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Law Professors Going Home

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9 Responses

  1. Adam Mossoff says:

    I don’t know if it’s a secret yearning on the part of professors, but in the past I’ve heard colleagues describe this phenomenom from the perspective of the home law school. The phrase I’ve heard bandied about is that one cannot say no when the mother ship calls. :)

  2. dave hoffman says:

    I doubt that your first or second reasons have much, if any, purchase. It’s all about location & family & reputation, for most folks, I bet.

  3. Anon says:

    I’m not a law prof. But I teach at the same school that awarded me my Ph.D. I enjoy teaching here because of the school’s mission: public education. But I do not enjoy having my former professors as colleagues.

  4. eric says:

    Snowballs in hell would surely cite my chances of being hired by my alma mater (NYU) as the epitome of an improbable event. But, taking the hypo at face value, I can honestly say I have no yearning to return there as a faculty member — even though Darian’s 1st, 2nd, and 4th reasons all apply to me. It’s partly a matter of geography (Oliver Wendell Douglass is my role model), and partly a matter of institutional size (I loved being a student at a large law school, but I prefer teaching in a small one).

  5. Orin Kerr says:

    I don’t think it’s something so logical. I suspect people are unusually eager to teach where they were students because most profs first dreamt about how cool it would be to be a professor back when they were students. That sense of coolness becomes linked to the particular school, making it a “dream come true” to come back to the school to teach. Coming back to the school validates the person’s career more than going to another one, much like winning an alumni award from your alma mater has more meaning than winning an equivalent award from a school you never attended.

  6. Darian Ibrahim says:

    Orin said it better than I did. Incidentally, I just watched a terrific story on 60 Minutes on false identifications. One of the law profs interviewed was Richard Rosen, who is both a UNC prof & grad.

  7. To answer the question, I would take an (exceedingly unlikely) offer from my alma mater, Stanford, over an (equally if not more unlikely) offer from Harvard or Yale in a heartbeat. I loved my law school experience. And the weather in Palo Alto is much better.

  8. anony says:

    I love being a law professor. “Cool” is not a word a normally associate with it. So thanks for brightening my day, Orin! My pocket protector, bow tie, large glasses, and hunch back salute you!

  9. Anon says:

    I get the sense that for those of us who didn’t graduate from a top-5/top-10 law school, the odds of returning home are long. At my top-20 alma mater, there are almost no alums on the faculty. I get the sense that my ex-professors, with their eyes always on cracking the next higher tier, can’t imagine hiring their own ex-students unless they were insanely exceptional: Ranked first, Law Review EIC, Supreme Court clerk, etc, etc.