March 1, 2007
Scholarship on the evolution of scholarship
Though I aspire to someday do scholarship on the scholarship discussing scholarship, here I will be content to spotlight two pieces from the genre I noticed at the always great MoneyLaw:
- Law [Review]'s Empire: The Assessment of Law Reviews and Trends in Legal Scholarship by Alfred Brophy.
Abstract: Recent research details the close connections between a school's US News rankings and citations to a school's main law journal. This brief essay builds on that research. Drawing upon John Doyle's database at Washington and Lee Law School, it looks to the 100 most-cited secondary student-edited law journals, with the goal of seeing the connections between well-cited secondary journals and school ranking. A final table provides a ranking of the most-cited secondary journals.
- Law School Rankings, Faculty Scholarship, and Associate Deans for Faculty Research by Richard Buckingham, Diane D'Angelo & Susan Vaughn
Abstract: The authors contend that a boom in law school rankings has encouraged many U.S. law schools to take new measures to encourage and publicize faculty scholarship. The establishment of associate deans for faculty research is one such measure. The authors conducted a study to determine the number of law schools that have these dean-level positions. They argue that many law schools have established these positions as part of their efforts to improve their standing in the increasingly important rankings. The authors begin with a historical overview of the original law school model and discuss how that model evolved over time. They focus on how those changes led to a competitive law school market that helped lay the groundwork for U.S. News & World Report and other law school rankings. They then explore numerous alternative ranking methodologies and conclude with a study of ABA-accredited law schools that have appointed associate deans for faculty research.
Faculty and Students Collaborate on Corporate Governance Blog
Race to the Bottom is probably the first effort by law faculty and students to collaborate on a topic in the blogosphere. The topic is corporate governance and the impact SOX has on governance practices. The blog, launched on Feb. 9, 2007, is run by Denver law prof J. Robert Brown and seven of his students. The blog has a companion website, Corporate Governance, which contains primary materials on important matters relating to corporate governance. The blog also contains an excellent selection of pertinent resources.
Race to the Bottom demonstrates how technology can be used by law faculty and students who want to pursue intellectual interests unhindered by law school administrative barriers. This use of web communications for student-faculty collaboration that produces "short form" scholarly analysis and commentary exemplifies the spirit of innovation seen in some of our law schools. One can only hope that more law professors and students follow the example set by Race to the Bottom.
Cross-posted on Law Blog Metrics. -- Joe Hodnicki
February 27, 2007
The 80-year-old debate
The Carnegie Report's focus on skills training is intriguing, as are the follow-ups by Gene and others.
However, this debate has been continuing, with various amounts of ardor, for decades. As far back as the 1920's & 30's, critics of the Harvard case law method such as Jerome Frank (of Yale Law and the New School) lobbied for a law-school curriculum that would closely replicate the clinical model found in medical schools, with an emphasis on real-life apprenticeship and hands-on learning. Frank argued that law teachers should have experience in legal practice, and should train students in practice skills in real and simulated settings.
Obviously, previous reform attempts have failed, as the elite schools have (with some notable exceptions) chosen to continue to focus on other things. This framework becomes more entrenched as Ph.D. holders are favored over lawyers with practice experience for teaching positions. Given that faculties are given to replicate themselves, is there any reason to think that the Carnegie Report will make a difference where Frank failed?
-- Mark Osler
February 25, 2007
Innovative from BirthIn a recent discussion with the president of a university which has both a medical school and a law school, he mentioned a fact I found surprising: That while over the past twenty years several new law schools have started, no medical school has been founded in the U.S. since the mid-80's.
While some people have objected to the number of new law schools, at the very least they should be providing us with some interesting models of innovation. New schools like the Appalachian School of Law, Florida International, Ava Maria, and others have had to seek out niches and employ innovation to attract students and faculty. Appalachian, for example, started out emphasizing the training of lawyers willing to work with the poor and oppressed.
At some point, it would be interesting to have a conference involving these new schools, to compare what innovations have worked, and which haven't. Out of necessity, they have relied on innovation more than many of us, and we probably have something to learn from them, if we choose to listen.-- Mark Osler