8 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2018 Last revised: 12 Oct 2018
Date Written: July 6, 2018
Law journals are the spinach of academic life — a healthy part of the legal academic’s diet but too often insufferably boring to consume. Despite being ridiculed as too lengthy, too footnote-heavy, and too arcane, the production of these traditional academic articles remains the primary vehicle for law professors to expand human knowledge. In more practical terms, law review articles are key in hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions. Given the importance of the law review article to legal academics, scholars from outside disciplines are often shocked to learn that law journal editors are students, that articles are not blind or peer reviewed, that publication offers from “lower ranked” journals can be used as leverage for placement in “better” journals, and that there is no discipline-wide accepted metric for journal quality. Legal academics understand law journals’ deficiencies all too well, but down the hatch they go.
The law journal submission process is seriously flawed. This essay briefly examines the law review submission process and offers small reforms so the process better reflects the commonly held conventions about journal quality while minimizing artificial barriers to entry.
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