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Author Topic: Is law review really worth it?  (Read 12409 times)

jacy85

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Is law review really worth it?
« on: May 14, 2006, 12:29:10 PM »
I'm seriously thinking about giving up on the journal competition.  If I hate this entire process of writing a comment, will I likely hate writing my own comment if I make it onto a journal?  Is the benefit of law review worth it?

Did anyone who made law review enjoy it?  How did you feel about write-on?

I know that it gives your resume a huge boost, but is it really worth doing if you hate it so much you barely muster up the interest to work on a 12 page comment over a 2-week period??  Or is my burn-out from 1L just getting the better of me?

As it stands now, I'm in the top 20% of the class, and have aced both semesters of legal writing.  My jobs this summer a both writing and research intensive, so those will be some skills I can promote during interviews in the fall.  I just don't want to really screw myself out of something, but at the same time, I'm miserable trying to do something I hate.

Lenny

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2006, 01:20:21 PM »
If you enjoy doing it, then law review is without a doubt worth it.  You will learn more about effective and ineffective writing than any summer experience will come close to, and some areas of the job market place an enormous emphasis on the experience/resume line.  So, it depends on what you want to do.  If you want to work for a large firm, clerk on the federal level, or go into academia, membership on law review is obviously a huge deal.  On the other hand, I have friends that wanted to work for small firms or public interest work that were actually hurt by being on law review because the employer would look at the resume and be like this person is wasting my time, they're going to go work for some huge firm. 

As for the question of whether you will enjoy it, no, you will not enjoy the day to day tasks very much.  You will enjoy learning, you will enjoy writing your own piece, and you will enjoy working with your fellow members, but you won't enjoy editing, cite-checking, etc.  And, the way you feel right now is not necessarily the way you will feel next year.  So don't ask whether you enjoy it now, ask yourself (and not others on some board) whether you would enjoy the experience for 2 years.  If you can't immediately answer that question in the affirmative, stop the write-on now because you will be miserable and you will not be a good staff member on the law review team.

CoxlessPair

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2006, 01:23:17 PM »
While I am just a 1L (well, 2L I guess) in your same shoes, I'd say the competition  is unequivocally worth the time and energy.

There is no denying it sucks balls. Despite that, the prestige and professional benefits to it are worth it.
If you can find Volokh's "Academic Legal Writing", he has an entire chapter as to why law review is worth pursuing.

I know plenty of firms that will not interview you if you don't have law review. I know judges that will not consider you for clerkships without law review. I know that it makes you stand out from 85% of your class if you can get on. While it's a pain right now, think to the long term.

I think everyone is in the same post finals, *-^-%-$ this casenote sort of mentality. No one wants to be doing it. I'm here on my 2nd Sunday in a row working on mine.

Suck it up. You'll be happy you did when you own up on OCIs next fall.
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jacy85

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2006, 04:34:18 PM »
So don't ask whether you enjoy it now, ask yourself (and not others on some board) whether you would enjoy the experience for 2 years.  If you can't immediately answer that question in the affirmative, stop the write-on now because you will be miserable and you will not be a good staff member on the law review team.

Thanks for the responses so far.  As to the answer to this question, I'm thinking the answer might be "no."  I really loved my legal writing class this year, and legal research.  I've never loved academic work though, and I'm pretty sure that I would NOT enjoy doing the work required to write my own comment (based on the content of citations from comments in the school journal).

I have no real ambitions to work for a huge firm or clerk for a judge.  I'd be happier at a midsized or small firm. I have contacts at the couple of larger firms I'd even be interested in that would hopefully at least get me an initial interview.

I taking the rest of the day off, and I'll probably work on it some more tomorrow.

lincolnsgrandson

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2006, 04:59:34 PM »
Don't be silly.  You don't know what you kind of career you will want in the future.  Years from now, your bio won't say "finished in the top 20% first year."  But Law Review is forever. 
Enter the competition for Law Review and any other journals you might want to join.  The work isn't very rewarding, but that doesn't really matter.  If you're such a good writer, you'll probably want to write a note.  A journal might not publish you if you're not a member.

CoxlessPair

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2006, 05:31:19 PM »
Lincoln brings up a good point.

I recall some professor/author, in talking about the benefits law review, noting that it is the couth way to publicly let everyone know that you were at the top of your law class.
For example, you would sound like an ENORMOUS d-bag if you mentioned "top 20% of my class" in conversation (though I would not put it past some people on this board to do that). But if you casually mention law review, everyone knows you were near the top and/or were a great writer.

I think this line of reasoning is a bit Sisyphean in regard to your problem however. You don't deny it is a prestige boost, you simply don't want to bother with the work.
In light of that, "suck it up" might be the best advice I can give again. I am sure writing a full casenote is just a laborious experience. No one says you have to do a good job however. You don't get graded on the casenote. Write a crappy one to just get it over with.

Your best approach might be to write the casenote in incremental chunks (depending on how much time you have until deadline). I've done mine in consistent 6 hour efforts each day. It's enough to do a lot of work while still sleeping in till 10 AM and having time to go out that evening.

Either way, best of luck.



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lincolnsgrandson

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2006, 05:37:58 PM »
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. 

Bored 3L

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2006, 07:20:01 PM »
Generally, I think law review is worth it.  I am speaking from personal experience, and I am certain that being on the law review helped me in OCI.

As others have pointed out, law review is a lasting credential.  Your profile -- either at a firm or on martindale -- will always note that you were on law review. 

Where is your school ranked in US News?  I think journal membership is much less important from the top schools like Harvard, Yale, etc. 

giraffe205

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2006, 08:49:09 PM »
I wholeheartedly agree w/ lincoln. Law review is a must. You never know where life will take you and you will need it. Moreover, even if you want to work for a mid to small firm, it will still help you land that job over someone who doesn't have it.

John Galt

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Re: Is law review really worth it?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2006, 11:38:40 PM »
As much as writing onto law review sucks, what's gonna suck even more is wondering next year if you would have made it on if you tried.

Also, while working at a small or mid firm may be what you want to do today, the last thing you want to do now is limit your opportunities in the future. If nothing else, law review opens up more opportunities.

LR itself is a lot of boring work. However, it gives you something to talk about on interviews for the rest of your life. Besides, two years after you graduate the only two things that will matter are where you graduated from and if you were on Law Review.