for 3Ls, RLSC ensures from day one that all staff editors are involved in making meaningful decisions about the articles we publish. Finally, knowing that I was supporting RLSC’s mission of pushing legal scholarship to the left, prioritizing voices and ideas that have been marginalized in legal academia and practice, and providing advocates with page-to-practice case studies and legal frameworks that they could put to use right away, made even Bluebooking less painful. firstname.lastname@example.org