How to Become a Law Professor

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More and more students are choosing to pursue a major in law at various colleges and universities around the U.S. Highly trained professionals are required to provide solid law instruction and create meaningful learning experiences for students to lead a successful career in law. This is the job of law professors.


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What does a law professor do?

Law professors provide law instruction to a variety of undergraduate and graduate students. They prepare and deliver lesson plans and lectures, initiate and facilitate classroom discussions, distribute assignments and homework, and evaluate student performance through examinations and projects. They teach all of the core concepts of law and government. Law professors also conduct research on various law areas and government and integrate it into course curricula. They also use outside resources such as case studies and multimedia to assist in their instruction. They often use computers as teaching aids to present course content. Law professors also supervise students during hands-on law experiences.

What kind of training does a law professor need?

Law professors need at least a master degree and many have a doctorate degree in law. A Ph.D is law is the most commonly held degree at colleges and universities. Doctorate programs take an average of 6 years to complete after obtaining a bachelor degree. Many law professors start out as graduate teaching assistants in law courses to gain college teaching experience. Many aspiring law professors also complete internships while they are attending school. Some graduates spend additional years after they complete their degree on conducting research before they accept a faculty position. Law professors must also keep up to date on advancements in the field and often complete continuing education courses. They also regularly discuss topics with colleagues and attend conferences and seminars.

What are the prospects for a career as a law professor?

Employment of all postsecondary teachers is projected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Increased enrollment in law school programs will drive job growth of law professors.

Job prospects are expected to be favorable especially for law professors with advanced degrees and extensive experience. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace law professors who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do law professors make?

As of October 2009, the middle 50% of law professors earned average annual salaries between $53,578 and $87,625. The top 10% earned average annual salaries of more than $109,903 (2).

A career as a law professor is an excellent choice for individuals who are interested in law and teaching its concepts to college students. Law professors must have thorough knowledge or law and government concepts and policies. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be able to encourage and motivate students. They must be able to develop and maintain relationships with students, faculty, and other institution staff.

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