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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Thread for Aspiring Prawfs and Current Prawfs.

I've received a few requests by aspiring prawfs asking for a thread that's not related to the AALS meat market and the timing of callbacks, etc. This can be a thread in which candidates could ask questions about the conference, interviews, clothing protocol, questions to ask/not to ask, etc. and professors or previous attendees of the market could respond with feedback. In general, it'll just be a place where candidates could go to get their random questions answered.

Feel free to raise somewhat random questions or share information, anonymously or otherwise. Just bear in mind that, pursuant to our general policy, we ask you to be decent persons in your comments; stuff that crosses a line of what I consider inappropriate might get deleted. Enjoy.

Posted by Administrators on October 28, 2009 at 10:51 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


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Despite the less than civil tone here, what the hell, I'll throw in my $0.02.

A discussion of Ph.D.s likely ought to be tailored to a certain area of law. What are we talking about? Not all Ph.D.s are equal.

A J.D./Ph.D. in history? Not so impressive - an historian can still publish on the law without the J.D., and a J.D. can still publish in law and history without the Ph.D., and not many teaching packages come complete with 3-4 law and history courses.

A J.D./Ph.D. in economics? More impressed, particularly if the candidate wants to teach in a related area (bankruptcy, commercial, contracts, development, etc.).

A J.D./Ph.D. in the sciences? Maybe impressed with the Ph.D. but more *likely* impressed with the quality of the post-doc experience (MIT?) and the quality of science-related publications. If an IP candidate has the requisite post-doc experience, plus sufficient and robust publications in his/her area (Nature? Science?) plus some scholarly potential in law, I'd argue that the school granting both the Ph.D. and the J.D. are *wholly* secondary to the post-doc and the publications. I'd say substantially the same thing for a J.D./D.B.A. who has been published in outstanding business journals.

Lastly, I'm somewhat disappointed at the tone that the dialogue on this thread has taken, given that some of these snarky attitudes may be (although I hope not) current or future colleagues of mine in the academy. We can do better!

Posted by: anewanon | Dec 13, 2009 5:55:57 PM

One of the big things you are missing about the attraction of someone with a PhD is that it generally means publications. In fact someone who is nearly done with her dissertation may be very attractive because she can give her job talk on her PhD work and will likely have a book or several articles in the pipeline from dissertation work alone.

I am one of those PhD/JD and schools found it an asset because of my published work, soon to be published work, and the teaching experience I had as a graduate student.

Also , I have seen several successful ABD candidate. The difference in some of the discussion above is the ABD candidate that will be done in a semester versus the ABD candidate who has really abandoned their hopes of finishing the dissertation.

Posted by: anon young prof | Dec 12, 2009 11:06:53 PM

I'm sorry that my argument that it's becoming increasingly difficult to get a job on the teaching market without a fellowship or a PhD was really offensive to you. But that's no excuse for talking to yourself in this thread.

According to this link: http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2009/03/early_returns_o_1.html about 16% of those getting jobs have neither a fellowship nor an advanced degree. I'm sure it's even more difficult to not have either and get a job at a top tier law school.

I don't actually agree with these recent developments. It seems as though schools are just adopting a new set of proxies. Before it was grades/clerkships now it's PhDs/Fellowships. Why not read the actual work? Schools don't read students work until after the interviews.

Other interesting links:



Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2009 4:00:02 PM

Well, at least he got instant cache from the exchange.

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2009 3:24:28 PM

I do sincerely apologize for my part in this exchange. The signs were there from the beginning - the hysterical statement that without a Ph.D. you won't get hired (even though Larry Solum's compilation of 2009 hiring shows only 35 out of 150 plus new hires had Ph.D.s, less than than had J.D.s alone with no fellowship or VAP), the aggressive "you're stupid" tone, the lack of any interest in dialogue.

The guy's a troll, and I'm pretty sure it's the same troll we saw before. He got what he wanted, which is a chance to tell someone else that they were stupid and that he's really smart. I apologize for enabling him.

