7 J. Legal Educ. 381 (1954-1955)
Some Remarks about the Position of the Student-Editors of the Law Review

handle is hein.journals/jled7 and id is 391 raw text is: SOME REMARKS ABOUT THE POSITION OF THE
STUDENT-EDITORS OF THE LAW REVIEW
ARTHUR. NUSSBAUM *
As is well known, legal periodicals outside the United States are every-
where edited by leading scholars, whereas in this country the law reviews,
with few exceptions, are edited by students.
There is no doubt that the editorial work of the students adds to their legal
education. Fifty and perhaps thirty years ago this educational purpose of-
fered a sufficient justification for the American system. Still the situation
has changed, and is changing further. Such matters as, say, labor law, taxa-
tion law, corporation and trust law, public control of business, etc., are steadily
developing new and intricate problems; legal philosophy is being paid far
more attention than in the past; the expanding relationship among the coun-
tries of Western civilization, and this country's leading role within that orbit,
render necessary in many more cases than ever before the investigation of
international and foreign law. Students may not have acquired the knowl-
edge and maturity to handle those trends adequately as independent editors.
Sometimes I have also been under the impression that student-editors, if
confronted with articles deviatihg from the typical pattern, are too much in-
fluenced by a desire to play safe and consequently reject the author's offer.
Such an attitude is the expression of an inner uncertainty which can only
too easily be understood.
Another serious defect of the present system is the lack of editorial con-
tinuity within the same law review. There can be no accumulation of ex-
perience, so important in editorial work, when the boards change annually.
The transience of responsibility prevents steadiness of approach. An ar-
ticle may be accepted by one board and rejected by the following, as has hap-
pened in at least one case within my own knowledge. Moreover, it is im-
possible to carry out programs which extend beyond the working period of
the functioning board. The selection of reviewable books and of qualified
reviewers is another task which should be reserved to scholars.
Nor is it pleasant for a mature scholar to be subjected to the supreme and
irrevocable judgment of incompletely trained students. This may have a
discouraging effect upon competent writers, and may even impair creative
work-in my opinion, a very serious matter.
I do not think that the traditional American system of law reviews can
be changed fundamentally. Still, the now predominant notion of the student-
editors' absolute independence, which must not be infringed by interfer-
ence on the part of the faculty or faculty members, seems to me mistaken.
The faculty should assume, I believe, a supervisory function over the work
of the student-editors and have a decisive influence on editorial problems of
major significance as well as on the solution of controversial situations. The
* Visiting Research Professor of Public Law, retired, Columbia University School
of Law.
7 Journal of Legal Ed.No.3-6  381

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