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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Law School Hiring Spreadsheet and Clearinghouse for Questions, 2019-2020

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, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019. 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.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 15, 2019 at 09:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


I'm an entry-level candidate, but curious for the future: how does one navigate the AALS if one's school is also hiring? Seems like a recipe for awkward encounters with colleagues

Posted by: anon | Sep 14, 2019 10:05:44 PM

Got some updates - American should be coming out this coming week, as well as additional Michigan State.

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 14, 2019 7:15:08 PM

FYI North Dakota's initial e-mail went to my junk folder and also did for many others.

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 14, 2019 11:31:31 AM

I have it on good authority that SMU is primarily looking for commercial this year, despite their posting.

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 14, 2019 11:05:42 AM

I heard from UMKC about crim.

Posted by: Crim | Sep 14, 2019 8:21:18 AM

Anon22-thanks. Keeping my fingers crossed for one more interview. Just one, that's not a lot to ask!

Posted by: Anonymous_Criminal | Sep 13, 2019 10:40:30 PM

They definitely had different committees and only certain times were available for civ pro so they might not have called yet.

Posted by: Anon22 | Sep 13, 2019 7:11:02 PM

I see that UMKC has made calls for CivPro, but has anyone heard from them re their criminal position?

Posted by: Anonymous_Criminal | Sep 13, 2019 6:46:54 PM

MSU, my areas are commercial and corporate. No specific area was mentioned. From the placement bulletin it seems like they are casting a wide net.

Posted by: anon | Sep 12, 2019 10:14:20 PM

To the MSU interviewee, what are your areas/are they looking for?

Posted by: MSU | Sep 12, 2019 10:08:54 PM

I think we all recognize the scarcity problem, and the privilege of having these jobs at this juncture (unfortunately many people have no idea it's so hard, but their "if you can't do, teach" jokes are another story..) It would be much easier to be so casual and nonchalant about the process, though, if people didn't have to blow up any chance at a career other than academia to do this. You might have an onramp back to a decent job in practice open after a year of being a fellow, but definitely not after five years of being a PhD and several of auxiliary fellowships that you take (if you're lucky) while waiting for the market to smile on you. Sure, maybe you'll get some kind of job, but temporary doc review work feels like kind of a waste for someone with all the credentials to compete at this level. The stakes are super high.

Posted by: anon2 | Sep 12, 2019 6:37:58 PM

Last thing here that has been helpful mentally as I go through this process: as Committee Member says, these are some of the most sought-after positions in the country. And from those who attend law school, the likelihood of getting selected is akin to being drafted to a professional sports team. This is the tippy-top of the tippy-top of an already aggressive and achieving subject matter area. With this in mind, I feel grateful for every single interview I get and every opportunity to meet folks and talk about my work. I don't assume or expect anything, and in that way it feels like a gift, not a foregone conclusion. If you're able to subscribe to this way of thinking, I suspect you will also do better in the interviews.

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 12, 2019 10:33:55 AM


I completely agree. When I spoke to a couple folks about my plans three years ago, they said I had three choices: get an LLM in addition to my other graduate degrees from Yale, get another PhD in an adjacent but sought-after field (preferably Economics or something science-y), or do a fellowship. I was told that an outside-U.S. PhD (even from a top school or program) was not likely to improve my chances, but JSDs in the U.S. (except for top schools) are typically designed for outside-U.S. applicants or subject-matter specific (not in my specialization). I was told that these degrees would signal my commitment, rather than the fact I was adjunct teaching three courses a semester, publishing on average 2-3 law review articles a year, or the book I spent a year writing. We have bizarre criteria for future colleagues. I opted for the fellowship because I felt my writing was strong and it was 1-2 years.

