How important is Law Review?

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chiwachiwa
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby chiwachiwa » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:58 pm

ITT: one guy who turned down LR seeks to validate his decision. It may have worked out for him, but in attempting to validate his choice he leads numerous 0Ls and 1Ls astray.

lawyerwannabe
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby lawyerwannabe » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:23 pm

chiwachiwa wrote:ITT: one guy who turned down LR seeks to validate his decision. It may have worked out for him, but in attempting to validate his choice he leads numerous 0Ls and 1Ls astray.


Who is being led astray?

Sum up this thread:

- There is no really good reason to turn down LR; it is an excellent credential to have on the resume, regardless of school.
- If at a top school (read T14), LR may provide a boost but is hardly essential for great employment if you have pretty good grades.
- If not at a top school (read non-T14), LR may be the difference between employment and unemployment.

Ripple6783
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby Ripple6783 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:34 pm

lawyerwannabe wrote:
chiwachiwa wrote:ITT: one guy who turned down LR seeks to validate his decision. It may have worked out for him, but in attempting to validate his choice he leads numerous 0Ls and 1Ls astray.


Who is being led astray?

Sum up this thread:

- There is no really good reason to turn down LR; it is an excellent credential to have on the resume, regardless of school.
- If at a top school (read T14), LR may provide a boost but is hardly essential for great employment if you have pretty good grades.
- If not at a top school (read non-T14), LR may be the difference between employment and unemployment.


Are you contending that the basically the only people in law schools outside the top 14 who get jobs are the ones on law review?

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reformed calvinist
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby reformed calvinist » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:34 pm

After LR, what's more worthy of one's time-a skills board or a secondary journal?

lawyerwannabe
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby lawyerwannabe » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:25 pm

Ripple6783 wrote:
lawyerwannabe wrote:
chiwachiwa wrote:ITT: one guy who turned down LR seeks to validate his decision. It may have worked out for him, but in attempting to validate his choice he leads numerous 0Ls and 1Ls astray.


Who is being led astray?

Sum up this thread:

- There is no really good reason to turn down LR; it is an excellent credential to have on the resume, regardless of school.
- If at a top school (read T14), LR may provide a boost but is hardly essential for great employment if you have pretty good grades.
- If not at a top school (read non-T14), LR may be the difference between employment and unemployment.


Are you contending that the basically the only people in law schools outside the top 14 who get jobs are the ones on law review?


You did see the word "may" in there right?

midwestls
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby midwestls » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:44 pm

Riles246 wrote:
midwestls wrote:Dude, you have some valid points.

But like it or not, law review sets you apart, particularly if you want to clerk or do firm law. Speaking in generalities? Firm law is a little snobby. It's mostly people who did law review. They value law review. They feel like people who choose not to do law review are afraid of the work, whether that's the truth or not.

But it's much, much more likely to help you than hurt you, and that's why people generally think it's a good idea whether they're really in love with the idea or not.


Are you saying this as a student or as a student who interviewed with/made biglaw? Because those are some sweeping statements you are making. I did not encounter any of the people who felt like I was afraid of the work because I chose not to do LR (yes, I graded on and turned it down). They looked at my GPA, and the interview moved on to normal interview topics. LR simply had no bearing whatsoever on my interviews/callbacks/offers.

And how are you sure that it is "much, much more likely to help than hurt"? I think the exact opposite- after hearing LR students complain about how much work it is, I seriously doubt that they have as much time to devote to coursework as I do. I think LR is only likely to help if one plans on clerking, otherwise I think it is much more likely to hurt rather than help a GPA, which is the number one focus, (and many times the sole focus aside from school) of interviewers.


I'm saying it as an associate on the recruiting committee for a firm that starts is associates in six-figure range, but not at the 160k of NY/LA/Chicago Biglaw.

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Stupendous_Man
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby Stupendous_Man » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:09 pm

I complained about law review a lot this year. There are times when it is an unreasonable and inescapable nightmare. But unless you're a determined pessimist, those aren't the things that stick with you, and now that I'm close to the other side of it, I'm glad I did it. For one, it's a solid resume boost. Fair or not, the mindset of a lot of hiring attorneys I've talked to is if you're not on law review, it's because you didn't make it. That said, I do know someone who had the grades to grade-on but just didn't want to do it, and he still got a big law job.

