Ls now well into their second semester of law school might begin to think about writing for a Law Journal or joining a Moot Court or Mock Trial team. If you are currently a 1L, chances are good that your law school shielded these extracurricular activities from you first semester so that you could focus on mastering – or at least building – your critical thinking skills. As you delve further into your law school lifecycle, however, the opportunities afforded to you become greater. Moot Court and Law Journal are two of the more time honored and recognized law school activities, and are ones that you should, at the very least, strongly consider partaking in where possible.
Why Participate? Let’s examine a few reasons.
• Hone Your Skills: Prepare, practice and execute. Moot Court generally focuses on the art of oral advocacy, answering the detailed nuanced questions and teaching you to over-prepare just in case the judge happens to ask about that 19th century vessel case that was overturned more than 75 years ago. Law Journal forces you to appreciate the blue book, researching, and writing. The work, at times tedious, put in checking cites now will make legal research that much easier later, and will sharpen your editing and writing skills immediately.
• Experience Counts: No, your client will not go to jail if you lose your case. No, you will not fail your class if the article you spend a semester working on never finds its way into a published periodical. So where is the experience? In all of the practice. The practice you get now will go a long way for when it does count, and the experience you gain will prove invaluable regardless of how you use your law degree.
• Discover A Passion: You said you just love to argue in your law school personal statement, right? Participate and you might just realize how much you enjoy thinking on your feet, discrediting your opposing counsel’s argument, articulating your position to a judge and advocating on behalf of your client, irrespective of whether or not your personal beliefs align. Did you say you like to write? Well here is your chance! Most Law Journals (most schools have several) require that you write an article “of publishable quality”, allowing you to become a master of a particular subject and possibly get published along the way.
• Resume Builder: Many students consider this the main reason to join a Moot Court team or write for a Law Journal. There is validity to this rationale, although I prefer to consider other factors as well. Participating in activities that sharpen your overall analytical skills and attention to detail only enhances your overall marketability to prospective employers. In fact, some law firms require participation on either a Law Journal or Moot Court before they will consider you for an interview. In addition to involvement, the skills gained in either can only help you in your professional career.
I wrote for journal in law school and was fortunate enough to have an article published by the end of my 2L year. I discovered a greater passion for writing, and began to edit with a much more critical eye than ever before.
Tell us: Are you hoping to participate in moot court or law journal? Why or why not?