Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

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vissidarte27
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Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby vissidarte27 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:11 pm

Quick rundown -- 1L, school ranked in the 20s, grades put me in the top quarter, starting to think I might want to be an academic, given my interest in legal theory, particularly as it relates to criminal law. Am I totally screwed because I don't go to Harvard or Yale?

What can I do while in school to boost my chances? I know I'd have to join a journal and I'd have to keep my grades up, and improve upon them if it's possible (which it should be -- much more motivated this semester and actually, you know, attending class). But what else? Is it even possible?

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ph14
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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby ph14 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:11 pm

vissidarte27 wrote:Quick rundown -- 1L, school ranked in the 20s, grades put me in the top quarter, starting to think I might want to be an academic, given my interest in legal theory, particularly as it relates to criminal law. Am I totally screwed because I don't go to Harvard or Yale?

What can I do while in school to boost my chances? I know I'd have to join a journal and I'd have to keep my grades up, and improve upon them if it's possible (which it should be -- much more motivated this semester and actually, you know, attending class). But what else? Is it even possible?


No. Publish quality articles. Get to know professor(s) who can help you.

sideoffries
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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby sideoffries » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:28 pm

Obviously it can be done, but it is really really hard. Might need a Ph.D too. If you're sure about academia, your chances would be significantly improved by transferring up to a T6 (HYS preferred). I think you'd need a clerkship too.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby Gamecubesupreme » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:33 pm

Get on law review.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby bk1 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:34 pm

ph14 wrote:Publish

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:31 pm

Take classes during your 2L and 3L year that force you to write quality papers. Then, if you do well, talk with the professor about the possibility of expanding your paper into an article. Your goal should be to create 1 publishable article each year. Look to see if your school offers academia-oriented fellowships or course credit for research. This will be a great way to get close to faculty who will go to bat for you with hiring committees.

If you're interested in the normative aspects of legal theory, you might also want to consider a PhD. There are a number of advantages to that route if your JD is not from a T10, but it's a big time sink and only worth it if the degree will help you in the areas of study you're interested in.

Far in away the most important thing for getting hired in academia is the quality of the work that you have published and your planned research agenda for the next 3-5 years. Things like grades, law review or clerkships are definitely pluses, but don't focus on them to the exclusion of your personal written work.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby vissidarte27 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:19 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:Take classes during your 2L and 3L year that force you to write quality papers. Then, if you do well, talk with the professor about the possibility of expanding your paper into an article. Your goal should be to create 1 publishable article each year. Look to see if your school offers academia-oriented fellowships or course credit for research. This will be a great way to get close to faculty who will go to bat for you with hiring committees.

If you're interested in the normative aspects of legal theory, you might also want to consider a PhD. There are a number of advantages to that route if your JD is not from a T10, but it's a big time sink and only worth it if the degree will help you in the areas of study you're interested in.

Far in away the most important thing for getting hired in academia is the quality of the work that you have published and your planned research agenda for the next 3-5 years. Things like grades, law review or clerkships are definitely pluses, but don't focus on them to the exclusion of your personal written work.


Thank you; that is very helpful. I think if I were to decide definitively on academia, I would pursue my PhD (I've been drooling over the PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy program at Berkeley, but I don't know how realistic that is). I'm hoping to work part-time as a research assistant to my favorite professor this summer in addition to my summer internship as well.

Re: publishing -- my interests are all over the map. Do you think it's okay to explore them and have a more varied portfolio or do I need to sit down and choose a particular research area so that my work will be more concentrated? If I can get an article out this year, I'd like to be able to do that, but I don't want to pigeon-hole myself into one area without the freedom to research other things.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby ph14 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:20 pm

vissidarte27 wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:Take classes during your 2L and 3L year that force you to write quality papers. Then, if you do well, talk with the professor about the possibility of expanding your paper into an article. Your goal should be to create 1 publishable article each year. Look to see if your school offers academia-oriented fellowships or course credit for research. This will be a great way to get close to faculty who will go to bat for you with hiring committees.

If you're interested in the normative aspects of legal theory, you might also want to consider a PhD. There are a number of advantages to that route if your JD is not from a T10, but it's a big time sink and only worth it if the degree will help you in the areas of study you're interested in.

Far in away the most important thing for getting hired in academia is the quality of the work that you have published and your planned research agenda for the next 3-5 years. Things like grades, law review or clerkships are definitely pluses, but don't focus on them to the exclusion of your personal written work.


Thank you; that is very helpful. I think if I were to decide definitively on academia, I would pursue my PhD (I've been drooling over the PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy program at Berkeley, but I don't know how realistic that is). I'm hoping to work part-time as a research assistant to my favorite professor this summer in addition to my summer internship as well.

Re: publishing -- my interests are all over the map. Do you think it's okay to explore them and have a more varied portfolio or do I need to sit down and choose a particular research area so that my work will be more concentrated? If I can get an article out this year, I'd like to be able to do that, but I don't want to pigeon-hole myself into one area without the freedom to research other things.


