Law School Professor, Taking Questions

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LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:44 pm

I doubt they would ever know, unless you listed it on your resume. A handful of schools that request transcripts might notice it, though. I don't think it'd be looked at unfavorably. In fact, the T50 school might give you a valuable geographical connection to some schools, which can be very important in law school hiring.

tea_drinker wrote:If a student started out at a T50 law school, then transferred to a T14 school. Will this be looked upon unfavorably by hiring committees? Or it is the same?

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dextermorgan
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby dextermorgan » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:04 am

Other than the obvious (opportunities to publish, pedagogical training, and in-depth training in research) are there advantages to obtaining a PhD if one seeks to work in legal academia? What if the PhD is in a niche field that ties into law less obviously than say Economics or Philosophy?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:29 pm

Unfortunately, I don't have any insights into the advantages of a Ph.D, aside from the obvious ones.

If your Ph.D does not relate to your legal scholarship, then it's at best a neutral factor, and at worst will make you seem like a dilettante.

dextermorgan wrote:Other than the obvious (opportunities to publish, pedagogical training, and in-depth training in research) are there advantages to obtaining a PhD if one seeks to work in legal academia? What if the PhD is in a niche field that ties into law less obviously than say Economics or Philosophy?

grash
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby grash » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:44 pm

in the field of law, what's your impression of the utility of academic research? do you feel like there's a lot of trophy collecting, or do you think that published articles generally contribute towards refining the law? thanks.

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quakeroats
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby quakeroats » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:03 pm

grash wrote:in the field of law, what's your impression of the utility of academic research? do you feel like there's a lot of trophy collecting, or do you think that published articles generally contribute towards refining the law? thanks.


http://select.nytimes.com/2007/03/19/us/19bar.html?_r=1

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:12 pm

Much of legal scholarship is useless or irrelevant. But there are still many important articles/treatises that are being written that will be useful to the practicing lawyer.

I think, in the last 50 years, the number of useful articles has remained the same, but useless stuff has proliferated. There are more law schools, more law reviews, and more professors.

grash wrote:in the field of law, what's your impression of the utility of academic research? do you feel like there's a lot of trophy collecting, or do you think that published articles generally contribute towards refining the law? thanks.

grash
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby grash » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:23 pm

is there less to talk about as well? given an expanding academia, even if we considered it in the context of diminishing marginal returns one would expect that the number of useful articles would increase as well. or is there an increasing trend of academics writing for academics?

LawProfessor123 wrote:Much of legal scholarship is useless or irrelevant. But there are still many important articles/treatises that are being written that will be useful to the practicing lawyer.

I think, in the last 50 years, the number of useful articles has remained the same, but useless stuff has proliferated. There are more law schools, more law reviews, and more professors.

grash wrote:in the field of law, what's your impression of the utility of academic research? do you feel like there's a lot of trophy collecting, or do you think that published articles generally contribute towards refining the law? thanks.

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:28 pm

I think there are plenty of areas of the law that can benefit from informed scholarly commentary. There's no shortage of useful things to write about.

There is undoubtedly an increasing trend of academics writing only for other academics. This likely stems from the increased hiring of Ph.D's, who are used to having conversations with only one another and not the outside world.

grash wrote:is there less to talk about as well? given an expanding academia, even if we considered it in the context of diminishing marginal returns one would expect that the number of useful articles would increase as well. or is there an increasing trend of academics writing for academics?

LawProfessor123 wrote:Much of legal scholarship is useless or irrelevant. But there are still many important articles/treatises that are being written that will be useful to the practicing lawyer.

I think, in the last 50 years, the number of useful articles has remained the same, but useless stuff has proliferated. There are more law schools, more law reviews, and more professors.

grash wrote:in the field of law, what's your impression of the utility of academic research? do you feel like there's a lot of trophy collecting, or do you think that published articles generally contribute towards refining the law? thanks.

grash
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby grash » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:37 pm

thanks for bearing with me. if i could bother you with just a few more questions...

what incentive structures, if any, are in place to push publication towards useful commentary? is there any community enforcement mechanism that ostracizes scholarship on pointless topics? also, do you think academics who write for other academics do so because that is their preference, or because they are ill equipped for writing things for the practicing attorney?

LawProfessor123 wrote:I think there are plenty of areas of the law that can benefit from informed scholarly commentary. There's no shortage of useful things to write about.

There is undoubtedly an increasing trend of academics writing only for other academics. This likely stems from the increased hiring of Ph.D's, who are used to having conversations with only one another and not the outside world.

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:45 pm

Not a problem. I should preface these remarks by saying I'm just sharing my own perspective, and others in the academy will undoubtedly give you different responses.

