Dzienkowski on Law Professor Ethics When Circulating Articles

John Dzienkowski made a provocative post about law professor ethics when circulating articles to law reviews. This topic came up at a conference I attended last summer, and I was surprised how few professors wanted to have an open discussion on this topic. A 1992 Marquette Law Review article proposed a model code of ethics for law review editors and authors (roughly modeled on the Model Rules of Professional Conduct), but this article doesn’t seem to be widely known or followed.

Because this topic is so rarely addressed in public, new law professors receive relatively little training about how to circulate articles. This can lead to a “race to the bottom” to the extent that new professors are socialized to make misrepresentations to win the “game.” Even without that socialization, new law professors are generally expected to figure out the rules for themselves, meaning that each of us establishes our boundaries idiosyncratically.

Meanwhile, as S.cotus observes in a comment, law review editors do play games. Clearly this creates an unhealthy dynamic. I would love to see a revitalized code of ethics to set baseline behavior for both sides.