The Perfect Work

From David Post’s In Search of Jefferson’s Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace:

A colleague once remarked (only half-jokingly) that the perfect work of legal scholarship would have a footnote at the end of every sentence except the final one, the whole point of the scholarly enterprise being, as it were, to place every idea and ever argument in its full context, to show the provenance of every fact asserted, and to give credit for the prior appearance of every idea and argument save the last, the one constituting the author’s own original contribution.

David Post ends that paragraph with “This is not that kind of work”. Neither is this blog.

Neither is any blog, I believe. In fact, if the perfect of legal scholarship is something like what Post’s colleague describes, then the perfect blog post, which is probably imperfect, is very much the opposite. The blog post has lots of the author’s own contributions, e.g. his opinions, however original and informed, and few, if any, footnotes. This may explain the wage commanded by the (average) legal scholar (jurists, law professors, law students soon to be lawyers) versus the average blogger (including this one librarian-to-be).

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One Response to The Perfect Work

  1. This is true even for blogs written by, well, legal professionals. Check out Scholarly Communications at Duke (by Kevin Smith, JD), Balkanization (by a bunch of law professors), or Copyhype (by Terry Hart, soon to be practicing lawyer). Hart’s blog features more footnotes than any of the others, but even the footnotes he uses no where approaches the extensiveness of “the perfect work”.

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