If anything, it did make me think: am I willing to give up my close professional connections and ease of relationships to move across the country multiple times? If you are anywhere into your career, it probably also isn't practical to have a low wage - I had to continue consulting while I did the fellowship to survive with student loan debt etc. In a way, I see fellowships as a test of mobility combined with a try-before-you-buy model. I also don't like its signaling function of "seriousness." That said, mine was very helpful academically, and I am truly glad I had the opportunity.

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 12, 2019 10:23:12 AM

Real talk: Realistically, once you throw out idiosyncratic hires (spouses, locally connected candidates) people are competing for MAYBE 50 of the most desirable jobs in academia, which is already an incredibly difficult venue in which to seek actual full-time employment. This is down by more than half from the beginning of the decade, i.e., before the law school crisis.

The numbers are really grim. Lots of superbly qualified people aren't going to get jobs, and the decisions regarding which ones do are going to include a huge amount of arbitrariness.

This seems extremely unfair to people who have been ultra-high academic and professional achievers for their entire lives, because it is unfair. But it is what it is.

Posted by: Committee Member | Sep 12, 2019 8:58:34 AM

I think that fellowships, VAPs, and PhDs can be immensely valuable. And I think that there may be many perfectly good reasons for the academy to look carefully at candidates who have done one or all of these things.

But surely one of the dumbest rationales for looking at fellowship/VAP/PhD candidates (and no less dumb for being believed—and repeatedly stated—by many law professors) is that the fellowship, VAP, or PhD shows a “commitment to academia.”

I have no doubt that there are many dilettantes is the FAR forms. I have never been tasked with reviewing a stack of FAR applications, but I can only imagine that the dilettantes are very, very easy to spot. Someone with no publication record who thinks a fancy law degree and prestigious job will move them to the front of the line. Or a law firm partner (again with no publications or research agenda) looking for (what they perceive as) a soft landing and an early retirement. I know these folks are in the FAR. I’ve met some of them. And I get it.

Nobody—but nobody—who has put together an interesting research agenda, or proven that research agenda has legs with a recent (good) law review article or two, and has put in the time to submit to the FAR, and has put in the time (and paid the money) to attend the AALS recruiting meeting is uncommitted to academia. Anyone who has done the above while practicing law, or serving in the military, or taking care of a sick parent, or caring for a child, or looking for a job, or basically doing anything—anything—else is plenty committed to academia.

I don’t know about you, but my research agenda, publications, and FAR applications took TIME. They took a crazy amount of effort. If you can put this stuff together and make it worth reading while doing anything, or nothing, else, then congratulations—you are committed to academia.

I have no trouble with the inference that a fellowship/VAP/PhD shows commitment. But the reverse inference it invites is vulgar and stupid.

After all, another inference we might draw from the absence of a fellowship/VAP/PhD is that a first-generation law graduate with crushing college debt can’t see her way to leaving full-time employment for a few years without some guarantee of full-time employment at the end of the fellowship/VAP/PhD. A candidate may have a sick parent, or a child with a disability, or some other obligation that makes a fellow/VAP/PhD’s reduced salary and lack of post-fellow/VAP/PhD job security an impossible obstacle. (I know, of course, that some fellow/VAP/PhD candidates have faced these same obstacles.) Seems like, if folks in these positions produce a research agenda, write some decent articles, and show up to AALS, they are also plenty committed. Whatever the criteria for assessing their candidacy, their commitment really shouldn't be in doubt.

The commitment to academia thing has always struck me as just completely vulgar. Especially, when you see fellow/VAP/PhD-types debating who is the most committed to academia. That is doubly vulgar.

I do not question the value of fellowship/VAP/PhD in the least. And I do not question the notion that there are plenty of dilettantes who throw in their hat at AALS on a whim. But I suspect dilettantes are easy to spot and my sense is that there is no real dearth of commitment in the legal academic market. There are many good reasons to pursue a fellowship/VAP/PhD, but people—and especially law professors—should stop talking about “commitment to academia” because it just sounds stupid.

