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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

"For Prospective Fellows and VAPs"

The below comment to the hiring report post deserves to be excerpted it in its own post. (The commenter was anonymous--if you are the author of this comment and would like me to credit you in this post, please email me.)

Perhaps the biggest limitation [of this report] is that the denominators of the categories - fellowships, clerkships, advanced degrees, Yale JDs, etc. - are essentially unknown....
So, for example, we see that 85% of those who got a teaching job had at least a fellowship.... But nobody knows how many fellows were on the market this year, so we can't figure out what a prospective fellow would really want to know, which is what percentage of fellows got jobs.... It might be that 25% of fellows got jobs this year, which would be helpful for a prospective fellow to know....
We can say that not having a fellowship is a massive disadvantage, because only 15% of those hired got their jobs without it. But if you're weighing your career options, that doesn't really tell you whether to take a fellowship if you don't know what proportion of fellows are getting jobs.
In short, it would be wise to ask your prospective program about their outcomes, and to do as much research as you can on fellowships that offer a roughly comparable experience (not just eliteness of school, but mentors and support).

(Emphasis added.)

Necessary and sufficient are different, and pay attention to base rates: words to live by!

More specifically, as the commenter suggests, while it would be nice to know the percentage of fellows/VAPs on the market that received jobs, if you're considering taking a fellowship, that isn't too interesting to you. What matters to you is how many fellows from the fellowship you are considering got jobs over the past few years. 

Some fellowship programs (NYU's tax Acting Assistant ProfessorshipChicago's Bigelow program, along with others, I am sure--feel free to provide additional helpful links in the comments!) provide this information right on their web pages in an easy-to-digest fashion, so it's easy to see that they have excellent placement rates. If the fellowship you are considering doesn't provide you with historical placement information, including percentage of fellows hired, you should ask. 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report, Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


In response to the question above about Cornell, the placement rate for VAPs there in recent years has been 100%. The link to data about where VAPs have been hired is here: http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/faculty/visiting-assistant-professorships.cfm.

Stanford doesn't currently include the general placement rate for fellows on its website, but this year eight out of the ten fellows on the market secured tenure-track jobs in U.S. law schools.

Posted by: Bernadette Meyler | May 8, 2014 12:15:37 PM

In what sense does Columbia take on "non-traditional" candidates? Seems like their Academic Fellows and Associates-in-Law have fit the elite JD/clerkship/publications mold just as closely as comparable fellowship programs.

Posted by: anon | May 7, 2014 11:26:15 AM

Columbia's dismal placement record is, at least in part, a reflection of the school's willingness to take a chance on people who don't fit the "traditional candidate" mold. Taking this past year (which was unusual in many respects) out of the equation, I think almost all of the academic fellows and associates-in-law who went on the market with traditional credentials have found tenure-track jobs. In fact, many have landed at highly desirable schools. The record with respect to non-traditional candidates, including foreign-educated ones, is more mixed.

Posted by: Former CLS Fellow | May 7, 2014 10:43:58 AM

What about the various VAP programs? I know Duke and Georgetown have had really strong records, especially the former, but what about Cornell, Northwestern, UVA, etc.?

Posted by: anon | May 7, 2014 9:07:46 AM

The Climenko map does not include all Climenko data. The teaching responsibilities associated with the Climenko Fellowship have changed a bit over the years, but the first Climenko Fellows were appointed in the late 1990s, and there were some years' worth of Teaching Fellows who taught in the same program before it was christened via the Climenko gift.

Posted by: Former Climenko Fellow | May 7, 2014 8:39:52 AM

Columbia's placement rate for its fellows (academic fellows, associates, and other fellows) seems dismal. At least according to its website...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2014 10:44:39 PM

Here's a list of where various Climenko fellows (Harvard) have placed over the life of the program (scroll down from the map for a complete list): http://batchgeo.com/map/a077b62660566e5f7d9d70a0417f9621

Posted by: former fellow | May 6, 2014 2:35:22 PM

It's not that hard to learn what fellowship programs teach in a couple of years as an actual professor, and my hunch is that the presence of fellowship programs (unfortunately) discourages and disadvantages those who do not go that route.

Posted by: Crazy Prawf | May 6, 2014 1:44:19 PM

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