Wednesday, November 12, 2014

VAPs and Fellowships: Open Thread, 2014-2015

On this thread, comments can be shared regarding news of appointments to VAPs or similar fellowships (for example, the Climenko and Bigelow).  Here is last year's thread.

(If someone wants to aggregate this information, email me, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will set you up with an embedded spreadsheet.)

Originally published 11/12/14.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on November 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (23)

Friday, October 24, 2014

The push for quantity

Zak's post, Howard's post, Bridget Crawford's post, and Orrin's post and the comments to them pose some questions and some answers about the quantity of publications law professors and candidates for teaching positions have. Underlying these is a tension about tradeoffs between quantity and quality and concerns about the source of the pressure to produce. I would even go farther than any of them, and suggest there is something of an arms race afoot that we ought to be concerned about. Based on my experience as a VAP and on the hiring committees of two schools, I also think there are reasons in addition to those already suggested for that arms race, and I'll list them in no particular order. There is a lot of overlap among these, but I use a list for convenience (quantity over quality).

1. Labor market competition. There aren't very many desirable positions available in any given year. Something like fewer than 10% of those who apply through the AALS (which is the only easy place to track hiring stats) are successful, and especially as faculties are shrinking, the market is only getting tighter. Given that scarcity, candidates need to be ever more accomplished to even be considered.

2.  Publications are the coin of the realm. Most, even if not all, law schools use scholarship (defined relatively narrowly) as a central criterion for evaluation of law professors. This might be because the universities law schools are a part of consider scholarship to be the hallmark of an academic discipline and so put significant pressure on their law faculties to demonstrate that they are academics rather than practitioners. It might also be because U.S. News, by giving so much weight to faculty peer evaluation, creates an incentive for more scholarship. In addition, because the focus on scholarship and "productivity" have been part of law school culture for a fairly long period of time, law faculties take for granted the central importance of publishing--and tend to expect more and more of their newer colleagues as a matter of course.

3. Tenure has weird effects. The meaning and value of tenure is subject to serious debate right now, and I don't intend to make any value statements in this post. That said, job security of any kind is unusual in the U.S. system of employment, and so requires special justification to exist at all. Tenure is thought to be a way to protect academic freedom--the ability to say unpopular things--that helps ensure that as much data and full debate can happen as a way to contribute to knowledge. Scholarship is seen as the justification for tenure, and also, then, the consideration for tenure. And because it's the quid pro the quo of tenure, schools want to ensure that even after tenure, professors continue to contribute to knowledge through scholarship. What better way to predict future productivity than past productivity? It's kind of like content validity of employment testing--the best predictor of job performance is the chance to perform a sample of the job for a period. And because denying someone tenure means essentially firing them, and maybe ending their career at least as a teacher, no one wants there to be any question about whether tenure will be awarded. So, the pressure to demonstrate future productivity moves to the point of hire (or even before, ever earlier) to ensure no problems in achieving tenure later.

4. Quantity as equalizer. One of the commenters noted that it's easier to count than to evaluate quality, and this is especially true across disciplines. But that is not the only way that quantity is used as an equalizer. Hiring decisions are based on proxies for qualities schools think are valuable--merit badges, in the words of my friend Brannon Denning (as noted by John Nelson in this comment to a thread on the nontradition JD candidate). Traditional badges of merit have been the ranking of the law school one went to, class rank, membership on law review, clerking for a federal judge or possibly a state supreme court judge, and short experience in a big firm. They are almost literally stamps of approval by some other person who has judged the intelligence or abilities of  the candidate. Because of the system of student-edited law reviews (and the number of outlets for publication), those of us without those merit badges have the opportunity to make our own by engaging in the conduct that law faculties say they value. And that conduct is much more within our own control. That pushes those even with the merit badges to also engage in that conduct to remain competitive. It also gives a more diverse group of candidates access to opportunity. Finally, it allows law faculties to rely on what looks like a more objective measure of candidate quality.

5. Increasing requirements in faculty evaluation. Schools continue to increase the number of publications as a requirement for tenure. At one time, a single work in progress was enough in some schools for a person to be awarded tenure. Now, the expectation seems to be 1-2 articles published per year. And those expectations are being "codified" into tenure and review requirements.

6. Technology. This may sound trite, but it is simply so much easier to produce and disseminate our writing that we do it a lot more. The advent of the word processor spawned a revolution in the length and number of briefs filed in cases and the length and number of court opinions. It just became so much easier to draft and revise writing that writing proliferated. The ability to transmit that writing via the internet spawned another revolution. Access to readers and avenues for writing meant more of it.

Working all together, these create a lot of pressure to publish early and a lot.

Posted by Marcia L. McCormick on October 24, 2014 at 12:52 PM in Deliberation and voices, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Law School Hiring, 2014-2015, Thread Two

Please leave comments on this thread regarding whether you have received:

(a)  a callback from a law school and/or accepted it; or

(b) an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer, including teaching load, research leave, etc. A school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer and may still have some slots open.

Five miscellaneous things:

1. If you don't want your contact information displayed, enter anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

2. There is a  separate thread, "A Clearinghouse for Questions," for general questions or comments about the teaching market. Please do not use the thread below for general questions or comments. (Such comments will be deleted, not out of hostility or in a judgy way, just to keep this thread focused.)

3. There's quite a cache of materials relevant to the law job market under the archive categories Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market and Entry Level Hiring Report.

4. The year's first hiring thread is here. Comments to that thread are now closed.

5. In each of the last five years, someone who is on the market has volunteered to aggregate the information on a spreadsheet. If you would like to volunteer, please contact me directly at slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will get you set up.

Update: We once again have an aggregator! Below is the spreadsheet, which you can view and download here.

All information should come in through the comments. Our aggregator will use the spreadsheet to aggregate the information.  Only the aggregator will be able to edit the spreadsheet, but when the aggregator edits the spreadsheet, those changes will be reflected in the embedded, downloadable version below.

The aggregator will update the spreadsheet approximately once a week.

You can reach the aggregator at aalsaggregator (at) gmail (dot) com.

 A link to the last page of comments is here.

 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on October 20, 2014 at 09:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (162)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Number of Schools at AALS FRC Over Time

Schools at FRC.20141016

 

In 2012, there were 142 AALS member or approved schools at the FRC.

In 2013, 94 schools.

In 2014, 81 schools.

(Say +/- 2 for each year due to vagaries of counting.)

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on October 16, 2014 at 10:49 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Squids, Whales, and the FRC

I watched part of Squid and the Whale this morning. I couldn't bear to watch the whole thing; it's just too awkward and painful. As soon as I finish this post, I will promptly go shave my beard and throw away my corduroy blazer. The Metamorphosis is very Kafkaesque.

Speaking of corduroy blazers, the FRC is this weekend. This will be my eighth visit to the meat market--once as a candidate, the rest on the interviewing side of things.

Best of luck to all the faculty candidates. I hope you can make the best of an awkward process. There's lots of good advice swimming out there about how to succeed in these interviews. 

I don't remember seeing much about interviewer best practices, however. Like, for instance, don't read the newspaper during an interview. That happened to me.  The dean in one of my interviews didn't even get up to shake my hand, just read and crumpled a copy of USA Today for twenty minutes. It's hard to be cooped up in a room for two days straight. It's hard to sit on an uncomfortable coach, scarfing down overpriced cookies while your colleagues aren't looking. It's hard to muster an enthusiastic answer to the "How do you support junior faculty question" on Saturday afternoon. But I guess a good rule of thumb is to remember that this is a big moment for the candidates. They've got a lot invested in these interviews. So please, if you must, read a more reputable news source.

The Wardman Tower is the filet of the hotel.

Posted by Zachary Kramer on October 14, 2014 at 02:48 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

AALS Recruitment Conference Advice

Before I sign off, I thought I'd put out a request on behalf of my fellow job market candidates for advice about the upcoming hiring conference.  I've come across a number of helpful posts from a few years ago, but didn't find as much from the immediate past, and I think it would be particularly interesting to hear from anyone who was on the market in one of the recent down years.  But of course all tips are welcome!

Here are a few helpful posts with interview tips from Lyrissa Lidsky (2011)Tim Zinnecker (2011), and Daniel Solove (2005).  And here's a collection of teaching market advice posted on Prawfsblawg back in 2005.

Thanks again to the Prawfs team for giving me the opportunity to guest-blog, and best of luck to everyone going on the market this year!

Posted by Richard Chen on September 30, 2014 at 10:55 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

ASU Aspiring Law Professors Conference

Yesterday I attended the sixth annual Aspiring Law Professors Conference at Arizona State University.  I thought I would share a little about my experience for those who might want to attend in future years.  Overall, I found the conference to be very helpful to me as someone who is on the market this year, and I really appreciated the enthusiasm and generosity of Dean Doug Sylvester and all the professors who attended.  They are doing all of us aspirants a great service by spending their free time on a Saturday trying to prepare us as effectively as possible for the process that lies ahead.  (I haven't attempted to reproduce most of the specific advice that we received, but a quick Google search reveals that past conferences were recapped in further detail by permanent Prawfs bloggers here and here.)

The day began with a keynote address by my Pepperdine colleague, Paul Caron, titled Law School Rankings, Faculty Scholarship, and the Missing Ingredient.  The address started by asking a question Paul had previously raised with a co-author in What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, namely how we can better measure faculty contributions to a law school’s success.  Paul went on to argue that, while existing rankings based on faculty scholarship are undoubtedly important, more metrics need to be developed to assess other aspects of a professor’s value to the institution, particularly with regard to the student experience (the “missing ingredient” in existing rankings).

After Paul’s address, we broke into three concurrent sessions: one for people who are on the market this year, another for clinical or legal writing candidates, and a third for people who are thinking about going on the market in a future year.  I of course went to the first session.  The panelists there shared helpful tips on issues such as how to prepare thoroughly but still have a natural conversation in the interview, how to ask thoughtful questions, and how to stay energized and be your best self for the duration of the hiring conference.  I’d picked up a decent amount of similar advice from friends and colleagues who have gone on the market recently, but I still found it helpful to hear some additional perspectives.

After lunch, all the participants were invited to sign up for a mock interview, mock job talk, or both, and all the sessions were open to everyone to observe, including current and future candidates.  I watched three of my fellow candidates deliver 10-minute versions of their job talks and answer a few questions each before receiving feedback.  Apart from the very useful suggestions I received on my own talk, I found it more helpful than I expected to watch other people deliver their presentations and get feedback on what they did well and where they could improve.  Doing and watching some mock interviews likewise helped me to better appreciate the unique challenges of that setting, and I left with a good plan on what I needed to prepare between now and October 17.

All in all, I found the conference to be very worthwhile.  For those who are considering whether to attend in the future, I think the conference would be essential for anyone going on the market straight from practice or perhaps a Ph.D. program.  I also think the conference would be useful for people, like me, in a smaller or relatively new VAP program.  I have been very fortunate to get lots of advice and tremendous support from my colleagues at Pepperdine, but it was still helpful to have a chance to practice my job talk in front of an additional audience and to get advice from people at a few different law schools.  Not surprisingly, there were fewer attendees from some of the larger fellowship programs, and I imagine people at such programs have multiple opportunities to do practice job talks and watch their colleagues do the same.  But even for them I think the conference could be useful in giving opportunities to practice with strangers, as a past conference speaker pointed out

As for people who are only thinking about law teaching or planning to go on the market in a future year, I don’t know exactly what was covered in the concurrent session, but I think the usefulness of the conference will depend on how much you already know about the process.  If you went to panels on how to become a law professor as a student in the relatively recent past, then the main value of the conference would be the chance to watch some mock interviews and job talks, and I’m not sure that alone would justify the trip for anyone who has to travel a long distance.  But if you didn’t get this advice as a student, then the ASU conference would seem to be a great opportunity to get firsthand insight that’s not otherwise readily available, and then the chance to observe the afternoon mocks will give you a nice headstart on the process.

Thanks again to Dean Sylvester and all the professors who came to this year’s conference!

Posted by Richard Chen on September 28, 2014 at 11:41 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2014-2015

In this comment thread to this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market, and prawfs 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, slawsky*at*law*dot*uci*dot*edu.

We have a different thread in which candidates or prawfs 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 2012-2013 and 2013-2014

Here is a link to the last page of comments.

First posted 8/28/14.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 28, 2014 at 09:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (306)

Law School Hiring, 2014-2015, Thread One

Those on the market are invited to leave comments on this thread regarding whether they have received:

(a) a first round interview at a school (including the subject areas the school mentioned, if any, as being of particular interest, and whether the interview offer was accepted);

(b)  a callback from a law school and/or accepted it; or

(c) an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer, including teaching load, research leave, etc. A school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer and may still have some slots open.

Law professors may also choose to provide information that is relevant to the entry-level market.  

Four miscellaneous things:

1. If you don't want your contact information displayed, enter anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

2. There is a  separate thread, "A Clearinghouse for Questions," for general questions or comments about the teaching market. Please do not use the thread below for general questions or comments. (Such comments will be deleted, not out of hostility or in a judgy way, just to keep this thread focused.)

3. There's quite a cache of materials relevant to the law job market under the archive categories Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market and Entry Level Hiring Report.

4. Finally, in each of the last five years, someone who is on the market has volunteered to aggregate the information on a spreadsheet. If you would like to volunteer, please contact me directly at slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will get you set up.

We now have an aggregator, and we will thus continue our spreadsheet approach: All information should come in through the comments. Our aggregator will use a spreadsheet to aggregate the information.  Only the aggregator will be able to edit the spreadsheet, but when the aggregator edits the spreadsheet, those changes will be reflected in the embedded, downloadable version below.

Here is the spreadsheet, which is downloadable.

Please be patient with the aggregator, who will try to update this spreadsheet once a day, but may have a job, and perhaps may even be on the market.

Good luck!

First posted 8/28/14.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 28, 2014 at 09:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (118)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Number of FAR Forms in First Distribution Over Time

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 and blog comments over the years and not independently verified. If you have more accurate information, please post it in the comments and I will update accordingly.)

FAR Forms First Distribution.20140822

2009: 637

2010: 662

2011: 592

2012: 588

2013: 592

2014: 492

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 22, 2014 at 01:13 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (11)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hiring Posts - Update

The hiring threads will continue. 

Ongoing, I am compiling a list of hiring committees and areas of interest. Please submit that information if you have not already, either in the comments in that post or via email to me (as described in the post).

An approximate schedule of other posts follows, based off the dates of the first FAR submission (Thursday, August 21) and the AALS conference (October 16-18). 

Thursday, August 28: Law School Hiring, Thread One (reporting interview requests; last year's thread here). As usual, I will be looking for someone to volunteer to aggregate the information reported on this thread.

Thursday, August 28: Clearinghouse for Questions (last year's thread here). 

Wednesday, October 22: Law School Hiring, Thread Two (reporting callback requests; last year's thread here). As usual, I will be looking for someone to volunteer to aggregate the information reported on this thread.

Wednesday, November 12: VAP thread (last year's thread here).

Late February/early March: Begin entry level hiring report data collection.

 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 11, 2014 at 03:11 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Hiring Committees 2014-2015

Please share in the comments the following information related to the 2014-2015 law school faculty hiring season:

(a) your school;
(b) the chair of your hiring committee (please note if you have different chairs for entry level and lateral candidates--we hope that this information will be useful for both entry level and lateral candidates);
(c) other members of your hiring committee (again, please note if there is a distinction between entry level and lateral committees); and
(d) any particular subject areas in which your school is looking to hire.

Additionally, if you would like to share the following information, candidates might find it helpful to know:

(e) your committee's feeling about packets/individualized expressions of interest (affirmatively want to receive them, affirmatively don't want to receive them, or don't care one way or the other); 
(f) your committee's preferred way to be contacted (email, snail-mail, or phone); and/or
(g) the number of available faculty positions at your school.

I will gather all this information in a downloadable, sortable spreadsheet. (Click on that link to access the spreadsheet and download it; you can also scroll through the embedded version below.)

You can't make changes to the spreadsheet directly, so please post the information in the comments, or email me directly, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu.

Additionally, in 2011, someone very kindly submitted a spreadsheet of addresses of a subset of law schools, if folks want to create their own mail-merge. You can download it here. (If anyone wants to update or expand it and send me a new version, that would be awesome.)

Originally posted: July 1, 2014. I will bump this post periodically.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on July 1, 2014 at 09:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (27)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

"For Prospective Fellows and VAPs"

The below comment to the hiring report post deserves to be excerpted it in its own post. (The commenter was anonymous--if you are the author of this comment and would like me to credit you in this post, please email me.)

Perhaps the biggest limitation [of this report] is that the denominators of the categories - fellowships, clerkships, advanced degrees, Yale JDs, etc. - are essentially unknown....
So, for example, we see that 85% of those who got a teaching job had at least a fellowship.... But nobody knows how many fellows were on the market this year, so we can't figure out what a prospective fellow would really want to know, which is what percentage of fellows got jobs.... It might be that 25% of fellows got jobs this year, which would be helpful for a prospective fellow to know....
We can say that not having a fellowship is a massive disadvantage, because only 15% of those hired got their jobs without it. But if you're weighing your career options, that doesn't really tell you whether to take a fellowship if you don't know what proportion of fellows are getting jobs.
In short, it would be wise to ask your prospective program about their outcomes, and to do as much research as you can on fellowships that offer a roughly comparable experience (not just eliteness of school, but mentors and support).

(Emphasis added.)

Necessary and sufficient are different, and pay attention to base rates: words to live by!

More specifically, as the commenter suggests, while it would be nice to know the percentage of fellows/VAPs on the market that received jobs, if you're considering taking a fellowship, that isn't too interesting to you. What matters to you is how many fellows from the fellowship you are considering got jobs over the past few years. 

Some fellowship programs (NYU's tax Acting Assistant ProfessorshipChicago's Bigelow program, along with others, I am sure--feel free to provide additional helpful links in the comments!) provide this information right on their web pages in an easy-to-digest fashion, so it's easy to see that they have excellent placement rates. If the fellowship you are considering doesn't provide you with historical placement information, including percentage of fellows hired, you should ask. 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (8)

Friday, May 02, 2014

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring 2014 - JD Schools, All Law Schools

Here is the breakout of what schools hires went to for their initial law degree for all tenure-track law school hires (i.e., not limited to U.S. law schools):

JD School Global.20140502

Yale 20; Harvard 12; Columbia 8; NYU 7; Stanford 6; Chicago 4; Michigan 4; Berkeley 3; Other 17.

Schools in the "other" category with two JD/LLBs who reported hires: Northwestern; UCLA.

Schools in the "other" category with one JD/LLB who reported hires: Ateneo de Manila (Phillipines); Cornell; Duke; Florida State; Fordham;  ITAM (Mexico); North Dakota; Thomas Jefferson; Tulane; Universidad Torcuato Di Tella; Virginia; no JD.

And here is the break-out for all tenure-track hires, whether or not in a law school, and whether or not in the United States:

JDSchoolTenureTrack.20140503

Yale 22; Harvard 12; Columbia 8; NYU 7; Stanford 6; Chicago 5; Michigan 4; Berkeley 3; Other 17.

Schools in the "other" category with two JD/LLBs who reported hires: Northwestern; UCLA.

Schools in the "other" category with one JD/LLB who reported hires: Ateneo de Manila (Phillipines); Cornell; Duke; Florida State; Fordham;  ITAM (Mexico); North Dakota; Thomas Jefferson; Tulane; Universidad Torcuato Di Tella; Virginia; no JD.

Originally posted 5/2/14; edited 5/3/14 to reflect additional hire and to add second graph (of all tenure-track hires); edited 5/4/14, 5/6/14 to reflect three additional hires.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 2, 2014 at 08:09 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (6)

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2014 - Men/Women over Time

Orin asked in the comments below about the split between male and female hires over time. Based on a super-quick count of what is, disturbingly, nine years of spreadsheets that I happen to have, here's what I found. 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.

For what it's worth, I consider last year and this year to represent essentially equal splits of men and and women--last year it was 54% men, this year it was 49% men, both in very small pools.

GenderTime.20140502

Edited 5/4/14, 5/6/14 to add two hires and reclassify one person.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 2, 2014 at 07:11 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1)

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2014

Following is a data summary of the Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report for 2014. 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 spreadsheet:

73 people were reported hired, at [between 50 and 52] different law schools. 

[As of May 1, 2014, two people, one Yale JD and one Harvard JD, are not listed on the spreadsheet but are included in the data. These two people will certainly have jobs this year—the only question is where. Thus I am able to incorporate their information into the analysis below. I will add them to the spreadsheet when they decide where they will be working.]

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Q: 73 self-reported tenure-track hires? What the…?

A: Yes, even worse than last year. (I omit 2010 in this and all subsequent cross-year comparisons because insufficient data was collected that year.)

ReportedHires.20140501

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

JD School.20140501
Yale 20; Harvard 11; Columbia 8; NYU 6; Chicago 4; Michigan 4; Stanford 3; Berkeley 3; Other 14.

Schools in the "other" category with two JD/LLBs who reported hires: Northwestern; UCLA.

Schools in the "other" category with one JD/LLB who reported hires: Cornell, Duke, Florida State, ITAM (Mexico), North Dakota, Thomas Jefferson, Tulane, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Virginia, no JD.

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

61 (about 84%) had a fellowship; 37 (51%) had an advanced degree; 44 (about 60%) had a clerkship.

Venn diagram:

Venn Diagram.20140501

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

A: It's a lot of fellowships.

FellowshipsOverTime.20140501

Q: Tell me more about these advanced degrees. 

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, the 37 "highest" advanced degrees broke down like this:

AdvDegrees.20140501

D.Phil or Ph.D. 18; D.Phil. (Law), SJD, or JSD 1; LL.M. 4; Masters 13. 

Topics ranged all over the map. For the 19 Ph.D.s, for example: 

PhDSubject.20140501

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

Zero to Four Years (Graduated 2010-2014) 16; Five to Nine Years (Graduated 2005-2009) 37;  Ten to 19 Years (Graduated 1995-2004) 17; Twenty or More Years (Graduated before 1995) 2; Blank 1. The year-by-year break-out is on the spreadsheet ("JD/LLB Year" tab).

YearsSinceHire.20140501

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

Men 36 (about 49%); Women 37 (about 51%). (Let's say this is right within +/-2 people.) 

MF.20140501

Q: There were 31% fewer reported hires in 2014 than 2013 (a drop of 33 reported hires, from 106 to 73). How do you account for that drop?

There are a bunch of different ways to think about this. Here I compare the percentage change of various categories to the overall percentage change (click for larger version):

  PercentChange2013.20140502

Notwithstanding the 31% drop in hires compared to 2013, certain raw numbers stayed roughly the same or increased, including PhDs and Yale JDs.

There was a disproportionate drop in hires of people who had fellowships only. While fellowships continue to be extremely common among hires (84% of hires have fellowships), a fellowship was, even more so than in the past, no guarantee of a job. 

Comparing 2014 to 2012, the last pre-contraction year (again, click to enlarge):

PercentChange2012.20140502

Notice the stability in the number of PhDs and Yale JDs, and also the contraction in clerkship-only, degree-only, and fellowship-only hires between 2012 and 2014. 

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 5/2/14; edited 5/4/14, 5/6/14 to add two additional hires and reclassify one person already included in data.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 2, 2014 at 02:57 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (31)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Law School Hiring, 2013-2014 - Reminder

Please submit information about hiring (e.g., callbacks, a school that isn't hiring, etc.), here, on Thread Two of our Law School Hiring information. The information will be gathered on this spreadsheet.

I will post the "offers" thread, but not until February at the earliest.

[Update, 1/2/14: Link to spreadsheet fixed.]

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on December 30, 2013 at 03:13 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, November 25, 2013

VAPs and Fellowships: Open Thread, 2013-2014

As requested, here is this year's open thread in which comments can be shared regarding news of appointments to VAPs or similar fellowships (for example, the Climenko and Bigelow).  (Here is last year's thread.)

(If someone wants to aggregate this information, email me, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will set you up with an embedded spreadsheet.)

Update: We have an aggregator! Below is the spreadsheet, which you can view and download here.

From the aggregator:

The column titles should be self-explanatory.  Most columns are populated by dates, each of which may have a descriptor next to it indicating (method of notification) AND/OR [slots filled/total slots].

Dates correspond to the posting date or the date I (VAP Aggregator) received an email directly.

Reports on some programs leave outstanding questions based on the information provided.  I have highlighted those in yellow in the hopes folks will provide additional info.  (Committees, you are especially encouraged to correct me if I make a mistake.)

Some programs are not running this year (either via their webpage and/or reports).  I have marked those rows in gray, but preserved them to help make the spreadsheet reusable next year.  Additionally, once a program has completed hiring, I will mark those rows in (a lighter) gray.

Submit any questions/comments/corrections to vapaggregator (at) gmail (dot) com.

Originally published 11/25/13.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on November 25, 2013 at 04:18 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (133) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Law School Hiring, 2013-2014, Thread Two

We invite those on the market to leave comments on this thread regarding whether they have received:

(a)  a callback from a law school and/or accepted it; or

(b) an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer, including teaching load, research leave, etc. A school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer and may still have some slots open.

Five miscellaneous things:

1. If you don't want your contact information displayed, enter anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

2. There is a  separate thread, "A Clearinghouse for Questions," for general questions or comments about the teaching market. Please do not use the thread below for general questions or comments. (Such comments will be deleted, not out of hostility or in a judgy way, just to keep this thread focused.)

3. There's quite a cache of materials relevant to the law job market under the archive categories Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market and Entry Level Hiring Report.

4. The year's first hiring thread is here. Comments to that thread are now closed.

5. In each of the last five years, someone who is on the market has volunteered to aggregate the information on a spreadsheet. If you would like to volunteer, please contact me directly at slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will get you set up.

Update: We once again have an aggregator! Below is the spreadsheet, which you can view and download here. [Update: link fixed 1/2/14.]

All information should come in through the comments. Our aggregator will use a spreadsheet to aggregate the information.  Only the aggregator will be able to edit the spreadsheet, but when the aggregator edits the spreadsheet, those changes will be reflected in the embedded, downloadable version below.

Submit any questions/comments/corrections to aalsaggregator (at) gmail (dot) com.

 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on October 20, 2013 at 10:35 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (167) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 03, 2013

2013 Faculty Hiring: Will Schools Be Looking for More This Year?

In making new faculty hires, law schools have traditionally focused scholarship and teaching, often looking specifically at a candidate's research agenda and teaching package.  Most of the questions asked at those 25-minute interviews revolve around these topics.  But I'm wondering if this year will be different.  My hypothesis is that some schools will go beyond the traditional research-and-teaching-package questions to see what else a candidate might provide to the school.  And my guess is that these questions will focus on how the candidate could help with employment outcomes and new pedadgogical directions.

These are not traditional topics for questions, and  schools with higher employment and salary numbers will be likely focus on the candidate's scholarship.  But at schools where students are struggling harder to find jobs, and where graduates may be looking for more practice-readiness, schools may be thinking more broadly about what a candidate can bring to the table.  So -- does a candidate have a connection to the market(s) where the school's graduates are looking to work?  Would she/he be able to facilitate connections between students and a new set of potential employers?  Does he/she have subject-matter expertise that would lend itself to a center, not just for academic reasons but also because it would help students find jobs in the area?  And some schools might be looking for profs who can teach not only the traditional doctrinal subjects but also more innovative or practice-oriented offerings.  So -- would a business law prof be interested in working with an entrepreneurship clinic, lab, or externship program?  Would a civ pro candidate want to work with appellate moot court teams, or help to set up a state supreme court clinic?  Would the candidate consider working on a capstone course, like a ten-credit practicum, that the school is considering adopting?

There's a traditional dialogue in the hiring process, captured nicely by Christine Hurt's animated short.  But I'm wondering if this year might be a little different.  Hiring committees and candidates, feel free to weigh in.  Will schools be looking for something different?  Should they?

Posted by Matt Bodie on October 3, 2013 at 01:12 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Updated FSU Law Hiring Info

This announcement below gently updates previous information we have shared.

The Florida State University College of Law seeks to hire several tenure-track faculty in the coming year. While all highly qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, the Appointments Committee would particularly welcome applications from senior lateral faculty, and especially in the areas of Trusts and Estates, Health Law, and Environmental Law. Named professorships are available for highly accomplished lateral faculty. Interested individuals should send a cover letter and CV to Professor Wayne Logan, Appointments Committee Chair, at wlogan@law.fsu.edu. FSU is an Equal Opportunity/Access/Affirmative Action Employer and encourages applications from women and members of minority groups.

Posted by Dan Markel on September 10, 2013 at 07:46 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, August 26, 2013

Law School Hiring, 2013-2014, Thread One

We invite those on the market to leave comments on this thread regarding whether they have received:

(a) a first round interview at a school (including the subject areas the school mentioned, if any, as being of particular interest, and whether the interview offer was accepted);

(b)  a callback from a law school and/or accepted it; or

(c) an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer, including teaching load, research leave, etc. A school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer and may still have some slots open.

Law professors may also choose to provide information that is relevant to the entry-level market.  

Four miscellaneous things:

1. If you don't want your contact information displayed, enter anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

2. There is a  separate thread, "A Clearinghouse for Questions," for general questions or comments about the teaching market. Please do not use the thread below for general questions or comments. (Such comments will be deleted, not out of hostility or in a judgy way, just to keep this thread focused.)

3. There's quite a cache of materials relevant to the law job market under the archive categories Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market and Entry Level Hiring Report.

4. Finally, in each of the last five years, someone who is on the market has volunteered to aggregate the information on a spreadsheet. If you would like to volunteer, please contact me directly at slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will get you set up.

We now have an aggregator, and we will thus continue our spreadsheet approach: All information should come in through the comments. Our aggregator will use a spreadsheet to aggregate the information.  Only the aggregator will be able to edit the spreadsheet, but when the aggregator edits the spreadsheet, those changes will be reflected in the embedded, downloadable version below.

Here is the spreadsheet, which is downloadable.

Please be patient with the aggregator, who will try to update this spreadsheet once a day, but may have a job, and perhaps may even be on the market.

Good luck!

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 26, 2013 at 11:04 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (215) | TrackBack

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2013-2014

In this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market, and prawfs 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, slawsky*at*law*dot*uci*dot*edu.

We have a different thread 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.

(Before you ask your questions, you may want to take a look at the many questions and answers in the threads from 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.) 

Update: here is a link to the last page of comments.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 26, 2013 at 11:02 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1503) | TrackBack

Monday, July 01, 2013

Hiring Committees 2013-2014

Please share in the comments the following information related to the 2013-2014 law school faculty hiring season:

(a) your school;
(b) the chair of your hiring committee (please note if you have different chairs for entry level and lateral candidates--we hope that this information will be useful for both entry level and lateral candidates);
(c) other members of your hiring committee (again, please note if there is a distinction between entry level and lateral committees); and
(d) any particular subject areas in which your school is looking to hire.

Additionally, if you would like to share the following information, candidates might find it helpful to know:

(e) your committee's feeling about packets/individualized expressions of interest (affirmatively want to receive them, affirmatively don't want to receive them, or don't care one way or the other); 
(f) your committee's preferred way to be contacted (email, snail-mail, or phone); and/or
(g) the number of available faculty positions at your school.

I will gather all this information in a downloadable, sortable spreadsheet. (Click on that link to access the spreadsheet and download it; you can also scroll through the embedded version below.)

You can't make changes to the spreadsheet directly, so please post the information in the comments, or email me directly, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu.

Additionally, in 2011, someone very kindly submitted a spreadsheet of addresses of a subset of law schools, if folks want to create their own mail-merge. You can download it here. (If anyone wants to update or expand it and send me a new version, that would be awesome.)

Originally posted: July 1, 2013. I will bump this post periodically.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on July 1, 2013 at 11:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Monday, April 22, 2013

How Many Years of Famine to Follow Seven Years of Feasting for VAPs?

I was guest-blogging at Prawfsblawg seven and a half years ago when I wrote a post about trends in law professor hiring.  As that post described it, VAPs and JD / PhDs were taking over the academy.  People with a profile like mine (JD to clerkship to big law firm / government to tenure track teaching position) were becoming rarer and rarer.  Top schools were interviewing people with fellowships or PhDs, and in many cases both fellowships and PhDs.   I talked about the benefits of this shift, and encouraged candidates interested in law teaching to think about fellowships, ending my post with the words of advice: Do as I say, not as I did.

I think it is time to update that advice.

As various posts have made clear, a number of candidates on the entry level hiring market struck out this year, and they are scrambling to land other fellowships or transition back into legal practice.  I am very cognizant of the privileged position I occupy as a faculty member at an elite school.  The Bigelow Program's track record of placement into tenure track jobs is unusually good, even compared to fellowships at other elite schools, and that has always enabled the school to cherry pick aspiring academics.  Each of the five University of Chicago fellows on the teaching market this year have accepted excellent tenure track offers or are still weighing elite school tenure track offers.  But the contracting market raised anxiety levels for many of them (and for those of us who were advising them).   

Nobody knows what law professor hiring will look like seven years from now.  We can be pretty confident that next year will be a buyer's market, though.   So candidates thinking about going on the law teaching market in the next few years need to be very selective about the sort of fellowships they are willing to take.  Taking a fellowship, even at a fancy school, is risky because the professional doors a fellowship closes may be as significant as the academic doors it opens.  In a market where permanent faculty hiring is substantially constrained, the question "can this applicant develop into someone who will be hired into a tenure-track job two years from now?" has taken on increased significance among those who decide who gets hired into the best fellowship programs.

In this sort of market, those of us who are involved in hiring fellows and VAPs ought to ask ourselves at the time of hiring whether a candidate is sufficiently promising to enable us to predict with a high degree of confidence that the candidate will be able to transition into a tenure track position at the conclusion of the fellowship.  Tenure track hiring is a grave responsibility, and fellowship hiring ought to be as well. A vote of confidence from the fellowship programs that combine high hiring standards with extensive due diligence ought to entice good candidates to take the leap from practice into a fellowship. A fellowship offer that follows little vetting or minimal outreach to existing references ought to set off alarm bells for the candidate who receives it, at least if that candidate has other options for gainful employment.

In a world where promising but risk-averse candidates might still worry about taking a fellowship, schools with the resources to hire that have shied away from hiring "straight from practice" law professors in the past might need to re-calibrate their expectations so they can identify unpolished talent.  Perhaps they might even go back to reading published student notes / comments again and taking them seriously as an indication of scholarly potential (or lack thereof).  If one result is more practice experience among newly minted assistant professors, few will bemoan the trend.

In recent years, a fellowship has become a proxy for candidate quality, but that may no longer be as true a few years from now.  By then, having a fellowship on a CV from a program that isn't quite elite might merely signal some combination of commitment to the scholarly enterprise and tolerance for risk.  Decreased interest in such programs, combined with budgetary constraints, might kill off less-established fellowships.  A process that begun this year could accelerate next year.

In the short term there will be fewer tenure track positions.  In the medium term, tenure track positions may be filled by a more balanced mix of candidates with elite fellowships and no fellowships.  And for aspiring professors currently in law school, the importance of finding the right topics to write about, finding the right mentors, and finding one's voice while still on campus may become more important than ever.

 

Posted by Lior Strahilevitz on April 22, 2013 at 09:31 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

Monday, April 08, 2013

Mismatch between expressed subject matter interest and actual appointments in law faculty hiring

Last week at the Faculty Lounge, Dan Filler tabulated the first and second subject matter preferences of the entry level hires reported on Sarah Lawsky's Entry Level Hiring Spreadsheet.  I've compared Prof. Filler's list of subject matter for new hires with Prof. Lawsky's earlier "hiring committees" spreadsheet, in which schools expressed interest in considering candidates in particular subject matter areas.

I calculated the difference between the number of schools that expressed interest in a particular subject area, and the number of new hires that Prof. Filler identifies as focusing on that subject area. 

If there were many more schools interested in a subject matter than hires in that area, this might indicate potential unfulfilled demand for teachers and help identify next year's "hot" areas.  The comparison might also reveal something interesting about how law schools consider subject matter in their actual hiring decisions.

Caveats are in order -- this comparison ignores lateral hires; the information here is self-reported by schools and candidates and may miss some hires; some schools expressed no subject matter preferences (even though they may have had one); some schools expressed many more subject matter interests than they had slots to fill; Prof. Filler's list only includes first and second teaching preferences, so candidates may have met subject matter preferences in their other identified listings.

The tabulation is available in spreadsheet form here and appears below.

Some observations. The biggest mismatch was in tax. Fourteen schools expressed an interest in hiring a tax teacher, but only three schools hired in that area (-11). This suggests there may be continued interest in tax next year.

The next two largest differences were for Commercial Law and Evidence. Eight schools expressed interest in hiring in each of those fields, but there were no hires in those areas on Prof. Filler's calculation. 

An explanation in both cases may be that candidates were hired to fill those teaching needs even though they had expressed other subject area preferences first/second.  Only five schools expressed an interest in hiring Civil Procedure teachers, but there were ten hires in that area (+5).  Perhaps those candidates are being reoriented towards an Evidence teaching load.  Similarly, only two schools expressed an interest in hiring contracts but there were five hires in the area (+3). Perhaps candidates interested in teaching Contracts are expected to cover related Commercial Law needs. 

In two areas -- T & E/Wills and Torts, there were a number of expressions of interest (six and five, respectively), and no hires (-6 and -5).  In Con Law, only two schools expressed interest, but there were six hires (+4).

The success of civil procedure and con law candidates even in the face of relatively lower expressed interested in those fields may be an indication of the relative strength of candidates in those subject matter areas (at least relative strength as perceived by hiring faculties).  My own school has hired in the con law or civil procedure areas in each of the last three years, and I can say that in each year there have been many more appealing candidates than we had on-campus interview slots to accommodate.

 

Posted by Geoffrey Rapp on April 8, 2013 at 09:39 AM in Entry Level Hiring Report, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hiring Threads Update

I've now bumped the Law School Hiring thread and the VAPs and Fellowships thread for the final time. In late February or early March, I will open the final hiring thread, in which I will collect information about actual hires and aggregate that information in a spreadsheet. Some positions have already been accepted, of course, but based on previous years, I think it's best to wait to open the thread until there is a critical mass of hires. If you want to submit hiring information earlier than that, though, feel free to email me at slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on January 31, 2013 at 06:24 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

VAPs and Fellowships: Open Thread, 2012-2013

[Originally published 11/26/12; final bump, 1/31/13.]

As requested, here is this year's open thread in which comments can be shared regarding news of interviews for or appointments to VAPs or similar fellowships (for example, the Climenko and Bigelow).  (Here is last year's thread.) 

[If someone wants to aggregate this information, email me, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will set you up with an embedded spreadsheet.]

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on January 31, 2013 at 06:14 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (315) | TrackBack

Law School Hiring, 2012-2013, Thread Two

[Originally published 10/14/12; bumped 11/13/12; final bump, 1/31/13.]

We invite those on the market to leave comments on this thread regarding whether they have received:

(a)  a callback from a law school and/or accepted it; or

(b) an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer, including teaching load, research leave, etc. A school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer and may still have some slots open.

Five miscellaneous things:

1. If you don't want your contact information displayed, enter anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

2. There is a  separate thread, "A Clearinghouse for Questions," for general questions or comments about the teaching market. Please do not use the thread below for general questions or comments. (Such comments will be deleted, not out of hostility or in a judgy way, just to keep this thread focused.)

3. There's quite a cache of materials relevant to the law job market under the archive categories Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market and Entry Level Hiring Report.

4. All information should come in through the comments. Our aggregator will use a spreadsheet to aggregate the information.  Only the aggregator will be able to edit the spreadsheet, but when the aggregator edits the spreadsheet, those changes will be reflected in the embedded, downloadable version below. Please be patient with the aggregator, who will try to update this spreadsheet once a day, but may have a job, and perhaps may even be on the market. [As of 1/31/13, this thread is no longer being aggregated.]

5. This year's first hiring thread is here. Comments on that thread are now closed.

Here is the spreadsheet, which is downloadable.

Good luck!

Update: Here is a link to the last page of comments.

Update: As of 2/27/13, comments on this thread are closed. If you have information about entry level hires, please post that information in the comments to the entry level hiring data collection post.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on January 31, 2013 at 06:12 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (752) | TrackBack

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thinking of a visit or a lateral move?

A friend at the AALS writes with the following:

Have you ever considered making a lateral move or had to advise a junior faculty member regarding how best to do so? One possibility you might consider is signing up for or advising your colleague to sign up for the AALS Visiting Faculty Register.  This register lists experienced faculty members willing to visit for a semester or a full year in the next academic year. Associate deans and hiring chairs check this resource often to fill their curricular holes, especially at this time of year. Moreover, being on this list may signal to hiring committees your willingness to relocate; however, you should be willing to consider various visiting opportunities should they become available. Notably, many schools like to hire laterals as visitors first to test compatibility. Please note that you must have at least three years of full-time law teaching to register and be a full-time faculty member at an AALS Member or Fee-paid school.

Posted by Dan Markel on January 30, 2013 at 05:31 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Escaping the Wardman

Good luck to everyone going through the FRC over the next couple of days.  I strongly recommend taking a walk away from the Wardman when your schedule allows -- even if you don't have the time to watch the otters play at the zoo (as commenter Bacon suggests), just taking the one-third mile trek  up Connecticut Avenue to Starbucks will do wonders to rejuvenate the mind and body.

Posted by Jordan Singer on October 11, 2012 at 08:46 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Reminder to Hiring Committees: Don't Google The Candidates?

Here's some advice to hiring committee members travelling to the AALS conference: While it may be natural to search the internet for additional information about candidates for faculty positions, how you use the information you find may subject your university to legal liability. Here are two cautionary tales involving university hiring to keep in mind.

Cautionary tale number one illustrates that the refusal to hire an employee based on information gleaned from social media can sometimes give rise to a discrimination claim under Title VII.  Two years ago, the University of Kentucky faced a Title VII lawsuit brought by a rejected job applicant who claimed that the University refused to hire him based on information about his religious views found by the hiring committee during an Internet search. Gaskell v. University of Ky., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124572 (E.D. Ky. Nov. 23, 2010). Evidence in the case indicated that the chair of the department conducting the search asked the candidate about his religious beliefs, which the chairman had "personally" researched on the internet. In addition, an email from a staff member to hiring committee members during the process noted: "Clearly this man is complex and likely fascinating to talk with, but potentially evangelical."  The case settled for $125,000 after a judge denied cross-motions for summary judgment. 

Cautionary tale number two illustates that discrimination against hiring candidates on the basis of their political beliefs can subject state universities to liability for constitutional torts. This tale involves the University of Iowa's College of Law and the hiring of a legal writing instructor. In Wagner v. Jones, Teresa Wagner alleged that the College of Law refused to hire her because of her conservative political beliefs, and she sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The trial court granted summary judgment to the college, but a panel of Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed.

The Eighth Circuit determined that Wagner had made a sufficient claim of political discrimination to get to a jury. The court applied the following test (drawn from the Supreme Court's decision in Mt. Healthy City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Ed. v. Doyle):

A plaintiff alleging First Amendment retaliation must first make a prima facie showing that (1) she engaged in conduct protected by the First Amendment; (2) she suffered an adverse employment action; and (3) the protected activity was a substantial or motivating factor in theemployer’s decision to take the adverse employment action. If a plaintiff makes this prima facie showing, then “a presumption of retaliation arises and the burden shifts to the defendant to advance a legitimate reason for the employment action.                                 

The court found Wagner had presented evidence from which a jury could conclude that her polticial beliefs were a substantial or motivating factor not to hire her.  Specifically, a deposition in the case indicated that the candidate's conservative views may have been discussed at a faculty meeting on her candidacy; there was also evidence that she was advised to hide the fact she'd been offered a job at Ave Maria during the interview process at the College of Law, and a contemporaneous email from an associate dean expressed concern that Wagner's politics could have played a part in the faculty's decision not to hire her. In addition, the court noted (several times!) that only one of the fifty faculty members of the College was a registered Republican at the time Wagner interviewed. There's more to the decision, of course, including full discussion of why the court rejected the argument that the Dean was entitled to qualified immunity. Regardless, the decision should be a reminder to hiring committee members at state schools not to use information found on the internet or anywhere else to discriminate against potential hires in violation of their First Amendment rights.

 

Posted by Lyrissa Lidsky on August 29, 2012 at 02:17 PM in Constitutional thoughts, Employment and Labor Law, First Amendment, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Lyrissa Lidsky, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Monday, August 27, 2012

Law School Hiring, 2012-2013, Thread One

NB: Bounced to the front every ten days or so.

We invite those on the market to leave comments on this thread regarding whether they have received:

(a) a first round interview at a school (including the subject areas the school mentioned, if any, as being of particular interest, and whether the interview offer was accepted);

(b)  a callback from a law school and/or accepted it; or

(c) an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer, including teaching load, research leave, etc. A school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer and may still have some slots open.

Law professors may also choose to provide information that is relevant to the entry-level or the lateral market.  

Four miscellaneous things:

1. If you don't want your contact information displayed, enter anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

2. There is a  separate thread, "A Clearinghouse for Questions," for general questions or comments about the teaching market. Please do not use the thread below for general questions or comments. (Such comments will be deleted, not out of hostility or in a judgy way, just to keep this thread focused.)

3. There's quite a cache of materials relevant to the law job market under the archive categories Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market and Entry Level Hiring Report.

4. Finally, in each of the last four years, someone who is on the market has volunteered to aggregate the information on a spreadsheet. If you would like to volunteer, please contact me directly at slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will get you set up.

We now have an aggregator, and we will thus continue our spreadsheet approach: All information should come in through the comments. Our aggregator will use a spreadsheet to aggregate the information.  Only the aggregator will be able to edit the spreadsheet, but when the aggregator edits the spreadsheet, those changes will be reflected in the embedded, downloadable version below.

Here is the spreadsheet, which is downloadable.

 

Please be patient with the aggregator, who will try to update this spreadsheet once a day, but may have a job, and perhaps may even be on the market.

Good luck!

Update: Here is a link to the last page of comments.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (358) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hiring Committees 2012-2013

Note: Bumped to the top, 8/25/12; we will continue to bump this post periodically.

Aaaand, we're off! Please share in the comments the following information related to the 2012-2013 law school faculty hiring season:

(a) your school;
(b) the chair of your hiring committee (please note if you have different chairs for entry level and lateral candidates--we hope that this information will be useful for both entry level and lateral candidates);
(c) other members of your hiring committee (again, please note if there is a distinction between entry level and lateral committees); and
(d) any particular subject areas in which your school is looking to hire. 

I will gather this information in a downloadable, sortable spreadsheet. (Click on that link to access the spreadsheet and download it; you can also scroll through the embedded version below.)

You can't make changes to the spreadsheet directly, so please post the information in the comments, or email me directly, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu.

Additionally, last year someone very kindly submitted a spreadsheet of addresses of a subset of law schools, if folks want to create their own mail-merge. You can download it here. (If anyone wants to update or expand it and send me a new version, that would be awesome.)

Update, 7/15/12: At the suggestion of a candidate, I will also collect the number of available faculty positions at each school, if people have this information and want to share it. I will add the information in the "Other" column for the time being, but if I get the information from enough schools I'll start a separate column.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 25, 2012 at 09:56 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (58) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 09, 2012

(Quasi-)Achievements by Declination or Proximity...

It's roughly FAR time now, and I'm up in beloved cottage country in Canada, stealing a few moments while the boys are napping and the wife's away. So, a quick question for prawfs that was raised by some folks as they head out on to the rookie and lateral market: which, if any, *declined* honors or awards or invitations or opportunities do you think one should list on the academic cv? Relatedly, what do you think about near-misses?

I had a recollection, which I recently confirmed, that the cv belonging to one of our connoisseurs of prestige, separately twice listed honors that were declined by him. I've also seen numerous other people list "near-misses" such as Rhodes Scholar finalist. I am curious to hear to what extent those on hiring/tenure committees would welcome such information. (I am also interested to learn what the views of others are too, including those deliberating whether to include such information). 

My own sense is that since the CV is used by committees to do a lot of screening, some information about this stuff would be helpful. For example, if a person was a single mom/dad but had twenty faculty workshop invitations that s/he declined because of caregiving responsibilities, I suspect that would be useful information to know--at least insofar as such workshop invitations are a signal (perhaps a noisy one) of prominence in the field. As for those who are aspiring prawfs, they typically have slim academic cv's and it might be useful to know about the verifiable close-calls or opportunities they have had to turn down in the past as they try to get to where they are.

I reckon lots of people will disagree and view this as largely further evidence of the decline of manners in our ceaselessly debased civilization. [Others clearly believe that including near-misses or opportunities declined dilutes the brand of the achievements that are on there already.] Not sure if this would mollify both sides, but perhaps there should be an appendix/codicil to CV's where one agglomerates these unaccepted honors and invitations or near-misses, and then those who care about them can pay them heed and those who don't care about them just disregard them, with some sympathy to their inclusion based on the always available (though perhaps untrue) reason that his/her mentor (or Dean) must have suggested that's a good idea! Poor thing.

 

 

Posted by Dan Markel on August 9, 2012 at 04:20 PM in Blogging, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

2013-2015 Academic Fellowship Program at the The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School

The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School is currently accepting applications for the 2013-2015 Academic Fellowship Program.  The application deadline is November 16, 2012. 

The Fellowship is a postdoctoral program designed to identify, cultivate and promote promising scholars early in their careers. Fellows are selected from among recent graduates, young academics and mid-career practitioners who are committed to spending two years in residence at the Center pursuing publishable independent research that is likely to make a significant contribution to the field of health law policy, medical innovation policy or bioethics. Our prior fellows have found employment as law professors at Harvard, UC Berkeley, BU, UCLA, Cornell, the University of Arizona, and the University of Illinois. 

Please see the full call for further details regarding eligibility, stipend and benefits, and application requirements: http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/petrie-flom/fellowship/pdf/afcfa2013.pdf

 

Posted by Dan Markel on August 1, 2012 at 09:47 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Sponsored Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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.

Posted by Dan Markel on July 23, 2012 at 08:44 AM in Blogging, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1057) | TrackBack

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Aspiring Law Profs Conference at ASU

I was thrilled to see the discerning judgment of our friends at ASU, who have selected our own Paul Horwitz to be the keynote speaker at the Aspiring Law Professors Conference this fall. The day long gathering takes place in Phoenix in September, so it will also be the Perspiring Law Professors Conference (rimshot!).  There's a gaggle of other prawfs who will be speakers. Well worth your time if you're heading on the market. In any event, here's the relevant information.

Designed for Visiting Assistant Professors, Fellows and others who plan to go on the academic teaching market, but valuable to anyone considering a career as a law professor.

  • Learn to succeed in the entry-level law teaching market
  • Obtain an insiders perspective on the appointments process from faculty with extensive hiring experience
  • Participate in a mock interview or mock job talk and gain feedback from law professors

FEATURING:

Paul HorwitzPaul Horwitz,
Professor Horwitz teaches law and religion, constitutional law, and legal profession. He received his B.A. in English Literature from McGill Universtiy in Montreal in 1990, M.S., with honors, in Journalism from Columbia University in 1991, LL.B. from the University of Toronto in 1995 where he was co-editor-in-chief of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, and LL.M. from Columbia Law School in 1997. Professor Horwitz clerked for the Honorable Ed Carnes of the United Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Before joining the University of Alabama, Professor Horwitz was an associate professor at the Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, the University of San Diego School of Law, and Notre Dame Law School. In addition to having written and spoken widely on issues of constitutional law, Professor Horwitz is a member of the popular legal blog Prawfsblawg

 

Posted by Dan Markel on July 19, 2012 at 09:36 AM in Blogging, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Waiting out the Professor and Clerkship Markets

Prawfsblawg's entry-level hiring report is about to shut down, so my last post as a guest blogger seems like a good time to discuss a strategy that I suspect is underemployed by both faculties hiring assistant professors and judges hiring law clerks.  The strategy is waiting for the market to "clear" and then hiring the most talented people who have fallen through the cracks.  I want to posit here that the strategy is underutilized in both the law professor and clerkship hiring markets.

Chicago is the relatively rare elite law school that does a lot of entry-level hiring.   In a typical year we will interview 20-25 candidates and read work by perhaps 80 more candidates. As a result, we vet almost all of the very strongest candidates on the market each year.  Sometimes, our own assessments of someone's work or our tastes will differ sharply from those of a peer school.  Sometimes, a school will hire someone who isn't officially on the market.  But even accounting for those cases we will usually vet most of the entry-level candidates who are getting hired at the "top" schools (however defined).  Every year we will also interview talented candidates who aren't offered tenure track positions at any law school.  And those folks are the ones I want to focus on.

To the best of my knowledge, there are very few non-elite schools that try to wait out the market, figure out who is unjustifiably "dropping on draft boards," and snap that person up.   Instead, a number of non-elite schools shy away from candidates who look high-end at the outset.  Other schools set up interviews with bullet-proof candidates very early in the process and then suffer cancellations when the candidates get too many great AALS interview requests.

I recognize that a lot of schools are slot / subject matter constrained, and with narrow and technical subjects there may not be enough plausible candidates in the pool to justify a waiting strategy.  But when a school that has trouble getting its first choices is looking for best athletes or hiring in an area where there are a few dozen candidates in the FAR registry with the right set of interests, I suspect there is a lot to be gained by waiting, and reaching out to candidates a month or so after AALS.  

A related fascinating aspect of the entry level hiring market is the structural hole that exists in the social network of appointments committee chairs.  Peer schools talk to each other and share information about who each school is seeing and how particular candidates did in interviews.  But appointments committee chairs are evidently much less likely to speak with counterparts at schools whose rankings differ sharply.  That is a missed opportunity for the less elite schools.  Within a week or so of the AALS, an appointments committee chair from an elite school is likely to have a good sense of which "Rashard Lewis" candidates have a lot to offer but are nevertheless likely to drop on draft boards for whatever reason.  Yet these conversations, as best I can tell, rarely occur.   

The same thing happens with federal clerkship hiring.  Every year each law school that produces a lot of clerks can probably identify a couple of really outstanding students who had  interviews with great judges but wound up with no clerkship when the music stopped.   I am sure that on September 14 of this year, there will be terrific clerkship candidates at every top law school who were not offered a clerkship.  Some will have subpar interviewing skills, but most will be victims of bad luck.  Federal judges who wish to remain "on plan" but hate the madness that is September 13 would do really well to call up law schools on September 14 or 15 and say, "Who is your best person who got shut out on the 13th?"  I for one would be be delighted to field such calls and help judges find the right match.

There is a potentially important distinction between the two markets.  Clerkships are a one- (or sometimes two-) year gig.  A clerk who is dejected after striking out on September 13 is going to be extremely loyal to a late-mover judge and will be motivated to do wonderful work.  With professors, there is some danger that the candidate who dropped will not want to stick around at the school that hired him or her for that long.  Having said that, I suspect that a law school is much more likely to engender loyalty in a rising star by waiting out the market and coming to the rescue than by making an exploding offer that a candidate feels forced to accept.  So I do think that for a school that wants to hire ambitious but loyal professors, trying to wait out the market is a smart approach.

Like many strategies, waiting out the market won't work well if most schools try it.  But right now, my impression is that almost no law faculties and few judges are pursuing the strategy.  It's a market failure that smart "Moneyball" employers would do well to explot.    

That'll be my sign-off.  Thanks to Dan and the gang for inviting me to return to Prawfsblawg.  And thanks for reading.

Posted by Lior Strahilevitz on May 3, 2012 at 11:00 AM in Entry Level Hiring Report, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We are all Empiricists Now, so Which Empiricists Should We Hire?

Evidently, we are all empiricists now.  Except for me.  But even I have a cool randomized field experiment in-progress with David Abrams, so I'll become an empiricist in no time, at least by some people's definition.  Phase one: Collect data.  Phase two: ????  Phase three: Profit. 

Anyway, the Brian Leiter thread on empiricists, general frustration at identifying the right criteria for classifying empiricsts, and the subsequent comments ("My earlier post cataloguing School X's eight empirical legal scholars neglected to mention my dear friend and colleague, the multi-talented empiricist Slobotnik.  Signed, mortified School X booster.") provide an opportunity to ask what sorts of empiricists should be hired in the legal academy.  I recognize that the answer some people will provide is "none."  I'm not addressing that crowd, though I am raising some issues that might be helpful to people who are skeptical about empiricist hiring in general on law faculties. 

Here, then, are a few thoughts about how to hire entry-level quantitative empiricists with PhDs in disciplines like Political Science or Economics, as well as a coda about what many empiricists should be doing as the "field" matures.  Hiring qualitative empiricists or experimentalists is a different ball of wax entirely, so I'm not really writing about those sorts of hiring decisions.  My views are informed by having been a member of a law school's faculty appointments committee for most of the last decade (with trips to seven of the last ten AALS hiring conferences, for the quantitatively minded).  They do not reflect the views of my institution.  And my views don't match up perfectly with the way I have voted internally. I'll omit obvious advice like (a) hire smart people, and (b) fill curricular needs:

1. Ignore the findings.  The legal academy probably focuses too much attention on the results of the empirical research project, particularly when hiring entry-level scholars.  This is an empirically testable claim, but my impression is that entry level scholars with highly significant results do better on the market than candidates with marginally significant or null results.  If this effect exists, it is largely pernicious.  It rewards blind luck, it promotes the testing of questions that the empiricist already has strong intuitions about, it encourages entry-level scholars to write tons of papers (with less care) or run countless regressions until they find an interesting result, and it reinforces existing publication biases, which tend to publicize significant results and bury null results.  Subject to the caveats below, we should not expect someone who achieved a highly significant result in paper A to be particularly likely to achieve a highly significant result in paper B . . . unless the scholar in question falsified data in paper A and wants to press her luck.  But when you're doing entry level hiring, you really ought to care about papers B, C, and D.  Which is why you should (almost) ignore paper A's findings. 

2. Emphasize the methodology.  Now the caveat to suggestion 1.  Sometimes what's driving a highly significant result is a methodological breakthrough or the construction of a large new data set.  These efforts or achievements should be rewarded.  Someone who had a methodological breakthrough in paper A is plausibly more likely to have further breakthroughs in paper B.  (Again, this is testable.)  Someone who assembled a massive data set is likely displaying the work ethic and care that will serve them well in future projects.  The same goes with framing a really interesting question, ideally one where either a null result or a highly significant result is revealing.  Now, there are two major problems with emphasizing methodology.  First, scholars genuinely making significant methodological breakthroughs are likely to go to Economics or Political Science departments so they can hang around with other researchers who are making methdological breakthroughs.  Second, most law faculties don't have enough good empiricists to evaluate the empirical chops of a teched-up entry-level candidate.  These faculties tend to lean heavily on references.  And most references are relatively unreliable.  (Except for me. And you!)  The only things less reliable than references are outside letters and amicus briefs. 

3. Hire candidates who intend to grab low-hanging fruit.  There are important fields in legal scholarship where empirical scholarship has largely saturated the market.  Setting aside extremely gifted candidates, these are areas where it is easy to pile up citations and hard to make much of an impact.  I think that's become true of Corporate and Securities law, as well as judicial behavior, and  the bar may be getting higher for quantitative empiricists writing in these areas.  But there are other areas of law where great empirical scholarship is harder to come by: Civil Procedure, Comparative Public Law, Bankruptcy, and Health Law.  Ok, you might have caught on to what I did there, having just mentioned the specializations of the last four JD/PhD empiricists hired by Chicago. Of course, these hires happen to be brilliant too; and that doesn't hurt.  That's not to say we didn't try to hire a couple empiricists in fields where the low-hanging fruit has been picked.  But the trend may be meaningful.

4. Hire empiricists who have really practiced law.  This is a hedging strategy.  A fair number of empiricists on the market have little evident interest in legal doctrine and seem poised to become middling or worse teachers and colleagues.  An empiricist who has actually practiced law at a high level and seemed to have this practice experience inform her research agenda is a relatively good bet to add value to the institution even if the research winds up only being ok.  My understanding is that at least one major law school that launched a JD/PhD program refused to let its JD/PhD candidates participate in on-campus interviewing or otherwise utilize the Career Services office to pursue non-academic jobs  . . . [Shakes head].  

5. What will we do with all of these empiricists?  Some empiricists have become or will become superstar researchers.  Most will not.  An interesting question going forward is what the latter group should do with their time.  I would hope that non-superstar empirical scholars increasingly turn their attention to replicating highly significant work by others upon which policymakers have relied.  If my hunch about results-driven hiring is correct, then the temptation of entry-level scholars to falsify data is strong.  I worry that some scholars will give in to temptation.  A good faculty workshop can catch all kinds of errors in the data.  Many good questions are asked about robustness.  But such a workshop will be unlikely to unmask intentional falsehoods in the underlying data - that typically takes a lot of time and attention.  I suspect that the legal academy is presently at a point where trying to replicate famous empirical results - using new data sets ideally - may represent some of the most socially useful low-hanging fruit, especially in fields that are heavily populated by empiricists. 

Such replication is usually not methodologically innovative, so it probably isn't the wisest work for most entry-level scholars to do, given the obsession most faculties have with "high upside" hires.  But for established empirical scholars who have largely reached their ceilings, a renewed emphasis on replication would be most welcome.  This is an alternative to the "teaching colleges" approach discussed elsewhere.  It is probably not wise to ask average-ish tenured JD / PhDs to give up research and focus exclusively on teaching.  But it is perhaps more appropriate to ask that they try to maximize the social value of their research, and keeping the profession honest through replication may be the best way to accomplish that end.     

Update:

Jon Klick offered the following additional thoughts, with which I largely agree:

Ideally, you do want someone who knows the difference between a true null/zero and a statistically imprecise result.  Further, to some extent, statistical precision will be endogenous to research design.  All other things equal, a better design (or using more appropriate data) is more likely to lead to either identifying a true zero or else a statistically significant result.  This suggests that there is some information content about the candidate’s skills included in the finding of a statistically significant result.  As for zero/insignificant results, assuming the candidate can speak thoughtfully about whether it is a true zero vs a limitation in the research design and/or inherently noisy data, I agree that we shouldn’t downgrade a candidate on that basis.

There’s another important sense where the results matter.  Econometric work (really any statistical work) is as much art as science, so there are times when you do everything right and you come up with some crazy result that is almost certainly wrong.  Unsophisticated/immature empirical researchers often present results like these and come up with some post hoc rationalization.  This is a very bad sign.  A sophisticated/talented empirical researcher knows to either re-think his design or to abandon the research and move onto something else in these cases. 

I do worry about the problem of "crazy" results being abandoned and never seeing the light of day.  As a Bayesian, I want to know about crazy results, null results, and every other kind of result.  I certainly feel that a good empirical scholar ought to caveat the heck out of those crazy results and other scholars citing that work need to understand those caveats to contextualize the results. 

Posted by Lior Strahilevitz on April 17, 2012 at 10:40 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2011-2012

NB: Bounced to the front.

The 2011-2012 law school hiring market has begun. Time for the while-the-market-is-happening information-gathering posts. 

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. Dan Markel will keep an eye on things and delete misinformation and anything else he finds out of bounds.

In the distinct but related post, 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?

Update: The most recent comments are here

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on February 17, 2012 at 06:41 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (505) | TrackBack

Saturday, February 11, 2012

VAPs and Fellowships: Open Thread, 2011-2012

As requested, here is this year's open thread in which comments can be shared regarding news of appointments to VAPs or similar fellowships (for example, the Climenko and Bigelow).  (Here is last year's thread.)

Update: We have an aggregator! Below is the spreadsheet, which you can view and download here.

Additionally, this link will always take you to the last page of comments for this thread.

From the aggregator:

The column titles should be self-explanatory. Most columns are populated by dates, each of which may have a descriptor next to it indicating (method of notification) AND/OR [slots filled/total slots].

Dates correspond to the posting date or the date I (VAP Aggregator) received an email directly.

Reports on some programs leave outstanding questions based on the information provided. I have highlighted those in yellow in the hopes folks will provide additional info.  (Committees, you are especially encouraged to correct me if I make a mistake!)

Some programs are not running this year (either via their webpage and/or reports). I have marked those rows in gray, but preserved them to help make the spreadsheet reusable next year.

Submit any questions/comments/corrections to vapaggregator (at) gmail (dot) com.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on February 11, 2012 at 10:57 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (328) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Potentially Important Law Faculty Hiring Decision...

I'm not a First Amendment scholar, nor am I an employment discrimination scholar. I did, however, go through a hiring process twice, and this decision by the Eighth Circuit surprised the heck out of me. The gist of the opinion is that a jury must decide if a professor who was not hired at a public law school was discriminated against in violation of Section 1983. The allegation, quite simply, is that she was conservative and a liberal faculty (or more specifically, the dean following the recommendation of the faculty) refused to hire her.

The court held that this is a legally cognizable injury, and that a jury has to decide whether she wouldn't have been hired anyway.

For those of you on the market this year (or thinking about it), the case is also an insightful view into the black box of academic hiring. It shows how mixed signals can occur, and how uniformly positive feedback can still not lead to getting hired for all sorts of reasons outside of the candidates' control. I won't comment on the reasoning or facts in this case, because I just don't know them. That is, as they say, up to the jury now.

One final point - there is a key faculty governance nugget buried in this case. One factual question was whether the dean always followed faculty recommendations, and/or whether the dean must. While most deans follow almost all faculty hiring recommendations, they usually (technically) don't have to. One issue in this case is that no such policy was in writing. After this case, deans might want to put such a policy in writing for self protection, but maybe the deans (or university provosts and presidents) won't want discretion so limited.

 

H/T How Appealing

Posted by Michael Risch on December 28, 2011 at 04:08 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Workplace Law | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On the Move

Jane Yakowitz and I have accepted offers from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. We're excited to join such a talented group! But, we'll miss our Brooklyn friends. Come visit us in Tucson!

Posted by Derek Bambauer on December 14, 2011 at 05:39 PM in Current Affairs, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Housekeeping, Information and Technology, Intellectual Property, Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Monday, December 12, 2011

ISO Model Recent Job Talks

A big part of my job running a fellowship program to prepare entry-level candidates for teaching in health law, bioethics, and biotechnology, is helping my fellows prepare top-notch job talk papers. What makes a good job talk paper is not at all self-evident to someone beginning the process (or even a few years in), and one of the first things I suggest they do is read the job talk papers by our fellows in the last several years and we discuss them.

This is got me thinking it might be a good service to the blogosphere in general (and prospective entry-levels in particular) if we could generate a list of good recent job talk papers that capture the genre (or perhaps genres) of the entry-level job talk paper well, and also highlight what we think is good about these papers.

Below I will list two, but what is more important is that I hope others will use the comments section to suggest others to read.

I should emphasize that a "model" job talk paper is not equivalent to the person who did the best on the market, or gave the best job talk. Some job talk papers have a bit of a high risk/high reward feel to them, where the force of the personality delivering them or their skill at Q & A makes them work rather than the actual paper itself. So what I have in mind as a "model" paper is something that is "solid" even more so than "brilliant."

With those caveats, here are two I'd recommend, but I really hope others will add other entry-level papers from the last 5 years or so...

Abigail Moncrieff, Federalism Snowballs: The Need for National Action in Medical Malpractice Reform

Christopher Robertson, Blind Expertise

This list is obviously somewhat parochial -- both were former fellows at my center. Why did I think these were really good?

A few reasons: Both have a simple yet powerful, graspable, easily summarized idea at their core that will appeal to people in many different legal fields/theoretical orientations. Around this juicy center, they layer a significant amount of methodological/field specification (more political economic for Moncrieff, more game theoretical for Robertson). The insight is raised in a specific context but has ready application beyond it. Finally, each nicely sets up a larger more generative project/research agenda for the author (on expertise and bias for Robertson, on health care federalism for Moncrieff).

Posted by Glenn Cohen on December 12, 2011 at 08:59 PM in Article Spotlight, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Makes a Good Fellowship Program?

I co-direct the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School, which has an academic fellowship program for those who want to pursue academic careers at the intersection of law and health policy, bioethics, and biotechnology. We've had a pretty good run, placing two fellows at Harvard, and one each at Berkeley, UCLA, Cornell, BU, Illinois, and Arizona.  I've also observed the Climenko fellow program at Harvard at fairly close range, and other fellowship programs elsewhere a little more distantly as I see students, mentees, or friends take them to go on the market.  And I was a fellow myself.

I think there are an interesting set of questions relating to in what ways the increased prominence of fellowships is a good thing (including what effect they have on how many years of practice the average prof has before starting, the way in which taking 2 years at a very reduced pay may mean these are only open to candidates with certain kinds of income or family obligations, etc), but for this post I want to instead focus on the question: what makes a fellowship program successful? Another way of putting the question that may be particularly relevant at this time of year for those on the fellowship market, what should they be looking for?

Here are some thoughts I have on the matter (no doubt with biases shaped by my own experience and now running a fellowship) in no particular order, but I would definitely love to get others in on the conversation....

1. Quarterbacks: Good fellowship programs take people who will have strong recommenders on the faculty and at least one "quarterback" for every fellow. The "quarterback" (a term I've heard others use), is someone who not only passively recommends a candidate but pushes for them hard, advises them on the market, prods their other recommenders, etc.

Fellowships that are subject-matter specific have an advantage in that those selecting fellows are also the presumptive recommenders and quarterbacks, such that there is a strong amount of buy-in. General fellowships like Climenko work hard to try and do this pairing after a fellow arrives -- I know they assign each Climenko a set of three faculty readers -- but in some programs there may be a gap between those doing the hiring and those who have the subject matter expertise in terms of what they think of a fellow's project. Thus, fellows (once extended an offer) should probe who on the faculty will be assigned to them, whether that person has consented to this arrangement, is an active mentors, and knows their work. They should also think about subject matter and methodological fit.

2. Time. In my opinion, any fellowship offering less than 2 full years of support will make it hard for a fellow to successfully be ready for the market. Fellowships like mine with no required teaching have their benefits -- more time to write -- and their drawbacks -- no teaching evaluations of you when you go on the market, but fellows should get a real sense just how onerous the teaching is. 

Relatedly, I think the more teaching you can do in your own field, the better. You get lots of writing ideas and sophistication from teaching an area. Moreover, if you get an academic job you will be able to have the time you invested here not go to waste.

3. Moot job talk, Moot interview, Other feedback opportunities.

All the fellowships at Harvard Law guarantee those who want them a moot job talk before the faculty, a set of moot interviews, and lots of other feedback opportunities. These are hugely helpful. This is particularly true of the moot job talks which are "public" among the fellows and faculty such that first year fellows can watch the second year fellows on the market do these moot job talks and get a sense of what works and doesn't at the writing stage. These workshops also improve acculturation into talking like a law prof, with all the familiar workshop tropes most of us are now familiar with.

More generally, I think the more structured the fellowship program (outline your first paper by this date to present to your mentors, first full draft here, etc) the better in that it prevents candidates from imploding towards the end or being crushed by perfectionist tendencies.

4. General Institutional Buy-In: This is hard to see from the outside (though I think the Bigelow program, for example, has a good history in this regard). How seriously does the law school take the program? Are the fellows underpaid labor, or are they full members of the intellectual community? These can be subtle things like are fellows allowed to ask questions at workshops or is the norm that they sit quietly? Are they given access to students as RAs as the regular faculty are? Are fellows invited to talks by visiting guests and other social activities where the faculty congregate?

5. Considering Their Own: On this and other blogs there has been significant discussion of the various policies in this regard. But, all things being equal, it is much better to be in a fellowship that might lead to a job at that institution. I know that Harvard, Columbia, and Chicago have all hired their own fellows more than once, but there may be other schools with good track records in this regard too that I don't know about. It is perfectly appropriate for someone with a fellowship offer to ask about the institution's rule in this regard when evaluating that offer.

Posted by Glenn Cohen on November 27, 2011 at 11:01 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Law School Hiring, 2011-2012, Thread Two

NB: Bounced to the front every ten days or so.

We invite those on the market to leave comments on this thread regarding whether they have received:

(a) a callback from a law school and/or accepted it; or

(b) an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer, including teaching load, research leave, etc. A school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer and may still have some slots open.

Law professors may also choose to provide information that is relevant to the entry-level or the lateral market.  

Miscellaneous:

1. If you don't want your contact information displayed, enter anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

2. Members of hiring committees, if you see something incorrect in the comments (e.g., someone says they have an offer at your school, but you haven't made any offers), please email me directly, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will delete or amend the comment and adjust the spreadsheet, and if the person at that IP address persists in posting incorrect information, I will block the IP address. 

3. All information should come in through the comments. Our aggregator will use a spreadsheet to aggregate the information.  Only the aggregator will be able to edit the spreadsheet, but when the aggregator edits the spreadsheet, those changes will be reflected in the embedded, downloadable version below.

Here is the spreadsheet, which is downloadable.

Please be patient with the aggregator, who will try to update this spreadsheet once a day, but may have a job, and perhaps may even be on the market.

Good luck!

Additional Links:

There is a  separate thread, "A Clearinghouse for Questions," for general questions or comments about the teaching market. Please do not use the thread below for general questions or comments. (Such comments will be deleted, not out of hostility or in a judgy way, just to keep this thread focused.)

There's quite a cache of materials relevant to the law job market under the archive category Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market.  The clearinghouse for questions thread from 2010-2011 is here.

This year's first hiring thread is here. Comments on that thread are now closed.

Update: the last page of comments is here.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on November 9, 2011 at 03:21 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (158) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Job talks: topics to avoid

Once again the law blogosphere is alive with discussions of the hiring process.  A few years ago (okay, six) I posted some job talk topics that I thought candidates should avoid.  Since recycling is now part of our moral duty, I'm recycling this old material -- with five new topics added in to justify it.

Here are the top-ten topics to avoid from 2005:

10.  Time Travel and Originalism: Using Technology to Learn What the Founders Really Meant

9.  The Right to Bear Arms Should Include Surface-to-Air Missiles

8.  The Law and Economics of Negligence: What I Learned in 1L Torts

7.  The Sex Life of Law Students: My Three-Year Empirical Study

6. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?  A Deontological Approach to Epistemological Failure

5.  The Law & Economics of Law & Order

4.  La Cosa Blogstra: Why volokh.com is a Criminal Conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 371

3.  Barking Up the (Wrong) Poisonous Tree: Is Tainted Evidence Admissible If It Would Have Been Found By Dogs?

2.  Parsing Rule 10b-5: Thoughts from Das Kapital

1.  In re Random Corp. Class Action Litigation: Illuminating Points I Made in My Brief

 

I think #9 looks a little different in hindsight, no?  And here are five more:

11.  Rethinking the Eighteenth Amendment: An Argument for Repeal

12. Scoop or Else: Using DNA Evidence to Track Down Dog Waste Offenders

13. Chicken Chicken?: A Response to Chicken Chicken Chicken: Chicken Chicken

14. Don't Mess with Texas: Why Secession Just Makes Sense

15. Capital Punishment for Misdemeanor Offenses: A Retributive Approach

Posted by Matt Bodie on October 27, 2011 at 03:42 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Leiter on Timing of Callbacks

Brian Leiter has a very helpful discussion of the timing of post-AALS conference callbacks.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on October 16, 2011 at 07:18 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Last Five Minutes of the AALS Meat Market Interview

At the Faculty Lounge, Bridget Crawford has a post about the hiring interview.  She notes that her school sends candidates a memo prior to interviews with "information about our summer research grants, conference funding, research assistants, summer works-in-progress series, term-time colloquia with outside speakers,  internal workshops, course relief policies, etc."  I think that's a terrific idea, and completely applaud it.  I've talked here before about thinking about the duties of both candidates and hiring committees.  Given the strongly emerging norm that candidates are coming in with a written research agenda to give to schools, it seems fitting to me that hiring committees can do something in return.  

Given the memo, she writes, she finds it especially silly that candidates then, when asked if they have further questions, still ask what research support the school offers.  That's a fair point, although I think that we can leaven it with a good deal of mercy: it's tough enough to figure out where you're going at the Marriott Wardman, let alone to remember all the materials you've looked at from a school.  And then, quite frankly, although law schools differ in all kinds of ways, it seems to me that this is an area in which the differences between them are not generally profound (although there are outliers in either direction).  

Given the duties of hiring committees, rather than candidates, perhaps a better question to ask is what those committees can do to make the last five minutes of an interview useful.  

The memo certainly helps, and again I think Bridget and her school deserve praise for it, but evidently it doesn't help enough.  Especially given that the whole process is about to start, perhaps we can think collectively about what would make those last five minutes more useful and less canned.

Generally, when I serve on the hiring committee, I take it upon myself in the last few minutes to talk a little about what I think makes my school distinct, what actually distinguishes it from other schools or at least makes it a good place to work.  That might make for a more productive and useful exchange with candidates, who will at least know what one faculty member thinks is special about this particular school and be able to respond to it with particular questions (or canned responses like "that sounds great," but who can blame them).  

The other thing I think gets way too little attention at the meat market, and in discussions of the meat market, is that we are asking candidates to think about moving somewhere.  Although I sometimes harbor the suspicion that what everyone really wants to know is whether there will be a decent number of acceptable Thai restaurants in town (remember--my next project is about class/social status and the legal academy, so Thai restaurants, as a proxy, have been much on my mind lately), the fact is that moving somewhere is a major step.  Some candidates--especially, in my view, those who have always moved in elite circles--clearly have not thought much about what that entails.  But whether they are moving themselves, or a whole family, this is an incredibly important point.  Especially if research support packages are mostly pretty fungible, and I think they are, it ought to matter a lot more what life is like after hours.  What are the housing costs, and what kinds of neighborhoods are there?  Do faculty live near each other, or is it an urban school where faculty live all over the place?  What are the schools like for kids?  What job opportunities are there for spouses?  What's the community like as a community?  All these are tremendously important questions.  

I personally have loved living in Tuscaloosa--where there is a lovely historical district and faculty can afford lovely places to live--and for reasons I didn't necessarily anticipate.  I understand that the Deep South is foreign territory to some candidates, especially if they have been slumming it in Cambridge and Arlington for the past 25 years.  But I have found that I have an incredibly strong network of friends here, not just from the law faculty but from across the university and outside the university too.  Our son was born here and was significantly premature; when we went into the hospital, a neighbor ran over to look after our daughter, a faculty colleague soon came over, spent the night, and looked after my daughter in the morning; we had tons of visitors and care while my wife was in the hospital and lots of support after my son was born and spent ten weeks in the NICU.  My wife ran for and won a seat on the city board of education, and is deeply involved in civic affairs.  When we take our kids places, we run into tons of friends with their own kids.  We shared a beach house at Gulf Shores this fall with eight other families and their kids, all of them involved in the university in various ways and none of them at the law school.  We will see many of them tonight at the local Hillel sukkah.  Our friends run local arts activities, and I help select films for the annual Jewish Film Festival.  And on and on.  Candidates often ask about proximity to Birmingham, and I get that; but what I am struck by, in terms of what has made my life here in Tuscaloosa so full, is the powerful sense of community I have here.  The fact that, as everyone should know, we were struck by a tornado has, in a sense, made life here even more precious.  You learn a lot about a community in times of adversity.

Perhaps candidates ought to think more strongly about what makes life in particular places unique and special, and what tradeoffs are involved.  (Among other things, they might think more carefully about the frequent bias in favor of living in one of the standard big cities.  It's not just that life there is expensive.  It's that your colleagues will probably be scattered far and wide, the school will have more of a commuter vibe, and you may get lots of bookstores and Thai restaurants but lose a good deal of community and quality of life.)  And perhaps hiring committees can say more about what unexpected challenges and benefits they have found in living in a particular place.  These kinds of rich details and thick commitments are a major part of our lives, and they can lead to discussions that are far more productive, and more important to a person's day-to-day life, than "what support do you offer for faculty research." 

Posted by Paul Horwitz on October 12, 2011 at 10:20 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Paul Horwitz | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack