Law Faculty Blogs and Disruptive Innovation: Law School Reputation and the Facts on the Ground

So blog posts can constitute scholarship.  They also fill a gap in the scholarship continuum left over by traditional law reviews. 

Characterizing blog posts as scholarship has other consequences. Blogging can elevate a faculty member's reputation, routing around some of the biases that apply to the law review submission process.  Blogging can also elevate a law school's reputation, something that can affect rankings. 

To the extent this is true, one would suspect that blogging is dominated by persons outside of the schools that benefit from the current status quo.  In fact, faculty at law schools outside the highest ranked schools dominate faculty law blogging. 

On June 1, 2012, there were approximately 302 law school faculty who actively blogged, a number that has been relatively stable over much of the last six or so years.  Only 8% of the law faculty who blogged came from the top 10 schools and only 38% came from the top 50.  The remaining 62% came from lower ranked schools. 

In at least some cases, blogging represents a zero-sum game with respect to other types of scholarship. Protracted output on the Internet can reduce the time available for law review articles or papers posted on SSRN (although for some, the two can complement each other).  To the extent true, the data suggests that faculty from non-elite schools see blogging as an important mechanism for participating in the legal debate that, in some cases, is more important than other forms of scholarship. 

The full paper, Essay:  Law Faculty Blogs and Disruptive Innovation is here; the underlying data is posted here.

J Robert Brown Jr.