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An estimated 6-minute read

Interview with Founder of India Law Journal: He explains how to write a publishable article

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Getting a publication is something all law students strive to achieve. A lot of people will tell you how to moot or how to debate but very few people will be able to tell you how to write a good publishable article. Who better to talk to then the founder of a journal? Below is the interview of Mr Vikrant Pachnanda, the founder of India Law Journal and an alumnus of Gujarat National Law University. He explains his journey from starting the journal to the present and also what are the points that you need to keep in mind for writing a good article.

India Law Journal (ILJ) is a global law journal. ILJ is dedicated to express views on topical legal issues, thereby generating a cross current of ideas on emerging matters. This platform shall also ignite the initiative and desire of young law students to contribute in the field of law. The erudite response of legal luminaries shall be solicited to enable readers to explore challenges that lie before law makers, lawyers and the society at large, in the event of the ever changing social, economic and technological scenario.

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The Interview:

Me:           When and how did you get the idea of starting a law journal?

Vikrant:    In January 2007, I sent an article of mine to an international law journal for publication which was appreciated by that journal’s editorial board but rejected only on the grounds that I was still a student and not a lawyer. That gave me the zeal to start a forum whereby I could generate a cross current of ideas on emerging matters. I wanted to ignite the initiative and desire of young law students to contribute in the field of law alongside the erudite response of legal luminaries to enable readers to explore challenges that lie before law makers, lawyers and the society at large, in the event of the ever changing social, economic and technological scenario.

Me:           Why did you choose the name 'India Law Journal’?

Vikrant:    After I developed and formulated the idea of a law journal, the next step was to give it a name which could truly make it India’s global law journal by focusing not only on legal debates happening in India but also in other parts of the globe. I was keen on making Indian legal news more global.

 

Me:           What were the initial challenges that you faced?

Vikrant:    There were several challenges that we did face. Some of these included how to fund the entire project and in case I invested on my own initially then by when would I get breakeven, what were the different segments we would cover, how we get interviews and articles in the initial stages, how would we attract readers for the issue and how to go about the registration for the journal.

Me:           Who encouraged you or inspired you and in what way?

Vikrant:    My entire family especially my father, mother, sister Naina who is now the Associate Director of the journal and my grandparents wholeheartedly supported me in this initiative. They assisted me by discussing and giving me solutions to various challenges that I could face while running the journal.

Me:           What special skills does a student need to manage a law journal?

Vikrant:    Well, in my opinion, one of the important skills that you need to possess is to be a good editor since the success of the journal depends on the quality of the articles or comments that it publishes. A good editor should be able to sit and read for long hours at a stretch as editing requires reading up on several issues  which the editor may not be aware before he starts editing an article on that particular subject although most journals including ILJ do send articles for peer review to specialists in that particular field. My experience with the GNLU Journal of Law, Development & Politics which is one of the legal publications of Gujarat National Law University of which I was one of the founders and student managing editor for two years did help me in gaining experience in this regard.

Me:           What qualities do you look for in an article before selecting it?

Vikrant:    While reviewing an article, we have to consider several factors such as whether it has been copied from some source without acknowledging that source, how current is that topic and whether it covers any latest development which has taken place in that area of law on which it is based and whether there is a flow in the article i.e. whether the conclusion actually draws an analogy from the body. Another important quality is whether grammatical mistakes have been made. We try and assess whether the grammatical errors made are fundamental or they are minor which our editorial team can correct during the final reviewing process.

Me:           How can students nurture the skills to write good articles?

Vikrant:    This is a very good question. Students need to be focused and fundamentally clear on what topic they want to write on. Once that is done, they need to then decide which aspect of that topic they would like to cover keeping in the mind the breadth of the topic. The next step is then research which involves reading books and articles on the same and formulating a structure before compiling the same then as one piece. One piece of advice would be that if you do take any line from a source, it must be acknowledged as otherwise it would lead to infringement of the original author’s copyright.

Me:           What are your future plans with ILJ?

Vikrant:    Other than taking out our quarterly issues, we also organized a legal writing competition this year on emerging issues such as competition law, LPO, legal education, competition law, climate change and arbitration called Licito Concurso’10 which was judged by eminent panelists who were experts in their respective fields. There was a very good response with well over 400 students participating from all over the country. Winners were offered internships in addition to prize money and articles being published. The top 35 students will also be getting letters of recommendations signed by our panellists. Another initiative has been to be the media partner for various organizations in conferences, moot courts and other legal events organized by them such as Lexis Nexis, Kluwer Law, Kochhar & Co., Sarin-Memorial Legal Aid Foundation, Lex Witness and Gujarat National Law University amongst others. We are assisting in striving to achieve legal education reforms in the country. One of the initiatives in this regard has been writing to the Bar Council of India to introduce a uniform system of law school rankings in India. Legal education reforms one area where ILJ shall try and be more active by taking several other initiatives over the next one year.

I sincerely thank Vikrant for taking out time for the interview and giving us an inside view on running a successful law journal and the nuances of article writing. I wish India Law Journal my very best.

You can visit India Law Journal at http://www.indialawjournal.com/ or contact them at  for any further questions.

Thank you.

Napster

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