Law School Professor, Taking Questions

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
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thecilent
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby thecilent » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:21 pm

Can you give 1Ls any tips for exam taking? What makes the difference between an A and A+ exam?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:58 am

I don't think there is a major difference between A and A+ exams, at least insofar as my grading goes. An A+ exam likely hits just about everything and adds a couple more insights (likely things that I did not even think of), whereas an A exam hits nearly everything.

I don't have any special tips for 1L exam taking, aside from what you'll likely find from various other sources.

thecilent wrote:Can you give 1Ls any tips for exam taking? What makes the difference between an A and A+ exam?

Let1Equal0
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby Let1Equal0 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:02 pm

LawProfessor123 wrote:I don't think there is a major difference between A and A+ exams, at least insofar as my grading goes. An A+ exam likely hits just about everything and adds a couple more insights (likely things that I did not even think of), whereas an A exam hits nearly everything.

I don't have any special tips for 1L exam taking, aside from what you'll likely find from various other sources.

thecilent wrote:Can you give 1Ls any tips for exam taking? What makes the difference between an A and A+ exam?


Wow. That's depressing.. :(

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:50 am

I'm not totally sure why you're depressed. If it's because I said that an "A" exam hits nearly all of the issues, please keep in mind that I am speaking of the exams I assign. Some professors assign exams such that it's impossible for the student (or even the professor!) to identify and address nearly every issue. However, I use short answer exams (never m/c or long essays), so that it is in fact reasonable to anticipate that several students will hit and address the discrete issues addressed by the Q's.


Let1Equal0 wrote:
LawProfessor123 wrote:I don't think there is a major difference between A and A+ exams, at least insofar as my grading goes. An A+ exam likely hits just about everything and adds a couple more insights (likely things that I did not even think of), whereas an A exam hits nearly everything.

I don't have any special tips for 1L exam taking, aside from what you'll likely find from various other sources.

thecilent wrote:Can you give 1Ls any tips for exam taking? What makes the difference between an A and A+ exam?


Wow. That's depressing.. :(

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afc1910
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby afc1910 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:24 pm

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Last edited by afc1910 on Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Skyhook
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby Skyhook » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:13 am

Thanks for answering these questions prof.

I have wide legal interests, from social issues to IP.
Are there any disadvantages to using 2L to take as broad a survey as I can, and then focusing more in 3L? Do I need to concentrate on particular areas as soon as I get to 2L?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:53 am

Thank you. I greatly benefit from your comments, and I enjoy hearing thoughtful questions from law students.


Amen.

As an aside, I do not post on this forum much, but I do browse through it from time to time, and this, by far, was the most enjoyable and insightful thread I have read. Thank you.

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:11 am

I think there are some fields where you really should specialize in if you want to get a job. If you want to do IP, I hope that you take 2-3 courses in that area. Ditto for tax. And if you want to do transactional work, it's best to at least take Corps and Sec Reg your 2L year. Especially if you are not at a top law school, there are some serious risk to taking an "unfocused" approach to 2L.

Ideally, by Fall of your 3L, you should be able to market your strengths, and it might be harder to do so if you have simply taken a hodgepodge of courses and your record does not reflect any particular trajectory. So, I'd recommend that you at least broadly decide what type of law you wish to practice (transactional vs. litigation) and do something to show that you are a competent, focused person in that field. Surely you do not need to take 7 courses in a single field during 2L, but being a dilettante might not get you very far, if you are not at a top school.

Talk to some 3Ls and your career services office for the best advice. My blind recommendation, not knowing your particular circumstances, is that you should try to take at least 2-3 courses in one area. But without knowing any particulars about your career interests or your law school, my advice is nearly meaningless.

There's a bad rumor going around that what you learn in law school is useless and will have nothing to do with practice, but that's only true if you choose useless classes. Take your legal education seriously. There's plenty of time to drink heavily and attend football games, while still challenging yourself in the classroom.

Skyhook wrote:Thanks for answering these questions prof.

I have wide legal interests, from social issues to IP.
Are there any disadvantages to using 2L to take as broad a survey as I can, and then focusing more in 3L? Do I need to concentrate on particular areas as soon as I get to 2L?

Skyhook
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby Skyhook » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:16 am

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The Real Jack McCoy
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby The Real Jack McCoy » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:27 pm

Thanks again for the thread--like the above poster, it has been, for me, the most useful thread on TLS. (Thanks also to shortporch for his/her contributions.)

Earlier in the thread you mentioned that tenure is easier to obtain in a law school than in many other departments. Can you describe the tenure process in most law departments? Is the process changing (as it seems to be in a lot of other departments)? How common are denials of tenure?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:21 am

My impressions are colored by the practice at my law school, which has not denied anyone tenure in the last 20 years and (if the old guard has to believed) has denied tenure to only 2 in the last 60. Perhaps this is unusual, but I would speculate that there are many more law schools that are like mine (in terms of tenure practices) than there are that are not.

My school has a formal publication requirement (X number of articles) as well as outside reviews. I'm still a bit away from tenure, so I haven't really had to go through the nitty gritty, although I do have an interim review next year. My impression is that some schools make the tenure process far more painful than others, but that, if one meets some basic threshold publishing requirement, he is unlikely to be denied tenure. I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule, and who knows if the culture of legal academia will change in response to the difficult economy. And I would speculate that tenure standards at the very top schools are tougher, although it does seem like even Harvard has granted tenure to faculty who really didn't publish much pre-tenure, and have pretty much stopped publishing post tenure.

The common wisdom is that entry-level jobs are so difficult to get, in part, because schools are essentially stuck with you. I think there is some truth in that, but maybe I will be singing a different tune after my tenure review ;).

The Real Jack McCoy wrote:Thanks again for the thread--like the above poster, it has been, for me, the most useful thread on TLS. (Thanks also to shortporch for his/her contributions.)

Earlier in the thread you mentioned that tenure is easier to obtain in a law school than in many other departments. Can you describe the tenure process in most law departments? Is the process changing (as it seems to be in a lot of other departments)? How common are denials of tenure?

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quakeroats
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby quakeroats » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:00 pm

LawProfessor123 wrote:My impressions are colored by the practice at my law school, which has not denied anyone tenure in the last 20 years and (if the old guard has to believed) has denied tenure to only 2 in the last 60. Perhaps this is unusual, but I would speculate that there are many more law schools that are like mine (in terms of tenure practices) than there are that are not.

My school has a formal publication requirement (X number of articles) as well as outside reviews. I'm still a bit away from tenure, so I haven't really had to go through the nitty gritty, although I do have an interim review next year. My impression is that some schools make the tenure process far more painful than others, but that, if one meets some basic threshold publishing requirement, he is unlikely to be denied tenure. I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule, and who knows if the culture of legal academia will change in response to the difficult economy. And I would speculate that tenure standards at the very top schools are tougher, although it does seem like even Harvard has granted tenure to faculty who really didn't publish much pre-tenure, and have pretty much stopped publishing post tenure.

The common wisdom is that entry-level jobs are so difficult to get, in part, because schools are essentially stuck with you. I think there is some truth in that, but maybe I will be singing a different tune after my tenure review ;).

The Real Jack McCoy wrote:Thanks again for the thread--like the above poster, it has been, for me, the most useful thread on TLS. (Thanks also to shortporch for his/her contributions.)

Earlier in the thread you mentioned that tenure is easier to obtain in a law school than in many other departments. Can you describe the tenure process in most law departments? Is the process changing (as it seems to be in a lot of other departments)? How common are denials of tenure?


What effect does poor teaching have on tenure? We've got a newer prof this semester who may be the worst professor I've ever had. The whole class shares my view, and if he gets one positive review I'd be shocked. However, what he lacks in classroom skill seems to be made up for in sheer volume of published work. Suppose things continue this way. Can terrible teaching end things or is it really all a question of publishing?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:28 pm

Probably depends on the school. I think various institutions weigh teaching ability differently. My guess (and I'm not an Associate Dean so really all I can do is guess) is that, if one were a truly extraordinary scholar, the absolute star of the faculty, but a bad teacher, he would frequently be given tenure. If he were so terrible as to be incompetent (e.g., merely talked to himself during class or didn't show up), then tenure may be harder to grant.

