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Why the Interdisciplinary Movement in Legal Academia Might be a Bad Idea (For Most Law Schools)

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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Balkanization – Why the Interdisciplinary Movement in Legal Academia Might be a Bad Idea (For Most Law Schools):

Interdisciplinary studies are currently the rage in legal academia. An increasing number of law schools are touting their interdisciplinary programs, which include offering courses from other academic disciplines (economics, statistics, anthropology, etc.) in the law school curriculum, creating law and social science institutes of various sorts within the law school, offering joint JD/PhD programs, and hiring JD/ PhD faculty.

It seems like an irresistible movement with the potential to transform legal academia. But based upon the historical evidence and the nature of legal practice, I’m skeptical.

Personally, I find interdisciplinary approaches obvious and inevitable, and hardly revolutionary. Transformative? Perhaps. But then again, the law has always been (and continues to be) interdisciplinary (the facts of every case involve other disciplines, after all), so what is so drastic about allowing law students to explore that as students?