An abridged Guest Post by the anonymous Editor 'n' Chef first published on Notes from the (Legal) Underground.
Just as weblogs have had a huge impact on mainstream media, bringing down rather pompous network news anchors and discredited journalists from fake news agencies, law blogs are providing critical analyses of topical legal issues that are changing how we look at Law Review.
What the hell is law review, anyway?While making big bucks at BigLaw was once the highest career objective of aspiring law students, the Internet has changed all that. Anonymous Lawyer bloggers, who might not even be lawyers yet, can get a book deal from blogging. Law Professors, who used to write law review articles, are rebelling against traditonal Law Review attitude problems with copyright protection and are insisting on reserving some rights under creative commons licenses afforded them by blogs. And at least one activist judge is eschewing Law Review, too, preferring the freedom of the blog to the oversight of law review editors. In his recent article in Legal Affairs, the magazine at the intersection of law and life, Judge Posner excoriates Law Review noting, inter alia:
Let's start with the basics. Law reviews are academic legal journals that publish articles by law professors, judges, lawyers and even law students. If you think that sounds boring, you are so right. Check out this sampling of recently published articles: "Textualism and the Equity of the Statute" (Columbia Law Review), "The Legal and Institutional Preconditions for Strong Securities Markets" (UCLA Law Review) and "Preventing Insider Misappropriation of Not-for-Profit Health Care Provider Assets: A Federal Tax Law Prescription" (Washington Law Review).
Just imagine the soporific torment of those poor souls who actually had to read those articles. Grab a cup of coffee to wake up and we'll continue...
Why do I care?
Law review is important because working on one will help you land that job where they throw buckets of cash at you every week. "You gain skills through law review (and through every journal) that employers like for you to have," said Morgan [co-editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Women's Law Journal and member of the California Law Review]. "You learn editing skills, how to support a legal argument, actual legal research and writing skills. It also shows a commitment to something rigorous that demands a lot of your time. Employers are impressed by that."
In other words, employers assume that if you were willing to spend hundreds of hours hunched over piles of footnotes, you will be even more willing to spend thousands of hours hunched over piles of documents when someone is actually paying you for it.
I have spoken thus far of the law reviews as publishers of scholarly articles submitted to them. But in addition, of course, they publish articles (usually and misleadingly called "notes" or "comments") written by the members of a law review's staff. The opportunity to publish provides valuable experience. This, plus the rising quality of law students, may explain the enormous increase in the number of law reviews—law schools that used to have just one now often have two and sometimes three or four. My only criticism of the student-written portions of the law reviews is that the students have a propensity to write about "hot" subjects, like partial-birth abortion, gay marriage, and capital punishment, to the neglect of equally important commercial subjects that cry out for informed doctrinal analysis.They'd all really rather be blogging. So, the time has come to announce Blawg Review, the next big thing in blogging for lawyers, law professors, judges who blog, and law students who'd rather make a name for themselves than make law review.
How can everyone get involved?
- Submit great posts from your own law blog for publication on Blawg Review, which is hosted on a different blog every Monday.
- Host an upcoming issue of Blawg Review on your own incredible law blog. Evan Schaeffer is hosting "Blawg Review #1" on Notes from the (Legal) Underground on April 11th. Kevin Heller is hosting "Blawg Review #3" at Tech Law Advisor, and others have already signed on for subsequent issues. Reserve a date for your blawg review, now!
- Write a review of a blawg for publication on Blawg Review. Maybe someone will review yours.
- Add a link to Blawg Review on your blog and spread the word throughout the blogosphere, especially when your own fantastic posts are reviewed for all to see.
Let's show the blogosphere what's really happening at the intersection of law and life these daysand who the heck are these interesting legal professionals who blawg. Where's the law bloggers' carnival?