Postsecondary Law Teacher Career Guide 2024

Table of Contents

Postsecondary Law Teacher Salary in United States for 2023

Average Annual Salary: $108,860 

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API. Updated at December 8, 2023

Best Colleges and Universities for Postsecondary Law Teachers in 2023

Best College Majors for Postsecondary Law Teachers in 2023

Projected Job Employment for Postsecondary Law Teacher:

Estimated YearProjected YearEstimated EmploymentProjected Employment% ChangeProjected Annual Job Opening
2021203119,10020,8009%1800

Postsecondary Law Teacher Career Path Overview

The career path of a Postsecondary Law Teacher is both rewarding and challenging. This profession requires a combination of extensive legal knowledge, teaching skills, and a passion for molding the future generation of legal professionals. The journey starts with acquiring relevant educational qualifications, gaining practical experience in the legal field, and then transitioning into academia.

Educational Requirements

To become a Postsecondary Law Teacher, you need to have a solid educational foundation in law. This begins with earning a Bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as Political Science, History, or English. Thereafter, you must obtain a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school. This degree provides the necessary legal knowledge and skills to practice law. Many law schools prefer hiring teachers who have additional qualifications beyond the JD. A Master of Laws (LLM) or a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) can provide deeper specialization in specific areas of law, making you more attractive as a potential faculty member.

Work Experience

Practical experience in the field of law is a significant factor when seeking employment as a Postsecondary Law Teacher. Most law schools prefer candidates who have worked as practicing lawyers, judges, or have significant legal research experience. This hands-on experience allows you to bring real-world scenarios into the classroom, making theoretical concepts more relatable and understandable for students.

Certifications and Licensing

While there are no specific certifications required to become a Postsecondary Law Teacher, it is necessary to pass the bar exam in your jurisdiction if you plan to gain practical legal experience. Additionally, certifications in teaching or specific areas of law can enhance your profile and demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and specialization.

Skill Requirements

Postsecondary Law Teachers need a variety of skills to succeed in their roles. These include excellent communication and presentation skills, the ability to explain complex legal concepts in a clear and concise manner, and strong research abilities. Additionally, they must be able to engage students, stimulate critical thinking, and create a conducive learning environment.

Job Opportunities

Job opportunities for Postsecondary Law Teachers are available at colleges and universities, both public and private. You may also find opportunities in professional schools that offer law-related programs. The job market can be competitive, so networking, publishing scholarly articles, and maintaining a strong reputation in the legal community can help improve your prospects.

Advancement Opportunities

Advancement opportunities in the Postsecondary Law Teacher career path include moving into administrative roles such as department chair, dean of the law school, or even university president. Some law teachers also choose to continue their research and become renowned experts in their fields, contributing significantly to legal scholarship.

Postsecondary Law Teacher Career Path Education and Training

Pursuing a career as a Postsecondary Law Teacher requires extensive education and rigorous training. This path is perfect for individuals passionate about law, education, and research, who wish to impart their knowledge to the next generation of legal professionals.

Undergraduate Education

To begin your journey towards becoming a Postsecondary Law Teacher, you must first earn a bachelor's degree. Although there's no specific undergraduate degree required for this career, it is beneficial to pursue a program that provides a solid foundation in law-related subjects such as Political Science, Philosophy, or English. These programs often emphasize critical thinking, reading comprehension, and writing skills — key competencies for future law professionals and educators.

Law School

Upon completion of your undergraduate degree, the next step is attending law school to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Admission into law school is highly competitive and typically requires good grades in your undergraduate studies, strong letters of recommendation, and a high score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). During your time in law school, you'll study areas such as constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, and legal writing.

Bar Exam

After earning your J.D., you must pass the bar exam in the jurisdiction where you intend to practice. This is an essential step as it grants you the legal right to practice law. It's important to note that this step may not be necessary if you don't plan on practicing law before becoming a teacher.

Experience in Legal Practice

Most Postsecondary Law Teachers gain experience by working in legal practice for several years after passing the bar exam. This hands-on experience not only provides practical insight into how laws are applied but also gives potential teachers credibility in the classroom.

Graduate Education

Finally, to qualify for a postsecondary teaching position in law, many institutions require or prefer candidates to hold a Master of Laws (LL.M.) or a Doctor of Philosophy in Law (Ph.D.). These advanced degrees focus on a specialized area of law and typically involve conducting original research, which is an integral part of a Postsecondary Law Teacher's role. Remember, becoming a Postsecondary Law Teacher is a long journey that requires dedication and commitment. However, the opportunity to shape future generations of legal professionals makes it a rewarding career path for those passionate about law and education.

Postsecondary Law Teacher Career Path Progression

The career path progression for a Postsecondary Law Teacher is varied and dynamic, offering a range of opportunities for those who are passionate about the law and education. This journey usually begins with earning the necessary educational qualifications, followed by gaining experience in legal practice, and then transitioning into academia.

Earning Educational Qualifications

The first step to becoming a Postsecondary Law Teacher involves acquiring the right educational credentials. Typically, this includes earning a Bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as Law, Political Science or History. Afterward, you will need to attend law school to earn a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, which is a prerequisite to practice law in most jurisdictions. It's important to excel acadically in law school, as many postsecondary institutions prefer hiring professors who have graduated at the top of their class. Additionally, participating in law review or moot court competitions can help bolster your academic profile.

Gaining Legal Experience

After completing law school, it's beneficial to gain practical experience by working in the legal field. This experience could come from working in a law firm, serving as a clerk for a judge, or working in a government or non-profit legal position. This real-world experience not only enhances your understanding of the law but also adds credibility when teaching students.

Entering Academia

Once you've gained substantial legal experience, you may consider making the transition into academia. This typically involves earning a master's degree or Ph.D. in Law or a related field. Having an advanced degree can increase your chances of securing a position as a Postsecondary Law Teacher. Furthermore, some aspiring law professors choose to complete a fellowship program that provides them with the opportunity to conduct research and publish scholarly articles. These publications can enhance your visibility in the academic community and improve your chances of securing a teaching position.

Advancement Opportunities

As a Postsecondary Law Teacher, there are several avenues for advancement. You may choose to take on administrative roles such as department chair or dean of the law school. Another path is to become a distinguished professor or hold an endowed chair, which are prestigious positions that often come with higher pay and more research opportunities. It's also possible to influence the field of law through your research and publications. Many Postsecondary Law Teachers publish books and articles that shape legal theory and practice. This contribution to the legal field can increase your reputation and standing within academia. The career path of a Postsecondary Law Teacher is filled with opportunities for growth and advancement. With the right education, experience, and dedication, you can make a significant impact on the lives of your students and the field of law.

Postsecondary Law Teacher Career Path Specializations and Subfields

The career of a Postsecondary Law Teacher presents numerous specialization areas and subfields. These specializations are determined by the various branches of law that one can study, teach, and research. The choice of specialization often depends on one's interests, expertise, and career goals.

Criminal Law

Criminal law is a popular specialization among law teachers. This field involves studying and teaching about the legal rules and procedures that apply to criminal acts. Topics in this area may include criminal procedure, evidence, constitutional law, and specific types of crimes such as homicide or fraud.

Constitutional Law

Another common specialization is constitutional law. Here, Postsecondary Law Teachers focus on teaching and researching the principles laid down in a country’s constitution. This includes topics like freedom of speech, the division of powers, the rights of individuals, and judicial review.

Corporate Law

Corporate law is a significant subfield for Postsecondary Law Teachers. They provide instruction on the legal aspects related to the formation, operation, and dissolution of corporations. This may include topics such as corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation, and bankruptcy.

International Law

Postsecondary Law Teachers specializing in international law study and teach about laws governing relations between countries. This field covers topics like international trade, human rights, international criminal law, environmental law, and the law of the sea.

Environmental Law

Environmental law has become increasingly important due to growing concerns about climate change and sustainability. Postsecondary Law Teachers in this field teach about laws related to environmental protection and sustainability, including regulations regarding pollution, land use, natural resources conservation, and climate change.

Health Law

Health law is another emerging field for Postsecondary Law Teachers. This involves teaching and researching laws related to healthcare, including health insurance, medical malpractice, public health law, bioethics, and the regulation of pharmaceuticals.

