Saturday, May 22, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Congratulations to The Blackbook Legal Team!

As our regular readers undoubtedly know, The Blackbook Legal Blog has always been a student-run enterprise.* I am happy to report, however, that the extent to which it will remain this way hinges on our hiring new contributing editors. That's my backhanded way of reporting that a majority of the contributing editor team here at Blackbook Legal has--as of this week--successfully completed the law school curriculum.  Congratulations to law school graduates across the nation!

*We are pleased, of course, to already have one practicing attorney--Goutam Jois--in our ranks.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Elena Kagan's Law School Record

From the Wall Street Journal:
As part of her 1986 Supreme Court clerkship application, [Supreme Court nominee Elena] Kagan filed her most recent transcript, giving a snapshot of her academic interests and performance. She got a B- (her worst grade) in Torts, part of a first year law student’s mandatory curriculum. . . .
She did marginally better in Criminal Law, with a B, and managed a B+ in Administrative Law. For the rest, it was all A or A-, except for passing ungraded courses in Accounting and Copyright.

Five Harvard professors, writing separate letters of recommendation in her third year, left no doubt of her potential, however. . . . “I am looking at her transcript as I write, and there’s just no doubt that her first-year spring-term grades…not the [lower] fall-term ones, are the true reflection of her capacity and her learning,” wrote Prof. Frank Michelman.
So 1Ls, don't be discouraged if you mess up in a few classes during your first semester; the finish line is all that matters. You can still be a Supreme Court justice. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Dear BBLers, we apologize for our lack of output over the past few weeks. We have finals like most of you. We will be back in full force shortly.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Elena Kagan: The Next Supreme Court Justice?

The Huffington Post reports that Obama is likely to nominate Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court on Monday. Read about it here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Philosophical Justification for Civic Capitalism

In a forthcoming article in the Emory Law Review, Scott Harshbarger and I address some of the issues that have come out of the recent financial crisis. In the next days and weeks, I'll be blogging about that article. But for now, I want to take a step back and talk about the philosophical justification for the position we advance in that paper. The discussion below doesn't appear in the article -- because of space limitations, we couldn't include it in the text. [NB: this is pretty long]

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ranking Law Reviews in Terms of General Social Science Impact

Mikhail Koulikov recently wrote an article examining the academic impact of legal scholarship in disciplines other than law. Specifically, he explores the level of coverage that selected law reviews received in eight general academic databases. His methodology is explained:
Because nonlegal academics do not generally use legal databases, I developed a study to see whether nonlegal scholars have access to legal journal articles, and thus legal scholarship, through databases they might commonly use. Any in-depth analysis of the coverage of law reviews by major nonlegal academic databases necessarily must be limited to a sample of law reviews, and a selected number of databases. I decided to use the three major general databases that Blessinger and Olle evaluated as a starting point. Expanding on their work, and taking the generally accepted view that law is a social science, my study also examined coverage of law reviews in several other databases that are key to study of the social sciences: JSTOR, PAIS International, Periodicals Archive Online, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, and the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences. All of these are commonly available databases that should be familiar to most academic researchers, and all five claim to include coverage of law as a discipline.
He limited the scope of his study to the top 20 law reviews in terms of impact factor (per the Journal Citation Reports) and included--for good measure--the general law reviews of the top twenty schools according the U.S. News and World Report Rankings. The following are the first ten law reviews in his ranking in terms of general academic scholarship impact (with impact factor as the number in brackets):
(1) Harvard Law Review
(2) Columbia Law Review
(3) UCLA Law Review
(4) Texas Law Review
(5) Yale Law Journal
(6) University of Pennsylvania Law Review
(7) California Law Review
(8) Cornell Law Review
(9) Stanford Law Review
(10) Virginia Law Review
This study provides a good illustration of how legal scholarship is used to inform development of other social sciences. I recommend reading Mr. Koulikov's full article.