There's not much of an incentive structure to publish useful commentary. Arguably, the incentives run in the opposite direction. Some schools offer cash bonuses to scholars who place article in T25 law reviews, and other schools will include only articles published in top tier journals in a professor's tenure file. Since the top law reviews tend to publish the most useless or off topic stuff, this perhaps creates an incentive to write stuff for other academics, not for the bench or the bar.

That being said, many people prefer not to feel irrelevant and thus continue to write for the practicing bar (practical articles are not those that that merely "crunch cases," but are articles that consider serious doctrinal problems in thoughtful ways, with regard to broader legal principles that a practicing attorney does not have time to delve into). It's nice to see a court take one's work seriously, or for a party to cite one's work in a brief.

I think most professors who write only for other professors probably have either little interest or even disdain for the practice of law. Some of these professors don't belong in law school, but instead should be in the Arts & Science graduate department. But pay is higher and tenure is easier in law school, and so these types continue to proliferate in law faculties.

grash wrote:thanks for bearing with me. if i could bother you with just a few more questions...

what incentive structures, if any, are in place to push publication towards useful commentary? is there any community enforcement mechanism that ostracizes scholarship on pointless topics? also, do you think academics who write for other academics do so because that is their preference, or because they are ill equipped for writing things for the practicing attorney?

LawProfessor123 wrote:I think there are plenty of areas of the law that can benefit from informed scholarly commentary. There's no shortage of useful things to write about.

There is undoubtedly an increasing trend of academics writing only for other academics. This likely stems from the increased hiring of Ph.D's, who are used to having conversations with only one another and not the outside world.

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

Postby The Real Jack McCoy » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:31 pm

LawProfessor123 wrote:The benefit that HY may have over Stanford is that HY have had, for many years, sophisticated machinery in place to get their grads teaching jobs. Stanford is obviously an amazing school which I would have given my left arm to have attended as a student (much less taught at!), but historically, H and Y have been much more aggressive about placing their students into the academy.

The effect of this may be muted somewhat by the trends discussed in the Solum article; until 20 years ago, getting a job had a lot more to do with who you knew and who was willing to make a call for you. H and Y were traditionally very good about helping their alums play this game. But as Solum points out, publications are the name of the game today.

Also, keep in mind that most law school hiring (except perhaps at the T20 and a handful of other schools) is done with high regard to curricular needs. A graduate of USC, for example, who specializes in tax or IP will have a much easier time getting a job than a Yale grad who wants to teach and write in civil rights law.

The Real Jack McCoy wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:
Cool links but I subscribe to this thread to see what the prof. has to say, not you guys. Ask questions, wait for answers: that's how it works :evil:


Well in case it wasn't clear I was just defending my original question (which was a variant of El Gallo's): can you elaborate on your claim that it is Harvard/Yale and then the rest of the t10 for academic placement? Where is Stanford (which continues to place well for its class size)?

I'll leave it at that, though, as I agree this shouldn't be a discussion thread.


Just wanted to say thanks for the response, it makes a lot of sense to me.

Regarding placement data, the reason I discussed Harvard and Stanford as peers is that, if you control for class size, they place a remarkably similar percentage of students. This pattern has held in recent years as well. That said, the idea that Harvard has superior institutional support still makes a lot of sense (e.g. they consider academia as falling under Low Income Protection Plan). I suspect Stanford recruits a number of students who are already competitive for academia, whereas Harvard has traditionally had the younger class--thus making Harvard's ability to remain even with Stanford on a percentage of class basis more impressive.

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mrmangs
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby mrmangs » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:50 pm

Tagged. This has been helpful. Seems like becoming a law school professor is much like becoming any other professor in the academy (was thinking of becoming a philosophy prof before opting for LS).

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shortporch
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:03 pm

Just to offer a few additional points.

A PhD is tremendously beneficial in today's hiring. There has been a significant upswing in hiring PhDs. This is the convergence of a number of factors: a glut of PhDs on the market; PhDs recognizing that law schools pay better; law schools looking for more "interdisciplinary" subject areas and scholarship (e.g., law and economics, law and philosophy, empirical legal studies); law schools looking for more "impressive" candidates (on paper) to nudge rival schools and impress 0Ls and alumni in promotional literature; law schools looking for individuals with a track record of scholarship and writing, which is the primary factor for many schools in considering qualified candidates.

All of the debate over "tiers" of law schools in hiring is the kind of silly Leiter- and TLS-obsessed focus on a arbitrary novel "rankings." The self-reporting, the very small sample size, a number of changing factors each year make it very difficult to come up with any definitive rankings beyond very generalized ones that loosely correlate to the USNWR rankings.

