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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2018 Hiring Report - Subject Areas Over Time

Jeremy Bearer-Friend commented: "I wonder whether there are certain patterns over time for entry-level hiring by area of law. For example, whether tax hiring is constant even when total number of hires dips, or whether civ pro is generally 20% of the hires each year, etc. Some categories may be more consistently coded over time so this could be tricky to do but thought worth asking!"

I went through and cleaned up the data a little so that the categories were consistently coded over time and then did a cross-year comparison of hiring areas. Results follow. Note that these are the results for U.S., tenure track hires only--the same group on which I usually run the data aggregation.

Each year, candidates can list between zero and four subject areas in which they work. (In 2011 they were allowed to list a maximum of three; in all other years, a maximum of four.) 

First, I looked at all subject areas ("All Areas") that candidates listed in a given year. For example, if Candidate A listed "Tax, Con Law, Civ Pro" (interesting candidate!), then this person would be responsible for three entries in the below compilation. As you can see, Crim and Civ Pro lead the pack each year. Other 1L subjects are also very popular. (Click for bigger graphics.)

All Subject Areas Count.20180523
All Subject Areas Count.20180523
All Subject Areas Count.20180523

I did not see any areas where the raw number of hires stayed fixed across time, though the percentage of hires did seem to remain roughly steady.

Second, I looked at just Area 1 -- that is, the subject area that the candidate listed first. So, for example, Candidate A, our "Tax, Con Law, Civ Pro" candidate, would be responsible for only one entry on in this compilation: Tax. This might represent the person's main area of interest. The results were similar here. (Click for bigger graphics.)

Area 1 Count.20180523
Area 1 Count.20180523
Area 1 Count.20180523

Below the fold, a list of every subject area listed in any year. And for those of you who really want to play around with this, here is a link to the raw data, cleaned up a little. It is yearning for more pivot charts.

All Areas, All Years

Academic Success





Agency & Partnership


American Indian Law

American Legal History

Antidiscrimination Law


Appellate Practice


Arctic Law

Art Law




Behavioral Law & Econ



British Legal History

Bus Orgs

Business Ethics

Business Law

Business Reorgs

Capital Markets Regulation


Child/Family & State

Chinese Law

Civ Pro

Civil Litigation

Civil Rights

Civil/Comparative Law

Climate Change


Collateral Consequences

Commercial Arbitration

Commercial Law

Community Property

Comparative Con Law

Comparative Law

Complex Litigation

Con Law

Conflicts of Law

Constitutional Design

Consumer Finance

Consumer Law




Corporate Finance

Corporate Fraud

Corporate Governance




Crim Justice Administration

Crim Pro

Criminal Defense

Critical Legal Studies

Critical Legal Theory

Critical Race Theory

Cross-Border Business

Cross-Border Insolvency

Cultural Property

Cyber Law


Death Penalty

Debtor and Creditor

Disability Law

Disaster Law

Dispute Resolution

Diversity & Law

Domestic Violence


Elder Law

Election Law

Empirical Legal Studies

Empirical Methods

Employee Benefits

Employment Disc

Employment Law

Energy Law

English Legal History


Entertainment Law





Experiential Learning

Experimental Methods in Law


Family Law


Fed Courts

Federal Sentencing


Feminist Legal Theory


Financial Institutions

Financial Reform

Financial Regulation

Financial Stability

Financial Transactions

First Amendment

Food Law & Policy

Foreign Relations

Freedom of Expression

Gender & Law

Genetics and the Law

Health Care

Health Care Financing

Health Care Reg

Health Law


History of Common Law

Housing Finance

Housing Law

Human Rights




Indigent Defense

Information Law

Information Privacy

Institutional Structures

Insurance Law

International Law

International Trade

Internet Law

Int'l Arbitration

Int'l Business Transactions

Int'l Civil Litigation

Int'l Con Law

Int'l Crim

Int'l Development

Int'l Economic Law

Int'l Economics Law

Int'l Energy Law

Int'l Financial Reg.

