Dawn of the Discipline-Based Law Faculty

65 Journal of Legal Education 506 (2016)

UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 15-33

45 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2015 Last revised: 27 May 2016

See all articles by Lynn M. LoPucki

Lynn M. LoPucki

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Abstract

This Article reports on an empirical study of the prevalence of Ph.D.s on law faculties, the rate at which J.D.-Ph.D.s are being hired by those faculties, the impact of that hiring on faculties’ legal experience levels, and the likely resulting future composition of law faculties. Approximately 29% of the tenure-track faculties of the top twenty-six law schools currently hold Ph.D.s, and 67% of those schools’ entry level hires in 2014 and 2015 are J.D.-Ph.D.s. Recent hiring has separated into two tracks. On the growing J.D.-Ph.D. track, both legal experience and preparation time is declining. On the fading J.D.-only track, legal experience and preparation time are increasing. Preparation time for a law teaching job is now slightly lower on the J.D.-Ph.D. track. If current hiring trends continue, a majority of the members of top twenty-six law faculties will hold Ph.D.s by 2028, and a large majority of them will have no experience in law practice. Although Ph.D.-hiring is strongly correlated with school rank, this transformation to discipline-based law faculties will not be confined to the top schools. Already, 11% of tenure-track faculty hires in the bottom quartile of law schools have Ph.D.s. When this transformation is complete, the disciplines will effectively control the scholarly agendas of American law schools.

Keywords: empiricism, Ph.D.s, J.D.-Ph.D.s, law schools, legal education, disciplines, interdisciplinary, preparation time, practice, clerkships, law school rankings

Suggested Citation

LoPucki, Lynn M., Dawn of the Discipline-Based Law Faculty. 65 Journal of Legal Education 506 (2016); UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 15-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2663614

Lynn M. LoPucki (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
(310) 794-5722 (Phone)

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