Law Review AND Law review contests

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:20 pm

2L is all cite-checking, all the way (and it is pretty mindless). But at my school 3Ls did a ton of substantive editing. Now, by this I partly mean how to make the argument more than what the argument is, per se - so issues of organization/redundancy/logic more than pure content (so, saying "section 3 of this argument would make more sense coming before section 2"'or even "section 3 repeats much of section 2 so can you either fold the two together or make section 3 more distinguishable", rather than, "section 3 should talk about Case X" or "the article needs to talk about Scalia."). But I am huge on the editing/revision process so I consider that fairly substantive at the article level rather than at a sentence/paragraph level. Also, we generally wouldn't pick an article to publish that we thought had significant content issues (although we would accept a piece and say something like "but we need you to beef up section 3" or "we need you to cut x words and section 3 might be a good option." However, that was the board's job and usually happened before the general members would even see the piece).

However, I think we were known as one of the more hands-on journals that made a lot of changes to the articles, so we may have been at one end of a spectrum. Also, although 3Ls did this work, you did it much more intensely if you were a board member, particularly an Articles Editor.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:53 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:My school's write-on didn't include substantive edits. But I think you can assume they won't expect you to know very much about the topic (if it's typical of the specialized, highly-detailed/focused articles you tend to get in a LR), and so the editing stuff would be more for grammar/style than substance. That is, apart from typos/grammar errors, you could be expected to edit to remove redundancies, improve transitions, maybe restructure something for greater clarity, but I'd be surprised if you were expected really to edit for content (except perhaps to note where cites are needed, or possibly if an argument just doesn't make logical sense).

I see. I ask because I have a lot of journal editing experience, so my thought is that if I can't separate myself in the Bluebooking, then maybe I could do so in the substantive edits, but I guess that's kind of up to what piece they give out.

Thanks for all the advice.

What do you mean by substantive edits? The editing job of a LR staffer is about 100% Bluebooking (or Maroonbooking if your journal is preftigious) and checking spelling/grammar/Chicago Manual of Style. Nobody is looking for a 2L or 3L to make substantive edits (or even substantive recommendations) during the editing process. This may vary based on school and journal, but I'd be surprised if it varies by very much.

Yea, I understand that 2L journal is basically all Blueblooking, but I was just curious about how to approach doing substantive edits on the piece for the write-on competition if the competition is for any/all editing and not just Blueblooking.

Gorki
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby Gorki » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:56 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:My school's write-on didn't include substantive edits. But I think you can assume they won't expect you to know very much about the topic (if it's typical of the specialized, highly-detailed/focused articles you tend to get in a LR), and so the editing stuff would be more for grammar/style than substance. That is, apart from typos/grammar errors, you could be expected to edit to remove redundancies, improve transitions, maybe restructure something for greater clarity, but I'd be surprised if you were expected really to edit for content (except perhaps to note where cites are needed, or possibly if an argument just doesn't make logical sense).

I see. I ask because I have a lot of journal editing experience, so my thought is that if I can't separate myself in the Bluebooking, then maybe I could do so in the substantive edits, but I guess that's kind of up to what piece they give out.

Thanks for all the advice.

What do you mean by substantive edits? The editing job of a LR staffer is about 100% Bluebooking (or Maroonbooking if your journal is preftigious) and checking spelling/grammar/Chicago Manual of Style. Nobody is looking for a 2L or 3L to make substantive edits (or even substantive recommendations) during the editing process. This may vary based on school and journal, but I'd be surprised if it varies by very much.

Yea, I understand that 2L journal is basically all Blueblooking, but I was just curious about how to approach doing substantive edits on the piece for the write-on competition if the competition is for any/all editing and not just Blueblooking.


I guess I am confused. You write your own note, and basically I just used the Bluebook and my school's LRW book as my style guide. You could ask if your school uses CMOS or some other style book for your own actual substantive edits (this might actually give you a leg up b/c not many people will have time or think to do this). My school's quiz was just 30 really bizarre bluebook citations, there was no content beyond the list of citations.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:18 pm

I think Doorkeeper means that his law review write-on requires substantive edits beyond writing a note and Bluebook citations.

