M E M O R A N D U M
To: New Associate Editors
From: Editor-in-Chief of Law Review
Re: Your sucky new life on law review
Welcome, minions! We are all very excited to have you join the journal, to force you to do all the work we hated doing last year. You should be very proud that the journal accepted you, an achievement that has either been your lifelong dream or a thing you learned about your 1L year and decided to do because everyone else was doing it. Here are a few things you should prepare for in the next year.
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There’s an old saw about law school that goes like this: “as a 1L they’ll scare you to death, as a 2L they’ll work you to death, and as a 3L they’ll bore you to death.” While I can’t vouch for the veracity of 3L boredom, I can understand how the 2L “work you to death” claim got started. What the cliche doesn’t say, though, is that most of the “work you to death” schtick is self-inflicted. Some people get on a journal and quickly realize that copy editing isn’t as much fun as they thought it would be. Others become research assistants and end up spending most of their waking hours in the law library.
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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.”
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.
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