Gallagher Blogs on June 23, 2010, takes us to this article, which caught my eye because I comment often on how few state law school law reviews publish useful articles anymore on their own state’s laws. There was a time when you could go to them, the law reviews, for excellent case or statute histories. It’s a rare thing now. Many of the law review requests we get now are for articles written 30 years (or more) ago. (Thank heavens for our HeinOnline subscription (and their blog).)
“The Wit, Wisdom, and Worthlessness of Law Reviews,” by Gerald F. Uelmen, June 2010:
“… During California’s legal “golden era” of the Gibson and Traynor Courts in the 1950s and ’60s, law reviews were cited with increasing frequency. In a classic study of the authorities cited in California Supreme Court opinions, Stanford law professor John H. Merryman counted 164 law review citations in the court’s 1970 opinions, a “sharp increase” over previous years (Merryman, “Toward a Theory of Citations,” 50 S. CAL. L. REV. 381 (1977)).
I did my own count recently of the California Supreme Court opinions published during the past five years that relied on law reviews as authority: There were just six. This despite—or perhaps because of—the fact that law reviews have tripled in number since the 1970s. The 20 ABA-accredited law schools in California now publish a total of 82 law reviews. UC Berkeley’s alone publishes 14, while Stanford and UC Hastings each publish 9. Both law professors seeking tenure and law students seeking employment at elite law firms eagerly fill these volumes. But who reads them now? Surely not the judges who decide the law. And not practicing lawyers either….” (Link to full article.)
And, don’t forget Fred Rodell ….