MVPson
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby MVPson » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:26 pm

This helped me back in the day. Best of luck.

"FIVER'S RAMBLING THOUGHTS ABOUT GETTING ON LAW REVIEW

Follow the directions. No, really; follow the directions. This will put you ahead of 40% of your classmates. This especially means getting your margins right, not going over the page limit, and not monkeying with your fonts (which are basically instant killers), but it also means taking every sentence in the guide and making damn well sure you're implementing it. If the guidelines say, "every paragraph must have a topic sentence," make sure every paragraph has a topic sentence. If the guidelines say "use the active voice," make sure that every sentence written is in the active voice. (You should try to do the latter, regardless.) If they provide a model as a guide -- which Michigan does -- you should mimic the style of the model, which usually goes like:

TITLE (so many people don't do this!)

- Introductory paragraph which attempts to be compelling.

- Statement of problem.

- Statement of thesis, followed by detailed roadmap.

Do all of this.

While writing your bit: the materials will be long enough, and your guidelines short enough, that you should NOT follow the law school exam spot-all-the-issues model. Spot one issue, but spot every aspect of it. Go deep instead of broad. Identify one major argument in favor of the position you want to take, with a few counterarguments. This gives you an easy Part I (introduce the argument) and Part II/III (address the counterarguments) (as an aside, depending on how the prompt is being written). The easiest way to do this is to take notes when you are reading the materials, and classify the kind of argument that the materials are making as you read. Be fair to your counterarguments: don't set up straw men, and if they have a good point, admit the truth of it, but explain why you should stick with your argument anyway ("This may result in policy outcome X, but on balance the harm is less." "This may result in policy outcome X, but the text of the statute is clear and it is not the job of the courts to second-guess Congress.")

Answer the question. Make sure your thesis statement is tailored to answer the prompt. If the prompt is, "What can Kevin do?" your thesis statement should be, "Kevin can avail himself of remedies under Title XX." Your thesis statement should NOT be "There are many remedies under Title XX when things go wrong." Nor should it be, "Kevin got screwed, and this is much like in this other case." Figure out what the question is, then answer the question.

If you answer the question and follow directions, you will be ahead of 50% of your classmates. So how do you get ahead of the rest of them?

Regarding arguments: it is better to make a simple, supportable, common-sense argument than it is to make a complicated argument that you think might win you points for being clever.

Contrary to the assertion above, *never* assume that the person reading your submission hasn't read the packet. In fact, you should assume that the person reading your submission created the packet (at Michigan, this is extremely likely), and that they will be most displeased if you sound like you didn't delve into the materials (yes, it will be obvious).

Bluebooking: do it right. Check it three times. Make sure you check substance, form (what goes where), and typeface. Also make sure that you are either hardcoding your supra note X citations into the document (insert cross-reference in MS word, I think), or that you check their accuracy ruthlessly. If you can provide a pincite, do. You can provide a pincite just about anywhere -- exceptions are to first-time case mentions (e.g., In _This_Case_[1], the Court held that there were no chickens.[2] [1]=citation to case sans pincite, and [2]=pincite to holding).

Specific things to look for when bluebooking:

* Remember that there is a period at the end of every citation sentence. Even the ones that look like this:

/See/ Blah Blah Blah v. Blah, 17 F.4d 132, 136 (9th Cir. 2002) ("This case is very blah.").

* Remember that citation signals are italicized. And that the comma between the see and the e.g. in "See, e.g.," is italicized, but the comma at the end of the e.g. is not.

* Don't forget BB 1.3 & 1.4, describing order of authorities and signals. These are very important.

* I don't advise that you write like this generally, but err on the side of over-citing and over-explaining the relevance of your citation. Including quotations in your cites (which you should check three times!) or explanatory parentheticals will drastically help the substance-checkers out there.

