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Monday, November 25, 2013

VAPs and Fellowships: Open Thread, 2013-2014

As requested, here is this year's open thread in which comments can be shared regarding news of appointments to VAPs or similar fellowships (for example, the Climenko and Bigelow).  (Here is last year's thread.)

(If someone wants to aggregate this information, email me, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu, and I will set you up with an embedded spreadsheet.)

Update: We have an aggregator! Below is the spreadsheet, which you can view and download here.

From the aggregator:

The column titles should be self-explanatory.  Most columns are populated by dates, each of which may have a descriptor next to it indicating (method of notification) AND/OR [slots filled/total slots].

Dates correspond to the posting date or the date I (VAP Aggregator) received an email directly.

Reports on some programs leave outstanding questions based on the information provided.  I have highlighted those in yellow in the hopes folks will provide additional info.  (Committees, you are especially encouraged to correct me if I make a mistake.)

Some programs are not running this year (either via their webpage and/or reports).  I have marked those rows in gray, but preserved them to help make the spreadsheet reusable next year.  Additionally, once a program has completed hiring, I will mark those rows in (a lighter) gray.

Submit any questions/comments/corrections to vapaggregator (at) gmail (dot) com.

Originally published 11/25/13.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on November 25, 2013 at 04:18 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


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I second the suggestion of others that anyone considering a VAP or fellowship this year, particularly a not-very-established one or one at a non-elite school, read through the comments on the Faculty Lounge "VAP trap" post. It might be worth at least trying to go on the market from practice first.

Posted by: anon | Feb 5, 2014 11:46:26 PM

Another Duke rejection. At least they were quick about it! Any word from Columbia (A-i-L or Academic Fellows), NYU, Penn, Georgetown?

Posted by: wishing and hoping | Feb 5, 2014 12:22:31 PM

Has anyone actually received an offer for a VAP thus far?

Posted by: anon | Feb 5, 2014 12:21:18 PM

Duke rejection for me too, I suppose they are doing it in waves.

Posted by: anon | Feb 5, 2014 10:39:02 AM

Duke VAP rejection email

Posted by: Anon | Feb 5, 2014 10:04:52 AM

Email rejection from Duke VAP today. Notable information: more than 50 applications were received.

Email last week from Cornell VAP acknowledging receipt of application. Notable information: almost 100 applications were received, decision not expected until April 1st, anticipates hiring one VAP. (Of further note: one of my recommenders received the same 'acknowledgement of application' email. It is therefore possible that the count of "almost 100 applications" inadvertently includes at least some recommenders.)

No word from Supreme Court Fellows.

Posted by: anonymous | Feb 4, 2014 4:40:49 PM

Still nothing from Duke or any others

Posted by: Anon | Feb 4, 2014 4:14:34 PM

Petrie flom rejection 2 weeks ago by email, Supreme Court by mail

Posted by: anon | Feb 4, 2014 2:16:06 PM

Email rejection duke vap

Posted by: anon | Feb 4, 2014 9:48:48 AM

Any word? I suspect the bigger programs, Bigelow, Climenko and NYU have all made offers...since last year and the year prior they usually finished up in January or early February. But what about all the other smaller ones?

Posted by: anon2 | Jan 30, 2014 10:14:20 PM

for anyone who is interested in tax law

Posted by: anon | Jan 27, 2014 3:16:59 PM

I wonder if many of the VAPs are not hiring at all this year....

Posted by: anon | Jan 27, 2014 2:41:55 PM

*more crickets*

Posted by: Anon | Jan 27, 2014 2:09:10 PM


Posted by: anon | Jan 26, 2014 11:59:33 PM

Any news?

Posted by: anon | Jan 26, 2014 6:42:35 PM

I think many VAPs candidates this year are people currently on the market who haven't found anything yet.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 12, 2014 12:44:46 PM

Yeah, I haven't heard anything either. But the comments in the vap trap thread referenced above suggest that it maybe be a good think to forgo a vap or fellowship. This is crazy.

