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Friday, September 01, 2017

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2017-2018

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, sarah*dot*lawsky*at*law*dot*northwestern*dot*edu.

After the AALS hiring conference, there will be 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 2014-20152015-2016, and 2016-2017.

Update, January 2, 2018: I am unable to add a link to the last page of comments. Typepad has killed the trick for adding "last page" links. Here is the last page of comments as of January 2, 2018; this will not remain the last page of comments, but at least you will be able to click through fewer pages.

Another approach: here is a link to the last page of comments as of January 2, 2018: 


Substitute a higher number for the "19" and you will be taken to a later page of comments. If you guess too high, you will be taken to the first page of comments.

Originally posted September 1, 2017. 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on September 1, 2017 at 12:31 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


Per the current version of the spreadsheet, I count a total of four hires by US schools of candidates listing corporate, business, or securities law as their first or second field. I wouldn't be surprised if this number grows along with the overall number of hires reported (currently 59), but right now it is four. A fifth was hired by an Australian business school.

All told, 91.5% of hires are in other areas besides corporate, business, or securities--overwhelmingly, they are in public law.

Every year, tons of corporate law searches are announced, and the comments sections of the hiring and clearinghouse threads come alive with statements like "slim pickings this year if you're not in corporate!" These comments reflect the need for corporate law instruction, but do not account for faculty preferences. And every year, the actual level of hiring in corporate reflects the revealed preferences of faculties or hiring committees rather than their stated preferences. This year is no different.

Posted by: 91.5% of hires are in areas other than business law | Apr 28, 2018 1:23:28 PM

I had a number of entry-level callbacks in the fall and accepted an offer in December, but to my surprise received three additional callback requests in the last few weeks from mid-tier schools that were going back to the interview pool after their initial candidates didn't work out. So, even outside the top 10 there may be some slim hope left at other schools. (To be clear, I turned them down because I've already committed, but I was surprised to find they were still looking.)

Posted by: anon | Feb 10, 2018 1:51:38 PM

A number of the top schools (Harvard, Yale, UVA, etc.) haven't finished their callbacks, so their candidates are still holding offers from other schools that will then go to others. The vast majority of hiring is likely complete, but not 99.9%.

Posted by: anonwithsomeintel | Feb 10, 2018 9:06:30 AM

I would imagine 99.9% of hiring is DONE.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 9, 2018 9:27:49 PM

Have most offers probably been extended/accepted by now? Or are there still many positions in play?

Posted by: anon | Feb 9, 2018 5:58:28 PM

To anon | Jan 7, 2018 10:43:52 AM

Perhaps. But, sheesh, can we all agree, once and for all, that hiring chairs should take the 1-3 minutes it might take to send a gracious rejection email as soon as they know for sure that a rejection is in order?

Posted by: idk | Jan 9, 2018 9:42:14 AM

To anon | Jan 4, 2018 8:10:53 AM:you said "Fortunately, School A was able to hold my offer open, so there was no long-term harm. So it could have been much worse."

I'm not sure how there could have been "long-term harm" or how it could've been worse. You got an offer from School A and had not heard back from School B. You told School B about the School A offer. Even if School B had never responded, you know the timing you agreed upon with School A. If you decided not to accept School A's offer in time in the hope that School B might give you an offer, that seems to be a "bird in the hand" risky decision on your part. It doesn't seem to make all that much difference whether B had made their decision yet or not.

Posted by: anon | Jan 7, 2018 10:43:52 AM

In my experience (last year), the rejections went one of two ways with no middle ground (i.e. no brief "Thanks for coming. We've gone with another candidate. Best of luck"). I did five callbacks. Of the four jobs that I didn't get, I heard nothing whatsoever from two of them (one of which was particularly offensive, as I had taught a course there) and the other two wrote really, really nice and lengthy emails with specific references to things in my job talk or other things that wouldn't generically apply to all candidates (i.e. not form letters). Both of these letters were written by the deans of those schools. One of those deans also wrote me a congratulatory email when he heard that I was hired elsewhere. I couldn't have more positive thoughts about those schools and I always speak highly of them.

