Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The absurdity of law reviews

 Updated below

Dave Hoffman has an excellent post on Concurring Opinions, pointing out that there's a very good argument for simply eliminating law reviews. He does some back of the envelope calculations that suggest around two million hours per year of law student time gets spent on law review work.  Given that the whole law review publication and editing "system" is basically insane on its face, couldn't this vast expenditure of labor and  capital be put to better uses? 

This is especially true in an age of electronic publication, which has completely eliminated the gate-keeping function of journals in regard to reader access.  Why not simply have legal academics put their writing on the internet so that law students can do something more productive with their time?

It's worth emphasizing in this context the utter absurdity of the law review publication system.  Almost all law review editors have no academic training beyond an undergraduate education and two years of often intellectually useless and sometimes cognitively damaging law school classes.  Almost none of them have ever edited anything.  In other words these people are completely unqualified to do what they're expected to do, which is to evaluate literally thousands of submissions, written mostly by people who are neither lawyers nor academics but who are expected to pretend to be both.

The present system continues for all the usual reasons: institutional inertia, the laziness of law professors, the desperate hunger among both legal academics and law students for ever-more exquisite modes of hierarchical sorting, and perhaps most of all because of the fact that since this idiotic system gave the most gold stars to the very people who are in a position to change it, those people have extraordinarily strong psychological incentives for seeing it as something other than what it actually is.

Those incentives generate what could be called the Holiday Inn Express ideology of legal academia.  (Do you actually know anything at all about what you're being expected to do? No . . . but I did do well on a bunch of issue spotting exams!).  This ideology produces a rampant disregard for genuine expertise.  Things like evaluating and editing -- not to mention writing -- scholarship (or for that matter anything else) are actual skills, that, if they are to be done well, need to be learned.  They aren't the kinds of things one is automatically good at because you got eight more questions right on the LSAT than the person sitting next to you.

But of course once you start taking this kind of criticism seriously, you'll soon end up in a place where it will be "difficult to get a man to understand something that his salary depends on his not understanding."

Update:  Bored JD has an interesting comment to the linked Concurring Opinions post, regarding how at one elite school journal membership has become a perverse signalling mechanism:

As a recently graduated student from a top law school, I’ll estimate that the percentage of journal participation among 2Ls was closer to 90%. Even students who didn’t do the flagship law review writing competition ended up doing a journal. It was a signaling function, true, but in a negative way. When everyone is on a journal and there are 13! student run journals to choose from, the lack of a journal stands out. The proliferation of journals seemed to be a way to ensure that everyone who wanted this signaling credential would have it, so that our students would not be disadvantaged against students at rival schools. A journal arms race of sorts.

This created some perverse behavior. Several students on my secondary journal quit a month or two after OCI. Most journals, with the exception of the flagship law review, advertised themselves to 1Ls by touting how little work the student would have to do. It was no surprise that most secondary journals had very low organizational cohesion or loyalty relative to more voluntary student organizations such as clubs or clinics. We couldn’t even get anyone but board members to show up for free bar nights.


  1. ... ... ... ... ...

  2. This post was not very good.

    Law Review (at elite schools) does 2 things:

    First, it teaches the skills of legal research and writing through intensive reviewing of submissions, line-editing of articles, and fact-checking of citations.

    Second, it signals elite firms who the students with the best grades and best work ethic are. If they can do 40 hours/week editing the law review on top of their normal workload, it stands to reason they are more suited to survive at those firms working 70-80 hours/week.

    Again LawProf fails to distinguish between good school (the top 6 or so), and everyone else. The latter group should cease to exist, full stop. Whether or not the Indiana University Law School Law Review should continue to exist is moot when Indiana University Law School shouldn't continue to exist.

    1. wow, you are such a troll. Only the top 6 law schools should exist? that is one of the most idiotic things I've read in a long time.

  3. When I tell other academics about the law review "system" they are uniformly aghast. There are so many things obviously wrong with it: lack of peer review, students as editors (imagine if Science of JAMA operated like that), simultaneous submission, but the one that gets my goat is the practice of including one's resume with the submission.

    When I hear law professors suggest that scholarship is the reason for lower the teaching loads, I just laugh. Who considers this serious scholarship?

    1. Yep. Most real academic journals require blind submission and evaluation to ensure the article is accepted or rejected on its own merits. This is incomprehensible to the legal academy, where prestige is the welcomed whore of Babylon. Hell, my school used publications as an incentive to get speakers on campus, overruling the law journal and producing disgustingly shitty work.

  4. lawprof wrote:
    "the desperate hunger among both legal academics and law students for ever-more exquisite modes of hierarchical sorting...."

    Dude, you rock!

  5. This is more proof of the hypocrisy of the people running the show.

    Two million student hours a year? With all the talk of helping the less fortunate, doing pro bono work, serving the community, and working in clinics, it isn't difficult to figure out better ways for students to spend this time.

  6. "First, it teaches the skills of legal research and writing through intensive reviewing of submissions, line-editing of articles, and fact-checking of citations."

    This doesn't begin make sense even on its face.

  7. What was that fun quote by Yale prof Rodell in the `30s? Oh yeah:

    “The average law review writer is peculiarly able to say nothing with an air of great importance.”

    (and also his fun-fuzzy-wuzzy-follow-up)

    Law reviews consist of “long sentences, awkward constructions and fuzzy-wuzzy words that seem to apologize for daring to venture an opinion.”

    In conclusion, what are the only two real issues with a law review article?

    “One is its style. The other is its content. That, I think, about covers the ground.”

    (More history on the back-forth about the worth of law review articles in this Feb article from abajournal:

  8. 7:02, I agree.

    The majority of law school is meaningless gobbledygook, but there is merit in some legal scholarship. Really, there are about 40 or 50 journals that matter, and everything else is meaningless filler.

    What disappoints me is the missed opportunity that could be served here. As a practitioner, I find ALR journals to be very valuable. For some reason, there is no market in law reviews for articles, for example, on "Changing trends in pleading requirements in Fair Credit Act Cases Post-Iqbal". I guess it's not scholarly. But articles of this type are actually useful to busy practitioners.

    The problem, of course, is with legal academia. No one in the tower cares if you read 35 post-Iqbal Fair Credit Act articles and summarize the trends and distinguish what makes for good pleadings, what makes for bad ones. Nope. But if you work in something about constitutional implications of Fair Credit Act limitations post-Iqbal and the Due Process Taking implicated by a heightened standard, citing Dworkin or Chemerinsky, then you can show your face in the faculty lounge.

  9. 7:10 arguing with 7:02, who wrote, "...teaches the skills of legal research and writing through intensive reviewing of submissions, line-editing of articles, and fact-checking of citations."

    7:10 says, "This doesn't begin make sense even on its face."

    Respectfully disagree with 7:10.

    This part actually is the only argument that does make sense to me. Newbie associates often need to churn a brief back-and-forth very quickly based on inputs from senior associates and clients. Check this, fix that. There may be 10 versions of a brief ISO a motion done in the last couple of hours before it is filed.

    However, that is not to say that this kind of experience couldn't as well be gotten (and more profitably to society) in pro-bono clinics and the like.

    So spend the 2Mio hours there, but do include the fire-drill type training for those who may need it.

  10. 7:16, "For some reason, there is no market in law reviews for articles, for example, on "Changing trends in pleading requirements in Fair Credit Act Cases Post-Iqbal". I guess it's not scholarly. But articles of this type are actually useful to busy practitioners. "

    Good points.

    As an aside, for *somewhat* analogous impact on post-Iqbal pleadings, see all the patent false-marking case complaints filed (or amended) after Iqbal. There's about 600 examples from that field....

  11. "First, it teaches the skills of legal research and writing through intensive reviewing of submissions, line-editing of articles, and fact-checking of citations."

    Bullshit. Law review, in and of itself, does no such thing. The skills purportedly needed for law review should have been learned while one was an undergraduate. As for the Bluebook, one can learn that on one's own and on the job.

    "Second, it signals elite firms who the students with the best grades and best work ethic are."

    ROFLAMO - Bullshit again. First, grades, intelligence and "work ethic" (whatever that's supposed to mean) are not necessarily correlated. I've seen plenty of top of the class so-called elite law school graduates who are (1) not nearly as intelligent as they think they are; and (2) once at a firm can't get off their ass to do the work that's necessary and as it's required because they think that because they were on law review - and for a host of other reasons - actually working is beneath them.

    "If they can do 40 hours/week editing the law review on top of their normal workload, it stands to reason they are more suited to survive at those firms working 70-80 hours/week."

    Absolute bullshit. Frankly, someone who did manual labor - construction work, farm work - for a significant period of time is far better suited to survive and even thrive at a large law than some snot nosed brat who was an editor on some law review, and who, because of it, thinks that they're uniquely qualified to to succeed at a firm or in the profession.

    I worked at large firms both before and after law school and was on law review during law school. I've never, ever seen any relationship between being on law review and being a better, more intelligent attorney who can also handle the rigors of private practice. Any claim to the contrary is nothing but wankery.