No. It's okay to be all over the map at this stage. It's more important to find out where your interests are.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:28 pm

ph14 wrote:
vissidarte27 wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:Take classes during your 2L and 3L year that force you to write quality papers. Then, if you do well, talk with the professor about the possibility of expanding your paper into an article. Your goal should be to create 1 publishable article each year. Look to see if your school offers academia-oriented fellowships or course credit for research. This will be a great way to get close to faculty who will go to bat for you with hiring committees.

If you're interested in the normative aspects of legal theory, you might also want to consider a PhD. There are a number of advantages to that route if your JD is not from a T10, but it's a big time sink and only worth it if the degree will help you in the areas of study you're interested in.

Far in away the most important thing for getting hired in academia is the quality of the work that you have published and your planned research agenda for the next 3-5 years. Things like grades, law review or clerkships are definitely pluses, but don't focus on them to the exclusion of your personal written work.


Thank you; that is very helpful. I think if I were to decide definitively on academia, I would pursue my PhD (I've been drooling over the PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy program at Berkeley, but I don't know how realistic that is). I'm hoping to work part-time as a research assistant to my favorite professor this summer in addition to my summer internship as well.

Re: publishing -- my interests are all over the map. Do you think it's okay to explore them and have a more varied portfolio or do I need to sit down and choose a particular research area so that my work will be more concentrated? If I can get an article out this year, I'd like to be able to do that, but I don't want to pigeon-hole myself into one area without the freedom to research other things.

No. It's okay to be all over the map at this stage. It's more important to find out where your interests are.

I agree with this. There are also advantages to having early publications in a number of different areas. The main one is that you will have a wider teaching portfolio. Some law schools hire specifically looking for a professor who can teach X class. If your first 3 articles are in different areas, there's a higher chance that you will be able to teach X.

This being said, as your work becomes more advanced you do need to start forming a coherent research agenda to present to during your faculty talks, but this is for years in the future. You should focus on exploring your legal academic interests, as ph14 said.

Re PhDs: Do not enter a PhD if you're not 100% on academia. Many people who become law professors do get the JD first, then practice for 2-4 years, then go back for the PhD. This is definitely a route that you can consider taking if you end up wanting academia 100% down the line. Berkeley's JSP program is great, but its placement success has been spotty in legal academia because it's not clear what additional skill set you're gaining from that degree. It's much better to enter a PhD in a discipline with a specific methodological focus - philosophy, economics, etc, so you bring added skills to the table when you're on the faculty. If you're interested in normative theory, look at philosophy or political theory programs. If you're interested in criminal justice issues, look into a political science, public policy, or sociology programs.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby target » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:43 am

Another common thing I saw on a lot of professors' bio is fellowship. Fellowship is a logical way to specialize in an area of law. Granted prestigious fellowship are as hard to get as clerkship, but that should not prevent you from trying.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby UtahPhi » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:53 am

ph14 wrote:
vissidarte27 wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:Take classes during your 2L and 3L year that force you to write quality papers. Then, if you do well, talk with the professor about the possibility of expanding your paper into an article. Your goal should be to create 1 publishable article each year. Look to see if your school offers academia-oriented fellowships or course credit for research. This will be a great way to get close to faculty who will go to bat for you with hiring committees.

If you're interested in the normative aspects of legal theory, you might also want to consider a PhD. There are a number of advantages to that route if your JD is not from a T10, but it's a big time sink and only worth it if the degree will help you in the areas of study you're interested in.

Far in away the most important thing for getting hired in academia is the quality of the work that you have published and your planned research agenda for the next 3-5 years. Things like grades, law review or clerkships are definitely pluses, but don't focus on them to the exclusion of your personal written work.


Thank you; that is very helpful. I think if I were to decide definitively on academia, I would pursue my PhD (I've been drooling over the PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy program at Berkeley, but I don't know how realistic that is). I'm hoping to work part-time as a research assistant to my favorite professor this summer in addition to my summer internship as well.

Re: publishing -- my interests are all over the map. Do you think it's okay to explore them and have a more varied portfolio or do I need to sit down and choose a particular research area so that my work will be more concentrated? If I can get an article out this year, I'd like to be able to do that, but I don't want to pigeon-hole myself into one area without the freedom to research other things.


No. It's okay to be all over the map at this stage. It's more important to find out where your interests are.


Expanding on this, my limited involvement as a student on faculty hiring committee's is that they like to see flexibility in your topic choice. If you can write quality articles on a variety of aspects, it speaks well to your writing ability.

That being said, if you get to the interview process, you will need to put across that you aren't just absent-minded and that you can eventually become an expert in an area.

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.

Postby Myself » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:41 am

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Last edited by Myself on Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:57 am

Get an econ PhD.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby Br3v » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:42 am

Doorkeeper wrote:Your goal should be to create 1 publishable article each year.


Including 1L?

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby ph14 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:29 am

Br3v wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:Your goal should be to create 1 publishable article each year.


Including 1L?


No.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby SpaceLawLLM » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:27 pm

vissidarte27 wrote:Quick rundown -- 1L, school ranked in the 20s, grades put me in the top quarter, starting to think I might want to be an academic, given my interest in legal theory, particularly as it relates to criminal law. Am I totally screwed because I don't go to Harvard or Yale?

