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February 25, 2013

Another notable sign of our modern legal on-line times (and a suggestion)

Gannett HouseVia the always timely How Appealing, I came across this new Harvard Crimson piece headlined "Harvard Law Review Increases Online Presence." Here is the heart of the report:

The Harvard Law Review will more than double the number of editors focusing on online content for the publication next year in an effort to expand its web presence.

Increasing the online staff from two to five, these new editors will join the Forum Committee, which is responsible for developing the website and editing the material published online.  In the next year, the Law Review hopes to enhance the functionality and design of its website in addition to increasing the quantity of published content, according to second-year Law School student Gillian S. Grossman ’10, the recently elected president who will lead 127th Volume of the organization....

The majority of returning editors voted to add two additional students to this year’s pool of rising editors in order to expand the online content while maintaining the quality of the current print operations, according to Grossman.

The Law Review will also grow the amount of material published online in an effort to increase the resources available for scholarly research.  “The Law Review recognizes that legal conversations and legal scholarship are taking place online in addition to print mediums,” Grossman wrote in an email.  “The Law Review’s Forum provides a platform for authors to engage with the articles we publish in our print issues and to engage with current legal developments through various forms of online scholarship.”

In line with this mission, the Law Review began publishing its print materials online in 2006.  The organization also created a “Forum” section on its website where contributors can write exclusively online content.  In the past, these articles have come in the form of “Responses,” approximately 2,500 word pieces written in response to articles published in the print journal.  With the new push towards expanding the Law Review’s web presence, the “Forum” will also begin publishing “Reactions,” shorter pieces commenting on recent developments in the law, as well as other scholarly essays.

I am always quite pleased to see any and all efforts from the folks at Gannett House to continue to innovate with the form and function of modern legal scholarship.  And, ever eager to encourage my favorite kinds of engagement "with current legal developments through various forms of online scholarship," I will make one big suggestion for the new HLR leaders: try to use the new on-line spaces to try to cover much more state "developments in the law" both legislative and judicial (and, to make me really giddy, give special attention to state criminal justice developments).

February 25, 2013 at 07:35 PM | Permalink


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An alcoholic Dean wanted to spend more time drinking. He had a ton of submitted manuscripts to review for a law journal. Then he remembered that scene in Tom Sawyer or was it in Huck Finn. One of the boys pretended painting a fence was a lot of fun. Soon, all the kids were clamoring to get a chance to do it. So this Dean made it a high privilege for a student to do his work, and got all the dumbass top law students around the country to spend 40 hours a week, on top of their studies, looking up dumbass references for accuracy.

Now imagine, an engineering journal, a surgery journal, a grocery owner journal, discussing research innovation in their field, having the articles reviewed and decided upon by second year students. They know nothing, have done nothing, have seen nothing in the law, those law students. So naturally, they get to be editors of a law review. If you were a practitioner in the above fields, and students ran the journals, would you be reading them, or allowing them to influence your practice?


Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 25, 2013 9:50:19 PM

Supremacy Claus: I don't often agree with you, but Amen brother (or sister)! Can we just get rid of law reviews already, or make them all faculty-edited? I was on the flagship one at my school and quit -- no regrets whatsoever.

Posted by: PDB | Feb 26, 2013 11:31:44 AM

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