Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

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Are non-EIC executive board positions worth the trouble?

Yes, they provide an appreciable boost to clerkship applicants.
11
44%
Yes, but mainly for the experience.
1
4%
Some non-EIC positions are worthwhile for clerkships; I'll clarify in my comments.
7
28%
No, judges only care about editor-in-chief, so other positions aren't worth the time commitment.
4
16%
No, judges don't care about executive board at all, so you're better off publishing a Note or getting good grades.
2
8%
 
Total votes: 25

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Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:30 pm

We're nearing transition time for law reviews. Let's settle this age-old debate once and for all. For clerkship applicants, do the benefits of serving on a law review's executive board outweigh the costs?

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:31 am

Honestly, in a lot of cases, the only board position not worth doing is EIC. The bump that one gets from being EIC is often marginal and the cost, grade-wise, can be substantial.

There are a lot of judges who like to see a board position (and for some its a necessary condition) -- so try to find a substantive one that you either enjoy or involves the least amount of work.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby drmguy » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:29 pm

I'm curious about this. Board elections are right around the corner.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:30 pm

ClerkAdvisor wrote:Honestly, in a lot of cases, the only board position not worth doing is EIC. The bump that one gets from being EIC is often marginal and the cost, grade-wise, can be substantial.

There are a lot of judges who like to see a board position (and for some its a necessary condition) -- so try to find a substantive one that you either enjoy or involves the least amount of work.


What about the argument that a position like "Managing Editor" has different meanings at different schools and therefore its utility as a credential is limited?

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ClerkAdvisor wrote:Honestly, in a lot of cases, the only board position not worth doing is EIC. The bump that one gets from being EIC is often marginal and the cost, grade-wise, can be substantial.

There are a lot of judges who like to see a board position (and for some its a necessary condition) -- so try to find a substantive one that you either enjoy or involves the least amount of work.


What about the argument that a position like "Managing Editor" has different meanings at different schools and therefore its utility as a credential is limited?


The credential that matters is a board position. What the position does is much less important. Obviously when a judge or clerk asks you about the position, you want to characterize it in a positive way. But to reiterate my point above, you should focus on finding a board position that you will enjoy and leaves you with time to get great grades.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Citizen Genet » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:38 pm

Adding to that, mileage is going to vary significantly between judges on whether a board position matters at all. For some, it doesn't matter at all. Most will see it as a positive, but it won't put you into a higher category of candidate. Finally, a few others will see Senior/Lead/Head/Chief Articles Editor and think that you're the cat's meow because you read 1200+ expresso submissions and are really plugged into the academic literature right now. It varies.

The reality is, you just need to make yourself as competitive as possible for as many judges as possible. That means SOME board position is almost necessary and the gradient of those positions won't do a ton until you're actually in an interview.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby sportsaholic763 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:43 pm

For curiosity's sake, does having major journalism/newspaper exp. in the past help with securing board positions for LR? I'm a 0L, sorry if answer is obvious.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:56 pm

sportsaholic763 wrote:For curiosity's sake, does having major journalism/newspaper exp. in the past help with securing board positions for LR? I'm a 0L, sorry if answer is obvious.

It depends entirely on what system the journal uses for selecting board members - remember LRs are student-run and vary a lot. Mine was straight up election - people running for board positions submitted statements of interest and all the journal members voted on each position. Others have said the only election is for EIC and then the EIC selects who will fill all the remaining board positions. Some journals require all 3Ls to have a board position, so I'd imagine some of it just ends up as random distribution.

In any case, at my school, the 2 years I was on LR, sure, if you could spin the journalism/newspaper experience into a compelling statement, it would probably help you. (People who got elected tended to have some combo of relevant pre-LS experience and popularity.) But I'm sure it depends on where you are, the system used, and who else is on LR with you. (Also, at my school there was only 1 person who went through the whole election process and didn't get any board position - some people only tried for one position and if they didn't get that, they weren't on the board, but mostly, if you wanted any board position, you could get one. That also probably varies by school, though.)

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby sportsaholic763 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:59 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
sportsaholic763 wrote:For curiosity's sake, does having major journalism/newspaper exp. in the past help with securing board positions for LR? I'm a 0L, sorry if answer is obvious.

It depends entirely on what system the journal uses for selecting board members - remember LRs are student-run and vary a lot. Mine was straight up election - people running for board positions submitted statements of interest and all the journal members voted on each position. Others have said the only election is for EIC and then the EIC selects who will fill all the remaining board positions. Some journals require all 3Ls to have a board position, so I'd imagine some of it just ends up as random distribution.

In any case, at my school, the 2 years I was on LR, sure, if you could spin the journalism/newspaper experience into a compelling statement, it would probably help you. (People who got elected tended to have some combo of relevant pre-LS experience and popularity.) But I'm sure it depends on where you are, the system used, and who else is on LR with you. (Also, at my school there was only 1 person who went through the whole election process and didn't get any board position - some people only tried for one position and if they didn't get that, they weren't on the board, but mostly, if you wanted any board position, you could get one. That also probably varies by school, though.)


