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Saturday, April 02, 2016

How Do I Become a Voice in My Field? (Jr. Law Prawfs FAQ)

Thanks Howard for the introduction, and thanks PrawfsBlawg for hosting me this month. By way of introduction, I’m a law professor at The Ohio State University where I teach civil procedure, constitutional litigation, legislation and regulation, and state and local government law as well as teach in our Washington DC summer program. My research focuses primarily on administrative law.

Because I blog regularly on administrative law over at the Yale Journal on Regulation, I want to use this opportunity to blog about something else. Having just gone through the tenure process (awaiting Board of Trustees approval), I’ve thought a lot this year about how to become a voice in my field—both pretenure and shortly after tenure. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded here by a terrific cohort of junior scholars with diverse research interests. Many of our conversations inevitably turn to questions related to maximizing the impact of our precious research time. (Similar conversations, of course, take place with our more senior colleagues.)

I’m guessing we’re not atypical in that respect, as evident by the multiple posts here and elsewhere that address similar questions. That said, I’d love to leverage the collective wisdom of this community to crowdsource answers to a dozen or so questions that junior scholars think about pretenure and shortly after tenure. I'm going to focus on research-related questions (not teaching or service), and all hopefully relate to the larger question of this post about how to become a voice in one's field.

Some of these questions are captured in the outline below—an outline my junior colleagues and I brainstormed at one of our junior faculty workshops a couple years ago. Please don't hesitate to add to the outline in the comments. If you have additional questions you want me to raise as a post, just shoot me an email or include as a comment here. If blog posts (or other publications) already provide an answer, kindly include those links in the comments. Same goes for if you think I'm not asking the right question(s). At the end of the month I’ll assemble all of these in a one-post FAQ for ease of reference.

Below is the outline. I’ll circle back on Monday with my first question.

  • Traditional Approaches to Legal Scholarship
    1. Law Review Articles
    2. Book Reviews in Law Reviews
    3. Symposium Contributions / Organizer of Symposium
    4. Book Chapters / Editor of Book
    5. Academic Press Books
    6. Casebooks / Treatises / Supplements
  • Newer/ish Approaches to Legal Scholarship
    1. Peer-review Articles
    2. Coauthored Scholarship
    3. Interdisciplinary and Empirical Work
    4. Online Law Reviews
    5. Online Law Review Responses
    6. Trade Magazines/Journals/Websites
    7. Jotwell
    8. Online Scholarly Outlets
    9. Op-Eds & Media Consults
    10. White Papers & Other Practitioner or Policy-Oriented Publications
    11. Law Professor Briefs and Of Counsel Filings
    12. Blogging
  • Other Scholarly Activities To Magnify Scholarship, Voice, and Networks
    1. Comment on Works in Progress of Those in Field
    2. Invite Scholars in Field to Your Law School
    3. Conferences & Work-in-Progress Sessions: AALS, regional conferences, junior scholars workshops, and other field-specific gatherings
    4. Organizing Colloquia, Symposia, Conferences, and Other Scholarly Gatherings
    5. Practice-Oriented Groups: ABA, etc.
    6. Scholarship Circulation: Offprints, Emails, SSRN, BE Press, Academia.edu
    7. Ideas Circulation: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
    8. Editorial Boards of Field-Specific Journals, eJournals, and other Publications
    9. Participation in Field-Specific Email List Services, eJournals
    10. Fellowship and Other Funding Opportunities
    11. International Opportunities for Research, Teaching, and Scholarly Interaction
    12. Consulting Opportunities within field, practice area, government, nonprofit, etc.


Posted by Chris Walker on April 2, 2016 at 09:30 AM in Jr. Law Prawfs FAQ, Teaching Law | Permalink


Public Q & A forum and blog comments such as this one here.

Posted by: SARBOJEET JANA | Sep 14, 2018 11:40:58 AM

Thanks. I suppose the stuff I've done falls someplace between academic and practitioner, and so I was thinking of it as a magnifying voice point and missed it under the newish category.

FYI, Baude's tweet here: https://twitter.com/WilliamBaude/status/716722250037248000 (no period).

Posted by: Matthew Bruckner | Apr 4, 2016 10:27:31 AM

Sure. I also have it as #9 on the newer/ish list. I plan on doing a FAQ on media consults, podcasts, etc., later this month.

Your comment, I think, also underscores that "voice in one's field" has a lot of assumptions built in. Some focus on the academic field, some view the field as academic and practitioner (I'm probably more in that camp, and my faculty seems to agree). Of course, media consults can be helpful even if you are in the former category. See, e.g., https://twitter.com/WilliamBaude/status/716722250037248000.

Posted by: Christopher Walker | Apr 4, 2016 10:00:14 AM

Does commenting on current issues in your area for the media count under "Ideas Circulation: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn"?

Posted by: Matthew Bruckner | Apr 4, 2016 8:14:30 AM

Yep, Andres, teaching and service also can be very helpful on the scholarship front -- and are independently important, of course -- but because I only have a month I'm focusing on research-related questions (and not teaching or service).

Posted by: Chris Walker | Apr 2, 2016 2:06:56 PM

How about classtime? Surely classroom lectures and discussions with students count for something in legal scholarship.

Posted by: Andres | Apr 2, 2016 2:00:43 PM

I should add that the answer to pretty much all of these Jr. Law Prawfs FAQ should include: (1) Ask Your Colleagues, especially pretenure as they decide if you've become enough of a voice in your field; and (2) Ask Peers in Your Field.

Posted by: Chris Walker | Apr 2, 2016 10:22:57 AM

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