July 11, 2012
Who needs a Ph.D. - in Law? (Yale thinks someone does).
Today, Yale Law School announced that it has added the nation's first Ph.D. program in Law to the mix of law degrees. Why would one need a Ph.D. in Law? The Ph.D. program "is designed to prepare students who have earned a J.D. degree from an American law school to enter careers in legal scholarship," Yale says. What fascinates me is the fact that there have been legal scholars for centuries. How did those scholars ever get anything published without possessing a Ph.D.? I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that J.D. programs should be producing graduates who have the capacity to be lifetime learners who are capable of using a vast array of information resources.
And it never occured to me that the legal academy ever needed much help in the production of legal scholarship. Afterall, just about every law school has a law review, and I'm rather sure that most law reviews have their student editors (sans Ph.D.s in Law) produce scholarship. Moreover, the 1,000 + law journals out there don't seem to have issues filling their pages with scholarship.
It has occurred to me, however, that the legal academy has had trouble producing competent teachers, to which Yale has proposed a resolution in the form of their L.L.M. program. Sure, there are L.L.M. programs all across the country, but Yale's program is for those dedicated to a career in teaching law. Ironically, I can't seem to find a single course offered involving teaching itself, though it has a number of courses in research and writing (which I though formed the basis of scholarship). Perhaps the Ph.D. program (the one geared toward legal scholarship) will have courses in teaching.
What do I know, though? I don't have a Ph.D. in Law. Wait - is it I who needs one? (DCW)