How exactly does LR work? I've read that some people grade on and some write on, but I've also read it is a combination of the two. Can anyone cast light on what it takes to become a member of LR?
A friend of mine is on law review and told me that they consider grades and the writing sample, but he said you'd have to basically be the worst writer in history to get top 10% and not get onto LR.
Is that indicative of a grade-heavy scale, or is it possible to write on with lower grades?
All journal applicants must participate in the write-on competition, unless they had worked on the journal as a 1L (I know for a fact that Oil & Gas, IP, civil liberties/civil rights, and the women's law journal permit 1Ls to serve as staff, and that the law review does not). All applicants are automatically considered for the law review.
The law review assigns 3 ed board members to blind-grade each write-on submission, with 2nd and 3rd rounds of grading taken if the assigned grades are beyond a certain level of variance. The scores and applicant GPAs are inserted into a formula, which spits out the order of offers to be made. The ed board calls to extend offers in the order provided by the formula, and stops when all spots are taken (not everyone who submits to the write-on wants to do law review, as some are more interested in specialty journals).
The formula is weighted toward GPA, but the writing submission does matter, especially for people on the bubble. 10 spots are reserved for students who submit especially strong write-ons but would not otherwise receive an offer due to their GPAs.
The write-on does matter. A friend of mine had a GPA in the high 3.8s, and the bubble my year was around a 3.7, but because she had to go in for surgery, she didn't have time to work on her submission, so her submission was not very good and she was not extended an offer. She ended up transferring, anyways, but her circumstances demonstrate the importance of doing a decent job with the write-on submission.