Law Review and Your Job Prospects

by Vault Education Editors | August 09, 2010

  • My Vault

LastWednesday, Abovethe Law congratulated new Law Review editors and I thought I wouldchime in to let them know what's in store.

If youhad any hopes of landing a job at one of the top law firms or a prestigiousjudicial clerkship, being on Law Review was pretty much a requirement,"says Vera Djordjevich, Vault's Senior Law Editor, speaking of her years at New York University School of Law. And it's still true. According to a 2004University of Chicago Law School study, Law Review members were morelikely to secure a law firm job and they "enjoyed faster salary growth than nonmembers." They were also more likely to complete afederal appellate or federal district court clerkship.

Law Review editor working with his law school professor"LawReview is a ticket to a law firm job--if you want it," says Vault SeniorLaw Editor Brian Dalton. But what if youdidn't make Law Review? "Most lawschools have other legal journals besides Law Review," says Djordjevich,"Which address specific practice areas or legal topics and which vary fromschool to school." These journalsare usually less competitive and therefore less prestigious, but if you want topursue a career in a specific legal area they could be exactly what you need. Moreover, if you want to complete a clerkshipafter graduation, the University of Chicago Law School study showed that beingon a journal other than Law Review is "associatedwith a greater likelihood of completing a federal appellate clerkship."

However,not having any journal on your resume will significantly hurt your jobprospects. "Everyone who gets a law firm jobhas a journal or Law Review on their resume," says Dalton. "It's become a hoop you have to jumpthrough while in law school. In fact,the absence of a journal on your resume would be more conspicuous than havingLaw Review on it. If you're not on ajournal, you'd better have some other extracurricular--moot court, etc.--tomake up for it."

But LawReview, journals and other law school extracurriculars aren't just about gettinga job. Though some students will joinjust to pad their resumes, I suggest you invest real time and effort intowhatever extracurricular you pursue. Almosteverything you do in law school is solo--studying, reading, etc. Law Review and others are an opportunity todo something as a group and develop real friendships with your fellowstudents. "The advantages ofjournal experience (Law Review or other) are myriad," agreesDjordjevich. "Not just in terms ofhow it looks on a resume, but in terms of developing writing and researchskills, acquiring experience producing a publication, as well as makingconnections that can last an entire career....The work and time spent on ajournal can forge lifelong bonds--valuable in and of themselves, of course, ina personal way, but these connections can also prove useful professionally atlater stages of one’s career."

Lawschool is hard, even without joining Law Review. And earning good grades is the best way toget a high salary after graduation. Butsometimes you have to leave the library. There are so many benefits of joining Law Review, that it seems sillynot to join. In fact, the only thingthat isn't correlated with Law Review membership is job satisfaction and overall happiness in yourcareer. That you'll just have to figureout on your own.

Filed Under: Education

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