Minnesota Law Review Headnotes
Minn. L. Rev. Headnotes
This essay proceeds in four parts. It first supports the descriptive claim that many in the legal writing discipline perceive themselves as victims of unfair treatment within legal academia. Second, it explores the consequences of that self-perception, including the norm of protectionism that has developed within the discipline. The narrative that legal writing professors are mistreated by those outside the discipline has resulted in an internal culture in which many members of the discipline support their own no matter what.
Third, the essay explores how such protectionism is harmful to the development of the legal writing discipline. An academic discipline thrives on critical evaluation and internal debate, not on unfailing sup-port for its members’ ideas. By crafting itself into an academic safe space, the legal writing discipline has undermined its own development by shifting too far toward the pole of constant support.
Finally, the essay concludes by offering a positive prescription to remedy the issue. Reformed self-perception within the legal writing discipline is vital for the discipline to prosper. Those within the legal writing community who seek a healthy and robust discipline — which could in turn lead to the type of advancement they feel they have been unfairly denied — would be better served by deploying some of their energies toward internal reform rather than using it on external complaints. This essay is a call for more balance between internal criticism and support within the discipline.