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Legal Scholarship and the Nixon Effect

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6 Responses

  1. horus says:

    Spellcheck!

  2. Frank says:

    I can understand the “anxiety of influence” you’re suggesting above. But I also feel like a certain degree of deference to certain fundamental presuppositions in a field is the key to progress–or at least “normal science.”

    I think that sort of “solidarity” explains the influence of schools like law & economics. Randall Collins has also suggested that such dynamics improve the discourse in philosophy (in the Sociology of Philosophies:

    http://www.powells.com/biblio?PID=27627&cgi=product&isbn=0674001877

  3. joe says:

    You comment succintly highlights the farcical nature of legal scholarship, particularly compared to other academic areas. The favored law articles are often just a fad and a result of the conventional wisdom at the time. True research stands the test of time, or at least is put to rest. Legal theories fade in and out of fancy.

  4. lawguy says:

    Ironically, most law review articles say “me too!” They agree with what the Yale and Harvard professors say about 99%, and then quibble over the 1%.

  5. Howard Wasserman says:

    In the con-law context, see Barry Friedman, The Cycles of Constitutional Theory, in Law & Cotemporary Problems in 2004(available on SSRN). Friedman makes the same point as you do in Paragraph 1. He offers suggestions on how to develop theories that avoid these problems–mainly that the theorists must recognize (and take into account) that social conditions/sensibilities might change undereath them.

  6. Miriam Cherry says:

    Interesting post, Nate (as usual). You might be interested in Cass Sunstein’s “Academic Fads and Fashions” which can be found at

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=262331