Monday, July 23, 2012
A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2012-2013
The 2012-2013 law school hiring market is soon beginning.
In this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market (anonymously if you wish, assuming the questions are not especially offensive or otherwise improper), and prawfs or others can weigh in, also anonymously if they choose, but within the bounds of decency. I will keep an eye on things and delete misinformation and ban the IP addresses of those acting out of bounds. If you're a reader and you see something suspicious, please feel free to let me know via email.
We will have a distinct but related post in which candidates or prawfs can report on callbacks, offers, and acceptances. That thread should be used only for information relevant to hiring, not for questions or comments on the process. This is the thread for questions.
So...questions? But before you ask your questions, take a look at the 500 questions and comments that came up on last year's thread.
Update: Here is a link to the last page of comments.
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Thanks to those who answered questions on Paul's post before it got derailed. A couple of carry-over questions:
1. When is best to send target packets?
2. What makes a job talk stand out for you?
Perhaps more importantly, for those who have successfully been through the process before and those who were or are now on hiring committees, what's the thing you'd tell candidates that they probably don't already know? I'm sure we have lots of pointed questions, but I'm relatively confident there are things I haven't thought of yet. Thanks so much.
Posted by: FARout | Jul 23, 2012 12:26:14 PM
Many have commented that a jobtalk should never be "read." Is the warning directed toward those who would literally read off of a piece of paper, or those who would write out the talk and then commit it to memory rather than using an outline or slide deck and speaking less formally?
Posted by: meatmarketeer | Jul 23, 2012 1:09:14 PM
1. This part I can't answer.
2. A good, clear, well-explained point. I know that sounds too easy, but you would be shocked at the number of job talks I have attended where I left wondering what point, if any, existed. Start with your thesis, tell me why it matters, outline how you are going to prove it, and then do that. Save some time at the end for questions. Oh, and skip the stupid stuff where you tell me about yourself or how you became interested in the topic. We already know the former, and we don't care about the latter.
Posted by: Wayfarer | Jul 23, 2012 1:13:23 PM
1. Late August and no later than first week of September. That's not to say you can't send packages later, but that window of time is optimal.
2. The best job talks make an original point; show the candidates' comprehension of the leading works, current trends, and extant doctrines of the chosen field; and are smooth in their delivery.
Most, but certainly not all, law faculty members frown on reading job talks. But it is the norm for people to periodically look down at outlines.
Posted by: AnonProf | Jul 23, 2012 1:51:18 PM
Do you recommend creating a website to post a CV, articles, etc.? If so, is there a particular format or template you'd recommend? Also, I suppose password protecting it makes sense, but any other tips?
Posted by: Website? | Jul 23, 2012 2:00:47 PM
Website? - you should post published articles on SSRN.
Posted by: anon | Jul 23, 2012 2:02:45 PM
Anon, I hear you re: articles, but some things I don't want to post to SSRN (e.g. a transcript, teaching evals, etc.), but I'd like to make available.
Posted by: Website? | Jul 23, 2012 2:12:54 PM
FYI for other candidates out there... there is NO FEE for attending the aspiring law professors conference at ASU in September. You just have to get yourself there.
Thanks for the responses to my questions!!!
Posted by: FARout | Jul 23, 2012 2:45:37 PM
AALS fee: $450. Typical number of applicants: 1,000. Quite a profit for AALS.
Posted by: skeptic | Jul 23, 2012 2:47:44 PM
(1) Can someone discuss the target packages a bit more - what to include, email/hardcopy, goals to keep in mind when putting packages together, etc.?
(2) The FAR form says that unpublished papers will not be made available to committee members - does that mean the text will not be available or that they will not see that the paper exists/is listed? Also, if I have SSRN private postings of close-to-submission working papers and/or papers being submitted in this cycle, would it be appropriate to provide the direct link under the 'comments' section at the end of the FAR form? Since they are not yet published, I'd like to get them out there in front of appointments committees, but hesitate to put them publicly on SSRN. If I'm preparing at target package, would it be a good idea to attach a copy of the papers there as well?
Posted by: lookingforward | Jul 23, 2012 3:32:20 PM
Would love to hear thoughts on lookingforward's question #2.
Also, for those who have successfully been through the process before and hiring committee members past/present, what's the one or two thing(s) you'd tell candidates that we might not already know?
Posted by: FARout | Jul 23, 2012 3:43:00 PM
lookingforward, I believe if you list an unpublished paper in the formal slot for publications, no one will be able to see it, which is why we are advised to list unpublished papers in the comment box instead.
Posted by: meatmarketeer | Jul 23, 2012 3:48:05 PM
FARout, I'll try answer your big question, and I think you are quite wise to look for what you don't know. At the same time, here is the first big tip: if your need to refer to an anonymous internet blog about any part of the process, that might be a sign that you are not ready for the market. You should be getting this info from your recommenders and faculty mentors. That leads to my first point.
1. Your recommenders are important. Far more important than you think they are, if the focus of the questions on this thread is an indication. Put it this way, I do not know anyone who got any extra interviews because they sent a targeted package. I know that I personally received multiple interviews because my recommenders were proactive in calling people up.
2. What makes a good job talk/interview/resume/targeted package is different for every school--or at least different for different types of schools. You need to figure out what segment of the market you are aiming at. This should be obvious; but for some reason people keep asking as if there were one identifiable "right" way to job talk or interview. There are many identifiable wrong ways to job talk; but there is no single identifiable right way.
3. Call people by their first names, no matter how famous they are. You probably heard this before, but I know that I for one outright refused to believe that those egotistical professors would be willing to shed their "professor" title. I also figured that, at worst, erring on the side of politeness could not hurt. It hurts. A lot.
