Legal Academia : 5 Career Tips for Would-be Law Teachers

By Tanuj Kalia

Q. I want to enter into legal academia and teach law. What sort of internships should I do? What else should I do? Help me. (Abridged question, of course).

A. Five things:

1. Know the practical niceties of law

2. Write a lot

3. Do research internships

4. Working part-time, online for law professors

5. Talk

legal teaching, law teaching, law academia career, legal academia career, teaching law as a career option

Five things explained:

Firstly, for a law teacher, its very very important that you know the practical niceties of law. So do intern with lawyers, NGOs and law firms and your would-be students will bless you for that.

It will actually be advisable that you first work for 2-3 years in an work setting practicing law (law firm, lawyer’s chambers etc.) before you venture into academia. Students will bless you for that even more.

Tell me, don’t you as a student feel, that if your teacher could teach your more about how law really operates, learning law would be more interesting?

Secondly, write a lot, because new age teaching is really going to revolve around how well you can communicate via the written word.

Your promotions (publish or perish) and your credibility as a teacher too will largely depend on how well and often you write.

Your writings could be in a blog or a law journal; doesn’t really matter. But you must write. A lot.

Third. You may want to do a research internship here and there too. For example Jindal Global Law School has the Global Research Internship (GRIP) Program.

Internship at Center for Disability Studies (NALSAR), and the internship at NLSIU’s Center for Child and the Law have been rated well on Lawctopus.

Fourth. Professors at some top foreign/Indian law universities might be willing to taking you as a part-time, online research associate. Do work under them for say 10 hours a week. Tell the prof that you’d like to be paid a basic stipend if he/she finds your work good.

You can work under one professor each semester. By then end of 5 years, you’ll have 8-10 great looking certificates and solid contacts too. These 8-10 professors will be your key towards applying to 8-10 top foreign Universities for an LLM.

Fifth. Most importantly, talk to the good teachers in your own college. What do they like about this profession and what do they hate? If you do this, you’ll gain a very big ‘insight’ edge over others.

(As far as career decisions go many people want to ‘figure it out‘ in their heads. That rarely happens. Going out, talking and meeting people in that profession is surely a better way. ‘Figure it out’ is a Ramit Sethi’ term).

The image is from this article titled “Teaching law, testing ideas, Obama stood slightly apart”.

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