Writing Style: Many people have a really bad habit of writing like they're trying to sound smart, with the end result that their writing is hard to read. Don't use words that you wouldn't use in talking to a reasonably legally savvy friend about the materials (which, of course, you can't do, but pretend). Write simply and clearly. Use short sentences. If you want to spice up your writing, use verbs that are actually verbs instead of verbs that are coopted nouns (e.g., use "motivate" instead of "incentivize"). Don't try to write beautifully. Don't write to impress. Write to make an argument: if your writing style makes it harder to figure out what your argument is, your writing style will lose you points.

Start early. Read the materials, and then give yourself some time to think about what you've read. Outline first, but don't doggedly insist on sticking to your outline if you find that your argument is totally unworkable.

Don't assume that there is something about you that makes you an instant law review winner. At least at Michigan, there is no quality you can have that guarantees you a spot, except an exceptional writing competition. A crappy writing competition would doom anyone.

As to diversity essays: don't assume that because you're male, rich, or white that there's nothing diverse about you. Some of the best diversity essays I read were from white males. Contrary to popular opinion, we're not looking for knee-jerk responses here where you list your minority group memberships in a vacuum. The best thing you can do is take something that is different about you (and my god, there better be something different about you!) and connect it to legal scholarship: what perspective would you bring to the Law Review that would help us produce a better product? If you show that you're *thinking* about legal scholarship, you'll be at an advantage. The diversity essay isn't supposed to be your way of saying "this is how life has screwed me." It's supposed to be your way of saying, "You can't imagine a law review class without me, and here's why."

Take everything you hand in seriously. It's really obvious when you're blowing them off, and we spend a substantial amount of time during our summers going through your materials with a fine-toothed comb. If you can't be bothered to make a serious effort with everything that you send us, we can't be bothered to extend you an offer. Really."

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thr ... =2#5586935

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:46 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think Doorkeeper means that his law review write-on requires substantive edits beyond writing a note and Bluebook citations.

Yes, this is correct. I was asking about how to go about with this part of the editing process for the article we're given.

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ilovesf
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby ilovesf » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:55 pm

Every school has a different contest, so advice here is not universal. We had to write a legal memo based on cases provided to us. I didn't read any book or anything to prepare for it. Ours started basically the day after finals and I thought it would be a waste of my time.

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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:27 pm

ilovesf wrote:Every school has a different contest, so advice here is not universal. We had to write a legal memo based on cases provided to us. I didn't read any book or anything to prepare for it. Ours started basically the day after finals and I thought it would be a waste of my time.

A legal memo, like in LRW, an objective piece answering a specific question/addressing an issue basically given to you? Not a mini-law review article type of thing? (Not that it matters, I'm just curious.)

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ilovesf
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby ilovesf » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:29 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
ilovesf wrote:Every school has a different contest, so advice here is not universal. We had to write a legal memo based on cases provided to us. I didn't read any book or anything to prepare for it. Ours started basically the day after finals and I thought it would be a waste of my time.

A legal memo, like in LRW, an objective piece answering a specific question/addressing an issue basically given to you? Not a mini-law review article type of thing? (Not that it matters, I'm just curious.)

Yeah. I don't know why it was so different from other schools, probably because my school sucks in comparison to a lot of the other schools here.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:33 pm

ilovesf wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
ilovesf wrote:Every school has a different contest, so advice here is not universal. We had to write a legal memo based on cases provided to us. I didn't read any book or anything to prepare for it. Ours started basically the day after finals and I thought it would be a waste of my time.

A legal memo, like in LRW, an objective piece answering a specific question/addressing an issue basically given to you? Not a mini-law review article type of thing? (Not that it matters, I'm just curious.)

Yeah. I don't know why it was so different from other schools, probably because my school sucks in comparison to a lot of the other schools here.

Ha ha, don't worry, mine does too. :wink: (FWIW, the legal memo is probably easier for students to grade.)

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ph14
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby ph14 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:59 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:What do you mean by significant note section? Do you mean citations/technical editing? If so, the main point is to see if you'll be able to do cite-checks/technical edits reliably, without someone else basically having to redo them completely. The actual essay is usually weighted more heavily but there is a lot of value to having people on the LR who are meticulous about getting fine details correct even if they can't write a very interesting essay, so a really high score on this can help you.

