Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

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JurisDoctorate
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Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby JurisDoctorate » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:35 pm

Person 1
Graduated around the median at CCN (Top 6)
Not on law review
Published 2 law review articles
PhD from a prestigious school (borderline Ivy)

Person 2
Graduated at the top of a very low ranked law school
Head of law review
Published 2 law review articles
PhD from a prestigious school (borderline Ivy)

JurisDoctorate
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby JurisDoctorate » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:48 pm

Even if you don't have a truly qualified opinion (i.e. you are a law professor), I would appreciate your sense of this.

phoenixsoars
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby phoenixsoars » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:31 pm

.
Last edited by phoenixsoars on Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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A'nold
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby A'nold » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:31 pm

Since unsubstantiated guesswork is apparently my specialty, I am highly qualified to answer your question.

I've heard that graduating from a lower ranked school is fatal to academia goals. However, at my former t3 law school, there were many profs from t1 and t2 schools. One, however, graduated summa from her t2 and had a PHD in another subject area. One t1 prof had a t1 law degree and a doctorate in law from another mid t1.

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TTH
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby TTH » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:00 am

Isn't a clerkship almost always necessary?

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AreJay711
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:11 am

Well in the above it is clear but if the person at the lower ranked school published significantly more then it would swing that way. Class rank doesn't seem to matter according to the law prof answering questions thread.

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vamedic03
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:53 am

Isn't this a rather arbitrary hypothetical? Going onto the market having published 2 LR articles seems a bit far fetched, unless they were published in not very highly ranked journals. Otherwise, one would probably have had to have done a fellowship, and many fellowships would be difficult to obtain under hypo 1 or 2.

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Grizz
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby Grizz » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:02 am

lol @ borderline ivy

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Kohinoor
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby Kohinoor » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:54 am

The one that doesn't believe in borderline ivy's.

Journeybound
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby Journeybound » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:49 am

From what I've heard, where you graduate from is extremely important. During my 1L year, I thought that I was interested in academia, and I discussed it with my professor. He tried as nicely as he could to tell me that it was virtually impossible to do so from our T2, even in the Top 1%. He did so by listing all of the law schools where the professors had graduated from: Harvard (most), Yale, Stanford, and Columbia. He said that 3 or 4 on the faculty were from other schools. Also, he said that good grades are very important.

It seems like the expected process is: Go to top 5 school -> Clerk -> work for BigLaw firm (only a 2-3 years.) -> and during this entire time, publish, publish, and publish -> be hired on tenure track. You really don't see too many PhDs.

So, as you can see, becoming a law professor is insanely competitive. At least that's what this professor (who was in charge of the school's hiring committee) implied.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby dextermorgan » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:02 am

Well is the PhD in an area related to their research/teaching interests? Are they aiming for a top 50 school? Is the "borderline ivy" (whatever the fuck that is) a prestigious school for their PhD field? There are way too many variables to answer the question.

JurisDoctorate
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby JurisDoctorate » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:27 pm

Thanks for all of the replies.

I know the law review thing seems far-fetched but I am not talking about sole authorship, this would be with a law professor I am working with. Borderline ivy was my attempt to veil my school; let's just say that it's a school with a great reputation and it's one of the top 6 law schools. The PhD is in the social sciences and the dissertation is on a topic that combines psychology and the law.

Essentially, everything is controlled for (the same in both scenarios) because I am really asking if I would be better off going to a top school and being in the middle of the pack or if I should be a stud at a low ranked law school. After everything I read, I assumed that the prestige of the school is critical but a friend suggested that it might be better to be a top student at a lower ranked school. I was just wondering what others thought of this.

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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby Danteshek » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:29 pm

JurisDoctorate wrote:Thanks for all of the replies.

I know the law review thing seems far-fetched but I am not talking about sole authorship, this would be with a law professor I am working with. Borderline ivy was my attempt to veil my school; let's just say that it's a school with a great reputation and it's one of the top 6 law schools. The PhD is in the social sciences and the dissertation is on a topic that combines psychology and the law.

