Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Path to Prof/Lecturer (undergrad)

Curious to know if anyone here has parlayed their position a notthedroidyo01/05/17
The ABA take the position that a JD is equivalent to a docto onehell01/05/17
"The ABA take the position that a JD is equivalent to a doct jonthomas01/05/17
I went back for a master's degree at the local state school joecoder01/05/17
At least JDs can tick off the "graduate" degree box when ask jabberwocky01/05/17
Which really doesn't elevate us above the level of someone w 3lol01/05/17
Fwiw, in his explanation a master's degree wasn't "terminal" joecoder01/05/17
Don't listen to the sad sacks on here. It is absolutely doab jonthomas01/05/17
The ranks of PhD professors are filled with academic snobs w flharfh01/05/17
"the average JD program is much more academically rigorous t inho2solo01/05/17
You haven't heard much about it because it is a ridiculous s jonthomas01/05/17
TYFT. I was going "wait, I've seen other program's PhD stuf dupednontraditional01/05/17
https://twitter.com/realpeerreview? lang=en Look over some flharfh01/06/17
I've been an adjunct for a few years. Ever so often, I get i phillydoucherocket01/05/17
At least in my State you can do both. I know one Assistant A thirdtierlaw01/05/17
One of the partners at my firm teaches a class at a law scho 3lol01/05/17
I don't know much about the academic world in the U.S., but shuiz01/05/17
I was a tenured prof back in the 90s. Then I did something kaneloa01/05/17
Kaneloa is correct. It is possible to get a gig teaching leg wolfman01/06/17
I teach seminars in immigration law, and taught a community- shithead01/06/17
I have taught as a J.D., tenure-track, non Ph.D. in the past fiftyplus01/06/17

notthedroidyo (Jan 5, 2017 - 12:49 pm)

Curious to know if anyone here has parlayed their position as an attorney to a full-time job as an undergraduate Prof/Lecturer. Specifically have you done it without a PhD or Masters?

I've been a gov attorney for 4+ years and I'm trying to break into teaching (crim justice or the like) without getting my masters/PhD.

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onehell (Jan 5, 2017 - 1:17 pm)

The ABA take the position that a JD is equivalent to a doctor of philosophy, though I don't think most universities accept that stance except for law school profs:

http://apps.americanbar.org/legaled/accreditation/Council%20Statements.pdf

Anyway, I know lots of practicing lawyers who teach a class or two as adjuncts at the local university or community college. I don't think any university would hire a JD as a full-time undergraduate, tenure-track professor without a PhD, but it might be worth getting one's foot in the door as an adjunct if only to get an inside perspective.

In my experience, the adjunct gigs are not hard to get; department chairs usually have a budget for them and can hire anyone they want very quickly. A friend took the chair to lunch and was appointed to teach business law an hour later. It's not really a path to a full prof gig, but it's a line on the resume and a couple extra grand, at least.

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jonthomas (Jan 5, 2017 - 6:29 pm)

"The ABA take the position that a JD is equivalent to a doctor of philosophy, though I don't think most universities accept that stance except for law school profs"

This is the faculty for the Ethics & Legal Studies department at Denver University. More than half of them are JDs w/o a PhD. This is just one program I am familiar with, but there are plenty of these types of positions across the country:
http://daniels.du.edu/faculty-research/ethics-legal-studies/ethics-legal-studies-contact-us/

I think the treatment of the JD depends mostly on what you will be teaching. If it is a law/legal studies type position, then the JD=PhD. But if you want to go into a more general program, maybe not.

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joecoder (Jan 5, 2017 - 3:41 pm)

I went back for a master's degree at the local state school and one of the program heads tried to sell me on teaching.

For this university, at least, a JD is a "terminal" degree and therefore qualifies for professor jobs. No idea about tenure. YMMV

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jabberwocky (Jan 5, 2017 - 4:48 pm)

At least JDs can tick off the "graduate" degree box when asked on surveys.

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3lol (Jan 5, 2017 - 5:00 pm)

Which really doesn't elevate us above the level of someone with a master's in women's studies or some such nonsense.

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joecoder (Jan 5, 2017 - 5:27 pm)

Fwiw, in his explanation a master's degree wasn't "terminal" under their qualifications system.

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jonthomas (Jan 5, 2017 - 6:40 pm)

Don't listen to the sad sacks on here. It is absolutely doable. The most common path seems to be tax guys going into an accounting program, but you can also do the business law or criminology routes. In these positions, you are being hired to teach law (though to non-lawyers) so the JD is generally considered a terminal degree. Being an adjunct is OK if you have the time, but much better is to try and get something published.

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flharfh (Jan 5, 2017 - 1:40 pm)

The ranks of PhD professors are filled with academic snobs who won't even consider you for a tenure track position unless you have a PhD (this is remarkable because the average JD program is much more academically rigorous than the average liberal arts PhD program). Even with a PhD it is very competitive and the is a lot of nepotism and political intrigue.

Adjunct / lecturer is doable but typically pays pretty poorly, on the level of a public school teacher (if you get one of the better full time positions) or minimum wage if you are not lucky: http://www.salon.com/2016/09/24/life-in-academic-poverty-as-an-underpaid-university-teacher-they-just-do-not-want-to-pay_partner/ You would be nuts to leave a gov't attorney gig for a non-tenure track position, my opinion fwiw.

