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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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To anon 11/23 4:39. I was on the "B-team" for a school, told they had invited 3-4 candidates for callbacks before me but that they were still interested and recently got a callback invitation from them. It's not over until it is over. Keep hope alive!

Posted by: Candydate | Nov 26, 2010 8:20:32 AM

Has anybody heard anything about American or Pace?

Posted by: anon | Nov 23, 2010 8:39:11 PM

Having now received some very clear B team emails, I am wondering if anything ever comes of being on the B team? It's hard not to cling to some hope but I also want to be realistic here.

Posted by: anon | Nov 23, 2010 4:39:02 PM

Has anyone heard anything from the fellowships, like Lawyering, Bigelow, etc? Either 2nd round interviews or offers?

Posted by: anon | Nov 23, 2010 2:39:26 PM

To the two Anon 11/16ths: ND and KY have scheduled and conducted at least some call backs.

Posted by: candydate | Nov 22, 2010 4:59:16 PM

Columbia, NYU, Stanford, UCLA have all dinged people.

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2010 4:42:37 PM

Does anyone have any more knowledge on Florida? I believe they have a bunch of lines open and I'm curious whether they have scheduled all their callbacks or just in some areas? Any info appreciated, no matter how small!

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2010 12:52:48 PM

thanks a lot, wondering if these schools take longer to schedule callbacks

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2010 12:33:07 PM

I know of someone with a Harvard callback, but have heard nothing about Stanford, NYU or Michigan.

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2010 10:42:04 AM

any callbacks with Harvard/Stanford/Michigan/NYU?

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2010 9:47:12 AM

The post-callback wait is excruciating!

Posted by: anon | Nov 19, 2010 2:47:10 PM

USC has multiple events entitled "Faculty Recruitment Job Talk." The listings include the names of the candidates.

Posted by: a nosy muon | Nov 17, 2010 2:27:43 PM

Duke has multiple events entitled "Entry-level Faculty Appointments Candidate Meeting." Draw your own conlcusions.

Posted by: a nosy muon | Nov 17, 2010 2:24:04 PM

Roger Williams has scheduled callbacks.

Posted by: 2dyearprof | Nov 17, 2010 12:01:07 PM

Florida has scheduled callbacks

Posted by: an | Nov 17, 2010 8:16:28 AM

Temple? Suffolk?

Posted by: anon2 | Nov 16, 2010 9:16:34 PM

North Dakota?

Posted by: Anon | Nov 16, 2010 6:21:36 PM

Anyone heard from Kentucky?

Posted by: anon | Nov 16, 2010 5:37:58 PM

UNLV's events calendar lists four job talks in November.

Posted by: anon | Nov 16, 2010 12:31:21 PM

I've asked before but haven't heard from anyone - does anyone know if UNLV has extended callbacks yet?

Posted by: Annonn | Nov 16, 2010 11:25:24 AM

Any word from Univ. of Florida?

Posted by: anon | Nov 16, 2010 11:16:14 AM

Re: Pepperdine. They have extended callbacks, but it's unclear if this is it or if there will be subsequent rounds.

Posted by: anon | Nov 16, 2010 11:12:18 AM

Has anyone heard anything (good or bad) from Pepperdine?

Posted by: losing hope | Nov 16, 2010 10:15:12 AM

Wow. 5:24, that is somebody's work.

Personally, I read it and found it to be quite useful and also enjoyable to read. But clearly, that is my opinion and you are entitled to your own critical view.

That said, I have to wonder if you've published before -- because anyone who has gone through the process of birthing an idea, nurturing it into a written product and then releasing it in final (or, worse, draft) form, would have a tremendously difficult time summarily referring to somebody else's work as "absolutely useless."

Ironically, knowing how things work in the academy, any questions you had on job talks probably could have been answered by any of the authors through direct contact (i.e., phone or e-mail), simply by reaching out in a warm and candid manner. The more relationships you form, the better off you will be. Alternatively, you can make anonymous pot-shots about other scholars' work on the Internet. Your choice.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 15, 2010 7:49:17 PM

To the anon hirer who posted the SSRN article, either this is a shameless plug, or you failed to read the article (which is *absolutely* useless). I'd love to see that gem turned into a job talk, now that would be fun. Utterly useless.