That said, it's all based on my school (T1, so yours is probably better!) and its write-on scoring process, which tends to get debated/revisited each year anyway, so I'm sure it totally varies. But really, I think the point of having a write-on competition rather than going purely off grades is to look for as much evidence as you can that someone is actually going to put in the work and make your (the 3L's) life easier. Reliability, competence, thoroughness can take you further than raw brilliance (or at least, almost as far?). Again, IME, YMMV, etc.

No, I mean that you're supposed to write a note about recent CoA/SC case.

I guess that's the "actual essay" that you're referring to?

Thanks for all of your input so far!


Doorkeeper, you would probably get more out of asking this question on a HLS specific thread, as our competition differs from other schools. For the Bluebooking portion, you will be limited to only about a few dozen pages out of the Bluebook to make actual Bluebook edits. The rest of it is less technical editing that you don't need to know anything about the Bluebook to do (typos, organization, citation does not support, pincite is wrong, etc.). For the case comment section, follow the suggested structure strictly. Write in a simple, straightforward, and clear style -- don't try and be fancy. Make a narrow argument, narrower than you think, and flesh it out thoroughly (or as thoroughly as possible in your page limit). You will get a huge packet and may feel pressured to use as much of it as possible, but that's a mistake. You might only use a fraction of the packet, but that's okay because it is designed to provide for many different possible commentaries on the case. The trickiest part is choosing a thesis that is narrow enough to be developed but broad enough to be interesting.

But most importantly, don't worry about this until after you're done with spring semester. You don't need to do any prep work at all. Maybe read the relevant portions of Volokh's legal writing book the day before the competition (you have a full day break after the last day of finals). But because we have a suggested structure, his book is not nearly as helpful as it might be in other write-on competitions.

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thelawyler
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby thelawyler » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:30 pm

Did people read those materials after finals and before starting it, or now?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:19 pm

I think I read [parts of] Volokh sometime during spring semester (there's stuff in Volokh specific to LR competitions, and other stuff about publishing more generally; I just read the LR stuff. Even the whole book isn't that long, though). But that's partly because our competition began literally as soon as exams were over.

tigershark
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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby tigershark » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:38 pm

Tagging

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Re: Law Review AND Law review contests

Postby wLaw_candidate » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:15 pm

MVPson wrote:This helped me back in the day. Best of luck.

"FIVER'S RAMBLING THOUGHTS ABOUT GETTING ON LAW REVIEW

Follow the directions. No, really; follow the directions. This will put you ahead of 40% of your classmates. This especially means getting your margins right, not going over the page limit, and not monkeying with your fonts (which are basically instant killers), but it also means taking every sentence in the guide and making damn well sure you're implementing it. If the guidelines say, "every paragraph must have a topic sentence," make sure every paragraph has a topic sentence. If the guidelines say "use the active voice," make sure that every sentence written is in the active voice. (You should try to do the latter, regardless.) If they provide a model as a guide -- which Michigan does -- you should mimic the style of the model, which usually goes like:

TITLE (so many people don't do this!)

- Introductory paragraph which attempts to be compelling.

- Statement of problem.

- Statement of thesis, followed by detailed roadmap.

Do all of this.

While writing your bit: the materials will be long enough, and your guidelines short enough, that you should NOT follow the law school exam spot-all-the-issues model. Spot one issue, but spot every aspect of it. Go deep instead of broad. Identify one major argument in favor of the position you want to take, with a few counterarguments. This gives you an easy Part I (introduce the argument) and Part II/III (address the counterarguments) (as an aside, depending on how the prompt is being written). The easiest way to do this is to take notes when you are reading the materials, and classify the kind of argument that the materials are making as you read. Be fair to your counterarguments: don't set up straw men, and if they have a good point, admit the truth of it, but explain why you should stick with your argument anyway ("This may result in policy outcome X, but on balance the harm is less." "This may result in policy outcome X, but the text of the statute is clear and it is not the job of the courts to second-guess Congress.")