Posted by: vapping | Jan 12, 2014 2:46:09 AM

yea i haven't heard anything at all and starting to give up hope....

Posted by: anon | Jan 11, 2014 11:33:53 AM

Do we expect VAP offers to be delayed until Spring? What's the inside scoop on when schools will start making moves again?

Posted by: anon | Jan 10, 2014 2:07:12 PM

In light of experiences like that, people may conclude that it's no longer optimal to take a VAP/fellowship and instead decide to enter the market through practice/clerkship or a graduate program -- this is precisely how most people entered the market in the past.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 9, 2014 8:25:24 AM

For those of considering VAPs/fellowship, make sure to review this thread from last year:


Nothing is guaranteed now and there are a lot of good people getting shut out. See in particular the post by "another VAP out in the cold" from February 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM.

Posted by: Anons | Jan 9, 2014 12:29:43 AM

I only heard about the A-I-Ls, but yes I'm starting to wonder if the whole thing is in fact a gamble now... If the outgoing classes don't have anywhere to go, odds are lower they'll take in a new class. No?

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 5, 2014 2:34:15 PM

Anon -aside from the assoc in law program, any word about other more general fellowships? I wonder if everything really is a gamble now. Any word on the climenko?

Posted by: Anon | Jan 5, 2014 2:21:39 AM

Any current fellows' market difficulties will not affect hiring for bigelow and climenko. Both fellowships are hiring their typical numbers of fellows.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 2, 2014 9:21:17 AM

I heard that is true of other major programs as well, with people getting only 1 callback or no callbacks. These programs seem to be acting slower than in the past so perhaps that is what is causing the holdup. However, Except for the small programs, I don't think any of the large ones have placed all their people in recent years, though this year may be a first if they do not place anyone. They typically did not extend contracts in the past so I don't know why they would start now.

Posted by: anon | Jan 1, 2014 10:47:45 PM

Heard that current Columbia A-I-Ls have had no luck on the teaching market, may affect hiring for this year's applicants. Can anyone else confirm?

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 31, 2013 10:18:25 AM

Like many schools, Hofstra stopped hiring VAPs for doctrinal courses this academic year.

Posted by: anon | Dec 20, 2013 2:20:13 PM

does anyone know anything about the Hofstra VAP program? how to apply?

Posted by: anon | Dec 20, 2013 12:58:13 PM

By email after Nov. 25 (applied in November).

Posted by: anon 5:35 | Dec 18, 2013 1:10:50 PM

@anon 535, did they contact you by phone or e-mail?

Posted by: new | Dec 18, 2013 12:58:10 PM

@anon 5:35, when did you get the invites for the two interviews?

Posted by: anon | Dec 17, 2013 6:06:34 PM

Bigelow preliminary interview; Climenko interview.

Posted by: anon | Dec 17, 2013 5:35:20 PM

Just relax and enjoy the holidays. Not much is going to happen over the next few weeks.

Posted by: anon | Dec 13, 2013 12:02:30 PM

So is to just Climenko, Bigelow, Stanford and NYU that have any movement? At this point, I don't think decisions will be made till January. Some of them may have given offers but from what I have heard they are not done yet.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2013 11:48:50 PM

nope... thinking maybe i won't hear anything til the new year

Posted by: new | Dec 11, 2013 7:19:35 PM

Any updates?

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2013 2:16:44 PM

no developments over here. *crickets*

Posted by: new | Dec 5, 2013 5:19:19 PM

Any developments?

Posted by: anon | Dec 5, 2013 3:12:31 PM

Of those applying for VAPs/fellowships, what percentage are currently on the market and looking for a place to land in case they're unable to secure something this cycle?

Posted by: Anon | Dec 3, 2013 1:17:20 AM

Bigelow has accepted at least one person and has conducted additional preliminary and in person interviews.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 2, 2013 3:59:44 PM

I've heard that a few fellows (not sure whether climenko, bigelow, nyu lawyering, columbia associates-in-law, etc.) are sticking around for an extra year (2014-15) because they didn't get (or accept?) a TT callback/offer.

