Friday, September 28, 2007

I couldn't get hired today

Today I received a brochure about a legal-writing program at another school. I have received a lot of these in the last two weeks. These brochures highlight the credentials of the legal-writing faculty at law schools. I am impressed, and I am struck with this thought: if I were seeking a legal-writing job today, I couldn't get hired.

Fifteen years ago, when I was hired to teach legal writing, I had really only two credentials: I had practiced law, and I was interested in writing. I had never taught legal writing, and I had no training in teaching. I had not been on law review, and I had not clerked for a judge. I had never published anything. Besides, as I now recognize, I was a mediocre writer. I was lucky to be hired.

But the last three people we have hired had great credentials. Two were on law review. Two had been federal judicial clerks. Two had been teaching assistants in the legal-writing program during law school. One had an advanced degree in library science. All three had published something. And, frankly, all three are smarter than I am.

The field of legal writing is becoming competitive. That's good. I'm just glad I got in when I did.

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