LawProf Taking Questions

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:21 pm

kalvano wrote:Also, what school did you graduate from?


A very good (but not extraordinarily elite) school.

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JetstoRJC
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby JetstoRJC » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:22 pm

Exam grading. What is the process like for you? How big of a difference between an A exam and a B exam? An A- and a B+? What are some characteristics of a bad exam? A good exam?

Basically, having being on the side of the person taking the exam, I am curious as to what the side of the person grading the exam is like.

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kalvano
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby kalvano » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:23 pm

shortporch wrote:
kalvano wrote:Also, what school did you graduate from?


A very good (but not extraordinarily elite) school.



Can you narrow it down some? The common wisdom seems to be that unless you graduate from somewhere like Harvard to U-Chi, you're SOL when it comes to being a prof.

Top 20? Top 50?

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TTH
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby TTH » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:25 pm

What resources for academic legal writing would you recommend to students about to embark on writing a note?

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Columbia Law
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby Columbia Law » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:26 pm

JetstoRJC wrote:Exam grading. What is the process like for you? How big of a difference between an A exam and a B exam? An A- and a B+? What are some characteristics of a bad exam? A good exam?

Basically, having being on the side of the person taking the exam, I am curious as to what the side of the person grading the exam is like.


Sid Bream School of Law

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:29 pm

JetstoRJC wrote:Exam grading. What is the process like for you? How big of a difference between an A exam and a B exam? An A- and a B+? What are some characteristics of a bad exam? A good exam?

Basically, having being on the side of the person taking the exam, I am curious as to what the side of the person grading the exam is like.


An A is basically an extraordinary exam that hits far more issues than the typical exam. A B is a middling exam that hits a number of the big issues but fails to get very far with them.

Maybe it would help if I explained my system. I assign each question a number of points. I grade the exam looking for those points. I add the points. I map the exams. I find natural breaks consistent with the curve and give A, A-, B+, etc.

So a low-end A- and a top-end B+ might be almost identical, but there has to be a break some place. But a top-end A- and a low-end B+ are quite different.

My A exams typically get 75%-100% more points than my B exams. That's substantial.

A good exam appreciates the breadth and depth of the issues. It doesn't restate facts, but it illustrates why a given fact supports or does not support a given legal conclusion. It identifies black letter law, but it isn't single-minded on churning out lengthy blocs of text explaining what the law is. It picks up on some of the subtle questions or parallels implied by the question. If the question is designed to be vaguely reminiscent of some case, the exam identifies that. And it's organized, not hastily-dumped.

A bad exam misses the point badly. It often doesn't even understand what the question is asking. It spews law without citing facts, or it restates facts without trying to tie them into the law. It can be very short--as in, a paragraph of 400 words for a 1-hour question. It's problematic at all levels.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:30 pm

TTH wrote:What resources for academic legal writing would you recommend to students about to embark on writing a note?


People recommend the Volokh book regularly, and I can't think of any other serious competitors. Just try to be concise, organized, and thoughtful; consult with a faculty member frequently; and read other articles by professors you admire to see how they go about it.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:36 pm

kalvano wrote:The common wisdom seems to be that unless you graduate from somewhere like Harvard to U-Chi, you're SOL when it comes to being a prof.


--LinkRemoved--

http://leiterrankings.com/new/2011_LawTeachers.shtml

http://lsolum.typepad.com/legaltheory/2009/04/2009-entry-level-hiring-report.html

http://lsolum.typepad.com/legaltheory/2008/06/here-is-version.html

Note that a number of schools place people into the academy. But note that the AALS directory is very broad and include far more than typical "tenure-track" faculty members. And many schools have a slight preference for their own graduates when it comes to some hiring.

But an overwhelming amount of hiring comes from the top handful of schools. The fact that a school has placed 2 or 3 graduates into the academy in a given year means hardly anything at all. Many graduates of a law school will go on to get a PhD, or an LLM, to "wash" their JD.

Certainly, if you have the drive and the desire, and you perform extraordinarily well at a lower-ranked school, and you check all the boxes (clerk for as elite a judge as you can, work for as elite a firm as you can, publish a couple of meaningful pieces with good placement in the field you want), you can break in. Just know that it will take even more work than the already-steep odds give you.

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mez06
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby mez06 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:38 pm

kalvano wrote:
shortporch wrote:
kalvano wrote:Also, what school did you graduate from?


A very good (but not extraordinarily elite) school.



Can you narrow it down some? The common wisdom seems to be that unless you graduate from somewhere like Harvard to U-Chi, you're SOL when it comes to being a prof.

Top 20? Top 50?


+1

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leobowski
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby leobowski » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:49 pm

What do you like to see from students who ask for a letter of rec. for clerkships? Doing well in your classes? Good credentials otherwise? Is knowing the student well outside of class important?

Thanks!

d34d9823
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby d34d9823 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:57 pm

mez06 wrote:
kalvano wrote:
shortporch wrote:A very good (but not extraordinarily elite) school.



Can you narrow it down some? The common wisdom seems to be that unless you graduate from somewhere like Harvard to U-Chi, you're SOL when it comes to being a prof.

Top 20? Top 50?


+1

Guys, he has already answered this twice.

Read between the lines.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:05 pm

leobowski wrote:What do you like to see from students who ask for a letter of rec. for clerkships? Doing well in your classes? Good credentials otherwise? Is knowing the student well outside of class important?

Thanks!


