JD-PhD in African-American Studies?

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JD-PhD in African-American Studies?

Postby bluestarrynight96 » Thu May 24, 2018 4:05 pm

Hello everyone, I'm new to TLS so my bad if this has been asked already (don't think it has)

Background info about me: AA Female at a "public ivy" 3.7 GPA, in the honors college, liberal arts major. I have substantial work experience, a learning disability and a low-income background. I'm planning to take the LSAT this September. I took a proctored practice exam that my school offered a few months ago and got a 162 cold...not spectacular but I'm hoping to get it up to a 168 or higher.

My question: Lately I've been thinking about applying for a JD-PhD in African-American studies. Does anyone here have experience with that combination of degrees or know someone who does? I'm interested in studying Black women & criminality, Black political thought, and how critical race theory and postcolonial theory can be applied to international law. Ideally I would want to do research and/or teach in both fields and be on tenure track in at least one of them...and during summers I would like to do pro bono work in inner-city communities, maybe take a team of students with me too. So long story short I know what degrees I need for this and I know what I want career-wise, but I guess I'm wondering how to get from point A to point B? Do I have to get substantial litigation experience before I can join legal academia or should I focus more on research and publishing? Is a clerkship a good idea? Are the career prospects for this niche even worth all the trouble? Any guidance or insight on the path I should take would be helpful.


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Re: JD-PhD in African-American Studies?

Postby sparkytrainer » Thu May 24, 2018 4:39 pm

Number 1 rule to get legal academia: go to Yale.

Number 2 rule to get legal academia: go to Yale.

Number 3 rule to get legal academia: go to Yale, if not, go to Harvard or Stanford.

Further, if you want a PhD of this type (I know nothing about it), most legal academics do their PhDs separately from their JDs. I might suggest you get your PhD first because it isn't a cost sink. Go attempt to get into the relevant schools for that PhD (I have no idea where they are offered in this case) and you aren't risking a lot of money. Sure time and some expense, but PhD's generally get their tuition covered and a stipend. Whereas a law degree is costly and it doesn't sound like you actually want to be a lawyer. Law school doesn't train you to be an academic, it trains you to work as a lawyer. If you want training as an academic, get your PhD.

Honest advice: go try to get your PhD first. Less risky cost wise. Then after 6-7 years of that, if you feel that a JD is still necessary, then go do that. Preferably Yale. Which your LSAT isn't going to cut at the moment, but its not even an actual score yet.

Vegas bound

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Re: JD-PhD in African-American Studies?

Postby Vegas bound » Sun May 27, 2018 1:17 pm

You could do a jd/ma in aas in 3 years. I don't know how tied you are to getting the phd in aas though. You will still be a doctor with the jd and most likely can reach your career goals on with the jd/ma combo.


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Re: JD-PhD in African-American Studies?

Postby nixy » Sun May 27, 2018 2:18 pm

If the goal is academia, no, an MA won't cut it.

OP, academia is a tough tough goal, but if you want to go that route, getting the PhD will help. And you should focus much more on research and publishing than litigation experience - in fact, if you practice for too long you will make it more difficult to get an academic job as you won't look sufficiently scholarly. A clerkship is a good idea in that clerkships tend to correlate with high grades/writing ability, which are key for academia. The career prospects are going to be tough, though - there just aren't a lot of academic jobs compared to the number of people who want them.

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