September 2, 2008
Law school faculty blogs: Louisville's approach
I heartily concur in Anupam Chander's sentiment that a law school faculty blog represents "a cheap, easy and effective tool to communicate ideas on a current basis to the public." I also welcome the Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog as the newest variation on this very effective form of law school innovation.
At the University of Louisville, we've hosted a faculty-wide blog since fall 2007. Louisville's faculty-wide blog, accessible at http://www.law.louisville.edu/blog, aggregates smaller, independent blogs written by individual faculty members. A very good example is Tony Arnold's blog, Mapping the Landscape: Resources on Land Use & the Environment.
Interested readers therefore have two ways of following Tony's work. They may read his observations on land use and environmental law by reading Mapping the Landscape: Resources on Land Use & the Environment, or better yet, subscribing to its RSS feed. Other readers follow Louisville's consolidated faculty blog in its entirety, which likewise has an RSS feed of its own.
For my part, I maintain an official dean's blog called The Cardinal Lawyer. Together, my colleagues' individual blogs, the consolidated University of Louisville Law Faculty Blog, and The Cardinal Lawyer have drawn positive attention from our students, from our alumni, from the broader practicing bar, and from legal academia at large.
Why Don't All Law Faculties Have Blogs?
Marquette University Law School has just announced a new faculty blog. Marquette joins a number of other institutions, including, of course, the University of Chicago Law School and the Georgetown Law School in offering commentary through this electronic medium. (See my comment on "Crowdsourcing Obama's Exams" here at the University of Chicago Law Blog.)
Marquette's Dean Joseph Kearney opens the blog by recalling the launch of the Marquette Law Review almost a century ago: On the opening page of the journal it was maintained that “the institution which would expand and fulfill its mission must make known its ideals and communicate its spirit.” W.A. Hayes, Foreword, 1 Marq. L. Rev. 5 (1916). At that time it was clear that “[t]he most effective way of doing both is by means of a suitable magazine.” Id.
Law Schools now utilize a number of methods to disseminate faculty scholarship: (1) law reviews; (2) a law school magazine largely targeted at alumni and fellow academics; (3) occasional papers; and (4) reprints sent by hardcopy. The electronic medium adds: (5) blogs; (6) online forums associated with law reviews; (7) iTunes-style podcasts; and (8) YouTube-style video. (Perhaps others can add to this total so that we can reach a nice round 10!)
Blogs seem a cheap, easy and effective tool to communicate ideas on a current basis to the public--and to invite commentary on the same. The "talking back" made possible through the commentary is a major improvement from the dim possibility of writing a letter to the editor of law reviews, which typically did not provide a forum for quick responses in their print journals.