I Want the Skinny on Law Review


QI’ve heard the only journal experience in law school that has any resume value is Law Review. Is this true? Do firms really care either way or does it just depend on who’s interviewing you?

AFirst off, this conversation is only relevant for those students looking to land jobs at swanky, big city law firms. Everyone else, stop reading now. Because it’s irrelevant and incredibly annoying. But for those of you looking to land prestige jobs, here you go…

The simple truth is: Law Review is the “Harvard” of legal journals. No doubt.  It’s the one thing that guarantees a law student multiple interviews and immediate respect. I wish it weren’t so, but it is. Law firms covet students on Law Review. Fact. And for good reason too.  First off, it’s not easy to get admitted.  Second, once you’re admitted, you have to work your ass off to stay a member. Law firms know this—and love this. It proves that you have a high tolerance for pain and are willing to sacrifice any semblance of a social life in pursuit of a higher calling. Kind of sad, if you think about it, but it’s true.

So what if you don’t “make Law Review?” Should you still join some random, junior varsity journal? Answer: Hell yeah!  It might not guarantee you a job at Cravath, but it’s definitely a “significant positive” on your resume. It shows that you’re willing to work harder than the average student, and that you’re probably a better researcher and writer than him, too. So do yourself a favor and stop trying to convince yourself that joining the International Law Journal would be a waste of time—because it wouldn’t. Truth is, it would actually help your chances of landing a good job. By a lot. Especially if you don’t go to a top-ten school. So either make Law Review or join a journal as fast as you can. If you want to get a “fancy” job anyway.

Got a question for Ex-Bitter?  Email it to info@bitterlawyer.com.

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.

6 Comments

  1. Kennedy

    August 18, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Makes sense. Thanks for the invaluable advice.

  2. manda

    August 22, 2008 at 10:42 am

    I always heard moot court and trial team were good, too.

  3. liz

    August 26, 2008 at 8:56 am

    i was on law review as staff and an editor at a top-tier law school.  i wrote on.  i had crappy grades (at least by these standards-they were not all that bad in the “real world”).  i recieved neither multiple interviews nor immediate (or any) respect.  lesson:  grades matter.  interviewers are all different, and don’t waste time trying to get into their heads.

  4. Anonymous

    September 8, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    The only sure fire plus of being on law review is that it guarantees some heavy conversations with the prettiest 1L’s.  They all will moon over you and how you got onto law review, which discussions can be held at any number of locations.  While you might previously might have been viewed as a dweeb, these people will deify you.  Don’t be like a Ghandi, swearing off sex and drinking your own piss.  Go for it; as it is unlikely you will ever see this quality of legal tail again.

  5. chris

    September 23, 2008 at 5:11 am

    Law Review sucks ass.  It’s value is only in the minds of the interviewers, which is ridiculous.  I’m on law review, got multiple interviews, and only about 3 of them even mentioned it.  The work that is required to write a comment that no none will read is not worth getting the almost worthless OCI’s.

  6. wikiwhat

    November 14, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I was a law review editor at a top school, and it is just OK.  There are two reasons employers care about law review: 1. it usually means you got good grades 2. it shows you are willing to work really hard and sacrifice weekends for a boring, thankless job.
    Good grades are by far the most important criterion for employers.  Law review isn’t even a gold star on your resume, it is more like a bronze sticker.  If you have good grades at a good school, you won’t be hurting yourself at all by choosing not to participate.

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