Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | August 29, 2011

There’s hope for Ph.D./J.D.’s looking to enter the legal academy

Joni Hersch (Vanderbilt Law School) and W. Kip Viscusi (Vanderbilt Law School) have posted Law and Economics as a Pillar of Legal Education on SSRN.  Don’t let the title fool you.  The article makes a compelling case for not only J.D.’s and Economics Ph.D.’s, but also for J.D.’s and other Ph.D.’s.  According to the paper, many of the top 26 law schools have joint degree professors, and, surprisingly, many have professors with only a Ph.D. and no J.D.  The article is a quick read and provides useful tables for understanding the data discussed.  One thing I would have liked to have seen would be data on how many joint degree professors are at the over 120 other ABA-approved law schools.  I hope that’s coming next!  Here is the abstract:

This paper reports the distribution of doctoral degrees in economics and in other fields among faculty at the 26 highest ranked law schools.  Almost one-third of professors at the top 13 law schools have a Ph.D. degree, with nine percent having a Ph.D. in economics.  Law school rank is highly correlated with the share of faculty holding a Ph.D. in economics and is less correlated with the share of faculty with other doctoral degrees.  Law and economics is a major area of legal scholarship based on citations in the law literature and other impact rankings.
In recognition of the increased importance of law and economics in legal education, in 2006 Vanderbilt University established a joint J.D./Ph.D. program in law and economics. We provide information on the genesis and operation of the program.

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