Swiftly Shrinking? Toward the Lilliputian Law Review Article
This law review article submission season, a bunch of law reviews banded together to create a page limit for law review article submissions. According to the policy as announced by the Harvard Law Review and followed at several other law reviews:
In an effort to address the growing length of law review articles, the Harvard Law Review has adopted a new policy limiting the length of articles we will accept or publish.
The Review will give preference to articles under 25,000 words in length — the equivalent of 50 law review pages — including text and footnotes. The Review will not publish articles exceeding 35,000 words — the equivalent of 70-75 law review pages — except in extraordinary circumstances.
Eugene Volokh of the VC has some data on the effectiveness of the policy:
Here’s an early data point: Jean-Gabriel Bankier of Berkeley Electronic Press’s ExpressO submission service . . . reports that, based on “more than 1,000 unique submissions in both 2004 and 2005,” the averages were:
So that’s about 9 pages shorter on average. Thus, in total, this season saw over 9000 fewer pages of law review article text. Where did those 9000 pages go? That’s roughly 2.7 million words . . . vanished. They are lost forever, gone, never to be read and enjoyed. Oh, the verbosity!