Bylaws of the Harvard Journal on Legislation


Whereas, the Harvard Journal on Legislation is the nation’s premier legal publication focused on the analysis of legislation and the legislative process;

Whereas, the Journal has been published since 1964 and is the third oldest journal at Harvard Law School;

Whereas, the Journal has provided a forum for scholarship on legislative reform and on the efficiency and efficacy of legislative decision-making for a half-century;

Now therefore, the Bylaws of the Journal shall be as follows.


Section. 1.1. Name. The Journal shall be known by the names “the Harvard Law School Journal on Legislation,” “the Harvard Journal on Legislation,” “Harvard JOL,” and “JOL” (collectively, “the Journal”).

Section 1.2. Offices. The Journal office shall be located at the Harvard Law School in the County of Middlesex, City of Cambridge, State of Massachusetts.

Section 1.3. Organizational Structure. The Journal is a part of the Harvard Law School and is similarly situated to other student journals of the Harvard Law School.


Section 2.1. Mission Statement. The Journal seeks to promote academic discourse on legislation and the legislative process by publications, symposia, and related events. The Journal’s interest in the legislative process focuses on federal legislation or on legislation of obvious and significant national concern.

Section 2.2. Non-Partisan Journal with Commitment to Bipartisanship. Journal publications and events shall not have any party affiliation. Further, the Journal shall not campaign on behalf of or against any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Journal events may be co-sponsored with partisan organizations. The Journal will also be bi-partisan in seeking to publish articles from both Republican and Democratic viewpoints, especially when selecting articles by Members of Congress or other lawmakers. This is not to be construed as a limitation to those parties, however; the Journal remains open to third-party viewpoints as well.

Section 2.3. Online Journal. In order to expand its online presence and to reach new readership, the Journal shall also maintain and operate a website, which will include articles and other digital content to be published exclusively online in addition to digital versions of articles published in the Journal. These articles will include content contributed by lawmakers, for example Members of Congress, and will share the print edition’s emphasis on federal legislation or on legislation of obvious and significant national concern


Section 3.1. Publishing Calendar. The Journal shall publish one volume in the winter and one volume in the summer. The editing for each volume shall take place during the preceding semester.

Section 3.2. Symposia Calendar. The Journal shall host an annual symposium that shall take place during the academic year. The Symposium Chairs are responsible for coordinating all events related to the symposium. All symposium participants shall be encouraged to submit articles for publication.

Section 3.3. Elections Calendar. The Journal shall hold annual elections for Officer positions. The elections shall be held early each spring semester. Elections shall be conducted in accordance with the criteria outlined in the Elections section of these Bylaws.


Section 4.1. Membership. All Harvard Law School students who serve as Subciters, Line Editors, Technical Editors, or Supervising Editors, as well as all Officers of the Journal, shall be considered members of the Journal. Every member shall have the rights and privileges that accompany such designation.


Section 5.1. The Board. The Executive Board (“Board”) shall be comprised of the Presidents, the Managing Editor, and all other Officers.

Section 5.2. Board Meetings. The Presidents shall have the right to call a Board meeting at their discretion.


Section 6.1. Presidents and Editors-in-Chief. The Journal’s Presidents and Editors-in-Chief (“Presidents”) shall consist of two people responsible for the content and operations of the Journal. The Presidents may choose to split obligations between article content and other Journal operations as they see fit. However, both shall bear responsibility for the entirety of Journal content and operations.

  1. The Presidents shall have responsibility for overseeing all operations and functions of the Journal including editing, article selection, publication, symposia, membership recruitment, and digital content.
  2. The Presidents shall have responsibility for setting the Journal calendar and for scheduling all Journal events consistent with these Bylaws.
  3. Articles Selection. The Presidents shall have responsibility for the selection of articles. Articles shall be selected with consideration given to the recommendations of the Executive Submissions Editor and Executive Articles Editors. Consideration shall also be given to the originality, quality, academic impact, contribution to public discourse, and legislative pertinence of the article. Finally, consideration shall be given to the diversity and balance of content in each issue.

Section 6.2. Managing Editor. The Managing Editor shall consist of one person with primary responsibility for maintaining an accurate account of Journal expenses. The Managing Editor shall also work with the Presidents to organize membership recruitment, schedule and organize Board meetings, schedule and organize social events, administer promotions, and facilitate all other Journal operations.

