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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Snyder on Duncan Kennedy, Hierarchy, and Blogging

Frank Snyder (Texas Wesleyan / Notre Dame) has posted on SSRN an engaging and provocative essay, "Late Night Thoughts on Blogging While Reading Duncan Kennedy's Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy in an Arkansas Motel Room."  Here is the abstract:

It has been more than twenty years since Duncan Kennedy published his seminal 'Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy'. In it he called for a radical assault on the hierarchies embedded in American law schools. But that assault failed. Over the past two decades, the hierarchies of legal education have, if anything, become even more fixed, insular, and status-driven, even while the elites of the practicing bar have changed dramatically and become more open to outsiders. It is vastly easier for the graduate of a fourth-tier law school to become a partner at an elite law firm than it is to be hired as a tenure-track assistant professor at even a non-elite American law school.

But law school hierarchies may be changing. Not as the result of a critical assault, but because vast changes in communications technologies have seriously eroded the control of information that is necessary for the survival of any non-functional hierarchy. In this paper, written for a symposium on blogging by lawyers and law professors, I revisit the insider world of Kennedy’s 'LERH' and contrast it with the outsider-dominated changes being wrought by the Internet.

Posted by Rick Garnett on April 8, 2006 at 01:43 PM in Blogging | Permalink


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Hey Rick,
just a quick comment that Duncan has not rested in his legal education critical writing since writing the piece Frank refers to "more than twenty years ago". updated essays in this area ala duncan include:
Duncan Kennedy,Introduction, in Symposium: Dismantling Hierarchies in Legal Education, 73 UMKC L. Rev. 231 (2004)

Kennedy, Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System, A Critical Edition, with contributions from Paul Harrington, Peter Gabel, Angela Harris, Donna Maeda and Janet Halley (NYU Press, Critical America 2004)

The Social Justice Element in Legal Education in the United States, the Sir Elwyn Jones Lecture, The University of Wales, March 19, 2002.

blawgers may want to visit the cool duncankennedy.net for more info.

Posted by: Orly Lobel | Apr 8, 2006 8:06:08 PM

Hi, Orly. To clarify, the essay is in fact based on the NYU edition you referred to, and I discuss the foreword and the afterword. I think it's safe to say there are no new arguments in either. I'm familiar with duncankennedy.net, which I describe in the essay. Thanks for the reference to the Wales lectures -- I'll check them out.


Posted by: Frank Snyder | Apr 10, 2006 2:15:24 PM

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