« The Angsting Thread (Law Review Edition, Spring 2012) | Main | RIP, Gary Carter »

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2011-2012

NB: Bounced to the front.

The 2011-2012 law school hiring market has begun. Time for the while-the-market-is-happening information-gathering posts. 

In this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market (anonymously if you wish, assuming the questions are not especially offensive or otherwise improper), and prawfs or others can weigh in, also anonymously if they choose. Dan Markel will keep an eye on things and delete misinformation and anything else he finds out of bounds.

In the distinct but related post, candidates or prawfs can report on callbacks, offers, and acceptances. That thread should be used only for information relevant to hiring, not for questions or comments on the process. This is the thread for questions.


Update: The most recent comments are here

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on February 17, 2012 at 06:41 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2011-2012:


Thanks anon - my assumption is that if it was good news, I would have heard by now. :) I think the most likely scenario is that an offer went to someone else, but I am curious nonetheless curious about committees delaying votes until after the holiday.

Posted by: anon | Dec 20, 2011 5:26:06 PM

Fellow anon: let me reiterate Jessica's advice and encourage you to contact your chair. In cases where the news was both good and bad, I was glad I did, especially afterwards. Even if your hunch/hope is right and there's no vote until January, you'll enjoy your holiday much, much more for knowing.

Posted by: anon | Dec 20, 2011 5:16:13 PM

I assume that if one did a job talk in October/November and hasn't heard back by now that an offer is not likely to be forthcoming - is that correct? Or do some faculty defer voting on candidates until they return from break in January?

Posted by: anon | Dec 20, 2011 4:59:45 PM

curious: I've shaped out similar to anon -- a big dropoff from AALS interviews to callbacks (enough people know me that I won't reveal specific numbers, but lets's just say lots and lots of AALS --> 4 callbacks), which has led thus far to one offer, one rejection at the faculty vote stage, and two post-job-talk-still-pending that are quite promising. Potential for a couple more callbacks (been b-listed at a few really desirable places), but will likely withdraw from all of those except one. All toward the top end of things.

Posted by: Foxey McFoxilicious | Dec 20, 2011 4:54:42 PM

25 AALS interviews, turned three additional interviews down. 4 callbacks. 3 offers, though one of those offers was not tied to a callback (AALS fellowship interview). the 25:4 was a bit surprising and seemed low, though I had resolved to turn a few callbacks down had they been offered.

Posted by: anon | Dec 20, 2011 4:24:41 PM

I'm just curious how this process has played out (in a generic sense) for those who started off with lots of AALS interviews. Maebe, Foxey/Fixer, are you out there? Did your callback hits/misses surprise you? Have you accepted offers yet? Still interviewing?

Posted by: curious | Dec 20, 2011 3:55:50 PM

you can just write "John Doe, School X, 2013-" in your star footnote, if you are so inclined.

Posted by: andy | Dec 14, 2011 7:48:58 PM

Thanks to all for the post-callback rejection information.

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2011 7:17:11 PM

I received a post-callback rejection by email.

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2011 6:29:42 PM

I am in the same boat, and I think I will check with the school before making the affiliation public, just in case they have formal (or informal) policies about this. My article is coming out in May and the Dean has told me that it would count toward my tenure writing, so I think it would probably be OK to publish it with the affiliation. It might also be relevant for people whether they are accepting summer research money while they prep for classes, which I assume would make them officially part of the faculty as of the beginning of summer. In any case, it doesn't hurt to check.

Current professors, what was your experience?

Posted by: Dream On | Dec 14, 2011 3:24:47 PM

PAQ: I am not planning on listing my upcoming affiliation on my upcoming article (to be published in early 2012). I figure that once I start teaching I can link to the article on my faculty profile and SSRN page (which will have my affiliation), so if anyone cares, they will be able to link me to it.

But I am curious about how your question might apply to things like academic conferences. If I go to one the week before classes start, do I have to put "Unaffiliated" on my name tag or is there some clear way to indicate that while I'm not teaching yet, I will be soon?