Family Law

Family law is a subfield that focuses on legal issues related to family relationships such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and adoption. Postsecondary Law Teachers in this field teach about the legal aspects of these relationships and often engage in research to influence policy and law reform. Each specialization has its unique challenges and rewards. Regardless of the chosen field, a career as a Postsecondary Law Teacher offers the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the understanding and development of law.

Postsecondary Law Teacher Career Path Job Market and Outlook

The job market for Postsecondary Law Teachers is continuously evolving, influenced by several factors such as changes in legislation, societal trends, and technological advancements. As we delve into the job market and outlook for this profession, it's essential to understand the dynamics that shape this field.

Job Market Trends

The job market for Postsecondary Law Teachers has traditionally been competitive. The number of law school graduates often exceeds the number of available teaching positions, resulting in high competition for these roles. However, the demand for Law Teachers at the postsecondary level remains steady due to the enduring relevance of legal education in various sectors of society. Technological advancements have also reshaped the landscape for Postsecondary Law Teachers. With the increase in online learning platforms, there is a growing need for educators who can adapt to virtual teaching environments while maintaining high-quality instruction. This opens up new opportunities for law educators, particularly those who are tech-savvy and can effectively leverage digital platforms for teaching.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of postsecondary teachers, in general, is projected to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. While the BLS does not provide specific data for Postsecondary Law Teachers, this growth trend indicates a positive outlook for professionals in this field. One factor contributing to this positive outlook is the increasing complexity of law and legal processes, which necessitates more in-depth and specialized legal education. In response, law schools are continually seeking knowledgeable law teachers who can provide this advanced instruction. Additionally, as more individuals recognize the value of legal knowledge in various career paths—not just traditional legal professions—there is a growing demand for law education. This trend could result in an increased need for Postsecondary Law Teachers.

Future Opportunities

The future for Postsecondary Law Teachers looks promising, with many opportunities expected to arise from evolving legal landscapes. For instance, areas such as intellectual property law, cybersecurity law, and environmental law are rapidly growing due to technological advancements and increasing global concerns. These developments could create new teaching opportunities for law educators specializing in these areas. Furthermore, the shift towards online education presents a unique opportunity for Postsecondary Law Teachers to reach a broader audience and offer more flexible learning options. This trend could lead to an increase in part-time or adjunct law teaching positions. In summary, while the job market for Postsecondary Law Teachers can be competitive, ongoing changes in the legal field and education sector provide numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. By staying updated with these trends and continually developing their expertise, Postsecondary Law Teachers can position themselves favorably in this evolving job market.

Postsecondary Law Teacher Career Path Salary and Compensation

In the role of a Postsecondary Law Teacher, your salary can greatly vary based on factors such as geographical location, institution type, level of education, and years of experience. However, it's important to note that this career path can be highly rewarding both intellectually and financially. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, the median annual wage for law teachers at the postsecondary level was $113,530. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $62,300, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $201,360. The BLS also states that full-time professors generally have higher earnings than their part-time counterparts. It's also worth noting that in addition to their base salary, many Postsecondary Law Teachers may receive a variety of benefits. These can include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, tuition waivers for family members, and access to campus facilities. Some law teachers also supplement their income through consulting work, writing academic papers or books, or practicing law part-time. Typically, salaries for Postsecondary Law Teachers tend to increase with experience and tenure. For instance, a newly minted Postsecondary Law Teacher might start with a lower salary range but can expect a significant increase once they achieve tenure status. Higher education institutions often use a tiered system for their faculty. This usually includes positions like assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor. With each promotion in rank, there is usually an associated increase in pay. Geographical location also plays a crucial role in the compensation of Postsecondary Law Teachers. Those employed in urban areas or at prestigious institutions often earn more than those working in rural areas or at smaller colleges or universities. In conclusion, while the salary of a Postsecondary Law Teacher can vary widely based on various factors, it's generally a well-compensated position with the potential for significant financial rewards. The opportunity to shape the minds of future legal professionals can also provide immense personal satisfaction, making it a highly sought-after career path in academia.

Postsecondary Law Teacher Career Path Tips for Success

As a prospective or current Postsecondary Law Teacher, a well-planned career path is vital to achieving success in your profession. The following tips will guide you on how to navigate through your career, optimize your potential, and attain professional growth.

