OtherGround Forums Judge or Law Professor

11/13/14 2:56 AM
11/11/14
Posts: 0
For those who have been in practice for quite a while, which would say would be a better gig, being a federal district court judge or being a law professor at a top 20 law school?
11/17/14 1:33 AM
4/30/03
Posts: 6486

judge

11/18/14 4:08 PM
3/3/03
Posts: 25741

federal judge...  all day

 

11/19/14 1:06 AM
11/11/14
Posts: 5
Even if it were a law professor at a top 5 school such as Yale, Harvard, Stanford, or Chicago?
11/19/14 1:15 AM
11/11/14
Posts: 7
I would definitely agree that being a federal appellate judge is better, but being a district court judge wouldn't be nearly as interesting. There's a district court judge teaching at the local school here and he says his docket is full of gun and drug cases.
11/26/14 1:22 AM
3/12/07
Posts: 8308
I used to teach at a lower than T20 school. Pay is decent. Work load is insanely easy. Schedule is sweet. Student drama is dumb. Administrative politics are dumb. Hot coeds are cool.

I've never been a judge, but clerked for a couple. I look forward to being a judge some day. One of my colleagues actually just left the firm because he won a state judicial seat. I would take a judicial seat in a good jurisdiction, but I probably would not go back to teaching mostly due to the boredom.
11/27/14 11:10 AM
11/11/14
Posts: 14
What were you teaching that you thought it was so boring?
11/27/14 10:41 PM
3/12/07
Posts: 8322
It's not the subject matter that is boring, it's the fact that the class is the same every semester, there is no actual activity beyond prepping for classes, lecturing and grading papers, and the only work product is published papers, which can be virtually anything so long as you can get it into a law review.

I much prefer client work, even though clients can be a pain to deal with. (students are too)
12/2/14 10:24 AM
11/11/14
Posts: 16
Wiki,

How did you negotiate your teaching schedule and so on? What was your course load like?

12/17/14 9:41 AM
3/12/07
Posts: 8342
The schedule was based on room availability and tenure. So, one prominent federal judge/professor had his contract state that he had choice of schedule and room. The longest tenured professor also had his choice. Everyone else kind of fell into place. I didn't get much of a choice on time, and I didn't get a choice at all on room.

Course load was light, for the most part. It's easy to fall behind when students fail to do the minimum work. Coming back from a 1-2 week lapse can take a lot of work. My mentor scares the shit out of his students on the first day, then makes an example out of the first student who comes to class unprepared. He's a really nice guy, but he uses hard tactics to control the classroom, which really works well for him. My first semester I was way too easy on the students, but I took the lesson well and never made that mistake again.
12/24/14 5:29 PM
4/30/03
Posts: 6494
WikiTheWalrus - The schedule was based on room availability and tenure. So, one prominent federal judge/professor had his contract state that he had choice of schedule and room. The longest tenured professor also had his choice. Everyone else kind of fell into place. I didn't get much of a choice on time, and I didn't get a choice at all on room.

Course load was light, for the most part. It's easy to fall behind when students fail to do the minimum work. Coming back from a 1-2 week lapse can take a lot of work. My mentor scares the shit out of his students on the first day, then makes an example out of the first student who comes to class unprepared. He's a really nice guy, but he uses hard tactics to control the classroom, which really works well for him. My first semester I was way too easy on the students, but I took the lesson well and never made that mistake again.

I had a new professor try that on me. It failed miserably because a) he was new and shitty, and everyone knew it (though he was probably strong on the non-teaching aspects of being a professor), b) I was a 3L (and not a 1L), and c) I hadn't done my reading assignment because I had a fulltime job, through which I made more than I do as a lawyer (or what he made as a professor), which the other students knew and he didn't. Ultimately, his trying to embarrass me resulted only in students saying after class: "well, that was weird."
Edited: 12/27/14 5:02 AM
11/11/14
Posts: 19
What was your full-time job that paid more than a lawyer or your professor if I may ask? I find that many full-time tenured law professors are horribly overpaid (the full professors I know are all making $300,000+ a year not counting their outside income).
12/27/14 8:46 AM
4/30/03
Posts: 6538
ShortyMac - What was your full-time job that paid more than a lawyer or your professor if I may ask? I find that many full-time tenured law professors are horribly overpaid (the full professors I know are all making $300,000+ a year not counting their outside income).

Fighting - he was not tenured and I had had a good year.
12/28/14 11:53 AM
3/12/07
Posts: 8366
kidpresentable - 
WikiTheWalrus - The schedule was based on room availability and tenure. So, one prominent federal judge/professor had his contract state that he had choice of schedule and room. The longest tenured professor also had his choice. Everyone else kind of fell into place. I didn't get much of a choice on time, and I didn't get a choice at all on room.

Course load was light, for the most part. It's easy to fall behind when students fail to do the minimum work. Coming back from a 1-2 week lapse can take a lot of work. My mentor scares the shit out of his students on the first day, then makes an example out of the first student who comes to class unprepared. He's a really nice guy, but he uses hard tactics to control the classroom, which really works well for him. My first semester I was way too easy on the students, but I took the lesson well and never made that mistake again.

I had a new professor try that on me. It failed miserably because a) he was new and shitty, and everyone knew it (though he was probably strong on the non-teaching aspects of being a professor), b) I was a 3L (and not a 1L), and c) I hadn't done my reading assignment because I had a fulltime job, through which I made more than I do as a lawyer (or what he made as a professor), which the other students knew and he didn't. Ultimately, his trying to embarrass me resulted only in students saying after class: "well, that was weird."

Your professor didn't do it right. After addressing the issue, you kick the student out of class and require them to see you during office hours before they can come back. Then, the day they come back, you tell the class they will not have to recite cases because the unprepared student is doing them all for the day. If the student does not agree to the terms of returning to class, then you tell them to drop or they will be dropped for professionalism.

The reality is that the deans will heavily suggest that an alternative be used. The "reciting every case for a day" is meant to help the professor show that the student not only was unprepared, but refuses to make a fair showing of their professionalism after the fact.