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…