Thursday, March 15, 2007

On independence

On item #6 from the last post re: independence

At least five 2Ls and 3Ls have emailed me telling me that despite appearances, law review is not wholly independent in practice. As I tried to covey through the tone of my last post, it would be extremely naive for anyone to believe that something as important and/or high profile as law review would exist in a vacuum immune to outside pressure and nudging. While law reviewers are likely malleable for personal interest reasons, especially given that faculty members who read the law review will be writing clerkship recommendation letters to judges who read the law review and teaching recommendation letters to hiring committees who read the law review, it would be positive for a change if the law review actually practiced the independence that it preaches. Unlikely, I know, but one can hope.

A little birdie also told me another theory re: additional essay

The story is this: Law review used to be completely writeon, and since Dean Schill arrived in 2004, he has been lobbying the law review for a limited gradeon. He was initially unsuccessful, but after the 2005 writeon, he persuaded/forced the law review to adopt a backdoor limited gradeon for select top students who didn't make it on via the writeon. And law review caved in. And this little birdie also sees Schill's fingerprints all over the new additional essay, perhaps to win points with minority students. Again, I don't know anything regarding the history, so I will not comment on it, except to say that the more information that is out there, the better for the overall discussion.

What I do know is that Schill has been pushing heavily for more students to do clerkships and to get more alums placed in academia, under the premise that this is what all "top" law schools do and we want to be a "top" law school. And one integral component in the competition for such jobs is law review membership, so the theory that the gradeon was implemented to increase the viability of "top" students for COA clerkships and teaching jobs is quite plausible. I know for a fact that he has been "strongly suggesting" to certain individual 1Ls this year that they do the law review writeon [who he has talked to, what criteria he has used, and how he has approached the topic I will let you ask him yourself].

Anyway, unless there are any more big developments, I will let the law review additional essay theme die its natural death. These last two days has been interesting seeing who has been reading my blog--(law school administrators and faculty: you do realize that, despite your lurking, your IP address reveals a lot about yourself, right?)


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