JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

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PantaRhei

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JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby PantaRhei » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:20 pm

Hi TLS,

My goal is to go into academia, and I've become really interested in pursing a JD/PhD if I can. I'm a little worried about getting into those programs though, as my stats are hard to find much useful information for on law school alone and harder still for PhD programs. I'm applying across the board at the T14, though my favorite schools are definitely Chicago (though I sincerely doubt I have a shot there), NYU, UVA and Northwestern; the last of which may see an ED application from me.

Quick stats:
-3.0 GPA
-175 LSAT
-URM (AA Male)
-2 years post undergrad
-Computer Science Major, Criminal Justice Minor

Does anyone have any experience with applying to the JD/PhD programs, either as a 0L or during 1L? Does applying in 1L give you an advantage with the school's graduate program? My hope is that if I can make solid grades at a top school as a 1L and combine it with a high GRE, I can overcome my undergraduate GPA and get accepted into whichever school's PhD program. Any guidance would be helpful, thank you.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby totesTheGoat » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:28 pm

A lot of people discourage JD/PhD around here, especially if you want to go into academia. The JD is a professional degree, meaning that its purpose is to train practicing lawyers, not to navel gaze about the law (although there is plenty of that). If I were you, I'd make double extra super sure you want to do this before proceeding further.

Beyond that, planning on using your 1L grades to parlay into a grad school admission seems really foolish, especially when your UG GPA is only a 3.0. Law school grades, especially 1L, are a bit of a craps shoot. You have no idea where you're going to sit on the curve until you're a semester or two in.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby albanach » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:26 pm

PantaRhei wrote:Hi TLS,

My goal is to go into academia, and I've become really interested in pursing a JD/PhD if I can.


You want to teach law? (1) Get accepted to Yale is, I think, the normal starting point. (2) Then do some prestigious clerkships. (3) Then work a couple of years. (4) Then teach.

If step 4 doesn't work out, return to Yale for an S.J.D.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby NonTradinStLou » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:33 pm

What exactly do you want to teach?

If you want to teach law, I agree with the previous poster -- you'll need to go to one of the very top law schools in order to even have a shot at that stuff.

If you want to teach undergrad classes, a JD/PhD is still sort of overkill. The market to teach undergraduate classes is terrible. I have taught both full-time and part-time at a number of colleges, ranging from community college to state schools to private (bigger name) universities. They're hiring underpaid adjuncts for the most part these days.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby xn3345 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:48 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:A lot of people discourage JD/PhD around here, especially if you want to go into academia. The JD is a professional degree, meaning that its purpose is to train practicing lawyers, not to navel gaze about the law (although there is plenty of that). If I were you, I'd make double extra super sure you want to do this before proceeding further.

Beyond that, planning on using your 1L grades to parlay into a grad school admission seems really foolish, especially when your UG GPA is only a 3.0. Law school grades, especially 1L, are a bit of a craps shoot. You have no idea where you're going to sit on the curve until you're a semester or two in.



I strongly disagree. Law schools, especially the tops ones, are incredibly hungry for AA professors. It's hard to overstate just how big the pipeline problem is. Hardly any AA apply with an interest in academia. A 3.0 will (likely) keep you out of the top few schools, but that is a rockstar LSAT. I think you can expect bites in the T6, and a really friendly job market at graduation.

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PantaRhei

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby PantaRhei » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:31 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:A lot of people discourage JD/PhD around here, especially if you want to go into academia. The JD is a professional degree, meaning that its purpose is to train practicing lawyers, not to navel gaze about the law (although there is plenty of that). If I were you, I'd make double extra super sure you want to do this before proceeding further.

Beyond that, planning on using your 1L grades to parlay into a grad school admission seems really foolish, especially when your UG GPA is only a 3.0. Law school grades, especially 1L, are a bit of a craps shoot. You have no idea where you're going to sit on the curve until you're a semester or two in.


I am an unabashed naval gazer, unfortunately. As far as my UGPA reflecting my potential in 1L, I worked multiple full time jobs to cover the cost of my tuition and living during undergrad. I left basically debt free and graduated on time, though not without some battle scars. That makes me relatively confident that without the burdens of paying my own tuition during the course of law school, I can at least rise above a 3.0 even if I'm not #1 in my class.

albanach wrote:
PantaRhei wrote:Hi TLS,

My goal is to go into academia, and I've become really interested in pursing a JD/PhD if I can.


You want to teach law? (1) Get accepted to Yale is, I think, the normal starting point. (2) Then do some prestigious clerkships. (3) Then work a couple of years. (4) Then teach.

