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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Law School Hiring Spreadsheet and Clearinghouse for Questions, 2018-2019

In a radical departure from past practice, this year the Hiring Spreadsheet post and the Clearinghouse for Questions post will live together in one post (quel scandale! cats and dogs! etc.). This very post, to be specific. (Last year, there were zero comments on the Hiring Thread post, because everyone just put the information in the spreadsheet. So I figured, let's combine them in one action-packed post! Spreadsheet and comments! Woohoo!)

I. The Spreadsheet

In the spreadsheet, you can enter information regarding whether you have received

(a) a first round interview at a school (including the subject areas the school mentioned, if any, as being of particular interest, and whether the interview offer was accepted);

(b)  a callback from a law school and/or accepted it; or

(c) an offer from a law school and/or accepted it; feel free to also leave details about the offer, including teaching load, research leave, etc. A school listed as "offer accepted" may have made more than one offer and may still have some slots open.

Law professors may also choose to provide information that is relevant to the entry-level market.  

Anyone can edit the spreadsheet; I will not be editing it or otherwise monitoring it. It is available here:

II. The Comment Thread

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.

You may want to take a look at the many questions and answers in the threads from 2014-20152015-20162016-2017. and 2017-2018. In general, there's quite a cache of materials relevant to the law job market under the archive categories Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market and Entry Level Hiring Report.

Update: Comments have been changed to appear in order of newest to oldest. So the most recent comments are on the first page.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 23, 2018 at 09:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


Law faculty layoffs are not common in T100, but when they happen, the faculty are in a tough spot. No law firm or in-house department will want to touch them, and it's hard to get another faculty job. (Of course, there are exceptions for the superstars, but they tend not to be affected by layoffs).

Posted by: anon | Nov 12, 2018 3:05:23 PM

I believe Seton Hall a few years ago either laid off or had a faculty buy out? If the economy busts these lower ranked schools won't think twice of downsizing faculty, especially if they are not connected to a larger university (where they sometimes can be saved). It's not too common among the T50 but I do recall the seton hall one from a few years ago.

Posted by: anon | Nov 12, 2018 2:43:39 PM


Posted by: anon | Nov 12, 2018 12:47:24 PM

Had no idea faculty layoffs were a thing for tenure-track faculty. How much of a concern is this with T50 programs? T20?

Posted by: anon | Nov 12, 2018 12:42:12 PM

I am fortunate enough to have two offers now, both in nice locations, and the prospect of faculty layoffs is my biggest concern. What questions should I be asking about school finances? Neither school is part of a state university so the public information is pretty limited.

Posted by: anon | Nov 12, 2018 12:30:59 PM

Differences in ranking are not linear. The difference between 3 and 23 is enormous. The difference between 60 and 80 is non-existent.

For career purposes, the over-riding question you need to be asking yourself when comparing schools is: what are the odds that this school lays off non-tenured faculty in the next seven years? This requires some discreet digging into finances, when you're comparing offers.

Posted by: Committee Member | Nov 12, 2018 12:20:08 PM

Related to the ongoing discussion, I've heard rumors about certain programs (where I have flyouts) being utterly toxic workplaces, though this may be invisible during an actual visit. Has anyone who's been on the market previously run into this? Did it influence your decision-making?

Posted by: anon | Nov 12, 2018 12:13:39 PM

I agree with everything anon at 11:52:27 AM said.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 12, 2018 12:06:18 PM

That's a personal question that everyone has to answer for themselves, but I wouldn't get overly caught up in rankings. When I was on the market, I walked away from schools ranked far higher than the one where I landed because this one was a better fit for me long-term, and I have never once regretted it. It might be different if the second school was ranked 50+ spots different, but I wouldn't change my future for 20 spots.

A few things I would consider. First, it can be hard to tell from a ranking whether a school's best days are ahead of them or behind them. Look carefully at a university's support for the law school, especially in this financial climate. Ask hard questions. Have they been hiring? Have people been leaving? Are their policies becoming more or less favorable for students and faculty?

