Writers Guidelines

Author's Guidelines for The Public Lawyer

The mission of The Public Lawyer is to provide timely, practical information useful to all public lawyers regardless of practice setting. We publish articles covering topics that are of universal interest to a diverse audience of public lawyers, such as public law office management, dealing with the media, politically motivated personnel decisions, etc.

Length and Sidebars
Feature articles run between 2,000 and 5,000 words. Articles stand a better chance of acceptance if they include one or more sidebars (very short related pieces accompanying the main article). Examples of sidebars include pieces explaining how government and public sector lawyers could use suggestions from the main article in their own practice, checklists, or other reference sources.

Submitting Articles 
Whenever possible, please submit via email to Katherine Mikkelson at Katherine.Mikkelson@americanbar.org.

All manuscripts must be original. You will be asked to sign a copyright release to the ABA if we accept a manuscript for publication. When submitting an article, authors represent that they have included no material that is in violation of the rights of any other person or entity. When an article is printed, you will receive complimentary copies of the magazine.

Articles should generally be national in scope (rather than state or office specific) and should contain quotes and information from a variety of public lawyer sources (i.e., quotes from assistant AGs in your jurisdiction only are not ideal, authors should strive to obtain other sources such as city attorneys, JAGs, legal aid lawyers, public defenders, or DAs, in other jurisdictions.) The Division can assist you in locating sources.

are preferred rather than footnotes. The tone is conversational (less formal than law review articles). Please use gender-neutral language and active voice.

Please supply a title, but note that the final title will be determined by the editors. Also provide a short bioline (two or three sentences at the end of the article) that informs readers of your position and background.

The Editorial Process 
After an article is submitted, it will be forwarded to The Public Lawyer’s editorial board for review. The editorial board decides which articles are appropriate for publication. Authors may be contacted by a staff editor regarding edits, additions or changes.

No individual member of the board has the authority to commit The Public Lawyer to publish an article, even if that board member has solicited the article. The decision to publish is a board decision. Due to last minute space considerations and our production schedule, the editors may have to make edits without conferring with authors.

Subjects for Features 
The following list is not comprehensive but is meant to serve as a guide. These topics were chosen because they pertain to all public lawyers, regardless of practice area.

  • Pro bono for public lawyers
  • Ethical issues relevant to public lawyers
  • Hiring outside counsel vs. staff
  • Public Relations in a public law office
  • Open meeting laws
  • FOIA
  • Revolving door issues
  • Career development for public lawyers
  • Transition to private practice from public practice
  • Sabbaticals from public service
  • Politically appointed bosses
  • Politically motivated dismissals
  • Function of offices/departments/agencies
  • Time management for public lawyers
  • Advantages of public law offices for skill building and experience
  • Use of technology in the public law office
  • Diversity in public law offices

Winter Issue - September 16
Summer Issue - April 4

Contact information: 
Katherine Mikkelson
Associate Director
321 N. Clark Street
Mail Stop 19.1
Chicago, Il 60610
800-238-2667 x5809 (toll free)
312-988-5709 (fax)