Are Law Prof Blogs Making Law Reviews Obsolete?

I think Walter Olson started this discussion with a provocative post for the Atlantic, but here are some choice quotations from the above bloggers:

From Kevin O’Keefe (Real Lawyers Have Blogs):

Law blogs are completely diminishing the function of law reviews. People want to stay up-to-date on all of the latest news and the Internet has allowed them to do so. Unlike law reviews, law blogs have the capability of rapidly publishing legal analysis to its readers.

From Joe Hodnicki (Law Librarian Blog):

[T]he acceptance by the legal academy of the blogging platform as being a legitimate publishing medium can have what Brown calls a ‘”prominence’ dividend”. The real plus here is the exposure junior faculty can acquire by “thinking out loud” to display their interests and expertise.


  1. Avatar shg says:

    Having had the great misfortune of being asked to preview books that are overworked law review articles, and law review articles that are overworked blog posts, Wally’s argument has great merit. It’s not that there isn’t a place for longer, more scholarly works, and it’s not that blog posts are necessarily sufficient to fill the niche, but it’s far less painful to read a 1000 word post than a 78 page law review article that both make the same point.

    And to add to Hodnicki’s “prominence dividend,” chances of a scholar’s work being read increases in direct inverse proportion to its length.

  2. Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

    The same conversation is taking place in other disciplines, of course. But law professors aren’t really engaged in the same sort of peer review as science/medical journals. Since we are (optimistically) a thinking profession, I don’t see any reason why all the thinking has to take place in journals few people read or respond to.

    • Avatar shg says:

      The problem isn’t “thinking,” but the room it takes to support/cite one’s thinking from a scholarship perspective. For the most part, a great idea is still great if expressed via blog post or law review, but there are ideas that are sufficiently complicated or require background or citation that they just won’t fit in a blog post. So there is an actual answer to your question “why,” but that doesn’t make law reviews any more pleasant to read.

      Maybe the new motto for the legal academy should be “think shorter”?

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