Friday, January 29, 2010

Being on a Law Journal

Two summers ago, I got awesome news as a law student: I had been selected to be a member of the Texas Tech Administrative Law Journal. If you are a law student and wondering whether you'd like to do all the work to try and get on a journal, I highly recommend doing it. At Tech, the way we do it is with a tri-journal write-on competition. We have three journals at the law school: Law Review, Administrative Law Journal, and Estate Planning Journal. Right after taking your last final first year of law school, you go pick up the most daunting packet you've ever seen and spend the next two weeks working full time editing two papers and writing a case note. It was pretty horrible finishing the first year and going straight to working hard for two weeks, but it was all worth it when I got the email saying "congratulations."

Immediately, once your second year starts, the journal puts you to work. You do an editing assignment once a week and eventually add a page proof (editing with a partner) too. This can start taking quite a few hours each week and is stressful, but very rewarding. I really enjoyed seeing our published book and seeing all the work we had done. Shortly after I started my second year of law school, I decided I wanted to be on the board of editors, so I tried my best to get great grades on each weekly assignment, getting to know that years board, and making it to each event our journal sponsored.

Fortunately, I was lucky enough to get chosen to be on the board after my interview with last years board. This year, I served as the professional development chair. This means that I help with organizing a fundraiser, interview our current second years and prepare them for On-campus interviews (a whole blog topic in itself), and review resumes whenever they ask. You can say I've become quite a interview and resume expert, but that's helped me a lot with my own life, so I can't complain! Alongside those duties, we meet once a week for an hourly meeting and also read ALL the editing exercises turned in by the first years when they do their write-on competition.

Last week, another big duty came about. Eight of our 20 staff editors get chosen to be published in our journal. Therefore, I had to read all 600 pages and then we got together as a board for nearly two hours and discussed their comments (papers). I'm really happy with what we chose. The topics range from CPS, to property taxes, texting while driving laws, wind law, and insurance reform.

Shortly after we made the decision, we got an email that school was canceled because of snow and ice on the roads...yay, a day off! Then this morning, after I woke up, I got another and work at the law office was canceled AGAIN! This time though, the roads really are quite icy. Therefore, we've stayed in and worked on the nursery for HOURS...but I'll definitely do a "nursery decor" posting one day.
In the mean time, to all you 1L's out there...WORK AS HARD AS YOU CAN and make sure to get on those law journals. It's by no means a career killer if you don't get on one (I had students tell me that and I stressed so much). There are PLENTY of students that get jobs without being on a journal. But in my opinion, it has made me a much better law clerk, a better law student, and it made me finally enjoy law school - that was pretty priceless.

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