« on: July 10, 2008, 05:24:59 PM »
I've heard numerous times that moot court may be a much more valuable activity depending of what route you want to take in your career (for civil litigation, it may be essential). I've actually heard this as well from a few students who are on our LR. Besides, consider two factors -- 1. I've been told by several of my school's alumni that past a certain point down the school rankings, LR is of marginal value in hiring and 2. LR is a giant pain in the butt, in which you cite and edit professors' poorly written screeds and become consumed with writing your comment. Granted, if I'd made the grade, I would have done LR myself, but this offering is just something to chew on.
For what it's worth, I think it stinks that you did that well grade-wise and didn't make the cut. At my school, the top 15% automatically make LR and get to choose which of the three journals they want to do (though most everybody picks the main one). This system is fair, since the top academic performers probably should be reward for their efforts.
But the write-on competition here is ridiculous. It extends only to the top 40%, which since no one knows their ranking during the competition means that nearly everyone submits the damn thing. This year, our class size was 185 -- that means the top 28 are in the clear and Nos. 29 through 74 are the only ones whose submissions matter, and out of those 46 perhaps only 20 to 25 will make it, depending on the need (a lot of PT, 4-year students were on the journal staffs this year). To me, they ought to open it up, because my gut feeling is that, at least this year, the most talented researchers and appellate briefers in the class finished mid-class or lower. Notice I didn't say writers, since there's no such thing as good *writing* in law school -- I was a journalist who either wrote or worked with text everyday for 10 years, and it's really amazing how stilted, according to fourth-grade Hoyle and patchwork it all is (i.e., you can just quote from other cases for miles and miles and use only a few of your own words and be declared a genius). Maybe it's just that the LRW program at this school itself stinks, but that's my impression. Disclosure: I didn't submit a competition paper because I instinctively knew I had bombed one of my exams (I was right -- knocked me from 37% all the way down to the median).
Perhaps there's no perfect method for selecting students for law review. The top 10% or 15%, though, should get a bite of apple, because getting up there is hard, hard, hard -- and admirable. If I was you, I'd turn tragedy into a circulated petition to change the criteria.