Saturday, August 20, 2011

A few thoughts on writing and shame

Thanks to someone on FB whose name I can't recall, I came across this essay  about the experience of shame in the process of academic writing. Take a look at it if you've not seen it yet. Once you have, come back to this post and tell me your reactions. My sense is that some people simply sound wonderful on the page from the moment they put fingers to keyboard. (This must be true, for example, of Paul Horwitz, Chad Oldfather, Rick Hills and Dan Kahan, right?). Sadly, those dudes have done comparatively little to open the kimono regarding their creative process. But if they are like most of us mortals, I think it bears mention and reminder upon reminder, especially for all the aspiring prawfs who read this blog and others like it, that the process of producing good academic scholarship in clear prose takes real sustained effort.*  

On that note, I recall with affection the story, perhaps apocryphal, of John Kenneth Galbraith, the Harvard luminary known for his econ and style. As the tale goes, Galbraith was presiding over a public celebration of his zillionth birthday or book in Cambridge. He was taking questions from the audience. A middle-aged woman asked: Professor Galbraith, how on earth do you get your prose to read so effortlessly? And, in an uncharacteristic flourish of candor and modesty, he said: well, after the 15th draft, I sure hope it looks effortless.

I am no Galbraith. In my own case, I number my drafts beginning 1.0 and they frequently go well past 10.0 (that is 100 or more drafts).  The first fifty drafts or so are typically drenched with shame and marinated in self-disgust. But still I plod on. Gotta feed the boys, right? Anyway, as it is, the project on punishment and democracy that I've been working on since February is now at version 10.4, and it hasn't even begun the editing process from the students.  It took me an unconscionably long time to realize what I wanted to argue but with the help of some good friends (yes, Cahill, it's principally your fault), I'm now more sure I'm saying something quirky and sound enough to lose the self-disgust. It's not yet up on SSRN, however. That's the signal that I'm still surrendering to the shame of the writing process, with a white flag around my neck.

I hope to overcome that particular bout of shame soon. But if it lingers, it may have to do with related anxieties about the connection between style and argument. Because I write principally in the philosophy of crime and punishment, I've frequently tried to strip my scholarship of any baroque tendencies that I would otherwise indulge. The topic itself is already abstruse. So, just the arguments, so much as I can bear. For me, sadly, the arguments take a while to develop and once I get there, I want to protect them from various objections; as a result, I still write really long articles. Thus, insofar as a writerly style has emerged, it's one that involves less verve and splash than I might otherwise prefer.

Because I want the arguments and not the art to perform their coercive task, I often feel my once-creative writing muscles and imagination have atrophied. And so the real shame I experience with my writing is

a fear that my beloved vocation has flattened, if not quite deadened, my soul.  Law school may be to blame: as the trope goes, it sharpens but narrows the mind. If what I read is any gauge, when I was in college, I was more of a fox than a hedgehog. Now, I think I'm a hedgehog with much less tolerance for reading or listening to foxes. And so I wonder: can hedgehogs still be interesting? Can they write coercively and creatively?

If the examples I mentioned at the outset are any indicator, the answer is clearly yes. So what is to be done? I'm curious to hear what others have done to retain or recover the palette of language or to overcome the various experiences of shame and the writing process.

 *That's partly a word of caution to the folks in the sheets who are practicing and who think they can just gin up a job talk paper in a couple months or less. In most cases, good prawfs will sniff out mediocrity or worse within a few pages of reading.

Posted by Dan Markel on August 20, 2011 at 03:05 PM in Article Spotlight, Blogging, Dan Markel, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Teaching Law in the UK

There's a wide array of information regarding the market for teaching law jobs in the US but I recently got asked an interesting and related question: specifically, does anyone know of any sources regarding how to get a prawfy-type job in the UK, especially if you have US or Canadian credentials? Thoughts or links in the comments are appreciated.

Posted by Dan Markel on August 10, 2011 at 04:05 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday, August 05, 2011

Hiring Subject Areas 2011-2012

Thank you to everyone for contributing to the Hiring Chairs spreadsheet. Keep that information coming, either by commenting on the Hiring Chairs post or by emailing me, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu. Also, here's a (downloadable, sortable) list of subjects schools are looking for, listed by subject, instead of by school.

The spreadsheet is current as of the time and date of this post. It will not update automatically, so if you are looking at the spreadsheet after that date, you may not be getting full information. I will update this Subject Areas spreadsheet irregularly, and indicate on the spreadsheet the date as of which it's current. All the same information is on the main spreadsheet, which is updated constantly; the information is just organized here differently.

(This should go without saying, but of course this is not complete information IN ANY WAY. It is just the other spreadsheet with columns consolidated and resorted. It is based only on information posted in the comments on the hiring chairs post or emailed to me. Etc., etc.)

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 5, 2011 at 06:17 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ten Tips for Aspiring Prawfs

Many thanks to Dan for the opportunity to guest blog for the month of August.  By way of introduction, my teaching and research focus on constitutional law, civil rights, national security, employment discrimination, and education law.  This inaugural post is not about me, my scholarship, or the law -- it is dedicated to candidates on the entry-level “meat market.”

A year ago, I submitted my FAR form to law schools around the country in hopes of securing a tenure-track faculty position.  Today, I am settling in to my new office at the University of New Mexico School of Law, excited to be part of this institution and the broader legal academy, eager to help students enhance their understanding of the law, and hopeful that I will be able to make meaningful contributions to the academic community and to society more generally.  Getting from there to here is a long process.  Though I now find myself on the tail end of it, I remember what it was like to get excited when a number with an out-of-town area code popped up on my cell phone, to check this web site regularly for information and insights, and to contemplate living in areas of the nation I had never visited -- or even thought of visiting.  I can relate to those just starting out on the brave path to a faculty appointment. 

Below, I synthesize some of the useful guidance I received along my journey through the hiring process, and supplement these tips with some thoughts of my own.   

1.  Framing: The most helpful suggestion I received was all about perception.  There are obvious benefits to a tenure-track faculty position, such as a good salary and the ability to change the lives of students and others through teaching and scholarship.  And there are benefits of a more intangible nature, such as validation and respect.  In other words, a lot hangs in the balance.  The tendency may be, for those on the market, to focus on the gatekeepers in the process -- initially, these are professors on the faculty appointments committees who sift through the hundreds of FAR forms and interview selected candidates at the AALS Conference.  It can be intimidating and stressful to focus on them.  Indeed, these professors stand between you and the aforementioned professional and personal rewards of a career in law teaching.  And, compounding the situation, these professors may have many years of experience, be prolific scholars, be graduates of top law schools, and/or be former Supreme Court clerks.  They're a barrier to entry and an imposing one at that.

As I was told, however, the focus should be on you, not them.  Candidates likely seek a faculty position for personally stimulating and fulfilling reasons, for example, because they enjoy exploring some aspect of the law or assisting students grow into effective practitioners.  Interviews at the AALS Conference are an opportunity for you to demonstrate that excitement and to showcase what you believe you can bring to the table.  You’re already a serious thinker about the law -- while your CV may indicate this, you should give life to the bullet points.  Take advantage of the opportunity to grip a receptive audience with your demonstrated and growing commitment to and interest in the law.  

(To be sure, this is not to justify or encourage arrogance or overconfidence on the part of the candidate. It is only to reorient a candidate’s perspective such that he or she may draw inspiration from and find a source of comfort in his or her existing qualities rather than be frozen by the specter of facing a room of seasoned and esteemed professors.) 

2.  Control: If you don’t receive a call for an interview, a call-back, or an offer, don’t instinctively take it personally.  As qualified or as impressive as you may be, getting an interview, call-back, or offer is not as simple as the gatekeepers recognizing that you have promise as a scholar or teacher.  There are a number of factors, most of which are not under your control, which go into determining whether the faculty can act favorably on your application.  These include, but are not limited to, how many professors a school can hire given their budget and related administrative considerations, whether any faculty are leaving the school and if so in what area(s), whether a school has a curricular need in your area(s) of specialty, and who else is on the market such as a lateral with more experience and an established reputation.

There’s no point in worrying about all the different moving parts involved in faculty appointment decisions because a lot of them having nothing to do with you personally.  Accordingly, appreciate how much is not in your hands and relax as a consequence. 

3. Excitement: The faculty appointments committees at law schools review hundreds of applications.  They invest significant time into the appointments process, even though they have many other commitments and obligations, including teaching a normal caseload and working on scholarship.  They are an overworked bunch.  Then, they come to the AALS Conference where they conduct a number of 30-minute interviews back-to-back over the course of two consecutive days. 

Candidates interviewing at the AALS Conference should bring some energy to the room.  If you are not excited about your work and activities, it is not likely that the committee will be either.  Be passionate about your experience, what you hope to accomplish, and the law school you are appearing before.  To help me get “psyched” for my interviews, I listened to my iPod and specifically to songs that I knew were going to get me in an energetic mood (for me, Lil’ Wayne’s “Right Above It” and Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” did the trick). 

4. Environment: Listening to music speaks to another key element of the AALS Conference, namely maintaining a positive environment around you that is conducive to bringing out your best and that eliminates or reduces any adverse stimuli.  For example, last year, at the candidates’ lounge, I found three faculty hopefuls debating Bush v. Gore seemingly to impress or intimidate each other rather than to discuss genuinely the merits of or problems with the opinion.  I am not a fan of such posturing and as a result located a quiet spot on the second floor of the hotel where I could rest in relative peace between my interviews.  (On the topic of time between interviews, the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, where the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference is held, is expansive and its layout can be confusing.  As a result, it is recommended that candidates schedule their interviews to give themselves enough time to get from one room or tower to the next.)

5.  Homework: Be prepared to answer some questions that are fairly common during the interviews, including what would you like to teach or what is your ideal teaching package; why are you interested in our school; what is or what will be your teaching style; what is your research agenda; is there a theme to your scholarship; do you anticipate your scholarship going in a new direction; etc. 

At the end of the interview, you likely will be asked if you have any questions for the recruitment committee.  You should have questions ready.  Be familiar with the law school in order for you to tailor your responses to the school and demonstrate credibly an interest in that school.  An absence of questions or an ability to relate your responses to the school may be construed as a lack of interest in the school itself.  Finally, be prepared to substantively discuss writings listed on your CV -- a professor on the committee has likely read one or more of your articles. 

6.  Don’t Rock the Boat: In your responses, you may be tempted to disclose some innovative way in which you want to change legal education.  The interview may not be an ideal moment to bring up your grand theory.  The faculty members with whom you’ll be speaking have been operating in an entrenched structure, and it may not be best for a mere candidate to propose, at this very early stage, say a radical idea that will alter the way in which law students learn.  ‘Get tenure, then change the system,’ so I’ve heard.  If you cannot resist talking about your breakthrough suggestion, add that you are nonetheless eager to receive the guidance and input of more senior faculty members who can help determine whether the idea is workable at this particular institution or elsewhere. 

Relatedly, you want to come across as a team player, one who works well with ohers and who is comfortable deferring to the veterans on the squad.  Indeed, if a school has called you for an interview, you’ve already met an important threshold.  To some extent, the interview is then about proving that you are likeable and someone the faculty will want to work with on papers, or have lunch with.  Be mindful of this overarching “human aspect” to the interview process. 