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, where do you want to live for the next 20-30 years? Sure, maybe you will be able to move, but I wouldn't count on it. So assuming you stay at that school in that geographic area for your career, would you be happy? Can you accomplish all of the things personally and professionally that you might want to do in that area (including outside of your job as a law professor)?

Finally, who will you be working with? Have both schools been hiring a lot recently or would you be one of 2-3 other junior faculty members? Are there people in your field who can serve as mentors at that school or nearby, and do they seem inclined to serve in that role? Rankings matter in some ways, but if they are both good schools, I wouldn't turn over your future to Bob Morse and his algorithms.

Posted by: anon | Nov 12, 2018 11:52:27 AM

I think once you get below a certain number (and one could debate where that number is), ranking matters less than other aspects. In addition to the factors pointed out by others I'd also consider a school's regional / local reputation, the strength of the local legal market, and student employment outcomes. I find that student well-being very much affects my own mood and it's nice to work at a school where most students find paid jobs for their 2L summer and have employment lined up during 3L.

Posted by: newishprof | Nov 12, 2018 11:12:02 AM

In my view, ranking should not matter as such. The real question is: can you do what you want to do with your career from the school(s) that has given you an offer? Ranking can be a proxy for professional opportunities, but it's an imperfect one at best. Consider carefully what you want out of being a professor (contrary to the common wisdom, there are various ways to approach this) and then find better metrics to assess whether you'll be able to do that at the school. If you want to build a national reputation as a scholar, look at what the faculty are doing at the school. Do they publish well and often? Do they host internal and external workshops and colloquia? Are the expectations at tenure in line with what you'll expect for yourself? Is the location such that you have access to the professional networks you need to succeed in your field (i.e., are there other faculty nearby to geek out with, is it easy to travel to the conferences you need to go to). If your priority is teaching and mentoring students, is that a priority that your new colleagues share? Will you have support to become an excellent teacher? Are these aspects of the job the ones that will be valued in the tenure process? If none of the offers you have are from schools where you would ideally spend your entire career, will you have access to the opportunities you need to make yourself a desirable lateral candidate.

On all of these points, ranking may have a little something to say. But not much.

And of course, as the prior commenter already cogently explained, the other side of the equation is your personal preferences and needs re: location.

Posted by: Anonprof re: ranking | Nov 12, 2018 10:50:57 AM

No one can really answer the question of rankings versus other stuff for you because you are largely weighing personal factors against the ranking. How much worse is city in which the better ranked school is located? How much does this matter to you? If you are a homebody, maybe you don't care. If you are single, it might matter more (presuming that your chances of dying alone are better in a larger city and that the better city is indeed larger). If you are bringing a partner along, what are his or her relative career prospects in those places? Do you have friends in the city in which the lower ranked school is located? Which school is closer to your family? How did you feel about the colleagues at the two schools, particularly the people you could be working closely with? Etc. It is difficult for anyone to advise you on these sorts of things. If the benefits to the lower ranked school are "slight" as you suggest here and the higher ranked school is a full 15-20 points higher, I would go with the higher ranked school, but if the benefits aren't so "slight" and there are many of them, I would seriously entertain both offers.

Posted by: anonprof | Nov 12, 2018 12:26:59 AM

How much should candidates weigh school ranking in their decision if in the miraculous position of having two offers? I assume it's safe to say that a ranking of a few spots doesn't matter, but what about say a school ranked 25 versus 40, or 50 versus 70? At that point is ranking correlated with opportunities to publish, etc. in a way that is worth considering, even if the lower-ranked option is slightly more desirable geographically or has some other slight benefit? In other words, how much should ranking factor into the decision?