Essentially, everything is controlled for (the same in both scenarios) because I am really asking if I would be better off going to a top school and being in the middle of the pack or if I should be a stud at a low ranked law school. After everything I read, I assumed that the prestige of the school is critical but a friend suggested that it might be better to be a top student at a lower ranked school. I was just wondering what others thought of this.


LOL at assumption that you would be a "stud" at low ranked school.

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A'nold
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:35 pm

JurisDoctorate wrote:Thanks for all of the replies.

I know the law review thing seems far-fetched but I am not talking about sole authorship, this would be with a law professor I am working with. Borderline ivy was my attempt to veil my school; let's just say that it's a school with a great reputation and it's one of the top 6 law schools. The PhD is in the social sciences and the dissertation is on a topic that combines psychology and the law.

Essentially, everything is controlled for (the same in both scenarios) because I am really asking if I would be better off going to a top school and being in the middle of the pack or if I should be a stud at a low ranked law school. After everything I read, I assumed that the prestige of the school is critical but a friend suggested that it might be better to be a top student at a lower ranked school. I was just wondering what others thought of this.

Lulz lulz lulz.

I was going to say this right off the bat but I've said this before and once the poster realizes it is a dumb thing to say he/she acts like it's not what he/she meant to ask.....I let you do this yourself op. :wink:

I was a top student at a "crap school that you would 'stud it up' at" and I am a top student here at a t1. It doesn't work that way. Sure, if you are a median student at Columbia you might be able to be a top 20% student at Cooley based off of sheer intellectual differences, but that is in the extreme.

If you are median at, say, Duke you'd likely be around median at Temple and if you were a top student at Temple you would likely be a top 5-10% student at Duke.

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TTH
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby TTH » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:37 pm

i like where this thread has started to go.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:39 pm

#2, but it may differ depending upon what law school has the law prof position.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

roary
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby roary » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:39 pm

OP, the general rule of getting hired for tenure track is go to as highly ranked a school as you can manage, and publish. I speak from personal experience of having been in the rat-race of tenure track hiring on both sides of the table myself.
Your PhD from a high ranked school, may give you an edge for employment at a lower ranked school. But the H/Y JD with a similar publication record to your might just edge you out, even without a PhD.

flcath
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby flcath » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:51 pm

Person 1, but not by a landslide.

Basically, they only differ in their LS pedigree, and neither has one that screams "law professor material." Academic hiring tends to prefer more prestigious schools to better grades... more so than firms.

Honestly the quality of the 2 pubs is the biggest determinant here.

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A'nold
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:58 pm

flcath wrote:Person 1, but not by a landslide.

Basically, they only differ in their LS pedigree, and neither has one that screams "law professor material." Academic hiring tends to prefer more prestigious schools to better grades... more so than firms.

Honestly the quality of the 2 pubs is the biggest determinant here.

I mean, say you publish like a fiend. You graduate from a middle of the road kind of school and have good or great grades. Yet by the time you are 35 years old you have like 25 pieces published in various journals across the country. Are you saying that that is more important than school attended? I'm not being argumentative here, I'm actually curious.

TheFriendlyBarber
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:00 pm

Danteshek wrote:
JurisDoctorate wrote:Thanks for all of the replies.

I know the law review thing seems far-fetched but I am not talking about sole authorship, this would be with a law professor I am working with. Borderline ivy was my attempt to veil my school; let's just say that it's a school with a great reputation and it's one of the top 6 law schools. The PhD is in the social sciences and the dissertation is on a topic that combines psychology and the law.

Essentially, everything is controlled for (the same in both scenarios) because I am really asking if I would be better off going to a top school and being in the middle of the pack or if I should be a stud at a low ranked law school. After everything I read, I assumed that the prestige of the school is critical but a friend suggested that it might be better to be a top student at a lower ranked school. I was just wondering what others thought of this.


