The University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal began in 1986 when four USF law students decided to spend a day sailing on San Francisco Bay. Inspired by their own maritime interests, the students outlined a plan for a law journal devoted exclusively to issues concerning maritime law. In 1989, this enterprising group and a few of their dedicated classmates published the first volume of the Maritime Law Journal.
Now the Maritime Law Journal is a biannual law journal accompanied by an annual survey of Ninth Circuit cases, pertaining to maritime law. One consistent objective of the Journal has been to produce a useful, informative journal, to which practitioners can turn for guidance on the latest developments in maritime law. To that end, the Journal's student Board of Editors selects topics that incorporate practitioners' concerns about recent maritime statutory and case law. In addition, the Journal's international Board of Advisors assists in topic selection by forwarding suggestions on recent developments in maritime practice. The Journal accepts submissions of articles from practitioners, professors and students across the country.
The Journal is one of two student-run maritime law journals in the country. Student staff members research, edit, and cite check the submitted articles. A student Board of Editors, with both senior and associate positions, consists of an Editor-in-Chief, an Executive Articles Editor, Managing Editors, Literary Editors, Survey Editors, and Business Editors. The Board of Editors is chosen annually by the preceding Board. Every member of the Board is required to take at least a general course in maritime law, offered each fall. USF School of Law also offers an advanced maritime course entitled Carriage of Goods and Passengers by Sea every other Spring.
The Journal receives substantial support and assistance from its Board of Advisors. The Board of Advisors is comprised of past student Board members, practitioners in the maritime legal community around the country, and USF School of Law faculty members. The Board of Advisors advises the student Board of Editors on issues relating to practice in the maritime field, the organization and dissemination of an academic legal publication, and the maintenance and development of relations with the maritime community.
The Maritime Law Journal also oversees several other aspects of the maritime law program at USF. The Journal organizes a maritime externship program each semester. As part of the program, the Journal places students who have worked on the Journal, into an internship position with a local maritime law firm. The students earn academic credits while learning not just about maritime practice, but about the realities of a law practice in general. The Journal also assists two teams each spring to compete in the Judge John R. Brown National Admiralty Moot Court Competition. In 1999 and 2007, the Journal hosted the competition at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.