How do I get on an academia path?

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noleknight16
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How do I get on an academia path?

Postby noleknight16 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:14 pm

I won't be attending a T-14 school but I think academia might be a cool career path. I don't have a Ph.D but I assume I can get on the academia path without one since I'll get a JD. What kind of academia can I do and how?

dixon02
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby dixon02 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:17 pm

noleknight16 wrote:I won't be attending a T-14 school but I think academia might be a cool career path. I don't have a Ph.D but I assume I can get on the academia path without one since I'll get a JD. What kind of academia can I do and how?


For all intents and purposes, you can't. If you're really serious, graduate #1 in your class, publish multiple times, and get an advanced degree in another field.

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noleknight16
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby noleknight16 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:19 pm

dixon02 wrote:
noleknight16 wrote:I won't be attending a T-14 school but I think academia might be a cool career path. I don't have a Ph.D but I assume I can get on the academia path without one since I'll get a JD. What kind of academia can I do and how?


For all intents and purposes, you can't. If you're really serious, graduate #1 in your class, publish multiple times, and get an advanced degree in another field.


Interesting. Thanks for the insight!

Skyblaze
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby Skyblaze » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:22 pm

These days its very very very rare if your not coming fom a T14. If your serious, retake, go to HYS, and be on law review at one of those schools.

sardanapalian
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby sardanapalian » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:11 pm

I think it could also depend on which law school you're attending and where you would like your career in academia to end.
I noticed that a few law schools I visited have a good number of professors that are also alumni. Off-hand, I know Hofstra and Suffolk tend to have a decent number of alumni faculty.
Also, schools like NESL|Boston and Charlotte hire outside of the t14.

If you're really interested in academia, it's not impossible if you do really well (top 1%) but it's not going to be an easy road...
That being said, you're probably not going to be able to join a tier 1 school in the future.

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bankruptedcasino
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby bankruptedcasino » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:56 pm

You'd have to check off all of the major boxes that would be required for a top student at a school outside of the T14. Then there's more.

Specifically:

--Summa cum laude
--Law Review membership (NOT a secondary journal), thence Editorial Board of said Law Review.
--Your law review case note (which you will write as a 2L) MUST be selected for publication in your 3L year.
--At least 5-7 years of practice at a biglaw firm/boutique that is highly respected in the legal community where you intend to teach. Highly recommended that you make partner and develop a reputation in the legal community as an expert in your practice area.
--At least 2-3 articles published in a regional law school's law review (preferably a law review in the area where you intend to teach), while you are still employed as a practicing attorney. Bonus points if you can co-author an article with a tenured professor at a law school in the area where you intend to teach.
--Expect to first serve as an adjunt professor. You must receive high marks on your student evaluations and also not commit a faux paus in that murky, confusing world known as faculty politics.
--Do not have your heart set on anything other than a TTT or a TTTT.
--Not a lot of money or prestige.

Source: My contracts professor at my non-T14 school (who graduated from a T14 school) when I went into his office hours and asked what it would take for me to join academia. It was enough to turn me off from the process.

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No13baby
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby No13baby » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:22 pm

Be top in your class 1L year. Transfer to Yale.

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cinephile
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby cinephile » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:58 pm

Get a PhD in another field and become an academic in that field.

flcath
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby flcath » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:05 pm

cinephile wrote:Get a PhD in another field and become an academic in that field.

While probably intended as a joke, this really is the sincere, helpful answer to your OP.

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top30man
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby top30man » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:33 pm

flcath wrote:
cinephile wrote:Get a PhD in another field and become an academic in that field.

While probably intended as a joke, this really is the sincere, helpful answer to your OP.

Specifically a hard science.

tomwatts
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby tomwatts » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:15 pm

Some of the prior answers are more misleading than accurate.