Posted by: anon | Sep 12, 2019 2:18:45 AM

Anon2, yes. I think going to targeted conferences with others who share your research interests creates a natural environment for that conversation. Once I felt comfortable with folks, I would describe a project that was active (enough to discuss), and if they seemed interested, I would ask if they might be willing to read it. I didn't push it. For others, if I was interested, I asked if I might read their draft and then sought to provide really helpful and targeted comments.

When I saw these folks at conferences again, I made a point to say hello and catch up. I realize this model may not work for everyone, but it felt natural for me.

I don't know what will happen on the job market, but one thing is for sure: it is a long process, longer than folks usually expect, and distinctly different from graduate school hiring markets where advisors and some familiarity are enough (which I did before deciding to switch fields, due to the fact that social sciences at the time were overstocked with job seekers and wages were near adjunct pay).

I do find it helpful to also think about the future - for tenure review, you are asked to provide academic contacts to vouch for your work who have been not your colleagues, friends, writing partners, or advisors, so getting a head start either way is a good thing.

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 11, 2019 4:33:36 PM

FellowAnon, I feel for you - you've really, really paid your dues as much as one can in this system! Fingers crossed for you on the market this year.

Just curious - how did you develop meetings at conferences into connections that were close enough to serve as references and push your materials etc.? Conversations about your (similar) work and interests followed by an offer to look at drafts, that kind of thing?

Posted by: anon2 | Sep 11, 2019 4:20:49 PM

Not coming from a top law school that commonly turns out law professors, I only had connections of my previous professors. I asked them (and others in my area of expertise at the same school) for which conferences to attend. I then attended conferences for a year or two to better develop the connections that were needed to get on the fellowship track while I simultaneously wrote a lot. Efficient? No. Effective? Yes. More than most fields, I find the law field wants to try before they buy. If they know you, they are more likely to take a chance.

To be fair, I did not have an elite fellowship, but was able to use the opportunity to gain greater credibility and follow with a higher-ranked VAP. So it is possible. It's just a long (and exhausting) process when you start at the bottom rather than the top (credential-speaking).

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 11, 2019 4:15:41 PM

I worry the fellowship path can be as much - or can be more - narrow and elite than AALS hiring because the hiring process is so similar but there are fewer fellowship slots, or at the very least fewer that are really known for helping people on the job market. What chance is there for someone without connections - but who wants to get a fellowship for the benefit of making connections - who can "send over" material for them, as a comment below indicated was helpful?

Posted by: anon2 | Sep 11, 2019 4:05:14 PM

Sorry for repeat posting - to the question about fellowships, usually the timing for VAPs and fellows is the Jan-Feb timeframe. This gives folks an opportunity to pursue these channels if the job market didn't turn out exactly as expected. Some of the more competitive fellowships begin the process in the fall. Generally, you will have to submit the exact same materials and likely do a job talk/similar to be selected, and of course it helps to have someone send your materials over for you or otherwise connect you.

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 11, 2019 3:43:52 PM

Sorry for repeat posting - to the question about fellowships, usually the timing for VAPs and fellows is the Jan-Feb timeframe. This gives folks an opportunity to pursue these channels if the job market didn't turn out exactly as expected. Some of the more competitive fellowships begin the process in the fall. Generally, you will have to submit the exact same materials and likely do a job talk/similar to be selected, and of course it helps to have someone send your materials over for you or otherwise connect you.

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 11, 2019 3:43:44 PM

I'll also add regarding the fellowship conversation, that I did a one-year renewable fellowship that helped me meet a lot of great people, who have, in turn, supported my work and helped me navigate. I also had the opportunity to workshop a lot of work, and the fellowship gives legitimacy to being selected for these opportunities. I think that is the main benefit of a fellowship, even a fellowship that is not Climenko or Bigelow.

