The connections you make in legal internships and jobs can end up being an invaluable resource when it comes to choosing a note topic, getting it up to publication standards, and planning events for the Law Review.
What is Law Review and How Can It Benefit You?
Law Review (sometimes called Law Journal) is a student-run publication that publishes articles by legal professionals. Shorter pieces written by law students are also published in many Law Review journals. Most law schools have a flagship journal and various other themed journals, such as a journal specific to criminal law.
Law Review is selective and competitive and many large firms and other employers strongly prefer or require candidates to be on a journal. It gives members the chance to write a quality piece of legal content, edit articles, and get experience with the Bluebook. Therefore, being able to put Law Review on your resume or get your student note published can make you a more attractive job applicant.
Choosing a Publishable Note Topic
The job you land during your 1L summer is a great place to scope out potential note topics. I spent my first law school summer interning with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Tennessee. During my time, I got to do a lot of work for death row inmates challenging their method of execution. I became so involved in the issue and well-versed in the area that I decided to write my note on it.
Because I was dedicated to my work at the internship, I had a number of attorneys that were happy to hear about my topic and meet with me to make suggestions or provide another perspective. Thanks to their help, my note was about a stimulating topic of constitutional law and chosen for publication. Now, more than a year after my internship, I have a reason to connect with these attorneys again by sending them the finished product that they helped me create.
Accepting help from lawyers at previous or current jobs is smart, but it is also important to consider where you hope to work in the future. Many interviewers will be interested to know what your note was about, so it may be worth thinking about where you hope to work next when choosing a note topic. For example, my note was written after my time with the Public Defender and talking about it with an interviewer with the state Attorney General made me seem like I was not the right person for that job. This was because my views clearly did not align with the Attorney General’s. Your note topic will follow you, so make sure it is something you can work on for months and be comfortable talking about with potential employers.
Aside from using your legal network to get interesting note ideas, it is important to always make a good impression on anyone you meet in the legal world because they could help you in many other ways.
Capitalizing on Legal Connections
Aside from using your legal network to get interesting note ideas, it is important to always make a good impression on anyone you meet in the legal world because they could help you in many other ways. Many law journals also host events, like symposia, and it can be a daunting task to try and find willing speakers and authors to publish. Attorneys from your legal jobs could end up being a great choice as a symposium speaker, if it is in their area of expertise. If you invite them to speak on a topic they are passionate about, they will not only feel flattered, but also will likely feel an added connection to you when compared to others you may have interned with at the company. Additionally, Law Review events give you a chance to represent your school in front of many judges and lawyers in the community. If it is a seamless and professional event, people will remember your school in a positive light, which could bode well for you when applying to positions.
That said, Law Review is a great opportunity to get writing, editing, and citation experience, but it also gives you a chance to use and make connections with lawyers and judges. Therefore, it is important to work hard and make a good impression, so that you can have a network of professionals when working on Law Review.
Tenia is a 3L at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, TN, and a published author in Belmont Law Review's Fall 2019 issue.