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Friday, July 19, 2019

Interview with Andrew Williams from NYU Law on NYU's Lawyering Program

Next up in my series interviewing VAP and fellowship directors is Andrew Williams, who is the Director of the Lawyering Program at New York University School of Law.  An edited transcript of our conversation is below, and I have invited Andy to respond to any questions in the comments.  Thanks, Andy, for participating in this series!

You can read more about the structure of these interviews and other caveats related to them here.  For more information about law faculty hiring generally, check out the section of the AALS's website devoted to this topic at https://teach.aals.org/.

Q. Can you tell me your role with the NYU Lawyering Program?

A. I am the director of the program.

Q. I’d love to take the fellowship program chronologically, starting with the application and then moving into the fellowship process itself and then the job market. When does the program start accepting applications?

A. We accept on a rolling basis. Our website job announcement says candidates are strongly encouraged to apply before October 1st. We actually have two different avenues.

First, we accept direct applications through our website, through Interfolio. Our website lays it out: the applications have to have a resume, a transcript, a writing sample, references, a cover letter. A research agenda is suggested but not required. Those applications come in directly, and again, we recommend them coming in before October 1st, but we accept applications after that depending on our hiring needs and how our interview process is going.

Second, we interview through AALS. We reach out to some people for applications based on FAR forms, so we go down to AALS every fall and do interviews there as well.
Those are the two ways that folks get in the door.

Q. I’d love to follow up on the AALS path. Are these candidates who are also simultaneously applying for entry-level positions? Or are these candidates who were in the AALS process solely or perhaps primarily to apply for a fellowship program?

A. Both. And I would say historically, we would often be interviewing people at AALS who were primarily not applying to other fellowships, but they weren't necessarily ready for the full teaching market yet.

Q. Do you reach out to them? Have they reached out to you? Obviously they applied through AALS, but have they also reached out to you directly?

A. Again, both. We go through the FAR forms and reach out to folks who may not know about our program and encourage them to submit materials, and then we review those materials and do interviews at AALS. Some applicants know about us and apply but through the AALS process. More and more, folks are aware of fellowships and the various opportunities, so I would say the number of people that we interview that are primarily looking for tenure-track positions at AALS has probably decreased. But we're still interviewing people who are applying for a range of positions.

Q. How are the interviews structured? Are there first round interviews? Second round interviews?

A. If we interview someone at AALS, that is a first round interview. It tends to be more informal. We're usually not doing a “summarize your job talk” interview. We're asking them why they're interested in the program, we're talking about what we do in Lawyering, we're asking them about their practice experience and teaching experience, and we ask questions about their scholarly work.

Then some of those applications from AALS join the direct applications, and a committee reviews all of those materials. The committee decides who's coming onto campus for an on-campus interview.

Our on-campus interviews typically last half of a day, and it's a series of interviews with two or three people in each interview. The interviewers are made up of the hiring committee, current Lawyering faculty, and students. Those interviews sort of take on the personality of the interviewers. Some interviews are more about scholarship, some are about experience teaching, and some are about practice. It depends on the makeup of any one of those particular interviews. But over the course of the time, candidates will need to be able to speak to all of those things.

Q. There's not a job talk as part of that, is there?

A. Not a formal job talk, no. It’s a half-day of short interviews. So we're generally looking for three things. Teaching experience and or potential as a teacher, which often means can you speak to working with junior attorneys or other mentoring experiences or actual teaching? We're looking at practice. Can you speak thoughtfully about practice? Do you have some rich practice experience? And scholarship, or potential for using this experience to build to something new, either specifically academic scholarship or it could be something else. And I can talk more about that later.

And so if a person comes in for a series of interviews in the morning, one of those interviews will be someone asking a series of questions about a scholarly piece. That's going to feel more like a job talk, but it's not going to be a formal job talk.

Q. Okay. Great. Let's take each one of those three things that you talked about one at a time, starting with teaching. What are you looking for on the teaching side? How are you gauging somebody's teaching ability?

