How do you write a good paper on antitrust law? And how do you make a succesful career in academia? At the ASCOLA 2020 Conference, the organisers invited distinguished professors Daniel Sokol (University of Florida), Giorgio Monti (Tilburg University) and Michal Gal (University of Haifa) to share their insights. Friso Bostoen gives a quick summary of the 60 minutes of career advice. You may watch the video of that panel here.
In what has been called ‘the most entertaining panel’ of the ASCOLA 2020 conference (you find Rupprecht Podszun’s Conference Debriefing of all the rest here), three renowned professors (Danny Sokol, Giorgio Monti and Michal Gal) gave career tips to young academics. The advice was, at times, difficult to unite: while Monti told young academics to ‘not be too original’, Sokol stated that any contribution should be ‘unique’ (‘otherwise, why bother?’). As in competition law, there may not always be a bright-line rule; sometimes, a case-by-case assessment is more appropriate.
On other points, however, the professors were very much on the same page. Everyone agreed that passion was crucial. As Gal said: ‘If it interests you, it will be easier to interest others.’ Monti also stressed the importance of luring readers into your paper. Driving home the point of getting your work read, Sokol emphasized that ‘it’s not enough to have the idea, you have to market the idea’. The professors also agreed on the need to focus. Sokol and Monti elaborated on the importance of saying no, and Gal found one innovative paper each year to be a good goal for a young academic (no pressure!). Oh, and don’t forget to keep your writing clear: Monti advises young academics to ‘write what you’ve spoken, rather than what you’ve written’. At the end of the day though, Sokol’s advice was to ‘just write—it’s like exercise’ (or, as the moderator Rupprecht Podszun rephrased it: ‘go to the intellectual gym!’).