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May 26, 2011


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UNLV Law Prof

Could you enlighten us on the thought process that lead your students to conclude that there was need for yet another specialty journal? It seems to me that we have more than enough, and even those journals have trouble filling their books.

Alfred Brophy


They wanted a journal that focused on civil rights, which is of great interest to a lot of the students. In addition to the Alabama Law Review, which only a small percentage of the class will be able to participate on, UA has the Journal of Legal Profession and the Law and Psychology Review. While all those journals provide a really meaningful educational experience for the students who're on them -- and sometimes students on those journals write about civil rights -- a significant number of students wanted a journal focused on their particular area of interest.

I've blogged before about some of the problems with creating new specialized journals -- like that may reduce the need for mainstream reviews to publish on specialized topics (and thus inadvertently lead to channeling important but specialized scholarship away from main journals).

But I think it's important to give students -- particularly the highly motivated students who started this journal -- the opportunity to develop their areas of interest. The first issue is testimony to the initial success of the project and they have another volume well along, which will publish papers from a symposium this spring, which had a great line-up of speakers.


I have to admit, I groaned when I saw this. Folks complain that the ABA needs to limit new law schools. I think we all need to limit new law reviews. The more you create, the more things get published. That's great up until a point -- then, that which isn't getting published, probably shouldn't be published. Keep creating journals, however, and then editors are forced to dip further and further into the "bad" pile to fill their books. Enough!

Alfred Brophy

I'm sorry you feel that way AnonProf. The inaugural issue of the journal is really terrific and a sign of more good things to come, I'm sure. Plus -- and I think this is often overlooked in talking about journals -- service on a journal is an excellent learning experience for the students. A journal is a way for students to get a valuable educational experience and work on a project that they're passionate about.

I'd also add that my essay discusses a number of student notes published in the Alabama Law Review that are really well-done, significant works of scholarship. And I think if more students serve on a journal that you'll encourage more good works along those lines. There's certainly no shortage of data to analyze related to race and law in the south.

Matthew Reid Krell


I was, for my sins, the first "Editor-in-Chief" of the Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review. The benefit to this is that I got to list journal experience without having to actually edit a journal, as the work my board did was organizational rather than editorial. But it could be argued that that was as difficult or more difficult than editing; I wouldn't say so, but some might.

The journal had its genesis in a conversation with a classmate of mine, who told me that Alabama needed an international law journal. I corrected her and said that she was right, that we needed another journal - but it needed to focus on civil rights. We gathered together a group of students, and we convinced the administration that both student needs and scholar needs were insufficiently met by current journal opportunities. AnonProf is correct, speaking generally, but the data we collected (which was exhaustive) suggests that the saturation point is "not yet."

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