Basically, academia depends on published research. You have to find ways to write stuff and publish it. Then write more stuff and publish it. And get some profs to know you really well and think that you're smart enough for academia. It helps to attend/transfer to a highly ranked school, graduate at or near the top of your class, be on the flagship law review, and clerk for a year or two (especially prestigious clerkships, such as appellate ones). Of course, many of these things are related: being near the top of your class often has something to do with whether you make law review, having any of the first three credentials helps get a better clerkship, etc.

But the sine qua non is publication. Law practice experience may or may not help at all, and a Ph. D. is nice only insofar as it means that you've written (and hopefully published) more. You're expected to write at least a couple student notes while you're in law school (and get to know a couple of professors who can recommend you for stuff), clerk for a year or two to continue to write and learn law, and publish a law review article while you're clerking. Then you might take a fellowship or two, or a visiting professorship or two, and publish a bit more. You probably make several trips to the Meat Market along the way, and eventually you get hired!

Then the tenure clock begins. Whee!

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thesealocust
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:31 pm

Publishing is the most important factor by an order of magnitude.

All the other important factors are either proxies for publishing, help you to publish, give you a chance to publish, or tend to be acquired by people who publish.

The odds are waaaaaaaaaay against you even if you start law school at Yale. Legal academia is almost impossible to break into. If you want it, focus on publishing - but keep in mind that in our credential-crazed profession, grades, clerkships, law review membership, school attended, etc. will all matter.

To learn more, google around places like law prof blog and look for info on the hiring process (the "meat market")

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cinephile
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby cinephile » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:01 pm

flcath wrote:
cinephile wrote:Get a PhD in another field and become an academic in that field.

While probably intended as a joke, this really is the sincere, helpful answer to your OP.


I meant it sincerely. But even then, it's tough. Both my parents are academics and they steered me away from that path as tenure-track positions are dying and colleges rely more and more on adjuncts.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:32 pm

bankruptedcasino wrote:You'd have to check off all of the major boxes that would be required for a top student at a school outside of the T14. Then there's more.

Specifically:

--Summa cum laude
--Law Review membership (NOT a secondary journal), thence Editorial Board of said Law Review.--Your law review case note (which you will write as a 2L) MUST be selected for publication in your 3L year.
--At least 5-7 years of practice at a biglaw firm/boutique that is highly respected in the legal community where you intend to teach. Highly recommended that you make partner and develop a reputation in the legal community as an expert in your practice area.
--At least 2-3 articles published in a regional law school's law review (preferably a law review in the area where you intend to teach), while you are still employed as a practicing attorney. Bonus points if you can co-author an article with a tenured professor at a law school in the area where you intend to teach.
--Expect to first serve as an adjunt professor. You must receive high marks on your student evaluations and also not commit a faux paus in that murky, confusing world known as faculty politics.
--Do not have your heart set on anything other than a TTT or a TTTT.
--Not a lot of money or prestige.

Source: My contracts professor at my non-T14 school (who graduated from a T14 school) when I went into his office hours and asked what it would take for me to join academia. It was enough to turn me off from the process.


Your contracts professor gave you awful information (at least for someone who is shooting for academia straight out of law school). As has been mentioned, publishing quality stuff is #1 priority (and by no means does it need to be done as a law student). Also, for most areas of the law if you work 5-7 years at a law firm and then try to come back, you'll have the "stink" of being a practitioner and there will be serious questions about whether you could really ever be an academic. (Some areas of the law are more accepting of practitioners, i.e. business law classes (corps/BA); tax.) And trying to go from adjunct to tenure-track is a huge feat. While adjuncts might not make the best money (it depends though), tenured professors make really good money and it's plenty prestigious.

The biggest problem not coming from a top school is that you'll have problems fitting the initial profile. It's pretty typical to do law school-->COA clerkship-->VAP (unless you are good enough to go straight on the market)-->meat market. (With a year or two or three spent doing prestigious government work or at a biglaw firm mixed in somewhere along this path.) If you are able to publish ground-breaking shit in your areas, that might help overcome breaking from this path, but it's an uphill battle.

flcath
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby flcath » Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:52 pm

cinephile wrote:
flcath wrote:
cinephile wrote:Get a PhD in another field and become an academic in that field.

