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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Number of FAR Forms in First Distribution Over Time - 2016

The first distribution of the FAR AALS forms came out this week. Here are the number of FAR forms in the first distribution for each year since 2009.

FAR Forms Over Time.20160818

(All information obtained from various blog posts, blog comments, and Facebook postings over the years and not independently verified. If you have more accurate information, please post it in the comments and I will update accordingly.)

Edited 8/18/16, 10:06p, to correct number to 382 forms.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 18, 2016 at 01:09 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


Schools call in waves. The knowledge that School X has begun making calls does not speak much to one's chances.

My advice is to find something else to obsess about - a new gym class, cooking, War and Peace, whatever. If all else fails, there's always your job talk paper.

Posted by: anon | Aug 25, 2016 10:30:01 AM

Schools are starting to call - I got a call for aals. I imagine it will start in earnest next week and the week after labor day will probably be the main week. I noticed however that according to the list last year most top schools did not start calling until end of September - I imagine lower and middle ranked schools will move in the next week or so, while higher ranked schools spend more time reading the materials before deciding on interviews.

As for the bulletin, there seems to be more schools listed in the bulletin than the spreadsheet- compared to years past there are more schools looking, often for very specific spots; most of the lower and middle ranked schools are extremely specific in what they are looking for. Also more schools seem to be looking for multiple spots. The subject matter is very diverse - in the bulletin for instance, there are at least 2 western schools which are looking specifically for Native American law - how many candidates could possibly fit in that? The categories I noticed are often very narrow.

I think if anyone is interested, if you look at the list from last year and the year before you get a sense of when schools call. Like the school that called me has a habit of calling early and I think that is true of lots of schools; what they did in the past - and when they call - is fairly consistent year to year. Just words of note for anyone anxious about a specific school.

Posted by: anon | Aug 25, 2016 12:22:44 AM

Someone mentioned above that the Placement Bulletin was 40 pages. I don't have access to it as I'm not in the FAR. Can someone share with me how well the Hiring spreadsheet from the Hiring Committee post correlates with the first Bulletin?

Posted by: Non-FAR | Aug 24, 2016 7:53:33 AM

BA, former hiring chair -

What I had suggested was not so much that corporate people cannot get hired, but that there is a substantial gap between the level of stated demand for corporate people and the revealed demand, i.e., how many are actually hired.

Posted by: anon | Aug 22, 2016 5:06:41 PM

I would not ignore the entry levels. But unlike some schools I know, I would not ignore the junior laterals either. Predicting merely OK versus great is not easy in this business; more evidence is better.

Of course many juniors settle in at their first school and aren't looking to move. But there are enough who are - if they are out there, I would at least take a look at them.

The VAP is unlikely to have evals in doctrinal courses.

If, and it's a big if, you can get a candid evaluation of how the junior person fits in at their current school, that is much more valuable information than how a VAP interacts with colleagues. Granted, a junior person is, or should be, putting the best foot forward. But at least they are a true colleague; VAPS at most schools are clearly second class citizens, and thus it is harder to gauge them as potential colleagues based on recommendations.

Also, FWIW, I too am aware of several schools hiring entry level corporate people in the past 2-3 years. Though the continued tilt toward public law and against candidates with a strong practice background clearly continues, despite all of the talk about changing how schools should prepare future lawyers.

Posted by: former hiring chair | Aug 22, 2016 10:24:37 AM

I have to disagree with #thetruth, but I think she/he has sold laterals short. So a entry level has a VAP and a few publications? Well, then most junior laterals have multiple publications (was the person a meteor or are they a freight train). Did the VAP get some teaching evals? The junior lateral got 2 per semester, while producing scholarship. In my mind, its no comparison. A junior lateral with a track record beats a entry level every time, because you can pick vetted candidates.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 21, 2016 10:17:22 PM

I'm struggling to see how the junior lateral route is so much better than hiring an entry level.

1) Entry level candidates tend to have multiple publications, most have VAPs, and a healthy portion have PhDs. There really is no such a thing as hiring "untested" candidates these days. What achievements has a junior lateral accomplished that most entrys don't have these days? Two or so more publications? More teacher evals?
2) The junior laterals are coming from somewhere. There has to be a healthy entry level intake in order for there to be junior laterals to hire.
3) While there is considerable mobility in the profession, some entry levels choose schools they would like to teach for the considerable future. Thus, the number of potential candidates that can be poached will likely be less than the demand for candidates to fill junior level positions.
4) By ignoring the entry market, you will miss some of the most talented candidates.

If we were in the days when entrys were hired based on their "promise" alone, I might tend to agree with the notion that laterals are always a safer pick. However, I think the difference between an entry and junior lateral is only marginal these days.

