JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

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Anonymous User
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JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:48 am

Is this something that people do?

Let's just say for argument's sake that I'm a 2L, top 20% at a T30 and haven't received an offer for a SA at this point. For the sake of the hypo, assume that I have stumbled upon a note topic I'm borderline obsessed with (wave of the future, wave of the future...) and that I also just drank a 40 of Olde English.

Facts straight? Here's the idea: Complete the JD and bump my grades up while doing my best to get my note published. Apply to PHD programs in an area related to my note. Write a dissertation and live out my days teaching hungover undergrads while banking $70k in a sleepy college town where I spend my evenings throwing a frisbee to my dogs while sipping mid-shelf whiskey before I F my (future) wife and slip into a blissful 8 hours of sleep. I will consider wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches, but I'll be damned if a bow-tie gets anywhere near my face.

Is this remotely feasible?

Anticipated criticism: TLS: You're anon, post your school! Me: No, you can literally narrow it down to 5. TLS: You don't go to HYS, you can't be a professor!! Me: I'm talking about teaching 19 year olds abstract theories that they won't remember in three months, not debating with socially awkward over-achieving 24 year olds harboring any number of undiagnosed personality problems. TLS: We can't give you any advice if you don't tell us (1) undergrad experience (2) potential PHD program subject matter/field of study (3) dissertation topic/note topic. Me: Fair. Let's just say nothing hard science, but also nothing overly legal. Think softish econ (is this a thing? think Schumpeter). TLS: You must be drunk!!! Me: I halfway conceded this.

Grip it and rip it.

ze2151
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Re: JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

Postby ze2151 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:12 am

i think you are a better fit for dropping out and cutting your losses. if the jd isn't working out, and if the school name alone isn't going to get you there, then cut bait and deal with a minimal loan situation. but assuming you go through with this... tenure track professor gigs, at any echelon of collegiate "prestige," are becoming increasingly rare. i'm not saying it can't be done, but i am saying it's unlikely, and you've got a better shot of finding a job as a lawyer (this is not to say that finding a job as a lawyer is easy). most of those tiny lib arts schools have a minute number of tenured faculty and then an army of adjuncts (hint- that's what you would be) who do the heavy lifting for nearly minimum wage rates if one works out the hourly pay. further, the tide is turning against the idea that everyone should go to college. small, sleepy lib arts schools are more likely to be tuition-driven institutions with small endowments. fewer students means BIG trouble for them. i think a not insignificant number of them will close.

summary- you went to law school to be a lawyer. if you don't want to do that anymore or don't think you can, drop out and do something else before you dig yourself deeper in debt. the academic job market is a total nightmare. good luck to you, friend.

Anonymous User
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Re: JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:13 pm

I've been thinking the same thing recently; I'm doing a jd/mba at ccn and going to work at a v5 and still think it wouldnt be an awful idea to just get a phd and live in a college town so i can research and have time to chill and be around ideas/etcetcetc

LOLyer
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Re: JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

Postby LOLyer » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:44 pm

Getting that 70k salary is the main obstacle.
Last edited by LOLyer on Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Gorki
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Re: JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

Postby Gorki » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:45 pm

My advisor at a Random State U had a JD. But he also became a prof in the early 1990s and had his pick of places to work, and he told he could not in good conscience recommend that path to anyone right off the bat. The problem these days is that most state schools and private endowments are seeing huge $$ shrinkage. While you did not say specifically, if you have any big law school debt, this will also make the process much much harder. All that interest will accrue during your PhD studies (which can take 5 + years).

Many higher eds. are simply not hiring tenure track. My college was literally in flyover country, hundreds of miles from a metropolitan area, yet hundreds of Ivy and reputable State U PhDs applied for tenure-track here. Many of the newer profs, who had no choice but take a job there, were absolutely miserable and spent a lot of their relatively small income routinely flying/driving back to the nearest metropolitan areas to be with family.

