Legislative Audiences for Law Review Articles

Cardozo Law School held an event entitled “Trends in Federal Judicial Citations and Law Review Articles” where 7 appellate judges and several law professors discussed the general decline in court citations to law review articles. The New York Lawyer writeup (free registration required). Some of the article rehashes some well-trodden ground, but a few interesting tidbits emerged. Most importantly–the judicial crowd has made it relatively clear that they aren’t able to do much with policy-oriented law review articles, which makes sense, but legislators can act on our arguments.

So, as at least one judge points out, we as law review article authors should make our arguments to legislators. Of course, this requires more than mere publication; some evangelization would be required to affect legislators’ thinking. I have been thinking a lot about how to do this effectively; perhaps some day we can organize an AALS panel on that topic.

UPDATE: This topic has sparked a lot of discussion. See:

* Adam Liptak NYT Article

* WSJ Law Blog recapping the discussion.

* Dan Solove: “the worthwhile articles are becoming needles in an ever-growing haystack”

* Orin Kerr: “my sense is that a lot of law review scholarship is not terribly serious about engaging with the law”

* Eugene Volokh: “we shouldn’t, it seems to me, insist that all or even most legal scholarship be aimed at judges, or see certain genres’ lack of desire to influence judges as a sign of those genres’ inherent flaws”

* Mike Madison: we should write to plug into some community, even if it’s beyond the legal community.