Prestige of firm -> Academia

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Anonymous User
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Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:09 am

Does anyone have any idea how much (if at all) the prestige of your firm matters if you're considering academia in a few years? I feel like it's hard to tell, given that most people with the grades for academia choose prestigious firms, but perhaps someone has a better sense than I do?

(By less prestigious firms, I mean I'm considering firms below V50, but that are near the top of their market)

anon168
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Re: Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby anon168 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone have any idea how much (if at all) the prestige of your firm matters if you're considering academia in a few years? I feel like it's hard to tell, given that most people with the grades for academia choose prestigious firms, but perhaps someone has a better sense than I do?

(By less prestigious firms, I mean I'm considering firms below V50, but that are near the top of their market)


Define prestige.

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Detrox
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Re: Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby Detrox » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:37 am

From what I've heard/found, the prestige of your firm matters very very little, what matters is having the time to publish quality work. More prestigious firms may put you in touch with more talented lawyers or legends in their fields with whom you may be able to work and learn from and possibly co-write a piece; however, hiring committees are going to be looking primarily at your writing (and grades/fellowships/misc.), not where your resume lands on the vault steps.

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soccerfreak
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Re: Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby soccerfreak » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:18 am

Detrox wrote:From what I've heard/found, the prestige of your firm matters very very little, what matters is having the time to publish quality work. More prestigious firms may put you in touch with more talented lawyers or legends in their fields with whom you may be able to work and learn from and possibly co-write a piece; however, hiring committees are going to be looking primarily at your writing (and grades/fellowships/misc.), not where your resume lands on the vault steps.

This. From what I understand, getting published is the clear number one priority.

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Re: Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby Younger Abstention » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:23 am

It's self-selection, really. Someone with the credentials likely to end up in academia will likely go to Williams & Connolly over Venable, for example. But that doesn't mean that a law school hiring committee cares that they worked for W&C rather than Venable.

But I know someone who worked at a smaller firm in Harrisburg prior to becoming a law professor, because that's where her husband was teaching -- didn't seem to hurt her much on the meat market.

You might say the same thing about someone who graduated summa/magna cum laude over someone who was median, or bottom of the class. The guy who graduated summa will likely have the string of publications that get them selected (because they are probably more motivated, more disciplined, more into law from a theoretical angle, etc. etc), but if the lower-ranked person had those publications instead, they'd be the one hired.

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Re: Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:47 am

For someone that goes to a T20 and bottom of the class, is it still possible to break into the academic market? I have an advanced technical degree, and I am publishing two journal articles and one co-authored book chapter this year so far. I have another paper that I am editing to submit for publication, and I will likely work on another piece this year to prepare for publication next year.

The reason for the low grades was because I bombed the first semester (came from a science background). I have brought my GPA up a whole point, that's how bad it was my first semester. I have two years of firm experience, and I am currently going on call back interviews at ip firms for first-year associate positions.

Do you think my active publishing and upward trend in GPA will overcome my lackluster law GPA and T20 school? Is it worth trying to continue to publish to seek entrance into the academic market? I would be looking at ip/env. law positions.

Thanks!

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Re: Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:46 am

OP here- thanks! I appreciate the input, particularly because it's what I hoped to hear, of course :)

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Re: Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:25 am

+1 to what was said about publishing; clerking and prestige of said clerkship *are* going to matter, however.

-(Anon to not out interest in academia to future employers).

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Re: Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby Younger Abstention » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For someone that goes to a T20 and bottom of the class, is it still possible to break into the academic market? I have an advanced technical degree, and I am publishing two journal articles and one co-authored book chapter this year so far. I have another paper that I am editing to submit for publication, and I will likely work on another piece this year to prepare for publication next year.

The reason for the low grades was because I bombed the first semester (came from a science background). I have brought my GPA up a whole point, that's how bad it was my first semester. I have two years of firm experience, and I am currently going on call back interviews at ip firms for first-year associate positions.

Do you think my active publishing and upward trend in GPA will overcome my lackluster law GPA and T20 school? Is it worth trying to continue to publish to seek entrance into the academic market? I would be looking at ip/env. law positions.

Thanks!


We're not the people you should be asking but I'd say:
Your advanced degree and string of publications will make you an attractive candidate, so I'd say you absolutely have a chance. Will your school and class rank be a detriment, though? Probably. You should probably take lots of uncurved seminars so you graduate with some sort of latin honors/distinction (if at all still possible) while also allowing you to make connections with professors, which is also important. You can also for further publications try to publish your seminar papers.

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Prestige of firm -> Academia

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:18 pm

Currently on the academic job market with middling success (a handful of AALS interviews so far, expecting in the 6-8 range this cycle).

It's self-selection, really. Someone with the credentials likely to end up in academia will likely go to Williams & Connolly over Venable, for example. But that doesn't mean that a law school hiring committee cares that they worked for W&C rather than Venable.


This, with one caveat. There is a particular breed of candidate who is hired more for potential than past publishing. Yale or Stanford JD (or maybe Harvard magna or Chicago high honors), clerkship with a well-known COA judge, two or three (but not one or four) years at a top firm or federal government job, one decent placement that's used as the job talk piece. With this type of person, because it is so important that everything look just so (because there isn't a publication record to go by), it might hurt them to have a firm outside of the V20 or comparable boutique or federal agency on their resume.

You might say the same thing about someone who graduated summa/magna cum laude over someone who was median, or bottom of the class. The guy who graduated summa will likely have the string of publications that get them selected (because they are probably more motivated, more disciplined, more into law from a theoretical angle, etc. etc), but if the lower-ranked person had those publications instead, they'd be the one hired.


This is less true. There is substantial disagreement from school to school whether they'd rather have the better pedigreed candidate or the better published one, at least once certain thresholds are reached (e.g., at least a T14 law school, at least cum laude/honors, at least a district court clerkship, at least one publication, etc.). I was told straight up by a few people that schools were going to prefer the more stereotypical candidates to me despite my superior publishing record. And I'm fairly competitive on paper aside from placements (good grades from a T6 school, AIII clerkship, meaningful firm and government experience, etc.). Some schools just prefer the more traditional Yale JD, clerk for the 2nd or 9th circuits, two years at W&C people.

For someone that goes to a T20 and bottom of the class, is it still possible to break into the academic market? I have an advanced technical degree, and I am publishing two journal articles and one co-authored book chapter this year so far. I have another paper that I am editing to submit for publication, and I will likely work on another piece this year to prepare for publication next year.


This is a tough one. I assume that the degree is not a PhD -- if it is, then your prospects are sunnier. If it's not, then you are going to have a really tough time. The reason is that there are not a huge number of IP openings, and there are a good number of candidates. Many of them will have a PhD and a T6 degree and a clerkship (either Federal Circuit or traditional COA clerkship). They won't have as many articles as you, but they will have some. MAYBE if yours are ridiculously well-placed that will open some eyes -- the IP equivalent of several T25 publications (IP is one of the odd fields that has its own set of journals). It would take a huge set of cojones for a hiring committee to pick you over Joe Smith who graduated magna from Harvard with a bio PhD and who clerked for the Federal Circuit before his current stint at a well-regarded patent boutique, even if he only has two publications to your four.




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