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Yale's New Law PhD Program for JDs Who Want to Teach, Not Bill Hours

By Andrew Lu on July 26, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Law schools have come under fire for being diploma mills. Several schools have been sued by disgruntled grads for misleading them about job and salary statistics.

As law schools are pulling back on the number of new admittees, Yale Law School announced they are inventing a whole new type of law degree -- a law PHD program.

Yale announced that the new law PHD program will train law grads that have ambitions on becoming law professors. Given that Yale produces a tenth of the law professors nationwide, it makes sense that Yale would have such a program.

Let's be read: being a law professor is a plum position.

You are treated with God-like respect by your students and you enjoy a schedule and lifestyle that just about every lawyer envies. However, unless you graduated from a university like Yale or clerked for a Supreme Court justice or two, you'll probably find that it is almost impossible to become a law professor. Even if you have such a pedigree, the competition for a law professorship can be brutal.

So many highly credentialed attorneys are now turning to PHD programs in unrelated fields like economics and philosophy to get a leg up on the competition, reports the ABA Journal. It's because of this need to become ever more credentialed that has led Yale to create the "first of its kind" law PHD program.

The law PHD program will "contribute to law's continuing maturation as an academic discipline by creating a space within the academy for reflection on and training in the methodologies of legal scholarship," announced the school. If you understand what this means, you probably deserve the PHD.

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