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 11, 2019 3:39:15 PM

Responses to questions. I have quite a few friends at Michigan State and have heard...nothing. One school that is on the sheet is going alphabetically through the list, so do not interpret early calls or lack of calls as lack of interest. Some schools also go by subject matter area first. I had to check-in because I had special ties and was shocked to not have an interview yet. They responded within a couple days with an interview after I followed up with someone I knew there. If there is a school where you know folks and feel comfortable reaching out because it seemed that an interview would be forthcoming, I'd recommend you do so if for no other reason than to calm your nerves (provided the communication isn't too aggressive).

As for me, I'm in a specialized field that seems sought after this year, JD from not great school, MA/PhD study from very good school, work experience (17 yr, but only 4 yr past JD), lots of teaching experience, 14 publications, two higher ranked. I currently have 8 interviews. Three are Skype. This isn't to brag, but rather to demonstrate that there isn't much rhyme or reason to this. I think we will all do better if we support each other - I honestly want everyone to get the perfect job! Good luck, all!

Posted by: FellowAnon | Sep 11, 2019 1:57:55 PM

Not all fellowships/VAPs are created equal because they all impose different requirements and provide different levels of support. Some provide minimal support (mostly VAPs) and some are designed expressly to help you get a job. Some require heavy doctrinal teaching, some legal writing, some no teaching at all.

Posted by: anon | Sep 11, 2019 12:27:42 PM

It is also the case that all the schools want (and require) a diverse applicant pool. So that is another factor that plays into who gets called.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 11, 2019 12:20:36 PM

Today12345 - Thanks! Do you care to elaborate on what you mean by "not all fellowships/VAPs are created equal"?

Posted by: FellowEnvy | Sep 11, 2019 12:16:46 PM

Are people asking to do Skype? I had done aals before, had many interviews but never offered a Skype and few are putting down Skype. What ranks of schools are doing it such that the person below has 10 Skypes? Half their interviews were Skype. Do most have any Skype? I did not think that was the norm.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 11, 2019 12:06:22 PM

The link did not seem to work. Try this: https://www.law.columbia.edu/law-teaching/services-current-candidates/fellowships-vaps

Posted by: Today12345 | Sep 11, 2019 11:49:48 AM

Fellowenvy - this might help: https://www.law.columbia.edu/law-teaching/services-current-candidates/fellowships-vaps. However, not all fellowships/VAPs are created equal.

Posted by: Today12345 | Sep 11, 2019 11:48:02 AM

Silly question here but...how does one get a fellowship? The only ones I see advertised are big ones (e.g. Harvard, Chicago). But surely some of you with fellowships have done them at less illustrious locales? Is there a list somewhere? Thx.

Posted by: FellowEnvy | Sep 11, 2019 11:45:41 AM

NYU and UCLA have each made at least some calls. Not sure when; not my calls.

Posted by: nanon | Sep 11, 2019 11:22:20 AM

Has anyone heard from American, UMKC, or Michigan State? Has BC made any calls in the last few days?

Posted by: kurious kat | Sep 11, 2019 11:17:04 AM

or NYU?

Posted by: wondering2 | Sep 11, 2019 10:37:26 AM

Has anyone heard from UCLA?

Posted by: wondering | Sep 11, 2019 10:34:55 AM

11 in DC at the conference & the rest spread out over the next month via Skype/ school visits. my profile is hardly one I would consider exceptional in any way. survey of the data of those who have actually gotten jobs in the past, im probably somewhere at median at best. top 5 jd, fellow, non-scotus clerkship, 2 pubs.. not in a high demand area, and no calls have been made on my behalf as far as I know. all of this, it seems to me, speaks to what others have already discussed at length here: there’s no formula to predicting what drives interest for Committees. and, of course, I realize that I have the benefit/good fortune of saying this being in a favorable position at the moment, but the whole thing seems far less under our control than would be ideal.

also philly sports fans will get the reference: the name was not meant to be taken literally

Posted by: trusttheprocess | Sep 11, 2019 10:05:56 AM

I don't even envy 24 interviews. That sounds tiresome; I can't imagine managing to wow that many committees in a row over a short period of time. I'm exceptionally enthusiastic about the fewer schools that have shown interest in me and hope that it matters.

