Years ago, we blogged on the state of legal scholarship by posing the following question: why are modern law reviews so dull, tedious, and boring? The problem is that most law review articles today are way too long and have far too many footnotes for their own good. (As an aside, we are certainly not the first to rail against stodgy and tiresome scholarship in legal academia: check out this this blog post from 2006 or Fred Rodell’s classic essay “Goodbye to Law Reviews” published in 1936!) This troublesome trend is now spilling over into the domain of abstracts. Most law professors upload their papers on SSRN (the Social Science Research Network), which requires authors to post a short abstract of their work. But we have noticed that many of these so-called “abstracts” are quite lengthy and tedious themselves, often approaching a 1000 words or more, with multiple paragraphs. By way of example, the abstract of this fascinating work in progress by Nicholas R. Parrillo (Yale Law School) is over 600 words and takes up five separate paragraphs. But then again, I suppose 600+ words is not too bad, especially when compared to 91 pages and 478 footnotes–the total number of pages and footnotes in Professor Parillo’s paper!
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