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What Are Legal Journals and How Do You Join One?

Legal journals and law review experience can look great on a resume. But what exactly do these publications offer for students and should you join one?

Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach and contributor at US News, recently broke down everything you need to know about legal journals and law reviews, offering insight into what they are and why they’re so important.


At the basic level, legal journals give law students the opportunity to manage and edit a publication—from start to finish.

“Law students select which articles are published, review and edit those articles, and even publish their own works,” Kuris says. “The editor of a law review may make a decision that shapes articles later read in law classes or even cited by Supreme Court justices in their opinions. Groundbreaking articles may open up new fields of study or change interpretations of American laws.”


The process for joining a legal journal or law review is competitive—and many legal publications are highly selective about who they admit.

“More selective law reviews and legal journals often host competitions to choose new members, which typically occur right after the end of the first year of law school,” Kuris says. “Competitions are primarily based on legal research, writing and editing. First-year students who rank at the top of their class may also be invited to join a law review, sometimes automatically.”

If you’re interested in joining your school’s law review, be sure to research the application requirements carefully, as admissions processes differ from law school to law school.

“Knowing the law review’s application requirements and procedures beforehand will save a great deal of stress during the process,” Brian King, a member of the Public Finance Section in the Dallas office of West & Associates LLP, says. “For example, some law reviews require its candidates to edit an article from a previous publication, and other law reviews require applicants to write a note on a pre-selected topic and/or sit for a Bluebook exam.”

Membership to a law review can grant you a number of benefits, including networking opportunities and support in securing a job post-law school.

“Becoming a member of a law review is a rewarding experience that is a result of hard, consistent work,” King says. “The power of law review does not rest in its membership status alone, but in the skills that you acquire during the membership.”

Sources: US News, American Bar Association

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