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Monday, December 01, 2008

Question on entry-level titles

Here is a question that might be answered by current prawfs as well as those who are or have been on the market and looking at different set-ups:

Are there schools that designate their entry-level faculty (no teaching experience or maybe just out of a fellowship or VAP program) as Associate Professor rather than Assistant Professor?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 1, 2008 at 08:27 PM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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I have scoured the internet sites, been to the AALS market in DC, connected with sites that provide "alerts" and sent out "blinds" or "cold calls" 'round the country. What's an intellectually challenging attorney-educator, with little "paper teaching credentials" to do about securing a university/law school teaching opportunity? I'm not a newbie kid on the block having litigated in the criminal and civil arenas for 26 years. I have taught at community clinics, CLEs, the trade (paralegal), online (paralegal studies) and now at the community college levels.

I have developed a predictive legal analysis teaching approach where students successfully develop client problem recognition and resolution techniques and strategies; conduct research; draft memoranda; and engage in peer group case review that allowed for discovery of creative problem-solving potential in a team approach analysis. The approach works with students whose educational levels range from high school diploma to university graduates. Apparently, this has little interest for or to schools claiming they are searching for new faculty attempting to gain entry from outside the traditional educational pathway.

I have hit the wall and need a guide -- yes, I am a man willing to ask for directions.

Posted by: Mark Baum | Dec 5, 2008 1:02:21 PM

Just to flag a potential issue -- at some schools (like mine), promotion from assistant to associate, or associate to "full" triggers an automatic salary bump. If a person starts as an "associate" rather than as an "assistant," they may be forever forgoing at a school that has such a system the promotion bump. The tone of these comments suggests candidates are being done a favor by starting as associate, but that may not be the case at all schools.

Posted by: Geoff | Dec 3, 2008 4:41:25 PM

At Notre Dame, we no longer (but did until a few years ago) call entry-level hires "Assistant Professors"; entry-levels start at "associate".

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Dec 2, 2008 3:32:37 PM

WVU does (if the experience level justifies it - and it almost always does or we wouldn't be making the offer) - it is primarily, I think, to stay competitive in salaries.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Dec 2, 2008 5:51:26 AM

UVA starts people at associate.

Posted by: anon | Dec 2, 2008 1:02:26 AM

We just moved to an all Associate level system pre-tenure -- but what used to be the promotion review after three years to Associate is now just a retention review.

Posted by: Ethan Leib | Dec 1, 2008 11:24:14 PM

I think there are many schools that do this: off the top of my head, UMiami and GW.

Posted by: anon | Dec 1, 2008 11:16:19 PM

Southwestern Law School does too. Possible reason: we don't have pre-tenure promotion from assistant to associate professor, so no reason to distinguish different echelons of pre-tenured profs.

Posted by: Dave | Dec 1, 2008 11:03:55 PM

Boston University School of Law also does so.

Posted by: Kenneth Simons | Dec 1, 2008 9:06:55 PM

New York Law School does.

Posted by: Associate Professor James Grimmelmann | Dec 1, 2008 8:58:21 PM

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