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Sunday, July 24, 2005

An Academic Jobseekers' Guide to Food and Drink

There have already been a number of excellent posts on how to prepare oneself for the academic job market in law, and how to negotiate the process of interviewing both at the AALS in D.C. and on campus at law schools. My contribution dwells less on the considerable intellectual challenges facing the job seeker and more on meeting basic culinary needs. As I discovered, without advance preparation, one may be left without snacks at key moments, or find oneself skulking around law school corridors in search of caffeine. All these difficulties may be avoided, however, by taking a few crucial steps.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Marriot Wardman Park, the location of the annual “meat market,” it is a sprawling, mammoth construction comprised of several different towers, each of which may play a starring role in your AALS interviewing experience. In order to maintain the stamina to jog amongst these buildings and from floor to floor (through the back staircases, if the elevators seem to be operating too slowly to deliver you on time to your next destination), food is imperative. However, the available options at the Marriot itself are quite minimal. There is a Starbucks off the lobby, but the lines tend to be quite long during the Faculty Recruitment Conference from around 6am on, and are almost impossible to navigate at lunchtime. Nor are the culinary offerings always of the most savory sort. Finally, it takes quite a while to get from the Marriot’s hilltop location down to the eateries clustered near the Woodley Park Metro stop, especially if you wind up stopping to speak with long-lost acquaintances or interview committee members you have just met. Hence, piece of advice #1:

1) Bring small snacks to the AALS meeting to consume throughout the day and at lunchtime. PowerBars could be effective, or other compressed food items that can be secreted away unobtrusively into the materials you carry to interviews.

Dinner can also carry its own vexations during the AALS. Many people remain in the immediate vicinity to eat, and there are a few good food options, including my favorite, the Lebanese Taverna.  This means, however, that lines can be quite long—and, more importantly, that it is almost impossible to avoid hearing a barrage of conversations about the job market from both the perspective of interviewers and interviewees. Hence, unless you are eager to find that the person at the next table has just had a fabulous meeting with the people from Harvard, and is certain to be called back to campus that Monday and receive an offer by Wednesday,

2) Bring earplugs.

Once you have cleared these initial culinary obstacles to getting an academic position, you will hopefully receive multiple offers to give job talks. Law schools vary greatly in their awareness of candidates’ caffeine and general beverage requirements. This is especially important to remember because you may find it difficult to give an excellent job talk without the requisite amount of coffee or tea (at least, if you are like me). Most hotel rooms do now furnish coffee makers though, which leads to my final piece of advice:

3) Bring your own coffee and teabags that you can use with the hotel’s coffee maker. Also, do some web searching beforehand to figure out the coffee shops nearest the law school. This is not, however, necessary for those interviewing at Cornell, because many of us would be delighted to show you the fabulous, Ithaca-based Gimme! Coffee, which rivals many outfits in Seattle!

Posted by berniemeyler on July 24, 2005 at 12:22 PM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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Bernie, I see you're becoming an Ithaca-lover. It was only a matter of time... :)

Posted by: Nikhil | Jul 25, 2005 3:23:07 PM


Posted by: David Zaring | Jul 24, 2005 12:43:15 PM

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