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Monday, March 02, 2020

Entry Level Hiring: The 2020 Report - Call for Information

Time once again for the entry level hiring report.

I will gather the following information for tenure-track, clinical, or legal writing full-time entry-level hires: 

Basic Information: Name, Hiring School, JD Institution, JD Year of Graduation

Other Degrees: Type of Degree,  Degree Granting Institution, Degree Subject

Fellowship, VAP, or Visiting Professorship: Institution and Type (e.g., VAP, name of fellowship, etc.)

Clerkship: Court (e.g., 9th Circuit, Texas Supreme Court, etc.)

Areas of Speciality (up to four) (if you are a clinical or LRW hire, please list this as your first Area of Specialty)

Type of Position: Tenure Track or Non-Tenure Track (if you are clinical or LRW and also tenure-track, please indicate this)

The information will be aggregated on this spreadsheet (which is reproduced below and which you can view and download by clicking on this link); scroll across to see all of the information that will be aggregated.

Please leave the information in the comments, and, to protect those on the job market, please sign the comment with your real name. (Ideally, the reporting person would be either the hired individual or someone from the hiring committee at the hiring school.) If you would like to email information instead of posting it, please send it to Sarah Lawsky at sarah *dot* lawsky *at* law *dot* northwestern *dot* edu. Remember: you can't edit the spreadsheet yourself. To get your information into the spreadsheet, you must either post in the comments or email me.

If you see any errors, or if I have incorporated your information into the spreadsheet but you are not yet ready to make it public, please don't hesitate to email me, and I will take care of the problem as soon as I can.


The list does not include people who were full-time non-tenure track clinicians who are now moving to a tenure track job at a different school, as these don't seem like true entry-level hires to me. This is the situation where a person is at a school that does not provide tenure to clinicians, and then moves to a school that does provide tenure to clinicians.

The list does include people who had a non-professor job in a law school and then moved to a professor job that was tenure track. Thus a person may have worked at a law school for many years, but still be considered an entry level hire. To indicate this situation, I will put their previous job at a law school in the "fellowship" category, and note "non-TT to TT" in the "Notes" category. This is not to indicate that this isn't an entry-level hire, but rather to give information about the nature of the item listed as a fellowship. (I.e., not a temporary position, as fellowships usually are.)

Other links:

This report follows in the tradition of Larry Solum's excellent work over many years.

2019 initial post, 2019 spreadsheet, 2019 report (with graphs).

2018 initial post, 2018 spreadsheet, 2018 report (with graphs).

2017 initial post, 2017 spreadsheet, 2017 report (with graphs).

2016 initial post, 2016 spreadsheet, 2016 report (with graphs). 

2015 initial post, 2015 spreadsheet, 2015 report (with graphs).

2014 initial post, 2014 spreadsheet, 2014 report (with graphs).

2013 initial post, 2013 spreadsheet, 2013 report (with graphs).

2012 initial post, 2012 spreadsheet, 2012 report (with graphs).

2011 initial post, 2011 spreadsheet, 2011 report (with graphs).

All PrawfsBlawg entry level hiring report tagged posts.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on March 2, 2020 at 01:30 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


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hire not listed: https://willamette.edu/law/faculty/profiles/grey/index.html

Posted by: anon | May 14, 2020 10:22:42 PM

I'm aware of hires by Penn & Berkeley but leave it to them to report for themselves. Stanford was turned down by at least one candidate, who presumably is allergic to sunshine.

Posted by: linked in | May 13, 2020 9:15:52 AM

Not a lot of T14 hires on the board in general. No hires at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Penn, Northwestern, Berkeley, or Duke (sorry if I missed any).

"These SJDs coming here and taking our jobs ... They’re bringing doctorates. They’re bringing comparativism. They’re publishing. And some, I assume, are good people."

I get what you're doing here but how many hires on this list are US doctorates with publications. It would be interesting if law schools are more interested in comparativism now though.

Posted by: anon4 | May 13, 2020 12:08:35 AM

Huh. T14s didn't hire a single Harvard or Stanford JD grad this cycle...

