W&L Law Professor’s New Book Celebrates 10 Years of the German Law Journal

Lexington, VA • Monday, January 09, 2012


Prof. Russell Miller
The German Law Journal was in the vanguard of online academic journals when Washington and Lee law professor Russell Miller and his co-founder Peer Zumbansen launched the project over ten years ago. Now to celebrate and take stock of the Journal's contributions to scholarship in the fields of German, European and international law, the pair have a compiled a first-ever print volume to assess the project's impact on the field known as transnational law.

The book, titled Comparative Law as Transnational Law: A Decade of the German Law Journal (Oxford University Press), contains a selection of articles, essays, book reviews and interviews published on the German Law Journal website. The Journal's English-language treatment of comparative and international law attracts more than two million site visits from more than 50 countries each year. 

Miller says the volume is intended to be both reflective of what the Journal has achieved but also to make an argument about the definition and methodology of a sometimes amorphous subject area.

"There are many scholars who argue that there is now a canon of transnational law that one must study and command in order to consider him or herself a transnational lawyer, and we dispute that," says Miller. "We see transnational law rather as an event and not a static body. Transnational law exists as the meeting of different approaches to law, it exists at the nexus of different legal cultures."

The works compiled in the book are by scholars from around the world and form a richly contextual demonstration of the increasing encounters and tensions among legal cultures. In recognizing the lack of consensus on how to define transnational law, Miller and Zumbansen selected works that help readers grasp the challenges of defining transnational law, and to appreciate the differing approaches towards it.

Celebrating the German Law Journal

As gratifying as it is for Miller to finally have some of the German Law Journal's work in print, he does not foresee a time when the Journal itself will appear in that format. Indeed, he sees the flexibility and speed of online publication as an important part of the Journal's success.

"We've published several special issues responsive to particular jurisprudential events," he says. "For example, the German Law Journal was the first legal publication in the world to respond to the events of Sept. 11 with a series of articles where people in the moment of that trauma were reflecting on the effects of those events on international law."

Miller notes that the Journal was also the first to address the German Constitutional Court's groundbreaking decision in summer 2009 on Germany's ratification of the European Union Lisbon Treaty. That special issue, published just days after the event, continues to be one of the most widely cited treatments of that development.

"We had always hoped that the German Law Journal would be flexible and responsive and current, always current," adds Miller. "Publishing electronically makes that a reality in ways that print media can never achieve."

The German Law Journal is available online at www.germanlawjournal.com. Law as Transnational Law: A Decade of the German Law Journal is available online from the Oxford University Press.

About Prof. Russ Miller

Miller joined the W&L faculty in 2008. His teaching and scholarly research focuses on comparative law theory and methods, comparative constitutional law, German law and legal culture, and public international law.  Previously, he taught at the University of Idaho College of Law and has been a guest professor in Germany.

Prior to becoming a professor, Miller was a judicial law clerk for Judge Robert H. Whaley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, a criminal defense attorney in Arizona and Tennessee, and a 1999/2000 Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Germany. During the 2009/2010 academic year Miller was as a Fulbright Scholar and conducted research in Heidelberg, Germany at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and Public International Law.

Miller graduated from high school in Salmon, Idaho, earned a B.A. while lettering in football at Washington State University, took his J.D. and a M.A. in English literature from Duke University, and received his LL.M. from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

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