Studying at a law school can be a long process. For most people, it takes around eight years or more. Afterward, you would have to venture out and attain legal experience.
However, some individuals did not have to leave a law school to get a job. They have settled for academic life by choosing to teach law. Law school jobs have become one of the popular career choices for recent law school graduates, and their rate is steadily growing. Here is a complete, detailed discourse on why and how you can apply for a law school job.
What Jobs Can You Do At a Law School?
Working at a law school can have its pros and cons. If you want to pursue a law school career, it is best to know more about this profession. Here is a detailed lowdown about law school employment.
Duties When Working at a Law School
If you start working at a law school, you will be a part of the teaching staff. The education of many aspiring lawyers will be in your hands. Moreover, here are the duties and responsibilities of a law professor:
- Preparing complete lessons, modules, and lectures for your classes. Those who have worked as law professors for a long time have prepared comprehensive materials in accordance with the law school’s standards.
- Delivering and making use of creative strategies. For example, it will be best to encourage class discussion and activities rather than teach lessons all day.
- Performing regular student assessments and giving them advice on how to facilitate their learning process. Following up on these evaluations and offering students guidance is also a part of your law school professor’s job.
- Researching government laws and other law topics relevant to the curriculum. It is essential to stay updated in the continually changing legal industry so you can set your class for success.
- Creating stable connections with fellow educators, administrative personnel, and parents.
Many law professors also participate in other vital duties after classes. An example of that would be acting as a law consultant for an organization. Doing so not only boosts their professional experience but also makes them better at teaching.
Types of Law School Jobs
Teaching at a law school can include several responsibilities. Some get hired for an administrative position due to their long tenure, while others take a different path. Here are several job positions you can find at a law school:
The first job title a person can think of regarding a law school is a law professor. To be considered for this job position, you will need to have years of experience and education under your belt.
Many candidates for this position start working as an assistant or associate professor. Moreover, some adjunct professors teach certain subjects on a limited-term contract. For the majority of law jobs, years of practical experience have substantial weight in your resume. The greater your expertise, the higher your academic position at a law school.
- High school teacher
If going for a law school professor’s job is too overwhelming, you can consider pursuing a high school teaching career. It is an ideal starting point for those who want to create an impact and teach law.
To add more to this good news, many educational institutions have already integrated government law, criminal justice, and other related fields into their curriculum. You will be able to specialize in various categories, such as immigration law and civil rights.
- Curriculum specialist or instructional coordinator
This job position allows you to participate in law education, but you do not have to teach in a classroom. Instead, you will work behind the scenes and create useful learning materials for law school staff.
- Legal research and writing instructor
Research and writing are a fundamental part of practicing law. That is why, in law schools, the school system usually employs instructors specialized in legal research and writing.
It is also an advantageous starting position for those interested in law school jobs after graduation. For the most part, legal research and writing instructors usually teach first-year students.
- Faculty research assistant
Law students who want to start their career paths early can become faculty research assistants. It is a prestigious opportunity to learn, earn, and have a job while in law school.
Law School Teaching Jobs’ Work Environment
Every job out there can be demanding, but it gets more comfortable in an agreeable work environment. Before you apply for a law teaching position, check out the pros and cons of working in the legal education department. Have in mind that online law professor jobs offer a different environment than the traditional campus setting.
Injuries and Illnesses at Work
It is worth noting that, although law school faculty jobs are often seen as a peaceful profession, there are still certain risks. Potential health hazards can appear at the workplace, and the health insurance often compensates for these incidents. Examples of such situations are:
- Occupational illnesses
When working as a law school professor, you have to interact with people every day. While it is a standard feature of the job, the potential downside is that you might be exposed to occupational illnesses.
In the case of an occupational illness or injury, law school employees should present clear medical evidence as proof that it is work-related so that they can receive adequate compensation.
- Repetitive strain injuries
Working as a law professor will require you to write professional journals and books, prepare modules, and deliver lectures. Doing all this can lead to long, repetitive movements that can cause strain or injury. Whether you are working in an office or participate in online law teaching jobs, your health can be affected by continuous work.
To obtain health insurance for repetitive strain injuries, you have to present medical proof to the employer. It is also best to invest in ergonomic office furniture that can prevent strain during work.
- Pre-existing health conditions
Sometimes, the problem is not caused by work, but there are pre-existing medical conditions. However, if your condition worsens due to your teaching career, you may receive certain health benefits.
- Stress-related injuries and illnesses
Many US states offer health insurance for stress-related injuries sustained at work, but the rules vary depending on your location. For example, Louisiana’s compensation covers heart diseases and complications caused by physical stress.
Work Schedules of Law Professor Jobs
While the law professionals’ usual working hours are nine to five, the case can be different for law teaching jobs. Law professors can have a different working schedule than other professors, depending on their position and preferences. In a general sense, their schedules are flexible.
Many of them work part-time and have several responsibilities at different universities. Others may also be committed to online law teaching jobs.
How to Get Hired for Law Professor Jobs
Now that you know the ins and outs of working at a law school, it is time to consider applying for a job in one. The following segment shall explore all the details and possibilities of getting hired for a law school job.
