Alumni donations.

My favorite breakfast restaurant in Beachwood Canyon raised its prices recently. At first I was bummed, but then I thought about who really pays for the price increase. My usual breakfast was $7.85. I would usually leave $10, for a tip of $2.15. Now my bill comes to $8.25. But I still leave $10.

So I’m paying the same $10 before and after the increase. But the waitstaff is getting 40 cents less as a tip. On balance, the price increase isn’t a transfer from my pocket to the restaurant—it’s a transfer from the waitstaff to the restaurant.

I wonder if something similar goes on with tuition increases. Right now the Regents are contemplating raising UC fees another 10% or so. According to a recent email from the UCLA Graduate Students Association, “Since 2001, fees have increased 79% for undergrads, 84% for grads, and up to 131% for professional students.” I’m too lazy to check that assertion, but sounds roughly right. (UPDATE: Current fees and past fees.) (UPDATE 2: This week, they did approve a 10% fee increase for the professional schools for next year.)

Meanwhile, Dean Christopher Edley of Boalt is advocating for even bigger tuition hikes. Why does he want the money? To give Boalt the capital to move up in the U.S. News rankings, of course. According to Ben Allen, a Boalt student quoted in the article, “law students are very prestige-conscious, and when the dean talks about spending the money to put Boalt back in the top five, that resonates”. Of course, that particular student also is a member of the Regents, so maybe his view is a wee less than representative. (And we won’t tell him the bad news.)

Wait, there’s more. All of this happens against a backdrop of declining alumni participation in school fundraising. According to the Wall St Journal, fewer alumni are giving, and school fundraising has flatlined. Their chart:

Since U.S. News factors alumni participation into its rankings, this has led to schools (naturally) engaging in shenanigans to boost their apparent participation rates. For example: taking a student’s $25 donation in one year and treating it as 5 annual donations of $5. In a stroke of Enron-worthy accounting cleverness, this lets them count the student as five donations rather than one.

It all sort of makes me wonder whether tuition increases aren’t starting to be a little like the restaurant price increases—rather than raise revenue, they just move revenue from the future (alumni donations) to the present (student tuition). If tuition increases dampen the enthusiasm of students to give after graduation, how is that worth it?

The UC system is in a different position than, say, Harvard. The UC is part of the state government and is accountable to an annual budget. So short-term results are the priority. Whereas Harvard, deriving giant returns from its huge endowment, can afford to weather fluctuations in its year-to-year revenue and focus on maximizing alumni contributions in the long term (which it does with near-intravenous efficiency).

I had lunch with a UCLA professor & alumnus last semester who repeatedly asserted how important it was to give money after graduation. Throughout my college education, Harvard banged it into us how our tuition didn’t cover the true costs of our education and that we were expected to make it up down the line in the form of donations. (I’m pretty sure I haven’t, but the point was made.)

But something different seems to be going on these days. The UCs are a special case, but it seems like a lot of colleges and universities have used the mostly-good economy of the last 15 years as a basis to raise tuition faster than inflation. (Again, too lazy to give you a footnote.)

This has not gone unnoticed by students. I used to justify my donations to Harvard by saying “sure they have a lot of money, but they also make about 20% a year investing it. So they use it wisely.” But when they crossed the $1 zillion mark a couple years ago, I did start to wonder “gee, is my petty little donation going to make a difference? Maybe I should send it somewhere where it matters more.”

When I think about donating to UCLA, I’m ambivalent. Some part of me still clings to the same belief that the professor did—alumni donation is part of the ethical contract a student makes with an institution.

Another part of me feels like shit, Regents, you weren’t shy about bringing my tuition up a huge amount to cover your short-term deficits. You weren’t shy about sticking me with the bill from the Kashmiri case. Can you really say I got that much of a bargain?

So the ethical appeal for alumni fundraising—you got more than what you paid for—is less compelling than it used to be.

We move on to the altruistic appeal—give money to UCLA because it’s the best use of your charitable dollar. But if anything, the shenanigans of the last three years show that the UC system is no model of financial management.

