MOVING TO FRONT FROM SEPTEMBER 7 (new Update)
Brad Wendel (Law, Cornell) has a very informative site, with lots of links (including to some of my material, but also much, much more), for those interested in law teaching.
UPDATE: A legal historian writes with apt comments:
Thanks for alerting everyone to Wendel’s discussion—very interesting and quite informative. Though, as I often think when I see the opinion of someone relatively new to the game, somewhat misleading at some places. Like this: “If you have an excellent J.D. record, the Ph.D. can't hurt, and may help, if you can link your other discipline with your legal scholarship.”
From what I’ve seen, there’s a real advantage to phds in the current market. As law schools move substantially more towards scholarship as the guiding light for hiring, phds seem to have come on very strong in recent years. Your rankings of schools has contributed in important ways to this trend, I think. I think phd is becoming critical for hiring at many institutions and in many places. And it’s becoming the distinguishing factor for many who end up with jobs. In short, I think Wendel substantially under-reports the value of a phd.
This is 100% correct. Indeed, one can say something stronger: things have now gotten to the point that almost no one, not even someone with an excellent JD, can do competent, cutting edge work in interdisciplinary areas like law and economics, or law and philosophy, or law and psychology. In those cases, the PhD training is essential.