Posted by: probably overoptimistic | Sep 10, 2019 11:09:41 PM

Trusttheprocess, what is your field?

Posted by: anon | Sep 10, 2019 10:50:12 PM

24 interviews and “trust the process” smacks of arrogance from someone who is well outside the median person in the game and who is completely unaware of that. There is no process.

Posted by: OutOfTouch | Sep 10, 2019 10:49:49 PM

Trusting the process is a lot different at 20+ interviews. I don’t think anyone can really say they trust the process unless they are on other end and see how it works. There is no rhyme nor reason, some of it is based on whose advisor know who on what committee, and some hires are based on things like whose one spouse is. I don’t see what process there is to trust. There are 150 different processes actually and so no I don’t trust the process at all schools. Some I would if I knew more but many I probably would not given what i have seen.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 10, 2019 10:36:08 PM

at 24 interviews. call today from one school already listed.

Posted by: trusttheprocess | Sep 10, 2019 9:43:45 PM

No news for me this week. I am at 15 interviews. Crickets these days, including from 5 schools in T20 that asked for my stuff and do not appear to have been swept off their feet.

Posted by: anonanon | Sep 10, 2019 9:13:57 PM

PHD: Yes, you need your advisor on board to apply for fellowships at law schools. At least in my discipline, though, applying to dissertation completion fellowships offered by various universities and other organizations is the norm. Law school fellowships are really not so different. In my department, the more funding the merrier, though YMMV. And yes, recommenders from your discipline only would probably not be enough, you'd need a reference or two from your law school days. To PhD and Fellow, yes, some people may not be ready to write a research agenda mid-PhD. But some people could--they might surprise themselves. That plus a student journal note and/or other law pub on the side and you're a plausible candidate.

Anyway, I'm not saying this strategy will work for everyone. But I've met multiple people who didn't realize it was possible to apply for fellowships ABD but probably could and should have. It also becomes more possible if you make this timeline part of your plan for your PhD from early on. And when you start the PhD, prioritize picking an advisor/department decently friendly to interdisciplinary work.

Posted by: abd fellow | Sep 10, 2019 7:58:44 PM

There are definitely PhDs who have done everything you listed as being a benefit of a fellowship. They have solid legal research agendas and law review publications they have developed on the side and have taught in law schools. It's a lot of work, can come at the expense of some disciplinary focus, and not easy but it's not impossible. For these people the fellowship isn't adding much other than the trusted brand and some phone calls.

Posted by: PHD | Sep 10, 2019 7:20:08 PM

PHD -- I wouldn't have had the time to prepare the legal research agenda, etc. before obtaining the doctorate. A doctoral program is meant to get you a doctorate in your discipline, not prepare you for legal academia. The fellowship is much more than connections, for the reasons I described before. If you reduce fellowships to connections, you're ignoring most of the purpose of fellowships.

Posted by: PhD and Fellow | Sep 10, 2019 7:15:17 PM

abd fellow - yes, that makes sense as a strategy, but my sense is admissions for many of these fellowships for PhDs, especially at that stage - and especially the good ones - tend to be predicated either on already being on the radar screen of legal academia because of your advisor's connections or else at the very least being close enough to finishing (and therefore enough of a credible candidate) that it may as well be only something one can really pursue after finishing.

There's also the tricky problem of your advisor not only not having those connections, but not wanting you going into legal academia per se. Given they have to write up front letters for fellowships, this makes it much harder for PhDs in that situation than the AALS process, which can be incognito from doctoral committees until reference calls are made (at which point it can be harder for an advisor to stop you).

