ACTEC Law Journal: Dedicated to Trust and Estate Topics for Nearly 50 Years

Mar 29, 2022 | General Estate Planning, Podcasts, T&E Administration, T&E Litigation

“ACTEC Law Journal: Dedicated to Trust and Estate Topics for Nearly 50 Years,” that’s the subject of today’s ACTEC Trust and Estate Talk. 

Transcript/Show Notes

This is Natalie Perry, ACTEC Fellow from Chicago, Illinois. The ACTEC Law Journal, which began in 1974 as Probate News, is a high-level academic journal that not only explores tax, trust, and estate topics in-depth but also deals with practical consequences and applications of the rapidly changing rules in these areas of law. Today, the journal’s Coordinating Editor, Professor Ashleigh Gough, joins us to answer some questions about how topics are selected and how it comes together. Welcome, Ashleigh.

Natalie: Ashleigh, why don’t you start us off by telling us what makes the law journal different than other law journals?

Ashleigh: Well, I think we’re kind of poised in a very unique place in the law journal market because we have both professional editors and student editors working on our editorial board, which enables us to have a little bit of the best of both worlds. We look at issues relevant to academics and to practitioners, and also even sometimes to law students who are expressing interest in the trusts and estates field for the first time, trying to find out what area of law is most relevant to them, while still maintaining a really high level of publication and interest for practicing attorneys and even ACTEC Fellows who are among the most cutting-edge in the field.

Natalie: Thank you. Tell us how you became involved with the journal.

Ashleigh: Well, my journey with the journal started about 11 years ago, when the ACTEC Law Journal affiliated first with Hofstra’s law school, now known as the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. I became involved in recruiting the first year of student editorial board members, which came from the 2L and 3L classes at the school at the time, and we went from having a staff of six very, very ambitious law students to having a staff of almost 40 now, 11 years later.

In the course of the recruiting process, continuing from the 2L and 3L classes on an ongoing basis, and as word spread about how great of an opportunity it was to be affiliated with the ACTEC Law Journal, as did interest in recruitment on campus, and from that point forward, we’ve been very excited to recruit high-quality students year after year.

Natalie: That’s great. That must really help with the writing for the journal. How does the journal work with the student editorial board at the law school?

Ashleigh: Well, once articles are accepted for publication through the ACTEC editorial channels and have an additional review with the ACTEC editors, they get turned over to me as the supervisor of the Student Editorial Board to make sure that each of the articles has their sources gathered. There’s a master source file they put together so that if anything mentioned in the articles needs to be pulled up in the future by any authors or people hoping to cite to our articles, we have copies of all of the supporting documentation that would appear in the articles. We also do a full blue book review to make sure that all of the citation formats are appropriate so that everyone is able to easily access the information that the articles present, both in their texts and in their footnotes, for their ability to use them either in their own legal writing and citations or just for their own educational purposes.

Natalie: Okay. Can you tell us how articles are submitted? And as a second follow-up to that question, do you have to be an ACTEC Fellow to submit an article?

Ashleigh: ACTEC Fellows and non-Fellows are welcome to submit articles through our application channels. We do accept submission through Scholastica, which is an online portal that does permit the uploading of articles for consideration to either one or multiple journals. We also accept direct submissions through the portal at journal@actec.org, the email address for our journal. And, once a year, we also do a submission Call for Papers, when we pick a topic that is relevant to the trusts and estates field, and the first issue of each volume is dedicated to that particular topic.

From there, we would solicit responses to the kind of question prompts that are given at the (ACTEC) Annual Meeting. And then, from the academics and professionals who are choosing to write on that topic have several months to put together their short pieces of about 2,500 or so words, responding directly to a very narrow niche topic that would then come together in our first issue, which would be the fall issue for the volume, that focuses exclusively on a specific topic.

Natalie: Okay. And tell us about some of the most interesting articles that have been published.

Ashleigh: Oh, I might be biased on this one. One of the things I really enjoy reading on an annual basis is the contributions from the Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition winner because I feel like those student pieces, which are the only student pieces we publish annually, tend to see where the profession is headed. It’s not only people who are actively practicing law weighing in on topics that are relevant to them, but also the things that students that are currently at the very beginnings of their careers are starting to delve into, sort of the crest of the wave, if you will, of where the legal profession may be heading.

Some of those focus on issues as complex as cryptocurrency, and those are very up-and-coming issues, even now for practitioners. I keep seeing solicitations for continuing education materials and things like that, that people are trying to figure out, that as the face of wealth changes, the face of wealth planning has to change.

So, there are tons of tax-related and intestacy-related and just will probate-related issues with cryptocurrency, so my own personal interest may be somewhat in that area, but I’ve also really enjoyed seeing things that track changes in proposed uniform laws and changes to different family-based things that are in intestacy based, as the face of the family changes, intestacy has to change, too.

So, in those cases, those are things that I think find a lot of broad applicability because those are issues that practitioners face all the time, and to see those things coming together and having a little bit more exposure to new attorneys or also practicing attorneys has been fascinating for me, personally.

Natalie: Okay. Well, you’re certainly right about those points that you made. Can you tell us, can the audience subscribe to the journal?

Ashleigh: Absolutely. We are happy to offer issues of the journal in the ACTEC store, if you are interested in purchasing just one issue. If you’re looking to subscribe for an entire year, which would be three issues in a volume, that would also be available. You can do so by emailing the Journal at journal@actec.org.

Natalie: Thank you so much, Ashleigh. This has been really informative. I appreciated learning more about the ACTEC Law Journal.

Ashleigh: I’m glad we can be in touch today. Thanks so much.

This podcast was produced by The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, ACTEC. Listeners, including professionals, should under no circumstances rely upon this information as a substitute for their own research or for obtaining specific legal or tax advice from their own counsel. The material in this podcast is for information purposes only and is not intended to and should not be treated as legal advice or tax advice. The views expressed are those of speakers as of the date noted and not necessarily those of ACTEC or any speaker’s employer or firm. The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in this Podcast are for general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this Podcast is done at your own risk. The entire contents and design of this Podcast, are the property of ACTEC, or used by ACTEC with permission, and are protected under U.S. and international copyright and trademark laws. Except as otherwise provided herein, users of this Podcast may save and use information contained in the Podcast only for personal or other non-commercial, educational purposes. No other use, including, without limitation, reproduction, retransmission or editing, of this Podcast may be made without the prior written permission of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

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