Is there any intel on how many fellows of specific programs are doing an extra year/how many slots specific programs are hiring for this year?

Posted by: anon | Dec 2, 2013 11:17:24 AM

Anyone know what these Stanford "Research fellows" are all about? I saw on their website several people who are "research fellows," and they are not tied to a Center, so it is something different than that. It is also not the same as the Greys.

Posted by: anon | Dec 1, 2013 6:03:36 PM

A few things from someone who has been around the block:

1. It is definitely true that some programs are more supportive than others. I won't go into details, but my sense is that if you aren't a natural networker, it may be easier to build connections in schools that have smaller faculties and fewer fellows (as opposed to schools that host dozens of fellows and visitors in any given year). At the larger schools, you may be better off in a fellowship that is affiliated with a specific program and where you will work closely with designated faculty members (e.g., IP or business law fellowships). The only way to find out about faculty support is by asking current fellows, perhaps when you have an offer in hand.

2. Publications matter more than program name or school affiliation. This said, the program matters somewhat. All else being equal, I would pick a T20 (or whatever) school over a fellowship at a significantly lower ranked school. There are two caveats. The first is that you should look closely at the teaching loads and figure out how much time you will have to work on your scholarship. The second takes me back to my earlier comment. References and connections matter in this process, and if current fellows consistently tell you their new mentors have been working the phones for them, that's something to take into account.

3. The market conditions are such that even with a strong publication record, nothing is guaranteed. It may be worth your time to read the "Clearinghouse for Questions" thread if you haven't already. Some very qualified candidates have been falling through the cracks even in better years, and this year's market has been especially brutal.

4. So, I would say that in addition to publications, references, and credentials, two other factors play a great role: subject area and luck. Many who strike out got thisclose to receiving an offer, and many who found jobs were one offer away from striking out (in fact, many law professors would have struck out had their school's first or second choice accepted).

5. What does this mean for those of you who are applying to VAP programs and fellowships? Two things:

First, unless you have a Supreme Court clerkship on your resume or a top circuit clerkship plus a publication with a T15 flagship journal on a somewhat mainstream topic, think carefully about the risks. Think about the worst-case scenario: you get one or two publications out in your first year, get decent but not eye-popping journal placements, and eventually you strike out, or perhaps your only option is a fourth-tier law school in a location that is about the last one you would have picked. Will you still be glad you took the VAP or fellowship?

Second, don't rely on where past fellows have landed. The market has been drastically altered over the past 2-3 years, and this development has accelerated in the current cycle. Even in better years, most fellowships did not place everyone. This doesn't necessarily mean they aren't good. Sometimes fellows change their minds, or they have limiting geographic preferences. Also, some fellowships are willing to take a chance on non-traditional candidates who as a group are less successful on the market (and if you have traditional credentials, their difficulties may not be relevant to you).

So, do your research, but try to look underneath the surface.

Posted by: grainofsand | Nov 30, 2013 6:18:20 PM

Thanks, the clarification is appreciated.

Posted by: anon | Nov 27, 2013 7:27:56 PM

My previous comment was not at all intended as a bashing of those two programs. The concerns that are mentioned do not apply to those programs. I see now how the comment could have been interpreted that way, however. To be clear, they do not.

Posted by: beenthere | Nov 27, 2013 6:26:23 PM

75% of the comments before beenthere posted said nothing about Climenko or Bigelow. Definitely a majority, and apparently a large majority.

That said, I see that these two programs together had been mentioned in six comments (out of 24), and I agree that the interest is likely due in part to the fact that these two programs move relatively early.

The tone of beenthere's post sounds like gratuitous Climenko/Bigelow bashing. No need to do that here.

From the spreadsheet and the other comments, it is obvious that there are dozens of programs out there.