    As to your last paragraph, your statements simply prove my point: you seem to be someone who thinks they attended a "good school" and, based only on that, are thus more qualified to opine on who should and shouldn't be deemed worthy of succeeding in the profession. Most of the law review editorial board people at my law school were clueless, inexperienced brats who had never held substantial jobs for any lenghth of time and who thought that superior human-beings simply and solely because of their membership on a law review editorial board. In other words, it was nothing but wankery; just like your post above.

  12. Law review also teaches you to read and process information fast. I was an Articles Editor on a T-14 law review. I personally had to screen more than 700 articles. I was more patient then than I am now, and thought that if someone took the time to write 95 pages and pay $3.50 in postage to submit it, then I should at least give it a fighting chance. Of the 700+ articles, I probably read the first 20 pages of 400 of them. (Some were so poorly written, or of such limited utility, or so scatterbrained that you could tell they couldn't stand a chance). Of the other 300, I read every word.

    Being able to process that much information that quickly is a very useful skill for a lawyer.

  13. Today I can offer an interesting (I hope) personal anecdote. My wife & I are both attorneys. She went to law school first, then kids, then me. Anyway, she was "published" in a law journal. Around the same time, out in the real world, I was published in a few publications. Magazines, actually. I submitted articles, they sent me a check. Fast forward to my law school experience, and I had no interest, zero, none, in being published in a law journal. It is a complete waste of a law students time.

    It does not demonstrate who has the "best grades and best work ethic" among the student body. Anonymous , AUGUST 1, 2012 7:02 AM. Rather, it offers a comically worthless justification for 3L sociopaths to exist. Anyone who looks back with any sense of pride of the worthless editing they did on law review is a sad, sad individual.

  14. lol 7:26:

    I said it SIGNALS THE FIRMS. The FIRMS hire disproportionately from LR, therefore, LR is good. That's all the point I was trying to make.

    And as for my first point, 7:28 hit it on the nose.

  15. Law review serves a very important function. It continues the capitalist myth that you control your own destiny and if you work hard you will be rewarded with a great job and money.

    1. Same as law school in general. You work and pay money therefore there must be value to others. Then you step off the hamster wheel.

  16. 7:30,

    Any experience with a formalized editing process adds value; it makes you a more precise writer and a critical reader. Law review also takes the broad thesis social science or English major writing skills, and beats the stuffing out of them with an insistence on citation, in fact over citation.

    The content of law reviews sucks, and it can be edited by students because law is not a scholarly discipline, but I'd rather hire a law review editor than someone who had equal grades but no law review experience. It's basically just two years' indentured servitude as an editor, and there's merit in it. Indentured servitude for two years as a newspaper editor, readers digest editor, etc. would be just as valuable.

    It's the editing experience, not the content of law review that makes it valuable.

  17. 7:31:

    More bullshit. It does no such thing and law firms do not necessarily hire disproptionately from the ranks of law review. There is no correlation between grades, work ethic, being better qualified or being better prepared to rise to the challenge of working in the profession - in any capacity or in any situation- and being on law review. To the extent someone believes otherwise, they are just emotionally invested in using their membership on law review as a justification for their own self worth.

    7:30 has it right: law review is nothing more than a comically worthless justification for the existence of 3L sociopaths.

  18. A Law Review is mostly just a House Organ

  19. Since starting this blog, Lawprof has done irrepairable harm to the perception that law professors are deserving of high status.  This hits them where it hurts the most, especially if 0Ls and current students are reading.

    I remember being a 1L and thinking that each of my professors was also a brilliant practitioner of the law, not only capable of arguing or judging a case, but doing so better than the lowly lawyers and judges not  good enough to become professors.  That this idea now seems so absurd is a testiment to Lawprof's good work.  

  20. 7:38


    Then why is it that kids on law review got 5X the number of callbacks than did kids with similar grades who were not on law review? (BTW talking about HYS)

  21. What bait for non-law review types! This should get lots of comments. Cue: But I was on the law review at HYS, and even I say it was worthless... two, three, one...

    1. Why does everyone assume that what works in the rarified world of Harvard translates to the real world? How many US Supreme Court justices come from someplace other than H/Y? How many products from other schools are even considered? "Harvard" is a logical fallacy for the rest of us.

  22. LP, you forgot to mention that for practitioners, 99% of law review pieces are useless or worse. And shouldn’t providing a valuable resource for folks actually working as lawyers be at least part of a law review’s raison d’etre? Usually the “analysis” these articles purport to deliver is hopelessly arcane, irrelevant, or flat out wrong. The only LR pieces I’ve found even marginally useful are student notes, which occasionally provide helpful summaries on specific issues of law, saving me the trouble of doing preliminary research. That hardly justifies the forests of paper wasted each year on this “scholarship” few persons actually read.

