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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


anon | Dec 7, 2017 5:57:58 PM,
That's a great question. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone ask it before. I think you have to respond based on you personality. Mine is to be expressive when I experience joy. If I were to get an offer from my first choice, I'd demonstrate elation followed by an apologetic explanation that as attorney I have to see the terms. With the offer, the dean should orally indicate the salary. Your main questions should be about course package and benefits (e.g. summer stipend, healthcare, retirement, etc.), and it's feasible that all those questions can be conclusively clarified in that initial phone call or a subsequent one with the associate dean.

I'm very interested what others think. I hope they'll chime in.

Good luck!

Posted by: AnonProf1 | Dec 8, 2017 6:54:01 AM

If I am lucky enough to get a call with an offer from my top choice (where I did a callback), what's the protocol for that phone call? Can I just say, "Great! Thank you. This is where I want to be. Let's do this." Or is it expected that everyone plays it cool and negotiates? i.e. "Great! Thank you. I look forward to seeing the terms in the written offer." Or do they usually not fish for any reaction during that call? If I get an offer from my top choice, I am inclined to want to just get it signed asap rather than playing an extended negotiation game. I've heard of offers being withdrawn during negotiations (hopefully that's rare). Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by: anon | Dec 7, 2017 5:57:58 PM

What an anticlimactic year. So much hiring has already taken place. :-(

Posted by: anon | Dec 7, 2017 4:44:12 PM

Anyone else going crazy during the post-callback wait?

Posted by: anon | Dec 7, 2017 4:42:33 PM

Has drexel finished hiring?

Posted by: Anon | Dec 4, 2017 11:44:30 PM

NYU virtually never hires entry level; they have only like one nontenured member of their faculty. I would not hold onto hope there. Top schools tend not to have their callbacks until January or February.

Posted by: anon | Dec 4, 2017 2:30:49 PM

Anyone heard of callbacks from Penn, Michigan, NYU, Chicago, or USC? Or dings? Or any activity at all?

Posted by: anon | Dec 4, 2017 9:19:32 AM

Any other proceduralists care to update? I ended up with 15 screeners and five callbacks. No offers yet, but most callbacks are in the spring term.

Posted by: Rule 5.2 | Dec 4, 2017 9:17:17 AM

"I am an experienced scholar (i.e. a former tenure track faculty). When do schools make lateral hire decisions and/or look for full-time visitors for the next academic year?"

Lateral hiring timing is all over the map, and the process can take several years from initial contact to offer. Offers most typically seem to come in the January to March window, but it's hard to predict.

As for full-time visitors, it depends on a lot of factors. Is it a look-see with appointments interest? Is it just the Associate Dean calling around on his or her own without appointments interest when a need to teach a particular class has arisen? My sense is that the former come earlier than the latter.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Dec 3, 2017 11:58:19 AM

It varies heavily based on school. Unfortunately, there is no standard lateral path.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 3, 2017 3:28:26 AM

I am an experienced scholar (i.e. a former tenure track faculty). When do schools make lateral hire decisions and/or look for full-time visitors for the next academic year?

Posted by: anon | Nov 30, 2017 9:58:08 PM

Yes, I know of several that have made offers.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Nov 30, 2017 5:43:46 PM

So are schools making offers?

Posted by: anon | Nov 30, 2017 5:23:28 PM

For me, a candidate who doesn't quickly answer phone calls or emails demonstrates a sense of privilege. I correspond with deans from various law schools, associate deans, judges, legislative aids, and journalists. And the norm is to answer quickly (I'm not sure what that means, for some it's a matter of minutes, for others hours, and sometimes a day). It's not that I always get responses quickly, but when a candidate takes his or her time answering me, I wonder whether the individual is enthusiastic, cordial, and friendly.

Posted by: anon | Nov 29, 2017 9:20:06 PM

anon | Nov 29, 2017 1:24:25 PM

Agreed. I will also add that if something (important) is only on your home computer, it might be a red flag for information security/privacy purposes. Think about losing a draft because your home computer got infected by a malware, without having modern-day backup. I don't think committees would be concerned about that, but this is something to keep in mind for the future.

