I agree in principle with much of what Jeff says. When a veteran law professor's résumé leads with a description of the law school diploma he or she received two decades ago, the résumé sends a powerful and mostly negative signal. I peaked when I was 25 and have been coasting ever since. So does a résumé filled with committee appointments. I chair; therefore I am.
At the margin, though, I would quibble with the categorical segregation of symposium pieces from other law review articles. Like the traditional denigration of casebook authorship -- yes, Jeff, I know how you also downgrade casebook authorship -- the anti-symposium norm condenses an ancient heuristic based more on instincts and untested assumptions than on evidence. One of the great achievements in 20th century legal scholarship was a casebook: Hart and Wechsler on Federal Courts and the Federal System. And speaking of Herbert Wechsler, revulsion toward invited pieces would surely counsel a less prominent place on Wechsler's résumé for that piece he wrote upon the invitation of the Harvard Law Review, The Supreme Court, October Term 1958 -- Foreword: Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law, 73 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1959).
The traditional rules that still motivate some, perhaps many, of us to categorically denigrate symposium articles and casebooks are just that, traditional rules. They boil what we thought was longstanding wisdom into easily remembered rules of thumb. In due course, these rules assume a life of their own. In baseball, some of the corresponding rules were these: Fat men make lousy ballplayers. Raw speed matters a lot; draft high and pay a premium. Guys who hurl 95-mph fastballs in high school are destined for greatness. And in legal education, many of us have similarly come to believe equally debilitating myths. Only five, perhaps ten, schools are capable of training future law professors. "Making law review" separates future law professors from their classmates at age 25. A federal clerkship -- or a Ph.D. -- is vastly more valuable than a decade in practice. It's all pure, unfiltered hogwash.
This forum strives to destroy unexamined myths. Perhaps it is time to play MoneyLaw with the traditional rules against symposium pieces and casebooks. Those traditional rules had the virtue, one must suppose, of saving time to discover what even a casual glance would reveal. Yes, some authors cut corners on invited pieces, and casebooks sometimes represent little besides a collection of obvious cases. But there are exceptions. The only way to tell is to read.