    Of course, if journals are eliminated, law faculty will be left with no way to pad their CVs but by performing actual legal work. I don’t see that happening!

  23. Whatever happens, the law reviews should NOT be turned over to the law professors. That would be disastrous, as I explained in "A Response to Brian Leiter: First, Don't Kill all the Law Reviews."

  24. 8:00:

    Anybody who puts ALL their titles after their name is a complete douche. You are a super-douche when you do it while commenting on a blog. Bet you have all those titles after your name on your checks too.

    A hate this profession.

  25. Still waiting for that post in which no commenter refers to Buzz Leitner.

    Sigh. And this one also was not much more than a self-promo, to boot.

    Oh well, there's always tomorrow!

  26. there are real legal scholars. they are called judges. law review articles are a waste of time and money. the time wasted on their production is criminal. obviously firms reward participation, though. it's because it's a status-driven world we live and work in.

    1. Oh, God, judges are political hacks with complete disdain for the attorneys who practice before them. Judges as scholars is another law school myth.

  27. Jonathan Queue Publicus, AS, BS, MBA, CPA, JD, Esq., DcheBagAugust 1, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    @ 8:06: Name says it all.

  28. This post argues that law reviews waste students' time, which is absolutely true. But law reviews are an integral part of the scam: their function is to make everyone think that something important is going on to justify the tuitions and professorial salaries. And, of course, they have a prestige-sorting function for both students and professors.

    Brian Leiter, well-known prestige sniffer and scourge of the scamblogs, annually ranks the "scholarly impact" of law professors and law schools by tallying up citations to law review articles.

    My question is: scholarly impact on what? Surely not on the actual legal profession. The same law review article that might be extensively cited by other law professors is often totally ignored by actual reviewing court opinions and by published "administrative decisions and guidance" (in Westlaw parlance).

    Take Professor Paul Horwitz of Alabama. The guy has published 24 law review articles, mostly on the free exercise and establishment clauses. His citation score wins him Leiter props as a "most cited scholar." But none of his 24 articles has ever been cited in a published reviewing court or administative agency opinion. As far as the practicing bar is concerned, Horwitz's score is ZERO.

    So, why is Horwitz paid $177,000/yr? His scholarship is ignored by the legal profession. He has minimal practice experience. And his following priceless quote from his "Advise to First Years" gives a window into the value of his teaching--"talking in class, and other ways of throwing yourself into the mix, is a terrific, bad-consequence-free way of actually starting to practice at being a lawyer. Take advantage."


  29. it's just a relic from the past. it's a hoop that students have to jump through. it's a signal to hiring firms. it's akin to investment banking. those who are in it know it's bullshit, but they put in the work and cash out before the shit collapses.

  30. Any given law school has a relatively narrow range of raw ability (as measured by LSAT score) among it's students. The purpose of law school is to act as a centrifuge separating those within this ability range by who is willing to do tasks unquetionably for no good reason over an extended period of time. Journals are an aspect of this. This demonstrates who will work best in a BigLaw environment. In this sense, law reviews do what they are designed to do quite well. When I was in law school, the people who said to hell with it about law journals and the entire process for getting selected were not headed to biglaw and probably would not thrived there. Many, however, are now very successful solos and small firm lawyers.

    1. Right it sorts out the people willing to work and have no life and buy into the system.

  31. To all the critics of law review (and, candidly law review is petty absurd), if you think that the final product is crap, you should see the raw material. Talk about shining shit!

    There's nothing wrong with the editing at the top 50 law reviews. The problem is with the writing, the process, the subject matter, the interests of the authors, etc.

    Someone once told me that being on law review was the modern day equivalent of Tom Sawyer's whitewashing scam. Professors trick you into wanting to do scut work.

    That said, and as painful as it was, I learned more from law review than I did from law school. Frankly, law review experience plus BarBri would give a fellow a leg up on most of the mouth breathers out there.

  32. Anonymous, lighten up. I use all of my credentials on my blog because I want to establish expertise so I can sell a lot of my books. (The tag line posted here automatically and unintentionally because I was signed into the blog at the time.) You see, I want to get out of "this profession" just as badly as many of the recent graduates want to get into the profession. So lighten up. Chances are we agree anyway; if not, then attack me because of my arguments, not my credentials.

    1. There is a lot of misplaced anger in the comment boards. Don't take it personally.

  33. It is the utter lack of peer review that really gets to me. There is nothing rigorous about the screening process. And who would be considered "peers" of some of these authors who never have set foot in a courtroom or drafted a contract? I wonder, what would a law review look like that required approval from several actual practitioners in the area of law addressed by the article before publication? You know, like the leading publications of other professions require such as JAMA or Science. Would, say, Brian Leiter ever get published?

