The University of Chicago Law School will launch a student-led journal focused on business law, creating a fourth opportunity for students to gain coveted journal experience and adding to the school’s growing suite of business law offerings.
The University of Chicago Business Law Review, created in response to a proposal by five second-year students, will begin recruiting its staff this summer and will hold a symposium next academic year to source material for its inaugural issue. Deputy Dean Anthony Casey, the Donald M. Ephraim Professor of Law and Economics and the faculty director for the Law School’s Center on Law and Finance, and Joshua Macey, an assistant professor whose expertise includes corporate law, bankruptcy, and the regulation of financial institutions, will serve as advisors.
“I cannot think of a better time to start a new business law journal than now, and I cannot think of a better place to do so than at the Law School,” said Lucy Kirichenko, ’22, who will serve as co-editor-in-chief with Megan Ingram, ’22. Kirichenko and Ingram proposed the journal with Clare M. Downing, Molly Nelson, and Franchesca I. Alamo, all ’22 and all of whom will serve on the board.
Recent developments in the law, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and rapid technological advancements, contributed to the already growing demand for scholarship on and expertise in business, corporation, securities, and antitrust law, all topics the new publication will explore.
“The last year has seen rapid and radical shifts in business law and has revealed a deep need for cutting-edge scholarship in this area,” Kirichenko said. “The University of Chicago is the cradle of law and economics, and our faculty have profound expertise in this field. The new venture will rely on this expertise to create a journal that will advance a new vision of business law scholarship, one infused with a uniquely UChicago perspective.”
Ingram said the five founders also sought to create additional opportunities for Law School students to gain the professional and educational benefits of journal work.
“We wanted to provide our classmates and future co-workers with an avenue to expand their legal research and writing skills, while also contributing to an important area of legal scholarship,” she said. “I have felt firsthand the impact of working on a journal on my ability to write persuasively and clearly, to craft strong arguments and clear citations, and to engage more intensively with topics of law. I really hope to bring those experiences to an increased number of students at the law school.”
The new publication will join The University of Chicago Law Review, a journal that began in 1933 and publishes eight issues per year; the University of Chicago Legal Forum, an annual publication began in 1985; and the twice-yearly Chicago Journal of International Law, which published its first issue in 2000.
“We are delighted to welcome The University of Chicago Business Law Review as the fourth in our exemplary set of student-edited journals, each of which contributes to the Law School’s mission of providing a transformative education and advancement of knowledge,” said Dean Thomas J. Miles, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics. “This new journal represents a tremendous new opportunity for our students to engage in an important area of law and to hone their writing and editing skills. Demand for innovative scholarship in this area is growing, and rising numbers of students apply to our Doctoroff Business Leadership Program, our accelerated JD/MBA degree program, and our business law clinics.”
Even before the pandemic, interest in the fast-changing field of business law had skyrocketed as companies and corporate investors faced increasingly complex issues around investor activism, venture capital restructuring, distressed investments, valuation disputes, and more. In recent years, the Law School, long recognized for its international leadership in law and economics, responded to the rising demand by establishing itself as a hub for cutting-edge business law scholarship and expanding learning and degree opportunities for students interested in in business law.
In partnership with the University’s Booth School of Business, the Law School offers the certificate-granting Doctoroff Business Leadership Program, which brings top Booth professors into the Law School to teach business courses that are specifically designed for law students. An accelerated JD/MBA program, launched in 2020, allows students to obtain the dual degree in just three years, and a four-year JD/MBA program enables students to pursue a more specialized study of law and business. Students also participate in a variety of experiential learning opportunities through the Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic, the Innovation Clinic, and the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. In 2020, the school added a Transactional Lawyering class when it revised the first-year curriculum, reflecting the growing emphasis on the intersection of business and law in practice.
In 2019, the Law School launched the Center on Law and Finance with a mission built around connecting scholars, practitioners, and students to explore how the law interacts with, and shapes, financial institutions.
“The Law School has shown a strong commitment to expanding its presence in the field of business law,” said Casey, a leading scholar of corporate reorganization, corporate governance, and financial regulation. “This expansion is occurring over two dimensions. The Center is facilitating scholarship through research conferences and events, while the degree and curriculum offerings are providing additional educational opportunities. The new journal addresses both dimensions at once by providing an outlet for cutting-edge scholarship as well as a path for students to engage with that scholarship and help shape its path.”
Kirichenko and Ingram, who have both worked on the Chicago Journal for International Law and in the Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic, said the pandemic offered them a chance to reflect on how they could best serve the Law School community.
“We’re both passionate about business law, as is everyone on our team, and we wanted to create more opportunities for law students, particularly those from groups traditionally underrepresented in this area of scholarship, to be able to engage in complex critical thinking on business law topics,” Kirichenko said. “I’m also excited to be working alongside Megan, and to have a fantastic team in Clare, Molly and Franchesca. This is a bold venture, and I think it speaks to the strong entrepreneurial spirit and powerful sense of community that saturates the Law School that so many people have been willing to help us develop this new journal. We are thrilled to be collaborating with them and eager for what this first year will bring.”