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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


Impossibly quiet this year.

Posted by: anon | Sep 1, 2015 2:50:09 PM

If you're Richard Posner the rules don't apply to you.

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Aug 31, 2015 4:20:42 PM

Re Larry's question: might it make sense for the lateral to try to get a visitorship in the in-demand field? Or would that be just as difficult as getting a tenure track job in the field?

Posted by: ML | Aug 31, 2015 4:12:43 PM

Longest law prof CV ever?

Posted by: Sam | Aug 31, 2015 2:35:54 PM

While we're on the subject of laterals, please don't send CVs that are more than 10 pages. It's really not as impressive as you might think--in fact, it's a real turn-off. It comes across as, at worst, pretentious and, at best, desperate and trying way too hard. I have never made a decision to interview on the basis of how many times you've presented (just list representative presentations) or which many faculty committees you've been on at your current school (unless you've served as a chair to an important committee, I just assume you were appointed to those committees as part of your service obligation as all faculty are). I also don't need to see more than 3-4 references.

Overall, the more succinct you can make the CV, the more likely I am to 1) actually read the whole thing and 2) focus on your biggest selling points.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Aug 31, 2015 2:03:02 PM

Unusual question for this thread, but I see no better place to ask it: Who is the entry-level hiring chair at HAWAII?

Posted by: Tropical Anon | Aug 31, 2015 10:20:54 AM

We contact folks who we think might be attracted to our school for a variety of reasons (better rank, better geography, better environment, etc.). We go after people we've identified and those people we respect have suggested. We welcome inquiries for all junior laterals who think they might be a good match.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Aug 30, 2015 7:46:55 PM

Here are two additional lateral questions. First, for those schools looking at lateral candidates -- is there an assumption that laterals would only move up in the rankings or do you try to hire away people who might be willing to take a rankings drop in favor of geography? Second, do you typically only go after people you've identified through your own review of people in the field, welcome inquiries from potential laterals, or both?

Posted by: Anon Lateral | Aug 30, 2015 5:11:03 PM

Larry, I doubt that you can convince (m)any schools *this* hiring season that you're a credible hire in the high-in-demand area. If you've never taught the class, people will be concerned that your interest is a passing one. Also, your competition will have a track record of publications in the area that you lack. At least my top 20 school would strongly favor a candidate with solid publications in the relevant field over a candidate with stellar publications in another field. In fact, if we're looking to hire in a specific field, you wouldn't make it on the list of candidates to receive polite inquiries. If you are serious, start attending conferences and writing. Ask friends who work in the area to invite you to serve as discussant on a paper by others working in the field, so that people can see that you have interesting things to say.

In short, I would second AnonHiringChair's observation that to be a credible lateral hire in a specialty field, you need to commit to that field. It is nearly impossible to signal commitment without a significant investment of time and effort.

Posted by: Sally Lateral | Aug 29, 2015 9:30:47 AM

I have a question for those of you out there who were not in the first distribution but plan to be in the second distribution -- why? I can sometimes find myself guessing that someone is in the second distribution for less-than-impressive reasons like didn't get your materials in in time for the first go around, decided last minute to actually go on the market, etc. Actually, the only good reason I can think of you were waiting to get a placement on an article you sent out in the fall submission cycle. But perhaps I'm missing something -- so that I and and others in charge of hiring better understand, if there's any of you out there who fall into this category, can you share your reasons?

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Aug 29, 2015 8:34:39 AM

Larry, you can also start attending conferences in that subject area and perhaps even presenting there (or anywhere, but on topics related to the new field). I also wouldn't hesitate to reach out to hiring chairs at schools you're interested in and just have an honest discussion with them about desires. If I see that someone has been generally successful in their current field (i.e. publications, teaching evaluations, etc), I have no reason to doubt that they'd enjoy similar success in the newer area of interest.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Aug 29, 2015 8:25:19 AM

Larry, you can also start attending conferences in that subject area and perhaps even presenting there (or anywhere, but on topics related to the new field). I also wouldn't hesitate to reach out to hiring chairs at schools you're interested in and just have an honest discussion with them about desires. If I see that someone has been generally successful in their current field (i.e. publications, teaching evaluations, etc), I have no reason to doubt that they'd enjoy similar success in the newer area of interest.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Aug 29, 2015 8:25:15 AM

Larry, that's hard, because the ways of showing serious interest in another field are by their nature time-consuming: Short-term ways can be suspect because, being short-term, they might not be genuine. One idea: Your friend could guest-blog somewhere on new topic X, or write a short piece on topic X for an online journal that has a quicker publication schedule. But it's hard to say if any short-term effort will be taken particularly seriously.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Aug 29, 2015 12:29:14 AM

Lateral question: "I have a friend" who is a junior looking at the lateral market. V. strong publication record, but working primarily in an area without a lot of demand. "My friend" actually wants (genuinely, not just strategically for the market) to do some teaching in an area with a good bit more demand, but hasn't been able to pick up that course at current school. It would not be a primary research area, but "my friend" would love to teach it (and is capable of doing so).

Is there a good way to credibly signal a willingness and ability to switch/tinker with teaching fields on the lateral market?

(Publish in that area is one option, but considering timing that probably will only help with next year's market. What to do for this year?)

Posted by: Larry Lateral | Aug 29, 2015 12:03:09 AM

As to when non-FAR folks can expect to hear, let me share what my school does. We have spent the last week focusing exclusively on the first distribution. We have now selected those we wish to interview and have contacted them (leaving some slots open for those in the second distribution and, if we don't find any there that we like, we may return and fill those slots with some of the other folks in the first distribution that we liked).

We will now turn our attention to those who have applied directly to the school (i.e., not in the FAR). We'll probably start giving phone interviews next week to those we like, and we'll continue that up until the hiring conference. Our goal will be to determine who we wish to invite for callbacks at the end of the hiring conference--thus, we'll need to get all phone interviews with laterals completed by then.

I offer this for what it's worth.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Aug 28, 2015 5:40:44 PM

The first-round interviews are scheduled for 30 minutes. Often they take the whole time. Sometimes they don't. The hotel is huge and the interview rooms can be far away from each other, which means it's preferable not to schedule back-to-back interviews if you can avoid it. If you can't avoid it, you probably want to let your interviewers know that you have back-to-back interviews so that they leave you a little leeway for travel time.

Posted by: Prof. Jr. | Aug 28, 2015 4:04:03 PM

What can we expect from the first round interviews at the FRC? Specifically, are they about twenty minutes each? For those who have gone through it before or those familiar with this, what do you think we should know about scheduling interviews?

Posted by: anonjd | Aug 28, 2015 2:29:56 PM

Just wondering when applicants not participating in the AALS FRC typically hear back... is it after the conference or are we looking at the same-ish timeline as those going to the AALS recruitment conference? Thanks for any information/insight on this---

Posted by: a-nonny | Aug 28, 2015 12:09:58 PM

It depends. As a rule of thumb, the higher ranked the school, the less practice experience matters.

Posted by: anonprof | Aug 28, 2015 2:13:20 AM

We generally do not interview people at AALS who have no practice experience, regardless of the subject area. Clerkships do not count as practice experience.

Posted by: prof | Aug 27, 2015 10:56:02 PM

secretidentity, it depends a bit on what your area of interest is; it matters more for some areas than others. Especially given how bad the market is right now, if I were you I would spend at least one more year in practice than you are currently planning.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2015 5:03:14 PM

I'd like to kick things off with a few questions about hiring and practice experience. Is it the case that hiring committees and, by extension, fellowships and VAPs, are now trending toward a preference for candidates with more than the previously-standard 1-2 years of practice experience? And if so, does that practice experience need to be directly related to the subjects a candidate hopes to write about and/or teach?

I'm somewhat new to the world of legal academia, and (based on my reading) historically an abundance of practice experience was frowned upon, but recent trends I've heard about have me concerned about having *too little.* (At the time I'd be looking to start a fellowship/VAP, I'd have maybe 1.5 years of law firm experience, plus 2 years of clerking - district and COA.) So please, enlighten me: What is the latest scoop on the age-old practice experience issue?

Posted by: secretidentity | Aug 27, 2015 12:02:47 PM

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