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» Law Review--A Waste of Time? from Notes from the (Legal) Underground
My law partner (who is also my wife) is one of those people who, like Sherry at Stay of Execution, has always been skeptical that much good comes to law students by serving on their school's law review. So the [Read More]

» Law Review from ProfessorBainbridge.com
Responding to a Scheherazade post, Evan Schaeffer offers this defense of the law review experience:Once you got over the initial cite-checking hurdle, all of the third year editorial staff, from the editor-in-chief on down, learned skills like these: h... [Read More]

» Student law review editors from BeldarBlog
A post by blawger Scheherazade entitled "Why Law Review Is A Waste Of Time" prompted a number of responses on her own blawg and elsewhere, many of which she's thoughtfully linked. Professor Bainbridge in turn quotes from one of those responses, from bl... [Read More]

» Oral Argument Practice from Schteino.com
First experience with a practice round of oral advocacy of an appellate brief. [Read More]

» Sunday Morning from ambivalent imbroglio
The weekend supposedly means a chance to breathe again. The pace of this semester has seemed to ratchet up on an almost daily basis, to the point where I spend almost no time with L., no time for proper correspondence, no time to step back and try to ... [Read More]

» Not Waving, Drowning from ambivalent imbroglio
Only a year ago it seems I was already thinking about what I would do if I found that law school sucks. Unfortunately, the helpful comments I linked to on that day over at Nikki, Esq. are gone (scroll down to Feb 7 to see where they were), because Nikk... [Read More]

» irons in the fire from Sua Sponte
For all zero of you keeping score, I have made exactly this much progress on my write-on since last week: I have printed out six law review articles and brought them home to read. There they are, right there in... [Read More]

» To Journal or Not to Journal from De Novo
Listening to 2Ls grump about working on law review, while listening to my 1L classmates stress about getting onto law review, makes me think there's an information gap between those who think law review is nirvana and those who think... [Read More]

» To Journal or Not to Journal from De Novo
Listening to 2Ls grump about working on law review, while listening to my 1L classmates stress about getting onto law review, makes me think there's an information gap between those who think law review is nirvana and those who think... [Read More]

» To Journal or Not to Journal (End of 1L Year) from De Novo
Listening to 2Ls grump about working on law review, while listening to my 1L classmates stress about getting onto law review, makes me think there's an information gap between those who think law review is nirvana and those who think... [Read More]

» How to get onto Law Review from Blawg Wisdom
Although it may come a little late for some, a little early for others, the Managing Editor (or Editor in Chief, or something; I’m not sure of her official title) of the Michigan Law Review discusses How to get onto Law Review. The short version... [Read More]

Comments

Dedman

At the risk of sounding really nerdy, I'll say that I really did enjoy putting together my own law review article.

Mary Lee Fowler

I like the passion in this post. Makes sense to me.

Sounds like, from the comment above, there are some in law review who experienced getting to shape a whole article, rather than just a fragment or some polishing job.

To change the subject, Dad and I will call you tomorrow to see if we could get together. It's Sunday and we'll be around.

Mithras

Hi, practicing lawyer here.

Law review is primarily a credential. You do it so you can put it on a resume and get a good clerkship or summer slot. Substantively, you're right. But law school is largely about credentialing, not about substance.

Carolyn Elefant

What most students don't realize is that it's incredibly easy to get published in a law review. Those who waste time checking cites for others and possibly never having their note selected for publication would be better off writing their own article and sending it out for other drones to review. I wasn't on law review but had an article published in a law journal within a year after my graduation. Ditto for a friend of mine, also published right after he graduated. Had I known it was so easy to get published, I'd have done it in law school and had it as a resume credential for interviews.

ambimb

You wonder why legal employers seem to think that the "law review" line on the resume means the applicant is more qualified for a job. But I wonder if it works this way: In order to try to get on law review in the first place, you have to value the sorts of "credentialling" that law review gives you, which is the same kind of credentialling that going to a top law school gives -- name recognition, etc.; not necessarily anything substantive. I think of it as the "aura" of prestige. To survive and succeed at law review, you have to have an exceptionally high tolerance for hazing, and an exceptional willingness to sacrifice all other things in your life in order to work on mind-numbingly boring stuff. Therefore, when you apply for jobs, employers see that you've already proven you're idea for firm work, which sounds like it often involves exceptionally large amounts of hazing and mind-numbingly boring work.

But I don't know anything. It's just a theory. I'm probably going to try to write on to law review mysellf. Mabye. I don't know. It's one thing to reject it once you've been chosen; it's another to always wonder if you could have made it. Isn't it?

C.E. Petit

Law review isn't for everyone, and I suspect that its value depends largely upon the quality of the journal and the willingness of the board of editors to say "no" to crap from "big names."

I had a positive law review experience; much of that is because I am rather academically minded. Not everyone is; and I suspect that those not of an academic bent (which is not meant as an insult, just an explanation of a different mindset, like the difference between those who prefer basketball to baseball) will not enjoy law review.

atticrocker

I'm on law review right now and I agree with the substance of your post. At my school it seems the people who are most insecure about their ability tend to be the ones who apply for the editorial board spots. I appreciate the post on the values of learning some management skills, but I think anyone who's worked in a real job for any length of time will recognize that any type of management skills obtained on law review are overstated at best.
As an exapmle, here's a real note from an editor sent to the 2L's at my school. I think this probably represents the management "skill" of most people I've encountered on law journal:

"Deadlines are made for a reason. Apparently, however, some of you failed to
closely read my memo that I sent you via e-mail regarding the 3rd citecheck.
If you would have clearly read it, you would have seen that the citechecks
were due at NINE AM TODAY, not whenever you felt like turning it in today.

