Length isn't Everything

The Harvard Law Review (where I served as an editor some ten years ago) is leading an effort to prune back the excessive length of law review articles. Eleven of the top journals have 110-page article in a law review last year. The dirty secret is that, in legal academia, longer articles are often treated as a proxy for “serious scholarship,” when it’s necessarily true that the biggest pieces are the best. I wouldn’t have had much trouble condensing my piece to 70 pages, or 50, if that had been the standard. The rest of the material might have wound up in another article, which is fine.

There aren’t many points that can’t be made in 35,000 words. Even for law professors.