Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Devolution Of The Legal Academy And The Revolution In Law Prof Hiring Standards

Amin R. Yacoub (Virginia; Google Scholar), The Devolution of Legal Academia in the United States and the Revolutionization of the Hiring Standards of Law Professors:

Legal academia in the US took multiple steps in the wrong direction in recent years regarding the hiring of tenure-track law professors. This has affected both the quality of legal education and scholarship. It also widened the gap between the researching and teaching of the science of law and the practice of law in courts. That is mainly due to introducing a new hiring formula that favored PhD holders in cognate social sciences than the holders of Doctor of Juridical Science Degree (S.J.D./J.S.D.) and experienced attorneys with Juris Doctor (J.D.) who switch to legal academia. Notable empirical studies point to the disastrous impact this shift had on the preparation of JD students to become future lawyers. In this article, I expose the flaws of the current market formulas of hiring legal academics. 

Further, I argue that the existing prejudice against hiring the holders of the S.J.D./J.S.D. was rooted in foreign-phobia and faulty generalization fallacy. Moreover, I argue that hiring the holders of Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D./J.S.D.) degree in tenure-track positions relating to international law, human rights law, comparative law, or foreign laws may indeed enrich US law schools and alleviate many of the harmful effects resulting from the recent spike in hiring holders of PhDs in cognate disciplines as law professors. 

Finally, this article suggests a wise distribution of resources: hiring foreign lawyers with Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD/JSD) degrees in tenure-track positions concerning international law, human rights law, comparative law, and foreign related legal fields; hiring experienced American attorneys with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Yale’s PhD in Law to specialize in American Law subjects (also known as the core Bar Exam subjects: e.g., Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Real Property… etc.); hiring interdisciplinary empiricists with a JD/PhD to research and teach interdisciplinary subjects (e.g., sociology and law, psychology and law, etc.).

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