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Law Review Circulation in Decline
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A new study finds that over the last three decades law review circulation has dipped significantly with some especially steep declines occurring in recent years. Professor Ross E. Davis at George Mason University School of Law conducted a study on information collected by the U.S. Postal Service tracking the paid circulation of 21 law reviews from prestigious law schools between 1979 and 2009. The publications submit the information to the Postal Service to qualify for bulk mailing rates. The Harvard Law Review had a paid circulation of 8,760 in 1979 but only 2,029 in 2009, representing a decline of almost 77%. The paid circulation of The Yale Law Journal declined from 4,051 in 1980 to 1,725 in 2009, a 57% decrease.

Davis theorizes that readers are now able to access the contents of a law review using online legal services like Westlaw and LexisNexis. Law review articles also can be found for free on the internet. Both The Yale Law Journal and The Harvard Law Review have official websites providing free content. Davis also believes that the target audience for law reviews has declined. He doesn’t see this decline hurting reviews much financially since they are cheap to produce. Davis does have a major concern, “The worry is on the influence end. The question is now, ‘How useful are we?’”.

  
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