A Guide to the Eight Most Suspect Types of Law Review Articles

This is simply my list of the eight most suspect types of articles; I appreciate that others may suggest different, or additional, entries.

1. The Repository of Hope

“As the single-word title connotes, I am very disappointed that this article did not place in a T14 journal.”

2. The Strained Debunker

“In Part I, I will characterize a 1974 Pace Law Review note and a 2007 MySpace entry as embodying ‘conventional wisdom.’ ”

3. The Old-Wine-In-New-Bottles

“No one has evaluated the rule against perpetuities from an animal-rights perspective before, so, you know, what the hell.”

4. The One-Off

“In my previous article, I made a significant contribution to the literature. In this piece, I will coast on the vapors of that article.”

5. The Something Is Unconstitutional

“This article would make a fairly solid student note. It is my tenure piece.”

6. The Turf Staker

“My pre-emption check discovered no articles that cover this territory. I pretty much worked backward from there.”

7. The Half-Hearted Symposium Submission

“We would have tried harder, but hey, we’re talking about a symposium here.”

8. The Torn from the Headlines

“Few would recognize that the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in ___ vs. ___ would fundamentally alter ___ law. Yet it did, or at least, you won’t be able to prove that it didn’t until this article is already well on its way to publication.”

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12 Responses

  1. Frank says:

    Future project: aleatory matching, via a Tansey wheel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Tansey), inscribed with

    1) suspect categories above

    2) types of legal scholars here:

    3) drinks served on the menu of your “Mad Men Meets Prosser” post.

    Under Schlag’s “Aesthetics of Law” approach, perhaps this could be framed as a “pomo mandala.”

  2. Matt says:

    I might find #3 unusual enough to consider reading, or at least start reading. I think someone should give it a go.

  3. steve says:

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read. I especially enjoy #1.

  4. TJ says:

    What is the difference between #3 and #6?

  5. Kyle says:

    @TJ: The scope of the latter is defined entirely by the size of the perceived gulf in the literature. Consider it the academic equivalent of a western land-grab. The former, by comparison, bespeaks a commitment to view the world – all of it – through a single lens. A bit like the academic who, in Matt Groening’s caricature of the 16 types of professors, believed that the nation that controls molybdenum controls the universe.

  6. BR says:

    You forgot the old tried and true in Con Law these days.

    9. Straight from the Framers!

    “In this article, I uncover the original meaning of a clause (phrase, word, or letter) that no one has ever heard of, that no court (or litigant) has ever referred to, and that will never again be relevant.”

  7. Kyle says:

    @BR: That would hit a little too close to home, as I am still trying to place my recent piece, “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

    (It saddens me somewhat that I do think I have to note that this article does not exist.)

  8. Eric Goldman says:

    Kyle, I can see why the dock-yards article doesn’t exist, but if it were broadened to address the framers’ intent behind the words “needful Buildings” in that clause, the article naturally would appeal to a larger audience. Eric.

  9. A.J. Sutter says:

    I’m glad to see that Matt shares my interest in #3; with a little foresight it even might have qualified for #8 (or an alternative history version of it), since this June saw the passing of Leona Helmsley’s dog. E.g. consider (a) a bequest of millions “to the cat QTPi’s Ravi Shankar Przemyslany Goldstein O’the Wisp, then to the first CFA Triple Grand Champion to issue from his line;” and (b) the cat wants to donate inter vivos all but $100,000 of his legacy, the bulk to be divided equally among certain animal shelters and Republican think tanks, but is prevented by human hegemony from making these gifts.

  10. Tklimson says:

    #9 Criminal Justice in the US is working

  11. Miriam A. Cherry says:

    “This article would make a fairly solid student note. It is my tenure piece.”


  12. Josh Tate says:

    When the Texas legislature adopted a version of the Uniform Trust Code pet trust statute, it added a provision specifying which humans would qualify as lives in being for the trust for purposes of the RAP. So, there’s another angle on #3.