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Alberta Law Review. Volume 39, Number 3 (2001), p. 625-639.


law journals; legal education; legal knowledge


The author reviews the history and evolution of Canadian university-based generalist journals. The growth in the number of these journals grew steadily from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, and then stopped abruptly. The driving force behind the establishment of these journals were local and pedagogical: they were adjuncts of students' legal education. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, most generalist journals had outgrown their original mission. They became significant venues for the publication of legal scholarship and reformulated their aims and procedures to set high scholarly standards. All of the existing university-based generalist law journals now have some degree of faculty involvement. The author then outlines the explosion in the number of specialist journals since the early 1970s and describes the changes in legal scholarship, legal practice and legal knowledge that have driven the shift from generalist to specialist journals. The author concludes that the golden age of the generalist law journal is well behind us, and that there may well be compelling reasons for some journals to switch from a generalist to a specialist format.

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