For argument’s sake, I’ll accept that alumni have an ethical duty to support their schools with donations. But if that’s true, then schools also have an ethical duty to protect their students’ pocketbooks while they’re in school. I got a good legal education at UCLA. But the UC system didn’t quite hold up its end of the deal.

12 Mar 07


I was wondering when you would get to this topic. You’re a great writer, well-informed and thorough. When you graduate from UCLA this summer, you’re going to do wonders representing your client critically and no doubt, ethically. Being proud of your school is important. It has and will continue to help you get to where you want to go. I’m really happy with my own law school (USC) for this reason. That’s why I give in spite of my outstanding loans - I want to affirm my support. And, as the WSJ article notes, if my giving of small dollars helps USC’s giving rate, which in turn helps it to better apply for funds from the Kresge Foundation, then why not do it since it means making my school better? Such foundational funds can certainly enhance our clinical programs and improve faculty hiring/retention.

It’s probably a different mindset for private schools, I don’t know for sure. However, while the UCs obviously have serious recent issues to contend with, it has wonderful strengths too. If that’s not reason enough for anyone to want to give and help where your school is in need and can perhaps be better because of it, then you’re not going to ever want to do it.

Posted by: Eric at March 13, 2007 12:57 PM

At heart I like to think I’m a free-market capitalist but I often question statements like “we need to spend our way back into the top five.” I was also very concerned with the Boalt Dean’s comments when I saw them on the news. Our interim chancellor (of UCLA, not the law school) and former law professor also echoed this outlook over last summer when he said UCLA would have to greatly increase tuition to “keep up” with other research institutions. What has made UCLA and UCLA Law top-ranked schools in only 50 years has not been outspending our competitors but keeping the schools financially accessible and attractive to the greatest number of potential students. The idea that more money = higher ranking is true to some extent but is not determinative. More money can help recruit professors, offer a limited number of scholarships to high-achieving students, or maybe buy some more lockers, but I don’t see either of these factors propelling us into the top 10. US News ranks the law schools and couldn’t care less which faculty we recruited or what our top few students’ LSAT and GPA were. US News cares about three main things - reputation, GPA (25/75), and LSAT (25/75). I don’t see what giving the dean a war chest financed by dramatically increased fees is going to do to influence these factors. But what if tuition was still $5,000? Where would a student go who got into Cornell (36k), Georgetown (39k), and UCLA Law Schools? There are many students who pick up the US News and make their decision based on the highest ranked school they got into (but do we really want these folks anyway?). There are also many students who consider the location of the school, the douchebag factor of the students (goodbye Georgetown!), the potential to work in the community, or the amount of debt they could be looking at. If the tuition was still $5,000 (circa 2000) we would be attracting numerous students that perhaps got into higher ranked schools but made their decision based on other factors like not having to sell out immediately upon graduating without collapsing in debt. I also don’t know anybody who decided which law school to go to based on a comparison of faculty or the number of desks in the library. If our midrange LSAT was 167/170 instead of 162/169 we would likely be in the top 10 or at least be ranked higher than 15. I think that, ceteris paribus, 5k tuition would do more to increase our prestige than 20k tuition that uses 15k of that to try to do all of the other things that the dean seeks to do. We’re not a private school, let’s not try to be. We’re not going to beat NYU at a game they invented.

Also, remember that UCLA is only 50 years old which kills us in prestige rankings. If I were schools ranked 7-14 I would be a lot more concerned about them maintaining their rankings against a young “up and comer” like UCLA. Along the same lines, one has to remember that the number one source of endowed chairs/large gifts is usually wills, trusts, and estates. There aren’t many deceased UCLA Law alums out there or even that many who have reached the age where they think about distributing their wealth. Private schools/older publics have chairs/funds that were established a hundred years ago or more. This puts us at a tremendous comparative disadvantage.

Posted by: TR at March 13, 2007 07:44 PM

When I was applying to law school, a number of attorneys I knew told me to go to the best state school that accepted me. The rationale was that I would leave law school without crushing debt. Other people made a similar decision and turned down higher-ranked schools to attend UCLA. Now UCLA is charging its students private school tuition to attend a public university. It is requiring professional students to subsidize the graduates and undergrads. It is taking in huge numbers of LLMs (who pay higher fees) and 1Ls, leading to overcrowding and meaning that there are very few classes for 2Ls and 3Ls. Current students have not seen any benefit from this added cashflow. But at least we’ve been able to hire a czar to run the place.

I agree that there is a moral obligation to support one’s school. I give to my alma mater (which has a huge endowment that it uses wisely) and my high school every year. UCLA is not getting one red cent. ever.

Posted by: SJP at March 13, 2007 09:43 PM

I can at least give Dean Edley credit for having a clear public stance on what he wants and why he wants it. I really could not tell you what Dean Schill’s vision is for UCLA law school in the next 3, 5, 10 years. (I don’t think he’ll be sticking around that long, but that’s another story.)

That leads me to TR’s point, which I agree with: as a public school, UCLA cannot compete in a head-to-head arms race against private law schools. Those schools have institutional & fundraising advantages that we can’t overcome merely with willpower and elbow grease.

The way I see it, UCLA has two choices: 1) stay true to its roots as a state school and be the best UCLA it can be, or 2) privatize, so it can compete with private law schools on an equal footing.

But I think it’s half-assed and futile for UCLA to maintain its status as a state school and simultaneously try to out-Stanford Stanford. That won’t work.

And then the question becomes: supposing that’s an accurate summary of UCLA’s strategy, should I donate to help the cause, even though I consider it akin to funding research for pig flight? Honestly, if UCLA said “we are going private, give us money” I would have an easier time opening my wallet.

Posted by: MB at March 13, 2007 09:51 PM

Not sure what you mean here.

What specific course of action by UCLAW would represent “trying to out-Stanford Stanford” as opposed to just “being the best UCLA it can be” (or vice versa)?

Posted by: at March 14, 2007 01:17 AM

What I mean is the arms race for professors, for students, for facilities, for clerkships, for prestige, for rankings, etc. All that costs money. As a public school, UCLA has to operate under financial constraints that Stanford doesn’t.

To be “true to its roots” as a state school would mean to care less about ranking and more about making a really solid legal education accessible to the widest range of Californians. After all, there is some notion that the point of a public education program funded with tax dollars is that it returns benefits to the public.

Bear in mind that for 20 years, UCLA has maintained its ranking around #15-20 without the benefit of huge funding. Tuition at the law school from 1999-02 was around $11,000. This year it’s $25,000.

So clearly, being a state school is not per se incompatible with maintaining a good ranking. But moving up in the rankings means displacing competitors who are private and much better-funded. And that is expensive.

Consider the effect on career choices as well. As tuition goes up, UCLA will become more of a feeder school for big law firms, since that’s the only job that will pay off the debt. You’re not going to be seeing UCLA lawyers taking careers in public service and other lower-paying but vital positions.

Posted by: MB at March 14, 2007 08:32 AM

Sounds like you think we shouldn’t even be trying to out-USC USC.

I think most people here would agree, though, that the school is better off with an eye toward upward mobility than a mission to settle in as the Hastings of Los Angeles.

Posted by: at March 14, 2007 06:17 PM

Yeah, I actually had a similar reaction—we’re trying to out-Stanford USC, not Stanford. And aren’t we still cheaper than USC? That doesn’t seem like a bad position to maintain.

Also, agreed that we’re better off trying to be more like Boalt than like Hastings or Davis.

Mainly, though, I think it should be pointed out that seeing “UCLA lawyers take careers in public service and other lower-paying but vital positions” is also an expensive proposition. At other schools it’s called LRAP (Loan Repayment Assistance Program) and it’s more common at the higher-ranked schools that UCLA is presently angling to compete with than at state schools. My understanding is that the school is presently trying to establish a program like this (although I don’t know how soon). If that’s part of the arms race, then I say “Keep stockpiling.”

Also, TR’s comment about a young school not having access to all those bequeathments and trusts yet should bode well. Long live the class of ‘54, but they can’t live forever.

Posted by: ungraded memo at March 14, 2007 07:10 PM

Re upward mobility: What upward mobility? There’s nowhere to go. See prior post on futility of ranking quest.

Re LRAP: I don’t follow your argument that an LRAP is a sign of prestige. An LRAP is designed to reduce the impact of high tuition. The lower your tuition is, the less you need an LRAP.

Posted by: MB at March 15, 2007 11:34 AM

Which law school are you thinking of whose tuition is low enough that LRAP doesn’t matter?

Posted by: ungraded memo at March 15, 2007 05:23 PM

UCLA 10 years ago.

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Posted by: zqeamlbu ecrwom at April 21, 2007 02:45 AM

Best advice.

I only got one piece of advice before law school that ended up being worth a damn.

“Find the best professors ... and take their classes.”

Credit to Ben Wizner of the ACLU. Ben & I lived in the same dorm in college and I randomly ran into him at a party in LA shortly before going to UCLA. That was his advice. He was right.

(Confidential to everyone but Ben: your advice sucked.)

The reason this advice works is simple. First, a great professor will make you love their topic. Even if you thought you hated it before. Second, it doesn’t matter what classes you take in law school. So you might as well take the best ones.

The corollary to Ben’s advice is that you need to bypass the bar courses that you might be taking out of a sense of obligation. That is a terrible use of your time & your tuition dollar, unless the course happens to be taught by one of the A-list professors. You need to save your credits for the good shit. Leave the rest for Bar/Bri.

How do you find the best professors? That’s trickier than you think. I’ve investigated our teaching evaluations pretty thoroughly. Even professors I know to be miserable bastards get pretty decent reviews. Which shows that a) personal taste varies or b) a lot of people didn’t show up to class except for evaluation day.

What you’re looking for is two things. One is consistency. If everyone likes a prof, chances are you will too. If opinion is divided, that’s a risky proposition. Two is raves. Not just good reviews. You want insane reactions, e.g. people scrawling on their eval sheets in two-inch letters “BEST COURSE AT UCLA!!!” over and over again. I saw that a couple times. I took those courses.

Be careful though: great profs are not necessarily great in every class they teach. Make sure you are taking their “crown jewel”, the course they’re known for, not some random seminar that they concocted during a Robitussin-induced daydream.

Oh, and take Evidence. No, really. You need it.

16 Mar 07


You can learn evidence in Bar Bri. Really.

Posted by: at March 16, 2007 10:12 AM

Certainly Barbri will teach you enough evidence rules to pass the bar. But it won’t teach you the importance and pervasiveness of evidence considerations throughout litigation.

I was prepared to skip Evidence because I had the idea that it was mostly about controlling what the jury sees during a trial. That’s true in a narrow way.

But in a broader way, all litigation unfolds against the backdrop of a potential jury trial. So the evidence that would be admissible at trial affects prior decisions—such as whether the case settles, how much it settles for, even whether you take the case at all, if you’re the plaintiff’s attorney.

It’s not the only factor that shapes the outcome of a case—but it’s a big one. If I were the king of the 1L curriculum, I wouldn’t hesitate to replace Property with Evidence. Property—- there’s a class I would’ve been happy to learn at Barbri.

Posted by: MB at March 16, 2007 05:12 PM

Any other parting law school advice?

Posted by: Bruce at March 21, 2007 08:22 PM

Someone saved your life tonight.

To the 1Ls who are planning to do the law review write-on next week during spring break: if I reach just one of you with my message, it will all have been worthwhile.

Here are some reasons to drop out of the write-on. And it’s not too late. It’s never too late.

1) The odds are against you. Only a fraction of people doing the write-on can make it.

2) It’s horribly grueling and a waste of a perfectly good spring break. You deserve a spring break. Law review wants to take it away.

