Teaching Fellows as legal-writing teachers
At the (new) legal writer, Raymond Ward posted about law schools that use aspiring young legal scholars to teach legal writing. I posted the following comment.
Yes, a few law schools still do this. It is not so much an initiation for the fellows to pass through. It's more like this:
Gosh, here we have aspiring young legal scholars. It sure would be great if our law school could help them get started in academia; then we'd be known as a feeder school for young legal scholars. But these folks are young and inexperienced. What can we have them do to justify a salary while their main focus is writing that first article, networking, and defining their scholarly interests? I know. They can teach legal writing!Of course, these fellows are smart, and most probably could teach legal writing. But there are three main problems:
- Their hearts aren't in it. It's not what they want to do, ultimately.
- Their focus, naturally, is on their own (scholarly) writing, not on teaching legal writing.
- They turn over every year or two.
For an insider's view of exactly what the post and my comment are talking about, read this article:
Ilhyung Lee, The Rookie Season, 39 Santa Clara L. Rev. 473 (1999).
My abstract of the article:
Story of a job as a legal-writing instructor for one year. This author had practiced law and was trying to enter legal academia. The job was in a "fellows" program, and the author did get a faculty appointment at another school after one year. As a fellow, the author had 75 students. Particular points: overwhelmed by the work load, especially critiquing papers; a bit surprised at the disdain for the subject of legal writing. Upon getting a doctrinal job, was told "welcome to the academy." But remembers thinking, "I thought I was in the academy already." No. It was only legal writing.