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Monday, May 21, 2018

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2018

Following is a data summary of the Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report for 2018. To remain consistent with past years, while the spreadsheet contains all hiring information received, the data analysis includes only tenure-track hires at U.S. law schools. (The data analysis also includes one hire requested not to be included in the spreadsheet at the date of this posting, although the person will eventually be included in the spreadsheet.)

Here is the full spreadsheet:

The data includes 77 tenure-track hires at U.S. law schools, at 57 different law schools.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: How does 77 reported hires compare to past years?

A: This is an improvement from 2017, and with this last year, it begins to look like we hit the “new normal” in 2014 and have seen fluctuations from around that level since then. The average number of hires per year since 2014 is 73. (I omit 2010 in this and all subsequent cross-year comparisons because insufficient data was collected that year.)

Hires over Time.20180528

The ratio of hires to first-round FAR forms is also up slightly (click chart for bigger version):

Hires per FAR.20180524

Hires per FAR Chart.20180528

Q: You say the hires were at 57 different schools. How does that compare to previous years?

A: Many more schools hired this year than last year. The number of schools hiring was comparable to previous years since 2014.

Schools Hiring.20180524

Hires per school per year may also be of interest:

Hires per School.20180528

Q: How many reported hires got their JD from School X?

JD School.20180528

Yale 18; Columbia 8; NYU 8; Harvard 6; Stanford 4; Vanderbilt 3.

Schools in the “other” category with two JD/LLBs who reported hires: BYU, Chicago, Georgetown.

Schools in the “other” category with one JD/LLB who reported hires: American, Belarusian State U, Berkeley, Boston College, Boston University, Chicago-Kent, Cologne, Duke, Fordham, Georgia, Hebrew University, Kentucky, Lisbon, LSU, Michigan, Northeastern, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn, Texas, Queensland, UBC, UCLA, USC.

This information comes with two related caveats.

First, the spreadsheet reports the number of hires who received a JD from a particular school who accepted a tenure-track job, but not the number of JDs on the market who received a tenure-track job offer.

Second, the spreadsheet reports the count of JDs from a particular school, but not the rate at which JDs received (or accepted) offers. A smaller school with a high placement rate thus might not appear on the chart, whereas a larger program with a low placement rate might appear. This caveat means that smaller schools may be undervalued if one relies only on this data, while larger schools might be overvalued. 

Q: How many reported hires had a fellowship, degree, or clerkship?

56 (about 74%) had a fellowship; 42 (about 55%) had a clerkship; 54 (about 70%) had a higher degree. Three reported hires didn’t have either an advanced degree or a fellowship.

Venn diagram:

Venn Diagram.20190102

Q: Not as many fellowships...

A: Yes, the rate of fellowships remains high, though lower than it has been since 2012.

Fellowship Rate.20180528

 Q: From what law schools  did people get these fellowships?

I count here any law school at which a person reports having a fellowship. So one person could account for two schools’ being listed here. For example, if a single individual had a fellowship at Columbia followed by a fellowship at NYU, that would be reflected below as +1 to Columbia and +1 to NYU.

Fellowship School.20180524

Columbia 10; NYU 8; Yale 7; Harvard 6; Chicago 4; Georgetown 4; Other 25.

This information comes with the same two caveats as the JD numbers.

First, the spreadsheet reports the number of hires who received a fellowship from a particular school who accepted a tenure-track job, but not the number of fellows who received a tenure-track job offer. This caveat likely applies to all or nearly all fellowship programs. Presumably, someone choosing between fellowships cares more about how many people received tenure-track job offers than about how many people accepted those offers.

Second, the spreadsheet reports the count of fellows, but not the rate at which fellows received (or accepted) offers. A smaller program with a high placement rate thus might not appear on the chart, whereas a larger program with a low placement rate might appear. This caveat means that smaller programs may be undervalued if one relies only on this data, while larger programs might be overvalued.

Q: Tell me more about these advanced degrees. 

Okay, but first a caveat: Although some people had more than one advanced degree, the following looks only at what seemed to me to be the "highest" degree someone earned. For example, someone with a Ph.D. and an LL.M. would be counted only as a Ph.D. for purposes of this question. (This tracks the "Other Degree (1)" column.)

That said, looking only at what seemed to be the most advanced degree, and including expected degrees, the 52 "highest" advanced degrees broke down like this:

Highest Degree.20180528

Ph.D., SJD, JSD, D.Phil. 36; Masters 7; LL.M. 9; MBA 1.

