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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2019

Following is a data summary of the Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report for 2019. 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 several hires who requested not to be included in the spreadsheet at the date of this posting, although the people will eventually be included in the spreadsheet.) 

Here is the full spreadsheet:

The data includes 82 tenure-track hires at U.S. law schools, at 60 different law schools.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: How does 81 reported hires compare to past years?

A: Quite similar. It appears that 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 74. (I omit 2010 in this and all subsequent cross-year comparisons because insufficient data was collected that year.)

Reported Hires.20190618

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

Hires per FAR.20190618

Hires per FAR Chart.20190618

Q: You say the hires were at 59 different schools. How does that compare to previous years?

A: The number of schools hiring was comparable to previous years since 2014.

Schools Hiring.20190618

Hires per school per year may also be of interest:

Hires per School.20190618

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

JD From

Yale 12; Harvard 11; NYU 7; Stanford 7; Michigan 6; Chicago 5; Berkeley 3; Vanderbilt 3; Virginia 3.

Schools in the “fewer than three hires” category with two JD/LLBs who reported hires: Boston University, Columbia, Georgetown, Northwestern.

Schools in the “fewer than three hires” category with one JD/LLB who reported hires: Arizona, Arkansas-Fayetteville, Cornell, DePaul, Duke, East China University, Haifa, Hamburg, Kansas, Penn, Pontifical Catholic, Rutgers, Seoul Nat'l U, Tel Aviv, UCLA, Washington & Lee, Washington (St. Louis).

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?

64 (about 78%) had a fellowship; 51 (about 63%) had a clerkship; 54 (about 66%) had a higher degree. Every reported hire had at least one of these credentials.

Venn diagram:


Q: Still a lot of fellowships.

A: Yes, the rate of fellowships remains high.


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.20190618

NYU 14; Columbia 8; Harvard 7; Yale 6; Chicago 5; Stanford 5; Berkeley 4; Penn 3; Virginia 4; Fewer than Three 24.

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.20190618

Doctorate (Ph.D., SJD, JSD, D.Phil.) 41; Masters 9; LL.M. 2; MBA 1; MD 1.

Topics ranged all over the map. For the 41 Doctorates, 8 had degrees in Law; 3 in Economics, 3 in History, 3 in Philosophy, 3 in Political Science, 3 in Sociology; 2 in Politics; and the other doctorate topics, each of which had only hire, were African-American Studies, Anthropology, Business & Public Policy, Corporate Law, Criminology, Ecology, Empirical Legal Studies, Government, International Relations, Law & Econ, Legal History, Managerial Econ & Strategy, Mgmt Sci & Engineering, Modern Thought & Literature, Religious Studies, Rhetoric.

Q: What is the percentage of doctorates over time?

There are a notably higher percentage of doctorates over the last three years. It will be interesting to see whether this trend continues.

Percent Doctorate.20190610

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

Year JD.20190618

Zero to Four Years (Graduated 2015-2019) 19; Five to Nine Years (Graduated 2010-2014) 34; Ten to 19 Years (Graduated 2000-2009) 28; Twenty or More Years (Graduated before 2000) 1.

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

A: They are very similar.

Years Since JD Chart.20190618

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

Men Women.20190618

Men 50 (61%); women 32 (39%). (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 Percent.20190618

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 6/5/19; updated 6/10/19, 6/13/19, 6/18/19 to reflect one additional hire each time.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on June 4, 2019 at 04:03 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


I took Sarah up on her invitation to slice and dice the data in a slightly different way. I was interested to know the percentage of doctrinal (aka podium*) hires at U.S. law schools this past year who have a Ph.D. or SJD and/or have done a fellowship/VAP. This is slightly different than the Ven diagram above because (i) it does not include other types of advanced degrees, such as an LLM or Master’s degree, and (ii) it only includes doctrinal tenure-track hires, not clinical or LRW hires. I am also not including clerkships in this count because I don’t think that they serve the same function as a Ph.D./SJD or fellowship/VAP program.

By my count, there were 71 entry-level doctrinal hires at U.S. law schools last year. It sounds like there are more who are not in the public spreadsheet, but just looking at those 71, 69 (or 97.1 percent) had a Ph.D. or SJD or had done a fellowship/VAP. We all know that Ph.D., VAPs, and fellowships are the on-ramp to our profession these days, but 97.1 percent is higher than I would have guessed before I started digging into the data. This calculation took a big of googling to supplement what is available here, so I am more than happy to share my spreadsheet if you email me.

*There isn’t a good term for this category of faculty, especially as I fully recognize that all faculty teach legal doctrine and few faculty always teach behind a podium. My point is simply that VAPs and fellowships are not as much of a required hurdle for faculty who want to teach in a clinic or legal writing program, so I wanted to focus on the particular category of faculty for whom this is the standard path.

Posted by: Jessica Erickson | Jun 6, 2019 3:54:06 PM

Thanks, Anon @ Jun 5, 2019 9:43:18 AM -- really interesting point. I put together a graph and chart to flesh out your intuition--


As you suggest, there has been a shift in these categories over time.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | Jun 5, 2019 10:24:52 AM

Note that zero hires had neither a fellowship, advanced degree, or clerkship. This number has been trending down for a while, but seems to have bottomed out.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 5, 2019 9:43:18 AM

Thanks, Sarah. I was thinking years of practice experience meant "years practicing law and not as a law clerk"

Publishing = law review articles.

Posted by: anon | Jun 5, 2019 9:19:00 AM

Yes, VAPs count as fellowships—if you scroll over on the spreadsheet there’s a column “Fellowship 1 Title,” and many are VAPs.

While both number of publications and years of practice experience would be extremely helpful and interesting, I don’t collect either because of the definitional problems around both—I don’t want to have to adjudicate anything. For example, should practitioner articles count as publications? Should long blog posts? I could just accept whatever information people gave me, but then because the definitions people would use would vary, the data would be meaningless. Similarly for practice experience. I take “years since practice” to be a very rough proxy for this, though certainly far from perfect.

These two questions get asked frequently enough that I should probably add them to the main post as...frequently asked questions.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | Jun 5, 2019 9:10:57 AM

Very interesting, Sarah - thanks for doing this (and all of the associated work) again. I'm sure it's time consuming. I'd also be interested to see "years of practice experience" and number of published articles, but I assume that all the data here comes from what was collected on the blog, and this wasn't collected. (It might become tedious for people to put in too much info, too, making it less clear that it's accurate.) Still, interesting and useful to get this information, so thanks for doing it.

Posted by: Matt | Jun 5, 2019 2:18:13 AM

kind of interesting that there is no category for "years of practice experience." That would be helpful information.

Also, do VAPs count as "fellowships"?

Posted by: anon | Jun 4, 2019 9:39:36 PM

Very interesting, thanks for another year of data.

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | Jun 4, 2019 4:26:40 PM

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