Former law review editor taking questions

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Will you participate in the law review write-on competition?

 
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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:07 pm

cantaboot wrote:is the standard far poorer than that of the the memo assignments submitted to professors?? :oops:

Here's the deal, many law students underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to draft a polished submission paper in the write-on competition. On top of that, many students have other obligations during the competition, such as starting their 1L summer job or traveling. As a result, many students tend to procrastinate (particularly in the days following final exams) and end up running out of time. What tends to happen, then, is that many submission papers are of relatively poor quality, probably poorer than the memo assignments submitted to professors.

However, and this is important, knowing this does not mean you should relax and rely on the fact that many of your classmates will submit poorly-written submission papers. The key is to be on top of your game and to do all you can to make sure your paper is supurb. Only by submitting a well-written, well-edited, and very polished submission paper will you make your work stand out from that of your classmates. Let your paper communicate to the graders that you deserve to be on law review.

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ggocat
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby ggocat » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:10 pm

Wes Henricksen wrote:
ggocat wrote:IIRC, you mentioned earlier that the competition was mandatory for admission to the law review at your school, correct?

I thought that low quality of submission papers at my school was due to the fact that no more than 5 people can write on, but I guess this is a universal phenomenon?

I don't think it matters how many "write-on" spots there are. At most schools, LR members are chosen mostly through a combination of write-on scores and grades. If there were only five "write-on" spots at your school, then were other spots filled partly based on the write-on score, or were all the rest "grade-on" spots?

Yep, at my school law review membership is almost entirely determined by grades (automatic without participating in the write-on competition). No more than five (and sometimes as few as zero), can write-on. Last year, only one person successfully wrote-on.

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:38 pm

ggocat wrote:Yep, at my school law review membership is almost entirely determined by grades (automatic without participating in the write-on competition). No more than five (and sometimes as few as zero), can write-on. Last year, only one person successfully wrote-on.


Wow. Almost everyone is chosen based on grades... that seems very unfair and quite contrary to the purpose of law review, which is to publish professional and student-written legal articles to further scholarship and legal analysis on key issues. Just because someone got top grades does not mean that they are the best writer and/or editor in the class. I am quite certain that your law review's membership selection method is relatively unique (although I have also heard of law reviews that, while choosing members based on a combination of grades and competition papers, only open the comeptition for students in the top 25% of the class). I think grades are a valid determining factor, but not the only determining factor--writing and editing ability should also be taken into consideration

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ggocat
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby ggocat » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:00 pm

Wes Henricksen wrote:
ggocat wrote:Yep, at my school law review membership is almost entirely determined by grades (automatic without participating in the write-on competition). No more than five (and sometimes as few as zero), can write-on. Last year, only one person successfully wrote-on.

Wow. Almost everyone is chosen based on grades... that seems very unfair and quite contrary to the purpose of law review, which is to publish professional and student-written legal articles to further scholarship and legal analysis on key issues. Just because someone got top grades does not mean that they are the best writer and/or editor in the class. I am quite certain that your law review's membership selection method is relatively unique (although I have also heard of law reviews that, while choosing members based on a combination of grades and competition papers, only open the comeptition for students in the top 25% of the class). I think grades are a valid determining factor, but not the only determining factor--writing and editing ability should also be taken into consideration

Thank you for the input. In theory I am not a fan of the selection process at my school. If a prospective student asks me for negatives about the school, that's what I typically tell them. It's also why I asked you about the "ideal" selection method on the first page of this thread. :wink:

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cantaboot
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby cantaboot » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:42 pm

what is the percentage of what you would consider decent/ good submissions at your school?
I supposed they were decent works, but with a lot of citation errors ....

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:15 pm

cantaboot wrote:what is the percentage of what you would consider decent/ good submissions at your school?
I supposed they were decent works, but with a lot of citation errors ....

At my school, I'd say that only about 10% to 20% of the submission papers were of good quality. The rest had some major problem with them, whether it was spelling and punctuation, citation, formatting, following the directions, or simply bad writing.

