Why You Should Enter the Writing Competition and Join a Journal at BC Law

Editor’s Note: Ben Kelsey is the incoming Editor-in-Chief of the Boston College International and Comparative Law Review.  Despite other commitments such as finishing 2L year and taking control of the ICLR, Ben was kind enough to author a post about the academic journals at BC Law, and the benefits that stem from the writing responsibilities assigned to their 2L members. We are very pleased to present the second in our series of letters about the rewards of working on a journal, and how interested students can get involved.

Dear 1Ls,

Allow me to be the 101st person to tell you that, despite the fact that you may be completely burned out after finishing your last final, you should enter the writing competition. You probably already know that journal participation looks great on a résumé and will help you develop skills that are important as both a law student and a lawyer. It also gives you the opportunity to get your work published. These benefits are fairly obvious. Instead of elaborating on them, I want to talk to you about what else you can get from journal participation.

First, you get academic credit. Earning six credits while researching and writing on a topic that you’re interested in and passionate about is pretty great.

Second, and in my opinion much more important, is the opportunity to really get to know a small group of BC classmates. Writing a Note is hard. Going through the Note writing process alongside my twelve fellow 2Ls on the ICLR brought us all closer to together. Commiserating over deadlines, overcoming the many roadblocks in the writing process, and finally pulling it all together forms a strong bond between the entire 2L class. Also, reading pieces written by fellow journal members in the peer review process makes you realize how smart your classmates are. Joining a journal is a great way get closer to a small group of students and interact with them in a way that happens almost nowhere else.

In addition to getting to know your own class, journal membership introduces you to a whole group of 3Ls that you might otherwise never have met. The 3Ls understand exactly what you’re going through as you write your Comment and your Note, and, in my personal experience at least, are there to help you every step of the way. Writing a Note can sometimes be a lonely process, especially when you’re tumbling down the research rabbit hole, but the 3Ls will be there to put you on the right path. The guidance that the 3Ls provide is invaluable not only in writing your Note, but also in forming a strong bond within the journal.

So, when you sit down this summer to read the first case for the writing competition, don’t think about the one extra line on your resume that journal participation will provide. Well, actually, do think of that. But also think about the other things that you can get out of it: credit, friendship, and a closer relationship with 2L’s and 3L’s alike. Most people will tell you that writing for a journal is hard. It is. But it’s worth it.


Ben Kelsey


BC International and Comparative Law Review

Ben Kelsey is a rising 3L at Boston College Law School and the incoming Editor-in-Chief of the Boston College International and Comparative Law Review. This past academic year, he was a staff writer for ICLR. To contact him, email him at kelseybe@bc.edu or leave him a message in the comments below. 

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