Law review write-ons and other thoughts

3

May 30, 2013 by williamsjustliving

You’re right. Write-ons is not a word.

Also, to all those who are participating in, or grading for, a law review write-on competition or a moot court competition: please don’t leave comments (not that what I am about to say will inspire such strong feelings that you will feel a need). Anonymity is important at this stage.

Spoiler: I did not make law review, but I was on moot court. I did not have the bravery to compete for a spot on the trial advocacy team.

Further spoiler: I made moot court (literally) by the grace of God and did not have to compete for a spot–but I almost did not take the spot (I’m not sure why I considered not joining moot court; sometimes, it’s a wonder that I actually made it through law school). I had to polish my skills in an area that I wasn’t comfortable with for a long time: oral advocacy. I’ve made some great friends and connections through moot court. And, I’ve come to embrace oral advocacy.

Final spoiler: My intent is to encourage you to go for what you want.

1L year was decent to me in the area of grades and professors. 1L year was not good to me socially or emotionally. By February, I was crawling–and this explains why the ENTIRE trial advocacy competition cycle did not even register with me during 1L year. I had cunningly managed to include a few people in my life who were neither healthy nor encouraging. With their help, I doubted both my ability and my capability to deal with extra activities.

Law review write-on was daunting. There was a packet including all of the information that I could use to craft the document I had to write. It was overwhelming. Proper grammar; proper Bluebook citations; proper footnoting; proper endnoting. About four days in, I gave up and decided that I wouldn’t do it. I was taking a full load of summer classes and trying to recover from a hellacious Spring semester. Everyone I knew was kicking it; working cool jobs; taking cool trips. And, I was stuck inside writing this weirdo document about a weirdo topic.

Then, with about four days left, I decided that I had to try; that I owed it to myself to try; and, that the reason that so few Black people made law review is because (maybe, just maybe) so few try.

It was a disaster. I learned that I should always stick with my initial reaction. Maybe if I had maintained my belief in myself (or at least stayed focused on what  I wanted rather than on what others told me I should want), I would be telling you how I made law review.

The point is this: you made it to law school. You’ve clearly made it through the 1L year. Try the trial advocacy team, or moot court, or law review, or whatever organization catches your interest. At the very least, surround yourself with people who are focused on MAKING IT THROUGH the struggle.

I had a long e-mail conversation with a very patient and kind law school colleague (who I count as a friend), who encouraged me to join moot court. Sometimes, all you need is a little encouragement. Be encouraged.

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3 thoughts on “Law review write-ons and other thoughts

  1. great post; as an entering law student this spoke to me.. I wonder whether I will be ballsy enough to compete for a spot in any of the above, or better yet if my grades and work will even be cut out for it.

    • Thank you! If you are interested in law review or anything else, my theory is truly that you should try. Even if your grades don’t meet law review standards, there will likely be lots of other opportunities to write and publish. Here’s hoping that you have a productive and healthy first year in law school!

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