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Monday, August 26, 2013

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2013-2014

In this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market, and prawfs or others can weigh in.

Both questions and answers can be anonymous, but I will delete pure nastiness, irrelevance, and misinformation. If you see something that you know to be wrong, please feel free to let me know via email, slawsky*at*law*dot*uci*dot*edu.

We have a different thread in which 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.

(Before you ask your questions, you may want to take a look at the many questions and answers in the threads from 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.) 

Update: here is a link to the last page of comments.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 26, 2013 at 11:02 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


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It seems like the market this year is somewhat better than people predicated earlier this year. Am I mistaken?

Posted by: anons | Oct 16, 2013 1:45:57 AM

Good luck everyone!

Posted by: anon69 | Oct 16, 2013 1:42:10 AM

AnonProf brings up a very important point--people remember bad behavior, such as stringing schools along, using them for practice, or disparaging the city/town where they are located. It is one thing to decline a callback because you have too many, or to cancel a callback because you now have an offer from some place you prefer. It is another thing to use schools. This is a small community, and the person at T4 school you act poorly towards today could be at the T1 school you are trying to lateral to in a few years.

Of course, bad behavior goes both ways. There have been times when people on my faculty acted poorly, and I'm sure certain candidates will always think of us in a bad light. I have had to apologize for a colleague's bad behavior on at least one occasion.

M--the funny thing was I got a callback from the school whose interview I was late to because of my mix-up.

Posted by: 5thyearprawf | Oct 15, 2013 11:12:33 PM

I wanted to chime in on this question about whether to cancel interviews. First, I should say that the year I was on the market my mentors said never to accept an interview unless I'd entertain an offer from that faculty. That's a tough call at the FRC because its a great place for you and the faculty to get a sense of each other, so I understand accepting almost everything at that point, even interviews with schools which one would only remotely consider, but would consider nevertheless. Once it comes to call backs, you should be clear in your own mind and in conversations with your spouse, parents, or whoever will figure in the decision as to whether the school is too geographically, intellectually, culturally, etc. an outlier for you to accept an offer. And then, if you take an interview knowing it is no more than a practice or a leverage opportunity you might get into some serious problems.

A short time ago a person took a call back from my law school. I always thought she had no interest in us, but my gut reaction has often been wrong so I went to the job talk, office visits, and eventually voted for her to get the offer. Now this person happened to write in one of my areas of expertise. The field is small; so small that almost all of us know each other both personally and professionally. I spoke very strongly on behalf of the candidate at the meeting. The faculty voted to extend her an offer (to a different question, only tenure track faculty voted at my school). In response, the person dragged us along for a couple of months. And by dragged us along, I mean she didn't respond to several phone calls, scheduled a fly back to take a look at the city and then cancelled, etc. When she finally rejected our offer, we were too late to make any additional offers or to schedule any more callbacks. Now, I will never forget her. If anyone in my professional circle asks whether she'd be appropriate for a conference, I will let them know of her unreliability. And I certainly will not invite her onto any projects. Now all that may change through the years, but as for now she shot herself in the foot.
What angered me about her actions was not only that she wasted my time. I can deal with that. I love to read and learn, and her paper was decent enough to draw my attention. The real problem to my mind was how she hurt other candidates from whom she took a spot. Why does that matter to me? Partly its altruistic and partly because there were some excellent candidates in that year's pool, at least three of whom went to excellent law schools and at whom we might have had a serious chance. The other reason is that she wasted my colleagues time, besides the time spent on her it was the emotional debates at the meeting that led to the offer going to her, which could have been avoided.

Hopefully it's obvious where I'm going with this, do not accept a call back unless you have some expectation that you might take the position. Definitely cancel before coming if your situation changes after accepting the call back.

Posted by: AnonProf | Oct 15, 2013 9:18:09 PM

Thanks. One of mine does, but they did tell me which room (and which people). V helpful. Did you get a callback from the one where you were late? Cause, you know, yes, being careful and time management are both important, but if your worst intellectual/analytical/substantive issue is, well, a tiny bit of dyslexia under stress, and that was disqualifying, God help us all. Just kidding, and thanks. Also, I just found this in the final email from AALS:

How to find an interviewing suite – explanation of room numbers:
The first digit indicates the floor.
The second digit indicates the part of the hotel:
0 or 1 is the Center Tower
2 is the Park Tower
3 is the Wardman Tower
The last two digits indicate the room number on the floor.


Posted by: M | Oct 15, 2013 6:46:06 PM

M--someone corrected me upthread, but there was a consenus that the second digit of the number tells you the tower. Look at this post: http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2005/10/the_two_towers.html.

The AALS has a table set up where you get a listing of all the schools present at the meat market and their room numbers. However, they don't provide you with an actual schedule. So you need to make your own schedule based on that information. Important--ocassionally, a school will have two rooms. If that is the case, be sure to contact your school to figure out which room you are in (not sure if anyone will have two rooms this year, given the downturn).

Be careful to get your room numbers right--I remember showing up to an interview late because I wrote the wrong room number down. Not my best moment.

Posted by: 5thyearprawf | Oct 15, 2013 6:25:51 PM

Practices really do vary among schools. At my school, and several others I know of, contract faculty can vote if they are full-time. As far as prioritizing, etc., at my school those decisions are up to the dean. The faculty votes to approve (or not) the various candidates we see, and then the dean decides on the sequencing of offers, often with input from the hiring committee.

Posted by: VoiceOfExperience | Oct 15, 2013 6:14:59 PM

Hey, all, two last questions from me. I could have sworn I saw an explanation on this thread of how the hotel numbers its rooms, but I went back through and couldn't find it. Anyone have it? And my other question is: not all my schools have emailed me their rooms. Am I right that the hotel will give me a list, or posts a list?

Posted by: M | Oct 15, 2013 6:14:09 PM

Thanks, both!

Posted by: anona | Oct 15, 2013 5:42:59 PM

anona, the practices at my school (top-100, state flagship) are consistent with those of 5thyearprof's school.

Posted by: anotheranonprof | Oct 15, 2013 5:39:04 PM

anona--with regard to who gets a meat market interview or a call-back, that is at the discretion of our hiring committee. With regard to who gets a position, only tenure-track and tenured professors may vote for an entry-level candidate at my school. Contract professors and emeritus professors may not vote. If the candidate is a lateral and the offer is with tenure, then only tenured profedssors may vote.

At my school, although the faculty ranks the candidates in the order of their preference, the Dean has the ultimate discretion regarding who on the list to call first, and whether to not call someone on the list. Though usually the Dean follows the faculty's ranking.

Posted by: 5thyearprawf | Oct 15, 2013 4:36:16 PM

Who has final voting power - is it only tenured faculty? Does it include Emeritus faculty?

And who has a say in the debate - again, is it only tenured faculty? Or is it also non-tenured tenure-track people (e.g., assistant professors), or also non-tenured non-tenure-track people (e.g. permanent lecturers)?

Posted by: anona | Oct 15, 2013 3:05:49 PM

maybe someone else can take over the metrics on that one....

Posted by: aggregator | Oct 15, 2013 10:23:10 AM

Sounds like we already need the thread on which people can report results.

Posted by: A | Oct 15, 2013 9:27:15 AM

Yes, I have a friend who has already accepted an offer somewhere. Some schools have hired already.

Posted by: M | Oct 15, 2013 9:24:15 AM

Some of our FRC cancelations this year have been from candidates with offers elsewhere, so some schools have already hired. Offers can happen at any time in the season.

Posted by: yetanotherprof | Oct 15, 2013 9:14:22 AM

I both declined callbacks (worries about scheduling a large number around my day job) and cancelled callbacks (after receiving an early offer). Callbacks are a lot of investment for everyone, and just as schools expect some AALS interviews to be declined/cancelled, my sense was that declining/canceling callbacks was considered very normal as well. (Obviously, circumstances matter -- don't schedule a callback and then cancel later for no reason). I will say that in retrospect, I would not have declined callbacks up front (without an offer in hand). But that's simply because it made for too much anxiety that I might ultimately not wind up with a job -- for a less risk-averse person it may make more sense. Also, on timing, yes, offers can come very early (e.g., from schools that do pre-AALS callbacks). Not terribly common, but certainly not completely unheard of.