Int'l Human Rights

Int'l Humantarian Law

Int'l IP

Int'l Law & Dispute Settlement

Int'l Orgs

Int'l Trade and Investment

Investment Funds

Investment Law


Islamic Law

Judicial Administration

Judicial Behavior

Judicial Writing



Juvenile Justice

Labor & Employment

Labor Law

Land Use

Law & Anthropology

Law & Development

Law & Econ

Law & Finance

Law & Gender

Law & Lit

Law & Neuroscience

Law & Philosophy

Law & Psychology

Law & Religion

Law & Science

Law & Sexuality

Law & Social Movements

Law & Social Science

Law & Society

Law & Sociology

Law & Statistics

Law & Tech

Law & the Economy

Law and Citizenship

Law Firm Management

Law of Democracy

Law of the Sea

Law of War

Law of Warfare

Legal Anthropology

Legal Ethics

Legal History

Legal Philosophy

Legal Profession

Legal Theory

Legal Writing



Local Government

Machine Learning

Maritime Law

Media & Communications Law

Media Law


Medieval Law

Mergers and Acquisitions

Military Law

National Security

Natural Resources


Neuroscience & the Law


Oil & Gas

Patent Law

Police Accountability

Political Theory

Post-Conflict Justice

Post-Conflict Obligations

Post-Conviction Crim Pro

Poverty Law

Poverty, Inequality, Race & the Law

Presidential Powers

Prison Law and Policy

Prisoner's Rights


Private Int'l Law

Prof Resp


Public Int'l Law

Public Law

Race & the Law

Real Estate Law

Real Property

Refugee Law


Regulation of Police

Regulation of Risk

Regulation of Vice


Roman Law

Rule of Law

Rural Development

Science & Law

Sec Reg

Secured Transactions


Sentencing Reform

Separation of Powers

Social Enterprise

Social Welfare Law


South Asian Law & Politics

Statutory Interpretation


Tax Exempt Orgs

Technology Law




Trade Law


Transnational Litigation

Trial Ad

Trusts & Estates

Venture Capital

Veterans Law

Water Law

White Collar Crime

Wills & Trusts

Work & Family

Workplace Law

Wrongful Convictions

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 23, 2018 at 07:22 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


Such comprehensive information and so clearly put together, Sarah, thank you.

Posted by: Alexander Tsesis | Sep 5, 2018 11:32:27 AM

This may be a methodological issue, but I think if you count together "Bus Orgs", "Bus Law", "Corporate", and "Corporations" you get a result worth knowing about for "Area 1":

2011 16
2012 5
2013 3
2014 6
2015 5
2016 7
2017 6
2018 6

And that number gets a little higher if you include a few oddball subjects like "Corp Governance" and Corp Fraud".

Posted by: Anon | Jun 2, 2018 4:38:12 PM

One admin hire and two international law hires? Yikes!

Posted by: Anon | May 24, 2018 2:34:19 PM

I need a 'shaking fist at AALS' emoji. So much FAR data going to waste! They're sitting on a treasure chest. Thankfully, I have seen them be quite open to suggestions. As a law student I lobbied them to update the AALS bylaws on nondiscrimination to make gender identity and expression explicitly protected categories (which in turn would require all member schools to adopt congruent nondiscrimination policies) and checking their bylaws now they've been updated to be trans inclusive. Hurray! I wonder what the full backstory is for that 2016 vote to change.

On comprehensiveness, I bet you're hitting above 80% these days now that the reputation of the spreadsheet is so well established. It's very well known. But that's just speculation I guess. Thank you so much for doing all this work for the profession!

Posted by: Jeremy Bearer-Friend | May 24, 2018 12:34:39 PM

Jeremy, in 2013, Alexander Tsesis called every single law school to find out about their entry level hires, in order to see how many the self-reported spreadsheet had captured. He found that the spreadsheet had gotten about 83% of the new hires. (See link below.) I don't have any reason to think the accuracy has gone down since then, and it may have gone up, since I now do some outreach to schools as well as having people self report. But I think it's safe to think it's capturing between 80% and 85% of hires (and perhaps more).


As for whether AALS or SALT is keeping track of this...who knows? One could imagine a world in which AALS in particular provided all sorts of data reporting and analysis on the entry-level market; it wouldn't be difficult for them to do, and in fact they used to do so. They've pulled the page from the web, but you can see it in the Wayback Machine:



They were actually running, among other things, analyses of the FAR forms, providing information like success rate overall, success rate by gender and race, etc.

Alas, those days are over.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 24, 2018 9:58:49 AM

This is so fascinating. Thank you. I'm struck by the fact that substantial majority of new hires do not list a 1L required course as their primary area. Possibly a strategy for signaling one is a specialist? Most common specialty outside 1L classes seems to be IP, consistently beating torts, contracts, and con law for area 1. And that no one area crosses the 10 percent mark makes the market seem quite consistently diverse.

Separately, I hope AALS or SALT track the total number of entry-level, tenure track hires so can know what proportion of hires are captured by the self-reported spreadsheet. For all the dues schools are paying seems like this is something they should be tracking, too (or could be compensating you for!)

Posted by: Jeremy Bearer-Friend | May 23, 2018 11:28:53 PM

That's a whole lotta "other"! I find that sort of encouraging about the range of subjects people are getting hired to teach.

One thing I think can be gleaned from the "Area 1" chart is that many successful candidates do not list their "service" course / 1st year course as their #1 field. Perhaps, I would like to think, they are listing their real #1 interest as their #1 interest.

Posted by: Joey Fishkin | May 23, 2018 11:22:04 PM

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