Legal Philosophy

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timbs4339
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:34 am

If you're a tenured professor, then you don't have to work during the summer. Not only can you choose when and where you work, you also choose what you work on and you don't have to report to anyone.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:(The job also entails a shitload of administrative crap, and there are absolutely no boundaries between work/life - when you can work anywhere, you work everywhere, if that makes any sense; you never leave work at work. But I recognize the latter's nothing like biglaw. It's just a downer compared to many normal, non-biglaw jobs.)


Every job involves a ton of administrative crap (EDIT: in fact, some jobs, including arguably junior associate work in certain groups, are by definition administrative crap). And law professors aren't in a normal job- they're paid much more than the average lawyer and even more than many biglaw associates when you factor in benefits and bonuses. I don't know any salaried employee making a lot of money who doesn't take work home. The benefit of being a law professor is that you have control over what that work is, no deadlines (except for those set by 3L law review editors) and almost complete job security.

In other words, it's definitely tops of the upper-middle-class professional jobs, and it's much better than being a run of the mill lawyer (although I'll grant that the personality types are different).
Last edited by timbs4339 on Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:44 am

Being a tenure-track professor is right up there with being a SCOTUS clerk as the most objectively desirable position you could shoot for. Unsurprisingly, both are mostly limited to the top performers at the top schools.

Professors pretty much have dream jobs, because they're the ones who ultimately benefit most from the massive federal subsidies, and it doesn't particularly matter if they're any good at their jobs. It's the closest thing you can get to doing whatever you feel like and still getting paid six figures.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:01 pm

timbs4339 wrote:If you're a tenured professor, then you don't have to work during the summer. Not only can you choose when and where you work, you also choose what you work on and you don't have to report to anyone.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:(The job also entails a shitload of administrative crap, and there are absolutely no boundaries between work/life - when you can work anywhere, you work everywhere, if that makes any sense; you never leave work at work. But I recognize the latter's nothing like biglaw. It's just a downer compared to many normal, non-biglaw jobs.)


Every job involves a ton of administrative crap. And law professors aren't in a normal job- they're paid much more than the average lawyer and even more than many biglaw associates when you factor in benefits and bonuses. I don't know any salaried employee making a lot of money who doesn't take work home. The benefit of being a law professor is that you have control over what that work is, no deadlines (except for those set by 3L law review editors) and almost complete job security.

In other words, it's definitely tops of the upper-middle-class professional jobs, and it's much better than being a run of the mill lawyer (although I'll grant that the personality types are different).

Yes, it's an objectively good job (though I think the administrative side is a bit different from your average paper-pushing found in every job). I'm really just objecting to the "summers off" idea.

I don't think it doesn't matter if you're not any good at the job, though; it's just that the standard for being "good" at the job has nothing to do with what students/non-profs would want it to be.

timbs4339
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:11 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:If you're a tenured professor, then you don't have to work during the summer. Not only can you choose when and where you work, you also choose what you work on and you don't have to report to anyone.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:(The job also entails a shitload of administrative crap, and there are absolutely no boundaries between work/life - when you can work anywhere, you work everywhere, if that makes any sense; you never leave work at work. But I recognize the latter's nothing like biglaw. It's just a downer compared to many normal, non-biglaw jobs.)


Every job involves a ton of administrative crap. And law professors aren't in a normal job- they're paid much more than the average lawyer and even more than many biglaw associates when you factor in benefits and bonuses. I don't know any salaried employee making a lot of money who doesn't take work home. The benefit of being a law professor is that you have control over what that work is, no deadlines (except for those set by 3L law review editors) and almost complete job security.

In other words, it's definitely tops of the upper-middle-class professional jobs, and it's much better than being a run of the mill lawyer (although I'll grant that the personality types are different).

Yes, it's an objectively good job (though I think the administrative side is a bit different from your average paper-pushing found in every job). I'm really just objecting to the "summers off" idea.

I don't think it doesn't matter if you're not any good at the job, though; it's just that the standard for being "good" at the job has nothing to do with what students/non-profs would want it to be.


I think the point is that you have the option. I worked for a tenured prof who put in 60 hour weeks most of the time, but that was because he was working on multiple articles, a casebook, always revising his classes or teaching new ones, and a bunch of other minor projects. But it doesn't take summers to teach a few classes a year from an old syllabus and write a single law review article each year.