Posted by: Anonprof | Oct 15, 2013 8:49:22 AM

Love the notion that you think of the cancellers with great fondness.

Posted by: M | Oct 15, 2013 8:43:16 AM

Anon 11:24:18 PM: I declined a callback at one school in light of having 10+ callbacks and my spouse not wanting to live in that particular area.

I later canceled a callback 2 or 3 days before it was scheduled (this must have been late November), because I received an offer from a school that was geographically a better fit for me.

Posted by: 5thyearprawf | Oct 14, 2013 11:52:49 PM

Chill out, everyone (nice screen name!) interpreted my statement correctly. While a few random people may remember you as "person who declined a call-back" or "person who cancelled a callback", it is (1) random and (2) doesn't account for all of those who are grateful to not have to read yet another job talk paper and sit through another interview. I remember a number of people who canceled callbacks at my school and think of them with great fondness.

Honestly, there will always be a few awkward conversations after this process--say with faculty at a school whose offer you turned down. These things get better with time. The important thing is don't waste the faculty's time and don't take the call-back slot that could go to someone else who wants the job.

Posted by: 5thyearprawf | Oct 14, 2013 11:47:39 PM

Anyone hear from VAPs? I know NYU and Stanford are interviewing at Aals. Not sure about the others

Posted by: anon11 | Oct 14, 2013 11:27:10 PM

So do schools have wait lists of candidates they might call if someone drops out? I would assume there may be some people who have only 1-2 interviews who decide it is not worth the cost of attending, do people leave resumes in the boxes? Or do schools already keep lists of who they may call if someone cancels?

Posted by: Anon | Oct 14, 2013 11:25:52 PM

But what do you mean by offer? By early November when we are deciding on callbacks no one really has an offer yet. We would expect to hear about callbacks next week - no one has an offer yet. Do you mean then offers to interview at better schools? Also would not most people interview at most every school they get provided it fits their geographic preferences? There is still a 2/3 chance at least of not getting an offer even after a callback so I think a school would think it a bit presumptuous if you cancel interviews at lower ranked schools just bc you had call backs at some higher ones.

Except for the few superstars, I would not expect many people in this market to have more callbacks than they could physically handle. You really cannot cancel unless u have an offer in hand bc if you bring up geographic stuff now it just makes u look greedy for taking the interview in the first place- I am sure there are long waiting lists at most schools for those interviews so the time to cancel those would be now, not next week. Why waste your time at aals interviewing with them?

Posted by: Anon | Oct 14, 2013 11:24:18 PM

I would imagine 5thyearprawf's point is that it is impossible to make any generalizations about a process that involves the reactions of a large number of individuals who have nothing in common except being law profs. People take offense at all kinds of things, sometimes completely unreasonably; you can't eliminate that possibility from the equation. But I can say that, at my top 50 school, it is perfectly routine for candidates to cancel both prior to the callback stage and after the callback if they receive a better offer, and we expect both and take them 100% in stride.

Posted by: chill out, everyone | Oct 14, 2013 10:48:05 PM

Well, so, that's interesting. You recommend canceling the call back if one decides the school is no longer right, but then you say you still have awkward conversations the one time you declined a callback post meat market. You're only comfortable with the one where you accepted and then *cancelled* with a job in hand. Not nit picking but genuinely mulling this. What is the takeaway? Must accept call back, but may then cancel? For any reason, or only if offer is in hand? What if it's apparent quickly that the fit just isn't right. Still a bad idea to decline?

Posted by: anon | Oct 14, 2013 8:41:48 PM

Well, so, that's interesting. You recommend canceling the call back if one decides the school is no longer right, but then you say you still have awkward conversations the one time you declined a callback post meat market. You're only comfortable with the one where you accepted and then *cancelled* with a job in hand. Not nit picking but genuinely mulling this. What is the takeaway? Must accept call back, but may then cancel? For any reason, or only if offer is in hand? What if it's apparent quickly that the fit just isn't right. Still a bad idea to decline?

