The Environmental Law Digest

The Environmental Law Digest

The Environmental Law Digest

Washington & Lee University School of Law

Lexington, VA 24450





Until recently, the Environmental Law Digest produced a quarterly newsletter, the Environmental Law News, for the Environmental Law Section of the Virginia State Bar and edited a bi-annual compendium of environmental law case summaries. Presently, the Environmental Law Digest is in the process of changing to a journal format. Pending faculty approval, the Environmental Law Digest will become the Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment. The 2008-2009 staff will contribute to ELD's new format, editing article submissions and producing new material, including student notes and short articles on environmental issues.


The 2008 Environmental Law Digest Write-On Competition involves two components: a case summary and an editing skill test.

1.Case Summary

Please summarize Village of DePue v. Exxon Mobil Corp. Use only the version of the case provided at The case summary must not exceed four pages. It should be written as if submitted for publication. Make sure that your text and citations/footnotes conform to the Washington and Lee Law Review Writing Guidelines and The Bluebook. If these sources conflict, the Washington and Lee Law Review Writing Guidelines trump The Bluebook.

You may review past issues of the Environmental Law News to gain an understanding of the Environmental Law Digest's approach to case summaries. Several past issues are available at under the "Environmental Law News" tab. Please note that the citation style in these articles is not reflective of the traditional bluebooking Write-On Competition participants are expected to demonstrate in their case summaries.

Case summaries will be reviewed for:

  1. Judgment in spotting and presenting the issues discussed by the court;
  2. Accuracy in stating the law;
  3. Conciseness and clarity;
  4. Writing style;
  5. Bluebooking, spelling, grammar, and punctuation; and
  6. Following instructions.

2.Editing Skill Test

Please review the sample for errors. Access the document online (, download it, and enter changes you deem necessary. Print and submit the copy incorporating your changes.

Note that this portion of the Write-On Competition is designed to test your editing skills with particular regard to your ability to bluebook. You should refer to the Washington and Lee Law Review Guidelines and The Bluebook for guidance. If these sources conflict, the Washington and Lee Law Review Writing Guidelines trump The Bluebook.


You may not work with other students. In preparing your case summary, you may not consult case brief services (such as those provided by LexisNexis and Westlaw) in preparing your case summary. In short, your submission must be entirely your own work. You may consult The Bluebook, The Washington and Lee Law Review Writing Guidelines, published sources on legal writing and style, and past issues of the Environmental Law News.

Submit one copy of the legal citation skill test and three copies of the case summary in a large envelope (9" x 12" or similar). Deposit submissions in the ELD mailbox (next to the ELD office door, across from the student mailboxes). Submissions are due Saturday, September 20 at 5:00 p.m.

Please make sure your submission is anonymous—do not include your name on any of your Write-On materials. Use your student ID number instead of your name on the case summary, skill test, and submission envelope.

If you have any questions regarding the competition, please contact Chuck Gates by e-mail () and he will forward your questions to a member of the ELD Write-On Committee anonymously.

Failure to adhere to these guidelines may disqualify you from the Write-On Competition.