Posted by: jbf | May 12, 2020 3:58:01 PM

There are always S.J.Ds who get jobs, it may have been noted this year because many came from a particular university and many got very good jobs. Market demand in particular subjects matters as well, and it changes year to year. Plus most law schools have made a concerted effort to diversify their faculties and with law schools being more international in focus (many have more international students than ten years ago), there could also be increased interest in teaching at American law schools as well as more market demand in a comparative/international focus. It strikes me that many of the S.J.Ds do business law and there is simply a lack fo strong candidates in that field so it may have nothing to do per se with being an S.J.D.; they just have strong credentials to teach an in demand subject matter. In many cases that is what it takes to succeed on the market.

Posted by: anon | May 5, 2020 7:43:06 PM

These SJDs coming here and taking our jobs ... They’re bringing doctorates. They’re bringing comparativism. They’re publishing. And some, I assume, are good people.

Posted by: MakingAcademiaGA? | May 5, 2020 7:42:28 AM

anon - your analysis of why SJDs may not be as dominant in the future and why they were this year makes sense, but it's strange given those factors that they haven't been in past years, unless we account for biases against them for not being traditional JDs...which makes this not being a factor this year puzzling.

Posted by: anon4 | May 4, 2020 8:01:42 PM

The S.J.D. thing was unique to this year's market and probably had more to do with the quality of the candidates than any trend. They also often go to elite schools and maybe had good connections to advocate for them. Given virus, there will overall be less international students coming to campus to even start S.J.D. programs unless they are here already.

An S.J.D. in terms of connections and time to write is probably the best vehicle. Unlike Ph.ds and fellows, few have to teach, as I suppose most pay their own way. So they have more time to devote to scholarship. Also unlike lone Ph.Ds they are at law schools so they can get the necessary advocates of senior scholars. So there are a lot of things about the S.J.D. that make it an ideal vehicle, it just probably is limited to those who are wealthy and/or young since I don't think they receive an income and have to pay high tuition. So in that sense it would not necessarily be a welcome development if it was a trend.

It's just that the top S.J.D. programs can produce the kind of candidates the market currently wants.

Posted by: anon | May 4, 2020 12:49:46 PM

One thing about the SJDs/JSDs - did very few have in demand teaching areas before? If so, why did this trend take so long to develop? I'm surprised given the complaining from them for so long that few moved in an in-demand direction, and wonder what finally made a difference.

Another thing that is interesting about this development is that many of these foreign doctoral students often went back to their countries to teach (some with extremely illustrious careers - becoming presidents etc. - so the representation of this as a job market defeat was always strange) but I wonder what the consequences of them sticking around the US will be. Will this make it all the more impossible for Americans on the market who don't have home country jobs waiting for them? Could more foreign markets be interested in American candidates without the same supply of their own citizens with US doctorates?

Posted by: anon4 | May 3, 2020 8:13:12 PM

@Anon7: Just picking up on something random you said - In August 2019, Orin Kerr tweeted that "At least based on posted job announcements, this year may be something of a breakout year for law professor hiring in cybersecurity/cybercrime/privacy law." (see here: https://twitter.com/OrinKerr/status/1167160168271904768, https://twitter.com/OrinKerr/status/1152369902960832512). So far, I'm not really seeing it. Three cyber law hires is not really a lot (especially when you consider that only one person marked it as his area 1). If you add privacy law then you're looking at two additional hires. If you add the even broader (and amorphous) law & tech category you'll add three additional hires on top of that. That said zero people marked "law & tech" as their area 1, and only one person marked privacy as their area 1. What I'm getting to is that I'm not certain that this field is really as hot as people think. I think the reality remains that law schools consider "law and tech", "cyber law", "internet law", "privacy law", "cyber crime" as a nice to have, niech field. Consider the open letter to Deans from Daniel Solove on this point (https://teachprivacy.com/an-open-letter-to-law-school-deans-about-privacy-law-education-in-law-schools/). Ultimately, I agree with you that JSDs should think wisely about what areas of law they write their dissertation on, if they intend to go on the U.S. academic job market. I think tech law would be nice, but it remains quite risky to put all the eggs in that single basket.

