Sunday, September 10, 2006
Online Legal Scholarship: Thoughts Provoked by Jack's Essay
Jack Balkin has posted a link to his recent essay (in the Yale Law Journal Pocket Part) on online legal scholarship. This post follows up on Jack's essay.
What's sure is that blogging is having a flattening effect. Vaunted institutions (e.g., law reviews, news magazines) are brought low, those previously toiling in obscurity (e.g., DailyKos) are exposed to the world. But everything, in this process, ends up sort of in the middle.
It will take longer for this flattening effect to transform hidebound and pedigree-conscious law school pedagogy and legal scholarship than most other fields (e.g., medicine, genetics), but I agree that it will happen, especially because of the absurdly long production time of semi-annual physical journals.
The advent of blogging and its flattening effect would appear to eliminate in many fields the institution of a "career". The authority of institutional voices will be diluted of power in a sea of commentary. See, e.g., Op-Ed columnists. It will take eons for this to happen to law professors, but it seems like that would be the final outcome.
I'm sure this prospect is deeply unsettling for legal academics. Legal blogging, like most other forms of blogging, seems fundamentally disruptive, destined to strip traditional institutions of their monopoly on authoritative interpretations of the world.
You might all want to head over to Brian Leiter's Law School Reports. As per usual, he's managed to lay low an adversary with a biting, if nitpicky, observation.
How dare anyone compare legal scholarship to something so vaunted as philosophy!
After all, the whole reason nobody reads philosophical works anymore is that they are simply too much for the commoners among us to handle!
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