Posted by: also fortunate | Dec 14, 2011 2:30:39 PM

@Post-Acceptance Question:

How about something like "Incoming Assistant Professor, [X Law School]"? I am curious about this question too -- others please chime in.

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2011 2:15:59 PM

A miscellaneous question -- for those of us who are fortunate enough to have accepted an offer, is there a customary way to list your upcoming affiliation (for example, in publications that will come out in 2012, prior to start date)?

Posted by: Post-Acceptance Question | Dec 14, 2011 1:35:17 PM

Anyone heard anything about UMass?

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2011 11:58:22 AM

My anecdotal experience is that AALS-level rejections come via snail mail, while callback-level rejections come via phone. That also is consistent with common sense and etiquette. I would hope that after identifying a small number of candidates that are attractive enough to merit a flyout (and all the associated costs, including significant amounts of faculty time), and spending a full day (plus dinner) getting to know each of them, the school would break the bad news to the 5-10 candidates who did not get offers via something more personal than a letter.

Posted by: Anono | Dec 14, 2011 10:17:00 AM

My anecdotal experience is that they come by snail mail, although I've heard others' stories that they come by phone.

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2011 2:37:59 AM

@anon 1:49 --
My anecdotal experience is that most post-callback rejections come by phone call, typically from the appointments committee chair.

Posted by: anon | Dec 13, 2011 3:47:04 PM

Does anyone have any knowledge (anecdotal or otherwise) how most post-callback rejections come - via phone call, email, or snail-mail?

Posted by: anon | Dec 13, 2011 1:49:44 PM

AnotherAnon - Brian Leiter has a list of questions to ask post-offer: http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2011/11/what-do-you-need-to-find-out-now-that-youve-gotten-a-tenuretrack-offer.html

Posted by: Done | Dec 6, 2011 10:56:13 AM

"Sell" visits are not a must. When I got my job offer, I accepted without going back for another visit.

To all those waiting, my apologies. I know how painful a wait it is. My faculty is meeting today and tomorrow and then, hopefully, we'll be done. Then it's just a matter of making offers and seeing who accepts them.

Posted by: ProfAnon | Dec 6, 2011 8:33:41 AM

Joining in with Anono, any thoughts on post-offer negotiations? Here is my current list:
1. Teaching package
2. Light loads
3. Spousal assistance (tuition assistance, employment, etc.)
4. Moving expenses


Also, is the "sell" visit a must? I'm exhausted from all the travel!

Posted by: AnotherAnon | Dec 6, 2011 2:36:35 AM

There are other variables. Right now, hiring committees may still be reading or asking their colleagues to read the work of candidates they may be interested in calling back. Some of those candidates may have used an exploding offer to jump the queue. Faculties may also be looking at potential lateral candidates (who have an earlier hiring deadline because of AALS rules, may have more work to review, and often require outside letters to support a senior hire). Faculties can only process so many job talks and so many hiring meetings before they resist. Yes, there are hiring committees who fail to keep candidates in the loop because they're distracted, poorly organized, or disinclined to deliver bad news, but at this point in the season, lots of hiring committees are juggling a huge number of different balls, and they honestly don't know whether they are likely to recommend an offer to candidate X. If the uncertainty is making you crazy, its better to ask for more information than to seethe silently, growing ever-more-resentful.

Posted by: Jessica Litman | Dec 5, 2011 10:26:22 PM

ProfAnon -- Thanks for weighing in. I think most candidates understand that there are several stages between the call back and the offer phone call. But that there are several stages in the process isn't an explanation for a lack of transparency about those stages, their timing, and where remaining candidates fit within it. The only reason you cite for silence is the desire to avoid undermining the morale of less-than-first-choice candidates, in case one of them ends up being the hiree. But if there's one aspect of the post-callback process that all candidates are aware of, it's that schools sometimes don't get their first-choice candidate, and the offer gets passed on to a second-choice (or even third-choice) candidate. Unless a school is making exploding offers (or has been extremely cagey about when they plan to conclude call backs, vote on candidates, etc. -- and I certainly don't rule this out), it isn't likely to be able to conceal from candidate #2 that she wasn't the faculty's first choice. At some point in the season, remaining candidates know with near-certainty that they are not the first choice. All the prolonged silence is likely to do, then, is give some remaining candidates false hope of being second- or third-choice, and perhaps unduly alienating the school's actual second and third choices.

