Tips for Trying Out for Law Review
Joining an extracurricular activity during law school like Law Review, Moot Court, or Mock Trial can be very beneficial. Potential employers love seeing participation in these groups on your resumes – in fact, some even require it! The skills you develop are invaluable for your future as a lawyer. For current 1Ls, now that your first year is nearly complete, it is time to start considering whether you would like to join one of these activities. I, Laura, previously wrote a post detailing what is involved for each of the three main extracurriculars and what skill sets they are suited for. My personal experience is in Law Review, and so I would like to share some tips for those who are thinking about trying out for Law Review.
Tips for Trying Out for Law Review
Joining Wayne Law Review was one of my best decisions. My legal writing became crisp, clean, precise, and always supported with (perfectly!) cited sources. I became what I call an “editing snob” who knows the Bluebook backwards and forward, an excellent characteristic for any lawyer who wants their briefs to impress judges! The Note that I wrote during my second year was published in a 2016 issue of our journal, which is probably the accomplishment in my life I am most proud of. Law Review opens so many doors for you and really improves your writing and critical thinking skills – two very important qualities in a lawyer!
If you’d like to try out for your school’s Law Review, you need to start thinking about it now. Each school holds some form of competition, usually starting immediately after exams end. While the specifics vary, the competitions generally consist of some form of writing component and/or an editing component. At Wayne Law, we were given a multiple choice quiz and asked to identify the correct citation format for a source. Then we were given a topic and a list of materials and asked to write a paper analyzing an issue within that topic. Schools might give you an already written article and ask you to edit it, a task you’d be completing as a member of Law Review. Or they might ask you to analyze a case opinion. Regardless of the task, here are a few tips for approaching trying out for Law Review:
1. Start working on it early.
Many schools’ competitions will last one to two weeks, and you should start early. Just like with anything in law school, don’t procrastinate! This is another task that will seem unfamiliar to you and you don’t want to risk waiting until the last day only to find yourself confused. You’ll end up rushing through it and end up with a sloppy product. The writing competition is not easy – the staff is trying to find the best of the best. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin something challenging.
2. Treat this like an exam or final paper.
Since finals are just finishing up, everyone is still in “exam mode.” Stay that way. Treat this assignment with the same care you would finals preparation or writing a final paper. Pretend your entire grade is on the line. If you’re serious about trying out for Law Review and being a member of the organization, prove it to them. Impress them. Make it impossible for them to reject you. Law Review accepts only the best writers, so you should put forth your absolute best effort. You’ll still have all summer to do whatever you want, but for one or two more weeks just buckle down and own it.
3. Pay close attention to, and triple check, your citations.
Having excellent citations is probably the best way to impress the board when trying out for Law Review. Most of your work during your first year as a member will involve editing citation so this is a skill you need to have. Pay attention to all of the rules in the Bluebook, even the tiny ones. Double and triple check everything from the font style to punctuation to spacing. By nailing all of your citations in your written piece, you will quickly rise to the top of the candidates. If you think you can do it correctly, try to work in some complex citations or use little known rules. Demonstrate that you can be an asset to the Law Review by having strong citation skills as it is something the publication prides itself on.
Hopefully you’ll consider trying out for Law Review, as it was such a great experience for me in law school. But even if you don’t pick this group, consider trying out for one of the others! This is the time for you to develop the critical skills necessary for success in the profession. Organizations like Law Review, Moot Court, and Mock Trial are perfect opportunities for you to do so!
Laura Sigler, a JD Advising bar exam essay grader, who graduated cum laude from Wayne State University Law School wrote this post.
Looking for Law School Assistance?
- Free! Download our free guide on how to succeed in law school here!
- Free! Access our free law school prep course here!
- Looking for law school tutoring? Our law school tutors provide personalized, one-on-one tutoring!
- We also have NEW and very highly regarded law school study aids, which you can try for free here!