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“Many of our alums did not know until this year what the expectation was, what were the rules of engagement, how you present yourself as a credible candidate, how to interview well, how to answer certain questions that if you don’t answer correctly, the interview is all but over, how to address questions about scholarship. Just providing the information helps our students a great deal,” says Parchomovsky.

“They need mentors and advisors,” says Stephen Morse. “When we go to bat for our students, we have been very successful in placing them in law teaching.”

LEARNING THE ROPES OF TEACHING


IN A NEW SEMINAR for students interested in pursuing law teaching, Gideon Parchomovsky, assistant professor of law, is preparing students for a job market that places significant value on legal writing and publishing and on an interdisciplinary background.

In “Legal Scholarship,” up to eight second and third-year students work with Parchomovsky to publish a note and an article, developed from the students’ own ideas. The students then present their papers for comment to Penn Law professors with relevant legal specialties. “It enables the students to draw on wonderful resources,” says Parchomovsky. “Unlike other students who write papers for a seminar, they produce much more expansive and better polished papers with superior quality.”

A record of scholarly production has become increasingly important in recent years, says Penn Law professor Stephen J. Morse. “One of the things that was often said about old-style law schools -- say 40 years ago -- is they were filled with people who were brilliant but who had few genuinely scholarly ideas,” he says. “They were very good at examining a line of cases and rationalizing them, but they had few theoretical, interdisciplinary, or interesting policy ideas about how the law should be.”

Today, says Parchomovsky, these ideas are more important than ever for aspiring law professors. Law, he says, is no longer “an insular field. . . . Now much of the analysis is driven by policy, and law is more of a policy instrument than it used to be in the past. Students with academic aspirations ought to be aware of this change. There’s no other way for them to be successful. They have to understand what the expectation is out there.”

 

 
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