Topics ranged all over the map. For the 32 Ph.D.s, 7 had degrees in History or US History; 4 in Philosophy, 3 in Law, 2 in economics, 2 in sociology, and the other Ph.D./D.Phil. topics, each of which had only hire, were Anthropology, Comp Lit, Ethnomusicology, Government, JSP, Law and Economics, Law & Society, Literature, Policy Studies, Political Philosophy, Political Science, Politics, Psychology, and Statistics in Law and Government.

Q: How long ago did these reported hires get their initial law degrees?

Year of JD.20180528

Zero to Four Years (Graduated 2014-2018) 24; Five to Nine Years (Graduated 2009-2013) 31; Ten to 19 Years (Graduated 1999-2008) 20; Twenty or More Years (Graduated before 1999) 2.

Q: How do the "time since initial degree" numbers compare to previous years?

A: They are very similar.

Hires by JD Year Chart.20180528

Q: Could you break the reported hires out by men/women?


Men 38 (49%); women 39 (51%). (Let’s say this is right within +/-2 people.)

Based on a quick count of a number of years of spreadsheets that I happen to have, gender hiring over time follows. (I’ve left out the data labels because I am even less sure than usual of the exactness of the numbers, but they’re roughly right as reflections of self-reported hiring each spring—first Solum’s reports, then mine. And as always, 2010 is left out due to missing data for that year.) 

Gender Over Time.20180528

Q: More slicing! More dicing! Different slicing! Different dicing!

Sure--you can do it yourself, or ask questions in the comments and I'll see what I can do, or we'll work it out as a group.

Q: This is all wrong! I know for a fact that more people from School Y were hired!

Yes, this spreadsheet is certainly missing some information. Repeat: this spreadsheet is incomplete. It represents only those entry-level hires that were reported to me, either through the comments on this blog or via email. It is without question incomplete. 

If you want to know about real entry level hiring, I commend to you Brian Leiter's report (hiring 1995-2011), the Katz et al. article (all law professors as of 2008), the George and Yoon article (entry level, 2007-2008 hiring year), and the Tsesis Report (entry level, 2012-2013 hiring year). This is just a report about self-reported entry level hires as of the spring before the school year starts. 

Q: Is this available in an easy-to-print format?

A: Why, as it happens, yes!

Originally posted 5/21/2018; revised 5/24/2018 and 5/28/2018 to add one hire each time and fix some errors; revised 7/12/2018 to make the written numbers under the graph for "Year of JD" match the graph (the PDF was already correct); revised 1/2/2019 to correct numbers in the Venn diagram and similarly update the PDF.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 21, 2018 at 10:43 AM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


Jeremy, I agree that it would be very interesting to use the FAR book to see the ratio of hires to entry level hires in an area. The FAR forms, however, cannot be used for any type of research.

I will take a look at your other question regarding subject areas--even without the FAR forms as a basis I think we could get some interesting information.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 23, 2018 10:03:00 AM

This is such an invaluable resource. Thank you!

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 also am unsure who has access to the FAR book data, but knowing the ratio of # of candidates listing an area of law in FAR to # of entry-level hires in that area would be fascinating (ie; whether certain areas have higher placement rates). There seem to be certain rules of thumb on the market about which fields have better hire rates, but this FAR ratio would actually show whether it's true.

Posted by: Jeremy Bearer-Friend | May 22, 2018 11:57:44 AM

Sarah, a related question: Am I right that these numbers are for all tenure-track hiring, whether for clinical positions or for non-clinical positions? I ask that because I have a vague impression of a trend toward making entry-level clinical positions tenure-track instead of non-tenure track. If that trend is happening -- a big if, of course --I wonder how that may be changing the tenure-track numbers you find.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | May 21, 2018 7:18:29 PM

Always super helpful, Sarah.

One interesting question to see would be percent of hires over time that have a doctorate degree. Just eyeballing it from past reports, my sense is that it looks like this for the last four years:

2015: 26% (18/70)
2016: 25% (21/83)
2017: 42% (26/62)
2018: 39% (29/75)

Perhaps this suggests that the jump in % of hires with doctorate degrees was not just a one-year fluke but rather a new normal? I don't know, just something perhaps of interest.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | May 21, 2018 6:54:26 PM

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