The University of Chicago Business Law Review Topic Access Program

June 10, 2024

Dear Members of the Classes of 2025 and 2026:

We are pleased to invite you to apply to join The University of Chicago Business Law Review (BLR) through our Topic Access program. This packet provides a brief overview of our Journal, the process for joining through the Topic Access program, member responsibilities, and some helpful guidance to get you started.

I.     Overview of Business Law Review

The Business Law Review is a student-run, focus-area Journal devoted to publishing novel scholarship that explores the law's diverse intersections with business and industry, including, but not limited to, corporate, securities, tax, and bankruptcy-related inquiries. BLR maintains an active Online Edition that publishes year round as well as a robust yearly print volume with two issues in December and June. BLR also hosts a Biennial Symposium that is selected and planned by the entire Journal membership over a two-year planning horizon. BLR Members learn about and contribute to cutting-edge topics in the field of business law through the Articles revision process. Our Journal boasts an impressive slate of authors who have published with us, including Nobel laureate Oliver Hart and former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court Leo Strine. While conducting independent research, members will also engage with legal and business-related topics that intrigue them through the Comment and Online publication process. Exceptional Comments will be published alongside the Articles selected for publication in the Spring or Fall of 2025. Finally, members, including those who join the Journal through the Topic Access program, will have the opportunity to run for Board and Executive Board positions to help pave the path for the next class of BLR membership. Ultimately, Journal membership provides professional and leadership opportunities and lifelong relationships that many of our current and past members view as the highlight of their Law School experiences.

II.     Topic Access Program

BLR’s Topic Access program is designed to provide a pathway to membership outside of the traditional Writing Competition. Candidates may participate in Topic Access via two schedules. In order to join the Topic Access program via either schedule, all candidates must undergo an internal preemption check for topic approval. Following approval, candidates must complete a Topic Proposal and a Topic Analysis by the respective deadlines for Schedules A and B listed below. All candidates who participate in Topic Access Schedule A will be on track to receive membership offers by July 23, prior to the start of OCI. The Editorial Board welcomes questions before and at any time during either Topic Access program schedule.

A. Topic Access Requirements

In order to join BLR through the Topic Access program, students must satisfactorily complete the following three steps: (1) a preemption check with a self-generated topic, (2) a Topic Proposal, and (3) a Topic Analysis. All Topic Proposal and Topic Analysis submissions must be written in Garamond 12-point font single-spaced and include page numbers and citations in the footnotes. All footnotes must be single-spaced in 10-point font and comply with Bluebook citation format.

1. Preemption Check: All candidates must undergo a preliminary internal preemption check by the Topic Access editors to ensure that a proposed topic has not already been selected by another member on BLR. Please note that Topic Access editors will only check internal preemption amongst BLR members’ chosen topics. It is the candidates’ responsibility to conduct external preemption checks. Please submit a Topic Statement via the Topic Access Interest Form linked here. Topic Access Editors will reach out to all candidates with approval of their topic within 72 hours of Topic Statement submission. If you need additional support in selecting a topic, please reach out to Sofia Gracias ( and Sabrina Marie Vera (

2. Topic Proposal (TP): All candidates will have two weeks to complete their approved Topic Proposal. A TP is a 3–4 page, single-spaced memo on an approved topic of your choice. The memo must include (1) a simple statement of the issue you plan to address; (2) a discussion of that issue; (3) your proposal ideas for an original and useful solution; (4) existing commentary on your topic; (5) a bibliography with at least twelve sources; and, (6) a brief overview of your research path describing how you found the proposed topic. All candidates must submit an initial TP on a self-generated topic. If a candidate’s first TP is not approved, they will have the opportunity to submit a second proposal. A sample TP is attached at the end of this document.

