« Forum on the Law Review Selection Process | Main | Forum Post #2: Some Context from the Authors »

14 August 2007

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Re Conor's point on this strange prestige-driven marketplace: I cannot justify why the editors of elite law journals have so much influence in determining merit, but few would dispute that they have it.

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I think we should at least have a discussion on this latter point before dismissing Nance's and Steinberg's interesting data. Law professors, in my opinion, are often a little too trigger happy in drawing conclusions.

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Bill Henderson

Michael raises a good point re the difference between what editors say and what they actually do. Chris Zorn will explore this point with more sophistication, so I will defer to him.

That said, I am interested in what the editors *say* they do because it is far from a foregone conclusion that there is a discrepancy. Positing the possibility of a discrepancy is what a clever law professor does; but using reasoning to think through the likelihood is another matter. I think we should at least have a discussion on this latter point before dismissing Nance's and Steinberg's interesting data. Law professors, in my opinion, are often a little too trigger happy in drawing conclusions.

Re Conor's point on this strange prestige-driven marketplace: I cannot justify why the editors of elite law journals have so much influence in determining merit, but few would dispute that they have it. I hope to pick up on Conor's market theme in a subsequent post. Elite editors are not the only king makers; there are other routes to success. bh.

Conor Granahan

Professor Henderson,

It seems strange to have so much of a professor's prestige decided by a handful of law students. I would like to see how external factors come into play, such as the pressure to publish from professors at one's own school.

But outside of this, how come a U of Chicago guy like yourself doesn't want the market to decide these things?

Shouldn't more law professors try to publish their work independent of journals run by students? I know have seen some law profs' books, but I would think there would be more if the competition is so fierce for journal spots. Perhaps I am not looking in the right places.

Rejected authors could combine their works to have a longer format or one could just publish and distribute his own work if no publisher will pick it up. Not very expensive these days.

I suppose the prestige comes from approval by others, but if the author believes her work can make an impact, that impact is impossible if it just sits on the shelf.

I am vaguely familiar with the academic publishing mindset. You research, write, publish, and move on. No promotion or focus on money. I realize this has some value in letting the work stand apart from the influence of sales. But I would think getting one's ideas out there is the next logical step if the prestige passes you by. And donate the money if it bothers you.

Michael Heise

Bill: Great idea for the Forum.

At the risk of nit-picking, the methodology used in the Nance-Steinberg study (survey self-reports) limits it to a study about what law review editors *say* they do in terms of article selection. A study about how article selection *actually* works would require data on the pool of articles submitted as well as those selected. Another possible study might compare what law review editors say they do with what they actually do in terms of article selection.

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