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Colorado Law Review LibGuide

This guide will serve the needs of prospective and current members of the University of Colorado Law Review. This publication focuses on editing and publishing general-interest legal scholarship written by professors, practitioners, officials and student

To Begin

What is a Note? 

A student authored work of legal scholarship that identifies a specific unresolved legal problem and offers a solution. A Note should:

  • provide clear, concise discussion of a complex legal topic
  • be shorter than Articles, which are written by professors
  • focus on and solve discrete legal issues
  • assume that the audience includes nonexperts


Typically, Notes are organized in three parts, with an introduction and conclusion

Introduction: Brief summary of basic contextual information and statement of the problem. It should also grab the reader's attention.  It is often around 4 paragraphs, with the last paragraph identifying what the Note will argue. For example, "This Note argues that..." Then, for each part, provide one sentence discussing what that section will cover. 

  • Part 1: Provides a brief and descriptive background on a particular area of law.  This impartial discussion is meant to set up  the issue you plan to discuss.  
  • Part 2: Describes in detail the problem your Note addresses and why it is important. It may explore problematic court decisions or circuit splits, discuss the impact of a recent decision, or critique a current legislative policy
  • Part 3: Offers a solution to the problem you have presented. Consider counterarguments and issues that may arise.

Conclusion Short and sweet paragraph or two. Put your solution in a broader context. 

From 2014-2015 Columbia Law Review Publishable Notes Manual. 



Getting There

Important Practices

Roadmaps: Tell your reader where you are going. What will you cover in a particular Part and how does that Part fit into the overall structure of the Note. Keep it simple. 

The Georgetown Law Writing Center has developed a handout titled "Guiding Legal Readers Through Your Legal Document" to help you understand roadmaps. 


Sections and Subsections: Divide your Parts into sections. Take the sections and divide them further to subsections. Make them stand out by using headings.  These tools help your reader digest the information. 

The Georgetown Law Writing Center has developed a handout titled "Tips for Effective Organization" to help you organization of the Note. (Look under "Scholarly Writing")


Headings: Use headings to describe how each section fits within the document.  They should be a substantive description of what each Part or section discusses. They help the reader understand how the Parts and sections fit into the Note's overall message. 

The Georgetown Law Writing Center has developed a handout titled "Writing Effective Point Headings," to improve your use of headings.


Thesis Statements: A thesis statement is an original, supportable hypothesis or assertion about a topic.

The Georgetown Law Writing Center has developed a handout titled "Developing a Thesis Statement" to help you craft a good one. 


From 2014-2015 Columbia Law Review Publishable Notes Manual and Georgetown Law, The Writing Center

How to Organize a Student Note

 NYU Law has a developed a thorough guide to Writing A Student Note.  It includes:



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