The Scholar as Judge:

And here I mean The Scholar. From Albert W. Alschuler's Rediscovering Blackstone, 145 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1 (1996):

[In 1758,] Blackstone became the first Vinerian Professor of the English Common Law. He inaugurated his professorship by arguing against the traditional view that the Roman legal system was the only one worthy of university study. Before leaving his professorship eight years later, Blackstone began to publish his lectures. The four volumes of his Commentaries appeared between 1765 and 1769....

Before 1900, almost every American lawyer read at least part of Blackstone. Daniel Boorstin has observed, "In the history of American institutions, no other book -- except the Bible -- has played so great a role ...." As Mary Ann Glendon has noted, "Blackstone's work was much more fully absorbed into legal thinking here than in England, where legal resources were both more diverse and more readily available." Describing Blackstone's treatise as "the law book" during America's formative period, Glendon added, "It would be hard to exaggerate the degree of esteem in which ... the Commentaries were held."

And yet,

Although Blackstone was noted for his Commentaries during his lifetime, he was otherwise an undistinguished lawyer, politician and judge. He abandoned his law practice for an academic life partly "because the profits from his profession were less than his expenses." As a judge, his rulings on circuit were set aside more frequently than those of any other judge of the courts in London.