Sunday, October 17, 2010
That's the question posed by this article entitled "Bottomheavy: Legal Footnotes" by Professor Joan Magat, 60 J. Legal Edu. 65 (2010). Here's an excerpt:
This article reviews, as many others have,18 why and to what extent we footnote in legal academic writing. Unlike most others, it suggests amelioration—that footnotes should follow a rational rule around which the following objectives should orbit: First, satisfy the reader’s most basic need in letting her eye drop below the line in the first place—attribution. Elucidation is the other important reason.19 Yet if the text above the line doesn’t satisfy that latter need at the outset, then it ought to. It might just be that we should not expect journal articles, like dissertations, to display every dimension of the writer’s research, knowledge, and cogitation. It might just be that we should be reading these articles chiefly for what they have to say. Which comes around to the most important reason for a rule of reason: to make the articles themselves readable.
You can read the rest here.