The 2017 Transfer Student Write On Competition, mandatory for all incoming transfer students desiring membership on a law journal, will officially begin at 10:00 a.m. EDT on May 26, 2017.

Admitted students will be e-mailed a login id and password by the Office of Journal Administration (OJA) at the e-mail address provided by the Registrar. Your Competition login and password will be different from your official Georgetown netid and password. Starting on May 26, transfer students will be able to log on to the competition website and purchase and download all the competition materials. All transfer students will have seven days, to the hour, from the point at which they purchase their packet, to complete the Write On. The last day to purchase and download the packet will be July 5, 2017. All packets must be completed and out of students' hands by Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

If you are having difficulty logging in to the Transfer Write On site after receiving your competition login, please contact OJA at lawwriteon@georgetown.edu. Please note that you will not be able to purchase before the competition period begins (May 26, 2017), and because you will have only seven days from the moment of purchase to complete your competition, you should not purchase until you are ready to start. Choose your block of 7 days within the competition period (May 26 – July 12) wisely.

The online packet itself contains material such as cases, newspaper and law review articles, statutes, and commentary all relevant to a recent court case. Students deciding to participate in the competition are required to use only these materials to write their own case commentary. Students are also required to complete a special "Bluebooking test" as part of their competition packet. In addition, journals may also require the composition of a separate "personal statement", in which the candidate describes his or her assets and how those might prove beneficial to the journal, and/or a redacted resume.

The online packet itself contains material such as cases, newspaper and law review articles, statutes, and commentary all relevant to a recent court case. Students deciding to participate in the competition are required to use only these materials to write their own case commentary. Students are also required to complete a special "Bluebooking test" as part of their competition packet. In addition, journals may also require the composition of a separate "personal statement", in which the candidate describes his or her assets and how those might prove beneficial to the journal, and/or a redacted resume.

How many journals can I try to join?

  • There are currently 13 separate law journals published at Georgetown Law: Georgetown Law Journal, American Criminal Law Review, The Tax Lawyer, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Georgetown Journal of International Law (formerly Law and Policy in International Business), Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, and Georgetown Journal of Law & Modern Critical Race Perspectives. The Journal of National Security Law & Policy joined Georgetown in 2012, and is published jointly with Syracuse University. The Food & Drug Law Journal joined Georgetown in 2015, and is published jointly with the Food & Drug Law Institute.

  • Participants in the Write On competition indicate the journal(s) for which they wish to be considered for membership by ranking those journals on the Write On website in their order of preference. The preferencing area of the website will open May 26, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. EDT, but it will only be accessible once you purchase your packet. Preferencing will stay open through the full competition period, regardless of your individual deadline for other materials.

  • Each journal will announce its criteria, including preferencing cutoffs, before the start of the competition. For example, the Georgetown Law Journal will only consider students who preference it as their first choice. For more detailed information that may be useful while you are preferencing the journals, please download the 2016 Journals Comparison Chart here (PDF).

  • Please see the question below, “Are there any strategies I can follow to increase my chances of being accepted to a journal?” for tips on preferencing.

Is the transfer competition packet the same as the packet used in the regular Write On competition?

  • For the most part, yes. The central case and supporting materials are all taken from the same packet used for the regular competition. However, due to the abbreviated length of the transfer competition, some of the regular packet materials are withheld from the transfer packet. You will still have everything you need to write an effective case comment, but the initial reading/planning time will be lessened.

What does the competition require me to do?

  • The Write On competition requires you to write a case comment using only materials provided in the online packet, available from the site for $40. You are also required to complete a Bluebooking test, and some journals also require the completion of separate personal statements by any prospective members.

  • For a set of sample instructions and a list of the materials from a previous competition, please see here. Please note that these instructions are provided for informational purposes only and are subject to change. During the Write On Competition period, students must rely entirely upon the materials provided in the packet, plus the following sources: a dictionary, a law dictionary, a thesaurus, and the Twentieth Edition of the Bluebook. Students may not refer to any materials during the Write On period unless those materials are included as sources in the packet. Students may neither discuss the contents of the packet with anyone during the Write On period, nor may they receive editing or proof-reading assistance from anyone else. While writing, students may use a spell-check and grammar-check program as these programs are widely available.

How long will I have to complete the Write On?

  • You will have exactly seven days, to the hour, from the point at which you first purchase your packet to complete the competition. This means that if you purchase your packet at 11:15 ET on June 20, all of your completed materials must be out of your hands no later than 11:15 ET on June 27. The last day for packet downloads in the transfer competition is July 6; all packets must be out of students' hands by July 13.

Do I have to be in DC to participate in the Write On?

  • No. The Write On competition is run entirely through the competition website, which you can access through the OJA website. When you complete your packet, you have the choice of uploading your completed paper to the competition website, hand-delivering it to OJA, or sending it via Fed Ex, UPS, or any other shipping company that time- and date-stamps its packages. Should you wish to hand-deliver your packet, please contact OJA in advance to make arrangements.

Who judges the Write On papers?

  • The judges are rising senior staff members from each law journal. Each paper is read by three different judges, each from a different journal. The judges score each paper on qualities such as analysis, structure, and creativity, and enter their scores directly into the Write On database. A sample score sheet is available in the Materials section of the competition website after purchase.

Is my paper score made public?

  • OJA does not release Write On paper scores to anyone—not even those who wrote them. All editors and judges involved in the competition will only be able to identify individual papers by their packet number. The competition is completely anonymous. If you think you might want a copy of your own paper for future reference, make sure that you either print or save a copy on your computer for yourself. You will not receive your paper back once it is scored.

Will my grades from my current school count in the competition?

  • No. Because no two schools use the same grading system, your individual grades do not count in the Write On competition. Instead, you will be assigned a set number of points for grades. This number is given to all transfer students and when calculated with the score of your competition paper represents your final overall competition score. You will, however, need to provide OJA with a copy of your transcript. The transcript can be submitted to our office via mail, e-mail or fax (202-347-2570); an unofficial transcript is fine and may be received at any point during the competition, May 26 - July 12.  This is for office purposes only and will have no impact on your Write On score. You must have taken and received a passing grade in Legal Research and Writing. If you have not passed the class, you are not eligible to participate.

How does the Write On system match me to a journal?

  • Once your paper has been scored by three judges, the Write On system averages those scores and generates a final paper score. This score is combined with your Bluebook test score. In addition, some journals will factor in a personal statement score. The total of these scores is your raw score. Your raw score, however, will probably be different across several journals, since some of the journals weight the various components of the score at different levels.

  • This raw score then becomes the main component in a complex algorithm that takes into account both how the journal ranked you (i.e., how your raw score compares to everyone else's) and how you preferenced it (i.e., if it was your first choice, you'll be more likely to place than someone with an equal raw score who preferenced it third). This is why you should be sure to preference highest the journals you want to be on the most.

  • The system first attempts to place everyone on their first-place journal, then on their second-place journal, and so on until all the journal slots are allocated.

How will I know if I made it onto a journal?

  • Once the final matching is run by OJA, results will be available on the Transfer Write On website. All Write On participants will receive an email alerting them that final results are available. We plan to announce results this year in early August.

Is it possible for me to make it onto more than one journal?

  • We will match you to one journal. If, after being offered membership, you decide that you do not wish to be a member of that journal, you may decline membership. You will not, however, be offered any other journal memberships. Declining membership in the journal you are matched to will, in effect, be declining journal membership completely. This is why you should only preference journals in which you have a sincere interest. Remember as well that journal membership is a two year commitment. Please participate in the competition only if you are willing to commit to journal membership for two years.

What if I'm not matched to a journal? Can I try again next year?

  • Unfortunately, not everyone who participates in the Transfer Write On Competition will be matched to a journal. There are limited spaces, and the competition for many of them is strong. If you are not accepted to a journal, there is no other opportunity to participate in the Transfer Write On Competition. It is only open to incoming transfer students.

  • Keep in mind, though, that while the resume value of journal membership is certainly great, Georgetown Law offers many other activities that carry equal resume value. Career Services can provide excellent assistance in evaluating non-journal extracurricular options. The NALP guide also offers unique and valuable guidance specific to particular firms.

Are there any strategies I can follow to increase my chances of being accepted to a journal?

  • Obviously, the best strategy is to write the best paper that you can and to do well on the Bluebook test. Every journal considers these two components in its ranking of prospective members.

  • You should, however, be honest with yourself about your scores. If, for example, you feel as though you did not put forth a great deal of effort in writing your paper, you probably should not preference as your number one choice a journal that places a high value on the paper score. Remember that the system calculates how highly you preference any given journal when generating your ranking on it. The higher you rank, the more likely you'll be offered membership.

  • If you preference journals that require personal statements, be sure to spend time on them. It's easy to create a "boilerplate" personal statement that you can send to each journal after only minor modifications, but this type of impersonal approach will rarely net you good scores. It's a much better idea to personalize each statement for the journal in question. OJA suggests that you write your personal statement at the start of your competition period, before you begin writing your case comment. Students are often so tired by the time they finish the case comment that they have little desire to put any more time into crafting original, thoughtful personal statements.

