Law Review Question

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Puffy
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Law Review Question

Postby Puffy » Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:40 am

Are the various law reviews and journals run entirely by students, or is it more like professors or professional editors in senior positions with students working under them?

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vamedic03
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:39 pm

Law Reviews are run entirely by students—students do the editing, selection, manage the publishing, etc. There are a handful of journals that are faculty run, but they tend to be in narrow fields (I think IP has some faculty run journals) and the most prestigious journals (i.e., the flagship law reviews at the T-14) are all student run.

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JazzOne
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:45 pm

vamedic03 wrote:Law Reviews are run entirely by students—students do the editing, selection, manage the publishing, etc. There are a handful of journals that are faculty run, but they tend to be in narrow fields (I think IP has some faculty run journals) and the most prestigious journals (i.e., the flagship law reviews at the T-14) are all student run.

I have often wondered about the wisdom of giving law students the power to make decisions that affect tenure. Also, law students are not in a good position to decide what kinds of scholarship are meaningful in various areas of law. Students tend to prefer generalist articles because students often lack knowledge of the nuances of the law. Hence, they don't necessarily see the importance of a paper that addresses those nuances. Law school is an absolutely absurd way to train lawyers, and law review is just an extension of that.

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vamedic03
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:03 pm

JazzOne wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:Law Reviews are run entirely by students—students do the editing, selection, manage the publishing, etc. There are a handful of journals that are faculty run, but they tend to be in narrow fields (I think IP has some faculty run journals) and the most prestigious journals (i.e., the flagship law reviews at the T-14) are all student run.

I have often wondered about the wisdom of giving law students the power to make decisions that affect tenure. Also, law students are not in a good position to decide what kinds of scholarship are meaningful in various areas of law. Students tend to prefer generalist articles because students often lack knowledge of the nuances of the law. Hence, they don't necessarily see the importance of a paper that addresses those nuances. Law school is an absolutely absurd way to train lawyers, and law review is just an extension of that.


I disagree.

(1) Law Reviews are supposed to be taking more generalist articles. Typically law reviews strive to obtain articles that are representative of multiple areas of the law. Further, law reviews want foundational pieces and ground breaking pieces that are going to be heavily cited. Specialized pieces should go in specialized journals.

(2) At a lot of Law Reviews, the people doing the selections have a fairly comfortable familiarity with various areas of the law. More so, people will know who to ask if they get a piece on an area of the law that they aren't current with. Further, a lot of people will ask professors for advice on areas they are unfamiliar with.

(3) There is plenty of crap out there that's published by professional editors in other fields. I really don't see law reviews doing any worse of a job. If a piece is good, it's going to get published - if it's crap, it'll probably have a hard time getting published. I don't think that a faculty run journal would be any better and, honestly, student run journals are more insulated from the academic political games.

(4) I don't understand all the hatred that people have against law schools and the training of lawyers. Look, law school is a professional school, not a vocational school. No one expects a someone graduating from med school to be able to go out and hang a shingle and practice medicine - why are lawyers different? We aren't being trained as plumbers and electricians.

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Puffy
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby Puffy » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:11 pm

Thanks for the answers. I was wondering why Law Review articles on scholarly subjects (not legal questions) appear so amateurish and unscholarly. Structure of law reviews goes a long way toward explaining that.

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vamedic03
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:15 pm

Puffy wrote:Thanks for the answers. I was wondering why Law Review articles on scholarly subjects (not legal questions) appear so amateurish and unscholarly. Structure of law reviews goes a long way toward explaining that.


So all of legal academia is childish to you and unscholarly? You do realize that law review articles are written by law professors, right? Perhaps you should just skip law school if you're not going to respect your professors? And, exactly how are you able to evaluate the quality of legal scholarship if you are not a law student?

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MrKappus
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby MrKappus » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:18 pm

Puffy wrote:Thanks for the answers. I was wondering why Law Review articles on scholarly subjects (not legal questions) appear so amateurish and unscholarly. Structure of law reviews goes a long way toward explaining that.


lolwut. How would the "structure of law reviews" explain how the articles are written?

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prezidentv8
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:24 pm

--ImageRemoved--

However,
vamedic03 wrote:(4) I don't understand all the hatred that people have against law schools and the training of lawyers. Look, law school is a professional school, not a vocational school. No one expects a someone graduating from med school to be able to go out and hang a shingle and practice medicine - why are lawyers different? We aren't being trained as plumbers and electricians.

Because law isn't very hard?
Last edited by prezidentv8 on Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JazzOne
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:24 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:Law Reviews are run entirely by students—students do the editing, selection, manage the publishing, etc. There are a handful of journals that are faculty run, but they tend to be in narrow fields (I think IP has some faculty run journals) and the most prestigious journals (i.e., the flagship law reviews at the T-14) are all student run.

I have often wondered about the wisdom of giving law students the power to make decisions that affect tenure. Also, law students are not in a good position to decide what kinds of scholarship are meaningful in various areas of law. Students tend to prefer generalist articles because students often lack knowledge of the nuances of the law. Hence, they don't necessarily see the importance of a paper that addresses those nuances. Law school is an absolutely absurd way to train lawyers, and law review is just an extension of that.


I disagree.

(1) Law Reviews are supposed to be taking more generalist articles. Typically law reviews strive to obtain articles that are representative of multiple areas of the law. Further, law reviews want foundational pieces and ground breaking pieces that are going to be heavily cited. Specialized pieces should go in specialized journals.

(2) At a lot of Law Reviews, the people doing the selections have a fairly comfortable familiarity with various areas of the law. More so, people will know who to ask if they get a piece on an area of the law that they aren't current with. Further, a lot of people will ask professors for advice on areas they are unfamiliar with.

(3) There is plenty of crap out there that's published by professional editors in other fields. I really don't see law reviews doing any worse of a job. If a piece is good, it's going to get published - if it's crap, it'll probably have a hard time getting published. I don't think that a faculty run journal would be any better and, honestly, student run journals are more insulated from the academic political games.

(4) I don't understand all the hatred that people have against law schools and the training of lawyers. Look, law school is a professional school, not a vocational school. No one expects a someone graduating from med school to be able to go out and hang a shingle and practice medicine - why are lawyers different? We aren't being trained as plumbers and electricians.

I think you make some good points, except the last one. Doctors start seeing patients before they even get out of med school. Doctors are making life and death decisions as residents, whereas Biglaw associates are lucky to get client interaction in their first few years. Plus, there really is an internal disagreement among law professors as to the correct identity of law school. Some professors believe that it should be a true graduate school that teaches scholarship. Others believe it should be a professional school like an MBA program that teaches practical skills. This internal divide creates an environment where law schools accomplish neither objective particularly well. Law students are not subjected to the same rigor of scholarship as other graduate programs, and law students are not taught the same level of practical skills as other professional programs.

Also, the critiques I posed about law review were suggested to me by tenured professors who find it frustrating that their doctrinal work is denigrated by student editors who prefer to rehash the same issues in article after article. I'm sure there are other professors who disagree, but my position is hardly unique.
Last edited by JazzOne on Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:29 pm

JazzOne wrote:Law students are not subjected to the same rigor of scholarship as other graduate programs, and law students are not taught the same level of practical skills as other professional programs.


I def LOL at teh PhD's...but facepalm at teh JD.

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JazzOne
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:33 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:(4) I don't understand all the hatred that people have against law schools and the training of lawyers. Look, law school is a professional school, not a vocational school. No one expects a someone graduating from med school to be able to go out and hang a shingle and practice medicine - why are lawyers different? We aren't being trained as plumbers and electricians.

Because law isn't very hard?

Exactly. We're not doing brain surgery here.

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A'nold
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby A'nold » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:34 pm

You guys are looking at law through the eyes of a very small minority of people in this country that could ever even dream of being smart enough to attend law school. The majority of Americans could not make it through college, let alone law school. That said, the majority of people on here are tons smarter than most law students even. Our view on the difficulty of law school is very, VERY skewed. We compare ourselves with MD programs and not 99% of other peeps.

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JazzOne
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:37 pm

A'nold wrote:You guys are looking at law through the eyes of a very small minority of people in this country that could ever even dream of being smart enough to attend law school. The majority of Americans could not make it through college, let alone law school. That said, the majority of people on here are tons smarter than most law students even. Our view on the difficulty of law school is very, VERY skewed. We compare ourselves with MD programs and not 99% of other peeps.

