The title of this post is the title of this intriguing new paper by Larry Solum available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This short paper is the Foreword to Brannon P. Denning, Marcia L. McCormick, and Jeffrey M. Lipshaw, Becoming a Law Professor: A Candidate's Guide, American Bar Association, Forthcoming.One of the great virtues of Denning, McCormick and Lipshaw’s guide is that it reflects the changing nature and new realities of the legal academy. Not so many years ago, entry into the elite legal academy was mostly a function of two things -- credentials and connections. The ideal candidate graduated near the top of the class at a top-five law school, held an important editorial position on law review, clerked for a Supreme Court Justice, and practiced for a few years at an elite firm or government agency in New York or Washington. Credentials like these almost guaranteed a job at a very respectable law school, but the very best jobs went to those with connections -- the few who were held in high esteem by the elite network of very successful legal academics and their friends in the bar and on the bench. The not-so-elite legal academy operated by a similar set of rules. Regional law schools were populated by a mix of graduates from elite schools and the top graduates of local schools, clerks of respected local judges, and alumni of elite law firms in the neighborhood. In what we now call the "bad old days," it was very difficult indeed for someone to become a law professor without glowing credentials and the right connections.
This is my first attempt at a 're-blog' post, and I was expecting something a bit more exciting! There is a link (above) to the Law School Innovation blog where I read this post, but the re-blog function doesn't make this original ownership particularly obvious!
The paper makes some interesting points regarding elitism, "the bad old days" and the changing landscape of how American law professors are hired.
The table of contents for the full book - Becoming a Law Professor: A Candidate’s Guide - is also available on SSRN (http://ssrn.com/abstract=1650713) and will be published by the American Bar Association.
The book covers a range of issues in eight, occasionally witty-named, chapters:
Chapter 1. What Do Law Professors Do All Day?
Chapter 2. Where Do Law Professors Come From?
Chapter 3. Pleased to Meat You, Hope You Guess My Name: Preparing For (and
Surviving) the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference
Chapter 4. The On-Campus Interview
Chapter 5. Which One of These Is Not Like the Others? Advice for
Nontraditional Faculty Candidates
Chapter 6. Offer and Acceptance: Handling Job Offers
Chapter 7. Now What? Things to Do Before You Teach Your First Class
Chapter 8. Converting an Unsuccessful Job Search into Future Opportunities