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Friday, September 09, 2005


A reader writes:

I was wondering if you would be willing to start a discussion/comments
thread about the number of AALS interviews v. number of job talks given
by people who successfully went through the process (and then the number
of offers that materialized).

I'm on the market this fall, and I've begun receiving some calls and
scheduling some interviews, but I have no frame of reference for how the
numbers work.  For instance, if I have 10 interviews, how many job talks
should I hope for?  And is 10 interviews mediocre or impressive?  And
how does the time table work for getting calls, i.e. the AALS register
was published to law schools approximately 1 month ago, so is now about
the time that most committees are calling people, or does the window
stretch-out to 2 months after the FAR sheets were distributed?

I've been told by a 1/2 dozen people that the job market is "flukey" -
so I don't anticipate gaining anything more than circumstantial
anecdotes.  However, I always enjoy the anecdotal comments that you guys
are able to generate and attract, so I'm hoping to read some on these

My sense is that there is no predictable ratio. I think I had one callback for every four first rounds and probably one offer for every two schools at which I did callbacks.  I know others who had a "worse" callback ratio  but a higher offer ratio.  I was thinking there'd be a good opportunity to do some empirical work here, especially if everyone who Solum reported on would report (truthfully and anonymously). 

As to when schools make calls, my recollection is that it goes all the way up to the meat market and sometimes even there a space will open up and you can get squeezed in on rare occasion.  So don't give up hope (or count your chickens) until much later.  As exhausting as the process is, you must pace yourself emotionally. It's a marathon, not a sprint.   I'd be happy for others to weigh in on their experiences.

Posted by Administrators on September 9, 2005 at 05:12 PM in Dan Markel, Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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Any other hiring committee folks want to provide anecdotal evidence of their own on the timing of calls?

Posted by: h | Sep 14, 2005 10:54:19 AM

Six, in the last ten days or so. One first, two second, two third, one fourth.

Posted by: o | Sep 13, 2005 6:08:48 PM

Also anecdotally, nine, most at 3d and 4th tier schools, all in the last week.

Posted by: try | Sep 13, 2005 3:00:07 PM

Anecdotally, I have received 7 calls thus far - primarily from schools in the 3rd and 4th tiers. (4 of the 7 calls came in the last 3 days)

Posted by: n | Sep 13, 2005 2:45:17 PM

Glad to see Anon's comments--I thought this thread was prematurely dead. And I am curious about the answer, and about whether most schools have made their calls yet, or not. Even anecdotal evidence would be nice.

Posted by: m | Sep 13, 2005 2:06:16 PM

So does this mean that if a candidate has not started receiving phone calls yet that candidate ought to be worried? If fifteen interviews tips the odds in the candidates favor, will that candidate be able to get fifteen interviews if that phone hasn't yet started ringing? Or are a few schools calling early with the vast majority yet to decide?

Posted by: Anon | Sep 13, 2005 1:04:08 PM

I had about 15 aals interviews (+ a few non aals lunches), got 9 call backs, took the first job offer I got and withdrew from the others. But a lot is random: some schools called me the last week of august; one did not interview me at aals then suddenly called me up in february to invite me to lunch then a job talk. no pattern whatsoever. go figure.

Posted by: lawprof | Sep 11, 2005 8:06:43 PM

My sense is that schools are calling candidates a little bit earlier than when I was on the market 6 years ago. Our committee was going to discuss entry-level candidates next week, but we moved that meeting up a week because we got some feedback that many of the schools we compete with (I'm at Minnesota) were already calling, and some of the most attractive candidates were already starting to near their limits of how many interviews they could do. That feedback is very anecdotal, though--it's hard to get a systematic view of what is going on.

Posted by: Brett McDonnell | Sep 11, 2005 2:43:58 PM

I went on the market in 2001. I did 15 interviews at AALS and two off-site with local schools; I turned down about a dozen other interviews. Out of the 17 screening interviews, I got seven callbacks, of which I took six. I got four offers and withdrew from the other two schools that hadn't made a decision on me.

Posted by: Pretenure law prof | Sep 10, 2005 10:57:49 PM

How many interviews is too many? That is to say, if you're getting a lot of interview requests, but many are from schools you don't think you'd really be interested in, should you just accept interviews anyway? Or try to keep at least some of your schedule free in case other schools call later? What is the maximum amount of interviews one would want to have at the conference?

Posted by: buddinglawprof | Sep 10, 2005 3:11:12 PM


The trend seems to be that the higher-ranked schools take more time and make their calls for the AALS later than the lower-ranked schools. That was my experience, at least. As for why, I think the answer is that "they can."

Posted by: top20lawprof | Sep 9, 2005 11:46:54 PM

This comment goes under the "for what its worth" category and hopefully it will give those of you who are going through the process now some hope even if you do not get more than a few interviews at AALS. When I went through the AALS process in 2001, I only had 2 AALS interviews and then only 1 call back interview. Thankfully, as another commentator has already pointed out, it only takes one.

Posted by: Paul Secunda | Sep 9, 2005 9:58:32 PM

I am on the market for the first time. I have received a handful of calls already. However, a few schools in which I am very interested have not yet contacted me. I would like some more insight perhaps from members of appointments committees about when schools schedule most of their interviews.

Posted by: RAR | Sep 9, 2005 7:55:05 PM

If Kaimi's ratios are right (and they sound reasonable to me), then the odds for getting at least offer should start to tip in the candidate's favor at about 15 screening interviews. This isn't to say that someone with fewer screening interviews won't succeed; as the maxim goes, "it only takes one." Eric.

Posted by: Eric Goldman | Sep 9, 2005 7:17:55 PM

Just a couple of thoughts not directly on point. First, take several copies of your c.v. with you to the conference and don't hesitate to distribute them to schools of interest, seeking a last-minute interview. Statistically it may be wasted labor, but my at-conference distribution resulted in an on-site interview that turned into a call-back, so positive results can happen. Second, when scheduling interviews at the hotel, keep in mind that interviews are held in each of the three wings of the hotel. You may wish to intentionally avoid back-to-back interviews for that reason, rather than risk showing up all hot, sweaty, flustered --- and late.

Posted by: tz | Sep 9, 2005 6:00:09 PM

Yes, I think Kaimi's take is about right. I've seen a tremendous variation, but I think that's roughly the norm.

Posted by: top20lawprof | Sep 9, 2005 5:48:03 PM

I've talked this through with a few people. Based on numbers that I've been told by friends who went through the process, plus added discussion, my feeling is that the "normal" range is along these lines:

5 AALS = 1 call-back
3 call-backs = 1 offer

This is a very crude estimate. I've known people who did better and people who did worse. This may be the middle of the bell curve (or not, perhaps my sample is skewed in some way) but no matter where the middle of the curve lies, there is not a huge hump in the middle, this one goes all over the place.

Posted by: Kaimi | Sep 9, 2005 5:28:41 PM

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