I May Extend Law School for Law Review


AI am a 2L at a lower-ranked school in California. I only have one semester worth of credits to take during my 3L year, which means I would graduate after next fall. However, if I make it on Law Review through the write-on competition, Law Review requires you to have two semesters left in order to join. Is it worth it to drop down to part time in order to stretch out two more semesters, which means I could add Law Review to my resume?

I am already on a Moot Court team and have three work experiences under my belt (including last summer). What do you think?

QLaw Review is a plus—especially if you’re at a lower-ranked school. So, if you can afford to do it (and it’s not a major headache), I’d stick around another semester and do the Law Review thing.

Having said that, if you plan to work for a small firm or as a solo practitioner, it doesn’t really matter. But let’s face it: law is a snotty profession, so the snottier the street cred, the better.

Unfortunately, moot court doesn’t mean much in the real world. In all my years of practicing law, I never heard someone say, “We should hire this guy, he’s on the moot court team.”

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

20 Comments

  1. Steak

    December 21, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Stay for an extra semester.  It’s your last opportunity to delay real life and the actual practice of law.

  2. anonymous

    December 21, 2009 at 7:17 am

    stay. I was on law review and it has helped me in my career.

  3. Brett

    December 21, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Stay.  I turned down law review because I didn’t want to deal with all the BS (I was too busy having fun).  For the first 6 years of my career all I ever heard was “What do you mean you weren’t on law review?” If you actually won, or placed, in one of those big national moot court competitions that might be SOMETHING to talk about, but it’s still not law review.

  4. Juris Depravis

    December 21, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Out of pragmatism, stay.  More time for the job market to improve.

  5. R Smith

    December 21, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Law review was of inestimable help in interviews and call backs. Dusty old partners came to life when they saw it.  Younger ones were respectful.  When I interviewed on campus for my firms, I looked for it right away.  We’d often call back a law review despite a dismal personality, on the belief that at least a personality can improve.  Since there’s no rush to get out and look for a job, the delay makes since if you can afford it.  Don’t expect top firms to be blind to the issue though. Most are alert to law school efforts to inflate grades or dilute law review with write on, however, and evaluate accordingly, or insist on seeing grades. Be ready to honestly discuss how you go on if its raised. But don’t be defensive.  If you’re good enough to get on by writing, you need to act like you were born there.  If you look a bit nerdy and have a decent vocabulary, they may never ask.  Medium ranked firms are not as alert to write ons and smaller ones may not care how you got on.  Good luck.

  6. Devil's Advocate

    December 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I’m going to throw it out there. I don’t think staying makes much sense. Here’s why. The job market is awful. Not just regular awful, but rather worst in a generation awful. Making Law Review at a lower ranked school would have been a real help before the job market fell apart. But these days, people who made law review at far better schools are hurting. The sad truth is, this person doesn’t have many options beyond small firm or solo work. And in both those categories, law review doesn’t get you a job or a client. So staying is really just a waste of money because you’re dropping an extra (10K? 15K?) on tuition, but there’s not likely to be a pay off. This person should either get busy making inroads into the local legal market and building actual lawyer skills, or they should practice saying, “do you want fries with that note?”

  7. Guano Dubango

    December 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I was not on law review, but every time I tell a girl that I was, it helps immesurably on the wonder scale.  And I have received much in the favors department merely because I went to Georgetown Law.

  8. Bitter Overseas

    December 22, 2009 at 12:17 am

    I was literally the 11th percentile in my class after my 1L year. Automatically graded on Moot Court and had a great time, even won some competitions and what-not. Most of the big firms still invited me for interviews even without LR. Moot Court proved to be a great (lite) intro to a career in litigation. So, not too bitter about all that.

  9. Magic Circle Jerk

    December 22, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Do law review.  Not that I actually would ever speak to anyone from a TTT, but if I was forced to look at TTT resumes, I would actually consider reading something more than the name if I saw law review.

  10. son of Guano

    December 22, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Dad, I think Alma is never going to speak to you again, knowing as she does now, that you were not on Law rev.