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Borhas
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby Borhas » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:16 pm

I don't know, if you take out the pay, I would think it would be tremendously boring and useless (like the majority of academic research). Research and writing in a narrow niche field that nobody cares about and even fewer actually find interesting. Although I can respect the teaching angle.

No thanks. I'd rather do something useful with my life.

Paul Campos
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby Paul Campos » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:22 pm

[/quote]

I think the point is that you have the option. I worked for a tenured prof who put in 60 hour weeks most of the time, but that was because he was working on multiple articles, a casebook, always revising his classes or teaching new ones, and a bunch of other minor projects. But it doesn't take summers to teach a few classes a year from an old syllabus and write a single law review article each year.[/quote]


FWIW I would estimate the median number of hours per week tenured law professors at ABA accredited schools put into their jobs at around 20 (assuming a 50-week work year). The mean would be higher because of people like the one Tim worked for, but OTOH there are plenty of people who would be far below 20. These numbers will also vary quite a bit by school, with profs at elite schools working more, because of self-selection and informal social pressure. At many lower-tier schools somebody putting in 1000 hours per year on work related to his or her legal academic position would stand out as particularly industrious.

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sinfiery
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby sinfiery » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:55 pm

I am a little shocked by that number. Wow.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:12 pm

If that's the case, law profs are a significant outlier in academia generally (not claiming profs work biglaw hours, but for academia generally, the numbers I usually see are an average of 50-60 hrs/wk).

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:40 pm

I was under the impression a professor would average a solid 40, when you combined teaching the classes, preparing the material for classes/being available for students, research, and administrative whatnot. Perhaps it's less than that, but even if it isn't, in what other field could you make $150k by age 30 (assuming you're at T14 professor) while working 40 hours a week, setting your own schedule, getting three months off a year, and having lifetime job security? And on top of that, you don't even have to be good at your job, because none of what you teach is a practical job skill!

If you had just left Biglaw, where you worked 3000 hours a year, wouldn't you lateral into a position where you're working maybe 1500 hours per year for half the pay? If I was coming off five years of Biglaw, I would gladly become a professor for $100k. And the best part is that I'd have more private-sector experience than the average professor.

This is why it pisses me off when law schools act like they can't cut tuition. A T14 could EASILY cut several million off its professor payroll and save thousands of dollars in tuition per student.

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:51 pm

Borhas wrote:I don't know, if you take out the pay, I would think it would be tremendously boring and useless (like the majority of academic research). Research and writing in a narrow niche field that nobody cares about and even fewer actually find interesting. Although I can respect the teaching angle.

No thanks. I'd rather do something useful with my life.


Dude, come on. BigLaw associates are corporate drones and PI folks are part of a crap legal system that's over-litigated and built on the house of cards that is plea bargaining and conviction quotas.

Let's not pretend like any of this shit is "useful."

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jbagelboy
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:55 pm

John_rizzy_rawls wrote:
Borhas wrote:I don't know, if you take out the pay, I would think it would be tremendously boring and useless (like the majority of academic research). Research and writing in a narrow niche field that nobody cares about and even fewer actually find interesting. Although I can respect the teaching angle.

No thanks. I'd rather do something useful with my life.


Dude, come on. BigLaw associates are corporate drones and PI folks are part of a crap legal system that's over-litigated and built on the house of cards that is plea bargaining and conviction quotas.

Let's not pretend like any of this shit is "useful."


+1

Our lives are forfeit anyway, best fuck around and have a good time

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jbagelboy
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:04 pm

Also FWIW your summers may involve "writing" and publication as a tenured prof, but remember, first these people are in the academy by choice, they love to write and postulate, why else would anyone go beyond 2 books and 1 edited volume? Prolific publishers often are more motivated by their own ego and desire to contribute to their imaginary zeitgeist than anything in their job description. Becoming a prof is rigorous, but Ive never met someone who did it for the $ or the perks alone.

Second, summers off really can mean summers off for a full professor. From personal family experience I can tell you that if you want to bail to portugal for june-july, no one will give a shit. Someone might even pay for your trip if you spend one wkend at an archive in aix and the rest drunk on the beach. Or you can just get high in your pool all summer. No one is keeping tabs, and as with the above, you're writing chapters for fun too when you want to.

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Borhas
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby Borhas » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:15 pm

John_rizzy_rawls wrote:
Borhas wrote:I don't know, if you take out the pay, I would think it would be tremendously boring and useless (like the majority of academic research). Research and writing in a narrow niche field that nobody cares about and even fewer actually find interesting. Although I can respect the teaching angle.

