Here is the catch. Being a law professor is only in part about teaching, research, and service in the interest of making others better off. Instead it is an exercise in self justifcation and one-ups-man-ship. Something along the line of "I must be important because Professor Jones at Elite Law School spoke to me at the annual meeting on Post-Natal law." Ego, that is. It's got to be that way or a fair percentage of law professors would be very very bored. Hell, I 'm bored already writing this and I am not all that smart -- just ask my wife.
The fact is that you de not have to be very smart to be a good law professor. Just being a little smart and preparing for class will be fine for the teaching part. Most students will be far behind. Not all mind you, but most. On the scholarship side . . . Can we talk?? There are no concepts in law that tax the brain like those found in economics, math, physics, engineering or philosophy. Zero. Any halfway decent law teacher can teach any law course given enough time to prepare. On the other hand there are very smart people who end up in law teaching. So what does that mean? They can be bored to death writing for state and federal court judges or they strut their stuff for other smart law professors. It means they need to write really smart articles in order to impress other people who are also smart -- way smarter, in fact, than necessary to do everything a law teacher needs to do. And so there is a awful lot of self-indulgent ultimately irrelevant writing. But it does make those who can do it feel better.