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Monday, December 12, 2011

ISO Model Recent Job Talks

A big part of my job running a fellowship program to prepare entry-level candidates for teaching in health law, bioethics, and biotechnology, is helping my fellows prepare top-notch job talk papers. What makes a good job talk paper is not at all self-evident to someone beginning the process (or even a few years in), and one of the first things I suggest they do is read the job talk papers by our fellows in the last several years and we discuss them.

This is got me thinking it might be a good service to the blogosphere in general (and prospective entry-levels in particular) if we could generate a list of good recent job talk papers that capture the genre (or perhaps genres) of the entry-level job talk paper well, and also highlight what we think is good about these papers.

Below I will list two, but what is more important is that I hope others will use the comments section to suggest others to read.

I should emphasize that a "model" job talk paper is not equivalent to the person who did the best on the market, or gave the best job talk. Some job talk papers have a bit of a high risk/high reward feel to them, where the force of the personality delivering them or their skill at Q & A makes them work rather than the actual paper itself. So what I have in mind as a "model" paper is something that is "solid" even more so than "brilliant."

With those caveats, here are two I'd recommend, but I really hope others will add other entry-level papers from the last 5 years or so...

Abigail Moncrieff, Federalism Snowballs: The Need for National Action in Medical Malpractice Reform

Christopher Robertson, Blind Expertise

This list is obviously somewhat parochial -- both were former fellows at my center. Why did I think these were really good?

A few reasons: Both have a simple yet powerful, graspable, easily summarized idea at their core that will appeal to people in many different legal fields/theoretical orientations. Around this juicy center, they layer a significant amount of methodological/field specification (more political economic for Moncrieff, more game theoretical for Robertson). The insight is raised in a specific context but has ready application beyond it. Finally, each nicely sets up a larger more generative project/research agenda for the author (on expertise and bias for Robertson, on health care federalism for Moncrieff).

Posted by Glenn Cohen on December 12, 2011 at 08:59 PM in Article Spotlight, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


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This would be a great idea if people contributed. Hopefully they do.

Posted by: 123anon | Dec 12, 2011 10:24:06 PM

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