For the time being, the ability to make and edit contributions is
loosely limited to a pool of invited author/editors, which you may join (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)].
Starting out as a Wex author involves making choices about what
to write and learning a few simple mechanics of editing. As a first
step, you should make sure that your intended topic hasn't been covered
already; this is easily done by searching. You should also learn a little bit of the general mechanics of editing, with particular attention to linking to legal resources.
Choosing what to write
Wex is intended, at least initially, as a resource for law novices,
a term that is meant to be highly inclusive. Lawyers and legal
academics tend to think of law students when they hear the phrase, but
in fact there are many kinds of law novices -- including, especially,
members of the general public with a professional need to know
something about a particular area of law, people who want to know more
about the systems of law and government under which they (or others)
live, and so on. A decade of experience at the LII
has taught us that topics of interest to the public range from the very
rudimentary to the extremely sophisticated. Imagine that you're writing
for an intelligent, interested non-lawyer with a need to know something
about the law.
Wex includes a few basic types of articles:
- The simplest, and perhaps the least time-consuming, are simple dictionary definitions, such as the one for abuse of discretion. These offer the term along with its meaning(s), and perhaps some illustrations of the term taken from caselaw or statute.
- Legal-encyclopedia pages, such as the one for employment discrimination,
give an overview of a subject accompanied by a menu of links to
important legal-information resources that are related to the topic.
- Backgrounders are similar to legal-encyclopedia pages, but
they put more emphasis on discussion and exploration than on assembling
links to primary sources. See, for example, the page on forfeiture.
"key" pages are intended to link terms from everyday life to legal
concepts and problems that may relate to them. A good key page should
make it easier for laypeople to find resources related to a problem
that they may have. Such a page has a name that might be used to
complete the sentence, "I have a problem with...", and contains
information leading the reader to legal topics that bear on the
These are, we admit, blurry distinctions. And there are many other
types of pages one can imagine finding in a legal encyclopedia -- for
example, discussions of particular cases. We are particularly interested in topics and definitions that are helpful to law novices -- students in the first part of the first year of law school, businesspeople with particular law interests, etc.
As for choosing a specific topic, you might begin by searching
for something you think should be in Wex. If it's not -- well, there's
your writing assignment. Other good places to look are in the lists of wanted and short pages.
The mechanics of starting a new page are covered in "starting a new article". Help with the mechanical aspects of editing can be found in Help:Editing. Consulting the section on linking to legal resources will make the job easier.
We strongly suggest a look at the style guide before you begin.