Carol Sanger, Columbia Law School


We are all familiar with the process. At its best, law review editing, like editing elsewhere in the academic and literary worlds, results in a piece improved in style, structure, and content. Too often, however, law review articles are not so much improved as simply changed, sometimes hundreds of times within a single manuscript.

My purpose here is not to complain line by line about various dissatisfactions with the editing of my little review. I accept that authors, like teenagers convinced the world is focused on their every imperfection, are more aware of perceived deficiencies in an article than any reader is likely to be. Nonetheless, many of us have spent many hours resuscitating sentences, paragraphs, lines of argument, and sometimes whole manuscripts that have been edited nearly to death. What I want to discuss is why this sort of thing happens so regularly and what we might do about it.