Essential Qualities You Should Have for Law Professor Positions
Apart from a passion for the legal industry, law professors should possess the following crucial characteristics:
- Critical thinker
Law school jobs require taking care of the whole process, from conducting extensive research to responding to students’ questions. Being able to analyze and apply logic to critical situations can inspire your students to do the same.
Teaching hard lessons can quickly become boring for students. Whether you’re in a specialized field such as a business law professor’s job or teach something else, your lectures should catch your students’ attention. Being innovative can help you adapt to such situations and turn lectures into something more interactive.
Law school faculty positions require professors to be empathetic toward their students and understand their learning struggles. They should treat students as equals and balance between being a serious professional and a relatable advice source.
- Good sense of humor
Law faculty jobs can be a challenging feat. However, they can be handled with grace and positive energy. Along with empathy, a good sense of humor is an essential quality of law teachers. It can turn complex topics and hard lessons into exciting class discussions.
- Great writer
A law professor’s role is more than just teaching students. Moreover, they also need to write and publish original works and scientific papers. These can range from research articles to whole books.
Education Required for Jobs at Law Schools
Apart from having personal and professional qualities, a law professor should also have the right educational background:
- A four-year bachelor’s degree in any relevant field
- A Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school
- They have to pass a state’s bar examination.
Establishing yourself through legal work experience is also vital for jobs after law school. For example, it is best to engage in teaching and writing opportunities and create essential and long-term connections with the professionals who inspired you.
Necessary Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Law professors usually have to keep up-to-date with the legal industry. They can enroll in specialized training courses to learn more and even get a degree in various legal fields such as tax law and immigration.
If you are looking to improve your formal education, you can consider pursuing a Doctor of Juridical Science degree. It is essentially a Ph.D. in the law industry.
Advancement Opportunities for Recent Law School Graduates
The main goal of many law professionals is to get tenure in their chosen careers. The same goes for jobs in law school, although it might be a challenge for those in part-time positions. Here are the ranks you can advance through after graduating from a law school:
- Assistant professor
- Associate professor
Some tenured professors can pursue higher ranks, such as dean, principal, and other administrative positions.
If you are looking for a rewarding job with a bigger salary, go ahead and pursue a law school career after graduating and passing the bar exam. It is a profession with high standards and one of the best jobs for law school graduates. Law educators are known to have the highest salaries of all post-secondary professors.
According to recent studies, the law teaching jobs’ median salary is $113,530 per year. This amount can vary depending on your rank and location. For example, newly hired assistant professors can earn up to $90,429. Meanwhile, law professor jobs in Florida are among the highest-paying ones and can bring you an average annual pay of $145,732.
Law School Jobs Outlook
Estimating the working conditions and applying for law school can be easily accomplished. But is it hard to get this job? Here are some prospects you will have with this profession.
Recent Law School Graduates’ Job Prospects
Law school graduates who want to become law professors will soon be able to achieve their career advancement. As more people go to law schools, there will be greater demand for law school admissions jobs.
According to recent statistics, post-secondary teachers’ employment rate can increase by up to 9% in the next 10 years. This aspect means that the competition for full-time post-secondary teaching positions will be high.
Those pursuing an international law career or dreaming of working abroad don’t need to worry. There are plenty of law professor jobs overseas. For example, many international universities, like the ones in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, and Canada, often have open positions for law school graduates and law professors.
A J.D. degree you can get at law school is the beginning of your career path. It will open the door to many career choices. Besides becoming a lawyer in a specialized field, a J.D. degree can help you with these jobs for law school graduates:
- Professional administration and review of documents
- Law enforcement, investigation, and criminal justice
- Writing, editing, and research
- Negotiation and representative work
- Management and consultation
- Business and finance
- Law school teaching
- Paralegal jobs
It is possible to work and attend law school at the same time. However, you have to be proficient in both time management and stress management to make it work.
Law school is known to be intense, especially in the first year. So, the best jobs you can take while attending a law school are part-time opportunities. Balancing full-time working hours with an extensive study schedule is a no go. You should also talk about that with your supervisor, who can help you balance work and education.
A law degree can take you one step closer to your dream job, but it is not a comfortable journey. While there are many available options, competition for the best jobs out of law school can be fierce. A great tip in this situation is to do your research and update your resume from time to time.
Job seekers should also gain significant work experience. Find the jobs where you can get practical experience and work with a network of law professionals from various fields.
Moreover, do not hesitate to explore prospects outside your comfort zone. It is never too late to reconsider and reevaluate your dream career path. Remember, not everyone from law school ends up in a legal position. There are tons of non-legal jobs for law school graduates. Some of them become bankers, analysts, law professors, and more.
Pursuing a law school degree is an uphill journey. Jobs for law school grads may make a long list, but getting on that stage means you have to finish four-year studies to get a law school degree. Due to this reason, the American Bar Association does not allow first-year students to work for more than 20 hours per week. Some law schools do not allow first-year students to work at all.
However, if you are determined to work, you may find some student jobs during summer break. Part-time law school jobs, such as student assistant positions, might also be available on your campus. Make sure to check and inquire first before sending your application.