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Why You Should Join Law Review

Published: May 24, 2021

Topics: Law  

For rising 2Ls, now is the time you may be going through a, erm, favorite law school tradition: the write-on competition. This competition, which involves hours of editing, reading, and writing, potentially results in the prize of a spot on your school’s law review or another journal. We won’t sugarcoat it: Write-on isn’t all that fun, unless you happen to love Bluebooking (in which case, this might be one of your best weeks ever). The competition is a lot of work that requires critical thinking and careful attention to detail—and let’s face it, the timing isn’t exactly ideal right after 1L exams. (But hey, it’s good conditioning for bar prep, which will similarly start right after graduation.)

If you’re feeling bogged down by the write-on slog, you might be asking yourself if you really need to be doing this and if a journal membership really matters that much. We’re not here to make that decision for you, but we can tell you that having a journal on your resume might be important in your job search, and working on a journal does provide you with valuable experience. If you don’t believe us, below are quotes from our 2020 Annual Associate Survey, where real law firm associates provided advice to law students on preparing for practice. As you can see, there is plenty of commentary in favor of law review.

Hopefully, these quotes will provide you with the boost of motivation you need to cross the write-on finish line! And if you’re looking for some additional write-on tips, be sure to check out Tips for Nailing the Write-On Competition.

  • “Law review or other journals are what will best prepare you for practice.”
  • “Law review helped more than anything, just in developing the ability to manage several overlapping deadlines.”
  • “My involvement on law review and moot court certainly prepared me for practice. I would encourage students to get involved with law journals, moot court/mock trial, as well as take as many practice-based writing courses as possible.”
  • “Classes helped, but law review probably helped more. Motivation and attention to detail are key.”
  • “Law school prepared me for research and writing. Law students should focus on improving their researching and writing. Law review is also very helpful in the end.”
  • “Extracurriculars that will prepare you for practice are anything that teaches you extreme attention to deal—e.g., [serving as] managing editor on law review.”
  • “Working on a journal (any journal, not just law review) is incredibly helpful in the editing/attention-to-detail mentality that you need as a young associate. You may not like the process (all the Bluebook cites below the line; or scouring Westlaw for cites the author omitted), but it is necessary to develop the corresponding professional character trait.”
  • “Take an active role in law review. It will prepare you for the long hours, the camaraderie and team aspects of a firm, and the work that goes in.”
  • “If you want to be [a] transactional [lawyer], do law review/journal.  A lot of being a lawyer, especially a junior, is being detail oriented and being able to catch small mistakes in long documents that you don't fully understand. Journal is the only law school activity that prepares you for that.  There's a reason the best firms require journal experience—it makes for better junior associates.”
  • “Learn how to work hard, and do law review.”

Stay strong, and Bluebook on!


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Kalyn Johnson ChandlerKalyn Johnson Chandler is the founder and creative force behind the signature paperie, Effie’s Paper :: Stationery & Whatnot. Following a ten-year legal career as an environmental transactional lawyer at Jones Day, Kalyn returned to her first love, fashion, in 2007. She launched STYLE by Kalyn Johnson, a style consultancy focused on personal branding for men and women in the corporate arena. Her client roster consisted of television news anchors, attorneys, physicians, and other professionals. Now, a self-taught graphic designer, she’s extended her intrinsic fashion sense into a distinct lifestyle brand focusing on desk accessories and travel products, named after her grandmother, Mrs. Effie Hayes, that features her signature design aesthetic of bright colors, bold designs, and witty “bon mots”.

Kalyn is also a co-author of the cult classic, The BAP Handbook :: The Official Guide to the Black American Princess, and she’s an alum of The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. Kalyn lives in New York City with her husband and holds a BA in English and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan and an MA in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago.

Vault spoke with Kalyn about her path from law school to Effie’s Paper, her work as an entrepreneur and creative professional, and her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Read on for the interview.

Vault: Why did you initially decide to go to law school?