Thursday, 27 October 2011

Notable last lines in law journal articles?

A few months ago I posted on memorable first sentence in novels and, possibly, law journals (here). The obvious extension is to look at the last lines. With respect to novels, there are a couple of lists (e.g., here and here), with the Great Gatsby’s final line (“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”), being often the favourite.
Now, law journals: of course, I could only look at a sample; so, I chose the 2009-11 articles published in the European Business Organization Law Review. Here are a few of them with my comments:
  • Further research is needed to provide a more accurate picture of firms and corporate actors and the values they initiate. (Nicklisch 2009) [comment: one of the classics!]
  • It remains to be seen how far the outcome of the legislative process now set in motion will resemble the Committee’s proposal. (Hansen 2009) [comment: and a second one!]
  • And it is functionality that should guide our efforts. (Arrunada 2009) [comment: quite catchy, without knowing the context of the statement]
  • The current formalistic and a-functional legal culture, coupled with a political culture that deems it to be perfectly normal for governments to meddle with corporate control contests and even to vet friendly deals over control, is clearly harmful to the country’s competitive position in the international market for equity capital. (Enriques 2009) [comment: I like this one too, ending with a strong statement]
  • We will need to wait and see how the field develops in the next few years. In the meantime, the opportunities for those wishing to break new ground in scholarship are considerable. (Foster 2010) [comment: a combined version of the classics].
  • If SE incorporations keep their pace, we will be able to study this and other important issues in a not-too-distant future. (Eidenmueller et al 2010) [comment: noting that Eidenmueller et al did indeed conduct further research on the SE]
  • The author also believes that this should be the basic orientation of the country’s financial regulatory reform both at present and in the foreseeable future. (Liao 2011) [comment: I like the “foreseeable”, ie not considering unknown unknowns]
  • Time will tell, but the line may have been drawn too far on the side of further operational centralisation. (Moloney 2011) [comment: good, making a recommendation while also adding a caveat]
  • In matters as complex as these it seems improbable that the EU lawmakers – or anyone else – will get it right the first time. (Sjoberg 2011) [comment: similar, considering that “or anyone else” may be anyone, even the author…]
My personal favourite? perhaps Arrunada 2009

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The next four events ….

I’m just at a conference on Regulatory Competition in Contract Law and Dispute Resolution in Munich; next week, a book launch conference on Does Law Matter: On Law and Economic Growth in Amsterdam; then, to the US, giving a talk in the CorporateGovernance Lecture Series at Fordham, and presenting a paper in Chicago at the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies a week later. Details to follow (well, time permitting…)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Who are you writing for?

When I start writing a paper, I initially just tend to follow my ideas (not to say, inspiration) and only later on I wonder what to do with it. This may not always be the best approach since any author needs to reflect on his/her potential audience:

The two dimensions of the Figure relate to the spatial scope of the audience on the one hand (e.g., do you write for UK academics or for academics all around the world), and the level of generalisation on the other (e.g., do you write for legal academics, all academics or the general public). I have illustrated the scope of three real-life academics (Chomsky, Posner, Davies) with the three circles. To clarify, I would not say that it is better/worse to target a particular audience. Yet, for instance, if we compared Davies with the Mr X circle, Mr X can be seen as less successful since his circle is fully within Davies’ one.

Then, to illustrate another point, I have added a Mr Y who publishes for two different audiences which may not be uncommon in academia. More specifically, it may often be the case that one researches on a particular topic and then this research leads to various research outputs addressed to different audiences (say, your own community of domestic academics in your field; a broader academic community; and a more pop-science piece). In this respect, then, actually, my “just start with it-approach” mentioned at the beginning may not be entirely inappropriate.