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Monday, January 31, 2011

A Clearinghouse for Questions

N.B. This thread will get bumped to the front every 10 days or so.

The first  second batch of FAR forms were distributed a while ago and so we can officially say that the new year's hiring market has begun. We'll have two posts to get things started. This one, the first one, will be a place where wannabes can ask questions anonymously (assuming they are not especially offensive or otherwise improper), and prawfs or others can weigh in, also anonymously if they choose, but note that while I won't actively moderate this discussion forum, I will feel free to delete any cases of misinformation or anything else I find outside the bounds.

The second post will be a place where candidates or prawfs can report the issuance of a first round or callback or offer or acceptance, much like we did last year. I am hoping some gentle soul will emerge (as Justin Levitt and Marc DeGirolami did in years past) to organize the information. If you're volunteering, please let me know and I'll put you in touch with the incomparable Sarah Lawsky, who tech'd us out for it last year. Please keep in mind that the second thread should be used only for information relevant to hiring, not for questions. This thread should be used for questions.

To start us off, I just rec'd a query from a friend on the market asking these two questions. 

 

1. Does it really cost nearly $400/night to stay at the conference hotel, or is there an AALS rate that will be released that I should wait for?

 --short answer: I don't know. Anyone else?

2. Is it normal that at this point (with packets going out at the end of the week) that I don't know who the hiring chair is at many schools still?

--in the past, usually Harvard or Yale or Chicago people (Bigelow/Climenkos or their overseers) compile this information. Sometimes we have had a good soul share this public good of information. When I was on the market, I think I just called the Dean's office of the schools to find out who the APCOM chair was. Seems like a perfectly legitimate question to me, but you can also and always address the packets to Dear Faculty Appointments Committee if need be. With some luck, someone will forward me a copy of the collated information and once I receive it, I'll be happy to share it imminently. Good luck! 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Administrators on January 31, 2011 at 10:11 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink

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Comments

I share Charlie's interest in info/advice on applying for VAPs. Not unrelatedly, regarding rejection communications after call backs, I have first-hand knowledge that they can come by US Mail.

Ah well, onward!

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2010 12:38:29 PM

Any posts or advice on applying for VAPs?

Posted by: Charlie | Dec 14, 2010 12:06:06 PM

Re: rejection communication. In my experience, it's a telephone call from the hiring chair, but if you're on the roll-down list, you may never get an explicit rejection.

Posted by: anon prof | Dec 14, 2010 10:14:17 AM

What is the most common method for communicating a post-callback rejection: telephone, email, or U.S. mail?

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2010 9:59:41 AM

A few questions: first, what is a typical course load for a first-year prof? Does 4 different classes seem like a lot? Can that be negotiated? Is it possible to teach 2 sections of one class (so a little less prep work)? Second, anybody know of any on-line guidance for new professors, an article or such describing the first year? Third, does anyone get any real research or writing done their first year? As you can see, I am a little overwhelmed at the idea of moving my family across the country and starting a new job. I know it is done all the time, but some specifics would help!

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2010 7:42:39 AM

I would add to the answer given to clown:

at least at a public school you can find out what others make (with some digging) and get some sense if you've been properly slotted (assuming you are not a pure entry-level, in which case all you may be able to ascertain is what they started similar entry-level people at last year).

At a private school you are more or less relying on the dean to be straight with you when he or she tells you what the prevailing scale is. In most cases they will be, but I have known colleagues who discovered after the fact that someone who appeared to be of similar background got more - the dean apparently using clerkship, previous teaching or practice (or lack thereof), the one article already accepted, or whatever else, to justify a difference. Like so many have been saying - this is a great job. That doesn't mean everyone in the business is a straight shooter.

As mentioned, other benefits can more easily be negotiated - "there's a big conference in my field overseas next year; will the school cover it above and beyond whatever is in my support budget?" In this era of tight budgets getting clarity on travel money - both to attend and to present, summer research money, etc. is absolutely critical. And even if it's promised, there can always be a university-wide or law-school wide cutback, so try to get the strongest promise you can.