Posted by: anon | Nov 29, 2017 1:50:49 PM

There's no reason candidates can't respond within 24 hours, even if on a callback. if something on home computer, email them and tell them, but with everything being on cloud now, it looks a little behind the times to say something is on the home computer.

I myself have hesitated with schools when I was uncertain whether to accept a callback so I believe the advise is sound. I am often super enthusiastic when a preferred school calls and scheduled my interviews immediately. So I think it is somewhat of an accurate signals. really, none of us are so busy that we can't respond within at least 6 hours. none of us are getting THAT may emails every day.

Posted by: anon | Nov 29, 2017 1:24:25 PM

Agreed! We candidates really appreciate the advice and insights! Please don’t let a few Negative Nellies ruin it for the rest of us. Original Anon sounds like on of those chosen, entitled few with lots of callbacks. Most of the rest of us are not in such a fortunate position, and we need all the help we can get!

Posted by: Anon | Nov 29, 2017 11:18:26 AM

Tip to Anon (who states: "Aren't you the ones who are supposed to be teaching the value of precise writing and thinking?")....

If you want experienced professors to continue to provide their guidance on hiring in legal education, you might want to stop insulting them. I'm sure your fellow candidates will appreciate it.

Posted by: Lame | Nov 29, 2017 11:07:02 AM

Tip to Anon (who states: "Aren't you the ones who are supposed to be teaching the value of precise writing and thinking?")....

If you want experienced professors to continue to provide their guidance on hiring in legal education, you might want to stop insulting them. I'm sure your fellow candidates will appreciate it.

Posted by: Lame | Nov 29, 2017 11:07:01 AM

Seems to be going well....? | Nov 29, 2017 8:46:45 AM,
We never signal. Or to be more precise I've never heard any of my colleagues signalling to any candidate that she or he is "our" top choice or likely to get the offer. It's not that we have a policy on this point, but the faculty is so unpredictable that until we begin deliberations at the hiring meeting I think no one, including the hiring chair, knows who is the preferred candidate.

Posted by: AnonProf1 | Nov 29, 2017 9:58:47 AM

I feel like a lot of the applicants on this board and in other places have indicated that - while on a callback interview - the dean or the hiring chair has strongly indicated an offer will be forthcoming. I've had a few callbacks already and still have a few more to do. While everyone has been pleasant and encouraging, I've never gotten this sort of straightforward indication that I'm the top choice and should expect an offer. Do all schools do this sort of pre-offer signaling? Or can I still assume I'm in the running until I hear otherwise?

Posted by: Seems to be going well....? | Nov 29, 2017 8:46:45 AM

Twojobs: Straightforwardly. This is an extremely common scenario, and schools deal with it all the time.

Posted by: T-30ish prof | Nov 29, 2017 8:03:50 AM

I had a callback interview this week, and I think it went well (though who knows). It is my first choice, but accepting it would have to be contingent on finding some sort of job for my spouse, as it's not in a major metro area. I was hoping that someone might ask me about it at my callback, but nobody did. I felt like it was inappropriate for me to bring it up myself. If I get an offer (they said to expect a call in the next week after a reference check - and I know nothing is certain), what is a reasonable way to approach this issue?

Posted by: twojobs | Nov 29, 2017 7:44:00 AM

I don't see any bad assumptions here. The post started with "I suppose it depends what you mean by 'promptly.'" So perhaps you could have clarified that you meant 24-48 hours in your original post. Aren't you the ones who are supposed to be teaching the value of precise writing and thinking?

Posted by: Anon | Nov 29, 2017 7:29:18 AM

I will add that many candidates do respond promptly, and it creates a world of difference in our perception of how interested the candidate is and what kind of colleague they will be. My original post was intended to be helpful by letting you know how not responding comes across. If you choose to dismiss my advice by insulting me, you are only shooting yourself in the foot. There are many others who will happily take your spot.