Posted by: PHD | Sep 10, 2019 7:06:22 PM

On the fellowship/PhD situation, the upshot for JD/PhDs is that you should strongly consider applying for law school fellowships while ABD, NOT after finishing. This advice should be more widespread as it greatly speeds up the timeline. Many/most of the programs have accepted ABD fellows as long as you're at a stage where you can explain your research clearly, and you can always apply again if not successful the first time. Yes, it means you have to finish the diss during the fellowship while also writing law review articles, but focusing on law earlier leads to less wasted effort. Also there's time to focus on just finishing the diss in the 6-8 months after getting through the job market.

Posted by: abd fellow | Sep 10, 2019 6:50:38 PM

PhD and Fellow, it's definitely the case that the PhD and fellowship in sequence can work well that way. As you acknowledge, it's also a long haul. Knowing this, it's possible to prepare a legal research agenda and publications and translate one's work into legal scholarship before obtaining the doctorate. The question many have is, if you've done that, should those with fellowships be favored because of their connections? And what is the value beyond connections for a PhD who has already done all that work in getting a fellowship on top of their doctorate?

Posted by: PHD | Sep 10, 2019 6:43:12 PM

I have a PhD in the humanities and did a fellowship. What the PhD did for me was give me time to think about a broad field, delve deeply into a research area, and learn a methodological approach. What the fellowship did for me was figure out how to translate my prior research and my disciplinary approach to a legal audience. That shift isn't intuitive, and it took me several years. It also gave me pedagogical insight into teaching a law class. A PhD and a fellowship teach you some different skills. Additionally, a fellowship may not give you enough time to develop knowledge of your field and a research agenda before you go on the market, so there's a distinct benefit of doing the PhD first. As for the burden of doing both, it's definitely real. Many of us went to law school and then did a clerkship and/or practiced as well as the PhD and fellowship, so it's a long haul and an impossibility for a lot of people.

Posted by: PhD and Fellow | Sep 10, 2019 6:37:44 PM

Re: point 2, should have clarified "if you're solely a humanities/ soc sci PhD" vs. someone with a legal background.

Posted by: PHD | Sep 10, 2019 6:26:31 PM

As the spreadsheet indicates there has not been much news this week which is part of why this forum has devolved into carping.

Just on the "think of the fellowships as a postdoc" point:
1. This is a material problem of time, money, and physical location that can't be solved through mental reclassification.
2. If you're a humanities / soc sci PhD, doing a postdoc is most likely less of a burden because you didn't do years of law school, clerking, practice experience beforehand and therefore you're not likely to already be older and face obstacles like moving a family multiple times again or facing not having a family.
3. In the humanities and social sciences, you need a PhD before you can get a postdoc. In law, some people can access these fellowships as a fast track to getting a teaching job. PhDs are already on a slow track, why should it be slower still?
4. The fellowships are also likely going to people with good recent law school connections so it's not like PhDs are a shoo-in for them relative to other competitors either.

Posted by: PHD | Sep 10, 2019 6:25:45 PM

Can we move back to the original purpose of this thread. Any news this week?

Posted by: Anon | Sep 10, 2019 5:57:04 PM

Yes, I agree, of course, not everyone reads these boards, so I don't think most realize: 1) anyone without a strong connection to a law school (either recent graduate, Yale which advises their students, or fellowship) isn't that competitive - you might strike lightning with a good fit but it is unlikely; and ) anyone without any publications in law - not the phd discipline - is not competitive, and increasingly the case you need multiple publications especially if not fellow; and 3) there is really no effective route for someone to go from law firm to academia unless they are a recent graduate and probably went to Yale or Chicago. Someone 3 years in big law has no time to write and can't get a fellowship. Unless they give themselves a sabbatical or don't sleep, unless recent grad, they don't have much chance to get a tenure track job without phd or fellowship or both. Whether that's good for the discipline or teaching is another matter.

