Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sounding scholarly--or not

I said in an earlier post that the desire to get published and earn tenure probably causes legal-writing teachers to mimic the stuffy, stilted writing style of traditional legal academia. Because legal-writing teachers are often on the fringes of the legal academy, we may feel all but compelled to "sound scholarly."

A commenter responded:
  • Sounds like a hopeless situation. So what's the answer? Will our chances for tenure improve if we write a natural-toned article that is substantively sound but was rejected by the law review journals? Will the tenure committee take into account a system that is outdated and out of touch?
This question reflects excellent insight. My thoughts:

I don't see the system changing soon, so no, I don't think most tenure committees will take into account the outdated system. Nor do I think most student-run law reviews will accept crisp, plain, readable articles. With all humility, I've had two such articles rejected by multiple law reviews.

But it's not hopeless because of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing, Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, and the Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors.

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