Kratz100
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Hi guys,

I'm interested in a career teaching jurisprudence(philosophy of law) as a career. I used to live in America and everyone told me that the path was:

1-Go to Yale, Harvard or Stanford.
2-Clerk for the Supreme Court.
3-Publish in prestigious law journals.
4-After a few years apply to teach.

I'm wondering what would be the path would be like in the UK?
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Kratz100
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Sorry, I realize this should be in the law section. If a moderator could close down this thread I'd appreciate it.
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artful_lounger
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Threads aren't closed, but I'll tag it to get moved to Law

Beyond that, teaching law and teaching jurisprudence are a bit different. For the former, you would presumably do your law degree, then your doctorate, then get a research position and teach. The structure of legal education is very different in the UK than in the US, most notably in that it's an undergraduate degree - therefore, there is no impetus for a Law professor to also teach another subject for undergraduates, as is common in the US. Equally, doctoral degrees in Law aren't uncommon here, whereas in the US they are very rare and normally a law prof will do their PhD in another subject (e.g. Politics, Philosophy etc) and not infrequently teach that subject to undergrads as well.

However to teach the philosophy of law - which is typically maybe one paper/module in an undergraduate degree in philosophy or law (often available in both if one such module/paper is available) - you would probably need to position yourself either primarily a jurist or a philosopher, and then you will be based in the corresponding department and teach that option, likely along with others. Your research of course may be primarily focused in the specific area of jurisprudence/philosophy of law but that is somewhat besides the point as far as teaching is concerned.

Since the particular differences between the legal education systems in the US and UK in fact stem for differences in jurisprudence to an extent, that might be something interesting for you to read more about beyond that though, in short: you would be a research academic in either the philosophy or law department of a given university, researching whatever (presumably jurisprudence if that's your interest, although other areas might be relevant including political philosophy, ethics, legal history, or some aspect of legal theory otherwise), and teach a paper/module in jurisprudence as a result, and very likely, one or more other modules in your broader field of study, e.g. other philosophy or law courses.

Obviously if you want to do so at Oxbridge/LSE/UCL then you probably need a fairly distinguished academic history - not necessarily "pedigree", but you need to be appealing for them to hire and thus be a notable academic generally in your area - but that's a special case of the general concept. That said, those and similar universities tend to be the ones that offer particular modules/papers in jurisprudence to undergrads, and have active research groups in those areas, although whether that makes it easier or harder to get in (given if you do a PhD with your thesis focusing on jurisprudence/philosophy of law, it's probably at one of them) I'm not sure...
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Kratz100
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artful_lounger Thanks that was very helpful. Please guys keep on writing more the more you write the better informed I am.

Here's more on my situation. I studied in philosophy in America graduating with a 3.8 GPA. I wanted to do a Phd in philosophy in America but most of my professors and TA's, discouraged me from that path since it would be 8+ years of study to find myself with almost no job prospects, most of them said it was an abysmal job market.

Therefore, most people encouraged me to go to law school(YHS) and then try to get a law teaching position and I could teaching philosophy of law down the road.

Because of my grandparents, however, I will soon have an EU passport and I'm thinking of making the move across the pond. I'm trying to determine the best route for a teaching career.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Kratz100)
artful_lounger Thanks that was very helpful. Please guys keep on writing more the more you write the better informed I am.

Here's more on my situation. I studied in philosophy in America graduating with a 3.8 GPA. I wanted to do a Phd in philosophy in America but most of my professors and TA's, discouraged me from that path since it would be 8+ years of study to find myself with almost no job prospects, most of them said it was an abysmal job market.

Therefore, most people encouraged me to go to law school(YHS) and then try to get a law teaching position and I could teaching philosophy of law down the road.

Because of my grandparents, however, I will soon have an EU passport and I'm thinking of making the move across the pond. I'm trying to determine the best route for a teaching career.
Well bear in mind the UK is in the middle of leaving the EU, so your mileage may vary on that latter point...

Since you are by background a Philosopher, I'll focus on that - you might be able to pursue a PhD in Law in the UK with a US Philosophy background specialising in Jurisprudence, but you can definitely pursue a PhD in Philosophy with the same, so that is kind of the more sensible option. Additionally, given Law is jurisdictional, a US law degree won't necessarily qualify you to teach UK law students...because it's a completely different legal system. You could well pursue a PhD in Philosophy focusing in that area of interest in the UK or the US and then work in academia in either - in the UK you might need to pursue a masters (or the BPhil Oxford, which is a masters but it's Oxford so they have special names for it of course...) in the subject, either taught or research based. You may be able to go directly into it though. Either way, once you've done your PhD and postdoc etc, you could well end up teaching jurisprudence as an option, and researching it (or something else), as well as likely teaching other philosophy courses.

