12 J. Legal Educ. 424 (1959-1960)
Unfair Domination of Law Reviews

handle is hein.journals/jled12 and id is 436 raw text is: JOURNAL OF LEGAL EDUCATION

Mr. Justice Holmes once said: I trust that no one will understand me
to be speaking with disrespect for the law, because I criticise it so freely.
But one may criticise what one reveres. 1 Similarly, the writer speaks not
with disrespect but with warm interest in law reviews in making the following
criticisms and suggestions.
The time has come for law reviews to adjust themselves to a changed
scholastic world. The case system was practically the sole method of legal
instruction in American law schools for seventy-five years. Recently, how-
ever, it has had to yield a portion of its influence and domination to other
methods of law teaching-particularly the seminar.
For much of the past fifty or sixty years, law reviews have represented
practically 'the sole outlet of student scholarship. Only the rare student
has been admitted to the select circle of law review membership, normally
the top ten per cent of the student body. The law school's professional pub-
lication, thus, has belonged to a mere handful.  Ordinarily, other students
have received little instruction or experience in the use of the library or in the
art of legal writing. The net result of this system has been that only the law
review graduates have known how to use a library and do intelligent legal re-
search. The ordinary student has lacked experience in any form of legal
writing other than examination papers.
As a consequence, the ordinary law school graduate has been of little value
to a law firm for a year or two-until he has learned for himself how to use
a law library and how to write like a lawyer. Naturally, the better law
firms have shown little interest in those law graduates who were not
law review men. That is understandable, but it is very unfair to the student
who has not received this training. Many have recognized the inequity of
the situation, but none have propounded a solution.
With a breakdown in the domination of the case method of instruction and
the supplemental use of the seminar in teaching, however, a partial solution
to the problem becomes apparent. While the top papers in seminars will prob-
ably continue to be written largely by those students who are in the top
ten per cent of the class, superior papers are now occasionally written by
others. Some students who do not have the qualities which seem requisite
for high cumulative standings can produce a paper of real merit. If it meets
the standards of the school's law review, such a paper should be considered
for publication. Thus, two or three or more papers from non-law review
students may well appear in a single issue of the review.
This would have several merits: (1) it would encourage the ordinary
student to write publishable material; (2) the review would belong, in a
much more realistic sense, to the whole student body; and (3) this procedure,
aided by the fact that every student in a good law school under the present
: This paper merely suggests the problem In the hope that others will also feel
inclined to discuss it and to offer additional suggestions toward its solution.
t Professor of Law, University of Kentucky.
1 Holmes, The Path of the Law, 10 HAnv.L.Rzv. 457, 473 (1897).

[VOL. 12

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