Criminal Justice

Law Profs Apply 'American Idol' Concept to Criminal Law Review Topics


Move over, American Idol: For serious legal scholars, watching to see how a select group of criminal law professors decides whose ideas are best-expressed is becoming something of a spectator sport.

A new Criminal Law Conversations website invites scholars to nominate law review articles they admire. Then the authors are invited to pare down their scholarship to a scant 4,000 words and compete to see which summaries are favored by a group of some 120 legal academics, reports New York Law Journal. The best of the best are to be included in a book published by Oxford University Press.

While of obvious interest to legal academics, the site is also intended to help make criminal law review articles more accessible and comprehensible to the general public, says professor Stephen Garvey of Cornell Law School, who created it with Paul Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Kimberly Ferzan of the Rutgers School of Law at Camden, N.J.

“What will be produced at the end of the day is not the typical brand of legal scholarship, which is so heavily labored and footnoted,” Garvey says. “We insist that the authors take their published work and streamline it so it’s accessible to anybody.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “S.S.R.N. Rankings Temporarily Boost Instapundit Law Prof Above Cass Sunstein”

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