Posted by: anon hirer | Dec 13, 2010 5:25:05 PM

Just read through the entire Nov to June comment thread from last year, and if last year is to be our guide, this mid-December point is really just the beginning of a very long and drawn out process, well into late-March, early April (at which point the VAP-frenzy will start). Now it's clear why they call it an endurance contest.

Posted by: anon | Dec 13, 2010 4:33:02 AM

Congrats to those who posted (off topic) on the other thread about getting an offer with very few AALS interviews. I personally know two people who had a large number of AALS interviews and who even cancelled some, but have received no callbacks or who were promptly rejected from their only callback. A law teaching job is very hard to get and receiving any offer, even from a 4th tier school, is a substantial and significant accomplishment.

Posted by: wow | Dec 13, 2010 3:44:13 AM

In this situation, silence really is good news. If someone on the school's faculty recruitment committee had objected to you, your RA, your pedigree, scholarship, etc., you'd be long gone with a polite rejection letter. If you're still in the game, then you're still very much in the game.

Posted by: rookie prof | Dec 13, 2010 12:54:40 AM

Anon @ 8:45:24: Thanks for the info. I am definitely trying to keep hope alive. (It's just so counterintuitive that silence=good news.)

Posted by: bundle of nerves | Dec 12, 2010 9:41:27 PM

In response to Clown's question, I think it's tacky to try to negotiate base salary, especially at public law schools as they are more of less constrained. But research support and conference travel budgets are certainly game, and you can make it very clear what your anticipated budget/expectations are.

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2010 8:50:32 PM

Dear bundle of nerves, the offers I received were not explicitly exploding, but I think deans don't like to be kept waiting and I feel like there's certainly pressure to get an answer back ASAP. I've heard that it's usual to get several weeks to decide, but I think that may be for superstar candidates who know they are going to receive a large number of offers. In this case, they have time to travel and make a reasoned decision. For most of the rest of us, it's fairly straightforward -- if you get an offer, or two, it's fairly clear which one you'll accept and you do so asap. As referenced elsewhere, no bad news = good news. Keep hope alive. Si se puede!

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2010 8:45:24 PM

I think that I am on the roll-down list for a couple of schools. How long does #1 usually have to decide if s/he is accepting an offer?

Posted by: bundle of nerves | Dec 12, 2010 5:01:34 PM

How de rigueur is it to push for a higher salary? I understand that one may have leverage if one has a higher offer elsewhere - but what if one does not have that leverage? Is it acceptable / within the norm to simply say, "I want to come, but I need $5k more."?

Posted by: Clown | Dec 11, 2010 1:08:15 PM

Some schools have 4, other schools have 3 courses per year. In general, higher up the ladder (or school trying to increase scholarly output), more likely to have 3 courses/year load.
Many schools give new profs reduced load. Certainly something to ask about in negotiating after offer. If they have had the the policy in the past, you're in. If they haven't given reduced loads, then you have to decide whether to push for it.

Posted by: anon hirer | Dec 11, 2010 11:59:18 AM

What is a standard teaching load for a new entry level prof? My impression is that most schools have a standard load of 3 courses a year or so, but that some of them give first years profs a reduced, 2-course load. Is that right? Is first year course load the kind of thing it's appropriate to negotiate after an offer?

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2010 11:02:48 AM

Not at all. In fact, perhaps the contrary. In my experience, a delay most likely means that the offer went to someone else but that you remain on the roll-down list. If you had been voted against, you likely would have learned that by telephone right away. To my knowledge most faculties first decide which candidates they would be willing to hire, and then decides how to sequence the offers. Those rejected outright are notified fairly quickly while those on the roll-down list may not be told right away where then stand (again, in my experience).

Posted by: Anon | Dec 10, 2010 3:28:11 PM

I share 1:16:17 PM's question...if one is told the faculty vote is on a certain day, and to expect news within a day or two of that, does silence by day 4 or 5 mean a rejection letter is probably in the mail?

