Montana School of Law first and second year students who are interested in joining the Review must write and submit a casenote for evaluation by the current Review staff.
● Choose one of the two pre-approved cases listed below. No other cases will be considered for write-on submissions. Please note that each case is accompanied by pre-approved secondary sources.
● We strongly recommend that applicants read several previously published case notes before beginning the write-on process. Previously published case notes can be found in back issues of Montana Law Review (available on the table in the lobby near Student Services) on Westlaw, HeinOnline, or in print in the Jameson Law Library. Please note that casenotes are different than Legal Shorts, and are listed under Notes in the Table of Contents of each issue. Also, remember that a lot of editing happens between the write-on process and publication. Your case note need not look as good as a published case note.
● Submissions must be an original document prepared solely for Montana Law Review write-on purposes; no previous work from other classes or projects may be submitted.
● Use the ALWD citation manual as a guide for citation and style, but use footnotes rather that in-text cites. Be sure to pay attention to the special rules for law review citations. The form of the casenote should be similar to that of case notes appearing in recent issues of the Montana Law Review. Note: older Montana Law Review case notes may conform to Bluebook citation and style, but applicants MUST use the ALWD citation style.
● The Honor Code mandates NO HELP FROM ANYONE in writing the casenote (except in very limited circumstances discussed in detail below). Applicants may not receive help from classmates, family members, professors, or friends during any phase of writing the casenote. Applicants’ casenotes may not be edited or cite-checked by others, nor may applicants receive help with substantive issues.
● From all submissions, the current second year staff will select at least twelve (12) applicants based on highest total scores. Scores are determined as follows: 76 points from the case note submission; 24 points from the applicant’s GPA. In the case of a tie, the applicant with the higher casenote submission score will be chosen. If necessary, selected attorneys and professors may also evaluate submissions. For more details on how scores are awarded, see Evaluation Form.
● All submissions must be anonymous. Applicants must not discuss their casenote, or the fact that they are writing a casenote with any current second year staff member. Do not put any identifiable information anywhere on the submission. Failure to keep an application anonymous will disqualify the submission.
Cases and Secondary Sources (choose one case):
Montana Cannabis Industry Association v. State of Montana, 286 P.3d 1161 (Mont. 2012).
- Robert A. Mikos, On the Limits of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana and the States’ Overlooked Power to Legalize Federal Crime, 62 Vand. L. Rev. 1421 (2009).
- Jack Tuholske, Going with the Flow: The Montana Court’s Conservative Approach to Constitutional Interpretation, 72 Mont. L. Rev. 237 (2011).
- Elizabeth B. Megale, Deadly Combinations: How Self-Defense Laws Pairing Immunity with A Presumption of Fear Allow Criminals to “Get Away with Murder”, 34 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 105 (2010).
Jacob Scott, Codified Canons and the Common Law of Interpretation, 98 Geo. L.J. 341 (2010).
Casenote Research and Authority Citation Guidelines:
Only the following materials may be cited in your casenote:
1. All material cited in the opinion of the chosen case (including cases, statutes, Restatement provisions, etc.)
2. All appellate briefs of the chosen case
3. All prior case history for the chosen case (e.g., references to the lower court holding)
4. The Montana Constitution
5. The United States Constitution
6. Pre-approved secondary sources provided for each case
7. All material (including cases) cited within the provided secondary sources.
You may not use any material that is more than once removed from those identified above. For instance, suppose one source citesJones, and Jones cites Smith. You may use the source itself and Jones, but you may not use Smith, unless it was also cited in one of the sources identified above.
The fact that a source is identified above does not imply that you must use that source. Your case note will not be evaluated on your ability to use every source or all of every source identified above. Rather, it will be based primarily on your ability to synthesize and critically analyze the issues of either Mont. Cannabis or Cooksey.
● All submissions are DUE Monday, April 8, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. to Student Services.
● Submissions should be no more than 16 pages in length, including footnotes.
● Submissions must be typed, double-spaced using twelve-point Times New Roman or Century Schoolbook font, with one-inch margins on all sides.
● The applicant’s Spring 2013 Midterm Anonymous Number 9 should appear on the front page of the submission. Do not put the applicant’s name or any identifiable information on the submission.
● Submit ten (10) printed copies of the casenote to student services with the anonymous number on the front page of each copy.
● Submit one (1) printed document in a sealed envelope containing 1) the applicant’s Anonymous Number 9 and 2) the applicant’s GPA. If the applicant is a first year student, the 1L Fall Semester GPA should be submitted. If the applicant is a second year student, either the applicant’s 1L Fall Semester GPA, or the applicant’s most current cumulative GPA is acceptable, but do not indicate which method was used. First and second year submissions will be evaluated as a group, not as separate class-year submissions.
● Questions about the application process may only be addressed to the designated third year student, Hannah Tokerud at firstname.lastname@example.org. Assistance will be limited to questions about the application process—substantive, research, and citation questions will not be answered. Do not ask any second year staff member any questions about your case note.
● Library staff may provide general assistance with instruction in or location of a particular research tool, but not detailed assistance in finding particular information.
A casenote, in general, analyzes a recent court decision and its legal context. A casenote examines the relationship between the decision and the existing law and discusses important issues, cases, and legislation within that area.
A case may be chosen for the write-on competition because it represents an important change in the law, creates significant effects, or displays interesting judicial reasoning. It is the applicant’s responsibility to identify the significance of the case. NOTE that cases often address several issues. Not all of the issues will be noteworthy. You only have 16 pages, so choose carefully when deciding which issue(s) to discuss. Case notes will be evaluated in part on the ability of the author to spot which issues are significant.
A case note begins with a brief introduction then clearly states (in the author’s own words) the important facts and procedural history of the case. Next, the case note states the case’s specific holding on each important issue, summarizing the court’s reasoning for each holding. The author’s analysis of the case follows in the substantive portion of the casenote, which describes relevant existing law and the arguments both supporting and opposing the holding of the case. The casenote ends with a legal conclusion. Please note, this basic framework may be adjusted, depending on the case, legal arguments, and author’s style.
For more information about casenotes, see: What is a Casenote?
The Review will host an informational meeting in February regarding the 2013 write-on competition. An email reminder will be sent about a week before the meeting.