Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Law review: the other side of the problem

A commenter writes:
  • So the first piece of advice I'd give to anonymous professor--or any professor--who doesn't like the edits she's getting from law reviews is to improve her own writing. That will make her happy because she'll receive less correction and it will make us happy because we'll be doing less correcting.
The commenter is right--so right it hurts.

When I want to read great writing, I do not read things written by law professors. When I want writing guidance, I do not consult law professors. Assisted by law-review students, law professors are the creators the second largest mass of poorly written text on earth; they are exceeded only by judges.

And so we have now added part 2 (poor writing by professors) to part 1 (inexperienced student editors) to produce the Wayne Schiess Bitterness Theory of Law Reviews:
    Smart people, who aren't particularly good writers but who think they are, submit mediocre text to be edited by smart students, who aren't trained editors. The result? Read any typical law review and the thing speaks for itself.
Note: I have had two law-review articles rejected by the mainstream, student-edited law reviews, and I'm bitter. I think the reason my pieces were rejected was that they did not contain rambling text in the footnotes, they were relatively short, and they discussed things about which the students knew almost nothing.

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