Section 6.3. Other Officers. The following positions shall also be Officers of the Journal and serve as members of the Journal’s Board of Officers:

  1. Executive Technical Editor. The Executive Technical Editor shall be responsible for technical training of Subciters, Line Editors and Technical Editors. The Executive Technical Editors shall have primary authority over article citations and the Journal Style Guide. The Executive Technical Editor shall be appointed by the Presidents.
  2. Executive Articles Editors. There shall be two Executive Articles Editors. The Executive Articles Editors shall review submissions to the Journal that require expedited review and make recommendations for publication to the Presidents.
  3. Executive Online Editor. The Executive Online Editor shall be responsible for supervising the process of editing articles to be published on the Journal website. Their primary responsibility shall be to ensure that articles are regularly published and are effectively edited. The Executive Online Editor shall have the power to recruit staff and to accept articles for publication in the Online Journal, subject to the approval of the Presidents.
  4. Executive Submissions Editors. There shall be two Executive Submissions Editors. The Executive Submissions Editors shall review all articles that do not require expedited review. The Executive Submissions Editors, with the aid of the Articles Committee, shall make recommendations for publication to the Presidents.
  5. Congress Editors. There shall be between two and four Congress Editors. The Congress Editors shall be responsible for soliciting articles from current and former members of Congress or other state, local, and federal government officials, to be published in the print edition of the Journal and for the Online Journal. Congress Editors may also be required, at the discretion of the Presidents, to serve as Supervising Editors for Congress articles published in either the print Journal or Online Journal.
  6. Online Content Editor. The Online Content Editor will serve as an assistant to the Executive Online Editor and is responsible for ensuring that the Online Journal has a regular supply of short, quality articles to publish, including by coordinating with the Congress Editors and the Student Writing Editor to identify content for publication. The Online Content Editor’s publication recommendations are subject to ultimate approval by the Executive Online Editor and the Presidents.
  7. Symposium Chairs. There shall be at least two and no more than four Symposium Chairs. The Symposium Chairs shall be responsible for all aspects of the Journal’s annual Symposium.
  8. Membership Development Chair. The Membership Development Chair shall be responsible for membership recruitment, alumni development, and non-Symposium event planning.
  9. Social Media Chair. The Social Media Chair manages JOL’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages. The social media pages serve to promote forthcoming articles and their authors, to publicize upcoming events, and to recruit members. The Social Media Chair may also assist with creating visual promotional materials to promote JOL events and the Symposium.
  10. Student Writing Editor. The Student Writing Editor shall be responsible for soliciting student submissions for the print Journal and the Online Journal.
  11. Alumni Engagement Chair. The Alumni Engagement Chair shall be responsible for coordinating outreach to JOL’s alumni network for a variety of activities, including but not limited to: promotion of new editions of the print Journal and Online Journal, participation in symposia, and formal or informal mentorship of JOL members.

Section 6.4. Terms. All Officers shall serve during the school year immediately following the semester during which they are elected, including the first summer after their election, and they shall make appropriate provisions for the transfer of responsibilities to new Officers. Incoming officers will be expected to participate in transition meetings and, if necessary, shadowing outgoing Officers in the semester during which they are elected, in order to facilitate the transfer of responsibilities. The incoming Presidents, Managing Editor, Executive Articles Editors, and Executive Submissions Editors will be expected to begin their duties immediately following the election, overlapping with the outgoing Presidents, who remain leaders of the Journal until the end of the spring semester. The outgoing Officers, during the spring semester, shall remain responsible for the publication of the last issue they initiated.

Section 6.5. Removal of Officers. Any Officer of the Journal, including a President, may be removed if a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Board votes in favor of removal. An Officer must be allowed due time and sufficient opportunity to address the Board regarding his or her removal before a removal vote.

Section 6.6. Vacancy. Any vacant Officer position must either be filled or the position must be eliminated by amending the Bylaws.

  1. To solicit candidates to fill a vacant position, the Managing Editor shall make reasonable efforts to notify all Journal members of the vacancy. The notice(s) shall provide that any interested members must submit a statement of interest by a date determined by the Managing Editor.
  2. The Board shall review all timely submitted statements and meet to select the candidate to fill the vacant position. The candidate shall be selected by a simple majority vote of the Board.


