A potent myth of legal academic scholarship is that it is mostly meritocratic and mostly solitary. Reality is more complicated. In this Article, we plumb the networks of knowledge co-production in legal academia by analyzing the star footnotes that appear at the beginning of most law review articles. Acknowledgments paint a rich picture of both the currency of scholarly credit and the relationships
among scholars. Building on others’ prior work characterizing the potent impact of hierarchy, race, and gender in legal academia more generally, we examine the patterns of scholarly networks and probe the effects of those factors. The landscape we illustrate is depressingly unsurprising in basic contours but awash in details. Hierarchy, race, and gender all have substantial effects on who gets acknowledged and how, what networks of knowledge co-production get formed, and who is helped on their path through the legal academic world.
* Keerthana Nunna is a 2021 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. W. Nicholson Price II is a Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School. Jonathan Tietz is an associate at Perkins Coie LLP.
We thank Meera Deo, Margaret Hannon, and Alex Roberts for detailed comments on an earlier draft; Tabrez Ebrahim, Janet Freilich, Christa Laser, Tim Murphy, Amy Semet, and Jacob Victor for thoughtful feedback on the project at the virtual Junior Intellectual Property Scholars Association Workshop; Andrew Hayashi for generously sharing data and for detailed comments on an earlier draft; Mary Pareja and Anya Prince for generously sharing data; Jeremy Bock, Ana Bracic, Monica Bell, Jeanne Fromer, Mark McKenna, Orin Kerr, and Gabriel Rauterberg for thoughtful conversations and comments, including at the 2022 Works-in-Progress for Intellectual Property Scholars Colloquium at St. Louis University School of Law; and the Michigan Law Library staff for excellent help with data digitization. We thank Denise Laspina for excellent research assistance. Finally, we thank Mark Lemley for reasons that will become obvious.
Author contributions: All authors contributed to the design of the project, the collection and analysis of data, and the drafting and editing of this Article.