A. Nony Mouse wrote:I never saw authors just not include the info for a citation, so it would be more like 1 than 2. Lots of other issues with citations, but never "I'm not even going to pretend to include the case info."
I'm starting to suspect that either
a)Nony didn't actually work on a journal (or even go to law school for that matter. She's just here for the unfettered power that is being a mod)
b)Nony's law review got unusually good submissions
c)My journal gets unusually bad submissions
It's probably C though.
FWIW, on both of the journals that I was on (HYS primary and a top HYS secondary) authors 99% of the time at least tried to cite the article correctly. I'd say that the vast majority of citations we saw were pretty darn close to perfect -- but pretty darn close ain't good enough: there are so many things that can go wrong with a citation (and typically so many citations per page) that even an author who's getting things >90% right will have a dozen or more errors per page. I don't know if I ever got through a page without catching some error.
Incidentally, across the board (in terms of not only carefulness, but substance), the best articles I saw were usually from young profs (or wannabe-be profs) without much of a publication history, and the worst articles I saw were from the established famous-ish folk. Big name profs or profs at the top schools--especially tenured profs--generally get a lot of help in writing their articles from RAs, which means that a huge amount of the thought that went into the article actually comes from some 2L. Writing a good article takes much more than a brilliant idea. It takes a huge amount of time and care--more than most professors publishing multiple articles per year can reasonably devote. And, for that matter, you can probably count on one hand the number of professors currently alive who have truly had dozens of brilliant ideas over the course of their careers (yet it is common to see established professors with 20+ publications).
On the other hand, young professors or wannabe professors have generally slaved over every detail of the article themselves (and then usually vetted their article by a number of the big name profs). This is why I'm genuinely mystified when I hear people talk about letterhead bias at most law reviews (there was none at mine). If law reviews really are automatically rejecting or seriously disadvantaging articles written by folks who don't yet have a teaching placement, or by folks with only 1 or so previous publications, they are generally missing a huge proportion of the best scholarship written in that year. I'm not saying that letterhead is unimportant: the chances that a median student at a non-elite school just happened to stumble on an incredible idea and executed that idea (after failing to get into a good law school and then failing to excel in his or her current law school) are, well, not great. It isn't just a coincidence that most academics come out of the top law schools (and usually have a clerkship or an additional grad degree). But the idea that an established publication history is a good indicator of future brilliance in publication is, well, fairly off-base: a law review without time to read all of its submissions (and I'm skeptical that any law review falls into this category--my HYS law review read all of our submissions, and I can't imagine many law reviews received more than we did) wishing to screen out the worst articles can do so in better ways than looking at letterhead or publication history. So many of the articles submitted are clearly not appropriate for publication in a top law review, that it's fairly easy to skim something like 30% off of the top just based on the topic + abstract + first ~3 pages. (I say this with one caveat: I do think there's some predictive value to *bad* letterhead or unimpressive publications. So, for example, a professor who graduated from Kent who is currently at Indiana Tech and has three publications in the Valpo Journal of Law and Social Commentary probably hasn't written a great fourth article. I'm mostly just saying that I think there's little negative predictive value for a top law school graduate's lack of letterhead / publication history, yet my sense is that not being published anywhere/not currently teaching anywhere can be a deal killer for many law reviews.)