Educational Requirements

To become a Postsecondary Law Teacher, the first and foremost requirement is to have a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school. In most cases, teachers are also required to have passed the bar exam. Additionally, a Master's or Ph.D. in law-related fields can provide an edge in the competitive job market.

Specialize in a Specific Area of Law

Law is a broad field with many areas of specialization. As a Postsecondary Law Teacher, it's beneficial to specialize in a specific area such as criminal law, civil rights law, environmental law, or corporate law. Having an area of expertise makes you more attractive to potential employers and allows you to offer more value to your students.

Gain Practical Experience

Before transitioning into teaching, it's crucial to gain practical experience in the legal field. This could mean working as a lawyer or in other law-related roles. This experience will not only give you a deeper understanding of the law but also provide real-life examples and insights to share with your students.

Develop Strong Research Skills

As a Postsecondary Law Teacher, you'll need to stay current with legal trends and changes in the law. This requires strong research skills. Additionally, most postsecondary institutions expect their faculty to contribute to their field through scholarly articles and research.

Improve Your Communication and Presentation Skills

As a teacher, effective communication and presentation skills are critical. You should be able to explain complex legal concepts in a way that's easy for students to understand. You should also be comfortable speaking in front of large groups and be able to engage your students in discussions.

Networking and Professional Development

Networking is crucial in the field of law education. Joining professional organizations, attending conferences, and participating in seminars can help you stay connected with other professionals in your field. These activities can also provide opportunities for professional development and career advancement.

Teaching Experience

Prior teaching experience, whether it's as a teaching assistant during your studies or teaching at a lower level, can increase your chances of securing a Postsecondary Law Teacher position. It's also a good way to test if teaching is the right career path for you. By following these tips, you can navigate your career path as a Postsecondary Law Teacher more effectively. Remember, the journey to becoming a successful Postsecondary Law Teacher requires commitment, patience, and continuous learning.

What is a Postsecondary Law Teacher?

A postsecondary law teacher is a legal professional who instructs students at the college or university level. This typically involves teaching courses in various areas of law, such as constitutional law, criminal law, corporate law, property law, or civil procedure. These educators also conduct research, publish scholarly articles and books, and often provide service to their institutions, such as serving on committees or assisting with student organizations.

What Does a Postsecondary Law Teacher Do?

A Postsecondary Law Teacher's primary responsibility is to educate students about different aspects of law. They prepare and deliver lectures, create and grade exams, guide discussions, and offer individualized instruction to students. In addition to teaching, these professionals are also responsible for conducting research in their field of expertise. They may write and publish articles, present findings at conferences, or contribute to the development of legal theory.

What are the Requirements to Become a Postsecondary Law Teacher?

The requirements to become a postsecondary law teacher generally include earning a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school and passing the bar exam in the state where they wish to teach. Some institutions may require a master’s degree or Ph.D. in law or a related field. Additionally, many universities prefer candidates with practical legal experience or those who have published scholarly work in the field of law.

What Skills are Needed to be a Successful Postsecondary Law Teacher?

Successful postsecondary law teachers need strong analytical skills to interpret laws and court decisions and to identify patterns that may be useful for their research or teaching. They also need excellent communication skills to effectively convey complex legal concepts to students. Other important skills include critical thinking, the ability to motivate students, and the ability to work independently or as part of a team.

What is the Job Outlook for Postsecondary Law Teachers?

The job outlook for postsecondary law teachers is positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of postsecondary teachers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by increasing student enrollment in colleges and universities.

What is the Average Salary of a Postsecondary Law Teacher?

The average salary for a postsecondary law teacher can vary greatly depending on the level of experience, the size and prestige of the institution, and the location. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for postsecondary teachers was $79,540 in May 2019. However, law teachers often earn higher salaries, with many earning six-figure incomes.

What are the Advancement Opportunities for a Postsecondary Law Teacher?

Advancement opportunities for postsecondary law teachers typically involve moving into administrative positions within their institutions, such as department head or dean. Some law professors also gain recognition through their research and publications, which can lead to opportunities to speak at conferences, consult with law firms or government agencies, or contribute to influential legal debates.