The Dualist Model of Legal Teaching and Scholarship

52 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2007 Last revised: 30 Oct 2007

See all articles by Marin Roger Scordato

Marin Roger Scordato

Catholic University of America (CUA) - Columbus School of Law


This article presents a closely reasoned analysis of the relationship between the teaching and the scholarly functions of professors of law. This "dualist" model of concurrent law teacher and legal scholar is so much a part of the current culture that it is formally codified, and its use mandated, in the standards used to accredit all American law schools. This article examines carefully and critically the often repeated but rarely examined claim, implicitly assumed by this model, that the roles of teacher and scholar are fully mutually supportive. The article does not question that valuable synergies may exist between the activities of teaching and producing scholarship, though it does note that the majority of empirical studies investigating the question have found no significant relationship between teaching effectiveness and research productivity. Instead, the analysis focuses on an aspect of the issue that has received virtually no attention, the identifiable costs of the dualist model to both the teaching and the scholarship functions. At least half a dozen discrete costs to each function are identified and discussed.

After recognizing symptoms of stress in both the law school teaching and scholarship functions, the article discusses the nearly impervious durability of the dualist model and considers some of the possible reasons for this phenomenon. Finally, the analysis turns to focus briefly on the likely costs and benefits of a dedicated-track model for law professors.

Keywords: Legal Education, Legal Scholarship, Law Teaching

Suggested Citation

Scordato, Marin Roger, The Dualist Model of Legal Teaching and Scholarship. American University Law Review, Vol. 40, p. 367, 1990, CUA Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007-10, Available at SSRN:

Marin Roger Scordato (Contact Author)

Catholic University of America (CUA) - Columbus School of Law ( email )

3600 John McCormack Rd., NE
Washington, DC 20064
United States
202-319-6295 (Phone)


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