What can I do while in school to boost my chances? I know I'd have to join a journal and I'd have to keep my grades up, and improve upon them if it's possible (which it should be -- much more motivated this semester and actually, you know, attending class). But what else? Is it even possible?



You should probably transfer up - though I don't know what is possible (a lot may be possible this year).

But realistically, no. You'll publish and get a phd and then the job will go to the Harvard who clerked for so and so.

Also, legal education is likely to shrink so demand for professors - pretty non-existent. I'd think about other options to explore an interest in legal theory and criminal law - that is a field which there should be some demand for given the cost of incarceration, etc.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby TLSwag » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:34 pm

vissidarte27 wrote:starting to think I might want to be an academic


who doesn't bro

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby AMCD » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:04 pm

More difficult probably than getting partner track right out of law school. The academic market couldn't be worse than it is. I have a PhD from a top school, was only able to land short-term contract teaching posts despite a stellar academic record. Have three friends with PhDs from my school with substantial publications -- one teaches a class here and there and the other has been unemployed for 4 years. Just know law academia is not there just for the taking!

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby KidStuddi » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:28 pm

Talk to your professors. Ask them about the candidates they had for a tenure track position the last time one opened up.

Be prepared to hear about the dozens of candidates with JDs from T6s, Ph Ds from some of the best school on the planet, tons of publications, all of whom all got rejected without even getting interviews.

The meat market is absolutely brutal. Getting a tenure track position at T1 school that's not located in the middle of fucking nowhere makes getting BigLaw look like getting into Devry.

Of course these standards slide as you go further down the hierarchy into the TTTs, but still.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:15 pm

And standards don't even slide that much. A lot of the TTT/TTTTs have their own alumni teaching there, but they're usually the top of the class from that school, and those who aren't alums of the school still have pretty decent qualifications.

(OP, this isn't to say it's not possible. It really does come down to publications - but the problem is the more elite your school, the more opportunity you have to make connections and have the resources to produce the publications that will get you into academia, so it's kind of a catch-22. But it is a brutal market.)

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby target » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:27 am

Hustle hard to transfer to a T14 school.

If that fails, get onto LR.

If that fails, then...well, consider drop out if market doesn't rebound.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby MrSparkle » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:28 pm

I talked to a prof who hires profs. It's all publishing, what journals (T14) you get published in. You might not be on faculty at T14 but you will get hired if you can prove you can produce.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby Bildungsroman » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:02 pm

OP, talk to professors at your school, especially professors who are involved in hiring or who are new professors themselves and therefore familiar with the market. The people giving advice in this thread look to be mostly law students (including 1Ls), who have dick for experience and firsthand knowledge on this question.

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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:36 am

Doorkeeper wrote:Take classes during your 2L and 3L year that force you to write quality papers. Then, if you do well, talk with the professor about the possibility of expanding your paper into an article. Your goal should be to create 1 publishable article each year. Look to see if your school offers academia-oriented fellowships or course credit for research. This will be a great way to get close to faculty who will go to bat for you with hiring committees.

If you're interested in the normative aspects of legal theory, you might also want to consider a PhD. There are a number of advantages to that route if your JD is not from a T10, but it's a big time sink and only worth it if the degree will help you in the areas of study you're interested in.

Far in away the most important thing for getting hired in academia is the quality of the work that you have published and your planned research agenda for the next 3-5 years. Things like grades, law review or clerkships are definitely pluses, but don't focus on them to the exclusion of your personal written work.


^This. That said, Doorkeeper might be underplaying the value of grades and law review some--if you're not from one of the top schools, some faculty won't take you seriously unless you have performed very well at the school you're at (and you show that with things like law review, circuit clerkships, and graduating with honors). Of course, quality of publications is still the most important thing, but the side-stuff starts to grow in importance when you aren't coming from HYS.

To piggyback on Doorkeeper's turning a paper into an article point: I received the same advice from a professor and I've found it to be very, very helpful (it's even possible to get a lot of the work on multiple parts of a potential article with different seminar papers). But to avoid confusion that seems to be coming from some other people: articles do not mean notes. Sure, if you have a very good paper you want to turn into a note, go for it. But you do not need to be publishing multiple notes in law school (if you can more power to you). It's more important to be laying the groundwork for articles you will be trying to publishing. If you can get an article published in law school, major props--it's more likely you will be working on getting them published post law school, either while you're doing a clerkship, doing a VAP, doing some other fellowship, etc. And overall, you need to remember that you really only should publish stuff that you think is really good, whether it's a note or article--you don't want stuff on your record that is mediocre or worse.

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Br3v
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Re: Is there a route to academia from a non-T14 school?

Postby Br3v » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:46 am

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:And overall, you need to remember that you really only should publish stuff that you think is really good, whether it's a note or article--you don't want stuff on your record that is mediocre or worse.


Do you think this applies to pre law school non law related material you have had "published"? As in if one were to have a few articles published in the local paper that have grammatical issues or other similar mistakes (not clear logic/not very scholarly sounding/etc) that this would matter at all?




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