Posted by: anon | Oct 14, 2013 8:41:46 PM

Callbacks can spill into January and February, especially for elite schools. Even non-elite schools may do one round of hiring in November/December, and a second round in January.

Who goes to dinner can be any combination of the following: someone who writes in a similar field, someone we can guilt trip into going, someone who is really enthusiastic about the candidate, someone who volunteers because they like the restaurant or because it is near where they live.

Regarding the question above about scheduling the date of your call-back, there may be only a few dates available when you get the call. That being said, we know people in practice have tougher schedules, and try to be accomodating.

For voting, it depends heavily on the school. If we have multiple spots to fill, it is not uncommon for us to have an offer go out to an early person, than a second offer made later. Some years, we wait until we've seen everyone, then do an initial vote of acceptability, then rank whomever makes it past that stage. It never hurts to ask your school when the voting will likely be.

We have monday call-backs all the time where the person goes to dinner on Sunday. It can be a little bit harder to get a group together for a Sunday dinner, but it is not a problem.

This hasn't been asked yet, but I'll proactively say it: if you accept a call-back, then decide before the call-back that the school is no longer right for you, cancel! Even if it is one or two days notice. You are saving everyone a lot of time. We would rather be out the cost of the ticket then pay for the ticket and expend our time. It is also perfectly fine to interview with a school at the meat market and then decline a call-back. Yes, there is a chance that people at the school will remember this for years to come, but again, better than wasting anymore of their time.

(To this day, I still have awkward conversations with some members of one T50 school's faculty, because I declined a call-back after the meat market. By contrast, nobody at the T50 school where I cancelled a call-back 3 days in advance due to getting an offer elsewhere remembers or cares).

Posted by: 5thyearprawf | Oct 14, 2013 6:09:03 PM

Are all callbacks completed by December? Or are there callbacks in Jan/Feb?

Posted by: Anon | Oct 14, 2013 4:11:41 PM

Thank you - very helpful!

Posted by: Callback q's | Oct 14, 2013 3:47:14 PM

I posted my Friday warning before seeing the follow-up questions, and will tackle them now, quickly:

1. Yes (and I did this a few times due to travel timing)

2. No. When we do Monday callbacks we typically do dinner Sunday evening. It is only rude if they seem not to prefer it, in which case of course you wouldn't push.

3. I can only say how we do it, though I believe it is fairly common. We have sign-ups. The candidate's schedule is typed up (blank as to who will participate in each session), including the names of restaurants, and faculty sign up for each slot, which will have a certain number of openings in it. If there are gaps in sign-ups, which happens when we do too many callbacks, we start emailing the faculty and pressuring them to sign up.

4&5. Eat. Definitely eat. You want to be at your best, and starving won't help you.

6. I have never heard of this. Normally you book your flight immediately, so that would be quite extreme.

7. I'm sure it varies, but typically the vote results in a ranking and the first offer is made, then if rejected the second, and so on. The ranking comes after each candidate gets an up or down vote, as some will not be considered in the ranking process. Some committees control which called-back candidates the faculty can vote on at all, and will reject some candidates without a faculty vote.

8. This varies, but typically a week or two, and sometimes an extension may be granted.


Posted by: yetanotherprof | Oct 14, 2013 3:45:18 PM

Great inside tip, yet-another. Thanks.

Posted by: M | Oct 14, 2013 3:37:07 PM

But do not schedule a callback on a Friday, even if they are willing to let you (most won't, though some may acquiesce if you say it is when you are most available), as half the faculty will not be there and will not have met you or seen your job talk come voting day (and will have met/seen the others who came on other weekdays). Major disadvantage. Fridays are a bit like summer - people work, but not at the law school.

Posted by: yetanotherprof | Oct 14, 2013 3:33:13 PM

A few more:

6. Do schools cancel callbacks?

7. When schools vote on several candidates who are competing for a single slot, do they prioritize them or do they have to re-vote each time? (or does that vary?)