LOL at assumption that you would be a "stud" at low ranked school.


Don't be insecure, bro. It's OK.

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thesealocust
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby thesealocust » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:06 pm

A'nold wrote:
flcath wrote:Person 1, but not by a landslide.

Basically, they only differ in their LS pedigree, and neither has one that screams "law professor material." Academic hiring tends to prefer more prestigious schools to better grades... more so than firms.

Honestly the quality of the 2 pubs is the biggest determinant here.

I mean, say you publish like a fiend. You graduate from a middle of the road kind of school and have good or great grades. Yet by the time you are 35 years old you have like 25 pieces published in various journals across the country. Are you saying that that is more important than school attended? I'm not being argumentative here, I'm actually curious.


Law professor hiring is a lot like getting big law: It has a very formal procedure. There's one hiring conference (the meat market) every year that the overwhelming majority of schools attend to make their 'picsk'. You go in with a standardized form that lists only a few things. I think it has room for 3 publications. You then do bunches of interviews in small rooms (just like 2L OCI) and the schools choose a tiny number of hires from an obscenely over qualified group.

What you're describing doesn't fit at all with the paradigm for hires. In general, all 200 law schools in the country look for one of the following:

(a) somebody 'young' with a demonstrated prestigious record (clerkships, grades, school, law review) + publication potential (generally as measured by publication record)

or

(b) somebody with a proven record in a field where expertise and experience may be more important (often something like tax or corporate law).

The 'young' part in (a) is critical (and speaks to time since graduation, not actual age). People who are going to become professors via the first route almost ALWAYS do it within a few years of graduation. Nobody practices while publishing scholarly articles for a decade, and if they did they would be a very odd candidate on the meat market. That's not to say such a candidate couldn't get a job, but your comparison there doesn't make a lot of sense, because the category you describe doesn't exist.

In general it appears that a solid record of publication can make up for a LOT when it comes to hiring, but the 'formula' (top school, grades, clerkships) is still pretty relevant. People with PhDs are increasingly being hired, but they aren't exactly lacking in the former categories, and plenty of people without PhDs are still making it through. It's critical to have something that demonstrates publication potential (publications being the most critical) but amassing a stack of them over years isn't likely to do you any good.

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pattonthicke
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby pattonthicke » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:07 pm

flcath wrote:Person 1, but not by a landslide.


I disagree. I think person 1 wins hand down. As someone interested in academia as well, I have heard that your LS plays a substantial role for ppl in academia. Go look at faculty profiles on the Law schools websites and you will see a small percentage of faculty that did not come from a T-14 at Tier 1 schools.

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A'nold
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:11 pm

thesealocust wrote:
A'nold wrote:
flcath wrote:Person 1, but not by a landslide.

Basically, they only differ in their LS pedigree, and neither has one that screams "law professor material." Academic hiring tends to prefer more prestigious schools to better grades... more so than firms.

Honestly the quality of the 2 pubs is the biggest determinant here.

I mean, say you publish like a fiend. You graduate from a middle of the road kind of school and have good or great grades. Yet by the time you are 35 years old you have like 25 pieces published in various journals across the country. Are you saying that that is more important than school attended? I'm not being argumentative here, I'm actually curious.


Law professor hiring is a lot like getting big law: It has a very formal procedure. There's one hiring conference (the meat market) every year that the overwhelming majority of schools attend to make their 'picsk'. You go in with a standardized form that lists only a few things. I think it has room for 3 publications. You then do bunches of interviews in small rooms (just like 2L OCI) and the schools choose a tiny number of hires from an obscenely over qualified group.

What you're describing doesn't fit at all with the paradigm for hires. In general, all 200 law schools in the country look for one of the following:

(a) somebody 'young' with a demonstrated prestigious record (clerkships, grades, school, law review) + publication potential (generally as measured by publication record)

or

(b) somebody with a proven record in a field where expertise and experience may be more important (often something like tax or corporate law).

