LawProf Taking Questions

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
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shortporch
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LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:03 pm

Same as the last time. Fire away.

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GummiBear
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby GummiBear » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:04 pm

What do you teach

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:07 pm

GummiBear wrote:What do you teach


I'd prefer not to say. But I generally teach a 1L course and fairly common 2L and 3L courses (generally nothing overly specialized like a narrow seminar). Sorry.

dontknowwhereimgoin
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby dontknowwhereimgoin » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:16 pm

How long have you been teaching?

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:24 pm

dontknowwhereimgoin wrote:How long have you been teaching?


A short period of time--I'll say, less than three years.

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baboon309
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby baboon309 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:27 pm

shortporch wrote:
dontknowwhereimgoin wrote:How long have you been teaching?


A short period of time--I'll say, less than three years.


How do you grade your exams

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js87
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby js87 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:28 pm

Thank you for taking questions. Could you offer some advice to students who are interested in legal academia and potentially becoming law professors?

As a student at a top 14 school, but a low ranked top 14 school, is there any realistic path to pursuing that career? I know the field tends to be dominated by Yale and Harvard grads.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:28 pm

baboon309 wrote:
shortporch wrote:
dontknowwhereimgoin wrote:How long have you been teaching?


A short period of time--I'll say, less than three years.


How do you grade your exams


I have a model answer. I read the exam and assign points based on the model answer. I put the numbers on a curve.

Maybe you're looking for something more specific.

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clintonius
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby clintonius » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:29 pm


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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:29 pm

More general question: How important is stellar grades now in getting into legal academia? Has the emphasis on publishing allowed grade standards to dip a little or is the publishing emphasis just an additional requirement along with the grades, LR, and clerkship?

More personal question: I am currently trying to decide to between UVA and UT. Would I have a realistic chance at legal academia from either? (My thoughts are probably not, but I can still dream right?)

theantiscalia
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby theantiscalia » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:33 pm

What is the best advice you have (academically) for a new 1L?

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:35 pm

js87 wrote:Thank you for taking questions. Could you offer some advice to students who are interested in legal academia and potentially becoming law professors?

As a student at a top 14 school, but a low ranked top 14 school, is there any realistic path to pursuing that career? I know the field tends to be dominated by Yale and Harvard grads.


It's definitely dominated by those two schools, but there are a substantial number of academics from the top six or seven schools, depending on your definitions. Outside of that, I'd say that 2-3 students from each non-T14 school place someone into academia each year, let's say. You just have to establish yourself as one of the best students in your class. So this is the typical path: graduate with the highest honors, clerk for a court of appeals judge, work at an elite big law firm.

Then, remain close with professors who are interested in helping your career along. Tell them early that you're interested in academia and let them mentor you.

Then publish, publish, publish. This is the single biggest factor, I think, often trumping pedigree. If you've published a few times in respectable (e.g., not fourth-tier secondary journals) since graduation, you're going to stand out as someone serious about academia.

And ensure that you have a research agenda. This can take some time to create. But publish a couple of pieces in a narrow slice of research and develop a personal trajectory as to how you want that academic career to proceed.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:39 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:More general question: How important is stellar grades now in getting into legal academia? Has the emphasis on publishing allowed grade standards to dip a little or is the publishing emphasis just an additional requirement along with the grades, LR, and clerkship?

More personal question: I am currently trying to decide to between UVA and UT. Would I have a realistic chance at legal academia from either? (My thoughts are probably not, but I can still dream right?)


I'd say you don't have to be #1 in your class, but if your grades slip too much, there are a few factors. First, if you're at a lower-ranked school, it's harder for schools to swallow your resume. It's easier for them to accept you if you graduates summa or coif or whatever. It's a little harder if you didn't go to an elite law school AND didn't obtain elite grades. Second, if your grades aren't that great, it's likely your writing isn't that great, and then it's likely that you won't publish that well. Basically, publishing is important, but it's important in conjunction with an elite pedigree. It would be hard for someone without the pedigree to publish well and expect academics to take that very seriously. But this is speaking very broadly.

I would say "realistic" shot from anything outside of a couple of schools is never the case. UVA has a slight edge over UT when it comes to academia, but, again, if you do well in your class, have professors behind you, publish, etc., I really don't think it will make a huge difference. The fact that 2-3 come out of UVA each year compared to 1-2 out of UT (I'm making this up) isn't going to be the deciding factor.

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js87
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby js87 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:40 pm

shortporch wrote:
js87 wrote:Thank you for taking questions. Could you offer some advice to students who are interested in legal academia and potentially becoming law professors?

As a student at a top 14 school, but a low ranked top 14 school, is there any realistic path to pursuing that career? I know the field tends to be dominated by Yale and Harvard grads.


It's definitely dominated by those two schools, but there are a substantial number of academics from the top six or seven schools, depending on your definitions. Outside of that, I'd say that 2-3 students from each non-T14 school place someone into academia each year, let's say. You just have to establish yourself as one of the best students in your class. So this is the typical path: graduate with the highest honors, clerk for a court of appeals judge, work at an elite big law firm.

