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Alberta Law Review. Volume 39, Number 3 (2001), p. 657-667.


What is the future of law reviews? And does it matter? These are important questions, at least to legal academics and the students who run them. Whether the world would be any worse off if law reviews ceased to exist or, more realistically, if the number of law reviews was significantly reduced is moot at best. In this regard, the central challenge to law reviews is provided by the Internet. Its capacity to revolutionize the rarefied culture of law reviews and legal scholarship is profound and presents opportunities and threats that many have only begun to imagine or realize. Nevertheless, assuming that law reviews are likely to be around in considerable numbers for the next little while whether in electronic form or not (and I leave this issue to others more familiar with the technological media) I want to concern myself with the substance of what law reviews publish. In particular, I want to explore briefly the relationship between adjudication and legal theory as mediated and nurtured by law reviews. However, in the short space available, I will concentrate on only one, but a seriously important, dimension of this relationship - I will propose the kind of substantive content which law reviews should not be including and the kind of audience to which law reviews should not be catering. So that there is no mistaking my stance, I maintain that law reviews do a disservice to themselves and the idea of legal scholarship generally when they pander to those judges and academics who insist that the adjudicative function is at the heart of the legal enterprise and is the raison d'etre of legal scholarship.

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