Lawfare Research Paper Series

A Declaration of War Against the Law Review: Announcing the Lawfare Research Paper Series 2.0

By Benjamin Wittes
Friday, August 30, 2013, 5:43 PM

I am hereby declaring war on the law review.

Yes, I know, students need law review service to get the good clerkships and jobs. And yes, I know, academics need law review publications for their tenure files. I don't care. Because let's face it: The law review form is a bit soul-crushing and it's generally pretty useless to policymakers. Only the very rarest law review articles have any kind of policy relevance or value to people who actually make, say, hard national security choices. And the form has developed in such a fashion as to, as often as not, suck the life out of even those articles that do. It's a shame, because there's a lot of great policy-relevant scholarship out there that never gets anywhere near its potential policy audiences. Those audiences, after all, know better than to peruse law reviews. They do, however, seem to read Lawfare. So we've hatched a plot to save national security legal scholarship from the law reviews.

A little over a year ago, Ken posted this piece announcing the Lawfare Research Paper Series. Today, on the weekend of Lawfare's third birthday, we are publishing the third paper in the series, and I'm posting as well this series page. I am also announcing that as of today, we are taking submissions. Unlike a law review, the research paper series is not going to be run by students. It's going to be run by Lawfare. We are going to focus only on scholarship we think is actually useful and important to policymakers and national security practitioners. And we're going to use Lawfare to create an audience for that scholarship.

Our first paper, the one for which we created the series, was written by two students. The second is by a polymathic non-lawyer businessman. The one we will be releasing today is by a former head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. We're open to anyone with something serious to say. Please send submissions for consideration to Matt Danzer.