Posted by: anonprof | Jan 5, 2018 9:32:14 PM

For what it's worth, I agree that once the offer is accepted, all other candidates should be notified ASAP. I'm sorry some of you have had experiences where this level of common courtesy was not followed.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Jan 5, 2018 12:26:24 PM

Some of the worst behavior is when the hiring committees delay a decision to see what other offers the candidates are getting. This isn't law review placement - it's a hiring decision that could determine who will work with you for decades. Rely on your own judgment, not that of other schools!

Posted by: anon | Jan 5, 2018 10:28:39 AM

Once an offer has been accepted, it's unconscionable not to tell other callback and 30-minute candidates that the position has been filled. The claim that a chair hasn't enough time to correspond is nonsense. It takes all of about 2 to 3 minutes, if that, to draft a two of three sentence email: Sentence 1: Thanks for interviewing with us, 2: the position has been filled, 3: we wish you all the best.

I had the same silence experience with a number of schools when I was on the market and even worse gamesmanship, but there's no need for me to cry over spilled milk.

Posted by: AnonProf1 | Jan 5, 2018 9:42:12 AM

You find alot out on twitter. This has happened to me more than once. There is even a school where I did a callback at years ago and never heard back - they deadlocked so maybe that was the reason, but I still think I should have heard something. Alot of schools do this even though people's careers are at stake and one could hold out hope for schools that are just never going to call.

Posted by: anon | Jan 4, 2018 5:27:55 PM

A plea to hiring committees: please update job candidates, particularly those who have taken the time to do a callback interview.

Here's my story: I had two callback interviews in November, let's call them School A and School B. Both have benefits and drawbacks, so I would have been open to work at either school. I received an offer from School A about two weeks after the callback. I emailed the hiring chair of School B to update him about the offer from School A. Radio silence. Two weeks later, I saw a social media post from someone announcing that they will be joining the faculty of School B, in my field. I emailed the School B hiring chair just to clarify that I was out of the running, and the response was essentially, "Oh yeah, I was meaning to get back to you, but the end of semester got busy..."

Fortunately, School A was able to hold my offer open, so there was no long-term harm. So it could have been much worse. But this has forever colored how I view School B. I can understand that a school wouldn't reach out to everyone who interviewed at AALS. But if a candidate makes the effort to travel to your school, juggling personal and professional obligations to make the trip, the least you could do is keep them in the loop.

Posted by: anon | Jan 4, 2018 8:10:53 AM

Thanks, Sarah!

Posted by: Anon | Jan 2, 2018 6:27:22 PM

Unfortunately I am unable to add a "last page" link--as I described earlier in the comments, Typepad killed the trick for adding "last page" links. If anyone knows of another trick (the one I was using is described below) please let me know. I've added this information, as well as a link to the 19th page of comments (this one) to the main post.

(The trick was as follows:

This is the link to this page:


It used to be that if you put in a very high number where the 19 is, Typepad would send you to the last page of comments. A few months ago they killed that, so now if you put in a very high number, it sends you to the first page of comments.)

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | Jan 2, 2018 5:05:50 PM

could you add a "last page" link to the post?

Posted by: anon | Jan 2, 2018 2:04:54 PM

Most law schools are now much more limited in their ability to hire. Thus, to be marketable, you need to bring some bread and butter subject areas to the table. Take a look at the subjects schools were hiring for this year to get an idea -- health, business and tax remain quite popular. I've seen a number of candidates recently market themselves as experts in areas like Animals and the Law, Agriculture Law, etc. While those are important areas, most schools are not going to commit one of their (increasingly) rare faculty lines to someone who teaches such. Now, the calculus changes if 1) you are just a super awesome candidate (e.g., Supreme Court Clerk, former EIC of the Yale Law Journal, and have multiple T20 offers) or 2) you're targeting a highly ranked schools. For instance. a T20 schools is more likely to make an entry-level hire of someone who specializes in law and sexuality than a T100 -- the latter might be excited you're willing to teach in that area, but if that's all you bring to the table, they'll likely pass.

