Business Law Brief Transitions to DC's First Comprehensive Business Law Review

American University Washington College of Law’s Business Law Brief, a student-run publication launched in 2004, is making the transition to a full law journal starting in 2011. The new Business Law Review will significantly increase law review opportunities for students and will make its mark as the first comprehensive business law journal in Washington, DC.

“We are thrilled with the immense forward progress of our business law programs,” said Dean Claudio Grossman. “The work and dedication of all the students and faculty members involved has ensured that the new Business Law Review will not only be a perfect addition to the law school’s business offerings but also become a driving force in the field of Business Law.”

The Business Law Brief, which focuses on the synergy between the legal profession and the business world, has published twice a year since 2004 and currently has a circulation of more than 12,000. The Brief, which was recognized by the American Bar Association as the Legal Magazine of the Year for 2004-2005, will build upon its accomplishments in a transition to a law journal this year.

Filling a DC Business Law Void

The movement to a journal started in 2009 when then editor-in-chief of the Brief David Wiseman ‘10 and other members of the publication’s board began to push the idea. “The student body at the law school had grown since the last journal was added,” said Wiseman, who is now principal at restaurant consulting company Roadside Organics. “We wanted to create more opportunities for students to gain journal experience, especially in this tough job market.”  

Wiseman and the Brief staff also found that no other business law journals existed at DC law schools, and noted that the law school had a chance to fill a void. They brought the idea for a Business Law Review to Professors Andy Pike and David Snyder who helped create a proposal, spread the word, and gain support for a new Business Law Review.

“Without the support of Professor Pike and Professor Snyder the creation of the Review would not have happened,” he said.  “The support of Dean Grossman and the faculty proved that AU wants to continue to meet the changing needs of its students.”

Snyder, who is also director of business law programs at the law school, said the new law review will permit the students to recruit more top scholars to write longer articles of lasting value, while allowing students themselves to publish their own research and writing. 

The Business Law Program here is beginning to get noticed by scholars around the country, and a serious academic journal will continue to build and enhance our reputation,” Snyder said.  “Expanding into the full journal format has been a natural move.  The extraordinary commitment of the students made for a strong Business Law Brief, but their energy can have a wider outlet and greater impact through a law review.” 

Joining Snyder and Pike as faculty advisors for the Review are Professors Kenneth Anderson, Anna Gelpern, and Heather Hughes and Associate Deans Christine Farley and Billie Jo Kaufman.

Forging Ahead in a Year of Transition

The proposal for the Business Law Review was unanimously approved by the faculty in spring 2010, and from that point on it was up to the current board of the Brief to implement the new journal while also continuing to produce quality editions of the Brief.

Third year student Alexis Early became Editor-in-Chief of the Business Law Brief last spring. In summer 2010, while Early was still a summer associate at Patton Boggs, she and the members of the Business Law Brief board began work on the transition. Soon they were laying the foundation for the new journal by putting together quality standards for the publication, training staff, and preparing for the first issues, scheduled for a fall 2011 release.

 “We want to become a go-to resource for business law academics while retaining the Brief’s current readers who are largely practitioners,” Early said.  

In addition, the new Review will have a corresponding website that will “provide additional visibility for the authors online and allow them to connect with their readers,” Early added.

On April 8, the Business Law Review will hold its inaugural symposium. “The symposium will examine the intersection of Business and the Law at a time when post-crisis financial oversight is moving from Wall Street to Washington,” Early said. Articles for the first edition of the Business Law Review will be based on submissions for this symposium.

“With the constellation of contributors for this inaugural symposium, those in the know will see that AU is taking a leadership role in the business law field,” said Snyder.

Current and past members of the Brief/Review Editorial Board will celebrate the new Review at a kick-off event hosted by Dean Claudio Grossman and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations Jan. 20. For more information on the Brief, including the list of current Board members and access to past issues, visit wcl.american.edu/blb.