If step 4 doesn't work out, return to Yale for an S.J.D.


Solid advice, though I doubt even my unique situation will get me into Yale under a 3.5.

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PantaRhei

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby PantaRhei » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:42 pm

NonTradinStLou wrote:What exactly do you want to teach?


Privacy, privacy and technology, telecommunications, energy and regulation, 4th amendment, cyber security, etc.

I've worked in cyber security for a Fortune 500 telecommunications company and in the energy industry for a similarly large corporation, so my background will hopefully help me break into those areas. Most students seeking academia want to teach con law, I think this will set me apart.

xn3345 wrote:I strongly disagree. Law schools, especially the tops ones, are incredibly hungry for AA professors. It's hard to overstate just how big the pipeline problem is. Hardly any AA apply with an interest in academia. A 3.0 will (likely) keep you out of the top few schools, but that is a rockstar LSAT. I think you can expect bites in the T6, and a really friendly job market at graduation.


I'm sure I won't be hearing good news from HYS and Chicago, but maybe Columbia and NYU will show interest. I received a letter from Columbia's BLSA inviting me to apply, and a fee waiver from the school during this cycle (not applying until next cycle), though I'm unsure if either of these is actually significant or if they're sent to every AA student.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby totesTheGoat » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:11 pm

PantaRhei wrote:I am an unabashed naval gazer, unfortunately.


I hope you didn't take my flippancy as a swipe at the track you're taking. It was meant to lighten the mood, not to insult. :mrgreen:

As far as my UGPA reflecting my potential in 1L, I worked multiple full time jobs to cover the cost of my tuition and living during undergrad. I left basically debt free and graduated on time, though not without some battle scars. That makes me relatively confident that without the burdens of paying my own tuition during the course of law school, I can at least rise above a 3.0 even if I'm not #1 in my class.


I meant it less as an indictment of your GPA and more as a warning. There are people with 3.9 UGPAs who are below median in law school. There are people with 2.5 UGPAs who absolutely cleaned up in law school. Point being that you can't count on anything GPA-wise as a 0L. You just don't know how well you'll take to law school exams. From your posts so far, it sounds like you're probably well suited, but there's a saying about chickens and hatching that applies.

What does that mean for applying to grad school? Flip if I know. Most grad programs are designed such that you can apply during 1L and start the joint program in 2L, so if you think it'll help to have some 1L grades, apply during 1L.

As much as everybody is "Yale or bust" for law professorships, I don't recall taking a single class from a Yale grad. Most of the tenured profs were from top 30 schools or were alums of my school.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby SamuelDanforth » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:30 pm

PantaRhei wrote:Hi TLS,

Does applying in 1L give you an advantage with the school's graduate program? My hope is that if I can make solid grades at a top school as a 1L and combine it with a high GRE, I can overcome my undergraduate GPA and get accepted into whichever school's PhD program. Any guidance would be helpful, thank you.


I only know political theory / history Ph.D programs, but I'm only familiar with the benefit going the other way, i.e. Ph.D students having a small leg-up in law school admissions at the law school at their university. Again, only thinking about these disciplines, my gut sense is that strong 1L grades aren't going to move the needle much, at least at top programs. In short, I think faculty reviewing graduate applications care about pieces of your application in the following order: (1) letters of recommendation, (2) your ability to present a cogent research agenda that demonstrates knowledge of the field and what a good scholarly project looks like to academics in it, (3) your writing sample, (4) grades in relevant coursework, (5) overall GPA, (6) GRE scores.

Law school grades probably fall somewhere between (4) and (5). What graduate programs care about is your ability to produce scholarship in that field. Law school grades don't particularly speak to that ability. However, I suppose if you demonstrate relevant capabilities your 1L professors might be able to move the needle by writing letters of recommendation, especially if they have a Ph.D in the relevant field, or publish in it. You might build those relationships through class/grades, but RAing and other more research-focused activities are more relevant to the skills that a graduate program is going to care about.

My 2 cents.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:12 am

albanach wrote:
PantaRhei wrote:Hi TLS,

My goal is to go into academia, and I've become really interested in pursing a JD/PhD if I can.


You want to teach law? (1) Get accepted to Yale is, I think, the normal starting point. (2) Then do some prestigious clerkships. (3) Then work a couple of years. (4) Then teach.

If step 4 doesn't work out, return to Yale for an S.J.D.


This is some straight up BAD advice.

