Friday, May 16, 2008
As legal writing professors across the United States finish up the school year, some are cleaning up offices in celebration, others are cleaning offices in procrastination -- before grading that last stack of papers. If you're a legal writing professor looking for a relatively mindless housekeeping task, consider whether you wrote any articles before we had the wonder of SSRN to provide our scholarship free to everyone on the Internet. It likely will only take an hour to "backdate" your SSRN page by adding your older articles, making those oldies publicly available, too.
First you need to have each article in .pdf format. If you haven't saved them all in .pdf format, try a quick Google Scholar advanced search for your titles and you may be surprised how many show up, already in .pdf format. Many publications that several years ago weren't online now are, including some older editions of law journals and Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing. If your law school subscribes to Hein-on-Line and your article is available there, Google Scholar will link you straight to it, already in .pdf format.
To post to SSRN, you'll also need an abstract for each article. You can just type this into the designated box when you submit each piece, or you can compose abstracts elsewhere and then copy and paste into the designated box.
The nice thing about this end-of-the-school-year housekeeping task is that you can justify the time as disseminating your scholarship and potentially enhancing your career. And in the future when others ask about your older pieces, you can just refer them to your SSRN author's link.