LawProf Taking Questions

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:37 pm

Usual caveats. I've had less than what I'd consider success on TLS on my last efforts, but I thought I'd try again. Academia, teaching, clerkships, whatever you'd like. You have no reason to believe me except to take my word.

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby fatduck » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:38 pm

What school/range of schools?

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:42 pm

fatduck wrote:What school/range of schools?


Not top-14, not fourth tier. That's all I'll share.

User avatar
Cupidity
Posts: 2214
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby Cupidity » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:43 pm

How is the QOL starting out?

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:47 pm

Cupidity wrote:How is the QOL starting out?


Starting out in academia? Not as glamorous as you think. It's extremely brutal just getting a job in the first place. Class preps take a significant amount of work--in the area of 6 to 10 hours of preparation for every hour in class. Depending on the school, you may start with 2 new course preps in your very first semester. And on top of that, you're expected to be producing quality scholarship for publication, and networking with everyone in the field. Not to mention student needs, letters of recommendation, etc. It's 60+ hour weeks pretty consistently.

It eases up once you have a prep down. Once you've taught a class twice, prep time drops dramatically. But it's just the pressure of making sure you've done "enough" to get tenure. It's that pressure stage I'm in now. But I know it's much more comfortable when you have tenure, and when you have the seniority to ensure you have a comfortable class schedule.

Bumi
Posts: 947
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:57 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby Bumi » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:47 pm

What traits correlate most strongly with success in law school? LSAT and GPA aren't the best indicators, but are they the best there is?

User avatar
El_Gallo
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:23 am

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby El_Gallo » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:47 pm

I asked this in a post before, but nobody seemed to have an answer. I realize that legal academia is extremely difficult to break into. However, if an individual does it, do top law schools' LRAPs count teaching as an acceptable form of employment? This is assuming that the teaching gig's salary is less than the law school's LRAP cap. Does it matter if the school is public or private? Do you know any professors that are still repaying their student loans?

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:52 pm

Bumi wrote:What traits correlate most strongly with success in law school? LSAT and GPA aren't the best indicators, but are they the best there is?


LSAT and GPA are definitely the best indicators, compared to all others we have, I mean. I haven't tracked it terribly well, but among the few students who've done extraordinarily well in my classes, I've coaxed out of them that they attended this law school because of a significant scholarship, declining higher-ranked options elsewhere, when their LSAT and GPA would have let them in there. It's not perfect, of course. But even thinking back to my days in law school, I'd estimate that an overwhelming majority of the members of law review had decline a higher-ranked school to attend.

One factor that generally stands out: those who have been out of undergrad for a few years typically perform disproportionately poorly on first-semester exams. I think things even out over time, but for many non-traditional students, there's a steep learning curve to get back into "school mode" and an exam-writing mentality.

I can't think of any other notable factor (that a law professor might notes) that has any correlation: willingness to speak in class, ability to recite the facts of the case when asked, office hours visits.

And, of course, there are always exceptions to all of these generalizations. This is just my observation.

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:54 pm

El_Gallo wrote:I asked this in a post before, but nobody seemed to have an answer. I realize that legal academia is extremely difficult to break into. However, if an individual does it, do top law schools' LRAPs count teaching as an acceptable form of employment? This is assuming that the teaching gig's salary is less than the law school's LRAP cap. Does it matter if the school is public or private? Do you know any professors that are still repaying their student loans?


Most tenure-track teaching positions will have salaries that exceed the LRAP cap. Most entry-level professors start around $90,000-$100,000 at some of the lower-priced schools. So I think your question is almost certainly hypothetical.

I'm a professor still repaying my student loans. A couple of my law profs when I was in law school admitted that to me, too.

notanumber
Posts: 485
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby notanumber » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:56 pm

El_Gallo wrote:I asked this in a post before, but nobody seemed to have an answer. I realize that legal academia is extremely difficult to break into. However, if an individual does it, do top law schools' LRAPs count teaching as an acceptable form of employment? This is assuming that the teaching gig's salary is less than the law school's LRAP cap. Does it matter if the school is public or private? Do you know any professors that are still repaying their student loans?


I'll jump in here - I know for a fact that the LRAP at Harvard and Yale both apply towards teaching jobs and some lesser paying teaching jobs will trigger those benefits for graduates who took out very large loans.

OP: I imagine that this question is dependent on one's sub field, but are you able to professionally engage with the scholarship of academics outside of legal academia? In other words, does your department provide support and tenure consideration for legal publications in non-legal journals, conferences, and the like?

User avatar
Cupidity
Posts: 2214
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby Cupidity » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:57 pm

I suppose it varies school to school, but how long does it take before you are allowed a budget for RA work?

notanumber
Posts: 485
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby notanumber » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:58 pm

Also, how important of a factor in hiring decisions is the ability to teach doctrinal courses and how would a law student or recent graduate "prove" that ability?

Bumi
Posts: 947
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:57 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby Bumi » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:59 pm

shortporch wrote:those who have been out of undergrad for a few years typically perform disproportionately poorly on first-semester exams.


Yikes. Fortunately the first year of law school grades aren't that important or anything.

Next question: what do students do that they don't realize pisses professors off? Anything that really gets on your nerves?

User avatar
El_Gallo
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:23 am

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby El_Gallo » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:00 pm

shortporch wrote:Most tenure-track teaching positions will have salaries that exceed the LRAP cap. Most entry-level professors start around $90,000-$100,000 at some of the lower-priced schools. So I think your question is almost certainly hypothetical.

