Selection Process – Generally
The Law Review holds an annual write-on competition to select new staff members from the first year class. The Spring competition consists of a case comment and a citation test.
Each Spring, staff members create the write-on competition packet (“packet”) that forms the basis of the case comment. The packet consists of approximately two to three hundred pages (including one case that is the subject of the case comment and a series of diverse sources that discuss the relevant issue). The packet is distributed the first Friday immediately following the day of the last final examination for the spring semester.
Candidates will have fourteen days to complete a citation test and write a case comment that conforms to the packet’s standards. Candidates author their comments anonymously by using their social security number or other identification number.
Membership Guidelines Concerning Annual Write-On Competition
These rules, approved by a majority of the Law Review membership on November 30, 2005 reflect the Law Review’s absolute commitment to academic honesty, fairness and integrity. These rules are as much ideals as they are regulations. They are intended to provide guidance to current and potential members. Above all, the rules 1) ensure that each member of the Law Review feels confident in his/her achievements, 2) maintain the integrity of the selection process, and 3) uphold the prestige of Law Review membership.
I. On Notice
Each year, at first-year orientation, the Law Review shall introduce the section of the by-laws pertaining to the Write-On prohibitions. This presentation will be designed to put potential participants “On Notice” of the Law Review’s by-laws and policies. In addition, the Law Review will provide an “On Notice Memo” that is designed to put students on notice of the Law Review’s by-laws.
II. Sample Case Comments
A. General–The Write-On Committee shall make available, by placing on reserve in the Rutgers Law Library, between three and five sample case comments. These sample case comments will be drawn from successful competition submissions prepared by current or former Law Review members.
B. Availability–The sample comments will be available for review by competition participants during the length of the competition.
The comments will be posted on the Law Review website at the same time that the Write-On packets are made available to participants. The comment will only remain on the website throughout the duration of the Write-On process.
C. Contents–The materials placed on reserve will include only the textual portion of the comments. Footnotes will not be included. The materials should not indicate whether footnotes are correct or incorrect. The comments should include no identification of their authors.
D. Disclaimer–The following language shall be displayed prominently on the packets:
The authors of these submissions were offered membership to the Rutgers Law Review. However, these submissions were not necessarily among the ten highest-scored submissions (authors of which receive offers of membership without reference to grade point average). These comments are for reference only and do not necessarily conform to current competition style, formatting, or citing requirements.
E. Selection–The Write-On Committee shall draw case comments from competition submissions by former or current Law Review members. Comments will be placed on reserve only with their authors’ consent.
A. General–Law Review members shall not discuss the competition with participants or potential participants. Participants and potential participants shall not discuss the competition with anyone, including, but not limited to: past or current Law Review members, family, friends, coworkers, faculty or other participants or potential participants. This ban includes, but is not limited to, discussions concerning:
3. Structure of Comment;
5. Competition Tactics;
6. Procedures for compiling the Write-On packet;
8. Strategy for reading, analyzing and dissecting the Write-On packet; or
9. Time Management.
B. Website–The Law Review Website shall be updated to include general information on the Write-On process. Members may direct candidates and potential candidates to the website.
C. Exceptions–In recognition of the difficulty of determining, on an individual, discretionary basis, what communication violates these rules, it is the intention of the Law Review members that this rule be applied broadly to all conversations concerning the write-on process.
Law Review members shall decline to discuss the competition, even rejecting conversational niceties by informing participants or potential participants that Law Review rules do not allow discussion of the competition.
There are only three recognizable exceptions:
1. Law Review may hold a General Information Meeting[s] to present information. The substance of a general information session will be left to the determination of the Write-On Committee. Furthermore, any General Information Meeting must be 1) open to the entire student body, 2) be advertised and organized in a manner expected to notify the entire student body and to maximize attendance. Whether or not to hold the General Information Meeting shall be voted- upon at the first Law Review General Membership Meeting of the academic year.
2. The “On Notice Meeting” outlined in these by-laws;
3. Sanctioned Statements and Topics:
– Law Review members are chosen through a Write-On Competition;
– You Have One Week to write your case comment;
– Stay Calm;
– There is a large packet;
– You can pick up your packet the Friday after finals;
– Go to the Law Review website for more information;
– Law Review members may discuss current responsibilities on Law Review;
– Confirmation of important dates and times; i.e. date of General Information Meeting, due date of submission;
– Selection Process
IV. Enforcement and Compliance
Participants in the Law Review Write-On must sign an warranty that states that they 1) they have not attended any meetings relating to the Write On (except a General Information Meeting described in these by-laws) and 2) will abide by the Law Review by-laws, as well as the Write-On guidelines.
Complaints alleging violations of these guidelines shall be evaluated directly by the Judicial Board. The hearings shall conform to the Law Review by-laws for the Judicial Board, and before the Board can commence punitive actions it shall find a reasonable likelihood that the Law Review member or potential member violated the by-laws. In addition to removal from the Law Review members, violations of this policy will be referred to the administration and may constitute violations of the University Honor Code.
Any other misconduct relating to or during the competition may constitute a violation of the University Honor Code and may be considered as such by the administration without reference to Law Review judicial proceedings or regulations.
Any participant or potential participant found by the Judicial Board to be in violation of these by-laws will be disqualified from the Law Review Write-On process.
Procedure for Evaluation
of Write-On Competition Submissions
The submissions are evaluated in four stages. In the initial stage, five or more members of the incoming Editorial Board (“Board”) read each case comment. Footnote graders focus on grading footnotes in the case comment for citation accuracy, creativity, conformance with technical requirements, etc. Text graders focus on four essential attributes of legal writing: quality of writing, organization, legal analysis, and legal evaluation.
Submissions are graded according to the following weighted allocation scheme:
|Endnotes in the Case Comment||20%|
|Quality of Writing||15%|
The Board assigns each paper a grade based on the above criteria and weight, writing a detailed commentary justifying each grade. The Editor-in-Chief then averages the scores. The ten submissions with the highest averaged scores are automatically offered staff positions. The Editor-in-Chief then establishes a cut-off point for the averaged scores. The Law Review does not further consider submissions graded below the cut-off point.
The second stage of selection begins when a standing committee, consisting of various editors, conducts the second read for submissions above the cut-off point. The standing committee re-evaluates the case comments without knowing the initial grades. Any submisssion that receives a 7/10 vote of the standing committee for acceptance is offered a staff position automatically. Likewise, any submission that receives a 7/10 vote for rejection is not further considered for Law Review membership.
In the third and final stage, the Law Review may select at its discretion additional staff members based on the combined average of the submission’s grade and the author’s grade point average.
Applicants in the Minority Student Program (“MSP”) indicate this on a card included with their submissions. This card is kept in a sealed envelope until completion of the final phase of grading. At that point, an overall ratio is generated by comparing the number of applicants who submitted MSP cards to the overall number of applicants. No further applicants are accepted if the proportion of applicants who submitted MSP cards and who were already accepted for staff positions is equal to or greater than the overall ratio. If the proportion is less than the overall ratio, additional applicants who submitted MSP cards shall be admitted in the order of their ranking until the accepted proportion roughly equals the overall ratio. The MSP factor is thus applied only to those applicants who were placed in the second read by virtue of having demonstrated the ability to produce Law Review-quality work.
Volume 68, Issues 4 and 5 are on their way!
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