  34. --"talking in class, and other ways of throwing yourself into the mix, is a terrific, bad-consequence-free way of actually starting to practice at being a lawyer. Take advantage."

    Oh my God, did he actually say that? Really? The combination of hubris and cluelessness at times just staggers the imagination.

  35. tdennis

    Here is another Horwitz quote from the same article:

    "I am just about ready to shoot any student who walks into law school with the Chemerinsky con law treatise and without the assigned con law casebook (and yes, it has happened [the business with the books, not the shooting])."

    I suspect "collegiality" is why Horwitz is cited frequently by other law professors even though he is a nullity as far as courts and practitioners are concerned. And by collegiality, I mean assiduous conference-attending, promiscuous ass-kissing, and serial Campos bashing--all embedded in a verbose NPR-esque milquetoast tone so that nobody could doubt his integrity.


    1. If a student posted a quote like that the school would go on lockdown.

  36. 23 Va. L. Rev. 38 (1936-1937)

  37. 8:28,

    There's no real innovation going on in law. The law review process actually involves articles being shopped up to more prestigious journals. So someone will get an article accepted at University of Iowa and will call Cornell to say they have 2 weeks to let Iowa know. If accepted at Cornell, they call up Harvard and Yale.

    In my experience, most law review editors are less clueless and less arrogant than law faculty. (I know we're talking about different degrees on the same scale, but hey). On two separate occasions good authors submitted quality articles on subjects that we recognized to be outside the bounds of what we comfortably could evaluate. (One was a corporate tax piece). I approached two tax law profs and advised that we liked it but had some difficulty evaluating it. I asked them about the author and to look at the piece to tell me if there was anything to it. We made an offer on the piece, but lost it to a top journal. The other piece was an insider's piece on the Supreme Court deliberations on one area of law. The author had spent months in a now-deceased justice's library digging through correspondence and notes. The article was good, but we needed help to ensure that his source material was reliable and was what he purported it to be. Two faculty members who were former Supreme Court Clerks (including one who clerked during the relevant time period) were able to confirm the sources to our satisfaction and we published the piece.

  38. I get that law reviews serve purposes. The two main ones seem to be serving as a sorting mechanism and improving student skills. But why can't we do these things in other ways?

    As far as the sorting mechanism goes, why can't we just hand out certificates naming somebody a 2011-2012 Law School All Star? If the main purpose of being on the law review is getting on the law review, then why bother to actually have one?

    As far as skills go, we should be forcing professors to teach their students research, writing, and editing skills, and not dumping the burden on the students themselves. Failing that, students can learn all these skills working in clinics, internships, externships, or working with a professor on a research project.

  39. I am glad to see a Criminal Defense Lawyer post here, and the more credentials the better.

    Given the troubled state of the profession, I often wonder how the problem of debt strapped law grads unable to afford the cost of starting a practice (or the time do pro bono work) spills over to the rest of society in the form of someone really needing a good defense lawyer and not finding one.

    If a deeply indebted lawyer cannot even help himself, how is he (or she) able to help the rest of society?

    1. Pro bono is not free. Your time is what you are selling. If you are working for no fee then not only are you not contributing towards your ability to support yourself but you are going into the hole because of overhead.

  40. I'm a new member of the LR of a hyper-regional, tier 4 dump.

    Why am I torturing myself with LR? Because I am on a full-tuition scholarship, I am in the top 10%, and I want to work as a prosecutor in a low-cost area (45K salary in a low CoL area with no debt, I'm interning at a prosecutor's office like that and I'm going in with my eyes wide open), and in this horrendous job market I am willing to do anything that could give me a leg up on the competition.

    I think it's bogus, and I think most other students do as well, but it's desperation.

    Thank you for your work LawProf, but I wish you had gone into more detail for this post.

  41. 9:01 -- Bingo.

    This is the real law school scam. The profs are ruining the profession. This expensive, law school is for everyone, crit post-modern scholarship bullshit is ruining law. We end up with debt, too many lawyers chasing too little work, dilution in what law is all about, etc.

    This has negative consequences to the practice of law and reinforces the worst stereotypes and perceptions of the legal system.

    Law is supposed to be about the resolution of disputes, the organization of individuals within society, and ensuring that the system's procedures are not corrupt, inconsistent, or arbitrary. We've become so focused on the bullshit that the big goals are being hurt with real, negative consequences.

  42. " since this idiotic system gave the most gold stars to the very people who are in a position to change it, those people have extraordinarily strong psychological incentives for seeing it as something other than what it actually is."

    This is the perfect explanation of why educational reform- even outside of law- is an uphill battle.