3. Topic Analysis (TA): Upon completion of the TP, all candidates will have three weeks to complete a Topic Analysis. A TA memo is a 7–8 page, single-spaced memo that analyzes the viability of another student’s proposed topic and includes a thorough preemption check. TAs will be anonymized prior to exchange. The TA memo must include (1) an introduction; (2) an analysis of the current relevant law; (3) a thorough preemption check discussing existing commentary; (4) an evaluation of the various angles the author could take in addressing the topic; and (5) a bibliography. Topic Access candidates will receive a TA with feedback about their TP. Due to the multiple application schedules, a candidate may have the option to write an analysis on their own topic if there are no other applicants with whom to swap topics on the same schedule. A sample TA is attached at the end of this document.

4. Upon Completion: After a candidate has completed one TP and one TA, they will be eligible for an offer of membership from BLR to join the member class and continue the Comment drafting process with the guidance and resources of the Comments team.

B. Topic Access Deadlines

Candidates may complete the Topic Access process through either one of the two schedules. Each candidate will receive two weeks to complete their Topic Proposal and three weeks to complete their Topic Analysis. All candidates must submit their Topic Proposal and Topic Analysis via email to Sofia Gracias,, and Sabrina Marie Vera,, by 11:59 pm CT on the date listed for your chosen schedule.

  Topic Access Begins Topic Proposal Due Topic Analysis Distributed Topic Analysis Due Response from BLR
Schedule A June 10 June 24 June 25 July 16 July 23
Schedule B August 23 September 6 September 7 September 28 October 

III.     Member Responsibilities

BLR members are critical to the Journal’s success and have several key responsibilities, briefly outlined below:

1. Comment: Members must complete a Comment that is 10,000–12,000 words in length, including footnotes. Every assertion or argument made within a Comment must be adequately supported by Bluebook footnote citations. The Comment must be of sufficient quality to be eligible for SRP credit. Comments will be written under the guidance of a Law School faculty advisor and with feedback and edits from the Executive Board. As part of this process, members will be responsible for writing up to two Topic Proposals, up to two Topic Analyses, a Comment outline, and two Comment drafts throughout their first year on BLR. Topic Proposals and Analyses written through the Topic Access program count towards this requirement. Members may also choose to submit their completed Comments to be considered for publication.

2. Editing Responsibilities: Members must also complete editing and publication checks on Articles and Comments published in the Journal’s annual print editions. This process is invaluable for preparing the Journal’s print edition for publication. Members will not only have the opportunity to edit the work of well-known legal scholars, but they will also edit each other’s work and provide vital feedback to their peers.

3. Online Edition: Members are expected to contribute to BLR’s Online Edition by researching and writing short posts that may be considered for online publication. Members are expected to write one 2,000–5,000 word article to be considered for publication in BLR's Online Edition.

4. Additional Responsibilities: Members will attend in-depth training sessions in legal research provided by staff of D’Angelo Law Library to improve their legal research and writing skills. Members must also attend orientation sessions on the Comments and Articles processes. Members will be provided an orientation packet upon signing their member contract. The contract will include all key dates for training, in addition to social and professional development events with leading law firms.

IV.     Why the Work is Worth It

As members of the Business Law Review, students will receive the unique opportunity to contribute to legal scholarship that intersects with the rich field of business at The Law School, an institution renowned for its focus on law and economics. Members will have the opportunity to gain vital experience in an area of law that interests them and will be formative in their professional development.

This experience will allow members to forge lifelong connections that will extend beyond law school. Journal membership is an academic as well as social experience, as our Journal holds a number of social and professional development events with law firms and experts in the field. Additionally, the Law School rewards Journal membership with transcript recognition, three pass/fail credits, and SRP credit upon successful completion of a member’s Comment.

Thank you for your interest in The University of Chicago Business Law Review. Please feel free to reach out to Sofia Gracias at and Sabrina Marie Vera at if you have any questions about the Journal, the Topic Access process, or member responsibilities. We look forward to working with you.


Sofia Gracias

Executive Comments Editor



Sabrina Marie Vera

Managing Editor