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A Tiny Heart Beating: Student-Edited Legal Periodicals in Good Ol' Europe

By Federico Longobardi & Luigi Russi
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Suggested Citation: Federico Longobardi & Luigi Russi, A Tiny Heart Beating: Student-Edited Legal Periodicals in Good Ol' Europe, 10 German Law Journal 1127-1148 (2009), available at

A. Introduction

From the perspective of a non-American jurist, student-edited law reviews seem to be one of the most distinctive features of the United States legal education system. The development of law reviews in the United States has been particularly sustained in more recent years, with a literal proliferation of law (schools and law) reviews, both of general focus and subject-specific. With student-edited law journals making up the largest share of the legal periodical \"market,\" publication in highly ranked student-edited law reviews has come to acquire great significance also in relation to the law faculty selection and tenure-granting mechanism.

The preponderance of student-edited law reviews has, however, been accompanied by mounting criticism. Part of this criticism, and the one most relevant for this article\'s purpose, is that the inevitable inexperience of student editors vis-a -vis their designated audience of legal academics and practitioners has translated in the adoption of questionable practices in the article selection process. For instance, the alleged use of an author\'s previous publishing history or his/her law school affiliation as proxies for article quality. The same goes for the weight given to the length of the contribution and the wealth of footnotes included in a paper. The use of similar proxies, however, leaves room for criticism that editors fail to engage with the substantive issues which submitted articles touch upon, making the selection process ineffective and a little \"opaque.\"

In this respect, European legal scholarship has long been a rather amused - yet distant - spectator, being dominated by the presence of peer-reviewed journals. In recent years, however, things have started to change. Since the birth of the Irish Student Law Review in 1991, student-edited law journals have started to grow in England, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and, most recently, in Italy.

In view of the foregoing, the purpose of this Article...