How to start your career as a law professor?
Legal academic jobs are highly sought after and very competitive these days. Legal teaching is considered one of the highly respected jobs in the world with law professors enjoying substantial salaries coupled with other perks including housing allowances in some countries. Even though law school jobs are plenty today, it is only the best of the lot that secure law professor jobs.
Getting a legal academic job requires a lot of hard work and dedication. It is not easy; that is for sure. But, it is not entirely impossible if individuals have the desire to teach law.
How to start?
For starters, there is no fixed path to getting a law school job. Different countries have varying degree requirements when it comes to teaching law as a profession. In the United States, for example, candidates must obtain the Juris Doctor degree (considered a postgraduate degree) to teach law, while a doctorate or an LL.M. degree is required in Britain, Australia and several other places.
The significance of an LL.M. degree
Nevertheless, that doesn’t undermine the significance of getting advanced degrees, such as an LL.M. An LL.M. degree is a specialized degree that provides essential expertise, knowledge, analytical and legal skills for teaching. It involves extensive research work and does wonders for a law professor’s credentials. A legal academic job is not just about teaching; it involves writing, research work, publication, etc. and an LL.M. program is the right source to prepare would-be professors for the teaching world. Many would-be professors also put in efforts to get their legal articles published in academic journals to increase their chances of securing a law teaching job of their dreams.
The significance of law license
Although not mandatory in most of the countries, it always helps if candidates have a law license before teaching. In some countries, this requirement is given more significance. Although in most countries, you don’t need to have a current practicing licence to teach law, but you might be required to have a Ph.D.
Fellowship programs – another alternative
There are several fellowship programs that can help LL.M. graduates enter the teaching field. These fellowship programs are aimed at providing high achievers with relevant tools and techniques before considering full-time teaching along with honing their writing, teaching, and research skills. After graduating, many students prefer to work in law firms to gain a few years of experience to add value to their resume and boost their chances of being selected for a high paying legal academic job.
Although, the process of working as a law professor differs everywhere, candidates need to focus on research work to make them stand apart from the rest. An LL.M. program provides an excellent platform to publish research and thus, it is a key to pursue a law school job.
If a career as a law professor is what you aspire for, check out legal academic jobs section.