"[M]y heroes Charles Black and Arthur Allen Leff were known for their interesting short pieces, but the world of law-review writing moved away to massive tomes for a while," writes Glenn Reynolds, who likes to write short articles (and short blog posts).
Massive tomes... I call them "unpublishable books." But they are published, as articles, in law reviews, and no one reads them. The shorter an article is, the more likely people will read the whole thing. If it's long, sane readers will adopt strategies of skipping and skimming.
The same goes for court opinions. How I would love to teach my Constitutional Law classes without making the students buy a casebook. I'd email them a list of links to the great cases, which we'd read carefully and deeply.
But the cases are far too long, and the students would be fools to read every word. Like a practicing lawyer grappling with the new cases, they'd have to develop methods for reading without reading. There aren't enough hours in the day, and the dull verbosity doesn't reward close reading. So we're stuck with the casebooks, the parts of the cases that the lawprof editor thought the students should get to see. You'd think the judges would want to defend themselves from the law professor's editorial judgment, but no, they must swirl up an unreadable mass of verbiage. Is it because, made short and clear, the writing would show its flaws?
I'm often asked what good lawprof blogging can do for legal scholarship. There's the example of concision. Learn from it!