7. All You Need is One Partner:  The faculty recruitment process has been referred to as a high school dance in that law schools may want to know who else is interested in you, how many interviews you have, etc.  If you’re the equivalent of Johnny Football star, you’ll be able to let schools know, if they ask, that x-number of schools have interest in you.  Perhaps such popularity is a rough proxy for a candidate’s value or acts as an assurance that a particular appointments committee is selecting quality candidates.  If you don’t get many calls, don’t fret.  At the end of the day, all that matters is that a school likes you enough to take you to the dance.

8.  “Safe Spaces”: I am the first person in my entire family to attend law school, let alone join the legal academy.  Accordingly, in August of 2010, I did not feel as though I had an established network of support to help guide me through the process.  Several professors at my law school were very generous and their assistance gave me a good foundation of support.  Perhaps one of the most helpful steps I took last year was to attend the People of Color Conference’s Pipeline Program for aspiring law professors.  There, I met a number of professors who were delighted to share their views on how to obtain a faculty appointment.  I felt as though the professors were truly interested in seeing me succeed on the market.  I left the conference with an entire network of professors from around the country who cared about me and my progress on the market.  It gave me confidence knowing that others were there for me.  Those candidates on the market today should not feel alone at any point -- reach out to your law school and to others whom you admire or respect; and network at the POC Conference, the Aspiring Law Professors Conference at ASU, or similar events.  At a minimum, you can contact me.

9.  Self-Promotion: At the POC Conference, I expressed the (idealistic?) view that one’s merit should speak for itself and admitted my discomfort in openly promoting myself to others.  Professors there reminded me that I could play the "game" on my own terms (within reason, see tip #6 above), and that I did not have to participate in any strategies that did not feel "right" to me, such as telling professors I knew on a very limited basis that I was on the market specifically for the purpose of hoping they would put in a "good word" for me with their respective appointments committees.  While not actively promoting myself to a wide universe of faculty members may have hurt my chances at landing a faculty appointment, in the end I received an offer and did so without compromising myself. 

10.  Things Happen: Last year, I read stories of professors who, during the “meat market,” made a mistake or gaffe and subsequently thought they had no chance of being hired as a result.  “Not me,” I told myself, "I'm too smooth for that."  As it happens, in the middle of an interview with a law school, the professors and I began hearing some noise.  It became sufficiently distracting that one professor got up to see where it was coming from and to see if he could do anything about it.  I joked that perhaps the room next door was having a party.  I then realized where the noise was coming from -- my iPod in my shoulder bag.  I reached in, retrieved the iPod, and desperately tried to shut it off, while the professors looked on.  I apologized for the interruption, and we carried on with the conversation.  Despite the embarrassing incident, I received a call-back from the law school.  In short, things happen, and if they do try to take it in stride, remember that others have overcome disasters before, and that the faculty can be quite forgiving as they know what it’s like to sit in the "hot seat."

*    *    *

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of suggestions, but merely some advice that I think would be helpful for someone on the market.  This advice stems from my experience and what some have told me; others surely may have differing experiences or views.  Talk to a wide-range of folks to get their particular thoughts.  If any candidates have specific questions or concerns either now or during the process, do not hesitate to email me.  I’m happy to be of assistance for a modest fee.   

I hope there is some value in what I’ve written here.  Law teaching is, as they say, the best job in the world.  It is an honor to have this position.

I wish the best of luck to all of you, and I hope to welcome you as colleagues next year.


Posted by Dawinder "Dave" S. Sidhu on August 3, 2011 at 07:53 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hiring Season Begins Anew

My colleague Elizabeth Lear and I are chairing the Appointments Committee at the University of Florida Levin College of Law for the 2011-2012 academic year. We have a variety of curricular needs, so be on the lookout for the official announcement in the next few weeks.  

Posted by Lyrissa Lidsky on April 20, 2011 at 03:14 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Lyrissa Lidsky | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Clearinghouse for Questions

N.B. This thread will get bumped to the front every 10 days or so.

The first  second batch of FAR forms were distributed a while ago and so we can officially say that the new year's hiring market has begun. We'll have two posts to get things started. This one, the first one, will be a place where wannabes can ask questions anonymously (assuming they are not especially offensive or otherwise improper), and prawfs or others can weigh in, also anonymously if they choose, but note that while I won't actively moderate this discussion forum, I will feel free to delete any cases of misinformation or anything else I find outside the bounds.

The second post will be a place where candidates or prawfs can report the issuance of a first round or callback or offer or acceptance, much like we did last year. I am hoping some gentle soul will emerge (as Justin Levitt and Marc DeGirolami did in years past) to organize the information. If you're volunteering, please let me know and I'll put you in touch with the incomparable Sarah Lawsky, who tech'd us out for it last year. Please keep in mind that the second thread should be used only for information relevant to hiring, not for questions. This thread should be used for questions.

To start us off, I just rec'd a query from a friend on the market asking these two questions. 

 

1. Does it really cost nearly $400/night to stay at the conference hotel, or is there an AALS rate that will be released that I should wait for?

 --short answer: I don't know. Anyone else?

2. Is it normal that at this point (with packets going out at the end of the week) that I don't know who the hiring chair is at many schools still?

--in the past, usually Harvard or Yale or Chicago people (Bigelow/Climenkos or their overseers) compile this information. Sometimes we have had a good soul share this public good of information. When I was on the market, I think I just called the Dean's office of the schools to find out who the APCOM chair was. Seems like a perfectly legitimate question to me, but you can also and always address the packets to Dear Faculty Appointments Committee if need be. With some luck, someone will forward me a copy of the collated information and once I receive it, I'll be happy to share it imminently. Good luck! 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Dan Markel on January 31, 2011 at 10:11 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (663) | TrackBack

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Law School Hiring Thread, 2010-11, Thread Three

NB: This thread will be moved to the front every ten days or so.

This thread is for both law professors and people who are on the market this coming year for becoming a law professor. We invite those on the market and those who are prawfs to leave comments (anonymously if they prefer) regarding:

a) whether they have received a callback from a law school and/or accepted it and

b) whether they have received an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer or info about teaching loads, research leaves, etc. Please note that a school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer, and may still have some of those slots open. The aggregator will try to keep track of these (to the extent people let the aggregator know) in the spreadsheet below.

Law professors may also choose to provide information that is relevant to the entry-level or the lateral market.  Bear in mind: if you don't want your contact information displayed, please just enter in anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

We will continue our spreadsheet approach: All information should come in through the comments. Our aggregator will to 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 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.

Additional Links:

Use "a clearinghouse for questions" at this link for general questions about the market, not the thread below.

Check out the cache of materials relevant to your job search under our archive category Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, including a link to last year's clearinghouse for questions

This year's first hiring thread is available here. This year's second hiring thread is available here. Comments are now closed on these two threads.

Posted by Dan Markel on January 12, 2011 at 12:13 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (149) | TrackBack

Monday, January 10, 2011

Open Thread Re: VAPs and Fellowships

I've received a couple emails asking about the creation of an open thread in which comments can be shared regarding news of appointments to VAPs or similar fellowships like Climenko and Bigelow. So here it is. Have at it. 

Posted by Dan Markel on January 10, 2011 at 08:32 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (158) | TrackBack

Monday, December 27, 2010

Um, just one little question before our interview is over: what exactly are your worst law review article(s) and why?

If you haven't seen it, Kim Krawiec from the Faculty Lounge asks (yet) another fascinating question of law professors. The comments are also very interesting. Check it out. 

Posted by Dan Markel on December 27, 2010 at 10:17 PM in Blogging, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hiring Chairs 2010-2011: Please Announce Yourselves

N.B. This will get bumped to the front every now and then, and schools should feel free to update if they have changes in the makeup of the app-comm of their school (as FSU does, starting now).

It's that time again. I've been getting  requests from some aspiring prawfs, so here's the post: law school hiring chairs for entry and lateral candidates, please announce yourselves in the comments and please feel free to share who's on the committee and whether the search is limited in a particular way (or not).

To get things started, FSU has two new committees for 2011: the laterals committee is headed by Robin Craig (and includes Kelli Alces, Joseph Dodge, Dave Markell and Nat Stern) and the rookies committee is headed by Rob Atkinson (and includes Shawn Bayern and Beth Burch). We continue to be interested in a wide number of areas.

Posted by Dan Markel on December 1, 2010 at 11:15 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (76) | TrackBack

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Prawfs and the Hiring Conference

Like Sergio, I too am a long-time Prawfs reader, first time guest blogger.  And, after all these years of reading, it's really exciting to be doing a bit of the blogging.  Now that I got a quick post on the Oklahoma referendum out of the way before today's vote, I wanted to thank the Prawfs for having me here for the month.  I'll hopefully incorporate some of my experience as a first semester professor at Pepperdine in my upcoming posts.

I actually starting reading Prawfsblawg when I was in law school - my wife introduced me to it - and it was an indispensable read while preparing for going on the job market.  Some of the Prawfs themselves have given me great advice on joint degrees, article placement, the job talk and working through the hiring process last year.    

Of course, right before, during and after the hiring conference, I found myself incessantly checking the Law School Hiring Thread.  A great post by Michael Risch on Prawfs last year helped keep me from hitting the refresh button.  Still, I suspect those of you on the job market right now are likely checking the thread with some pretty high frequency.  While you definitely can drive yourself crazy with checking, there was one way I was able to use the information being posted in order to strategize a bit while waiting for the phone to ring.

Whenever I saw information being posted about callback at a school I was particularly interested in (for example, Pepperdine), I'd reach out to my recommenders and let them know that the hiring committee was contacting candidates.  Now I don't recommend doing this frequently, but if you've got a couple of schools you're targeting, keeping your recommenders abreast of chatter on Prawfsblawg is a great way to keep your name in the mix when big decisions are being made by the hiring committee.

Posted by Michael Helfand on November 2, 2010 at 01:56 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Should Hiring Committees ask "Recruits" to Incur Some Bonding Costs?

N.B. The following post is meant to be offered strictly in my personal and professorial capacity, but not as indicative of my views or others sitting on the appcomm at FSU.

I'm a rank amateur in this realm (at least so far), but in the realm of agency theory, my understanding is that agents are frequently encouraged to "assure the principal that certain actions inconsistent with the principal's interest will not be taken."  These are referred to, in the jargon, as "bonding costs." My sense is that this concept could be useful in an area near and dear to our hearts: hiring prawfs, a topic of special interest this week with the rookie meat market happening now.

Although a candidate (rookie or lateral) is not really an agent of the prospective law school -- because the candidate is instead a possible future agent (or more accurately, in the realm of tenured prawfs: a possible co-principal) --  the idea of trying to encourage candidates to incur some bonding expenses may make sense (at least ex ante). Otherwise, schools might be "used" by lateral candidates for simply seeking raises or other retention deals from their current school, and schools might be "used" by rookies for practice on the job market, so that they get more feedback on their work and more experience giving talks, fielding questions, etc.  Candidates who are not serious about the law school they might interview with are a good bit like (though not necessarily identical) to those who send their papers to law reviews with whom have no desire to publish. The hiring scenario raises the question: what kinds of bonding costs, if any, are reasonable to ask candidates to incur to signal their genuine interest? *So how can schools reasonably try to reduce situations where candidates are not genuinely interested?

A few options:

first, require some co-payment on the part of the candidate for the travel expenses. Say: 250$. Tell candidates that they will be reimbursed that co-payment if the candidate is offered a job and it is accepted, or alternatively, if the candidate is not offered a job.  This or some similar gambit might work for deciding who to invite to campus. (Instead of a co-payment for travel, the school could just as easily, though perhaps less reliably, say please make a donation of X dollars to one of the following charities (or a charity of your choice) in order to signal your non-trivial interest in us; this might seem a bit more paternalistic because the donation to charity is non-refundable, or so I would suppose.  One senior academic has indicated another bonding cost that lateral candidates should incur is requiring them to come on a day that they normally teach, so that they have to reschedule their class and do a makeup, which generates a small but nontrivial expense/burden to them.

