« SCOTUS Will Decide Whether Class-Action Defendants May "Pick Off" Putative Class Representatives | Main | A Few Surprises in San Francisco v. Sheehan »

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2015

Following is a data summary of the Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report for 2015. To remain consistent with past years, while the spreadsheet contains all hiring information received, the data analysis includes only tenure-track hires at U.S. law schools.

Here is the full spreadsheet:

We have reports of 70 people being hired, at 52 different law schools.

(As of May 18, 2015, one person is not listed on the spreadsheet but is included in the data. This person will certainly receive a job this year, and at a school that is not otherwise hiring. The only question is which school. Thus I am able to incorporate this person's information into the analysis below.)

In general, this year’s report looks incredibly similar to last year’s.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: How does 70 reported hires compare to past years?

A: Bad, but not much worse than last year. (I omit 2010 in this and all subsequent cross-year comparisons because insufficient data was collected that year.)


Q: It would also be good to know the percentage of those who registered with the AALS who got jobs. 

Good question. I don't quite have the necessary information, but I do know the number of forms in the first distributions of the FAR AALS forms, which probably isn't a terrible proxy. In this graph and chart, I compare the hiring in Year X to the number of forms in the first distribution in Year (X - 1) (because those are the people who were hired in Year X).



Q: You say the hires were at 52 different schools. How does that compare to previous years?

A: Slightly more than last year’s report, and, of course, much less than other years'.


Hires per school per year may also be of interest:


Q: How many reported hires got their JD from School X?

D.JD From.20150516

Harvard 21; Stanford 6; Yale 6; Berkeley 5; Chicago 5; NYU 5; Other 21.

Schools in the "other" category with three JD/JJBs who reported hires: Georgetown.

Schools in the "other" category with two JD/LLBs who reported hires: Columbia, Virginia.

Schools in the "other" category with one JD/LLB who reported hires: BYU; Cambridge; Davis; Duke; Florida; Illinois; Iowa; Loyola-Chicago; Loyola-LA; Michigan; New Hampshire; Penn; Pittsburgh; Tulane.

Q: How many reported hires had a fellowship, degree, or clerkship?

58 (about 83%) had a fellowship; 36 (about 51%) had an advanced degree; 42 (60%) had a clerkship.

Nonproportional Venn diagram:

E.Entry level hiring Venn.20150516

This is similar to last year’s Venn diagram.

Q: That seems like a lot of fellowships. How does it compare to previous years?

A: It's a lot of fellowships, though comparable to 2014.


Q: Tell me more about these advanced degrees. 

Okay, but first a caveat: Although some people had more than one advanced degree, the following looks only at what seemed to me to be the "highest" degree someone earned. For example, someone with a Ph.D. and an LL.M. would be counted only as a Ph.D. for purposes of this question. (This tracks the "Other Degree (1)" column, for the two people out there who are actually following along on the spreadsheet.)

That said, looking only at what seemed to be the most advanced degree (apologizing in advance for mischaracterizing the relative advancement of anyone's multiple degrees), and including "expected" degrees, the 35 "highest" advanced degrees broke down like this:

G.Highest Degree.20150516

Ph.D. 18; LL.M. 8; Masters 10.

Topics ranged all over the map. For the 18 Ph.D.s, for example, Economics had three hires; History, JSP, and Political Science each had two hires; the other Ph.D. topics, each of which had only hire, were American Culture, Anthropology, Chemistry, Ethics and Health Policy, Government, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Social Psychology, and Sociology.

Q: How long ago did these reported hires get their initial law degrees?

Zero to Four Years (Graduated 2011-2015) 14; Five to Nine Years (Graduated 2006-2010) 36;  Ten to 19 Years (Graduated 1996-2005) 19; Twenty or More Years (Graduated before 1996) 1. The year-by-year break-out is on the spreadsheet ("Years Since Hire" tab).


Again, this is very similar to 2014.

Q: Could you break the reported hires out by men/women?

Women 39 (about 56%); Men 31 (about 44%). (Let's say this is right within +/-2 people.) 


Based on a quick count of nine years of spreadsheets that I happen to have, gender hiring over time follows. (I've left out the data labels because I am even less sure than usual of the exactness of the numbers, but they're roughly right as reflections of self-reported hiring each spring--first Solum's reports, then mine. And as always, 2010 is left out due to missing data for that year.)


Q: More slicing! More dicing! Different slicing! Different dicing!

Sure--you can do it yourself, or ask questions in the comments and I'll see what I can do, or we'll work it out as a group.

Q: This is all wrong! I know for a fact that more people from School Y were hired!

Yes, this spreadsheet is certainly missing some information. Repeat: this spreadsheet is incomplete. It represents only those entry-level hires that were reported to me, either through the comments on this blog or via email. It is without question incomplete. 

If you want to know about real entry level hiring, I commend to you Brian Leiter's report (hiring 1995-2011), the Katz et al. article (all law professors as of 2008), the George and Yoon article (entry level, 2007-2008 hiring year), and the Tsesis Report (entry level, 2012-2013 hiring year). This is just a report about self-reported entry level hires as of the spring before the school year starts. 

Originally posted 5/19/15 9 a.m.; edited 5/19/15 11:40 a.m. to add Hires/First Round FAR Forms.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 19, 2015 at 09:00 AM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


Thank you for compiling this Sarah!

Posted by: Anon | May 19, 2015 9:53:29 AM

This is very helpful info, thanks! What also would be good to know, however, is the percentage of those who registered with the AALS who got jobs. My sense is that fewer people came to the hiring conference this year than in the past, which means that even if the gross number of job offers was lower than last year's, the percentage of those seeking jobs who got them may have been higher.

Posted by: anon | May 19, 2015 11:18:56 AM

Thank you, @11:18:56, that is a great suggestion. I don't quite have the information you're asking for, but I do have the number of forms in the first round of submissions to the FRC, which probably isn't a terrible proxy. I will run those numbers and post the graph, but generally I can tell you that you're right--there were about 100 fewer forms in that first round as compared to last year, but basically the same number of hires.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 19, 2015 11:28:50 AM


Thank you for again taking on this arduous task. The empirical data you've compiled is tremendously helpful for gauging the national trend of legal entry level hiring. Your presentation of the material is tremendous and helps to better understand the raw numbers.

Posted by: Alexander Tsesis | May 19, 2015 11:38:01 AM

Thanks again, @11:18:56--I've now added the information you requested. (And thanks, Alex!)

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 19, 2015 11:50:07 AM

Sarah, as always, you are my personal hero for tabulating this data.

My question: Is there any way to report on how much law practice experience new profs have? An occasional criticism of law schools is that they hire profs who lack practice experience, and some have wondered if schools are starting to hire profs with more experience. Do your numbers have enough info to report on that? It's certainly understandable if they don't, as you would need a CV for each candidate and some standard for what counts as legal practice. But it would be cool to know if that is changing.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | May 19, 2015 1:25:53 PM

Orin, this is a really good question. The best proxy I have for work experience is length of time since graduation. I've now put together a chart and added it to the spreadsheet, on the "Years Since Hire" tab. I don't really see much of a change over the past five years in these numbers, which in itself is interesting, since there has been a rise in fellowships (which I would not count as work experience). So I would hazard the following guess: work experience is no more important than it has been in the past, and may be slightly less important. But I'm not sure. Any other thoughts/suggestions on this important question much appreciated.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 19, 2015 1:34:28 PM

Thanks, Sarah. That may be right. I wonder how many of the new profs have CVs posted somewhere online that would allow that info to be collected directly from their CVs. But that's a pain to collect, especially if you want to make a comparison between this and past years.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | May 19, 2015 1:45:29 PM

Wow, the addition of that chart about # of hires per # of FAR forms is useful, but sobering to see that 14% number. I knew it was low, but not that low! (And yes - thank you Sarah!)

Posted by: anon | May 19, 2015 2:05:51 PM

anon 2:05:51 PM

Note that the table only includes the first distribution. There is also the second distribution. Given that fewer hires are made from the second distribution pool, it is likely that this will drag the overall percentage of hires from 14% down further (right?).

Posted by: anon | May 19, 2015 2:15:15 PM

I would expect next year to be lower as a lot of schools realize the revenue drop is not temporary and prepare for a long winter.

Posted by: Prof | May 19, 2015 2:17:06 PM

Is there an easy way to look up the male/female split in terms of FAR submissions? That would put the 56-44 F-M split in an interesting context.

Posted by: Curious | May 19, 2015 2:38:50 PM

Curious, I can't run those numbers, because one of the requirements of getting access to the FAR forms for recruitment purposes is that one agrees not to use the information for data analysis. The AALS itself is best situated to do this kind of analysis, and in fact used to do so, but I believe the most recent year for which they ran the numbers was 2008-2009. I can't find the information for those earlier years anywhere on the AALS website right now. (It might still be there--I just can't find it.)

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 19, 2015 2:52:06 PM

Here's a recent article with the 2008-09 numbers.


Back then, FAR registrants were 60-40 M-F. It looks like hiring was roughly 55-45 M-F. So the fact that current hiring seems to flip that could mean that the applicant pool has gotten a lot more female in the past several years. Or it could be that it's a lot harder to get a job if you're male. Who knows!

Posted by: Curious | May 19, 2015 3:36:28 PM

The old AALS annual reports are available from the Wayback Machine. See, e.g., here:

Posted by: Orin Kerr | May 19, 2015 4:07:20 PM

6/71 hired for tenure-track positions did not have a (1) Fellowship or (2) additional advanced degree. Of those six, five had 9+ years of practice experience. (The schools who hired these five: Ohio Northern, SUNY Buffalo, U. D.C., Concordia, and Wyoming.) The sixth--who didn't do a Fellowship, have an advanced degree, or have substantial work experience--clerked for the Supreme Court.

20/71 hired for tenure-track positions had 9+ years of practice without having an additional degree. (Note that an additional degree would likely diminish the amount of time in practice.)

Obviously this is impossible to interpret without looking at the broader field of applicants. But it at least shows that going from someone with "substantial practice" directly to a tenure track position is incredibly unlikely. It could very much be that schools want to emphasize practice experience and realize they can get it and people who have crossed the Rubicon through a Fellowship.

Posted by: Bryan G. | May 19, 2015 5:18:56 PM

A candidate without a fellowship is at such a disadvantage during interviews due to the lack of socialization and coaching that one gains at a Fellowship. It's so hard for them to overcome that.

Posted by: Prof | May 19, 2015 5:56:08 PM

So admitting up front that I'm very ignorant in this arena, I find it hard to believe that it takes a fellowship to be sufficiently prepped for interviews. I get the arguments for fellowships about having time to publish, showing commitment to academia, and creating a better network for references. But the interview? I think any candidate who is worth their salt -- fellowship or no -- will be getting all of the PrawfsBlawg advice possible and contacting former professors (or current) for additional insight. Is the interview process so unique (obscure? mystical?) that one really can't prep for it other than by working at a school for a year? What is it that makes them so better prepared for the interview?

Posted by: Bryan G. | May 19, 2015 6:25:47 PM

They walk like a legal academic, talk like a legal academic, etc....

There are socialization benefits that occur when one is fully immersed in a professional culture.

Posted by: Prof | May 19, 2015 6:59:47 PM

Based on what Prof said, if I was running a search at a non-elite school, I'd only interview non-VAP/fellow candidates. If being immersed in that environment for 14 months imbues such an inherent "socialization" advantage, you'd think there would be a wealth of candidates with awesome publications, practice experience, etc. that fall through the cracks.

Or in other words, if what Prof is saying is that schools are hiring VAPs/fellows with mediocre publications over practitioners with comparable or better publications based solely on their "socialization" advantage, you'd think that someone would realize that there is a pretty promising untapped market out there.

Posted by: My $0.02 | May 19, 2015 7:17:45 PM

The Fellows tend to have the best papers. I don't think there's an undiscovered group of "non-Fellow elite candidates" out there. Generally, people who have the ability to be elite candidates also get the advice to do a fellowship.

Posted by: Prof | May 19, 2015 7:50:44 PM

it's worth noting that some of us only did one-year fellowships or VAPs, so the "socialization and coaching" would have to take place in the first month or two. coaching in the form of moot jobtalks are very helpful, and some may even do moot screening interviews, but those don't require VAPs/fellowships.

Posted by: babyprof | May 19, 2015 9:19:59 PM

"The Fellows tend to have the best papers. I don't think there's an undiscovered group of 'non-Fellow elite candidates' out there."

At least going on placements, I'm not sure this is true. There usually are a number of non-fellows/VAPs who have publications in the top 50. Not a lot, but some. Now, you might consider those pieces to be inferior despite their superior placement, but the bias in that determination should be pretty self-evident, no?

Posted by: My $0.02 | May 19, 2015 9:36:07 PM

"The Fellows tend to have the best papers. I don't think there's an undiscovered group of 'non-Fellow elite candidates' out there."

At least going on placements, I'm not sure this is true. There usually are a number of non-fellows/VAPs who have publications in the top 50. Not a lot, but some. Now, you might consider those pieces to be inferior despite their superior placement, but the bias in that determination should be pretty self-evident, no?

Posted by: My $0.02 | May 19, 2015 9:36:07 PM

I'm guessing that very few of these were people of color.

Posted by: Anon | May 20, 2015 1:31:12 AM

Clearly a fellowship is not essential but very helpful in figuring out the nuances of the hiring process. I agree with Prof. on this. To put more specificity on the point: (1) All the fellowship programs I know about allow fellows/visiting-non-permanent-faculty members to attend job talks. By itself that's a boon because it permits the fellows to observe good and bad job talks. A person in practice is unlikely to gain access to these talks. What's more, some institutions even include fellows in the interview process (as when enough permanent faculty members have not signed up for a particular interview time slot). (2) Many faculties have an internal culture of disseminating works in progress. While a practitioner should expect feedback from others in her field, especially former professors, she's unlikely to receive requests for feedback from established faculty members. This limits the practitioner's ability to view the development of an article from raw product to publishable piece. (3) During fellowships people get invaluable feedback from students, helping them to understand pedagogy on a first hand level, identifying holes in their knowledge of subject matter, and getting acquainted with available case books. They also learn how to draft exams. (4) Meetings over lunch in the faculty lounge offer a great opportunity to hear "war stories" about mistakes during article submission cycles, events during hiring interviews, and interests about candidate qualifications. A practitioner with close ties to faculties will also get this sort of insight, but from a more limited number of people. (5) The fellow has a larger pool of individuals to consult both in the period after submitting the FAR while waiting for interview requests and after the Hiring Conference interviews. I'm sure that the list could be extended further.


Posted by: Alexander Tsesis | May 20, 2015 1:59:07 PM

"a practitioner should expect feedback from others in her field, especially former professors"

Is this true? As a practitioner, I found that my requests for feedback were generally ignored; but subsequently, as a fellow, the same types of requests got responses. I had thought that one of the main benefits of a fellowship was to get this feedback, not just for the sake of better scholarship but also for having stronger references, especially as the role and importance of references seems to have increased significantly in recent years.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 20, 2015 5:30:32 PM

As a former Fellow, I would agree that it was very difficult to get feedback on my work while in practice. People are busy and a practitioner is taken less seriously than a Fellow, who has "committed to the path."

Posted by: Prof | May 20, 2015 5:42:10 PM

Maybe I was just lucky, but I had pretty good feedback from professors -- some of them pretty renowned and well-respected -- when I cold-contacted them to solicit comments as a practitioner. That said, for most of them, I specifically discussed their work in my papers (which ended up being pretty well-placed). I might have gotten a less generous response from profs whom I didn't discuss at length.

Posted by: Published as a Practitioner | May 20, 2015 7:40:29 PM

I also got great feedback as a practitioner from profs. I was shocked how generous people were with their time, and it made me happy to be entering that community.

Posted by: anon prof | May 21, 2015 12:43:10 AM

I also got decent feedback from professors as a practitioner. In my experience, the best response rate was usually from those whose work I discussed in detail or relied on extensively. It probably takes more effort to get such feedback as a practitioner, though. You certainly cannot be shy about cold contacting professors.

It's all fine and good to know that most people who get hired these days did fellowships, but I wish we also could know how many fellows actually land jobs. This is the information that prospective fellows really need to have. My sense is that an awful lot of people do multiple fellowships (and not by choice) or are forced to go back to practice when their job search efforts at the end of their first fellowship are not successful.

Posted by: Curious | May 21, 2015 7:45:51 AM

I second Curious's point about seeking a denominator. Unfortunately we don't know what share of fellows actually land jobs, only that the overwhelming majority of those who land jobs are fellows. It's like saying nearly every successful Olympian trains with a professional coach. There's a tempting logical fallacy to be made there.

Posted by: anon | May 21, 2015 11:39:12 AM

I thought it would be helpful to look at what areas are hot. The share of hires in private law is small, much smaller than conventional wisdom would suggest.

I count a total of only 10 hires where the candidate listed traditional private law subjects - contracts, corporations, business law, securities, or IBT/trade - as their first area (including the second area adds only 2 more). There were 2 bankruptcy hires, 1 torts, and 3 property (which is debatable as to public v. private law).

IP subjects furnish an additional 8 hires, living up to their reputation as "hot." Likewise tax (5, but from a small pool).

By any definition of the term, this is a *ton* of "public law" hiring. Including any subject except business/contracts/IBT, bankruptcy, or torts, and excluding the specialty areas of tax and IP, public law areas account for 45/58 tenure-track hires, or over 77%. If you count property as private law, public law hiring is still 72%.

Candidates are constantly being advised to write about private law and market themselves as private law scholars. Meanwhile, the data show that schools continue to prefer hiring public law candidates and so even being part of a smaller pool (there are undoubtedly fewer private law candidates) may not help much. Con law (2 hires) may be too far on the public law side, but crim law or pro, civ pro, admin, etc. may be a better strategic choices for the candidate with diverse interests.

And as always, if you can credibly pitch tax or IP, go for it.

Posted by: What subjects were hot? Public law, tax, IP. | May 21, 2015 11:40:07 AM

To clarify: the 45/58 (77%) figure excludes tax and IP from the calculation altogether, not merely as private law. There were 71 tenure-track hires overall, including tax (5) and IP (8).

Posted by: What subjects were hot? Public law, tax, IP. | May 21, 2015 11:52:40 AM

I think "pitching an area" is a terrible idea. Most of this job is sitting alone writing about something and if you aren't fundamentally interested in say, tax, you will be very unhappy.

With respect to the question of "fellow denominators," lots of fellows haven't placed the past few years and more and more people on the market seem to spend four, five, seven, even ten years doing work that is best described as "market prep" (fellowship, Post-JD PhDs, JSDs, etc). For better or worse, that's becoming the norm, and it parallels what's happened in the humanities or the sciences.

Posted by: Prof | May 21, 2015 2:54:22 PM

I'd bet the age of a "new law professor" has crept up past 35 and that this is older than in the past.

Posted by: Prof | May 21, 2015 2:55:12 PM

What does the data look like without considering UCI? Did UCI's hiring artificially buoy the numbers for its first few years (hiding a more dramatic drop-off in 2009) or are its hires numerically insignificant?

Posted by: UCI alum | May 22, 2015 1:43:42 PM

UCI has never hired more than two entry-level hires in a year. It has had basically no impact on this data. (It has in some years hired a relatively high number of *lateral* hires, but this data tracks only entry level hires.)

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 22, 2015 1:49:43 PM

So it seems like only 2 of the 6 climenko fellows got academic positions this year, and only 2 out of 6 columbia associate in laws got jobs (3 but one seems to be have stayed another year doing post doc). What are fellows who did not get academic positions doing?

Posted by: anonn | May 22, 2015 6:10:20 PM

Every year, lots of fellows who don't get jobs return to law firm life or take government jobs.

Posted by: Prof | May 22, 2015 6:24:06 PM

Does anyone have a sense of the relationship (or lack thereof) between the amount of hiring on the entry-level market and the amount of lateral hiring over the last couple of years? I know a handful of entry-level folks who had callbacks this year but ended up losing out to laterals; I don't know whether that's representative of a broader trend.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 22, 2015 6:35:15 PM

If only 2/6 of the Climenkos got hired, and only 2/6 of the Columbia fellows got hired, but 83% of all hires (58 in total) had fellowships, does that mean that there's not much of an advantage to doing a top fellowship? Can someone else help me make sense of those numbers? I didn't think there were more than 25 or so spots in "top" fellowships, and if even if these folks have closer to a 50 or 60% placement rate (and Climenkos and Columbia just were unlucky this year), that still means that the vast majority of fellows hired do not come out of top fellowship programs.

Also, maybe someone who's more familiar with how this all works can help explain to me in what circumstances non-elite fellowship candidates are getting positions over elite fellowship candidates. My sense was that fellowships select for the exact same criteria as TT job positions (and that as things get more competitive, incoming elite fellows more and more frequently have resumes that rival TT hires from several years ago). Obviously sometimes folks who don't land elite fellowships will publish a killer article in the first year of their non-elite fellowship or VAP, but it strikes me as unlikely that this is happening with anywhere near the frequency required to account for these sorts of numbers.

Posted by: abl | May 26, 2015 5:12:15 PM

Is there any data on the male/female ratio of the FAR pool?

Posted by: Anon | May 26, 2015 8:31:07 PM

"Is there any data on the male/female ratio of the FAR pool?"

Not in recent years. There is date from 2009 and a few years before. Roughly 60:40 M:F.

Posted by: Curious | May 27, 2015 8:31:59 AM


I don't think it's entirely correct that "2/6 of the Columbia fellows," by which I assume you mean the associates in law, were hired. Julian Arato is going to Brooklyn; Rebecca Ingber to BU; Nicholas Sage to LSE; and Allison Tait to Richmond. Two former associates, James Nelson and Yvonne Tew, are going to Houston and Georgetown respectively. A CLS "Academic Fellow" who was on the market this year had multiple offers but took a VAP for personal reasons.

The real concern is that it is increasingly taking more than one cycle for candidates in top fellowship programs to place. This exacerbates selection problems associated with fellowships; a system that requires a candidate to live for several years on a fellowship stipend favors the wealthy, or those who have built up a nest egg from private practice, at the expense of those coming from public interest and public service jobs, or straight from a clerkship.

Posted by: CLS alum | May 27, 2015 11:24:13 AM

I believe Richmond hired Allison Tait during last year's hiring season.

Posted by: Anon | May 27, 2015 12:57:36 PM

It seems like all of the top fellowships have roughly similar stats -- in addition to Columbia and Harvard mentioned above, NYU is 3/5 with tenure-track spots, if you count the Lawyering and Tax AAPs and the Alexander fellow (or 2/4 if just the AAPs); Bigelow is 2/2 with quite a small sample size; Stanford has quite a few placements but I don't know the denominator. Etc. In broad strokes, a top fellowship gives you better odds than NOT being at an established fellowship program. And, as others have noted, some fellows who strike out go on to get a job the next year at other places. (It looks like on the spreadsheet there are two Columbia AILs and one Harvard Climenko who are listed as having had a second fellowship before landing a job.)

I wonder whether one big difference in fellowships is the extent to which a fellowship program or host institution helps out fellows who DON'T get a job in getting a second position at the school so that they don't have to move and it doesn't pose financial or family hardships. I understand that Climenko is keeping some fellows on so that they can try again -- that's a big benefit to fellows who may be likely to get a job on their second try but wouldn't have been able to try if they weren't able to stay at Harvard. That might be something I'd think about if comparing fellowships.

Posted by: anon | May 27, 2015 1:20:09 PM

What surprises me the most is the quality/quantity of publications (not to mention pedigrees) that some of these fellows who have (presumably) not received offers. Some have enough publications that faculty at a top school up for tenure would have has part of their portfolio:

[references to specific candidates deleted]

Posted by: anonn | May 28, 2015 11:52:41 AM

What are the odds that candidates sat out a year in hopes that hiring would rebound next year and give them a shot at a better position?

Posted by: Bryan G. | May 28, 2015 12:15:41 PM

Please do not refer to specific individuals when speculating about the market. Thanks! (I've edited prior comments to reflect this approach.)

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 28, 2015 12:50:06 PM

To anonn

Placement gets a piece read, but doesnt get anyone hired. Any distance between placements and hiring is just another sign of the weakness of the placement proxy, particularly for VAPs who law review editors oddly perceive as equivalent to regular faculty at their VAP schools -- Harvard, Chicago,... -- for purposes of letterhead bias.

Posted by: Placements | May 28, 2015 1:53:48 PM

I would agree with placements. At my school, article placement would not be a factor in evaluating a candidate - we would care about what the people in the candidate's area on our faculty think, what the rest of the faculty thinks and what outside referees think.

With respect to specific people, you can't possibly know - there may have been few schools searching in their area, they may have had a bad day on a job talk, they may have lost a few battles to internal candidates or laterals. There are so few buyers these days that many outcomes are essentially random.

I think multiple people with "top 5" law review articles did not place this year. I know of at least one headed back to practice.

Anecdotally, my sense is most candidates on the list above only had one offer (the one they accepted).

Posted by: Prof | May 28, 2015 3:08:10 PM

No need for all this speculation about number of fellows getting hired and such. The data on hires are there, thanks to Sarah's multi-year effort. The data on fellowships are there thanks to the fact that schools keep webpages with such things (and even if past years aren't out there, there are web archives that might have it).

Who cares enough to devote a few RA hours to getting the latter data? Anyone?

Posted by: Paul Gowder | May 28, 2015 7:16:33 PM

"There are so few buyers these days that many outcomes are essentially random." -Prof


Posted by: anon | May 29, 2015 1:14:47 AM

FYI: "The [Stanford Political Science] department traditionally graduated about 100 students annually. But then the numbers began to slip: 66 majors in 2009, 74 in 2011, 58 in 2013, 47 this year . . . many attribute the slight decline in majors on some campuses to the poor job market for law school graduates, since political science has long been a popular route to law school."

This is going to get worse and it may not ever get better. The supply side is so different now than it was even five years ago.


Posted by: Prof | May 29, 2015 3:18:59 PM

I'm an optimist with respect to this fall's hiring season, both at the entry-level and for laterals. Law school finances are stabilizing, not least because many top 50/top 100 schools are finally realizing that buying students with high LSATs/GPAs is a zero-sum game which shrinks revenues while helping rankings only marginally (if that). At virtually all top 100 schools, a large budget deficit, lack of new faculty, low existing faculty morale, and inadequate curricular coverage are much bigger threats to the law school's ranking and, in a few cases, continued existence than a 2-3 point drop in LSAT scores and corresponding drops in GPAs. Opting out of the arms race whereby schools buy applicants at the 75th percentile of LSATs and GPAs is the only rational long run strategy, even if it means temporarily sliding down a couple of places in the US News & World Report Rankings. And, incidentially, many schools that spent a ton of money buying students still ended up sliding down -- another indicator, if we needed one, of US News' senseless methodology and pernicious effects on the economics and structure of legal education.

Posted by: anonprof | May 30, 2015 6:02:37 PM

So…bull market in hiring this fall? Optimism indeed!

Posted by: anon | Jun 1, 2015 2:22:35 AM

"At virtually all top 100 schools, a large budget deficit, lack of new faculty, low existing faculty morale, and inadequate curricular coverage are much bigger threats to the law school's ranking and, in a few cases, continued existence than a 2-3 point drop in LSAT scores and corresponding drops in GPAs."

Huh? You've got this backwards. Let's look at your problem list.

-Large budget deficit: I agree this is a bigger long-term threat than dropping a few places. But....
-Lack of new faculty: How is this a threat at all? I think what you may mean (have to mean?) is that older, higher priced faculty are a threat. They contribute directly to large budget deficit. If replaced with new faculty members, you help reduce budget deficits. But it's not the lack of new faculty alone that is a problem.
-Low existing faculty morale: It's easy to mistake personal and community discontent for an actual threat to an institution. Wal-Mart workers feel discontent. Like, all of the time. And there's thousands of them. Low faculty morale is going to do about zilch to a school's existence unless (1) there is strong competition for those faculty members AND (2) new faculty members cannot be brought in to replace old faculty members without significant problems. Neither of those conditions exist.
-Inadequate curricular coverage: Not a problem. Survey after survey has shown that prospective students care primarily about job outcomes; curricular coverage is a distant thought except for a few. This will do nothing to a school's long-term survival unless it somehow impacts employment.

Posted by: Bryan G. | Jun 1, 2015 10:49:26 AM

Law firm summer associate class sizes are still a fraction of what they were in 2004-2007 and even 2008-2009. Some additional firms are eliminating summer programs, joining those that took that step during the recession.

Law firm hiring and law student enrollment are the places to look for a turnaround in law faculty hiring. It's hard to see an uptick in the latter absent one or both of the former. At least for another 5-10 years, at which time even shrunken law schools may genuinely have trouble getting coverage without hiring new faculty.

Posted by: anon | Jun 1, 2015 11:29:55 AM


It appears that we largely agree on budget deficits and lack of new faculty as potential threats. As for low existing faculty morale, I'd just like to point out that the Wal-Mart workers you mention are very different from senior law school faculty memebers. And even Wal-Mart workers received a raise earlier this year (http://blog.walmart.com/in-letter-to-associates-walmart-ceo-doug-mcmillon-announces-higher-pay). As for curricular coverage, I'm sure there are surveys out there saying that prospective students care about job outcomes. Decisions about job outcomes (i.e., hiring decisions), however, are made by employers. And we increasingly have survey data about the things employers care about (see, e.g., http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2014/02/harvard-law-school.html). It is not unreasonable to argue that without proper curricular coverage in areas deemed important by employers, students' job outcomes will suffer. Of course, there is a diversity of views on all of these points and only time will tell what's the best strategy for law school advancement/survival.

Posted by: anonprof | Jun 1, 2015 11:46:27 AM

Post a comment