Academia is a career path that interests many law students. Traditionally, law graduates who have served on the editorial board of Law Review and completed a federal judicial clerkship fill law faculty positions. However, due in part to the increasing emphasis on clinical programs in law school curricula and the expanding use of adjunct professors, law faculty are now drawn from a broader pool, and include full-time practicing attorneys.
Additional career possibilities in the realm of academia include legal writing instructor or law librarian. Some undergraduate institutions also hire law graduates to teach courses such as political science or legal history. These positions may require a masters or Ph.D. in addition to a J.D. Universities and colleges also employ law school graduates in a variety of administrative posts, such as assistant dean, director of admission, or director of career services. Lastly, most universities and colleges employ attorneys to represent the institution in a variety of matters including personnel, contracts, real estate and tax issues.
Professors Mitch Berman and Willy Forbath are the UT Law faculty contacts for students interested in careers in teaching law.
Former UT Law Professor Brian Leiter, who now teaches at the University of Chicago Law School, offers comprehensive advice for students interested in teaching law:
For students interested in the “Interdisciplinary Path (Path C)” discussed by Professor Leiter in his article, the following UT Law faculty can offer advice on appropriate Ph.D. programs: Professors R. Markovits, Spindler, Spitzer and Wickelgren for economics; Professors Berman and Deigh for philosophy; Professors Bracha and Forbath for history; and Professors Abramson, Franklin, Levinson, Lindquist, Perry and Powe for political science. See UT Law faculty profiles for contact information.
Interested students might also consult the National Research Council report on graduate education.
Below are additional recommended resources:
Since 1941, more than 120 UT Law alumni have gone on to become tenure-track professors at law schools across the country. Seven of these alumni have also become deans; see list of alumni sorted by graduation year from UT Law.
Administrative positions at law schools and other higher education institutions include an array of possibilities, from admissions to career services, financial aid to student affairs, and more. For more information about obtaining an administrative career at Law Schools, please read NALP's "From Lawyer to Administrator" handout.