3) Despite the meritocratic spin (“with a write-on, everyone has a chance to shine!“) it’s still a crapshoot. There’s a bunch of 2Ls scoring these papers. Do you think there will be anything close to the grading consistency you get when one professor grades 80 exams? No way.

4) The odds are even more against you, since a certain number of slots are reserved for Double Secret Grade-On 1Ls, whose GPAs are so absurdly high that the school considers it morally abhorrent that they would be excluded by a write-on. So they’re in. You’re out.

5) No, I wasn’t on law review (though I did make it through the write-on). But some of my dearest friends in law school were. Not a single one has described it as enjoyable. And it’s hard to quit once you’re on.

6) Nor has any of those dear friends considered it to be a boost to their resume. Good grades are a boost. Having a personality is a boost. Not drooling at the interview is a boost. But law review is not a boost.

7) The odds are really against you with this new “Additional Essay”, where they’re looking for “diverse experiences” or whatever the hell it is. I’ll leave it to you to speculate who they’re hoping to assist with this Additional Essay. But chances are it’s not you.

8) But your lawyer mom said law review was prestigious and you must do it! The operative word here is “was”. The internet is killing law reviews, just as surely as it’s killing the music business. Don’t believe me? Read how “Judges Are Ignoring Law Review Articles”. Also consider this.

The gist is this: law review articles had a more useful purpose in life when they served as digests of caselaw on a particular topic. But now that everyone has Westlaw or Lexis, this isn’t much of a value proposition. Plus, the never-ending struggle between clueless acting professors and clueless student editors inexorably leads to longer, duller, dumber articles. Never have so few said so much about so little. Though many professors still pooh-pooh legal blogs, at least those have a readership.

9) I know you’re scared that if you don’t do law review, [insert name of fearsome authority figure] will smite you, because you’ve gotten an A in every class since 7th grade and you got a 178 LSAT and blah blah blah. But I can assure you that [fearsome authority figure] doesn’t care.

10) You think I’m lying about the longness and the dumbness, right. But have you ever read the UCLA L. Rev.? Any of it? I have.

11) Your time would be better spent figuring out how to make some money with your legal education. This school’s not getting any cheaper.

12) Most of the smartest people I’ve met at law school didn’t make law review. And they’re headed to the same $145K jobs as the people who did make law review.

13) Did I mention the odds are against you?

22 Mar 07


As someone who tried the write-on competition and fortunately failed to get on, I agree with most of what you said, with one notable limitation. If a student is contemplating a career in academia, law review is still an absolute must. Not being on law review simply forecloses that opportunity a priori, no matter how stratospheric one’s GPA might be. The same is probably true of appellate level federal clerkships. Granted, a very small fraction of your readership aspires to be law professors or federal circuit clerks, but it’s something people should keep in mind. If, on the other hand, one’s goal is merely a garden variety law firm job that pays market, it has been my personal experience that good grades will trump law review every day of the week.

Posted by: YL at March 22, 2007 09:14 AM

I agree that law review membership seems to still be important for getting the best clerkship you can get. That being said, I think grades matter a whole lot more. Both of these points are confirmed by the aforementioned double-secret grade-on strategy, which aims to combine the two (grades and law review membership) for the *sole* purpose of increasing the number of UCLA students who get clerkships. So, if you want to clerk, you might as well join the law review.

But, as for academia—I think the only value of law review membership is that it forces you to write something. For all of its horrors, legal academia is still basically a meritocracy. If you write something great, you will get a job offer regardless of whether you wrote it in connection with law review membership. It may not be at the best school in the world, but if you keep writing great stuff, eventually the best school in the world will want you. On the other hand, if you were on law review, but never manage to write anything good, well...

So, instead of spending your time cite checking, you might as well spend it researching and writing on your own (or even in connection with an independent study topic). If you can’t bring yourself to do that at this point, you probably don’t actually want to be an academic.

And as for getting a job at a firm, I completely agree with MB—the era of law firms caring about law review seems to be over.

Still, in the end, I think some people (will) like being on law review, just like some people like being in law school. Those people probably already know who they are by November of their first year.