Section 7.1. Elections. The Presidents, the Managing Editor, and all Officers, except the Executive Technical Editor, shall be elected by the Journal membership once each year.

Section 7.2. Date. Elections shall be held during the spring semester. The Managing Editor shall select a day and time subject to confirmation by a majority vote of the Board.

Section 7.3. Administration. The Managing Editor shall have primary responsibility for administration of elections.

Section 7.4. Notice and Statements of Interest. The Managing Editor shall make reasonable efforts to notify all members of all open positions and solicit statements of interest at least two days before an election.

  1. Presidents and Managing Editor. The notice(s) shall provide that candidates interested in running for the President or Managing Editor positions mustsubmit to the Managing Editor a statement of interest. Any such statement of interest shall be subject to a reasonable word limit determined by the Managing Editor and must be received by a date chosen by the Managing Editor.
  2. All Other Officer Positions. The notice(s) shall provide that candidates for any other position of the board maysubmit a statement by a date chosen by the Managing Editor and subject to a reasonable word limit determined by the Managing Editor.
  3. After the date chosen by the Managing Editor for submission of statements but before the election, the Managing Editor shall make reasonable efforts to disseminate all received statements to all members of the Journal.

Section 7.5. Qualifications. Only second-year students who are eligible to vote may run for the President and the Managing Editor positions. Otherwise, any member of the Journal who is eligible to vote may run for any position.

  1. Joint Candidates. Candidates for Presidents shall present themselves and be elected as an indivisible pair. All other candidates shall be elected individually.
  2. Absent Candidates. An absent candidate must submit a statement of interest for the Managing Editor to present on their behalf at the election. An absent member may not run for President or Managing Editor. In extraordinary circumstances, the Managing Editor may permit an exception to the requirement that candidates attend elections, provided the candidate demonstrates in a written statement a compelling reason for their absence. Those candidates must record a statement, which will be played during the elections.

Section 7.6. Process. The Managing Editor shall be responsible for devising a fair process for members to present their candidacy and an efficient way for voting to proceed.

Section 7.7. Order. Elections shall start with the Presidents, followed by the Managing Editor, and proceed through the different positions of the Board in the same order the positions are listed in the Bylaws. Candidates not yet elected to a position may run for any other position.

Section 7.8. Eligible Voters. All Journal members present at elections whose name will appear on the masthead of the Winter Issue of the Journal or who have an excusable absence from the masthead may vote.

  1. Excusable Absence. A member whose name will not appear on the Winter Issue masthead may vote if the member’s name appeared on the previous Summer Issue and that member’s absence from the Winter Issue masthead was due to study abroad, temporary withdrawal from the Harvard Law School, or other comparable situations.


Section 8.1. Offering of Amendment. Amendments to the Bylaws may be offered by any Officer by emailing the entirety of the Board. The Officer proposing the changes may, but is not required to, petition the Presidents to schedule a Board meeting to further discuss their proposal(s).

Section 8.2. Voting on Amendments. When an amendment is properly offered at a meeting of the Board, the Board shall vote upon the amendment within one month. If the amendment carries two-thirds or more of the entire Board, the amendment so offered shall pass and be formally adopted.

Section 8.3. Amendments Affecting Board Positions. Any amendment eliminating a Board position currently occupied by a member of the Board may only be offered as a resolution. If the Board approves the resolution, the issue shall be subject to a vote at the next Journal election. If a majority of members approve the measure, it shall pass and be formally adopted. An unoccupied Board position may be eliminated in a manner consistent with any other amendment to the Bylaws.

Section 8.4. Amendments Affecting General Journal Membership. Any amendment affecting the general membership of the Journal may only be offered as a resolution. If the Board approves the resolution, the issue shall be subject to a vote at the next Journal election. If a majority of members approve the measure, it shall pass and be formally adopted.

Section 8.5 Non-Substantive Amendments. Any amendment correcting grammatical errors in the existing bylaws, increasing the number of individuals holding a given position, or changing the title of an existing position may be approved at the Presidents/Editors-in-Chiefs’ discretion as long as notice is provided to the Board by email.

You can find a PDF version of the JOL Bylaws here.