They mostly exist as a way for law schools to evaluate law professors for promotion and tenure, based partly on what they have to say and partly on their success in placing articles in prestigious law reviews. The judge, lawyer or ordinary reader looking for accessible and timely accounts or critiques of legal developments is much better off turning to the many excellent law blogs.Well, that should get some links from blogs to the NYT, which needs traffic and isn't going to get much from law reviews. The on-line game is so much more energetic and invigorating than the tedious slog to write the unreadable stuff that can be placed — placed, like an unread book is placed on a shelf — somewhere prestigious.
Ever stop in the middle of trying to read a law review article and say to yourself: What am I reading? What this is is a line on somebody else's resume. It wasn't meant to be read. It was meant to be a title with a citation that would be a line on someone else's resume.
And how many law review articles will you write before you rankle at perversely worrying 100 pages into a conventional style and form to be edited by students who will strain to eradicate whatever shred of personality made it through to your final draft? At what point will your earnest effort decline into the cynical production of verbiage to be condensed into a single line on your resume?
Liptak cites a new survey of "2,000 law professors, lawyers, judges and student editors," which found that "Law professors were more critical than any other group." Guess who the lawprofs blamed? Students. I've been through this before. I told you 7 years ago about an article I wrote back in 1994 called "Who's to Blame for Law Reviews?" You can read that if you want, but it is a law review article — albeit a very short one — so I'm sure you don't want to read it. The link on "I told you 7 years ago" goes to a blog post, summarizing what I will now compress even further: Don't blame the students, professor. They're your students.