A. I mean, that's the hardest of the three, frankly. But we're asking questions about work in a teaching/supervisory capacity. And so some folks do have some experience teaching, and that comes in a range of forms. Some people can really speak to the type of feedback or mentorship they gave in practice to more junior attorneys. Others can speak to the types of things that interest them about teaching and can articulate what they want to do but haven't had the opportunity to do before. So we ask questions in that world, and there's no one thing that we're looking for. There's a wide range of answers that people can give.

Q. How about on the practice side? How much practice experience are you looking for? I'm sure it varies, but in general.

A. Historically, we have a minimum of two years plus clerkship or three years. Our course is a simulation-based course. It's pretty teaching intensive, and it really is about thinking about practice and teaching the students to think about what it means to be a lawyer. And so we want to hire people who can talk about not just how do you write a brief, but also why does one write a brief this way, and what are you trying to achieve and what are your client's goals? We want someone who can talk about working with clients, and who can talk about those dynamics.

And we want someone who can speak to what it was like, what the pros and cons of being a lawyer were, what were the great things and the hard things? Someone who really shows some self-reflection about practice experience. Not everyone we hire will have done all of the things that we teach, but we want people who can really be thoughtful about what it means to actually be a lawyer.

Q. On the scholarly side, if we were to step back and think about your successful candidates, the candidates who make it into the Lawyering Program, how much scholarship do they tend to have before they start in the Lawyering Program? Do they have a published paper, more than published paper, just a draft? What's the norm, if there is one?

A. I don't know that there is a norm. If you can tell, we try to look pretty holistically at our candidates. Sometimes it has to do with where are they coming from and what is it that they want to do. And so it really is a wide range. We want folks who come in to be able to articulate what their interest is and what they're going to do with their time here. And often, that means, “I wrote a piece while in practice and I'm working on this other piece, and I've got this research agenda.” Sometimes it means, “I really just started thinking about what it means to do scholarship relatively recently. I want to do clinical teaching, and I've done some strong practice-oriented writing, but law review articles are new to me.”

Certainly, for any of those three things that we're looking at, the more the person can put forward, the better they're going to be as a candidate. But we've hired folks with a number of published pieces of scholarship, and we've hired people with no scholarship at all coming in.

Q. And do you have a preference for candidates with Ph.Ds.? How do you think about Ph.Ds. in the hiring process?

A. Again, it's going to be part of a package, right? Does the person have a Ph.D. but also have pretty rich practice experience? If they've been able to do both, that's a really strong candidate. But if they have a Ph.D. but they don't have any practice experience, then that's not someone that we're going to be in a position to hire. It's a good thing for a candidate to have, and we've hired plenty of people with Ph.D.s, but we've certainly hired significantly more without them.

Q. Does the program have any preferences for candidates in particular curricular areas? I've been a hiring chair for a long time. People often say that candidates in the corporate area or the criminal law area are in demand on the entry-level market. Do you take that into account when you're selecting candidates?

A. No. We do like to have a faculty with a range of practice experiences. We work as a faculty a lot. It's a very collegial faculty generally, but we also work together on curricular development. And so the more different areas of practice experience we have, the better. But I'm not sure I would say that necessarily plays a role in why any particular candidate gets hired.

Q. Okay. And do you make any special efforts to hire candidates from diverse backgrounds?

A. Absolutely.

Q. In what way?

A. We try to do as much outreach as we can. We reach out through listservs and organizations and alumni organizations. One of the reasons that we go through FAR forms and interview at AALS is to find candidates that might not know about us as a program, and who come from a wide range of backgrounds. Those are probably the two primary ways, but it’s definitely a priority for us.

Q. As I talk about this interview series on the blogs, one of the questions I keep getting is from candidates who say, "What if I don't have the traditional markers of being a law professor? Maybe I didn't go to Harvard, Yale, NYU, et cetera. I didn't do an elite clerkship. How can I stand out in the application process?" What advice would you have for those candidates?

