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Author Topic: Is law review really worth it?  (Read 11448 times)

giraffe205

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2006, 02:51:39 AM »
To add to what jippyjappa has said, short-term and long-term benefits also include the expanded network. If you are looking at top jobs/firms during OCI, chances are there is someone on your law review who worked for them.

TMKing

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #51 on: January 24, 2011, 09:39:20 PM »
Check out this Article written directly on the question: http://ezinearticles.com/?Is-Law-Review-Worth-It?&id=5738309

It might help some. 

Thane Messinger

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #52 on: January 25, 2011, 01:29:22 AM »
I think you're missing the point about writing a note.

But first, if someone didn't want to be on law review because that person didn't want to do the work, who would hire that person?

As for the note - the note is not the reason that law review or law journals are so unrewarding.  It's the the citation and review of other articles, written by professors who you will never meet, that's tedious and uninspiring.  But the note is your own.  It's the best thing you can get out of a law review/journal, and one of the rewarding things you can do in law school.

Law review as the couth way to say you were at the top of your class?  That's probably true.  You can aim for a cum laude - you can put that on your bio forever, although I suppose it would not be couth to drop in conversation.


Quite right.  This is an old question, but a perennial one. 

Here's an undiplomatic perspective from the other side: 

If we're in an interview room and I see "law review" on your resume, I'm not impressed.  Or, more correctly, I'm not impressed just 'cause you're on law review . . . so was I, and just about every other partner (and associate).  Big deal. 

What will impress us about "law review" is what it represents:  Law review represents both achievement and validation.  It's achievement because it means that you understood what professors needed to see, and you were disciplined enough not to get trapped and side-tracked as most first-year law students do.  That's impressive.  It's validation because law review is law work.  It's tedious, nit-picky, and interesting--for just the right people.

So, if law review is just "too much work," consider very seriously what it is you want.

Thane.

bigs5068

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #53 on: January 25, 2011, 01:45:57 AM »
@ Thane.

Do you think it would be better to get work experience instead of choosing law review? If two people interviewed and one person had done a lot of substantive legal work during school and had solid grades. While the other was on law review, but obtained little work experience during school, which would be more impressive? I don't know the answer, but I was just wondering what your thoughts were?

Thane Messinger

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #54 on: January 25, 2011, 03:13:34 AM »
Do you think it would be better to get work experience instead of choosing law review? If two people interviewed and one person had done a lot of substantive legal work during school and had solid grades. While the other was on law review, but obtained little work experience during school, which would be more impressive? I don't know the answer, but I was just wondering what your thoughts were?


Bigs -

A fair question.  The answer, like it or not, is . . . law review.  Why?  Because legal employers know that law graduates must be trained. 

Wouldn't that favor experience over a credential such as law review?  It should, but in general no.  Top firms will generally only respect other top firms' training.  Top firms' standards are, of course, top 10/law review, for the reasons mentioned above.  As might be apparent, having law review is extremely helpful in lining up the summer clerkship that is in turn extremely helpful--if not a prerequisite--to lining up that biglaw job.

Mid- and smaller firms will be more receptive, but they too are focused on their own needs, and assume that the "real" training will begin with them.  They too are generally looking for top student/law review credentials.  For litigators, moot court or the like is a quasi-substitute for law review, but don't kill yourself with the zillion contests in law school  Focus on grades, law review, and staying a good person. (Seriously.)

This is why discussions about law review are generally such as to miss the point.  One ought darned well to push for law review, even if big law is not your destination.  (Psst . . . biglaw is the right destination for a tiny percentage of graduates willing to essentially put their lives on hold for those of their clients.  It's exciting, and of course it pays well, but it is consuming.)

That written, if one is not on law review, that is not the end of the world.   But . . . and here's the reverse of the question . . . everyone should seek employment.  (I assume your question was asking about legal or quasi-legal employment.)  At any level it is invaluable, and it will provide both practical help and emotional balance--not to mention a financial boost.  For those struggling, which is many, a job (part-time or even volunteer) will provide exposure and contacts, and possibly enough to move up.  Give it your all, and impress not with brilliance but with integrity, thoroughness, and dedication.  (Partners are brilliant too.)

Does this help?

Thane.

PS:  For the record, I have long argued that law review should be mandatory for all law students.


bigs5068

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #55 on: January 25, 2011, 03:30:01 PM »
That makes sense. Honestly, I do not fully understand how law review works. I know I missed being automatically put on by 1%  :'(, but that is how it goes. I know it is good, but in reality I don't actually know what it does. Do you essentially choose a topic on anything you want and write on it? That is what I understand it to be and that would probably be good training. I just was not actually sure what it entailed. Probably a stupid question, but I truthfully don't know. 