But isn't that the appropriate comparison for a purported professional doctorate program?

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chup
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby chup » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:42 pm

I think it really depends on the LR in question. I've heard horror stories from some faculty members about crap line edits or horrible article selections or whatever, but I've been on the Articles Committee of our LR for the past year and I can tell you that people I worked with were incredibly thorough and on top of their shit when it came to checking out articles and where they fit into existing scholarship. We also had a very good mix of people on the committee, ensuring that for any given article there would be at least a couple people who were more intimately familiar with the field and the present state of scholarship, etc.

I also don't think JazzOne's point about law being less rigorous because it's not peer-reviewed is very well-founded. As someone doing both law and a PhD in another field, I can tell you that journals on both sides run the gamut. Plus there's no guarantee that selections are going to be better or more rigorous just because tenured faculty doing the reviews. Anyone who has submitted to these kinds of journals can tell you about weird, esoteric suggestions or ill-founded critiques. Again, it just depends on the journal/law review. In general, though, there's no guarantee that you get better material just because selection is conditioned on three peer reviews as opposed to 10-12 generalist reviews (which was the size of our Committee).

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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:49 pm

chup wrote:I think it really depends on the LR in question. I've heard horror stories from some faculty members about crap line edits or horrible article selections or whatever, but I've been on the Articles Committee of our LR for the past year and I can tell you that people I worked with were incredibly thorough and on top of their shit when it came to checking out articles and where they fit into existing scholarship. We also had a very good mix of people on the committee, ensuring that for any given article there would be at least a couple people who were more intimately familiar with the field and the present state of scholarship, etc.

I also don't think JazzOne's point about law being less rigorous because it's not peer-reviewed is very well-founded. As someone doing both law and a PhD in another field, I can tell you that journals on both sides run the gamut. Plus there's no guarantee that selections are going to be better or more rigorous just because tenured faculty doing the reviews. Anyone who has submitted to these kinds of journals can tell you about weird, esoteric suggestions or ill-founded critiques. Again, it just depends on the journal/law review. In general, though, there's no guarantee that you get better material just because selection is conditioned on three peer reviews as opposed to 10-12 generalist reviews (which was the size of our Committee).

Perhaps I am biased because I came from a science background. Peer review is very deeply ingrained in scientific research, and I can't imagine scientific journals dispensing with that. But you might be right that it matters much less for legal scholarship.

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chup
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby chup » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:51 pm

JazzOne wrote:
chup wrote:I think it really depends on the LR in question. I've heard horror stories from some faculty members about crap line edits or horrible article selections or whatever, but I've been on the Articles Committee of our LR for the past year and I can tell you that people I worked with were incredibly thorough and on top of their shit when it came to checking out articles and where they fit into existing scholarship. We also had a very good mix of people on the committee, ensuring that for any given article there would be at least a couple people who were more intimately familiar with the field and the present state of scholarship, etc.

I also don't think JazzOne's point about law being less rigorous because it's not peer-reviewed is very well-founded. As someone doing both law and a PhD in another field, I can tell you that journals on both sides run the gamut. Plus there's no guarantee that selections are going to be better or more rigorous just because tenured faculty doing the reviews. Anyone who has submitted to these kinds of journals can tell you about weird, esoteric suggestions or ill-founded critiques. Again, it just depends on the journal/law review. In general, though, there's no guarantee that you get better material just because selection is conditioned on three peer reviews as opposed to 10-12 generalist reviews (which was the size of our Committee).

Perhaps I am biased because I came from a science background. Peer review is very deeply ingrained in scientific research, and I can't imagine scientific journals dispensing with that. But you might be right that it matters much less for legal scholarship.

Fair enough. History is my relevant field of comparison, so we may be equally lacking in RIGOR. :mrgreen:

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Re: Law Review Question

Postby chup » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:57 pm

betasteve wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
chup wrote:I think it really depends on the LR in question. I've heard horror stories from some faculty members about crap line edits or horrible article selections or whatever, but I've been on the Articles Committee of our LR for the past year and I can tell you that people I worked with were incredibly thorough and on top of their shit when it came to checking out articles and where they fit into existing scholarship. We also had a very good mix of people on the committee, ensuring that for any given article there would be at least a couple people who were more intimately familiar with the field and the present state of scholarship, etc.

