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Monday, July 11, 2005

Greetings + Short-Term Job Advice

Greetings from North Carolina!  My thanks to Dan, Ethan, and the other regulars here at PrawfsBlawg for making some room for me to think out loud.  I love the energy and eclecticism of this site, both from the writers and readers. 

I'd like to add a couple of thoughts to the sound advice -- posted over the last few days by Orin, Dan, David, Ethan, and Dan -- about hunting for a law professor job.  Some of their earlier posts relate to the long-term planning and positioning that can help a candidate's prospects; other posts relate to short-term reactions during the application and interview prospects. I'll comment here on the short-term issues. 

For most short-term questions, I would say that you can overthink these things pretty easily. Trying to compensate for one danger often creates some new problem. For instance, trying to tone down your politically conservative views might increase your odds with some more liberal/progressive faculty members, but you also risk sounding inauthentic or deceptive. There are lots of other examples, but you get the idea. It's close to impossible to know, going into the tangled networks of any given law faculty, exactly what they want and where you'll hit a sore point. So I say, just let it rip! No paralysis by analysis for the job market.

Second, it's easy to forget that your faculty interviewers are also a bit anxious. "Will this amazing, promising candidate find our school interesting? Will she/he accept an offer?" Law faculties are not so good at unrequited love. They get especially interested in candidates who show some particularized interest in them and their ideas. When a candidate knows even a little bit about the scholarship of even a few members of the faculty, it shows your enthusiasm for the place and your potential for good law-school citizenship. For a school hoping to build a real community of ideas, the faculty want to see someone who has their own ideas right now (show us the publications and the pipeline!) and someone who can demonstrate right now that she/he can improve other people's ideas (show us that you read some of our stuff on the plane, at least).

More later on the longer-term issues.  --Ron

Posted by Ron Wright on July 11, 2005 at 06:11 PM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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It's always useful to think about what the other guy is thinking in any bi-partite interaction, but this might be the first time I've had a chance to think about what's going through the average hiring committee's mind.

I'll just continue to troll around the comments, bestowing boquets.....

Posted by: david | Jul 11, 2005 8:41:02 PM

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