Posted by: anti-anon | Nov 15, 2010 5:24:23 PM

Ditto. I'm left wondering about Phase 1, too. According to the chart on the other blog, 9 schools that I intereviewed with are not reported to have made call backs... It seems to me that can't be right. Unless people aren't reporting like they've done in the past...

Posted by: anon | Nov 15, 2010 4:10:19 PM

Anyone hear from UNLV or Roger Williams regarding callbacks?

Posted by: Annonn | Nov 15, 2010 11:58:48 AM

Was that it? No comments for days, is the first callback phase over now?

Posted by: anon | Nov 15, 2010 11:14:40 AM

In case some people missed this recent ssrn paper on the "job talk", mentioned on the Faculty Lounge blog.


Already over 400 downloads; I guess there's lot of folks out there looking for info.

Posted by: anon hirer | Nov 13, 2010 2:53:36 PM

One thing about back-to-back callbacks is that there can be some issues with your e-mail and phone responsiveness. Prepare to be owned by the school you are interviewing with from the moment your plane lands to the moment your plane departs. This can make it hard to juggle the e-mails and calls you might be getting from folks at School #2, and you risk appearing disinterested if you aren't responding in a timely manner to anything they might send. Also, some schools might actually send you forms to complete, especially if there is a religious affiliation to the school.

Honestly, while it would be a bit too in-your-face to let the second school know that you are on a callback, it's possibly a good idea to just let them know generally that you are "traveling" that day or two and will respond as soon as possible. Sure, they will likely know that by "traveling" you mean "on a callback," but at least you don't sound like an arrogant tool.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 12, 2010 10:14:00 PM

I did back-to-back callbacks. It's not that terrible. But I would suggest scheduling your more preferred school last in the series. Fatigue is a problem, yes, but you will get an adrenalin rush, and it's incredibly beneficial to have essentially had a "test run" in the form of the previous interview.

But if the call-backs are in totally different cities/states or even regions, be aware that you might forget where you are in any given moment because of the stress and travel. Tell yourself at the start of each session that you are in X city/state, and so you'll be prepared to talk naturally about the glorious perks of living in that area.....

I said something quite bizarre about how I would acclimate to the weather on one of my callbacks, because I blanked and thought for a second I was in the other city. That was awkward.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 12, 2010 6:28:35 PM

might need to do back to back callbacks at two schools; this is hardly desirable but is it utterly crazy and not recommended at all?

Posted by: anon | Nov 12, 2010 5:41:19 PM


>(1) is there a good link/article someone could post?

On the first or second page of this thread, someone posted a good link to a Yale guide for alums seeking academic positions that had a job talk section.

>(2) do I talk about my experience/background/research interests or do I just launch into my discussion (apart from the typical thanks)?

Generally, candidates launch into their discussion. If you like, you might mention how the paper connects to an earlier paper or discuss how it is a piece of a larger project (assuming one of these things is applicable).

>(3) will the faculty have my CV (and know my background/ experience)?;

A few will have read your CV, research agenda, and job talk paper and will ask proposing, most will have only skimmed them, and some will have completely ignored the e-mail that sent the documents around. Sometimes the school fails to circulate the job talk paper with enough time for faculty members to read it.

>(4) besides abstract/draft of article (and teaching evals), is there anything more I should think about distributing?

You should distribute a research agenda, which maps out your research plan for the next several years. They tend to be 2-4 pages long. A good research agenda will have a connecting theme beyond the subject area (such as a particular lens you plan to use in your research, like public choice theory or law/econ). Expect to be asked about your research agenda, whether or not you distribute one.

