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Worthless Law Reviews

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Santa Clara Law Dean Gerald Uelmen and I rarely agree, but I do recommend his article in the current issue of California Lawyer.

The full title of the article is "The Wit, Wisdom, and Worthlessness of Law Reviews," but I did not see any evidence of the first two in the article.

The main problem is too much theory and not enough practice.

And when [Cal. Supreme supervising staff attorney Jake] Dear did find a useful article, it was just as likely to be authored by a student as by a law professor. This left him with the distinct impression that "many law professors do not deign to write anything of practical use, but instead leave such pedestrian matters for students."

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And from the article:

"Still, law reviews are in no danger of disappearing anytime soon. After all, big law firms and elitist judges continue to demand "law review experience" as a prerequisite for hiring."

The idea of having med students edit a surgical journal or master's students review a bridge engineering journal would not be acceptable. Is the law any easier than those two subjects, that laymen could edit their research journals?

Student editing of journals is indeed a problem, S.C., but it is not the cause of this particular problem. This one falls squarely on the faculty.

Is there a value from an article that had its faculty author review an arcane subject? It updated his knowledge, and increased the content of his teaching, if the esoteric can be translated down to law student relevance? The article is for the information of the faculty.

The case of first impression on the defense of procedural and substantive unconscionability of a contract was copied from a law review article. The idea of sexual harassment as a form of discrimination came from a law review article. I am sure each specialist can provide an example in their subject area.

Judges read them and reject most of their innovations as too crazy, perhaps. I read some, and fear for our nation if ever accepted by an appellate court.

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