Gini Nelson\’s Engaging Conflicts

November 14, 2006

Dispute Resolution and the Hierarchy of Legal Scholarship, #1 – EngagingConflicts.com

Filed under: Uncategorized — Gini @ 6:18 am

Although I don’t list it over in my “current reading list,” I keep an eye on Jurisdynamics, an interdisciplinary law blog hosted by Jim Chen, a University of Minnesota law professor. He maintains Jurisdynamics Essentials as part of the blog (you will find them in the right hand sidebar to the blog). These are “notable posts” about, e.g., the purpose and structure of the blog, relevant reading lists, and the hierarchies of legal scholarship. (Note: I’ll be revising my blog structure after this model in the near future.)

Part One of Hierarchies of Legal Scholarship is posted by Jurisdynamics contributor J.B. Ruhl, the Matthews & Hawkins Professor of Property at the Florida State University College of Law. I list his hierarchy (1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest) here but you need to read the post for his definitions and reasons. The comments to the post are equally interesting for showing some of the common criticisms of academic theory and research, and legal theory and research in particular. I’ll post throughout this week on the remaining Jurisdynamics Essentials relating to the hierarchy of legal scholarship, as well as on a recent essay published in the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities.

The relevance to dispute resolution is this: there’s a strong and growing critique of the quality of the dispute resolution field’s “scholarship” (or relative lack thereof). There are also questions about whether, or how, to “professionalize” the field, which include consideration of the need for continuous improvement in everyday understanding of the intellectual basis of the field, which is “wide, multidisciplinary, and deep,” a conclusion of the Broad Field project, a national project headed by CONVENOR’s Christopher Honeyman and generously funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. (Note: Chris Honeyman will be interviewed later this winter in Engaging Conflicts Today about that project and its culmination in the recently published The Negotiator’s Fieldbook.)

For now, J.B. Ruhl’s list:

1 – Publication of what are essentially blog posts with footnotes
2 – Doctrinal review of the state of the law
3 – Doctrinal study of interesting questions of law
4 – Doctrinal synthesis of developments in law
5 – Normative policy analysis of law
6 – Normative policy analysis of law with substantial reform proposals
7 – Legal theory
8 – “Law and” interdisciplinary studies
9 – Empirical study of legal institutions
10 – Empirical study of law’s impact on society

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7 Comments »

  1. […] See the earlier post, #1 in this series for J. B. Ruhl’s typology of legal scholarship. Jurisdynamic’s Jim Chen responds to J.R. Ruhl and the commentors by noting first that the list’s progression from blog posts to empirical scholarship appears to rest on an evaluation of the difficulty of the type of scholarship. The problem, of course, is that the difficulty of a scholarly form or methodology has no necessary bearing on its quality. Stated more formally, my objection is this: […]

    Pingback by Dispute Resolution and the Hierarchy of Legal Scholarship, #2 - EngagingConflicts.com « Gini Nelson’s Engaging Conflicts — November 16, 2006 @ 5:57 am | Reply

  2. […] First, my apologies that I did not continue yesterday with #3 of the Dispute Resolution and the Hierarchy of Legal Scholarship series, as I had intended. For some reason, I thought I would do it before I left for Podcamp in San Francisco, where I now am, even though I had to get on the road to the airport by 5 a.m.! Enough said? I’ll restart the series on Monday (here are the links to #1, and #2). […]

    Pingback by Podcamp West - San Francisco, Day One - EngagingConflicts.com « Gini Nelson’s Engaging Conflicts — November 18, 2006 @ 10:00 am | Reply

  3. […] This continues the series on Jurisdynamic’s discussion of the hierarchy of legal scholarship and my discussion of its relevance to dispute resolution (see the earlier posts, #1 and #2). […]

    Pingback by Dispute Resolution and the Hierarchy of Legal Scholarship, #3 - EngagingConflicts.com « Gini Nelson’s Engaging Conflicts — November 27, 2006 @ 3:25 am | Reply

  4. […] Earlier posts in this series are here: post #1, post #2, and post #3. […]

    Pingback by Dispute Resolution and the Hierarchy of Legal Scholarship, #4 - EngagingConflicts.com « Gini Nelson’s Engaging Conflicts — November 28, 2006 @ 4:03 am | Reply

  5. […] Earlier posts in this series are here: post #1, post #2, and post #3. […]

    Pingback by Gini Nelson’s Engaging Conflicts » Dispute Resolution and the Hierarchy of Legal Scholarship, #4 - EngagingConflicts.com — December 10, 2006 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

  6. […] First, my apologies that I did not continue yesterday with #3 of the Dispute Resolution and the Hierarchy of Legal Scholarship series, as I had intended. For some reason, I thought I would do it before I left for Podcamp in San Francisco, where I now am, even though I had to get on the road to the airport by 5 a.m.! Enough said? I’ll restart the series on Monday after Thanksgiving (here are the links to #1, and #2). […]

    Pingback by Gini Nelson’s Engaging Conflicts » Podcamp West - San Francisco, Day One Includes Legal Issues In Podcasting - EngagingConflicts.com — December 10, 2006 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  7. […] See the earlier post, #1 in this series for J. B. Ruhl’s typology of legal scholarship and my discussion of its relevance to dispute resolution. Jurisdynamic’s Jim Chen responds to J.R. Ruhl and the commentors by noting first that the list’s progression from blog posts to empirical scholarship appears to rest on an evaluation of the difficulty of the type of scholarship. The problem, of course, is that the difficulty of a scholarly form or methodology has no necessary bearing on its quality. Stated more formally, my objection is this: […]

    Pingback by Gini Nelson’s Engaging Conflicts » Dispute Resolution and the Hierarchy of Legal Scholarship, #2 - EngagingConflicts.com — December 10, 2006 @ 2:25 pm | Reply


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