agentzer0 wrote:did anyone go to the lunch time session on careers in academia? i missed it but it's my biggest question about uva; what exactly are your chances of getting into academia down the road?
I attended the legal academia section. He seemed to be pretty positive about it, but mostly talked about legal academia in general. He did mention that the recent trends favor UVA but obviously the reality is the reality, and Yale/Harvard dominate the market. You can pretty much figure out your chances on your own by looking at the available data. They are low.
That said, it does happen out of UVA, and it will continue to happen. UVA is a harder road to legal academia than Yale/Harvard, but it does seem that it would be harder to make the case that Penn, Chicago, Michigan, Cornell, etc. etc. offer a clear advantage over UVA in this regard.
Basically what he touched on was that the environment of legal academia is changing, that the traditional path (great grades, clerk, SCOTUS clerk) is becoming less a part of the picture, and that 1) published material and 2) graduate studies either in law or a cognate discipline (PhD, LLM) are becoming more important.
His basic advice was to write as much as you can but publish very little, maybe just a note and that is all (if anything). You want to have a bunch of material ready to publish, and to market yourself with, but you don't want to risk publishing sloppy work early in your career.
For what it is worth, the professor they had doing the discussion attended UVA. Not an accident I'm sure.
I think one has to agree with most of what agentzer0 says. However, keep in mind that not many people are entering law school with the express intent of going into academia afterward. Talking to law students and law professors, it has become pretty clear that many professors almost stumbled on it as they studied law and loved it enough to make a career out of studying and teaching it. If you are entering law school with academia as your goal from the get go, and if you get the grades and develop relationships with professors early on, I have to believe that you will be a step or two ahead of the competition.
Oh and by the way, although UVA doesn't seem to turn out the same quantity of professors as Harvard and Yale, the quality of professors graduating from UVA is really high. Just as UVA law school students are generally known to be gregarious, easy going, and hard working, so too are the professors who come out of UVA. Check out Bill Stuntz's blog. He is a HLS professor who graduated from UVA, and he is a rockstar.