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2009 2:48:27 PM

Nope. Now can we get back to substantive discussion.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 11:35:40 PM

Does anyone besides me think that anon 10:38 might be the same guy who was telling us not to write thank you notes, and that the hiring season is over? Maybe this exchange ought to be deleted as well.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 11:13:15 PM

You're still wasting everyone's time with your ramblings of a mediocre mind.

Anyhow, if there are others out there that have experiences with going on the market with a PhD, your stories are welcome.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 10:38:10 PM

It's true that the points I made were obvious. It's also true that they contradicted the rather loopy arguments you were advancing.

I have to say it's a very good thing that you aren't trying to make a living actually practicing law. I think if you wrote a contract increasing the price "per se" based on a credential then wanted to argue later that it should have been obvious to anyone with a brain that you didn't mean "per se" but "of extra high quality" you might run into a few problems. It's interesting to me that you feel qualified to teach aspiring lawyers. Maybe you should consider seeking a job in a history department with that Ph.D. (should be a piece of cake, I would think, given your obvious brilliance).

If it makes you feel better (or smarter) to think that I am stupid, you just go on thinking that.

I do apologize for wasting the time of anyone who wasted precious, irreplaceable moments reading this fruitless exchange.

Have a wonderful life. I'm done.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 10:27:19 PM

anon Dec 11, 2009 9:32:32 PM, you're simply not very smart, but you are very dismissive. In all of your silly posts, you highlight obvious points. Everyone knows how prestige driven academia is. But, you're right; I didn't include that "the PhD that is given per se value" would be from a top-flight University. But it's sad that you're not smart enough to comprehend that this was an obvious assumption into the debate. But you clearly didn't and for that you should apologize for wasting my time.

Moreover, not all law professors are lawyers. So this statement: "Here, some of us Ph.D.s, and some of us are not, but all of us are lawyers" is wrong. Do better. I'm sure your scholarship follows this pathetic line of thinking where you write articles highlighting obvious points in attempt to make yourself seem smart as you have done here on an anonymous messageboard. I'm guessing your scholarship sucks. If you are an actual law professor, I'm sure you could spend your time. And only because tenure is almost assured will you ever receive it. If you are not, I hope your inferior intellect shows in your interviews.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 9:55:20 PM

So which is it: "the market gives per se value to the PhD" or the market gives value to a history Ph.D. from an Ivy League university? The first is what you said until you got called out, and now suddenly we are talking about a Ph.D. in Columbia in history.

I think a Ph.D. in history from Columbia would add value in the law professor marketplace. As I expressed above, a Ph.D. "per se" from Southwest Bupkus State would not.

Here's the take away point. Here, some of us Ph.D.s, and some of us are not, but all of us are lawyers. If you were a good lawyer, which I'm suspecting maybe you are not because you need the bump of the Ph.D. to even get into the game, you would already understand that expressing yourself with precision the first time can be quite important.

Good luck. When you finally get a job, with your obvious personal charm, I bet your students and colleagues are going to just love you.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 9:32:32 PM

I have an unrelated question - what is the weight given to a first article in a top law journal but the content is not as spectacular? Or is the mere placement in a top law journal enough for hiring purposes? (Granted that the job talk paper (different from the previous publication) is ok)

Posted by: Chaim | Dec 11, 2009 7:29:00 PM

Anon at 4:28:55PM your post is really obvious. Of course the market is going to discount PhDs in unaligned fields. And of course the market is going to discount PhDs from lower ranked schools; and JDs from lower ranked schools. You've added nothing to the debate with these obvious points. If you think you have, "you will have and should have problems."

Here's what the debate is over. Candidate A and candidate B have the same exact CV. The only difference is that A has a PhD from Columbia in History and B does not. Candidate A will be thought of as the better candidate because the market values the PhD.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 5:43:06 PM

Dude, your post is stupid. You're in the weeds for no damn reason.

And if you're really going to harp on the use of cache and not cachet, I think your first sentence shouldn't be so dreadfully long that it should have been made into at least two sentences. What a douchebag for no reason you are.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 5:31:40 PM

Well, to really figure out the value of a Ph.D., you would have to go more granular, as all Ph.D.s are most certainly not equal, and I'm not sure the data set is big enough for granular observations to be reliable.

Saul Levmore's Ph.D. in game theory economics from Yale? Clearly an asset, and clearly something that powered his scholarship.

