Tuesday, 29 September 2009

What interested me in September

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Am I a Pirate?

Even for Non-Germans it’s interesting to do the Wahl-O-Mat (available in English) in order to find out which party you would vote for in tommorow’s federal elections. The default option is to compare your views with the ones of the five mainstream parties (CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP, Greens, Left Party). But it is also fun to look at the more obscure parties, who have no realistic chance of getting a seat in the next parliament. In the following I compared my views with the ones of the Pirate Party, the Family Party, the Party of Bible-Abiding Christians, the Bavarian Party, the Marxist-Leninist Party, the Human Environment Animal Welfare Party, and the two extreme right parties (NPD, DVU).
So am I really a pirate? Well, the five mainstream parties get the scores 53, 53, 47, 39 and 31 (I’m not going to disclose details) – so that can’t really be concluded.

PS: in the UK it's http://www.votematch.org.uk/

Monday, 21 September 2009

Law Journal Rankings

DISCLAIMER: please see also my more recent post on 
‘The problems with law journal rankings’
The following three rankings have been around for a while but I hadn’t really looked at them closely. Indeed, all three attempts are very imperfect. Still, in order to understand the market for law journals it is useful to be aware of them:
  • The Australian ranking by the Australian Research Council is available at http://www.arc.gov.au/era/journal_list.htm, but it is better to access it here. They may have got the majority of UK, US, and Australian journals right but, unsurprisingly, they have little interest in European journals.
  • The American ranking, available at http://lawlib.wlu.edu/LJ/. For the general ranking tick "rank comb 2008" and submit. This shows a ranking of 1586 journals (!) with an obvious US bias since the ranking is based on citations in US journals and courts. However, it is also possible to rank the journals limited to specific subjects or countries.
  • The UK ranking, based on the RAE 2001, is available at http://www.law.stir.ac.uk/research/research-project.php. Here, the natural limitation is that this ranking really only shows where UK academics traditionally publish and not the quality of journals (e.g., it can be seen that UK scholars have hardly published in the top US law reviews). It would be interesting to see whether they do a similar calculation for the RAE 2008.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Crisis, what crisis?

Is the financial crisis still around? On Google trends there is a falling curve for the words “financial crisis”. However, we don’t know yet how to solve it – or to prevent the next crisis – so the hits for “financial regulation” are still rising (though they peaked earlier this year). Incidentally (...) I am just returning from London where I attended an LSE conference on “Too Big to Fail, Too Interconnected to Fail?” (programme available here).

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A World Without Law Professors

Abstract: Inspired by Alan Weisman’s book “The World Without Us” (2007) I analyse the thought experiment of a world in which law professors suddenly vanished. First, without academic teachers legal training would shift back to the legal professions. Purely professional law schools would provide legal training for future lawyers. This is feasible in both Common Law and Civil Law jurisdictions. These professional law schools can also be involved in a more general provision of legal education. In addition, non-law faculties of universities can step in order teach on law-related subjects. Secondly, I analyse the impact on legal research. Self-referential research would diminish. Doctrinal research would persist but it would be done by practitioners and the current oversupply would melt down. At universities legal research would continue but it would shift to related fields of social sciences and humanities. Thus, the threshold would be an “academic dinner party test”: legal research would have to show that it is of interest for other academic disciplines. Overall, I would therefore expect some changes; however, legal education and research would not disappear. In some respects, one could even argue that without law professors the quality of both teaching and research may improve. The paper finishes with the implications for the current system.
Interested? The paper is not yet available online but if you want to read and comment on the pre-working paper version, please email me. Postscript 5 October 09: Now, it is online here