Posted by: anonanon | Nov 11, 2018 11:54:58 PM

Dear Committee Members -- Other disciplines do tell candidates that they have been short-listed, but didn't make the top 3, etc. I have been short-listed when I was on the market. The hiring committee chair sent me a very nice email, saying it was a difficult decision, but that he would be in touch if something falls through with the other 3 candidates. I have no ill feelings toward the committee or the school. I sincerely appreciate how candid and open they were. My experience with other schools in different disciplines shows that this is not unusual practice. Why not offer candidates in the legal academy the same type of respect and empathy that at least some candidates are afforded in other disciplines?

Posted by: anon_prof_at_a_nonlawschool | Nov 11, 2018 7:01:17 PM

Do all schools offer a "fly-back" once they make you an offer? Or does it just depend on the school?

Posted by: anon | Nov 11, 2018 6:46:04 PM

I would just say to current faculty: it doesn’t help the anxiety for you to email us and tell us everyone loved us, that the vote is happening on a certain night, and that we should expect to hear something by the end of the week. Because when the end of the week comes and goes, we then start wondering if we should follow up. This is especially true if the committee member doesn’t then follow up to let you know what is causing the delay. I think of it as search committee malpractice to send an email like that and then just leave things hanging. It unnecessarily gets hopes up, especially if the committee member can’t guarantee how the vote is going to go and subsequently doesn’t want the candidate to follow up.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 11, 2018 2:29:39 PM

I just want to second the person who said do not contact the committee unless you have another offer. I know this is a ridiculous process and the waiting is torture, but contacting the committee will just make things awkward.

Posted by: CommitteeMember | Nov 11, 2018 1:36:36 PM

There is absolutely no benefit to asking if you are in an "acceptable" group of candidates. The only valid reason to ask for your status is if you have a competing offer.

I know it's hard, but you really can't take this personally. Law faculty hiring, in particular, is very subjective. And 9 out of 10 times, a rejection is due to circumstances out of your control. You may have given an outstanding job talk about tax law, but the school has a need for a property professor, so the school chooses a property-focused candidate. Also -- and I have seen this happen a few times -- a more senior prof will undermine a great job candidate's chances because the professor has a similar specialty and views the candidate as a threat.

Just focus on giving the best job talk possible, doing well in your interviews, and having your references go to bat for you. The rest is really out of your control, and bugging the committee about whether you are acceptable is not going to help you.

Posted by: another prof | Nov 10, 2018 9:27:38 PM

Thank you for the insight. Is there any socially acceptable way to politely ask if you are in the acceptable group?

Posted by: anon | Nov 10, 2018 3:06:16 PM

If you know the school has voted and you have not heard anything, then that likely means one of three things: 1) the school has not yet received permission to extend the offer (at most schools they have to get University permission for every step in the process); 2) you were voted "unacceptable" and will not be getting an offer even if everyone else in the pool declines the offer; or 3) you were voted "acceptable," and the offer will come to you if the person(s) ahead of you turn it down.

Most schools get very quiet around this time because the above scenarios are uncomfortable to communicate. Typically, they'll never tell you that you were found unacceptable; you'll just never hear back from the school. As for the third scenario, the fear is that a candidate will feel offended that they know they weren't first choice and/or the school will become less attractive to the candidate. What most candidates need to realize, however, is that if you are voted acceptable, it means the faculty would be delighted to have you join them, and the ranking of the candidates can be influenced by a number of factors outside of merit or faculty interest in the particular candidate. Also, on any given faculty, you'll find many folks who were not first choice. It just doesn't matter.

Posted by: anonprof | Nov 10, 2018 12:02:54 PM

I completed a callback and I have a feeling that I am not the #1 person on the list of people the school wants to extend an offer to, but may be further down on the list. How would we know if we are further down the list? Silence around the time they said they would make offers? Or is it customary for the school to let the alternate candidates know in some way? Lastly, is it all appropriate to ask?