No thanks. I'd rather do something useful with my life.


Dude, come on. BigLaw associates are corporate drones and PI folks are part of a crap legal system that's over-litigated and built on the house of cards that is plea bargaining and conviction quotas.

Let's not pretend like any of this shit is "useful."


legal work is a transaction cost, but it is a necessary transaction cost. IP litigation is probably mostly wasteful, but a complex commercial environment requires complicated transactions and laws to protect parties. And obviously all societies need a criminal justice system.

I have absolutely no qualms picking out legal academics as specifically useless.

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sinfiery
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby sinfiery » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:20 pm

They provide research to.advance the specific ideas relied upon when practicing law (ideally) and so have their use.



Personally, I have no issue with being a corporate drone if I can pick what company I am a drone for. (Big if)

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Borhas
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby Borhas » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:24 pm

Think on it this way,

As much of a waste of resources the legal system is in general, legal academia is even more useless because at best it provides a service that much of the legal industry barely ever uses.

The ONLY time I've ever read a journal article and found something useful, was when I had to write a research paper. I've written hundreds of motions, and several appellate briefs. Some with novel legal problems. I've never needed to read some circle jerk journal to cite. Practice manuals are good, though not really academic literature.

The one saving grace is that they teach. But they teach in an extremely skewed education market, where the education is almost entirely a credentialing service rather than something that actually creates value in the student.

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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby Ti Malice » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:37 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I'm not remotely suggesting academia is hard work, especially compared to biglaw. But the "summers off" thing is pretty much a huge flame, because summers are when you have uninterrupted time to do sustained research/writing, so that's what you do - profs work through summers and on college/university breaks.

It's still a good gig, because as someone said, you get to set when and where you do that work. But if you're going to praise all the benefits of academic life, be accurate about it.


You could have saved yourself the time just by reading more closely. Notice I said "summers off from teaching."

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:37 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Also FWIW your summers may involve "writing" and publication as a tenured prof, but remember, first these people are in the academy by choice, they love to write and postulate, why else would anyone go beyond 2 books and 1 edited volume? Prolific publishers often are more motivated by their own ego and desire to contribute to their imaginary zeitgeist than anything in their job description. Becoming a prof is rigorous, but Ive never met someone who did it for the $ or the perks alone.

Second, summers off really can mean summers off for a full professor. From personal family experience I can tell you that if you want to bail to portugal for june-july, no one will give a shit. Someone might even pay for your trip if you spend one wkend at an archive in aix and the rest drunk on the beach. Or you can just get high in your pool all summer. No one is keeping tabs, and as with the above, you're writing chapters for fun too when you want to.

It's still work, even if you choose to do it. And sure, we can all come up with anecdotes of people who do jack for their job, in all fields.

and Ti Malice - I was responding to the general impression ITT that people "get summers off" (in particular, jrr's comment that his Rhetoric PhD friend gets summers off, which comment timbs repeated above. Also, if you read carefully you might notice that I wasn't quoting you).

timbs4339
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:02 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Also FWIW your summers may involve "writing" and publication as a tenured prof, but remember, first these people are in the academy by choice, they love to write and postulate, why else would anyone go beyond 2 books and 1 edited volume? Prolific publishers often are more motivated by their own ego and desire to contribute to their imaginary zeitgeist than anything in their job description. Becoming a prof is rigorous, but Ive never met someone who did it for the $ or the perks alone.

Second, summers off really can mean summers off for a full professor. From personal family experience I can tell you that if you want to bail to portugal for june-july, no one will give a shit. Someone might even pay for your trip if you spend one wkend at an archive in aix and the rest drunk on the beach. Or you can just get high in your pool all summer. No one is keeping tabs, and as with the above, you're writing chapters for fun too when you want to.

It's still work, even if you choose to do it. And sure, we can all come up with anecdotes of people who do jack for their job, in all fields.

and Ti Malice - I was responding to the general impression ITT that people "get summers off" (in particular, jrr's comment that his Rhetoric PhD friend gets summers off, which comment timbs repeated above. Also, if you read carefully you might notice that I wasn't quoting you).


There's a difference where the choice to do jack is built into the position, and jobs where if someone finds out that you are doing jack they can fire you at-will. Most professional jobs are not the former. Tenured professors not only have the option, they have the right to underperform and not work summers. With everyone else, it's really a function of how much resources your employer wants to put into eliminating inefficiencies.

