Copyright (c) 2002 The Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania Law Review
ESSAY: REBUILDING BRIDGES: THE BAR, THE BENCH, AND THE ACADEMY*
* Delivered as the keynote address at the University of Pennsylvania Law Review's Sesquicentennial Anniversary Banquet, April 5, 2002.
150 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1905
Seth P. Waxman +
It's an honor to be here on this momentous occasion - the 150th anniversary of the founding of Penn's Law Review. I understand that Penn is engaged in a bitter struggle with Harvard for the title of the "oldest law review." Since it appears that you can truly claim 150 years, you seem to be the victor. As the oldest law review, however, you have a lot to answer for. And so, on this great occasion, I would like to reflect for a few minutes about some of the problems with law reviews, and more broadly with law schools and the legal profession, and then offer a few suggestions about how things perhaps could be made better.
More than sixty years ago, in an essay that has become deservedly famous, a young, dynamic law professor said goodbye to law reviews. Vowing never to write another law review article, Fred Rodell said: "There are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content. That, I think, about covers the ground." 1 That does sum it up nicely. But Rodell went on from there. He pointed out that
though it is in the law reviews that the most highly regarded legal literature ... is regularly embalmed, it is in the law reviews that a pennyworth of content is most frequently concealed beneath a pound of so-called style. The average law review writer is peculiarly able ...
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