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The Law Review Footnote Fetish Revisited (Again)

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3 Responses

  1. newlawprof says:

    I once heard that some journals reject articles if the footnote/text ratio is too low. Is this still true? If so, what is the target ratio?

  2. shg says:

    I’ve made a habit of omitting citations to black letter law in appellate briefs just to play with my adversaries. Since they can’t stand the fact that I’ve omitted obvious string cites, they include them, and by doing so support my assertion. No court as yet has taken issue with my practice.

    Footnoting the obvious is Pavolovian at this point, and your passage is quite correct. If there is no dispute on the state of the law, then why feel compelled to “prove” the obvious? Because that’s the way they are told it’s supposed to be.

  3. David says:

    Perhaps its less about pervasive anxiety and more about the underlying egalitarian nature of the footnote. Consistent citation (or less generously, the footnote fetish) starts from the assumption that any reader, whether experienced practitioner, pro se litigant, or a non-lawyer member of the general public, can pick up an article and learn more about (or simply where to find) support for even commonly recognized black letter law.

    Perhaps this is less necessary in most instances legal practice, but it is and should be a lasting element of legal scholarship.

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