Then, remain close with professors who are interested in helping your career along. Tell them early that you're interested in academia and let them mentor you.

Then publish, publish, publish. This is the single biggest factor, I think, often trumping pedigree. If you've published a few times in respectable (e.g., not fourth-tier secondary journals) since graduation, you're going to stand out as someone serious about academia.

And ensure that you have a research agenda. This can take some time to create. But publish a couple of pieces in a narrow slice of research and develop a personal trajectory as to how you want that academic career to proceed.


Thank you very much for the informative and candid reply.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:42 pm

theantiscalia wrote:What is the best advice you have (academically) for a new 1L?


There's nothing that would be news to you, I'm sure. Read the material carefully. Don't fall behind. Personally, I think supplements can often hurt more than they help if they're treated as primary material rather than supplements, but I'm sure lots of people have stories about how well they've done with supplements.

And take care of yourself personally, which can affect academics. Exercise, eat well, establish a good routine in your life. Most people just treat law school as a near 24/7 grind with a few bar nights sprinkled in. Don't let it control your life.

ArmyVet07
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby ArmyVet07 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:09 pm

What is a typical path for someone interested in teaching as an adjunct?

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:11 pm

ArmyVet07 wrote:What is a typical path for someone interested in teaching as an adjunct?


There's not really a path. You practice, then you go to a local school and offer to teach one course as an adjunct. They may or may not hire you depending on their needs. It's generally not a full-time position, and it generally doesn't pay very well. It's just a chance for a passionate practitioner to "give back," or a younger attorney to do a little teaching on the side before moving to academia, or whatever other career path may be out there. Check out the bios of the adjuncts at your school and you'll see that they're mostly just ordinary practitioners who have a nice niche course that they teach.

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General Tso
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby General Tso » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:18 pm

Law prof --

How do you recommend 1Ls network and summer job search?

hermione0901
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby hermione0901 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:21 pm

In your opinion, how much difference is there between the opportunities available after graduating from a top three school as opposed to a top ten school?

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:23 pm

swheat wrote:Law prof --

How do you recommend 1Ls network and summer job search?


Probably a better question for your career services. I don't know that there's any "recommended" way of networking except attending social events, alumni events, firm events, contacting friends of friends, asking friends for introductions, etc. The summer job search isn't that important as a 1L, and you can pretty much do what you'd like.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:25 pm

hermione0901 wrote:In your opinion, how much difference is there between the opportunities available after graduating from a top three school as opposed to a top ten school?


Depends on what you mean by "opportunities." The opportunities for academia or appellate clerkships, for instance, are markedly better out of Yale than out of, say, Michigan or Virginia or Penn. But the opportunities for big law firms at Columbia or NYU are about as good as they get.

In the end, the top of the class always does well. It's just a question of what kind of safety net the bottom of the class has. And that's where the real difference comes in for schools. Whether it's worth taking the higher-ranked school simply to have a better safety is a question I can't answer.

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General Tso
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby General Tso » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:31 pm

Thanks for the response to my previous question.

You've said before that you teach at a T1 school. Do you think there are too many law schools? What ethical obligations do you think American educational institutions owe to heavily indebted students?

It's a broad question but I am very curious to know what an 'insider' thinks about ballooning tuition. At my school for instance, tuition has jumped from around $10,000 per year in 2000 to $40,000 in 2010. Where does it end? Will tuition be $160,000 in 2020?

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SAE
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby SAE » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:35 pm

Do you recommend 0L preparation? More specifically, LEEWS and Getting to Maybe.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:40 pm

swheat wrote:Thanks for the response to my previous question.

You've said before that you teach at a T1 school. Do you think there are too many law schools? What ethical obligations do you think American educational institutions owe to heavily indebted students?

It's a broad question but I am very curious to know what an 'insider' thinks about ballooning tuition. At my school for instance, tuition has jumped from around $10,000 per year in 2000 to $40,000 in 2010. Where does it end? Will tuition be $160,000 in 2020?


I think I've said I teach at a non-T14, non-fourth tier school, which may or may not be a T1 school. I think there are too many law schools, but, as a fairly junior faculty member in the academy, this is not exactly a position I take publicly. For ethical obligations, I guess I don't quite understand. I don't know what kind of impressions law students have when coming to law school. Do they expect to make millions at any ol' law school? Are law schools leading them to believe they will? It just seems that too many people think law school is a good idea, and law schools are happy to oblige.

Tuition isn't a very good indicator. Indebtedness at graduation is more important. By inflating tuition, schools can push donors for more scholarships, which means more spending per student and a more attractive package for students. As long as there are a number of factors out there (e.g., federally-subsidized loans keeping the costs artificially low, students discounting the serious effect of their indebtedness through narrow-sighted views of how loans work, etc.) that affect tuition as much as law schools' decisions to hike tuition.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:43 pm

SAE wrote:Do you recommend 0L preparation? More specifically, LEEWS and Getting to Maybe.


No preparation, really. You'll probably mess yourself up more than help yourself. If you want to start looking at these things well into your first year, I guess, even though I've never been a big fan of supplements like these. But don't try to figure out law school before the first day.




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