An Open Letter to the Indiana Law Review

Dear Indiana Law Review,

First, congratulations to each one of you on your position in ILR this year. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone whom I haven’t met yet, and I’m excited to get the year started with everyone to set ILR up to be the best it can be this year. I think we have a solid team to really do a good job on the Volume.

My hope for all of us this year is that ILR would be more than just an extra task on our “to-do” lists, or just the extra credits to tack on to our schedules. If our work begins to turn into “assignments,” I believe we’ll be missing the point of why we’re doing what we’re doing, and we’ll slowly lose sight of why we even joined a law review in the first place. Eventually, we’ll lose steam over the course of the year—we really won’t enjoy the work we’re doing, and articles with new perspectives on the law will become miserable to us.

I believe the thing that keeps us going in any endeavor we set out on—instead of giving up and trying to coast to the end (or just quitting)—is a vision. A vision and a dedication to that vision. For ILR, it is the vision of carrying the legacy of this journal as a premier source of legal scholarship in Indiana and beyond. Sure, I get it, we might not be in the big leagues like Yale and Harvard. But I don’t see a reason why we can’t edit just as solidly or put out a product that rivals that of law schools “ranked” higher than ours. I think that together we can shape ILR’s reputation as one of the best law review experiences that legal scholars interact with—one that these professors, practitioners, and judges can take a step back from and say, “Woah . . . maybe my article didn’t get published in the Harvard Law Review, but I really enjoyed working with this group of people—they were somehow different than the others.”

And, when we plow through another citation or second-guess some suspicious grammar in a Student Note, I think it’s easy to forget the impact of the work that we’re doing. But all these little pieces support the larger vision of ILR—and I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that law reviews, just like ours, can shape the law. The ideas that we work on publishing have the power to change the minds of Supreme Court Justices, and the articles we edit past midnight have the potential to reform legal theories. Before we are admitted to the bar, this is one of our first chances to take part in influencing jurisprudence—to challenge the way people think about the law, to spark new conversations and reflections on the law, and, ultimately, fulfill our responsibility to make the law more perfect and just.

In the end, as we work behind this vision, we’ll see the reward of our work in a published volume—one that we can be proud of as we flip through its pages. I think we have a chance to make this volume a special one—not “just another” set of articles bound together and tossed into a corner. If we’re already doing the work, I say we go all in and make it something new, something unique, and something that will leave a memorable mark on the history of this law review. Our names will be forever etched into the front of that volume, so I want this to be something that we can look back on with a sense of pride.

But, perhaps most importantly, I want us to have fun while we put this volume together. Even though I want us to be proud of the work that we’ve done, my ultimate hope is that Volume 55 is a memory that puts a smile on everyone’s face when we look back on it years later.

Note Candidates, Associate Editors, Articles Editors, Note Editors, Advisors, and Executive Board—I’m quick to recognize that this mountain of a goal we’re about to jump on could not be pulled off without each one of us helping and working together as a team. Thank you for your dedication to ILR and your belief in making it the best that it can be. When our work is finished and our time is done, my hope is that we’ll leave ILR better than we found it.

Here’s to Volume 55,

Tommy

Thomas B. Sokolowski

Editor-in-Chief

Indiana Law Review, Vol. 55

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