4. For better or worse, "polish" matters. More than it should. A candidate who walks and talks like a professor gets a significant boost. That means calling people by their first names. That means not deferring even to a senior professor in your field--you are going to be his colleague, not his student. That means not having stage fright. You don't want to overdo the confidence and come off like an arrogant jerk. Nor am I saying that you should exude false bravado or stubbornly stick to your guns at all costs. The point is only that you must not come off as someone who is not ready for the major leagues.
Posted by: anonprof | Jul 23, 2012 8:06:28 PM
The advice I would give candidates on the market is that you will receive a lot of advice, and a lot of it will be bad advice. The best advice I received on the market was to not worry too much about what other people told me to do, and to be myself rather than getting psyched out.
So take all these anecdotes and absolutes with grains of salt - the only constants are that everyone's experience is different, there is lots of serendipity in the process, and much of it is out of your control.
Posted by: anon | Jul 23, 2012 8:40:02 PM
anonprof/anon - thanks. I am getting lots of great advice from my references, colleagues, and mentors. I figured asking the same questions here couldn't hurt. Much of what folks say here is consistent with advice I've received from the folks in my corner.
Posted by: FARout | Jul 24, 2012 11:30:01 AM
The FAR form has a drop-down menu for law teaching positions. Should current VAPs select "Assistant Professor" or "Visiting Law Faculty"? Also, any reason to list the address/email for the school where we teach rather than home address/permanent personal email?
Posted by: missy elliott | Jul 24, 2012 11:47:36 AM
missy - I've selected "Visiting Law Faculty" and listed my school email/address/phone because I want all of the communications to go through my office, but I know of other candidates who list their home information. Personally, I want to have the email address with a school.edu domain but in the end, it probably doesn't matter.
Posted by: VAPapp | Jul 24, 2012 1:40:48 PM
Stray piece of advice: everyone says to stay in the official hotel, but I found it quite nice last year to stay off-site.
1. No constant exposure to stressed people.
2. No simmering resentment that you're paying $300 or so a night for a profoundly overpriced hotel room in addition to the AALS blood money.
3. No risk of awkward encounters.
4. There are still plenty of places to relax between interviews, from various hospitality suites to neighborhood cafes. (If you really have a sense of adventure you can trek, or grab a cab, to tryst for long breaks.)
5. Taxis in DC are plentiful, efficient, and cheap, the amount you save in hotel costs will more than cover it.
Posted by: Paul Gowder | Jul 24, 2012 6:57:46 PM
Say I have a couple of published pieces and a jobtalk that's a work in progress. I have heard I will get asked at the faculty recruitment conference, "what else are you working on right now?" Is it really not good enough to focus on one project at a time, even if that might mean you are a prolific scholar who publishes 2-3 things per year-- they should not be tackled sequentially but juggled simultaneously? It is acceptable to say, I'm enjoying working on my jobtalk project, and can tell you about the project I hope to work on next, but I haven't begun to delve into it yet?
Posted by: twizzlers | Jul 24, 2012 11:52:56 PM
twizzlers, it depends on what you mean by "working on." It is perfectly fine to be actually typing only on one article at a time. But people will expect that you have some ideas about your next project that are more concrete and developed than simply the title.
A related point, however. If you are still working on your job talk piece, then it is probably not ready to be a job talk piece.
Posted by: anonprof | Jul 25, 2012 3:38:45 AM
I tend to disagree with the last line of anonprof's (at 3:38) advice. It is July. If you are still working on your job talk piece, that's fine -- assuming that you can have a strong draft of it ready in a month or so. Some schools will request it before they decide whether to schedule an AALS interview with you, others will schedule an interview, but request that you send it in advance of the conference, and others still will wait until after the conference to see if they want to call you back. For that reason, you need it to be ready for that first set of schools. I would say, then, mid-August or so is about right -- and that's just for a first draft. You can keep working to improve it well after that. And, as many people can attest, the job talks, themselves, are like workshops that help you revise your ideas. So, if you're still working on your job talk, I'd say that's fine. But you need to be prepared to send a draft of it to schools in about a month.
Posted by: another anonprof | Jul 25, 2012 7:14:42 AM
My fault for the ambiguity. I had meant that if you are still working on your job talk by the time of the meatmarket (when the question of "what are you working on" will be put to you), _then_ it is a problem.
Posted by: anonprof | Jul 25, 2012 9:18:30 AM
Prof. Gowder is right - don't stay at the conference hotel. I stayed across the street at the Omni several years back, and it was not only cheaper, it was (for all the reasons he lists) a welcome escape from the Marriott.
Posted by: anon | Jul 25, 2012 10:25:54 AM
I checked last week, and the Omni was totally booked for the Thursday-Friday nights of the conference (I didn't check surrounding dates). There's some other conference going on there. That might suggest that rooms will free up once that conference's room block is released, but I wouldn't bank on it. On the plus side, you could probably reserve at the Marriott and cancel if something in the Omni opens up--as I recall, there's no penalty for cancelling up till the day of check-in.
Posted by: stevie | Jul 25, 2012 11:10:53 AM
FYI - I tried to book a room at the Omni a couple of weeks ago and was told they had no availability.
Posted by: FARout | Jul 25, 2012 11:18:21 AM
I preferred to stay at the conference hotel. I had a lot of back-to-back interviews with only a few short breaks. It was nice to be able to head to my room during those breaks and catch my breath.
To keep costs down, I roomed with a laid-back friend (who was also on the market) who helped keep me calm. The stupid thing I did to save money was flying into Baltimore, which I do not recommend given how much time it took to get a train to D.C.
My random piece of advice is that there is such a thing as going on the market too early. When I was originally supposed to go on the market, my job talk paper was still in very rough shape. I ended up delaying a year, and have no doubt that I ended up at a much better school because of it. Don't be afraid to go into a second visiting position if you feel like the extra year will put you in a stronger place, especially if you are on the low side of publications.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Jul 25, 2012 12:21:37 PM
Here's an observation and some advice that relate to a commenter's point made on a recently-closed thread on this site. The commenter argued schools were disinclined to hire him/her because he/she had not gone to a T14 law school, notwithstanding a HYS PhD and some publications. My observation is that, based on the last couple years' hiring, schools are increasingly willing to hire folks without a T14 JD. As one example, a position I interviewed for went to someone with a JD from a lower T2 school and a T25 PhD. My advice is that, if you are getting interviews, your qualifications probably aren't a problem. If you end up with a few interviews and no callbacks, this may not be a negative reflection on you - schools have esoteric reasons for calling back A vs B and most people only have something like a 1:3 to a 1:5 callback:interview ratio. However, if you have lots of interviews and no callbacks, be open to the possibility the problem lies outside your CV. Consider meeting with a career counselor in your law school or someone else who you trust to give frank advice to try to pinpoint why the on-paper sell worked, but the in-person sell did not. Good luck!
Posted by: anonnewprof | Jul 25, 2012 1:50:55 PM
I second anonnewprof's comment above. The posts he/she describes seemed really out of sync with what I personally experienced on the market. I do not have a T14 JD, and had no trouble landing interviews, call-backs and several offers. Granted, I do think subject matter can be an issue -- i.e., maybe there are still some areas of law teaching where prestige matters to a greater extent. But on the whole, I don't think prestige is quite so important as that one poster would make it appear.
Posted by: anonanothernewprof | Jul 25, 2012 3:48:12 PM
Based on the info from the entry-level hiring reports over the last eight or so years (which is, of course, deeply flawed and incomplete), I agree that a T14 degree is not a de facto requirement for being hired as a law professor. See, e.g.:
"Each year, Harvard and Yale together are the source of the initial JD of between 25% and 35% of the hires listed on the entry level hiring report; the group of NYU, Michigan, Chicago, Columbia, Stanford, Berkeley, and Virginia (I selected these schools because these were the schools that had provided at least five hires in more than one year) provide the JDs for 30% to 40%; and all other schools represent 35% to 40%. All this seems pretty stable across the last seven years."
Posted by: Sarah L. | Jul 25, 2012 6:07:01 PM
I agree that the market has evolved such that graduates of schools below the top fifteen or so schools have much more of a chance. But we shouldn't sugarcoat things either because the reality is that although can secure jobs, the odds are still stacked against them. Looking at last year's reported data (which I recognize is incomplete but the best we have), nearly 35% of graduates from the sixteen listed schools on the hiring report secured jobs. This can be contrasted with the less than 7% of graduates from other non-listed schools who secured jobs based on the total number of FAR form submissions.
These differences in ratios do not account for where these candidates "placed," which I imagine suffers from even greater biases. So everyone from non top schools should be realistic about the potential headwinds they face on the market and do whatever is necessary to compete on a more equal basis with those graduates from the top schools (publish, obtain fellowships, PhDs, LLMs, etc.).
Posted by: FWIW | Jul 25, 2012 6:45:32 PM
I think that you should be ready to send a draft of your paper to committees in about a month. But, to be clear, a draft of your paper refers to the fact that it is an, as-of-yet, unpublished paper. It should be as polished as you can make it and something that you would be comfortable sending out to law reviews for publication. In other words, have it read by colleagues, friends, etc. and incorporate those edits first.
Posted by: on the market (again) | Jul 25, 2012 10:35:33 PM
ideal length for a research agenda?
Posted by: marisa tomei | Jul 26, 2012 5:57:56 PM
marisa: 2-3 pages (or so I've been told)
Posted by: FARout | Jul 26, 2012 6:59:04 PM
(Trying to decide what to do this year.)
1.) When selecting teaching interests, where should you strike the balance between "in demand" subjects and subjects that your research reflects an interest in? In other words, would it look disingenious for someone who has published multiple articles on (say) con law to put property and commercial law and contracts in the top line?
2.) How important is a third article for a candidate? The first two were in the 25-50 range and the 50-75 range, if it matters.
3.) Relatedly, how does the VAP/non-VAP status of a candidate affect consideration of her work? In other words, would a VAP who produced (say) the above two articles be evaluated differently than a practitioner?
Posted by: Up in the air | Jul 27, 2012 2:21:11 AM
1. You need some plausible story of how your subject choices correspond to your research interests, and how you would have actual expertise to teach in the area. If your con law articles are about, say, how using eminent domain to take over underwater mortgages does or does not violate the takings clause and the contracts clause, then by all means put down property and contracts as teaching interests. But if you are plainly someone who doesn't know anything about property and contracts beyond what he learned in 1L, then putting it down is both going to hurt you in the sense of making you look opportunistic, and also because no school which is looking to hire in those areas would look at you on the merits.
2. It varies. See my prior comment.
3. Also kind of varies, but I would say that there is usually some kind of credit given to a practitioner who can pump out articles on the side while holding down another full time job. Probably not enough to offset all the downsides of that route, in terms of not having faculty mentors and not being in the know about the whole process. But if you are talking a ceteris parabis comparison, then yes, there is a difference.
Posted by: anonprof | Jul 27, 2012 5:34:52 AM
I echo anonprof. If your articles were student comments/notes (or papers you began as a student and published later), then give them another read now with the benefit of hindsight. The subject matters and titles can sometimes just reflect a typical student's perception of subject matter silos, and it's possible you can now spin the articles as something squarely in the field you want to teach. Obviously, it can't be too much of a stretch.
Posted by: anonanothernewprof | Jul 27, 2012 8:27:09 AM
If you plan to write in con law, then yes, con law should be one of your top listed classes. But there is nothing wrong with having an unrelated first-year class in the top line, this is quite common. Indeed, it isn't uncommon to see a FAR form that states the person is willing to teach any first-year class.
Also, if your writing agenda is moving in a different direction (say, more commercial law than con law), then you can plausibly claim that teaching in those areas will support your scholarship.
