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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2016

Following is a data summary of the Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report for 2016. 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:

The spreadsheet includes 83 tenure-track hires at U.S. law schools, at 55 different law schools.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: How does 83 reported hires compare to past years?

A: Better! (I omit 2010 in this and all subsequent cross-year comparisons because insufficient data was collected that year.)

  01 Reported Hires.20160508

Not only were more people hired, but there were also fewer people in the first round of the FAR forms, so the ratio of hires to first-round FAR forms was better this year than in recent years:

02 Hires Per FAR.20160508

03 Hires Per FAR Chart.20160508

Q: You say the hires were at 55 different schools. How does that compare to previous years?

A: About the same as the last two years.

04 Schools Hiring.20160508

Hires per school per year may also be of interest:

05 Hires Per School.20160508

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

06 JD School.20160508

Yale 18; Harvard 11; NYU 9; Stanford 8; Columbia 6; Chicago 6; Other 25.

Schools in the “other” category with three JD/LLBs who reported hires: Berkeley.

Schools in the “other” category with two JD/LLBs who reported hires: GW, Michigan, UCLA, Virginia.

Schools in the “other” category with one JD/LLB who reported hires: Ain Shams Faculty of Law, Boston College, Brooklyn, Cambridge, Cornell, Georgetown, Hastings, Hebrew University, Iowa, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Thomas Jefferson, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, USC.

This information comes with two related caveats.

First, the spreadsheet reports the number of hires who received a JD from a particular school who accepted a tenure-track job, but not the number of JDs on the market who received a tenure-track job offer.

Second, the spreadsheet reports the count of JDs from a particular school, but not the rate at which JDs received (or accepted) offers. A smaller school with a high placement rate thus might not appear on the chart, whereas a larger program with a low placement rate might appear. This caveat means that smaller schools may be undervalued if one relies only on this data, while larger schools might be overvalued. 

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

66 (about 80%) had a fellowship; 41 (about 49%) had an advanced degree; 44 (about 53%) had a clerkship.

Nonproportional Venn diagram:

07 Entry level hiring Venn.20160508

Q: A lot of fellowships!

A: Yes.

08 Fellowship Rate.20160508
 Q: From what law schools  did people get these fellowships?

I count here any law school at which a person reports having a fellowship. So one person could account for two schools’ being listed here. For example, if a single individual had a fellowship at Columbia followed by a fellowship at NYU, that would be reflected below as +1 to Columbia and +1 to NYU.

Fellowship School.20160508

NYU 12; Columbia 11; Harvard 9; Stanford 6; UCLA 5; Penn 4; Other 28.

This information comes with the same two caveats as the JD numbers.

First, the spreadsheet reports the number of hires who received a fellowship from a particular school who accepted a tenure-track job, but not the number of fellows who received a tenure-track job offer. This caveat likely applies to all or nearly all fellowship programs. Presumably, someone choosing between fellowships cares more about how many people received tenure-track job offers than about how many people accepted those offers.

Second, the spreadsheet reports the count of fellows, but not the rate at which fellows received (or accepted) offers. A smaller program with a high placement rate thus might not appear on the chart, whereas a larger program with a low placement rate might appear. This caveat means that smaller programs may be undervalued if one relies only on this data, while larger programs might be overvalued.

The Bigelow Program at the University of Chicago illustrates these two related points, though it is by no means unique. This year, all Bigelows on the market received tenure-track job offers. But (1) the Bigelow is a small program and (2) not all Bigelows who received offers accepted an offer. Thus only two Chicago fellows appear on the spreadsheet. But the relevant information for someone considering fellowships isn’t the raw count, but rather the overall success rate of Bigelow fellows on the job market: according to Brian Leiter, every Bigelow since at least 2008 has received at least one tenure-track offer. (Leiter has been at Chicago only since 2008, and believes this is true going back to the early 2000s, but isn’t certain.)

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.)

That said, looking only at what seemed to be the most advanced degree, and including expected degrees, the 41 "highest" advanced degrees broke down like this:

10 Highest Degree.20160508

Ph.D., SJD, JSD, D.Phil. 21; Masters 16; LL.M. 3; MBA 1.

Topics ranged all over the map. For the 21 Ph.D.s, five had PhDs in Law (one JSD, one SJD, and three Yale Law Ph.D.s); History had three hires; Economics and Philosophy each had two hires; and the other Ph.D./D.Phil. topics, each of which had only hire, were Business, Criminology, English and Comparative Literature, Evidence-Based Social Intervention, Financial Economics, German, Medieval English, Psychology, and Sociology.

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

Zero to Four Years (Graduated 2012-2016) 6; Five to Nine Years (Graduated 2007-2011) 49;  Ten to 19 Years (Graduated 1997-2006) 28; Twenty or More Years (Graduated before 1996) 0.

11 JD Year.20160508

Q: How do the "time since initial degree" numbers compare to previous years?

A: They are very similar.

12 Years Since Hire Over Time.20160508

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

13 Male Female.20160508

Men 44 (about 53%); women 39 (about 47%). (Let’s say this is right within +/-2 people.)

Based on a quick count of a number of 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.) This year, unlike the last two years but like every year before that for which I have data, there were more men hired than women.

14 Percent Male.20160508

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. 

Q: Is this available in an easy-to-print format?

A: Why, as it happens, yes!

Originally posted 5/11/16; updated 5/11/16 to reflect accurately the areas of Ph.D.s.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 11, 2016 at 01:14 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


Sarah, one small correction. There are a couple of history Ph.D.s too.

Posted by: anon | May 12, 2016 12:38:27 AM

Thanks very much - fixed!

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 12, 2016 12:50:38 AM

This is awesome, Sarah -- thanks for doing it.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | May 12, 2016 4:06:22 PM

Very impressive work! Thank you so much for doing it. It's such a valuable thing to have all this data, as well as the pretty trend graphs. I hope this year is not a blip and we really are beginning to emerge from the depths.

(Plus: it only takes a little extra slicing and dicing, and a little extra data, to come up with a metric by which Chicago wins first prize. So, extra bonus points for that, of course.)

Posted by: anon | May 12, 2016 4:43:22 PM

Speaking of Chicago-centric data-tinkering, to get his numbers, Prof. Leiter includes all FARs in the denominator but only non-clinical hires in the numerator. In pursuit of their numerator-unworthy positions, clinicians also, generally, participate in the FAR and meat market processes. Doesn't seem like anyone from Chicago took a clinical job this year, hence the Chicago-centric data-tinkering. Am I missing something?

Posted by: clinician | May 13, 2016 10:44:17 AM

I did not "tinker" with the data, nor did I claim that Chicago is number one at anything. I used Chicago as an example (stating explicitly that it was "by no means unique") of a way that this data may be misleading. It was the obvious example to use because it is the only top fellowship program not represented on the graph.

If I had broken out the chart by fellowship instead of school, I would have used the NYU Tax AAP as the example. That program places only one person a year. However, that program also has only one person a year on the market, and has in fact placed every or almost every single person it has ever had on the market. Not all of those people are still academics. How do I know this? In part because of this information, provided by that program, which lists, through 2013, every single person who has had an NYU Tax AAP and for almost all of the AAPs where that person is employed:


Ideally, all fellowships would provide such information. Here is a similar example from NYU Philosophy:


Or, fellowships could go even further and provide information about how many people got offers each year, not just how many people took jobs. They could even provide information about where those offers were. (Failure to accept an offer might not be randomly distributed among schools if different fellowships result in different quality offers.)

Even if fellowships don't provide this information, prospective fellows should do their own research and try to figure this out before accepting a fellowship.

Which is all to say: many of these graphs may be misleading in some way, but I am perhaps most worried about the fellowship graph, due to the high opportunity cost of taking a fellowship and the small numbers of fellows that are involved.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 13, 2016 11:21:27 AM

Oh gosh, so sorry. Sarah, I wasn't accusing you of data-tinkering. I was referring to this, which is based on your data collection:


Posted by: clinician | May 13, 2016 12:03:21 PM

Not all clinicians are hired through the FAR, and this is the method for calculating percentages I've used every year, including in years when Chicago JDs did take clinical or LRW positions. But thanks for the generous accusation of "tinkering." Charming.

Posted by: Brian | May 13, 2016 1:51:14 PM

I apologize for posting this here as I know it's off-topic, but my hope is that those following this thread will know the answer. Can a school sign up to participate in the FAR yet, instead of traveling to DC, simply stay home and schedule Skype interviews with those it identifies as potential candidates. In other words, is booking a suite in DC required to participate in the FAR?

Posted by: Anonprof | May 25, 2016 12:00:38 PM

Thanks so much for your hard work compiling and parsing this information, Sarah. I am wondering, do we have any idea how many minority hires (besides women) were made this year?

Posted by: Anonprof | Jul 4, 2016 6:14:52 PM

I do not have any idea how many minority hires were made. AALS could track that information -- indeed, when it used to provide data about hiring, they tracked number and percent of minority candidates in the FAR, and had they chosen to put together a hiring report could have included that information as well. They have pulled their statistical analysis page, but for an example, here is a snapshot from the Internet Archive of the most recent report they did:

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | Jul 4, 2016 6:41:09 PM

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