Ruhl's rules of legal scholarship hierarchy:

can be found here. All of us at VC have done 0. I hope we've avoided 1, but I'm not sure. Most student note work is 2 or 3, but so is a lot of professors' work. I've mostly done 4 through 6, with forays into 7 and limited incursions into 8. Competent 9 and 10 are beyond my reach.

UPDATE: I've corrected the title of this post to reflect that the linked post on legal scholarship appearing on Jim Chen's Jurisdynamics blog was actually written by Professor J.B. Ruhl. It makes for a catchier title, anyway. (Thanks go to Ryan Scott for the catch.)

FURTHER UPDATE: Professor Larry Solum has an interesting critique of Ruhl's Rules here.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Eric Muller's Hierarchy of Legal Scholarship
  2. Ruhl's rules of legal scholarship hierarchy:
Steve Lubet (mail):
chen's hierarchy runs from doctrinal through normative to empirical (which occupies the two top spots). but where would he put history, which doesn't fit neatly into any of his categories.

i guess it depends on whether you situate law among the social sciences or the humanities.
9.22.2006 3:30pm
I think it is a bit odd to try to put work which involves non-traditional legal research into discrete spots on this hierarchy (I'm basically defining traditional legal research as working with traditional legal materials, such as cases and statutes, and non-traditional legal research as involving things like research in other fields, empirical studies, historical materials outside of traditional legal materials, and so on). In particular, it seems to me that there could be equivalents of categories 0-7 both within more traditional legal work and within non-traditional legal work.
9.22.2006 3:58pm
Goober (mail):
I have a hard time thinking of anyone who's accomplished a 10, outside of Gerry Rosenberg.

An interesting list, made more interesting by the, ah, debatable nature of Chen's judgments. (Law &anything above legal theory? HLA Hart oughta slap that nonsense out of him.)
9.22.2006 4:11pm
frankcross (mail):
Lots of people have written 10s.

I'm inclined to like the hierarchy, but I think the quality of the work is a lot more significant than its characterization. There is certainly doctrinal work that is better than some empirical work.
9.22.2006 4:17pm
steve lubet (mail):
turns out that the hierarchy is j.b. ruhl's, not jim chen's.

in any event, legal history is a common area of scholarship, using both "traditional legal materials" and other sources.
9.22.2006 4:18pm
What a nonsensical list. On what dimension are the different levels higher and lower than each other?
9.22.2006 4:31pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
>What a nonsensical list. On what dimension are the different levels higher and lower than each other?<

The number of implications, maybe? Unifying theories, size of umbrellas, something like that.
9.22.2006 4:57pm
Well, 0 and 1 are broader than 2-6 and 7 is broader than 8 or 9.
9.22.2006 5:09pm
Jim Chen (mail) (www):
Hi folks,

Please deliver all praise and/or blame for the original post to the real author, J.B. Ruhl. For my part, I've posted my own response.

Best wishes,
Jim Chen
9.23.2006 5:58pm
Huh. The list doesn't have anything about TV and other media appearances.
9.24.2006 12:52am