June 12, 2007
How Not to "Retire and Teach"
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
I have posted on SSRN a short essay, Memo to Lawyers: How Not to "Retire and Teach," on my perception of what it takes for the, shall we say, "well-seasoned" (or, in my case, being a veteran AARP member, nigh on geriatic) lawyer to make the jump into the academy. Shortly after I committed with great relief and enthusiasm to the offer from my new colleagues at Suffolk, I jotted down about twenty do's and don't's and sent them off in an e-mail to Brad Wendel (Cornell, left), whose essay on dealing with the faculty recruiting process, The Big Rock Candy Mountain, is still, to my mind, the best out there. Then I had lunch with another friend (an academic dean) who encouraged me to write the essay as something for him to be able to give to lawyers who inquired about jumping from the practice to the academy. After showing drafts to several people, I concluded on balance the value would exceed the sense of self-congratulation. The abstract follows the fold.
Here is the abstract:
Many long-time practitioners muse about what it might be like to "retire and teach," not realizing there is no more galvanizing phrase to their counterparts who have long toiled in the academy, nor one less likely to enhance the prospects of the unfortunate "seasoned" applicant who utters the phrase. I intend this essay not for law professors (though it may either amuse or irritate them), but for those in the practice who aspire, after all these years, to return to the academy. With a good deal of humility acquired along the way, I offer some realistic advice to job seekers, concluding that wistful phrase is precisely the opposite of the true sine qua non of success: demonstrating the capability of, and commitment to, being a productive scholar.
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