What Do Law Professors Believe about Law and the Legal Academy?

Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 112, 111-189 (2023)

79 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2022 Last revised: 27 Jan 2024

See all articles by Eric Martínez

Eric Martínez

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Institute for Law & AI

Kevin Tobia

Georgetown University Law Center; Georgetown University - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: September 1, 2023

Abstract

Legal scholarship is replete with debates about competing legal theories: textualism or purposivism; formalism or realism; natural law or positivism; prison reform or abolition; universal or culturally specific human rights? Despite voluminous literature about these debates, great uncertainty remains about which views experts endorse. This Article presents the first dataset of American law professors’ views about legal theory. A study of over six hundred law professors reveals expert consensus and dissensus about dozens of longstanding debates.

Law professors also debate questions about the legal academy. These include descriptive questions: Which subjects (e.g. constitutional law) and methods (e.g. law & economics) are most central within the legal academy today? They also includes prescriptive ones: Should the legal academy prioritize different areas or methods (e.g. critical race theory)? There is great interest in these questions but uncertainty about which views experts endorse. This Article’s empirical study also clarifies these questions, documenting law professors’ evaluation of over one hundred areas of law. The findings from both parts provide unique insight into legal theory, education, and practice.

Keywords: legal philosophy, legal theory, legal education, expertise

Suggested Citation

Martínez, Eric and Tobia, Kevin, What Do Law Professors Believe about Law and the Legal Academy? (September 1, 2023). Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 112, 111-189 (2023), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4182521 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4182521

Eric Martínez

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
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Institute for Law & AI ( email )

Kevin Tobia (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

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Washington, DC 20001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/kevin-tobia/

Georgetown University - Department of Philosophy

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