Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

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gilagarta
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Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby gilagarta » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:30 am

0L here who intends to focus my education on public interest. Ideally, I'd like to work in prestigious public service my whole life - DOJ, ACLU, etc. I want to make sure I position myself well to get the best positions in the PI field, and I'm wondering how much my studies and extracurricular activities should vary from my classmates headed for biglaw.

Does it make sense to try to get on law review, or would it be viewed more favorably if I worked on one of the secondary PI journals (such as Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Journal) instead? Or would my time better be spent in clinics and public service organizations instead of on a journal at all?

Does it make sense to pursue a clerkship after graduation, or is that just delaying PI employment?

Thanks to anyone who has insight. I'm sure I can get some more advice from my school's PI advising office once I start, but I want to go into things with a good idea of what some of my goals should be.

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:36 am

I'm a 0L as well, so take my opinion with a grain of salt...but given your interests, I can hardly believe that law review or a clerkship would be a bad idea. My understanding is that getting law review (or a competitive clerkship) demonstrates broad skills that would be applicable and desirable in any legal field you could possibly pursue.

The two folks I know who have gone on to do prestigious PI work (one at ACLU and one at DOJ, actually) were actually both on law review and then in Federal COA clerkships after graduation.

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megaTTTron
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby megaTTTron » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:38 am

Tangerine Gleam wrote:I'm a 0L as well, so take my opinion with a grain of salt...but given your interests, I can hardly believe that law review or a clerkship would be a bad idea. My understanding is that getting law review (or a competitive clerkship) demonstrates broad skills that would be applicable and desirable in any legal field you could possibly pursue.

The two folks I know who have gone on to do prestigious PI work (one at ACLU and one at DOJ, actually) were actually both on law review and then in Federal COA clerkships after graduation.


This is credited.

Especially w/ respect to the clerkship. Whether you're in PI or M&A you will be dealing with courts.

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ggocat
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby ggocat » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:39 am

Law review is always better than another journal. (I don't like using the word "always," but I can't think of any reason not to use the word here.)

You will have enough time in school to do both law review (or another journal) and externships/clinics. Depending on the school, you will probably be able to get class credit for both.

For public interest work, I don't think you can go wrong with a clerkship--that's any clerkship, federal or state. If the clerkship is federal (and often for the state ones), you'll probably be paid more than working for a public interest organization. You will need to talk with the public interest director at your school, however, to ensure that you will maintain eligibility for public interest fellowships after clerking for a judge.
Last edited by ggocat on Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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gilagarta
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby gilagarta » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:40 am

Thanks, this is helpful. I can find so little information on what law school is like for PI students...I just finished reading Law School Confidential and now I know everything about the recruiting process I won't be going through, but nothing about what my goals should be!

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megaTTTron
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby megaTTTron » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:42 am

ggocat wrote:Law review is always better than another journal. (I don't like using the word "always," but I can't think of any reason not to use the word here.)

You will have enough time in school to do both law review (or another journal) and externships/clinics. Depending on the school, you will probably be able to get class credit for both.

For public interest work, I don't think you can go wrong with a clerkship. And if the clerkship is federal, you'll probably be paid more than working for a public interest organization. You will need to talk with the public interest director at your school, however, to ensure that you will maintain eligibility for public interest fellowships after clerking for a judge.


I totally think you can use "always." The bulk of research you'll be doing on your own, on a topic (aside bluebooking) will be on a note/ comment. And if you're on LR you could still choose to write about civil rights or social justice. I think LR simply gives you wider latitude for the topic of your research, versus a journal which would narrow the scope.

LoyolaLaw2012
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby LoyolaLaw2012 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:43 am

ggocat wrote:Law review is always better than another journal.


Law Review opens plenty of doors.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:49 am

Everything I've heard and seen regarding PI work is that what they value most is PI work. There are several reasons this is true, but the two biggest are these:

1) They want to know that you know what you're getting yourself into.

2) They want to see your dedication and commitment, which is important for these kind of jobs (especially since they nearly always pay less than private jobs of similar prestige).

In most PI places your commitment to PI matters most, along with grades, strength of school, and ties to the local area.