As far as the US goes, my understanding is for prospective law professors the usual/best(?) option would be to do a JD/PhD, which are pretty commonly available. If you can get some funded option for a JD/PhD this is probably a great choice for maintain the maximal range of options, and frankly I think a JD is going to be easy enough if you're a realistic PhD candidate for Philosophy. Whether it's interesting to you is another question which only you can answer...if you did then want to teach law in some capacity in the UK, you would probably need to do some legal education in the UK (although I guess it's up to the department to decide if they'd take you without that, although presumably you'd be limited to teaching comparative/US law and jurisprudence while based in a law department here). You could probably find any number of LLM (or the Oxford BCL/MJur because again it's Oxford) courses to take after the JD (and/or PhD - you could do US JD, UK LLM, then UK or US PhD/SJD in Law or Philosophy, but this is probably getting to be quite long and expensive).

There are a fair few routes for you; JD/PhD (in Philosophy) in the US, if you can get a funded course (i.e. stipend/studentship/whatever) and then maybe pick up the UK LLM if you did want/need to stick on the law side over here is probably the most straightforward. Otherwise it's a question of getting a legal education - the only realistic option I see finance wise would be US JD then UK LLM, in some capacity - to stay on the law side, or if you want to purely focus on the Philosophy side, doing your PhD (with/without JD, on either side of the ocean - bearing in mind you might need a masters as well for the UK) and finding work. However philosophy academic positions are fairly limited to my understanding (hence it seems often recommended pursuing a JD/PhD in Philosophy to allow you to have the law side as well as philosophy in the US to get a position, somewhere).

Caveat emptor I am neither a philosopher nor jurist (nor lawyer outside of academia ), although I did spend a fair amount of time investigating the possibility (on both sides of the pond ironically, as I'm American but just grew up and live over here in the UK!).
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(Original post by Kratz100)
Hi guys,

I'm interested in a career teaching jurisprudence(philosophy of law) as a career. I used to live in America and everyone told me that the path was:

1-Go to Yale, Harvard or Stanford.
2-Clerk for the Supreme Court.
3-Publish in prestigious law journals.
4-After a few years apply to teach.

I'm wondering what would be the path would be like in the UK?
Won't get bogged down in the thread. It has many words in it and I don't like reading.

If you're talking about the philosophy of law (jurisprudence, as you understand, has many meanings), typically you take an LLB, LLM/BCL/MPhil/MJur, and then a PhD. While completing your PhD, you will perhaps get the opportunity to teach and take on seminars. Once you have completed your degree, you can apply for a job as a low-level faculty member taking on a seminarist role full-time. You will want to start publishing work ideally during your PhD or shortly after; there being eased into lecture-delivery. Then you can apply for more senior roles. This process to become lecturer, from friends who are currently lectures, can take approx 1-2 years. Although it can be longer or shorter. Some people will stay in an associate lecturer role for decades!

For other areas of law, it is a wee bit more complicated. Some areas might de facto require you to have some practitioner experience. In some areas of commercial law, this is true. You can get round this by having high-quality research and this is fairly easy in obscure areas of commercial law where there is very little academic literature. Though I am not a philosopher, I imagine it is slightly more difficult to create original, high-quality research on Plato or Bentham.

gjd800 knows a lot more about the philosopher-lecturer route than me. I don't believe philosophy of law is any different.

knows a lot more about philosophy of law than me. Hopefully he can give you some insight on the UK process.
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gjd800
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N and Art are broadly right. I have some friends that teach phil of law and they are philosophers with academic law expertise rather than lawyers with academic philosophy expertise, which is not to say that your route is not feasibe, only that people here that aim to teach 'philosophy of...' tend to be philosophers.

The job market in academia is pretty grim no matter what PhD you do or where in the world that you do it (unfortunate fact). I know a guy graduating from Oxford with a DPhil at the next opportunity that can't get work, and this is pretty common. I've dropped onto some temp lecturing stuff that might see me ok until June and because of that, I am an outlier in terms of early career researchers (esp given that I am yet to defend).

