The Write-On is the best way to ensure you get onto Law Review. You may have the option of "publishing on," meaning submitting a student article that gets chosen for publication and being asked to join as a result, but having an article accepted is not a guaranteed offer of membership.
The Write-On provides the chance to learn about a new area of law that you may not have been exposed to during your 1L year. Because you'll be writing a Comment (a student article) as part of Write-On, you will come out of the process with a workable writing sample, regardless of whether or not you get on. Write-On is also a great opportunity to learn the intricacies of the Bluebook and get exposed to legal academia if you're unsure whether or not you're interested in it. Finishing Write-On is an accomplishment regardless of whether or not you are selected.
A law review is the flagship legal academic publication at a law school. While other journals typically publish legal scholarship about a particular subject, a law review is a general-subject journal and publishes legal articles of all kinds.
Employers often value law review membership, as do judges—law review membership can be an asset if you plan on clerking for a judge after graduating. Additionally, law review membership tends to be (whether rightly or wrongly) a major prestige marker in law school. Law Review can beconsidered a "more prestigious" journal, though the specialty journals at UCLA are also very high quality. If you feel disappointed about your grades, Law Review membership is another way to distinguish yourself to potential future employers in the legal arena.
You can absolutely do the Write-On even if you have other things going on. While Write-On can take up a lot of time, it doesn't necessarily need to. Many people have completed Write-On while working, traveling, visiting with family, or doing other things. Formal accommodations should be approved by the Dean of Student Affairs. For more information, please contact Student Affairs Coordinator Elly Lim.
Yes! Please reach out to Elly Lim, and cc the Dean of Student Affairs, in March/April to discuss accommodations. It's important to us that the process is as fair as possible.
Absolutely! Current members are generally open to discussing their review experience, and feel free to reach out to the journal’s executive board (the chiefs: editor-in-chief, chief managing/article/executive editors, etc.) anytime! You can also reach out directly to the Chief Diversity editor by email at LRDIVERSITY@lawnet.ucla.edu, or take a look at the current masthead to see who the rest of the Board members are and if you know anyone.
No. Write-On changes topic and format every year. Many aspects of Write-On will be similar to the last year, so preparing by looking at the past materials on MyLaw or at the library circulation desk will be useful. But there will be changes to the topic, the nature of the sources, the production test, and the personal statement prompts.
A Comment is just a piece of writing that accurately summarizes the law (in the case of Write-On, this will be the law that we present to you), identifies shortcomings or flaws, and advances a thesis to solve those shortcomings or flaws. You will back up your ideas with Bluebooked footnotes, both explanatory and citational.
The Law Review recognizes this may be totally unfamiliar to many of you. We encourage you to seek out an Article or Comment to read before the competition starts to get a better sense of what will be expected of you. When you look through, be sure to look at how the authors use footnotes.
For this purpose, please consider forgetting your LRW class; LRW uses the "blue pages" of the Bluebook, and in legal scholarship we only use the white pages. So, while many of the conventions are similar, you will need to review the white pages and learn that citation style. Those of you on specialty journals may already know how to do this. Try to familiarize yourself with the structure of the Bluebook, especially Rules 1–18, the tables in the back, and the index. You do not need to memorize or learn these rules in depth as long as you can look up the sources quickly and check citations accordingly!
Law Review is a significant time commitment. That said, most students feel it’s a rewarding experience, which allows them to engage with professors' scholarship, think about new ideas in the law, decide which of those new ideas get published, and beef up their own writing and editing skills.
The community is also wonderful. When you spend a few hours together Bluebooking, you get to know each other pretty well. It's also very possible to do Law Review alongside other time-intensive extracurriculars; many staff and board members do.
After finals, you should definitely celebrate all night, rest up, and when the time comes, start the Write-On process fresh.
That said, if you are nervous about Write-On, here are a few things Law Review alumni have suggested doing in advance:
Binders, highlighters, sticky note flags in every color; some folks also recommend a Trader Joe's prepared- and frozen meals run before Write-On to so you already have food options.
>>Anonymize Word and Adobe:
You will need to take your name off Word and Adobe so that board members grading submissions cannot see your name at all when grading. This causes some consternation during the actual week, so if you can take care of the tech early, you'll be in better shape. It's a quick process, and instructions will be given to you.
>>Read a Comment or Article:
You can choose a short one (~30–40 pages), but it's worth learning how authors advance legal arguments. Bonus points if you choose a topic you're interested in. EXTRA bonus points if you talk to someone about it. You might ask why the author put certain information below the line (in footnotes) rather than above the line (in the article body), or why they needed to include historical information, or about the structure of their argument, etc. All valuable insight.
>>Get to know the Bluebook:
Many Law Review staff members don’t know the Bluebook before starting Write-On. If you'd like, you can start to get to know the different sections, and maybe note how to cite other journal articles or cases (those come up a lot).
>>Scribble a few notes about why you're so awesome:
Self-affirmations are also important. This is a hard process, but you already got to law school, and you are doing great! This is not just for affirmations, though, as you can use this as a skeleton for your personal statement. No matter what the personal statement prompt is, you’ll be asked to tell editors how you will make a valuable contribution to the journal. Think about your strengths.
>>Rest, sleep, turn off your brain:
We'll just mention this again, because we know most of you will still ignore it, but it's important.
Yes and yes! Materials will become available on MyLaw at the start of Write-On, and they must be submitted electronically. So, you can certainly participate even if you are away from campus.
Additionally, as a staff member, if the journal knows you're studying abroad, they can assign remote-only assignments for the period you're gone. Most of Law Review's duties can be completed remotely, although you may be asked to sometimes collect physical sources from the library.
One note: if after becoming journal staff, you’re interested in applying for executive board or ‘Chief’ positions on the review, we strongly recommend staying local to LA in the spring of 2L year.