But more than that, it's just something I'd never done before and won't get to do again, and I learned a lot. I had to write a note, which was longer than anything I've ever written in my life, so that was probably good for me. It's also changed the way I edit; I now have an obsessive attention to detail (for better or worse) and a solid grasp of bluebooking and the Chicago Manual of Style. While a small part of me dies inside to admit that, and this new knowledge has probably pushed out some of my childhood memories, it's already come in handy at work and will continue to pay off. Could I have learned this stuff way less painfully through independent effort? Yeah. Was I about to spend my free time doing that without any credit? Hell no. So in the end, I've come away with some great and useful skills, and a permanent line on my resume, all for a few lamer weeks/weekends in law school I'm going to forget about by next year.

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Blindmelon
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby Blindmelon » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:15 am

LR is a horrid, annoying thing. If you don't go to a T14 school though, I think you should jump on it. Going to MVP range schools, or even DCN gives you instant credibility, but once you hit the GWs/BUs/BCs of the world, having LR/Magna or whatever, gives you the cred that those who go to MVP, etc. get just from being at that school. I know it sounds stupid, but outside of clerkships and "elite" firms, most people don't care whether someone from Penn was top 1/3rd or top 10%. They will care, however, if you're not from an elite school and don't have some sort of distinction. It kind of sticks out.

tarp
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby tarp » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:27 am

My school had a write-on, not a grade-on, and I chose not to even bother. I have better things to do... such as learning the actual law in the area I wish to practice in. Of course, YMMV.

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Ludo!
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby Ludo! » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:32 am

tarp wrote:My school had a write-on, not a grade-on, and I chose not to even bother. I have better things to do... such as learning the actual law in the area I wish to practice in. Of course, YMMV.


Image

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kalvano
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby kalvano » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:12 pm

A lot of firms have a checklist of stuff they look for on a resume that determines whether or not you get an interview. It could be a certain class rank, could be law review, could be moot court or mock trial. Sometimes certain things will supersede other things - a particular class rank will make up for no law review, or something like that.

Outside the top-end firms where everyone knows what they want, you won't know what's important to a particular employer. I talked to one guy whose firm couldn't care less about law review, but wanted to see lots of mock trial and moot court. Another firm with which you would not get an interview if you didn't have law review or journal experience.

Since you don't know for a lot of firms what they want to see, it's important to not close any doors. It's a percentage game - the likelihood a firm will require (or heavily favor) people with law review is much higher than them valuing something else more than law review.

It's not the most awesome thing ever, but law review will make you a better writer, and you will learn citations to the point that you don't need the Bluebook for a lot of them, which helps your writing later on.

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TTH
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby TTH » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:37 pm

kalvano wrote:It's not the most awesome thing ever, but law review will make you a better writer, and you will learn citations to the point that you don't need the Bluebook for a lot of them, which helps your writing later on.


But just to be clear that there's nothing in law school that you get to feel 100% good about, mastering the Bluebook via Journal will only serve to drive you crazy when you have to do local public domain citations.

Carry on.

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reformed calvinist
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby reformed calvinist » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:38 pm

Making me feel guilty for not doing mock trial this semester. My future rides on moot court and the journal competition...no pressure.

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Chupavida
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby Chupavida » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:36 am

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Last edited by Chupavida on Sun May 27, 2012 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

apl6783
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby apl6783 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:32 am

Chupavida wrote:I figure I'll add some thoughts to this thread as it's something I've thought about recently. It's also not writing my note.

Context: 2L, top 5% after 1L, graded on to LR, biglaw lined up, lead articles editor. Random other factors: quite averse to pointless work and/or being anybody's bitch, especially if I'm not being paid for it, recovering serial procrastinator (four days clean!), social (not a gunner/shut-in/unlikeable asshole), shitty pre-law resume.

