writing on to law review

Post Reply
brut
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:49 am

writing on to law review

Post by brut » Mon May 07, 2018 5:03 pm

someone is hawking an ebook about how to write onto law review. why don't we crowdsource, compile some tips here?

the best tip i got about the write on competition was to read the bluebook, front to back, applying each rule to the bluebooking exercise. i caught a ton of minor stuff this way (and it doesn't take nearly as long as it sounds, once you get in the flow of things)

i also found it helpful to use onenote to create multiple outlines to develop different ideas for the comment competition. as i read through the packet, i built out three or four ideas/themes. it was helpful to have a few different options to choose from

also, for the love of god, structure and topic sentences. i'm generally critical of law reviews stamping out the author's voice, but this is not the time to innovate new forms of legal scholarship.

others?

brut
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:49 am

Re: writing on to law review

Post by brut » Mon May 07, 2018 5:05 pm

on my last point, i once graded a comment with no headers, topic sentences, or footnotes. i know it sounds kinda anal, but on a law review it's your job to sweat the small stuff

User avatar
HelloYesThisIsDog
Posts: 1256
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:42 pm

Re: writing on to law review

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Mon May 07, 2018 6:49 pm

Maybe just spend time outlining your submission before drafting. I read so many papers that may have had headers and the indices of structure but were utterly incoherent.

Remember you're catering to a bunch of tired-ass 2Ls/3Ls grading your shit. If they have to work hard to figure out what you're saying, you're already losing.

BearCat
Posts: 1032
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:43 pm

Re: writing on to law review

Post by BearCat » Sun May 13, 2018 9:05 pm

brut wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 5:05 pm
on my last point, i once graded a comment with no headers, topic sentences, or footnotes. i know it sounds kinda anal, but on a law review it's your job to sweat the small stuff
The footnotes thing is wild to me because our write on process required a certain amount of footnotes as one of the submission criteria.

Along with sweating the small stuff, make sure that your thing is formatted correctly. If the rules say justified margins, do that. If they say 12 point Times New Roman, don't do 11 point Calibri. If they say 1.198576 inch margins, make it happen.

User avatar
Nony
Posts: 4223
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:34 pm

Re: writing on to law review

Post by Nony » Sun May 13, 2018 9:53 pm

BearCat wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 9:05 pm
If the rules say justified margins, do that. If they say 12 point Times New Roman, don't do 11 point Calibri. If they say 1.198576 inch margins, make it happen.
Yeah, this is my number one piece of advice for writing on: follow. the. damn. instructions.

Basically, reading write-on submissions, the pool separates really naturally into 1) a tiny number of really great essays that stand above the rest, 2) a small number of really terrible essays that you can eliminate almost instantly, and 3) a great big mushy middle where you have to figure out reasons to keep/kick people. The terrible essays usually ignore the instructions, and the mushy middle are sort of so-so, so following instructions to the absolute letter can move you up a bunch even if your ideas are uninteresting.

The best ways to put yourself in the top group: have a damn argument, organize the essay to support the argument, signpost your argument, be scrupulous about grammar/punctuation/citations/whatever instructions you've been given. Some of this will vary by subject matter, but I found that very few people actually considered counter-arguments, and the ones who did usually wrote the best essays. The very best had some kind of original take on the subject plus all the above.

This may be controversial, but IMO, if your choice is between being interesting and being correct, I would err on the side of being correct. Personally, I was more likely to take someone who wrote a perfectly correct, but cookie-cutter essay, over someone who wrote something original and creative but struggled with the mechanics/format/following instructions. For law review, mostly you will be making sure someone else's work is as correct as it can be, rather than contributing your interesting and creative ideas (like as a board member, I didn't care nearly as much about the brilliance of your note as I did about your editing work on the articles).

Welcome to the glamorous world of law review.

User avatar
jeff chiles
Posts: 1456
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: writing on to law review

Post by jeff chiles » Mon May 14, 2018 9:39 am

I agree with nony, when i grades write on entries I primarily was looking for failure to comply with the instructions/blatantly incorrect conclusions as a way to filter the average entries.

Take the time to do it right, but if you have to cut corners I’d always err on the side of not having the most original, brilliant take on the material and focus on a technically perfect and well organized submission.

Because I wrote on, I tried very hard to grade these things and take it seriously but if there was a way for me to automatically reduce points or rule out entries I was always going to do so just to simplify the process.

User avatar
HelloYesThisIsDog
Posts: 1256
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:42 pm

Re: writing on to law review

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Thu May 17, 2018 4:11 pm

My methodology of grading was "if I have to think super hard to understand your argument and find the issues the scoring memo told me to look for, you get a bad grade."

Also, consider just not engaging in the pyramid scheme of journals.

Junanman
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:21 pm

Re: writing on to law review

Post by Junanman » Mon May 28, 2018 1:41 am

Hawker here.

I agree with all of the above -- aim to be in the middle, and make it the cleanest/most organized essay you can so that a biglaw summer associate can read it half-buzzed and still think you did a good job. Graders are looking for reasons to mark you down -- follow those instructions and don't make easy mistakes. Other tips: when you're reading the Bluebook cover to cover, focus on Rules 1-10 more than the other rules. These rules can affect any above-the-line text or footnotes at any time, and you wouldn't be able to look them up via index if you're just not aware of them (e.g. 49 vs. 50 word quotes, anyone? 5 footnote short-cite rule? Order of authorities, order of signals?).

On structure and topic sentences: read some sample comments/notes from your law review (whatever it is you will be writing). The typical case note/comment is NOT your typical LRW brief, in tone, organization, or substance. Have a clear thesis and written roadmap of how your paper will be organized. Also, go to your law review information session (if offered) so you can get as much info as possible before you begin.

On citations in your writing component/note/comment--nobody will really cite check your paper unless you made a really obvious mistake. Do make sure your bluebooking is on point though, as obvious bluebooking mistakes might get caught.

And because I am shameless (and my loans are still ridic), here's a link below to that ebook, which is legit free if you have Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Prime (1 ebook/mo), otherwise $4.99. I did write-on twice to T10 journals and I was a grader, so I have a bit more of a method than others might. If you have the time, google and read every forum post and published book you can find (there are two others). Or read my ebook.

HACKING LAW REVIEW: THE CONCISE GUIDE TO THE WRITE-ON
https://www.amazon.com/Hacking-Law-Revi ... 07CM7S8NC/

Also, because I know $4.99 can be a lot to ask, check out the r/lawschool subreddit, there's a ton of tips there too if you search enough (I've written a lot more there about write-ons and post-law school advice if you search my username).

note1L
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:16 pm

Re: writing on to law review

Post by note1L » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:46 pm

I would be willing to pay $5 for your book, but I don't have a Kindle.

Any other book recommendations from anyone?

User avatar
CS1775
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:17 am

Re: writing on to law review

Post by CS1775 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:30 am

HelloYesThisIsDog wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 4:11 pm
My methodology of grading was "if I have to think super hard to understand your argument and find the issues the scoring memo told me to look for, you get a bad grade."

Also, consider just not engaging in the pyramid scheme of journals.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

I did law review write-on. It was by and far the most boring, dull part of my law school career thus far (stressful goes to Trial Team, aka "mock trial" prep for the competition).

When I got the rejection email, I think I smiled.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest