April 28, 2003

Last week, I went to an info session for the law journals. For those of you not aware, law reviews are student-edited scholarly journals. Even though membership on a journal involves lots of drudgery, the experience is apparently worthwhile if you enjoy esoteric points of legal scholarship and nitpicking. (See Tung Yin: Law Review: Worth it or not?) However, making Law Review is like a gold star that goes on your resume. To do so involves either have super-excellent first year grades (not me) or writing an excellent paper in the writing competition. Our writing competition is the weekend after finals end. Fun.

When I was evaluating schools, one factor I didn't pay much attention to was the availability of opportunities for journal membership. Brooklyn is home to 3 journals: Law Review, Journal of International Law, Journal of Law & Policy. As a point of comparison, the other NY-area schools have many more opportunities for journal memberships. Cardozo, Fordham and NYU each have six journals. If publishing journals is a competition, Columbia is the clear winner in NYC, with fourteen journals.

Of course, since lawyers are so status-conscious, each journal has a varying level of prestige, with Law Reviews being the most prestigious and more specialized journals having less general prestige. (Of course, if you want to work in an esoteric speciality, the esoteric journal might be better.) The most-cited American Legal Periodical is Harvard Law Review (followed by Yale and Columbia.)

Academic writing through journals are only one type of the experiences available in law school. Clinical programs and moot court teams are probably more practical for the vast majority of law students who aren't going on to be professors, but for those students who go into practice, when else will you be able to work on legal scholarship? As for me, I'll be polishing up that writing competition the weekend after finals while trying to subvert my classmates into not participating.1

1OK, I won't really be participating in any subversion. I think.

Posted by Andrew Raff at April 28, 2003 4:06 PM
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