For publications, I think two T100 pubs will typically be enough to earn a serious look at your FAR. The higher the placements, though, the better. And you'll need at least one T50 pub. to really start raking in the interview requests. Publications in speciality journals that nobody has ever heard of and/or publications in journals associated with 4th tier schools will likely hurt your chances. If you have those, I'd consider not listing them and instead working hard to replace them with more attractive publications.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Jan 2, 2018 10:16:32 AM

1. I don't think there's a definite answer to what number of articles a candidate needs to have published to be successful in the market. But, on our recent hiring history, my sense is one top 50 flagship and 2 additional articles will yield a good number of interviews. Placement is important; however, it's important to stress, I think s quality not quantity that really matters. The original slate of candidate is typically identified from the FAR by using placement as a proxy, but by the time you get to the 30 minute screening interview and certainly by the time you get to the on campus interview faculty will have read your work. Any good law school faculty will certainly read your job talk paper. So it's crucial to have a well stated argument--one that is intriguing, innovative, demonstrates knowledge of the literature, address the problem analytically and formulate a reasonable conclusion.

2) Many people write in areas that are outside their teaching area. But I would highly recommend that anyone going on the market have an understanding of a first year course they can teach. If you do not work in a 1st year curricular area, you should be able to explain how your employment experience or area of scholarship will inform your teaching in it.

Posted by: AnonProf1 | Jan 2, 2018 6:59:03 AM

For those of us who will not be getting jobs this year, a couple of questions (assuming no super-fancy clerkship, no Bigelow or Climenko fellowship, no PhD):

1. What is the going standard for competitive, on paper qualifications to get a good number of AALS interviews? Three law review articles? Three law review articles in a top 50 flagship journal? One law review article in a top 20 journal?

2. Do your teaching areas have to be research areas or could they just be areas of personal interest, or areas that you've practiced in, in order to credibly market yourself in those subjects?

Posted by: LookingTo2018 | Jan 2, 2018 3:47:16 AM

Should this post be bumped forward?

Posted by: Anon | Dec 28, 2017 11:08:47 AM

I think it's very late this year. In the past week, I've received two January callback invitations for non-T14 schools that I interviewed with at AALS.

Posted by: anon | Dec 21, 2017 2:22:03 PM

seems to me that this season is more late-skewed even though some went early. until the official hiring thread is posted at it's usually time, can't people also report offers, rejections, accepted offers, and declined offers here and on the spreadsheet that already exists? (some have)

Posted by: anon | Dec 21, 2017 1:10:07 PM

If anything, I would think this is a late-skewed season, because the hiring conference was several weeks later than usual. At any rate, my current plan is to start the official hiring thread in late February or early March, when it usually goes up.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | Dec 21, 2017 12:31:51 PM

I know there are accepted offers out there. When's the reporting thread starting. Should be earlier because of the early skewed season, yes?

Posted by: newprof | Dec 21, 2017 12:27:17 PM

Last year, I had an early call back and didn’t get an offer until the middle of December. This is because our hiring meeting is a little late (in fact, my school has our hiring meeting next week, so offers have not gone out yet). So, it can vary!

Posted by: Anon junior | Dec 16, 2017 11:09:48 AM

I’m on the market this year and for me the longest has been 27 days. But I kind of feel it’s not productive to think that way. If you had an earlier CB then absent something unusual happening you’re going to wait a bit because the vote was quite possibly not going to happen until early December (max). That’s what happened with the 27 day school for me.

I’m guessing this is more true where it’s a best athlete search - the schools I’ve been at that have multiple specific curricular searches seem to have done more votes (by spot/line) so there were some early offers and some later offers.

Of course this is the blind leading the blind! I’m just speculating based on how things have been happening for me.

Posted by: anon | Dec 16, 2017 10:19:27 AM

What is the longest folks have waited post-callback until an offer came?

