Legal scholars, who are defined operationally as those legal experts who teach and conduct research in law schools of universities in the disciplines of philosophy of law, history of law, sociology of law and anthropology of law, develop as result of a particular combination of societal and academic contexts. Individual motivation is also a factor in the emergence of this type of legal expert, albeit a minor one. The article discusses a variety of combinations of societal and academic contexts, proposing country case studies as the appropriate method for conducting empirical study of the rise and fall of legal scholarship. The case of Chile in the twentieth century is selected for this study, because this country’s legal experts have played a major role in society in the course of its history. The author clarifies both societal academic contexts. Chilean legal scholars have emerged from some of these combinations. The article includes interviews with current legal scholars as a grounding for his approach.