8. How much time is a candidate likely to receive to decide on an offer (from a non-T14)?

Posted by: Callback q's | Oct 14, 2013 3:31:26 PM

Thanks, yetanonther prof. I understand callbacks to consist of principally three components: a dinner with 4-5 faculty members, individual in-office meetings with a number of faculty members, and a job talk "lunch" (where the candidate basically does not eat). I have a few questions on this.

1. Can the dinner be scheduled the night after the day in which the other two components occur?

2. Is it rude to request that the dinner be scheduled for a Sunday night?

3. How do faculties decide who goes to the dinner, and who takes the in-office meetings? Presumably it's not all the hiring committee folks again as that would replicate the AALS conference.

4. Any other logistical issues to keep in mind?

5. Please let the candidates eat! :)


Posted by: Callback q's | Oct 14, 2013 3:28:57 PM

Callbacks are scheduled cooperatively for a mutually agreeable date. However, 1. you will likely need 2-3 free days in a row for the travel (I have always needed 3), only one of which can be a weekend day; and 2. they will have some limitations as well, so it won't be just your schedule at issue, though your schedule does matter. I would encourage being as flexible as possible without risking your current job, but there is nothing wrong with asking whether any of your best dates work for them first. I have never seen a callback offered for a specific date. The callback itself is offered, and then you work out a date.

Posted by: yetanotherprof | Oct 14, 2013 3:19:07 PM

How flexible are schools in terms of scheduling job talks? I am worried about all the meetings and travel on my calendar through Christmas. Right now I have only four or five days completely free (through the holidays). Obviously I can and will push clients back and reschedule trips as needed, but I am curious if there is some leverage ("can't make Oct X or Nov Y, how about Nov Z") or if it's "take what we offer."

Posted by: M | Oct 14, 2013 2:29:49 PM

anon - that's the point. In fact, little things don't in fact make all the difference. In most cases, they don't make any difference. And lots of the big things that make the difference, you don't have any control over. There is a small slice of big things that are within your control that you can focus on to be the best possible candidate, and you should focus literally all your energy on that slice. It really is so that an extra minute spent thinking about how you might articulate the thesis of your next two papers is much better spent than three extra minutes deciding whether to call someone Prof. Smith or John.

Best of luck to you and to everyone else!

Posted by: jr prof | Oct 14, 2013 10:54:30 AM

fwiw, this is all helpful, so thanks for offering your thoughts. little things can make all the difference, even if there are clearly bigger issues that i will spend more time on.

Posted by: anon | Oct 13, 2013 10:37:29 PM

I very much agree with yetanotherprof.

Posted by: Veteran of the meat market | Oct 13, 2013 7:32:09 PM

I suspect that the heightened stress level of this time is resulting in folks taking certain issues far too seriously. Even seasoned professors address each other as Professor so-and-so in certain contexts. One factor is whether in person or in writing. If meeting a fellow professor for the first time in person, it is common to go straight to a first-name basis, whereas when emailing someone new cold (such as to invite them to join a writing project, or when submitting to an RFP, or for either-direction initial contact re lateral possibilities) it is more common to address the email "Dear Professor so-and-so," then (if it is hoped that the exchange will move quickly past that stage) to sign it with one's own first name to implicitly invite reply in that mode. Reply is often signed by first name and the pair of academics proceed in that fashion. Also, in more formal in-person environments it is not uncommon to introduce someone to others as professor so-and-so. Within one's own school during tenure and promotion proceedings it is often used to refer to each other. In any case, although the norm is first name within the academy, there are so many exceptions used even by existing faculty that it seems hardly an embarrassment to use Professor. I would spend your time right now focusing on your ability to discuss your scholarship in-depth and relax about the little things.

Posted by: yetanotherprof | Oct 13, 2013 10:48:31 AM

Fair enough, anonprof. I thought I was being "feisty" or "glib" rather than trollish, but upon re-reading my earlier comment, I concede I was being unnecessarily provocative. Mea culpa.

Posted by: Steve | Oct 13, 2013 9:10:56 AM

Steve, your response borders on the trollish, and I wouldn't bother respond but for the concern that some naive person might be misled.

