8 J. Legal Educ. 89 (1955-1956)
Modest Proposal for Changing Law Review Formats, A

handle is hein.journals/jled8 and id is 99 raw text is: COMMENTS

It is doubtless too late to raise the question of whether publication of sev-
eral dozen law reviews serves anr really useful phirpose. Almost every law
school administration today has reached the conclusion that one of the
paths to eminence lies in publication of a law review. So, rather tham
diminishing, the number of such magazines is increasing. Perhaps one
of these days it may even be necessary for a school, in order to be% approved,
to add another to the collection.'
But perhaps it is not too late to raise-once more-the question of chang-
ing the law review format. Now largely patterned in slavish imitation of
the standard set by the pioneering Harvard effort, legal periodicals are char-
acterized more by their monotonous uniformity than by originality. Safety,
it seems, lies in plowing old fields and threshing old straw; and the legal
profession, traditionally conservative, early starts its neophytes in the same
Articles, student material, book reviews-usually printed in that order:
that's the usual law review. Articles and book reviews will not be discussed
here other than to indicate that much of what we somewhat euphemistically
ball legal scholarship is published in the law review article, and that it is a
poor scholar indeed who cannot place his research effort in some law review
somewhere. The competition for leading articles has had at least one re-
sult: about everyone's article gets published. Whether that is boon or
bane may depend upon one's point of view, but it seems safe to venture the
statement that much of what is published in the article section of the law
review leaves a great deal to be desired.
So far as student effort is concerned, the format initiated by Harvard has
remained practically intact: brief notes discuss recent cases; longer pieces
discuss legal problems and are the student counterparts of leading articles.
The remarks I shall make here are aimed almost entirely at the case-note
type of writing, although much of what I have to say can, I think, also be
applied to the longer student paper.
Once a case note 2 is written-that is, at such time as it is ready to go to
the printer-its usefulness has been almost fully expended. It becomes, for
most purposes at least, worthless-to the writer, to the reviser (whether
* An extension of remarks made at the Southern Law Review Conference held
at Emory University, April 29-30, 1955.
S* Associate Professor of Law, Emory University.
1 The Supreme Court found absence of a law review significant when comparing
the University of Texas Law School with the newly-created Negro state law school.
Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629, 70 Sup.Ct. 848, 94 L.Ed. 1114 (1950).
2 Variously termed Recent Cases, Recent Decisions, Notes, Case Comments, etc.,
depending on the particular review. (Perhaps it is one way to display some origin-
ality, but not too much.)


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