Are Scholars Better Bloggers? Bloggership: How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship

A perennial debate in higher education in general, and in legal education in particular, is whether a robust scholarly life helps or hurts a professor’s teaching performance. Taking inspiration from panelist Jim Lindgren’s work, Are Scholars Better Teachers?, which concludes that better scholars are perceived by students to be better teachers, Caron asks a panel, “Are Scholars Better Bloggers?” These comments explore both scholarship and blogging data to begin to…

Scholarship in Action: The Power, Possibilities, and Pitfalls for Law Professor Blogs

Douglas A. Berman
A general debate concerning whether law blogs can be legal scholarship makes little more sense than a general debate concerning whether law articles or law books can be legal scholarship. Blogs—like articles and books—are just a medium of communication. Like other media, blogs surely can be used to advance a scholarly mission or a range of other missions. Looking through the debate over law blogs as legal scholarship, I see…

Blog As a Bugged Water Cooler

Kate Litvak
Legal academics like to think that everything they write is scholarly. There is no surer way to offend a colleague than to suggest that some of his public musings are—gasp!—not scholarship. These comments do not seek to debate whether someone’s remarks on the Enron trial, or “gotcha” comments on the quality of the New York Times reporting, or critique of a recent Michelle Malkin book, or teaching notes thinly disguised…

Blogging and the Transformation of Legal Scholarship

Lawrence B. Solum
Will blogging somehow transform legal scholarship? That is the wrong question. The thesis of this essay is that blogging is essentially epiphenomenal—an effect and not a cause. Blogging is merely a particular medium—a currently popular form of Web-based publishing. Nonetheless, the emergence of academic legal blogging is an important indicator of other trends—real causes that are driving significant transformative processes. These trends include the emergence of the short form, the…

Scholarship, Blogging, and Tradeoffs: On Discovering, Disseminating, and Doing

Eugene Volokh
Now, more than ever before, we legal academics have to, at least in some measure, choose. Should we spend the bulk of our time discovering, with the reputational, professional, and emotional benefits that this produces? Or should we spend more of the time disseminating, mostly disseminating views that are our own but are based on others’ discoveries, with the very different reputational, professional, and emotional benefits that this produces? Sure,…

Blogging at Blackprof

Paul Butler
Commenting on the papers by Doug Berman Lawrence Solumn, this paper raises questions concerning the emergence of blogging and its relationship with legal scholarship. These insights suggest that blogging can reach a wider audience and introduce a new way of connecting to certain issues in a way that law reviews cannot reproduce.

Is Blogging Scholarship? Why Do You Want to Know?

James Lindgren

Blogs and the Promotion and Tenure Letter

Ellen S. Podgor
Writing promotion and tenure letters is an important service to the academy, albeit one that is seldom rewarded in comparison to the enormous time consumption involved. And although evaluations to date have all been premised on hard-text material, it is likely that soon the day will come that the packet of scholarship material arriving on one’s doorstep will be a Website address that leads to a blog. In thinking about…

Are Modern Bloggers Following in the Footsteps of Publius? (And Other Musings on Blogging by Legal Scholars . . .)

Gail Heriot
Is legal blogging an antidote to the hyper-scholasticism that sometimes characterizes the legal academy today? Or is it a self-indulgence for legal scholars? It’s hard to know. On the one hand, there is a proud American tradition behind the publication of concise but erudite essays aimed at a broad audience concerning the important legal issues of the day, starting with the Federalist Papers. It’s hard to believe that neglecting that…

Blogs and the Legal Academy

This paper’s focus is on today’s technology and ask whether blogs as we know them today are conducive to advancing scholarship. This paper’s conclusion is that relative to other forms of communication, blogs do not provide a particularly good platform for advancing serious legal scholarship. The blog format focuses reader attention on recent thoughts rather than deep ones. The tyranny of reverse chronological order limits the scholarly usefulness of blogs…

A Case Study in Bloggership

This paper makes the case that generally, bloggership should be treated as a form of service for administrative purposes. On the other hand, in close cases of tenure and promotion, a record of high-quality bloggership could weigh in a candidate’s favor on scholarship. This paper seeks to advance the process of legitimizing blogging as a useful scholarly endeavor—not as a substitute for long-form legal scholarship, but as a meaningful appendage.