A. We have absolutely hired from a range of experiences and a range of law schools. We're certainly looking for people who bring something, who are going to bring a richness to our program. And so if someone has some really interesting ideas and has done some really interesting practice, that is going to weigh really heavily for us. It’s not the most helpful advice, but I want to say that the way you stand out is by standing out, by having something about you that is interesting and compelling. That could come from any number of places. We certainly have hired candidates who haven't necessarily followed the most traditional path to academia, and we've then placed those candidates well on the other side. But to try to articulate what's the one thing or two things someone can do, that's a little bit harder.

Q. So we've talked about a variety of criteria that you and your committee use. Is there anything else? Any other criteria that candidates should keep in mind as they're submitting an application?

A. I think narrative matters. The committee wants a strong sense of who this person is, why this is what they want to do, and where they want to go from here, and a story that makes sense. It's a temporary position. It's a position that's practice-focused and teaching-intensive. And so someone who is able to articulate, this is what I've done and this is where I'm headed, and this is how this program really fits in that journey for me. I think that matters to our committee.

Q. Let's go back to some of the nuts and bolts. How many applications do you typically receive and how many candidates do you typically bring to campus to interview?

A. After reviewing the FAR forms and receiving materials for AALS, we usually end up doing initial interviews with about 8-10 people there. And then we receive, generally, 100-150 direct applications each year. We ultimately interview probably around 15 people on campus each year.

Q. How many fellowships are available total, and how many positions are available each year?

A. So it varies. We have 15 positions, 15 members of Lawyering faculty. And they stay two to three years, with a maximum of three years. So we hire roughly five every year. But it varies. We’ve had years where we've hired two and years where we've hired seven.

Q. And by when in the calendar year do you typically fill the positions? When would you say you're done?

A. We try to be done at the start of the spring semester. The reality is that, again, because we're a transitional program, we try to be flexible with our faculty as things come up. So if I have someone who is in the second year of the program and it's February and the perfect clinical job opens up, then we may end up with an opening that we didn't expect.
Typically we try to be finished hiring at the start of the spring, but we don't always get there.

Q. When you said that the fellowship lasts two to three years, what does that depend on? Is that at the fellow's discretion?

A. I've never had to make it not at the fellow's discretion. It's a series of up to three one-year contracts. I have not yet had to be in the position to not offer a contract for another year, so it has been at the fellow's discretion.

Q. Are you comfortable sharing how much the fellows are paid?

A. It’s $66,000 in the first year. And each renewal historically includes an annual merit increase, so a small percentage increase each year after the first full year.

Q. And do they receive health benefits?

A. Yes. They are eligible for the standard benefits of the law school, including health benefits.

Q. How about access to university or subsidized housing?

A. No. Occasionally we get lucky and an apartment opens up, but it's certainly not a guaranteed.

Q. How about travel funding or other professional development funding?

A. Yes. Conference funding. We try to fund as many conferences as we can.

Q. Is there a standard budget that they have for that?

A. Yes and no. The first conference for everyone is no questions. And then after that we look at how our collective conference budget is working and whether someone is presenting at the conference. That said, ultimately I think we are able to accommodate all conference requests. We try to make sure folks can go to any conferences they need to.

Q. And are they allowed to hire research assistants?

A. Yes. They are encouraged to.

Q. Obviously we know that going on the market is expensive. Are they reimbursed for AALS-related expenses?

A. Absolutely. AALS is treated like a conference. So it would be like going to any other conference.

Q. Okay. Now that was a lot of the nuts and bolts. Now let's turn to how to make the most of a fellowship year. How often do the fellows themselves get together, and in what capacity? Do they have their own workshop series or something like that?

A. So I'll start in June, because the position starts June 1st every year. We do a couple of weeks of introduction and curricular training and other workshops. The first week would be just the new people, and we go through the curriculum, and the second week, adding in the returning people. And then throughout the year, starting in mid-August and then as we approach each simulation throughout the year, we have Lawyering faculty meetings to talk about issues in the classroom, pedagogy, curricular decisions for the next unit, walking through it, different approaches different people have taken in the past, et cetera.

