January 01, 2007
Are law professor blogs like so five minutes ago?
Peter Spiro in this post at OpinioJuris thoughtfully examines whether "the blogging phenomenon may have peaked" in the legal arena, and a terrific set of commentors have enriched the inquiry. This comment by Dave Hoffman especially caught my attention:
[I]t seems unlikely that law professors (the audience and participants I care about) will continue to blog at high numbers for much longer if (a) institutions don't commit to reward the activity; or (b) it doesn't pay. Since I think both of these possibilities are long-shots (and the first possibly normatively undesirable) I too see a downward trend in total bloggers. That doesn't mean that the ones left will die on the vine, just that the gold rush time is at a conclusion.
The "does blogging pay" issue is intriguing because a good number of prominent law professor blogs (e.g., Althouse, Banbridge, the entire Law Prof Blog Network) have ads of some sort. But I am even more intrigued and troubled by Dave's assertion that it is a "long-shot" and "possibly normatively undesirable" for law schools to commit to reward the activity of law professor blogging.
Of course, I am not suggesting that law schools should reward what I would call "pure pleasure blogging" by law professors (a type of blogging I do on some occasions with colleagues at The Golf Blog). But, I do think that law schools should reward (and thus incentivize) what I call "scholarship-in-action blogging" for reasons I have explained in this article. As I explain in my article, there can be so many positive and productive aspects of law professor blogging which can and should dovetail with a law professor's professional goals and the broader missions of law schools.
Perhaps the blog-friendly new Dean of the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville is already thinking about how he should reward blogging faculty.