Thursday, August 20, 2015
Number of FAR Forms in First Distribution Over Time - 2015
The first distribution of the FAR AALS forms came out this week. Here are the number of FAR forms in the first distribution for each year since 2009.
(All information obtained from various blog posts, blog comments, and Facebook postings over the years and not independently verified. If you have more accurate information, please post it in the comments and I will update accordingly.)
My recollection from being on my school's appointments committee (a few years ago) is that a majority of entries in the FAR form seemed to be from candidates who probably just filled out the form on a lark rather than candidates who had spent a lot of time seriously preparing themselves to go on the market. It would be interesting to know how much of the decrease in numbers reflects a change in the size of the former group versus the latter group.
Posted by: Orin Kerr | Aug 20, 2015 3:50:34 PM
These numbers seem pretty consistent with the narrative that the hiring market really started tanking in 2012 and 2013, so the number of new incoming VAPs plummeted. (For three reasons -- new prospective applicants were reluctant to go down that road given the market, schools were reluctant to hire new VAPs for the same reason, and then-current-VAPs were doing second or third VAPs because they struck out on the TT market.) Fewer new VAPs in 2013 and 2014 means fewer TT candidates in 2014 and 2015.
(And per Orin's point, it could go both ways -- the missing candidates could be non-serious ones who aren't going to spend the $500 [or whatever it is now] on a lark to go into a "dying" industry, or it could be that the people who previously would have been the serious candidates did their due diligence beforehand and decided that leaving practice on a multi-year, no-turning-back quest to go into academia wasn't the best idea right now.)
Posted by: My $0.02 | Aug 20, 2015 4:09:02 PM
I'm curious as to what the numbers of first distribution FAR forms were at the height of boom job markets back in the day? Did they reach or exceed a thousand? Does anyone have that kind of historical information?
Posted by: anon | Aug 20, 2015 4:34:45 PM
Here is a report from 1991-2005 - applicants hovered just below 1000 in some years:
Posted by: Michael Risch | Aug 20, 2015 6:14:47 PM
Michael -- that's total, meaning the first distribution was probably in the 700-800 range.
Posted by: My $0.02 | Aug 20, 2015 6:40:59 PM
I was on Appointments for several years and I had a rather different experience than Orin. I didn't think there were really that many who hadn't prepared to go on the market and had filed as a lark. It did appear to me that there were several who did not have terribly good (or no) advice about the process and those fell into 2 very different camps. In the first, more numerous group were those who, while I don't think they were applying on a lark, didn't seem to have received advice from anyone knowledgeable about the process and what schools would be looking for and their applications reflected that, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. The other group was made up of students with great law school credentials who seemed to believe that was enough. So maybe they were in the mix for a lark. Hard to say.
Posted by: Tamara Piety | Aug 21, 2015 4:36:21 PM
My .02- That's right. I guess my assumption was that the first round had a higher percentage, but it's been a lot of years since I sat on appointments.
I think the difference between Orin and Tamara is how you define "on a lark." If you see someone who hasn't thought about a research agenda, has written nothing, etc., one person might consider that person on a lark while another might consider that person to have not gotten the right advice. Having toyed with going on the market 3 times over 5 years, I think there's truth in both.
Posted by: Michael Risch | Aug 26, 2015 8:07:03 AM
So glad I got off this train.
Posted by: Ex-VAP | Aug 26, 2015 1:02:43 PM