Search the Lounge


« Capuchin Monkeys Say: Unequal Pay for Equal Work Isn't Cool | Main | Emancipation Proclamation in Journal of Civil War History »

December 01, 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bill Turnier

Twice I went to the UK and did research that I never could have done in the US. My research consisted of library research but more importantly of interviews of people who provided information I never could have acquired in the US. They were probably my two most professionally productive sabbaticals. On weekends and during school breaks for our children we also traveled and saw a good part of the UK and Ireland. I, my wife and our children all value this two sabbaticals and they produced research that never could have been produced in the US. One article was on the value added tax and the other on PAYE.

Orin Kerr

I don't think there's an answer to this: It all depends on your goals, interests, and writing habits.

On a more controversial front, isn't it sort of strange that law professors get sabbatical leave? I mean, I'm happy to take one when offered. But given that we already have no teaching in the summer, that teaching loads are usually significantly lower than in other disciplines, and that most of our work is library work or can be conducted anywhere, it strikes me as a little strange that we also get sabbaticals.


It depends on what kind of work you do. Writing a book may, for some people, require a longer stretch of time than a summer. Teaching loads are lower, but some people may be more active in committee work than others. And some committees require more work than others. It depends. I have done the bulk (pretty much all) of my work while teaching full time. Not everyone is the same.


Agree with Orin.

AGR - does committee work for law professors differ from committee work for folks who teach in other disciplines?

Ignominious doc review

Perhaps you could talk to your students about how they plan to structure their sabbaticals when they graduate without jobs.

Manny Calavera

What a joke. How much does the average tenure track faculty member make compared to the graduates who are struggling to pay off their debt that your inflated salaries require of them? AND you get months of paid vacation?

The author of this article practiced for two years. What possible legal advice should she be giving anyone, much less to law students!

Limosine liberalism at its finest.


@VAP-- I know only one other discipline. There are more law school committees, with varying degrees of work involved. In departments with graduate schools there is,obviously, more involvement in picking graduate students. That is to say every professor is involved. This is intense, but seasonal.

Jacqueline Lipton

For the recent grads/current students raising concerns in this post, your points are well taken. I do agree that there is much wrong with the system at present. One of the obvious tensions (and I've blogged about this before) is that law schools in the United States are a strange hybrid between university discipline and trade school. In countries like Australia and the U.K. (where I trained), the law school has traditionally been a more "academic" arena and is supplemented with significant practical legal training either as an articled clerk or in a practical legal training institute after law school and before one is qualified to practice. It's always struck me as strange that in the U.S., the law school serves both functions. When I taught in Australia and the U.K., no one expected law grads to be "practice ready". That was the job of the legal training institutes and law firms who took on articled clerks.

Thus, I think there is a mismatch to a significant degree between how U.S. law schools are set up in terms of curriculum/faculty and the needs of the students. I know many law schools are seeking to address this through enhanced experiential learning programs etc, but these initiatives are relatively new at many schools and, as you point out, it may be that many existing faculty are not the best trained to teach experiential courses.

Would it be helpful for me to set up a new post on this blog for a discussion of these issues? I know that many students/recent grads are unhappy, and it might be useful to set up a separate thread to share ideas. My impression is that law school administrations are ready to listen (and indeed are already listening). And if there are voices here that want to be heard, I'm happy to facilitate that.


Interesting point of comparison JL. There are so many moving parts to this. People have been grumbling from time immemorial about law students who were not prepared to practice. But this has reached a fever pitch now as older people, seemingly, in all professions are disinclined to do for young people what was done for them when they (we) graduated. I spent 7 years in practice in the private and public sectors and, in both areas, there were lawyers who taught me as I went along. They were satisfied that I The people complaining now were not practice ready when they came out. Someone trained them,too. This is, apparently, not just a problem in law. I have a friend in advertising who said that when she graduated and went to work for a large firm she knew absolutely nothing. But she was hired with expectation that she would and could be trained. Now, people hiring for those same jobs want the person to have had two or three years worth of experience before they are hired. How do they get it? Work for nothing for years to get experience and THEN come on board. There is a much bigger problem with what is happening here than the perfidy of law professors.

Great idea to start another discussion about this.

Jacqueline Lipton



Didn't finish a sentence. Sorry

They were satisfied that I had a basic familiarity with subject areas of law that would be covered in the first and second years of law school, some in the third.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad