Constitutional Law

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Constitutional Law

Post by bab » Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:00 pm

I am interested in constitutional law and would like to teach law or become a judge. Do you have any advice on schools to consider. My scores make me competitive at all but the top 3 or 4 schools, but I might have an outside shot at them.


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Top Law Schools For Constitutional Law

Post by Ken » Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:53 am

Dear Bab,

Your focus upon constitutional law in law school and then becoming a professor at law school or a judge is an excellent route to consider. Constitutional law is one of the most exciting and certainly academic specialties of law and is excellent preparation for your chosen goals. Note that you will likely want to clerk for a judge after law school, as this is the best route to becoming a law professor or judge.

Note that below is a ranking of the top law schools in constitutional law. The information is provided by Brian Leiter, a very informed law professor at the University of Texas. The best law schools in constitutional law reads very much like your typical law school rankings index and is as follows:

1. Yale University 4.8
2. Harvard University 4.6
3. University of Chicago 4.5
University of Texas, Austin 4.5
5. Georgetown University 4.4
New York University 4.4
Stanford University 4.4
8. Columbia University 4.3
University of California, Berkeley 4.3
10. University of Virginia 4.0
11. Northwestern University 3.9
University of California, Los Angeles 3.9
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 3.9
14. Duke University 3.8
University of Southern California 3.8
16. University of Pennsylvania 3.7
17. Boston University 3.6
Cornell University 3.6
George Washington University 3.6
University of San Diego 3.6
Vanderbilt University 3.6

I wanted to address another question you put forward, which is what are the best law schools for becoming a law school professor. Professor Leiter did a study to determine what the top law schools were for educating future law professors, and again this list reads pretty much as your typical law school rankings list and is as follows:

1. Yale University
2. Harvard University
Stanford University
4. University of Chicago
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
6. Columbia University
University of California, Berkeley
University of Virginia
9. New York University
10. Cornell University
Duke University
Georgetown University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Texas, Austin

Overall, it sounds like you have an excellent chance at getting into the best law schools around and I recommend that you apply to all of the top 10 law schools. Some public law schools are better than the US News Law School rankings, which are flawed. Thus, I would definitely put Boalt and Texas up there on your list as well for amongst academics they are top law schools, although the US News Law School Rankings only puts them amongst the top 15 law schools.

Bab, I wish you the best of luck, but you sound like you will do amazingly well with no luck needed. Please post again on your results or with other questions.


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Re: Constitutional Law

Post by ethulin » Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:37 am

I know this is a very old thread, but I thought I might as well continue it rather than start a new one. Does this ranking still hold true? Does anyone know of similar providers of rankings?


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Re: Constitutional Law

Post by dueprocess14 » Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:08 am

Concurring Opinions has interesting and timely (2006-2008) stats on hiring into academia. It varies a bit from Leiter's data which IIRC is 2003-2007. What's particularly interesting is that in the past 2 years, Stanford has placed at as high of a percentage (though not overall numbers) as Yale, and last year was even better (71%).

As for constitutional law, Leiter hasn't updated this in quite some time. The best available from him is his Faculty quality based on AAAS membership rankings.

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Re: Constitutional Law

Post by dextermorgan » Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:20 am

From what I have heard it seems that academia is dominated by HYS and Chicago. Be ready to bust your butt though, it takes top grades on top of those schools to get good professorships. The academic job market may be the most competitive job market in the country.

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Re: Constitutional Law

Post by iagolives » Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:47 am

So, for all of you into Con Law (like I am), I'm curious: what do you hope to do with your law degree? I realize it may be putting the cart before the horse, but I'm just wondering.


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Re: Constitutional Law

Post by dueprocess14 » Wed Dec 24, 2008 3:50 am

Ideally I'd love to go into academia to teach and research. If not that, public interest or government. If that didn't work out, the nice thing about a law degree from a great school is that the fallback of $$$ at a job that's less than ideal ain't bad. Sure beats the Plan B for a humanities PhD, right? :)

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