If you’re anything like me, you probably had a vague idea of what law review was prior to law school. As former Impact bloggers have discussed, there are ups and downs and benefits and drawbacks. Those bloggers have covered a lot of ground, so I won’t go into all that again here. Simply put, you should definitely do some research to determine if joining law review is right for you (reading those earlier posts is a good place to start!).
That being said, I knew I wanted to join BC’s Law Review for a number of reasons. I wanted to improve my writing skills, wished to keep the door open for potential clerkship opportunities, and hoped to go into the on-campus interview process with a strong resume. Plus, BC’s Law Review does not limit you to writing within a specific subject area and I am excited to delve into an area of the law that truly excites me next semester. To me, these benefits outweighed any potential drawbacks.
Although I still know that joining Law Review was the right decision for me and I have appreciated the opportunity to work alongside great editors and staff writers, there was one factor I never fully appreciated: the pressure that accompanies getting published. Don’t get me wrong: I knew it would be an invaluable opportunity to join the legal conversation this early on in my career. But what if I had an embarrassing typo or misunderstood the law?
I know, I know. That is precisely what editors are for and BC’s Law Review has an extremely rigorous process to ensure your cites are correct, your analysis makes sense, and your piece is perfectly polished. But for some reason, as I have continued to work on my case comment (the first work product as a Staff Writer), I have not been able to shake these feelings of stress and anxiety.
I figured I could look at this experience in two ways: remain worried and do nothing about it or use this as a valuable learning experience. The way I see it, this stress is not going to go away. In fact, the pressure may even be greater when clients are relying on my professional advice to help guide their complex business decisions or legal challenges. I’m not going to be able to walk away from work simply because I’m facing a new legal issue or I’m worried about making a mistake. That’s precisely why I have decided to use this experience as a learning opportunity.
First, I have recognized the importance of putting your best work product forward, especially when others’ reputations are on the line. When writing for BC’s Law Review, my work product can affect how others view the journal (which was just ranked in the top 20!). When working at a firm, the firm’s name is on the line. Second, although it is stressful, this kind of pressure is exciting. It means I have the opportunity to contribute to something significant and worthwhile. Third, confidence really is key. Once you can trust your own abilities, others will follow suit.
I knew joining BC’s Law Review would teach me a lot about writing, researching, and citations, but did not fully appreciate the lessons I would learn outside of that. Being relatively new to Law Review means I have a lot more to learn—and I look forward to providing updates along the way.
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