71 Iowa L. Rev. 1093 (1985-1986)
The Law Review Citadel: Rodell Revisited

handle is hein.journals/ilr71 and id is 1105 raw text is: The Law Review Citadel: Rodell
Scott M. Martin*
I suspect that the law reviews will keep right on turning
out stuff that is not fit to read, on subjects that are not worth
the bother of writing about them. Yet I like to hope that I am
Maybe one of these days the law reviews, or some of them,
will have the nerve to shoot for higher stakes. Maybe they will
get tired of pitching pennies, and of dolling themselves up in
tailcoats to do it so that they feel a sense of importance and pride
as they toss copper after copper against the same old wall. Maybe
they will come to realize that the English language is most useful
when it is used normally and naturally, and that the law is nothing
more than a means to a social end and should never, for all the
law schools and law firms in the world, be treated as an end
in itself. In short, maybe one of these days the law reviews will
catch on.I
So wrote Professor Fred Rodell of the Yale Law School in his 1936
article entitled Goodbye to Law Reviews. In what he billed as his last law
review article, Professor Rodell took the reviews to task both for their
style and for their content, severely criticizing every aspect of the reviews
as they existed in 1936 and concluding that they're spinach.2 Despite
the notoriety that the article received,3 it had little impact on either the
style or the content of the reviews. Lest anyone think that over time the
* Associate in Law, Columbia University School of Law. C.E.P. 1978, University
of Paris; B.A. 1979, Skidmore College; M.A. 1982, J.D. 1982, American University.
I would like to thank Professors Andrzej Rapaczynski and Peter L. Strauss of the Colum-
bia University School of Law for their extremely helpful comments on an earlier draft
of this Essay. The views expressed in this Essay are, of course, my own.
1. Rodell, Goodbye to Law Reviews, 23 VA. L. REV. 38, 45 (1936).
2. See id.
3. Goodbye to Law Reviews quickly became, if not the most notorious article on the
subject, certainly the most cited. See, e.g., Glenn, Law Reviews-Notes of an Antediluvian,
23 VA. L. REV. 46 (1936) (replying to Rodell's article); McKelvey, The Law School Review
1887-1937, 50 HARV. L. REV. 868, 869 & n.1 (1937); Marsh, The Law Review and the
Law School: Some Reflections About Legal Education, 42 ILL. L. REv. 424, 425 n.5 (1947);
Lee, Administration of the Law Review, 9 J. LEGAL EDUC. 223, 223 n.2 (1956); Burgess,
Law Reviews and the Practicing Lawyer, 51 Nw. U.L. REV. 10, 14 n.4 (1956); Strong, The
Iowa Law Review at Age Fifty, 50 IowA L. REV. 12, 13 (1964); Schwartz, Civilizing the Law
Review, 20J. LEGAL EDUC. 63, 63 n.1 (1967); Cane, The Role of Law Review in Legal Educa-
tion, 31J. LEGAL EDUC. 215, 215 n.3 (1981); Riggs, The Law Review Experience: The Partici-
pant View, 31 J. LEGAL EDUC. 646, 647 n.15 (1981); Fidler, Law-Review Operations andManage-
ment, 33 J. LEGAL EDUC. 48, 48 n.1 (1983); R. STEVENS, LAw SCHOOL: LEGAL EDUCATION
IN AMERICA FROM THE 1850S TO THE 1980s, at 165 n.13 (1983).


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