Posted by: The Truth | Aug 21, 2016 5:56:13 PM

anon - i am not sure where you are getting your information, but i am aware of quite a number of tenure track corporate law professors hired over the past few years. and of the schools that advertised in the area, but did not hire, at least a few made multiple offers but were rejected for higher ranked schools.

Posted by: BA | Aug 21, 2016 2:08:32 PM

former hiring chair, if it's any consolation, my school is giving preference to junior laterals this year for those very reasons--and we don't care where they are currently teaching, so long as their track record reveals compatibility with our teaching and scholarship requirements.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Aug 20, 2016 10:51:31 PM

Re: the "demand" for corporate law professors:

To most law faculties, the corporate law professor is like spinach. Everyone agrees it would be responsible to "buy" more. Yet when it comes time to make a decision, a reason will often be found to go with a specialty that is more suited to their tastes.

The revealed preference for not hiring tenure-track corporate faculty is if anything more pronounced than this analogy would suggest. For example, I have seen schools not hire any corporate faculty and then bring VAPs in from private practice to teach corporate subjects routinely, always on the theory that such people are surely more conversant with the important elements of the subject than a tenure-track professor in the area. I have never seen this theory supported by evidence, or applied to the public law context. Combined with the well-known preference among law faculties for public law subjects, it seems fair to infer that there is less interest in hiring corporate faculty.

Posted by: anon | Aug 20, 2016 8:40:09 PM

It is something of a mystery why so many schools in this market insist on hiring "true" entry level candidates rather than junior laterals. Are hiring committees really so convinced they can judge folks based on 1/2 hour in DC and a day on campus versus a track record of a year or two? It can't be just money, since "stable schools" (or more generally, higher ranked schools) are likely to be able to offer an entry level salary to someone at a lower ranked school and get some takers (and, depending on the schools, the entry level salary might be more than what the junior candidates is currently making). And it seems that any snobbishness that at one time might have existed over taking a lower ranked school's faculty member is, or should be, much less than before since we all recognize how many good candidates wind up at lower ranked schools, or don't get a job at all in their first try. Hiring committees do lots of odd things, but this seems to suggest a certain lack of creativity or strategic thinking on the part of law faculties.

Posted by: former hiring chair | Aug 20, 2016 8:38:37 PM

I'm confused as to why schools want to hire more IP faculties if less STEM candidates are considering law over their STEM career...

Posted by: anony | Aug 20, 2016 12:27:20 PM

@BA I'm not sure why there would be fewer strong candidates in tax or corporate. There are fewer applicants in general because the market downturn has caused people who otherwise would have applied to wait or choose other careers due to uncertainty. There was never a market downturn for tax and corporate law professors, so I don't see why they would change their behavior.

IP is a bit different because schools have been hiring less in IP over the past few years compared to the early aughts, so you might be right there.

Posted by: anon | Aug 20, 2016 8:49:19 AM

I'm curious as to what makes one a "high quality junior."

Posted by: The Truth | Aug 20, 2016 8:16:29 AM

I was on the market for the past few years and compared to say 2-3 years ago the number of institutions hiring is alot more in my opinion and many schools are seeking multiple people. I think the bottom was 3 years ago and it is getting better every year since.

Posted by: anon | Aug 19, 2016 8:11:24 PM

Anon applicant, last year's August bulletin was 32 pages, this year's is 40 pages. I haven't actually done a serious forensic, just a page count, but that is an interesting difference.

All, Sarah's annual end of season hiring charts are full of interesting numbers, like how many candidates had PhDs, how many clerked.... if someone had access and time, it might be interesting to gather those numbers to have them ready later to contrast with pools receiving offers. Might make for interesting observations.

Posted by: Anon Prof2 | Aug 19, 2016 3:47:41 PM

How does the number of positions listed in this year's first bulletin compare to previous years' first bulletin? Anyone know?

Posted by: anon applicant | Aug 19, 2016 2:49:43 PM

There aren't too many stable institutions out there.

Posted by: anonynony | Aug 19, 2016 2:15:45 PM

One possible solution for stable institutions may be to snap up the high quality juniors that lower ranked schools have picked up in recent years. If they have been successful early, it's a safer bet and less likely to put a dud on the faculty than an untested entry level.

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 19, 2016 12:53:36 PM

My sense is that there are even fewer strong tax, corporate, and IP types. Basically, the one who have better options in practice. There are still some very strong candidates in those areas, but perhaps fewer than in past years.

Posted by: BA | Aug 18, 2016 10:01:39 PM

Isn't it 382 in today's distribution, not 392? Did I get shortchanged 10 forms?

[SBL: Fixed! Thank you!]

Posted by: Alice Ristroph | Aug 18, 2016 9:49:33 PM

Interesting. A question for those who've been on hiring committees these past few years: who's dropping out? What are the CV's you're not seeing? Is the quality of the typical candidate falling, or are those with a casual interest no longer dipping their toe?

Posted by: anon | Aug 18, 2016 2:51:50 PM

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