Friday, February 28, 2014
Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine) presents Faculty Scholarship at Faith-Based Law Schools: Long Tails, Moneyball and Rankings in a Time of Crisis at Regent today:
I have written extensively on legal scholarship and teaching in a variety of contexts, particularly the impact of technology in transforming faculty roles in research and in the classroom. In What Law Schools Can Learn From Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Tex. L. Rev. 1483 (2004), Rafael Gely and I argued that legal education must use technology to develop more sophisticated measures of law school success and faculty contributions to law school success. In Ranking Law Schools: Using SSRN to Measure Scholarly Performance, 81 Ind. L.J. 83 (2006), Bernie Black and I contended that SSRN downloads can play a role in measuring faculty scholarly performance along with the existing measures of reputations surveys, publication counts, and citation counts. In The Long Tail of Legal Scholarship, 116 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 38 (2006), I showed that legal scholarship is shifting from a hit-driven model represented by citation counts to a niche-driven model represented by download counts. In Are Scholars Better Bloggers? Bloggership: How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship, 84 Wash U. L. Rev. 1025 (2006), I argued that blogs illustrated the shift away from traditional scholarship and traditional methods of disseminating scholarly ideas.
Two things have changed since the publication of those articles. First, legal education is confronted with an existential crisis, In The Law School Crisis: What Would Jimmy McMillan Do?, 31 Pepperdine Law 14 (2012), I argued that the law school crisis results from the confluence of four factors: skyrocketing costs and student loan debt, and plummeting job placement and enrollments. Second, after over twenty years at the University of Cincinnati College of Law (a public, secular law school), this past fall I joined the tenured faculty at Pepperdine University School of Law (a private, Christian law school).
I argue that religious law schools are uniquely positioned to thrive in the midst of the law school crisis because our faith-fueled commitment to our students and to each other empowers us to better define the pathways to success for our schools, our students, and our faculties and equips us to make that journey together.