Posted by: 2dyearprof | Nov 11, 2010 6:45:02 PM

Wow, I've had the very same experience as anon at 4:11 and was just thinking a similar thing. My first callback was what I considered my worst interview. Other interviews I thought went amazingly well, upon reflection, were rather fun interesting conversations with lovely people but nothing really interview-ish took place. I thought I'd hear from one school like that in particular, but haven't.
Anyhoo, just had to second that post as this was literally my own thought process this morning.

Posted by: anon | Nov 11, 2010 4:38:18 PM

Here is another:

There are a million variables in this process and it's very hard to know what's really going on behind the scenes. I had a fair number of interviews and a high ratio of call-backs (I wasn't able to accept them, though, as my circumstances changed within days of AALS). However, despite the strong overall performance, my call-backs didn't always come from the schools where I thought I had my strongest interview. Two of the best interviews I had at the conference did not yield call-backs, and one of my worst interviews (in fact, my one horror story from the whole experience) did yield a call-back.

In stepping back and thinking rationally about this, I guess I would say that the interviews that seemed really good were possibly a bit too good. Sometimes there is that perfect fit from the moment you begin the interview, but even then, there should be moments of scrutiny or more intense questioning. That's the signal of serious consideration.

Interestingly enough, those two schools that seemed to go so well are still not listed on here as having scheduled callbacks. It's possible that those schools simply aren't in a position to hire, or maybe they already knew something before my interview which fundamentally altered the opportunity (maybe there was a VAP they are hoping to hire, or maybe they already found their perfect fit candidate earlier in the process). But I look back and think of the interview dynamic at those schools -- lots of laughing, lots of questions that pertained to things on my resume that were interesting but not really relevant to the position, lots of conversation about people we know in common.....

To some degree, with the benefit of hindsight, I see this as pleasant and respectable conversation to fill 20-30 minutes, and not really a serious attempt to expose my strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. The one common variable with all of the schools where I got a callback is that I experienced moments of discomfort, and a feeling of uncertainty, and walked out of the room with that distinct feeling of relief that something slightly unnerving had just taken place. In the case of the two schools that went flawlessly well, I left feeling refreshed and relaxed. This suggests it may never have been an actual interview.

Posted by: anon | Nov 11, 2010 4:11:35 PM

I happened to have a couple of helpful (but off topic) posts that were deleted from the other thread open in another browser window. Transferring them here (where I think they belong). Here is one that was posted in response to someone asking if most of schools had made their first round of call back offers:

"No you are incorrect. Offers come as late as April.

The first batch of offers have by now probably gone out from many but not all schools. There is sometime internal disagreement among faculty members that keeps even the first batch of callbacks from being called back until December.

After the first batch, the dust will need to settle, meaning the school will need to wait to see whether the candidate(s) will accept. Inevitably, some schools will receive no acceptances of their offers; in some cases this even happens with very good schools vying for top candidates. Then, the committee may again dip into the batch of people they interviewed at D.C.; this latter process may occur in January or even early February.

Hang in there, and try not to ever be despondent. Go about your work, enjoy family, sports, books, writing, and remain as busy as is productively reasonable."

Posted by: anon | Nov 11, 2010 4:10:11 PM

I'm new to the Job Talk scene. A couple questions: (1) is there a good link/article someone could post?; (2) do I talk about my experience/background/research interests or do I just launch into my discussion (apart from the typical thanks)?; (3) will the faculty have my CV (and know my background/experience)?; (4) besides abstract/draft of article (and teaching evals), is there anything more I should think about distributing?

Posted by: jobtalk | Nov 11, 2010 9:54:35 AM

profdreamer: Finding a position is possible, just keep writing and try to get your work into general law review journals. And I second the VAP/fellowship recommendation, although it will probably take at least one publication to land one. I got mine outside the AALS process as well--I just applied directly.

Posted by: 2dyearprof | Nov 10, 2010 9:14:07 PM

I had two publications when I got the VAP (a student note and an article based on a paper I wrote while a student), and I got the VAP by applying directly (outside of the AALS process).

Posted by: the anon formerly known as "anon | Nov 9, 2010 5:59:04 PM" | Nov 10, 2010 1:59:07 PM

anon formerly known as

I will try for a VAP or fellowship, but I know that I am likely to have the same problem for these positions: a present lack of published scholarship (aside from a law school note, which I assume doesn't count for much). Did your VAP position come through AALS or some other means? Had you published prior to being hired as a VAP? Thanks again.

Posted by: profdreamer | Nov 10, 2010 12:41:11 PM

I really hope it works out for you, profdreamer! My one other piece of advice is to strongly consider doing a VAP or other fellowship before you go on the job market. Not only does it give you time to get more writing done, it helps you "speak the language" when you go out interviewing. I can't imagine how much harder this process would have been for me without having done the VAP first.

Posted by: the anon formerly known as anon | Nov 9, 2010 5:59:04 PM | Nov 10, 2010 10:32:38 AM

anon | Nov 9, 2010 5:59:04 PM

Thanks for the response. I knew that my only real chance of landing a professor job was to have several publications, but I wasn't sure if even that would be enough. I will keep writing as fast as I can and hope that by next year I can contribtue something to the law school hiring thread. Thanks again.

Posted by: profdreamer | Nov 10, 2010 10:24:16 AM

I'm wondering about the relative quiet on the other thread (listing schools that have scheduled callbacks). Given the warnings I've heard about how much happens in the first week after AALS, and how much less happens in the second week and later, I would have imagined more schools to have shown up on the list by now. Is their absence a sign that it's taking longer than usual? Or just reluctance by candidates to post callbacks?

Posted by: anon | Nov 10, 2010 10:22:27 AM

The answer, profdreamer, is that it will depend on the school. Many will view your practice experience as a plus, some won't care either way, and a few elite schools may be distrustful of that background. But if you go on the market, none of that will matter nearly as much as the quality and amount of your academic writing. Write good articles and you should have little problem making the transition. Without good articles, it will be nearly impossible.

Posted by: anon | Nov 9, 2010 5:59:04 PM

I am a 2005 grad with mostly litigation experience. Do I have too many years of "real world" experience to be taken seriously for any regular prof openings? TIA

Posted by: profdreamer | Nov 9, 2010 4:01:44 PM

Atticus, expect to talk about teaching style and grading policies, among other things. You'd be surprised how much information about a school's culture you can learn from a short conversation with students.

Posted by: anon | Nov 8, 2010 4:30:25 PM

On callbacks . . . if we meet with students or groups of students, what is the discussion like, what questions should be ask, what is the dyanmic? Any advice appreciated.

Posted by: Atticus | Nov 8, 2010 9:26:16 AM

camera shy -
I was videotaped too - I thought this was standard. I agree it is unnerving!

Posted by: anon | Nov 8, 2010 7:31:54 AM

I wrote my presentation on PowerPoint (although I didn't use PowerPoint in my talk). I printed out the slides, and practiced out loud and kept editing the slides until the timing was perfect. Then I just kept practicing -- at least 1-2 times per day, in empty classrooms. I also carried around the slides and whenever I had time, I would randomly take one and just sit and reflect on it -- thinking about the content, anticipating questions, etc. When it came time to deliver the actual job talk, I underlined the words/phrases that were most relevant. That way, just by glancing at the slide, I would be able to talk about the material.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 7, 2010 9:29:03 PM

Is videotaping job talks something new this year? I've done a few job talks this year, and every place has taped me. Last year, I did a few, and no one taped me. I don't particularly like it.

Posted by: camera shy | Nov 7, 2010 9:17:22 PM

As I tell students, don't memorize, internalize. Also, use notes.

Posted by: Prof | Nov 7, 2010 9:00:04 PM

I disagree that memorization is necessarily the way to go. Maybe it works for some people, but you have to evaluate your own personality and presentation style. Memorization also kills you if you have a "hot bench" -- it's not as easy to get back on track. I knew my key points cold but did not have a strictly rote opening, which was much more in line with my ordinary presentation and teaching style. You have to go with what works for you.

I completely agree, however, that you should mock your job talk in front of live people at least once. Even if you can't get law professors, any interested audience can give you invaluable feedback.

Posted by: Newish prof | Nov 7, 2010 7:46:40 PM

Memorizing the first several minutes is the way to do it, period. The drawback is that it will sound "canned," but you just need to practice reciting the memorized intro in an uncanned fashion; there’s a bit of acting involved in that respect, but if you’ve done moot court, you know how easy that is. And even if you sound canned, that’s better than crashing, no?

If you can't gather a live audience for practice, still do it by yourself but OUT LOUD at a realistic volume, and try to mimic the physical context of the job talk as much as possible (for example, use a podium or something like it like a kitchen island). Try videotaping yourself; you’ll be amazed at what you see/hear that you didn’t notice when you were actually performing the talk. Imagine anticipated questions, then answer them out loud as if someone were there. Sounds silly, but it works.

Posted by: Anotheranon | Nov 7, 2010 3:24:55 PM

I memorized the first few minutes of the talk and then practiced it over and over again. I mooted the talk in front of a group of law professors, then had to settle for making family members listen to it several times. Note: non-lawyers can be useful for pointing out distracting things that you are doing during the talk (strange hand gestures, pacing, or the like).

You will start to get more comfortable with your talk in subsequent callbacks as you are to anticipate certain questions and have good answers ready.

Posted by: 2dyearprof | Nov 7, 2010 12:51:59 PM

I found constant practice was better than memorization. I wanted it to be familiar enough that there would be no hesitation during presentation, but fresh enough that it didn't sound canned. Similar to preparation for an opening/closing argument. Make sure you practice with a live audience, preferably current law professors but if that's not possible with friends who are lawyers who can provide critical feedback and ask probing questions.

Posted by: 1yrprof | Nov 7, 2010 12:45:14 PM

You can seriously memorize a 20-minute presentation? That's impressive! I'm shooting for memorizing an intro and conclusion and then freestyling off of a well-rehearsed outline.
I wish I could memorize the whole thing, it would certainly calm my fear.

Posted by: anon | Nov 7, 2010 12:02:20 PM

I agree with beenthere. I memorize the whole talk. That way I can be more relaxed in the office interviews. That way I have a bank of well-articulated points that I can draw on in the talk.

Posted by: beenthere2 | Nov 7, 2010 11:41:43 AM

Anon at 8:22:13. This is perfectly normal. We experience a disorganizing rush of adrenaline just before we start any major presentation (oral argument,etc.). What works for me: flat out memorize the first two or three minutes of your presentation, right down to introductory thanks. You may not use this but it will be there if you need something to latch onto while the adrenaline rush subsides.

Remember how hard this is. It will make you a better and wiser teacher.

Posted by: beenthere | Nov 7, 2010 10:31:49 AM

I'm preparing for job talks looming next week and having an extreme crisis of confidence. Someone please tell me that it is very rare for a candidate to come this far and then completely blank out and hyperventilate during a job talk...
I know my subject cold and, once I get going, I can certainly talk about it and handle Q&A. But I have this overwhelming fear of choking at the beginning and completely blanking out. The rational part of me knows this is unlikely, but still.
Anyone else out there going through this???

Posted by: anon | Nov 7, 2010 8:22:13 AM

Sometimes schools need to delay getting back to candidates because they must file a full report with the central administration of the University justifying the hiring decision. Such a report might contain a memo describing the strengths and weaknesses of the final candidates and the reason an offer was extended to the candidate (or candidates) who ultimately accepted. This report might need to distinguish the finalists from the larger candidate pool and explain in a general sense why the finalists were a better fit than those others interviewed at AALS. This can be a time consuming process. And, actually requires honest, thoughtful deliberation. This thoughtful deliberation cannot usually occur until all of the callbacks are completed.

Posted by: AlwaysAnon | Nov 5, 2010 7:14:53 PM

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