Law Review Write-On Tips, Part 2 -- Set Up the Right Environment for the Write-On:

Many first-year law students will be participating in write-on competitions right after the end of the semester. (Some schools, like UCLA, conduct their competitions during Spring break, but the start of the Summer turns out to be the most common time.) I thought I'd blog a bit about this, mostly (but not entirely) based on the "Getting on Law Review" chapter of my Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review book.

The write-on competition is going to be time-consuming and time-pressured; you'll usually be allotted only several days to do a pretty difficult task. So try to make sure you have no other obligations during the alloted time. If you’re working part-time, see if you can take the week off, and make up the lost time before or after. If you have children, do what you can to get the other parent or someone else to spend more time with them during the competition.

Try to avoid leaving town to see friends or family. You might intend to do lots of work when you’re on the trip, but it’s hard to work when you’re around people you haven’t seen in months, and who understandably want your company. Going out to dinner with friends is fine; everyone needs a study break. But try to avoid more demanding commitments. If, however, you can’t get out of your other obligations for the week, don’t use that as an excuse to just sit out the competition. It’s possible for you to do well even if you also have to travel, work, study, or mind the kids that week -- it’s just easier if you can focus solely on the competition.

Finally, one suggestion that isn't in the book, but that a student recommended to me: If you live with a roommate, see if you can borrow a solo friend's apartment for the duration of the competition. (Since it will be during vacation, you might have quite a few friends who are out of town for work or for play, and who haven't sublet their apartments for the whole summer.) Not everyone prefers solitude for such things, and some people value familiar surroundings more than they value solitude. But for many people, the extra solitude can be a big plus.

All this is hardly rocket science; you may have thought of it already. But my sense is that students sometimes miss the obvious, so it's worth repeating.