Thanks! Sounds like a fair set of processes.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:03 pm

Citizen Genet wrote:Adding to that, mileage is going to vary significantly between judges on whether a board position matters at all. For some, it doesn't matter at all. Most will see it as a positive, but it won't put you into a higher category of candidate. Finally, a few others will see Senior/Lead/Head/Chief Articles Editor and think that you're the cat's meow because you read 1200+ expresso submissions and are really plugged into the academic literature right now. It varies.

The reality is, you just need to make yourself as competitive as possible for as many judges as possible. That means SOME board position is almost necessary and the gradient of those positions won't do a ton until you're actually in an interview.


1) Given the seemingly low probability that a board position will lead to a clerkship interview, do the benefits outweigh the time commitment costs?

2) Is there some variability by clerkship competitiveness? In other words, I could imagine that a board position may be "almost necessary" for the DC Circuit, but perhaps not for the District of Maryland.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Citizen Genet » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
1) Given the seemingly low probability that a board position will lead to a clerkship interview, do the benefits outweigh the time commitment costs?


Having a non-EIC Board position will not likely lead to many additional interviews. However, not having it will likely eliminate you from many positions. That's not because a judge says to himself, "You know, I've got to have a Notes Editor who knows how to hold 2Ls hands through the writing process in my chambers." It's because the judge looks at you and then he looks at the similarly positioned person from a nearly identical school and sees that they have a Board position. The judge naturally and rightly thinks, "Oh, this person had to more manage more tasks and still achieved the same grades -- she probably has her stuff together a little bit better. And she probably got more editing experience. I'll give her the interview." I would do a board position because you're competing against other people and you need as much to make yourself stand out so significantly.

That being said, if you have some other activity that will take up your time and will still make you stand out, then don't be as worried. It's not that Board positions are requirements, it's that they're more valuable signals than most things.

Natural question from that will be, "Well is it better than X?" How a judge weighs a Board Position versus X (whether its publishing an additional paper or externing or doing a clinic or prepping for a marathon) is going to be so judge dependent that it will be tough to decide. Just know that Board Positions tend to have high value so if you're picking something else over it, make sure it is giving you marketable skills.

2) Is there some variability by clerkship competitiveness? In other words, I could imagine that a board position may be "almost necessary" for the DC Circuit, but perhaps not for the District of Maryland.


The variability will be more between judges than it will be between districts. My impression is that, on the whole, COA judges are usually more impressed by it. Do a Google search for people who have clerked on the D.C. Circuit and you'll notice almost all of them have board positions on HLR, SLR, or YLJ. (Notice the subtle anti-Yale trolling?)

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:49 pm

I think a lot of ed board positions will be looked upon favorably. The big question -- and this will vary by school and the position -- is the time commitment required of the position. If it compromises your grades (which are more important), it might not be worth it. But that depends on your goals and priorities.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Younger Abstention » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:24 pm

As between a published Note or a board position, which one will be more impressive to judges?

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:01 am

Younger Abstention wrote:As between a published Note or a board position, which one will be more impressive to judges?


I have to preface my answer by first acknowledging that in general, these either/or questions are a bit silly. The more impressive candidate will have both. But, many people will have their clerkships lined up before they have their notes accepted for publication, so if this were really a binary decision (which it is not), I would say a board position.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:03 am

Citizen Genet wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
1) Given the seemingly low probability that a board position will lead to a clerkship interview, do the benefits outweigh the time commitment costs?


Having a non-EIC Board position will not likely lead to many additional interviews. However, not having it will likely eliminate you from many positions. That's not because a judge says to himself, "You know, I've got to have a Notes Editor who knows how to hold 2Ls hands through the writing process in my chambers." It's because the judge looks at you and then he looks at the similarly positioned person from a nearly identical school and sees that they have a Board position. The judge naturally and rightly thinks, "Oh, this person had to more manage more tasks and still achieved the same grades -- she probably has her stuff together a little bit better. And she probably got more editing experience. I'll give her the interview." I would do a board position because you're competing against other people and you need as much to make yourself stand out so significantly.

That being said, if you have some other activity that will take up your time and will still make you stand out, then don't be as worried. It's not that Board positions are requirements, it's that they're more valuable signals than most things.

Natural question from that will be, "Well is it better than X?" How a judge weighs a Board Position versus X (whether its publishing an additional paper or externing or doing a clinic or prepping for a marathon) is going to be so judge dependent that it will be tough to decide. Just know that Board Positions tend to have high value so if you're picking something else over it, make sure it is giving you marketable skills.

2) Is there some variability by clerkship competitiveness? In other words, I could imagine that a board position may be "almost necessary" for the DC Circuit, but perhaps not for the District of Maryland.


The variability will be more between judges than it will be between districts. My impression is that, on the whole, COA judges are usually more impressed by it. Do a Google search for people who have clerked on the D.C. Circuit and you'll notice almost all of them have board positions on HLR, SLR, or YLJ. (Notice the subtle anti-Yale trolling?)


I think this is a good answer - especially the point re: having a board position will not get you an interview, but not having one will certainly cost you interviews.

I would just add - don't really too heavily on substitute experiences. A fair amount of your competition will have done both the substitute experience, as well as the board position.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:06 am

ClerkAdvisor wrote:Honestly, in a lot of cases, the only board position not worth doing is EIC. The bump that one gets from being EIC is often marginal and the cost, grade-wise, can be substantial.

There are a lot of judges who like to see a board position (and for some its a necessary condition) -- so try to find a substantive one that you either enjoy or involves the least amount of work.

When you say "board position" are you referring to executive or managing board? I.E. the top-level positions for each type of work (EIC plus Notes, Articles, Editing)? Or just any 3L position that may be under a managing editor?

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
ClerkAdvisor wrote:Honestly, in a lot of cases, the only board position not worth doing is EIC. The bump that one gets from being EIC is often marginal and the cost, grade-wise, can be substantial.

There are a lot of judges who like to see a board position (and for some its a necessary condition) -- so try to find a substantive one that you either enjoy or involves the least amount of work.

When you say "board position" are you referring to executive or managing board? I.E. the top-level positions for each type of work (EIC plus Notes, Articles, Editing)? Or just any 3L position that may be under a managing editor?


I'm not quite sure I understand this question. Law Reviews are all organized differently, but there is a clear 'managing board' or 'executive board' for every law review. They all call it different things, but that's what you want to be on.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:18 am

ClerkAdvisor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ClerkAdvisor wrote:Honestly, in a lot of cases, the only board position not worth doing is EIC. The bump that one gets from being EIC is often marginal and the cost, grade-wise, can be substantial.

There are a lot of judges who like to see a board position (and for some its a necessary condition) -- so try to find a substantive one that you either enjoy or involves the least amount of work.

When you say "board position" are you referring to executive or managing board? I.E. the top-level positions for each type of work (EIC plus Notes, Articles, Editing)? Or just any 3L position that may be under a managing editor?


I'm not quite sure I understand this question. Law Reviews are all organized differently, but there is a clear 'managing board' or 'executive board' for every law review. They all call it different things, but that's what you want to be on.

This. My LR had 2L "members," 3L "associate editors," and a "board" made up of EIC, managing editor, articles editors, etc. (3Ls). The associate editors were not board members (you have to do both years of LR at my school so non-board 3Ls were just...3Ls).

I do have the impression some journals have a weird system where every 3L has some named position, so technically on those journals I guess all 3Ls would have a "board" position. (This is a reason some judges aren't interested in board positions besides EIC, because it's hard to tell from the outside what the position actually entails. But as has been said already, it's safer to have a board position than not to have one.)

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:25 am

ClerkAdvisor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ClerkAdvisor wrote:Honestly, in a lot of cases, the only board position not worth doing is EIC. The bump that one gets from being EIC is often marginal and the cost, grade-wise, can be substantial.

There are a lot of judges who like to see a board position (and for some its a necessary condition) -- so try to find a substantive one that you either enjoy or involves the least amount of work.

When you say "board position" are you referring to executive or managing board? I.E. the top-level positions for each type of work (EIC plus Notes, Articles, Editing)? Or just any 3L position that may be under a managing editor?


I'm not quite sure I understand this question. Law Reviews are all organized differently, but there is a clear 'managing board' or 'executive board' for every law review. They all call it different things, but that's what you want to be on.

Yeah, that's what I was asking. On my journal (and lots of others), most or all 3Ls have some position on the "board," but only the "senior articles editor" and "senior notes editor" etc. are on the "managing board." I wasn't sure whether you were referring to the former (and thus saying that you should simply not do NOTHING as a 3L) or the latter. Got it.

FWIW, I was not on the managing board and managed to secure a clerkship. Like you've said all over this board, there are no hard "prerequisites." If you can make up for a "deficiency" in one area by excelling in another (grades, recommendations, interesting life experience), you can still land something. But obviously the more you can do to help yourself, the better.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:35 pm

When is it appropriate to include my new board position on my clerkship resume? We won't start working on our first issue for next year for at least a couple of months (and the old board is still in place), but I need to start hitting up off-plan judges before then, right?

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Citizen Genet » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When is it appropriate to include my new board position on my clerkship resume? We won't start working on our first issue for next year for at least a couple of months (and the old board is still in place), but I need to start hitting up off-plan judges before then, right?


The moment you have been officially selected is when you can start listing it on your resume.

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Re: Are non-EIC board positions worth it for clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:06 pm

Citizen Genet wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:When is it appropriate to include my new board position on my clerkship resume? We won't start working on our first issue for next year for at least a couple of months (and the old board is still in place), but I need to start hitting up off-plan judges before then, right?


The moment you have been officially selected is when you can start listing it on your resume.


Thanks.




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