Caveat Blogger: Blogging and the Flight from Scholarship

While some law blogging is serious scholarship—and more could be serious scholarship than is now—almost all blogging, including most law blogging, is not serious scholarship and does not purport to be. Asserting that blogging is generally not a form of scholarship is no more an aspersion on blogging than is affirming that arguing in the Supreme Court is not scholarship. If undertaken by scholars, both activities can contribute constructively to…

The Plural of Anecdote Is “Blog”

A. Michael Froomkin
Evaluating the limitations and benefits of blogging as a form of legal scholarship, this paper ultimately asks the question — what are blogs good for? This paper puts forth the argument that law blogs are a great tool for the sharing, organization, and development of ideas. At the same time, the limitations of blogging when dealing with complex, lengthy material are recognized.

Libel in the Blogosphere: Some Preliminary Thoughts

Glenn Harlan Reynolds
People have been talking about libel and bloggers since the blogosphere was new, but the big news at this point is that, so far at least, there’s more talk than action—despite the millions of blogs, and probable billions of blog entries to date, there haven’t really been any major blogrelated libel cases, and the number in total is quite small. People are still talking about Blumenthal v. Drudge, a case…

Co-Blogging Law

Bloggers often work collaboratively with other bloggers, a phenomenon I call “co-blogging.” The decision to co-blog may seem casual, but it can have significant and unexpected legal consequences for the co-bloggers. This Article looks at some of these consequences under partnership law, employment law, and copyright law and explains how each of these legal doctrines can lead to counterintuitive results. The Article then discusses some recommendations to mitigate the harshness…

Anonymous Bloggers and Defamation: Balancing Interests on the Internet

S. Elizabeth Malloy
As more and more people create personal websites and blogs, courts are more frequently asked to rule on questions related to the Internet boom. Specifically, an issue has arisen concerning what standard to apply in defamation suits brought against anonymous bloggers.9 Courts have wrestled with producing an appropriate standard for revealing the identity of an anonymous blogger who posts allegedly defamatory material on a message board or website. Recently, in…

A Tale of Two Bloggers: Free Speech and Privacy in the Blogosphere

Daniel J. Solove
It is true that existing law lacks nimble ways to resolve disputes about speech and privacy on the Internet. Lawsuits are costly to litigate, and being sued can saddle a blogger with massive expenses. Bloggers often don’t have deep pockets, and therefore it might be difficult for plaintiffs to find lawyers willing to take their cases. Lawsuits can take years to resolve. People seeking to protect their privacy must risk…

The Public Face of Scholarship

Larry E. Ribstein
This essay focuses on the relationship between academic weblogs, or blogs, and journalism. I see academic blogs as a form of what I called in a separate paper “amateur journalism.” This comment focuses on the type of writing that is both most distinctive to scholars and connects most closely with professional journalism—that is, scholars’ use of blogs to engage with the public. Part I reviews the distinction between amateur and…

Why a Narrowly Defined Legal Scholarship Blog Is Not What I Want: An Argument in Pseudo-Blog Form

Ann Althouse
Written in the form of a blog, this paper highlights the creative and communicative benefits of blogging, in particular legal blogging. This comment argues that aside from being intrinsically rewarding, blogging offers a concise scholarly model addressing a wider-ranger of topics. In this way, the paper claims that blogging has the potential for self-discovery and innovation in a way that legal scholarship might not.

Blogging While Untenured and Other Extreme Sports

Christine Hurt and Tung Yin
According to Dan Solove’s March 2006 Law Professor Blogger Census (Version 4.3), roughly twenty-one percent of law professor bloggers in tenure-eligible positions are untenured, or as the authors here prefer, “pretenured.” The percentage of professors blogging who are pretenured, as opposed to tenured, is higher than the percentage of pretenured professors in the profession, so one might argue that the pretenured are overrepresented in the blogosphere. Pretenured academics may gravitate…

The Battle over the Soul of Law Professor Blogs

Howard J. Bashman
Unbeknownst to most of us outside the legal academy, there apparently is some disagreement over whether blogs that law professors operate should be regarded as legitimate scholarship and public service, or should be dismissed as a frivolous waste of time that detracts from the more traditional scholarly pursuits of writing massive law review articles and pontificating to the mainstream media on legal issues of public interest. As so often is…

The Case Against Extending Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier’s Public Forum Analysis to the Regulation of University Student Speech

Jessica Golby