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March 20, 2007

Michigan Law Review, How Do I Love Thee?

Op-Ed
Submitted by
Leigh Wasserstrom

As I mingled at the admitted student bar night (see, MLRers are not perpetually trapped on Sub-3!), prospective students repeatedly asked me to describe my favorite thing about law school. I admit that my first instinct was to laugh and advise them to re-think law school if their goal was to do something enjoyable. But in all seriousness, I told anyone willing to listen what a tremendous experience working on the Michigan Law Review has been.

Professionally, the benefits are immense. Cite-checking scholarly work —albeit tedious— has improved not just my blue-booking skills but also my ability to distill and evaluate complex arguments. And the note-writing process has been an opportunity to hone my research and writing skills under the guidance of my peers. It has been a pleasure to work with the entire Notes Office as I pursue publication. (Full disclosure: I currently serve as a Note Editor.)

As a member of the Editorial Board, I have the unique opportunity to shape the direction of a premier legal journal. The articles, notes, and comments we publish are entirely student-selected and student-edited (and some are student-written as well); in no other discipline are students given the opportunity to impact the field so profoundly.

But in some ways, the professional benefits have been less satisfying than the other, less tangible rewards. At our first orientation meeting, Dean Caminker assured the new Associate Editors that the Law Review would be the ultimate date hook-up. Although this prognostication has proven less than prescient (at least in my case), his insistence that the feeling of community would be very satisfying, particularly in moments when the work seemed most uninteresting, has been absolutely accurate.

A sense of community pervades every aspect of the Law Review experience. The Law Review is a microcosm of the Law School itself. Our members have a wide array of perspectives, life experiences, and career aspirations. A shared purpose brings us together—dedication to the journal and to the advancement of legal scholarship. Some of the most interesting conversations I have had in law school have been in the Law Review offices. And I have made some great friendships in my afternoons on Sub-3.

Contrary to popular belief, Law Review members like to socialize, too. And there is no party at the Law School like a Law Review party. Seriously! Okay, not really. But, the Law Review Joy Tyrants (our social chairs) are always organizing delightful soirees: bar nights, IM sporting events, and holiday gatherings. On Wednesday mornings, they bring us donuts. We like to work hard, but we also know how to have a good time and enjoy delicious treats.

In sum, the Law Review may not get you dates, and our social committee has a pretentious name derived from a Jeremy Bentham quote (why must we take ourselves so seriously?), but working on the Law Review will make you a better law student and, ultimately, a better lawyer. It is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a dynamic, intellectual, and dedicated community.