To me, knowing the student well outside of class is the most important factor. It's easier for me to write a letter of recommendation for a student who comes to chat frequently and has a good rapport and shows me that she is intellectually curious and thoughtful, but who got a B on my exam, than it is for me to write a letter for a student who got an A from me and literally sends her first e-mail to me two years later asking for a letter. That letter will have almost nothing of any meaningful substance.

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mez06
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby mez06 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:14 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
mez06 wrote:
kalvano wrote:
shortporch wrote:A very good (but not extraordinarily elite) school.



Can you narrow it down some? The common wisdom seems to be that unless you graduate from somewhere like Harvard to U-Chi, you're SOL when it comes to being a prof.

Top 20? Top 50?


+1

Guys, he has already answered this twice.

Read between the lines.


With all do respect, the question was not directed to you. I understand the need to protect anonymity, but I also don't feel ashamed nor brash in such a prompt. Obviously, the prof is providing useful information and I appreciate that. The vagueness of the prof response however, is what permeates the general consensus about the world of academia. Any amount of the veil that can be lifted would shine light on an area that is extremely gray for us law students. Thus, the "+1". Have a better day. Thanks.

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kalvano
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby kalvano » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:44 pm

mez06 wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:Guys, he has already answered this twice.

Read between the lines.


With all do respect, the question was not directed to you. I understand the need to protect anonymity, but I also don't feel ashamed nor brash in such a prompt. Obviously, the prof is providing useful information and I appreciate that. The vagueness of the prof response however, is what permeates the general consensus about the world of academia. Any amount of the veil that can be lifted would shine light on an area that is extremely gray for us law students. Thus, the "+1". Have a better day. Thanks.



Huh. That's a lot better than the "fuck off" I was going to write.

d34d9823
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby d34d9823 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:56 pm

I get that you want to know. But you're being rude to this guy who is generously volunteering his time to talk to us. So stop.

crossingforHYS
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby crossingforHYS » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:59 pm

Would you suggest going to the best school possible if you want acedemia? meaning would a top 15-20 school be good enough to place into academia? particularly schools that are known for fellowships?

or would going to a lower school and doing clerkships, notes and getting a job after then academia be a better option?


Thank you for taking questions!

Ghost
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby Ghost » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:02 pm

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Last edited by Ghost on Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

InLikeFlint
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby InLikeFlint » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:06 pm

Do you enjoy TLS more than XOXO?

APimpNamedSlickback
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.

Postby APimpNamedSlickback » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:09 pm

.
Last edited by APimpNamedSlickback on Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:58 am, edited 3 times in total.

adude
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby adude » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:12 pm

we hear all the time about exit options from biglaw. how about academia? suppose you can't get tenure. what will you do then? can you jump back into biglaw or will you have to restart your career somehow, by grabbing an LLM for example?

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bmwhype2
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby bmwhype2 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:27 pm

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

r o f l

Image

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:33 am

crossingforHYS wrote:Would you suggest going to the best school possible if you want acedemia? meaning would a top 15-20 school be good enough to place into academia? particularly schools that are known for fellowships?

or would going to a lower school and doing clerkships, notes and getting a job after then academia be a better option?

Thank you for taking questions!


It's so difficult to break into academia, and often so randomized, that it's hard for me to say that you should go to X over Y simply because you want to teach. But if you're of a single-minded obsession to get into academia, and you don't care about anything else, then attending the "best" school is probably the best idea. But I can't possibly offer anything more specific without hearing the details about the alternatives. The dropoff from Yale to other schools is significant; and the question as to whether many schools below Yale are "worth it" over a "top 20" school is very particularized. But you can afford not to graduate with highest honors from Harvard to break into academia, where that luxury is rare from a "top 20" school. And perseverance pays off more than just coasting in with a fancy diploma.

In short, you probably should, but that's not always the case. As helpful an answer as it is.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:36 am

Kili wrote:Any reason to pursue a stint as a lawyer for a firm if we know our endgame is to be in academia?


Unless you have a PhD, just about everyone needs to have some kind of practice experience. While it's true that most hiring committees care very little for practical experience, it's also true that they rarely hire someone under 30 for a tenure-track position. And if you plan on teaching anything with a hint of practicality, like civil procedure, then practice is an important step.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:36 am

InLikeFlint wrote:Do you enjoy TLS more than XOXO?


No. While XO contains a large amount of typical Internet trolling, flaming, bitterness, shticks, and insincerity, they at least have a marginally realistic outlook on the practice of law and the selection of law schools.

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shortporch
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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:38 am

APimpNamedSlickback wrote:On a standard issue-spotter exam, what are things that distinguish merely very good exams from the very best, book prize- level ones. My sense is that the top 20% or so of exams are able to hit most if not all issues and resolve them well.

So how does one go from merely top quarter to numero uno? invoking interesting policy considerations to help resolve black letter issues (i dont mean rambling like an idiot about critical legal theory, but rather invoking subtle discussions of policy to help resolve legal issues), or merely being more competent at applying the black letter law? i was especially good at my common law exams first semester because i was able to reach across doctrines and make interesting connections from within the law. now that i'm taking more rule-based stuff, however, i'm not sure to what extent i can take that approach.

thanks.


I don't know that it's something teachable or easily describable. The top exams have always hit far more issues than anyone else, and treated them far more deeply. They tend to be concise--they're not outline dumps, but they pick only on the relevant information to condense. You can get an average, or even a good, grade by regurgitating enough of the law and citing enough of the facts and linking them together. But someone who really "gets" the issues on the exam doesn't waste time on the irrelevant stuff "just in case."




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