Tips from newsgroup: bit.listserv.lawsch-l
Writing on to law review is both a first and second year event. For ILs, there is a short write-on competition, usually in the spring. You write a casenote on comment on a topic of the editorial board's choosing. They give you all the cases and footnotes and you just have to organize it and write it. TRUST ME, you want to get on this way. For those who do not get on in the short write-on competition, there is a long write-on in the fall of your second year.
This is usually a 60 page minimum comment or casenote on the topic of your choice. Much too much work and may not even be worth it. What they look for depends on the school. Usually, for the short write-on, they focus solely on citation. Making sure you Bluebook correctly is the majority of your law review life anyway, so you need to get it right. If enough people get the citation down cold, one or two mistakes can kick you out of the competition (no pressure). I am living proof that they do not even read the submissions. I am still under the impression that they just never bothered because there was no comment sheet or marking on any of my submissions. Can you say stairwell grading? On the long write-on (my way), writing is everything. Because you're boring them with 60+ pages of legal analysis on something you think is important, how you present that is CRUCIAL. But prepare to sacrifice at least a week bluebooking if you do it this way. More work than you think when you have 40 pages of footnotes and 20 pages of text. Good luck!