Someone else's Ph.D. in American Literature or History from a not so well known state school coupled with a T3 J.D.? Completely different item.

Someone cited Northwestern as an example of a Ph.D. rich faculty. Point well taken, but look at the Ph.D.s - top Ph.D. programs at top schools, and with a bias toward the social sciences.

What does that predict for someone getting a Ph.D. in Psychological Counseling or American Studies from a no name school? Absolutely nothing, unless there's a bubble temporarily favoring Ph.D.s irrationally, which if it exists may pop before people starting in to those programs get their diploma.

And I still think if you don't know the difference between cache and cachet, you will have and should have problems.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 4:28:55 PM

This isn't a smart comment. Looking at the market statistics, it's clear that the market gives per se value to the PhD. You are indeed correct in noting that a mediocre PhD/JD candidate won't be thought highly of. But, what have you really said? Nothing.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2009 1:31:06 PM

I don't think a Ph.D. will give you any instant cachet if you think the word is cache.

I will skip, for now, my canned rant about how a mediocrity with a Ph.D. is still a mediocrity.

Posted by: anon smartypants | Dec 10, 2009 7:00:08 PM


Hey folks,

I'd appreciate some thoughts about what is really negotiable once the offers are on the table. Obviously, everybody needs to make sure to get moving expenses, and get the summer research stipend and research budget to start the summer before. (I know one person who was later refused moving expenses simply because she did not demand them at the negotiation stage.)

Beyond that, what is really in play? Some candidates:

* salary
* other compensation (e.g., housing allowance, summer stipend)
* teaching package
* teaching load
* campus housing guarantee/subsidy
* size of research budget / commitment to special funding
* pretenure research leave
* spouse job
* childcare stipend and/or help with childcare placement

My sense is that the Deans will try to argue "company policy" on most of these, pretending that they are unable to customize packages for each candidate. Of course, if you have a very specific offer from another school that you are credibly weighing, that puts you in a much better position to negotiate. Whether that actually must be disclosed or simply credibly gestured towards is another question.

For background:




Posted by: anonaronaroonironibonitheponybiboninonimoni | Dec 3, 2009 11:19:44 PM

I think you're misunderstanding me. I would have a significant number of publications (3+) and have a lot of my dissertation done, but I wouldn't have the PhD already.

Also, I think you are categorically wrong if you believe that the PhD itself doesn't give you instant cache. Of course, a random PhD in history won't mean anything. But if you keep publications constant, but you give candidate A a PhD and while candidate B does not have one, candidate A will be considered the better candidate. Even if candidate B has the equivalent to a dissertation finished he will be considered a lesser candidate. Many of the top schools, including Penn, Berkeley, Northwestern hire almost exclusively candidates with PhDs. And it's not because that PhD doesn't mean anything.

Posted by: PhD | Dec 3, 2009 11:44:55 AM

Having taken the Ph.D. route into the legal teaching market, I would say that being ABD means nothing to the market. The prospective Ph.D. itself may not mean that much to the market, either, unless you are able to demonstrate how it relates to your potential career as a legal scholar and your legal research and scholarship agenda. Law faculties are looking to hire candidates with specific scholarly promise and potential which is demonstrated best by actual publication of worthwhile legal scholarship. If the Ph.D. work you are doing is connected to your future career as a legal scholar, then I think it will be a benefit in the market. If it is not, then it is, in my opinion, unlikely to be of much help.

Posted by: david case | Dec 3, 2009 9:40:28 AM

PhD candidates are so lazy. How hard is it to write a 180 page dissertation? I doubt it's as hard as you make it out to be.

Posted by: anon @ 9:16 | Dec 2, 2009 11:45:47 PM

I think there are effective ways *not* to be a "naked JD" that don't involve getting a PhD. Getting a PhD, which sounds so plausible in theory, involves a level of commitment (ego, time, energy) that people who aren't already doing it or haven't already done it don't really seem to fully understand. It's not like going for another round of law school. The LLM or fellowship/VAP route strikes me as a much more reasonable, attainable goal. Lots of people who start out in PhD programs end up stalled at the ABD phase, and I agree with the poster above who said that ABD is not an impressive credential. It won't get you hired in the academic humanities, and I doubt it would get you hired in legal academia.

Posted by: Another JD/PhD Prof | Dec 2, 2009 11:38:18 PM

My comments were pertaining to last year's data. What I meant to say is that it seems incredibly difficult to get a job as someone who doesn't have a fellowship or an advanced degree. Borderline impossible. And those "naked JD" candidates that did get jobs, some of them were previous SCOTUS clerks. You say getting a PhD is a tortured path, well for those that want to be law professors, it's also becoming an increasingly necessary one.

See: http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2009/03/early_returns_o_1.html

Posted by: anon @ 9:16 | Dec 2, 2009 9:26:06 PM

Have you seen the number of people who got teaching jobs without a MA, PhD or a fellowship? It was in the single digits.

Posted by: anon | Dec 2, 2009 9:16:35 PM

If you're thinking of the history PhD primarily as a means to end (i.e., a legal academic job), it's a pretty tortured route to take. When I finished my PhD in the late 1990s (before going to law school) "time to degree" for PhDs in the humanities was something like 9 years and rising. In addition, humanities academia and legal academia are very, very different animals, culturally speaking. Then there are the cost of living/quality of life issues: humanities grad students generally go to school full-time (if the program is a good one) and make just about enough to live on (or a little less) through fellowships and/or teaching assistantships. If you don't want the history degree for its own sake, I'd think very hard about that choice. Writing a dissertation is a long and lonely road. It's way easier to write and place a couple of strong law review articles.

Posted by: Another JD/PhD Prof | Dec 2, 2009 8:22:39 PM

I'd have a significant portion of the dissertation done, in addition to other pieces of scholarship

Posted by: phd | Dec 2, 2009 7:20:09 PM

I always thought the major selling point of the Ph.D., especially one in a humanities (e.g., non empirical) discipline, was that it demonstrated your ability to produce significant written scholarship. I don't really see how ABD does that. I also have two friends on the market, one ABD in a social science and one ABD in history, and there has seemed to be no positive value at all to their being ABD. (Both, btw, were ABD at very impressive schools, but both have completely abandoned their pursuit of a Ph.D. and have no dissertation pending).

If I were the hiring king, a spiffy dissertation would definitely impress me. A pending dissertation that is not quite done but shows some major chops would probably impress me. Spending years in a graduate program with no publishable dissertation imminent would concern me, and would create more questions than it answers. But, then again, I'm not a hiring king, or even a hiring peion.

I defer to those who actually know what they are talking about.

Posted by: anon knowitall candidate | Dec 2, 2009 6:19:53 PM

I am considering taking the next 6 months or more off of work in order to devote time to writing articles with the hopes of gaining employment at the next AALS conference. Anyone have any experience with this strategy? thanks

Posted by: lookingahead | Dec 2, 2009 6:15:58 PM

If we haven't heard a word from a school since the conference, but thought the interview went well, is it poor etiquette to send them an E-mail you expressing continuing interest?

Posted by: AnonHuman | Dec 2, 2009 6:00:40 PM

I'm thinking about getting a PhD in history. How much will this help? Also, I plan to go on the market when I'm "All But Dissertation" is this fine?

Posted by: phd | Dec 1, 2009 2:16:40 PM

I recently completed a callback at a school I am very interested in. What is the etiquette on sending the faculty host and/or hiring chair a thank-you email? I don't want to appear over-eager (I'm having a hard time understanding when/if I should segue from "sell" to "buy" mode), but I do want to make it clear that I would accept an offer from this school if I was given one.

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2009 2:48:04 PM

Right on, gidget! It is not so hard to send a kindly email, even one with very little information.

Posted by: anon | Nov 17, 2009 7:19:33 PM

I agree with the "face pressed against the window" analogy. If anyone recalls the great film, "Trading Places," there's a very similar scene during which newly-poor Winthorpe peers through the window of a posh dinner party while standing outside on a cold winter's night. Valentine is living it up, and people are literally eating, drinking, and being merry. Does Valentine even notice Winthorpe, even though he was once in his shoes but for a twist of fate? Of course not. So, for all of these seasoned profs who have gone through this process, how is it possible not to remember? Why not behave differently? A little communication goes a long way. Pick up the phone, send an e-mail, send a letter by postal mail -- remember, these are your future colleagues, and there are only about 30 names, at this point. We're not talking about 1,000 candidates, so there's much less of an excuse for the silence. Although no one wants to be rejected, being in limbo is a real strain.

Posted by: Gidget | Nov 17, 2009 6:21:47 PM

i posted this question on the wrong thread (the callback thread). interested in finding out whether there is a general consensus on the following: given the opportunity, is it better to accept a top 20 fellowship opportunity in a highly desirable city, or a tenure track job at a 3rd or even 4th tier school in a good geographic region?

Posted by: newbie | Nov 17, 2009 5:32:44 PM

At what time in the spring do the VAP positions become available? What's the process for being considered for those?

Posted by: anon | Nov 16, 2009 6:00:09 PM

Any thoughts about the value of teaching fellowships advertised for people who want to go on the (non-legal writing) market but involve teaching only legal writing? It seems like more and more schools are creating these.

Posted by: anon | Nov 16, 2009 4:07:06 PM

Another prof: thanks for the response. Is there any hope for the February AALS distribution? I am not clear on the purpose of that round as it seems that most schools have already filled any available positions. Thanks again.

Posted by: outsidelookingin | Nov 16, 2009 3:28:56 PM

To Outside Looking In: Sometimes a school needs to do entry level hiring out of the normal cycle, but it is only when there are unforeseen circumstances. It would be better to wait till next year, in all likelihood.

To Midwest of bust: It is safer to be somewhat overdressed than underdressed at dinner. You can always slip off the jacket, but if its in your hotel room, you can't put it on at that fancy restaurant.

Don't underestimate the student sessions. Sometimes they have representation on the hiring committees. In any event, if you come off as uncaring of the students or their opinions, the faculty will want to know. Ask about what the students like and don't like at the law school. Ask them to talk about the curriculum, and what additional courses they might like in your own fields. Ask why they chose the law school over others.

Posted by: Another prof | Nov 16, 2009 2:40:24 PM

Two questions regarding callbacks:

1) What is the appropriate dress for evening-time dinners with faculty members? I already completed one callback, and based on that experience, business casual seemed fine, but I'm curious if anyone thinks business is more appropriate.

2) With respect to interview sessions with students, (a) do the students really have any say in hiring decisions and (b) what kind of questions am I supposed to ask the students?

Posted by: Midwest or Bust | Nov 16, 2009 2:19:10 PM

So I missed out on the AALS conference due to personal obligations. What, if any, are the chances that any law school hires at a later date outside the AALS structure? Thanks.

Posted by: outsidelookingin | Nov 16, 2009 11:38:24 AM

Re job talks. FWIW, from somebody who has been arguing in courts of appeal, making presentations in business, sitting on panels, and giving academic talks for over 30 years. And listening to a lot of them.

From the other thread: 30 minutes is too long. Plan for 15 to 20. At 30 minutes, people will either be squirming or interrupting. Trust me, there's nothing so critical in your talk that you need those extra minutes. You only think there is. When you think you've cut to the bone, cut again. The audience will never know.

Re giving a 60 page paper in 15-20 minutes, a couple points. First, can you really not get your thesis across in 15-20 minutes? There's a real problem if you can't. Second, even if you are in the center of the constitutional law strike zone, you aren't giving this paper to people who know this subject like you do, or even know anything about your area. This is an exercise in interdisciplinarity. Consider that you are giving your talk to a roomful of very intelligent laypeople, and think of all the detail filling those 60 pages as layers that you might draw on to amplify your basic points when it comes time for questions. Think of this like oral argument - you have just a few minutes to get across the problem you're addressing, the current state of intellectual play, your contribution, and why it matters. Don't get lost in the trees.

As to reading papers. Oy vey. Reading a paper, it seems to me, is at one of the rungs of hell, the only things lower being (1) reading the paper off tiny note cards in a meek monotone, and (2) reading verbatim the overly dense bullet points on a Power Point.

