What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

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What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:57 pm

Is adjunct teaching position a typical step for becoming a full-time professor? Is it just because the lawyer loves to interact with students and has passion for academics but wants to practice as well? Is it a side hustle?

Also, how do you even get into adjunct positions? Do you need the same insane academic credentials like people who go into academics ASAP after 1-2 years of practice?

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by nixy » Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:53 pm

Most adjuncts won’t go on to become full time profs, no. It’s more likely for an adjunct writing or clinical prof to do so, but it would be a full time writing or clinical position, not doctrinal tenure-track faculty.

A lot of people do it because they like working with students. It pays better than non-legal adjuncting, so sort of a side hustle, but depending what you’re doing as a lawyer not a very lucrative one. Like if you’re working biglaw the adjunct pay isn’t going to mean much, it might be more meaningful for an impoverished PD (who probably doesn’t have time to adjunct).

For adjuncting you mostly need practice experience in the area, especially for something practice oriented like clinical teaching. How good your credentials need to be beyond that will depend on the field and demand and supply of profs and so on. You don’t need to have the same qualifications as the tenure track doctrinal profs. I have a friend who has very good but not spectacular qualifications (T30ish and some variety of clerkship, I think COA but am not certain) who has worked in non-profits in one area for 15ish years who regularly adjuncts at a couple of schools in the area. (This isn’t meant as any disrespect to my friend, who is brilliant, but didn’t go to HYS and hasn’t pursued the traditional academic gold stars.)

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Wild Card

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by Wild Card » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:09 pm

So that they can add the one line to their firm bios:

Mr. Dullard has taught courses in the ethics of basketweaving at the Georgetown Law Center.

And if they're crazy enough to go on cable news, they'll be introduced and labelled as a "professor."

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papermateflair

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by papermateflair » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:19 pm

One of the partners I work for adjuncts, and I assume it's because he's really passionate about his tax specialty and wants to share his excitement with others. He doesn't write academic articles or anything like that, he just really really really loves tax and is always looking for ways to engage with others professionally on his specialty and this is another way to do that.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by bana79 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:49 pm

My dad adjuncts a course at his local T3. One of his best friends/fellow partners had taught the course for a while and roped him in, but I think he also just genuinely enjoys teaching, and I think his clients like it too.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by jotarokujo » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:09 pm

being podium faculty requires actively enjoying research. becoming podium faculty is very competitive, but also most t14 students would hate doing it because they probably dont like doing legal academic research and writing.

people who adjunct probably like the act of teaching, but want to be paid their biglaw salary which is going to be higher than full time clinical faculty's.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:45 pm

I adjunct for most of the reasons people are giving in this thread. I like students and I like sharing what I'm interested in about the law, but I have no desire to give up the practice, write for law journals, or deal with academic law faculty. It also lets me connect with other attorneys and specialists coming through the school and is a nice line for client pitches. Absolutely not for the pay, which is a total joke.

I got the job through connections - I knew somebody affiliated with an institute at the university that corresponds with my field of law and in a casual conversation mentioned that it would be fun to teach. That led me into the process.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by AllAboutTheBasis » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:55 pm

papermateflair wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:19 pm
One of the partners I work for adjuncts, and I assume it's because he's really passionate about his tax specialty and wants to share his excitement with others. He doesn't write academic articles or anything like that, he just really really really loves tax and is always looking for ways to engage with others professionally on his specialty and this is another way to do that.
This is my dream/goal.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by namefromplace » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:15 pm

While the pay might not mean much to partners in private practice, it can be pretty significant to government employees. I've spoken with a couple of prosecutors and a judge who have said they love teaching and connecting with students as adjuncts, but that the pay is also a significant factor for them.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by nixy » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:23 pm

jotarokujo wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:09 pm
people who adjunct probably like the act of teaching, but want to be paid their biglaw salary which is going to be higher than full time clinical faculty's.
Except there are plenty of non-biglaw adjuncts (see the post above this about government employees).

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by ninthcircuitattorney » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:04 pm

You definitely don't need top academic credentials to adjunct. Northwestern regularly hires a former FDP who went to Seattle University Law School to teach a crim law course. She's a great lawyer, ... Scholarly material? Not so much

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 pm

I am a mid level in NYC biglaw who adjuncts. I like teaching and it’s fun to explain legal issues. I only teach a class if it is not going to impact my cases (I’m in litigation).

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 pm
I am a mid level in NYC biglaw who adjuncts. I like teaching and it’s fun to explain legal issues. I only teach a class if it is not going to impact my cases (I’m in litigation).
Are schools (or at least yours) pretty flexible about your schedule so that you can take time off from teaching when you have more work to do at the firm, and then come back easily once you're more available again?

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by jotarokujo » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:54 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 pm
I am a mid level in NYC biglaw who adjuncts. I like teaching and it’s fun to explain legal issues. I only teach a class if it is not going to impact my cases (I’m in litigation).
Are schools (or at least yours) pretty flexible about your schedule so that you can take time off from teaching when you have more work to do at the firm, and then come back easily once you're more available again?
i think the only commitment you have to make is a semester. so if you're more busy the next semester, you definitely can not teach anything. within one semester you just have to make the same time every week

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by dyemond » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 pm
I am a mid level in NYC biglaw who adjuncts. I like teaching and it’s fun to explain legal issues. I only teach a class if it is not going to impact my cases (I’m in litigation).
How did you get the gig? Been looking to try and start up a corp/transactional clinic at my alma but not even sure how you would do it.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by Sackboy » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:38 am

dyemond wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:22 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 pm
I am a mid level in NYC biglaw who adjuncts. I like teaching and it’s fun to explain legal issues. I only teach a class if it is not going to impact my cases (I’m in litigation).
How did you get the gig? Been looking to try and start up a corp/transactional clinic at my alma but not even sure how you would do it.
OP is an adjunct. Starting a clinic and being a clinical prof is a whole different ball game. Very few, if any schools, are going to allow you to open a clinic as a part-timer, and the funding required to run a clinic requires a lot more administrative approval than an adjunct position. If you want to start a clinic and work for it full-time, this is something you should be pitching to your Dean/Asst/Assoc Dean of Academic Affairs. You might want to do research how other law schools do it/what demand is like for that sort of clinic across law schools (if 100 schools have it and your school doesn't, there is a good/easy argument to be made), and you might need to pitch a "trial period" with lower pay than an Assistant Clinical Professor would normally make.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by dyemond » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:42 am

Sackboy wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:38 am
dyemond wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:22 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:34 pm
I am a mid level in NYC biglaw who adjuncts. I like teaching and it’s fun to explain legal issues. I only teach a class if it is not going to impact my cases (I’m in litigation).
How did you get the gig? Been looking to try and start up a corp/transactional clinic at my alma but not even sure how you would do it.
OP is an adjunct. Starting a clinic and being a clinical prof is a whole different ball game. Very few, if any schools, are going to allow you to open a clinic as a part-timer, and the funding required to run a clinic requires a lot more administrative approval than an adjunct position. If you want to start a clinic and work for it full-time, this is something you should be pitching to your Dean/Asst/Assoc Dean of Academic Affairs. You might want to do research how other law schools do it/what demand is like for that sort of clinic across law schools (if 100 schools have it and your school doesn't, there is a good/easy argument to be made), and you might need to pitch a "trial period" with lower pay than an Assistant Clinical Professor would normally make.
Yeah, phrased it badly -- not looking to do a clinic as in the way it operates in LSs, more like an experiential class instead of a doctrinal class. Like a trial class but for transactions.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by rk42 » Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:17 pm

What is the typical adjunct pay?

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:55 pm

how do you adjunct as a biglaw associate? is it possible to adjunct as a non-partner?

I imagine it would mean that you need to take times off weekly to go teach students in person, does any law firm offer that kind of flexibility to associates?

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by jotarokujo » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:55 pm
how do you adjunct as a biglaw associate? is it possible to adjunct as a non-partner?

I imagine it would mean that you need to take times off weekly to go teach students in person, does any law firm offer that kind of flexibility to associates?
often the courses taught by adjuncts only meet once or twice a week. it's pretty doable to make a once a week commitment over one semester

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by nixy » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:21 pm

Yeah, at my school they were also often in the late afternoon/evening (maybe meaningless for the corporate folks, but after court hours for litigators).

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:49 pm

Mine uses practitioners for LRW courses, which meet in the earl mornings or late evenings.

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Re: What motivates practicing lawyers to also teach adjunct/clinical?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:55 pm
how do you adjunct as a biglaw associate? is it possible to adjunct as a non-partner?

I imagine it would mean that you need to take times off weekly to go teach students in person, does any law firm offer that kind of flexibility to associates?
I'm a 2L, took/taking two classes this year taught by firm partners. Both were/are once a week starting at 8am.

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