Michael's mention of Jack Balkin's post brings up another matter I've been thinking about lately. Jack notes that
(A)ll of your (the law professor's) students, or the vast majority, are planning to be lawyers; which is to say, they are *not* planning to be just like you. And they expect you to teach them law, and the rhetorics and discourses of law. They are training to be advocates, deal makers, fixers. And it's your job to show them how to do this with the materials of the law.
In an old post on Prawfsblawg (briefly noted here by Micheal), Orly Lobel echoes this, asking "wouldn't be great to have doctoral students around that can imagine themselves following in your paths, that are interested in ideas, and that challenge you on your grounds?"
Of course, if this is your concern, the solution is obvious: Start a Ph.D. program in law, with the goal of creating a "professorial class" in the legal academy. For those of us in the social sciences (and employed at institutions that offer graduate training), teaching and working with graduate (read: Ph.D.) students is often one of the great benefits of our job, and something many of us would be loathe to give up were we to move full-time to a law school.
Sure, there's the JSP, the ILS, the CLS, the CSLS, the JSI, and surely a few more I'm forgetting; and Vanderbilt Law's Ph.D. in Law and Economics is a more recent (and specialized) version. But I'm talking about a straightforward Ph.D. in law, one that is no more self-consciously interdisciplinary than one in English, criminology, or whatever.
The breadth of scholarship conducted in law schools need not deter anyone; training for a Ph.D. in anthropology can run the gamut from humanist-style interpretive analysis through statistics to osteology and molecular biology, and sociology, political science, and other similar fields can be almost as diverse. Students inevitably specialize, on the recognition that no one can really be an "expert" in every area of such a discipline, and the same is undoubtedly true for law. Nor should the novelty of the idea stop anyone: Ph.D.s in business have been offered only since the 1920s, and those in many other fields (e.g., criminal justice) are of even more recent vintage.
Of course, creating a Ph.D. program in law raises many, many issues. How is the program structured? How long would it take to finish? How much involvement do individuals outside the law school have in the degree process? Are J.D. and Ph.D. students permitted in the same classes? Yet none of these are insurmountable, or without precedents to work from. And Orly's post (and the discussion that followed) suggested the "transformative effect" such an innovation could have on the legal academy.