La Jolla Country Day School juniors and aspiring attorneys Terry Tran and Ricardo Cervera have done something remarkable, creating the first Torrey Law Review, a student publication on legal topics submitted by students.
The new entity is only the second high school law review in the United States, and the only high school law review with a professional board, according to Jennifer Fogarty, the school’s communications content manager. She added the review’s governing board includes a bestselling legal nonfiction author, a law professor, several national and international attorneys, and LJCDS alumni currently in law school.
LJCDS Upper School history teacher Jonathan Shulman, known for his leadership roles on the Torrey Mock Trial team, and as the director of the school’s Center for Excellence in Citizenship, has acted as a consultant for the budding student law review.
“In the summer of our sophomore year Ricardo and I started publishing legal notes, analysis of law cases,” said Tran of the review’s origin noting, “Legal writing is still new to high school students.”
“We published a simplified version, providing some three to four pages of legal analysis understandable for high-school students,” added Cervera. “We thought it would be really cool to do something like this at the high school level. We said, ‘Let’s do it.’ And from there it really took off, with the help of Mr. Shulman.”
“They asked me to work with them on this,” said Shulman. “They asked if this was a good idea. I said, “If anyone can do this, you can do it.’ I’m not the least bit surprised at what they’ve created. The mentorship they have provided for their fellow students, it’s been extraordinary.”
“Anyone, everyone who is interested, is more than welcome to write for us,” pointed out Cervera.
“Our school has been really helpful working with us on getting started in the middle of all this chaos (pandemic),” noted Tran. “We’ve dealt with a pretty wide range of topics.”
A case in point, said Tran, involved a First Amendment issue involving the Boy Scouts of America.
“We talked about a violation of state law where an Eagle Scout who was gay was not permitted to take a leadership position by the Boy Scouts,” said Tran. “He sued claiming violation of his Constitutional rights.”
“We’re focusing mainly on American law, but we’ve extended that to international law as well,” said Cervera. “One of our board members is a lawyer in the Netherlands, and he helps us out.”
Of what he’s learned so far, Tran said: “We hit a lot of bumps in this first run of the new review, but it will get easier as we go along. Ideally, the goal is to be able to hand the torch when we leave to some young students who want to take on the responsibility of being editor of the review.”
“Right now, that’s the goal, with just the two of us,” concurred Cervera.
“We’ve had a number of students from LJCDS go on to law school after graduation,” noted Shulman.
What of the future of the Torrey Law Review?
“We’ve been talking with some teachers about some ideas to expand on what we’re doing,” said Cervera. “It’s been a phenomenal experience, though Terry and I have sat down and worked for hours on this.”
“I could not name the amount of time I’ve stayed up late at night just discussing logistics (of putting the review together),” noted Tran adding, “I would extend thanks to all the teachers and administrators who have helped us, giving us resources and guidance.”
For more information about the Torrey Law Review, visit https://www.ljcds.org/news-detail-?pk=1398679&fromId=268265.
La Jolla Country Day School is a private, independent K-12 school in University City whose motto is “Scientia Pacifica,” peace through knowledge.