Solicitors Journal (SJ) readers range from generalist lawyers in small firms to specialists in larger practices. Your article should cater for both – you should aim to attract the generalist’s passing attention and show sufficient knowledge to be credible to fellow practice area specialists.
The basic proposition for any article is that it should be ‘a good story’, whatever the topic. Every article should have the potential to appeal to all readers, irrespective of their main areas of interests.
It's not that we believe that our subscribers will read every single article we publish, but it is important that the SJ should be accessible to all and appeal to every reader in their capacity as a lawyer with an inherent interest in broader legal issues.
With this in mind, your main task is to capture the reader’s attention from the start and ensure you provide them with personal thinking throughout. The guidelines below should assist you.
Please also read our terms and conditions
(1) Opening line
If there is one sentence you need to spend time on, it’s this one. It will set the tone of the piece and entice your reader to read on – or not. It should be informative and interesting without being overly detailed or sensational (don’t go ‘tabloid’). Its tone should be persuasive enough to bring your fellow experts on side and sufficiently engaging for non-specialists to consider reading it as a general interest piece in its own right.
(2) Tell a story
There is no such thing as a ‘dull but important’ development; if it's important but it’s not immediately obvious why, then make it clear in the first few paragraphs, by providing examples for instance. Tell readers what you think the story is and bring it to life.
a) So what?
While it’s useful to report what the judge has said in a ruling or what a new Bill is about, bear in mind the chances are our readers – your peers – will already know about it. Instead, they will be interested in your own analysis, thoughts and views. So, make sure you provide the answer to this question: 'so what?' This should make up two thirds of your article.
b) Be concise
Readers’ time is as precious as yours, so be sharp and to the point and avoid padding out.
c) What you think
SJ provides two types of articles: practical insight into current legal issues or personal views. Either way, we want to hear what you think, not what we already know from reading the news or law reports.
d) Jargon and technicalities
You can be accurate and avoid ambiguities without having recourse to jargon or technical formulas – they get in the way and are usually not necessary. Remember, even if you are writing for an audience of educated peers, you are not writing a case report, presenting a case in court or writing to the other side.
If you'd like to discuss an article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Articles should be submitted to email@example.com as attachments (Microsoft Word documents or simple Text documents).
For ease of identification, please ensure your/the author’s name appears clearly at the top of the article. Please also ensure you provide:
A brief description of yourself/the author(s) (e.g. John Smith is a partner at Smith and Co Solicitors). Your/the author’s contact details (postal and email addresses and telephone number). A high-resolution, colour photograph of yourself/the author. If photos are scanned in, they should be scanned at least at their original size, at a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) and saved in either jpeg or tiff formats.
The maximum word counts for SJ articles are:
Opinion/comment - 700 words (one printed page)
Business - 1,200 words (two printed pages)
Practice Notes – 1,200 words (two printed pages)
Authors are free to circulate their papers at any time to their network of contacts on the condition that they mention that the article was first published by the Solicitors Journal
We provide contributors with a free subscription for 3 months after their article has been uploaded online and we will provide a pdf and hard copy of the issue following publication.
We ask contributors refrain from re-submitting SJ content to any other commercial publications. We also ask that shared content includes a credit back to the original publication and a link to the article on the SJ website.