Academic Law Jobs
When looking at law schools, there are many different positions available that vary in voting status, salary, permanence, and other factors. Since we've explained how and why most applicants look for law professor jobs (tenure), here are more positions of a similar nature.
There are tenure-track teaching positions, such as clinical law professor jobs, where applicants aim to move from assistant professors to associate professors, and then to full professors. On the other hand, entry-level law teachers may also aim to become visitors (visiting professors), adjuncts, or legal research and writing instructors.
A visiting professor usually works as a tenured professor at one law school and then receives a temporary (year- or semester-long) position at another law school. Individuals interested in legal studies degree jobs may want to consider such positions.
There are various reasons for hiring visiting professors. One example includes covering a sabbatical leave, while another is filling a temporary job position. Another reason for hiring a visiting professor is testing whether the individual would eventually serve as a good permanent hire. This particular type of visit is colloquially called a "look-see" visit.
More recently, VAP programs have become very interesting when it comes to assistant professor jobs in law colleges. VAP stands for "visiting assistant professor," and such programs focus exclusively on those legal professionals who are currently not working at a law school. More and more schools have been creating these programs, making them a great opportunity for those aspiring to either temporary or permanent law professor openings.
In a broad sense, there is no promise of full-time or future employment for adjuncts. In other words, adjunct professors typically find employment teaching specific courses only for a single semester. If you're looking to have a "trial run" to learn whether you enjoy teaching, there's no better option than an adjunct teaching position, at least as far as academic legal jobs go.
Another benefit of working temporarily as an adjunct is access to contacts in legal academia, many of which can serve as recommenders or mentors, and even help in your publication efforts. At the same time, this temporary position is ideal in the sense that it provides access to a good academic law library.
Generally speaking, law schools tend to be very focused on publications and scholarship. As far as teaching law jobs go, adjunct positions may or may not be the best choice for you. How so? Let's see.
An adjunct position will serve you well if it allows you to develop a cadre of supporters in academia, gain input, and focus on publishing. On the other hand, having law school adjunct professor jobs is probably not the best choice if it offers little opportunity to become a part of faculty academic life or prevents you from publishing because of the time you spend in the classroom.
Moreover, adjuncts typically receive a few thousand dollars per course, meaning that the adjunct law professor salary is less than ideal. At the same time, this position doesn't normally come with other benefits.
Legal Researcher and Writing Instructor
Legal researchers and writing instructors have no problem finding employment in most law schools today. Aside from additional duties in the area, these legal professionals mostly spend their time teaching research and writing to first-year students. Most often, becoming a legal researcher and writing instructor is a good way to enter the field for individuals primarily interested in a law school professor job.
However, you should note that most factors related to adjunct teaching positions also apply to legal research and writing instructors.
On the one hand, one of the benefits of such law school faculty jobs includes building relationships with faculty mentors. Additionally, you can gain access to great online and library resources and show your interest in academia. Lastly, you're also able to gain a valuable skill when it comes to reviewing student writing.
Conversely, there are also several concerns you'll need to address. Firstly, there's a chance your less-than-great integration into the faculty might impede your chances of finding adequate faculty mentors. There's also a chance you won't have any time for your research and writing due to being so busy with your new job. Additionally, research and writing instruction is quite different from being a candidate for an academic position, which is what most appointment committees look for. As far as law faculty jobs for legal research and writing instruction go, we advise that you carefully evaluate your personal goal and specific situation before deciding.
Alternative Law Professor Jobs
If you're seeking employment as a law professor outside of academia, you also have a plethora of options at your disposal. Some of the most popular options nowadays include business law professor jobs, tax law professor jobs, environmental law professor jobs, criminal law professor jobs, constitutional law professor jobs, labor law professor jobs, family law professor jobs, and many others. You can also consider law professor jobs overseas if you feel like changing your scenery more permanently.
However, it's important to note that duties, responsibilities, and job descriptions of all of the aforementioned positions heavily vary depending on the specific organization/institution.
Irrespective of the job or position, becoming a law professor takes a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication, and ability to overcome challenges. It makes perfect sense that individuals who accomplish such a feat deserve respect and admiration. Law professors are responsible for teaching aspiring students all about the rights and wrongs they will encounter daily. This responsibility is enormous, and it comes as no surprise that there are so many law professor jobs available today. Think carefully before you make your decision, and choose your teaching opportunity wisely. Good luck!