If you are in law school, you know how important building a resume is. Employers often look for prestigious activities such as moot court, law journal, and executive board positions. Maybe one of the most attractive activities is the law journal.
While schools may have specific journals for different types of law, the general law journal is often the most prestigious. Typically, you can either grade-on or write-on to the journal. Grading-on means that, typically, if you are in the top 5 to 10 percent of your class, you will automatically be invited on to the journal.
Writing-on is a much more extensive process. Here is what it includes:
Writing a journal note
Typically, a school will provide you with an extensive file of many different sources. For me, it was a 500 page packet of more than 20 different sources that I had to compile into one note that could not exceed 15 pages. The sources included cases, articles, songs, pictures, and journals that I had to incorporate in some way into what I was writing. It can be very difficult to incorporate songs, but that is part of the challenge.
The most time consuming process was simply going through each of the sources. My topic was copyright infringement, so some of the articles were very dry and boring.
I ended up outlining each source and organizing it under the five main topics of the note: Overview (of the problem), Introduction, Case Law, Analysis, and Impact. This may differ for you, but if you are not given specific guidelines, this may be a good outline to follow.
When you begin to draft from your notes, you need to cite each and every sentence (unless it is completely your own thoughts). This can also be a daunting process, but the Bluebook is your best friend and will help you cite correctly. You also should include citations to similar articles and typically describe what that article discusses.
When you are done drafting your note/article, read through it many times. Make sure what you are writing makes sense and is grammatically correct. Once this is complete, go back through your citations, make sure you have included them all, and make sure they are cited correctly.
My note ended up being 11 pages, and that was the perfect amount to include each source and getting straight to the point. I will admit that not all of my citations ended up being correct – but that’s OK! They don’t expect you to be perfect.
Usually the write-on process also includes a citation check in which an article includes incorrect citations that you need to fix. The one I corrected was a 10-page article that had around 50 mistakes that honestly took a long time to complete. Don’t write this off as an easy activity, and make sure you spend a good amount of time on this. Make sure you check every citation in the Bluebook and you will be fine.
In all, the write-on process took me an entire week in which I did not work or have any other school work. It is not a quick process and can be honestly very daunting. Don’t let this discourage you – it is 100% WORTH it. Make time to complete it, and once you are done, you will feel extremely relieved.
Even if you don’t make it, it is a huge accomplishment just to complete the write-on process.