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23 Va. L. Rev. 38 (1936-1937)
Goodbye to Law Reviews

handle is hein.journals/valr23 and id is 70 raw text is: VIRGINIA LAW REVIEW

T IS doubtless of no concern to anyone that this is probably
my last law review article. As a matter of fact, this makes one
more article than I had originally planned to write. It was
something in the nature of a New Year's resolution. Yet the
request to do a piece about law reviews seemed a golden oppor-
tunity to make my future absence from the Leading Articles,
Authors lists a bit more pointed than would the business of
merely sitting in a comer, sucking my thumb, and muttering Boo.
Keeping well in line with two traditions-a course which law-
yers will readily understand-I decided to break the resolution
and not wait for opportunity's second knock. This, then, is by
way of explaining why I do not care to contribute further to
the qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like
literature of the law.
There are two things wrong with almost all legal writing.
One is its style. The other is its content. That, I think, about
covers the ground. And though it is in the law reviews that
the most highly regarded legal literature-and I by no means
except those fancy rationalizations of legal action called judicial
opinions-is regularly embalmed, it is in the law reviews that
a pennyworth of content is most frequently concealed beneath
a pound of so-called style. The average law review writer is
peculiarly able to say nothing with an air of great importance.
When I Used to read law reviews, I used constantly to be re-
minded of an elephant trying to swat a fly.
Now the antediluvian or mock-heroic style in which most law
review material is written has, as I am well aware, been panned
before. That panning has had no effect, just as this panning will
have no effect. Remember that it is by request that I am bleat-
ing my private bleat about legal literature.
To go into the question of style then, it seems to be a cardinal
principle of law review writing and editing that nothing may be
said forcefully and nothing may be said amusingly. This, I

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