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Competition

The University of Richmond Law Review competition consists of a hybrid format of “grade-on” eligibility and “write-on” eligibility, according to the formula outlined below. Only first year students are eligible for participation in the spring/summer competition. Only second year transfer students are eligible for participation in the fall competition. Regardless of their classification as “grade-on” or “write-on,” students must complete all requisite elements of the competition to be eligible for Law Review membership.

The “Grade-On” Format (up to 10 students):

At the end of the first year curriculum, the top 10 students among all the sections will grade on to the University of Richmond Law Review. For these 10 students, Bluebook examination scores and casenote scores will be meaningless in final calculations. No “grade-ons,” however, will be eligible for Law Review membership unless they have satisfactorily completed both the Bluebook and casenote portions of the competition (as discussed below) in a timely manner. Furthermore, if any of these 10 students choose not to participate in both the Bluebook examinations and casenote portions of their competition, their spot(s) shall be reserved for “write-on” competitors (as opposed to shifting up another “grade-on” student).

The “Write-On” Format (approximately 14 – 17 students):

  1. The Bluebook examination during the spring semester (25% of final score).
  2. The casenote competition following spring exams (50% of final score).
  3. Final first year grades (25% of final score)

The Second Year Transfer Student Format:

  1. The Bluebook examination during early fall semester (25% of final score).
  2. The casenote competition during fall semester (75% of final score).

Announcement of Membership:

The new members of the Law Review from the spring competition are announced in late July. All new members must attend a mandatory training session held on the weekend prior to the commencement of classes for the fall semester.

Bluebook Exam

The new members of the University of Richmond Law Review from the transfer competition are announced following the completion of the competition, usually by early October.

The Bluebook examination is administered during the spring semester and constitutes 25% of the Law Review competition score. It is the first part of the Law Review competition. All competitors must complete the Bluebook examination, including those students who “grade on.”

The University of Richmond Law Review participates in a Unified Bluebook Exam, administered by a Panel of Editors consisting of members from all four University of Richmond Journals. Each Journal participates in the creation, selection, and editing of the Bluebook questions. Specifically, the University of Richmond Law Review Manuscripts Editors will design the Law Review questions and participate on the Panel of Editors. The purpose of the examination is to test a competitor’s knowledge of the Bluebook form of citation, which is utilized by the University of Richmond Law Review in its publications. Knowledge of the Bluebook is crucial for new Law Review members. See below for a Sample Bluebook Examination Question.

Competitors have one week to complete the Bluebook portion of the competition. The Bluebook examination does not require a competitor to perform any research. Students may consult only the Bluebook during the examination; they are not permitted to consult other students, Law Review members, library staff, or any other person for assistance during the exam. Competitors are bound by the Honor Code during the entire Law Review competition.

Prior to the administration of the Unified Bluebook exam, the Panel of Editors will make available a practice Bluebook exam. Prior to the Unified Bluebook Exam, the Panel of Editors will conduct a Question and Answer session and answer substantive questions concerning the practice Bluebook exam. Once the Unified Bluebook Exam has commenced, all questions should be addressed to the Panel of Editors responsible for administering the Unified Exam.

The Manuscripts Editors also grade the Bluebook examinations on an anonymous basis. All of the Manuscripts Editors grade each examination and the scores are then compiled. Please note that although the Unified Bluebook Exam is administered jointly by the four University of Richmond Journals, grading of the exams is independent. As such, scoring can and will be different for each journal. The exam scores are posted prior to spring semester exams.

Click here for a sample Bluebook exam question

Casenote Information

The casenote portion of the University of Richmond Law Review competition is administered following spring semester exams and constitutes 50% of the competition score. It is the second part of the Law Review competition. All Law Review competitors must complete the casenote competition, including those students who “grade on.”

The casenote competition focuses on a competitor’s research, writing, analytical, and technical skills, all of which are indispensable to the function of Law Review. The Law Review participates in the Unified Casenote Competition, where the Articles and Comments Editors, in conjunction with editors from the other Journals, create and select the topic or topics for this portion of the competition. The topics are based on recent important judicial decisions. See below for a sample casenote topic.

A casenote is an article prepared by a student working individually. The primary purpose of a casenote is to provide practicing attorneys with a research tool that concisely summarizes, analyzes, and evaluates the issue(s) presented by the case. Casenotes achieve this purpose by presenting the student’s legal conclusions which forecast what the law will be after the decision, recommend what the law should be, or provide a combination of the two. In short, it is: (1) a report of the case, which includes a discussion of the issue(s) before the decision; (2) an analysis and evaluation of the case; and (3) a forecast or recommendation about the law after the decision. A successful and well-written casenote maintains a careful balance between these three elements.

The casenotes are subject to font, margin, and page length limitations. Any casenotes not meeting the requirements will not be accepted.

Competitors are not required to remain in Richmond while writing their casenotes. Competitors may designate another individual to pick up their casenote packets and may mail their completed casenote to the Law Review upon its completion. However, competitors choosing to mail their casenotes must have their package postmarked by the casenote deadline; no exceptions will be made to this rule. Competitors are urged to use registered or certified mail or other similar courier service (Federal Express or UPS).

As during the Bluebook examination, questions may be directed toward the Editor-in-Chief. However, substantive questions concerning the topics will not be answered.

The Articles and Comments Editors grade the casenotes on an anonymous basis. The casenotes are evaluated by each Articles and Comments Editor and the scores are compiled.

In the fall, following the completion of the competition, all competitors, not only those who make Law Review, will have the opportunity to schedule an appointment with the Senior Notes and Comments Editor to discuss his or her casenote.

Click here for a sample topic

Sample Bluebook Exam Question

Sample Bluebook Exam Question: Construct a textual footnote which tells the reader that, generally, courts have not required proof that a publisher knew a statement was defamatory at the time of its publication. Tell the reader that the case of Father Charles O’Brien versus The National Enquirer, Incorporated held: “It is absolutely no defense that …

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Casenote Sample Topic

Sample Topic: The Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment.   In Hudson v. McMillian, 112 S. Ct. 995 (1992), the Supreme Court held that the use of excessive physical force against a prison inmate may violate the Eighth Amendment even where the prisoner does not suffer serious injury.   Yet, the …

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