The Role of Legal Scholars in the Modern World

Legal scholars have a unique and important role to play in modern society. They are responsible for carefully reading and analyzing the opinions of appellate courts, monitoring the actions of judges, and comparing and contrasting the results with the ideal set of principles, doctrines, and norms that have been developed through rigorous logical analysis. Academic research on law and the social scientific study of its operations are essential for understanding contemporary society. The Critical Legal Studies movement of the 1970s and 1980s was a major catalyst for contemporary critical legal scholarship.

This movement criticized the law from a moral or political perspective, and highlighted flaws in existing law and legalism. Normative legal studies aim to influence judges, lawyers, legislators, or regulators to reform, interpret, or preserve existing laws in order to make the world fairer. The Society of Legal Scholars is a charitable organization that promotes legal education and scholarships in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It focuses on the interpretation of the legal order of states, of the European Community as a trans-state body, and of the international community in general.

Common law as adopted in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland are all part of the cultural heritage of the British Isles. Law professors have a special role to play in maintaining a critical awareness of the preconditions for law and freedom. They are also responsible for analyzing the current and potential future impacts of pandemics and related policies on law and society. Interdisciplinary studies include well-established fields such as legal history and legal philosophy, as well as newer fields that analyze law from other disciplines such as economics, sociology, psychology, and religion.

Everyone who participates in legal business—law faculties and students, practicing bar associations and clients, courts and legal clerks, legislators and staff, administrative agencies—would be worse off without legal scholarship. It is essential that legal education includes elements from the history of law and from the philosophy and sociology of law.