This still leaves open the question of which candidates' work should you consider before deciding to bring them to campus. Schools already rely to some extent on the signal sent when candidates at the rookie level send packets to specific schools, instead of just using the FAR form. But even packets are a pretty weak signal of interest, and it also offers no help in the context of hiring laterals.

I think asking rookie applicants to make a 5 or 10 dollar donation to a charity in your school's name is a potentially useful sorting device to decide whose work to read carefully. It's somewhat trivial in money terms but the very fact of having to do something for 10 minutes extra hassle could be a useful signal. I'd even be in favor of giving them back the money once they do it, or alternatively, those who plead paupery should be spared the expense but not the time by having to just write: I wish I could pay this "application" fee but I need relief; but by this statement, I am genuinely interested in working at your school and hope you will consider my candidacy.

The same tactic might work at the lateral level, but here, more due diligence up front could benefit both parties: appcomms should ask all interested lateral candidates to provide not only the cv and pubs, but also some teaching evaluations and names of 3-4 references so that candidates who are brought in are brought in because the committee has already done most of its homework, or at least had the opportunity to do most of its homework, and people don't have to fly out to campus only to get killed in committee after the job talk based principally on information that was available to the committee before the job talk. [This leaves the committee some flexibility to stymie a candidate based on the job talk or the interviews but hopefully not on the substance of the job talk, which, in my mind, should have been vetted before an invitation was extended--but that's another post.]

Anyway, I'd be curious to hear reactions to this proposal (good concept, but poor implementation; bad concept, but interesting implementation? etc.). Also, I'll let this post be a placeholder for a different post on whether committee attitudes to rookies should be different than those to lateral invitees (for example, rookies should be treated as applicants who need to impress the faculty whereas laterals should be treated as guests whom the faculty hopes to recruit).

--

*Conversely, is it possible that sometimes schools bring candidates through (whether to join the faculty or even more especially in the dean market?)  even though there is no genuine interest in hiring those persons; instead they are simply brought in to show efforts were made to achieve X goal. One reason this  is less likely to present itself is that schools spend a couple thousand dollars on travel and food expenses for each candidate brought in for a day of interviews, plus the value of the time for each of the faculty members spending any time with that candidate. Hiring faculty is a costly and time-sucking endeavor.  To be sure, some colleagues may feel fine with externalizing those costs onto their faculty, but it's not a best practice, so far as I can tell!

Posted by Dan Markel on October 28, 2010 at 03:39 PM in Dan Markel, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Another AALS Post: When Do You Read?

As I am preparing to get on a plane to DC later today to interview faculty candidates, it occurs to me to ask a question that has bothered me since the last time I served on the appointments committee a few years ago: When do you sit down to read a candidate's scholarship?

In the past, my practice was to read a few pieces here and there before the AALS interviews, usually when a candidate had written something in my field and/or was particularly interesting to me on paper. I get the sense that many people don't read any scholarship until after a candidate has been scheduled for a call-back (or maybe before definitely deciding to call them back), which strikes me as pretty defensible, given that committees can see as many as 30 candidates in 2 days (or schedule as many as 30, some of whom drop out in the final days), and that many of those candidates will disqualify themselves based on the interview (which is also too brief to discuss anyone's scholarship in great detail anyway).

But I also seem to recall a friend of mine who teaches at a top-10 school saying that she had been trying to read the scholarship of everyone her committee was seeing in DC. I suspect that this latter approach may be more common at the very top schools, where presumably few candidates drop out of the mix shortly before the conference, and where candidates who are offered callbacks are pretty likely to accept.

I generally feel like I can get a better sense of a candidate and get more out of the screening interview if I have read something he or she has written, but the practical considerations I outlined above tend to militate against doing this for every candidate. What do others think? What is your practice?

 

Posted by Jessie Hill on October 28, 2010 at 01:03 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Law School Hiring Thread, 2010-11, Thread Two

This thread is now closed. Please post comments on Thread Three.

This thread is for both law professors and people who are on the market this coming year for becoming a law professor. We invite those on the market and those who are prawfs to leave comments (anonymously if they prefer) regarding:

a) whether they have received a first round interview at a school, and if the school mentioned the areas they were looking into, and whether the interview offer was accepted

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

c) whether they have received an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer or info about teaching loads, research leaves, etc. Please note that a school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer, and may still have some of those slots open. The aggregator will try to keep track of these (to the extent people let the aggregator know) in the spreadsheet below.

Law professors may also choose to provide information that is relevant to the entry-level or the lateral market.  Bear in mind: if you don't want your contact information displayed, please just enter in anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

We now have an aggregator. All information should come in through the comments. Our aggregator will to 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 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.

Additional Links:

Use "a clearinghouse for questions" at this link for general questions about the market, not the thread below.

Check out the cache of materials relevant to your job search under our archive category Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, including a link to last year's clearinghouse for questions

This year's first hiring thread, where comments are now closed, is available here.

Posted by Dan Markel on October 26, 2010 at 10:00 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (177) | TrackBack

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Podium Filling Visitor Spots for 2011

I received a request from a reader recently to put up a thread in which schools can share information about the need for podium visitors starting anytime in 2011 (including spring or summer of this academic year). If you think your school may be interested in having a summer visitor or any other kind, please use the comments on this thread to share the relevant information about which school, which subjects and the contact info of the relevant person(s). Thanks!

Posted by Dan Markel on September 26, 2010 at 07:47 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Monday, September 13, 2010

Law School Hiring Thread, 2010-11, Thread One

This thread is now closed. Please post comments on Thread Three.

This thread is for both law professors and people who are on the market this coming year for becoming a law professor. We invite those on the market and those who are prawfs to leave comments (anonymously if they prefer) regarding:

a) whether they have received a first round interview at a school, and if the school mentioned the areas they were looking into, and whether the interview offer was accepted

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

b) whether they have received an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer or info about teaching loads, research leaves, etc. Please note that a school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer, and may still have some of those slots open. If we have an "aggregator," the aggregator will try to keep track of these (to the extent people let the aggregator know) in the spreadsheet that will be posted here.

Law professors may also choose to provide information that is relevant to the entry-level or the lateral market.  Bear in mind: if you don't want your contact information displayed, please just enter in anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

Last two things: we have a separate thread called "a clearinghouse for questions" up over here at this link. Please do not use this thread below for general questions about the market. Second, there's an unbelievable cache of materials relevant to your job search under our archive category: Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, including a link to last year's clearinghouse for questions. Good luck!

 

Posted by Dan Markel on September 13, 2010 at 09:49 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (160) | TrackBack

Monday, August 30, 2010

Aspiring Prawfs: Go to Phoenix

Some of my peeps at ASU are hosting a cool conference on Oct 2 for those folks who are aspiring to get in the teaching law game. It's a pretty good setup, naturally, and more evidence of ASU bringing their a-game. (Yes, they're hosting Prawfsfest! 8 in December--how could you tell?)

 

 

Posted by Dan Markel on August 30, 2010 at 11:22 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Rise (and Rise?) of the Skype Interview

Through the grapevine, I've now heard that some schools are asking/requiring candidates to do Skype interviews first. I'm not sure if this is in lieu of a DC screening interview or as a pre-cursor to one, but I was wondering what y'all thought of this as a practice that appcomms should adopt. To my mind, I can see the benefit of using the Skype interview as a substitute for most DC interviews because it would give the candidates and the appcomms more time if needed than the 1/2 hour slot, and would probably mean that more due diligence could be done on both ends prior to the meeting in person for a callback. If used as a substitute for DC it would also cut financial costs, which some schools are certainly mindful of during these tight times.  But I have no experience with this and perhaps those who have done these (either as candidate or interviewer) might have different reactions. Please feel free to share your thoughts or recommendations in the comments.

Posted by Dan Markel on August 29, 2010 at 06:12 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Friday, July 30, 2010

The New Realities of the Legal Academy...

For all aspiring prawfs (and those interested in their success), check out  The New Realities of the Legal Academy, which Larry Solum has just put up on SSRN. The paper is the preface to a book I've read and enjoyed in manuscript, and recommend to students of mine interested in joining the legal academy. Here is Larry's abstract:
    This short paper is the Foreword to Brannon P. Denning, Marcia L. McCormick, and Jeffrey M. Lipshaw, Becoming a Law Professor: A Candidate's Guide, American Bar Association, Forthcoming. 

    One of the great virtues of Denning, McCormick and Lipshaw’s guide is that it reflects the changing nature and new realities of the legal academy. Not so many years ago, entry into the elite legal academy was mostly a function of two things—credentials and connections. The ideal candidate graduated near the top of the class at a top-five law school, held an important editorial position on law review, clerked for a Supreme Court Justice, and practiced for a few years at an elite firm or government agency in New York or Washington. Credentials like these almost guaranteed a job at a very respectable law school, but the very best jobs went to those with connections—the few who were held in high esteem by the elite network of very successful legal academics and their friends in the bar and on the bench. The not-so-elite legal academy operated by a similar set of rules. Regional law schools were populated by a mix of graduates from elite schools and the top graduates of local schools, clerks of respected local judges, and alumni of elite law firms in the neighborhood. In what we now call the “bad old days,” it was very difficult indeed for someone to become a law professor without glowing credentials and the right connections. 

But times have changed. When the Association of American Law School’s created the annual Faculty Recruitment Conference (or FRC) and the associated Faculty Appointments Register (or FAR), the landscape of the legal academy was forever changed. The change was slow in coming. For many years, candidates were selected for interviews at the FRC on the basis of the same old credentials and connections, but at some point (many would say the early 1980s), the rules of the game began to change. In baseball, a similar change is associated with Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland Athletics, who defied conventional wisdom and built winning teams despite severe financial constraints by relying on statistically reliable predictors of success. The corresponding insight in the legal academy (developed by hiring committees at several law schools) was that the best predictor of success as a legal scholar was a record of publication. It turns out that law school grades, law review offices, and clerkships are at best very rough indicators of scholarly success. But those who successfully publish high quality legal scholarship are likely to continue to do so. This foreword explores the implications of the new realities of the legal academy for candidates seeking to become law professors.

Posted by Dan Markel on July 30, 2010 at 09:36 AM in Article Spotlight, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, April 05, 2010

Another Side of Lateraling

If you don't follow law job market gossip blogs, you may not know that I'm moving to Villanova Law School next year. Indeed, you probably don't know it even if you do. Many have written really helpful blog posts and articles on the subject, and I've read them all. However, these articles don't share some important downsides of a lateral move -- downsides that I'm now experiencing and thought I would share. I would make the same decision again, but I think it is helpful for hopeful candidates to know what they are in for.

Moving is stressful - especially if you own a home


Unless you are fortunate enough to land a position in the same city or region, you have to find a new home. Some folks don't mind renting and then buying later. We, however, only want to move once. The advice pundits often say to ask for moving expenses, but the unspoken reality is that the school will only pay for one move. All that stuff you've accumulated has to be repacked and moved if you rent first.

This gets much harder if you own your own home somewhere outside of California (and maybe in California these days). When I moved to WVU from the Bay Area, our home sold in 14 days well over the asking price. Not so now. If you don't include the open house, we've had one showing in six weeks on the market. And our home (we think) is the best available in our area. It's not pretty.