I think doing a phil doctorate with a law specialism is a sensible option - most phil departments would be happy to go cross-discipline and have you supervised by experts from either department. Unsure how it works for law, likely similar. Given what has been said re US/UK law differences etc, I think the phil degree with legal specialism would suit you.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by gjd800)
N and Art are broadly right. I have some friends that teach phil of law and they are philosophers with academic law expertise rather than lawyers with academic philosophy expertise, which is not to say that your route is not feasibe, only that people here that aim to teach 'philosophy of...' tend to be philosophers.

The job market in academia is pretty grim no matter what PhD you do or where in the world that you do it (unfortunate fact). I know a guy graduating from Oxford with a DPhil at the next opportunity that can't get work, and this is pretty common. I've dropped onto some temp lecturing stuff that might see me ok until June and because of that, I am an outlier in terms of early career researchers (esp given that I am yet to defend).

I think doing a phil doctorate with a law specialism is a sensible option - most phil departments would be happy to go cross-discipline and have you supervised by experts from either department. Unsure how it works for law, likely similar. Given what has been said re US/UK law differences etc, I think the phil degree with legal specialism would suit you.
Cheers, Chico.
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Kratz100
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gjd800 I agree, I should do a dphil with law specialization. But to get there what degree should do I first? All you guys including @NYU2012 are welcome to chisme in. Bare in mind, I most likely want to do my studies in the UK.

1-Option 1: Since I already have a philosophy degree should I message the top schools and say I want to do a BPhil with philsophy of law specialization? I thought the Bphil was more general? would they be fine with me not having a law background?
2-Option 2: Do a bachelor of laws(joining as a senior status student) and then apply to an Mphil and then PhD. Again this option seems grueling since I’m not sure that I need all that law background.
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(Original post by Kratz100)
gjd800 I agree, I should do a dphil with law specialization. But to get there what degree should do I first? All you guys including @NYU2012 are welcome to chisme in. Bare in mind, I most likely want to do my studies in the UK.

1-Option 1: Since I already have a philosophy degree should I message the top schools and say I want to do a BPhil with philsophy of law specialization? I thought the Bphil was more general? would they be fine with me not having a law background?
2-Option 2: Do a bachelor of laws(joining as a senior status student) and then apply to an Mphil and then PhD. Again this option seems grueling since I’m not sure that I need all that law background.
NYU is a bit busy this time of year. Still I would wait for him to jump in as he probably knows most about jurisprudence and applications to jurisprudence doctorate and master's courses. Particularly the distinction between a philosophy (with law) PhD versus a jurisprudence PhD.

The natural question is why do you think you want to study juris? Have you ever studied it before? If yes, why do you not think this would be adequate preparation to apply for an MPhil direct? I think the BPhil/MPhil distinction is a little strained here.
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Kratz100
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Notoriety It comes from an employment reason. Everyone, I talked to through it was better to do study law related Philosphy than outright political philosophy. It seems that if I study pure political philosophy my options are much more limited both teaching and employment wise.


My main interest is Philosphy as long as I’m working on that I’m happy. It seems Juris borrows from Philosphy of language and mind, therefore, I do think it would be a worthwhile pursuit.
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(Original post by Kratz100)
Notoriety It comes from an employment reason. Everyone, I talked to through it was better to do study law related Philosphy than outright political philosophy. It seems that if I study pure political philosophy my options are much more limited both teaching and employment wise.


My main interest is Philosphy as long as I’m working on that I’m happy. It seems Juris borrows from Philosphy of language and mind, therefore, I do think it would be a worthwhile pursuit.
Apples and oranges innit.

Law is more employable because it links to industry. I am not sure the philosophical aspect has the same impact. Meaning you might be just as employable with an ordinary philosophical specialism.

It should be noted that US schools put particular emphasis on "big ideas" in their teaching of law. The English approach is more bitty and dry, meaning that jurisprudence is more of a niche topic. Some schools do not even offer it at undergrad. Less work for you relative to the US schools. Perhaps if you've been told that juris is more employable than the philosophy of language, let's say, it is premised on the US model.

Generally a bad idea to decide to study a topic, and spends lots of pennies doing so, without having a long-standing interest in the topic. Especially if you're going to be researching it at the highest levels.
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(Original post by Kratz100)
Notoriety It comes from an employment reason. Everyone, I talked to through it was better to do study law related Philosphy than outright political philosophy. It seems that if I study pure political philosophy my options are much more limited both teaching and employment wise.


My main interest is Philosphy as long as I’m working on that I’m happy. It seems Juris borrows from Philosphy of language and mind, therefore, I do think it would be a worthwhile pursuit.
In terms of employment outside of the academy, they will see 'philosophy' and will generally not care what your specialism is. That is unless you want to do something based on your specialism, in which case it seems neither here nor there to begin with.

Even in the academy it can be irrelevant: I teach in one university and have not touched my specialism there in nearly three years. They care only that I have philosophical expertise, which is broadly transferable. I.e. they saw 'philosophy' and did not much care about my specialism when giving me the job.

In contrast, I lecture in another university and that job was contingent on my having the specialism I do, but it's one niche area that won't fill my year. Be careful of hyperspecialisation; it makes you less employable in academia rather than more.

It does sound like this might break down to the difference between the US/UK system.
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Kratz100
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@gdj800 The US system might be quite different. I actually know philosophers who studied only metaphysics as their specialization and they can only teach that. The school would want to hire a metaphysician and they submit requests for that. Most of my professors had only one or two specialization and they applied to their job based on that. Therefore, I am extremely cautious about what specialization I choose..etc. This might not be the case in England from what I am understanding.
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Kratz100
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Thanks this is really helpful. I think I’m at a crossroads like you were, I have two paths that I can choose:

1-Do an two year LLB with senior status, then do a masters and after a PhD in philosophy law. My concern would be whenever I need to take the LNAT and then wait a whole year to start...etc. I don’t know if I need all the legal background .
2-Directly apply to a masters program in legal and political theory at a good school like UCL and then do the jump to oxford/Cambridge for a PhD in philosophy or law. This seems like the more appealing option, I wouldn’t have to take the LNAT and the program only lasts for one year, I could start where I left off in my undergrad.

My worst nightmare though would be to do just good at MA not brilliant(since I only have one year to prove my competence) get rejected from the top schools and then have no employment prospects, since it might be harder to get a law-related job(?) without a law degree.
Then end up tutoring kids for money
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And to follow up on a previous point, our juris people (i.e. little to no sustantive law background) were still conversant in limited areas of law. Basic contract theory, theory of privacy (which will come up in tort), and so on. We had one who came in to do corporate liability to wrongs; and he referred to companies becoming liable for torts and then criminal liability.
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Kratz100
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This is all extremely helpful. Two more final questions:
1-Say I finish a PhD in philosophy of law, afterwards, can I apply to assistant professor positions or do I need to do fellowships, temporary lecturer positions? What’s most people’s usual routes?
2-With a PhD in philosophy from a top ranking UK university can I move to other poorer/lesser known countries(for instance in EE) and try to find work there? What’s the experience like?
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Kratz100
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Hey guys,
This has been an extremely helpful thread. If you don't mind me reviving it, since you guys are highly knowledgeable, therefore, there's no need to create a new thread.
1-Let's assume I finish a masters degree in philosophy(from somewhere like Tufts or Simon Fraser) can I apply to Oxford or other high ranking UK schools for a Ph.D. in philosophy with a law specialization? Some of these masters are very general but I'm assuming if I do a thesis with a Professor who has already worked in that field I could use my thesis as the basis for the Ph.D.? Then get admitted as a Probationer Research Student?
2-Assuming, I have the aforementioned masters degree above is there a difference between applying to a DPhil in Law and DPhil in Philosophy with a law specialization? I'm assuming I cannot apply to the former?
3-Is there a difference in employment prospects to someone who has a DPhil in Law vs a DPhil in Philosophy with a law specialization? I know some of you mentioned that usually, other law professors teach Philosophy of law tangentially. At the same time, I had the chance to talk with a lawyer in Virginia who had asked around about law academia in America, and he mentioned that in theory if you had a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a specialization in law you could potentially apply to teach philosophy at different law schools. Although, he wasn't sure how competitive this was. Leiter mentions in one of his posts that there are faculty at law schools that exclusively teach philosophy courses. I heard of this phenomenon before. For instance, there are faculty in Biology departments who teach bioethics who are not related to the university's philosophy department but are hired directly by the Biology department.

Anyway, thanks, guys. I hope I'm not giving you a headache! I'm just very interested in learning more about this topic.
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Notoriety
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Mr NYU is your man, OP. He's the legal philosopher, but he's no longer around.
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