16 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2016 Last revised: 25 Jul 2016
Date Written: July 19, 2016
Legal scholars, lawyers, and judges frequently make positive claims about the state of legal doctrine. Yet despite the profligate citation norms of legal writing, these claims are often supported in a somewhat imprecise way – where the exact evidence is unclear or difficult for others to probe or falsify. In response to similar issues, other disciplines have developed methodological standards for conducting “systematic reviews” that summarize the state of knowledge on a given subject. In this essay we argue that methods for performing systematic reviews that are specifically tailored to legal analysis should be developed. We propose a simple four-step process that could be used whenever someone is trying to make objective claims about the state of legal doctrine, and illustrate the value of this method by applying it to doctrinal claims that have been made in recent legal scholarship.
Keywords: Legal scholarship, Systematic Reviews, Doctrinal Analysis, Best Practices, Restatements
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Baude, William and Chilton, Adam S. and Malani, Anup, Making Doctrinal Work More Rigorous: Lessons from Systematic Reviews (July 19, 2016). University of Chicago Law Review, Forthcoming; University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 768; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 588. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2811771