Posted by: nona | Dec 16, 2017 8:59:57 AM

To: Anon | Dec 13, 2017 3:24:07 AM

When people dropped out, we did not invite "replacements". We typically have around a half dozen entry-level talks every year. We do not lose slots if we don't hire -- they typically roll over to the next year.

Posted by: anonprof at top school | Dec 14, 2017 11:25:02 PM

anonjunior | Dec 13, 2017 6:46:01 AM

Of couse I have a common sense - I don't know why you presume I don't ^_^ - and I have listed up all the questions initially. They simply did not answer some of them in their initial reply and answered others in a way that required further clarification. Every time, they took weeks, and a break that lasted several weeks. At some point, I did say I was accepting the offer and I was merely asking about some details. I don't know what else I could have done...

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2017 6:46:43 AM

If you have an issue that doesn't rise to the level of a precondition for your accepting the offer, but you want it addressed, one middle ground is to accept the offer and make the request in the same conversation, making 100% clear that the acceptance is not conditioned on the request being granted. I have done that once or twice in different job contexts and it both got me what I wanted and came across (I think) as less adversarial.

Fundamentally, you have to get out of your head the notion that this is some kind of zero-sum negotiation that you, a savvy lawyer, are going to win. Not only do you lack bargaining power (and not only are the people you're talking to also savvy lawyers), but you're going to be working with these people potentially for decades. Approach it as such.

Posted by: anon | Dec 13, 2017 5:00:11 PM

If a school offers "housing assistance," what form does that usually take?

Posted by: anon | Dec 13, 2017 12:29:41 PM

"With due respect, you sound like "take it or leave it" - don't try to ask too many questions or otherwise waste our valuable time. Maybe it is the culture of your school but still not fair. Candidates have to make a decision of their life, and they should be able to ask questions and wait for answers."

I disagree. You should be organized enough to list all your questions in one or two exchanges. Seriously, why would you ask a new question every couple of weeks if it takes a week or two to get a response? For me, that would be a signal that this person (1) might be negotiating in bad faith, (2) doesn't have the greatest social skills or is inconsiderate, or (3) spends too much time sweating minor details.

I completely believe that all candidates should negotiate good terms, and I don't subscribe to the belief that you need another offer on hand in order to do so. However, you have to use a little common sense, be fair and efficient, and be honest about what's most important to you and why. Schools aren't in the business of trying screw someone who obtained faculty consensus on receiving an offer. It never seems to amaze me how many high IQ people with impressive credentials seem to be lacking the EQ to act like a decent human being. But, if you signal that you might be a douche during the negotiation process, there are equally qualified and impressive candidates who can replace you. Use common sense.

Posted by: anonjunior | Dec 13, 2017 6:46:01 AM

anonprof at top school: when candidates with January call backs dropped out, did you invite others as substitutes? People already told no?

Posted by: Anon | Dec 13, 2017 3:24:07 AM

AnonHiringChair | Dec 12, 2017 2:23:08 PM

With due respect, you sound like "take it or leave it" - don't try to ask too many questions or otherwise waste our valuable time. Maybe it is the culture of your school but still not fair. Candidates have to make a decision of their life, and they should be able to ask questions and wait for answers.

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2017 6:22:38 PM

I got the same EEO form - I think it was a blanket email to everyone in the FAR.

Posted by: Not Boston Bound | Dec 12, 2017 2:58:10 PM

Weird. I just got a request to fill out an EEO data form from a school I never applied to and have had no interaction with. Is this normal?

Posted by: Anon | Dec 12, 2017 2:48:01 PM

anon | Dec 12, 2017 2:04:19 PM
you said that negotiations were "prolonged" and have said a few times that "everytime" you asked a question, they took a week or more to respond. Might they have expected you to ask more than 1 question at a time if you had so many questions on which your decision hinged?

Maybe it would've been better to put a list of questions together, and then list them all by email/phone, so the school could deal with them efficiently. If I were a dean and told someone the terms and they asked me - can base salary increase to x? I'd assume that was their only question. Not that they had 2-5 more questions that they'd wait to ask me in succession only after I'd answered the prior question. I could easily think they were not bargaining in good faith and were trying to drag things out. Did you have a response deadline on the offer? Were you waiting to hear back from other schools?

