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"... lawyers tolerate the most ridiculous waste"

In the introduction to Frank G. Bennett's 2013 book on Multilingual Zotero (MLZ), Citations: Out of the Box Lawrence Lessig says “… lawyers tolerate the most ridiculous waste, because no one within the law seems tasked with the job of eliminating it.”

And he uses legal citation as an example:

“Legal citation is a perfect instance of this more general flaw. The dominant citation manual, The Bluebook, is a brilliant embarrassment. Hundreds of pages long, with thousands of abbreviations, and convoluted rules specifying, among other things, typeface variations — the system seems designed to punish paralegals, or first year associates. Of course, it was not designed with those purposes. And it is maintained by smart and decent souls aiming to do the best they can. But whatever its virtues when invented, the system is an embarrassment in the 21st century. As anyone remotely familiar with the capabilities of modern information technology recognizes, the idea that humans spin brain cycles conforming to these rules is simply absurd. In 1974, things may have been different. In the days before computers, a complex reference manual may have made sense. But everything these citation manuals do computers could do better. The human brain was not invented/evolved/created (you pick) to waste its time with silliness like this.”

last updated august 2018