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Bodhicaryavatara

Careers in Legal Academia?

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I'm a recent JD grad, currently clerking for a judge (two years).  Legal academia, particularly clinical legal teaching, would be my dream job.  Would getting an L.L.M./Ph.D./S.J.D. in law help towards obtaining such a position?I was an OK but not great student in my JD program, and I know that hiring for academia can be very elitist.  

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Depends where you want to teach? This early in your career, unless you went to a T14 school with stellar credentials, then you are not going to get much interest from law schools —and this assumes you are already well published. Here is some background:https://www.law.uchicago.edu/careerservices/pathstolawteaching or https://law.utexas.edu/career/paths/academic/advice-on-becoming-a-law-professor/ or http://www.leiterrankings.com/jobs/2009job_teaching.shtml

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9 hours ago, Boolakanaka said:

Depends where you want to teach? This early in your career, unless you went to a T14 school with stellar credentials, then you are not going to get much interest from law schools —and this assumes you are already well published. Here is some background:https://www.law.uchicago.edu/careerservices/pathstolawteaching or https://law.utexas.edu/career/paths/academic/advice-on-becoming-a-law-professor/ or http://www.leiterrankings.com/jobs/2009job_teaching.shtml

Thanks! I am interested in non-tenure track positions (i.e. teaching in clinics or skills based courses)...is hiring for these less prestige-obsessed?

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I would say it really depends—say you were the clinic director for natural resources or family justice, most of the folks who run such programs have substantial practice experience (e.g. 10 years plus) in their respective fields. So, you do not necessarily have to have the same stellar academic credentials as a tenured law professor, but there is certainly an expectation that you bring significant real world experience in the area of practice.

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On 7/16/2018 at 12:53 PM, Boolakanaka said:

I would say it really depends—say you were the clinic director for natural resources or family justice, most of the folks who run such programs have substantial practice experience (e.g. 10 years plus) in their respective fields. So, you do not necessarily have to have the same stellar academic credentials as a tenured law professor, but there is certainly an expectation that you bring significant real world experience in the area of practice.

Thanks!  That seems like a more realistic goal (after several years of practice, that is) than TT prof positions at law schools. 

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I'd also consider looking at fellowships through clinics, it could help in terms of connections to clinical directors. At my school, there's at least one fellow that's hired for our asylum clinic. It could offer a good in, especially since you graduated so recently. I was also on the hiring committee for our legal writing professors, and the two people we ended up hiring didn't have a ton of teaching experience. I think both of them worked for law firms and may have taught legal writing and research skills to their associates. If I recall correctly, they didn't have degrees from T-14 schools. Hope this is somewhat helpful!

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On 7/25/2018 at 1:11 PM, aesthete said:

I'd also consider looking at fellowships through clinics, it could help in terms of connections to clinical directors. At my school, there's at least one fellow that's hired for our asylum clinic. It could offer a good in, especially since you graduated so recently. I was also on the hiring committee for our legal writing professors, and the two people we ended up hiring didn't have a ton of teaching experience. I think both of them worked for law firms and may have taught legal writing and research skills to their associates. If I recall correctly, they didn't have degrees from T-14 schools. Hope this is somewhat helpful!

Are the clinical fellowships you mentioned entry-level positions?  (I'm a 2017 law grad).  Are the fellows normally hired permanently at the end of the 1-2 year term?

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