However, if you're going to be a prestige whore and shoot for the top of the PI food chain, then yes, Law Review and clerkships most certainly matter. Make no mistake, the DOJ is one of if not the most competitive PI placements to get for new grads, and you'll need everything you can throw at them to get that. You'll be competing against kids with LR and clerkships for those spots, so you'd better get them too if you can.

But as a 0L, I'll say to just plain not worry about this. Even if you get really awesome grades they may not be enough to get you on LR. (Trust me, I know.) You should always try to get on LR, by shooting for the best grades and doing the write-on competition, but don't make any plans based on it. Worry about the things you can control (how you study and prepare for law exams, whether you spend some of your free time volunteering with PI orgs to build up your resume) and then do the LR write-on. If you get it, great. If you don't, well, find a way to do the PI work you want without it. It's possible, even if it won't be quite as prestigious as you want.

Don't get caught up in prestige this early on. The happiness in work comes from doing something you enjoy doing. You might discover once you're in law school that ends up being something many people don't consider "prestigious" at all.

chevrondeference
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby chevrondeference » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:53 am

As a public interest oriented graduate, I can say pretty confidently that both law review and a clerkship would be hugely beneficial if you find you have those options. Some public interest organizations (though not the ACLU/DOJ types) care less about grades. That said, no one is ever going to be put off by law review. And employers generally love clerkships. Most of the public interest people I know who had the option did federal clerkships.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:58 am

Working on a secondary journal that targets your professional area of interest is quite valuable, especially when seeking public interest positions as demonstrated interest is a very important aspect of the PI hiring process. Whether or not it surpasses law review probably depends upon what you do with each opportunity; you are more likely to make greater contributions in an area of law about which you are passionate.
Judicial clerkships are always valuable; while prized at the federal level, state judicial clerkships offer valuable real world experience.
There is no simple blanket answer to your concerns, but some "secondary" journals are more influential than law review due to the specialization that attracts a target audience while giving staff members "experience" in that field.
Also consider whether you would be more likely to obtain an editorial position on law review versus a specialty journal which deals with an area about which you are enthusiastic.
P.S. Just read VanWinkle's post above. It seems to be good advice, in my opinion.

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ggocat
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby ggocat » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:01 pm

Good Great advice from vanwinkle. It's a little early to be worrying about law review and clerkships.

What you can do as a 1L, if you want, is volunteer at a public interest organization 3-4 hours a week for a few months each semester (up until November, maybe, the first semester). Just do it at the local legal services organization. Some organizations may have you do research or conduct client interviews, but even if you're not doing legal work, you can get a feel the type of "front line" work done by these organizations, determine if you enjoy it, and signal to your future employers (with a line on the resume) that you are really a die-hard public interest person. About 10% of the 1L class does this at my school, and it's a good opportunity for 1Ls to just dangle their feet in the water of public interest legal work.
Last edited by ggocat on Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dood
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby dood » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:02 pm

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Last edited by dood on Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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gilagarta
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby gilagarta » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:02 pm

LoyolaLaw2012 wrote:Don't get caught up in prestige this early on. The happiness in work comes from doing something you enjoy doing. You might discover once you're in law school that ends up being something many people don't consider "prestigious" at all.


Thanks for the advice. I didn't mean to make it sound like I was a "prestige whore" - I guess I meant "competitive" more than "prestigious." I'm fully open to the possibility that my studies may take me in a different direction and I know my focus should be on good grades first semester - I just like to have an idea of what's in store for me. :)

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dood
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby dood » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:05 pm

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Last edited by dood on Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:13 pm

If you're seriously thinking about ACLU/DoJ level public interest as a goal, they're not only not a bad idea but pretty much mandatory. Put another way - if your credentials aren't federal clerkship competitive, they likely aren't DoJ Honors or ACLU competitive. These guys are picky.

All of these goals are best served by concentrating hard on school your 1L year. It's convenient in that high grades go to prestigious employment, clerkships and at a lot of schools, law review (either grade-on or semi-grade on).

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thesealocust
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby thesealocust » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:25 pm

edit: n/m
Last edited by thesealocust on Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gilagarta
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Re: Are law review/clerkships ever a BAD idea?

Postby gilagarta » Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:04 pm

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate it. It helps to be able to ask my dumb questions here before school starts. :)




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