It’s Hard Being a Law Professor These Days (And a Proposal For Unemployed Former Law Review Editors)

Law professors have been getting a lot of shit for good reason. They write useless law review articles that no one reads. They also act oblivious to the current unemployment and debt crisis that their students are facing. Some have the gall to think that their work and opinions are above those of practicing attorneys who have to deal with legal issues every day. And they certainly have no interest in advocating changes because it may affect their employment.

I still believe that law professors have no duty to find jobs for their students. Most law professors have little connections with the professional community. And it would add an unreasonable burden to their two class per semester schedule and their paid summer sabbaticals.

I can understand why law professors are resistant to change, particularly when it comes to protecting their job security tenure. But that also means that they know the current unemployment situation facing lawyers. Everyone knows that law professors are full of shit when they say that they sacrificed a Biglaw career and can easily go back.

Some law professors are also sensitive to criticism, especially when it comes from outside their academic circle. Without naming names or websites, there was a lulz-worthy war of words and blog posts between an up-and-coming law professor and a group of criminal defense attorneys over “revenge porn”. After having her ass handed to her, the lawprof retreated to her faculty-only blog where she accused her critics of being sexist and misogynists.  

The ABA’s legal education task force recommended that faculty members undertake the following:

  • Become informed about the subjects addressed in this report and recommendations, in order to play an effective role in the improvement of legal education at the faculty member’s school. In other stop pretending that a crisis does not exist. But being informed about the law school clusterfuck is one thing. Doing something about it is another.
  • Individually and as part of a faculty, reduce the role given to status as a measure of personal and institutional success. I am not sure why this is an issue. Law professors usually want a guaranteed paycheck tenure and little else after that.
  • Support the law school in implementing [changes to the law school curriculum proposed by the task force]. Good luck with that. Most of the task force’s recommendations require law schools to cut tuition provide value to students and eliminate useless spending – including faculty. Tenured faculty will fight tooth and nail before they agree to changes that will affect their job security.

My recommendations for law professors is the same that I gave to law schools. If you want to keep your jobs, you will have to call out and shame the shit schools that produce unemployable lawyers. There is speculation that almost every law school is losing money and may even face shutdown if this trend continues. Do you want your school to close or cut salaries? Also, stop saying that law schools are eventually worth the cost because we all know that is bullshit for most people. Also, PLEASE stop saying that a legal education provides some “intrinsic” value.

And now, I have a proposal for the unemployed former editors of law review facing a penal sentence of eternal cite-checking in the document review dungeons. Most of you had the thankless duty of reading and cite-checking every submission to your law review. During that time, many of you probably questioned why the editorial staff decided to publish some really shoddy submissions – Exhibit A for example. I hope that the disgruntled among you will start a blog or website that publicly reviews the worst submissions you had to deal with. I’m sure you will find a LOT of material. 

Law review publications are used mostly as a resume bump and has little to no quality control procedures. Also, most publications are presumed to be correct because….they are written by law professors (and the occasional judge, law student or practitioner). By publicly calling out the worst of the worst, law professors will think twice before writing some random bullshit. This may also minimize the chances of academic con-artists from getting tenure.

In a few years, law professors will be working a lot longer for less pay. Academia will not be the employment haven it once was. But they are to blame because they let this happen.


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