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Monday, July 05, 2010

Faculty Hiring at Alabama

Dan has already opened up a thread on faculty hiring committees, but what good is being a co-blogger if you can't open up one of your own?  For those who may be interested, the University of Alabama School of Law is doing both entry-level and lateral hiring this year.  I am the co-chair of the committee along with my colleague Montre Carodine; you may contact either one of us.  Although we are not limited by field, we are especially interested in the following subject matters: contracts, civil procedure, commercial law, ethics, decedents' law/T&E, and business electives.  For what it's worth, I was a lateral hire at Alabama and have found here a strong faculty, a good record of recent hiring (present company excepted, of course), an excellent dean, and a collegial environment.  The usual and more formal notices will follow, of course, but in the meantime please don't hesitate to get in touch with Montre or myself.  

Posted by Paul Horwitz on July 5, 2010 at 03:20 PM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink

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How entry-level is an entry-level hire? (Not just at Alabama, but in general.) I'm going into my 3L year, and my eventual career goal is to be a law prof. Everyone has told me to clerk for a year or two, maybe practice a bit, and then try to teach. Is this pretty much the only way to go, or are there teaching opportunities for recent graduates?

Posted by: Anon 3L | Jul 5, 2010 3:24:06 PM

This is not an Alabama-specific answer; notwithstanding being the co-chair of the committee, I don't want to make a definitive statement on our behalf. But my general advice is that the advice you've gotten so far seems quite correct. Whatever the sweet spot may be in terms of how long you should wait to apply for teaching jobs, I think the general consensus is quite firmly that you will need more under your belt -- preferably including a clerkship, certainly including some serious published writing, and quite possibly including either some practice time or a fellowship or both. Of course different schools are looking for different profiles, but they are pretty well all looking for a profile of some kind, so be patient and use your time well. And write -- write well and thoughtfully, but do write. Keep that in mind as you schedule your 3L year, since there is no reason you can't get some valuable experience with seminar papers, independent research projects, and (if you are allowed to attend) watching faculty workshops and getting a sense of how the scholarly game works.

And, of course, good luck!

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Jul 5, 2010 3:33:03 PM

Alas, alack, my lonely two publications will almost certainly be insufficient to overcome the incestuous nature of my would-be hiring.

But a better question - should a non-Ivy graduate sans clerkship and the other traditional indices of prawf-readiness (elite firm practice, etc.) but with a good publication record since graduation submit a FAR? How many publications will overcome a lack of credentialism?

You and I have had this conversation before, of course; but it couldn't hurt to get that information farther out into the world.

Posted by: Matthew Reid Krell | Jul 5, 2010 5:13:58 PM

Uhhh...Pass. Tuscaloosa!?! Yuck, I understand that 'Bama is a Tier 1 school (deserving or undeserving), but good luck with that. It is particularly telling that Deb Bassett left a cushy position there for a 4th tier school in Los Angeles... : )

Posted by: Yeeehaaaaw | Jul 5, 2010 6:43:51 PM

One doesn't want to drag this kind of thing out, and I don't favor deleting comments, so I'll just offer a brief response and hope I don't create a sustained comments thread about this sort of thing. I've lived in both places -- in fact, I left that "4th tier" school in LA, which happens to be an excellent school, for Alabama. I enjoyed both schools and both places, each in different ways. One involved more and better choices for movies, and the other involved more, and much more affordable, real estate; but both have been great experiences. Each to his or her own, of course, but I tend to believe in being open to all the things that a lot of different kinds of places have to offer.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Jul 5, 2010 9:40:02 PM

Paul, you really should publish the ISP information of Mr. Yeehaaaw so that all "yuck" (and "non-yuck"!) schools know not to waste their time!

Posted by: Brian | Jul 6, 2010 9:53:24 AM

I'd like to echo Prof. Horwitz's response to Yeeehaaaaw and also add that my old career used to make me move around a lot. The two places I've loved living more than anywhere else were towns/cities that I NEVER would have even wanted to visit, let alone live in. The key is to approach each new place with an open mind.