Thane Messinger

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #56 on: January 25, 2011, 05:23:56 PM »
That makes sense. Honestly, I do not fully understand how law review works. I know I missed being automatically put on by 1%  :'(, but that is how it goes. I know it is good, but in reality I don't actually know what it does. Do you essentially choose a topic on anything you want and write on it? That is what I understand it to be and that would probably be good training. I just was not actually sure what it entailed. Probably a stupid question, but I truthfully don't know.


Bigs -

Sorry to read that. 

Law is unique in that it is the only field in which professional papers are edited by students.  This approach provides a ready source of eager minions, as well as cheap labor.

There are three (not just two) ways to get on.  [Some schools do combine elements of the first two.]  First is the "grade on," second is the "write on," and third is an open secret: write a publishable paper that is accepted.  (Some editors don't even know about this third option.  Check at your school.)

What is actually done?  The student note is supposedly the culmination, but in fact, for most, is a sidebar.

New law reviewers are given sections (usually) of draft articles.  Their task is to cite check.  That is, they spend hours confirming that every citation in the draft is correct.  Sometimes or, depending upon the author, there are a lot of "F/As," or "Find Authority."  In essence, you're to do the professor's job of finding authority for what it is they're asserting.  This is both interesting and frustrating, as you might imagine.  It's also heady stuff.  One of the articles I was responsible for was by Posner; he was, as with most true greats, better about editing than the lesser faculty demigods.

This is, in short, a job as a copy editor . . . but an OCD copy-editor.  You're not just checking cites, you're checking EVERY CHARACTER of every word of every sentence of every cite.  Fun?  (Hint:  This is what you'll do on the job too, unless your uncle is name partner.)

In second year, you either continue as a cite-checker, at a modest time investment, or you are elected/appointed/beauty-contested to an editorial position.  If so, you'll essentially be reviewing articles for inclusion, then for all those F/As.  Depending upon the school, editors can get some credit for this work, reducing their class load.

In sum, it's a few hundred hours additional work, putting most back up to something like a first year.  (Not quite, but closer than other 2-3Ls.)  Most do not then have part-time employment, or if they do it's modest--but in the summers they make up for it, big time.

About that sidebar, for most it's a big research paper.  Most will take a course and, essentially, get double credit for a bigger and cite-filled (but not always insightful) paper.  For those in the Top 5 interested in teaching, this IS a major start.  Choose your topic carefully.

Does this help?

Thane.

bigs5068

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #57 on: January 25, 2011, 05:53:04 PM »
Yes that does and is far more descriptive than Wikipeida or my school's law review website, which gave me the in-depth analysis below ::). Thanks for the post! I was honestly curious to know the details of what it consisted of and your post provided that.


Begun in 1969 as a non-traditional legal publication presenting the results of legally-focused public interest projects, today the Golden Gate University Law Review is a general interest legal journal. The Golden Gate University Law Review publishes scholarly writing on a broad range of legal topics, including constitutional law, criminal procedure, immigration law, contract law, and administrative law. Each edition of the Golden Gate University Law Review contains five to ten Casenotes, Comments, Articles, and Case Summaries covering cutting-edge legal topics written by judges, students, professors, and legal practitioners from across California and around the world.

john4040

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #58 on: January 25, 2011, 06:38:54 PM »
Law review is worth it for the "prestige" factor.  However, as for experience and "real world" value, it's (more often than not) just an exercise in intellectual masturbation which confers no extra benefit on either the author or the legal community. 

Law reviews used to be written by top legal scholars who addressed important legal issues.  Now, anyone with enough money/time can push an article out, call it a "scholarly" piece, and submit / have it published in one of the (literally - see http://lawlib.wlu.edu/lj/) hundreds of legal journals currently in publication.  Even the quality of "Law reviews" (not secondary journals) has slipped across the board.

In summation...
Would I do law review?  YES, for the prestige and resulting hiring bump.
Does it provide specialized training that you couldn't get from reading a bluebook, drafting briefs, and cite checking another's work?  No.
Do the articles add value to the legal world?  Most articles do not.  There are exceptions, however.  One example instantly comes to mind: Prosser's "Privacy" (48 California Law Review 383).  Very few modern journals are actually worth the paper they're printed on.