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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thinking of a visit or a lateral move?

A friend at the AALS writes with the following:

Have you ever considered making a lateral move or had to advise a junior faculty member regarding how best to do so? One possibility you might consider is signing up for or advising your colleague to sign up for the AALS Visiting Faculty Register.  This register lists experienced faculty members willing to visit for a semester or a full year in the next academic year. Associate deans and hiring chairs check this resource often to fill their curricular holes, especially at this time of year. Moreover, being on this list may signal to hiring committees your willingness to relocate; however, you should be willing to consider various visiting opportunities should they become available. Notably, many schools like to hire laterals as visitors first to test compatibility. Please note that you must have at least three years of full-time law teaching to register and be a full-time faculty member at an AALS Member or Fee-paid school.

Posted by Administrators on January 30, 2013 at 05:31 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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I understand why someone at the AALS would recommend using an AALS registry, but it strikes me as a very odd choice if you are looking to make a lateral move. The purpose of the list is to let Associate Deans know where they can find podium-fill visits. Given how rare it is for podium visits to turn into lateral moves, it's not clear how putting your name on a list for podium-fill visits is going to get you considered for a lateral position. I suppose it is literally true that "many schools like to hire laterals as visitors first to test compatibility." But they do that as part of a look-see visit, not a podium-fill visit. It would be a disservice to faculty members if tis list encouraged them to apply for and accept podium-fill visits -- often meaning moving themselves and perhaps their families hundreds or thousands of miles away -- on an apparent misunderstanding that there is a good chance it will lead to permanent consideration and a possible lateral offer. It's theoretically possible, but very rare.

As for advice to "Junior," if you're interested in a lateral move, I've seen two basic strategies for drawing the attention of lateral appointments committees. The first is publish-and-wait: publish a lot, speak at conferences, and otherwise make yourself visible, with the hope that committees see the good work and contact you. The second is to make polite inquiries: contact people you know at particular schools you are interested in (if you know people at those schools) or the chair of the appointments committee (if you don't) and let them know of your lateral interest. If they're interested in you, they'll follow up.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Jan 31, 2013 2:18:23 AM

I saw this email also posted on The Faculty Lounge. If I were looking to lateral, my concern would be that my current associate dean would see my name, too. Given that issue, what would you then advise a junior faculty member to do?

Posted by: Junior | Jan 30, 2013 6:16:20 PM

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