Academia

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cavtrpr
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Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 9:20 pm

Academia

Postby cavtrpr » Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:26 am

I've utilized the search tool and have found very little other than becoming a law professor is bounds above ridiculous difficult, but for curiosity's sake, I'd like more detail. I've read that from a school other than Yale, don't expect to become a professor at a respectable school. Even from Yale, don't expect it. My question is, though, how necessary is something like a JSD for becoming a professor? Do most of the professors at T14 schools have that advanced legal degree? Would someone that holds a SJD from a lower T14 institution stand a chance at academia?

I thought this was a question that could help others besides myself as well.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Academia

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:08 am

cavtrpr wrote:I've utilized the search tool and have found very little other than becoming a law professor is bounds above ridiculous difficult, but for curiosity's sake, I'd like more detail. I've read that from a school other than Yale, don't expect to become a professor at a respectable school. Even from Yale, don't expect it. My question is, though, how necessary is something like a JSD for becoming a professor? Do most of the professors at T14 schools have that advanced legal degree? Would someone that holds a SJD from a lower T14 institution stand a chance at academia?

I thought this was a question that could help others besides myself as well.

A JSD is not necessary, most profs don't have them, and there's a lot of evidence that if you want to do a degree beyond your JD, a Ph.D. will be more useful than a specialized advanced degree in law. (Another option might be the LLM, but only if you treat it as time/opportunity to research/write your butt off and get articles placed in LRs - it's not really valuable in itself, plus it's expensive; a PhD program should pay your tuition + a stipend, LLMs don't do that.) Any advanced degree is really only helpful to the extent it allows you the opportunity to research/publish, by getting articles placed in good LRs. (If you go the PhD route and publish in peer-reviewed academic journals, that's probably also good, but it's a much longer, drawn-out process than publishing in LRs, so practically speaking, not necessarily as helpful as LR publications.)

Because the primary qualification for academia is publishing, as long as you get good publications, where you go to school technically doesn't matter as much as what you publish. (I say technically, since opportunities to publish often correlate strongly with going somewhere like HY.) Beyond that, the usual top grades, LR, top federal clerkship are expected, but again, I think because these things tend to correlate with good publications. (And because the better-connected you are, the more likely you are to have smart people looking at your publications/promoting you, too, of course.) However, it's absolutely the case that HY dominate in recent law prof placements (check out law school websites and check out the bios for profs hired in the last 5-10 years). It's not impossible to get a job as a prof coming from a different school, but the numbers definitely increase the higher up the rankings you go.

But no, basically, no one can expect to get a job in academia just because there are so few openings, and so many people would like to do it, and given the decline in law school applications, hiring for profs has certainly not been going up. Obviously people do get prof jobs, but no one person can expect to be able to, not in the way that someone in the top 25% at H can expect to get a biglaw job. (This is basically the same as any other field of academia.)

Honestly, if you want more info about how to get into legal academia, google "how to be a law professor" or something similar, and look for blogs/webpages written by law profs. There's a lot of much more specific info out there than can easily be posted here.




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