(1) YLS is great for legal academia, but the current market is receptive to all the T13 schools as long as your degree is paired with either (a) a top PhD/LLM/MBA (58% of hires had either a PhD/LLM/MBA) and publications or (b) a clerkship (56% of hires) + VAP (82% of hires) and publications. (2) As noted earlier, only about 50% of hires last year had clerkships and only 3 hires clerked for the S Ct (note: there are 36 clerks a term). Clerkship emphasis is not what it used to be. The old model of YLS + elite clerkship -> Academia no longer exists. (3) If you want to be a professor of practice, sure, I guess. Otherwise, no. Do a couple years of a VAP >>>>>>>>> any other work experience. Publications, a quality research agenda, and your paper presentation can all be worked on at a VAP. That's going to be very hard to do while working in biglaw or some other context. (4) Holy hell don't get an SJD. Those are meant for people with international JDs. For example, go look at Harvard's list of SJD students. ALL international.

God damn, your advice was awful.

Please don't comment on things you know nothing about.

Source: Sarah Lawksy's aggregated data and some other rather easy to do research that actually goes beyond regurgitating bad and outdated advice from TLS

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby albanach » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:34 am

RedPurpleBlue wrote:God damn, your advice was awful.

Please don't comment on things you know nothing about.


Seriously, if you think anyone is going to read a one sentence four point plan to legal academia stardom on a forum and then base their future around it, your analytical skills need some working. Either that or your sense of humor. Perhaps both.

That said, a top ranked school (and we're certainly not talking about the entire T13 in that classification) and a clerkship continues to cover the majority of legal academic appointments, perhaps with an advanced degree in addition, though OP has relevant work experience which may make that less necessary.

Of course you can debate until the cows come home how far down the T-13 you can go to remain competitive, but the truth will remain that OP should aim for the highest ranked school they can get admitted to, and that Harvard and Yale are consistently over represented among the JD issuing schools of new professors.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby IPProf » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:01 pm

RedPurpleBlue wrote:This is some straight up BAD advice.

(1) YLS is great for legal academia, but the current market is receptive to all the T13 schools as long as your degree is paired with either (a) a top PhD/LLM/MBA (58% of hires had either a PhD/LLM/MBA) and publications or (b) a clerkship (56% of hires) + VAP (82% of hires) and publications. (2) As noted earlier, only about 50% of hires last year had clerkships and only 3 hires clerked for the S Ct (note: there are 36 clerks a term). Clerkship emphasis is not what it used to be. The old model of YLS + elite clerkship -> Academia no longer exists. (3) If you want to be a professor of practice, sure, I guess. Otherwise, no. Do a couple years of a VAP >>>>>>>>> any other work experience. Publications, a quality research agenda, and your paper presentation can all be worked on at a VAP. That's going to be very hard to do while working in biglaw or some other context. (4) Holy hell don't get an SJD. Those are meant for people with international JDs. For example, go look at Harvard's list of SJD students. ALL international.

God damn, your advice was awful.

Please don't comment on things you know nothing about.

Source: Sarah Lawksy's aggregated data and some other rather easy to do research that actually goes beyond regurgitating bad and outdated advice from TLS

This is more or less right.

OP: An AA comp sci phd with a t10ish JD and a good job market paper in cyber anything would get serious looks from half the world right now. That's several kinds of unicorn all smushed together. But:
1.) That's who you can be in 7-8 years and much can happen in that time.
2.) You need to get into a good comp sci phd program that you can split with a JD. You don't need to top both programs or anything, but you need to be solid enough that professors are happy to recommend you.
3.) Writing a good job market paper is really really hard.

I'd honestly be most worried about the PhD program. I don't think being at a law school and having demonstrated good performance as a 1L would help most places, so you'll need to rely on your other merits.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby PantaRhei » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:19 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
PantaRhei wrote:I am an unabashed naval gazer, unfortunately.


I hope you didn't take my flippancy as a swipe at the track you're taking. It was meant to lighten the mood, not to insult. :mrgreen:

I meant it less as an indictment of your GPA and more as a warning. There are people with 3.9 UGPAs who are below median in law school. There are people with 2.5 UGPAs who absolutely cleaned up in law school. Point being that you can't count on anything GPA-wise as a 0L. You just don't know how well you'll take to law school exams. From your posts so far, it sounds like you're probably well suited, but there's a saying about chickens and hatching that applies.

What does that mean for applying to grad school? Flip if I know. Most grad programs are designed such that you can apply during 1L and start the joint program in 2L, so if you think it'll help to have some 1L grades, apply during 1L.