Posted by: at March 22, 2007 11:18 AM

These are all valid arguments, in theory, but the reality is, there are far more highly qualified candidates than there are academic openings or appellate clerkships. As a result, being on law review serves as one more filtering mechanism to reduce the pool of candidates to a more reasonable number. After all, who’s got the time to read thousands of long and boring law review articles to figure out who’s talented and who isn’t? Consequently, for many judges and academic recruiting committees, no law review on one’s CV means a quick trip to the trash bin. I am not saying it’s impossible to get those positions without LR, but it’s bound to be a huge uphill battle.

Posted by: at March 22, 2007 01:17 PM

I know nothing about the clerkship hiring process. (Though I do wonder if the arguments against law review also apply to clerkships—it seems like a lot of work for not much incremental benefit. Don’t you end up at the same $145K firm job as your classmates, but a year later?)

As for academic hiring, there are plenty of UCLA law professors who weren’t on law review or didn’t do clerkships. I think the biggest hurdle for UCLA students who want to be law profs is the fact that they go to UCLA.

Harvard / Stanford / Yale are still the premier law prof factories (and clerkship factories, for that matter). Try to find a UCLA law prof (other than Eugene “Life Sentence” Volokh) who went to UCLA law or a less prestigious school. Not many, I assure you.

Posted by: MB at March 22, 2007 02:18 PM

As for firms not caring about law review, I can attest from speaking with our hiring partner (a former UCLA LR Editor-in-Chief) that they most definitely care.

Posted by: at March 22, 2007 04:48 PM

Of course they care, but it’s not nearly as important as the school rank or your GPA. Big firms’ partnership ranks are filled with former LR members, so they view it as a hazing of sorts. Even if being on LR doesn’t say anything about your intellectual abilities, it certainly demonstrates that you can consume copious quantities of crap and then gladly ask for more, which something big firms value.

That said, not being on LR is not going to prevent anyone from half-decent grades from getting a big law job these days, except maybe at the most prestigious firms.

Posted by: at March 22, 2007 05:05 PM

“I can attest from speaking with our hiring partner (a former UCLA LR Editor-in-Chief) that they most definitely care.”

A former UCLA law review editor cares about the law review credential—you’re surprised by this?

The simple story about recruiting goes like this: people hire people who are similar to themselves.

A more nuanced story goes like this: every item on your resume has “signaling” value. The person screening resumes is looking for signals as a way of prioritizing resumes.

Some signals are read consistently. Harvard Law grad? That signals to most people that you’re reasonably smart.

But other signals are ambiguous, and their signaling value depends on the person reading. Suppose your resume says you’re “Fluent in Klingon”. If I also speak Klingon, I may take it as a signal that you’re a cool dude. If I don’t speak Klingon, I may take it as a signal that you’re a dweeb with no life.

Hiring partners are different, and each one is tuned to different signals. At your firm, your hiring partner was on law review and thus values the law review credential. Makes sense. It doesn’t disprove my point—I would expect different firms to value different things. Sure, some value law review. But that doesn’t mean they all do. At another firm, being good-looking is a positive. At another firm, being a humorless dick is a positive. And so on. In that way, the recruiting market is a lot like the dating market.

But the inevitable result of this process is that it’s not meritocratic at the margins—- a lot of people get or lose jobs for seemingly arbitrary reasons (ie. they speak Klingon).

If this sounds capricious and random to you, look at it from the recruiter’s point of view. If you’re a desirable employer, you have more good resumes than you can possibly interview. So how do you sort them out? By filtering on other signals that you, the recruiter, feel comfortable evaluating (probably because you share those characteristics.) In a vacuum, they seem irrelevant, but in context, it’s a handy shortcut.

Also, I’ve worked in positions where I had to interview & hire people. And I read hundreds of resumes. I can assure you, it gets tiresome. So any shortcut is welcome.

Posted by: MB at March 22, 2007 08:33 PM

Let’s not forget that it’s relatively easier to get one of those $145/160k jobs now because firms are hiring in record numbers. I don’t think that will necessarily be the case by the time the Class of 2009 graduates.

