Need career advice

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Need career advice

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon May 06, 2013 9:19 am

loomstate wrote:
You should aim for a 170+ on the LSAT, go HYS PhD/JD, go Law Faculty.


this is probably the best advice i think. if i didn't get accepted to the JD or PhD program the other is kind of a backup plan. do students at T6 schools with PhD/JD do well in getting law faculty jobs?

The PhD (+JD) seems to be more and more attractive to law schools. The accepted wisdom here is that for academia it's HYS and all the rest are second-best, although I don't think that's entirely true - I think the rest of the T6 have decent resources for people going into academia and that their grads can do well (and it sounds like you have enough of an academic background to know how to position yourself for this from the start). The best way to figure this out is just start browsing law school websites and looking at who has been most recently hired. There are tons of HYS (fewer S, that I've seen, but I suppose in part the classes are smaller), but also lots of CC (I, personally, haven't seen as many N, but that may be a function of the schools I've looked at).

But this is all relatively speaking because the legal academic market isn't any better than the Ph.D. academic market (except that you get paid more if you do get an academic job). Especially given the downturn in law school applications, a lot of schools have cut their hiring. And I don't see that there's much more choice in location for legal academia than non-legal academia (except perhaps that more law schools than regular colleges/universities are in major urban centers, I guess?).

As with any academic job, really, your ability to publish trumps much else - if you can place a couple of law review articles in good law reviews you'll have as good a shot as anyone. (Ideally along with HYS and elite clerkships, preferably SCOTUS, but if you produce good scholarship the rest isn't strictly necessary. However, it certainly helps get yourself looked at - no blind peer review here - and following the kind of law school path that leads to such things is likely to help you get the opportunities to research/publish/get know by big names to begin with).

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romothesavior
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Re: Need career advice

Postby romothesavior » Mon May 06, 2013 10:03 am

Isn't academia the only field worse than law right now? I suppose there is less risk if its fully funded, but the only way I'd even consider it is if it was at a REALLY prestigious school. And like others have said, you'll need to be geographically flexible, because the odds of you doing something in NYC/SF/DC or something "prestigious" are quite low. I think being a prof would be a sweet gig, but it's just a tough egg to crack right now.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Need career advice

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon May 06, 2013 10:32 am

romothesavior wrote:Isn't academia the only field worse than law right now? I suppose there is less risk if its fully funded, but the only way I'd even consider it is if it was at a REALLY prestigious school. And like others have said, you'll need to be geographically flexible, because the odds of you doing something in NYC/SF/DC or something "prestigious" are quite low. I think being a prof would be a sweet gig, but it's just a tough egg to crack right now.

I don't know if it's the only worse field (I think journalism and publishing deserves a place in there), but it is definitely worse. It's the whole reason the odds of going to law school didn't look that bad to me (well, that, and I applied in 2007-08 before the transparency movement/recession were fully underway. But still).

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loomstate
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Re: Need career advice

Postby loomstate » Mon May 06, 2013 11:33 am

romothesavior wrote:Isn't academia the only field worse than law right now? I suppose there is less risk if its fully funded, but the only way I'd even consider it is if it was at a REALLY prestigious school. And like others have said, you'll need to be geographically flexible, because the odds of you doing something in NYC/SF/DC or something "prestigious" are quite low. I think being a prof would be a sweet gig, but it's just a tough egg to crack right now.


agreed. this seems to be the consensus. to clarify i would only do a PhD if in the top 8 or so schools, which are generally fully funded.

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loomstate
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Re: Need career advice

Postby loomstate » Mon May 06, 2013 11:35 am

thanks for the advice everyone. im planning on gunning for HYS joint PhD/JD programs. it looks like its back to the LSAT i go :|

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jbagelboy
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Re: Need career advice

Postby jbagelboy » Mon May 06, 2013 12:50 pm

loomstate wrote:thanks for the advice everyone. im planning on gunning for HYS joint PhD/JD programs. it looks like its back to the LSAT i go :|


good luck! that's an awesome goal, I hope it works out.

I'll warn you that the fully funded Ph.D programs in many disciplines are even more competitive than yale law (~7% acceptance?). my SO applied to a bunch of fellowships in history Ph.Ds and only got 2; Minnesota, with an 11% acceptance rate, and NYU, where she'll be next year, which has a 5.6% acceptance rate. she got shot down at Stanford (<3%) and Columbia (4%). I don't even know the rates for yale and harvard since she didn't apply, I'll bet there in the 3-4% range, so you will have to make a specific faculty connection through your UG network and your rec letter writers to have a viable shot: perfect GRE scores and high grades/research alone won't cut it. I know one kid who is doing Ph.D in Econ at Harvard from my UG and one doing a Ph.D in History there. they get sick stipends (31K/year, highest I know in the nation), but they relied heavily on faculty network from profs that had worked at harvard to get there.

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Dr. Dre
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Re: Need career advice

Postby Dr. Dre » Mon May 06, 2013 6:19 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I don't know if it's the only worse field (I think journalism and publishing deserves a place in there)



yup journalism is worse than PhD programs and law school.

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dawyzest1
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Re: Need career advice

Postby dawyzest1 » Mon May 06, 2013 8:05 pm

The PhD is a very seductive and alluring pathway. The idea of walking around some leaf covered campus toting your books and giving lectures to eager undergrads definitely sounds more appealing than working 80 hour weeks reading documents.

But here are some terrifying things about the PhD pathway that have nothing to do with actually finding a job:

1. There is no set timeframe for you to finish. A polisci PhD could take 4 years or it could take 7 or more depending on how refined your research interests are and how amenable your chosen area is to quick production of a dissertation.
2. Your relationship with your advisor is everything. If he dies, you're screwed. If he decides to give all his attention to another student, you're screwed. If he changes schools, you're changing with him.

At least by shooting to be a law prof you'll know early on whether it's going to happen. If you end up below median as a 1L, you can be pretty sure it's not going to happen and you've only spent a year at it. You also get the bonus of still being a lawyer. You spend 5 years in a PhD program and learn that your research idea isn't going to work for a dissertation you're in a bad way for sure.




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