I think I've begun to understand why I'm having such a hard time getting up the energy to actually write this thing, even though the deadline looms. Oddly, it's because I actually care about my Note topic, and this may have been a mistake.
While I don't want to go into too much about what the Note concerns (it almost certainly violates some right I signed over to the Law Review on a paper I'll quite cheerfully admit I never read), it's a very small subset of what I'd like to write about: reasons that Unauthorized Practice of Law statutes have become obsolete. To give my conclusion without the argument, in an ideal world I would hope that lawyers could be regulated by a combination of various opt-in standards bodies and liability systems, rather than the one-sized fits all ethics codes administered by guild-like cartels (as we have today). Groups like Nolo or We the People might choose to opt for one of these standards, or they might not, particularly if they wanted to provide legal services to those who cannot afford our current high-cost paradigm. And lawyers who felt that legal advice would be more effective bundled with other services--say, accounting--could do so merely by opting out of standards bodies that restricted multidisciplinary practice.
There's a number of reasons for my view, and I'll probably write about them more in the next couple of days. For now, suffice it to say that I think this would provide greater access to the legal system for a greater number of people at a lower cost, while simultaneously making lawyers lives happier and more meaningful. 
However, there's no way that topic is small enough for a note. I thought about it at the beginning of the process, and there was no way to fit it in. So what I'm writing about now is actually a small section of a much larger article. I can see that article's structure in my head: how the sections balance, how the pieces fit together. But what I have to write is a small fraction hodge-podged together from the greater whole of my passion.
(One option I'm considering for next year: scale down the amount I work on other law school projects, and instead concentrate on writing and publishing this article. It would mean sacrificing some other things, but as I said, I'm quite passionate about this subject.)
So this constrained feeling limits my urge to write. But more than this, I feel like I've already dredged all the personal value I can get from the project. I believe that I've drawn the right conclusions from my research and found the proper support. I even believe that once written, it will be an interesting article and the conclusions would be worth following and implementing as policy.
But there's the rub: it ain't gonna happen.
If my article were being written by Judge Posner and published in the most prestigious journal in the land, it simply wouldn't make a difference. The most damning indictment of the damages caused by the legal cartel; the most clear contention of social gain through lower legal cost; the most moral argument ever made in the pages of a law review would be unavailing. Any change in this area is unlikely to come through the courts or the legal academy. (There is some possibility that corporate counsel may start the ball rolling against unauthorized practice of law, but even that is doubtful.) The people who brought us The Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee v. Parsons Technology Inc., 179 F.3d 956 (1999) are not about the set aside the monopoly that makes them wealthy, that makes law professors more highly-paid than other educators, and that drives most of the machinery I'm going through now.
Which makes a law review note about this seem a little pointless. The people I'd like to reach are businesses with political clout looking to cut their legal expenses. I'd like my readers to include groups like Nolo, or other legal consumer advocates. But these are not the people most likely to read or benefit from my work if it's closeted in a law review available only to those paying large subscription fees or WEXIS access charges.
So having learned everything I need to in order to write this thing, now I'm sort of uninspired to do it. It's another tick-box on another task list of "things that have to be done in order to get out of law school." Contrast this with my clinic work--something I'd like to continue volunteering on--where I know that what I was building not only would be used, but was going to make sure that attorneys going into a courtroom could more easily and effectively help people marginalized by a legal system that--mostly due to cost--ineffectively meets their needs. That I'd bleed for. This just has to be done.
Update: I should probably make clear that the above isn't an argument against writing a note as a pedagogical requirement. Nor am I saying that law reviews shouldn't require notes (although I do wonder). However, I almost certainly should have taken more care in choosing my note topic, concentrating not only on what I wanted to write and research, but on the audience that I would be expected to address. It would have made this stage all the easier.
: I know, that's a big claim. As I said, I hope to get to the whys and wherefores of this in the next couple of days, but it just didn't fit with this blog entry.