Why celebrate? Some people hate law reviews. They would think it unseemly to celebrate a centennial such as this. They might compare it to a 1448 celebration of the first hundred years of the Bubonic Plague. Their criticisms are familiar. Why do we entrust the development of the scholarly canon to second- and third-year law students? Why do law reviews publish really bad things and reject really good things? Why do they encourage a style of argument in which each article must begin by summarizing all that has been written before? Why do they insist that any assertion of fact, no matter how trivial, be supported by a citation, while being so willing to accept for the purpose any published authority, including a Marvel Comic Book? And what about that silly Bluebook? In the following Essay, I will endeavor to provide a unified field theory of Michigan Law Review exceptionalism. Part I summarizes the familiar criticisms of law reviews generally. Part II explores the distinctive history of the Michigan Law Review, a history that is different from the history of other law journals. Part III considers several reasons why it might be appropriate to celebrate the centennial of the Michigan Law Review even if it might not be appropriate to celebrate the centennial of the Bubonic Plague. And Part IV offers some concluding observations.
Jeffrey S. Lehman,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol100/iss7/2