Posted by: anon | Nov 10, 2018 11:23:55 AM

In case anyone is unsure of the typical process, the school completes all the callbacks for a particular position and then schedules a meeting. Those meetings can be hard to schedule, but it's at that meeting that the faculty will vote. Thus, if you were an early callback, you might have to wait several weeks.

Posted by: anonprof | Nov 9, 2018 8:53:25 AM

anon Nov 7, 2018 7:30:42 PM: There is no prescribed period of time. For example, if you were among one of the first callbacks at that school, it could be a long while, whereas if you were among the last, it could be less time.

Posted by: anonprof | Nov 9, 2018 1:48:02 AM

anon | Nov 7, 2018 7:30:42 PM,

I'm currently on the market, so I'm not a veteran source of knowledge here, but if you have already had a callback and need to know your status for some reason (e.g. another offer), I think you should feel comfortable reaching out and asking directly.

To answer your question, though, it is still quite early in the call-back process, so I don't think you should be close to assuming you are out of the running just because you haven't heard anything.

Posted by: to anon | Nov 7, 2018 7:35:47 PM

How long after a callback should I assume I'm no longer in the running?

Posted by: anon | Nov 7, 2018 7:30:42 PM

Hi PaperLess,

IMO, asking for your job talk paper is not code for summarize your existing research. It means that they would like to see a draft of your ready-to-publish paper. So, yes, I would expand one of the papers in your research paper into an article that you can share with the committee.

Good luck!

Posted by: Matthew Bruckner | Nov 5, 2018 8:42:35 PM

I'm aware that JMU has extended offers to interview for their B school.

Posted by: B School | Nov 5, 2018 8:36:14 PM

Don't play games. If the interview didn't go well on their end, it didn't go well. If you know, you know. Say no thank you now. Somebody may very well want that position notwithstanding the situation and you're doing them and the law school a favor by letting them know you aren't interested at the earliest possible time.

Posted by: anonprof | Nov 5, 2018 11:17:20 AM

I am in a similar situation to [anon|Nov 5, 2018 8:04:52 AM]. I've been in private practice at a large firm but have managed to publish quite a bit on the side. Multiple interviews and call backs, including one at a school outside the T100. My experience with that school was different, however. All of the faculty seemed to enjoy each other and the school and understood that its unique mission and circumstances helped it serve a class of students that otherwise get overlooked. It also seems to be financially stable (although I'll dig into that a bit more if I get an offer). I would be very grateful to join academia there (no offer yet, but fingers crossed). I only share this because I was surprised at the general attitude and culture at the school. They didn't seem to have any qualms at all about not being a T100 law school, and people genuinely seem to enjoy being there (recognizing, of course, that every institution has its weaknesses and politics). My visit opened my eyes and made me realize that I need to avoid my inclination to get hung up on rankings or the prestige of the school. There are diamonds in the rough out there where people can have fabulous careers as academics.

Posted by: Anonymous | Nov 5, 2018 11:14:13 AM

You may be able to leverage the offer in regard to your other callback, so I would not withdraw.

Posted by: anon | Nov 5, 2018 10:06:54 AM

You may be able to leverage the offer in regard to your other callback, so I would not withdraw.

Posted by: anon | Nov 5, 2018 10:06:53 AM

My take on whether one should proactively turn down an offer: don't do it. At this point you've already done the callback, the school has invested significant resources in you, and some face saving is called for. So I think it's best to wait and if you get an offer, appear appropriately thankful and say you'll need some time to mull it over. Then call the Dean (or whoever communicated the offer) a few days later and say that regrettably you are not in a position to accept. If plausible, you may want to blame it on location / family / a desire to stay in practice a bit longer. Otherwise you could just say that after visiting you realized you aren't a good match for the school.