So that's sort of on the teaching side. During our June workshops, we also have sessions on making the most of your time in Lawyering: producing scholarship, getting to publication, and navigating the job market process. We also have a weekly Lawyering Scholarship Colloquium that happens all year. We invite other fellows from around the law school to participate in that as well, and the scholarship colloquium can be anything from “Hi, I'm brand new and I've got three ideas that I've got in abstract form and I want to talk them through with some people” to “I've got a job talk next week.” Most sessions fall somewhere in between, with a fellow circulating a draft or detailed outline before the session and getting detailed feedback during the session.

We also all work together in a Lawyering suite. It's a collaborative and collegial environment, so there's a lot of interaction. Stopping by each other's offices with questions and ideas for class or “I'm working on this paper, can I draw something out on the whiteboard and you let me know what you're thinking?”

Q. Do the other fellows from NYU participate in that scholarly workshop?

A. They do.

Q. Do the fellows participate in the broader intellectual life of the school? For example, NYU's broader faculty workshop?

A. Yes. So everything that is happening at the law school is open to Lawyering faculty, as with anywhere else. Informal faculty lunches and faculty workshops happen every week, and Lawyering faculty members are encouraged to attend. And, for example, the criminal law community here has the Goldstock Seminar every Tuesday and the Hoffinger Criminal Justice colloquium, and our faculty members are always really well integrated into that process.
How many different activities our folks are involved with in terms of the intellectual life of the law school sort of depends on how active that particular part of the life of the law school is. But everything is available, and it’s a very active place.

Q. Who actually supervises the fellows? Are you their direct supervisor? Is there a committee, someone else?

A. I am.

Q. Are they matched with a mentor or otherwise guided towards faculty in their area of interest? And if so, how? How does that matching happen?

A. There's not a formal mentorship. The guiding happens in a few ways, either through me and making connections with people in their practice area, or the practice area group itself if it's a particularly active one, or it could be a member of our hiring committee connecting them up with someone that they know. So we try to find different ways to connect people up to people here who will be helpful contacts for them to develop organic relationships with, but how that connection gets made sort of varies from person to person on both sides.

Q. And are they also given assistance making connections outside of the law school with faculty in their area?

A. For people who were not students at NYU Law, of course they are able to go back and reach out to the people from their former institutions. We also have an active network of former Lawyering faculty. I try to bring former Lawyering faculty in for our general workshops or during the year or set up opportunities at conferences.

Q. Okay. And how about assistance with their specific papers? You talked about the workshops where they can present their papers. Do they have people who will sit down, read their drafts, give them comments?

A. Yeah. And I think a lot of that does come through relationships developed here over time. Some of it is through these connections that we talked about, whether with former Lawyering folks or people here on the faculty. And then also our Academic Careers Program here at the law school has a number of different events that vary every year, including at least two opportunities each year specifically dedicated to being paired with a faculty member for detailed draft feedback.

Q. Let's transition over to the teaching side. You mention that they teach in the legal writing program. Tell me about those teaching responsibilities. How many students do they have? How many hours does that class meet?

A. It’s a yearlong course. It's 28 students, the same 28 students all year. And it's built around a series of simulations. So it starts with drafting an argument, and then interviewing a witness and drafting an affidavit, and then interviewing a client, doing the research memo for the client and counseling that client, often with a small mediation component. In the spring there is a transactional negotiation and then the traditional brief and oral argument. So there are a lot of writing components to it but also a number of non-writing components, other experiential components.

The course meets typically three times a week. There are certain times of year when we have, for example, student conferences on the writing, and we provide detailed feedback trying to get the students to reflect on their writing choices on both initial and revised submissions. So, especially in the fall, there may be conferences stacked up at different times of the day as well. We teach from essentially mid-August to just before Thanksgiving, and then we teach from mid-January until mid-April. There's no final exam. It's a for-credit class, not for a grade. And so when our work is done for the semester, we're done.
But certainly at the beginning of the fall, it's a pretty teaching intensive course, which is why we try to spend a lot of time thinking and talking about teaching.

