The Future of Legal Scholarship?:
News that some of the top law reviews are turning to shorter articles makes me wonder about the future of legal scholarship — and in particular, how the combination of blogs, SSRN, and shorter articles might work together.

  Here's one vision of the future. In a decade or two, articles published in law reviews will average about 30-40 pages in length. The "law review version" of the article will be the condensed core of the argument, with relatively few footnotes. The goal of the "law review version" of the article will be to present a relatively brief and highly readable version of the argument for a broad audience — sort of like articles in the Green Bag, but a bit longer. This is the version that will go into print and be found in the stacks at the library.

  Second, each article will also have an associated website that contains other resources relating to the article and its argument. The website could be the law review's, or SSRN, or perhaps a blog. Either way, the website would contain an extensive biblography, a helpful discussion of background materials, and any other materials that a researcher wishing to learn more might find helpful. A comment section on the website might be available as well, allowing individuals to leave comments about the article and carry on a discussion of its merits.

  It seems to me that this would be a major improvement over the existing approach of legal scholarship. The Internet allows authors to bifurcate their scholarship into condensed and more readable versions for publication and more extensive versions available online for those interested in knowing more. Law reviews could focus on publishing the condensed and readable versions, while websites containing additional materials could be handled separately.

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