January 3, 2008

Law professors and their paper.

Eugene Volokh passes along a question from a law review editor asking whether lawprofs would accept it if the law reviews banned the submission of articles in paper form and required the use of the electronic submission service.

Apparently, law professors think there is a slight chance that the paper copy will get more of a look, and however small it is, it's worth going to a lot of extra trouble and expense.

The question shouldn't be why to the lawprofs cling to it, but how can we get ourselves to give it up. I suggest shaming: It's bad for the environment. You're contributing to global warming. If you keep printing and mailing unnecessary paper, you lack the moral authority you need to indoctrinate young people.

And now that I have your attention, my fellow lawprofs, take note that you should also stop sending out reprints of your articles. And no more of those ridiculous brochures about the glorious achievements of your law school.


Wurly said...

One additional instruction to law professors, unless you have something truly new and interesting to say, don't bother writing an article at all--concentrate on teaching. (And by new and interesting, don't bother if your work falls within the old joke: This paper is both new and interesting, unfortunately, what's interesting isn't new, and what's new isn't interesting.)

Middle Class Guy said...

For wsome reason people still like to have something to hold when they read. It is either tradition or the tactile experience.

Many publishers even require hard copy for submissions versus electronic.

Ann Althouse said...

Wurly, I disagree. Lawprofs should write if only to develop their own thinking so that they can be good teachers. Doesn't mean anyone needs to read it, but it can still be published in a law journal that law students learn from editing.

hdhouse said...


Wurly said...

You think self-improvement is a sufficient excuse for despoiling the Earth? Electricity used in power your writing machines and transmitting paperless documents increases the professor's carbon footprint.

No, it is better to spend your time lecturing to large classes in dimly lit, unheated rooms close to public transportation.

Steven said...

Paper doesn't cause global warming. Taking carbon from underground and putting it in the atmosphere causes global warming.

Growing trees take carbon out of the air — much more than mature trees do. When that tree winds up as paper in a landfill, that carbon gets locked underground. When trees are harvested in North America, the harvesters generally plant new trees to grow where the old ones were, extracting much more carbon from the air than the old ones would have if left to stand.

Want to fight global warming? Insist that all submissions be made on non-recycled paper, and be sure to have it dumped in a landfill. That way, the carbon from burning oil and coal gets locked back underground.

former law student said...

dudette -- the lr kids are going to print it out anyway, so you should send it both ways. Marking things up on paper is easier for a lot of people than fussing with Microsloth.

But the preprint/brag sheet dilemna: below the top 16 or so, how are people supposed to know how cool your law school is? And remember that reputational scores affect your third-rate-news-magazine rating, which must never drop, lest your students wonder why they're spending $150K to go to a festering
hellhole in decline.

Plus I'd like a tidily printed and bound Ann Althouse reprint.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Alternate title for this post: "The Paper(less) Chase"