Posted by: anon candidate | Dec 5, 2011 8:01:53 PM

What makes it difficult is just all the variables inherent in the process. For instance, at my school, we are currently looking at the pool of candidates for each slot. First, we decide what candidates are "acceptable," and then we rank the "acceptable" candidates in order to determine who will get first offer and then in what order should first offer turn down us down. Then we have to get the hiring decision approved by the University before we can contact anyone. It's a lot of stuff. Also, many schools don't want to communicate "Hey, we like you, but you'll only get an offer if two other people turn us down" as it could undermine morale should you ultimately join the faculty.

Posted by: ProfAnon | Dec 5, 2011 6:38:12 PM

Prawf hopeful -- I suspect that the hiring chairs you most want to hear from aren't reading this blog. If you have a deadline (even a self-imposed one), I would email the schools you haven't heard from and ask for a status update. They may not be able to tell you too much -- for lots of schools, your fate may be contingent on an offer that may have been made to someone who may or may not turn it down -- but there's no harm in asking. A school that is planning to probably call you back in January won't decide to change those plans because you expressed your interest in the school again by requesting more information on your prospects.

Posted by: Jessica Litman | Dec 5, 2011 4:43:48 PM

Hiring Committees -- it would really be nice if you gave candidates a status update by the end of this week, regardless of whether the status includes an offer. We on the other end of this spectrum have some decisions to make, and we have to start making them pretty soon in some cases. It's tough to make decisions in a partial vaccuum.

Posted by: Prawf Hopeful | Dec 5, 2011 4:32:16 PM

anon, 9:38:42, yes it is customary to get something in writing.

Posted by: VAPanon | Dec 5, 2011 11:10:27 AM

After a receiving an offer over the phone, is it customary to receive (or advisable to ask for) an offer letter that contains the major terms of the offer? Thanks!

Posted by: anon | Dec 5, 2011 9:38:42 AM

LawProf, thank you for that helpful heads up. Really appreciate it.

Posted by: anon | Dec 2, 2011 3:33:57 PM

People, please "Google" yourselves before applying for law teaching jobs. For example, if there are youtube videos with you making fun of a whole segment of society, take them down in advance (not AFTER they are brought to your attention from a third party).

Posted by: Helpful Advice | Dec 2, 2011 3:19:50 PM

Tennessee started deliberations today on who to make offers to. They have voted on one position, with two positions left to be decided next week.

Posted by: LawProf | Dec 1, 2011 6:39:48 PM

Fortunate: Agreed 100%. But if the chance was small at AALS and the callback that anyone would ding you for clothing choices, I would imagine it's infinitely smaller post-offer. Speaking of which, congrats on the offer!

Posted by: Dream On | Dec 1, 2011 2:54:09 PM

Dream On - Thanks. That's what I was thinking, but this process has a way of making me second-guess everything...

Posted by: fortunate | Dec 1, 2011 2:39:30 PM

Fortunate: I think it's OK to go on the more casual side, and that's my plan for the "sell" visit. I figure that once the offer is made, you're being invited to be one of the faculty, so it should be OK to dress like them. If they all wore jeans during your callback, it's probably fine for you to wear jeans. If they wore business casual, business casual is probably the right way to go. Etc.

Posted by: Dream On | Dec 1, 2011 2:30:35 PM

Okay, fashion question - what is the proper attire (especially for women) on a post-offer "sell" visit? Suit again? Business casual?

