If you’re headed toward your 2L year, you’re probably freaking out right now about your journal invitations (or lack thereof). But before you accept a position on law review (or smack your head repeatedly into the wall because you didn’t make law review), heed my warning: law review will ruin your life.
Sure, it’s a great line on your resume. Sure, it plants seeds for networking that will yield fruit for years to come. Sure, it’s something you can brag about when people laugh in your face for finding out that you were dumb enough to go to law school. But is it really worth all of THIS:
- No one in the real world uses proper Blue Book format. (This is why journal staffs exist, to fix professor’s hopeless errors.) If you stay in the legal field, you will forever grit your teeth at briefs with lackadaisical case citations. Or worse yet, have your boss correct your proper citations with improperly abbreviated nonsense!
- You’ll get so used to replacing “Commission” with “Comm’n” and “Railway” to “Ry.” and “Shareholder” to “S’holder” and so on that you will start abbreving ev’thng and no one will undstnd. you evr ‘gain.
- You will learn the difference between an italicized period and a non-italicized period. Let’s put that in perspective: ..Yep. Those are different.
- You will get pedantic about the differences between hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes. Aside from drastically decreasing your chances of ever getting laid again, this will require much more extensive use of the “special characters” dialogue in word processing programs and irksome HTML when writing online. And—to add insult to injury—you’ll shudder every time you see someone set off part of a sentence the way I just did. I’m literally gagging right now.
- You will jeopardize at least one personal relationship over debating the oxford comma.
- You will have to live with the fact that a significant portion of your second year of law school—which should really be two semesters of un-clenching and following your actual legal interests—will be spent putting spaces between closed-up ellipses.
- You will awkwardly insert asides into your writing just to demonstrate to uninterested internet readers the appropriate use of an em dash.
- You will be horrifyingly embarrassed when you can’t remember what you wrote your Note about at a law school mixer two years after graduation.
- You will realize that scholarly legal writing is a huge drag and your “fallback career path” of becoming a law school professor is not nearly as appealing as you thought it was.
Now I did make some of my best friends in law school through Law Review, and yes, I do really cherish being able to pull that out as a reason law school wasn’t entirely a mistake. But I left an italicized period somewhere it did not belong in this article and it’s going to keep me up tonight.
IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?
Originally published: August 2013.