Posted by: newishprof | Nov 5, 2018 9:51:22 AM

I'm currently in practice but have managed to publish quite a bit on the side. I received two callbacks. One is my dream job, and I loved the people there. The other was just full of miserable professors who seemed to hate the school and question its long-term viability (it's not in the T100). Both schools said they should have an idea of offer status in mid-November after they do their callbacks. If I only received an offer from the second school, I don't think I'd be able to take it because it just does not seem like a healthy work environment. I'd sooner stay in biglaw. Should I tell the school now that they should take me out of the running, or should I just wait to see what happens? I assume there is someone who wants to work there, so I'd like to increase the chances of that person getting an offer.

Posted by: anon | Nov 5, 2018 8:04:52 AM

I would say by the end of the end of November, at least 40% of all first offers have gone out; by the end of the first week of December, 60%; and by mid-December, 80%.

Posted by: lawprof | Nov 4, 2018 10:41:10 PM

Sorry, at *what point

Posted by: anon | Nov 4, 2018 10:07:35 PM

Are offers made on a rolling basis? At one point (e.g. mid-November, beginning of December) would you estimate that 50% of all offers have been made?

Posted by: anon | Nov 4, 2018 10:07:07 PM

Five callbacks from eight AALS interviews, so I feel lucky. Just had my first callback on Wed. and it went fine but no offer yet. My other four callbacks are in the next two weeks. Will feel relieved when it is over.

Posted by: anon | Nov 3, 2018 11:58:51 AM

AnonyMouse | Oct 30, 2018 11:54:13 PM

Bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes. If you get an offer at a T100, I would go with that. Plenty of fellows struggle or even strike out on the market -- it's not a guarantee of a T25 offer. As others have said, fellowships help you get a first look in places you might not have otherwise at most. Your characteristics are what closes the deal.

Posted by: anonjunior | Nov 3, 2018 9:13:57 AM

Well, now that all the calls are over, how did people do and how does everyone feel about this process?

Posted by: anon | Nov 3, 2018 8:47:43 AM

Any suggestions out there for those of us preparing job talks for callback interviews who do not have any published or ready-to-publish papers? I am being asked for a job talk paper, which seems to be code for "summarize your existing research". I already prepared a research agenda, should simply expand that into a job talk paper?

Posted by: PaperLess | Nov 2, 2018 10:52:20 PM

anoncandidate, if you click on "the public" in the job posting, you will see the exceptions for non-citizens. I think you do need citizenship to be hired. Sorry to disappoint.

Posted by: anon | Oct 31, 2018 3:00:16 AM

Any opinions out there on the NYU Lawyering program as a type of holding-pattern/fellowship opportunity for those making the move into academia? I have been invited to interview with the NYU and, while I am also lucky to have call-backs at a few T100 schools, I am wondering if something like the NYU program is the key to gaining access to entry-level positions in the T25 schools.

Posted by: AnonyMouse | Oct 30, 2018 11:54:13 PM

I'm a candidate on the market this year. I had a handful of interviews, and I've also been on the market in the past with a handful of interviews. One of my recent interviews was particularly unpleasant--probably the worst I've ever had. It was clear right away that a faculty member strongly disliked my most recent article, and I spent most of the interview fielding overtly hostile questions about the piece. I understand and welcome intellectually rigorous and critical conversations, but this was borderline bullying. It threw me for the rest of the day and for the rest of my interviews. It's unclear to me why a hiring committee member would be so aggressive during an initial interview. The process is emotionally and mentally exhausting, and it seems unnecessary to make the experience even worse. I guess my point, aside from venting, is just to ask future hiring committees to be empathetic and kind.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 30, 2018 4:24:37 PM

Has anyone heard back from any of the business schools that are hiring? I know GA had screening interviews.

Posted by: asdfsadfjsdflll | Oct 30, 2018 12:53:14 PM

Tim, I'm a JD/PhD candidate and interested in the Federal Judicial Center position, but I'm not a U.S. citizen. Do you know if U.S. citizenship is required? The posting says it is required, subject to some exceptions, but I can't find those exceptions anywhere.. Thanks!

