- Apprentice Lawyer
The Journalists is a deeper look at the journals published by law schools around the country. In this edition, we take a look at the RMLNLU Law Review with interviewing the journal's Managing Editor Harshit Agrawal. Harshit is also the Managing Editor of the RMLNLU Journal on Communication, Media, Entertainment and Technology (CMET) Law
Let us start with the Journal’s Editorial Board. What made you go for it and what process is adopted for selection of the Editorial Board?
I joined the editorial board in my first year in the position of Line Editor. I was charged with the responsibility of finding sources cited by the author, going through the referenced parts and correcting the citation format. During this one year process, I gained enormously from interacting with senior editors and contributors. This made me to go for the position of editor.
The selection procedure is simple and includes an interview. As the interview board was already familiar with my work, I was posed only a few basic questions regarding the editorial process and was asked to share my inputs on how to further improve it.
How has your journey been up until now? How has it contributed in your development as an aspiring lawyer?
It has been a very enriching journey. The process exposed me to a variety of manuscripts which helped me sharpen my researching skills. The Committee also taught me how to present arguments in an impactful manner. Editing the contributors’ work made me learn how to apply a level of precision, technical discipline, and attention to detail to my work. This is something that the other parts of law school were not wired towards teaching.
Being in an administrative position of the Journal also helped me understand how to manage multiple tasks on short deadlines, while also supervising the numerous other functions of the Committee. I feel these are some of the essential qualities required to begin a career in the field of law.
Can you take us through the Journal’s review process?
The review process is divided into three stages. The first two stages include preliminary review and are undertaken by the student editorial board. Every manuscript goes through multiple board members and a thorough discussion to ensure that every eligible manuscript is selected for the next stage.
The third stage of the review process is the most crucial step where an in-depth review of every manuscript is conducted. For the RMLNLU Law Review, this step is undertaken by the editorial board in collaboration with the advisory board of the Journal. Every manuscript goes through an advisory board member who is an expert in the field. The decision of the member becomes the basis for acceptance or rejection. If deemed necessary, the pieces are returned to the authors in order for them to be able to incorporate the changes suggested by the advisory board and the editorial board. The best pieces are then selected for publication in the respective volume of the Journal after a discussion with the advisory board members.
What, according to you, is the most important and difficult task in the editorial process?
I feel the most challenging task of all is to ensure that the manuscripts convey the original idea of authors in the most reader friendly way possible. We take up this task during the editing process in close collaboration with the authors. We explain our point of view very respectfully to the authors. They are usually quite responsive and take up our suggestions in a positive manner. Sometimes, we also receive disagreements which we try to solve through discussions.
The job becomes particularly difficult because we are often subject to strict timelines. All said and done, however, the process brings out the best in the manuscripts.
What are the most common mistakes made by the authors?
I feel an important aspect of a good manuscript is a great conclusion. Authors sometimes neglect this part. They just summarise what has been said in the main body of the manuscript but that should not be the case.
The other important thing about an article is that it should be easy to read. This could be achieved by dividing the manuscript into well-meaning sections and sub-sections. We often find this part to be neglected as well.
My suggestion to the authors would be to prepare multiple drafts of the manuscript before the preparing the final draft.
What is the importance of an “abstract” in the manuscript?
Abstracts are usually the component of the manuscript that readers utilize to decide whether to go through with the article or not. From the point of view of reviewers, it helps in assessing the content of the manuscript. It helps both the readers and reviewers to ascertain the purpose of the article in a concise and simple way.
This is what makes an abstract the most difficult part to draft. It is therefore imperative for authors, especially the ones who are writing for the first time, to get their abstract reviewed by their colleagues before preparing the final draft.
How do you see the future prospects of The RMLNLU Law Review Journal & RMLNLU Journal on CMET Law? Is anything interesting upcoming that the legal fraternity should look forward to?
We are currently in the process of compiling the 11th volume of The RMLNLU Law Review Journal and the review process for the manuscripts of 8th volume of RMLNLU Journal on CMET Law is currently underway. We have made considerable progress in terms of the quality and the number of manuscripts we have received over the years. Our review and editing process have also similarly matured with time.
This year, we have also introduced a very dynamic advisory board for our Law Review Journal. This board comprises of some of the most renowned personalities from the industry as well as academia. I am very thankful to each and every one of the members who has been part of the process. Through their insights and suggestions, the board members have hugely benefitted the authors in bettering their pieces.
We are currently working on a procedure which would enhance this interaction further. We are also hopeful to introduce another advisory board for the next volume of our Journal on CMET Law given our incredibly positive experience in the other Journal.
Through all these efforts, we are hopeful that we would be able to encourage more and more people to contribute to our various initiatives and leave an indelible mark on the field of legal literature.