Posted by: anon | Dec 10, 2010 1:51:43 PM

Thanks 11:57...so does that approval tend to take a day or two or more like a week? In other words, when to start giving up hope?

Posted by: anon | Dec 10, 2010 1:16:17 PM

Anon @ 11:52:20 -- yes, often the Dean needs approval from the Provost/University Administration before officially making an offer.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 10, 2010 11:57:34 AM

If the faculty vote is scheduled for a certain day, is there any reason one wouldn't hear something soon after (either that day or the next)?

Posted by: anon | Dec 10, 2010 11:52:20 AM

I jsut want to echo what 4th tier said. On a daily basis, being a prof is a great job wherever you are. And you get to think about the law, and teach (if that's what you're into, to use his phrase). On a daily basis you are not reminded what "tier" you are in - it's only when submitting articles and trying to "go national", or when you go to confereces (and first-tier profs look at your badge and then choose to not talk to you). On the contrary, on a daily basis your students will worship you at most law schools (if you care about them learning-which you probably will) and if you know more than them (which you certainly will).
As for scholarship, his point is also important to note - if you actually want to affect things in the world, the opportunity to involve yourself in the local community or in law reform at the local or state level is there. If writing "higher-level" articles and playing in the big pond of national scholars is the only way you will feel fulfilled, that's a different story.
These are important questions to ask yourself - why do you want to be a professor and what will make you happy and fulfilled. And at the beginning of a career not everyone is in a position to answer them.

Posted by: anon hirer | Dec 10, 2010 10:56:39 AM

I would like to add another angle on this debate about 4th tier schools, as a five-year veteran in one, and as one who has turned down other opportunities up the ranks. Although it may not be for everyone, there is something exceedingly gratifying about building something and putting your name on it. You may enjoy the prestige and wealth associated with established schools, but you will likely be one in a long line of people to hold the post before and after you in the institution. At lower tiered schools, especially newer ones, you have the unique opportunity to make a mark on an institution you otherwise cannot. They name buildings after the founding pioneers, and your stardom may serve a school in a way far more important than the glamor of the school you think you want. Also, everything you do has the potential to break new ground for the school, and you can feel the gratification of contributing to its ascension.

Also, if you are in a community that is resource scarce, especially in the way of competing law schools, you can have a tangible, useful, fruitful effect on your community, even more than if you are one of a gaggle of young, talented, ambitious professors in the coffee shops around campus.

If that's what you're into.

Posted by: 4th Tier | Dec 9, 2010 2:51:16 PM

I've got to agree with 9:49. I was EIC at a top 10 journal and letterhead bias was, in fact, something we discussed and sort of scorned. We aimed to find great articles, regardless of the school of origin, and because we got mugged by HLR/YLJ on a few expedites, we specifically hunted for great articles that might be overlooked by the journals we saw as our competition. And it worked.

There's plenty that's wrong about law reviews, but letterhead bias is not as big a deal as you might think.

Posted by: Anon too | Dec 9, 2010 1:15:06 PM

I think you guys also give too much credit to 2Ls' knowledge of rankings. I was an articles editor. I knew the schools that were ranked ahead of my school, and I had a vague idea of the schools ranked around my school. Then, I had a sense of which local schools were poorly-ranked. Beyond that, I was clueless. And with respect to schools very far away, I really had no idea where they ranked. And I never once looked it up while reviewing an article.

Sure, there were times I thought, "I've never heard of this school." But when you review hundreds of articles from a pile of 1000 or so, you can quickly start to spot the good ones. They stand out.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 9, 2010 9:49:09 AM

My $.02 on the fellowship / T-4 questions. Of course, much depends on the school. Before lucking into my FSU offer, I seriously considered an offer from a school with a poor U.S. news ranking, because I was really impressed by their dean, their commitment to scholarship, and the smarts of their junior faculty. It was obvious I was going to get the resources and support from colleagues to do good work and share it with others. That was why I wanted to be a scholar, and it also, incidentally, would have facilitated moving somewhere else if I later wanted to do that.

