Today I completed my last major task as a note and comment editor for my law journal. We still have a few odds and ends to take care of, but the bulk of our work is done after a long journey. It seems like almost yesterday when I was editing an article by flashlight when the wildfires knocked out the power lines in California over the summer. Since last May I have accumulated almost five hundred hours mentoring ten writers, editing over five hundred pages, correcting hundreds of citations, and grading forty-four articles.
Being a note and comment editor is like being a combination between a teacher and a parent since we work directly with a small set of law students. I love watching and being part of someone's entire writing process--from seeing them come up with a topic to turning in a final submission.
You tend to grow attached to writers and their work when you are there from the beginning. When someone does well or gets published, you feel proud; and when a submission fails, you ask yourself what you could have done to prevent this. I have experienced both situations this year. And I really do not know how professors grade so many papers, I feel horrible giving bad grades--and these do not even stay on a transcript forever.
I know it is cliche to say that I probably learned more from my writers than my writers learned from me, but I feel like I did. In addition to improving my bluebooking skills, I learned about random topics that I would have never normally covered in law school ranging from organic milk regulation to Native American tribal land laws to oil shale development.
Most people do not like the work on law journals, but I can really say it has been a fun year. I am not sure what to do with myself now that I do not constantly have a pile of papers in front of me to edit.