Posted by: fortunate | Dec 1, 2011 10:04:44 AM

@Anon 12:56, I think this varies rather widely. Dream On's experience is not unusual, and is probably correlated to a strong interest on the part of the school. But there are schools where most of the sessions will include substantive discussions of your work, and this does not signal a lack of interest, just a more rigorous process that likely is being applied to all their candidates.

Posted by: anon | Nov 28, 2011 3:44:01 PM

Could we have a thread (or at least some comments here) on how to--and how not to--negotiate once you have an offer or two?

Posted by: anon | Nov 28, 2011 12:40:26 PM

Agree re B team callbacks starting now. But don't think they'll really get going til January. By January, I think most All-Star candidates (extending the A-team, B-team analogy) will have narrowed down their lists and the process will get moving more quickly.

As far as what to ask the dean, I think this is the toughest interview. I've definitely stammered in a few. I think the best sets of questions are those that ask about their vision for the school in the near future. What plans do they have for interdisciplinary stuff, or expansion, or more experiential learning, etc.? How do they plan to deal with the tough job market and economy? Also, this is a good place to feel out (very delicately) their relationship with the faculty.

Anon at 11/23 at 1:44pm, I empathize. No idea how one can do more than a few interviews effectively while carrying out a traditional full time job. Schools should definitely weigh this factor in considering candidates (since a VAP can basically spend a year preparing for these callbacks), but they don't.

Posted by: Anono | Nov 27, 2011 12:22:28 PM

Re: the question about B team callbacks, I believe they are starting. Anecdotal evidence: one school told me 2 weeks after AALS that I was B Team. They called me for a callback 2 weeks ago. Another school called me within days of AALS for a callback (I declined for unimportant reasons); they called a friend for a callback last week, so I presume my friend was B Team.

Posted by: anon | Nov 25, 2011 4:51:54 PM

Thanks very much for the feedback.

Posted by: anon12:56 | Nov 25, 2011 2:34:27 PM

@Anon 12:56: I found that the callback, including the time with the dean, was largely about my asking questions. Most of my conversations with people started out by having them ask me, "What can I tell you about the school?" Looking back, I would have come up with more specific questions beforehand. The exception was the assistant dean in charge of assigning course loads-- we talked about my desired teaching package.

I don't know if that was everyone's callback experience, but I certainly found it to be more my chance to ask them whatever I wanted, and much less about having them grill me.

Posted by: Dream On | Nov 23, 2011 4:33:30 PM

Re: the waiting game, I find it more difficult than traveling. I have completed 5 callbacks, 1 left to go before the end of this month. I also practice full time so am being spread incredibly thin at the moment. Then at the office I'm driven to distraction by this process - usually rehashing a job talk, stomach churning at the thought that I've been video taped at each school.

My job prospects include well-ranked, national rep schools and lower ranked options (though many with a very strong regional rep). I'm trying to look beyond that and will seriously consider any school that makes me an offer (all are in fairly desirable geographic locations). However, Google is making it difficult to ignore prominent PR problems at some schools. And to piggy back on 12:56's query, I've had at least two uncomfortable exit interviews with deans, where the Dean was at the center of a painfully public controversy. I assume public feuds, bad PR, eventually dissipate, but is it grave error to consider/accept an offer from a law school currently embroiled in a public controversy?

Posted by: anon | Nov 23, 2011 1:44:52 PM

What is usually discussed during the one-on-one meeting with the Dean during a callback? I know it's not the time to discuss the particulars that go with an offer (such as salary, etc.), but is the candidate expected to ask the Dean about specific issues or is it merely the Dean's opportunity to sit down alone with candidate and ask him/her questions?

Posted by: anon | Nov 23, 2011 12:56:23 PM

@Herbert, if you have 5-10 callbacks, you're in a substantially different boat than those with one or a few. Presumably your odds are pretty good of landing something, even if it's not your top choice.

Posted by: AnonCandidate | Nov 22, 2011 1:22:01 PM


Posted by: curiouser and thank you anon 905am! | Nov 22, 2011 9:46:34 AM

curiouser - I think it's still early for that. The AALS was only 5 weeks ago, so most callbacks would have happened in the last 3-4 weeks with some ongoing. Even for schools that gave offers very shortly after a given interview, they would generally give at least a month for a response. It's my understanding most of the second round will not get going until January.

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2011 9:05:31 AM

Are there any schools that are into their second round of callbacks yet / moving past the A-list to the B-list? That is, is there anyone out there who has 1) received a "B-team" call or e-mail from a school sometime after AALS this year and 2) subsequently got a callback from that same school?

Posted by: curiouser and curiouser | Nov 21, 2011 11:51:45 PM

I think waiting is FAR easier than the callbacks. I personally have done between 5-10 in the last month and I am wiped. Much easier to now just wait.

Posted by: Herbert | Nov 21, 2011 11:12:26 PM

The wait game post-callback sucks...especially for those of us with one or few callbacks. We're not out of the game, but we're definitely on the margins, crossing fingers we'll be let in.

Posted by: AnonCandidate | Nov 21, 2011 3:12:58 PM


Posted by: East Coast Rules | Nov 21, 2011 1:21:40 PM

ECR - received a letter in the mail late this week.

Posted by: anon | Nov 21, 2011 1:10:04 PM

To the "anon" who just posted on the other thread - when did you get the Drexel ding?

Posted by: East Coast Rules | Nov 21, 2011 12:53:38 PM

Prawf Hopeful: Absolutely (although I think I did much less traveling than you).

Posted by: anon | Nov 21, 2011 12:41:55 PM

Anyone else finding the "wait game" to be almost as challenging as all the traveling?

Posted by: Prawf Hopeful | Nov 21, 2011 12:35:22 PM

For those of you who already have offers, what sort of decision timelines are you getting? This issue came up in a previous thread about exploding offers, but I was just curious what the market is doing this year--is there any sense that schools are giving more or less time this year?

Posted by: B-Teamer | Nov 18, 2011 1:15:01 PM

Please continue to use this space to ask helpful questions about the process, but not to ventilate or call out bad behavior behind the screen of anonymity. While regrettable misconduct may have occurred during various interviews, this is not the space to investigate, adjudicate and castigate that misconduct. Sorry to dampen your enthusiasm for vengeance.

Also, the thread about hiring is only for information people want to give. So I'll continue to delete any information on that thread that is not relevant, and that will include followup questions. Don't let your curiosity turn you into a pest.

Folks who violate these requests will be banned from the site (and no, i'm not really interested in a dialogue about this so don't test my patience). Thanks in advance for playing nicely.

Posted by: Dan Markel | Nov 17, 2011 11:44:58 PM

I've had several such communications, all unpromoted -- two explicit b-list messages (one from a stratosphere-top school), one "we like you but we're not sure if we're going to actually invite anyone in your field," and one slightly weird half-rejection half b-list from a school where I suspect there's politics. Much better than the radio silence from many schools.

Posted by: Keep hope alive pt. 2 | Nov 17, 2011 7:27:45 PM

I've had a couple of communications similar to those that VAPin received... in other words, I'm on the B list at at least 2 schools. It's great to have the info, but I also asked for it.

If you haven't heard from a school with which you interviewed at AALS and you're interested in going there, I think it's a fine time to inquire.

Posted by: Prawf Hopeful | Nov 17, 2011 4:12:01 PM

VAPin: That is refreshingly forthright. Agreed that it would be nice if more schools sent such communications.

Posted by: curious | Nov 17, 2011 3:33:44 PM

Curious, I am sure the concern is more the latter - but certainly also the former; what is the harm in letting a candidate know, e.g., something along the lines of what one school told me: "For now, the committee has decided to call back some candidates and place others on hold. You are among those that have been placed on hold." I was actually happy to know that from the school, even if i was disappointed i wasn't immediately being called back.

Posted by: VAPin for the Market | Nov 17, 2011 3:19:44 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.