Why should law professors write books and articles?
Why is this regarded as an integral part of our jobs? There is no single answer to these questions and perhaps each professor would answer in a somewhat different way. I believe that we write to educate, to influence the development of the law, and to advance ideas and knowledge. All of these goals are reflected in the many publications by Berkeley Law faculty described in these pages.
Many of our faculty are authors of leading casebooks and treatises in a wide variety of different areas of law. This is a way in which we teach students outside our own law school and even help to educate other professors and lawyers and judges about the law.
There is no doubt that legal scholarship helps to shape the law. Sometimes legal scholarship is descriptive, illuminating problems and helping to inform decisions. Sometimes it is normative, evaluating the law. Sometimes it is prescriptive, suggesting a better path for the future. Lawyers and legislators and judges constantly use legal scholarship in dealing with the most difficult issues that face them.
I worry, though, that this makes scholarship sound too instrumental. Universities exist to advance knowledge and understanding. Often that is what legal scholarship is about: exploring ideas about law and the legal system. Some legal scholarship is the equivalent to basic science in the foundation that it provides for knowledge.
As these pages indicate, my colleagues at Berkeley Law are prolific and outstanding scholars in all of these ways. Every measure shows them to be among the most frequently cited and the most respected in their fields.
This pamphlet lists what our faculty members have written in the last year. I hope you will enjoy seeing this and hope that you read and benefit from their scholarship. I think you’ll see why I so am proud to be dean of Berkeley Law.
Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley School of Law