Insight, synthesis, and brilliance--That's what it takes to be a legal scholar. It is clear that I don't have it and never will.
By way of example, I could not write anything nearly as insightful or which so brilliantly synthesizes so many seemingly diverse streams of theory as Anthony D'Amato in his recently published The Contribution of the Infield Fly Rule to Western Civilization (and Vice Versa). (Abstract and link to full article available here.)
D'Amato begins with the Bible ("authored by the Supreme Being,or at least written under Him for credit"), moves effortlessly through the Greek philosophers' ruminations on the Rule ("Zeno argued that the ball would never come down. It is immobilized at its highest point. . .[and] will remain there for all eternity."), and finishes with modern analyses of the Rule (e.g., "Riemann's Fundamental Hypothosis of Baseball"). Along the way, he provides helpful career advice to younger legal scholars ("To the Articles Editor: If you've had the slightest doubt up to now whether to accept this Article for publication, you can immediately see in the text the pièce de resistance, the ultimate sockdolager that guarantees publication in any law review or journal, namely, a highly complex mathematical equation that is beyond lawyerly comprehension. This singular equation, coupled with the earlier obligatory reference in the text to Wittgenstein, make this Article more article-like than any other article you’ll ever hope to publish.").
If D'Amato didn't already have tenure, this article would certainly be the hit that would knock in the winning run. A major league contribution to our knowledge of the law, life, and baseball.
Doff, er, Tip of the Hat to Frank Snyder at ContractsProf.