Guidelines for Writing Articles
Once the editor encourages a submission, think about how best to structure the article to engage readers. Readers typically scan content, whether print or electronic, and they may quickly stop reading an article if it is not well presented. Consider these tips:
- Rank material. Use the inverted pyramid organizational style: present the most important information first and continue in descending order. Tell readers in the first paragraph why they should read the article and how the topic impacts them. Conclude with a summary paragraph.
- Use short paragraphs. Avoid long sentences.
- Provide descriptive subheads to make it easy to scan and break up gray text.
- Use bulleted lists when appropriate.
Style and format. Discuss with the editor how to electronically submit your article. Write in a clear, straightforward, expository style. Write in a narrative, not outline, form. Use active voice. Be concise. Be objective. Avoid lengthy editorializing, unless you are specifically asked to write an opinion piece. Articles will be edited to conform to the publication's style.
Headlines. Suggest a concise, descriptive title for the article. Headlines may be reworded for length, clarity, or impact.
Hyperlink resources. Provide links to timely, key resources (e.g., statuses, cases, rules, regulations, and reports). If you don't know how to create hyperlinks, just include the appropriate website URLs in the article.
Endnotes. Use endnotes sparingly, if at all (for electronic publications, consider using hyperlinks in place of endnotes). If you must use endnotes, use citations only and cite to the primary source (not to pinpoints). Place endnotes (not footnotes) at the end of the article. Use Arabic numerals as cite signals. Follow the standard rules of citation as outlined in A Uniform System of Citation. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of citations.
Biography and photo. Include a brief biography at the end of the article – a couple sentences explaining your affiliation, experience with the topic, and/or practice expertise is sufficient. Chairs and board members do not need to provide a biography. Provide an electronic photo in a JPG or TIF format, 300 dpi resolution, 3 x 5 or larger.
Graphics. Consider providing graphs or charts to help readers quickly absorb numbers or statistics or to understand comparisons. Please provide graphs and charts as separate attachments, and indicate in the article where to place this material.
Copyright and Submission Policy
The State Bar of Wisconsin gratefully acknowledges volunteer contributions of time and expertise. In an attempt to balance the State Bar's educational mission with the need to protect the rights of its authors, the following policy covers articles and related material submitted for publication in section and division publications.
Authors retain ownership of the copyright to the materials submitted for publication, but in submitting those materials, authors give the State Bar a perpetual, limited license to use them in the following manner:
- To reproduce the materials and distribute the reproductions in any media in publications and at seminars and other State Bar-sponsored educational programs sponsored, as well as to libraries, schools, nonprofit educational organizations, and other similar nonprofit entities in furtherance of the State Bar's educational mission.
- To use author's name, biographical information, and likeness in connection with the State Bar's use of the materials in any media, including for the purpose of publicity and promotion related to the State Bar's educational mission.
- To include the materials in compilations published in any media by the State Bar.
- To allow others to reproduce the materials in any media and distribute the reproductions in publications and at seminars and other educational programs sponsored by nonprofit organizations.
- In all reproductions of the materials, users will be required to include the following attribution language: "Reprinted with the permission of the State Bar of Wisconsin and [author's name]."
- Although the State Bar may charge for the reproduction of materials, it will not knowingly allow others to make commercial use of materials without the author's permission.
The State Bar expects authors to respect the proprietary rights of others, just as authors expect their rights to be respected. Accordingly, in submitting materials to the State Bar, authors agree that they are the original and sole author of the materials, except for those portions that are in the public domain, are the works of others for which permission to use has been obtained, or are subject to fair use.
Authors also agree to inform the State Bar if the submitted material has been published elsewhere, or if it will be published elsewhere before the State Bar publishes it. Unless such prior publication is disclosed to the State Bar, authors will agree not to publish the material anywhere else until the State Bar has published it.