Questions about becoming a law professor

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JAYINSD
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:21 pm

Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby JAYINSD » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:56 pm

JimmyTheGreek wrote:Hey ya'll,

I came to law school wanting to do litigation, but after going through trial ad/app ad/pretrial lit, I have soured on the whole prospect. It is so much work and so time consuming, and is overall very frustrating. Same feeling towards transaction work. However, I have joined our student-tutoring program and have really liked teaching 1Ls how to be successful in the classroom. This made me come to my current position of wanting to graduate and be a law professor. However, I could really use some advice about how to go about this.

Some general questions I have are:

1) Do you have to go to the one of the T14 schools to even have a shot at being a professor?

2) Do you have to get an LLM?

3) How much practice experience do you need after law school? Or is there a way to get straight on the professor track?

Some information about me:

1) I am a 2L at a T2 school probably ranked 80-90. It is a regional school that places extremely well in the region

2) I do very well in my classes. Probably in the top 20% of the class. Not on LR or Moot Court, but I'l planning to write on for Law Review for my 3L year. With my GPA, it is pretty likely I'll be accepted.

3) My 1L summer I worked at a solo practitioner's office doing a lot of different types of work. 2L summer I'm not sure yet. Struck out on OCI's and am looking for jobs around here. I don't think I'm going to look for legal jobs this summer, just something that will pay the bills.

4) Money is an issue with my mobility at the moment. It is one of the reasons I didn't go very deep into the job hunt after I struck out at OCIs. Just didn't have the ability to go somewhere else unless the salary would make up for keeping my apartment in the town I currently live in. Couldn't pay double rent, so after OCI's I just kind of looked at jobs within driving distance and found nothing that interests me there.

5) I am prepared to and probably will get my LLM after I get my JD.

Any and all feedback is appreciated


get a phd in economics or sociology may help you land a law school job significantly

Anonymous User
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Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:57 pm

It seems like the amount of law professor jobs currently filled is way bigger than the amount of people who want to teach coming from T14s or with SCOTUS/COA clerking experience.


Academic hiring is at the lowest point in the past few decades. The past few years at the annual hiring conference there have been 500 or so people applying for 60-70 spots. At least half of those are "superstars" -- top grades from HYS (Chicago and NYU also place well), federal COA clerkship, super elite firm or government, multiple post-LS LR articles, etc. And about half of the spots are at the T14 or major flagship state school (UT, UCLA, etc.), which haven't reduced hiring that much, but which generally only hire SCOTUS clerks, elite hard PhDs (like econ), etc. They're unattainable for the standard superstars, much less someone who's not one of those.

So it works out to maybe 450 people applying for 30-40 spots, with at least 200 superstars (and probable closer to 300).

Nomo
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Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby Nomo » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:22 pm

I think this chart tells you a lot. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... edit#gid=0

Just remember that for each person hired, there are 6 or 7 people who struck out - and they look pretty much exactly the same as the people who did get hired.

Anonymous User
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Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:39 pm

I think this chart tells you a lot. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... edit#gid=0

Just remember that for each person hired, there are 6 or 7 people who struck out - and they look pretty much exactly the same as the people who did get hired.


So taking out the non-ABA law schools (including non accredited schools, foreign schools, business schools, etc.) and the LRW/clinical hires, you get 68 entry-level hires, of which the T14 and best-regarded flagship state schools hired about 25 people. For about 500 people on the market.

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bretby
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Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby bretby » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:57 pm

rpupkin wrote:
JimmyTheGreek wrote:Thank everyone for the responses.

Also, will not having a 2L summer job totally kill any (small) chance I have of being a law professor?

In case the previous posters weren't sufficiently clear, you basically have no chance of becoming a tenure-track law professor. This is not a realistic option for you. Forget about it.

Your lack of a 2L summer job really isn't a factor one way or the other. However, I think it's fair to say that some of the factors that have made it difficult for you to land a 2L summer job are the same factors that make it effectively impossible for you to enter legal academia. There isn't a causal relationship, but there is some correlation.


Pretty much no one has a chance of becoming a tenure-track law professor, so don't feel too bad about it. The academic market is truly atrocious, and should never be anyone's goal without a very strong and realistic back-up plan.

Nomo
Posts: 700
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Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby Nomo » Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I think this chart tells you a lot. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... edit#gid=0

Just remember that for each person hired, there are 6 or 7 people who struck out - and they look pretty much exactly the same as the people who did get hired.


So taking out the non-ABA law schools (including non accredited schools, foreign schools, business schools, etc.) and the LRW/clinical hires, you get 68 entry-level hires, of which the T14 and best-regarded flagship state schools hired about 25 people. For about 500 people on the market.


And easily another 1,000 people from T-14 schools would be on the market if they thought they had any chance. I think that nearly everyone would take academia over biglaw in a heartbeat.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby Capitol_Idea » Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:51 pm

But what about teaching after a career practicing? Law schools really value practical experience and not ivory tower intellectuals who never practiced a day in their life.

Edit: that was (hopefully obvious) sarcasm. too lazy to check back and see if anyone fell into the whoosh trap.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:41 am

OP: I admire your gusto, but your comments about academic hiring and the state of play in the field betray a very special naïveté. consider this list of hires for 2014: http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblaw ... -2014.html. (Also, the prawfsblawg is a solid resource for you more generally on these questions).

First, as you'll see, hiring -- albeit largely self-reported -- was down again last year.
Moreover, note the extreme concentration of faculty at not even T14, but really T6 schools: Yale, Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Chicago. Yale law alone produced more entry level faculty than 196 domestic law schools and every international law school combined. It's shocking how concentrated hiring has become at a set of 5 or 6 institutions (and arguably just two, HY).

You would need 1) a COA clerkship, which you can't get with your credentials; 2) an elite fellowship, which usually dovetails a clerkship; or 3) a PhD from a good university to be even remotely competitive, and even there I'm skeptical about receiving the advanced degree after the JD.

I want to note that none of this would preclude you from serving ad an adjunct or clinical professor off and on while you work at a firm or local gov't. Start publishing articles in the field you're interested in, get a good legal job in the community, and network and maybe you can teach at a law school. You just won't be tenured faculty.

croissantlover
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Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby croissantlover » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:49 am

I have seen professors getting their J.D. from a random law school and then went to Yale for LL.M. and J.S.D. So it's possible if you gun for that, though I'm not sure what it actually took.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Questions about becoming a law professor

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:21 am

There are approximately 500 graduates each year from the t-14 each year for only a handful of new positions. Moreover, unlike firm work where you do have to have profound stamina, being a professor is much less taxing and therefore age doesn't really force anyone out. Nobody has a great shot. Taking on additional degrees for it would be a terrible waste of time.

One of the major things professors are hired based off of is what they have published. In addition, law schools generally use their best professors in 1L courses. Your odds of just being a for profit tutor are much higher. There's a lot of money to be made in this, and if you're the sort of individual who performed better in law school than before law school there is likely something you're doing that is successful, and could benefit others.




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