Note that it can sometimes be difficult to convince someone that you want to teach something outside your research area. I wanted to teach a UCC class, but could not convince any school of it because I don't research in that area.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Jul 27, 2012 11:49:18 AM
I'm confused by this statement above: "My observation is that, based on the last couple years' hiring, schools are increasingly willing to hire folks without a T14 JD. As one example, a position I interviewed for went to someone with a JD from a lower T2 school and a T25 PhD."
What does it mean to have "a T25 PhD"? Does that mean simply that a person got a PhD from a university with a T25 JD program? That is not a very reliable signal of a PhD program's prestige. To take one example, Johns Hopkins University is generally a more competitive and prestigious university than, say, Georgetown, UVA, and GW, yet all three of the latter schools are T25 JD schools, whereas Hopkins obviously is not, since it doesn't even have a law school.
How can anyone talk about T25 PhDs from the law school perspective? Are law school profs really that familiar with the highly nuanced rankings of various PhD programs??
Posted by: borntoprof | Jul 27, 2012 3:34:08 PM
Thanks for all the info -- I saw one question about the ideal length for a research agenda (answer was 2-3 pages), and have a related question: is the research agenda something that should be part of the FAR form (i.e. part of the CV)? I've gotten conflicting advice on this--some saying this should go on the FAR form, others saying this only annoys readers of the forms by increasing the amount of material they have to read thru.
Thanks for any advice/input
Posted by: ericblair | Jul 27, 2012 3:52:59 PM
@borntoprof, good point. I was shorthanding - the PhD was from a school with a T25-ish JD program. My point was really that the PhD wasn't from a top program, and thus to provide a counter-example to the previous commenter's statement that he/she hadn't been hired because his/her non-T14 JD + HYS PhD "wasn't good enough".
Posted by: anonnewprof | Jul 27, 2012 6:39:21 PM
Thanks so much to everyone who has contributed answers to this thread so far!
On the subject of getting PhDs:
I understand that the convention is for international lawyers to get American SJDs/JSDs at the top law schools, and for American JDs from non-top-6 institutions to “launder” their credentials with a Harvard or Yale LLM, or to seek a PhD in a cognate field.
If an American JD with respectable but not stellar qualifications (low t14 with good grades) got a PhD/Dphil in law from Cambridge or Oxford, would this be regarded as a PhD and thus a helpful qualification, as an SJD equivalent and therefore a qualification that doesn’t add much to an American JD, or would it have a ‘laundering’ effect?
For someone already in such a program doing interdisciplinary work, would it be a good idea to try to transfer to a cognate faculty within their university for the purposes of AALS recruitment?..or would it not matter what department the PhD was actually from as long as you could explain your reasons for doing it, how it contributes to your scholarship, and that you do have an interdisciplinary research agenda?
Would love to hear opinions on this not-hugely-common situation, like, what your first reaction would be if you got a FAR form like that. Thanks!
Posted by: anonymous | Jul 27, 2012 8:32:17 PM
Are there special concerns or issues that arise for candidates who do work on controversial subjects that people feel strongly about, that is likely to be provocative and heterodox? A lot of the work that I want to do (err most of it) could I think tread on emotionally sensitive topics even when done with the utmost respect and care. I am worried that this might be a liability on the job market and would appreciate advice on this. I mean, should I just avoid those topics until I get a job, or is it okay if buried with other less controversial work, or should I embrace it advocate for my ideas rigorously without regard to how popular or intuitive they would be as long as they're well articulated and coherent?
Posted by: anon | Jul 27, 2012 8:47:12 PM
anon @ 8:47, professors who are members of the federalist society tend to have excellent advice on that topic. you might try reaching out to some directly even if that isn't your particular flavor of controversial affiliation.
Posted by: marisa tomei | Jul 27, 2012 10:12:38 PM
anon @ 8:47, a friendly addition to the comment above. Opinions about the degree to which viewpoint discrimination occurs in hiring tend to the extremes, and you can pretty much predict what a person's opinion is based on where they sit. If you ask Federalist society types, they'll say it is rampant. If you ask Brian Leiter, he'll say it is a non-problem. The truth, as usual, is probably somewhere in between.
Posted by: anonprof | Jul 28, 2012 10:29:31 AM
anon @ 8:47, if it is a matter of controversy that would keep you from being hired at a particular institution, it will also probably weigh on your tenure application - in other words, I think the best course is to find a place you fit doing what it is you are driven to do. Who wants to feel like they are cloaking their research for 5-6 years? That said, I think most faculties have a variety of political and other worldviews and are more apt to judge the scholarship by its merits as scholarship rather than its underlying worldview
Posted by: anonprof | Jul 30, 2012 10:54:28 AM
I have a couple of questions about the C.V. candidates are asked to upload to the FAR database. The AALS website accepts multiple types of files; are they later "standardized" in some way, to ensure that hiring committees can read them, regardless of file format? Or are the uploaded files simply stored "as is" for user downloads? If it's the latter, should one upload a .pdf -- where hyperlinks to publications posted online are less likely to work -- or a .doc / .docx file, which a reviewer will only be able to view if s/he has the right version of Microsoft Word? Thanks very much!
Posted by: meatforthemarket | Jul 30, 2012 3:19:37 PM
Thoughts on listing SSRN top-10 downloads on the CV in the publications section? Thanks.
meatforthemarket - I'm uploading everything as PDFs.
Posted by: FARout | Jul 31, 2012 1:23:33 PM
When you're invited to give a jobtalk, how far in advance of it will your jobtalk paper be distributed to the faculty?
Posted by: pennoyer neff | Jul 31, 2012 7:54:27 PM
Can anyone comment on the above question about whether to include the scholarly agenda with the FAR form? It is not clear to me, if not, when to send this to schools. Thanks!
