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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cover Letters to Hiring Chairs

An applicant to the meat market emailed me to ask: what would "an example of an ideal cover letter from an AALS candidate to the chair of the faculty appointments committee look like?  Just curious what is considered 'vital' in these letters."

I suspect some chairs might like the research agenda integrated with the cover letter.  In any event, I think that's what I did a few years ago, and so I had a brief introduction with a description of my recent articles and then explained what I planned on writing for a few more paragraphs, followed by a paragraph detailing my teaching interests.  If there were a special reason to be at the school because of a family connection to the area or such, I might mention that up front or at the end, especially if the school is in a place different from where you reside. 

But many of our readers are probably far more savvy about this.  If you've been a hiring chair or sat on a committee, what do you think a cover letter to an appointments committee chair should look like?

And in case you're wondering: our list of appointments chairs for 2007-08 can be found here at this link.

Posted by Administrators on August 22, 2007 at 09:54 AM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink

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Comments

Maybe paragraphs are shorter if you keep referring to them as "paragr."

Anyway, speaking as a hiring chair, I think the point of a letter -- if it's from somebody who is in the AALS book anyway -- is to demonstrate interest in the particular school. That could be because of the school's geographic location, particular programs, or etc. Hiring chairs do not want to read 700 cover letters that basically just expand a bit on 700 AALS forms they have already read. But, if there is some reason you are particularly interested in teaching at my school, that could be a plus, at the margins.

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Aug 23, 2007 10:42:51 AM

Scott, that's a lot of paragraphs. Did you go 2 pages? I stuck to the conventional wisdom for job-hunting as a whole to keep it to one page. Is the law prof market different?

Posted by: Bruce Boyden | Aug 22, 2007 5:13:51 PM

Great minds think alike... and so do Dan and I. I did almost exactly what Dan did. I'd add that my first paragr was basic background info (current job, interest in a position, ties if any to geographic area or other particular reason for interest in the school, such as the school's excellent Space Law program); second and maybe third paragr were on research; next paragr was on teaching; then short concluding paragr. I think that was the rough formula.

Posted by: Scott Moss | Aug 22, 2007 12:40:43 PM

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