I'm a professor still repaying my student loans. A couple of my law profs when I was in law school admitted that to me, too.


Thats good to know! I think that there may be some schools (Columbia, Cornell?) That don't have salary caps for their LRAP programs. I wonder what what would happen in those circumstances. Either way, its nice to know that there probably aren't any law professors starving to death out there!

When did you first decide to pursue academia? What school range did you attend? When did you start publishing? How long ago did you graduate?

Thanks for taking Qs!

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:01 pm

Cupidity wrote:I suppose it varies school to school, but how long does it take before you are allowed a budget for RA work?


I've always seen that you get it right away. It's basically expected, as far as I know.

User avatar
El_Gallo
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:23 am

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby El_Gallo » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:02 pm

shortporch wrote:I'll jump in here - I know for a fact that the LRAP at Harvard and Yale both apply towards teaching jobs and some lesser paying teaching jobs will trigger those benefits for graduates who took out very large loans.


Thanks for the response!

User avatar
TTH
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 1:14 am

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby TTH » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:04 pm

First, thanks for stopping by.

When law professors talk amongst themselves, what do you say about the trajectory of tuition and student loan debt compared to employment prospects and salaries?

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:07 pm

notanumber wrote:OP: I imagine that this question is dependent on one's sub field, but are you able to professionally engage with the scholarship of academics outside of legal academia? In other words, does your department provide support and tenure consideration for legal publications in non-legal journals, conferences, and the like?


notanumber wrote:Also, how important of a factor in hiring decisions is the ability to teach doctrinal courses and how would a law student or recent graduate "prove" that ability?


There's support for it, and there's a big push for more "interdisciplinary" scholarship and the like, but I'm largely on the outside of that. And unless you have a cross-appointment within the university, there's really no expectation for non-law-related stuff. And I'm fairly confident that publications in non-legal journals and the like isn't a serious factor for tenure. Most faculties care almost exclusively about law journal publications. They don't even like you publishing a book. They want articles in law journals.

Ability to teach is almost entirely ignored at many schools. At some schools, they care deeply about it. The ability to teach can be demonstrated in a few ways. First, get a PhD, because PhDs often teach courses. Second, take a visiting assistant professor position, which gives you a year or two to teach courses in a non-tenure-track environment, then you have student evaluations. Third, if you interview at the meat market and are invited to give a job talk, the job talk serves not only as a way of testing your ability as a scholar (i.e., whether the ideas you plan on writing about are of interest to your colleagues and represent serious thought), but also as a way of demonstrating that you can stand up and explain a complex concept to a room for 30 minutes, then field questions. That shows the teaching side.

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:10 pm

Bumi wrote:Next question: what do students do that they don't realize pisses professors off? Anything that really gets on your nerves?


Nothing in particular or unexpected. Commandeering class time is bad. And I don't mean volunteering a lot or talking a lot. I mean, commandeering and driving it off-topic.

People who misspell my name in e-mails tend to annoy. E-mail etiquette generally, but that's so ubiquitous I can't feel upset.

But nothing too terribly notable. I don't have a huge ego (or, I don't think I have one), so I'm not as inclined to feel terribly upset by what happens in class.

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:12 pm

El_Gallo wrote:When did you first decide to pursue academia? What school range did you attend? When did you start publishing? How long ago did you graduate?


I planned on pursuing academia in college, but I knew that it was something challenging to get into. So while it was my dream, it was never an expectation. But I attended a very good (but not extraordinarily elite) school not very long ago, and I committed a path for academia once I saw that I had good grades. I published my note, and I published an article or two after graduating while clerking or working at my firm. Then, I went on the market, with a couple of faculty mentors who were set on helping me out, and the pieces fell into place.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11720
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby kalvano » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:13 pm

Would you want to be invited to a student's wedding?

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:16 pm

TTH wrote:First, thanks for stopping by.

When law professors talk amongst themselves, what do you say about the trajectory of tuition and student loan debt compared to employment prospects and salaries?


It doesn't really come up. That might sound surprising to you, but law faculties don't set tuition, and they're not responsible for filling seats and balancing scholarship money. They don't know what loans are like at graduation. And this is all especially true the older the faculty member is.

They recognize, vaguely, that employment prospects are bad. But all that "stuff" about employment and post-graduation and finances is in the other departments, not among the faculty.

That might sound cold, cruel, clueless, or callous, but that's what I've seen. Faculty at some schools are obsessed with their scholarship, and classes just interfere with that, and students just interfere with that further. Faculty at other schools care about the students and wish them the best, but they don't really know what to do beyond that--they're kind, they have open doors, they're approachable, but they're not going to be able to get you a job.

If it's happening, the discussion is at the administrative level.

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby fatduck » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:17 pm

kalvano wrote:Would you want to be invited to a student's wedding?

r o f l

User avatar
shortporch
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:18 pm

kalvano wrote:Would you want to be invited to a student's wedding?


If it were a student I'd had in a few classes, probably was my research assistant, and someone who I got to know personally after regular interaction with them on a one-on-one basis, I might want that. Especially if it were two similar students.

But just getting invited by any student? No. This is more wedding etiquette, right? You don't just invite people you think you need to impress.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11720
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby kalvano » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:20 pm

Also, what school did you graduate from?




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: HeedMyWarning and 5 guests