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Law Reviews, again

Ann’s post about having faculty members write only in their home school’s law reviews is an interesting one, although it still leaves open the question of where non-law faculty would publish (presumably anywhere?). This might continue the “placement as a proxy for the quality” of non-law faculty articles.

If we really want to eliminate the importance of placement in student law review publishing, how about removing institutional identification from law reviews completely? Each school’s journals would continue to choose articles as before, edit them, and publish them. However, the journal would not be identified as, say the “Boston College Law Review.” Instead, the journal would receive a random designation each year (e.g. “Journal A, 2009”). This would have the effect of turning all student-edited law reviews into one giant volume that could be indexed and placed on electronic databases as before. Only now, readers would have to peruse the manuscript or abstract, recognize the author, or find some other marker for quality because it would be very difficult to tell which school had produced which volume.

I don’t think for a minute that this proposal would ever be adopted, and I’m not at all sure I’d endorse it myself. But, it’s an interesting thought experiment to see how much we really disapprove of estimating quality of articles to the journals that publish them. My guess is that most faculty, despite our occasional complaints about student selection of articles, would prefer the current system to the one suggested here.