Getting published in fancy journals isn't the only way to get the attention of hiring committees, although no doubt it helps. Good work is always good work; publishing in obscure places just means you have to do a little more legwork to get people to read it -- here, too, resources are important.

Finally, letterhead bias exists, for sure, but again it can be overcome. By April, journals often know which schools they've seen good work from -- your colleagues can help you even if your "rankings" don't. And one good placement greatly mitigates your letterhead problem thereafter.

Posted by: BDG | Dec 8, 2010 5:44:55 PM

We still don't know whether the person got the offer or not. Would be very interested in learning that.

Posted by: anothernon | Dec 8, 2010 10:13:44 AM

Note that we don't seem to be disagreeing all that much, except in emphasis. To summarized:

1. It depends on what T4 school you are talking about.
2. It is a great job regardless of the drawbacks.
3. Whether the perceived drawbacks matter will depend on your own preferences. If you don't care about prestige and respect, then the lack of those things won't hurt you.
4. All that said, the one thing to be cautious about is the plan to take an offer that you otherwise would not accept simply because you believe you can lateral up soon and want to be paid a decent salary in the meantime. That is a rather big gamble. You cannot be sure that you will be seen as outstanding, when the main judges are 2Ls who will automatically throw your article away.

Posted by: jrprof | Dec 8, 2010 2:47:07 AM

"And then start producing fabulous scholarship"

The problem with producing "fabulous" scholarship is that 2Ls ultimately determine what's fabulous, and those 2Ls are most concerned with letterhead. Most legal scholarship is too abstruse, irrelevant, or too interdisciplinary to be judged on its own merit; hence, people look to placement of journal articles in judging whether someone is a "rising star." So, it will be very, very, very hard to move from the 4th tier to the first tier, when you lack the most important credential valued by 2Ls.

This is not to say that moving up doesn't happen, but only that one shouldn't go to a 4th tier school assuming that she will transfer up. It's good to have ambitions, but one must be realistic as well.

Posted by: anawn | Dec 8, 2010 2:00:52 AM

Oh, and also.....a lot of faculty moves are not publicized. When you zero in on a school, you have to really dig to figure out where the people who leave end up going. It's actually quite common for the higher-ranked school in an area to cherry-pick the stellar junior faculty from the lower-ranked surrounding schools. But you won't see this publicized -- this is the sort of thing you have to dig up on your own. So there are definitely opportunities.
Also, on that note, some of these T50 schools are miserable places for junior faculty. Nobody will talk about where those folks go........but if you start digging, you find some of them actually go BACK to private practice!
Things aren't always what they seem. Just find a place where you like the people and can be happy. And then start producing fabulous scholarship and you'll be fine.
If you plan on distinguishing yourself through your scholarship, then just land somewhere and get started.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 7, 2010 6:47:33 PM

Okay, it's true I probably did give the impression that it's easier than it probably is to climb up. But that really depends on what T4 school you're talking about. Same with T3, for that matter. You sort of have one of two reactions: "Wow, I never knew there was a law school called XYZ Law School!" or "Oh, wow -- XYZ University -- that's a strong school -- I wonder why the law school is so low ranked."
If the former, yeah, it's going to be a tough climb. If the latter, then I think a savvy self-starter who is a gifted scholar can definitely create their own launchpad. Remember that law is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, and some of these lower-tier law schools affiliated with larger universities might have some top-ranked programs where you can leverage a stronger institutional reputation. Obviously this doesn't help so much with law review publishing, but it can help with conference-speaking invites.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 7, 2010 6:35:14 PM

Having just gone through this process, I concluded that I should accept an offer from a school at which I'd potentially be happy spending my entire career. If you are going to be unhappy and miserable(or think you will be unhappy and miserable) at a 4th tier school, it's better to avoid it. People do move all the time, but I think it's perilous to unhesitatingly assume that you will be able to do so.