I also don't think JazzOne's point about law being less rigorous because it's not peer-reviewed is very well-founded. As someone doing both law and a PhD in another field, I can tell you that journals on both sides run the gamut. Plus there's no guarantee that selections are going to be better or more rigorous just because tenured faculty doing the reviews. Anyone who has submitted to these kinds of journals can tell you about weird, esoteric suggestions or ill-founded critiques. Again, it just depends on the journal/law review. In general, though, there's no guarantee that you get better material just because selection is conditioned on three peer reviews as opposed to 10-12 generalist reviews (which was the size of our Committee).

Perhaps I am biased because I came from a science background. Peer review is very deeply ingrained in scientific research, and I can't imagine scientific journals dispensing with that. But you might be right that it matters much less for legal scholarship.

Peer review in the bolded is necessary because its complex nature and that there is such a wide gap between a student and a peer. The law, for the most part, is incredibly reachable by law students. You don't have to be all that trained to understand the argument a law review article is making. Sure, you may not grasp the entire scope of the article if you aren't an expert... but you can see if there is a logical, coherent argument being made. Law is easy, science is hard.

Actually this is an interesting point given the (relative) growth of Empirical Legal Studies in recent years. We were lucky enough to have someone on our committee with some experience in the area and a member of the faculty willing to take a quick look at pieces we had questions on, but I've seen some pieces (even in good law reviews) whose methodology/sampling even I could tell was abject shit.

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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:58 pm

betasteve wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
chup wrote:I think it really depends on the LR in question. I've heard horror stories from some faculty members about crap line edits or horrible article selections or whatever, but I've been on the Articles Committee of our LR for the past year and I can tell you that people I worked with were incredibly thorough and on top of their shit when it came to checking out articles and where they fit into existing scholarship. We also had a very good mix of people on the committee, ensuring that for any given article there would be at least a couple people who were more intimately familiar with the field and the present state of scholarship, etc.

I also don't think JazzOne's point about law being less rigorous because it's not peer-reviewed is very well-founded. As someone doing both law and a PhD in another field, I can tell you that journals on both sides run the gamut. Plus there's no guarantee that selections are going to be better or more rigorous just because tenured faculty doing the reviews. Anyone who has submitted to these kinds of journals can tell you about weird, esoteric suggestions or ill-founded critiques. Again, it just depends on the journal/law review. In general, though, there's no guarantee that you get better material just because selection is conditioned on three peer reviews as opposed to 10-12 generalist reviews (which was the size of our Committee).

Perhaps I am biased because I came from a science background. Peer review is very deeply ingrained in scientific research, and I can't imagine scientific journals dispensing with that. But you might be right that it matters much less for legal scholarship.

Peer review in the bolded is necessary because its complex nature and that there is such a wide gap between a student and a peer. The law, for the most part, is incredibly reachable by law students. You don't have to be all that trained to understand the argument a law review article is making. Sure, you may not grasp the entire scope of the article if you aren't an expert... but you can see if there is a logical, coherent argument being made. Law is easy, science is hard.

Well, yes and no. One of the professors at my school is a recognized expert in alternative dispute resolution. He gave a lecture to my legal scholarship seminar last week, and we read a couple of his law review articles. After reading the articles and listening to his lecture, I thought to myself, "Who the hell cares? This article is going to affect like four people in the entire universe, with the professor being one of the four." But the professor seemed to think that the article had deep implications for the future of law practice in America. I think I'm a reasonably smart law student, but the importance of that article was over my head. Although I understand the arguments, I don't have the proper context to evaluate them thoroughly.

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Re: Law Review Question

Postby chup » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:01 pm

JazzOne wrote:Well, yes and no. One of the professors at my school is a recognized expert in alternative dispute recognition. He gave a lecture to my legal scholarship seminar last week, and we read a couple of his law review articles. After reading the articles and listening to his lecture, I thought to myself, "Who the hell cares? This article is going to affect like four people in the entire universe, with the professor being one of the four." But the professor seemed to think that the article had deep implications for the future of law practice in America. I think I'm a reasonably smart law student, but the importance of that article was over my head. Although I understand his arguments, I don't have the proper context to evaluate them thoroughly.

