Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

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TTT-LS
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby TTT-LS » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:32 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:34 pm

TTT-LS wrote:Also, I agree with the post above that journal tryouts are not for everyone, and that one should think about it before entering. That said, after doing so, most people should conclude the benefits are worth the work.

What should one consider in particular?

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sanpiero
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby sanpiero » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:43 pm

are the case notes written on the spot or are students usually given a couple days to complete and then turn in?

270910
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby 270910 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:02 pm

sanpiero wrote:are the case notes written on the spot or are students usually given a couple days to complete and then turn in?


It's a long process. It's at least a 3 day, and sometimes a 1-2 week process. Most competitions involve a closed set of materials - a few hundred pages of cases, articles, news stories, etc. and a prompt. The most common form seems to be analysis of some issue rather than a case comment. You have to cobble together something coherent. On top of that you generally have something to edit - a citation quiz or an article full of errors in the body + footnotes.

A note, by and large, means a student written piece in a journal that the student works on. A case comment is a sub-classification that implies the piece is an analysis of a single recent case, but realistically it includes discussion of how that case fits into the framework of the developing law so it's still a substantial endeavor.

A common topic for both law review competitions and student notes are circuit splits - when the federal courts of appeals have reached different conclusions on nearly identical issues, but the Supreme Court has yet to resolve the issue.

But the note can also be about basically any other legal issue. Emerging topics, different means of analysis of old topics, etc. For a more in-depth overview, skim Volokh's book Academic Legal Writing.

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A'nold
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby A'nold » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:32 am

It's good to know that you are limited to a set of cases/other stuff b/c I hate wasting time going down dead end paths. I can write pretty dang well (when I try) but it's the research that kills me.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:37 am

A'nold wrote:It's good to know that you are limited to a set of cases/other stuff b/c I hate wasting time going down dead end paths. I can write pretty dang well (when I try) but it's the research that kills me.

The one I looked at had a bunch of cases, a couple statutes, and some secondary type sources.

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sanpiero
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby sanpiero » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:45 am

For those that have graded write-on submissions in the past, a question. It would seem to me that when given more than ample time to research, plan, and write, most law students are able to do a pretty good job writing a well-organized, cohesive note on the particular issue or case assigned. That said, how difficult is it to recognize a great note from a mediocre or sub-par note? I'd be interested to know what things in particular differentiate a top note from the average or slightly-above-average notes?

So far I've noted that:
- accurate citation is crucial, obviously in the BB competition, but also in the note competition
- organization is very important, especially your introductory road map and the road map for each sub-section
- clear, concise writing in preferred to legalese and lengthy or complex sentence structure
- use headings and topic sentences when appropriate
- state your thesis in one or two sentences max

It seems to me that most, if not all, students attempting to write-on to law review would be doing these things. I guess it's another matter entirely whether the students are able to do these things well, but is there any other advice you can give for differentiating oneself from the middle of the pack?

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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby 270910 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:54 am

sanpiero wrote:For those that have graded write-on submissions in the past, a question. It would seem to me that when given more than ample time to research, plan, and write, most law students are able to do a pretty good job writing a well-organized, cohesive note on the particular issue or case assigned. That said, how difficult is it to recognize a great note from a mediocre or sub-par note? I'd be interested to know what things in particular differentiate a top note from the average or slightly-above-average notes?

So far I've noted that:
- accurate citation is crucial, obviously in the BB competition, but also in the note competition
- organization is very important, especially your introductory road map and the road map for each sub-section
- clear, concise writing in preferred to legalese and lengthy or complex sentence structure
- use headings and topic sentences when appropriate
- state your thesis in one or two sentences max

It seems to me that most, if not all, students attempting to write-on to law review would be doing these things. I guess it's another matter entirely whether the students are able to do these things well, but is there any other advice you can give for differentiating oneself from the middle of the pack?


I don't grade them, but have talked extensively with several who did. Your statements about people's capacity to do well is just false. The extreme pressure and time constraint makes people produce garbage. You underestimate how hard it is to digest hundreds of pages of material and cobble it into something coherent on paper. It's like teaching yourself a course - nobody to bounce ideas off of, nobody to point out important lines of reasoning in decisions or similarities in cases, etc.

I have it on good authority that most writings that come out of the competition just suck. Not-sucking is a good way to stand out.

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sanpiero
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby sanpiero » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:01 am

disco_barred wrote:I don't grade them, but have talked extensively with several who did. Your statements about people's capacity to do well is just false. The extreme pressure and time constraint makes people produce garbage. You underestimate how hard it is to digest hundreds of pages of material and cobble it into something coherent on paper. It's like teaching yourself a course - nobody to bounce ideas off of, nobody to point out important lines of reasoning in decisions or similarities in cases, etc.

I have it on good authority that most writings that come out of the competition just suck. Not-sucking is a good way to stand out.


Fair enough. Having no experience with such competitions and no anecdotes from past participants I was making a guess as to capacity and how things might play out. The competition makes a lot more sense to me now. Thanks for your input.

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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby 270910 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:05 am

sanpiero wrote:
disco_barred wrote:I don't grade them, but have talked extensively with several who did. Your statements about people's capacity to do well is just false. The extreme pressure and time constraint makes people produce garbage. You underestimate how hard it is to digest hundreds of pages of material and cobble it into something coherent on paper. It's like teaching yourself a course - nobody to bounce ideas off of, nobody to point out important lines of reasoning in decisions or similarities in cases, etc.

