Why I Didn’t Do Law Review
I graduated as the #1 student and would have been a write-on to law review, had I chosen to do it. However, I didn’t do law review and there are a few reasons why. Before I go into them, I want to make a disclaimer: I think law review can serve as an invaluable experience and some students should definitely take the opportunity to do it. So, this is not a post saying “don’t do law review.” This is simply a post about why I chose not to do law review.
Why I Didn’t Do Law Review
I don’t like citations, research, proofreading, etc.
I like writing and I like making legal arguments. But I don’t excel at (and don’t particularly love) a lot of the skills that are valued on law review. It didn’t appeal to me from that standpoint. I could not imagine spending so many hours doing something that I was not interested in.
I once heard someone say, “If law review wasn’t prestigious, no one would do it.” I am not saying that is totally true but it does have some element of truth to it given the long hours involved!
I cared more about my time.
Law review takes up a lot of time and I wanted to spend my time in other ways, whether it was studying (see the next point!), hanging out with friends or family, or gaining other legal opportunities. I think time is the important asset that one has and didn’t want to spend so much of it doing something I didn’t love.
If law review was less time consuming, I would have considered it.
I cared more about my grades.
Law review is an impressive addition to one’s application. However, having high grades are too. This is not to say you cannot have both, as there are certainly many star law review participants who do very well in law school. I preferred to focus on grades with the time that I had. My goal was to graduate as the #1 student.
“Clerkships are the new law review.”
Don’t get me wrong, I did not do a clerkship either! But I have heard that clerkships are the new law review—meaning that they are the new prestigious thing that people are doing to impressive prospective employers and gain many of the same skills that law review provides. Having done neither, I cannot compare them. However, I have heard this said by career counselors and others. If you are considering a clerkship instead of law review, talk to your career counselor and other mentors to see what a better fit may be for your goals.
There are many great reasons to do law review and many consider it an honor to be on law review. However, there are also good reasons to not do law review. The important thing is that you make the best decision for yourself.
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