The 'young' part in (a) is critical (and speaks to time since graduation, not actual age). People who are going to become professors via the first route almost ALWAYS do it within a few years of graduation. Nobody practices while publishing scholarly articles for a decade, and if they did they would be a very odd candidate on the meat market. That's not to say such a candidate couldn't get a job, but your comparison there doesn't make a lot of sense, because the category you describe doesn't exist.

In general it appears that a solid record of publication can make up for a LOT when it comes to hiring, but the 'formula' (top school, grades, clerkships) is still pretty relevant. People with PhDs are increasingly being hired, but they aren't exactly lacking in the former categories, and plenty of people without PhDs are still making it through. It's critical to have something that demonstrates publication potential (publications being the most critical) but amassing a stack of them over years isn't likely to do you any good.

Wait, so you only get to list like 3 publications? What about your resume? The reason I ask is b/c at the firm I worked for over the summer, one of the original junior partners left after practicing for like 10 years to go become a professor at like Stetson in Florida. I was just wondering how this guy got this kind of job. I guess he was trying for a few years but still....does it all go through the channel you mentioned above or do these professor hopefuls actually send out resumes to schools throughout the year?

Edit: would "amassing a bunch of publications" help you in any other ways?

Edit #2: don't people still get the "itch" to be involved in academic writing when they leave law school?

flcath
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby flcath » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:22 pm

A'nold wrote:
flcath wrote:Person 1, but not by a landslide.

Basically, they only differ in their LS pedigree, and neither has one that screams "law professor material." Academic hiring tends to prefer more prestigious schools to better grades... more so than firms.

Honestly the quality of the 2 pubs is the biggest determinant here.

I mean, say you publish like a fiend. You graduate from a middle of the road kind of school and have good or great grades. Yet by the time you are 35 years old you have like 25 pieces published in various journals across the country. Are you saying that that is more important than school attended? I'm not being argumentative here, I'm actually curious.

Hiring practices seem to vary widely across the different tiers of schools; one area in which the T13 do seem to be more selective is PhD hiring... we barely have any at ND, but Brian Leiter (the UChi prof who has a blog about this) constantly talks about how you can't get into many areas of the legal academy w/o a PhD.

It is also no secret that you can scroll through the faculty at non-T1 schools and see a lot more non-T13 grads teaching; at ND (and most places at and above us) it is almost exclusively HYSC. Additionally, EVERY school has a bias towards hiring (at least a few of) its own grads.

Publishing drives academic hiring, though there is still a great amount of attention paid to teaching ability (I come from a field, Biochem, where teaching is 0% of the advancement formula)... many places have profs visit a semester first to feel out this aspect. You'll present your work to the entire faculty (who won't read it, but will listen to you present on it), and they'll vote on you.

LS creds seem to be a proxy for publishing potential, which can be difficult to determine on its own. I would also guess that some of it is just the simple fact that LSs are in a position to be choosy.

flcath
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Re: Who would be more competitive for a professorship?

Postby flcath » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:27 pm

pattonthicke wrote:
flcath wrote:Person 1, but not by a landslide.


I disagree. I think person 1 wins hand down. As someone interested in academia as well, I have heard that your LS plays a substantial role for ppl in academia. Go look at faculty profiles on the Law schools websites and you will see a small percentage of faculty that did not come from a T-14 at Tier 1 schools.

Yeah, yeah, but again, you're looking at who teaches at YOUR law school. Click through the faculty profiles at Stetson, Florida State, Memphis, etc.

OP should be aware that THE TRACK for legal academia (which has become quasi-exclusive at good schools) is:

HYS (CCN: frowned upon) --> CoA clerk --> SCOTUS clerk (didn't get one: frowned upon) --> 2 to NO MORE THAN 4 years at big firm (doesn't have to be top firm, oddly) --> Meat Market!!




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