While it’s true that recruiting is a crapshoot, it’s also true that having Law Review on your resume is a positive signal, just like your law school and your GPA. You may not need it now, but that may not be the case in a few years. I doubt that recruiters at those $145/160k firms will toss a resume because it has the words “Law Review” on it. Sadly, however, it’s possible some of them might toss a resume because it doesn’t have the right magic words (which just proves you don’t need to be smart to work at a big firm).

Oh and 1Ls, the write-on is a crapshoot. As is most anything involving grading in law school.

As the inestimable LZ once wisely remarked, “The only reward for doing the write-on is more work.”

Posted by: waiting for the Scrivener at March 22, 2007 10:23 PM

I don’t think that’s exactly what I said, but thanks. (Although I have recently been estimated.)

Posted by: LZ at March 23, 2007 11:07 AM

Law Review was the biggest, miserable waste of time of anything I did in law school. If I had it to do over again I wouldn’t.

As far as jobs go, I cannot stress enough: GRADES ARE MORE IMPORTANT. Both the write on and Law Review are a tremendous amount of work. Many people end up sacrificing their grades for the Law Review and it isn’t worth it.

If you’re a 1L, you are probably pretty burned out by this point in the year. If you’re concerned about getting a job there are two things that are more worthwhile to do during spring break:

(1) Relax and go do something fun so you can come back to school recharged and head into the last part of the year ready to tackle your classes and your finals and get better grades than your classmates who did the write-on (remember the curve?)

(2) If you must do something academic, outline and study for finals. Work on your classes so you can do better than your classmates who wasted their time doing the write-on (remember the curve?)

I’d also like to point out that the notion that Law Review is somehow intellectually fulfilling and that after your one year of hellish (and it is hellish) cite checking you will get to engage with high-level scholarship and do interesting work is bunk. It’s a total lie. There are very few interesting editorial jobs on law review. The vast majority of editors supervise the cite checkers. (Look at the mast head.) That means that you will essentially be cite checking for two years.

And as for the individual scholarship part of it? Your comment probably won’t get published. (Everyone writes a comment and they publish two an issue - do the math.) Plenty of professors are happy to supervise an independent paper and you can publish it in another journal - or even the Law Review!

The upshot: Only write on to law review if you LOVE the Blue Book and are REALLY jazzed by the idea of two years of cite checking. Because that’s what you’ll probably be doing. Only do it if you are sure your grades won’t take a hit because all law review will do for you in the career department is give you an edge over the guy with exactly the same gpa.

Posted by: SJP at March 23, 2007 01:09 PM

The best decision I made as a 1L was to drop out of the LR competition on Sunday night, after reading every page in packet. I knew I needed that time to outline, as finals were looming. I spent the rest of Spring Break busting my ass on outlines, and I still go slammed on the Civ Pro final. I shudder to think what would have happened to me on that final if I hadn’t outlined over Spring Break...

At OCIP, Law Review did NOT matter. I still pulled a few job offers, including an offer with one of the 5 largest firms in the country. My grades weren’t stellar (especially thanks to civ pro), but I made the cutoff and figured out how to market myself effectively with what I had. Personality seemed to play a big part in the interviews - I got two unexpected callbacks because I cracked a semi-funny joke to the interviewer to end the interview! I have no interest in teaching or public interest law. My goal has always been the big firm job, with the crappy hours and big paycheck.

In sum:

Make Love, not Law Review!

Posted by: Valley 2L at March 27, 2007 12:40 PM

Can you expound a bit more on this “additional essay?” Is race the only factor or is diversity of experience?

And why are these affirmative action strategies so untransparent? If they are fair and just, they should be able to withstand criticism. Same applies to the untransparent process of how UCLA financial aid doles out grants.

Posted by: curious and confused at March 27, 2007 02:27 PM

Peace people

We love you

Posted by: HelloWorld at April 29, 2007 01:56 AM

matthewb @ ucla
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