As to Powerpoint, much less is much more. Personally, I wouldn't use it unless there is something diagrammatic that simply needs to be viewed communally. Very brief outlines are helpful, but I think handouts are better for that, particularly if you have the text of a statute you are discussing.

As to the podium, nothing wrong with using notes. But don't use the podium like a crutch or a barrier. Step to the side from time to time. Particularly when it's time for Q & A, move out from behind the podium and get closer to the audience. Relax. Have fun. Be the master of your domain. My experience in a number of callbacks is that the audience wants you to succeed (very much) - nobody is comfortable witnessing a disaster, and the hope is always that you are the best thing since sliced bread. Even when you get challenging questions, it's because you have caused some mental gears to be engaged. View every question as an opportunity to be a teacher!

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Nov 15, 2009 3:48:32 PM

I was told to focus on one part of my job talk paper, so that my talk wouldn't exceed 20 minutes. It is a format that I've seen other candidates use in their job talks and I think it works well. You should expect questions on the sections you don't talk about in the Q&A. Second, people stand at the podium and talk about their papers. I have not seen any job talks with powerpoint presentations, but I am a new prof, and could imagine slides to go with a talk on an empirical article. Absolutely do not stand up and read from the paper.

Re: Job market being more competitive -- I think that part of this may be the result of the increase in candidates who have completed VAPs or fellowships. Suddenly, there are entry-level candidates who have 5-10 articles published before ever going on the market. I am told that some number of years ago, merely having a student comment and a good clerkship would suffice. In that sense, I think it has become more competitive.

Posted by: a first-year prof | Nov 7, 2009 7:06:33 PM

Several people have told me that the law teaching hiring market has gotten more competitive even in the last 2-4 years, starting prior to the economic downturn. Do others agree? What's changed to make it more competitive? Is it more candidates, fewer jobs, or something else? Law schools are the same size. They aren't producing more alums to go on the market. Is it in reality that hiring criteria have shifted somewhat, and candidates with traditional credentials perceive the market as more competitive even though overall standards have merely shifted? Or is something else going on?

Posted by: anon | Oct 30, 2009 1:27:20 PM

Two job talk questions: First, I assume that most job talk papers are approximately the length of a full law review article, yet the job talk itself is only 15-20 minutes (before Q&A). Are you supposed to pick one section of the paper and cover it more thoroughly in the 15 minutes (perhaps allowing other parts of the paper to emerge during Q&A from those who have read it), or should you try to canvass more or less your entire paper (again, relying on at least some faculty to have read the paper itself)? Second, I gather reading the paper, philosopher-style, is verboten. Do people use PP (over overheads or handouts, for the old school), or just stand at the podium and talk it through? TIA

Posted by: anon | Oct 29, 2009 9:54:53 AM

To all the anons out there (and other names too):
Best of luck next week everybody! Thanks for all the info and advice over the past 2 months on this and the other thread.

Posted by: anon | Oct 29, 2009 9:11:30 AM

Re job talk drafts: Most of the folks who come through my school giving a guest lecture on a work in progress do this, and some job talk candidates have as well. I think it looks very professonal and polished. Looks count, and would make your piece look like what it will be--a bitchin' law review article!

Posted by: anon | Oct 22, 2009 4:53:51 PM

I had understood you don't circulate the talk, itself, as such, but a draft of the paper. It need not be rigorously formatted, but should not be in obvious bad shape. That, however, is a norm from faculty job talks I attended as a student, and some papers were rather sketch-like in their format. Perhaps the norm is more rigid for the hiring market.

Posted by: I will reveal myself anon | Oct 17, 2009 6:21:42 PM

Silly question - when people send out their job talk drafts, assuming it is not yet published, do you format it to look like a published piece (i.e., single space, right justified, large margins, etc.)? Does it matter? My draft is currently regular microsoft word, double spaced but I've seen a few others that look more like photocopies from a journal. Thoughts?

Posted by: anon | Oct 17, 2009 12:55:31 PM

re: what to carry

I did well carrying a simple black tote bag with a bottle of water, a snack bar, a folder that contained extra reprints of articles, CVs, etc., and the very important bottle of hand sanitizer (you will shake many hands). I found many schools offered me water, so it may not be needed. Make sure your bag is light, in case you have to run between interviews. You can carry less stuff if you have a room in the hotel that you can return to whenever you have a break.

