How to Get Ahead in Legal Academe

Thanks to the valuable career advice in the following letter, which appeared in my mail box, unsigned, I forsee a vast improvement in my rotten citation track record:


Dear fellow law professor,

This letter has been around the world at least seven times. It has been to many major conferences. Now it has come to you. It will bring you good fortune. This is true even if you don’t believe it. But you must follow these instructions:

— Include in your next journal article the citations below.

— Remove the first citation from the list and add a citation to your journal article at the bottom.

— Make ten copies and send them to colleagues.

Within one year, you will be cited up to 10,000 times! This will amaze your fellow faculty, assure your promotion and improve your sex life. In addition, you will bring joy to many colleagues. Do not break the reference loop, but send this letter on today.

Professor H. received this letter, and within a year after passing it on she was elected to the International College of Law Professors. Professor M. threw this letter away and was denied tenure. In Japan, Dr. I. received this letter and put it aside. His article for Transnational Law Journal was rejected. He found the letter and passed it on, and his article was published that year in the International Law Quarterly. In the Midwest, Professor K. failed to pass on the letter, and in a budget cutback his entire department was eliminated. This could happen to you if you break the chain of citations.

1. Schlecht, How High is High?; A Summary of the Law of Usurious Interest Rates in High-volume Drug Trafficking 76 Colum. L. Rev. 47, 62 (1987).

2. Garrelts, Wiley Coyote and the Dynamite Sandwich: Continuing Viability of Reasonable Implied Assumption of the Risk 33 Warner L.J. 1011, 1042 (1964)

3. Ralston, Modern Approaches to Chaotic Heuristic Optimization; Means of Analyzing Non-Linear Intelligent Networks with Emergent Symbolic Structure (doctoral dissertation, University of California at Santa Royale El Camino del Rey Mar Vista by-the-sea) (1968)

4. Danielson, Getting Evidence to Stand up; Behind-the-Scenes Defense Strategies at the John Wavne Bobbitt Trial 54 Trial Defense Counselors Quarterly 127, 131 (1994)

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