P.S. -- IP law is distinguishable in this regard. So far we have six hires in IP law with 5 of the six identifying it as their area 1. There is clearly still huge bias towards IP law (within the law & tech bucket) given the institutional existence of research centers, funding, named chairs (which history goes back to the 1990s). Schools have been slow to realize that the field of law & tech has shifted (or at least augmented) to include other subfields which require separate hiring. The open letter from Daniel Solove speaks to that issue as well.

Posted by: Observer | May 2, 2020 5:22:27 PM

Re JSDs: Almost all of them listed have a teaching area listed that is in demand (contracts, law and econ, corporate, cyberlaw, etc). You're not seeing many international law or con law JSDs on the entry list for a reason. It's not surprising that some JSD students are strategically pivoting to those research areas and doing well on the market as a result.

Re PhD/Fellowship: anon hit in right on the head when they wrote, "they are the candidates who have the time, resources, and institutional backing to do research and get a job." JD/PhD and JD/Fellowship applicants by and large apply with 1-2 publications and many have a 5-10 year research pipeline already in the works. Depending on the PhD program, the PhD itself gave them either a book or 3 articles that can be turned around and published after getting a TT job. JD/Fellowship people often have a similar research pipeline mapped out (though have completed less of it given that fellowships are only 2 years). It's no surprise that the market is swinging in their favor since they can show the combination of published work, in progress work, and research pipeline to demonstrate they will be productive scholars.

Posted by: anon7 | May 2, 2020 11:18:06 AM

Some reactions to the below:

1. PhDs are not inherently better than fellowships in terms of being able to hang on in the current situation. NO schools have announced a blanket policy of allowing PhDs extra time/funding in this environment - in fact this is one of the major scandals in higher ed right now, and something that is generating a significant amount of activism on the part of graduate students. Even schools that have announced case-by-case basis policies seem unlikely to allow their PhDs to sit around for an extra TWO years. It also goes without saying that if a PhD in another field wants to go on the law market, staying in their PhD as opposed to doing a fellowship in a law school isn't the best way to make connections.

2. There is a HUGE backlog of PhDs and fellows already on the market that is unlikely to be drained anytime soon, especially if the market dries up next year. This competition is probably going to militate against schools going for those without such credentials, unless there's some swing toward more practice experience as a requirement maybe - although the last recession produced more the opposite preference, toward endless academic credentialing.

3. The prevalence of foreign SJDs on the list this year was strange and surprising to me and makes me wonder what is going on that schools suddenly like them so much. Are they beating out US interdisciplinary PhDs for some reason now, or was there a weaker candidate pool in their subfields? And what is with the success of Hebrew U?

4. The last recession, I think, only tells us so much. While there was a delayed reaction then, admins across higher ed are already primed to take the same measures now, arguably being overly pessimistic about the future. Similarly, firms may be looking to make cuts more quickly on the basis of past experience, which makes the legal job market and therefore law school admissions less attractive sooner. Unlike the last recession, however, enrollments may not be steady early on as online courses prove less attractive. Based on all of this my expectation might be a contraction sooner and a recovery later rather than the delayed reaction after 2008.

Posted by: anon3 | May 1, 2020 8:18:45 PM

As long as law schools continue to prioritize prior scholarship as the primary criteria for admission to the legal academy, the fellows and phds will continue to dominate the market. While there are exceptions, they are the candidates who have the time, resources, and institutional backing to do research and get a job. We talked on this board before about how lone ph.d candidates without any active connection to a law school have a tough time as do candidates without a fellowship or ph.d, especially those who have been out of law school more than 2-3 years.

But the fellowship/phd only model creates inequities that would likely be exacerbated by the virus, favoring the wealthy, single people or those with mobile partners. It also disfavors the risk averse. The old system of faculty mentorship too has its inequities so that's not a good thing to return to either. I am not sure there is any optimal way, and it likely will vary by school. But as the market has grown more competitive you have most candidates having multiple law reviews, with many of the top candidates having multiple T20 law reviews already published by the meat market. It has been a sliding scale; 10 years ago a promising idea might have been sufficient, then it turned out to be one law review, then it keeps on getting more. If you look at the resumes of candidates getting jobs, some have enough to make tenure right now with four or five law reviews published before even entering the academy.

