Tuesday, April 19, 2011
A student forwarded me this amazing item from a pre-law discussioon board posted last week by someone claiming to be a young law professor, using the moniker "shortporch," purporting to give advice about careers in law teaching:
Chicago places around 6 people in the academy each year. Yale places around 30. That's fact.
Now, Chicago is very good about elite placement (as in, the handful they get each year tend to be first-tier schools, not a scattering across all four tiers). But it is a grind-you-up, spit-you-out kind of academic training ground. You can enroll in a course at Chicago to "train" you as a potential academic--but after the first term, the professors in charge bar the "bottom" half of that class from re-enrolling in it the second term. It's that kind of brutal place for training. They're interested in crafting a small group of elite scholars. In contrast, Yale is going to be far more cooperative in academic opportunities and placement, with the reality that many get teaching positions and many are expected.
Chicago places 5-8 each year, that is a fact (and there's a more important fact, namely, that number represents almost all who seek such positions). I know of no source of information to support the purported Yale "fact," but my guess would be it's more like 15-24 in recent years. "Shortporch's" second paragraph, however, is complete fiction. Professor Bernstein offers a "Legal Scholarship" workshop, but she doesn't throw people out of it, and no one has to take it in order to get into law teaching (I'd say maybe half of the candidates I've worked with on the teaching market since coming here had actually taken that workshop). She does ask that if students want to enroll for the second part of the course that they submit a paper proposal; everyone who has submitted one has continued in the course. We are certainly happy to have produced many "elite scholars" (or at least scholars employed by other elite schools), but we support our alumni at all levels of the market, as the list of alumni in teaching (above) will reveal.
Cyberspace remains "the nonsense and misinformation" superhighway!