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:45 pm

ggocat wrote:Thank you for the input. In theory I am not a fan of the selection process at my school. If a prospective student asks me for negatives about the school, that's what I typically tell them. It's also why I asked you about the "ideal" selection method on the first page of this thread. :wink:

ggocat: It just occurred to me that you may have a great shot at making law review based on your school's competition structure. You stated that last year only one person "wrote-on" and that the maximum number of write-ons is five. What that means is, your law school's law review editors extend an invitation to the authors of the top 1 to 5 submission papers, regardless of grades. There is no reason why you should not be able to shoot for one of those spots. As I've mentioned earlier in this thread, by simply planning ahead, finding everything you can about the competition, clearing your schedule during the comptition period, and finishing up your paper early enough to give it 2 or 3 good edits. The fact that they only invited one student last year as a write-on means that no one else submitted a law-review-worthy paper, which I think represents a great opportunity for you rather than an impediment to making law review.

felicity00
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby felicity00 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:28 pm

how useful is Law review?
suppose someone with below-median grades manages to write on LR (not just a secondary journal), how much will it help him? a bump in GPA?

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TTT-LS
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby TTT-LS » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:04 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:54 pm

felicity00 wrote:how useful is Law review?
suppose someone with below-median grades manages to write on LR (not just a secondary journal), how much will it help him? a bump in GPA?


It is difficult to quantify the benefits of making law review. It is a sterling credential to have on your resume that will catch every prospective employer's eye, regardless of your grades. That said, it will not entirely make up for low grades, though it will offset them to an extent. All I can say that being on law review confers a very significant benefit on all law review members, particularly since prospective employers have so few criteria upon which to judge applicants.

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Tue May 12, 2009 4:26 pm

The write-on competition is right around the corner for most students (many start on May 20). Does anyone have any other questions? I'm happy to answer them.

meesemose
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby meesemose » Tue May 12, 2009 4:41 pm

what about questions that are very broad? my law review seems to like giving broad questions that have many different answers. should i just focus on one argument and address the major counter arguments? we only get 7 pages for the body of our "note."

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Tue May 12, 2009 7:28 pm

meesemose wrote:what about questions that are very broad? my law review seems to like giving broad questions that have many different answers. should i just focus on one argument and address the major counter arguments? we only get 7 pages for the body of our "note."


The most important thing to keep in mind is to follow the directions to a T. You should read the directions at least two times before you go about drafting your note. The directions will most likely guide you as to how you should structure your answer (e.g., whether to just focus on one argument or to try and address several arguments).

If the directions to not speak to this, I think it may be a better bet to address all the arguments that the question raises, but only going deep into one or two. Issue spotting may be a component of the grading of the submission papers at your school. Which brings me to another point: check the grading sheets to see exactly how submission papers are graded at your school. Make sure to maximize your score by performing as well as possible in the areas graded (e.g., if "issue spotting" is a category, make sure to include all issues in your note; if "analysis" is a category, make sure to flesh out the issues and address counter arguments, to the extent the limited space allows).

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Thu May 21, 2009 3:15 am

Good luck to all of you!

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Vanitas
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Vanitas » Thu May 21, 2009 3:26 am

My school assigned a ton of materials (upwards of 500 pages) and I have 5.5 days to write my ~15-page case note. I'm about 20% done with the reading, and upperclassmen have been telling me that it is wise to just pick a thesis and not read through everything. I'm struggling to figure out how wide/narrow to make my approach (the prompt gives almost no guidance - just "pick a single issue and discuss"), how I should orient myself towards the remaining reading materials, and basically whether to despair now or pick up the pace. Any help? The reading materials are a jumble of precedent cases and articles dealing with one main issue that is at the center of a recent Supreme Court decision. How would you tackle this assignment?

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youpiiz
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby youpiiz » Thu May 21, 2009 3:36 am

ive been a poor write my whole life , and i am absolutely terrified about writing :shock:
any books/methods that you would recommend to improve ones writing in general? especially with grammar style punctuation type stuff..

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ggocat
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby ggocat » Thu May 21, 2009 9:20 am

Vanitas wrote:My school assigned a ton of materials (upwards of 500 pages) and I have 5.5 days to write my ~15-page case note. I'm about 20% done with the reading, and upperclassmen have been telling me that it is wise to just pick a thesis and not read through everything. I'm struggling to figure out how wide/narrow to make my approach (the prompt gives almost no guidance - just "pick a single issue and discuss"), how I should orient myself towards the remaining reading materials, and basically whether to despair now or pick up the pace. Any help? The reading materials are a jumble of precedent cases and articles dealing with one main issue that is at the center of a recent Supreme Court decision. How would you tackle this assignment?

