– Hey, Legal Eagles.
There are a lot of extracurriculars available
to students in law school.
But the choices can seem overwhelming.
They are very different from what you can do in college.
So what extracurriculars are out there
and what should you spend your time on in law school?
Well by the end of this video
you will have a really good idea
of which extracurricular is for you.
What will add to your resume
and what is a good use of your time in law school.
So stick around.
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All right, so first and foremost.
Extracurriculars can be very rewarding in law school
but generally speaking,
grades are more important when you’re in law school.
So while it may be tempting to sign up
for lots of extracurriculars
especially during the first week of class.
As a general rule,
you never want to sacrifice your grades
for spending time in extracurricular activities.
And that goes for even the most prestigious extracurriculars
like participating on law review.
It’s almost always better to have good grades
than it is to participate in lots of extracurriculars.
So with that being said and without further ado,
here are the most popular extracurriculars in law school
and my opinion as to how valuable they are.
And I should tell you I know what I’m talking about.
In addition to working in BigLaw for over 10 years,
I have recruited for big firms,
I have interviewed many law students for associate jobs
and I have read more law student resumes
than I could possibly count.
So, let’s talk about the most popular
extracurriculars in law school.
The first one and the most popular
and usually the most highly regarded is law review.
Generally, law schools have one flagship law review.
A law review is a weird student-run publication
that publishes papers by professors, professionals
and other academics.
While other fields have peer reviewed journals
that are run by professionals or experts in the field.
Law schools have these student-run publications
that do two things.
They review, curate and proof the academic papers
mostly of professors and then publish them.
And Law Reviews will publish the papers
of students who are on law review
and those are called notes.
Sometimes without attribution
to the individual student who produced it.
but the law review serves the purpose
of publishing academic papers.
They tend to be the most prestigious legal journals
in the legal field
and they also publish the papers of students.
Now if you want to publish in law school
you should join law review.
There are, generally, also a lot of other journals
or law reviews that specialize in different topics.
But almost always the most prestigious journal
in a particularly is law school the law review.
And there are a couple very famous ones,
the Harvard Law Review comes to mind.
It’s an incubator for future professors and legal scholars.
It’s really the top of the field
when it comes to legal publications.
And while there are a number
of different journals and law reviews in law school,
generally, the main law review is the most prestigious,
it can be a real resume bump.
Out of all the things that you can do in law school
as an extracurricular,
there is no doubt that participating in the Maine Law Review
for your law school is by far
the most prestigious extracurricular that you can do.
It is a real resume bump
especially when you get to the top law schools
where the law review itself
has an actual reputation in the field.
But that being said, it is a ton of hard work.
You are constantly proofing and reviewing different papers,
only a few of which are going to be published.
It’s really thankless work.
It is very persnickety,
you have to have a real eye for proofing,
you have to be a very good writer
and it’s also very difficult to get on to the law review.
Some law reviews require you to have top grades
before you can participate
and other law reviews have a straight merit-based system
based on writing on to the journal.
So you show a writing sample and that’s how you get on.
Other law reviews have a combination of the two
where some people will grade on
and some people will write on.
But once you get on to law review
you can anticipate that you’re going to spend a lot of time
doing writing related activities, a lot of proofing
and a lot of publishing related work.
So that brings me to the second most popular
extracurricular in law school and that is moot court.
Moot court is where students
pretend to be appellate attorneys.
Students will write appellate briefs
and then they will argue that brief
usually on a very narrow part of the law
in front of a panel of judges.
This panel of judges is sometimes real judges
if the school is able to get the judges to participate.
But usually some lawyers from the community
who are judging the students on their ability
to argue on either the appellate brief
and/or their oral argument ability in front of them.
There are a number of different moot courts,
some specialize in international law or patent law.
And some are just sort of a general civil
or criminal appellate jurisdiction
where they’ll give you a topic that is of wide appeal
and you’ll argue that particular topic.
Some moot courts are just for the particular school
where it’s just amongst students in that school.
And some are against schools from around the city or state
where students will be competing against each other.
In some moot courts you’re graded on the brief
and some it’s just your oral argument
and some is a combination of the two.
Now moot court is certainly a resume bump,
not as much as law review.
But if you have moot court,
especially if you are a successful moot court competitor
then employers will look favorably on that in your resume.
Especially if you can show that you are someone
who was very good at arguing, very good at writing,
those are the kind of skills
that future employers want to see.