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inho2solo (Jan 5, 2017 - 1:57 pm)

"the average JD program is much more academically rigorous than the average liberal arts PhD program"

Seriously? I'm not saying I have a rationale for disagreement with you, it's just that I haven't thought or heard much about this, and find it a surprising statement.

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jonthomas (Jan 5, 2017 - 6:35 pm)

You haven't heard much about it because it is a ridiculous statement to make. A law degree is essentially a second bachelors. Instead of a dissertation, we write a journal article (or take "Advanced Legal Writing"). We didn't do any kind of serious research. It only takes three years.

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dupednontraditional (Jan 5, 2017 - 7:30 pm)

TYFT. I was going "wait, I've seen other program's PhD stuff and thought 'I have no ability to understand this...' ".

Law was challenging, but some subjects...no way.

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flharfh (Jan 6, 2017 - 11:13 am)

https://twitter.com/realpeerreview?lang=en

Look over some of this "research" to see how rigorous some liberal arts graduate programs at major American universities are.

I still think taking 3-4 years to do an independent research project / dissertation in a liberal arts or social science subject is less difficult than completing law school.

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phillydoucherocket (Jan 5, 2017 - 3:35 pm)

I've been an adjunct for a few years. Ever so often, I get invited to apply for a full time lecturer. Those positions tend to pay around $45-55k at my institution.

A few tenured faculty have JDs, but they got tenure quite some time ago. I'm not sure if that's possible any more.

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 5, 2017 - 3:53 pm)

At least in my State you can do both. I know one Assistant Attorney General who teaches a criminal law class a decent school for their criminology program.

I also know a few other private attorneys doing a similar thing.

For the first year of doing it, the pay is almost not worth the effort. Designing a syllabus, reading list, etc. takes a lot of time. However, once you get the first one under your belt, you can pretty much teach the exact same course, with a few modifications year after year. Once I get some more experience under my belt, I'm going to attempt to do the same thing.

I doubt anyone can get on the tenured track anymore with just a J.D., maybe a full-time position at a community college. Full-time adjuncts don't ever seem to make more than $55,000 a year. So it may make more sense to just teach a few classes a year and pocket the extra $5-$10,000 per semester.

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3lol (Jan 5, 2017 - 4:29 pm)

One of the partners at my firm teaches a class at a law school and I had a couple professors at law school who were practicing lawyers and only taught one class, but I'm pretty sure its more about preftige than $$$

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shuiz (Jan 5, 2017 - 7:00 pm)

I don't know much about the academic world in the U.S., but there are a few of us in tenured positions on our JDs in Japan.

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kaneloa (Jan 5, 2017 - 7:16 pm)

I was a tenured prof back in the 90s. Then I did something else for awhile and now I'm back to teaching undergrads full-time. I'm not bothering to pursue tenure. When my tenure track is up, I'm retiring.

There are UG programs in legal studies and paralegal studies that don't require graduate work beyond the J.D. The biggest problem is they often want you licensed in the state they're located in. I was required to be admitted to my current state within two years. I could not do reciprocity because I hadn't practiced since the 80s. I took the bar exam and got admitted. Some positions you wouldn't be able to apply for because they won't give you time to get admitted. Some might be willing to give you time to get admitted by reciprocity or exam. Truth is, though, they get so many applicants who are already admitted, there's no real good reason to do that unless you bring something else to the table, like a graduate degree in another subject.

Criminal Justice programs have gotten so tired of people with only JDs applying that they often put in their ads now that a J.D. alone is not sufficient for a full-time position. There are exceptions, of course. Any the cross disciplinary programs will want a Ph.D. You might the be one on the faculty who teaches the "Law and X" courses, but they're going to want that Ph.D. in a related field.

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wolfman (Jan 6, 2017 - 9:47 am)

Kaneloa is correct. It is possible to get a gig teaching legal studies or business law, but you generally need to be admitted in the state and have experience, and the caliber of your LS and even undergrad may matter for any full-time positions (which are few and far between) or tenure-track ones (which are even rarer). Lots of places use adjuncts and those are much easier to get.

It will be difficult to impossible to get a position teaching criminal justice. These programs are run by Ph.D.s in criminal justice, who generally require a Ph.D. or at least a Masters in criminology or in something like sociology. This is pretty much a turf-protection policy, and it's widespread, to the extent that hiring several JDs may jeopardize a program's accreditation by the CJ accreditation association (or so I've heard - there is even a paper on that phenomenon somewhere). The typical language you'd find is "JD is not considered a terminal degree for the purposes of this position" or "JD will not substitute for a Ph.D. or a Masters in Criminal Justice."

So, bottom line: possible in some fields, virtually impossible in another, and there is lots of competition.

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shithead (Jan 6, 2017 - 12:53 pm)

I teach seminars in immigration law, and taught a community-college course in business law with no credentials beyond my JD. I couldn't afford to continue at the community college - pay is awful, and it's time-consuming.

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fiftyplus (Jan 6, 2017 - 1:37 pm)

I have taught as a J.D., tenure-track, non Ph.D. in the past. I taught a specialized area of law for a program that had a graduate/undergraduate program in an area of business that I had extensive work experience in before law school. (Don't want to out myself but think of something like automotive law for an engineering school). I went five years with teaching full-time and a side practice, which was permitted for lawyers and doctors at the university. After five years, my husband was having serious health problems so I left and continued as a lecturer. Yes, there was snobbery in the fact that I didn't have a Ph.D. and I did have to take statistics in order to sit on Ph.D. committees. But it is possible if you have a niche that the university can tout as an additional benefit to a program.

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