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October 3, 2007

Do we want on-line production and/or faculty-edited journals to bring the demise of traditional law reviews?

Larry Solum, Paul Caron and others (myself included) have written thoughtfully about the future of legal scholarship, justifiably focusing on the impact of technology on traditional forms of law review production and dissemination.  Somewhat less discussed, though perhaps no less important, is a seemingly growing interest among legal scholars to cultivate faculty-edited journals as an alternative to traditional student-edited law reviews.  (This recent announcement that Harvard Law School professors are launching a new faculty-edited journal, to be called the Journal of Legal Analysis, is Exhibit A documenting this trend.)

Though many are now noticing and effectively describing the modern (and rapid?) evolution of legal scholarship, I have still seen relatively little normative analysis of these trends.  Specifically, I wonder if readers think we should embrace or resist movement away from traditional student-edited law reviews as the primary outlet for legal scholarship. 

Perhaps because I am a blogger and an editor of two distinct peer-review journals (the Federal Sentencing Reporter and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law), I tend to endorse the modern migration away from traditional student-edited law reviews.  That said, I hope (and expect) that student-edited law reviews will always play a significant role in the universe of legal scholarship.  I also suspect that the work of promotion and tenure committees will be the most important "market force" shaping these realities.

Posted by DAB

October 3, 2007 in Scholarship -- online, Scholarship -- traditional | Permalink


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Student-edited law reviews serve an invaluable function in identifying, editing, and disseminating important legal scholarship. Certainly, they vary in quality, but my own experience has been quite rewarding. Law review editors generally do not have the knowledge base of peer editors, but they have other virtues, such as native intelligence, appreciation for intelligible writing, and an inordinate capacity for diligent work.

Posted by: Anupam Chander | Oct 4, 2007 1:10:54 PM

From the outside looking in, it seems to me like shifting the review process from students to faculty can help make journals marginally more relevant to practitioners to the extent that such faculty are well-connected with practice. What do you see as the prospects for improvement along that axis?

Posted by: Gene Koo | Oct 17, 2007 11:51:06 AM

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