Yeah but if your article is only important to like four people and has absolutely no relevance/bearing on practice and can't even make the case of its own importance to an interested generalist audience, how important is your insight, really?

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JazzOne
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:04 pm

chup wrote:
JazzOne wrote:Well, yes and no. One of the professors at my school is a recognized expert in alternative dispute recognition. He gave a lecture to my legal scholarship seminar last week, and we read a couple of his law review articles. After reading the articles and listening to his lecture, I thought to myself, "Who the hell cares? This article is going to affect like four people in the entire universe, with the professor being one of the four." But the professor seemed to think that the article had deep implications for the future of law practice in America. I think I'm a reasonably smart law student, but the importance of that article was over my head. Although I understand his arguments, I don't have the proper context to evaluate them thoroughly.

Yeah but if your article is only important to like four people and has absolutely no relevance/bearing on practice and can't even make the case of its own importance to an interested generalist audience, how important is your insight, really?

You've highlighted my point. I have no way to know how relevant the article is. It seemed irrelevant to me, but then again, many people think ADR is the way of the future. The professor's peers are in a much better position to evaluate the article's significance than I am. I could be completely off base in thinking it is only important for a few people. How the hell would I know?

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JazzOne
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:09 pm

betasteve wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
chup wrote:
JazzOne wrote:Well, yes and no. One of the professors at my school is a recognized expert in alternative dispute recognition. He gave a lecture to my legal scholarship seminar last week, and we read a couple of his law review articles. After reading the articles and listening to his lecture, I thought to myself, "Who the hell cares? This article is going to affect like four people in the entire universe, with the professor being one of the four." But the professor seemed to think that the article had deep implications for the future of law practice in America. I think I'm a reasonably smart law student, but the importance of that article was over my head. Although I understand his arguments, I don't have the proper context to evaluate them thoroughly.

Yeah but if your article is only important to like four people and has absolutely no relevance/bearing on practice and can't even make the case of its own importance to an interested generalist audience, how important is your insight, really?

You've highlighted my point. I have no way to know how relevant the article is. It seemed irrelevant to me, but then again, many people think ADR is the way of the future. The professor's peers are in a much better position to evaluate the article's significance than I am. I could be completely off base in thinking it is only important for a few people. How the hell would I know?

By doing a few westlaw searches? Honestly... I think an executive board of a journal could easily determine the relative worth of an article without any problem, even if an individual cannot.

That particular professor disagrees with you. He thinks doctrinal work is commonly overlooked by law reviews despite the fact that it is eminently important. Who's right? Will a westlaw search tell you how important it is to publish doctrinal work as opposed to generalist articles?

Edited to change "imminently" with "eminently." lol
Last edited by JazzOne on Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JazzOne
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:12 pm

betasteve wrote:
JazzOne wrote:Well, that particular professor disagrees with you. He thinks doctrinal work is commonly overlooked by law reviews despite the fact that it is imminently important. Who's right? Will a westlaw search tell you how important it is to publish doctrinal work as opposed to generalist articles?

MEEEE. ALWAYS MEEEE.

What was your search query? Because that affects the results a lot.

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MrKappus
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby MrKappus » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:17 pm

JazzOne wrote:Will a westlaw search tell you how important it is to publish doctrinal work as opposed to generalist articles?


Actually it will, with its brand new "Check For Pointless Distinctions No One Cares About" feature.

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JazzOne
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:21 pm

MrKappus wrote:
JazzOne wrote:Will a westlaw search tell you how important it is to publish doctrinal work as opposed to generalist articles?


Actually it will, with its brand new "Check For Pointless Distinctions No One Cares About" feature.

lol

That would be one hell of a search result.

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MrKappus
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Re: Law Review Question

Postby MrKappus » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:24 pm

JazzOne wrote:
MrKappus wrote:
JazzOne wrote:Will a westlaw search tell you how important it is to publish doctrinal work as opposed to generalist articles?


Actually it will, with its brand new "Check For Pointless Distinctions No One Cares About" feature.

lol

That would be one hell of a source list.


Crap! That was supposed to end "...Except Professors." That probably wouldn't shorten the source list though.




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