On my end, I decided that I would go to a 4th tier school rather than stay in practice, as long as the 4th tier school was in a decent location for my wife and kids. As others have noted, being a law professor, at any school, is somewhat of a dream job. I'd have ability to spend time with my kids, a stable source of income, and general respect for what I do, even if the persons at top schools scowled at us. Also, at a 4th tier school, I'd obviously be surrounded by other people (my co-workers) at a 4th tier school. So, I don't think I'd have to hang my head low.

And if HLR throws away my article without even looking at the title, so what? I'd already be in a 4th tier school. I don't need to worry about how to impress 2Ls, as many professors at T100 schools do.

So, in th end, I think the question about whether to accept a 4th tier job comes down to whether you REALLY want to be a law professor. If you love writing and teaching so much, then even a school at a 4th tier school should be attractive. If you're in it for the "prestige," though, you may be miserable at a T4. Be honest with yourself in making the choice, especially given that an additional year as a fellow doesn't necessarily help your chances. In fact, it can be a hindrance, especially if you already have 2 years as a fellow under your belt.

Posted by: anawn | Dec 7, 2010 6:13:48 PM

I disagree with 4:50. Of COURSE it's easier to place an article in HLR as a T1 fellow or as a JSD candidate at an Ivy League law school, but placing that article does not translate into a T2 or T3 offer next year on AALS. If 1:06:41 has received an offer, s/he should think long and hard about turning it down. Starting teaching would give 1:06:41 a basket of teaching experience and would not disadvantage publication venues with the exception of HLR, YLJ, and maybe a few hyper-selective journals, etc. Unless 1:06:41 is financially well-heeled and willing to spend the next two or three years in a fellowship/VAP capacity building an impressive publication record, then it makes no sense to turn down a perfectly fine offer. Hiring gets more difficult year after year. And in any event, we don't know whether 1:06:41 has the offer from the T4 school or is contemplating/anticipating an offer. Big game changers. My 2 cents are, there are old, long-ago accredited, well-regarded T4 schools and there are T4 schools that are brand new, newly accredited, or the like. Without knowing more about the T4 school at issue, it'd be difficult to counsel 1:06:41 about this decision.

Posted by: anothernon | Dec 7, 2010 5:49:51 PM

Anon - 1:06:41 PM - you did not specify whether you received offers from the other T4 schools. I second anon 2:33:41 that you'd be better off taking an offer from a T4 school then going through this again.

Posted by: anon | Dec 7, 2010 4:57:58 PM

1:06 -- as with many questions, the answer is largely "it depends." Mostly it depends on what T4 schools you are talking about, and whether you really would be content to work there for the rest of your career. On the one hand, as [email protected]:33 says, this is one of the best jobs in the world. On the other, there are various drawbacks for a low ranked school: you get no respect from others, you don't get invited to conferences, law reviews will bounce your articles without reading them, and blogs like Above the Law will curse you as a tuition thief. These are things that different people may or may not care about; but if you care about them then going to a T4 school will be unpleasant. And starting at a T4 will hamper further career advancement to some extent due to letterhead bias. Perhaps this is not fatally difficult, and I know several people who have climbed up, but it is not as easy as [email protected]:33 might be inadvertently giving the impression of. Sure you can place an article with the Harvard Law Review with a T4 letterhead if you are Cass Sunstein, but take a look at the most recent issue of YLJ and HLR and see where their authors teach. In fact, take a look at the most recent volume of those supposedly blindly reviewed journals. Letterhead bias is very strong, and it isn't going away. You have a better chance of placing an article in HLR as a T1 fellow than as a chaired professor at a T4.

