July 27, 2005

Prepare Your Excuses

by PG

In a comment to a post from De Novo's law review symposium, Austen asks, "For those of you who didn't do a journal, how did you answer the employer question 'why didn't you do a journal?'"

Having joined another specialty journal in addition to the Journal of Gender & Law, the only question of that sort that I'll have to answer is "why didn't you do well enough to be invited to Law Review?" However, I imagine that the best answer would be one about how much time you were putting into other activities, such as studying, participating in moot court, working in a clinic, volunteering, working a job that would help pay your tuition, taking care of family members, etc. In other words, highly worthwhile pursuits that would justify not spending hours every week reading submissions and checking citations.

"I hate scrutinizing other people's writing for dinky details" probably will not be a good answer, because from what I can tell, working as a lawyer requires a good deal of doing just that. As more than one symposium contributor pointed out, law review membership is an excellent indicator of someone who will put in a great deal of effort for a long term reward. So any response to the "Why no journal?" question that would make you sound like a person who won't be eager to do the tasks that the employer would be hiring you to do is a bad one.

Saying that you're not interested in contemporary legal scholarship might not be as damaging in a firm environment as it would be for an academic, government or nonprofit job, however, because the associates whom I've met frankly didn't seem to be keeping up with said scholarship. If you've been putting your nose to the grindstone in getting practical experience instead, particularly through internships that involved the same work you'd be doing for the employer, that strikes me as a good reason not to have joined a journal.

July 27, 2005 11:01 AM | TrackBack

I'm in a similar position, but luckily I was on the specialty journal BEFORE the write-on, so I figure I'll just go with the fact that I'm interested in the subject matter of this journal, and I liked the people and the way it was run, so I decided not to write on since I was happy where I was.

Hopefully they'll buy that since there was no way I was going to make Law Review anyway. :P

Posted by: Ruth at July 29, 2005 12:14 AM
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