It's also tough to see how there could be soo many questions. Not much more than salary, summer stipend, research/conference/travel funds, courseload/teaching package, sabbatical, tenure standards, benefits (including housing, moving), spousal hire. Not clear why those matters or questions on them couldn't be brought up in 1 or 2 exchanges and without time lags on your side.

If you did proceed reasonably, it'd be very useful to hear which schools/deans don't/won't/can't negotiate or rescind offers for no good reason.

Posted by: newanoncandidate | Dec 12, 2017 2:42:32 PM

Sorry, but I think it's completely fair.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Dec 12, 2017 2:23:08 PM

anon | Dec 9, 2017 9:55:19 AM & AnonHiringChair | Dec 9, 2017 10:02:52 AM

Thanks for your advice, but I don't think it is correct to say that I "dragged out" negotiations until March. As I said, everytime I asked a question, they took at least a week (sometimes more), so time passed because of the amount of time that they took to respond on each question. The also asked some time off during the negotiation for their own schedule. I was prepared to accept most of their terms (I think they knew this), and I was waiting on claification of certain details. I think there may have been some internal issue, but in any case it was not fair for them to withdraw the offer that late without any warning (on their timeline) whatsoever. I do not know if they hired anyone else. I know schools have all the power, but this is simply not fair.

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2017 2:04:19 PM

To: Conditional Accept | Dec 10, 2017 4:48:15 PM

We have had candidates in the past who faced time pressure at other schools (deadlines in December when we were running call backs well into January at least). In some cases, they were able to get a significant extension on their offer, conditioned on dropping out of all places but us. In other cases, candidates we had scheduled for a job talk dropped out to accept an offer elsewhere (at a lower ranked school).

Posted by: anonprof at top school | Dec 12, 2017 1:02:54 PM

Wondering if this NYU eeo info request email went out to all who did an interview? Has anyone received a rejection email from them?

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2017 12:27:22 PM

You can tell a lot about a school by the terms of the offer. This past cycle, I received what I viewed as a very attractive entry-level offer, and each question I asked was met with a very reasonable, fair response. Based in part on what seemed like the school's good faith, I decided not to sweat the small stuff. And my experience with the school culture and administration since starting has borne that out. I (and my colleagues) are treated very well and morale is high.

All of which is to say, the hiring process and the school's demeanor during the process are an extension of the school's culture and/or management. Something to keep in mind as you go about your diligence, and perhaps a counterpoint to any narrow, lawyerly notions regarding the importance or scope of negotiation.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2017 1:48:23 PM

What is an acceptable amount of time to ask to decide? I just received an informal offer from my second choice. I had a late callback with my first choice, but no idea when they will decide.

Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2017 11:01:40 AM

Asking a school to allow an opt out for another "better" school would be met with the same response as if you asked your significant other for an opt out if another "better" partner came along. You take an offer with full enthusiasm, or you dont take it at all.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 11, 2017 10:48:33 AM

I’ll add that the offer I received was very detailed from the outset. Salary, benefits, teaching load & package, moving expenses, summer stipends, financial support for travel, and tenure standards were all part of the initial discussions. I remember getting off the phone with several pages of notes and the contact info of a handful of people that could give me more details on any of them. These are entry level jobs. Keep that in mind. Unless you’re a superstar. But if you think you are, you probably aren’t.

Posted by: Past candidate | Dec 10, 2017 9:24:15 PM

Re negotiations, Brian Leiter's list of things to do once you have an offer is pretty useful:

My sense is that different schools have pretty different perspectives on how much negotiation is expected. At some schools, the faculty expects the Dean to "land" the candidate, and it's understood that the Dean has significant room to improve the offer to do that. At other schools, there may be little room for negotiation. YMMV, as they say.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Dec 10, 2017 9:09:13 PM

I cannot imagine a school agreeing to that.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Dec 10, 2017 8:57:01 PM

Is it ever possible to get a school to agree to a conditional acceptance - ie, agreeing to accept a position there unless a particular long-shot school comes through (while agreeing to withdraw your name from consideration at every other school)? I'm running into some tough timing issues....

