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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report: What Is It Good For?

It is time once again not for the entry level hiring report, but for the entry level hiring report disclaimer. As I have stated before, and will state many times again, this is not a report of entry-level hires who will begin in the upcoming school year. This is a report of self-reported entry-level hires as of the spring before the upcoming school year starts.  

As I have also said before, if you want to know about real entry level hiring, I commend to you Brian Leiter's report and the Katz et al. article. Or, feel free to make a real entry level hiring report yourself. There are many possible approaches to creating a real report: as one commenter suggested, call all 200 law schools in the fall and ask who they hired; or go through the AALS directory; or spend some time this fall on all the law school webpages. I'm sure there are other approaches too.

So why bother doing this self-reported stuff? Well, folks seem to like it; they liked it when Larry Solum did it from 2004 to 2010, and they seemed to like it last year too. Maybe candidates like it because it puts some closure on the hiring season for them; maybe some people like it because it has a "breaking news" element to it; maybe there's some other reason. I think there's no harm in putting together a list of self-reported names.

I feel more worried about the data summary. If we're just comparing various years' spring self-reported entry level hiring reports, then there's no harm at all in the charts and graphs and percentages. But perhaps charts and graphs and percentages are somehow intrinsically convincing, so perhaps the data summary makes people feel that they have information about actual entry level hiring, and that is, as I have said many times, certainly not true. 

I'm happy to post the data summary--we have 138 reports, which is about 20 shy of what we got last year, but still enough that I'm willing to run the information. (In fact, I will do it for myself whether or not I post it, just as I used to compile Larry Solum's data into spreadsheets and then make various charts, graphs, etc. for my own consumption.) My feeling has been that people are grown-ups and can read my explicit statements that this is not a true report of entry level hires and then decide for themselves how to use the pretty pictures. But perhaps that is not true, in which case I'm also happy not to post the summary. 

 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink

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Comments

Sarah,

The effort you put into this report is awesome. I really like your charts and graphs, especially because I have no idea how to do them well and you create easy to follow and aesthetically beautiful data-representations.

My previous post still stands. I think it would be easy enough to ask a secretary to contact every school and get this data in September. That could be a separate report that would follow the typically Spring report. No new hires would be put on the line by having to reveal information revealed before they are ready to inform current employers that they are leaving. In fact, a faculty secretary could start the process during the summer, when there are few other requests from faculty members, and have only a few holes to fill in September.

Anyway it's just a suggestions. I realize it's unlikely anyone will actually do it given how busy many of us are. But since we so often clamor for accuracy, my suggestion for comprehensive information would be the way to have a complete picture.

Posted by: AnonProf | May 5, 2012 2:24:48 PM

Following faculty hiring is a favorite law professor sport. Reading the report is kinda like checking the paper for the scores in yesterday's games.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | May 6, 2012 2:13:31 AM

I agree with Orin on both counts.

Posted by: Michael Risch | May 6, 2012 7:51:44 AM

It's fun for candidates, too. Thanks for doing it!

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | May 6, 2012 4:17:14 PM

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