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10 J. App. Prac. & Process 179 (2009)
The Law Reviews: Do Their Paths of Glory Lead but to the Grave

handle is hein.journals/jappp10 and id is 183 raw text is: THE LAW REVIEWS: DO THEIR PATHS OF GLORY
John Doyle**
Critics of the law review product are legion. The classic
statement is from 1936 by Fred Rodell: There are two things
wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is
its content.' The standard law review criticisms have been of
excessive article length, an overabundance of footnotes, a lack
of publication speed, an overly theoretical emphasis, over-
editing by students, and a lack of student knowledge sufficient
to select and edit articles. In some of these perceived faults
authors are complicit, being empowered in their search for
prestige by an abundance of law journals competitively hungry
for something to publish. But while law reviews have frequently
* Cf Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, in Norton Anthology of
Poetry 508 (Alexander W. Allison et al. eds., rev. ed., W.W. Norton & Co., Inc. 1975). The
relevant stanza of Gray's poem is
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
** The author is Associate Law Librarian at Washington and Lee University School of
Law and is the editor of Washington and Lee's law journal rankings site, which began in
2002 and has been updated annually. See Washington & Lee University School of Law,
Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking, http://lawlib.wlu.edu/LJ [hereinafter W&L
Ranking] (accessed May 12, 2009; copy on file with Journal of Appellate Practice and
Process). This essay expands on the material in John Doyle, The Business of Law Reviews,
39 Conn. L. Rev. CONNtemplations 30 (2007) (also available at http://www
1. Fred Rodell, Goodbye to Law Reviews, 23 Va. L. Rev. 38, 38 (1936).
2. As used here law journals are academic law journals (including law reviews) and
law reviews are the sub-set of law journals that are student edited.

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