Students Start Literary Journal inter alia

May 3, 2006
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inter alia cover

Photos with titles like "Wavy Red Hair," "Fish Face" and "Trafalgar Square, 2000"; a painting of "Sunday Morning"; poetry; short stories-these works are not a law school journal's typical fare, but are exactly what you'll find in the first issue of inter alia, Virginia Law's new art and literary magazine.

Second-year law students Rich Santoro and Jacob Rooksby, who founded the magazine, said they chose the name, which means "among other things," to reflect its purpose.

"Its meaning — is sort of fitting to what we saw the publication being about, which is providing an outlet to students among the other things that they do that are more law-related," Rooksby explained.

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"Sunday Morning" by Erin Wilcox

According to Santoro, who serves as editor-in-chief, he and Rooksby noticed that the structured mindset of law school "doesn't lend itself naturally to those creative outlets we had going on in the past." Rooksby, who serves as executive editor, had successfully established a niche publication as an undergraduate at William & Mary, so the pair decided to bring a similar product to their graduate school.

After deciding to attempt the project, Santoro and Rooksby gained the helpful support of Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Martha Ballenger and Dean John Jeffries, Santoro said. They then applied for funding through Student Council's CIO appropriations process, ultimately receiving enough money to cover printing 800 copies. With funding under their belts, they then solicited the support of students for the nine-person editorial board.

"I don't think we would have been able to get it off the ground without our editorial board," Santoro said, stressing the individual qualifications and contributions of each member. "They were very enthusiastic about getting on board and launching something new."

Although law students are welcome to submit to several University-wide publications, Rooksby and Santoro said they believe the creation of a magazine within the law school has several benefits.

"We felt people would feel generally more comfortable if they were contributing to a publication their peers would see," Santoro said.

The founders, both of whom are transfer students, said they felt the support the magazine has received reflects well on the Law School community.

"I think at some law schools it's just about law, but this shows U.Va. supports different endeavors and has more diversity of students who have interests like this," Rooksby said. The inaugural issue, which is 66 pages, includes submissions from 24 students and alumni.

"I think one thing U.Va. does well as a school is to make sure there's a great environment, and this is one more way to help that along," Santoro added. "I think it's nice to have something… to keep that sense of law school community and to be a showcase for the law students' talent."

Although they would like to see certain improvements in the next issue-such as greater use of color and higher-quality binding-Santoro and Rooksby said they were pleasantly surprised by the excitement and praise surrounding the publication's release.

"When we came up with this idea, we didn't know it would take off or succeed, so that it's done both has been really surprising," Rooksby said. "I think it's a testament to the creativity and interest among the law students and also the support of the faculty and administrators of endeavors like this that it has been able to succeed."

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