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hung jury
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Re: JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

Postby hung jury » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:45 pm

1) Your note won't matter. It isn't peer reviewed. Most academic departments look down on legal scholarship, but if they are counting anything in legal venues I doubt anything lower than a full-length article in a law journal or a law review article makes the cut.

2) Your JD might be more of a burden than a benefit. It depends a little on the field but most undergrad departments would rather take someone who has expressed sole devotion to academia from the start. Attrition rates in PhD programs tend to be pretty high (2/3s of an entering class not acquiring the PhD is commonplace in some departments, i.e., look to your left, look to your right) so they are selecting for people who might make it out of the process.

3) In most fields, a 70k TT hire in a sleepy college town is the academic equivalent of landing a COA clerkship. This usually means that the number of schools placing in sleepy college towns for 70k is in the single digits. The norm is shitAcademia, which, unlike its (slowly dying) bigAcademia brother, often involves roaming from postdoc to postdoc/VAP or, worse, adjuncting for a lower middle class salary. And PhD admissions are much more selective than law admissions.

4) I could give a more nuanced conclusion, but "not feasible" captures the reality of the situation a little better.

Anonymous User
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Re: JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:12 pm

hung jury wrote:1) Your note won't matter. It isn't peer reviewed. Most academic departments look down on legal scholarship, but if they are counting anything in legal venues I doubt anything lower than a full-length article in a law journal or a law review article makes the cut.

2) Your JD might be more of a burden than a benefit. It depends a little on the field but most undergrad departments would rather take someone who has expressed sole devotion to academia from the start. Attrition rates in PhD programs tend to be pretty high (2/3s of an entering class not acquiring the PhD is commonplace in some departments, i.e., look to your left, look to your right) so they are selecting for people who might make it out of the process.

3) In most fields, a 70k TT hire in a sleepy college town is the academic equivalent of landing a COA clerkship. This usually means that the number of schools placing in sleepy college towns for 70k is in the single digits. The norm is shitAcademia, which, unlike its (slowly dying) bigAcademia brother, often involves roaming from postdoc to postdoc/VAP or, worse, adjuncting for a lower middle class salary. And PhD admissions are much more selective than law admissions.

4) I could give a more nuanced conclusion, but "not feasible" captures the reality of the situation a little better.


This. I have a Ph.D. from (arguably) the top department in my field. The department admits about 3-5% of applicants and has about a 25% attrition rate. They had one of the best TT placement rates in my field. If you had absolutely no geography/pay standards then most (but not all) of our graduates could eventually find jobs, but it would still routinely take between 2 and 5 years of adjuncting/postdoc work at ~15-30k a year to land that "coveted" position at a terrible school in the middle of nowhere. Probably another 25% or so of the class gives up looking for a TT job post-graduation, when adjuncting introduces them to the massive downsides of working/teaching at an underfunded non-elite university.

Hung Jury's point 3, about a TT hire being about on par with a COA clerkship, seems spot-on with the added caveat that in some years there will be literally no entry level TT jobs in the world for your particular subfield.

Before you decide to go to grad school, talk to some (preferably unemployed) recent graduates about the TT job market. In comparison, it makes OCI seem like some sort of federally mandated full employment program.

Peg
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Re: JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

Postby Peg » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:28 pm

OP,

I actually know a woman who went to an extremely shitty TTTT law school and, upon graduation, got a job as a professor of con law at a community college in the same town as the TTTT law school. It's not tenure track, but I think she's getting at least 30-40k or something and at least her medical is taken care of. I think her grades were good but not great (i.e. somewhere around your own rank).

If you want to try the professor route, try and do it with a JD, but literally apply to the worst community colleges in the most repulsive little towns you can think. Oh, and keep trying to get a legal job while you're at it. Top 20% at a T30 means you should crack midlaw or a nice PI job at least.

Anonymous User
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Re: JD--> PHD --> UG Prof?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:11 pm

OP: Wow. Well OK. I appreciate the information.

Ya I'm waiting to hear back from some callbacks and I have another screener plus another callback next week, so I'm not dead yet. I will continue to massmail and keep my pipedreams to a minimum.

Have a good weekend folks.




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