Academic Careers

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GoatDolphin
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Academic Careers

Postby GoatDolphin » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:06 pm

I am wondering if anyone has any credible information about shaping a career path for academia. I am told you need "very good grades." What does that mean in practice?

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suralin
better than you
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Re: Academic Careers

Postby suralin » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:16 pm

GoatDolphin wrote:I am wondering if anyone has any credible information about shaping a career path for academia. I am told you need "very good grades." What does that mean in practice?


viewtopic.php?f=3&t=202735&hilit=academia

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Academic Careers

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:20 pm

It means really really good grades. Exactly how good those grades have to be may vary a little from HYS to lower ranked schools, but you're still looking for top of the class. The Climenko fellowship at Harvard is designed to train legal academics; you can check out the credentials of current fellows here: http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/de ... llows.html. Similarly, you can see current fellows at U Chicago (and their qualifications) here: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/people/facu ... ll/Fellows. Keep in mind that anyone who's listed as having a COA clerkship probably graduated in the top 10% of their class (Order of the Coif is top 10%; Latin honors varies by school, though I think often cum laude = 25-33%, magna is maybe top 10%, and summa is often top 2-3%? though again, it varies).

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thesealocust
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Re: Academic Careers

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:32 pm

The most important factor is publishing potential (as evidenced by journal work and publishing history). A major secondary factor, and a strong contributor to your ability to credibly claim the former factor, is your pedigree as evidenced by your school, your law school grades, and your employment/clerking history.

An insanely disproportionate number of law profs come from Yale. A disproportionate number come from Harvard and Stanford. Many come from T10 schools. Some come from T14 schools. Few come from anywhere else, and often back to the school they went to for LS.

The odds are quite long even if you're already at Yale.

Anonymous User
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Re: Academic Careers

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:41 pm

If it helps to have a data point:

CCN
Top 20% (but not top 10%)
USDC clerkship in a competitive district
3-5 years at a V20
3-5 years in government doing reasonably high profile work (as in, lead counsel in 10 or so published decisions and I said "no comment" on a case when the NYT called a few years back)
A half dozen publications, including mainline LR articles in the 20-30 range and the 60-70 range

Result on the market this year: 5-10 meat market interviews. No callbacks. One place said I was at the top of their "hold" list but the crappy market means that they were pursuing a well-regarded lateral. A few others cancelled their searches because of no funding. From what I can tell, of the schools I interviewed with, maybe three or four ended up hiring entry level prawfs. I suspect that there were maybe 50 of us applying for those positions. Most with far superior qualifications (other than publications, where I hold my own) than me.

(Epilogue: After that experience, I'm pretty much saying to hell with this. I actually liked being a lawyer, and I'm really good at it, so I'm going to keep on doing that for the foreseeable future.)

GoatDolphin
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Re: Academic Careers

Postby GoatDolphin » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:13 pm

Thank you for the responses. This is helpful!

I have a two other related questions.

1. Does anyone know how these numbers begin to look if one gets a PHD.
2. If one had JD and got a PHD (lets say political science) how much does a JD help in terms of landing a political science position?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Academic Careers

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:31 pm

A PhD can help, if it's genuinely relevant to the area of law you want to research (economics and philosophy seem to be especially valued). The only way it will really help make up for weaker numbers, as I understand it, is if you can use the PhD program to produce well-respected scholarship and publications. Because scholarship is the coin of the realm in academia, anything that helps you produce is good. The danger you run is that there will be other JD/PhDs with better numbers doing the same thing.

The JD won't do very much to help land a political science position. It probably won't hurt, and it might help somewhat if you end up applying at a school that, e.g., has a prelaw program and wants someone to teach legal kinds of courses (I don't think this is common enough/crucial enough to give you much of an edge). However, by *far* the primary criteria for a political science position will be your success in the political science program. If the JD goes directly to what you want to study for the PhD, it can be a good thing - for instance, I know of a very successful legal historian who did a JD, then a PhD, and studies legal history (her bio is here: http://www.law.umn.edu/facultyprofiles/welkeb.html). I think in academia, the JD would have about the same effect as an advanced degree does on law school admissions - it's not going to hurt, it can help distinguish you where all else is equal, but it's not going to make up for a lower LSAT/GPA [weaknesses in your polisci background]. (A lot of this derives from the fact that the JD isn't a research degree, so doesn't directly train you for anything in a PhD program, and even in terms of publications, JDs and polisci PhDs publish in completely different kinds of journals. In fact, LR publications would arguably not help you much in getting a polisci position because LRs aren't peer-reviewed, whereas polisci journals are.)

KidStuddi
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Re: Academic Careers

Postby KidStuddi » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:24 pm

thesealocust wrote:An insanely disproportionate number of law profs come from Yale. A disproportionate number come from Harvard and Stanford. Many come from T10 schools. Some come from T14 schools. Few come from anywhere else, and often back to the school they went to for LS.


Just to give some numbers to back up this up, Brian Leiter did a study of hiring trends among the top 45 or so law school faculties going back to 1995 that is directly on point. Can be found here: http://leiterrankings.com/new/2011_LawTeachers.shtml




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