Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

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Law Review or Publishing

Being on Law Review
13
57%
Publishing an Article
10
43%
 
Total votes: 23

twistedwrister
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Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby twistedwrister » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:44 pm

What is more important for securing clerkships and/or entering academia: being on Law Review or publishing (an "article" in a journal at a school you do not attend, not a "note" in one of your own school's journals)? Assume doing both is not an option.

rando
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby rando » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:52 pm

There are a huge number of judges out there that don't even look at apps without law review. They wouldn't even see that you published in a different journal.

To clarify, are you talking about no journal at all? Or just not #1 Law Review?

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underdawg
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby underdawg » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:10 pm

clerkships: being on LR, i believe
academia: you're screwed without both, i believe

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TTT-LS
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby TTT-LS » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:39 pm

.
Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:41 pm

I just had a conversation with a tenured professor about getting into academia. The legal academia market is changing and moving away from LR being important, in favor of looking at your scholarship (which is the way it should be since that's what you'll be producing as a professor). This means that publishing is ultimately more important.

However, being on LR or a journal gives you a lot of exposure to academic legal writing, which can be a very useful educational tool for helping you develop the scholarship that you're going to use to get tenure somewhere. So, the correct answer is more than likely "both", though real experience on a journal will probably make up for lack of LR.

twistedwrister
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby twistedwrister » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:49 pm

TTT-LS wrote:
underdawg wrote:clerkships: being on LR, i believe
academia: you're screwed without both, i believe

This seems right to me.

But when on earth would this ridiculous either/or scenario arise? Also note that it will be considerably harder to publish with another school's journal if you aren't on LR at your own school. So no LR may make it infinitely harder to take the publishing route presented by OP's question.

For clerkships and academia, the obvious answer is: suck it up and do both. I realize that's non-responsive to OP's question, but again, I fail to see when one would realistically face this choice.

Edit: the fact that 4 people answered "publishing" shows TLS is full of uninformed people.


I know one person in the situation - me. I graded on to law review and declined the position for a compelling personal reason that I won't discuss here. In my experience, it hasn't made publishing more difficult, considering the fact that I've published twice in top-ten secondary journals in my field.

Anonymous Loser
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby Anonymous Loser » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:17 am

Describe this "compelling personal reason."

Having just wrapped up my law review duties for the 2L year, I find it difficult to imagine circumstances where a talented but otherwise uninterested law student would be unable to simply coast, putting in minimal effort, and then enjoy the life-long benefits of law review without having done much in the way of substantive work. Moreover, most law review boards would likely be quite accommodating of a student facing a difficult family situation or serious medial condition; indeed, any legitimate conflict would be unlikely to preclude membership.

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A'nold
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby A'nold » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:20 am

If you knew that you wanted to clerk, would you guys recommend staying at a lower ranked school at the top of the class w/ LR or transfering to a t20 w/ no LR? This is a question that is bugging the crap out of me right now. Since it is semi-relevant to the topic, I hope it passes muster w/ solidsnake. :wink:

Anonymous Loser
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby Anonymous Loser » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:38 am

The real question is whether or not you can pwn at the T20. No LR and median grades will not get you a clerkship. However, being the among the top 5-10 students at a lower ranked school makes you somewhat competitive, and 1-5 + EIC makes you very competitive. I'm top >10% +LR at a 25-50 school, and consider all of my planned Art. III clerkship applications to be impossible long-shots, fwiw.

rando
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby rando » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:26 am

A'nold wrote:If you knew that you wanted to clerk, would you guys recommend staying at a lower ranked school at the top of the class w/ LR or transfering to a t20 w/ no LR? This is a question that is bugging the crap out of me right now. Since it is semi-relevant to the topic, I hope it passes muster w/ solidsnake. :wink:


This is a much more compelling question. I would be interested to se what people say. That is a really tough predicament. I know that many judges straight up require LR. That being said, almost all clerks come from very well ranked schools. I am not sure how low district court judges go in the rankings, though. And if you are talking about state court I am sure you will be fine either way. How low is your current school ranked?

270910
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby 270910 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:45 am

rando wrote:
A'nold wrote:If you knew that you wanted to clerk, would you guys recommend staying at a lower ranked school at the top of the class w/ LR or transfering to a t20 w/ no LR? This is a question that is bugging the crap out of me right now. Since it is semi-relevant to the topic, I hope it passes muster w/ solidsnake. :wink:


This is a much more compelling question. I would be interested to se what people say. That is a really tough predicament. I know that many judges straight up require LR. That being said, almost all clerks come from very well ranked schools. I am not sure how low district court judges go in the rankings, though. And if you are talking about state court I am sure you will be fine either way. How low is your current school ranked?


It all depends on how your lower ranked school does placing clerks. They might have a real strong rep with local state judges or magistrates / d. court judges. There may even be a fed CoA judge who always takes a person or two.

That being said, your odds at a federal clerkship are slim from any of those schools, so I really don't see much long-term benefit to staying at the old school in hopes it'll get you a better clerkship.

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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:19 pm

A'nold wrote:If you knew that you wanted to clerk, would you guys recommend staying at a lower ranked school at the top of the class w/ LR or transfering to a t20 w/ no LR? This is a question that is bugging the crap out of me right now. Since it is semi-relevant to the topic, I hope it passes muster w/ solidsnake. :wink:


I think that if you transfer, you really must get some journal. A transfer without a journal and (at the moment) unknown grades from a T20 does not put you in a great place for clerking. If you could get into a T10, I'd place your chances higher. If you stay at your old school, I would think you'd have a decent chance at getting a clerkship in your school's area (where alumni abound), unless you happen to be in NYC or another highly competitive area.

As the EIC of my school's law review, I know that we reserve only 1-2 spots for transfers whose write-on submissions truly knock our socks off. We also have not accepted a transfer in several years, so I wouldn't bank on getting onto your new school's law review.

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A'nold
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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby A'nold » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:30 pm

Cool, thanks for the responses. Yeah, those are all the thoughts going through my head as well. I think you have to be in the top 5 students here + LR to have a shot at a federal clerkship, so in the end it is probably wiser to transfer to a better school, I guess.

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Re: Publishing vs. Law Review for Future Clerkships and Academia

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:00 am

A'nold wrote:If you knew that you wanted to clerk, would you guys recommend staying at a lower ranked school at the top of the class w/ LR or transfering to a t20 w/ no LR? This is a question that is bugging the crap out of me right now. Since it is semi-relevant to the topic, I hope it passes muster w/ solidsnake. :wink:


I really can't say much about a t20, but I just recently took a look at past GPA trends at my school (below CCN) and was surprised as to how low a lot of the GPA medians have been across the past years, and how many judges actually took students without any journal at all.

For example, I'm applying primarily to bankruptcy judges and circuits, and this is the aggregate numbers for bankruptcy courts since early 2000s:

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Clerkships
Median: 3.15
Journal Membership:
Law Review: 0; Secondary Journals: 50%; No Journals: 50%

We’re on a B+ curve, so it’s pretty impressive that these judges have managed to take so many below average students across the past decade that their median is that low.

Magistrate judges have a similar grade/journal trend. For district court judges their median GPA is closer to top 30%, and took 25% without any journal, and 50% with secondary journals.

Obviously things are a lot more competitive right now, but I think these numbers suggest that if you transfer to a school in the middle of the t14 (6-10 range), make top ¼ and onto some journal you can find some federal clerkship, and have at least have some shot at a district court. Again, that doesn’t say much if you only get into a t20, but maybe it’s motivation to kick butt and transfer into a solid t14 school.




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