By Andrew Cohen
After working toward their goal for nearly two years, a group of Berkeley Law students have successfully gained approval for the Berkeley Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law (BJESL). The new journal, which will publish content exclusively online during its two-year probationary period, officially launches this fall.
“It started with a group of about 10 first-year students who wanted to pursue this,” says incoming editor-in-chief Marcus Allen ’12. “We’ve traveled a long road, but we’re excited to get started.”
The online journal will feature annual scholarly articles; op-ed style submissions from practitioners updated two or more times a year; and a steady diet of relevant news, cases, article comments, and campus events. At roughly 30 pages, the scholarly articles will be notably shorter than the standard 50-page articles in most other journals.
“Entertainment and sports law are fast-changing fields,” said BJESL Senior External Relations Editor Cameron Mabrie ’12. “We wanted a way to allow practitioners to write shorter pieces and to have students weigh in. We’ll also have a comment section where both groups can contribute, and a separate portion of the site to analyze significant cases that come down in these areas.”
When the students asked to start BJESL during the 2009-10 school year, Berkeley Law lacked a formal process for reviewing such requests and for faculty oversight of student-run journals. The administration created an Ad Hoc Law Journals Committee, which produced a memorandum—adopted by the faculty—that established faculty support and oversight, and requirements for establishing new journals.
The students described why there was a need for a new entertainment and sports law journal amid Berkeley Law’s 12 other journals, and submitted a budget, equipment and space needs, the publication’s planned frequency, a proposed format, and expectations for student writing. Professor Peter Menell will serve as faculty advisor during the journal’s two-year probationary period, after which BJSEL will be re-evaluated to determine whether it should continue to be published.
“In some ways we’ll be a guinea pig for how Berkeley Law is going to shift from print to online publications,” Mabrie said. “It’s exciting to be on the ground floor of that process.”
The BJSEL senior board—which consists of Allen, Mabrie, managing editor Micah Gruber ’12, and senior articles editor Jordan Gonzalez ’12—plans to publish their first issue in spring 2012. The journal has sponsored or co-sponsored seven speaker events over the past 18 months, in an effort to spark student interest in the journal.
Antitrust, contract, and labor issues are some of the sports law areas BJESL will explore, including the current National Football League lockout and the impending National Basketball Association lockout. On the entertainment side, BJESL will examine copyright and trademark issues, legal movements in the music and movie industries, and piracy.
“Journals are moving in a different direction to keep pace with the times and to stay financially viable,” Allen said. “Publications often aren’t cost-effective to produce in mass quantity, and the fast-changing nature of entertainment and sports law makes our journal well-suited for an online format that’s more practitioner-based. Why not get opinions and articles from people on the ground, who deal with these issues every day?”