Posted by: Anon | Aug 1, 2012 12:26:18 AM
Any thoughts on how in-depth we should be able to discuss our knowledge of and interest in the various courses that we list on FAR form? Should we be able to describe the anticipated structure of all three courses we list on line 1, perhaps including even textbook preferences? And how does line 2 compare in terms of brevity of substance? Thanks in advance for any and all insights!
Posted by: FARFromOver | Aug 2, 2012 4:23:36 AM
Any suggestions on how to find members of hiring committees who haven't been listed on the spreadsheet on this blog? There are schools to which I'd like to send targeted packages that are not (yet) on the spreadsheet.
Posted by: anon | Aug 2, 2012 9:38:57 AM
FARFromOver, You may be asked questions about your interest in teaching a course you listed if it isn't obvious from your cv why you want to teach it, but at the screening interview stage I think it is pretty unlikely you would be asked about your anticipated course structure or textbooks.
Posted by: anonnewprof | Aug 2, 2012 11:33:40 AM
To add a different perspective to annonnewprof's comment, I actually did get asked about how I would teach certain courses. It wasn't at the textbook level of granularity, but more about general ideas--what would you do that's new/innovative/brings in practical skills? That sort of thing. So it's possible.
Posted by: Newbie prof | Aug 2, 2012 5:38:27 PM
I was asked about textbooks last year.
Posted by: on the market (again) | Aug 2, 2012 9:32:24 PM
I was asked about textbooks last year.
Posted by: on the market (again) | Aug 2, 2012 9:32:27 PM
"When you're invited to give a jobtalk, how far in advance of it will your jobtalk paper be distributed to the faculty?"
This varies sharply by school and can even depend on who on the committee is in charge of distributing the paper. At my school, we typically get the paper a week in advance, but sometimes the person in charge fails to circulate it until the day of. Even if it is circulated in advance, a large chunk of my faculty fails to read the paper. They will print it out, flip through it, and maybe skim bits of it, but only a few will read it in detail.
Consequently, it is a good idea to spend 5 minutes introducing your paper before you launch into the heart of your argument. But don't make the mistake of never telling us what is your original contribution to the literature. Introduce it, then quickly get to your main point.
Keep in mind that at some schools, people will ask questions at any time, whereas at other schools, you will get 20 minutes or so before the faculty jumps in. It never hurts to ask the person guiding you through the callback what the school's norm is on the job talk.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Aug 2, 2012 11:58:49 PM
Can anyone comment on the above question about whether to include the scholarly agenda with the FAR form?
Typically, the schools that are interested (based on FAR form) will ask you for it. I don't know if anyone else actually included it on the form; I certainly didn't last year. (I suppose you could append it to the uploaded cv, or put a very brief note in the comments field -- doubt that would hurt.)
Posted by: Paul Gowder | Aug 3, 2012 9:04:13 AM
Does anyone have an opinion about whether I should include a link to my SSRN or BEpress website on my CV?
Posted by: anon | Aug 3, 2012 10:02:24 AM
"Does anyone have an opinion about whether I should include a link to my SSRN or BEpress website on my CV?"
It certainly wouldn't hurt to have an SSRN link on your CV. Lots of academics do that. If you have an unpublished article that you want considered in the hiring process, you can also provide a link to it in the comment box of the FAR form.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Aug 3, 2012 10:16:02 AM
Response to: Including a scholarly agenda with the FAR?
When I was on the market about five years ago, I did not include a scholarly agenda. And my sense from speaking with several friends who were on the market at that time and a couple of years before me was that no one included a scholarly agenda with their FAR form. It just seemed like a waste of time, and I was so incredibly busy. I included that scholarly trajectory in a one or two page letter that I sent to targeted schools, and that worked out just fine. But, when I served on our appointments committee last year, I found that almost all (and I mean 90%+) of the high quality FAR applications included a scholarly agenda of three to six pages in length. So, to now submit the FAR form without one would seem like a risky move that would put the candidate at a significant disadvantage.
Response to: Include an SSRN link?
By all means. Include anything in your CV that shows your potential as a scholar, teacher, and colleague.
Response to: Indicate top 10 status on SSRN?
I'm unorthodox in this, so don't follow this advice without carefully reflecting on it and asking others for their opinions: I think SSRN is too easily manipulated for those numbers to mean anything. And here's a funny story. I posted something on SSRN a few years back. I had 18 downloads pretty quickly. The subject and category were so obscure that I got an e-mail informing me that in that narrow category I was top 10. Absolutely meaningless! Worth no more than a laugh. For all I know an individual's SSRN numbers might be high because his or her family or entire first year class of students are downloading it.
Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 3, 2012 11:39:08 AM
many thanks AnonProf and others who responded to the question about submitting a research agenda with the FAR form
Posted by: ericblair | Aug 3, 2012 3:07:05 PM
Does an e-journal count as a "major published writing" on the FAR form? I'm thinking not but wanted to verify...
Posted by: anon | Aug 4, 2012 2:58:55 PM
What's the over/under on the number of FAR forms in this year's first distribution and number of schools with listings in the hiring bulletin?
Posted by: marisa tomei | Aug 5, 2012 10:54:19 AM
anon (8/4 @ 2:58pm) - If your e-journal is, say, PENNumbra or YLJ Online or a similar journal, then I'd say it counts.
Good luck to us all!
Posted by: FARout | Aug 6, 2012 1:56:56 PM
In the publications section on the FAR form, I am not sure what to put in the citation/web address line for forthcoming publications. SSRN links are too long to fit in the box, and I'd like the journal name to be on the form -- but it seems odd to give information that does not make the paper available when the prompt specifically includes web addresses. (My CV has SSRN links -- is that enough?)
Posted by: anon | Aug 6, 2012 4:33:45 PM
FARout, thanks for the response on e-journals.
Posted by: anon | Aug 7, 2012 9:35:22 AM
"In the publications section on the FAR form, I am not sure what to put in the citation/web address line for forthcoming publications"
My understanding (from when I was on the market) is that you can't put forthcoming publications in that section of the FAR form, only published ones. You put your forthcoming publications and their SSRN links in the comment box.