Maybe the answer is for law schools to rethink tenure standards.If tenure was not basically a given at most schools, schools might be willing to take more of a chance on a great candidate who maybe does not have the publications but has potential. But schools won't take that step individually outside the top schools.

While some schools may differ, I would bet if you looked at the interview list of most schools (and nearly all top 50 schools) it is almost all fellows and phds, and to the extent it's not it is an alum who the faculty knows.

The list published on this board speaks for itself on the importance of fellowships, VAPS, and phds as almost a requirement once you eliminate the random alum who gets the job at their school.

Posted by: anon | May 1, 2020 4:56:39 PM

@futureacademic These hiring trends are not reflecting some rule (that can be publicly "reassessed") mandating that law schools must hire people with a phd/fellowship/clerkship. Each school is making its own individual decision based on the school's needs, the state of the market, certain guidance from the Dean, the year's cohort of applicants, internal faculty politics. So yes it is possible that certain schools might be more open to the idea of hiring someone without a fellowship/phd, especially now. I know of at least three hiring chairs who affirmatively prioritized diversity over fancy fellowships/phds as they were screening candidates this year (and you might see this trend expanding post-COVID). That said, there won't be a uniform policy for hiring, nor would there be an official reassessment. Many schools, including top schools, will continue to favor the fellowship/phd/clerkship model because they see it as a good indicator (maybe falsely) of actual potential for great scholarship. Remember, this is a buyers market and there is no way to force law schools to engage in such "reassessment" or "to do the right thing" (whatever that might be).

Posted by: anonresponse | May 1, 2020 4:05:24 PM

Thanks, anon3. To be clear, I wasn't trying to suggest that the model might change in way that makes PhDs the only viable path. I am wondering whether law schools may be more willing to hire folks without a PhD or a fellowship. Perhaps the only way to know is for top candidates to give that a shot.

Posted by: futureacademic | May 1, 2020 4:01:26 PM

Sorry -- I meant to write that I would be shocked if the number of folks who could do a fellowship but not a PhD *isn't* at least as large as the number of folks who could do a PhD but not a fellowship.

Posted by: anon3 | May 1, 2020 3:57:58 PM

@futureacademic -

No, I don't think anything is going to significantly change in that regard. Nor should it, so long as PhDs are the only colorable alternative path to legal academia. I do not doubt that there are many who could do a PhD but not a fellowship, but I would be shocked if the number of dual career / family / etc. folks who could do a fellowship but not a PhD is at least as large. It is the fact that we require candidates to relocate for a relatively low-salary several-year position to become a legal academic that is a problem, not the fact that fellowships (which require a shorter relocation while paying better) are one of the two paths.

Posted by: anon3 | May 1, 2020 3:53:49 PM

Thanks for all of the responses. I'm interested in anon's comment that the fellowship model may need to be reassessed. As someone who has a partner with a career, I can attest that the prospect of having to move to do a fellowship in different city for 1.5 years in this economic climate is a significant deterrent. The model seems to give an unfair advantage to those who are independently wealthy. Do others think the fellowship model could be reassessed?

Posted by: futureacademic | May 1, 2020 3:32:59 PM

True, the phd model is equally as affected as the fellowship model. However those with phd can possibly hang out in their programs an additional year or two if schools extend the time for them. So they may have an easier time of delaying going on the market compared to those with fellowships whose fellowships are not extended.

And those with phd do not necessarily go into it just for a law job. It’s unnecessary just to be a law prof and a 5 year commitment is a long time to invest but is less of a short term “let’s move to Chicago” for 1.5 years kind of thing. You also gain new skills like empirics or historical analysis that could be used for a job or go for a teaching job in phd field. Fellowships by contrast are two year deals that serve no purpose if not going to be a law professor. It’s a big risk to do a fellowship in this market. (Phd too but time horizon is longer).