  43. i look for something that sets people aoart from others when looking at resumes. Law review experience (and other extracuricular activities) and practical work experience are two things that get my attention.

    i was on law review my second year but didnt join my 3rd year as i was working and getting paid handsomely for working at a lawfirm.

    Afterwards, new job opportunities came pretty easy.

    one needs to set themselves apart from the pack.

  44. You should do a column about how much debt-ridden law students actually subsidize faculty law review articles, including ones that waste paper because nobody in their right minds will ever read them.

    At most, a faculty member teaches twelve hours each year (six hours a week each semester). When a law school wants to increase its "prestige," it often cuts the annual teaching load down to nine hours or even six so that faculty will have more time to "write."

    Law schools could lower students' tuition dramatically by hiring fewer faculty members, who each teach a more reasonable (higher) courseload.

  45. Whoa whoa whoa 10:44, the issue is much more complicated than that, I can assure you.

  46. The top schools shouldn't do the law firms' work for them by engaging in intra-school sorting. Get rid of grades and law reviews, and let the shitlicks who run the firms figure out which 1% scion they want to hire on their own dimes.

    The lower schools shouldn't exist at all.

    There's your solution right there.

    1. Ding ding ding we have a winner!!!

  47. From LawProf's bio:

    "He has written several well-regarded law review articles in this area, including "Against Constitutional Theory," published in the Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, and "Advocacy in Scholarship," published in the California Law Review"

    He should add a hyperlink from his bio to this post.

  48. I see Leiter's still paying attention. Or Leitner or whatever his name is, I forget.

  49. Hey Hey Now!

    That's "Buzz Leityear" to you, lady.

    "To Infinity... AND BEYOND!!"

  50. "I am just about ready to shoot any student who walks into law school with the Chemerinsky con law treatise and without the assigned con law casebook (and yes, it has happened [the business with the books, not the shooting])."

    You do know that with that quote, you just caused my frontal lobe to curl up into a fetal position.

  51. "Colleges freeze, reduce tuition as public balks at further price hikes"

    It is finally beginning.

  52. 10:49

    Perhaps you are a beneficiary of the system that trades scholarship for time with the students we are supposed to be teaching (as I am). I have seen articles that discuss the issues more completely than I can here, but I doubt that the pros and cons are particularly complicated. Students get little direct or indirect benefit from much or most of the scholarship we produce, and neither does the legal profession. From what fellow professors tell me, when a faculty discusses whether to cut teaching loads so they can spend more time in front of the computer, the students' interests rarely come up.

  53. 1:47, yes, it is starting. but jesus god. the kid from uci is starting LAW SCHOOL. figures.

  54. "To Infinity... AND BEYOND!!"


    What...the average tuition per year for law school or the number of law students, JDs, and attorneys in the United States?

  55. As an aspiring law professor, here's a question:

    At what level of the pyramid do you think I have to get in - assuming I enter the teaching market in 3-5 years - to ensure that I can hang onto that cushy tenure-track job when inevitable corrections to the legal market and law school system finally occur? A Top-100 school? Top-50?

  56. tdennis:

    I am glad I have found a fellow fan of Professor Paul Horowitz, the Alabama scammer!
    True, Horwitz fandom is a dangerous hobby: you risk being overwhelmed by the stench of colleagues' asses being kissed, and suffocated by a verbose and "milquetoast" (his word) style meant to stifle debate. However, persistent readers of Horwitz are rewarded by an arrogance and nastiness that is clear as a bell. Here are two more gems from Horwitz:

    * "I don't necessarily see a one-to-one correspondence between having practical skills and being good at imparting those skills; plenty of brilliant swimming coaches are not themselves Olympics-level swimmers." (Horwitz comment, at Aug 11, 2011 2:46:48 PM, on his own Campos-bashing post "I am Law Prof," at Prawfsblawg).

    * "...I think there's something deeply wrong with using cheap tricks to get attention, especially when the author then repeatedly and vaguely disclaims those cheap tricks, while still employing them, leaving a residue of disgust over everything he touches." (Horwitz blog post "Law Transparency Petition" at Prawfsblawg, on the author of this blog).


  57. As far as I could tell the "writing on" to law review attracted the pedants who could tell you the key changes between the various editions of the bluebook - and regularly chastise me for using the citation format from the prevailing version of the Bluebook when I was in law school.

    I once got into an argument with one over the citation format for references to the European Commission Official Journal if which I finally exploded and said "we are not going to look like a bunch of ****ing idiots because you want to do it the way Harvard says to do it instead of the way the European Commission which published the OJ does it."

