The Initially-Foreign-Trained Law Student and the U.S. Legal Academic Job Market: A Survival Guide

15 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2020

See all articles by Asaf Lubin

Asaf Lubin

Yale University; Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; Yale University - Information Society Project; Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: May 25, 2020


To be a foreigner in a new country is never easy. Cultural shock and language barriers present an array of obstacles for the incoming individual. Being a foreign law student adds new layers of difficulty as you’re called to learn a completely new legal system in a short period of time. For some, real acclimation to an American law school and to American legal practice, would come at the expense of foregoing a great deal of what it meant to be a lawyer back home.

Initially-foreign-trained law students (IFTs) will undergo many “trials and tribulations of adjustment”, as Professor Damaška once described them, but none are greater than those that await them at the end of the line, if they choose to enter the U.S. legal academic job market.

This short essay offers a first account of the unique experiences that await IFTs on the market. Relying on extensive data accessible through Professor Sarah Lawsky’s Entry Level Hiring Report it offers IFT-specific statistical findings drawn from the past decade of law school hiring. The essay tries to explore a number of relevant points of comparison: (a) the general success rate of IFTs on the market; (b) the geographical origins of IFT hires; (c) their research and teaching areas of interests; and (d) their professional backgrounds.

Given that there are currently no available resources that are tailored to the unique experiences of IFTs, the essay aims to fill this gap by providing some brief insight as to the employability of contemporary IFT students. The essay further contains a few modest suggestions, based on the data, for future IFT students who might be considering a career as law professors in the U.S.

Keywords: Law School, Legal Education, Job Market, Law Professor, JSD, SJD, PhD, Hiring, Legal Academia

JEL Classification: I20, I23, I24, K10, K00, K33, K39, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Lubin, Asaf, The Initially-Foreign-Trained Law Student and the U.S. Legal Academic Job Market: A Survival Guide (May 25, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Asaf Lubin (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yale University - Information Society Project ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics