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Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2015-2016

In this comment thread to this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market, and professors 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 professors can report 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.

You may want to take a look at the many questions and answers in the threads from 2013-2014 and 2014-2015

Here is a link to the last page of comments.

Originally posted August 27, 2015.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 27, 2015 at 09:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


I like to get notes and so I send notes.

And I agree with the prior anon that it's an issue that people have strong feelings about.

Posted by: Matthew Bruckner | Sep 29, 2015 8:46:43 PM

No issue brings more heated debate on these threads than thank you notes. All sanctimoniousness aside, do what you think is right.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 29, 2015 4:16:26 PM

Hive mind: do you send thank you notes after interviews, and if so, to whom and at what stage? After pre-AALS, AALS, callback? Or are they unnecessary?

Posted by: Thanksgiving | Sep 29, 2015 3:45:05 PM

Same as Prof, but sometimes we will do senior laterals in a separate, later process given that they aren't really competing directly with entry level and we generally have to have more funding and a senior lateral need for us to consider them.

Posted by: AnonProf | Sep 22, 2015 6:50:14 PM

We do the same as Prof.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Sep 22, 2015 5:18:29 PM

At my school we do four callbacks per position, which can mean a mix of laterals and entry level candidates interviewing for the same position at the same time.

Posted by: Prof | Sep 22, 2015 2:57:31 PM

Do folks plan to call back non-FAR laterals at the same time, or is that a process that will happen later (or earlier)?

Posted by: Lateral Thinking | Sep 22, 2015 10:42:07 AM

We intend to notify our call-back folks ASAP (hopefully immediately after the hiring conference). We plan to begin the callbacks immediately, probably having 2-3 candidates a week until mid-November, when we plan to vote and extend offers. I would imagine all our first choice candidates will have offers by Thanksgiving.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Sep 22, 2015 10:38:47 AM

It seems like this process is moving more slowly than in past years. Do the hiring chair(s) and professor(s) on this thread still think schools will have callbacks in November and offers out in December?

If a school is calling back 4 candidates they would have to schedule those callbacks quickly, have at least one job talk every week, and get the necessary approvals fairly quickly in order to have a decision this semester.

My guess is that we are going to see this process bleed over to the spring semester more often than it did in the past, mainly due to it still being a buyer's market. Do others agree? If so, this delay will be unfortunate, as many of us will have to make alternate plans quickly if we do not get an offer.

Posted by: AnonAnon | Sep 22, 2015 10:27:56 AM

Interviewless: Attending the conference events is not a faux pas as long as you've paid to register for the conference. Two caveats: (1) don't expect to network your way into any interviews at the conference, and (2) it is a huge faux pas to knock on the door of an interviewing suite unless you have a scheduled interview.

A separate question is whether it is worth it to attend the conference without any interviews. I don't think it is worth traveling from out of town to attend the conference if you don't have any interviews. A podcast of the 2013 registrants' workshop is available on the AALS website. However, if you live in DC and have some extra time, I guess it could be helpful to stop by to see the workshop live.

Posted by: Anonymish | Sep 21, 2015 1:00:35 PM

I agree with GEL that "at or near publishable quality" is the standard for job talk papers at this stage. But it's a comical standard considering that faculties don't like already published job talks because it interferes with the fiction that the job talk is like a workshop, and the candidate can/will make significant subsequent changes to their "draft."

Posted by: anon | Sep 21, 2015 12:32:36 PM

Just how much of a faux pas is it for an applicant who has not been offered any interviews to attend the other parts of the FAR conference anyway? The registrants workshop, for example, seems like it might be helpful if I decide to go on the market again down the road.

Posted by: Interviewless | Sep 21, 2015 12:21:24 PM

AnonA, AnonB, AnonHiringChair.: Thanks so much for the information - much appreciated. I'll give it a shot, but looks like I'm off to apply to legal fellowships and other academic markets.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 20, 2015 6:53:16 PM

Anonymous, I will say that we had a number of folks in the FAR this year reach out to us directly. Each time they did so, I went back to the FAR to see if we made a mistake. Each time I did confirm that I think we were right to pass on the candidate, but the point is, it did make me look again and, thus, there was a possibility it could change my mind.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Sep 20, 2015 4:19:37 PM

I agree that it won't hurt and might help, so go for it. However, those packets really should've been sent out by the end of August for schools that advertised in the first Placement Bulletin.

Posted by: AnonB | Sep 20, 2015 1:43:19 PM

Don't think it would hurt to submit directly to schools themselves, though I wouldn't have high expectations either if they passed on you in the FAR.

Posted by: AnonA | Sep 20, 2015 1:02:52 PM

So, I have had no one interested in me based on the FARs distribution. Is there any point in also directly submitting materials to the couple of schools that I think I would be a good candidate for, based on the theory that I could use the cover letter to explain why I would be a good fit in a way that might not be obvious from the FARs material?


Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 20, 2015 12:57:15 PM

anonprof 6:43, any of the following is a reasonable time to send glossy brochures: before interview (so candidate can review and learn about school); after interview; in hotel AALS mail slot during interview days or at check-in; before callback; at callback; after callback. AT AALS interview is the most annoying thing i can think of. "let me stuff this into my meticulously organized interview handbag so it weighs me down as i navigate my remaining interviews today and makes it harder to gracefully extract my CV, lipgloss, or cell phone when I need it?" WORST. (-not a candidate but a recent hire.)

Posted by: alicia florrick | Sep 19, 2015 9:48:57 PM

With our committee, one committee member is assigned to read your paper very closely and will be prepared to discuss it in detail. The rest of the committee may only read the abstract and introduction. While the draft need not be perfect yet (hopefully the FRC and call-backs are a great opportunity to get feedback and improve the paper), it should represent your best work and be at or near publishable quality.

Posted by: GEL | Sep 18, 2015 6:42:23 PM

Question about job talk drafts. How closely are they read at this stage? It was accepted for publication so it's not an outline or anything like that, but I'm always revising it after feedback, and I worry that in a month it might look different than it does at this moment. This is causing me angst. Is it being read for general idea and argument? What are committees looking for in a job talk draft before the FRC?

Posted by: jobtalk | Sep 18, 2015 6:08:00 PM

We do 2-4 candidates per slot. I suspect that's fairly standard.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Sep 18, 2015 4:52:50 PM

I think 3-4 callbacks per position is pretty typical. If a school is doing more than one hire, they may try to do fewer per position, in an effort to reduce the draw on faculty time.

Posted by: AnonProf | Sep 18, 2015 4:45:10 PM

This is surely jumping the gun, but how many fly outs do schools typically arrange, post-AALS? Prior threads indicate that schools are usually fairly quick in arranging flyouts, but I could not find a thread indicating the quantity arranged per school on average.

Posted by: Flyouts | Sep 18, 2015 4:32:23 PM

In any process as busy as this one there are inevitably going to be mistakes and unintentional discourtesies. I overlook the minor grammatical, capitalization(!), and failed template customization errors of hiring chairs, and I hope they overlook mine as well.

Posted by: AnonCandidate | Sep 18, 2015 1:35:30 PM

Finally, AnonHiring Chair, I really appreciate your contributions to this thread. It is one of the things that makes this very valuable, and I know you must be very busy.

Posted by: AnonC | Sep 18, 2015 1:33:49 PM

Also, as someone who was on the market last year, I am willing to wager that the lack of politeness is almost always in the other direction.

So many schools just went radio silent after the meat market, even when they promised a response in a certain time period.

Ironically, I recently heard from one of the radio-silent schools for the first time since my meat market interview last year and they want to interview me again. Different hiring committee members. I am going to interview with them, because it is a tough market and they are a good school, but they moved way down my list.

Posted by: AnonC | Sep 18, 2015 1:18:27 PM

AnonHiringChair, I completely understand your frustration and most of us are checking our e-mail and phone frantically. I don't think it is a bad idea to follow-up. While not likely, it is possible that the e-mail message was inadvertently deleted, caught in a spam filter, etc. I might try a different medium, say by phone. It is also possible that they provided an e-mail they do not use very much, though that would not be wise.

Posted by: AnonC | Sep 18, 2015 1:11:56 PM

Can I just share what I find annoying? Candidates who take days to respond to an invitation to interview. I would assume most aspiring law profs would monitor their email fairly regularly and would at least be polite enough to respond with a "Thank you! I am trying to coordinate some details, but I will be back with you ASAP." When they fail to show that minimal level of courtesy, it puts a really bad taste in my mouth as to the candidate and, in some cases, has made me regret even offering the person an interview -- so I share this as head's up to the rest of you.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Sep 18, 2015 9:59:30 AM

Re: reasonable lodging recommendations (Anon | Sep 10, 2015 9:12:20 AM)

I stayed in the Adams' Inn, which was a short and pleasant walk to the conference. The price was reasonable and breakfast is included.

Re: name tags ( Anonymish | Sep 17, 2015 12:28:40 PM)

I always wore my name tag. But then, I'm terrible with names. Anything that I can do that might help someone else remember my name is something I'm glad to do. I took it off when I wasn't interviewing.

Posted by: Matthew Bruckner | Sep 18, 2015 8:46:47 AM

anonprof 6:43, My two cents is by mail before. It would be a nice gesture as a reminder that not only are we trying to impress you, but you are also trying to impress us, even in this buyer's market. Plus my guess is at the conference it would not get much attention.

Posted by: anoncandidate | Sep 17, 2015 10:54:03 PM

As far as 30 interviews goes, I had almost that many several years ago (before the contraction), but I was in a high-demand field and have an advanced degree. The only interviews I turned down were in places I didn't think I could persuade my spouse to move to. It was doable, though I was exhausted on Saturday. I hope candidates with relatively few interviews won't get too discouraged; yes, more is probably better, but I knew candidates with many interviews and no offers, and candidates with very few interviews who nonetheless managed to get a tenure-track offer.

Posted by: anonprofguy | Sep 17, 2015 10:10:59 PM

Candidates: would you prefer to receive glossy magazines about the schools with which you are interviewing in the mail in advance of the hiring conference, at the conference during the interview, or not at all?

Posted by: anonprof | Sep 17, 2015 6:43:46 PM

Anon @ 9:46.22, with all due respect, if you are that sensitive, perhaps academia isn't the best place for you.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Sep 17, 2015 4:45:22 PM

I agree that calls here and there will likely continue but that if you haven't gotten any calls, this likely isn't going to be your year. However, I know of someone either last year or the previous year who only got one call and it turned into an offer!

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Sep 17, 2015 4:40:17 PM

My school has not made calls yet. Different schools proceed on different schedules. I wouldn't give much credence to speculation that most schools have finished. I would be somewhat worried if I had not received any calls at all, though.

As for how many interviews, in years past it was not uncommon to see candidates with 30+ interviews. It is a bit rarer now, but I wouldn't find it implausible. If you have too many interviews, a well known tactic is to ask to interview with a school outside of the meatmarket to free up your time during the meatmarket days.

Posted by: anonprof | Sep 17, 2015 3:16:48 PM

I have around 10 interviews. Things have been quiet for the last couple of days so I am wondering if this might be it. I also have had a number of requests for information from top schools, although I don't expect anything to materialize from those.

Posted by: anony | Sep 17, 2015 1:28:53 PM

Fellow candidates, for whatever it's worth, my experience on the market this year and last, suggests that committees are moving more slowly this year (or, conversely, I have been blacklisted). Last year, I had scheduled six interviews (running the gamut from top 15 to t4) by the end of August, and received a handful of requests for information in that period. This year, apart from the requests for information from elite schools, I have heard nothing. I also recall receiving a handful of interview requests in the weeks preceding the hiring conference (i.e., into October). However little can be extrapolated from one person's experience, I do find assertions along the lines of "most schools have filled their slots" improbable. My impression last year was that schools moved at their own pace; some of the chairs I talked with in August seemed to feel some urgency in filling interview slots, while some who called in late September didn't seem to be in any hurry. In any event, good luck to all!

Posted by: RoundTwo | Sep 17, 2015 12:54:19 PM

Should a candidate wear the conference nametag during interviews? I've been to the conference before and didn't wear my nametag because, well, I hate wearing nametags. Then I'd see other candidates wearing nametags and my conviction would be shaken. Is the committee likely to remember me more fondly if I have my name pinned to my lapel during our 25 minutes together?

Posted by: Anonymish | Sep 17, 2015 12:28:40 PM

I am at a top-50 law school. We did not start making calls until this week. So definitely not true that the only calls going out now are to second-tier candidates.

Posted by: HiringCommitteeMember | Sep 17, 2015 12:25:04 PM

I believe that committee members/chairs did this in prior years on the thread (although I could be mistaken).

Posted by: anonanon | Sep 17, 2015 11:28:39 AM

If a school is done making calls, why doesn't the chair post the name of the school? Candidates aren't reporting interviews on the thread (for the reasons discussed above) and then candidates can stop stressing about waiting to hear from that school. Of course, if someone drops out then there could be last minute changes- candidates will get that. But it makes no sense that the only data points are coming from candidates themselves (who have limited information and aren't posting) and anonymous chairs who are posting information that isn't specific to a particular school.

Posted by: anon | Sep 17, 2015 11:23:36 AM

anon | Sep 17, 2015 9:46:22 AM,

Point well made. Also, for those worrying, I am aware of several interviews given out yesterday. From schools just filing up a couple of last slots with their second-choice candidates? Maybe, but the schools seemed to have surprising flexibility in offering any interview slot/time. The point is not that I have a better picture of how many schools have interviews left. Rather the point is to echo the last few commentators. Extrapolating a systematic view of the market from one or two or three biased data points (whether mine or contrary points offered by some anonymous hiring chairs who may or may even not be hiring chairs - which I say not to denigrate or question anyone on this thread, just to note the absurdity of trying to generate systematic views of the market based on posts in this thread) is impossible, and bad empiricism.

Posted by: AnotherAnon | Sep 17, 2015 11:12:21 AM

anon | Sep 17, 2015 9:46:22 AM,

Your comment is well taken. There are lots of positive surprises in the process, and hopefully you'll be the recipient of one of them. Paul's advice is reassuring. In my case the latest I got an interview was on the night before the hiring conference. When I came off the plane in D.C., and checked my voicemail, there was a call with an additional interview. And guess what, from it I get a job offer, one that I turned down for a variety of reasons. So it's not over until it's over.

As for 30 interviews, I can't believe that's accurate. Call me naive, but I can't believe any one person will have 15 hours of interviews (with each slot being 30 minutes) throughout both days!

The history of the market is full of stories of individuals having many D.C. interviews and getting many job offers, having several interviews and getting more than one offer, having less than a handful of and getting more than one offer, having many interviews and getting no offers, having several interviews and getting only one offer, having few interviews and getting no offers, and other combinations on the same theme. And at this point you have no idea into which category you'll fall into. You're not a statistic, so there's no way to know how things will turn out for you.

How then to proceed and try to be at peace in this very tense time in your lives: Write, enjoy your families, research, read widely, study pedagogy, continue to find meaning in your lives wherever it's possible (get a nice ice cream, listen to Woody Guthrie, or helping a blind person across the congested street).

As for the advice about whether to turn down interviews: my mentors taught me to accept no interviews in schools whose offers I'd never accept. That's morally sound advice. If you take interviews from schools in which you have no interest you're blocking the committees from contacting other qualified candidates and offering slots to them. Yes, that'll mean you'll have less interviews to brag about, but you'll sleep soundly at night.

Posted by: Alexander Tsesis | Sep 17, 2015 10:19:52 AM

Re: people worrying about other people with 30 interviews, don't worry about the number of interviews other people had. Back when I was on the market, I knew lots of people with tons of meat market interviews that didn't translate into offers, or, in many cases, callbacks; others with a handful of interviews and plenty of offers. There's no particularly useful way to get information about relative prospects based on sheer number of interviews---so please try not to worry about it too hard.

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Sep 17, 2015 9:48:30 AM

I appreciate that hiring chairs and law profs contribute to this thread. I really do. It wouldn’t be much of a resource, if they didn’t. But I must say that some of the comments have been tone-deaf and insensitive to plight of those actually on the market, some of whom have put everything on the line to pursue this career. Yes, we knew the risks going in but I would expect a little more restraint and empathy than the Hunger Games Esque commentary that sometimes appears on these threads. Reporting that your school has made all of its calls is helpful. Conjecturing that only a smattering of schools still have slots open is not. How can you possibly know that in this market? And, while I understand that interviewing so many highly qualified candidates eager to become your colleague can be so arduous such that you need to take a break rather than interview just one more, maybe you should keep that to yourself.

Posted by: anon | Sep 17, 2015 9:46:22 AM

Looking at the spreadsheet from last year it looks like a lot of schools gave interviews in the second half of September. Not sure what that means for this year.

Posted by: anony | Sep 17, 2015 8:46:58 AM

My school has also made all of its calls. If someone drops out it's possible we might fill that spot, but we might also enjoy the break.

Posted by: hiring chair | Sep 17, 2015 8:19:00 AM

My school has made all its calls. With less than a month to go before the hiring conference, I would imagine only a smattering of schools still have slots left.

Posted by: LawProf | Sep 17, 2015 8:16:18 AM

Are there still schools that have not made interview offers? I'm still hearing radio silence and I wonder when I should give up hope (particularly with these tales of some getting 30-some interviews).

Posted by: B-Team | Sep 17, 2015 8:11:01 AM

If you're serious about teaching, I would turn down nothing. There's just too many stellar candidates out there who have booked lots of interviews but ultimately received no offers. You just never know which school your offers (if you're lucky enough to receive any) will be coming from. Thus, I agree with AnonProf -- unless there's a school you absolutely would not accept an offer from, turn down nothing.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Sep 17, 2015 7:31:49 AM

I'd interview with everyplace you'd realistically take an offer from. If you are really getting 30+ interviews, then I imagine you might be the type who might rather not teach than teach at a low ranked law school. If all those interviews are from top places, maybe you can be choosey with geography. But I'd still be careful turning down interviews.

Posted by: AnonProf | Sep 16, 2015 10:58:39 PM

Some version of this gets asked, but what's the number of sane interviews one can manage? AB's point regarding the quirkiness of callbacks hits home, but trying to interview at 30 places seems crazy. Just scheduling on the hour also seems risky, especially if one is interviewing with top places that often pass on entry levels.

Posted by: anonn | Sep 16, 2015 6:59:19 PM

I suspect someone is trying to psych out the competition. I am personal friends with several people on hiring committees who are focusing most of all on filling corporate positions this year. And I've been involved with appointments for quite awhile, and I've never seen any evidence of corporate being given a back seat.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Sep 16, 2015 3:21:30 PM

anon @11:54, I disagree with some of what you wrote. While I agree that a number of corporate spots go unfilled every year, I think it is more because it is tough to find really top people in this area. Obviously, the private sector jobs are much more lucrative in the corporate area than in almost any public law area, and all the schools looking for corporate seem to be chasing the same top candidates each year.

At my previous school, usually ranked between 50 and 100, we made 3 offers to corporate law scholars a few years ago and were turned down by all 3. All landed tenure-track jobs at higher ranked schools. We decided not to hire corporate that year because it was so late in the process by the time we got the final no.

Also, it is not always easy to find good corporate law adjuncts, especially if your school is not in a major city. And even if it is easy to find good adjuncts, our students really miss out by not having a number of corporate law scholars on full-time faculty to act as mentors, call contacts for jobs, and the like. Good corporate law adjuncts usually don't have much time to prepare to teach, much less mentor, write recommendation letters, or help with career advice.

Posted by: AnonAnon | Sep 16, 2015 2:11:18 PM

A word to aspiring corporate candidates: many of the corporate postings are essentially phantoms. This happens every year. Go back to the spreadsheets for prior years and compare the number of stated corporate searches with the number of corporate law profs ultimately hired. You will notice that, when push comes to shove, committees find many reasons not to fill a corporate spot. We can find good adjuncts/visitors for these areas, we didn't *love* anyone from the pool, we really liked this person who is a rising star in [public law field x] and could only hire one person, etc. It's no secret that law professors have a longtime preference for public law subjects. Marketing efforts notwithstanding, hiring has continued to reflect that preference. Tax may be an exception to this rule but corporate is not.

Posted by: anon | Sep 16, 2015 11:54:32 AM

A person with a full slate of interviews will cancel a scheduled interview with a less desired school upon receiving an interview request from a school they like more. Happens all the time.

Posted by: anon | Sep 16, 2015 11:54:12 AM

Don't think it is safe for anyone to reject interviews at this stage. First, many positions are contingent on funding and at least some of the schools that are looking will end up not hiring at all. Second, the process for choosing people for callbacks and offers is a bit quirky and impossible to predict. Third, in this market, the competition is even stronger than normal.

Posted by: AB | Sep 16, 2015 3:30:05 AM

I guess that could be so. I'm a little curious why a person of that caliber would actually have already scheduled 30 interviews, especially since I know of a number of top schools have not made calls yet. I think at this point they could safely reject a number of more lowly ranked schools.

Posted by: anon | Sep 15, 2015 11:03:51 PM

I believe it. If the person is in corporate law and also clerked for the Supreme Court, that person might qualify for all the many corporate law positions posted and the many schools that didn't post preferences or were explicitly open to "best athletes."

Posted by: AnonB | Sep 15, 2015 10:57:47 PM

AnonHiringChair - what field is this person in? I'm not sure I believe that someone has that many interviews, or why they would even schedule that many in the first place. I know lots of top people in very high demand fields and the most I have heard is in the 15 range. I'm sure that more than 30 schools have scheduled interviews, but given how subject-matter driven hiring appears to be I have a hard time believing that 30 schools looking for one particular area have scheduled interviews (and that every single one gave an interview to this person).

Posted by: anon | Sep 15, 2015 10:33:24 PM

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