Posted by: AnonHiringProf | Nov 28, 2017 10:34:51 PM

When I say "promptly" I mean within 24-48 hours. I have often waited that long. The fact that you would assume I meant otherwise does not speak well of your attitude in this process. "Busy now will respond later" is a perfectly appropriate response and lets us know that you are interested and engaged in the process. If you think we are in this to get our egos stroked, you know very little about the time and effort it takes on the part of faculty hiring committees and suggests that perhaps you should rethink your desire to join a faculty.

Posted by: AnonHiringProf | Nov 28, 2017 10:30:08 PM

Original Anon, you are far too rational to be academic . . . Actually, in all seriousness, I hope you find a great school. We need more reasonable people in the academy.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 28, 2017 2:14:26 PM

LOL. Original Anon here, and I did have an experience with a Hiring Chair who emailed me for something while I was at a callback. Unfortunately, the thing he needed was on my home computer, so I figured I would send it as soon as I arrived home that evening. When I was in the taxi en route to the airport, I saw that he had emailed me a second time, impatiently. I suppose I could have sent an immediate email as soon as I saw the first email to let him know when I would respond. But who knows -- "Busy now, but will respond ASAP" is not especially professional or deferential either. This experience, in conjunction with these comments, suggests that some Hiring Chairs may be a little desperate to have their egos stroked. If they are letting this interfere with their hiring decisions, it's clearly not a healthy process.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 28, 2017 9:36:18 AM

Anonhiringchair, how do you know what Anonhiringprof meant? Maybe, Anon is actually dealing with Anonhiringprof. Maybe, Anonhiringprof can't deal with all of the schools going after the same candidate, which means that Anonhiringprof's job isn't that valuable to Anon.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 28, 2017 2:22:42 AM

Obviously that's not what AnonHiringProf meant. I would like to second that person's post though -- in the past, we've had candidates who would take days to respond to the smallest requests and it always lead us to believe that they just weren't that interested. Even a short "Busy now, but will respond ASAP" would solve much of that problem.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Nov 27, 2017 8:34:05 PM

I suppose it depends what you mean by "promptly." But I assume you would not have a favorable interpretation of a candidate who is constantly checking their email while at a callback at YOUR school. Keep in mind that it's been a hectic November for some of us.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 27, 2017 1:20:37 PM

Here's some advice to candidates going on callbacks: answer your email promptly when someone from the school contacts you about arrangements. Slow return of email can be read as a sign that you aren't interested.

Posted by: AnonHiringProf | Nov 27, 2017 12:45:21 PM

Have schools handed out firm offers yet? Nothing on spreadsheet.

Posted by: anon | Nov 27, 2017 11:14:48 AM

I agree that unless you accept another offer, you should do all your callbacks. Who knows- this school might really be a good fit. If you end up accepting another offer, nobody will hold it against you. More often than not, our first (and sometime even second) choice candidates decline offers, so we hire the next in line.

Posted by: anonprof | Nov 25, 2017 8:49:24 AM

Posted by: anon | Nov 24, 2017 10:35:06 AM

I would suggest you do not cancel the third on-campus interview before you receive an offer in writing. I received an offer last year (at least I thought!) - the school was negotiating terms with me, and the offer was withdrawn in March due to the "change of leadership" (according to them).

I know this is rare, but you never know. You are being nice by considering cancelling the on-campus interview, but you are not the only on-campus interviewee for them, and most likely they will have a backup candidate if you say "no". Something might happen, and you may get to choose another school. I would keep this option open.

Posted by: anon | Nov 25, 2017 8:10:50 AM

Asking for a second flyout before accepting is fine. Asking for a second flyout after accepting to look for a house is fine. Asking for a third flyout after accepting just to look for a house is a bit much IMO.

Posted by: T-30ish prof | Nov 24, 2017 6:29:39 PM

> before canceling, not velour

Posted by: anon | Nov 24, 2017 4:06:29 PM

get the offer of the top school in writing velour canceling. i have heard stories of schools pulling offers so make sure the offer was given by someone with authority and you know all terms

when do these second flyouts with spouse happen? before accepting offer or in the spring after accepting? do you get a third one to look for house?

