California Lawyers Association

CLA Author Guidelines

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Adopted by Board Policy Committee – 7-18-18

Information and Guidelines for Authors

Nearly every Section of the California Lawyers Association (CLA) has an active publication program as a benefit for its members as well as the California legal community at large. Section publications include periodicals (law journals and magazines), books, reports, materials for MCLE programs, and digital publications such as e-newsletters. As the CLA seeks to expand its legal educational resources for California attorneys, the CLA is most grateful to the attorneys who have offered their professional expertise and legal drafting skills to the Sections for purposes of advancing the Sections’ publication programs. With very few exceptions, the CLA does not seek to obtain the copyright in an attorney’s work product. The CLA recognizes the benefits to attorney-authors, and the law firms with which they are affiliated, when attorneys are allowed to retain rights in their work, including the ability to use and re-use their work for professional marketing and educational purposes. The CLA also recognizes that attorneys may be more willing to participate in Section publication programs if they are allowed to retain those rights. Thus, the permissions that the CLA needs in order to publish an attorney’s work are structured as copyright licenses, rather than copyright assignments. Several forms of copyright license have been pre-approved by the CLA for use by the Sections, depending on the type of publication. A prospective attorney-author will be asked to sign the appropriate pre-approved form. The pre-approved form that an author will be asked to sign can be obtained by contacting the chair of the Section responsible for the publication to which the author intends to submit his or her work, but the actual author’s agreement may vary based on the unique circumstances of each publication. All copyright licenses needed for a specific Section publication will be requested and collected by the attorney or attorneys responsible for that publication or by CLA staff for MCLE programs, and then submitted to the CLA’s Executive Director, who shall retain them as CLA records.

Works published by the CLA may include a copyright notice that names the CLA as the copyright holder and may be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in the name of the CLA, but in such cases, the rights claimed by the CLA are to the overall compilation and not to the individual contributions of the authors. The CLA does not assert any rights to a work inconsistent or in conflict with the author’s rights under the copyright license. Depending on the specific policy of the publication to which an author is submitting his or her work, an author may submit works for publication by a CLA Section that have been published before by another publisher (either in print or online), provided the author warrants that re- publication will not infringe any rights the author may have granted to the prior publisher.

For print publications (such as books and reports) that the CLA offers for sale on its website, authors’ rights may be subject to certain limited restrictions intended to enable the CLA to recover its costs for printing and distribution. Sections may impose additional restrictions applicable to specific Section publications, for example, a restriction on re-publication of an author’s work for a certain period of time.

All author submissions will be subject to review and editing by the attorney-editors responsible for the Section publication in which the author’s work is scheduled to be published. For most of our print publications, each author will have the opportunity to review and approve the edited work before publication.

Single-author works

Subject to any restrictions (e.g., an initial period of exclusivity) set forth in the copyright license signed by the author, an author who is the sole author of an article, book chapter, or other work published by the CLA remains free to reuse or republish all or any part of it in any format (in print or online) for any purpose. The CLA requests only that the author credit the CLA publication in which it was published if that was the initial publication. Thus, except as may be set forth in the copyright license signed by the author, it is not necessary for an author to request advance permission from the CLA to use copies of his or her article for distribution at a seminar or webinar or for posting on his or her law firm’s website.

Works having more than one author

Many Section publications are “team efforts,” i.e., the joint or collective work product of two or more authors. In general, any author who contributes to a jointly-authored work must have permission from all other contributing authors in order to reuse or republish any part of it in any format, for any reason. However, a Section may require all contributing authors to grant advance permission for any individual contributing author to use copies of the work for legal educational purposes as materials for seminars and webinars.

With some regularity, Section books and reports having multiple authors are subject to new editions. if an original author is not available to work on a new edition for any reason, the Section may assign a new author to update the original author’s work. The original author’s work will typically be used as a starting point, but may be modified as needed for the new edition, as determined by the new author or the Section. Thus, all authors of joint or collective works are required to grant the CLA derivative rights to their work, to enable CLA Sections to publish updated books and reports as necessary to respond to changes in the law and legal practice.


Any questions concerning these author guidelines should be directed to the chair of the Section to which an author proposes to submit material for publication.

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