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March 30, 2009

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lawprof wannabe

I have wondered in the past whether essays get the same academic respect as articles, especially for entry-level job candidates. I have some ideas for interesting essays but have concentrated my attention on article ideas for now, thinking that I can always do essays later. Is this a good strategy?

Ben Barros

I've started writing in more of an essay format, and I wish that the legal academy would start taking essays more seriously. Take away the background and fluff from a lot of articles and you end up with an essay. That said, for hiring and tenure, I think that articles are the way to go. Aim for 40 or more pages at least.

Orin Kerr

I'm a big fan of essays: They usually try to make one point clearly and directly, rather than the more cumbersome efforts of articles that try to present the very last word on topic X. Of course, the key word is "usually": Some journals publish essays that are surprisingly long.

In terms of evaluating candidates for the entry level market, I don't have a big sense of whether essays are considered very different from articles. My advice for candidates would be to write using the format that will lead you to make the most interesting and insightful scholarly points, preferably as often as possible. Put another way, I wouldn't hold back on essays. But I wouldn't write them exclusively, either.

James Pearson

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Took me time to read all the comments, but I enjoyed the article.

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I'm a big fan of essays: They usually try to make one point clearly and directly, rather than the more cumbersome efforts of articles that try to present the very last word on topic X. Of course, the key word is "usually": Some journals publish essays that are surprisingly long.

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