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Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2016-2017

In this comment thread to this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market, and professors or others can weigh in.

Both questions and answers can be anonymous, but I will delete pure nastiness, irrelevance, and misinformation. If you see something that you know to be wrong, please feel free to let me know via email, sarah*dot*lawsky*at*law*dot*northwestern*dot*edu.

We have a different thread in which candidates or professors can report 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.

You may want to take a look at the many questions and answers in the threads from 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.

Here is a link to the last page of comments.

Originally posted August 25, 2016.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 25, 2016 at 09:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


I've noticed that a bunch of schools have their own dedicated websites that list job openings and allow you to apply by uploading various materials. For instance, the Alabama job opening that was posted here on prawfsblawg a few days ago tells interested applicants to find the listing on Alabama's website, which in turn has instructions to upload materials. How do these independent sites bear on the AALS process, if at all? In other words, if we've submitted a FAR form, can we safely assume that hiring committees have what they need and that we do not need to apply to individual schools through their websites in order to be considered? I've heard that this is the case but figured I'd double check with the masses here.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 25, 2016 10:45:33 AM

For some public universities, there is a requirement that candidates formally apply by submitting materials through the University HR department. That's probably what you saw. But having that formal process doesn't prevent initial screening and outreach through the AALS/FAR process. Usually a committee will contact candidates they find on the FAR and ask them to apply through the formal process so that they can be considered. If you are particularly interested in that school, you might consider adding your application now to get on their radar.

(I've served on appointments committees at a public university, but it wasn't Alabama and I could be wrong about them.)

Posted by: Former Hiring Committee Member | Aug 25, 2016 11:10:46 AM

I'd say (as someone who has never served on a hiring committee, but who occasionally hears scuttlebutt) that independent of whatever state school rules apply, if you have an opportunity to file an independent application in addition to the meat market, that doing so would be a nice signal of particular interest in a given school, which is probably a signal you want to send.

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Aug 25, 2016 11:40:17 AM

To answer the question posted by Anon at 10:45am, I was contacted by Alabama today through the FAR process without having submitted a separate application to the school.

I would agree with Paul that applying to the school independently as well is a nice way of showing your interest in the school, especially if you have a particular tie to the school's geographic area that you would like the school to know about, etc.

But, when time and energy is scarce, I'm not convinced that it makes much of a difference. If the school is looking for your particular set of skills, its faculty appointments committee will find you through the FAR. If the school isn't looking for your set of skills, the committees are flooded with so many cover letters that you're not going to suddenly convince them to change their minds about you as a candidate. Experience says save the effort.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 25, 2016 2:44:54 PM

About the EEO Self-Identification Forms, do schools request these of every candidate they see on the FAR, or only those that are of interest?

Posted by: Anon | Aug 25, 2016 3:37:50 PM

Assuming things work out well for me and I get a few interviews, how many nights should I plan to stay in D.C.?

Posted by: anon | Aug 26, 2016 7:10:43 AM

How much stock should we put into the other thread that says when people received AALS interviews?

If that thread says that someone got an AALS interview at School X two days ago, does that mean School X has likely already made all of their calls? Most of them? Or perhaps the calling process is spread out over a longer period of time? If so, how long is typical from the first call to when the slots are filled?

Posted by: Anon 28 | Aug 26, 2016 9:01:29 AM

Posted by: anon | Aug 26, 2016 7:10:43 AM -

You can generally schedule your interviews over the course of 48 hours. So, plan to stay 1-3 nights, depending on where you have to travel from, how well you sleep in a hotel, and your level of risk aversion.

Posted by: Anon 28 | Aug 26, 2016 9:01:29 AM -

People are generally not trying to psych you out by posting phantom AALS interviews. Schools might have 30 slots to fill and that's a lot of calls to make. How long it takes to make them depends on who's making the calls and how busy they are. 2 days seems like no big deal. After a week, you're probably out of luck.

Posted by: Matthew Bruckner | Aug 26, 2016 9:41:32 AM

While most schools rely heavily on the FAR, a candidate can never count on being "discovered" in the FAR even if they have exactly what the committee is looking for. Most schools try to be diligent, but I've seen and heard of others that aren't. If one committee member assigned to a particular batch of FAR forms happens to drop the ball (best case, makes quick judgment and doesn't like what they see, worst case, misplaces your form or never gets around to it), you may never come before that school's committee. So if at all possible, email directly to schools of particular interest to you. Yes, it may be slightly more work for the committee, and the committee may just ignore the direct submissions, but it can't hurt. A candidate will never know what happened (and if he or she did, he or she might be appalled at the random nature of the process at some schools), but at least a candidate can know that he or she made every effort to get noticed.

Posted by: former hiring chair | Aug 26, 2016 9:42:20 AM

Does anyone know how many people are this year on the FAR? (I realize it is much harder to estimate how many laterals are applying for positions this year as well)

Posted by: Anon1 | Aug 26, 2016 11:35:06 AM

I have monitored this board for years and the aals calls are pretty on point. look at the schedule last year and schools are often similar to how they call from years past like if they call early or late. Some like to call early to get you lined up. Also, some calls do one area and another day do another area. Some schools go back to far multiple times. so while I think most people are totally honest with posting aals interviews (and the schools posted are sones that typically move early), don't stress too much because some schools will call different times. Some don't - some do them all at once, and I can remember thinking, "oh well School X called - I guess that means i'm toast." Usually I was right unfortunately but not always. Also schools do miss people in the far. I got 3 interviews last time by direct submission and all those schools mentioned missing me in the far because they only searched the top 2 subject matter preferences.

Posted by: anon | Aug 26, 2016 12:13:41 PM

It was 392 in far according to other page - down 200 from 2-3 years ago. What explains the drop? Less people doing far casually? People doing more targeted submissions if on market multiple times? Weeding out last year of some of the backlog who did not get jobs at the bottom which was probably 3 years ago? Less people taking the risk of leaving practice to do fellowships? I wonder if applications to fellowships are way down

Posted by: Anon | Aug 26, 2016 12:44:48 PM

I wish I would have just chosen a day and did all my interview that day. If you have 6-10 interviews you can try to schedule them all in one day. The Marriott is $240 a night so depends on if it is worth to spend that much more for an extra night

Posted by: Anon | Aug 26, 2016 12:48:57 PM

Also most schools that move this early are lower ranked so they gett cancellations. I got called for an interview the other day and they already had Friday all booked up. So I do think most schools fill up their spots all at once (unless they have multiple lines) but sometimes there are cancellations and advisors can call or you can email to get one of them. Your advisors have a sense of where they will call to keep their legitimacy - if you are not a HYS candidate your advisor isn't going to want to waste efforts there

Posted by: Anon | Aug 26, 2016 12:53:00 PM

Schools are all over the map on when they schedule interviews — some do them all at once; some will go a month from the beginning to the end. So if you see posts about a school interviewing, that could be a bad sign but isn't necessarily fatal for your chances to get an interview.

Posted by: Hiring committee member | Aug 26, 2016 6:10:27 PM

My school (a top 75) will not meet until next week to start discussing who we wish to invite for interviews, and we often only commit a few slots this early, filling the remainder after the second distribution has come out (not necessarily with folks from the distribution, but just holding those slots until we have a better picture of the options). Thus, we'll begin scheduling mid-next week and will likely not finalize until after the second distribution is out.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Aug 26, 2016 6:16:44 PM

Question on the timing of call backs for laterals who are on the FAR's first distribution, would they be called back on a separate calendar from non-laterals? Noted some schools do have separate schedules for laterals and non-laterals, but I wondered how common that is.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 27, 2016 5:15:13 AM

All other things being equal, what would be the "best" interview slot in the AALS conference? Suppose you are an aspiring legal academic who would much prefer to be at School X than any other school, where would you schedule School X? Presumably not on Friday morning, but Friday early afternoon, right after lunch? Late afternoon Friday, right before the day is over? Later afternoon Saturday, when you would be remembered thanks to recency bias?

Posted by: Anon5555 | Aug 27, 2016 3:57:49 PM

@Anon5555 Probably not in your first two or three interviews, as you'll still be getting a feel for things. Apart from that, I'd suggest that you schedule it whenever you tend to be most alert and enthusiastic.

Posted by: jim | Aug 27, 2016 6:30:48 PM

I agree strongly with the advice that you get better as the day goes on. If I had two days' worth of interviews, I'd try to schedule my first choice in a F late AM or midafternoon slot, with at least two or three before. You might avoid Saturday afternoon for your first choice altogether, if possible - even some of the most attentive committees start thinking about getting the heck out of there by then. Good luck 5555!

Posted by: guest | Aug 27, 2016 6:59:47 PM

Thank you!

Posted by: Anon5555 | Aug 28, 2016 10:41:27 AM

I am not in the FAR but looking to lateral. Wondering if anyone who has seen the placement bulletin could confirm whether the spreadsheet is fairly representative of the schools hiring?

Posted by: anon | Aug 30, 2016 8:32:07 AM

When emailing your packets to different schools, do you use separate attachments for your materials, or do you merge them into one email attachment?

Posted by: anon2016 | Aug 30, 2016 10:56:44 AM

I do it separately, don't know if that is right or wrong.

Posted by: FAR-Anon | Aug 31, 2016 10:29:27 AM

To all the other nervous candidates trying to read into the FAR tea leaves and predict how many interviews you'll end up with this season ... I see you. I'm trying my best to not make any assumptions about what having only a couple of interviews means for my candidacy. I know it's early in the process, but it's hard not to be anxious.

If anyone has suggestions for maintaining one's sanity during this process, I'm all ears.

Posted by: anon | Aug 31, 2016 12:59:17 PM

Do public schools have a habit of calling earlier? I'm fortunate to have gotten several calls so far (some listed here, some not), and all have been public schools.

Posted by: anon | Aug 31, 2016 4:21:28 PM

mid ranked and lower calls earlier, look at the list from last years, schools that call early often call early year to year but it is not always the case.

Posted by: anon | Aug 31, 2016 4:40:42 PM

anon2016: When I have been an applicant I've attached everything as a PDF (CV with references; research agenda; jobtalk paper). I'm on the hiring committee this year. I could see merging CV/agenda maybe but I would definitely not merge them all-- people often want a quick peek at a CV but only sometimes want to even see a jobtalk paper, so I think it would be annoying.

Posted by: broad city | Aug 31, 2016 5:25:21 PM

thanks, all! great feedback.

Posted by: anon2016 | Aug 31, 2016 5:53:00 PM

@anon seeking sanity: find something else to throw yourself into. I recommend a sport or some other activity that channels that energy productively. Good luck - it's not a fun process.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 31, 2016 6:15:57 PM

Does anyone by chance know who the hiring chairs are for any of these law schools: Harvard, Virginia, Duke, Northwestern, Georgetown, UT Austin, and George Washington ?

Posted by: anon | Aug 31, 2016 6:56:47 PM

Why do you want to know the names of the hiring chairs at these schools?

Posted by: why | Aug 31, 2016 7:14:52 PM

Why do you want to know the names of the hiring chairs at these schools?

Posted by: why | Aug 31, 2016 7:14:52 PM

For emailing packets; assuming that they should be emailed to the hiring chairs, but please correct me if this is incorrect.

Posted by: anon | Aug 31, 2016 7:17:50 PM

These schools assume you are interested in them. If they want more information, they will reach out to you. If you want to make sure that you are on their radar, have your recommender reach out to the people he or she knows on those faculties and talk you up. That's the best way to get on their radar, not sending unsolicited packets.

Posted by: why | Aug 31, 2016 7:29:49 PM

Where (if anywhere) in the rankings do you suggest it makes sense to start sending unsolicited packets?

Posted by: anon | Aug 31, 2016 7:37:43 PM

It depends on how "good" of a candidate you are on paper. Below 50 is generally fine, in particular for schools in locations that are less desirable, and if you are a rock star, below 20. And if you have a particularly close connection to a location, then by all mean send the packet to Duke.

Posted by: why | Aug 31, 2016 7:47:05 PM

how many interviews do rock stars have by now? i know this is partially dependent on subject area (e.g., i imagine business law candidates have more than others), but i'm curious.

Posted by: anon | Aug 31, 2016 9:04:50 PM

All of the top schools compile hiring chairs, committee members and teaching interests in a spreadsheet. They tell you to send packets to your top 30 or 40.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 31, 2016 9:14:36 PM

I doubt more than 10 schools have called. Next week after Labor Day will be a big week as will the week after

Posted by: Anon | Aug 31, 2016 9:26:14 PM

anon requesting hiring chairs: several of those schools post their appointments committee chairs publicly. Google "(school) appointments committee." Hth

Posted by: Anon | Aug 31, 2016 10:00:13 PM

So this is random, but how does one lateral? More precisely, you can't order the placement bulletin without being the FAR, if I am not mistaken, so if one is inclined to try a lateral move without broadcasting same to one's home institution (I'm not thinking now, I am thinking in a year or two), how does one accomplish this? Watching the postings that appear on list-servs and blogs like this one and FacLounge? Waiting for cold calls (there are some, but I have been demurring to date)? What are the usual practice and the best practice?

Posted by: Zee | Sep 1, 2016 1:25:11 PM

+1 to zee's question. Does one just submit materials out of the blue to the hiring committee?

Posted by: anon | Sep 1, 2016 2:17:19 PM

Just curious, how much different was the 2nd placement bulletin from the first. I saw it came out today but have been to busy to compare.

Posted by: FAR-Anon | Sep 1, 2016 2:56:31 PM

To lateral queries: Paul Secunda wrote a piece that remains relevant (his top hit on SSRN).

Best case scenario, your dream school contacts you out of the blue based on the great work you've been doing. This usually happens because you've impressed a peer or a more senior scholar in your field who happens to work at your dream school with your written work, presentations, and commentary - enough so that they passed your name along to the lateral appointments committee.

Second best case is reaching out to your buddies at other schools to signal your interest, and ask if they might pass along your name to the committee. This is a bit more difficult and more fraught but can work.

Finally, without any contacts, you may want to submit your interest out of the blue.

Posted by: lateral | Sep 1, 2016 4:45:12 PM

We're hiring laterals but we're not cold-calling anyone. We put the call out on the blogs and social media as well as the placement bulletin, and ask colleagues at other schools if anyone they know might be interested, so we hope anyone interested will eventually hear about it and email us. But if someone is keeping very quiet about a desire to relocate and also not watching Prawfs and TFL, we could certainly miss each other.

Posted by: committee member | Sep 1, 2016 8:46:54 PM

That's helpful, committee member. Is it your sense that most schools cold call as well, or that most schools proceed the way you do? Mine does something that is a bit of a mix, i.e., cold call with reason to think the person might be open. My desire to move is geographical, so it may make sense for me to affirmatively reach out to the schools that fit the need.

Posted by: Zee | Sep 2, 2016 1:42:47 PM

I don't know what the breakdown is. We have cold-called in the past when looking for something very specific, so practice varies school to school and, within a school, year to year/committee to committee.

Posted by: committee member | Sep 2, 2016 6:44:16 PM

You can purchase the bulletin from AALS without getting into the FARs. You can also get a friend who is in the FARs to send the bulletin to you.

Posted by: Recent Lateral | Sep 3, 2016 8:57:12 PM

Anyone else out here wondering why everyone is being so cagey while not revealing anything themselves? This fine Labor Day, no new calls can come in and people are cagey but yet I keep checking prawfs every few hours. Sad!

Posted by: Hypocrite | Sep 5, 2016 9:20:14 AM

This year, Labor Day is followed three days later by the second FAR pool data. Might this week be quiet until committees have had a chance to review those applications?

Posted by: Anon | Sep 5, 2016 1:19:38 PM

Query following Hypocrite, are folks actually being that cagey or maybe not as many calls have been made, resulting in fewer reports?

Posted by: Anon2 | Sep 5, 2016 1:22:57 PM

not many calls have been made. look at the sheets last year-most schools call later. this week will be a bit week as is next week.

top schools won't call till second half of the month.

Posted by: anon | Sep 5, 2016 3:22:36 PM

any stats on how many people were in the second distribution this year? just curious.

Posted by: anon | Sep 7, 2016 2:53:07 PM

Second distribution comes out on tomorrow, no?

Posted by: Anon | Sep 7, 2016 4:02:05 PM

wasn't sure. thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by: anon | Sep 7, 2016 5:10:37 PM

last year it was under 30 i think in the second distribution. if you look at the blog from last year someone mentions how many it was exactly. i recall it was not much.

Posted by: anon | Sep 7, 2016 6:51:47 PM

can anyone report how many people were added today?

Posted by: anon | Sep 8, 2016 11:26:09 AM

seconding the request for 2nd distribution stats

Posted by: anon | Sep 8, 2016 12:59:51 PM

How many non-US law schools generally participate in the FRC (either formally or informally)? I've seen indications that some do participate in the conference and even hire candidates through the process, but they don't seem to be noted much in the comments or discussions here or elsewhere. I realize most folks at the FRC probably want to stay in the US, but there could be some interesting international options for those so inclined.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 9, 2016 6:42:45 AM

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