Far more important is mentality. Does Chicago have a more established "network" of good ol' boys helping land graduates into academic jobs? Sure it does. But if you think that drifting to Chicago over, picking schools randomly, Duke or Virginia is going to improve your chances at entering academia, you're sorely mistaken. First, recognize that it's often a pipe dream for many students at even these schools. Second, your own initiative matters far more than your school selection. If you make the effort to develop a research agenda and publish scholarship on your own, burning the candle at both ends when you're clerking or in practice, then you're going to be in much better shape than someone who picked a "better" school but did none of that. And the initiative matters far more than the marginal benefits, if they exist, of selecting a slightly better school because you think that last ounce of prestige will push you over the edge.

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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:05 pm

In an earlier post the OP wrote that only 3 of 40 law schools at which he interviewed asked for law school transcripts. This is interesting for a fairly recent law school graduate interviewing to teach law school. At which point of the interviewing process were the transcripts requested ? Is it possible that only finalist candidates are asked for law school grades ? Possible that law review membership & editorial position sufficed as an indicator of class rank & law school grades ? Thanks !

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shortporch
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:03 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:In an earlier post the OP wrote that only 3 of 40 law schools at which he interviewed asked for law school transcripts. This is interesting for a fairly recent law school graduate interviewing to teach law school. At which point of the interviewing process were the transcripts requested ? Is it possible that only finalist candidates are asked for law school grades ? Possible that law review membership & editorial position sufficed as an indicator of class rank & law school grades ? Thanks !


If OP did interview at 40 law schools, then it's likely he interviewed for at least two years.

Regardless, in my case, I only had requests for transcripts at the very end of the process, where it was something more pro forma for administrative purposes. "law review membership & editorial position" are almost irrelevant in terms of qualification. Graduating summa, or magna, or coif, depending on the school, are what are far more significant, and something very obvious on your resume. And by the time you've graduated, clerked for an elite judge, worked at an elite firm, and placed multiple articles in an elite journal, grades are, by that point, not an indicator of your "potential" as a scholar.

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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:28 pm

According to one of the OP's posts on the prior page, he interviewed at 40 law schools only 3 of which requested his transcripts.

bigkahuna2020
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby bigkahuna2020 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:00 pm

What about not top 10 schools? How is the chance at Academia from schools like say, Vanderbilt, BU, GWU, BC, Fordham etc? Obviously there is some dropoff, but with writing and research during law school and some experience in the field (whether gov't or private practice) is there a decent shot at academia, or are you pretty much locked out unless you do something spectacular. Do you have such graduates from that said "level" or schools? Do their strengths matter (ie doing enviro at BC or international law at Fordham?)

Sorry for the barrage of questions.

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shortporch
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:13 pm

bigkahuna2020 wrote:What about not top 10 schools? How is the chance at Academia from schools like say, Vanderbilt, BU, GWU, BC, Fordham etc? Obviously there is some dropoff, but with writing and research during law school and some experience in the field (whether gov't or private practice) is there a decent shot at academia, or are you pretty much locked out unless you do something spectacular. Do you have such graduates from that said "level" or schools? Do their strengths matter (ie doing enviro at BC or international law at Fordham?)

Sorry for the barrage of questions.


I feel like I'm hijacking OP. If you publish and place well; if you have an interesting (and hot) field; if you can carry on a decent conversation with others and don't come across as anti-social or a jerk; if you're flexible in terms of location, such that you're not locked in to an area; and if you end up networking with professors from your school or in your field who serve as mentors, will help you with committees, etc.--then you've got a fine chance. You should do extremely well at those schools, which is a given. And you may need to be more of a self-starter, because places like Harvard and Chicago have massive institutional support in place to help students, while you may be a bit more on your own at a lower-ranked school when you start the application process.

The "strengths" of a school will be utterly irrelevant. If you want to become an environmental law professor and you went to BC, no one will care unless you've done good environmental scholarship, and that will be largely unrelated to your "strengths." At best, you might network with some more professors in that field at your school who can serve as mentors.

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re-applicant
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby re-applicant » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:53 pm

The OP has talked about how the market is easier for those who want to teach tax or IP than those who want to do con law or civil rights. What is the market like for people interested in corporate law issues like securities law, antitrust, and corporate governance?

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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby WVUCelticFan » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:07 pm


The OP has talked about how the market is easier for those who want to teach tax or IP than those who want to do con law or civil rights. What is the market like for people interested in corporate law issues like securities law, antitrust, and corporate governance?


Interested in this as well. I'm a (soon to be) CPA going to law school next fall. Have some interest in one day teaching (either at law school, or business law for undergrad - I had to take two law classes aimed at accountants.)

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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby QandAphorism » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:13 pm

LawProfessor123 wrote:Junior professor at a T50ish school. Happy to take questions.