Posted by: Conditional Accept | Dec 10, 2017 4:48:15 PM

Not to create additional stress but I actually worried in the opposite direction . . . does it reflect on my ability to teach future lawyers if I do a crummy job negotiating on my own behalf by taking whatever's offered to me and not pushing back? (I did successfully push back on certain things.)

Posted by: idk | Dec 10, 2017 4:07:21 PM

One week exactly.

Posted by: past candidate | Dec 10, 2017 11:55:37 AM

How long after your callback was the offer?

Posted by: anon | Dec 10, 2017 9:29:50 AM

I got an offer from my top choice last year. The hiring chair called first to extend an "unofficial" offer and let me know to expect a call from the Dean within 24-48 hours. He also gave me a preview of the terms and let me know that university administration gives them very little room to negotiate. When the Dean called, I said something along the lines of having every intention of accepting and explained that as soon as the offer was in writing, I would cancel my remaining interviews. The Dean got me the letter within a few days, and I immediately accepted it. I'm convinced that I created lots of goodwill for myself at my new institution by being up-front about my excitement and not trying to force a negotiation over an initial offer that was perfectly acceptable as-is.

Posted by: past candidate | Dec 10, 2017 9:16:24 AM

For those who have received offers in the past, on average how long did it take for receipt following callbacks?

Posted by: nona | Dec 9, 2017 10:52:59 PM

Another point to keep in mind for those of you who are negotiating is that the school has most of the power. From our perspective, there are typically at least 5 people we've talked with whom we'd be delighted to have join us. So losing out on you isn't THAT big of a deal; also we know that next year there'll be a whole new crop of entry-level candidates, so it's not that big of a deal if we lose out on all the candidates. My point being you should definitely ask about things that are important to you, but know that "prolonged negotiation" (like the poster above referenced) is only likely to see the offer withdrawn. I've yet to see a candidate who was so amazingly awesome that we'd attempt to move heaven and earth to have them join us.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Dec 9, 2017 10:26:57 AM

In my opinion, this isn't like buying a car where you have to legitimately fear that you're getting screwed at every turn. Schools tend to make good-faith, competitive offers. If someone prolonged the negotiation that long, I too would suggest that we pull the offer. My primary reason is that you risk losing the entire pool if this goes on too long (meaning if the person you're negotiating with ultimately turns you down, then there's nobody to take their place). Second, I don't know what terms you were negotiating, but if it drags out that long, I'd start to think the person was a demanding, me-first type and that is the last thing a law faculty needs more of.

Hope it works out better for you this year.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Dec 9, 2017 10:02:52 AM

In fairness to the school, if you dragged the negotiations into March, it's reasonable for them to pull the offer to get a second choice candidate.

Posted by: anon | Dec 9, 2017 9:55:19 AM

On the point of negotiation, I did negotiate last year and in the middle of the prolonged negotiation (they took time each time I asked a question), the offer was withdrawn. It was March, and I did not think it was fair - because it was too late to try another place. They did not say that the prolonged negotation was the reason for the withdrawal but did indicate that the deal would have been closed had I accepted the original terms. I did not play game, and all my questions were legitimate, but it did not matter.

This year I have on-campus interview with a better ranked school and will see how things will go, but this time I will be a bit careful about negotiation if an offer should be extended.

Posted by: anon | Dec 8, 2017 7:01:31 PM

What's the big secret? It's not as if anyone is being asked to disclose his/her name. A simple "yes" in the offers column seems sufficient.

Posted by: Anon2 | Dec 8, 2017 2:49:30 PM

MANY offers have been extended and accepted. Folks just aren't sharing.

Posted by: anon | Dec 8, 2017 1:50:07 PM

There are more than 150 entries on the spreadsheet, and only one offer (Michigan State). Have most schools really not yet extended offers, or is the sheet not being updated at this stage?

Posted by: anon | Dec 8, 2017 11:19:26 AM

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