Thursday, February 02, 2006

Startling Statistics about Law Review Subscriptions

The 2006 Green Bag Almanac reports (at p. 260) that subscriptions to the "top ten" U.S. student-edited law reviews have declined in the following way from 1979-80 to 2004-05, respectively:


4462 and 2579
9064 and 3451
1546 and 1112
4014 and 1875
2105 and 1209
2068 and 1845
2250 and 1180
2950 and 1419
2506 and 644
1826 and *
The above asterisk [*] means that "data is missing for this year." Circulation figures for Northwestern's law review were missing from 1995-96 through 2004-05, for ten years. The last reported circulation figure for that journal was 723, in 1994-95, which was then the lowest of the "top ten."
Do the above statistics mean that major US law journals are being consigned to history's dustbin? Or does it merely mean that readers are accessing the journals with LEXIS or WESTLAW?
  • The second hypothesis is not clearly supported by the statistics collected at p. 260: subscriptions began declining sharply before the internet became a standard method of doing legal research.
  • It would be interesting to see if "major U.S. courts" now cite law the "major law journals" less than they did in 1979-80.
  • The circulation for Stanford Law Review spiked to 8850 in 2000-01. Does anyone know why?
  • The figures show that Chicago's circulation declined less than that of other law journals. Of course the figures also show that few people ever subscribed to Chicago's law journal.
  • Keep on Chartin'

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Police Constable Mark Milton, of the UK, was acquitted of dangerous driving. The district judge who acquitted Milton said that the good constable had been "driving for police purposes." The district judge said that the good constable was driving for police purposes because the good constable drove a police car in excess of the police limit to "hon[e] his driving skills." In fact, the good and diligent constable drove a police car at 159 miles per hour. The High Court ordered a retrial. (Double jeopardy means something different in the UK than it does in the US; i.e., the principle of no double jeopardy now seems to mean very little in the UK.) Lady Justice Hallett, sitting with Mr Justice Owen, noted that Police Constable Milton had reached "eye watering speeds." See Independent Online Edition (Feb 2, 2006). All is once again well in those sceptr'd isles.