2L-3L Law School: Law Review

As soon as you begin to learn about law school, and what it is like, you start to hear about an organization called Law Review.

A Law Review is a legal scholarly journal published for lawyers, judges and professors. It is like a magazine that has nothing but articles on legal topics. Every law school has a Law Review. Legal scholars and students vie for space in these publications to explain cases, discuss trends, propose solutions, and otherwise add to the body of law-related knowledge.

A typical Law Review is run almost exclusively by law students, and publishes several times a year. Membership in this law school student organization is considered to be a prestigious position. Usually students at the top of the law school class after the first year are invited to join. Most Law Reviews also hold a writing competition for law students who did not “grade on,” but will usually consider grades with the writing sample when choosing the winners.

Should I Join Law Review?

If you have the opportunity to join law review, we at Law School Coach recommend that you take it. Employers value this experience. Many firms will not consider an applicant unless they have Law Review experience. Virtually every lawyer in Big-Law was part of a Law Review. If you have to participate in the writing competition, the effort is worth it.

The Law Review writing competition takes place during the summer of your 1L law school year. The last thing many law students want to do after a tough and time consuming year of law school is to do an optional assignment. Because of this tendency, you will not have as much competition for the spot as you might think. If you have decent grades, and submit a paper that is absolutely accurate—no typos, no misspelled words, no errors at all—your chances are good.

Why do Employers Care About Law Review?

Employers focus on Law Review membership because it saves them time. Employers believe that candidates who are members of Law Review:
  • Can research a topic
  • Can self-edit
  • Can edit other people’s work
  • Can write well
  • Can meet deadlines
  • Have experience at working on teams
  • Have earned high grades in law school
  • Have discipline
It is a fact of life that members of Law Review will get the most coveted clerkships and jobs. Employers believe that the best students will make the best lawyers, and that the best law students are part of Law Review. While the correlation is debatable, Law Review opens doors that are not available to all law students. Put simply, there are not many members of the Law Review who have trouble finding a job after law school.

What Should I Expect as a Member of Law Review?

With the prestige of Law Review comes an awful lot of extra work. Expect to devote 5-10 hours a week to your Law Review duties during your 2L law school year, and much more during your 3L year. As a member of Law Review you will be part of the team that publishes legal articles. You should expect to spend a lot of time during your 2L law school year checking the citations of other authors. “Citechecking” requires you to get a copy of the source material, confirm that the source supports the author’s proposition, and write the citation in proper bluebook form. In addition to citechecking, you will research, write, and edit your own article during your 2L year. These articles often fulfill the law school writing requirement. The best articles from your Law Review class will be selected for publication.

During your 2L law school year, you are considered a “member.” You will be expected to spend a certain amount of time per semester in the Law Review offices, where you will be given work to do on top of your paper and citechecking. During your 3L year, you will be assigned a more substantive position on Law Review known as an “editor.” Most law schools offer class credits for your time on Law Review. Sometimes these credits will depend on what editorial position you end up with. The Editor in Chief will spend a whole lot more time on Law Review activities than an Articles Editor.