The publication, which includes notes, comments, and articles of scholarly and practical value to the legal community, is published by a student editorial board three times per year.
Founded in February 1894 by West Virginia University College of Law Professor William P. Willey, under the name The West Virginia Bar, the West Virginia Law Review is the fourth oldest law review in the country. Only the law reviews of the Harvard Law School (1887), University of Pennsylvania (1852), and Yale University (1891) have an older lineage.
Professor Willey served as editor-in-charge from 1894 until his retirement in 1917, working closely with the editorial board of the West Virginia Bar Association. According to the “Forward” in Volume 25, at the time of Professor Willey’s retirement in June 1917, serious consideration was given to continuing publications of the West Virginia Law Quarterly and THE BAR.
The resignation of Professor Willey as editor of THE BAR in June 1917 made it necessary for The West Virginia Bar Association to decide at its July 1917 meeting whether to discontinue the further publication of THE BAR or to secure other editors. After careful consideration, and in accordance with the report of a special committee which had been appointed at the previous meeting to consider and report upon the question, it was decided to transfer the editorial work of THE BAR to the faculty of the College of Law and to change the official organ of the Association to a quarterly law magazine.
Professor Willey was succeeded by an editorial board consisting of the entire faculty of law ex officio, with associate Bar Association editors, followed, in turn, by individual editors-in-charge of the highest professional reputation.
During Professor Willey’s tenure, student participation was introduced in Volume 22. Then, beginning with Volume 27 in 1920-21, a chairman of the Student Board of Editors was designated. From 1931-32 through 1934-35, Volumes 38-41, a president of the Student Board of Editors was named, followed by a president of the Association of Student Editors, which began in 1935-36 and continued through 1950-51, Volumes 42-53. In the 1951-52 school year, the first student editor-in-chief of the West Virginia Law Review was named.
With the publication of Volume 52 in 1949-50, the name West Virginia Law Quarterly and THE BAR was changed to the West Virginia Law Review, which continues today.