Concurring Opinions Book Reviews

book28aSandy Levinson has a thoughtful new essay lamenting the dwindling number of book reviews of books about the law — The Vanishing Book Review in Student Edited Law Reviews and Potential Responses, 87 Tex. L. Rev. 1205 (2009).  He discusses how the Michigan Law Review used to run 30 to 40 book reviews in its book review issue but now is running only about 10 to 15. He notes that among the top 20 law reviews, in 1987-88, they published about 125 reviews; in 2007-08, they published only 42 reviews.

Brian Leiter notes, in the title of his post about Levinson’s article, that “academic law needs more fora for serious book reviews.”

Beyond law reviews, the number of book reviews in newspapers is rapidly diminishing.

This is why we’re starting a new project at Concurring Opinions — we’ll serve as a forum for book reviews.

We will accept submissions from our readers — law professors, lawyers, law students, and academics in other fields are welcome to submit reviews.

The reviews we envision would be approximately the length of a New York Times book review — somewhere between 500 to 2000 words.

We will try to accept as many reviews as we can, but we will exercise editorial discretion if we think a review isn’t appropriate for our blog.  We’re aiming for serious reviews.

If you’re interested in writing a book review for us, we recommend that you first email us with a brief description of what book you’d like to review and your background, as we don’t want you to go through the work of writing a review only for us to think it doesn’t fit with our blog.  Emailing us in advance won’t guarantee acceptance, but we would hope to give you a good indication of whether we’d be interested in your review.

We believe that there’s a need for serious yet short book reviews, ones that aren’t as long as those published in law reviews.  That’s why we’re starting this project.  We expect it to be ongoing, so if you’ve read a law-related book recently and want a forum to publish your views about it, please think about doing a review for us.

If you publish a book review here, you keep copyright in your work, so you can use it, publish it, and disseminate it later in whatever way you desire.

So please email us if you’re interested.

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1 Response

  1. A.W. says:

    when i was a law student and on a law review (not a super prestigious one, but i liked it) we ran book notes out of our publication. They were short, snappy responses by students to a book and i thought very inciteful.

    i think with the right pitch, any publication can get alot of responses. for instance, being published is a surprisingly important notch on your resume (i have been published, too, so i know). and alot of students just have something to say. i particularly enjoyed given an asian american classmate the chance to use his book note as a chance to say something about the asian american experience. i could tell it was very cathartic to him.