While probably intended as a joke, this really is the sincere, helpful answer to your OP.


I meant it sincerely. But even then, it's tough. Both my parents are academics and they steered me away from that path as tenure-track positions are dying and colleges rely more and more on adjuncts.

Tbf, as they should. The disconnect b/t boomer un-fireable profs and their unemployable students is huge these days. Especially when so many ivory tower types want to focus on "a well-rounded liberal education" instead of increasing marketability.

WhirledWorld
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby WhirledWorld » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:02 pm

It's all about publication. I go to Penn, and half my profs went to worse schools. They're at Penn because they are major players in the academic conversation. Granted, people are more likely to listen to you and read your publications in the first place if you're EIC at Yale LR, but it's by no means a prerequisite.

For now, just do well in school and try to make LR, but know that neither are necessary. Just helpful.

flcath
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby flcath » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:47 pm

WhirledWorld wrote:It's all about publication. I go to Penn, and half my profs went to worse schools. They're at Penn because they are major players in the academic conversation. Granted, people are more likely to listen to you and read your publications in the first place if you're EIC at Yale LR, but it's by no means a prerequisite.

For now, just do well in school and try to make LR, but know that neither are necessary. Just helpful.

I noticed that when I was thinking of doing transfer to Penn. Actually, to be totally honest, I kinda thought it wasn't that great of a faculty (relative to its peers, that it pwns in BL placement).

Pokemon
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby Pokemon » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:57 pm

You must also look at things from the perspective of the professor. A student is impressed by the idea of studying at UPenn, or Yale. A professor just cares about being comfortable and close to his house. He gets no prestige points by being at Yale... he gets such points only by publishing well.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:09 pm

Pokemon wrote:You must also look at things from the perspective of the professor. A student is impressed by the idea of studying at UPenn, or Yale. A professor just cares about being comfortable and close to his house. He gets no prestige points by being at Yale... he gets such points only by publishing well.


Yeah, sorry, but this is dialing it too much in the direction of only publications matter and nothing else. Going to Yale is a significant advantage for wannabe academics, because of the prestige, the network, the opportunities, etc. Prestige alone is not enough these days, but it still plays a significant role. Strength of publications is by far the most important thing, but you really need to have as many of the other credentials as possible.

flcath
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby flcath » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:20 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:
Pokemon wrote:You must also look at things from the perspective of the professor. A student is impressed by the idea of studying at UPenn, or Yale. A professor just cares about being comfortable and close to his house. He gets no prestige points by being at Yale... he gets such points only by publishing well.


Yeah, sorry, but this is dialing it too much in the direction of only publications matter and nothing else. Going to Yale is a significant advantage for wannabe academics, because of the prestige, the network, the opportunities, etc. Prestige alone is not enough these days, but it still plays a significant role. Strength of publications is by far the most important thing, but you really need to have as many of the other credentials as possible.

Yeah, Brian Leiter has some stats on this (http://leiterrankings.com/new/2011_LawTeachers.shtml) and the level at which Yale, and Yale alone, outperforms every other school isn't just statistically significant, it creates a presumption of causality.

Is it possible that Y just has academically inclined kids relative to H (such that they triple their placement)? Yeah. But it's equally likely (or at least, we have equal evidence to suggest) that Cooley really is the 2d best law school in the nation, and its kids just self-select towards unemployment.

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MrSparkle
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Re: How do I get on an academia path?

Postby MrSparkle » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:39 am

I was talking to a law professor about this, a guy who graduated from Yale and now runs the hiring process for his T2 school. He said (like others here) publishing was the #1 thing. He hired someone who graduated from a T2 but published in 2-3 T14 journals over someone who graduated from Yale +LR but published next to nothing.

Keep in mind some top journals do blind selections (Yale is one I believe) so they don't know who wrote what submissions or even their background.

Another bit of insight is to specialize in an area that is in demand, and requires a more technical background. Law schools are saturated with constitutional/criminal/airy philosophical law professors...so find a niche.




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