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. Let me add something inflamatory - in my professional experience the worst legal writers were always the ex law review editors. They were utterly incapable of writing persuasively - they had no style, no rythym, no sense of the subtext in words and word choices - they complained that those that did were "overly rhetorical."

    The former law review editors did have perfect grammar, immaculate punctuation and new when to use italics, small caps and underlines - or as one explained to me, not to allow the comma after a case name to be italic

    Greed Bstrd's Inc. v. Should Stop Whining Assoc.,

    is apparently wrong and it should be

    Greed Bstrd's Inc. v. Should Stop Whining Assoc.,

    this he regarded as very very important and wanted to hold up a brief on deadline to fix.

  60. dybbuk, don't you have some criminal defense work to attend to?

  61. MacK, of course you would say that. What else could one say on this particular thread? The sentiment is completely predictable; not some great inflammatory revelation.

  62. Ah, law reviews. I have such wonderfully mixed feelings about law reviews. On the one hand, I met my husband the first day of law review orientation, we were co-managing editors, and we're still married many years later (although I'm happy to say that we almost never reminisce about law review days). And I'm generally in favor of experiences that promote rigorous writing, research, and fact checking.

    But, as someone who is the ultimate law review insider (in addition to the marriage bit, my father was an EIC at a top law school and I grew up revering that history), I agree that law reviews do nothing that other organizations or mechanisms couldn't do better--and that, meanwhile, the reviews create a lot of harm in their peculiar way.

    As LawProf and others have spelled out above, the law review system mirrors practically every crazy aspect of the law school/law hiring systems. Students join law reviews for the job-market advantage; schools create more reviews to give more students that advantage; employers (I'm sad to say) do seem to value law review experience over other types of experience (like clinics) that might seem to have equal or greater value--although perhaps that finally will change.

    Meanwhile, law review editors are trying to choose the articles that will get the most citations and boost their rank in the law review rankings (yes, they have their own rankings game!); law professors are trying to publish in the highest ranked review; everyone spends an insane amount of time trying to elicit offers, make offers, respond to offers, and bid up to "better placements."

    There is potential value for students in law reviews--I particularly like the idea of students writing notes that would be of strong interest to practitioners. And there's also (in my opinion, of course) value in some amount of faculty scholarship. We just don't need so darned much of the latter! And I love the idea of practitioners peer reviewing professors' articles. So bring on the proposals for reform: the current law review system is as out-dated as milling corn with horse power (or whatever they used to do).

  63. IMHO, there should be two levels of "law review".

    One level would be akin to those student publications that exist in high school. They would be completely student run and exist solely to give students writing and editing experience and not meant as serious scholarship (just like HS journals are not meant to be serious scholarship).

    The other "level" would be serious, peer-reviewed, law journals that only publish high quality articles akin to submissions to JAMA. These journals would by and large not be run by or written by mere students but by real law professionals.

    The problem I see is that law review as a student-run publication should be separated out from law review as a serious scholarly publication.

  64. Michael D. Cicchini, BS, MBA, CPA, JD, Esq. said...

    You know, I have a few degrees (one less than my brother) and I seem to recall that I can put a few other letters after my name (fellow of this society, etc.), but I don't. I do have to deal with certain German Lawyers who insist that you always remember well one lost a case against use recently and he really did insist that we remember that he was Dr. Dr. Dr (HC) Professor Has Great Hair (well that was what we called him.)

    The big point though is that Esquire is a meaningless courtesy and it is considered inutterably gauche to actually put Esq. after your own name - it tends to bring on a fit of the giggles in other lawyers. So you might think about editing that. Since most lawyers have a JD - there really is not point in having that - and I seem to recall that my wife does not have MBA on her business cards and she is a management consultant (actually she does not have her BA or other distinctions mentioned either.) To be fair she does say that MBA stands for "Master of Bullshit and Arrogance"....and I explain that most of the time JD means "juvenile dickhead."

    So I suppose you could get by with the only one with any legal meaning - CPA - unless of course you are rather gauche and vain that you must stay Dr. Bachelor Accountant Master of ..... Chichinni ESQUIRE!!!

  65. A while back I was foolish enough to post a list of topics for law reviews where I would read the article and courts might even cite it - big yawn. Here is the list

    1. Antitrust and leniency programs – what measures should antitrust agencies take in the event of failure to fully disclose or intentional manipulation of leniency programs. Do agencies have any obligation to prevent manipulation of filial-agency programs?

    2. International law firms - what are counsel obligations when a single firm is representing parties in multiple judicial and quasi-judicial fora. Does a US firm have any obligations to avoid representations in foreign fora which are contrary to facts that are available to that counsel through discovery in the US

    3. In the international online commercial environment the possibility exists that an act might infringe copyright in multiple jurisdictions and indeed infringe neighboring rights – copyright, trademark, design-rights. This gives rise to the possibility that parallel litigation could be filed in multiple jurisdictions seeking recovery for essentially the same acts and injuries. Should this type of litigation be precluded? If it is precluded does it give rise to the risk of “Italian Torpedoes” for online infringement?