Q. And are they the ones coming up with the assignments or the curriculum for those classes? Or are there other resources that they draw on for that?

A. It's a mix. We have a pretty hefty set of materials, both in the global sense of “These are the large simulations” and also “Here are some ideas of what you might want to do in your classes leading up to the simulations.” It is a course that you could come in and teach entirely from pre-existing materials.

That said, we have a lot of flexibility for coming up with new approaches and new ideas. It could be someone coming to one of our faculty meetings and saying, "I really don't love this third class that a lot of us do on how to counsel a client, and I've come up with this new idea.” Or it could be like today we were discussing as a group how to revamp our negotiation exercise and maybe come up with something new. So there is an expectation of civic participation, but also I try not to put the expectation on our folks that they're going to have to be doing a lot of curricular development on their own. I want them to be a part of the conversation, but I don't want that to become the focus of their time. Between the scholarship and the teaching, there are enough other responsibilities.

Q. Yeah. Do people ever sit in on their classes and give them feedback on their teaching?

A. I do. And we do informal, prose-based feedback from students in the fall that's not really meant to be a course evaluation, but more a series of questions that professor wants to ask their student about the semester. I go over those with our folks at the end of the fall, and then at the spring, at the end of our actual formal course evaluations, I sit down with folks and talk through those evaluations as well. And unless our schedules conflict, I try to sit in and observe the teaching, usually folks who are on the market first, so that I can get a last snapshot of their teaching before they go on the market, and then new folks, and then folks in the middle.

Q. And are they ever allowed to teach a class outside of the legal writing program? A course, for example, in their doctrinal area of specialty?

A. It happens. It's not a guarantee. But a range of opportunities along those lines have occurred, from supervising a team of students within a clinic or teaching a unit in a clinical course, to co-teaching an externship with a member of our faculty, to co-teaching a doctrinal law course with a member of the faculty. So yes, there are a range of opportunities that have come up, and as with any new opportunity, I always try to stay open to how we can make those things work, but there's not a formal process in play for making it happen.

Q. Do you have a sense of the percentage of time that they should spend, or they tend to spend on their scholarship versus their teaching versus any other responsibilities that they have?

A. I don't. And in part because I think it varies a great deal. It varies a great deal based on the interest of the person. It varies from year to year. It varies based on time of year. We have some people who every Tuesday is the day that they really focus on scholarship all year long, and other folks who make it a point to do it a little bit every day, and some folks who say all I'm going to do this summer and over winter break is write, but during the heart of the semester I'm going to focus on teaching. It does vary from year to year as well, where they are in the program. So yeah, it's a tough thing to figure out how to average out. Over the course of the year, however, Lawyering faculty have almost 4 months in the summer and another 7-8 weeks between semesters when they aren’t teaching at all; so that gives folks a lot of independent time as well.

Q. I've noticed a couple times you've talked about clinical faculty teaching the program. What's the breakdown between Lawyering professors who are interested in the doctrinal path and those interested in the clinical path?

A. So historically, I would say probably 40% doctrinal, 40% clinical, and 20% a wide range of other choices, which might mean shifting from being a public defender to doing criminal justice policy, or going into working in law school administration or legal research and writing or going back to practice. So it's probably 40, 40, 20, sounds about right.

Q. We’ve gone through a lot of the details of the program. Let's step back for a moment. What do you think makes the NYU Lawyering Program stand out from other VAPs or fellowship programs? Imagine you were talking to a candidate with lots of fellowship options, how would you try to sell the Lawyering Program?

A. Our community is really outstanding. I think we've done a really nice job of hiring over the years. The result of that is, I think, it's a really strong group of people, and it's a pretty large group of people because we have 15 folks at any time who are here full-time. And they really are an incredible resource for each other. Again, whether that's an issue in the classroom or a thought about teaching or scholarship or the market or how do I pitch this piece to journals, or whatever it is. Once folks have left to go on to tenure-track positions and go elsewhere, they usually miss the colleagues the most. I think is one of the biggest strengths that we have.