There are of course exceptions to these but the statements like "oh we're open to everyone for fellowships" really just are not true and are becoming less true when half the fellows are phds. It is effectively a postdoc but limited to mostly more recent grads, those with phds, and/or those who went to smaller law schools who developed faculty contacts in law school. I don't see how any non-T14 has any chance outside of their own school which is a real shame. also anyone who did not develop ties in law school is shut out completely.

And I personally think AALS should refund the $290 for those who did not know these things and don't have interviews. There was poster below talking about how they went to the conference even without any interviews. I never heard of anyone doing this and in that Thursday afternoon session they specifically tell people not to go knocking on doors. maybe if you are an extremely friendly person you can meet people but I have only seen other candidates hanging around - committee members aren't around. I really would caution anyone who is thinking of going without any interviews, especially if not local to DC.

Also even if you have only 1-2, if you live far away and it's a significant personal sacrifice for you, ask to Skype. I personally don't think it would be worth spending $1000+ for 2 interviews when they are interviewing 30 people.

Posted by: anon1 | Sep 10, 2019 5:23:06 PM

Maybe we should just recognize that fellowships are effectively legal post-docs. Benefits of framing it this way: 1) Formalize that, as in many fields, a post-doc is increasingly necessary--there's a very narrow path from PhD (let alone JD) to faculty without one (though it does exist). 2) Signal that a developed research agenda and scholarly output is a requirement for entry into fellowship programs, and that they aren't generally available for practitioners wishing to have the time to develop a research agenda and transition to scholarship. 3) Recognize that legal practice and/or adjunct teaching does not replace the need for a fellowship for those with PhDs who want to burnish their legal bona fides.
If 1-3 are true, we might as well be open about it so aspiring prawfs can make life decisions accordingly.

Posted by: an anon | Sep 10, 2019 4:56:11 PM

If anyone can offer any credible reason -except connections - that it is necessary to do a fellowship after a phd please state. It's a very troubling development that half of fellows have phds. It has two bad outcomes;first, there is less fellowship available for anyone who did not do a phd or perhaps a very good lawyer who lacks contacts with the academy to get a fellowship; and 2) it limits the pool of credible candidates even more -who can do a phd and fellowship? Probably not low-income folk and probably not many women who want to have children (giving up 5-7 years in peak child bearing years).

The development - phd+fellowship - and the fact it's often necessary to do both is something I don't think anyone thinks is a good idea. Maybe a ph.d candidate's work may need to be more "law" related but that's something the can learn in time. What other reason would there be to do a fellowship that isn't about connections? What more is for the phd to do? That is what is frustrating to people.

Posted by: anon | Sep 10, 2019 4:14:36 PM

Of course this isn't a zero sum game and many PhDs also have fellowships. There's a reason for that. PhDs don't succeed as well on the market without them, and are forced to spend additional time on a fellowship after 5-7 years of disciplinary work (following a JD, clerkship, etc...) This is the whole point. It's crazy to expect PhDs to go through another several years of fellowship if they already have the publications etc. solely to get that credential on top of their CV and more big name law school contacts who will call on their behalf. Just because there are some people already willing to go through this doesn't mean it's optimal.

As for practice experience: sounds like there's another false dichotomy in the room. There are PhDs who have practiced too! Hence the frustration with yet another obstacle in their path. But - and although this varies by subject area - we all know most law schools aren't looking for *that much* practice experience, and the most competitive candidates tend not to be the ones who were litigating for too long beforehand no matter what their other credentials.

Posted by: PHD | Sep 10, 2019 4:00:45 PM

That’s a fair point, but I think the issue isn’t really that it’s unfair to consider someone with even-better credentials over someone with merely-good credentials. At least for me, the frustration is with having put all the work into a PhD and feeling like I cannot be competitive on the market without a fellowship, which would entail hardships on my family that I am unwilling to inflict at this point in my life. I’m not hating on people that are able to pursue fellowships, just empathizing with those that are in a situation similar to mine.

