The future of those employed by what might be called "Legal Sector Metro" keeps looking less professionally secure. Already the media has covered the layoffs of staff, associates, and partners in law firms. Now, as David Lat reports in Abovethelaw.com, soon to come could be the layoffs of law professors.
Seven junior un-tenured faculty members at Seton Hall University School of Law have been formally informed that it's possible this coming academic year will be their last. Like with legal secretaries and lawyers, the knowledge base and skills of law professors tend to be narrow. In addition, as many know, being able to teach a subject does not necessarily mean being able to earn a living applying that subject matter in the real world. Those two factors could undercut former law professors' ability to transition to other lines of work.
When the humanities academic market collapsed in the early 1970s, all most of us knew how to do was to teach our discipline. Mine was literature, with a side order of linguistics. Along the way we acquired the persona of an academic. Neither was in demand outside the gates of the university. Eventually we did land on our feet as speechwriters/ghostwriters, management consultants, government employees, and editors. But that took years of suffering out in the professional wilderness. We had to accept that we had to develop new skills and a new image. That took more time than it should have.