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Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2019: Venn Over Time

A commenter on the main entry level hiring report drew attention to the fact that no reported entry level hires this year have no fellowship, clerkship, or advanced degree. It struck me that it might be interesting to look over time at two categories of the Venn diagram related to fellowships, degrees, and clerkships: hires that have all three credentials, and hires that have none of the credentials.

Fellowships Clerkship Advanced Degree.20190605
Fellowships Clerkship Advanced Degree.20190605

As the commenter suggested, there does appear to have been a shift in each of these two groups over time.


Posted by Sarah Lawsky on June 5, 2019 at 10:23 AM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


Anon #72 - You say, in response to the above, that "hiring committees outsource their judgments to prior decision-makers." I don't see it; what is your basis for this claim?

Posted by: aa | Jun 16, 2019 8:34:56 PM

Everyone insists that quality of scholarship is the most important, and perhaps only important factor in hiring, but there seems to be every indication that hiring committees outsource their judgments to prior decision-makers, including judges that rely on faculty recommending their RA's, fellowship committee chairs that rely on JD granting schools which in turn rely on LSAT preparation, and PhD admission committees that rely on GRE scores and undergraduate school prestige, which is itself a function of SAT testing preparation.

The legal academy is, in effect, allowing its entry decisions to be filtered through standardized tests taken at around 17 and 21 years of age with scores that closely correlate to parental wealth largely because they're highly trainable with time and money.

What if, as an experiment, a hiring committee tried the following a/b test practice:

1. Before receiving the first AALS distribution, ask applicants to send their job talk or most recent publication into a secretary in a word document, who removes author identifying information, acknowledgments and journal placement. Have the committee members each pick out and rank the papers some number of papers they think are best for the position they aim to fill, with committee members recusing themselves from considering papers whose authors they can recognize.

2. Compare the list produced by the above procedure to the list of candidates the committee actually invites for an interview.

I can't know how this would turn out, but it would be shocking to me if the first list had the same ubiquity of fellows, clerks and PhDs as the second list. If there was a substantial divergence it might provide a fairly strong indication that fellowships, clerkships and PhDs are not 'onramps' to the legal academy but defacto prerequisites, and rather than benefitting entry level candidates.

Posted by: Anon #72 | Jun 16, 2019 8:15:47 PM

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