'A Great and Noble Occupation!'
The UK's Society of Legal Scholars - originally known as the Society of Public Teachers of Law - was created in 1909. The Society was fortunate to survive its first half century since it had few members, lacked financial resources, and was weak in influence. In comparison with other university disciplines, the academic field of law enjoyed a fragile status and was often held in low esteem by barristers and solicitors. At times, the Society was caught up in problems of its own making, such as refusing to admit women until the late 1940s. But there were also moments of excitement and achievement, and years filled with hope and new ideas. The establishment of the Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law in the 1920s was an important achievement for legal scholars. During the social revolution of the 1960s, the Society continued to function as a rather sedate gentleman's club, gathering at its annual conference to socialize, rather than to engage in academic debate. The 1970s saw a sustained drive from its Young Members' Group to create a new, more serious organization with better conferences and more effective decision-making processes. The Society evolved slowly, but the process accelerated in the 1990s, with members encouraged to reinforce their intellectual contribution to the discipline and act as a central point for policy debate within the legal academic community. Here, at the start of the 21st century, the Society, now with nearly 3,000 members, has come a long way from its small beginnings. The Society of Legal Scholars celebrates its 100th anniversary this year and, with this book, looks back on the Society's creation and history.
Publication Date: 9/1/2009