    4. Is aggressive enforcement by large intellectual property holders creating a risk of oligopoly/oligopsony in the technology industry?

    5. The patent troll problem and nuisance value extortion. Do the tools to remedy the problem already lie in the hands of the Federal Courts?

    6. Anti-dumping cases can have the perverse effect of rewarding importers – this is because an importer who is subject to a small dumping margin – as opposed to the bulk of importers with a large dumping margin can effective arbitrage the difference into a substantial added profit margin. Is there anyway within the existing law and treaties to prevent such arbitrage? What regulatory changes might be feasible and adviseable?

    7. The recent Wikileaks included a number of messages from US antitrust authorities along the following lines – our hands are tied by the Supreme Court – could DG Competition please act quickly on this issue before the Chinese act – because we do not want China to become a key arbitror in international antitrust decisions. Illustrate this with the recent approval with undertakings of the Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility – a sign of things to come?

    8. Transnational counsel and protective orders – what is the situation of a lawyer who is counsel in cases in multiple jurisdictions?

    9. Abduction in international custody disputes, conflict of laws and comity – usable laws and effective strategies.

    10. The coming antibiotics crisis and the role of FDA law and intellectual property rights – with some potential solutions.

    And I added

    The agency problem in student lending - addressing the inherent conflict in the financial aid office (as in, should colleges be acting as agents for student loans - are they proper underwriting agents given their inherent conflict of interest?)

    That last would take real guts for a law professor to write

  66. Off topic: Interesting blurb in the August issue of California Lawyer Magazine regarding class of 2011 at California ABA accredited law schools.

  67. 3:48

    You are of course right - I should consider my audience - I think most here agree with me.

  68. MacK-In re law school underwriting agents

    I am a retired law professor/country lawyer. Here is my law review article:
    Clear conflict of interest, potential liability at common-law.

    Thank you,


    PS-the comma is not italicized in Placer County

  69. T-20? T-14? Don't think I have the credentials to climb one of those ivory towers. Is the legal academia dream dead for those of us who didn't SCOTUSclerk?

  70. Here is my nomination for a law review :

    "Winning Over the Med Mal Jury in Voire Dire--Techniques"

    dybbuk, do you think the "Big Alabama" could write that one for me?

  71. MacK,

    The law of Placer County follows the ancient maxim "Qui facit per alium facit per se" -- as do all thoughtful jurisdictions.

  72. "No system of education known to man is capable of ruining everyone." Otto Neugebauer as quoted in the May 24, 2012 edition of the New York Review of Books. William Ockham

  73. every one like the herve leger bandage for our live, the wedding only one time at our lifetime so the herve leger dress sale online you may interesting, 2012 fashion new style herve leger outlet store.

  74. If they get rid of law review how will firms and judges know who to leave out of interviewing? No one thinks that law review preforms an important purpose in academics, maybe one or two do, but no one takes them seriously.

    You can't tell me that some people voting for Obama weren't impressed and reassured by his being Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Law Review. Law review performs a signaling function well outside of the small and insular world of law and legal employment
    An alternative to shutting them down might be to make them relevant. There is a chance for great scholarship and excellence.

    And LOL at the herve leger bandage dress being spammed on this site.

  75. I want to add a note to Bored JD's concurrence. I'm a 2001 graduate of a...whaddya call 'em, CCN? T6? How about a well regarded law school in New York City. I was on what considered itself the greatest of the lesser journals, and aside from advertising that we wouldn't work hard, all the perverse behaviors bored JD mentions applied. That was in 1999-2000, I guess. It was an utter joke, and literally the only thing required of me was to come to office hours a couple hours a week, and to do what was asked, which was to transcribe a speech the first week and then was literally nothing every subsequent week. I learned nothing, and it served no purpose except to signal that I'd gotten onto the greatest of the lesser journals.

    I'm trying to remember how many journals we had. I can name 5, but I think there were at least two more. I knew two kids who did moot court and therefore didn't try out for any of the lesser journals; otherwise, everyone I knew was on some journal. I got the sense most of them worked harder than I did, but not much.

  76. Practicing lawyers almost never use law revie articles in their day to day work, and courts seldom cite them. Most articles are irrelevant to day to day practice and are written by people who have never practiced law in the files they are writing about.

    High Plains Lawyer

  77. Cool website buddy I am gona suggest this to all my list of contacts.


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