Posted by: jrprof | Dec 7, 2010 4:50:36 PM

1:06, I think it depends on your area, your interests, your goals and strengths, etc.
At the end of the day, this is the best job in the world. If these T4 schools are in places where you would consider settling down, then if you can get tenured there, what's the problem? Does rank mean that much to you if you have job security and love what you're doing?
Second, assuming the schools aren't in places where you want to live long-term, then I would say not every T4 school is created equally. In some subject areas, some of these schools have strong reputations as feeder schools. On my list there were 2 T4 schools that I would have taken over some T3 or even low top-100 schools, simply because of the feeder reputation in my area.
Finally, it depends on your strengths. If you are a truly gifted scholar and your work is unique and outstanding, then no letterhead bias or T4 marking is going to hold you back. Those issues hold sway when you're marginal, but not when you are genuinely gifted and your work truly and unquestionably stands on its own merits. If this is the case, then just go where you have an offer, and opportunities will open up in the very near future.
Honestly, the last thing I'd personally want to do is spend another year with uncertainty and go through AALS all over again, although this is a personal decision you have to make based on all relevant factors. The pool was a bit smaller this year versus prior years, from what I heard, so I'm not sure things will work out any better next year.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 7, 2010 2:33:41 PM

General wisdom appreciated on the following: I had callbacks at several top-50 schools and several 4th Tier schools, with nothing in-between. I did not get offers from the top-50 schools, although I was on the roll-down list for at least one of them. I have the option of continuing my fellowship at a decent school for another year. Better to stay for a year and roll the dice again next year, or to actually get started on a career at a T4 school?

Posted by: Anon | Dec 7, 2010 1:06:41 PM

[email protected]:28:52 -- I don't know about at other schools, but at my school the process you describe is pretty typical. And your inference is likely correct; if you had been their B-list choice, you would not have heard back, so the fact that you heard back indicates the school has rejected you. The rejection is not necessarily by the faculty (though most likely it is). Deans at many schools can veto an offer even if the faculty approves, and sometimes apptcoms will kill a candidate without even going to the faculty vote if the job talk was a disaster.

Posted by: jrprof | Dec 5, 2010 12:11:38 AM

Wondering if a faculty member could give some insight into the sorts of voting processes used on law faculties.

Two schools at which I had callbacks held their votes late this week. Both called at the end of the week to say that I had been rejected; neither left open a door for a later offer if their first choice turned them down. I know that in other disciplines, faculties will have an up-or-down vote on every candidate before deciding on a sequencing of possible offers. Is this process typical at law schools also, and if so may I infer that I did not even pass their initial bar, i.e. that a majority of faculty members voted not to extend me an offer under any circumstances, independent of sequencing?

Thanks for any wisdom on this.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 4, 2010 7:28:52 PM

Generally the dean, although perhaps you will hear through informal channels from someone else. But the Dean is the one who has the formal authority to actually offer you a job.

Posted by: hiree | Dec 3, 2010 12:54:05 AM

Who usually makes the offer call (if there is one)? Someone from the appointments committee or the dean?

Posted by: Anonny | Dec 2, 2010 10:51:01 PM

Anon @6:23:14 -- Much of those questions will answer themselves when the offer comes. But generally schools will give you quite a bit of time to consider the offer, so there is no pressure to accept on the spot. Two weeks is considered an exploding offer.

The offer will usually come with the basic terms such as salary. You can of course ask about other stuff that you might care about like travel budgets and summer money, though you probably already know about those. Many schools are willing to fly you back for another visit, and some will include the spouse. I don't know about the children. I think some help with moving expenses is pretty standard, though that is one of those terms that you might ask about if you care.

The short version is to conduct yourself as in any other negotiation where somebody makes you an employment offer.

Posted by: jrprof | Dec 2, 2010 8:58:51 PM

Anon @6:23:14. Good question. The way I see it, I think it makes sense to listen to the terms of the offer and take some time to talk it over with my family so they are part of the decision. This is a big decision and life change for everyone involved. Explaining my thinking to my spouse and kids, giving them a bit of time to let it settle in and then accepting the offer makes sense. I cannot imagine announcing to my spouse and the kids, "we are moving to X." It will be easier to tell them, I am considering this move and want their input. And, I really do.

This process may involve flying to visit the school with an eye to a home or apartment. Even though this process has been transparent to my family, I think they deserve to know what the choices are (if there are choices) and why one is better career wise or family wise.

That said, I'm sure others have a different opinion.

Posted by: AlwaysAnon | Nov 30, 2010 10:03:58 PM

Are there things I should know about handling the offer phone call? I have had a few callbacks and have a list in my head, obviously, but hypothetically say my top choice calls with an offer. Do I accept? Do I ask for a few days? Two weeks? Are there things I should be aware of in this process? Do they tell me all the terms of the offer immediately? Is it standard for the school to fly the family out after making an offer, before I accept? Is it standard to help with relocation issues? Etc., etc.

Posted by: anon | Nov 30, 2010 6:23:14 PM

Anon | Nov 29, 2010 5:35:27 PM

Thanks for the alternate view. I will reach out to my old professors to see if they have any advice for going on the market. I suppose the worst that can happen is they will say, "who are you?" However, you mentioned sending emails, so I will ask: is that an appropriate means of contact? I know that some of the old school litigators I deal with get offended if you don't "pick up the phone."

Posted by: unlikelyprof | Nov 30, 2010 9:24:02 AM

I disagree with some of the advice above. Law academia isn't like other fields, where references are speaking about candidates who have worked under them for the last 5+ years as PhD students. If you think about the standard pathway to law academia, most people haven't seen their references in a while, as they've been out practicing in large firms, often in another state entirely from where they went to law school.

Assuming you were only out 5 years, if you had close relations with at least several professors, and they were aware of your interest in academia, then just reach out to them now, send them your published/draft articles, and update them on all the cool things you've been doing since graduation and how you've decided it's time to make the transition to academia. They will remember you. Plus, why wouldn't they want to support and recommend a well-regarded alum? Especially one who has been writing/publishing?

Clearly, doing a fellowship would give you a smoother path, but it's sort of a pet peeve of mine when these artificial barriers are created. Your situation is not so unique, and if you're planning to go on the market next year, you have ample time to start sending those e-mails and reacquainting yourself with your old profs.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 29, 2010 5:35:27 PM

anon & 2dyearprof: Thanks for the responses. I will certainly attempt to land a fellowship to gain some experience (and references).

Posted by: unlikelyprof | Nov 29, 2010 3:42:33 PM

unlikelyprof: Look for a 2-year fellowship. You need references from law professors who are familiar with your current writing. Plus if the fellowship has a teaching component (most do), it will allow you to get teaching evaluations and will give your references a chance to comment on your teaching ability.

You should check with the law school you graduated from to see if they offer any assistance to alumni going on the teaching market.

Posted by: 2dyearprof | Nov 29, 2010 3:00:27 PM

In your position, I'd definitely look for a fellowship rather than a permanent job. Even if your profs remember you, they probably can't provide the right kind of reference, which is one that describes your qualities as a scholar/teacher rather than just as a student. A fellowship (preferably a two-year one) will allow you to make the contacts you need within the academy. Best of luck!

Posted by: anon | Nov 29, 2010 1:43:00 PM

A general question to the more experienced on this site: I am five years out of law school and have not had contact with any professors since I graduated. What is the best way to go about getting references? It sounds very difficult to call out of the blue to ask for something like this. Should I be looking at fellowships (next year) instead? Any advice?

Posted by: unlikelyprof | Nov 29, 2010 10:49:34 AM

One school called references about two weeks after a callback, and then made an offer shortly thereafter. Another reached out before a callback even took place. There seems to be little pattern, so far as I can tell.

Posted by: anon | Nov 29, 2010 8:53:51 AM

Anon @ 3:52, my references were called right after my call-backs. But......that was earlier in the season. It's possible that the holidays have slowed things down a bit. Here's something you can do to be a bit more proactive.....verify with your references that they will be in town these next couple of weeks, and to the extent there are any pockets of unavailability, communicate this now. This might prompt the schools to go ahead and make the calls now. Then, you might even get a "read" from your references as to the level of interest.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 28, 2010 9:55:58 PM

When do references usually get called? I've had 2 callbacks and haven't heard anything and my references haven't been called. Is this a bad sign or do they not call until after the faculty has met and voted, kind of last thing before an offer? I know that the places I was called back won't meet as a whole faculty until later in December. Is there anything that can be done during this wait that can help my candidacy or not really?

Posted by: anon | Nov 28, 2010 3:52:17 PM

@11:34:16 -- I'm not sure you have any right to be annoyed. The school is obviously concerned with whether you would take the offer, and it is clearly right to be given your attitude. As for the response, you are smart enough for figure out your options. They are basically:

1. Blatantly lie and say you would happily take their offer. In which case expect to get an exploding offer to call your bluff.
2. Tell the limited truth that you cannot make a decision until you visit and hear back from some other schools, including by getting offer terms like salary, you wouldn't be able to make a decision.
3. Tell the brutal truth that you would take X, Y, Z schools over the inquiring school because they are higher ranked and/or in better geographic locations.
4. Blow them off completely.

Schools basically know everything above already. The inquiry is almost certainly just trying to get a sense of where you stand. For what it is worth, most people do some version of 2. What the school is really looking for is you to be able to honestly tell them that you would take their offer over all others, and it is clear enough already that you are not going to be able to do that. Even if you say (2), the school will infer (3).

Posted by: jrprof | Nov 27, 2010 5:38:51 PM

How should one respond when a school starts fishing for information regarding where they stand vis-a-vis the other schools that you are visiting? I just got a note from a school that basically said, "We really like you, but think you will have lots of offers. Before we give you an offer, we want to know if you will take it." (This, of course, is my paraphrasing.) I am halfway though my callback schedule. I am not at all willing to tip my hand at this point in the game. This process is fickle. I am not taking anything for granted. Until I have an offer in hand, I am treating everyone as if they are my first choice. That having been said, how should I respond?

Posted by: anon-annoyed | Nov 27, 2010 11:34:16 AM

My experiences were similar to anon at 1:10's. Dean meetings were always one on one. For the most part, I met with faculty in the faculty lounge or a similarly designated area, and they came and went in groups.

I met with students at most places I went. These experiences varied widely. At some meetings, the students played tough; at others, it was a more casual conversation.

At one school I met with, every interview was a one on one office interview. I did not like this arrangement all that much.

the library tour was also common, but generally bizarre and fairly awkward. I cannot understand why law schools require these. The Associate Dean should be able to provide all the key research info. But perhaps this is done to appease the librarians.

Posted by: notacandidateanymore | Nov 27, 2010 1:21:30 AM

I don't know if there's a "typical schedule."

There will usually be a dinner the night before, with a small group of faculty.

Sometimes breakfast is an interviewing event, sometimes you are on your own.

You usually meet with the Dean one-on-one.

You usually meet with some faculty is small groups, but there may be one-on-one interviews as well. This typically takes place both before and after lunch.

You will do a job talk, usually over lunch.

You may or may not meet with student representatives.

You may get an "official tour" of campus. Even if you do not, you will usually be shown around a bit one way or another.

You will probably meet with the library director, who may give a library tour or may just tell you about library services. This is usually the most awkward, odd part of the interviewing process.

Posted by: anon | Nov 27, 2010 1:10:47 AM

Has anyone ever posted a typical call back schedule? How many interviews, typically? Are they all group interviews?

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2010 11:59:03 PM

anon at 1:11 -- absolutely. In fact, you might even with largely the same group again -- they are, after all, usually the hiring committee.

Posted by: anon2 | Nov 26, 2010 1:42:14 PM

Do the group interviews at the call backs ever include people who already interviewed the candidate in DC?

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2010 1:11:16 PM

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