Friday, August 18, 2006

Law Profs Losing Skillz?

From Nate Oman at Concurring Opinions:

I have heard a number of profs lament the fact that the professoriate no longer seems to have the influence that once it did. Generally speaking, this is explained in ideological terms. Congress is a lot more conservative than it was thirty years ago and accordingly treats the academy with far greater suspicion. I wonder, however, if other forces are not at work. A generation ago, there was considerable academic prestige to be won by virtuoso legal craftsmanship. Llewellyn and Gilmore were lionized within the academy (and without -- Gilmore made the cover of Time) on the basis of -- among other things -- statutory drafting ability. Such is no longer the case. I suspect that with the rise of theoretical sophistication within the academy many law professors simply aren't as good as their counterparts a generation or more ago were at legal craftsmanship. They certainly spend less time reading primary legal materials. The decline in influence may be a result of the fact that law professors on average simply lack some of the skills that gave them access to the corridors of power in years past.

To paraphrase Napolean Dynamite, maybe Congress only loves law profs if they have skillz. Numbchuck skillz, drafting skillz...

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