Posted by: a first-year prof | Oct 16, 2009 7:12:30 PM

Sweet. Thanks Dan!

Posted by: AnonHuman | Oct 15, 2009 3:43:35 PM

AnonHuman, I'd view that as a good sign, or at least, not a bad one. Indeed, FSU looked at me both times I was on the market, and here I am, at FSU :-)

Posted by: Dan Markel | Oct 15, 2009 11:19:43 AM

This is my second time on the market, and I have a curious question. A school I met with last year once again invited me for an interview. I'm pretty sure there's at least some overlap on the committee. Should I regard this as a good sign, and what are some of the unique pratfalls of this situation?

Posted by: AnonHuman | Oct 14, 2009 8:47:10 PM

I have never attended the AALS before - but I plan to carry folders of extra docs (CVs, etc.) a pad and pen, and I never go anywhere without kleenex, toothpaste and brush, water bottle and granola. I plan to carry everything in my everyday shoulder bag.
As for hospitality suites, I believe many schools have these for their alumni - I would check with yours.

Posted by: anon | Oct 5, 2009 12:40:48 PM

Hi All. I am a candidate with some crossover dress/organization/comfort/protocol questions for the AALS conference.

1. It seems it would be helpful to carry (not just for interviews, but also more random encounters) business cards, copies of application materials (CV, research agenda, etc), maybe some reprints, and note paper and pen. Is this correct? Any other recommendations for what to bring in this category?

2. What more personal items have been useful or even life savers? e.g., mints, chapstick, etc? Is it ok, in terms of appearances, for a candidate to carry a bottle of water to interviews?

3. How do candidates normally appear at the interviews in terms of what they are carrying these sorts of items in? For females, is a portfolio and purse ok and/or the usual method? How about (for either gender) a shoulder briefcase?

4. Are there hospitality rooms for candidates and/or a coat check (e.g., for candidates saying at other hotels)?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by: anon | Oct 5, 2009 12:23:47 PM

I turned to real philosophers in order to add rigor. To describe class sessions, I turned to Hobbes: "Nasty, brutish and too short." For my relationship with students I looked to Foucault: "Discipline and Punish."

Posted by: Anon | Oct 4, 2009 8:10:59 PM

I'm having a hard time articulating a "teaching philosophy." Can anyone provide some specifics, beyond saying that you will try to follow the profs you liked in school?

Posted by: anon | Oct 4, 2009 5:59:19 PM

Teaching two courses each in the fall and spring as opposed to teaching two courses in one semester and one in the other.

Posted by: David Case | Oct 4, 2009 1:16:14 PM

apologies for my ignorance, but what is a 2-2 course package vs. a 2-1 course package?

Posted by: anon | Oct 4, 2009 11:42:34 AM

Course package: Most schools are 2-2 and so I think you should be prepared to list what your best 2-2 package would be. However, the best answer to a question like that will take into account what the school has indicated are its curricular needs. You would like to indicate that you are a good curricular fit for the school and the position, to the extent that is possible. You also want to be prepared to discuss more than the "optimal package" courses that you have strong interests in -- many schools like candidates who would be valuable as curricular needs evolve over time.

Teaching philosophy: Here, I think the best answers are along the lines of how you want to run your class, how you believe the best ways of challenging and engaging your students might be, how socratic you intend to be, etc. My answers to such questions usually drew on the best models of law profs I had had as a student for examples of the kinds of things I wanted to do in my teaching and the worst models for examples of the kinds of things I didn't.

Posted by: David Case | Oct 3, 2009 11:59:30 AM

Thanks, Professor Case, for the insight.

Re: optimal course package, different schools have different loads. In general, should we have a 2-2 package in mind? A 2-1?

Re: teaching philosophy, that could range from broad goals to particular positions on curricular reform, the socratic method, etc. Could you give examples of the kinds of things candidates are expected to opine on (not necessarily the answers to such questions)?

Posted by: anon | Oct 3, 2009 11:40:05 AM

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