Becoming a Member of the Buffalo Law Review
The Buffalo Law Review prides itself on maintaining the highest level of integrity and objectivity in its selection process. Consequently, admission to the Buffalo Law Review is open to the entire student body and based upon a combination of factors. Every year, we select approximately 28 to 32 new members. We select the first 20 members based upon a combination of first-year grades, a Bluebook exercise exam, and a Casenote Competition. We then base admission for the remaining 8 to 12 seats solely on a combination of Casenote and Bluebook exam scores. The grading process for the exams and the Casenote is entirely anonymous because competing students do not include their names on any of the material.
The Casenote Competition
The Buffalo Law Review conducts the annual Casenote Competition, which is a writing competition based on our traditional rules and format. The Competition consists of two components: a written Casenote and an in-class Bluebook citation exam. Students may write their Casenote during spring break or following the spring examination period. Members of the Buffalo Law Review administer the in-class citation exam prior to final exams in the spring semester, typically in April.
Purpose of the Competition
The purpose of the Casenote Competition is to test the skills and competencies most frequently used to perform journal duties. The Casenote Competition determines how well you write, how well you follow directions, how patient you are, whether you can work well under a deadline, and whether you pay attention to detail.
The Casenote Competition is open to all first-year students, second-year transfer students, and students in their third semester at SUNY Buffalo Law School who took a leave of absence during their first year. Second-year transfer students have the opportunity to participate in the start of the fall semester of their second year. Students who attend SUNY Buffalo Law School for their entire first year and do not participate in the Casenote Competition at the end of their first year may not participate in future competitions. Students in a four-year program (joint-degree or part-time) must write the Casenote during their first year. These four-year students may defer membership for one year.
As noted above, the Buffalo Law Review typically offers between 8 and 12 membership positions based solely upon Bluebook exam and Casenote Competitions scores (without consideration of grades). Although admission to the Buffalo Law Review for the remaining 20 seats does consider grades, this is not necessarily a predictor of success in the competition, which is earnest. Each year some students with straight A's who complete the competition are not offered admission. Likewise, each year we accept some students with few A's. We are able to do this when the students submit exceptionally well written Casenotes. The goal of our admission policy is to equally reward academic accomplishment, hard work, attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines, and motivation to succeed. Being a member of the law review requires more than the mere ability to garner an A on an exam. Students who are truly willing to invest the necessary time and hard work stand an excellent chance of gaining admission to the Buffalo Law Review, regardless of grades.
The Benefits of Law Review
Experience on any academic journal is beneficial, however, the Buffalo Law Review provides a unique opportunity to test yourself in a demanding, yet rewarding atmosphere. Working on the Buffalo Law Review is a good opportunity to sharpen your research and writing skills, learn the Bluebook, and to have your own work published. Because of the skills it teaches, membership on the Buffalo Law Review is highly regarded by various employers. In a publication produced by the Alumni Association in 1987 celebrating the University at Buffalo Law School's 100-year anniversary, the following was stated about the Buffalo Law Review:
Serving on the Buffalo Law Review is a feather in the cap for those who are selected. To most, especially prospective employers, it indicates finely honed skills in legal research and the ability to write clearly and concisely. For this reason, law review graduates garner many of the highly selective jobs and judicial clerkships.
However, the benefits of joining the Buffalo Law Review extend well beyond top-paying jobs at major firms and prestigious judicial clerkships. Members of the law review spend many hours working together as a team resulting in lifelong friendships. In addition to the time spent working together, the law review strives to create a social atmosphere among its members outside of the office. The Review hosts bar nights and other social events throughout the academic year in addition to its annual dinner. In short, serving as a member of the law review will not only enhance your professional abilities, it is an opportunity to make many new friends.
Further questions should be directed to Chloe Macdonald, the Head Note & Comment Editor.
In a forthcoming article, University of Minnesota Law Professor Edward S. Adams and Samuel P. Engel, are publishing a study of the more than 33,000 law partners at the top 115 law firms in the country that shows that certain factors that go completely unconsidered by the USN&WR rankings—such as geographical location relative to a major legal market—may play a significant role in “big” law firm partnership prospects. An executive summary of the article can be found here.
Nick Fram and Thomas Frampton's article on the unionization of college athletes is getting notice again after student-athletes from Northwestern University petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for the right to form a union. A recent New York Times Op-Ed, Unionized College Athletes?, describes Fram and Frampton's argument in favor of classifying college athletes as employees, noting that the athletes still face "an uphill struggle."
On September 28, a Time Magazine online editorial titled College Athletes Need to Unionize Now, cited Nick Fram and Thomas Frampton’s A Union of Amateurs: A Legal Blueprint to Reshape Big-Time College Athletics. The Time article referenced Fram and Frampton’s theory that college athletes at public institutions should be considered university employees. The Buffalo Law Review published A Union of Amateurs in August 2012 (60 Buff. L. Rev. 1003).
The International Arbitration Club of New York awarded Professor Charles H. Brower II the Smit-Lowenfeld Prize for best scholarly article in the field of international arbitration for his article "Arbitration and Antitrust: Navigating the Contours of Mandatory Law," which appeared in the December 2011 issue of the Buffalo Law Review.
Todd E. Pettys's article Judicial Retention Elections, the Rule of Law, and the Rhetorical Weaknesses of Consequentialism, 60 Buff. L. Rev. 69 (2012), has generated a lot of discussion:
- The Press-Citizen Editorial Board agrees with Pettys, saying "Iowa’s current judicial nominating system ... all but ties the hands of judges from defending themselves."
- Jordan M. Singer reflected on the uncertain future of judicial retention elections in BLR's The Docket.
- Pettys's article was featured in an editorial, "Judges Need to Learn to Defend Themselves," in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
Should NCAA players unionize in an effort to get paid? A Union of Amateurs: A Legal Blueprint to Reshape Big-Time College Athletics by Nick Fram and Thomas Frampton presents surprising research regarding state-level paths to player unionization and pay. A recent article in Salon, "Madness of March: NCAA Gets Paid, Players Don’t," relies heavily on their cutting edge research to suggest an avenue to empower student-athletes: "Rather than corrupting 'amateurism,' Fram and Frampton argue, unionization offers a path to preserve its best aspects: protecting the league from legal crisis while providing players a forum to defend their academic pursuits and their physical and emotional health."