Seminar in Legal Scholarship - Fall 2013
Professor Katherine Franke
Tuesdays, 4:20 - 6:10pm
NOTE: Laptops will not be allowed in this seminar. Students seeking to take the seminar must apply for admission by submitting to Professor Franke by e-mail no later than Friday, August 16th a two-page description of the writing project they will undertake during the seminar, plus a one-page reading list. Students who are admitted to this course may not drop the course during the add/drop period at the beginning of the term. Students taking this seminar must be committed to producing publishable-quality papers as the work product of the seminar. Papers will be published as a special issue of SSRN.
This seminar will examine the production of legal scholarship for those who are or think they may at some later point be interested in a career as a legal academic. How do you select a topic? How do you match a methodological approach to the kind of question you are addressing? What does it mean to do interdisciplinary work? How do you go from outline to rough draft to finished article? How do you get your paper published? And most importantly, what makes for good legal scholarship? With a goal toward gaining greater focus for your research topics, exploring the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of a work, and in working through what it takes intellectually and practically to begin serious work on an article, we will spend substantial time reading published scholarship across a range of methodological and substantive fields. Students will become familiar with how to both give and receive serious feedback on their work.
The seminar will focus on two related topics: (1) Expose students to various disciplinary approaches to legal scholarship, with the objective of making them methodologically aware, both as consumers of scholarship drawing on different disciplinary approaches, and as potential producers of scholarship within a particular tradition. This will include socializing students into the life of legal scholarship, with a focus on how legal scholars choose subjects for research, select appropriate methods for analysis, situate themselves within scholarly communities (both in law and academic disciplines), and maneuver between the different standards of law schools and the social science and historical fields; (2) Specific work on the students' individual writing projects, including discussion of topic selection, methodologies, voice, and audience. The semester will close by workshopping student papers.
Students who wish to write papers in areas outside of Professor Franke's expertise are welcome in the seminar, but they will are encouraged to find another faculty member with expertise in the subject matter of the paper to provide additional substantive feedback.
Students may receive major writing credit for their work in this seminar.
Professor Franke's Coordinates:
Office: Room 627
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. (sign-up sheet on my door) or by appointment
Required: Eugene Volokh, Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review (4th ed. 2010)
Suggested: Elizabeth Fajans & Mary R. Falk, Scholarly Writing for Law Students: Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes and Law Review Competition Papers (3d ed. 2004)
Books will be available at Columbia University Bookstore and Book Culture
September 3 - Introduction to the course
This is an early draft of an article that subsequently went through many edits before publication. Please come to class having read the draft, and be prepared to discuss what works, what doesn't, and how you might suggest she edit the piece to make it stronger.
September 10 - Getting Started
September 17 - On getting started with a new project, Professor Elizabeth Emens
September 24 - Work in Progress by Professor David Pozen
Traces of Self-Help: Countermeasures in Constitutional Law
Come to class, as before, ready to discuss the ideas in this paper and the kind of paper it is: i) who is the paper’s audience; ii) are there devices, forms of craft or particular structural moves that are made in the paper that impressed you (e.g. sign-posting, spark plugs, turns of a phrase, changes in voice, interesting use of evidence, helpful use of footnotes, beautifully written passages, etc); iii) are there others that you think don’t work; and iv) where do you find the paper to be most persuasive and when least.
Outlines Due Monday, September 23rd at 5:00 pm
October 1 - Research & Writing
Read the Murray article and prepare a 3-5 page double-spaced commentary. What is its thesis? Does she set it up well? Has she landed on an interesting question? (That is, is the question novel, nonobvious, useful and sound?) Why? How would you characterize its structure? Who is her audience? Are some parts of the article stronger than others? If so, what and why? What, if anything, about the article and its form do you find useful as you begin to think about your own paper? Please submit the commentary to Professor Franke via e-mail by 5:00pm on the day before class.
October 8 - Professor Vince Blasi on Good Early Work
October 15 - Discussion of Zeroth Drafts (due October 13th - e-mail them to the class, and all must bring written comments on the drafts)
October 22 - Writing as Craft
October 29 - Writing/Conferences
November 5 - Writing/Conferences
November 12 - Writing/Conferences or Workshopping of Papers
November 19 - Workshopping of Papers
November 26 - Workshopping of Papers
December 3 - Workshopping of Papers