Why do law reviews operate differently from other scholarly journals?

Posted by Cory Schires, community karma 1465

As the law review submission cycle has gotten underway, there's been lots of talk about the ways that law reviews differ from traditional scholarly journals. For example:

  • Law reviews, almost without exception, are edited by third-year law students not professors.
  • Law reviews, in most cases, don't conduct traditional peer review (at least not with the same rigor commonly found in other scholarly journals).
  • Authors are allowed to submit to many law reviews simultaneously. This leads to the question: "What if two journals want to publish the same submission?" Law reviews have solved this problem using a system called "expedite requests". An expedite request is essentially a note from the author letting a journal know that their article has been accepted by another law review, and that they must make a publication decision by a given date or else miss the opportunity to publish the article.

I'm curious how these differences developed? Why not follow the established model of scholarly peer review?