In Praise of Law Reviews (And Jargon-Filled, Academic Writing)

13 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2015  

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: August 30, 2015

Abstract

Many people, including many lawyers and judges, disparage law reviews (and the books that sometimes result from them) on the ground that they often deal with abstruse topics, of little interest to the bar, and are sometimes full of jargon-filled, excessively academic, and sometimes impenetrable writing. Some of the objections are warranted, but at their best, law reviews show a high level of rigor, discipline, and care; they have a kind of internal morality. What might seem to be jargon is often a product of specialization, similar to what is observed in other fields (such as economics, psychology, and philosophy). Much academic writing in law is not intended for the bar, at least not in the short-term, but that is not a problem: Such writing is meant to add to the stock of knowledge. If it succeeds, it can have significant long-term effects, potentially affecting what everyone takes to be “common sense.”

Keywords: ‪law reviews, jargon, obscurantism‬

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R., In Praise of Law Reviews (And Jargon-Filled, Academic Writing) (August 30, 2015). Michigan Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2653321

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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