Answer the question. Make sure your thesis statement is tailored to answer the prompt. If the prompt is, "What can Kevin do?" your thesis statement should be, "Kevin can avail himself of remedies under Title XX." Your thesis statement should NOT be "There are many remedies under Title XX when things go wrong." Nor should it be, "Kevin got screwed, and this is much like in this other case." Figure out what the question is, then answer the question.

If you answer the question and follow directions, you will be ahead of 50% of your classmates. So how do you get ahead of the rest of them?

Regarding arguments: it is better to make a simple, supportable, common-sense argument than it is to make a complicated argument that you think might win you points for being clever.

Contrary to the assertion above, *never* assume that the person reading your submission hasn't read the packet. In fact, you should assume that the person reading your submission created the packet (at Michigan, this is extremely likely), and that they will be most displeased if you sound like you didn't delve into the materials (yes, it will be obvious).

Bluebooking: do it right. Check it three times. Make sure you check substance, form (what goes where), and typeface. Also make sure that you are either hardcoding your supra note X citations into the document (insert cross-reference in MS word, I think), or that you check their accuracy ruthlessly. If you can provide a pincite, do. You can provide a pincite just about anywhere -- exceptions are to first-time case mentions (e.g., In _This_Case_[1], the Court held that there were no chickens.[2] [1]=citation to case sans pincite, and [2]=pincite to holding).

Specific things to look for when bluebooking:

* Remember that there is a period at the end of every citation sentence. Even the ones that look like this:

/See/ Blah Blah Blah v. Blah, 17 F.4d 132, 136 (9th Cir. 2002) ("This case is very blah.").

* Remember that citation signals are italicized. And that the comma between the see and the e.g. in "See, e.g.," is italicized, but the comma at the end of the e.g. is not.

* Don't forget BB 1.3 & 1.4, describing order of authorities and signals. These are very important.

* I don't advise that you write like this generally, but err on the side of over-citing and over-explaining the relevance of your citation. Including quotations in your cites (which you should check three times!) or explanatory parentheticals will drastically help the substance-checkers out there.

Writing Style: Many people have a really bad habit of writing like they're trying to sound smart, with the end result that their writing is hard to read. Don't use words that you wouldn't use in talking to a reasonably legally savvy friend about the materials (which, of course, you can't do, but pretend). Write simply and clearly. Use short sentences. If you want to spice up your writing, use verbs that are actually verbs instead of verbs that are coopted nouns (e.g., use "motivate" instead of "incentivize"). Don't try to write beautifully. Don't write to impress. Write to make an argument: if your writing style makes it harder to figure out what your argument is, your writing style will lose you points.

Start early. Read the materials, and then give yourself some time to think about what you've read. Outline first, but don't doggedly insist on sticking to your outline if you find that your argument is totally unworkable.

Don't assume that there is something about you that makes you an instant law review winner. At least at Michigan, there is no quality you can have that guarantees you a spot, except an exceptional writing competition. A crappy writing competition would doom anyone.

As to diversity essays: don't assume that because you're male, rich, or white that there's nothing diverse about you. Some of the best diversity essays I read were from white males. Contrary to popular opinion, we're not looking for knee-jerk responses here where you list your minority group memberships in a vacuum. The best thing you can do is take something that is different about you (and my god, there better be something different about you!) and connect it to legal scholarship: what perspective would you bring to the Law Review that would help us produce a better product? If you show that you're *thinking* about legal scholarship, you'll be at an advantage. The diversity essay isn't supposed to be your way of saying "this is how life has screwed me." It's supposed to be your way of saying, "You can't imagine a law review class without me, and here's why."

Take everything you hand in seriously. It's really obvious when you're blowing them off, and we spend a substantial amount of time during our summers going through your materials with a fine-toothed comb. If you can't be bothered to make a serious effort with everything that you send us, we can't be bothered to extend you an offer. Really."

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thr ... =2#5586935


^Great advice! I used this advice in various writing projects. Over the break I will use this for a writing contest.




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