Posted by: anon | May 1, 2020 3:07:34 PM

The low rate of female hires (about a third) tracks the applicants from PhD programs the last 2-3 years, many of which have been disproportionately male. Some top programs had only one or two females. Why this is happening is the broader question. With fellows and/or phd being a de facto requirement almost for getting a teaching position, it speaks to broader issues of diversity and access. With the economy in freefall it may increasingly be the case that two career couples don't want to take the risk of going for a PhD in a new city with uncertain results, especially if it means one member of the couple has to look for a new job in an uncertain economy. The whole PhD model as a feeder may be something that needs to be reassessed.

Posted by: anon3 | May 1, 2020 2:26:03 PM

The low rate of female hires (about a third) tracks the fellows' programs the last 2-3 years, many of which have been disproportionately male. Some top programs had only one or two females. Why this is happening is the broader question. With fellows and/or phd being a de facto requirement almost for getting a teaching position, it speaks to broader issues of diversity and access. With the economy in freefall it may increasingly be the case that two career couples don't want to take the risk of going for a fellowship in a new city with uncertain results, especially if it means one member of the couple has to look for a new job in an uncertain economy. The whole fellowship model as a feeder may be something that needs to be reassessed. It would be interesting to see other diversity statistics.

Posted by: anon | May 1, 2020 1:58:11 PM

So this might be too early to do but here are two preliminary findings that are standing out to me from the spreadsheet:

1. It would seem that COVID-19 (and the associated university hiring freezes: e.g. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2020/4/14/harvard-coronavirus-hiring-salary-freeze/) did not impact this cycle of hires. As of May 1st we have 65 reported hires by U.S. law schools. By this time last year we had 69 reported hires by U.S. law schools (not a dramatic difference). If numbers of reported hires continue to track last year's we'll reach the average high 70s ~ low 80s by the end of this reporting cycle. Of course this means nothing about how COVID-19 might destroy the next hiring cycle (or the one after that). Note that for the first two years after the 2008 recession law school enrollment actually increased not decreased (https://www.law.com/2020/04/23/law-schools-hit-by-financial-fallout-from-covid-19/), and so maybe the immediate aftermath of this pandemic would not be as bad (indeed the reports here suggest that 2011 and 2012 were not bad years, and the real plunge occurred in 2013 and onwards).

2. This has clearly been a good year for foreigners on the market. As of May 1st we already have 8 reported hires by those who completed their initial law degree outside of the United States (8/65 = 12.3%). Just to compare last year we had only 6 foreign hires in U.S. law schools total (6/89 = 6.7%). That is already double the percentage of foreign hires and we haven't even finished the reporting cycle. Also, it is just astonishing to see where these foreigners are coming from. Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel particularly stands out. 5 of the hires in U.S. law schools this year come from Hebrew University, that is the same number of hires that completed their initial degree at Stanford and NYU and higher than the numbers of Chicago, Columbia, and Michigan. In fact only Harvard and Yale have a higher number of hires than Hebrew University.

Wondering what your thoughts are about any and all of this and whether you identify any other interesting trends.

Posted by: Observer | May 1, 2020 12:15:03 PM

Looks like about 50% have PhDs or JSDs - is that higher than normal?

Posted by: PhDs | Apr 28, 2020 6:58:34 PM

A few observations:

67% of the hires posted to date are men.

VAPs: Six Climenkos are listed, two NYU Lawyering AAPs, and one Bigelow.

Year of JD degree: Four graduated in 2016, 2017 or 2018. Twelve graduated in 2012, seven in 2011, with the rest scattered among other years.

JDs: Most are from the usual handful of schools, with Yale at 14, Harvard 9, Stanford and Berkeley at 5 each.

Posted by: Shawn | Apr 25, 2020 6:28:06 PM

"As someone hoping to go on the market in the next couple years, I would be grateful for any insight as to how COVID-19 has affected this hiring cycle and how it will likely affect coming cycles."

Most schools are in a hiring freeze, and will be for the foreseeable future. Its not going to be a good hiring market for a long time. Sorry

Posted by: Anon | Apr 24, 2020 10:55:46 AM

As someone hoping to go on the market in the next couple years, I would be grateful for any insight as to how COVID-19 has affected this hiring cycle and how it will likely affect coming cycles.

Posted by: futureacademic | Apr 24, 2020 9:22:10 AM

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