April 21, 2005

Fleischer: Five Plusses of Law Review

by Guest Contributor

(Victor Fleischer is an Acting Professor at UCLA School of Law. He has working papers and a blog.)

I was on the law review at Columbia back in the mid-'90s. A few things I'd add to the debate:

1. It will make you a better writer. Yes, the work is dreary. But it will make you a better editor, at least if you take the work seriously. Line editing is an important skill even if you don't plan to clerk or become a lawprof.

2. It will make you a better student. I learned a ton from my colleagues on law review. Just from chatting about class or how silly an article we were working on was, or whatever. Maybe not more than I learned from my profs, but close. Plus you'll get good advice about what certain professors are looking for on exams and that sort of thing.

3. It will make it easier for you to switch jobs down the road. There are good networking effects from law review. If you ever want to teach, clerk, or even just lateral from an okay law firm to an elite law firm, you're more likely to have a contact if you're on the review.

4. You'll have fun, once in a while. I made a lot of friends from law review that I wouldn't have made otherwise. Law schools tend to be clique-ish, and once you've made your circle of friends it's easy to stick with it. Law review will force you to get to know the nerds and gunners you've been avoiding in the hallway. Some of them aren't so bad.

5. You’ll get preferential treatment from some lawprofs. It's crass to say, but at most schools (less so at UCLA, for institution-specific reasons) lawprofs are aware of who is on law review and are more likely to elicit their thoughts in class, hire them as RAs, recommend them for jobs, and so on.

So, yeah, the Bluebooking stuff sucks. I used to gaze longingly at the B-school happy hours as I trudged across campus to find a pin cite for some irrelevant, unnecessary citation in the Journal of Financial Whatever at 7 pm on a Wednesday. But there is grunt work in your future as a young lawyer, law review or no law review, and you might as well learn to enjoy it. You'll have some late nights and miss an episode of 24 or West Wing here and there, but c'mon, you'll deal.

April 21, 2005 01:28 AM | TrackBack
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