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Is legal academic writing the lowest form of academic writing?

No peer review, published by 2l/3ls, maybe proofread by some irishlaw02/01/18
Yes. Is there any question? jorgedeclaro02/01/18
I don’t know. I studied political “science” in college ambulancechaser201302/01/18
PhD students studying and professors who teach Native Americ nighthawk02/02/18
Law review articles are only step above "social science" tha triplesix02/02/18
No. Even in law reviews, there are book reviews. I think t soupcansham02/02/18
There are some helpful law review articles, e.g. when they r onehell02/02/18
Eh I have a JD and a PhD and I submit to both (though I am n therewillbeblood02/05/18
Yeah its the worst. Most of it is a an articulation of some confused1l9302/03/18
Yup. My legal erotic fiction is of better quality and of isthisit02/03/18
It depends. The articles like "The Implicit Trans Misogyn sillydood02/04/18
Exactly what I'm saying. It is academic writing and like any onehell02/06/18
The fuk... Good way to write a few paragraphs and say not triplesix02/06/18
Legal academic writing is farce insofar as it isn't academi massivemissive02/06/18
irishlaw (Feb 1, 2018 - 8:47 pm)

No peer review, published by 2l/3ls, maybe proofread by some other professor, and besides a few "law and economic" junkies very little actually support for what they claim?

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jorgedeclaro (Feb 1, 2018 - 9:25 pm)

Yes. Is there any question?

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ambulancechaser2013 (Feb 1, 2018 - 11:10 pm)

I don’t know. I studied political “science” in college and I can tell you that stuff is way easier than law. Law has concepts that are way tougher than politics. Economic writing would be tough to me. Don’t know much about literature. Science stuff is hard to me.

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nighthawk (Feb 2, 2018 - 9:07 am)

PhD students studying and professors who teach Native American poetry have a lower form of academic writing than legal academics.

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triplesix (Feb 2, 2018 - 9:41 am)

Law review articles are only step above "social science" that's cranked out by liberal artists misfits with fragile egos, but not by much.

I spent a summer editing law review articles, ohh god was it trash. Fuker would cite a book and expect me to find the pincite, which I deff didn't haha. I was there to collect my tuition refund 8.75 per hour, I was not there to turn trash into gold.

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soupcansham (Feb 2, 2018 - 9:50 am)

No. Even in law reviews, there are book reviews. I think those are a step lower.

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onehell (Feb 2, 2018 - 11:22 am)

There are some helpful law review articles, e.g. when they really are "reviews" that give surveys of what different jurisdictions do, a list of relevant cases and other sources, etc. Half the time, I'm not so much interested in the argument the author is making as I am using the article as a convenient one-stop shop that will point me to a plethora of primary sources. The footnotes are often more valuable than the body. Kinda like Wikipedia: You don't cite to Wikipedia itself, but the sources it references are often citable.

I found them helpful enough to be worth adding to my westlaw subscription for about $50/mo, anyway.

That's why I've never understood why the irrelevance of these journals is supposedly demonstrated by how few federal court decisions cite to them. Practitioners might not actually cite to them, but they can help point you in the right direction on some issue you don't see regularly. For sure, there are useless articles on esoteric subjects, but there are articles of more practical relevance too.

As to peer review, the people writing these things usually aren't doing scientific research. If they are, as you might see with a prof who has both a JD and a PhD in econ or whatever, then they should be submitting to a peer-reviewed journal. The purpose of peer review is to ensure that your findings are statistically valid, replicable, based on sound scientific method, ethical research principles, etc, whereas the editorial process in a law review is basically just cite checking which is why it's done by students. To put it another way, peer review is part of the scientific method. If there's no lab testing or representative sampling, then there's no experiment. If there's no experiment or study, then there's nothing to be accomplished by peer review.

Are they on the level of a real scientific paper? No. But they don't need to be if they are a true "review" of the law.

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therewillbeblood (Feb 5, 2018 - 12:39 pm)

Eh I have a JD and a PhD and I submit to both (though I am not a law professor). Law review articles have much higher word limits and are more forgiving about really getting into detailed discussions, which can be a nice change from peer review.

Also peer review is useful in non-experimental subjects like history.

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confused1l93 (Feb 3, 2018 - 7:57 pm)

Yeah its the worst. Most of it is a an articulation of some new important decision with a hint of policy analysis tacked on at the end.

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isthisit (Feb 3, 2018 - 8:05 pm)

Yup.

My legal erotic fiction is of better quality and of more use to the average lawyer than the sum of legal acadrmic literature.

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sillydood (Feb 4, 2018 - 11:10 am)

It depends.

The articles like "The Implicit Trans Misogyny Within Citizens United" are worthless.

But as others have said, there are very useful articles that summarize the state of the law in one particular area and those can be excellent starting points for research especially if you're unfamiliar with that area. There are other articles that will examine the ambiguities or splits in jurisdiction in certain areas of law, and that can be useful from the standpoint of assessing risk (I.e., because the law isn't well settled, your client has more flexibility in their approach).

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onehell (Feb 6, 2018 - 12:40 pm)

Exactly what I'm saying. It is academic writing and like any academic writing, some of it will translate from theory to practice and some won't.

But while it IS academic writing, it ISN'T scientific writing. Even social science is still science, meaning there's study methodology for peer review to validate. Not so with law reviews, where the only thing to do is check is to make sure that sources are cited correctly and really do say what the author says they say. Our world is based in precedent, not p-values. For us, something is true if someone more important than us has said it's true (or that something very similar is true) in the past. Totally different system than one based on scientific method.

The lack of peer review indicates that it isn't scientific. But the fact that it isn't scientific doesn't mean that it isn't academic, and the fact that it's academic doesn't always mean that it isn't useful, though sometimes it does.

Indeed, if it were scientific, and you instituted peer review accordingly, then that would mean lawprofs would be out there doing experiments rather than giving us a compendium of precedent we could cite to. Making legal scholarship the kind of scholarship that needs peer review would actually make it LESS useful to practitioners, not more.

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triplesix (Feb 6, 2018 - 3:01 pm)

The fuk...

Good way to write a few paragraphs and say nothing.

I am sure all the debt slaves appreciate the subtle nuance and all feel better that they funded this esteemed "academic" circle jerk that might have some value for some odd ball who read it by mistake or out of boredom.

You can hit the showers now, job well done!

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massivemissive (Feb 6, 2018 - 6:59 pm)

Legal academic writing is farce insofar as it isn't academic writing. There's no peer review, the journals are run by students, multiple submissions. No other areas of academia do it this way and all consider peer review to be an imperfect, but vital component.

Oh, and nobody reads 'em. Okay, law professors read HLR, but when was the last time you read an article from Utah Law Review?

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