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Torrey Law Review: Cultivating Legal Thought at LJCDS

By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
Ricardo Cervera '22 and Terry Tran '22 created LJCDS' first Torrey Law Review student publication.
In spring 2020, juniors Ricardo Cervera and Terry Tran aspired to create LJCDS’ first Torrey Law Review, a student publication on legal topics submitted by LJCDS students. Now, nearly nine months later and with hard work, determination and grit, the aspiration is realized. The review is the second high school law review in the United States, and the only high school law review with a professional board, which includes a bestselling legal nonfiction author, a law professor, several national and international attorneys, and LJCDS alumni currently in law school.

Ricardo and Terry share more about the making of this student publication.

The Process of Creating the Torrey Law Review
Terry: We both had a basic understanding of what a law review was when we had the idea to create this publication, but a lot of the learning occurred as we continued to develop our idea into a plan. 

We started by speaking to some teachers to see what they thought and to gain support from the faculty. We both spent several weeks devising the logistics behind receiving submissions, what the submissions would look like and the review’s overarching timeline. Additionally, we began to reach out to the LJCDS community to find people who would comprise our professional board, which oversees and reviews all published submissions and is the hallmark of the Torrey Law Review.

Choosing Submissions
Ricardo: The hardest part of the entire project was narrowing it down to just six papers. We received over 25 high-quality submissions. So many of these papers deserved a spot in our first edition, but after hours of meticulous reading, deliberation and consultation with faculty members, we decided on which six submissions were most suitable before sending those to the professional board. 

The cases discussed in this edition range from the freedom of the press to the rights of immigrants to freedom of speech and even territorial disputes between nations. We truly believe that there is something to pique everyone’s interest. 

Developing a Professional Board 
Terry: We networked within the school to start and reached out to people in the LJCDS community who work in the legal field or know of people who do. From there, we received recommendations from those legal professionals, and pretty soon, we were in contact with amazing individuals. We are truly honored and privileged to have the opportunity to work with these insightful individuals who were able to provide us feedback and wisdom throughout the entirety of the process of making this review.

Speaking with the experienced legal professionals on our board also aided us greatly in organizing things as large as the format of our review, to citing the pieces correctly. The student authors of the six papers chosen had a chance to interact with the professional board after receiving their feedback.

Lessons Learned
Terry: Firstly, projects such as these remind me to have good general habits like time management, problem-solving with time constraints, and the importance of communication. But I think something unique this process has taught me is knowing that it’s OK to not have a plan for everything. Before doing this review, I was definitely a strategic person, planning things well in advance to make sure there were no surprises down the road. When creating something with so many moving cogs like this review, there is bound to be a situation where you are faced with a challenge or situation you did not plan for. This allowed me to become more comfortable with improvising plans as we went. Looking back, some of the best ideas and decisions while making this review were made in the heat of the moment or were improvised.

Ricardo: There are countless lessons I’ve learned from a project like this. I think one of the most important has been when you have an idea, run with it. When we set forth on this project, I never would have imagined that it would reach the point it has in the time frame that it has. The plan was to keep it on a smaller scale, and never would I have imagined that we would get the opportunity to work with the people we did. I also learned the importance of just reaching out. It is incredible the people you can meet if you just ask around. We got the opportunity to work with authors, law students, corporate lawyers, international prosecutors and law professors. I would never have gotten the opportunity to do this had I not been willing to throw myself out there. Overall, this has been an incredibly valuable experience, and I can’t wait to see where this project goes in the future.

Visit the Torrey Law Review website, designed and developed by Tavisha Khanna '22, for more information and to read the winning submissions.

Torrey Law Review in the news:

Read these articles:

Watch the interview on KUSI below.


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