So it’s not quite as prestigious as law review
and it’s not quite as much of a bump in your resume
but it’s certainly a positive mark
on your law school resume.
It’s also a great way to hone your oral argument skills.
It feels like, there’s a bit of a bait-and-switch
when you get to law school
where you think you’re gonna be arguing all the time
but really you’re just sitting in a lecture hall
listening to your professor.
And at most you’re going back and forth
in the Socratic method
when he or she peppers you with questions.
But this is one of the true places
where you are able to get better at arguing
and have a chance to compete in that type of competition.
So that brings me to the third most common
extracurricular in law school and that is mock trial.
Don’t get mock trial and moot court confused.
If moot court is a simulation of appellate advocacy
then mock trial is a simulation of a real trial
at the trial court level.
I did both moot court and mock trial in law school
and while moot court is a lot of fun and it’s great,
I thought mock trial was way more fun.
You get to do all the aspects of a trial.
You guys to do opening statement,
examination of witnesses, cross examinations,
It’s like Law & Order but in real life but still fake,
if that makes sense.
It’s not dissimilar to mock trial
in high school or in college
but it’s operating at a much higher level.
There are different mock trials and they vary by topic.
There are civil mock trials,
there are criminal mock trial competitions,
there are employment mock trial competitions,
there are a lot of different formats too.
In some mock trials you provide your own witnesses,
in other words their fellow law students
who are training to be a witness
and you prep them ahead of time.
And in some mock trials,
the competition actually gives you a witness
that you’ve never met before
and you only have a couple of minutes to prep them
before they go on the witness stand.
So there are a lot of different venues
that can be a lot of fun to participate in
because they’re so varied.
Mock trial is probably less prestigious
than law review and moot court.
But I would say that people in the know really understand
that mock trial is an incubator
for people who really want to be in court.
So you can show that you have the skills
of a real practicing trial attorney
if you hone them in mock trial.
So while it’s not quite as much of a resume boost
as moot court and law review,
it’s still something that’s worthwhile doing
if you’re prepared for the time commitment.
So that brings me to the next extracurricular in law school.
It is by far the most popular
and it’s the one that
almost every law student participates in
and that is drinking.
There’s a lot of drinking in law school.
I’m talking in jest, that is an extracurricular.
But I am telling you this for two reasons.
One is that, your social life
is an important aspect of law school.
You should go out and you should meet other people
and have a little fun on occasion.
And number two is that,
when people go out to go drinking
they usually call it bar review.
And the first time anyone ever hears
that they’re going to bar review on Thursday night,
they often make the assumption that it’s a study group,
Bar review means going out for drinks.
Just FYI, you have been warned, it happens.
And you know, go out once in a while, it’s worthwhile.
Okay, so back to all seriousness,
the next extracurricular
is the various student groups on campus.
There are a lot of student groups in law school,
you have human rights groups,
you have ethnic and cultural groups,
the Federalist Society, outlaw, Black Law Students.
There are a lot of social groups and cultural groups that,
it’s sort of a loose association,
they try and bring speakers in, they often hold conferences.
This isn’t that much of a resume boost
but it’s a great way to network,
so I wouldn’t discount it entirely.
It’s also a good way to meet friends
and other attorneys in the community
who share similar values to you.
So you know a part of law school
that most people overlook is networking.
And you should spend some time
getting to know people in the community
especially if you want to work in that community.
Because it’s a great way to form
a social network of your own
that may come in handy when you’re looking for jobs
later down the line.
So after that, I would say the last big extracurricular
are social committees in law school.
These are things like participating on law prom,
putting together the big dance for law students.
If your school has a law school musical,
putting together the musical.
There are also public interest committees
and various fundraising activities.
Again like the social organizations
these are not necessarily a big resume boosters
but they’re great for networking
and a great way to spend some time on something
other than the black letter law in your particular classes
which you know sometimes we get tunnel vision
and we focus just on studying
and not other social aspects of law school.
So don’t discount the social committees as well.
Now if you want even more information
and strategies and tactics before you get to law school,
please download our free ultimate pre-law checklist.
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So what extracurriculars are you going to participate in?
Let me know in the comments below.
And until next time at Legal Eagle,
think like a lawyer and ace the exam.
What you should spend your time?
We’ll work on it.
My nose itches.
Let’s see, right, okay.