  11. Guano Dubango

    December 22, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    My son, it is not law review that makes the man, but the ability to find women who find me attractive even if I were not on the law review.  I was not eligible for the law review, as I only pursued an LLM degree, and working full time does not lend itself to law review in any event.  Besides, from what I saw, all of the women on law review looked like water buffalo with a copy of the blue books under their chins.  That is not attractive to me to have large women carrying blue books.  I may have blue cohones because of my inability to find attractive law women to mate with, but believe me, law review was not the reason.  And as for Alma, well, she does not like men from Ghana, I think, because I otherwise meet all of her criteria.  Smart, have job, willing to settle down, not have roving eye for other women, keep privates in pants, etc.  I am not like Tiger Woods, Alma, if you are listening.

  12. Son of Guano

    December 23, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Dad, I fully agree with your position, of course. Dreary cite-checking and editing the forgettable tomes of fungible law professors was heavy payment for the door-opening entry on my resume.  Yet I believe Alma looks for such “indicators,” to select men for the touted pleasure of her company.  She may know about law review groupies that even then shrewdly sought future financial security by hooking up with nerdy cite checkers destined for Cravath, Sullivan and cromwell etc.  Hence she knows I have much experience and can buy an estate in the hamptons if I choose, while you are tied to the huge estates near Fez.  I respectfully suggest again that LF10 is the better choice for you. Carson may not last. You should stake a positon for her.

  13. BL1Y

    December 28, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Why has no one suggested the middle road?  If you get accepted to law review, turn it down and only go for one semester.  You can put on your resume something along the lines of “Law Review – Offer Extended.” During interviews, they’ll ask what this means and you can explain that you qualified but couldn’t join because you were finishing school early.  I expect most hiring partners know you don’t really learn anything useful by being on law review; it’s just a way of showing your position in the class.  Getting on should be all that matters, especially if have a legit reason to not join.  Spend that extra semester padding your resume further.  Find a non-profit to work for, or a court that uses volunteer clerks.  A couple months of actual experience will trump whatever fake experience cite checking for law review gives.

  14. Deraj

    December 28, 2009 at 10:21 am

    All due respect, BL1Y, and remember I’m saying this with all due respect, but that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on.
    Stay.  Give the market more time to recover and get some decent resume fodder.  One semester shouldn’t break the bank and if you’ve got the work experience you claim to have, then you may be able to get a part time job while finishing up law school.

  15. 7th year litigator

    December 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Stay for one more semester.  Law review will balance out the low ranked law school on your resume and improve your job prospects overall.

  16. grad

    December 30, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Geez, law review was such a useless exercise.  I was a fool for the writing on and actually writing a note was useful, but cite-checking?  Graduate and have a paralegal do it.

  17. BL1Y

    January 1, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    I did a (non-law review) journal and after seeing how tedious and dumb our assignments were, I just told the editors I was too busy with classes and they should re-assign my work.  Despite this, I got numerous e-mails asking me to stay on as a board member my third year.  Now, whenever I use a journal article, I check the sources myself.  The error rate is astounding.  And, I’m not just talking about BlueBooking, but cited sources not actually supporting the claims of the article.

  18. Voice of Reason

    January 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Stay and do law review.  Reasons:

    1) You’re not likely to find a job in the spring anyway, so you might as well hide out in school.  If money is an issue and you are in school, you can still take out loans to live on instead of just being unemployed.

    2) Being part time is every lazy 3L’s dream.  Enjoy your last year or so of free time.  Take up a musical instrument or exercise or something.

    3) In the event that jobs are available when you finally graduate, having been on law review will only help you.
    If you already have a job lined up, then my advice is different–finish school and take that job before someone else does.

  19. Anonymous

    January 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Just what we need.  Another woman gloating that she was on law review?  I personally prefer the women who do not rest on their achievements.

  20. KH

    January 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    If you have a job offer, leave law school as soon as possible to take said offer.  If you do not have a job offer, then you should consider staying for the law review gig but also do so just to delay the inevitable job search.  After all, if you don’t have legal work lined up it looks better to be working at Starbucks if you are doing so because you are still a part time student.
    With all of that said, you must be at a really low tier CA law school if you have (1) the option to join law review this late in the game and (2) the option to either go part time or not.  That means that your chances of getting good legal work after graduation are already slim to none.  Perhaps you should get out asap so you can start paying back your student loans…

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