5 J. Legal Educ. 72 (1952-1953)
Experimentation in the Law Reviews

handle is hein.journals/jled5 and id is 82 raw text is: EXPERIMENTATION IN THE LAW REVIEWS
joim E. C~iBBm*
Fortunately there is disagreement among legal educators as to the best
methods of training students for the mature responsibilities of professional
life. So long as there is disagreement there will be experimentation and a
wholesome infiltration of new ideas, which if not always better than the old,
will at least prevent stagnation and decay. Human nature being what it is,
education, of whatever kind, will never be perfect and only by a constant
ferment can it be steadily improved. One educational tool however has
received well nigh universal approval from the law teachers of the United
States-the law review. Apparently this veneration has been shared by the
practicing bar as well and the law review man has become the beau ideal
of the law student class. To be editor-in-chief is virtually to assure the
student of a good position on graduation, and to be one of the associate edi-
tors is a kind of open sesame, at least to the large offices.
I
EXCELLENCE op THE LAW lnvinws
The general attitude of the law faculties toward the excellence of the
training acquired on the law reviews has been succinctly stated by Professor
Llewellyn in The Bramble Bush:'
We have in law schools an aristocracy of a peculiar kind. We may
almost say it is a perfect aristocracy. One achieves membership ex-
clusively in terms of his performance. Membership carries honor, but
the honor that it carries is the duty to work and slave and drive oneself
as no other student is expected to. A perfect aristocracy, then, because
continued membership is based on higher performance than is demand-
ed of non-members. Now this law review is a scientific publication, on
which in good part the reputation of the school depends. Here is a
thing American. Here is a thing Americans may well be proud of.
There is not, as far as I know, in the world an academic faculty which
pins its reputation before the public upon the work of undergraduate
students-there is none, that is, except in the American law reviews.
Such an institution it is a privilege to serve. Such an institution it is
an honor to belong to. And by virtue of the terms of tenure of office,
of this you may be sure: to earn that honor is to earn an education.
With this statement I would heartily concur, and yet I wonder if, our nearly
unanimous agreement on this teaching tool may not contain the seeds of its
own undoing. A complacent acceptance of the value of the reviews tends to
freeze them in their present form and destroy the urge to experiment that
we deem so vital in other phases of legal education. A successful formula
has been laid down and its easy application may be made without any real at-
tempt to think through the problems involved.
* Associate Professor of Law, University of Illinois; editor, LAW FonuM.
1 LLEWELLYw, TnE BRANBLE BusH 107 (1930).
72

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