Even someone who goes into work and does nothing still has to go into work.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:08 pm

You can still condemn professordom as an unfairly cushy gig if you concede that the vast majority of profs actually do work during their summers, is all I'm saying.

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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby Paul Campos » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:52 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:You can still condemn professordom as an unfairly cushy gig if you concede that the vast majority of profs actually do work during their summers, is all I'm saying.



I'm curious as to how you think you know this.

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AreJay711
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby AreJay711 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:59 pm

Borhas wrote:I don't know, if you take out the pay, I would think it would be tremendously boring and useless (like the majority of academic research). Research and writing in a narrow niche field that nobody cares about and even fewer actually find interesting. Although I can respect the teaching angle.

No thanks. I'd rather do something useful with my life.


The people who do it don't find it boring, of course, and obviously could care less about doing something useful with their lives.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:05 pm

Paul Campos wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:You can still condemn professordom as an unfairly cushy gig if you concede that the vast majority of profs actually do work during their summers, is all I'm saying.


I'm curious as to how you think you know this.

Because I worked as a professor for 9 years, and remain close friends with many many professors at a wide variety of schools. (Note: I said earlier that law professors may be an outlier. I'm not talking about law specifically, although I suspect a number of law profs do *something* work-related over the summer.)

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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby Paul Campos » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:34 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Paul Campos wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:You can still condemn professordom as an unfairly cushy gig if you concede that the vast majority of profs actually do work during their summers, is all I'm saying.


I'm curious as to how you think you know this.

Because I worked as a professor for 9 years, and remain close friends with many many professors at a wide variety of schools. (Note: I said earlier that law professors may be an outlier. I'm not talking about law specifically, although I suspect a number of law profs do *something* work-related over the summer.)


I think your previous experience in academia may be misleading you. Most law professors are academics in only a very loose sense. Very few have an advanced degree other than a law degree (this isn't as true for recent hires, and especially recent hires at elite schools, but it remains true for the vast majority of law faculty). Legal academics, in my experience, tend to go into law teaching because it's an extremely cushy high status job, not because they have a genuine vocation for the academic life.

Most tenure track law professors teach less than the average tenure track professor in most other parts of the university (Three class per year teaching loads are standard at all top 50 schools and the large majority of top 100 schools. Real teaching loads are even lower than this because of ever-more generous research leaves/parental leaves, sabbaticals etc). They don't oversee dissertations or peer review journal articles. They publish scholarship of, to put it gently, often dubious intellectual or practical value, in student-run journals, of which there are so many that getting published per se is just a bureaucratic hoop to jump through, as opposed to a significant accomplishment.

In other words, it's a far less challenging job than the typical academic position.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the majority of legal academics do no legal academic work in the summer, but a large number do very little. Basically it's a job for people who are neither lawyers nor academics but pretend to be both. (There are of course plenty of individual exceptions, but I'm speaking in general terms).

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:44 pm

Paul Campos wrote:I think your previous experience in academia may be misleading you. Most law professors are academics in only a very loose sense. Very few have an advanced degree other than a law degree (this isn't as true for recent hires, and especially recent hires at elite schools, but it remains true for the vast majority of law faculty). Legal academics, in my experience, tend to go into law teaching because it's an extremely cushy high status job, not because they have a genuine vocation for the academic life.

Most tenure track law professors teach less than the average tenure track professor in most other parts of the university (Three class per year teaching loads are standard at all top 50 schools and the large majority of top 100 schools. Real teaching loads are even lower than this because of ever-more generous research leaves/parental leaves, sabbaticals etc). They don't oversee dissertations or peer review journal articles. They publish scholarship of, to put it gently, often dubious intellectual or practical value, in student-run journals, of which there are so many that getting published per se is just a bureaucratic hoop to jump through, as opposed to a significant accomplishment.

In other words, it's a far less challenging job than the typical academic position.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the majority of legal academics do no legal academic work in the summer, but a large number do very little. Basically it's a job for people who are neither lawyers nor academics but pretend to be both. (There are of course plenty of individual exceptions, but I'm speaking in general terms).


Seriously? Law Professors have an even easier job, significantly so apparently, than undergrad academics? How the hell is that six figure salary justified then?

I was going off of what UG academics do, which is actually a significant amount, as anon has been pointing out.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Legal Philosophy

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:47 pm

Thanks for the clarification (I knew most of the details, but that clarifies the big picture). The conversation seemed to be drifting away from law profs specifically to all professors, so that's what I was responding to, but I may have been misreading.




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