The Initially-Foreign-Trained Law Student and the U.S. Legal Academic Job Market: A Survival Guide
15 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2020
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: Suggested Citation