Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Scholarship Update

I'm back from a brief blogging hiatus after finishing my grades, and summer is in full swing. Here's a quick update on what I have been doing in terms of research.

I have had a law review article and book review published this month. Both articles can be accessed via my faculty home page or my author page on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). You have to register to use SSRN, but the site is free.

The law review article is entitled Thinking Outside the Border: Homeland Security and the Forward Deployment of the U.S. Border, 44 Houston Law Review 189 (2007). In it, I discuss U.S. cargo security programs and their extraterritorial application. The book review is entitled Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Reconceptualizing State and Government Succession, 51 New York Law School Law Review 403 (2007). It is a review of Professor Tai-Heng Cheng’s new book, State Succession and Commercial Obligations, which addresses the disconnect between state practice and international law doctrine concerning state and government succession. Both pieces explore issues concerning global interdependency and interconnectedness that are central to my research.

In addition, I am currently hard at work on a new law review article on U.S. export controls, entitled Winning the Battle but Losing the War? Reflections on Extraterritorial Jurisdiction in U.S. Export Control Laws. The thesis of this article is that the United States' application of its export control laws to foreign reexports of U.S. origin goods and technology (something that is quite controversial legally and politically) is legally justified but strategically imperfect, and that changes therefore need to be made. While the extraterritoriality of U.S. export controls was debated at length by scholars in the 1980s and early 1990s (with most commentators opining that such jurisdiction was impermissible), there has been less focus on the subject in recent years. In light of the rapid and continued growth in international trade and the birth of e-commerce, as well as changes to the post-Cold War and post-9/11 national security landscape, this is a subject worth revisiting. (Note: for background information concerning U.S. export controls, see my 2004 law review article entitled E-Mails, Servers and Software: U.S. Export Controls for the Modern Era, 35 Georgetown Journal of International Law 320 (2004)).

Later this month, I will be presenting this article as a work-in-progress at the American Association of Law Schools’ Midyear Conference on International Law in Vancouver, Canada. The theme of the conference is "What is Wrong with the Way We Teach and Write International Law?" As Professor Mark Drumbl points out on Prawfsblawg, "[t]he conference is for folks teaching and writing in international law to rethink what we're doing, and equally for folks teaching and writing outside of international law (whether as legal academics or as academics outside law entirely) to engage with the subject and discuss what could be done better." The conference promises to be very interesting, and I am pleased to be one of its presenters.


Anonymous said...

speaking of what's wrong with the teaching of Int. Law:

Study determines that Law School produces ... lawyers.

Understanding the Negative Effects of Legal Education on Law
Students: A Longitudinal Test of Self-Determination Theory

Kennon M. Sheldon, University of Missouri-Columbia
Lawrence S. Krieger, Florida State University


Longitudinal studies suggest that law school has a corrosive effect
on the well-being, values, and motivation of students, ostensibly
because of its problematic institutional culture. In a 3-year study
of two different law schools, the authors applied self-determination
theory's (SDT) dynamic process model of thriving to explain such
findings. Students at both schools declined in psychological need
satisfaction and well-being over the 3 years. However, student
reports of greater perceived autonomy support by faculty predicted
less radical declines in need satisfaction, which in turn predicted
better well-being in the 3rd year and also a higher grade point
average, better bar exam results, and more self-determined motivation
for the first job after graduation. Institution-level analyses showed
that although students at both schools suffered, one school was
perceived as more controlling than the other, predicting greater
difficulties for its students. Implications for SDT and for legal
education are discussed.

From the introduction:

"The popular notion that law school is an exceptionally stressful
experience for many students has been substantiated by longitudinal
studies ... Indeed, the emotional distress of law students appears
to significantly exceed that of medical students and at times to
approach that of psychiatric populations ... These findings have
substantial human and social significance, given that the level of
adjustment of graduating law students is likely to carry over into
professional practice and may set the stage for the unparalleled
frequency of psychological distress ... and other problems seen
broadly among lawyers today ...

"Legal commentators have suggested several basic features of
contemporary legal education that may contribute to these problems.
These features include overvaluing theoretical scholarship and
undervaluing the teaching function ..., employing generally unsound
teaching and testing methods ..., and emphasizing abstract theory
rather than providing practical training ...
"Observers further suggest that such priorities and processes train
students to ignore their own values and moral sense, undermine
students' sense of identity and self-confidence, and create
cynicism... These commentaries, taken together, suggest that the
normative faculty and institutional practices may thwart the needs
and preferences of typical law students."

Gregory W. Bowman said...

Very interesting comment. Although I have not yet read the article, some of the observations jibe with my views about law school. Thanks for posting about it.

And yet, from a different perspective this comment is troubling, along with others received with increasing frequency on this blog. The opening sentence of the comment reads as follows: "Speaking of what's wrong with the teaching of Int[ernational] Law . . . ." That sounds more than a little bit like a cheap shot to me. Maybe it wasn't intended, but regardless, a passionate and thought-provoking comment (as the above comment is) can also be an entirely civil one. Civility is a good trait for a lawyer--and incidentally one that I work hard to encourage in my classroom and via this blog.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I was just trying to find a tie for an unrelated article to the post you wrote about a conference on what's wrong with the way we teach and write about international law.

Gregory W. Bowman said...

Aha. Yes, that makes sense. Apologies all around.

So did I sound testy? Yes. I've been noodling over a post on (in)civility in the blogosphere, and I have received (as do nearly all blogs) some comments that are not always as civil as I might like. There's a bit of tension between a blog that is focused on matters lawyerly--civility being one of them--and a blog that encourages comments. So that was very much in my thoughts when I read your comment. Sorry for jumping to conclusions instead of placing your comment in the proper context. And again (as I said in my prior comment), thanks for posting--it was a very interesting comment indeed. Greg