Law Reviews should have a “letters to the editors” section, as many professional journals in the social sciences and physical sciences do.
Presently, there is no way readers can comment on or rebut any of the contents of law reviews other than to persuade the editors to print an article or note or book review of their own — a highly unlikely event.
Brevity, conciseness and intellectual engagements are the hallmarks of a letters column. It may take some time to receive an adequate number of publishable letters because there is no past practice to build upon. Readers have to begin to see themselves as part of the Review’s content and this may take some time. But not too much time if a reader’s column is publicized not just in the law review or law journal but also in the mailings to solicit subscription and renewals and on the publication’s website.
A letters column is not just opening up an opportunity for right to reply. Letters show who is working on what, who has done what, who is not doing anything and generally places the publication in a more fertile, dynamic context of information flow. It also will connect your readers with one another through a more free-flowing, less strait-jacketed style and substantive expression.
I would be pleased to hear from any law review or journal regarding the introduction of a letters column. At the most recent national convention of Law Reviews in Charleston, South Carolina, I made this suggestion of a letters column and have received letters indicating a positive response. The idea is long overdue.
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