School

What Competition Looks Like in Law School

Hello again! I’m finally back to give you my stream-of-consciousness thoughts now that Reading Week is over!

As many of you know, I’ve just finished my first year of law school! While I’m thrilled that this mess of a semester is over, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for myself and most of my classmates. We now enter into a three-week battle royale writing competition.

Designed specifically to make sure you’re exhausted after finals, the journal write-on competition is a competition where we compete for spots on our school’s journals to get our work published. Journals are a really big deal for law students because it’s an opportunity to show off and invest time diving deep into topics we’re interested in.

The biggest journal that every law school has is called Law Review. Law Review is a massive deal. Remember in high school when you had honors societies and clubs of the brightest minds around? Now instead take all those students and replace them with incredibly talented law students. That’s Law Review.

Law Review is a big deal because it opens doors. It can land you an interview with a dream law firm all because they know you’re disciplined enough to make Law Review – some job postings even require the candidate to be a part of Law Review. Not only that, but once your work is published, others will read it. If it’s really good, they’ll even cite it.

But that’s a common thread for all journals, not just Law Review. Journals are our opportunities to contribute to legal discourse and even shape history. So they’re a really big deal to students.

But who gets on Law Review? Law Reviews usually pick its candidates in two ways: grade-on and write-on. Grade-on is reserved for the top of the class, those people get offered a spot automatically. For those of us that don’t make grade-on, we can compete in the write-on. If we get an offer, we won’t know whether our spot was offered as a grade-on or a write-on.

The write-on is used for all journals, not just Law Review. While I can’t get into any details, it requires us to write a paper based on sources given to us (and nothing else – this is called a “closed-universe” paper) and also work on legal citations. Once we submit, we’ll see if we get offers from journals.

As you might have guessed, I’m currently working on the write-on competition. It’s overwhelming but I’ve been on pure adrenaline. Every once in a while it’s fun to be competitive. Anyway, for fear of saying too much, I’ll end it here. As always, thanks for listening!

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School

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About a 12(b)(6) Motion

Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about Project 1 yet. This morning I had a paper due, so I’ve spent the past few days locked up working on it.

Not surprisingly, it was for my legal writing class. I wrote a FRCP 12(b)(6) motion, which is a motion to dismiss a case. Basically, it’s a Level 0 tutorial on writing legal documents to give to a judge. If you want to get more technical, it’s when a party fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

So basically if someone sues you for something that’s not a law, your lawyer would write one of these real quick and if it gets granted, there’s no case.

I won’t go much further than that, but I’ve been feeling the pressure on it all week. Last semester, I just barely missed an A because of one single paper. In order to put myself in a good position for Project 1, I knew I had to work harder.

But I found putting more pressure on myself to perform wasn’t the most effective way to write. My perfectionist mind got in my own way and it took forever to get words onto the page.

It got bad enough that this morning I was up at 6 – on a day I had no classes! – to finish my motion before the deadline at noon. I finished just fine, and actually early, but I was still disappointed in myself for leaving it to the eleventh hour (quite literally).

Anyway, I was happy with how the paper turned out and I’m pretty good at determining writing grades by how I feel after I submit. So I’m hopeful I did well. Also, it’s worth a very small percent of my grade so even in a worst case scenario I haven’t blown it.

Following my quasi-success, I tried something new – I bought a textbook supplement for Civil Procedure. I thought it’d be helpful so I’m sparing no expense at completing Project 1. I spent the afternoon catching up with Civ Pro and am feeling optimistic about memorizing my rules.

Anyway, this weekend I’ll be working hard at some projects, so expect some updates. Here’s to a productive project weekend!