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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Yale Law Journal Unveils Innovative Online Publication, The Pocket Part

On Wednesday, October 19, 2005, the 115-year-old The Yale Law Journal launched a companion online publication, The Pocket Part, which will bring the best of the print Journal's content to the web and create an interactive forum for debate and discussion under the banner of the academy's most respected home for legal scholarship. The Pocket Part will feature exclusive op-ed length synopses of articles, written in accessible language, and presented alongside responses from leading practitioners, policymakers, and scholars.

"The Journal was originally founded as a publication that would provide a link between practitioners and the legal academy," said Curtis Mahoney '06, editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal. "As the field of legal scholarship has matured, those links have been strained. The Pocket Part is our effort to make the Journal's print scholarship accessible to a broader audience."

The Pocket Part will be launched in two phases. Over the course of its first year, The Pocket Part will publish a synopsis of one of the articles in the print Journal. In addition, The Pocket Part will present responses to the article written by top-flight scholars and practitioners and make discussion boards available. Next year, The Pocket Part will start publishing original content that addresses developments in case law, policy, and scholarship before print reviews have a chance to respond.

Justin Florence, '06, executive editor of The Yale Law Journal, noted that the Journal will distinguish The Pocket Part from other legal websites. "Because the site has The Yale Law Journal name on it, that means that the site will reflect the quality of our print publication and the thoroughness of our editing process."

The first article to appear on The Pocket Part is "Of Property and Federalism," by Abraham Bell, a visiting professor of law at Fordham University Law School and lecturer at Bar Ilan University's Faculty of Law, and Gideon Parchomovsky, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The authors suggest making property rights more flexible by allowing people to register property under the legal regime of any state they choose. "It's time to bring the benefits of federalism to property law," they write. Two short responses--one by Stephen F. Williams, a Senior Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and one by Robert C. Ellickson, the Walter E. Meyer Professor of Property and Urban Law at Yale Law School--criticize this proposal for being impractical and costly. The discussion area of The Pocket Part is open to the comments of other readers.

Ian Bassin '06, a features and symposium editor at the Journal, says one objective of The Pocket Part is to make the ideas in The Yale Law Journal available to more people. The pieces in The Pocket Part will be more accessible than traditional law journal articles and will be available online without subscription. Bassin contrasts the role of legal journals with that of technical scientific journals: "Laypeople aren't expected to have an opinion on what chemical compound makes up a medical drug, but they are expected to have an opinion on how their property is governed," says Bassin. "Science journals can be esoteric. Law journals should strive to be accessible. The articles in The Yale Law Journal are really about self-government," he says.

The new venture's name, The Pocket Part, refers to the pockets attached to the back covers of legal publications to hold updates to and commentaries on those texts.

The Pocket Part can be read at http://www.thepocketpart.org/.

The Yale Law Journal publishes articles, essays, book reviews, and student notes and comments on a broad range of legal topics. A board of student editors manages and produces eight issues of the Journal per year.