  • Preferencing Tips:

    • You may preference as many or as few journals as you like, but pay attention to your preferencing order
    • Review each journal's preference cutoff in the Journals Comparison Chart
    • Preferencing journals outside of their cutoffs could hurt your chances overall.
      • For example, the Georgetown Law Journal will only consider students who preference it as their first choice, so if you preference it second, you would effectively lose your second preferencing slot
    • Please note that this year, the lowest cutoff set by any journal is 5, so you will not be able to preference more than 5 journals.
    • The higher you preference a journal, the higher your chances of placing on that journal. The system first attempts to place everyone on their first-place journal, then on their second-place journal, and so on until all the journal slots are allocated
    • Review how each journal weights the three criteria of the competition (packet, grades, personal statement)
    • If a journal weights a "personal statement", make sure to pay attention to what they specifically request in the letter + prompt on the Materials page.
      • Many journals request a required resume and optional personal statement for this criterion. However, if a journal requests only a personal statement, submitting a resume in addition to or instead of the statement will likely hurt your score with that journal.
      • If a journal weights a "personal statement" but you do not upload one, you may still preference that journal. However, your score for that journal will be hurt because you will have a 0 for the weighted "personal statement" criterion, and your chances of placing on that journal might be decreased. To clarify, you must turn in a case comment to remain in the competition;you may not opt to take a 0 for the weighted "Packet" criterion.
      • If you submit a personal statement for a journal, you must also preference that journal within its cutoff to be considered for membership. 
      • If you are not sure at first if you might preference a journal that weights a "Personal Statement", you might wish to submit one anyway. All "Personal Statement" submissions are due with the other competition materials at your individual deadline. "Personal Statement" submissions will not be accepted after the deadline if you later decide to preference a journal that wants one.
    • We will match you to one journal.
    • If, after being offered membership, you decide that you do not wish to be a member of that journal, you may decline membership. You will not, however, be offered any other journal memberships. This is why you should only preference journals in which you have a sincere interest.
    • You will be able to change your preferences until mid-July, specific deadline TBA. Please make sure that your list is final at that time.
    • If you are applying or have been accepted to a study abroad program, please review the journals' policies on studying abroad before you preference

How many spots are available for transfer students?

  • This number varies from journal to journal. Every journal, however, reserves spots specifically for transfer students, so you will have a chance of getting on any journal that you choose to preference.

Do I need to be admitted before I can purchase a packet?

  • No. You are allowed to purchase and complete a Write On packet even if you have yet to be admitted. You must, however, be admitted before we post results. Any transfer student who participates but is not admitted by July 31, 2017, will be dropped from the competition and may not compete the following year. Please note that if you do not purchase the packet and are admitted after this year's purchasing deadline of July 5, 2017, you will be eligible to compete in the 2018 Transfer Write On Competition.

I see that some journals require a resume and/or personal statement. How does that work?

  • Resumes and/or personal statements are to be written and uploaded, like your other Write On Competition materials, during your individual competition period. Details about the personal statements are included in the letters posted to the Materials page for the relevant journals. Sometimes, the journal will not provide a “prompt”, per se, but will make length and formatting suggestions. In the absence of a specific prompt, you are generally encouraged to write about your experience with or interest in that journal’s topic of focus.

  • As the instructions indicate, we ask that you redact your personal information from personal statements and resumes. Personal information might include:

  • your name and any contact information

  • any positions you hold in Georgetown Law organizations

      • Law Fellows - list but do not identify day or night division
      • RAs - just list that you will be an RA for the summer, not who or what you are working for (e.g., don't list the ARCP)
  • any awards that would be obviously traceable back to you

  • the name of your undergraduate institution

  • any publication titles and citations

  • the name of your summer firm

  • anything else that would be easily searchable or otherwise common knowledge among the student body

  • Our primary goal is to ensure anonymity in the competition. In cases where the item to be redacted is related to the nature of the journal you’re applying to, we would recommend including a brief note describing the nature of the item. For instance, if your undergraduate thesis is titled, “’Three Things Very Dull Indeed’: Class, Poverty, and Welfare in Jane Austen’s England”, you might need to redact the title but add, “used the novel Emma as a springboard for exploring the pernicious and pervasive problem of poverty in early 19th-century England”.

What if I am an evening student or a joint-degree student and want to defer membership in a journal until the following year?

  • Only first-year students are eligible to participate in the Write On competition. If you are an evening student or a joint-degree student, you may not delay your participation in the Write On Competition, although if you are accepted for membership, and the journal consents, you may defer your participation on the journal.

  • If we allowed some students to participate in the Write On after additional coursework or after they have had summer legal experience, they would be in a position of unfair advantage with respect to their co-competitors. Thus, our policy is that evening students and joint degree students must compete after their first year of law school but may defer membership, if they are offered it, for one school year.

  • If you plan to defer membership on a journal, please notify the Office of Journal Administration before the end of the competition (i.e., before July 12). Deferral plans will affect neither your score nor how you are placed on a journal. We will use the information solely to facilitate coherent staff planning for the next two years. If you are offered membership and do defer, your slot will be held for you until the following year. If you have any questions about this process, please contact the Office of Journal Administration at lawwriteon@georgetown.edu.

What if I want to study abroad?

  • Because of the time commitment involved in journal membership, participation in study abroad programs may affect your ability to hold editorial positions in your second year of journal membership and in some cases may preclude participation on a journal altogether. Because their editorial processes differ, journals have substantial autonomy in responding to requests for accommodation of study abroad opportunities. Some journals may be more accommodating, and some study abroad opportunities may mesh more easily with journal membership. Please inform yourself about the study abroad policies of those journals you wish to join.