Moot Court and Law Review

Pros and Cons of Moot Court and Law Review

You may be considering whether to participate in Moot Court and/or Law Review next year.  In this post, we provide a general overview of each organization and discuss the pros and cons of participating!

Pros and Cons of Moot Court and Law Review

What is Moot Court?

Moot court is an extracurricular activity that allows students to practice the legal research and writing skills you used your first year by writing a case brief and then engaging in oral arguments.  Moot court often involves competitions where students’ briefs are compared and scored against one another. Then, students orally argue the case against one another.

Application for membership on moot court usually involves a tryout at which students will demonstrate their oral arguing skills by arguing a brief issue in front of the “judges”.  Schools may also have different rules regarding GPA requirements or any other qualifications required for consideration of moot court participation.

What is Law Review?

Many law schools publish a period scholarly journal called a “Law Review.”  Some schools have more than one journal or have journals tailored to specific legal topics.  As a member of law review or any legal journal, students assist with the publication of the journal by editing articles written by scholars.  Student editors perform tasks such as checking citations and adding footnotes.  The Bluebook will become your best friend!  Law review members are also often expected to write a “note” which is a student-written scholarly article.  Often,  schools publish some student notes in an edition of the law review.

Application for membership on Law Review can be very competitive.  Law students often apply through two common methods: the “write on” competition or “grading on.”  The “write on” is a practice article that students are asked to write, generally on a certain topic and with a defined library of authority and source material.  Schools that allow students to “grade on” to law review might automatically offer students who finished at the top of their first-year class a position on the journal’s staff.

Pros of Participating in Moot Court and Law Review

Many employers look favorably on participation in moot court and law review. If litigation interests you, participation in moot court shows potential employers that you are working to hone your litigation skills. It also helps develop your skills in persuasive writing and arguing in front of a judge or panel of judges.

While Law Review does not necessarily teach practical skills that will be applicable in practice after law school, participation in law review will help hone your writing skills and it is therefore looked favorably upon.  Some employment positions, such as judicial clerkships require participation in law review as a prerequisite to being considered for the position.

There are social benefits to joining moot court and law review.  You will have the opportunity to work with and become close to the other members of the organization. The two groups often plan fun social activities such as moot court vs. law review flag football throughout the year.

Law review and moot court can teach you lots of practical skills.  In addition to the obvious legal skills, they also help develop skills in teamwork and time management.

Cons of Participating in Moot Court and Law Review

These clubs are time-consuming!  You may find classes, jobs, internships, and personal engagements overwhelming already.  It’s exhausting to add another activity to your already busy calendar. They don’t even have the potential of affecting your GPA!

You have to evaluate your priorities and determine if the time commitment of moot court or law review is right for you.  If you are more interested in gaining practical experience, maybe an internship is a better option for you.  Or, if you are paying your way through law school, maybe you need to get a job at a law firm instead.  Think about your ultimate goals while in law school. Keep in mind that law review and moot court aren’t always a great fit for everyone!

Should You Participate in BOTH Moot Court and Law Review?

If your school allows you to, you may be interested in participating in both law review and moot court.  Keep in mind the time commitment that each one involves!  You may find it helpful to speak with other students at your school who are already on moot court or law review. This is a great way to evaluate whether you can do both.  The time commitment involved will vary greatly from school to school.

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