Saturday, February 5, 2011
In recent decades, an inconclusive (even by the standards of academia!) debate has intermittently flared up within the legal academy, as professors, judges, and practitioners have gone back and forth as to what legal scholarship ought to be. This article makes no contribution whatsoever to that debate. Instead, it looks at student legal scholarship, which has gone unnoticed while the larger debate about legal scholarship simpliciter simmered on. The article does two things, neither of which appears to have been attempted by anyone hitherto. First, it offers an extensive critique of the leading guidebooks for aspiring student authors (e.g. Eugene Volokh’s Academic Legal Writing), which are taken to task for their narrow conceptions of student scholarship. Second, it provides an empirical analysis of recent student notes, enabling the reader to get an overview of the forms that student scholarship has actually taken over the past few years.