Law schools publish a scholarly law journal called law review or law journal. Law reviews publish articles written by practicing attorneys, law professors, and judges and shorter pieces called notes or comments written by law students, who are usually on Law Review. Authors of law review articles discuss problematic areas of laws and they often recommend a solution. Some schools publish other journals, which specialize in an area of law, as opposed to the law review or law journal, which may discuss any area of the law. Some law schools publish physical copies of journals, some law schools also publish online content, and some law schools have completely replaced physical journals with online content. Individuals may access law journals on Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Heinonline.
Some law students seek membership on law review because it can significantly impact their careers as lawyers. Law review membership is often a highly sought achievement in law school and it is an honor to be on law review. Since law review impacts legal careers and often opens doors to prestigious positions, numerous federal judges and partners at the most prestigious law firms served as members or editors on law review. Law review membership is often preferred by employers and is considered a prestigious accomplishment because the intense writing, research, and editing experience is valuable in developing the necessary skills to become a successful lawyer. In addition, because members of law review are selected by their academic achievements, the selection process is often viewed as a way to distinguish the best students from other law students who are also talented and have excelled in their education.
Law review members, usually second year law students also known as 2L students, may serve as staff who edit and cite-check articles that are being published by the law review, oftentimes using Bluebook, and they may also be required to write a note or comment that is of publishable quality. Third year law students, also known as 3L students, are often elected by their law review peers into managing and editing positions on law review and may be required to review and select articles for publication, manage the editing process, and assist members in writing their notes and comments. Law school students who are on law review may receive academic credit for their work on the journal.
Students are usually only eligible for Law Review, if, at the end of their first year of law school, their law school grades placed them in the top percentage of their law class (also known as grade-on or grading on) or they were invited to write on and were then selected to join law review based on a strongly written law review assignment (also known as write-on or writing on). Law schools will often only invite students to write on if the students placed in the top percent of their law class because of their law school grades. Students who accept a write-on assignment are often given a closed research packet and are instructed to analyze a specific legal topic, which may include a Supreme Court decision. Students who submit a write-on assignment are usually not permitted to use any language that would identify the author and, instead, are required to submit their assignment with a student identification number for blind grading so as to ensure fairness in the acceptance process.
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