Footnoting Guidelines for Law Reviews?

A student asked me for useful guidelines on when law reviews should ask authors to add citations supporting the author’s assertions. Unfortunately, I had nothing terribly helpful.

Sometimes authors should be called on to provide support for their assertions. Sometimes they shouldn’t, for instance if the assertion is the author’s own evaluation of the world — of what likely happened, of why it likely happened, of what is likely to happen. Sometimes the journals should insist that a supporting citation be provided; sometimes they should suggest it, but yield to the author’s preference if the author is confident that a supporting citation is unnecessary. Where these lines are to be drawn is a matter of good editorial and scholarly judgment. And perhaps there’s nothing more that one can say.

But perhaps there is something more that one can say. Perhaps there are some at least moderately specific guidelines that journals can adopt — if so, I’d love to hear your suggestions, as would my correspondent and likely many other law review editors as well. Many thanks!

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