Even if you'll get a raise when you move, that doesn't guarantee that you can qualify for two mortgages at once, and banks are strict about how they count rental income (usually need 30% equity in the home). To top it off, your raise may not count anyway, because all you have is an offer letter until you start in August, and many (most) banks won't loan you money on that.

We bought a house on Friday (yay!). We are making it happen by the skin of our teeth, and biting our nails even today as we apply for a mortgage. In a year we'll look back and not even remember this time, but it's hair-raising right now, and I am no stranger to taking risks in home buying.

Moving is a distraction

A senior colleague advised me not to spend too much time worrying about the lateral market, as it takes up a lot of time that could be used for writing. He said the same is true for visiting (see above - hating to move). I believed him then, but took the jump anyway, and it's going to be tough to get stuff done. There is so much to do between now and mid-June - find a house, set up the house, get ready to move, etc. Oh yeah - teach, grade, etc. Moving will be incredibly distracting and if I get any serious writing done I'll be pleased. We hope to move in late May or early June to allow for a more focused summer.

You might miss your old school more than you think

You might just miss your old school. You probably will. And I don't mean that you risk moving to an awful place. Even if your new school is professorial heaven on earth, you'll miss the old one, even before you leave.

I can already feel myself getting a bit more disconnected from things, getting asked to do less, and not having as much input. I'm already starting to miss my great friends here.

I am also finding all of the things I undervalued. I have complained about my house from the day I moved in - the floors needed refinishing, the paint was bad, etc. After a couple of years of work, we could only hope we found a house as nice as ours.  All of the things we hated about our home's floorplan were the things we gravitated to in the new house.

Even though Philadelphia has much more to do than Morgantown, we found ourselves looking for the things we do now, and lamenting when they weren't there. My son only knows about one fast food place - Burger King - there are a ton around here and we didn't see one open in our two trips. I suppose that's really a good thing, but it was a bit melancholic to hear my 4 year old see a BK sign on the freeway home and say, "Hey, there's 'fries house' - we must be close to home."

So - I wouldn't recommend against a lateral move - but be aware that it's not all roses. I hope this gets added to the lateral lore out there for job seekers.

Posted by Michael Risch on April 5, 2010 at 04:07 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Advice for Foreigners in the U.S. Law School Market: Part III

Part I was an intro to the issue; some of the challenges faced by foreigners in the law school market were discussed in Part II.

Here are a few things to consider if you're thinking of a position at a U.S. law school:

Get a U.S. degree. Aim for a JSD rather than an LLM if possible (an LLM is regarded by some institutions as a degree aimed for foreign attorneys, rather than a milestone in an academic career). You might even consider getting a JD, which has the added benefit of being the optimal preparation for state bar exams, but that might be too expensive and too much of an investment, as well as a déjà vu of sorts if you already have a law degree. The value of an American degree is enormous. First, it is a signifier that employers easily recognize. It boosts up your foreign credentials and gives you local cred. Second, it indicates that you've taken classes in an American setting and are familiar with how things work here. Third, it's an opportunity to----

Networknetworknetwork. American scholars' reviews of your articles will mean more than obscure letters from people you respect very much, but whom no one at your prospective job knows. Meet people, exchange drafts, coauthor articles. This is a fantastic way to get acquainted with American law and American scholarship.

If you don't have a U.S. degree, and are coming in for a postdoc, try to include teaching in the package. The risk of being a postdoc is sitting in a room, working on your own research, and being isolated from everyone else on campus. Give a talk, or three, or better still, teach a class and accumulate U.S. teaching evals that can boost your application package. This way, when people ask you "how will you manage teaching a course on American law?" You'll be able to answer, "I already did." 

Turn your weaknesses into strengths. Your external perspective on legal provisions that everyone else takes for granted (such as, to use a familiar example, the exclusionary rule) allows you to examine legal issues with fresh eyes, and may help your American students to rethink and question established dogma. That is a huge strength in an educator.

Publish in U.S. periodicals. self explanatory.

Do your best to sort out your paperwork mess. Have you taken a Fulbright grant that requires two years in your home country? That might be somewhat of a difficulty coming back in. It is increasingly difficult to obtain H1-B visas, O visas, and merit-based green cards. Think of the process, and if necessary, seek legal advice. Getting in trouble with Homeland Security or USCIS is a bad idea, and stressing over this will not help your application process.

Bon Chance! Viel Glück! Buona fortuna! hǎo yùn! Bettawfeeq! Behatzlakha! Good luck!

Posted by Hadar Aviram on March 4, 2010 at 11:39 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Advice for Foreigners in the U.S. Law School Market: Part II

Here's Part I.

As a foreigner on the market, what sort of challenges might you expect?

Your credentials are a mystery. While many American law schools are familiar with foreign universities, some aren't, and the value of your degrees will not necessarily be immediately apparent to people reading your CV or your FAR form. Some graduate degrees are not the exact equivalents of U.S. graduate programs, and some translation will be required. If your country offers a doctoral degree (a PhD in law, or something of that ilk), some prospective employers will perceive it as a JSD equivalent, or even a JD equivalent.

Your prospective employers are valuing the "wrong" credentials. So, you wrote a fantastic, 600-page doctoral thesis about Heidegger and Derrida. Nevertheless, the year you spent doing your LL.M. in the U.S. and produced a thirty-page paper seems to carry more weight. You may feel that the more important and demanding aspects of your career are devalued compared to lesser achievements.

What are your publications worth? Many U.S. law schools are struggling with the relative weight of law-review and peer-reviewed publications in terms of tenure requirements. The journals and edited books you've published in are unfamiliar to many of your potential colleagues. Are they peer-reviewed? Student-reviewed? What is the quality control? The value of published books changes from setting to setting; Scandinavian colleagues in social sciences, for example, tell me that everyone is expected to publish their dissertation as a book, whereas here in the U.S. it's a respectable choice, in some fields, to publish your diss as a series of articles.

Your references and resume underclaim. This problem does not apply across the board to all foreigners, but the superlative inflation that characterizes American reference-writing is less common elsewhere in the world. A subtle reference from your advisor abroad, which to you may seem as high praise, might come off as lackluster to American readers used to overclaiming and abundant adjectives. You and your references might want to keep these differences in mind.

Can you teach American Law? Your potential future colleagues are concerned that you're simply not familiar with American black-letter-law to a degree that would allow you to comfortably and knowledgeably convey it to students. You may feel that your scholarship speaks for itself, and that a smart, hardworking scholar can pick up and learn anything, certainly an easy and accessible casebook. But since your colleagues are surrounded by practicing lawyers who can jump in and teach, say, contracts as adjuncts with less of a learning curve, this is certainly something you'll be expected to explain and overcome.

Can you teach in an American law school environment? Some professional publications, like the Journal of Legal Education, have exposed American academics to the different pedagogical philosophies (or lack thereof) in other countries. You may have been educated in a system that consists of lectures to hundreds of students in huge lecture halls. You may not be familiar with the discussion style that characterizes American law schools, and the Socratic method and cold-calling might be completely unfamiliar to you. You may not have been exposed to clinical education, moot court, and the like. American students' expectations and demands may be respected more than foreign students, and that might require serious adjustments in your teaching style (there is, of course, a chance that others may learn some new teaching methods from you, but at this point you're the one seeking the job.)

How much hassle is involved in bringing you over? Flying you in for an interview is costly and time-consuming. You might be jetlagged during the interview. Your relocation is more expensive than that of a local hire. Your visa/green card/citizenship issues require attention and, sometimes, legal expertise.

Part III provides some ideas on what to do to overcome the "foreigner barrier".

Posted by Hadar Aviram on March 4, 2010 at 11:35 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Advice for Foreigners on the U.S. Law School Market: Part I

A couple of months ago I got a phonecall from a European acquaintance of mine, who was about to embark on an LL.M. degree in the United States. She had a Ph.D. from a respectable foreign university, and had been teaching for several years as a faculty member in Europe, as well as publishing in various journals, mostly in English.

"Don't you already have multiple graduate degrees? Why would you want to pursue an LL.M.?" I asked.

"Because I want to teach in the United States", she replied.

That got me thinking. 

Foreigners face a unique set of considerations and challenges when applying for jobs in the United States. The advice I found online for these folks has not been as thorough and practical as one would hope, and some of it is rather dated. The only thing on point I found was Brad Wendel's advice to candidates for law school faculty positions, published in 2006, which includes the following paragraph:

Q:        I graduated #1 in my class from Freedonia University, am admitted to practice in Freedonia, and have an LL.M. from an American law school -- can I get a job in the U.S.?* H0 F; C# J' ?- P
A:        I get a fair amount of e-mail from foreign-trained lawyers reporting on the process of obtaining employment at American law schools, and the reports are almost uniformly negative.  Candidates who encounter the most difficulty are those with civil-law training, but even graduates of top law schools in English-speaking common-law countries like Canada and the U.K. have a hard time attracting the attention of appointments committees in the U.S.  One problem is that foreign-trained lawyers tend to specialize in comparative or public or private international law, and there are only so many positions in those fields open in a given year.  And because the curriculum at American schools is still predominantly based on U.S. law, many foreign-trained lawyers cannot do double-duty as teachers of core subjects such as contracts, corporations, or criminal procedure.  Even if the appointments committee is not fixated on curricular coverage, the associate dean is going to want to know whether a candidate can cover highly popular courses.  The LL.M. does not help that much, because at most a graduate student will have had a few courses in U.S. law, not a full three years of study, various summer jobs, and (usually) subsequent clerkships and practice experience.  Foreign-trained lawyers who are admitted in an American jurisdiction and have acquired substantial practice experience may be able to pitch themselves as competent teachers of U.S. law, but people whose primary practical experience is in another country are going to find themselves competing for fairly narrowly defined jobs, as specialists in a subject like European Union law, or the Chinese law on regulation of trade.  Given the number of American lawyers who can also teach these subjects (and who have secondary competence in core curricular areas), this is going to be an uphill battle.
An alert reader from Canada says the situation may be different for Canadian lawyers, many of whom have been hired by U.S. law firms and have substantial experience with U.S. law.  There are several Canadian-trained lawyers working as law professors in the States, so the odds may not be as long.  I don’t know about entry-level candidates from the U.K., although many American law schools have hired British scholars at a fairly senior level.    J$ g5 x$ f5 H

Wendel's imaginary Freedonian may not be the typical foreign academic looking for a job in the United States. I come across a fair number of foreigners--Europeans, Brits and Israelis for the most part--who are looking for jobs in U.S. law schools. Virtually all of them hold multiple graduate degrees, the vast majority of which are PhDs, DPhils, or JSDs. For these folks, the J.D.--the traditional credential for law professors and lawyesr alike in the U.S.--is a graduate version of what they recognize as a bachelor's degree in law, and in their countries of origin, they wouldn't be seeking an academic position with such credentials; even less so in a foreign country. I thought this special population merited some online attention and a bit of advice, so here are my two cents for foreigners on the American job market.

Disclaimer: my observations and advice are based on anecdotes collected from friends and colleagues over the last few years, rather than on statistical calculations of "what works" in the application process. Also, while the personal is political (I'm a foreigner teaching in an American law school), I've been very fortunate in finding a workplace that values and respects foreign perspectives and was 100% supportive and helpful throughout the process of applying, interviewing, and settling in. That is not always the case everywhere else; so much of what I have to say here comes not just from my personal (and quite possibly atypical) experience, but from the trials and tribulations of others, who have encountered various challenges when applying for a U.S. job. For that reason, I don't have a lot of input on anyone's personal situation, but rather some general thoughts to offer on the subject.

The first thing to keep in mind is that American legal academia has had a huge impact on how law is taught and researched in other countries--in some more than in others. In a world-wide brain-drain economy, many are seeking to cover their bases and open up possibilities for employment in the U.S. Many aspiring academics abroad correctly assume that their local graduate degree will be devalued by American employers if and when they choose to seek a job in the U.S., and therefore decide to make the financial and personal investment involved in studying for an LL.M. or a S.J.D. at an American law school. Those whose CV consists entirely of foreign degrees often seek post-doc positions in the U.S.--a career move strongly supported by universities around the world. Foreign universities also encourage their faculty to publish in English as much as possible, preferably in American law reviews, and foreign academics learn to tailor their publications to the style and content preferred by U.S. law student editorial boards. The prominence of American academia also drives, to some extent, the proliferation of legal fields of expertise that are easily applicable across borders; in fact, Oren Gazal-Ayal has argued that there are strong incentives for Israelis to focus on law and economics.

Why this concentrated effort to cater to the U.S. market? A detailed analysis of global trends is beyond the scope of this post. But some foreigners are keenly aware of the fact that the U.S. academic market is biased against hiring foreigners, and try to compensate for their disadvantage by accumulating academic achievements and credentials that might help them cross the "foreigner barrier". Now, this is not to say that U.S. universities are categorically wrong in preferring Americans to foreigners for faculty positions; law is a local, national phenomenon, and American institutions are right to expect a certain degree of expertise of one who is supposed, among other job requirements, to acquaint their students with black-letter law and prepare them for a professional life in the United States. Nevertheless, the outcome of state of affairs, justifiable or not, is that foreigners are expected to jump through multiple hoops that are not required of American candidates.

Part II will feature some of the challenges facing foreign candidates on the U.S. law school market. Stay tuned!

Posted by Hadar Aviram on March 4, 2010 at 11:28 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Law School Hiring Thread, 2009-10, Thread Four: The Last Phase?

This thread will be moved to the front every ten days or so.

Please add comments to this thread, not Threads One, Two, or Three (where comments are now closed).

This thread is for both law professors and people who are on the market this coming year for becoming a law professor. We invite those on the market and those who are prawfs to leave comments (anonymously if they prefer) regarding:

a) whether they have received a callback from a law school and/or accepted it and

b) whether they have received an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer or info about teaching loads, research leaves, etc. Please note that a school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer, and may still have some of those slots open. The aggregator will try to keep track of these (to the extent people let the aggregator know) all the way to the right, in the "offer notes" column.

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

Bear in mind: if you don't want your contact information displayed, please just enter in anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

We will continue our spreadsheet approach:  All information should still come in through the comments. Our generous aggregator will continue to use a spreadsheet to aggregate the information (we have started a new spreadsheet for callbacks and offers, which appears below).  As before, 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 version below.

As always, 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.

The first thread is here; the second thread (where you can still get the AALS call spreadsheet) is here; the third thread is here.

Posted by Dan Markel on January 30, 2010 at 02:08 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (352) | TrackBack

Monday, January 04, 2010

Law School Hiring Thread, 2009-10, Thread Three: The Next Phase

This thread is now closed. Please add comments to Thread Four.

This thread is for both law professors and people who are on the market this coming year for becoming a law professor. We invite those on the market and those who are prawfs to leave comments (anonymously if they prefer) regarding:

a) whether they have received a callback from a law school and/or accepted it and

b) whether they have received an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer or info about teaching loads, research leaves, etc.

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

Bear in mind: if you don't want your contact information displayed, please just enter in anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

We will continue our spreadsheet approach:  All information should still come in through the comments. Our generous aggregator will continue to use a spreadsheet to aggregate the information (we have started a new spreadsheet for callbacks and offers, which appears below).  As before, 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 version below.

As always, 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.

The first thread is here; the second thread (where you can still get the AALS call spreadsheet) is here.

Posted by Dan Markel on January 4, 2010 at 12:50 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (862) | TrackBack

Monday, December 14, 2009

Whither Law Professor Salaries: Let's Talk Money

As so many lament the sky-rocketing cost of a legal education (tuition has increased far ahead of inflation), the debt students have to incur to obtain their law degree, and the pressure that the tanking economy has placed upon financial aid and public interest support, is this the dirty little secret no one is talking about: law professor salaries are largely responsible for this state of affairs?

Recently, headlines like this one screamed that law school tuition has run amok for a very bad reason:  due in major part to the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. These stories were based on a recent GAO report, which did indeed place blame on the rankings. According to the GAO, law school officials believe that "the move to a more hands-on, resource-intensive approach to legal education and competition among schools for higher rankings appear to be the main factors driving law school cost." The key is that last part about "competition among school for higher rankings" because, according to the GAO, "[t]o attract the best faculty, school officials reported that they may offer higher salaries." What that seems to boil down to is that law schools have been jacking up law professor salaries to get the best and the brightest and thus increase their reputational score in the rankings. Not an irrational strategy because reputational scores are by far the most influential criteria for the rankings (25%, when the next highest factor is 15%).

But is this strategy sustainable? Presumably, one justification for high law professor salaries is that law professors could make more (sometimes much more) on the private legal market as practitioners. It's a common law professor lament (especially for junior professors) that they make less (often MUCH less) than a just-graduated student in the first year of practice at a major national law firm. Traditionally, those firms have paid in lockstep (every member of any particular class makes the same salary), and first-year associates right out of law school have been paid $160,000.  Not including bonuses, which could be in the tens of thousands of dollars. A quick perusal of a recent law professor salary survey shows that few law professors can match such earnings.

Can law professors continue to justify their high salaries (at least as compared to most other academic disciplines)? That seems less than clear given that national law firm salaries are going down. So says the ABA Journal and esteemed colleague Bill Henderson, who believes that law firm models--and salary scales--are in the midst of a sea change. Without the potential of a ridiculously high starting salary, many potential law students will be unwilling to attend and pay for law school.

Shouldn't the result be downward pressure on law professor salaries?

And, if so, what options are most available to law professors to keep the dollars coming in?  A move into law school administration?  I've recently been told that an industry standard is to provide a 22.5% salary supplement for law professors who move into an associate dean position. But I have no idea whether that's correct.

Posted by Fabio Arcila on December 14, 2009 at 10:00 AM in Current Affairs, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Monday, December 07, 2009

How much time should a job offer be open to avoid being thought of as "exploding?"

A friend/prawf at another school writes:  Do you know what is “normal” in terms of how long most schools leave an offer open to a candidate? Is two weeks “normal” or is that the equivalent of an “exploding offer”?  Seems to me back when I was on the market I got even less than two weeks.  But that was so long ago that now I’m not sure I remember correctly.

My own sense is that the answer to this hinges on a few different factors. The communication of the offer has to be separated from the time at which the person comes to visit the school (with sig other for a sell weekend) and from the time the dean has specified all the numbers and other aspects of the offer that the candidate cares about. I also think the timing of the holidays plays in here as well as other unique circumstances: e.g., did the candidate have a long-standing wedding/honeymoon planned?

Assuming the faculty votes in early December and the dean communicates the offer with all the relevant details (teaching load/package; salary; issues re: trailing sig other) within a week of that, I would think anything less than 3-4 weeks after the full details of the offer have been made would be "exploding." I think "normal" is probably 2 months or more, but fwiw, I'm not sure "normal" is a good practice. (Prawfs/wannabees: please feel free to weigh in with your information so we can have a better sense.) 

Indeed, I'm not sure all exploding offers are bad or "coercive," especially if the candidate is told in advance of doing the interview that such is the practice of the school. The practice itself may not redound to the benefit of the school but barring unusual circumstances, it's not so manifestly unjust as to be condemnable outright. A school's choice in this regard should be driven by good and publicly explainable reasons: if there is only one slot and a few appropriate candidates, that might counsel in favor of shorter deadlines; if there are many slots and it's already near the end of the hiring season, that might warrant greater flexibility. 

I've often wondered about a related problem: ie, how schools should handle the situation where they have a number of spots that they would very much like to fill. If a school has 5 spots, for example, is there anything wrong with making 10 "conditional offers" and informing all the candidates/offerees that the first 5 to accept will get the job? Sure, the school might not get the "best" 5 of this group, but assuming all 10 offerees are good enough, does anyone see anything wrong with that? Perhaps technically, the dean would be conveying a "letter of intent" rather than a real offer, but everyone would know what the score is. Thoughts?

Posted by Dan Markel on December 7, 2009 at 12:15 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Some Solace for Job Seekers?

I thought I would share this video I made with you folks on the job market this year.  Just know that if you're trying to tell people about your article and they're looking at you like you're crazy or a doofus or, in the words of the Dean at the University of Chicago in my case, that there has occurred  "a really poor topic selection on your part," perhaps you can take some solace in the fact that maybe, just maybe, you can use your article ten years down the road as part of a comedy routine.


Posted by Jay Wexler on December 3, 2009 at 09:28 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Jay Wexler | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, November 30, 2009

Information Asymmetry, Bruised Egos, and the Law Professor Job Market

Thanks again to the folks at Prawfs for having me this month. In this last post for this stint, I would like to comment on some of the discussions in the comments associated with the various law teaching hiring threads over the past month. I could have posted this in the comments, but I've got guest privileges so I might as well use them.

While I think that the threads are a valuable service to the community and fault no one for following them, my view is that the information contained therein is mostly useless. I realize that it is incredibly frustrating for law schools to have all the information, but that does not mean that candidates are aided by having the information.

I explain why below.

First, even assuming that all postings are accurate, the information is markedly incomplete. For example, the first day my school scheduled AALS interviews was long before it appeared in the appropriate thread. Additionally, we are listed as not yet making callbacks; this is simply inaccurate. Thus, information about the schools making callback, what areas, and when is full of gaps that make it impossible to know the completely true state of affairs.

Second, more broadly, the primary effect of this information is to bruise egos. The people getting the calls don't need the information, they got the call. Thus, the information's primary value is to convey to those not getting the calls that their time may have passed. There is some value to this information, as I discuss below. However, not getting the call is a real bummer. Here are some of the stages:

  • Schools are calling, but not me. OK, this one is easy to accept; schools have different needs.
  • Schools are calling in my area, but not me. This one hurts. Schools are calling people in my area, and didn't think of me. Well, maybe they only called one person in your area if they are a "best athlete" school, or maybe your background doesn't suit the school's needs. That said, I think that this stage is the toughest to swallow.
  • Schools are making callbacks in my area, but not me. The same best athlete issues apply here, and even then, it is a really competitive market. Knowing this information hurts, especially when jobs are on the line.
  • Schools have made offers, but not to me (assuming a callback). Though I wouldn't like it, my ego can survive losing out to other quality candidates in a callback situation - there are some really talented people out there, and they can't all get hired. Even so, the offer slams the door (unless there are two offers?).

My point is that sometimes ignorance is bliss. Where the information will not help get a job, not knowing that schools are interviewing in your area but passed over you might a good thing.

Third, this leads to an important point that I think gets missed in the discussion about appointments chairs not responding to calls and emails. There is an important norm that I have learned of in legal academia -- one that I do not follow but have learned to accept without judgment. It is this: people often don't respond to emails. Sometimes ever. And not because they don't like you. I've sent emails to friends in the academy -- even at my own school -- that go unanswered for days, sometimes weeks, sometimes forever. And that's OKAY.

It's unclear why this happens. Perhaps people are busy. Or they are disorganized. Or they get way more email than I do. Or they don't feel like responding. Or they yearn for control over something in their lives, and email is it. Whatever the reason, I've gotten used to lack of email response from people who I know and especially people I don't know. And it doesn't stop at professors - law reviews quite often fail to respond to publication submissions.

My point is that while it might be nice for appointments chairs to respond to you (I would certainly like a response if it were me), you simply cannot read anything into a lack of response. It may be that you are not in contention. It may be that there is no new information. It may be that they are busy. It may be that they lost your email and you need to follow-up in the future when you need information. It may be that they are rude. It may be that they are on vacation. It may be that they are at a conference. It may be that they are busy scheduling callbacks for others. It may be....

If you don't accept non-response as a fact of life, you may be in for a frustrating time, and you will certainly have a bruised ego.

Fourth, this leads to my basic point. Because of all the reasons why you might not be getting called, knowing that others are getting called adds little to the mix. You could be out. You could be on the B-team for later hiring. The school could be spreading out the process. You just don't know, and if you try to act on a guess, you risk looking foolish. Instead, you wind up suffering in silence, and that's not helpful.

That said, there is one time that you might need this information for something productive. My recommendation (which I am certain will be ignored, and which in fact I would likely not be able to follow if I were on the market) is that you only look at these threads at this one time.

That time? When you need to make a decision. If you have an exploding offer from School A, then it is helpful to know whether Schools B-D are making callback. Even then, you could probably just call the other schools, tell them you have an offer (this is information they might want to know) and ask whether there is a likelihood at their school. The information about callbacks helps assess the amount of waffling in the response and your likelihood of getting a callback or offer there.

In short, knowing where you aren't getting interviewed is the kind of asymmetrical information that is only helpful when you might lose a bird in the hand, and not before.

I enjoyed my time blogging this month, and wish you all luck on the market this year!

Posted by Michael Risch on November 30, 2009 at 07:06 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Friday, November 20, 2009

Best Practices for Appointments Committees

Though it's been a few years since I had to go on the meat market, I'm still pretty keen to make the process for newbies as relatively painless as possible, and this blog has been one way to try to facilitate that goal.  I know a number of my perma-prawf colleagues are either veterans of or currently sitting on their schools' appointments committees (appcomm); the same is true for many guest writers and readers of the blog. To that end, I'd like to draw on the collective wisdom of folks here to compile a set of best practices for appointments committees for law school hiring, and to get the ball rolling, I've offered some thoughts below. 

In no particular order, I can think of 12, some of which are drawn from the queries/complaints in the job market threads we've been running on the blog. They can be found below, after the jump.

1.    Once you have asked a lateral candidate to see if they are interested in being considered, ask the person which three pieces represent their best work that they'd like the appcomm to read. Also ask which pieces signal which direction the work of the person is likely to take in the future. If the candidate is a rookie, ask the same thing if they have multiple pieces, and ask for a research agenda too.

2.    If you bring a lateral or rookie candidate in for a job talk, follow-up with an email or call to a) thank the person for traveling and doing the job talk, and b) let the person know when they can expect to hear any news. Set a default rule: if you don't hear from us within X weeks or Y months, you can assume we've moved on to other candidates. 

3.    Backgrounding: This is something I'd like to solicit feedback on. Some schools probably check only the references provided by the candidate. Other schools are more aggressive (or perform more due diligence?), and many people (both on the committee and off it) will make phone calls to people who know the candidate. These reports are then shared informally or formally at the faculty meeting, leading to discussions of personality (or background--are they likely to come? do they have family or friends in the area?) that may go beyond whether the person would be a good colleague.  How much backgrounding is enough or too much? How much prodding should people perform to see if the candidate? Are there good proxies to assess collegiality for laterals, e.g., the number of times they are thanked for reading other people's drafts? the number of times they've taught classes for sick colleagues?

4.    If you are inviting a rookie, let them know that you'll reimburse the rookie for all expenses associated with the travel to visit the school, including meals, parking, and other normal incidentals, (including internet at the hotel?).

5.    Before the meat market, Appcomm should ask all rookies they are interested in to send them a job talk paper to review before deciding whether to interview them at the meat market. Appcomm should be focused on whether the job talk paper is likely to impress their colleagues prior to deciding to spend 30 minutes of time with them in DC. Making sure the Appcomm only interviews people with papers prior to the meat market will also help Appcomm sift who is likely to be ready from day 1, at least from a scholarship and fire in the belly perspective. The offset to this point is that it assumes the transition rookies are making is from a place where they were able to prioritize writing. This is not true for all candidates obviously. But part of being a successful legal academic (qua scholar) is showing a passion for writing and ideas, and so if you're not in a position where you can write and read scholarship, it helps for you to find that time at the beginning of the day, or evenings, or weekends, etc.  You'll often hear that successful scholars are the ones who are thinking of writing and articles in the shower or buying groceries...

6.    Give people a reasonable amount of time to decide to accept the offer, but explain to them if you are budget-constrained or timing-constrained because you need to do a lot of hiring and can't necessarily wait for them. Consider the following strategy: Your offer (and proposed course package) is good for a month. However, if you can't accept within that period, check back with us later on, as we might still be interested, though if we are, it's possible your teaching package might have to be altered somewhat.

7.    If your school is open to lateral hiring, it's probably better to assign the Appcomm responsibilities from Feb/March to Feb/March rather than July/August to July/August. This allows Appcomm to do a good job of setting hiring priorities before the spring semester is finished and allowing them to scout for laterals (or perhaps misplaced rookies) to bring in for late August, September and October. If the scouting has been done by June for laterals, it still allows appcomm to go through the sheets in August and select which rookies to meet with in DC.

8.    If you're not in an intensely geographically desirable location for non-prawf spouses, consider hiring more couples (or trios, etc) on the market.

9.    This is primarily relevant to point number one. If you are looking at a lateral candidate, it is probably best to first reach out and ask if they are interested in being considered by your school (in terms of subsequent reading of the person's scholarship), rather than appcomm reading first and then contacting, when the person might not have been interested in being contacted. 

10.     Related to 1 and 9: lateral prospects will be less offended about being declined pre-campus visit than post-campus visit. Equally important, it is far better for your colleagues to be spared the cost and time of bringing someone to campus if the committee is not already enthusiastic about the work before the on-campus visit is scheduled. In other words, if a lateral is being invited, it should be because the committee fully expects to support that candidate based on their own views of the work and/or teaching evals, etc--and not wait to form those views based on "temperature reads" after the on-campus visit. If the committee doesn't do its homework up front, it costs the school a substantial amount of time and money. My sense is that each on-campus interview requires at least 125 person-hours for a faculty of 30-40 people, including committee time, candidate time, time at the faculty lunch, time preparing to read the person's work, informal post-visit chats, formal post-visit deliberations. The committee, which is already heavily taxed in terms of its own time, should be leery of bringing in people with any unknowns that are knowable; that is, the committee should recognize that the patience of the faculty is thin and the currency of persuasion with the faculty is subject to depletion.

11.    Related to 9 and 10: If you're contemplating looking at junior laterals, be clear up front about what your tenure clock rules are at your school and at the candidate's school. If your school requires time in rank before tenure of 5 years and you can't give more than 2 year's credit to the tenure clock, don't bother looking at people who are in year 3 or 4 at other schools. The odds are very high that they won't be interested in sitting at your school for an extra year or two, but chances are they won't want to broach this subject up front; perhaps they'll discuss it with your dean at the on-campus visit, but at that point, you've already potentially wasted 125 person hours...

12.    If slots are few in number, it might make sense to have just one large faculty meeting after all the relevant callbacks have been performed, and then have some kind of cumulative voting scheme in place to measure faculty intensity and preferences (something Ethan mentioned the other day in a post) and to rank the candidates in order. If there are more than 4 slots available, chances are it will be fine to have several waves of offers and meetings should be more frequent. 

Ok, I'll stop here. Tell me gently if you think I'm wrong, and please add others in the comments.   

Posted by Dan Markel on November 20, 2009 at 10:36 AM in Dan Markel, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Back from the hiring conference

Well, that was interesting and at least somewhat enjoyable. Of course, I have the beneift of being a member of (according to one anonymous candidate commenting at Faculty Lounge) a unique committee. Needless to say, I am free-riding on my colleagues on this one.

I concur in Michael's conception of FRC a series of "micro-workshops." Michael supplies the missing underlying key to my try-to-have-fun suggestion. Candidates can enjoy this not only because they can talk about themselves, but because they are doing, in miniature, one of the core fun parts of this job. And something they hopefully will get to keep doing once they join the academy.

I would add that Michael's perspective works for hiring-committee members as well. Being on the listening/interlocutor side in workshops also is a great part of this job, and that should be true for the micro-workshops we have invited each candidate to do for us. And at least we get some variety in our workshops--no two candidates even came close to talking about the same ideas.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 8, 2009 at 09:46 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Howard Wasserman, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Law Conference Unlike Any Other

Our appointments committee just finished an exhausting two days - back to back to back interviews. They were scheduled for 25 minutes and most went the full half hour. I met a lot of great candidates, and it is a shame that we won't be able to call many of them back due to limited options.

They call the meat market the "Faculty Recruitment Conference," and I suppose it is - technically. It has many indicia of conferences: participation by many law schools, registration, nametags, receptions, meeting rooms, etc.

I think the conventional wisdom is that this is where the comparison with the usual conferences stops. After all, beyond evening get-togethers there is little opportunity to mingle with friends and colleagues from other schools or to showcase one's work.

Even so, I think the FRC might still qualify as a "law" conference, at least depending on the demeanor of the interviewing faculty. More after the jump...

My alternate conception of the FRC as a conference treats the candidates as participatants in a series of micro-workshops. They have half an hour to present their scholarship as well as (depending on the school) their teaching interests and ideas. Over the course of two days, they may present up to 28 times.

I'm quite sure that most candidates do not see it that way, and the stress of interviewing takes the fun out of workshopping. Even so, once they are hired interviewing candidates will seek out the very same pressing scholarly questions they are peppered with during their mini-workshops. How many of law professors get 10 or even 2 hours at any given conference to present our works in progress to diverse faculty from multiple schools?

The FRC as micro-workshop is, I think, behind the advice that candidates appearing to enjoy themselves will do better on the market. A detailed workshop (even a critical one) is the kind of thing one should relish as an academic, and candidates who enjoy it now are more likely to be good participants later.

Of course, it is tiring to present yourself for so long, but the FRC is only once per year, and it's not like the committee isn't tired as well. I wish all of the candidates who interviewed with us good fortune, and I look forward to seeing some of you again soon.

Posted by Michael Risch on November 7, 2009 at 07:37 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, November 02, 2009

More AALS Advice...

Although this is my second year on the appointments committee, I am not ready to start dispensing advice on the meat market. However, I have gathered the best advice I found -- advice that I relied on while on the market -- in one place. It's been featured here before, but I thought I would re-point to it for nervous candidates.  The entry level advice links page is here.

I guess I have one piece of meta-advice. Take all of the advice with a grain of salt, and only do what makes you comfortable. If you are not yourself, it will show. Good luck!

Posted by Michael Risch on November 2, 2009 at 09:20 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Job Talks and Presentations on Film

Gekko-1
There are many great articles that offer advice for conducting job talks, but there are very few films that come to mind that include presentations to watch for entertaining guidance on what to emulate and what to avoid. Two of the better-known presentations in the movies are found in films featuring
Michael DouglasWall Street (1987) and Disclosure (1994). In Wall Street, Gordon Gekko delivers the “Greed is Good” speech to shareholders, and Disclosure crescendos with a presentation revealing a few key lies among colleagues. As an interesting bit of trivia, a Wall Street sequel is planned for release next year. So, my questions of the day are as follows: What are some other films and television shows that have featured memorable presentations? What makes a good job talk?

Posted by Kelly Anders on October 29, 2009 at 11:25 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Thread for Aspiring Prawfs and Current Prawfs.

I've received a few requests by aspiring prawfs asking for a thread that's not related to the AALS meat market and the timing of callbacks, etc. This can be a thread in which candidates could ask questions about the conference, interviews, clothing protocol, questions to ask/not to ask, etc. and professors or previous attendees of the market could respond with feedback. In general, it'll just be a place where candidates could go to get their random questions answered.

Feel free to raise somewhat random questions or share information, anonymously or otherwise. Just bear in mind that, pursuant to our general policy, we ask you to be decent persons in your comments; stuff that crosses a line of what I consider inappropriate might get deleted. Enjoy.

Posted by Dan Markel on October 28, 2009 at 10:51 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (133) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Personal Touch

With all of the discussions about faculty recruitment, I started thinking about the documents that accompany the FAR and publications, particularly the C.V. Some candidates may have sections that highlight background information (i.e., marital status and children), while others list hobbies and personal interests. Typical C.V.’s for seasoned law professors often include this sort of information, but I can’t help but wonder about its value or appropriateness when applying for law faculty positions. I realize there’s no perfect answer, but this topic seems to be especially timely. Is personal information on C.V.’s seen as relevant and humanizing? How much is too much?

Posted by Kelly Anders on October 14, 2009 at 02:28 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Friday, October 02, 2009

A Slightly Different Take on the Meat Market

First, thanks to Dan & PrawfsBlawg for the opportunity to guest blog this month.  Last year at this time, I was one of several hundred candidates who were camping out by the phone, checking emails for any signs of interest at every opportunity, and counting the days until the big show:  the entry-level hiring conference in D.C.  This year I am a newly-minted law professor at a wonderful school, work with brilliant and personable colleagues, teach subjects that I am passionate about, and enjoy the freedom to write what I want.  Still, I couldn't resist beginning my stint at PrawfsBlawg by revisiting my experience at the meat market while it remains somewhat fresh in my memory.

When law professors talk about the entry-level hiring conference, it often comes across as some excruciating rite of passage filled with potential pitfalls for the unwary.  My experience was far more positive, and not just because I received some very attractive offers.  I met several fascinating people, had multiple captive audiences for my scholarship, and generally had a good time during the conference.  Most of the people I met were genuinely friendly, even if they seemed dour and stand-offish at first.  In fact, I still talk and exchange personal emails with some of the other candidates and faculty I met at the conference.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t stressed out at times (I was), ignored the possibility of not getting a position after all of the sacrifices my family made so I could pursue this career path (not possible), and was in a good mood the entire time (fat chance).  I even had my own O.J.-style mad dash (along the lines of the old Hertz commercials, not of the “fleeing a vicious double murder” variety) from one tower to another on more than one occasion.  I also tanked more than one interview and took a nasty elbow in the elevator at one point.  Some of these make for good stories, but they are not representative of my overall experience.

Given all of the negativity about the conference that abounds this time of year, does anyone else care to share any positive stories about the meat market?

Posted by S. Todd Brown on October 2, 2009 at 12:54 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Law School Hiring Thread, 2009-10, Thread One

NB: This thread will be moved to the front every ten days or so. 

This thread is for both law professors and people who are on the market this coming year for becoming a law professor. We invite those on the market and those who are prawfs to leave comments (anonymously if they prefer) regarding a range of things:

a) whether they have received a call from a particular school inviting them to an interview at the AALS meat market, and/or whether they accepted it; also whether the school has asked for a candidate's scholarship yet

b) whether they have received a callback from a law school and/or accepted it

c)  whether they have received an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer or info about teaching loads, research leaves, etc.

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

Bear in mind: if you don't want your contact information displayed, please just enter in anon@anon.edu or something like that as an email address.

This post will be moved to the front of the blog once every ten days or so, and we will also try to provide updates in the comments that consolidate the various bits of information here. We hope one of you will volunteer to do the agglomeration work that Marc DeGirolami did last year. If you are looking for links on how to manage going through the job hunt, check out the posts under these three archives:herehere, and here.

To get things started: FSU (as of early August) has begun (but only begun) inviting laterals for the fall and will soon turn to exploring the rookies in the near future. FSU will be doing a substantial amount of hiring across a wide range of areas. If you are interested in joining FSU's faculty, please contact Manuel Utset at  mutset@law.fsu.edu

Update: Comments are closed.  Go to Thread Two to add information.

Posted by Dan Markel on September 6, 2009 at 12:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (222) | TrackBack

Friday, September 04, 2009

Another (Slightly Less) Innocent Question for AALS Interviews

So in my first installment in the gripping series "Innocent Questions in AALS Interviews," I suggested the question: "At [Your School], what percentage of the job are the different pillars of research, teaching, and service?"  But the commenters were right that it's probably not the best question to ask. I referred to the question as "moderately innocent," and the qualifier is because I did have something else in mind.

Which is this, my next, slightly-less innocent question: "How do you determine who to hire, and what information do you use to make judgments on the criteria you think relevant?"  OK, so in case it's not obvious, this is NOT a question one should actually ask. Because if one did, well, to quote the college football announcer Keith Jackson, "Whoa, Nellie."  Get ready for the awkward silences and people nervously looking at each other. Not so much because that's an unusual question to ask (though it is), but because the hiring committee may lack a consensus answer.

Here's my perhaps-overly-rationalist view on what the answer to the first half of the question should be that I offer more to spark discussion than with any kind of certainty that this is right. To simplify, assume you've decided a particular curricular need (as most schools do for most slots), just entry-level, some "bump" for diversity of whatever kind, and have narrowed candidates to 15-20 people through some combination of resume/publications.  Then what? (1) Take the faculty's view of what percentage of the job each pillar is (say 55% research, 35% education, 10% service), or should be for new hires. (2) After the AALS meat-market interviews and committee discussion, each committee member rates each candidate on a scale of 1-5, or 1-10, three times: for their potential for excellence in research, education and service.  Each member's ratings is shared with the rest of the committee. (3) The chair aggregates and appropriately weights the committee's ratings, and uses the results to decide who to invite back in.

Anyone know of committees that use this kind of approach? If not, what do they do? I realize there are political reasons why this might be resisted, but as an ideal, what's wrong with it? Separate and big issues on the second half of the question -- what information to use to predict future success -- particularly on education and service pillars. Likely a bit easier these days with research since you can just look at existing publications, and listen to their ideas for future work.


Posted by Jason Solomon on September 4, 2009 at 09:51 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Innocent Questions for AALS Interviews

Hello everyone -- good to be back for a guest stint, and thanks to Dan for inviting and the rest for tolerating. I'm going to mostly be posting about issues in legal education, but since everyone loves a good navel-gaze and people on the market are thirsty for anything related to hiring, let's start with a perennial favorite this time of year: what questions to ask interviewers at AALS or callback interviews? 

Here's one that I haven't seen so much, and is a moderately innocent, reasonable question to ask in a job interview, but also might tell you something about a school and its faculty. "At [Your School] what percentage of the job are the different pillars of research, teaching, and service?"  Now the reality is that the percentages vary widely for most depending on whether it's summer, when research is often close to 100%, or during the semester. But assume we're talking a full year, averaged across the year, and assume we're talking after year one when you may be spending more time on class preps than you will later on.

I'm not sure what I'd answer to this question (speaking just for myself, not my school): put a gun to my head, maybe research 55%, teaching 35%, service 10%. What would you say in response, and is this a good question to ask?

Posted by Jason Solomon on September 2, 2009 at 08:59 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hiring Chairs for 2009-10: Announce Yourselves Here Please

N.B. This has been bumped to the front, and will be every couple weeks or so.

As is customary around this time of year, we are hoping law schools will use this space to share some relevant information regarding hiring for the coming year. Specifically, if you're a prawf, please share the following information related to the Fall 2009 and/or spring 2010 hiring season:

a) your school,
b) who's the chair and who are the members of your appointments committee (please also identify whether entry levels are separated from laterals, etc)

and, c) if there are any special areas you're looking to fill.

If you're on the market, or a prawf, please check out this thread here so you can share information regarding whether a particular school has begun making appointments for first-rounds or callbacks.

To get things started, Manuel Utset (mutset at law.fsu.edu) is chairing Florida State Law's unified committee (consisting of Jim Rossi, Beth Burch, Gregg Polsky, and Adam Hirsch). We are looking to hire both laterals and rookies across a range of fields and invite people who are interested to contact Manuel (or me, and I'll happily forward along your interest and CV).

The comments on the first page of this post only go to 50. Thus, if you are trying to get to the next page of comments, you have to click on the >>.


 

Posted by Dan Markel on August 26, 2009 at 12:01 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (96) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Conference for Aspiring Law Profs

The recent posts about the fall teaching market have reminded me about a conference for aspiring law professors that Arizona State will be hosting on October 17th. The conference is designed for people who are currently working as VAPs or Fellows, and who intend on going on the job market this fall. It will give attendees an insider's perspective on the job market, as well as an opportunity to give a mock job talk or participate in a mock AALS interview.

Faculty participants include Jack Chin, Brian Leiter, Prawfs' own Orly Lobel, Marc Miller, Doug Sylvester, and Brent White. More information about the conference and a link for registration can be found here.

Posted by Carissa Hessick on July 29, 2009 at 10:35 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, May 22, 2009

Advice for Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market

Thanks to a great resource by Michael Risch (WVA), one of our past and future guests, I thought I'd reprise some of the links people have found helpful in the past regarding the process of getting a teaching job in law.


TeachLaw-Resources for Lawyers Who Want to Be Law Professors (external link) (cache)
Considering Law Teaching - Cornell (external link) (cache)
Leiter's Law School Reports: Professional Advice (external link) (cache)
Leiter: Law school hiring practices (external link) (cache)
Concurring opinions: Law School Hiring (external link) (cache)
PrawfsBlawg: Teaching Law (external link) (cache)
Conglomerate Blog on law schools and lawyering (external link) (cache)
Becoming a law professor - Eric Goldman (external link) (cache)
Goldman blogswarm (external link) (cache)
So you want to be a law professor? (external link) (cache)
Instapundit (external link) (cache)
Bainbridge on conservatives in the legal academy (external link) (cache)
Law Crossing (external link) (cache)
Paul Caron on Teaching Fellowships (external link) (cache)
Daryl Levinson on the academic market (external link) (cache)
Jeff Lipshaw - How Not To Retire and Teach (external link)
Eric Goldman - Bibliography for New Law Professors (external link) (cache)
Madison on the Meat Market (external link) (cache)
Madison on the process (external link) (cache)
More from Madison (external link) (cache)
Gordon Smith - So you want to be a law professor (external link) (cache)

Posted by Dan Markel on May 22, 2009 at 10:06 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Monday, March 16, 2009

Getting New Prawfs Off the Ground

Earlier I received an email from someone about to start teaching. He asked:


This fall, I will begin teaching at ___.  As of writing, I anticipate that my classes will consist of torts, criminal procedure, and American legal history.  As I prepare for the academic year, I wonder whether you know of any source(s) for course outlines, syllabi, casebook recommendations, and other materials relating to these classes, as may have been provided and collected by other professors.  I intend on hitting up my future colleagues for these items, but I'd like to cast a broader net and thereby (hopefully) become aware of as many alternative course strategies as possible.  I would genuinely appreciate any guidance you might provide on this score.

 
Let's make this an open thread for prawf-folks to post links or citations to sources that will help the newbies hit the road running. Any thoughts? I know there's a AALS Criminal Justice bank of sources that Susan Rozelle has put together and I saw something recently that Joseph Tsai and some others are putting together for multimedia sources in criminal law.  I'm also quite certain that I've read a few things from J.Legal Educ on this topic (ie, with respect to helpful hints for the new prawf) that are somewhat useful, but I don't remember the titles or authors.  Throw a life preserver out in the comments.

Posted by Dan Markel on March 16, 2009 at 12:15 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Law School Hiring Thread, Part II: Callbacks/Offers Phase

Here's some of the info agglomerated so far from here. Please use the comments to this thread as a place to share info about callbacks and offers for the law teaching market. And feel free to note any errors and omissions.

Please note that I have been updating the information based on compilations previously created by Marc DeGirolami. I hope someone will step forward to carry on Marc's fine work through the spring semester and that more people (prawfs and wannabes) will share information.

updated 12/20

OFFER LIST

BU
Buffalo
Cardozo
Drake
Duke
FSU
Georgia State
Houston

Indiana U-polis

Loyola Chicago
Maine
Miami
Memphis
North Carolina
Oregon
Santa Clara
SMU
South Texas
Tennessee
UC-Irvine
USF
Wayne State
West Virginia
Widener

After the jump: callbacks list.

Here's a link to the most recent of comments.

 

CALLBACKS:

Albany
American (health)
Baltimore (IP)
Barry U

Baylor
Boston College
Boston University (offer and multiple callbacks) (health)
Brooklyn (health)
Buffalo (offer and callbacks) (property, environmental)
Capital
Cardozo (IP)
Case Western
Catholic (multiple, more scheduled) (criminal)
Charlotte
Chicago-Kent
Cincinnati (multiple) (comparative, crim)
Cleveland-Marshall (2) (health, crim)
Colorado (environmental, property)
Cumberland (IP)
CUNY (B-list letter)
Detroit-Mercy
Drexel (multiple) (business, tax, IP)
Duke (at least one offer made, multiple callbacks)
Elon (health, IP)
Emory (multiple)
Florida (2) (family law)
Florida Coastal
FSU (multiple offers made, multiple callbacks still scheduled) (health, criminal, IP)
Georgetown

George Mason
George Washington (multiple)
Georgia (2)
Georgia State (tax, business, criminal)
Golden Gate (multiple)
Hamline (health)
Harvard
Hofstra (IP)
Houston
Illinois
Indiana Bloomington
Indiana Indianapolis
Iowa (multiple) (business, tax)
John Marshall (2) (criminal, IP)
Lewis & Clark (multiple) (business, torts)
Louisville
Loyola Chicago (health)
Loyola LA
Loyola New Orelans
LSU
Maine (IP)
Maryland (multiple) (corporate, health law) (CBs through January)
Memphis (multiple) (civil procedure, evidence)
Miami (2) (offer-health and callbacks) (health, IP)
Michigan
Michigan State (IP)
Minnesota (IP)
Mississippi College (torts, health)
New York Law School
NYU
North Carolina (at least one offer made) (business, tax)
Northern Kentucky (civ pro)
Northern Illinois
Northwestern (2)
Notre Dame (2) (comparative public law, law & economics)
Ohio Northern
Oklahoma City U. (contracts)
Oregon (multiple) (offers in con law, ADR (accepted), and IP)
Pace
Penn State (criminal)
Pennsylvania
Pepperdine
Pittsburgh (tax, business) (finished with callbacks?)
Quinnipiac (2)
Roger Williams
San Diego (multiple) (business, tax, IP)
San Francisco (property, environmental)
Santa Clara (multiple callbacks) (property, environmental, criminal, IP)
St. John's (criminal)
St. Louis (2) (IP, Health)
St. Thomas (MN) (2)
Seattle (multiple) (IP)
Seton Hall (multiple) (criminal, health, environmental, property)
SMU (multiple) (environmental, property)
South Texas (done with callbacks) (business)
Southern Illinois
Southwestern (business law)
Stanford
Stetson (multiple)
Syracuse
Temple (multiple)
Tennessee (multiple)
Texas (2)

Texas Wesleyan
Toledo
Touro
UC-Berkeley
UC Irvine (environmental, property)
UCLA (multiple) (health, IP)
USC
Utah (IP)
Villanova (3) (criminal)
Virginia (2) (health)
Wake Forest (IP)
Washburn
Washington University
Wayne State (multiple) (IP, environmental, property)
West Virginia
Western State (multiple)
Whittier
William & Mary (multiple)
Wyoming (international, IP)
Yale

Posted by Dan Markel on February 11, 2009 at 10:35 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (475) | TrackBack

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Heartening Hiring News

As I  mentioned on the other thread, this may be heartening news to some. Some schools (ranked roughly b/w 25- 75) have asked me who's still on the market because they are still engaged in hiring and want to find promising candidates who are still available. If you're still on the market or know someone good who is, please feel free to email me at my fsu account.  

Posted by Dan Markel on February 4, 2009 at 08:47 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Friday, December 12, 2008

Notes from the Faculty Recruitment Conference, 2000

I can't be the only prawf out there who gets heart palpitations reading this Law School Hiring Thread that's being hosted here on PrawfsBlawg.  Thinking about my experience going on the market eight years ago is about as pleasant as remembering the school dances I went to in seventh grade--awful experiences all of them, even when I didn't get sent to the principal's office for making out in the girl's bathroom.  Nevertheless, I thought that sharing a few memories might go at least some tiny way toward brightening the day of some of you out there suffering through the market right now.  I guess the point is that things can still work out great, even if almost all of the experience is painful.

What I remember most was the post-conference silence.  I must have looked much better on paper than I came across in interviews, because out of thirty or so AALS and pre-AALS mini-interviews, I got three callbacks.  But it's not like I thought that I had blown the interviews; I actually thought most of my interviews had gone really well (OK, not the one where the Dean told me my argument was wimpy and that my paper showed "bad topic selection on [my] part," but then again what would you expect from Chicago?).  With eight years of hindsight I think I get it now, but back then I was totally clueless.  For example, there was one great school that had called me right after the forms had gone out to express their interest, then arranged for me to have an interview with a faculty member before the AALS, and then interviewed me at the AALS.  I keep a journal, and so I know what I thought about my prospects at this school following the conference.  "Very nice," I wrote, "I think they'll call me back--said there's a big gap for law and religion."  Their rejection letter was the second one I received, preceded only by the form letter rejection I got from my alma mater.

Then there was the top-30 school that called me the day after the conference to tell me I was at the top of their list and to ask if I was really interested in them.  Were they kidding?  I called right back and said that of course I was incredibly interested.  I'm not sure I ever heard from them again.  I think I got an email at one point saying that their plans had changed or something.  It was like the time I was a summer associate at a law firm and a partner invited me over to a Fourth of July party at his house but then later, when I confirmed that I could go, told me he needed to think about it more and get back to me.  He never did.

This is a thing I did after the conference that still makes me want to bash myself in the teeth with a pair of pliers:  I typed up a list of the area codes of the various schools I had interviewed with and taped it to my desk next to my phone so that if I got a call, I could look at the caller-ID and figure out which school was calling.  Dear lord.

Looking back at my journal entries for the two days of the conference, though, has provided me with a laugh or two.  Here are some verbatim notes about two of the interviews: "Duke--good substantive conversation.  Had an out of body experience as I talked about my paper for the 24th time."  "Michigan--went very well, even though I got there 10 minutes late because they listed the wrong room and I woke up some woman who was in her pajamas."

Come to think of it, I never got an official rejection letter from Michigan.  Maybe I should go check my voice mail.  I wonder what the area code for Ann Arbor is!

Posted by Jay Wexler on December 12, 2008 at 09:09 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What happens on a callback? What should happen?

There's a lot of ways different schools conduct callback interview days. I thought I'd invite some discussion in the comments about "best practices," starting with an example of what we often (but not always) do at FSU.

Evening before talk:
5:55 p.m.: X arrives in Tallahassee. Y picks up X at airport and brings X to hotel.

7 p.m.: Dinner at ___ (X plus 3 faculty members, sometimes 4).

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21:
8:30 a.m.: Breakfast at Tallahasse Center & transportation to law school:

one faculty member plus X; sometimes 2

9:30 a.m.: Office interview

10:00 am: Same

10:30 am: Same

11:00 am: Same

11:30 am: Prepare for Talk 1/2 hour of downtime (Room 206)

NOON: Lunch

1230: Presentation to Faculty (15-20 minutes of shpiel by X followed by questions)

1:30 p.m.: Office Interview

2:00 p.m.: Meet with Dean

3:00 p.m.: Meet with Director of the Research Center/Library

4ish: Transportation to Airport or if there's time, a drive around neighborhoods and then drive X to airport.

As you can see, we don't do meetings with students like at other schools, nor do we do a second big dinner. How does your school do things? Candidates: what do you think schools should do that they're not doing? What shouldn't they do?

Posted by Dan Markel on November 18, 2008 at 06:19 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Monday, November 10, 2008

A quick question about the FRC

Like Michael, I'm just back from the FRC, where I had a great time meeting a bunch of (intimidatingly) talented and accomplished people.  I was struck, during the conversations, that nearly every candidate, when asked (something like) "do you have any questions for us", asked "why do the Irish stink at football these days?" (not really) or (something like) "is there research support for junior faculty"?  And, my colleagues and I responded each time with what must have seemed like a canned recitation of our policies with reference to first-year teaching loads, pre-tenure leaves, internal workshops, travel and summer-research funding, etc.  Anyway, I wonder if we just made a mistake, and neglected to do what perhaps other schools do, i.e., include a description of these policies in the materials we send out before the FRC?  Or, is this just uniforming thought to be a safe question to ask?  If we were to take care of answering this question in pre-FRC correspondence, would we be doing candidates a favor, by answering their unasked question?  Or, would we be depriving them of a helpful go-to question for that inevitable "any questions for us?" moment during the interview?

Posted by Rick Garnett on November 10, 2008 at 03:45 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

AALS faculty recruitment conference: any objections to requesting photo on candidate cv?

I just returned from the AALS faculty recruitment conference, and I share Michael's general reactions, about the high quality of the candidates and about how strenuous the process can be, on both sides of the recruiting table.

One of my colleagues on the interviewing team had an interesting idea that might improve the process a bit.  Would it be inappropriate for the interviewing school to request that candidates provide photos on their cv's?  This would be a help not just in ensuring that every interviewer accurately distinguishes the candidates ex post (not that big a problem, in my experience), but also in assisting the interviewer's recollection of the details of each interview.

Are there any significant objections to this proposal?  (I have heard that some academic departments outside of law routinely use photo cv's, though I have no first-hand knowledge.)

Posted by Ken Simons on November 10, 2008 at 08:41 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack