Nontraditional Ways of Transitioning to Academia

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of transitioning to academia is finding opportunities to write after you have graduated from law school. While many people build their scholarly portfolio through a fellowship or while pursuing an advanced degree in another discipline, there are many other less conventional ways to give yourself sufficient time and support to write.

  1. Center Director or Staff
    Increasingly, people who want to enter law teaching transition to academia by directing or working within a specialized research or practice center at a law school. Center directors often work closely with supervising faculty who can serve as mentors and recommenders. Unlike most fellowships, many center director positions do not expire in one or two years. This will potentially give you more time to develop your scholarly portfolio and more flexibility in determining when to go on the market. But of course there is the danger that the demands of the position may leave little time for writing.
  2. Gap Between Jobs
    Some people are able to develop their writing portfolio by arranging for a gap in their employment. A one- to three-month gap between ending one job and beginning the next can be extremely valuable in getting a writing project off the ground.
  3. Self-Funded “Fellowship”
    If you can afford to do so, one way to make time to write is simply to take time off. If possible, consider affiliating with a local law school in order to get access to library resources, workshops, and faculty mentors.