Turning Down Law Review?


Law reviews work differently across the nation. Most commonly, at the end of your 1L year, depending on your class rank, you’ll either get an automatic bid to be on law review, or be offered a chance to compete in the write on competition. Mostly, students in the top 10% are given an automatic bid while students ranking between 11%-30% will be invited to participate in the write on competition. So, for those of you who didn’t know, now you know how it generally works. Now a little bit about being on law review.

Law review is commonly known as one of the most prestigious organization a law student can be associated with during their law school career. Participating on law review not only shows you have a high ranking, but also that you have excellent research and writing skills. For these reasons, employers generally favor students who are on law review and give it a decent amount of weight when evaluating applicants. However, this doesn’t mean that those students not on law review aren’t excellent researchers or writers, or aren’t potentially highly ranked. While having great benefits, not being on law review is NOT an indicator that a student lacks desirable qualities. Now to what I’m getting at.

Students actually TURN DOWN law review invites?

I was told that this occurs more frequently than most would believe. I can’t refute that because I was under the impression that no one in their right mind would turn it down. Therefore, I started trying to figure out why. Maybe they think it’s too much extra work? Potentially, there is no question that law review is extra work, potentially a substantial amount. However, it’s not enough to turn down. Maybe they turn it down to be on a different journal at their law school? This could be true, there are numerous other journals at law schools, some specializing in criminal, or entertainment which could appeal to some students. However, law review is usually the most renown. Potentially, students just don’t know the benefits of law review. This could also be true, but from my experience, 1L’s are usually informed about the benefits of being a member of law review during the year, so I don’t really buy this excuse. Finally, maybe they just don’t want to do it. I’m not going to give a reason why this doesn’t make sense.

After thinking through the potential reasons for turning down law review, I couldn’t come up with a reason that was legitimate enough to justify it. The only excuse that held any merit was turning it down to write for a more specialized journal at a person’s law school. Therefore, my advice, don’t turn it down. Law review should be something you work towards and strive to be a member of after your first year. The workload can be substantial, but the benefit far outweighs the additional work. Not only are you going to have a leg up in job interviews, but you’ll continue your development of your legal research and writing skills as well as developing better time management skills. Why turn down an opportunity you’ve earned?

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