This detailed study of the lived experience of legal academics explores not only the culture of legal academia and the professional identities of law teachers, but also addresses some of the most pressing issues currently facing the discipline of law. Given the diverse nature of contemporary legal scholarship, where does the future lie - with traditional doctrinalism, socio-legal studies or critical scholarship? What does academic law have to offer its students, the legal profession and the wider society? How do legal academics "embody" themselves as law teachers, and how does this affect the nature of the law they teach and study? In the context of the RAE, the QAA and all the other pressures facing universities, legal academics discuss the realities of contemporary legal academia in the UK.
This is a qualitative study by an experienced 'inside researcher' and it is theoretically and methodologically sophisticated...This book is a significant achievement and deserves to be read by present and potential academic lawyers and those who have to deal with them. William Twining Journal of Law and Society, Vol 32, No 4 2005 This is an ambitious and stimulating book...The ambition of the book lies in its aim of not only identifying the experiences and views of law teachers but in aiming to define the essential identity of law teachers themselves...the various contexts for the research, especially the literature on 'identity' are thoroughly explored and well presented...The book really comes alive...with the quotes from the interviews, which are well selected...this is a very worthwhile and scholarly effort. Patricia Leighton, University of Glamorgan The Law Teacher December 2004 Examining the habits of law's inhabitants, Fiona Cownie found the discipline in flux. This is, according to her, particularly true for legal academics' approach to law...Shedding light on various aspects of the legal academic career, from the initial decision to study law at university to the qualities and skills which contemporary legal academics think are necessary to be a good legal academic...Fiona Cownie presents rather sobering conclusions. Alexandra Kemmerer German Law Journal Cownie wants to make legal academia more comprehensible to outsiders and, at the same time, contribute to the debate about what it means to study law...Cownie has managed, with her 'purposive conversations', to tease out some of the latent tensions in being a contemporary legal academic...As a mirror, Legal Academics provides an interesting reflection. Michael Plaxton, University of Aberdeen Modern Law Review January 2005 Cownie's rich material gives up much to work with, a valuable body of evidence, and many further lines of inquiry to pursue...establishing a baseline is a difficult task, but one which this work arguably achieves. Bela Chatterjee Legal Studies March 2005 Legal Academics is a beautifully crafted book, testifying to its own thesis that law is increasingly connecting with the intellectual mainstream (witness, in particular, the meticulous methodological comments in the first chapter of the book concerning culture and identity and the interaction between the two). ..for readers (including law students) who wonder what it is like to be an academic lawyer, and whether academic lawyers actually like being academic lawyers (which, broadly speaking, they do), this book does exactly what it sets out to do and tells it as it is. Roger Brownsword Law Quarterly Review November 2004 Cownie's book is a useful contribution to the small but growing body of research into the self-perceptions of professional identity of the members of different academics tribes. Legal Education Digest November 2004