I think the second is really teaching. For folks who really are focused on being in a place where there's a conversation about what actually works in a classroom and how do we teach, and how do we think about pedagogy, and really want that experience of doing a lot of teaching in the classroom, I think it's a really great opportunity.

Q. And do you have any other advice for fellows when it comes to making the most of their time in a fellowship or a VAP? What have you seen the people who have been really successful on the entry-level market do?

A. I mean there's just so many ... and I know I keep coming back to this, but there's just so many different journeys. Obviously putting in the time and doing the scholarship matters a lot. Being engaged and having an entrepreneurial spirit and really doing the outreach to get to know people in your area, and frankly people outside of your area, to just talk about ideas for scholarship helps a great deal. But other than that, I really do think there are a lot of ways to do this well and do it in an interesting way. And we've placed people who have taken a lot of different approaches. And it's been really interesting, frankly, to see how that plays out, that there isn't necessarily only one right or one best way.

Q. That provides a good transition over to the job market process. What type of mentoring do the fellows receive related to the hiring process?

A. I think it's drawn from the sources that we've talked about. It's going to be a mix of people here and at the institution you came from if you were somewhere before, the Academic Careers Program, current faculty, and Lawyering alum. ACP pairs people going on the market with people who were recently on the market. During our Lawyering workshops this last week, we brought in former Lawyering folks, some who have been on hiring committees or are on hiring committees at different schools to talk about their experiences and the process and what they've learned since then. We send candidate materials out to our former Lawyering faculty. So it's going to be drawing from all of those different resources.

Q. And are they given an opportunity to moot their job talk? You talked about an opportunity within the fellows workshop. How about in front of faculty or others?

A. Absolutely. And that's all arranged through our academic careers program. ACP puts on a Job Camp in early fall where Lawyering fellows going on the market that year do a mock job talk, they have faculty member specifically assigned to them to moot the job talk and give them feedback, and often there are other fellows and sometimes other faculty in the room participating as well.

Q. Okay. And does that include opportunities to do moot mock screening interviews as well?

A. Yes, ACP arranges mock screening interviews with a faculty member as part of Job Camp.

Q. Do they receive feedback on their application materials, on their FAR form, etc.?

A. Absolutely.

Q. Yeah. Do you happen to know the percentage of Lawyering fellows, let's say over the last 10 years, who have ended up in entry-level tenure track positions?

A. We’ve been lucky, and as the market has changed we’ve continued to be able to place well. Almost all, and maybe all, of our people that have gone on the market have ended up in either tenure-track or long-term contract positions, (given that a particular school may not have, say, tenure-track clinical positions.) For example, in 2016 we hired an unusually large group. After two years, two took teaching positions and a third found a great appellate practice opportunity. This year, three more went on the market and took full-time faculty positions while one chose to apply for (and received) a more specialized fellowship. Every year looks a little bit different because we encourage people to find the right opportunities for them, but looking back over the 50 or so people who have come through over last ten years, we’ve placed roughly 20 doctrinal faculty, 20 clinical faculty, and then a handful of people who have chosen to continue on with skills positions, move into law school administration, or return to practice. Whatever path they choose, we’ve been very fortunate that our people are able to use their time here to transition into the next step they want.

Q. I would love, if you're willing, to ask a couple of questions related more broadly to the rise of VAPs and fellowship. I don't know if you saw the data from this past hiring year, but 96% of people hired for entry level doctrinal positions have either a VAP, a fellowship, a Ph.D. What do you think are the benefits of this process, and what do you think are the costs?

A. It's interesting. I don't know if I've thought of it in terms of benefits and costs as much as the fact of watching it happen. I think there's a real benefit to having some space and time to work on scholarship and on teaching. The legal profession, when done right, and especially because we're hiring people from practice, takes an incredible amount of work. I mean, to do the job well, it can be consuming. And so having, at least on this fellowship side, having these transitional programs makes a lot of sense to me for people to reflect on and reframe how they're thinking about things.