Posted by: anon | Nov 24, 2017 4:06:00 PM

If you're sure you wouldn't accept an offer then you absolutely should cancel the callback. This is a very time-consuming process for everyone involved, and taking the callback because there's a 1 in 500 chance that something could happen to change your mind is selfish in the extreme.

Posted by: T-30ish prof | Nov 24, 2017 3:27:35 PM

If there's no chance you'd accept the job, cancel the callback. You're a bigger jerk if you waste everyone's time.

Posted by: Top 70-ish prof | Nov 24, 2017 11:15:38 AM

I received three callbacks from AALS interviews. I did two interviews, and have a third scheduled for next week. I received an offer from my absolutely top choice on Wednesday. I really can't imagine choosing one of the other schools over the one where I have the offer from -- it's slightly lower in the rankings, but geographically much more desirable, and I really liked the faculty.

What do I do about this third callback? I feel like a jerk to cancel it just a few days before. But at the same time, I don't want to waste people's time.

Posted by: anon | Nov 24, 2017 10:35:06 AM

At AALS, I saw some Asian males going around interviews. I hope some of them will actually be hired. I am also waiting for my own on-campus interview. Good luck, everyone!

Posted by: anonminority | Nov 22, 2017 10:55:37 PM

It varies by school. We only call references for the top contenders.

Posted by: anonprof | Nov 22, 2017 2:26:40 PM

We call references for everyone in the callback pool even if it appears that the person has little chance of getting an offer. We've had candidates before who totally bombed and even though the committee decided not to bring that person forward for a faculty vote, we still called references in case the faculty disagreed with our decision to not bring them forward.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Nov 22, 2017 2:10:23 PM

anon | Nov 22, 2017 10:36:33 AM,
It really matters by school. The norm, at least based on my experience, is that committees will call reference of everyone in the call-back pool--those at the top to those at the bottom of the preference list. I wouldn't read preferences into the calls.

However, I also urge you not to read too much into aggressive questions. That may be the norm at the law school. And even if it isn't the norm you may have done a great job answering the questions and wowed people by your reasoning.

I would expect the first wave of offers to go out in the next two weeks, but there are schools who will hold out until the spring.

Someone else asked how much time schools give to decide. This too varies from two weeks to three months. Since you don't know what school will come calling, I would be prepared to answer in two weeks. Begin doing some research about the city and the school before someone contacts you. And yes schools that give you an offer will typically fly you and your spouse back to look at the city, assess real estate, and talk to faculty members.

I realize this process is horribly anxiety-producing because there's so much uncertainty and secretiveness about the workings about the workings of hiring committees. But you just have to ride it out. Nearly everyone in the academy has gone through this difficult process, and the job is well worth it. Keep yourself busy. Find things to do unrelated to the job search, just anything to try at times to get your mind off of it, if only, for a little while.

Posted by: AnonProf1 | Nov 22, 2017 1:34:02 PM

I had a job talk last week at my top choice - both because of the school and location. I got incredibly aggressive questions for a half hour and really thought I blew it. I just found out that they started calling my references yesterday. Should I read anything in to this, or is it standard for schools to call references for all candidates who do callbacks?

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2017 10:36:33 AM

What is the standard time for an offer? Is it usually two weeks? If schools give offers by early December, will they expect an answer by Christmas? Do they let you come back and visit the school again?

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2017 10:13:05 AM

>i mean budgets not burgers! Sometimes especially at state universities there are changes with budgets so the school all of a sudden could pull the line and hire absolutely no one. Or they could be looking in multiple fields and a lateral move on their faculty could force them to rethink their needs. All of that affects whether you will get an offer.