I'm not affiliated with either program.

Posted by: anon | Nov 27, 2013 4:47:22 PM

i wouldn't say the "vast" majority say nothing about climenko and/or bigelow. a lot of comments are about those programs considering they are only two of many programs. think its accurate to say its been focused on those two. but that is also bc i think they conduct interviews earlier.

Posted by: new | Nov 27, 2013 4:19:56 PM

The vast majority of the comments say nothing about Climenko or Bigelow. How is that "focused so far on the Climenko and Bigelow"?

Posted by: anon | Nov 27, 2013 2:47:39 PM

Since these comments are focused so far on the Climenko and Bigelow, it bears mentioning that there are other excellent positions out there and they may be a better subject matter fit for you and/or provide better mentoring opportunities because of the professors that are there. Do your homework. Some programs do not have a reputation for being particularly supportive of their fellows/VAPs.

Posted by: beenthere | Nov 27, 2013 2:13:52 PM

@anon 8:15 and @anon 11:45 - those programs are now included in spreadsheet. thanks

Posted by: VAP Aggregator | Nov 27, 2013 12:35:46 PM

Other positions to add to the list: GWU Marks Fellowship, Chicago-Kent IP Fellowship, Stanford LST Fellowship

Posted by: anon | Nov 27, 2013 11:45:05 AM

VAP info:
1) Vermont Law's environmental vap program is taking applications (http://www.vermontlaw.edu/About_VLS/Employment_at_VLS/Environmental_Law_Center_Visiting_Assistant_Professor.htm)

2) Anyone confirm whether Lewis and Clark are taking applications this year?

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2013 8:15:04 PM

Anyone know if Climenko is done at least preliminary interviews if they have already given an offer? has Chicago done callbacks on campus or just the phone interviews?

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2013 6:08:20 PM

-that is why one cannot really use past hiring to gauge a fellowship program. People may have spousal issues and have to stay in NYC for instance, though I think in this market if you have a really tight geographic preference one will have to wait years because it is very hard to say unless you are a superstar that you only want NYC, or DC, or whatever.

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2013 4:09:32 PM

Columbia, Climenko and Bigelow list the hiring of their past fellows on their website as does Georgetown and Penn Sharswood.

Posted by: anon1 | Nov 26, 2013 3:55:10 PM

There are also fellows who got offers but didn't accept any.

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2013 3:53:43 PM

I heard Brooklyn is not doing its VAPs until 2014.

Posted by: anon1 | Nov 26, 2013 3:47:59 PM

Not every fellow who placed is listed on the spreadsheet. E.g., last spring one of the Stanford fellows (but not a Grey Fellow) accepted an offer from Chicago.

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2013 3:46:32 PM

Often these programs have 1-2 who place in a maybe a T1 and then the rest place much lower down. In the past season or two, a sizeable amount of the fellows at the top programs did not place. Probably most placed, but not all. This is evident by looking at the entry level hiring reports because some of the bigger programs should have more than 2-4 people getting jobs. But I don't think that has anything to do with the worth of the fellowship program; it is just that the market is really hard and if your subject is something like intl criminal law not many schools are going to be looking for that beyond the top tier.

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2013 3:43:45 PM

For anon 2:11, one can look at the entry level hiring reports the last two years to answer your question. Last year, NYU got Georgia, Pepperdine, San Diego and Cardozo (the latter was a clinical though). The year before Tennesee, UCLA(for the tax one), Seattle and Loyola LA. Stanford is pretty small - last year they are listed for Tennessee.

It is really more about your publications rather than any specific fellowship program and it can really be based on subject matter and what is hot that particular year. I don't think there is any one fellowship program that is far superior to others in terms of quality of placements because of these other individualized/market factors.

It is also really hard to guess because maybe some people have strong geographic preferences and would take a lower ranked school. Like maybe someone really wants to live in Seattle, so they would take Seattle even though they got other offers.

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2013 2:47:15 PM

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