As much as everybody is "Yale or bust" for law professorships, I don't recall taking a single class from a Yale grad. Most of the tenured profs were from top 30 schools or were alums of my school.


I took no insult! I found it amusing and I appreciated the compliment about my posts as well. The part that I bolded is pretty interesting, to say the least: I think while Yale is the predominant school for academia it is certainly not the only one and sometimes TLS needs a reminder that Harvard, Yale and Stanford are not the only worthwhile law schools.

To RedPurpleBlue, you make some excellent points and I agree HYS are often spoken of on these forums in an aggrandizing manner. I follow Sarah Lawsky's blog as well; it's a large part of the reason I'm considering a PhD in addition to my JD.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby PantaRhei » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:23 pm

SamuelDanforth wrote:
PantaRhei wrote:Hi TLS,

Does applying in 1L give you an advantage with the school's graduate program? My hope is that if I can make solid grades at a top school as a 1L and combine it with a high GRE, I can overcome my undergraduate GPA and get accepted into whichever school's PhD program. Any guidance would be helpful, thank you.


I only know political theory / history Ph.D programs, but I'm only familiar with the benefit going the other way, i.e. Ph.D students having a small leg-up in law school admissions at the law school at their university. Again, only thinking about these disciplines, my gut sense is that strong 1L grades aren't going to move the needle much, at least at top programs. In short, I think faculty reviewing graduate applications care about pieces of your application in the following order: (1) letters of recommendation, (2) your ability to present a cogent research agenda that demonstrates knowledge of the field and what a good scholarly project looks like to academics in it, (3) your writing sample, (4) grades in relevant coursework, (5) overall GPA, (6) GRE scores.

Law school grades probably fall somewhere between (4) and (5). What graduate programs care about is your ability to produce scholarship in that field. Law school grades don't particularly speak to that ability. However, I suppose if you demonstrate relevant capabilities your 1L professors might be able to move the needle by writing letters of recommendation, especially if they have a Ph.D in the relevant field, or publish in it. You might build those relationships through class/grades, but RAing and other more research-focused activities are more relevant to the skills that a graduate program is going to care about.

My 2 cents.


Thank you for this! I have strong recommendation letters, though I am still seeking one more because none of my references has a PhD.

I probably should have clarified: I'm looking at philosophy programs. I'm not going for a PhD in CompSci, I'd rather study the philosophical underpinnings of privacy, our understanding of and reliance upon technology and the powers of telecommunications companies.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby PantaRhei » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:29 pm

albanach wrote:That said, a top ranked school (and we're certainly not talking about the entire T13 in that classification) and a clerkship continues to cover the majority of legal academic appointments, perhaps with an advanced degree in addition, though OP has relevant work experience which may make that less necessary.


*T14

You're right about higher ranked schools. I'm wondering if transferring into a top school would allow me a chance to get into their JD/PhD program as well.

IPProf wrote:This is more or less right.

OP: An AA comp sci phd with a t10ish JD and a good job market paper in cyber anything would get serious looks from half the world right now. That's several kinds of unicorn all smushed together. But:
1.) That's who you can be in 7-8 years and much can happen in that time.
2.) You need to get into a good comp sci phd program that you can split with a JD. You don't need to top both programs or anything, but you need to be solid enough that professors are happy to recommend you.
3.) Writing a good job market paper is really really hard.

I'd honestly be most worried about the PhD program. I don't think being at a law school and having demonstrated good performance as a 1L would help most places, so you'll need to rely on your other merits.


Hopefully schools also see me as several kinds of unicorn and accept me. Please see above, I'm actually not looking for a CompSci PhD.

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Re: JD/PhD Advice for AA Splitter

Postby albanach » Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:16 pm

PantaRhei wrote:
You're right about higher ranked schools. I'm wondering if transferring into a top school would allow me a chance to get into their JD/PhD program as well.


I don't think you don't need to worry about transferring. Your stats should be good enough to get into a very good school. Apply as early as possible in the fall cycle and everything is in reach. Work very hard between now and then on perfecting your diversity statement, your personal statement and your fourteen Why X statements. You'd still be better at a lower T13/14 school with $$$ than at somewhere like NYU without unless you are very comfortable with lots of debt. Obviously if you transfer into H/Y etc. their pricing structure changes, so transferring could still be an option, but you're going to have to truly excel in 1L and that cannot be predicted.

PantaRhei wrote:Hopefully schools also see me as several kinds of unicorn and accept me. Please see above, I'm actually not looking for a CompSci PhD.


You'll get into good schools. You need to apply to the entire T14. Once you know which school, you can start to think more about how to translate that into academia.



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