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2017 10:12:15 AM

For 6:20, is the T100 in a place you want to be professionally and personally? Have you even done a callback yet at the T30? I assumed you did but if not, I would definitely not hold out hope now. If you did, tell the T30 about the offer and see what they say on their timing - most probably won't decide till after the christmas holidays but if you or your references talk informally with people there, if you have no chance they might signal that to you. No one in this process wants to screw you over; it's likely they don't know and you never know whether things like burgers will interfere, especially if it's a state university and the line may not be as secure as you thought it was; try to find things like that out if you can. If you are willing to try again next year go with your gut. People always say it's so easy to move once you are in, bu you will have to stay at the other place at least 2-3 years. Do you want to do that personally? Also how in demand is your field? If you are not business or criminal law it's likely that the market will probably be just as tough next year.

Posted by: anon | Nov 22, 2017 10:10:54 AM

Anon at 6:20pm, it's hard to say without knowing more. If you want to send me an e-mail at my gwu.edu address, I'd be happy to set up a phone call and help you think through this over the phone (in a fully confidential matter, of course).

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Nov 21, 2017 11:23:21 PM

Unless the T100 will give you an extension (and I would ask), I'd take it. Offers of this sort are very hard to come by, so I'd take the sure thing. I think a 2 week extension is reasonable. They can always say "no."

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Nov 21, 2017 8:28:12 PM

Decision time. Do I take the T100 offer, or do I hold out for the more desirable T30s that are in no hurry to make a decision? How much time can I reasonably ask for? Does my answer change if I can stay in my current position and try again next year?

Posted by: Anon | Nov 21, 2017 6:20:18 PM

No, sometimes those things are HR stuff - especially if it is a public university, schools often have to publicly post notices every so often so as to encourage a diverse applicant pool. I would not read anything to a notice being posted. Sometimes they are set to renew automatically.

Posted by: anon | Nov 21, 2017 4:52:58 PM

One of the schools I interviewed with at AALS just announced that same entry-level vacancy on their recruitment platform. Does that mean they didn't like any single candidate they've interviewed?

Posted by: anon | Nov 21, 2017 4:01:22 PM

I should add that I had 13 AALS interviews and received 3 callbacks. I haven't heard a word from any of the 10 other schools, and I assume that I'll either hear nothing, or I'll get a ding once they finalize their hires. From what I understand from my mentors, schools often don't inform you if you are rejected at an AALS interview.

Posted by: anon | Nov 20, 2017 12:52:00 PM

Most schools only had 1-2 reports of AALS interviews. Schools typically conducted about 30 AALS interviews and only offered a handful of callbacks. So chances are, the few people who reported AALS interviews have not heard anything from those schools.

Posted by: anon | Nov 20, 2017 12:50:08 PM

What about the schools with no callbacks reported? There were a bunch of screenings without follow-up information.

Posted by: Anon2 | Nov 20, 2017 11:16:00 AM

Callbacks are in full swing right now, so likely there won't be too much to report on hiring until December/January. Faculties have to meet & vote, extend offers, and hear back.

Posted by: Anon junior | Nov 20, 2017 11:10:19 AM

The spreadsheet updates have stalled. Did schools decide not to hire (if so, those updates would be helpful)? Or are people not reporting?

Posted by: Anon | Nov 20, 2017 9:58:41 AM

I don't get why some schools make you travel considerable distance for "local" interviews when it's just easier to do in D.C. If you live in D.C. it's not bad doing local interviews; same with NYC or San Fran. But I think some schools overstretched this year the definition of "local." If it requires basically a day to travel to and from the destination, that by definition is not "local." I had two of those, one of which did not even reimburse costs of over 100 miles.

I realize the committees don't want to stay all day Saturday at AALS, but I would really hope schools reevaluate what they mean by "local" because traveling a total of 3-5 hours for a 20 minute interview - when the school is also interviewing 30 other candidates - is not "local." At that point just Skype some people in. It's so much easier just to do those at AALS. Even the ones in major cities - I could understand schools that are on a budget who need to save and can't send their whole committee. But many schools sent their whole committee yet still did up to 50 AALS and local interviews. Doing so many interviews is a time suck for the professors and the applicants.

Posted by: anon | Nov 20, 2017 2:23:25 AM

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