As far as the more common situation -- where someone meets the basic scholarly level of most people granted tenure by the institution but is a bad teacher -- my *guess* is that tenure generally wouldn't be denied. But there are some schools out there that seem to truly pride themselves on commitment to students (Baylor, LSU), where perhaps bad teaching is taken more seriously. But, from my vantage point, never having gone up for tenure and (of course) never having served on a tenure committee, I really don't know all that much more about you do regarding the affect of bad teaching on tenure, and you're probably in a better position than I am to determine how that factors works at your particular institution. If you do a Westlaw search in JLR on something like tenure /15 "teaching evaluations", you should find some informed commentary on the subject, although I'd suggest you spend your free time keeping up with your coursework ;).

quakeroats wrote:What effect does poor teaching have on tenure? We've got a newer prof this semester who may be the worst professor I've ever had. The whole class shares my view, and if he gets one positive review I'd be shocked. However, what he lacks in classroom skill seems to be made up for in sheer volume of published work. Suppose things continue this way. Can terrible teaching end things or is it really all a question of publishing?

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uzpakalis
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby uzpakalis » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:08 pm

This thread is super helpful, thanks! How do you feel about a student attending a 15-20 school at sticker?

mom2law
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby mom2law » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:23 pm

Thanks for the clear, direct answers and unemotional responses.
Would love your opinion for this situation:
Important family reasons to stay in NJ. Not primary breadwinner. Really not feasible/acceptable to incur debt. Artistic type not interested in Big Law....PI or govt in NJ. Very strong numbers but wouldn't get full ride at CLS/NYU (got very large but not full at Fordham). Intellectual experience of the next 3 years matters. Assuming full rides with no stips to Cardozo and Seton Hall, full ride with 3.0 to Rutgers-N, and with the added detail that R/N visits were unimpressive, would it be a bad decision to attend one of the two former?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:10 am

I'd feel best if the school were a state school.

T20 schools are excellent schools and will open up many doors, but there are still plenty of factors to weigh into the decision (do you want to be a lawyer or are you just going by default? if you don't get a job for a year or two, can you lean on a spouse or parents for support? etc.)

uzpakalis wrote:This thread is super helpful, thanks! How do you feel about a student attending a 15-20 school at sticker?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:12 am

Since you care very much about your intellectual experience, CLS or NYU seem like the way to go. Each school should offer generous LRAP assistance (but you of course want to look into that.) At the very least, Fordham with a large scholarship. Going to Rutgers over any of these schools seems borderline insane, especially given Rutgers' financial problems and the diminished resources available to students.



mom2law wrote:Thanks for the clear, direct answers and unemotional responses.
Would love your opinion for this situation:
Important family reasons to stay in NJ. Not primary breadwinner. Really not feasible/acceptable to incur debt. Artistic type not interested in Big Law....PI or govt in NJ. Very strong numbers but wouldn't get full ride at CLS/NYU (got very large but not full at Fordham). Intellectual experience of the next 3 years matters. Assuming full rides with no stips to Cardozo and Seton Hall, full ride with 3.0 to Rutgers-N, and with the added detail that R/N visits were unimpressive, would it be a bad decision to attend one of the two former?

schooner
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby schooner » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:00 pm

I hope you're still taking questions, because this is a great thread.

Now that you teach at a ~T50 school after having attending a T10 (but not HY) law school, how would you compare the brainpower of your students to that of your former classmates? Clear difference? Or the top students at both aren't appreciably distinguishable (in terms of their work quality)?

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Corwin
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby Corwin » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:22 pm

I've enjoyed this thread very much, thanks a lot for posting.

I have a few research-related questions:
  • Does the prestige of publishing in a law review roughly correlate to the prestige of the school?
  • Are there "tiers" of law reviews so to speak? In CS conferences tend to be informally divided up into tiers based on a combinations of factors like acceptance rates, the program committee, number of citations, etc.
  • How many publications a year does a successful law school professor put out?
  • What would be considered a "steller" performance by a law student in terms of research? Coauthoring an article or two?

