On the forty-second page of “Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review” law professor & blogger Eugene Volokh wrote (emphasis added):
courts should err on the side of nondiscrimination and thus coeducation.
This is especially true for historical or empirical claims. It's hard to be sure about what people really believed or did many decades or centuries ago, or about what's happening in thousands of courtrooms or workplaces today; and readers who think deeply about such matters realize this. Make your descriptive claims clearly and forcefully, and explain why your interpretation of the history or of the data is the best one. But also acknowledge what other interpretations there might be.
- Acknowledge costs
Finally, the difficulties can make you acknowledge that your proposal is not cost-free—that it to some extent sacrifices important government interests, or causes some possibly harmful side effects, or may at times be hard to administer. Skeptical readers will see these problems on their own, even if you don't admit that they exist. If you ignore the problems, the readers may assume the worst about the problems' magnitude.
If, however, you acknowledge the costs of your proposal but explain why the benefits exceed the costs, you can persuade many readers. No one expects any new proposal to be perfect. Explaining the proposal's downside can actually make it more credible—and can make you look more forthright and realistic.
- Make Your Article Richer: Connect to Broader Issues, Parallel Issues, and Subsidiary Issues
- Go beyond the basic claim
So far, we've focused on the core claim: The nugget of novelty, nonobviousness, and utility that will be your contribution to the state of legal knowledge. This is the heart of your article, and you should focus primarily on explaining and proving it.
Most claims, though, can provide insights that go beyond their narrowest boundaries; the claims have unexpected implications that flow naturally from them, even though these implications don't strictly need to be discussed. Exploring these matters can add nuance to your core claim that will make it more novel and nonobvious.
More broadly, if you can make your article richer and more sophisti[cated]
More information about “Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review” (and the book itself) is available from:
(Foundation Press, December 2004. Paperback, 262 pages. ISBN: 1599411954; EAN: 9781599411958.)