Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Perry: Law Reviews, like Dinosaurs, Unfit for Modern Life

"The traditional student-edited general interest paper-based law review, one of the pillars of American legal scholarship and education, is unfit for life in the modern academic world," writes Ronen Perry, Univ. of Haifa, in a new paper on SSRN. "Yet it still exists, much like the dinosaurs in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. In my view, it must evolve or be extinct."

Perry's paper, titled "De Jure [sic] Park ," will appear in the inaugural issue of CONNtemplations, an on-line companion to the Connecticut Law Review. "The roots of the American law review may be traced to the nineteenth century," Perry writes in his introduction. "The University of Pennsylvania Law Review, established in 1852 as the American Law Register, is probably the oldest continuously published legal periodical in America. However, it began as a practitioners’ journal and became affiliated with an academic institution only in 1896. The gradual proliferation of academic law journals started in 1887, with the establishment of the Harvard Law Review, the first student-edited legal periodical to last more than a few years. At present, there are nearly two hundred ABA-approved law schools in the United States."

The essay goes on to critique "the main structural deficiencies of student-edited general interest paper-based law reviews, namely that they are student-edited, general interest and paper-based." In addition to arguing for more peer-review/faculty involvement, he also argues for the benefits of specialization over general interest reviews. And more.