Welcome to The Register
When the N.Y.U. Journal of Legislation and Public Policy began publishing our online supplement Quorum in 2013, we did so intending to focus on “short, timely pieces of legal scholarship”. In their proposal for the project, 2012-2013 Managing Editors Julia Bell and Britt Kovachevich wrote that “to be faithful to our founding mission to provide timely and practical scholarship to inform public debate on important issues, we must bring legal scholarship into modern, concise, and technology-driven discourse.” By pushing high-quality pieces directly online (while still ensuring for their preservation via Lexis indexing), we could provide rapid-but-thoughtful responses to pressing issues as they arrive, rather than months down the line.
The importance of that mission holds true six years in. But in a world where Twitter threads are the preferred rapid-response medium and the legal academy holds fast to the perceived value of print, journals such as ours must re-think the value of our online companion publications. What ideas, if any, ought to fill the space between 140 characters typed on mobile and 60+ intensively annotated pages?
For Legislation, our answer has increasingly been to promote short student writing, most of it tracking & analyzing legislation or providing comments on cases. Over the past two years, the majority of our content on Quorum has come from our highly talented Quorum Editors – 3L students from our own editorial staff. They’ve produced wonderful, concise breakdowns of proposed or recently-enacted legislation, from the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to a proposed New York City local law that would push energy efficiency requirements onto older buildings. These pieces are edited, substantiated and reviewed by our Senior Quorum Editor, but have only been available as blog-style pages on our site.
Yet, as Quorum has changed, we think its original mission of advancing legal scholarship as a form is no less pressing. We must continue to provide room for fresh ideas about what the law and the practice of lawmaking is and could be – even if (or, depending on one’s patience, especially when) those ideas may not mesh well with delivery through print. Empirical studies, image-rich essays, experimental formats – all may benefit from robust, online-first presentation, if we let them. And, as responsible stewards of intellectual product, we as a journal must double-down on our commitment to the preservation of the thoughts and ideas that we publish and make sure that they are both widely available and indexed for posterity.
Realizing both of these missions requires a fork. Quorum will continue as our traditional, online companion; a space for shorter-form / more-exploratory pieces than we would typically publish in print but which are nonetheless subjected to our exacting editorial process. All pieces will be published as both traditional, index-able PDF files, and as web-native HTML pages, using WordPress’s new Gutenberg formatting engine.
The Register – where you’re reading this post – will serve as a blog-style space for quick-but-thoughtful breakdowns of pending or proposed legislation, analyses of shifts in policy and law, commentary on the lawmaking process, and more. Legislation‘s membership will continue to produce much of this content, but we hope to offer space within to academics and practitioners as well. In time, we hope to establish consistent tracking of legislative trends, particularly at the under-resourced but vitally important state level.
For our readers – thank you. We hope that this change will allow us to offer you much more of the scholarship and insight we aim to provide. And for our authors and partners – thank you as well. This fork will help us edit, publish and promote your ideas with the speed and accuracy that you deserve.
The Editorial Board of the NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy