Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hiring Threads Update

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

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

VAPs and Fellowships: Open Thread, 2012-2013

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

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

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

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

Law School Hiring, 2012-2013, Thread Two

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

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

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

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

Five miscellaneous things:

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the spreadsheet, which is downloadable.

Good luck!

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thinking of a visit or a lateral move?

A friend at the AALS writes with the following:

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

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

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Escaping the Wardman

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

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Law School Hiring, 2012-2013, Thread One

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four miscellaneous things:

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the spreadsheet, which is downloadable.

 

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

Good luck!

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

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

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hiring Committees 2012-2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 09, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

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

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

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

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

 

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

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2012-2013

The 2012-2013 law school hiring market is soon beginning. 

In this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market (anonymously if you wish, assuming the questions are not especially offensive or otherwise improper), and prawfs or others can weigh in, also anonymously if they choose, but within the bounds of decency. I will keep an eye on things and delete misinformation and ban the IP addresses of those acting out of bounds. If you're a reader and you see something suspicious, please feel free to let me know via email.

We will have a distinct but related post in which candidates or prawfs can report on callbacks, offers, and acceptances. That thread should be used only for information relevant to hiring, not for questions or comments on the process. This is the thread for questions.

So...questions? But before you ask your questions, take a look at the 500 questions and comments that came up on last year's thread.

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

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Aspiring Law Profs Conference at ASU

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

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

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

FEATURING:

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

 

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

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Waiting out the Professor and Clerkship Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update:

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2011-2012

NB: Bounced to the front.

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

In this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market (anonymously if you wish, assuming the questions are not especially offensive or otherwise improper), and prawfs or others can weigh in, also anonymously if they choose. Dan Markel will keep an eye on things and delete misinformation and anything else he finds out of bounds.

In the distinct but related post, candidates or prawfs can report on callbacks, offers, and acceptances. That thread should be used only for information relevant to hiring, not for questions or comments on the process. This is the thread for questions.

So...questions?

Update: The most recent comments are here

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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

VAPs and Fellowships: Open Thread, 2011-2012

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

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

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

From the aggregator:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Potentially Important Law Faculty Hiring Decision...

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

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

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

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

 

H/T How Appealing

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On the Move

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

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

ISO Model Recent Job Talks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christopher Robertson, Blind Expertise

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

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

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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Makes a Good Fellowship Program?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Law School Hiring, 2011-2012, Thread Two

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

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

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

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

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

Miscellaneous:

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

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

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

Here is the spreadsheet, which is downloadable.

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

Good luck!

Additional Links:

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

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

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

Update: the last page of comments is here.

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Job talks: topics to avoid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.  The Law & Economics of Law & Order

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

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

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

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

 

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

11.  Rethinking the Eighteenth Amendment: An Argument for Repeal

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

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

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

15. Capital Punishment for Misdemeanor Offenses: A Retributive Approach

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

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Leiter on Timing of Callbacks

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

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Last Five Minutes of the AALS Meat Market Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ten AALS Interview Tips

I'm going to give some obvious advice below.  I don't mind because (a) it is sometimes helpful to be reminded of the obvious; and (b) the advice below isn't necessarily obvious to everyone, especially to those who aren't fortunate enough to be coached about the conference by their law schools. So here are some tips for those of you interviewing at the AALS conference this week.

1. Spend some time researching the law school with whom you're interviewing before the conference. If you know the names of the Appointments Committee members, figure out what their areas of expertise are. Research about the school will enable you to show that you will "fit" there, and research about the committee will enable you to judge the types of questions committee members will ask or the range of answers they're soliciting.

2. Don't ramble unduly when answering questions.  Interview time is precious, and you want to wring maximum value out of every moment. Your interviewers probably have four or five questions they ask every candidate, and you want to make sure you answer all of them. By the same token, you should have in mind two or three things you want to convey about yourself in every interview.  Make sure you use your time wisely to convey them.

3. Don't assume every interviewer is an expert in your field. Make sure you can explain your research in a way a non-specialist can understand it.

4. Don't sprawl in the interview chair, but don't perch right on the edge, either.  You want to look engaged rather than relaxed or anxious.

5. The interview team may offer you food or drink. Do not accept. Eating or drinking during the interview will be unduly awkward. You may, however, accept a bottle of water for later.

6. Be prepared to discuss in depth anything you've published. By the same token, be prepared to discuss your teaching philosophy, your ideal course package, your desire to live in a college town or urban area (as needed), and your future plans for research.

7. Don't be afraid to show some passion. I want to hire people who love research and teaching and who will commit their lives to improving the legal profession one student at a time and the law (even if only a small niche) one article at a time.  It may sound hokey, but I prefer to hire people for whom being a law professor is a calling.  [More selfishly on my part, I prefer candidates with passion because a twenty minute interview can seem like an eternity when the candidate has a flat affect or is low energy, and besides, I can't remember those candidates later.]

8. Don't tell the interviewers that you want to go into law teaching because you're tired of law practice or you think law teaching will be a lot easier than law practice. 

9. Emphasize how your practice experience will benefit students and benefit your research. For bonus points, show that you understand how the practice of law has changed in the past few years, and that you've contemplated how law professors should respond to these changes.

10. Make sure you shake the hand of every interviewer at the outset and make eye contact.  This feat can be difficult to pull off if the interview team is large, but it is important.

Bonus Tip:  When the interview team asks if you have any questions, don't ask simply: how does your school support faculty research?  You can ask the same thing in a (slightly) more creative way.  For example, you can ask what opportunities the school gives untenured faculty members to workshop papers, and whether there are any formal mechanisms in place that encourage or assist untenured faculty members to present their papers at conferences outside the law school. If you know the school has an Associate Dean for Faculty Development/Research, you can ask about his/her role in supporting the research endeavors of untenured faculty members.  You also might try asking:  What makes your law school different than other schools? What is the biggest challenge facing your school? What (if anything) is special about your student body?  Try to use the question not just to gather information but to show something important about yourself.

 Best of luck!

Posted by Lyrissa Lidsky on October 10, 2011 at 08:16 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Lyrissa Lidsky | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Monday, September 26, 2011

CV Advice: Should One Include Hobbies or Family Info?

I've reviewed what seems like a million CVs since last May, but occasionally one still has the power to surprise.   I was struck by one this morning that had an especially extensive list of "hobbies." It made me curious to hear the thoughts of other profs as to whether one should or should not include such things on one's CV. 

On my own CV, I've taken a conservative approach and haven't included hobbies or family information on the theory that some stuffy traditionalist out there might take offense or be dismissive. [I would probably only wear a dark suit to interviews for the same reason.] As a recruiter, however, I often enjoy getting some insight into a person through the hobbies they choose to include, and I find that the hobbies occasionally  provide a conversation starter, though I prefer to start with more substantive questions at the faculty recruitment conference in D.C.

Regardless, I think one should probably omit hobbies if they are too mundane (e.g., travelling or reading--who in academia doesn't like to read or travel??) or too exotic (e.g., UFO hunting or making pipe cleaner animals). That doesn't mean, however, that I'd exclude a candidate for including them.  Okay, maybe the pipe cleaner animals might make me think twice . . .

 

 

 

 

Posted by Lyrissa Lidsky on September 26, 2011 at 03:13 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Lyrissa Lidsky | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Friday, September 23, 2011

What's Keeping Prawfs from Imitating Judges?

The NYT has a funny story today about this year's clerkship madness. Judge Kozinski fesses up to recruiting at birth, or something approximating it. A triumphant student still vomits from the stressful experience. All this raises many questions but here's one: why has the FAR process held up more against the threat of unraveling than the clerkship market? Is it simply because hiring for a multi-year position requires more due diligence? The judges would probably deny that--they'd likely argue that a year with a judge is more socially significant than a career where we're marginalized to reporting our views in the ostensibly irrelevant law reviews. I'm not sure why some talent markets unravel and others don't. Maybe the law schools are more inclined to see the benefits to hiring in a context where one isn't operating under hot emotions. What's your rank speculation?

Posted by Administrators on September 23, 2011 at 02:34 PM in Blogging, Dan Markel, Employment and Labor Law, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Law and Politics | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Thursday, September 22, 2011

F.A.R.tube (?)

Complaints about the "FAR Forms," the one-page candidate bios distributed by the AALS to schools recruiting potential faculty members, have regularly found voice on this blog.  Common problems attributed to the FAR include its choice of subject areas, publication formats, its visual ugliness, and limits on search fields.  There are also good questions and suggestions about the FAR form in this fall's clearinghouse-of-questions post.

The whole AALS recruitment conference is a very expensive shindig -- both for schools paying for multiple hotel rooms for committee members and interview teams, and for candidates who don't live in town having to dodge work and get to DC.  I wish the AALS would think about a cheaper hotel, and then take some of those cost savings and sink them in to thinking about ways to improve the FAR form (and then hiring the computer club to make them work).  Some "tech"-ish improvements could include:

1. Video Resume (or mini-interview)

For instance, I'd like to see them build a "youtube" sort of database of candidates.  Everyone has a webcam, right?  So let's have the AALS compile a list of "standard" questions (the things candidates get asked in 90% of those introductory interviews).  Why do you want to teach? What would be your approach in the classroom? Tell us about your law school activities/scholarly agenda/etc.  I don't think it would be too hard to set rather strict time limits for responses.  If a committee is thinking about extending a DC interview, why not give them the chance to see the candidate, not just a bunch of words about them? 

Our committee in DC usually spends 25 minutes with each candidate, but to be honest, there are always a few candidates we meet and know within 5 minutes won't be a good fit with our faculty.  Why not let us try to gauge that before we waste a candidate's time (and our time) scheduling a DC interview?  In fact, if it were sufficiently robust, there might be schools that would use the FARtube in place of coming to DC.  It would certainly make it possible for schools that have spots open up in November, December, or January to take a look at candidates they might have neglected to meet in October.  Inviting a candidate back to campus sight-unseen can make for a long two days if there isn't a good fit, and organizing individual skype emails between 4-6 committee members and a candidate is kind of a pain.

2. Searchable Resume Distributions

I'd also like to see an easier way to search not just the FAR forms, but the PDF resumes themselves.  I can search on FAR forms using the fields, or I can search the whole "distributions." But to get to individual resumes, I have to click a particular candidate.  One of the nice things about getting the individualized "books" of resumes from Yale and Stanford and a bunch of other schools this year was that, when those were sent in the form of PDF documents, we could quickly search through all of the resumes for terms of interest (in our case, we're looking for a particular field).

3.    An "Expresso"-style Submission of Resumes

Frankly, 600 or so (800 or so some years) FAR forms is a lot to wade through, especially for schools that might be in locations many candidates simply have no interest in calling home.  We try to push candidates to tell us during an initial conversation (pre-conference) whether they are really willing to move to the midwest, leave California or NYC or wherever.  Most say sure, but some will always later develop strong geographic reasons to withdraw or even decline an offer.

So why not have a system where candidates submitting resumes/FAR forms click on the schools to which they want to submit their resumes?  Just like expresso, I would be able to click on everyone, if I so chose; also just like Expresso, if I wanted to be more selective, I could be more selective.  Schools could then get individualized boxes of "applicants," with those not really interested in their region or their kind of school taken out of the pack.  Candidates are sometimes told not to list a geographic restriction on their FAR form because it may be seen as a negative even by schools that meet that geographic restriction; but using an Expresso style system, candidates could have their preferences factored in, without it being obvious to schools what those preferences are.

 

Posted by Geoffrey Rapp on September 22, 2011 at 02:06 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Monday, September 19, 2011

Law School Hiring, 2011-2012, Thread One

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four miscellaneous things:

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the spreadsheet, which is downloadable.

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

Good luck!

UPDATE: Members of hiring committees, if you see something incorrect in the comments (e.g., someone says they have an entry-level interview at your school, but you haven't scheduled any entry-level interviews), please email me directly, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will take corrective action (which sounds more exciting than it is--I'll delete or amend the comment and adjust the spreadsheet, and if the person at that IP address persists in posting incorrect information, I will block the IP address). 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on September 19, 2011 at 02:10 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (175) | TrackBack

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Reminder: Please post information regarding your law school's AppComms!

Just a reminder now that August is almost half over and the FAR forms are almost out: our beloved Sarah Lawsky is governing the Hiring Chair Thread, which you can find over here. If you're a prawf, please post in the comments the name/s of the members of your hiring committee for your school, and indicate any areas of interest.

Thanks!

Posted by Administrators on September 4, 2011 at 10:56 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hiring Chairs for 2011-2012

Let's gather information! In particular, please share in the comments the following information related to the 2011-2012 law school hiring season:

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

As is now customary (how time flies on the Internet!) I will gather this information in a downloadable, sortable spreadsheet. (Click on that link to access the spreadsheet and download it; you can also scroll through the embedded version below.)

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

Update: Someone has very kindly submitted a spreadsheet of addresses of a subset of law schools, if folks want to create their own mail-merge. You can download it here.

Update: The spreadsheet with hiring needs by subject is here. It is (and will remain) up to date. 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 22, 2011 at 09:51 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (57) | TrackBack

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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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 Administrators 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