February 14, 2005

Law Review Page Limits

I'm very happy to be guest-blogging here, as I've been reading Conglomerate (and Ventrepreneur) since the beginning. I'm also pleased to be joining my co-clerk, Brett, who helped me survive a rather rigorous clerkship. I'll kick off today with a word about law review page limits: For better or worse, the decision of the top law reviews to provide suggested word limits will affect the substance, and not just the style, of law review articles.

Over the last few days I've been editing my work in progress, an article about compensation of VCs. It's a complicated story, and as I go back and add in footnotes (for the benefit of student editors, of course) the word count keeps creeping up over 30,000. Something here has to give. In order to get your article accepted by student editors, you have to provide an extensive background section: students don't know what a venture capital fund is until you tell them. And you have to provide footnotes for facts that are common knowledge in the industry, like the fact that venture capital funds are smaller than buyout funds. All of this takes up space and makes for longer articles. And so to stay under the word limit I may have to sacrifice some models that I use at the end of the article to try to illustrate my key points at the end. The models are of interest to my real target audience -- professors who teach corporate and tax law -- but won't interest the student editors much.

One solution I may try is to post a longer version on SSRN and circulate a shorter one to the law reviews. My impression is that hardly any of my corporate and tax colleagues reads articles in law reviews anymore -- everyone has already read the draft on SSRN if they're going to read it at all.

Or I may just send the article to peer-reviewed journals and skip the student-edited reviews altogether. My first major Article was in the Tax Law Review, and if I can get it accepted there, it's looking like the more attractive route once again.

Posted by Victor at February 14, 2005 12:04 PM | Law Schools & Lawyering