This deadline was made for a reason. We are on a tight schedule, and I
needed to get the editor review out today. Unfortunately, this is not going
to happen because I need EVERYONE'S citecheck in order to put out the editor
review.

Following are those who I have not yet received the citecheck from:

XXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXX

I DO NOT want to hear as a excuse that you did not know that it was due b/c
as you will see from the attached memo (a copy of the e-mail I sent to you
when the citecheck went out), it CLEARLY says that it is due at nine am.
(P.S. Employers would not take this as an excuse either).

Editor in Chief, I am recommending that these staff members receive extra admin time as
a result of this. It has put the schedule behind. This creates
ramifications for us, and so there should be ramifications for them as well.

For those of you who have not turned it it, FINISH IT--DON'T RUSH AND TURN
IN CRAPPY RUSHED WORK! I am not coming back here tonight to finish putting
the citecheck together (b/c I have deadlines for other things that I need to
get done), so it is going to have to wait until tomorrow anyway.

If you guys don't do your job, I cannot do mine!

-XXXXX"

Keep in mind that this was sent to all the members of law journal and that no deadline before had been respected.

Ellen

3L at SMU who couldn't care less about law review, and its so refreshing to see that I'm not the only one who thinks it is overblown. Certainly it can provide leadership and management experience, but so can lots of things that don't have that prestige. Certainly the type of work you do there might be helpful at some jobs, but not all or even most. I suspect it best prepares you to be a new associate at a big firm, which some of us have zero interest in. Preach on!

tex

Oh wow, you rock for quitting law review! I didn't have the fortitude. While I have learned a few useful things (a few stray ideas, an improved eye for copyediting, value of rigorous fact checking) I'm not sure it was worth it. At some point, you've got to quit doing things you don't want to do to get to where you think you want to be -- otherwise, you'll end up somewhere you *don't* want to be...

The thing I most resent about law school how people say (and accept) that it's all about credentialling. For $150k and three years, I'd like a little learning, please.

japhy

this post made me incredibly happy. the writing competition just finished at my school, a competition i did not participate in. i completely agree with the substance of your post. i have no interest in mindless work. perhaps it is that i am an older student and doing something for no other reason than an extra line on my resume seems silly, if not downright stupid.

of course, i felt that i had to justify my decision having alternate research and publication opportunites in the fall. most students were jealous they could not overcome the hype surrounding law review and do something more valuable. good for you for figuring this out and sharing with the rest of us.

stepintoreality,buddy

C'mon, how long have you been in school? Don't you get it yet? (hint: it's ALL Bullsh!t)

And have you ever given it a thought that the exact reason why Law Review students are valued so much more is PRECISELY BECAUSE THEY ARE WILLING AND ABLE TO DO SO MUCH MORE WORK AND PUT UP WITH SO MUCH MORE CRAP, however meaningless, all while maintaining superior grades? Anyone can quit or not try at all. This sounds like a giant bitch session for disgruntled lawyers who got passed over for partner. (things to come???)

J.B.

Student only do law review because so many employers want it. Why do they want it? I have no idea. The special law review section of the blue book has no practical application in a lawyers everyday life. I myself am refusing to do law review. However that limits the amount of firms I can apply to by about 75%. Firms need to wake up and realize that this has no value and stop including it as an indicator of good attorneys.

Brian

I had a child when in law school and had no time/interest in law review. Instead, I published an article. I felt vindicated when a law student was forced to edit and conform my footnotes to blue book standards. I'm now a partner at a large law firm...never learned blue booking. Learn it and you have to do it.

Frankie

While the fervent idealism and stick-it-to-the-man approach of this post is somewhat laudable, I guess, it neglects to consider one small fact: the law profession is a field defined by prestige or, if you much prefer, "snobbism."

Quit law review because you are looking for substance in your legal work? Hmmm...if there is anything I've learning from my more than ...years of higher education (especially my legal education)and subsequent work is that 99.9% of the time it is a no-holds-barred race to the top. Sure, it's refreshing when you find something of subtance and something you can enjoy but that is a rare exception to the rule. The grunt work is a part of the package, that is, if you want to distinguish yourself from your fellow competitors. No one said it was going to be easy or fun. If it was, I assume everyone would be doing it?

Law review is certainly no different than the painstaking and often degrading work of an intern, a law clerk or junior associate. But, would you also quit a federal Court of Appeals clerkship because the judge is an arrogant prick who makes you do all his work? How about a top law firm where a serior partner rides a junior associate to do menial "secretary-esque" work or petty contract-related work?

If you ask me, law review is not only a great honor (showing your ability to distinguish yourself from the pack) but it teaches you to endure the very type of meticulous work that the legal profession requires (I certainly wouldn't want an attorney who hates doing hard and meticulous work, just because he/she thinks that he/she is "above it," would you?).

Unfortunately, even though I force myself to understand the rationale here, I can only view quitting law review as choosing "the easy way out" and, at the same time, "shooting yourself in the foot." I certainly see the idealism here but I fail to the logic.

(Also, Carolyn, most law reviews require it's members to write comments or notes so they can get published. Unfortunately, not to sound smug, but I think that most of those posting here and complaining are usually the ones who failed to make law review.)

dsi r4

Commissions like this hold a very important role in the betterment of a society and have been proven informative and effective time after time in nations all around the world. The problem here is that this commission is being headed by a colossal band of idiots. If they couldn't see or comprehend the financial crisis as it was unfolding right before their eyes, how do we honestly expect for them to have any idea what happened now.

Mike

Out of curiousity: How often do students on law review actually get their Notes published?

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