What is the Wisconsin Law Review?

The Wisconsin Law Review is a student-run journal of legal analysis and commentary used by professors, judges, and practitioners for research, evaluation, and discussion of current legal issues. Today, the Wisconsin Law Review is one of the most respected legal journals in the country.

The Law Review publishes six issues each year and distributes approximately 1100 copies of each issue to our subscribers worldwide. Each issue usually contains two or three professional articles and two or three student articles that address timely and relevant legal topics. The Law Review also sponsors a symposium each year to engage participants, faculty, students, and the community in an academic dialogue concerning contemporary legal issues.

What do Law Review members do?

Members must commit two years of service to the Law Review. As second-year students, members write an original article on a legal topic of their choice, with guidance from third-year members who serve as Note & Comment Editors. The Law Review publishes approximately twelve of these student pieces each year. Members also citecheck professional and student articles scheduled for publication. Citechecking involves locating cited sources, proofreading for grammar and punctuation, and reviewing footnotes for accuracy and proper Bluebook form. Members receive two pass/fail credits per semester for their work on the Law Review (four credits for the entire year).

Third-year students comprise the Editorial and Senior Board of the Law Review. The editorial staff oversees and manages the publication of each issue, selects articles for publication, edits professional and student articles, and assists members with the writing process. Editorial staff members receive between one and three pass/fail credits per semester for their work (two to six credits for the year).

Who is eligible to join the Law Review?

The Law Review selects members through the Write-On process in the fall and spring. Eligible students must have completed at least twenty-four graded credits, including satisfactory completion of two semesters of Legal Research & Writing. Eligible students must write-on the first time that they are eligible. Most students are eligible when they complete their first year of law school and must write-on at that time.

Most transfer students and some part-time students will write-on during the Fall Semester. Part-time students should contact the Law Review to verify eligibility. Because students must write-on the first time they are eligible, part-time and transfer students should ensure they do not miss the opportunity to join Law Review. Other students may not participate in the Fall Write-On process if they were eligible to participate in the Spring Write-On process.

Do my grades count?

Grades alone are not determinative of Law Review membership. While the top ten academic performers will receive a preference for membership, all members must write-on to join the Law Review. For all other students, grades do not affect the Write-On process.

Full-time students who are among the top ten in class rank (not top ten percent) after the Spring Semester of their first year and who have submitted a completed write-on submission shall be offered membership to the Law Review if their write-on packet is in the top two-thirds of all packets submitted.

What is involved in the Write-On Process?

The Law Review extends invitations to approximately forty-two students based on the results of the Spring Write-On process.

Each student will turn in a written portion (Note), a Bluebook Exercise, and a Personal Statement. To maintain fairness, the Editor in Chief and Senior Note & Comment Editor assign each student an anonymous number so packets are evaluated blindly. Only the Editor in Chief and Senior Note & Comment Editor know students’ overall packet scores, and they do not individually grade submissions.

For more information about the Write-On Process, please view this Write-On PowerPoint Presentation.

Additionally, sample Write-On Student Notes are available below:

Sample Note #1

Sample Note #2

Will I have enough time to complete my packet?

Students have fourteen days to complete the Write-On process. Materials will be available on the last day of 1L finals. Fourteen days is plenty of time to take a day or two off and still complete the packet. Some students even begin summer employment during the time that they are working on their packets. However, many employers may be willing to extend your start date if you want to complete your packet first. You should contact your employer if you are concerned about your start date.

Students will spend the most time completing the Note, which will be no more than twelve written pages. The actual packet will contain a more specific page limit and formatting instructions. The other portions of the packet—the Bluebook Exercise and the Personal Statement—should take students less time to complete, though they should also be completed with care as they distinguish candidates from one another. Additionally, the reading required for the Note will not be extensive. The Note reading will contain less than one hundred pages and very likely be under fifty pages. Therefore, students will not spend a majority of their time just reading materials. In the past, students have typically spent about 30-60 hours total on their packets.

What if I will not be in Madison when the submissions are due?

As long as you have internet access, you will be able to submit your Write-On application. The entire process will be conducted though LEXIS this year, from obtaining the materials to submitting your final application, therefore you can participate from anywhere provided you have access to the internet.

How will I benefit from being a member of the Law Review?

Most people think that membership on the Law Review will help them secure employment. Law Review membership looks great on a résumé because as members, students have a unique opportunity to develop their legal skills. They will improve their ability to research and analyze legal topics. They will hone their writing and editing skills by receiving feedback on written work. The intensive writing requirement will give members in-depth knowledge on a particular area of the law. Students will learn to pay great attention to detail and become experts on Bluebook form. The Law Review also exposes members to authors who are writing on cutting-edge topics of legal scholarship. Overall, the Law Review will help members develop skills that will make them better lawyers.

What if I have more questions?

Contact us! The Senior Board is happy to answer any questions students might have.