Albany Law School was the first institution to produce a student edited legal periodical. During the academic year of 1875—1876, a student run group, lead by then Editor-in-Chief Isaac Grant Thompson, published the Albany Law School Journal. Although closer to a legal newspaper than a traditional academic law review, the Albany Law School Journal has been hailed as a precursor to the first academic law review published by Harvard Law School in 1887. Editor-in-Chief Thompson described the journal as a “medium of conveying to the profession of the country the latest intelligence of interest on all subjects pertaining to the law,” and he solicited “brief contributions on legal topics, notes of decisions, and items of general legal news.”
The Albany Law School Journal was published weekly and mainly consisted of law school updates, announcements, and news. There was, however, a substantive component to the Albany Law School Journal. Each publication contained brief summaries of important recent decisions of the New York courts. Also, the journal contained primitive versions of the student note, a major component of many modern law review publications. For example, one student discusses in detail recent arguments on the power of the states under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments “to cut off the right of suffrage of any person for certain reasons.”
Unfortunately, the Albany Law School Journal lasted merely one academic year. The only surviving copy of the Albany Law School Journal is volume 1 issue 17, published April 13, 1876. This cherished piece of history can be found at Albany Law School, where it proudly hangs on the wall of the current law review office. Although the Albany Law School Journal was not an academic law review in the traditional sense, it clearly was the first of its kind in that it was entirely established and edited by law students.
After a 60 year absence, the Albany Law School Journal reemerged as the Albany Law Review in 1936. Since then, the Albany Law Review has produced 74 volumes of legal scholarship publishing critical and analytical articles written by judges, lawyers, law school professors, as well as notes and comments on legal topics written by Law Review members and other Albany Law School students. Each year the Law Review publishes four books; one on general legal issues, one devoted to New York law, one devoted to our annual state c onstitutional commentary, and one devoted to issues related to failures in the criminal justice system. The Albany Law Review continues to be an entirely student-run publication.