September 14, 2005
Synthesizing the Ph.D Debate and Moneyball Hiring
Posted by Christine Hurt

I've been traveling almost nonstop for the past week or so, so I've been frenetically paying attention to the "Whether a Ph.D. or Ph.D. training is necessary/sufficient/optimal for interdisciplinary work" question.  The more interesting question to me was suggested in the comments:  Whether all modern corporate law scholarship must be law and econ scholarship?  I'll save that for another day.  As I was sifting through the comments on various posts (see everybody, including Brian Leiter, Dan Solove, Orin Kerr, Larry Ribstein and Vic), I thought about how law schools should react institutionally to this trend.  Obviously, top schools seek out Ph.D. candidates in the AALS, but there probably aren't enough of those candidates to go around.  So, Dave Hoffman's riff on Paul Caron's Moneyball hiring article reminded me that I wanted to throw out this possibility:  What if law schools subsidized Ph.D.s for its scholars?

Now, I'm not arguing for this policy behind a veil of ignorance, although that image by itself may be fitting in my case.  I don't have graduate training in economics, but I would love to have the time/$$ to get one.  I happen to live an hour's train ride from some notable economics programs.  Law schools in proximity to great graduate programs (or even better, law schools on the same campus as some) could market themselves as a place of opportunity.  Supporting the Ph.D. dreams of faculty could be achieved in various ways:  tuition subsidies, lighter teaching loads, joint efforts on campuses between departments for faculty exchanges or interdisciplinary T.A. opportunities.  (I would assume that most schools grant tuition waivers for courses at their own institution, but the home institution may not always be the best choice.)  In industry, many companies pay for their employees to get additional degrees that inure to the benefit of the company.  Why not law schools?

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