Posted by: anoncandidate | Oct 30, 2018 12:51:00 PM

One last reminder: tomorrow is the deadline to apply for the Federal Judicial Center job. https://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2018/10/federal-judicial-center-job-posting.html

Those of you who have J.D./Ph.D. have no reason not to apply while you wait for callbacks or offers.

Good luck!

Posted by: Timothy Lau | Oct 30, 2018 11:29:48 AM

At my school we don't make offers til everyone comes through. So December/January.

Posted by: Junior Prof | Oct 30, 2018 12:04:07 AM

Do you know if they had short deadlines to respond (two weeks-ish)?

Posted by: anon | Oct 29, 2018 11:02:04 PM

I know of at least two offers made to two different candidates. I don't believe they have either accepted or rejected yet.

Posted by: AnonT | Oct 29, 2018 6:26:35 PM

Has anyone heard of offers going out? I had heard rumors before AALS that many schools would do exploding offers so just curious if that seems to be starting...

Posted by: Anonnn | Oct 28, 2018 11:59:02 PM

If the school where you are interviewing is a significant step up from your current school, then it probably isn't going to hurt you with your current school if they find out. In my experience, that sort of thing shows that you are in demand. If, on the other hand, you're at a T25 school and interviewing at an unaccredited law school because it's in a better location, then that might hurt you a bit.

Posted by: anon | Oct 28, 2018 10:58:39 PM

Interesting. I agree that faculties shouldn't "blab" and it's unprofessional, but it 1) happens all the time and 2) probably isn't a "fireable offense" (under tenure policies).

Posted by: anon | Oct 28, 2018 10:31:26 PM

Why did s/he turn down the lateral offer?

Posted by: anonynouse | Oct 28, 2018 5:17:51 PM

How did your friend’s school learn that he was interviewing?

Posted by: anon | Oct 28, 2018 5:15:11 PM

Junior Prof -- Had a friend who interviewed at another school, got a lateral offer, and turned it down to stay a the original school. Was treated poorly after that for even deigning to do an interview somewhere else. It really depends on the culture of your school. YMMV.

Posted by: anon | Oct 28, 2018 5:07:05 PM

At my state school, the hiring committee cannot call the current employer without applicant approval. All participants in the hiring process are reminded of confidentiality policies. It would be a fireable offense for a faculty member to go blabbing about the candidate to someone outside the school. It might be that we are a state school and face a number of HR rules that you don’t see as much elsewhere.

Posted by: anon | Oct 28, 2018 3:18:36 PM

Junior prof - of course there is a chance that someone would tell someone else who would tell someone else who would tell someone in your school. Law professors are gossipy. That said, even if your school finds out, it shouldn't hurt your standing. If your school likes you, they will want you to stay. If not, then you already were in trouble anyway. Lateral interviews/job talks are not extraordinary events; they happen quite often.

Posted by: anon | Oct 28, 2018 11:59:46 AM

To Junior Prof: even if the school where you applied *said* they'd keep it confidential, and you can trust the hiring committee, if you go give a talk you're now in front of 30 people on the faculty. While they *should* respect your request for confidentiality, people do talk, and with that that many people, it's hard to keep a secret. Also, bear in mind that some schools will want to talk to your dean/associate dean after you have a callback but before extending an offer. What I think I'm saying is that you might want to think about strategy/plans for what happens if someone does talk.

Posted by: anon | Oct 28, 2018 11:45:46 AM

Has anyone heard of anyone with a Penn callback?

Posted by: Nona | Oct 28, 2018 11:27:50 AM

I’m a junior lateral candidate. I like my current law school but there was an opening in my field at a good school in a better location. I applied and have a job talk next month. Should I expect the hiring committee will understand that they should not let people at my current school know that I am interviewing? That would make life difficult for me, especially if I didn’t get the job. I gave them references who are not currently at my school and did not receive a further request.

Posted by: anon | Oct 28, 2018 7:28:58 AM

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