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Triumphs or Failings of Modern Legal Scholarship and the Conditions of Its Production, 63 Colorado L. Rev. 725 (1992)

Abstract

This symposium has successfully convened a set of commentaries on, and criticisms of, modern legal scholarship that is extraordinarily diverse. Indeed, at first glance, the diversity is so great as to resemble discordance: Meir Dan-Cohen's approving explanation of the growth of theoretical inquiry about the law seems in conflict with John Henry Schlegel's lament about the infrequency of studies on the ordering of legal systems and of their even more infrequent introduction into the law school curriculum. Similarly, Jean Stefancic's illuminating analysis of the contributions from the rise of law review symposia and Mary Coombs's celebration of the increasing volume of "outsider" scholarship seem to contradict David Bryden's complaints that there is "too much" modern scholarship and that its style is typically "awful." Perhaps curiously, I believe that each of these authors accurately identifies an important feature of modern scholarship. And far from discordant or contradictory, these various features can be understood by a simple description of modern legal scholarship's conditions of production.

Let me first disclaim the comprehensiveness of my own analysis. Far from a careful study of the conditions of supply of, and demand for, legal scholarship, my comments are little more than a back-of-the-envelope sketch. But even a brief review of the organization of the legal scholarship industry and its changes over the last few decades is suggestive of the sources of both the criticisms and the encomia we have seen.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1992

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