How to submit a Your Voice essay

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The ABA Journal wants to host and facilitate conversations among lawyers about their profession. We are now accepting thoughtful, nonpromotional articles and commentary by unpaid contributors to run in the Your Voice section of our website, ABAJournal.com.

The ABA Journal wants to host and facilitate conversations among lawyers about their profession. We are seeking thoughtful reflections on issues related to the legal profession written by unpaid contributors to run in the Your Voice section of our website, ABAJournal.com. Columns focusing on one’s personal experiences related to the issues are preferred.

Pieces that are focused on more practical advice for running a legal business could be more appropriate for our Mind Your Business column. Read more about Mind Your Business here.

QUERY FIRST

Should you wish to write for the Journal, we ask that you first send an email query consisting of a few paragraphs explaining what you plan to say, why it is important and interesting, and how you will report it. As we are a national publication, articles need to have national import, implication or appeal.

Please include a brief explanation of your expertise in writing about this subject and where you have had articles published before. Lawyers, law professors and legal services providers are our first choice for contributors. And note: Hyperlinks or examples of previous publications are welcome.

Querying will save you the effort of completing an article that we may not choose to publish, and will save time for editors considering the many requests we get for publication. Address queries to [email protected].

Because of the volume of submissions we receive, please be patient for a response, which can take several weeks or more. No phone calls, please.

WHEN YOU WRITE

If we express interest in your query, we’ll email you our contributor agreement to sign and return, giving the ABA Journal the right to publish the article. You will retain copyright of your work.

As you begin to write, please consider the following: Your Voice is interested in well-reasoned writing in an informal and conversational style (no academic papers, footnote citations or law journal submissions). We do not publish op-eds or subjects that involve partisan politics. Topics should be of broad interest about subjects our readers are interested in, and especially in the following topic areas:

  • Legal ethics, professionalism and civility
  • Supreme Court proceedings and constitutional law
  • Work-life balance and lifestyle
  • Substance abuse and the mental health of lawyers
  • Legal education and continuing legal education
  • Privacy and security
  • Civil rights and social justice

As you write, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you an expert? This doesn’t mean you have to be well-known. But do you have a thorough grasp of your article’s subject matter?
  • What’s your evidence? You may feel strongly about a subject, but our readers expect proof. Citing research or original sources is one way to do this. Citing your own research is also a good idea.
  • Do you have a unique or original perspective?
  • Is your topic and advice useful? Can you provide advice, suggestions or steps the reader can act upon?
  • Is the article a good read?
  • Can you fairly and accurately discuss all sides of the issue, even if you have a particular point of view?
  • Can you cover the subject comfortably in a maximum of 1,200 words? (There can be exceptions for longer pieces, but those will be rare and at the editors’ discretion.)

And make sure your submissions avoid these pitfalls:

  • Advertisements for products or services
  • Self-serving praise
  • Anonymous attacks
  • All that may qualify as libel.

All submissions must comply with the ABA Code of Conduct. If you have further questions about the articles the Your Voice editors will accept, the best direction is to read articles published at ABAJournal.com.

Submitted works will be edited as needed for style, content and length. And the ABA Journal reserves the right to reject publication of an article for any reason.

Last updated on Aug. 18, 2020.

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