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For former Juneau residents Ben Muse and Tim Nault, being elected as editors of the Gonzaga Law Review is both an accomplishment and an unexpected turn of events.
Both men are currently second-year law students in the Gonzaga University School of Law's three-year program. In March, the two will begin serving their one-year tenure - Muse as editor in chief and Nault as vesting editor.
"It is really exciting to be able to receive the reins to an organization like the Gonzaga Law Review and be able to meaningfully shape the way in which the organization is run and serve the greater legal community through the publication," Muse said. "Although all my free time has evaporated, it was an incredible honor to be chosen by my peers on law review, and I am really enjoying the challenge so far."
As Juneau-raised childhood friends, Muse and Nault have know each other since they were in Boy Scouts.
"It's kind of funny that Tim and I ended up at law school together and ended up being elected to two of the top positions on law review," Muse said. "Neither of us had any idea that the other was planning on attending law school at Gonzaga. ... It's kind of weird the way things work out."
Muse, a 1999 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, returned to Juneau for several years after undergraduate school at the University of Portland. He worked in the public schools as a paraeducator and with Allen Marine as a deckhand and later as captain of a vessel.
Nault, a 2000 JDHS graduate, also returned to Juneau after his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he majored in psychology. Back at home, he started working as a law office assistant for the state attorney general's office in 2006.
Both men said a simple fascination with the field eventually inspired them to apply at Gonzaga.
"I knew that I was interested in law, but I wasn't really sure I wanted to go to law school," Nault said. "When I worked for the state attorney general's office, I really enjoyed it, so then (I knew it) was the field for me."
The Gonzaga Law Review is a scholarly journal that analyzes various legal issues by way of articles submitted by judges, lawyers, professors and students from across the country. The publication is available in approximately 300 law libraries and on the Web.
"The legal profession is kind of unique in that it entrusts law students - and not professors - with the responsibility of running its academic publications," Muse said. "Many lawyers use the law review articles we publish to help them construct their legal arguments and to guide them in their legal research. ... Tim and I have the difficult task of choosing which articles are novel, interesting and useful to our readership."
One of their goals is to publish more articles from Alaska, they said.
"I want the Gonzaga Law Review to publish articles that will be useful to practitioners in the Pacific Northwest," Muse said. "My big goal for the year is to publish at least one article concerning Alaska law. We don't get too many submissions from Alaskan practitioners, and I know there are some really interesting issues that could be flushed out in a law review article."
The main reason Gonzaga Law Review doesn't receive many Alaska submissions is because Duke University School of Law has an Alaska-specific law review, according to Nault.
"Ben and I think that if we actively solicit articles from people in Alaska, we can get people interested in having their article published in the Gonzaga Law Review," he said.
As for the future, both Muse and Nault hope to return to Alaska after they finish law school. Nault might try to get a judicial clerkship or a job with the state.
"I haven't really put a whole lot of thought into that yet," Nault said. "But my plan is to practice back in Alaska."
Although he misses Juneau, Muse is looking forward to the difficult tasks ahead.
"We receive 50 to 125 submissions a month, so I imagine reading through the articles and deciding what to publish is going to be incredibly challenging," he said.
In addition to the law review, Nault works for the U.S. Attorney's Office and is interning with Judge Kevin Korsmo at the Washington Court of Appeals.
Contact Neighbors editor Kim Andree at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.