Membership Selection

Each year, the Columbia Law Review selects forty-five members from the rising class of second-year students at Columbia Law School, as well as eligible joint degree students. The application process takes place in May. This page has more information about all aspects of the process.

The Columbia Law Review also reviews applications from transfer students, and may select additional members from those applications. A separate process for transfer students occurs in July. If you are a transfer student, please see the separate Transfer Application Process page.

COLUMBIA APPLICATION PROCESS

The application for the Columbia Law Review requires submission of four elements: (1) the Writing Component, (2) a Personal Statement, (3) a Voluntary Personal Information form, and (4) your Transcript. The application period will begin on Friday, May 7, 2021 at 12:00 pm EDT and close Friday, May 21, 2021 at 12:00 pm EDT. Successful applicants will receive offers on Monday, June 21, and all new members are expected to attend Orientation, and begin their editorial duties on Monday, July 19.

Attendance at Orientation is required. In the past, summer employers, including firms, fellowships, and public interest organizations, have readily released new members from work obligations or allowed them to reschedule their time to attend Orientation. Additionally, Orientation will not interfere with the Early Interview Program. If you anticipate not being able to attend part or all of Orientation, however, appropriate accommodations can be arranged. The structure of Orientation is to be determined and subject to change. We will continue to communicate with you as we confirm additional details.

WRITING COMPONENT

The Writing Component consists of (1) a closed-universe prompt that asks you to analyze a legal question and fact pattern presented, and (2) a citation exercise. Writing exercise topics vary from year to year. In the past, students have been asked to write an essay justifying a position on a cutting-edge legal issue, a bench memo, or a classic law school-like issue spotter response.

All the information you will need to complete the Writing Component—including relevant, modified Bluebook rules—will be included in the packet, which the Review will make available on May 7, 2021. You will not be permitted to consult with anyone else or to use any outside sources. The citation exercise will be weighted less heavily than the writing exercise.

The Writing Component is not designed to take the entire time allotted. Rather, the timeframe is designed to accommodate students who may be traveling, working, observing religious holidays, or who need a break after exams, so that they will not be disadvantaged. Please gauge for yourself how much time you believe it will take you to craft a well-organized and sophisticated piece, complete the citation exercise, and write a thoughtful Personal Statement, as that time varies from person to person.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

In addition to the Writing Component, each applicant must submit a Personal Statement. This statement is intended to offer applicants an opportunity to share information about their background, identity, life or work experiences, areas of legal interest, or other relevant information that will help them contribute to the work and the community of the Review. More information about the Personal Statement will be available in the application packet.

JOURNAL SELECTION COMPUTERIZED MATCH

The Law School uses a computerized system to match applicants with CLS journals. All journal applicants will rank the journals to which they are applying on LawNet. All applicants to the Columbia Law Review must rank it first. Doing so does not affect your chances of being matched with another journal if you are not accepted to the Review, or if you decline the offer to join the Review.

QUESTIONS

Please feel free to direct questions about the Writing Component or transfer applications to Emily McEvoy, Executive Notes Editor (ene@columbialawreview.org). Please direct all other questions to Xin Wang, Editor-in-Chief (eic@columbialawreview.org).