Salary?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:10 am

Corporate law also tends to be hot every year, although less so than tax or IP. There generally are very few candidates on the market each year who are strong tax or IP candidates, and a greater number (but still relatively small) of candidates who are legitimate corporate law candidates. Thus, the absolute size of the corporate pool tends to be bigger. Of course, there are more corporate law teaching spots than tax or IP spots, but I still think that in terms of hot fields, tax or IP continue to have an edge.

I'm less sure about antitrust; many schools need to fill several sections of Business Organizations each year, and perhaps Sec Reg every semester, but Antitrust is not a "core" class to the same extent that Business Organization is. If someone were interested in Antitrust, I'd recommend also expressing and showing an interest in general corporate issues as well.

re-applicant wrote:The OP has talked about how the market is easier for those who want to teach tax or IP than those who want to do con law or civil rights. What is the market like for people interested in corporate law issues like securities law, antitrust, and corporate governance?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:11 am

My information on schools other than my own is limited, but my understanding is that schools in the T50ish range typically pay between 95k-115k as base salary to new professors, with 10k-20k for summer research support. It's hard to find accurate information on these questions.

QandAphorism wrote:
LawProfessor123 wrote:Junior professor at a T50ish school. Happy to take questions.


Salary?

LawProfessor123
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby LawProfessor123 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:16 am

The few transcript requests came at different times. One school, a large public university, asked me to submit my transcript through the school's central online application system. Apparently, it was university policy to get certain information for all faculty candidates, regardless of department. Another school invited me for an interview at the hiring conference, and, as part of the invitation, asked me for my transcript. Another school asked me after a callback visit, for purposes of "completing the file."

CanadianWolf wrote:In an earlier post the OP wrote that only 3 of 40 law schools at which he interviewed asked for law school transcripts. This is interesting for a fairly recent law school graduate interviewing to teach law school. At which point of the interviewing process were the transcripts requested ? Is it possible that only finalist candidates are asked for law school grades ? Possible that law review membership & editorial position sufficed as an indicator of class rank & law school grades ? Thanks !

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Sogui
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Re: Law School Professor, Taking Questions

Postby Sogui » Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:59 am

LawProfessor123 wrote:
mst wrote:Do law professors at schools outside of the top 14/top 30 really differentiate between the caliber of schools within the t14 (excluding the obvious Harvard, Yale, and maybe Stanford)? To elaborate, if you sat down in the lounge and started discussing the t14 schools with fellow professors also at t50ish schools, do you think they would for the most part agree that there is very little distinction in quality between schools like Columbia/NYU/Chicago and schools like Georgetown/Cornell/Northwestern? Or is the profession (outside of the super-competitive top schools) generally :"aware" that there is a big difference between a Chicago and a Duke?

Sorry if that's confusing. I'm basically just trying to get a handle on whether the profession seems to divide the t14 up so distinctively (HYS/CCN/BMVP/DNCG) like the members of this board do, or if they just generally see it as: (HY/CCNBMVPDNCG) or something along those lines... Please keep in mind that I'm not looking for the viewpoint of super-academics who could name every professor at every school in the t14.


I don't think law professors make distinctions as fine as you make them, especially because professors are comparing faculties, rather than student bodies. HYS undoubtedly stand out among the pack, but beyond that, the schools don't break down in the same ways that law students break them down (e.g. "CCN" v. "MVP"). To most professors, Georgetown is far more prestigious than, say, Duke or Michigan because of its location and (because of its location) it attracts many more heavyweight scholars than the more isolated schools.

So, to answer your question, I don't think law professors break law schools down in the same way that students do.



This makes sense, but I'd imagine when this generation's law students end up as Deans and other such roles, that things will quickly change. My experience (as a student) has been that schools either want someone who is individually prestigious or if they don't have a reputation, at least comes from a school that is as equal or more prestigious. At CLS nearly all the professors are from HYS, with a handful from Columbia or NYU. Anyone else is an "expert" in some "hot" sub-category, and only teaches that area. My K professor was a great example of this, one of the few profs with a state school (non-Cali) undergrad but went to Chicago for his JD and ended up clerking for Judge Posner.

The situation with current faculty is that they only had a rough idea of where a school might fall. One heavyweight scholar with a big presence at a law school might make an otherwise mediocre school seem much more prestigious. That's still a factor, but it won't move a #13 school any farther than a rank or two above its current position in our current generation's minds.

I'm always wondering if I could go back and at least lecture for my alma mater or another similarly ranked school someday. I had a "business law" lecturer who was also went to undergrad and law school at UT-Austin, just like my K professor it was such an easy topic to teach. You get to talk about funny cases, do some Socratic questioning, play "hide the ball" and generally the class loves it. Even better is that unlike the prof, our lecturer only had to "grade" a few multiple choice exams. He just developed a "script" over the years that was highly entertaining and thus he ends up collecting a low six-figure salary plus another 30k-100k in teaching awards every so often since he is always near the top of the rankings in course evaluations.




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