20 J. Legal Educ. 63 (1967-1968)
Civilizing the Law Review

handle is hein.journals/jled20 and id is 75 raw text is: COMME NTS
The purpose of this department is to afford an opportunity for informal ex-
change of ideas on matters related to legal education. Typical comments will
range from about 1200 to about 3000 words in length, and may either advocate
innovations in curriculum or teaching method or respond critically to previ-
ously published material. As a general rule, the authors will gladly answer
inquiries and, to the extent available, upon request supply copies of materials
referred to.
CIVILIZING THE LAW REVIEW
Memorandum by Professor Louis B. Schwartz * to the Editor
of his favorite law review.
What's wrong with the law reviews is an old topic.i Reading the old com-
plaints and reflecting on new grievances lead me to the conclusion that the
fundamental source of difficulty is loss of concern about readers. The re-
views are edited and published primarily to serve the ends of the writers, not
the readers. They afford students practice in legal writing, professors an
outlet for the production which is a professional necessity, polemicists a
platform however lowly. It is not surprising that frequently the style is
pedantic, the documentation grossly excessive, the choice of subject matter
idiosyncratic, the selection of comments virtually dictated by the accident of
which student's write-up is superior and available at deadline time.
This is not to say that law reviews serve no function. In the aggregate,
the reviews constitute a valuable (if vastly expensive) mine or bank of in-
formation, ready-made research, and rhetoric. But no one would buy or read
one law review for this purpose. Rather, we have libraries to stock them all,
and the Index To Legal Periodicals to help us search the whole canon when
we want help with a specific problem. The rise of the specialist legal journal
has further diluted the significance of any one university law review. The
tax practitioner, the antitrust specialist, the criminal lawyer, the lawyer who
concentrates on municipal government, patents, banking, or insurance, cer-
tainly doesn't read a university law review to keep up professionally.
Is the university law review then a moribund institution? Is it to be bought
only out of old-school-tie loyalty (or compulsion, where the law student has
its cost billed to him with the tuition fee) ? Does it and will it survive (8 is-
sues a year? 6? quarterly?) only because law schools must subsidize it as a
teaching aid or for prestige purposes?
* Professor of Law University of Pennsylvania Law School.
See Jodell, Goodbye to Law Reviews, 23 U.VA.L.RLE-v. 38 (1936), Goodbye to Law
Reviews-Revisited, 48 U.VA.L.REv. 279 (1962). Cf. Traynor, To The Right Honor-
able Law Reviews, 10 U.C.L.A.L.!Ev. 3 (1962).
20 Journal of Legal Ed. No. 1-5  63

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