I feel like the Ph.D. question is a different question. One of the really interesting things about legal hiring right now is that law schools seem to be hiring for a range of positions that require a range of backgrounds and skillsets. And so I think it makes sense to have people who are taking a number of different paths and taking the time to develop expertise in a range of areas. So you would have clinical fellowships, Lawyering, Ph.Ds., a combination, et cetera. It makes sense to me.

Q. Have you heard the criticism that VAPs and fellows may get too much help on their scholarship from people on the faculty wherever they're doing their VAP or fellowship, and therefore it's hard for hiring committees to know how much of the work and ideas come from the VAPs or fellows themselves?

A. I have not heard that before.

Q. Okay. So it's one of the things you often hear when you're on the hiring side, is people wondering, essentially, how much of these ideas really come from the fellow, and how much of this is being fed to them from the faculty at the school where they are? Do you have a sense on that?

A. I mean, I may be speaking naively here, but I don't know. I would be surprised. I guess I can put it this way. When we're interviewing folks, whether directly or through AALS, we tend to see people who don't just have interesting ideas, but who are also really invested in those ideas. They're pursuing these scholarly interests that they've often had for quite some time and have been working on. And the pieces of scholarship that those ideas develop into, that become their published pieces and the things they take on the market, tend to follow ... obviously there are tweaks and developments and people change course, but they tend to follow who we thought they were. In a good way. So I don't know. I would say that has not been my experience.

Q. Last question for you. Given that life is zero sum in so many ways, obviously time spent in a fellowship is not spent in, for example, in practice. What do you think about that trade off, especially given that we're in the business of educating lawyers?

A. I mean, because I am specifically in a program that is all about thinking about practice, and we really hire for folks who we feel like can be thoughtful about practice … my bias is toward hiring people who can be thoughtful about practice in order to educate people on how to be lawyers. That said, as is probably not surprising from the rest of this conversation, I do think there are any number of approaches. I don't think it's a terrible trade-off that some folks are going to have more practice than others, and people are going to approach legal education and legal theory and legal practice in different ways. I think that is part of what makes a law school really interesting, the mix of ways of approaching the ideas, some that are more practice-oriented and some that are more theory-oriented. I think that's part of the genius of law school. I think one of the real benefits of the Lawyering program is in encouraging people to really emphasize pedagogy and becoming thoughtful, skilled teachers as well as understand their own scholarship and the scholarly community generally. So that when the Lawyering faculty members go on to permanent academic positions they are prepared to incorporate both.

Q. Anything else that you want people to know about the NYU Lawyering Program or about the state of law faculty hiring more generally?

A. I don't think so, but anyone thinking about applying or who wants to know more should feel free to reach out to me. I’m always happy to answer any questions that come up.

Q. Okay, that's great. Thanks, Andy. Take care.

Posted by Jessica Erickson on July 19, 2019 at 06:39 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, VAPS & Fellowships | Permalink


Clinicians have to think about scholarship (depending on where they end up) — many schools have them on the traditional tenure track and even those on an advancement track also write law review scholarship.

Posted by: anonclinical | Jul 19, 2019 4:01:44 PM

Another great interview. NYU seems to stand out in that a significant number take non doctrinal positions. It would be interesting to know how much of that is by choice (did not even apply to aals?) or how much is driven by necessity. Some of the NYU people who have went into administration or legal writing may have went into those fields because they struck out on the tenure track market or had limited geographic options forcing them to make those choices.

I don’t know why anyone looking to go into administration would need the lawyering program. Also it seems an enormous time and financial burden for those interested in legal writing to do a fellowship. At what point is it necessary to take the time and financial hit to do a 2-3 year fellowship and work on scholarship for a non doctrinal position? why worry at all about scholarship if going into admin or legal writing or clinical for that matter? It goes to a programs placement record if these outcomes are driven by necessity rather than choice at the outset

Posted by: Anon | Jul 19, 2019 3:23:25 PM

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