Does your school's honor code not prevent you from speaking with upperclassmen about strategies for the write-on competition once it has begun?

Palsgraf
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Palsgraf » Thu May 21, 2009 10:41 am

Does reading this thread constitute an honor code violation?

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cantaboot
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby cantaboot » Thu May 21, 2009 11:24 am

yes, we are expected to completely insulate ourselves from information other than in the package ....

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cantaboot
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby cantaboot » Thu May 21, 2009 11:52 am

and I am done with the 12 page memo (reading & writing took me 3 days) .... except that I have to polish the language ... and check citation and stuff

should I feel worried? - I thought it would take more time - but those cases just keep reiterating the same concepts/ statutes. I can't think of any more ideas to add.

I have worked almost non-stop for 3 days, though.

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Vanitas
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Vanitas » Thu May 21, 2009 4:39 pm

ggocat wrote:
Vanitas wrote:My school assigned a ton of materials (upwards of 500 pages) and I have 5.5 days to write my ~15-page case note. I'm about 20% done with the reading, and upperclassmen have been telling me that it is wise to just pick a thesis and not read through everything. I'm struggling to figure out how wide/narrow to make my approach (the prompt gives almost no guidance - just "pick a single issue and discuss"), how I should orient myself towards the remaining reading materials, and basically whether to despair now or pick up the pace. Any help? The reading materials are a jumble of precedent cases and articles dealing with one main issue that is at the center of a recent Supreme Court decision. How would you tackle this assignment?

Does your school's honor code not prevent you from speaking with upperclassmen about strategies for the write-on competition once it has begun?

As far as I know, you just can't talk about the substance. I haven't been speaking to these people directly - the prompt itself says that it may not be wise to read everything, and most of the remarks from upperclassmen have been comments posted on classmates' facebook status messages in which they whine about the competition.

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conch republic
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby conch republic » Fri May 22, 2009 1:00 am

I made a major mistake on my write-on. After already turning it in, I realized that the instructions called for putting a tab after every footnote, but I just left it with the one-space that Word defaults to. How much is that going to count off for me? I think that other than that gaf, I have a somewhat-decent submission.

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Fri May 22, 2009 1:38 pm

Vanitas wrote:My school assigned a ton of materials (upwards of 500 pages) and I have 5.5 days to write my ~15-page case note. I'm about 20% done with the reading, and upperclassmen have been telling me that it is wise to just pick a thesis and not read through everything. I'm struggling to figure out how wide/narrow to make my approach (the prompt gives almost no guidance - just "pick a single issue and discuss"), how I should orient myself towards the remaining reading materials, and basically whether to despair now or pick up the pace. Any help? The reading materials are a jumble of precedent cases and articles dealing with one main issue that is at the center of a recent Supreme Court decision. How would you tackle this assignment?


If you're still working on it, just relax. Hopefully you're writing about the "one main issue" that is central to the materials given to you. Hopefully you've skimmed the materials looking for support and counter-support for your argument. Make sure to briefly address counter-arguments. The most important thing is that you write a coherent and persuasive article about your issue. In order to do so, you should try and get a full draft done ASAP, so that you will have some time to review and revise it. Having 2 or 3 rounds of edits is key.

Good luck!

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Fri May 22, 2009 1:39 pm

youpiiz wrote:ive been a poor write my whole life , and i am absolutely terrified about writing :shock:
any books/methods that you would recommend to improve ones writing in general? especially with grammar style punctuation type stuff..


Strunk & White's 'The Elements of Style'

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Wes Henricksen
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Re: Former law review editor taking questions

Postby Wes Henricksen » Fri May 22, 2009 1:43 pm

Palsgraf wrote:Does reading this thread constitute an honor code violation?


I highly doubt it. Especially considering you will NOT get inside information here. The only way a problem should arise is if someone from your own law school gives you tips on what to write in your competition. This board will only give you very general advice about strategy --- you won't find any assistance on the substance of your submission paper here.




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