Thinking about transferring to Harvard Law School (HLS) and interested in writing on to the Harvard Law Review? 

Students that transfer to HLS can join the Harvard Law Review either as a rising 2L, or as a rising 3L (although they may only participate in the competition once). Write-On is a six-day competition where students edit legal scholarship and author a case comment as part of their application to join as an editor of the Law Review

The following three students transferred to HLS and decided to take part in Write-On during their 2L year.  Below are a few of their thoughts on their journey to the Law Review and their experience on the journal.

What is one thing that surprised you about the Law Review

  • Alexandra: Beyond editorial work, the community coordinates a number of activities for the editors.  This past year, the Law Review hosted events such as a barbeque, a fall retreat, a night at the ballpark (watching the Red Sox play), and a spring banquet.
  • Dylan: Something I found surprising about the Law Review is how much you contribute to your fellow editors’ writing.  Within a month of being on the Law Review, you’re giving other 2Ls and 3Ls substantive feedback on their case comments or student notes, or polishing their pieces as they head off to print.  I didn’t have an issue telling a law professor how to edit their writing.  However, I was surprised by how much thought I put into the feedback I provided my fellow editors, as I contemplated whether or not the feedback was necessary and how the feedback would be received.
  • Harry: One thing that surprised me about the Law Review experience is how quickly all editors have an actual say in the journal’s work.  Within a few weeks of joining the Law Review, we were attending meetings to vote on which articles to publish and offering substantive comments to authors. We really hit the ground running, and even when the workload gets high, all of the work we are assigned feels both impactful and interesting! 

What did you enjoy most about being on the Law Review?

  • Alexandra: The community is phenomenal. I especially appreciated the community I formed with my fellow Executive Editors (EEs).  Serving alongside the EEs was the highlight of my experience and I am going to miss the camaraderie and conversations we shared in the Masthead room.
  • Dylan: What I loved most about Law Review was probably two things: community and deliberation.  The Law Review community is a pretty disarming group.  You come in thinking that it’s going to be folks who are a bunch of quiet, bookworms who do nothing but study.  But everyone is pretty engaging and outgoing, genuinely cares about their fellow editors, and cares deeply about the direction the law is headed.  On the deliberation front, we do a lot of that. Everything, from the pieces we publish to the groceries we get for the house each week, gets a vote.  It taught me a lot about how important dialogue is, especially when you’re trying to convince everyone that Coke Zero is better than Diet Coke.
  • Harry: Echoing Dylan, the Law Review community has been incredible.  It has been a huge support system for me on campus.  It is wonderful to be a part of a group that is passionate about such a wide array of issues, legal and otherwise, and to have a dedicated space to talk and write about such issues.  I also loved working as an Articles Editor the past semester—even at the most stressful times, spending so much time talking with other engaged and passionate people about legal scholarship was really enjoyable! 

What tips do you have for students during the competition?

  • Alexandra: I found it helpful to prioritize getting a solid night of sleep every night and I took walks.
  • Dylan: I’ve got some practical and big-picture tips.  First, save everything and create multiple versions of documents once you get past a certain threshold of work completed.  During the subcite, my PDF crashed and I lost all of the comments I had been working on for several days.  You’ll save yourself an all-nighter I promise.  Something a little bigger picture is to try hard to zoom out of the competition and think about what you’re being asked to do: edit a piece and write a very limited opinion on a court case.  Keep that in mind and try not to make it seem like a bigger deal than it really is.
  • Harry: Try not to compare your work schedule and process with anyone else!  And especially don’t decide not to turn in the competition because you think your work won’t compare well with others. The week is an individual exercise, and thinking about it as a “competition” can be really distracting.  Everyone works differently, and the tasks are all things that your law school experience has equipped you to succeed at. The most important thing is that at the end of the week, you feel like you submitted a product that was your best effort.  That said, checking in with your support network (even just to commiserate!) is also really helpful. 

Any words of encouragement or advice you want to share? 

  • Alexandra: If you are interested in Law Review at all, I would strongly suggest you participate in Write-On!
  • Dylan: The biggest piece of advice I can offer you is to just finish the competition and try to have fun with it. I know, a six-day competition is pretty grueling. But give yourself the best shot to succeed by seeing it through. And, if at some point throughout it, you find that you actually like the work—maybe this really is the thing for you.
  • Harry: The week can be grueling, but for me, there were also moments where I found myself really enjoying it.  And above all: Turn!  It!  In!  No matter what, when you push submit you will be very proud of yourself and happy you did.  

All in all, your time on the Law Review is what you make of it.  If you are interested in helping shape the law and getting exposed to legal scholarship, then the Law Review is for you. There are plenty of opportunities to engage in interesting and thoughtful work, create community, and think about what truly drives you in the law.

Harvard Law Review

Filed in: Student Voices, Transferring to HLS

Contact the J.D. Admissions Office