Note: if that's wrong and it does permit accepted but not in print publications, you could always list it by putting "volume number Blah L. J. XX." The Committee could then always ask you for a copy or cross-reference your CV.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Aug 7, 2012 11:11:35 AM
Thanks 4thyearprawf, good point. The heading is "Major Published Writings," but then the checkbox is labeled "Accepted for Publication," which I took to include accepted but not yet published. I will ask around further to see whether my reading was in error, thanks again.
Posted by: anon | Aug 7, 2012 12:10:25 PM
anon@12:10, FWIW, my reading is the same as yours, and consistent with what my mentors have advised. If the piece has been published or accepted for publication, it's appropriate for inclusion in that section of the FAR.
Posted by: pleepleus | Aug 7, 2012 2:24:37 PM
I want to contradict what "4thyearprawf" wrote above. I put a forthcoming piece in that section when I was on the market. No problems whatsoever.
Posted by: anonprof | Aug 7, 2012 3:46:43 PM
anonprof & pleepleus: Thank you for the correction. I'm not trying to mislead people--I'm four years out so I am likely misremembering. Given what anon is saying about "accepted for publication," being next to the box, perhaps one could do both--list the article in the box with the anticipated citation, then list it again in the comment box with the SSRN citation?
I will perhaps be more useful when people have questions about the call-back process, given how many job talks and hiring meetings I've been involved with :P.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Aug 8, 2012 9:10:40 AM
I'm surprised at how quiet this board is, given the date. Anybody out there?
Posted by: FARFromHeaven | Aug 8, 2012 3:19:55 PM
Personally, I've submitted my materials and am taking a breather. I suspect it's quiet because it's really too late to ask questions about submission materials if you're submitting today and too early to ask questions about the interview process (mostly because we are all focused on getting the materials in). I suspect things will pick up later this week after the bulletin comes out and next week for sure once AALS issues the first release.
Posted by: FARout | Aug 8, 2012 4:14:50 PM
Ok, I'll shoot out a question on this otherwise quiet day (and in anticipation of tomorrow's bulletin). How closely to expressed interests do schools tend to hire? If a school announces that they're interested in hiring people in areas X, Y, and Z, do they tend to stick to those areas, or is there always the implied "but we are interested in good candidates in all areas" as well? Or conversely, do committees ever announce interests in areas that they are not really serious about hiring in? I assume the answer is "varies by school," but any insight appreciated.
Posted by: Hat in the Ring | Aug 8, 2012 4:45:18 PM
Info worth considering about SLU... Annette Clark just resigned the deanship after only a year and slammed the university administration in the process.
Posted by: FARout | Aug 8, 2012 6:07:27 PM
I'm in a similar situation with anonymous July27@ 8:32. Could some please answer that question? Thank you.
Posted by: reader | Aug 9, 2012 6:54:59 AM
Hat in the Ring - I think it varies by school, but it's somewhat apparent through language used in the Placement Bulletin. Parse carefully and I think you can get a sense of who will actually consider areas beyond those listed.
Posted by: FARout | Aug 9, 2012 1:34:34 PM
not exactly on topic here, but since this may be an issue for others posting here, I figured I'd see if anyone has a view on this. I'm submitting my job talk piece to law reviews and guessing/hoping the fall window is open now. Anyone have any insights on this? Is it too early to be sending an article to law reviews now?
Posted by: ericblair | Aug 9, 2012 1:51:55 PM
Anyone know why we can still update the FAR form today, even though the 8/8 deadline has passed? I'm getting worried that I did not properly submit the form.
Posted by: borntoprof | Aug 9, 2012 4:30:46 PM
born to prof--I think you're allowed to make changes and resubmit your form until forms are sent out to schools on 8/16, even though your form has been "submitted". Did you get an email from AALS today giving you access to the 1st placement bulletin? If so, that would, I believe, confirm that your FAR form was properly submitted.
Posted by: ericblair | Aug 9, 2012 4:47:06 PM
"Is it too early to be sending an article to law reviews now?"
No, it is not too early. I've submitted as early as August 1 and have had good (top 50) placements. Some journals such as Cornell get started later, but will hold on to your article until the appropriate time.
You might want to make strategic decisions about whether to submit only to a certain range of schools (say, top 100), and have the article be unpublished if doesn't place higher. Different people give different advice on this one. Another tough call: whether to submit to all the specialty journals or just the top one(s) in your field.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Aug 9, 2012 4:58:44 PM
thanks 4th year prawf
Posted by: ericblair | Aug 9, 2012 9:22:23 PM
What are people's impressions of the first bulletin that came out today? Any surprises about schools, number of positions advertised, areas of expertise sought... other?
Posted by: FARFromHeaven | Aug 9, 2012 11:15:21 PM
I like your questions more and I would really like to hear the answers to your questions, because they are the REAL questions!
Posted by: Questionnaire Template | Aug 10, 2012 4:23:21 AM
A few responses to questions, from someone who went through the process last year.
- Including a research agenda?
I think this is pretty much a de facto requirement now. I think maybe one or two schools I interviewed with did not ask for it before AALS. By the time you hit your job talk/callback phase, everyone will ask for it. More to the point, if you don't include a research agenda, you're basically handicapping yourself. A research agenda is your opportunity to convince faculty that you've got a fertile mind, a plan for your career, and that you won't simply come in and have writer's block for 3-5 years. And everyone else is going to be including one.
- Mention top 10 SSRN status?
Yes. Maybe cover letter is the place to put it. But you're trying to break through the noise of 1000 other applicants, so anything you can do to distinguish yourself is helpful. SSRN status is obviously a proxy for how influential your piece is, so if there are other measures (such as references, citations, or press coverage) that are less manipulable (in the ways that 4th year prawf describes), I would use those.
- Questions about teaching?
I think it depends on the school. Higher ranked schools ask about teaching far less, as they're more concerned about your potential as a scholar and your intellectual chops. Lower ranked schools care more about teaching and less about scholarship. That all being said, I would definitely be prepared to answer these questions (not in a huge amount of detail, since AALS consists of such short interviews), since even the top schools may ask you questions along these lines, just to see how your thought process works.
- "When you're invited to give a jobtalk, how far in advance of it will your jobtalk paper be distributed to the faculty?"
I would rephrase this as: 1) when do you need to submit your job talk paper (assuming you are making revisions); and 2) will the faculty have read it and how closely?
1) I found that job talk papers were (much like research agendas) more and more of a de facto requirement, particularly among higher ranked schools, at the pre-AALS stage. If you get invited back for an actual job talk, you can send a revised version, and I think about 10 days before the actual job talk is probably an average cutoff date. Of course, if you're doing even reasonably well in AALS, you probably won't have time to make revisions to your job talk paper, since you'll be spending all your time preparing your actual job talk, traveling, and interviewing (in addition to whatever responsibilities you have in your actual life).
2) Some faculty will have read your paper. Many more will have just skimmed it. Some will clearly not have read your paper (maybe not even the abstract), and will be flipping through it during your job talk. For purposes of your actual job talk, I would expect everything from really really stupid questions to somewhat incisive ones.
- Will schools hire outside their stated needs?
There are basically two types of hires: need hires and "All-Star" hires. If you're the latter (and you should be able to figure that out quickly, if you don't already know, just based on the response rate you get), it depends on the school's budget. Top 15 or so schools really don't have teaching preferences per se, so much as they're just looking to hire what they perceive as the best talent. After that, it really just depends on the dean, the faculty, and their budget situation. To maximize your chances of getting hired, it's probably best to list at least one first-year or high enrollment class, just so you check off more boxes.
Good luck everyone.
Posted by: 1st year prof | Aug 10, 2012 5:40:57 AM
FARfromheaven -- I was surprised to see so much wills/trusts/estates in the bulletin. I was also somewhat surprised to see a fair number of T4 schools looking for "any" subject area, rather than targeting specific curricular needs; maybe they're not sure yet what the top priorities will be. Other than that, the material looked a lot like what I expected, with a significant number of the schools looking for first year course coverage, business courses, and tax, and a smattering of other stuff.
Posted by: FARout | Aug 10, 2012 11:38:06 AM
A somewhat related topic: has anyone had any play yet in the August submission cycle?
Posted by: anonanother | Aug 10, 2012 12:34:38 PM
What exactly does business and commercial law mean in the bulletin listings? Classes like Corporations? UCC courses? securities reg? contracts? bankruptcy?
Also, re an earlier question about amending the FAR, I think the answer is no. I think that you cannot amend at this point. You can, however, pay an additional $450 and submit a second one... At least, that's my understanding.
Posted by: on the market (again) | Aug 10, 2012 12:46:25 PM
I was having the same question about the FAR, because even as of this morning, it was still showing that I could update the whole thing. I'd just hoped the fact that I received the Bulletin yesterday meant that I was properly registered. I just logged in to double check, and now the only option is to update my contact info. So, I guess there was just a lag in the lockdown. on the market (again) is right that the only way to update the FAR aside from your contact info and CV is to pay the fee again for a subsequent distribution.
Posted by: pleepleus | Aug 10, 2012 12:59:53 PM
yes, pleepleus, I believe that's correct--sorry I wasn't precise--my understanding is that you can update contact info on your FAR form after 8/8 (I assume only until materials are released to law schools next week). It sounds like you have confirmed this by visiting AALS's site and logging in.
Posted by: ericblair | Aug 10, 2012 2:25:20 PM
1.) Per my conversation with AALS on Wednesday about computer problems, enough people were having problems getting into the system that they were going to hold the first distribution submission window open a day or so longer.
2.) I also was a bit suprised to see so much T/E/wills. Question: When a school advertises for a relatively esoteric subject like that, are they usually looking for a "trusts and estates" scholar, or looking for someone with sufficient expertise/interest to teach a class, even if they write on a different field?
Posted by: Pessimistic | Aug 10, 2012 3:41:22 PM
On the T&E point, my sense is that lots of schools are always looking for T&E people because: (1) it is a class that is very important in practice for many folks; (2) unlike, say, real estate transactions (which is another "advanced property" course that is similarly important in practice), T&E was in recent memory a big area of scholarship; and (3) with some outstanding exceptions I could name, very few profs do or aspire to do cutting-edge scholarship in the field anymore. So a lot of schools perceive T&E as a hole, particularly as an earlier generation of scholars retires, and one they would prefer not to fill with an adjunct.
In response to Pessimistic's question, all else equal I think you're certainly better off if you're a T&E scholar (the "all else" importantly including the intellectual interest and fertility of your scholarship) but some schools may be satisfied with, say, a tax or property person who shows a real interest in teaching in the area. Talk is cheap in a job interview, though, so if you don't write in the area lots of faculties may suspect that you're just expressing an interest to get the job and will move out of the course as soon as you can.
Posted by: Sam Bagenstos | Aug 10, 2012 5:16:03 PM
"What exactly does business and commercial law mean in the bulletin listings?"
This will vary by school. My general impression is "commercial law" refers to Sales and Secured Transactions (at my school, bankruptcy is considered a category in and of itself). "Business" usually means corporations/business organization but may also include securities.
This uncertainty can sometimes cause confusion in hiring. One year the faculty at my school wanted to hire a business person, and we ended up with a bunch of commercial law candidates instead, due to confusion by the hiring committee.
"When a school advertises for a relatively esoteric subject like that, are they usually looking for a "trusts and estates" scholar, or looking for someone with sufficient expertise/interest to teach a class, even if they write on a different field?"
This also varies. Some schools want professors with different research expertise so there is a good mix on the faculty. Other schools just want someone who will cover a particular class. Keep in mind that it can be hard to convince a school that you genuinely want to teach class X when you research in Subject Y. I still can't convince anyone that I would like to teach bankruptcy.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Aug 11, 2012 11:57:39 AM
Are there any particular issues candidates should be aware of with respect to religiously-affiliated schools? I guess I'm particularly interested in whether any current professors have any insight into what working at such institutions is like. I was raised Jewish, and am now an athiest, and while I certainly support what I would consider small-c christian values (social justice and love thy neighbor and all that), I'm not really on board with some of the positions espoused by some religious institutions (on, say, gay rights or birth control). Given that I'm not a superstar candidate who can afford to be picky, this raises a couple questions for me: (1) How much does religion play a role in the life of the law school at various religiously-affliated schools? Do they tolerate/welcome viewpoint diversity on issues potentially informed by religious belief? In both research and teaching? (2) On a practical level, if I'm offered a position at such a school, do I need to worry about what medical benefits may or may not be available to me and my family based on the affiliated religious institution's views on the propriety of certain medications or procedures? (3) Is working for a religious school affiliated with a church that does not support marriage equality morally equivalent to working for Chick-fil-A or the Boy Scouts? If one supports the Chick-fil-A boycott and would not allow one's children to join the Boy Scouts, is it hypocritical to accept an offer at such a school? Perhaps all these things vary by school, and, in any event are not worth worrying about before landing an offer. Nevertheless, given the number of religously-affiliated schools (and the fact that some of them are geographically attractive to me), this seems as good as anything to spend my worry time on.
Posted by: Just Curious | Aug 12, 2012 1:26:29 PM
I am an atheist and can tell you about my experiences. The very religious schools (Campbell, Pepperdine, Notre Dame) all have "mission statements." Campbell and Pepperdine will e-mail you these statements and require you to agree with them before considering you. A prof at Pepperdine informed me that their faculty will not hire someone from a non-monotheistic faith. These same schools will generally require a letter from a pastor or the like (note: Notre Dame doesn't). As a practical matter, unless you are a good liar, your chance of getting a position at one of these schools is low. Even if you were to get a position, their tenure standards allow them to deny you tenure on the basis of your religious beliefs. So you would have to be thoroughly in the closet.
I remember doing an interview with Notre Dame when they asked what I thought about their mission statement. I told them that I wasn't religious, but discussed how I would incorporate discussions of ethics in my area of expertise. I could see from the expression on their faces that I wouldn't be getting a call-back.
Contrast these schools with liberal Catholic schools such as Georgetown, San Diego, and Villanova. These places do tolerate a variety of views. I don't think that working for institutions like these would be like working for Chick-fil-a or the like, because these are the schools that have resisted the Catholic Church's call for affiliated schools to strictly follow teachings (unlike Notre Dame, which used to be more welcoming). Yes, they may not provide birth control in their insurance plans. But as someone who has boycotted Chick-fil-a for many years, I wouldn't hesitate to work at one of these places because they wouldn't require me to hide who I am.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Aug 12, 2012 1:54:11 PM
Thanks for the response (I guess cruising the law blawgs is what we athiests do on Sundays). Do you happen to know if there's a single source where one can find out where various Catholic schools fall on the Georgetown-Notre Dame spectrum, or is it just a matter of reviewing each school's literature etc.? I confess to complete ignorance on the relationship between the Catholic Church and Catholic schools.
Posted by: Just Curious | Aug 12, 2012 3:28:09 PM
When sending targeted packages to hiring committees, is it necessary to include a copy of your FAR form? I was planning just to send CV, research agenda, and publications...since they already have (or will very soon have) my FAR form in hand.
Posted by: anon | Aug 12, 2012 8:51:51 PM
Just Curious: You really have to go school by school. The religiously affiliated schools that I know of from experience that are atheist-friendly are San Diego (call back), Santa Clara (call back), Cardozo (call back, see below), Villanova (preliminary), and Loyola Los Angeles (preliminary). Georgetown is reputed to be atheist-friendly notwithstanding their health insurance policy. Jesuit schools tend to be atheist-friendly, those schools include: http://academics.holycross.edu/prelaw/choose/jesuit.
A school that looks like it has a religious affiliation but doesn't view itself that way is Cardozo. They stated in my interview that they are not a religious law school notwithstanding the affiliation with YU, the fact that the building is closed on Saturdays, and they only serve Kosher food. They had no problem with atheists.
The ones I directly know are atheist-hostile are Pepperdine, Campbell, and Notre Dame. The ones I don't directly know but are well known for not being atheist-friendly are Brigham Young (they don't generally go to the meat market), Regent, and Ave Maria. See also http://thebelieversguidetolegalissues.blogspot.com/2009/10/future-lawyers-christian-law-school.html.
You are right that you generally don't need to worry about this too much before the meat market. You can read up on the school before the meat market (look for mission statements and tenure guidelines) then ask the religious schools pointed questions if you are concerned. Whatever you do, don't hide who you are unless you believe you can pull that off until tenure. I couldn't do that.
Posted by: 4thyearprawf | Aug 12, 2012 9:49:04 PM
I've seen the reference to monotheistic candidates a couple of times, but I imagine some of the schools that are Christian-affiliated may not see Jewish faculty members as serving the goals of the Christian university any better than would atheist ones. Any thoughts on which of the religious-affiliated schools would react positively or negatively to a Jewish candidate?
Posted by: nutmegger | Aug 13, 2012 2:40:00 AM
Per anon from 8:51:51 on August 12, a few follow-up questions:
1.) If sending a hard copy, do you really include publications? Even a couple of articles will make the packet 100+ pages. (Obviously, email is a different story.)
2.) I assume you send copies of placed-but-not-out-yet pieces, right?
Posted by: Pessimistic | Aug 13, 2012 6:53:52 AM
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