To change subjects, Prof. Horwitz, in the spirit of collegiality, would you move the Hiring Chairs Announce Yourselves Here post to the top? No one has posted information for awhile. That's partly attributable to the holiday weekend, I presume, but also to the displacement of the thread, too.

Thanks!

Posted by: Prawf candidate | Jul 6, 2010 12:42:14 PM

Thanks Paul for a helpful post and thoughtful responses after. Thanks also to Matthew for a good question. I know many of us are in this boat and would love some ideas about its bouyancy.

Posted by: Charlie | Jul 6, 2010 6:58:10 PM

As someone going on the entry-level market this fall, this post raises an interesting question. What do hiring chairs mean when they make a post like this and say feel free to contact us? Is this more for laterals? Do committees really want to receive a bunch of unsolicited cvs from entry-level candidates before the FAR froms come out?

Posted by: Hopeful | Jul 7, 2010 4:26:09 PM

Hopeful, I can't answer for everyone, and perhaps others will weigh in. I will say that when I went on the market, I sent unsolicited CVs to schools that either were looking in my area or to which I had a particular geographical connection or some other reason to think I might be an especially attractive candidate there. I think the geographical-or-other reason is a particularly good reason to drop a school a line, because if the connection is strong enough you might give a school added reason to think you're worth investing time in. (I'm not referring to having been an alumnus of the school; different schools will view that factor differently, and some may view it slightly negatively.) Having been on the other side a few times now, my view is that those kinds of solicitations probably rarely make a huge difference but never hurt, and may occasionally help.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Jul 7, 2010 4:38:55 PM

When hiring committees are looking for a candidate to teach a particular subject, will they screen out candidates who didn't list that subject in their top 3? What if I ranked that subject under "may be interested in
teaching?"

Posted by: Candidate | Jul 8, 2010 2:02:32 PM

Candidate, unfortunately the answer is that there's no single answer. Your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Jul 8, 2010 3:10:16 PM

Candidate: I agree with Paul that mileage may vary. I can say that whenever I have served on appointments looking for particular subjects, we have looked to the top 7 listed course ("Want to teach" and "May be interested').

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Jul 9, 2010 11:11:24 AM

Probably coming late to the party, but I started my career at Alabama, and had a wonderful experience there with the faculty, the students, and the town. We liked it so much that we spent another semester there before I started at Wash. U, and our first child was born in Tuscaloosa. Best of luck with the hiring season, Paul.

Posted by: Neil Richards | Jul 9, 2010 11:56:32 PM

As someone sincerely interested in and impressed by the law school at Alabama, I'd appreciate some comments regarding what it might be like to be a minority faculty member at the school. I understand that there is a significant African-American contingent in the area, but members of my racial group aren't found in the state of Alabama, in any meaningful numbers. However, Alabama Law seems like a great place to be a junior prof, from many other perspectives. Thank you.

Posted by: can | Jul 10, 2010 4:25:32 AM

Somewhat related to the post re making affirmative contacts with hiring committees, how necessary is signing up with AALS if you have geographic limitations (for what I'm told are good reasons) and contacts at all of the schools in your area? I submitted the FAR (without an express geographic limitation) last year and got some bites, but none that (it turned out) were close enough to me developed into offers; nevertheless I made (or already had) significant contacts at the nearer schools, and I plan to contact the school through them to inquire again this year. Am I at a disadvantage by just relying on those contacts to help me submit a CV etc. this time? Or would I be better off in the AALS process with a geographic limitation?

Posted by: anon | Jul 19, 2010 11:36:53 AM

Thank you, Paul and Howard. Two more questions the FAR forms: Is it bad form to attach a written "scholarly agenda" and/or a 1-page summary of my WIP to the resume that I upload? And is there a way to indicate on the FAR form that a publication is co-authored? My resume lists the publication properly, but the FAR form doesn't permit me to list a co-author (and I can't leave the publication off the FAR altogether, it's one of my best credentials).

Posted by: Candidate | Jul 28, 2010 5:19:27 PM

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