News Flash: Survey finds law review articles don’t meet the needs of the bench and bar

And law profs don’t like student editors. Wow! And law reviews impact law prof careers negatively. Hum… . Why?

Those are the takeaways from a recent Loyola Law Review article, What Do U.S. Law Professors, Student Editors, Attorneys, and Judges Think about U.S. Law Reviews and the Need for Reform? by Richard A. Wise, Joseph C. Miller, Douglas P. Peters, Heather K. Terrell, Brett Holfeld, & Joe R. Neal [GSTF Digital Library, DOI: 10.5176/2251-2853_2.2.127]. Here’s the abstract

We surveyed 1325 law professors, 338 student editors, 215 attorneys, and 156 judges about their beliefs about U.S. law reviews and the need for reforms. Law reviews play a critical role in the law and legal education in the U.S. They are also one of the best means for social scientists to convey research about the law to legal professionals. Law professors were generally the most critical of law reviews and student editors were usually the least critical. Respondents identified several problems with law reviews. They believed that law review articles are too long. Most respondents also believed that U.S. law reviews have a negative effect on law professors’ careers and that they are not meeting the needs of attorneys and judges. The vast majority of respondents indicated that reforms are needed and that U.S. law reviews should implement blind, peer reviews. We also discuss the significance of our findings for the U.S. legal system and for social scientists who study the law.

About that negative career impact thing, Karen Sloan writes

The law professors surveyed had a more negative take on law review article selection than did the student editors, while the judges and practitioners were largely neutral on the issue. The law professors responded that law reviews frequently select articles based on the author’s credentials instead of the quality of the submitted article, and that law reviews don’t give adequate consideration to articles before making a decision on whether to accept them.

Quoting from Law Review Articles Need A Makeover, Study Finds (NLJ, Oct. 10, 2013; behind paywall).

In other words, “my submission is better than that other law prof’s submission.” Would peer review change that?  — Joe

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