Saturday, April 26, 2008

Do'in the Legal Scholarship Shuffle

As I have noted before sometime in the mid to late eighties or early 90s legal scholarship took a shift to a race for lines on resumes. In think it roughly coincides with the ratings chase and the full development of symposia issues. I think it was June 17, 1991 but that could be off a day or two.

It was around then that scholarship stopped being counted as a feather in a law professor’s hat and numbers did. It was something akin to a mathematical breakthrough counter to the idea of not creating matter The question is how many different ways can a certain unit of actual scholarship be represented. One unit of scholarship is a amount of actual searching, reading, writing, and thinking. For the more fashion oriented the analogy may be to having one nice scarf and the question being how many ways you can wear the scarf. Or if you like squirting things out of aerosol cans (and what same person does not), its like filling a substance with air to make the volume increase.

So lets say you have completed 1 unit of scholarship. How can you make it 10?

1. You publish an article.
2. You write a condensed version for a symposium.
3. Slice it up into at least three stand alone pieces.
4. You give it as a presentation – may 3 or 4 times.
5. Looking for a job? Use it as your job talk a but list it as a “workshop”
6. Include in as a chapter in a book to which you contribute a chapter.
7. Write your own book composed mostly of this unit of scholarship and some others.
8. Edit a book of readings and include it.

So when your dean asks for things you did to put under the scholarship column in the decanal glossy, list all of these. And, there is a good chance your dean will give full credit for all of them. You are a star. You are also jerk but that is not a problem in legal education.

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