1. I did not make a "universal claim" in my comment. I made a claim that the risk of offense was low, while the risk on the other side was very high.
2. I did not make a claim about the prof in question. I made a claim that your cited evidence--an email signature--did not support the inference you were trying to draw from it. If your claim is now not based on the email signature but on other unrevealed aspects of your relationship, then obviously I cannot evaluate that.
3. There is no point in having a flame war between two anonymous internet commentators. I leave it to readers to choose their own course. My role here is only to provide information.

Posted by: anonprof | Oct 13, 2013 3:52:04 AM

An issue is the transition. You had always been calling your professor "Professor" and then all of a sudden you just start calling him/her by his/her first name?

I somehow doubt that *your* professor would see you as less able simply because you called him/her "Professor" -- partly because of the particular history of using the title and partly because he/she probably saw you in your formative stages and already has a sense of how your abilities have developed and what they are now. I do agree, though, that if you called someone whom you just met "Professor", it would make you seem less ready for prime time.

Posted by: First-name basis | Oct 13, 2013 1:57:33 AM

anonprof: When is anecdotal evidence compelling? When it shows that a universal claim is false.

You're wrong about the prof in question. I know him well, I respect him, and I've worked with him closely. He is *not* OK with me calling him by his first name.

You're right that most professors are not uptight like that. But "most" ain't the same as "all." You planning to stick to your guns and insist that there are *zero* counterexamples to your universal claim?

Posted by: Steve | Oct 12, 2013 11:59:38 PM


The signature seems most likely to simply be the auto-complete signature of his email program, so if you are trying to imply that some old-school people might be offended by you calling their first names, I don't think your example supports that proposition.

More generally, here is the point. Most people here are trying to figure out whether you are more likely to offend someone by calling them their first name, or more likely to hurt yourself by looking unready for prime time if you call people "professor." I am here telling you that the probability of the former is low, which you may or may not believe. I am here also telling you that the probability of the latter is extremely high, and that it hurts you far more than you might think. In an ideal world, I should judge people by their abilities and not by what they call me. But in the real world, the perception of abilities is shaped by appearances, and I find it about as hard to take someone seriously as a scholar when they are calling me "Professor X" as I would if they were wearing a bright red ball on their nose.

Posted by: anonprof | Oct 12, 2013 9:40:34 PM

At my first post-law graduate program, a terminal MA, they were very clear during orientation that we should call all faculty by first names, we were their colleagues, etc. So I did, and for the most part, it was fine.

Then I wrote an e-mail to one old-school dude and began with "Dear [Dave], etc." He responded, eventually, and signed as follows:

[David W. Lastname], [More degrees than you will ever have]
[Huge-Fucking-Deal Named Professor of Whatever]
[Name of Department]
[Name of University]

From then on, I never addressed him as anything other than "Prof. [Lastname]."

So there are cases, and then there are cases ... ;-)

Posted by: Steve | Oct 12, 2013 9:17:42 PM

Definitely call your references by their first names. They are your soon-to-be-colleagues in the academy.

Posted by: anon | Oct 12, 2013 1:25:31 PM

Some references don't sign emails, making it a bit challenging to know what to call them a few years post grad. I agree continuing to call them Prof Jones is a bit odd. Perhaps AALS is an appropriate time to start calling them by their first names.

Posted by: anon | Oct 12, 2013 12:36:09 PM

It seems to me that it would be even much more weird not to call your *references* by their first name because those are the people who you are supposed to be closest to in the academy, your mentors and such who you have a working relationship with outside of the context of reading their materials or in a law school classroom as their student...

...and despite the lockers, law school prom, strict 1l course schedules, and so on, law school is really not supposed to be high school. Everyone is an adult. It is obsequious to refer to professors as Prof. Lastname if they refer to you as Firstname and sign their correspondence Firstname or Nickname.

Posted by: anonsome | Oct 12, 2013 11:23:23 AM

I was calling most of my professors by their first name (in private) by the time of graduation. That question baffles me. The law school last name thing is perplexing, anyway, especially if you've been to ordinary graduate school.