Given the choice, joining the law review is a rare opportunity to add something permanent to your resume. At this point, I'm never going to be a Harvard grad, and after the first semester, I wasn't going to be #1 in the class. I'm not at a school where the cutoffs for Summa/Magna are such that I'd feel the need to avoid responsibilities to be sure of graduating with those honors. Even if you are #1 at Harvard, you're still going to be competing with the #1 at SLS/YLS, EIC of LR, college athlete, ex-Army Ranger, "brokered an African peace treaty at 17" people for Ambassador to China or whatever it is #1 at Harvard people shoot for.

With respect to signaling and whether it's mandatory for biglaw if you are above X% at Y school and can reasonably expect to get a job, I'd fall in line with those who say it still matters. Sure, you can get a job without it. But unless you'll be using the extra time to do something that matters more (and I don't deny that those things exist) you're not taking full advantage of an opportunity to mitigate the risk that you'll miss a networking opportunity (and maybe a job) with the "LR elitist asshole" referenced above, to say nothing of the risk you might end up out on your ass sooner than you expect, left with little more than your LS resume to get you your next job. It's not 2007; reasonable people don't take needless risks, particularly if "so I can be drunk more" or "my WoW toon needs a lot of maintenance" are the justifications for doing so.

There is a reasonable argument to be made that these are the last years of our lives, and that they are worth enjoying. That's not the sort of math anyone can do for you, but there are plenty of people who do journal without it depriving them of their last few gasps of fresh air before biglaw. Hell, even with my current workload I'm not sure I'd be any happier if I had more time to dick around on the internet.

The drudgery of cite checking is undeniably miserable, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't give me a chance to work on my "attention to detail" which, as it turns out, is more than a cliche for high-end legal work.

Finally, there's a social aspect to law review that I don't think has been mentioned. Perhaps its the shared suffering, or the fact that our editing process puts 2Ls to work with different people each week, but law review has been a great opportunity to branch out of my core group of friends and the people I knew from my 1L section. To the extent that you're not already best friends with your entire school, and/or you're interested in building relationships with people you may be working with for the rest of your life, there's real value in the networking aspect. YMMV depending on how your journal works.

To the guy who brought up value of student-run law reviews, you're not really telling the whole story. There's a healthy debate on the subject in the academy; I won't rehash it here. What matters for the purposes of the modern law student is that they aren't going away. As someone who is neck-deep in articles on everything from blowjobs to bailouts, I will say that choosing and editing articles is not rocket science. To assert otherwise is to give a lot of law professors too much credit, while underestimating the ability of a bright 2L to recognize solid analysis packaged in quality prose. The ratio of truly shitty scholarship to stuff that's worth reading (insert cliche caveat about the worth of legal scholarship) would likely surprise you. Where editors do need help, particularly with the evaluation of claims that works are novel or that they add to the conversation, they can, and do, reach out to their local expert.


Does the fact that Diablo 3 is coming out in May change your views?

sdlawnative
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby sdlawnative » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:40 pm

Ripple6783 wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:Other than the name of your law school and your gpa/class rank, there is nothing better to distinguish you than making law review. Not doing it when you could is like turning down a prize in a competition - you win the race but decline to take the podium and receive your medal?

There is no higher accomplishment in law school than getting onto law review (well, except honorifics like cum laude and such). Do it, absolutely do it. I was on law review, and I will admit something - when I learn about a peer who didn't make law review, I know I'm not talking to someone who stood out from their peers in law school. This may not even be a valid thought - I do know people who for one reason or another simply couldn't do the write-on, and missed out but were still incredibly talented. But I still think it - and its always a ding against an interviewee.

For those who say its hard work - yeah, but nothing good is easy. It took time and work, but so what? I wasn't in law school for the fun of it, I was there to increase the amount of salary I could command in the jobs market.

The upside of law review will ALWAYS outweigh the downside, in my opinion.


"You know you're not talking to someone who stood out from their peers?" Is that a joke? How about - you didn't distinguish yourself from your peers because you had to write on and couldn't grade on like a man. Kidding, sort of.

In all seriousness, I have the same question as OP. Assuming I can grade onto LR (which may not be the case, my grades might drop but right now I'm well within the limits for grading onto it) after second semester, why should I? If I've already got two 1L SA's lined up, and if my 2nd semester grades continue to be good such that I could grade on, why would I?

What can I get from doing LR that I can't get already if I don't want to go into academia or clerk?

Also, law review is a scam. The school gets free labor to run its journal, which is the only place law professors can get published. Their entire bogus profession is supported by the sweat and tears of unpaid, overstressed law students. For what? So you can learn more about blue book? At what cost?

Is there really a firm job that someone who can grade onto law review couldn't get without doing law review?



Scam or not, it seems like a silly tradition that has been going on for a very long time and so will naturally come up during interviews. I choose not to do law review, but the reason is because I plan to quickly move into my own practice, and because I have the prior experience that would allow me to do so.

If you are aspiring to work in BigLaw, then it sounds like you have to embrace the herd mentality (so prevalent in law school) and do the mind-numbing work. If, on the other hand, you have the guts and creativity to step outside of the box, I would suggest figuring out something more valuable to do with your time.

Time is a precious resource, and I believe that simply doing law school just because everyone else is doing it is completely ridiculous. In terms of the actual benefits of it, give me a break. If a person is really interested in improving their writing skills, I’m sure there are better ways than cite-checking articles. All of the “benefits” seem to just be attempts to hide the fact that it is merely a resume booster. But there comes a point when you have to wonder whether you could get more out of life and your career by not worrying so much about what somebody else thinks of your resume, and instead focus more on what exactly it is that you want to do with your time.

Miller32
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby Miller32 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:52 pm

Law review (or any other journal) sucks, but it really does make you a much better writer and much better with the bluebook. Both skills are very important if doing litigation, whether in biglaw, government or whatever. The work product I turn in now at my firm is much more polished simply because of the skills I gained/improved on through law review.

Anyone that says anything different is not on a journal, and is trying to justify their decision or make themselves feel better about the fact that they didn't make the cut. Sorry.

That said, it is a fairly miserable experience, and I couldn't agree more that the whole system is bullshit.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:56 pm

Being a law review staff member is a neccesary evil on the way to becoming a law review editor.

sparty99
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby sparty99 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:11 pm

sdlawnative wrote:
Ripple6783 wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:Other than the name of your law school and your gpa/class rank, there is nothing better to distinguish you than making law review. Not doing it when you could is like turning down a prize in a competition - you win the race but decline to take the podium and receive your medal?

There is no higher accomplishment in law school than getting onto law review (well, except honorifics like cum laude and such). Do it, absolutely do it. I was on law review, and I will admit something - when I learn about a peer who didn't make law review, I know I'm not talking to someone who stood out from their peers in law school. This may not even be a valid thought - I do know people who for one reason or another simply couldn't do the write-on, and missed out but were still incredibly talented. But I still think it - and its always a ding against an interviewee.

For those who say its hard work - yeah, but nothing good is easy. It took time and work, but so what? I wasn't in law school for the fun of it, I was there to increase the amount of salary I could command in the jobs market.

The upside of law review will ALWAYS outweigh the downside, in my opinion.


"You know you're not talking to someone who stood out from their peers?" Is that a joke? How about - you didn't distinguish yourself from your peers because you had to write on and couldn't grade on like a man. Kidding, sort of.

In all seriousness, I have the same question as OP. Assuming I can grade onto LR (which may not be the case, my grades might drop but right now I'm well within the limits for grading onto it) after second semester, why should I? If I've already got two 1L SA's lined up, and if my 2nd semester grades continue to be good such that I could grade on, why would I?

What can I get from doing LR that I can't get already if I don't want to go into academia or clerk?

Also, law review is a scam. The school gets free labor to run its journal, which is the only place law professors can get published. Their entire bogus profession is supported by the sweat and tears of unpaid, overstressed law students. For what? So you can learn more about blue book? At what cost?

Is there really a firm job that someone who can grade onto law review couldn't get without doing law review?



Scam or not, it seems like a silly tradition that has been going on for a very long time and so will naturally come up during interviews. I choose not to do law review, but the reason is because I plan to quickly move into my own practice, and because I have the prior experience that would allow me to do so.

If you are aspiring to work in BigLaw, then it sounds like you have to embrace the herd mentality (so prevalent in law school) and do the mind-numbing work. If, on the other hand, you have the guts and creativity to step outside of the box, I would suggest figuring out something more valuable to do with your time.

Time is a precious resource, and I believe that simply doing law school just because everyone else is doing it is completely ridiculous. In terms of the actual benefits of it, give me a break. If a person is really interested in improving their writing skills, I’m sure there are better ways than cite-checking articles. All of the “benefits” seem to just be attempts to hide the fact that it is merely a resume booster. But there comes a point when you have to wonder whether you could get more out of life and your career by not worrying so much about what somebody else thinks of your resume, and instead focus more on what exactly it is that you want to do with your time.


+10,000

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Emma.
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby Emma. » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:26 pm

Adding my voice to the ranks of folks who found Law Review to be a complete waste of time and energy. It definitely ruined my 2L year.

For people like OP with clearly defined goals (as well as the right life experience to have a good idea that those goals make sense for him/her and aren't just a pipe dream) then I think turning down LR is completely reasonable.

I would try to gun for grad honors/order of the coif or something though. Those things are probably pretty nice to throw on your website profile when you go into practice with your MIL.

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dingbat
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby dingbat » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:32 pm

I've heard from a biglaw hiring partner that while they don't substantively care about LR (or secondary journal), not having LR (or secondary journal) raises red flags - they ask why you did not get onto LR (or secondary journal)

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Emma.
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby Emma. » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:33 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:Other than the name of your law school and your gpa/class rank, there is nothing better to distinguish you than making law review. Not doing it when you could is like turning down a prize in a competition - you win the race but decline to take the podium and receive your medal?

There is no higher accomplishment in law school than getting onto law review (well, except honorifics like cum laude and such). Do it, absolutely do it. I was on law review, and I will admit something - when I learn about a peer who didn't make law review, I know I'm not talking to someone who stood out from their peers in law school. This may not even be a valid thought - I do know people who for one reason or another simply couldn't do the write-on, and missed out but were still incredibly talented. But I still think it - and its always a ding against an interviewee.

For those who say its hard work - yeah, but nothing good is easy. It took time and work, but so what? I wasn't in law school for the fun of it, I was there to increase the amount of salary I could command in the jobs market.

The upside of law review will ALWAYS outweigh the downside, in my opinion.

Having to spend hours with people who think like this is one of the biggest downsides of LR (and law school in general).

CanadianWolf
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:49 pm

As mentioned earlier in this thread, law review may be more important for those attending non-T-14, or, in my opinion, non-T-6, law schools. If you have good grades at a T-14, you'll probably end up in biglaw if that's your goal, but may be less competitive for an article III clerkship, however.
In my opinion, turning down an invitation to join law review is a bit on the foolish side since membership shows that you are willing to endure drudgery encountered in biglaw during one's first few years.
During the high demand years for new lawyers, many firms held special receptions for law review members while the law review EIC & managing editor were often invited for dinners & outings by major firms. In short, law review members were courted by biglaw firms.

P.S. All members were required to write-on, but only the top 20% or top 25% were eligible to receive the write-on packet.

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deebs
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby deebs » Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:37 pm

If you know how to research and don't care about being published, it's like maybe 2 hours a week average, if that. It also gives you an excuse to take a long walk to the undergrad library to pull some books no one has read in 30 years besides the guy who wrote the article.

My notes editor told me my note was one of the worst, but I still got credit. And I got to write about the real money auction house in Diablo 3 for 45 pages.

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quakeroats
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Re: How important is Law Review?

Postby quakeroats » Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:23 pm

deebs wrote:If you know how to research and don't care about being published, it's like maybe 2 hours a week average, if that. It also gives you an excuse to take a long walk to the undergrad library to pull some books no one has read in 30 years besides the guy who wrote the article.

My notes editor told me my note was one of the worst, but I still got credit. And I got to write about the real money auction house in Diablo 3 for 45 pages.


You mentioned a point that hasn't been discussed, but is worth noting. It's very difficult to be kicked off of a journal, and other than when someone refuses to do anything, I've never heard of it happening. If you're worried about having the credential and don't want to do the work, there are few safeguards to prevent you from doing a second-rate job. Your colleagues might think you're stupid/devious, but by then you've already cashed in the credential. Judging from the notes I've read, this is a common, although unspoken, strategy.




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