Law Journals

When I was a law student, I participated in the editing of the university law journal there. I think I always did a good job on the articles I was assigned; it has stood me in good stead in later years when writing my own articles. I always have a thought for the poor person who has to go through and check my footnotes and the like. I try to make sure that I’ve got everything as accurate as possible, although it’s always possible to miss things (that’s why an independent editor is such a great idea).

I was interested to read the following comment on an American blog by Professor Bainbridge:

The law reviews have made a hash of the manuscript submission process, which once more raises the question of why legal scholarship remains dependent on the whims of twenty-something second and third year law students. Personally, I plan to stick to books and symposia articles until the law reviews get together and coordinate their requirements.

I have to agree that it is really irritating trying to get your head around different citation and formatting requirements. Luckily, I’m a dab hand with word-processing packages, and I’ve learned a number of little tricks over the years for changing things quickly.

I can also understand that if one is an eminent professor, it could be a little galling to have a uppity whipper-snapper try to tell you how to do your job. Many young law students take themselves all too seriously, and I can imagine some might lecture eminent professors on formatting or something like that. But then, there are probably also some eminent professors who take themselves all too seriously too. And some authors may benefit from comments on style and argument. In fact, I’ve read a few journal articles lately that needed to be completely rewritten in order to make any sense.

Actually, that reminds me: last week while standing in the coffee queue at university, I saw some very pretentious first years being terribly clever and knowing about just everything and I am afraid that I couldn’t quite contain a smirk, although I tried to hide it. Was I that terrible when I was a student? Probably, although I hope I wasn’t quite as dreadful as these two fellows. I do hope that they grow up a little. These days, I’m incapable of taking myself too seriously.

To return to the topic, so far, I have had no problems with student-run journals to which I have submitted articles. I have also recently submitted two articles to two professionally-run journals, and I wouldn’t say that their procedures are any better or any worse than the student-run journals. In fact, in relation to one of the articles, I’ve been waiting almost a year to hear when it is going to be published. By the time they decide, I’ll have to update it. In fact, that reminds me, I should have a look at that recent House of Lords case…

(Via Professor Bainbridge and Instapundit)

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2 Comments

Filed under law journals, legal education

2 responses to “Law Journals

  1. OTT

    Weighing in incredibly late and I’m trying to resist commenting (I’m just catching up).

    There is a wonderful programme which, if I ever enter academia I will definitely use, called Latec. Basically you produce your text like html and you have tags that say highlight this; reference this; this is a case reference it as such; this is a first heading; sub-heading; sub-sub heading etc.

    Each journal / review etc will have its own master format that says what its style guidelines are (you know the argument about whether cases/legislation should be underlined / italicised. well, to hey with that – just note it in your base document as a case and then input it into the journal’ master style thing and – ta da – document in appropriate format.

    Don’t know if I’ve explained myself well enough but the computer geeks and science academics are well ahead of law and humanities on this front.

    Email me if you would like more info, or google Latec. I am sure there is plenty of information out there.

    In my brief time writing a thesis and then converting little bits into journal articles, I kept wanting to use Latec – and procrastinating with the thought that I’d change all the systems once I was a proper academic. alas, that has not happened.

    maybe you will take up the baton?

    (phew – sorry about the long comment!)

  2. Legal Eagle

    Hmm, interesting, particularly as I am writing a thesis at this very moment. I’m trying to do footnotes and all that stuff as I go (as much as I can) because I really hate doing it after the fact. But if I want to publish part of the thesis – yes, I’ll have to rejig everything according to whatever that journal prefers (or hope some poor Law Journal slave will fix it for me).

    I must look into this “Latec” more. Did you do the Latec case on mere equities in Property law? The name has bad associations for me because of that case, but maybe this programme can turn the association around into a good thing?

    Glad to see you are back in the blogosphere.

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