Thanks :)

Danteshek
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby Danteshek » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:50 pm

Can a good publication record overcome a degree from a school in the 50s? My goal is to teach securities regulation topics as an adjunct in 5-6 years. I am a rising 3L with a publication forthcoming in another law school's business law journal. Do publications even matter for adjunct spots? Or do they only care about experience? Can an adjunct ever get hired full time?

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby FantasticMrFox » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:51 pm

:idea:

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quakeroats
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:26 pm

Danteshek wrote:Can a good publication record overcome a degree from a school in the 50s? My goal is to teach securities regulation topics as an adjunct in 5-6 years. I am a rising 3L with a publication forthcoming in another law school's business law journal. Do publications even matter for adjunct spots? Or do they only care about experience? Can an adjunct ever get hired full time?


You might find this helpful: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... id=1840785

Danteshek
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby Danteshek » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:19 pm

quakeroats wrote:
Danteshek wrote:Can a good publication record overcome a degree from a school in the 50s? My goal is to teach securities regulation topics as an adjunct in 5-6 years. I am a rising 3L with a publication forthcoming in another law school's business law journal. Do publications even matter for adjunct spots? Or do they only care about experience? Can an adjunct ever get hired full time?


You might find this helpful: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... id=1840785


Thank you, quakeroats! I read the article. I LOVED the tennis analogy in the conclusion!

In case you are interested, here is my first attempt at legal scholarship: Outsourcing Fraud Detection: The Analyst as Dodd-Frank Whistleblower

schooner
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby schooner » Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:44 am

You could also find some direct data on this question by looking up bios of current securities faculty at various law schools and see what schools they attended. (For example, try googling "site:.edu school of law securities faculty" to get a haphazard and flawed sample of professors you can randomly click on.)

Danteshek wrote:Can a good publication record overcome a degree from a school in the 50s? My goal is to teach securities regulation topics as an adjunct in 5-6 years. I am a rising 3L with a publication forthcoming in another law school's business law journal. Do publications even matter for adjunct spots? Or do they only care about experience? Can an adjunct ever get hired full time?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:10 pm

This is obviously an unscientific response, but I think the top .5% or top 1% students at a top 50 are as good or better than 90%+ of the students at the top 10. To state it differently, out of every 100-200 students, there's usually one that comes across as extraordinarily brilliant/professional/savvy and so on.

Generally speaking, I think the T10 students are appreciably stronger than the T50 students. It's hard to compare, though, because I got to know my T10 colleagues while I was a student and have been able to follow them through their careers. So, I have lots of evidence base my evaluation on, whereas I know my T50 students only in the professorial capacity. If I actually teach at a T10 school, then I'd be in a much better position to make comparisons.

I think it is fair to say that the best of the best at the T50 are as good as the top T10 students, although there's a much wider range of quality once you've gone past that. Surely the bottom half of T10 students are much better than the bottom half of T50 students. As far as how I'd rank, say, a student in the top 10% at a T50 versus a top 30% student at a T10, I'm not sure. But all things considered, you're far more likely to find a strong, capable, impressive student at a T10 than at a T50, which likely explains why many firms focus exclusively on T10 schools. There are some extraordinary students at a T50, but it's so much easier to find a great one at a T10 and much easier to stumble onto a bad one at a T50.

I should make clear that I don't intend to denigrate my current students. Rather, I'm just emphasizing how good the students at the top 10 schools are. I didn't fully appreciate the potential of my classmates when I was in school (we were all constantly getting drunk together at every bar night, after all), but now that some years have passed since graduation, I really feel humbled to have been part of such an amazing student body.

T50 students, though, tend to be more interesting that the T10 ones in some respects. Students here know that BIGLAW is a longshot and thus are far more proactive in developing career interests, networking with the state bar, seeking practice opportunities, and so on. T10 students can be lazy in this regard because the employers come to them and pay so much money that it almost makes sense to ignore other opportunities. But perhaps the economic malaise has changed how T10 students view things. . .

schooner wrote:I hope you're still taking questions, because this is a great thread.

Now that you teach at a ~T50 school after having attending a T10 (but not HY) law school, how would you compare the brainpower of your students to that of your former classmates? Clear difference? Or the top students at both aren't appreciably distinguishable (in terms of their work quality)?




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