Posted by: AnonPhD | Sep 10, 2019 3:59:12 PM

Several posters have pointed out that many fellows actually have PHDs. If what is happening is PHDs without fellowships are being beat out by PHDs with fellowships, well, how exactly is that manifestly UNFAIR? PHD + fellowship is a greater credential than PHD alone. And a person who has a PHD already is used to living on a smaller salary (perhaps with more teaching responsibilities) so it's not some new hardship other than to one's ego. This is a large part of the story undermining the "poor little JD/PHD without a fellowship" narrative. The narrative's proponents argue for a 1:! relationship between credentials and job search results, but if the reality is that most fellows have PHDs...then under that worldview fellow+PHD/JD should beat PHD/JD.

But I'm going to go ahead and call out the elephant in the room. Many PHD candidates are unhappy that they could be being beaten out by fellows because they picture a candidate who is a fellow without a PHD. They feel they deserve a law school faculty position more than a fellow without a PHD merely because they have a PHD. Fellowship +JD/PHD doesn't and shouldn't automatically beat fellowship +JD-only. And rightly not. Their scholarship isn't better just because they have PHDs; faculties read the work. The fellow +JD could just have stronger work. Here's an example. If a person has practiced in international business transactions for two years, then does a fellowship, I don't think a a school should AUTOMATICALLY choose a JD+PHD with little or no work experience to teach commercial law over the practice+fellowship candidate. Their experience in the field could made made their work richer, and the LACK of exposure to other disciplines could have added a different kind of focus and perspective to their work. There's a similar story that can be told in criminal law, too. Perhaps three years as a prosecutor plus a fellowship with strong law review articles is a more appealing package than a JD+PHD with a dissertation and one article.

Law is its own discipline. Why should we automatically place interdisciplinary candidates at the head of our line over candidates who develop their skills squarely in law alone and have taken advantage of academic fellowships to write scholarly work to develop and showcase their perspectives? (The key word being automatically; clearly it is quite possible that the PHD-holding candidate simply has better work and is the better fit.)

Posted by: grinch | Sep 10, 2019 3:49:39 PM

re: Fellowships, PhDs, etc.: A large culprit would seem to be the tightness of the market over the past few years. If one strikes out on the market (or anticipates doing so b/c the odds look so bad), then that's an attractive option if you have academic aspirations.

Two semi-related thoughts.

All that being said, I think it's uncontroversial to say that the law school hiring situation is ... let's say "non-ideal" and perhaps the lesson that should be taken from the various discussions on this blog are that a more robust post-doc type system really should be developed. My armchair sense of things is that clerkships used to do that.

I also want to echo HofG's closing thoughts. The consumers of this thread are, I suspect, almost entirely job candidates. While this is a fine place to vent about a crazy-making process, we are all in the same crazy boat.

Posted by: Nicholas Almendares | Sep 10, 2019 11:22:23 AM

For many of us with PhD our fields are not an option. It is incredibly difficult to prepare for two markets -you have to write two job talks since the papers are written in different styles. Almost all with a jd pursue law school and even if it’s not your choice hiring commuters in the discipline will assume it is. First they question why you have law review articles. Then they question why anyone who could do both would pick the disciple since law pays so much more. They receive 200 applications for one spot so are they going to pick the person with a bunch of law review? No. They assume a joint candidate in not serious in the discipline

Most of us with PhD have to choose and by picking law there is similarly no exit route. And it’s even more of an investment financial and time than the fellows. Sure some may half do two markets but you can only do one credibly

I agree it’s that people successful on the market often have BOTH that is driving those phds without fellowship to look like nothing. Because why would anyone do a fellowship if they have a PhD beyond connections?

Posted by: Anon | Sep 10, 2019 10:59:58 AM

I got information from a reliable source that USF decided not to hire tenure-track this year.

Posted by: anonymous | Sep 10, 2019 10:31:24 AM

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