I have it on good authority that most writings that come out of the competition just suck. Not-sucking is a good way to stand out.


Fair enough. Having no experience with such competitions and no anecdotes from past participants I was making a guess as to capacity and how things might play out. The competition makes a lot more sense to me now. Thanks for your input.


Sure thing.

Of all the irrational aspects of law school, I think journals and their competitions may actually get the crown for most 'WTF'. The things they use as criteria are all highly suspect, the work they do is bizarre (fuck peer review!), and the way the institutions are standardized despite little communication between law schools or input from faculty...

Try explaining it all to somebody with no experience with the legal world sometime, I dare you :P

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ggocat
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby ggocat » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:29 am

mikeytwoshoes wrote:Is there an actual difference between a note and a comment?

As you can tell from the responses above, the terms sometimes mean different things at different schools.

At mine, a note is a shorter (15-20 pages exclusive of endnotes) paper on a case, and a comment is a longer (30-35 pages exclusive of endnotes) on an emerging issue.

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ggocat
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby ggocat » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:34 am

sanpiero wrote:are the case notes written on the spot or are students usually given a couple days to complete and then turn in?

Again, this will differ vastly from school to school. I remember hearing that some schools have very short writing assignments or in-class Bluebook exams. At mine, students have a month to complete a full casenote (up to 15 pages exclusive of endnotes) and a short (1-2 page) Bluebook exam. The time period begins the last day of finals and ends in June. Some schools hold the competition during the school year.

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truthypants
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby truthypants » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:40 am

Mr. Matlock wrote:Question from a dumbass:

Is it possible to write onto a journal with below median grades? Or are you not even asked to try out below a certain threshold?

0L shutting up now.


At my school you have to be above median to be eligible for law review.

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ggocat
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby ggocat » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:46 am

sanpiero wrote:It seems to me that most, if not all, students attempting to write-on to law review would be doing these things. I guess it's another matter entirely whether the students are able to do these things well, but is there any other advice you can give for differentiating oneself from the middle of the pack?

As another poster said, you'd be surprised by how many people don't do everything TTT-LS suggested. So I think doing those things alone will help you stand out.

Although I have no way of gauging this theory, I think the more time someone puts into the competition, the better the paper probably is. Try to get your paper done early so you can edit, edit, edit. Make your writing as crisp as possible and make those citations pristine.

I sometimes don't like to admit it, but I think Bryan Garner is correct when he says, "Citations are all about being credible and reliable. Although good citation form won't win over many readers, poor form will assuredly put off those who prize accuracy." If I look at a page of endnotes and don't see any (or just a few) citation errors, that writer gets instant credibility with me. It's not that I value pristine citations per se. But it's a clue to me that the author took the effort and time necessary to have good citations. When they've done that, I'm more likely to believe what I'm reading in the main text is accurate and well-conceived.

EDIT: Ah, another small "tip," I guess, is that you shouldn't feel constrained to use every source provided to you. This may depend on the school (depends on the number of sources provided), but at mine you can write a winning casenote without using all the sources provided in the competition.

rando
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby rando » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:54 am

disco_barred wrote:
sanpiero wrote:For those that have graded write-on submissions in the past, a question. It would seem to me that when given more than ample time to research, plan, and write, most law students are able to do a pretty good job writing a well-organized, cohesive note on the particular issue or case assigned. That said, how difficult is it to recognize a great note from a mediocre or sub-par note? I'd be interested to know what things in particular differentiate a top note from the average or slightly-above-average notes?

So far I've noted that:
- accurate citation is crucial, obviously in the BB competition, but also in the note competition
- organization is very important, especially your introductory road map and the road map for each sub-section
- clear, concise writing in preferred to legalese and lengthy or complex sentence structure
- use headings and topic sentences when appropriate
- state your thesis in one or two sentences max

It seems to me that most, if not all, students attempting to write-on to law review would be doing these things. I guess it's another matter entirely whether the students are able to do these things well, but is there any other advice you can give for differentiating oneself from the middle of the pack?


I don't grade them, but have talked extensively with several who did. Your statements about people's capacity to do well is just false. The extreme pressure and time constraint makes people produce garbage. You underestimate how hard it is to digest hundreds of pages of material and cobble it into something coherent on paper. It's like teaching yourself a course - nobody to bounce ideas off of, nobody to point out important lines of reasoning in decisions or similarities in cases, etc.

I have it on good authority that most writings that come out of the competition just suck. Not-sucking is a good way to stand out.


Pretty accurate

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98234872348
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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby 98234872348 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:05 am

rando wrote:We offer grade-on to top 5%ish - the next 20 slots are mixed grade on/write on 33% being grades; 33% case note; 33% bb quiz. The other journals have grade on for top 10% that aren't accepted to LR and have a similar write-on procedure.

It is almost exactly the same here at UF, although there are other journals that have strictly write on competitions and I don't know the percentages assigned re: BB competition/Grades/case note.

/shameless tag.

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Re: Has anyone else looked at the old law review write on packet

Postby 2009 Prospective » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:25 am

Thanks for the excellent advice everyone. This information is far more useful than what the journals recently provided us during their meeting.




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