Posted by: Anon. | Oct 12, 2013 10:43:25 AM

When going on the market for the first time, do you all address your references who were your professors by their first name? Somehow it's hard to shake calling my professor "Professor" instead of his/her first name. I guess it doesn't matter for AALS interviews, since those professors probably won't be there. But just curious how people are handling this.

Posted by: First-name basis | Oct 12, 2013 1:10:15 AM

Any word on NYLS canceling interviews at AALS in certain areas -- i.e., international.

Posted by: [email protected] | Oct 12, 2013 12:18:03 AM

@Expanding on Campos: In response to your final question, maybe the law school scam artists, whoever they are? That would be just, unless there is no law school scam and/or no justice.

Posted by: Steve | Oct 12, 2013 12:12:33 AM

Anonvap - I think that you should also ask yourself whether you'd take a job as a law professor knowing that it was only for a few years. If so, then whether a law school may close is not really an issue. Personally, I fall into that camp. I love teaching and if I only get to teach for another few years, that will be time well spent.

I think that Paul Campos' suggestion, while useful, is also incomplete. Even if a school is enrolling a smaller class, that doesn't mean that they must enroll a smaller class. A highly ranked law school could be willing to suffer a drop in ranking in order to enroll a larger class and increase tuition dollars. You should also consider a school's place in the pecking order in a particular jurisdiction. Are they the only law school in a state? If so, I'd bet they won't shutter. Are they a lower ranked school in a geographically undesirable location vis-a-vis their competitors? This makes them seem dicier.

Some studies project that soon the number of law school applicants will be less than the number of seats in law schools. In that case, think about who is likely to be left holding with the empty chairs and the corresponding lack of tuition?

Posted by: Expanding on Campos | Oct 11, 2013 10:32:22 AM

Anonvap, the most relevant information a prospective faculty member needs to consider is found in the enrollment data for schools. This is especially true for lower-ranked schools, that, with exception of a few public institutions that still get significant state support, are almost completely dependent on tuition for operating revenues.

Historical enrollment data can be found in the archives of the ABA Guide to Law Schools, which are on line. Current data (class of 2016) has now been posted by most schools, and must be reported this month to the ABA, which will publish it next spring. Naturally if a school hasn't posted its data that's not a good sign.

One caveat: enrollment data need to be contextualized in two ways: How much are schools cutting admission standards, and how much are they cutting real (as opposed to nominal) tuition, via tuition cross-subsidization? The second question is particularly tricky to answer, as public "scholarship" data for schools in the ABA Guide lag by two years.

Nevertheless there are some schools, including a couple of fairly high-ranked ones, whose entering classes are now half as big as they were three years ago. Given that the majority of operating costs for law schools is made up of personnel compensation, and that faculty layoffs will always hit untenured faculty first, prospective candidates should look over these numbers when considering their options.

Posted by: Paul Campos | Oct 11, 2013 8:33:17 AM

Thanks to everyone for their time and excellent advice. There was some suggestion earlier in this thread about candidates being wary about taking positions at a class of schools that may not be in the best financial shape. If I recall correctly, one suggested predictor of schools in that group are student employment numbers. Are there other predictors of schools that candidates should be wary about. I know that in this market, candidates can't be picky but, to the extent one has choices, it would be nice to know which schools to turn down simply because of their current and future financial condition.

Posted by: anonvap | Oct 11, 2013 2:27:47 AM

There are two types. Where you get the sense that they think your idea is just plain wrong, and where you feel like there is no energy in the room. I got callbacks from both types. The latter type is probably worse, though.

Posted by: anonprof | Oct 11, 2013 1:26:50 AM

What do you mean by a "bad interview"?

Posted by: Anon | Oct 11, 2013 12:37:37 AM

If you mean a feeling that correlates with callbacks, no. I got callbacks after bad interviews, and failed to get callbacks from interviews that I thought I did great at. There are occasional times when you can tell that you just got mentally crossed off the list, but those are rare.

Posted by: anonprof | Oct 11, 2013 12:25:26 AM

Here's a question: Will I have a feeling whether my interview went well or not?

Posted by: anon | Oct 10, 2013 11:28:59 PM

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