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Trends in Legal Scholarship: A Statistical Study

Yale Law School

This study tracks the appeal of various intellectual approaches to legal scholars during the period 1982–96. Fifteen different approaches were paired with one or more proxies consisting of a word or phrase. Searches were conducted in a Westlaw database that contains full texts of law review documents to determine trends in the appearance of these proxies. A method was devised for neutralizing distortions attributable to changes in database size over time. Among the findings are little or no decline in doctrinal analysis, a modest rise in law and economics, and a boom and subsequent bust in Critical Legal Studies. Leading law reviews have been unusually prone to publish works that refer to civic republicanism, Critical Legal Studies, Critical Race Theory, and social norms.