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Friday, May 15, 2020

Spring Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2020

Following is a data summary of the Spring Reported Entry Level Hiring Report for 2020. To remain consistent with past years, while the spreadsheet contains all hiring information received, the data analysis includes only tenure-track hires at U.S. law schools. (The data analysis also includes several hires who requested not to be included in the spreadsheet at the date of this posting.)

This report and the spreadsheet are freely available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license, cited as Sarah Lawsky, Spring Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2020, PrawfsBlawg, https://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2020/05/spring-reported-entry-level-hiring-report-2020-1.html.

Here is the full spreadsheet:

There were 88 tenure-track hires at U.S. law schools reported, at 66 different law schools.

Q: How does 88 reported hires compare to past years?

It appears that we hit the “new normal” in 2014 and have seen fluctuations from around that level since then. The average number of hires per year since 2014 is 76. (I omit 2010 in this and all subsequent cross-year comparisons because insufficient data was collected that year.)

01 Reported Hires

It would useful to know the percentage of those who registered with the AALS who got jobs. While the AALS does not provide that information, the number of forms in the first distribution of FAR AALS forms is not a terrible proxy. This graph and chart compares the hiring in Year X to the number of forms in the first distribution in Year (X - 1) (because those are the people who were hired in Year X). Reported hires per FAR form is essentially the same as last year.


Hires per FAR Chart

Q: You say the hires were at 66 different schools. How does that compare to previous years?

The number of schools hiring was somewhat higher than, though still comparable to, previous years since 2014.

Schools Hiring

Hires per school per year may also be of interest:

Hires per School

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

JD From

Yale 19; Harvard 12; Stanford 9; NYU 6; Hebrew University 5; Berkeley 5; Chicago 4; Georgetown 3; Michigan 3.

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

Schools in the “fewer than three hires” category with one JD/LLB who reported hires: Arizona State, George Washington, Hastings, Illinois, McGill, Miami, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Temple, Texas, Tsinghua, Washington & Lee.

This information comes with two related caveats.

First, the spreadsheet reports the number of hires who received a JD from a particular school who accepted a tenure-track job, but not the number of JDs on the market who received a tenure-track job offer.

Second, the spreadsheet reports the count of JDs from a particular school, but not the rate at which JDs received (or accepted) offers. A smaller school with a high placement rate thus might not appear on the chart, whereas a larger program with a low placement rate might appear. This caveat means that smaller schools may be undervalued if one relies only on this data, while larger schools might be overvalued. 

Q: How many reported hires had a fellowship, degree, or clerkship?

73 (about 83%) had a fellowship; 51 (about 58%) had a clerkship; 67 (about 76%) had a higher degree. One reported hire did not have any of these credentials.

Venn diagram:


Comparing two categories of the Venn diagram related to fellowships, degrees, and clerkships--hires that have all three credentials, and hires that have none of the credentials--a shift starting in 2017 is apparent:

Venn Compare

Q: Still a lot of fellowships.

A: Yes, the rate of fellowships remains high.

Fellowship Rate

Q: From what law schools  did people get these fellowships?

I count here any law school at which a person reports having a fellowship. So one person could account for two schools’ being listed here. For example, if a single individual had a fellowship at Columbia followed by a fellowship at NYU, that would be reflected below as +1 to Columbia and +1 to NYU.

Fellowship School

Harvard 14; NYU 11; Stanford 9; Chicago 5; Columbia 5; American Bar Foundation 4; Penn 3; Fewer than Three 42.

This information comes with the same two caveats as the JD numbers.

First, the spreadsheet reports the number of hires who received a fellowship from a particular school who accepted a tenure-track job, but not the number of fellows who received a tenure-track job offer. This caveat likely applies to all or nearly all fellowship programs. Presumably, someone choosing between fellowships cares more about how many people received tenure-track job offers than about how many people accepted those offers.

Second, the spreadsheet reports the count of fellows, but not the rate at which fellows received (or accepted) offers. A smaller program with a high placement rate thus might not appear on the chart, whereas a larger program with a low placement rate might appear. This caveat means that smaller programs may be undervalued if one relies only on this data, while larger programs might be overvalued.

Q: Tell me more about these advanced degrees. 

Okay, but first a caveat: Although some people had more than one advanced degree, the following looks only at what seemed to me to be the "highest" degree someone earned. For example, someone with a Ph.D. and an LL.M. would be counted only as a Ph.D. for purposes of this question. (This tracks the "Other Degree (1)" column.)

That said, looking only at what seemed to be the most advanced degree, and including expected degrees, the 67 “highest” advanced degrees broke down like this:

Highest Degree

Doctorate (Ph.D., SJD, JSD, D.Phil.) 43; Masters 15; LL.M. 6; MBA 2; MD 1.

Topics ranged all over the map. For the 43 Doctorates, 9 had degrees in Law; 6 in Political Science (including Politics & International Studies), 5 in Economics (including Business Economics and Development Economics), 5 in JSP, 3 in Anthropology, 2 in each of Environment/Environmental Science & Policy, History, Philosophy, and Sociology; and the other doctorate topics, each of which had only one hire, were Criminology, Law & Society; Geography; History and Philosophy of Science; International Relations; Justice Studies; Literacy, Culture & International Education; Psychology.

Q: What is the percentage of doctorates over time?

This year continued the now four-year trend of a 40% or higher percentage of reported hires with doctorates.

Doctorate Time

Q: Commenters wondered whether there were more JSD/SJDs among the hires this year. Were there?

There were a few more JSD/SJDs than usual, but nothing too anomalous; the average is 4.1. There were 7 reported JSD/SJD hires this year; there were 6 in 2013.


Q: That's a lot of doctorates, and that goes along with a lot of fellowships! How many people had a doctorate, or a fellowship, or both?

92% of the reported hires had either a doctorate, a fellowship, or both.

Doctorate Fellowship

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

Year of JD

Zero to Four Years (Graduated 2016-2020) 8; Five to Nine Years (Graduated 2011-2015) 53; Ten to 19 Years (Graduated 2001-2010) 24; Twenty or More Years (Graduated before 2001) 3.

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

This is very similar to previous years. There are somewhat fewer people who graduated zero to four years ago than usual, and correspondingly more people who graduated five to nine years ago, but a similar distribution was seen in some previous years.

Years JD Time

Years JD Time Chart

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

Men Women

Men 51 (58%); women 37 (42%). (Let’s say this is right within +/-2 people.)

Based on a quick count of a number of years of spreadsheets that I happen to have, gender hiring over time follows. (I’ve left out the data labels because I am even less sure than usual of the exactness of the numbers, but they’re roughly right as reflections of self-reported hiring each spring—first Solum’s reports, then mine. And as always, 2010 is left out due to missing data for that year.) 

Gender Time

Q: More slicing! More dicing! Different slicing! Different dicing!

Sure--you can do it yourself, or ask questions in the comments and I'll see what I can do, or we'll work it out as a group.

Q: This is all wrong! I know for a fact that more people from School Y were hired!

Yes, this spreadsheet is certainly missing some information. Repeat: this spreadsheet is incomplete. It represents only those entry-level hires that were reported to me, either through the comments on this blog or via email. It is without question incomplete. 

If you want to know about real entry level hiring, I commend to you Brian Leiter's report (hiring 1995-2011), the Katz et al. article (all law professors as of 2008), the George and Yoon article (entry level, 2007-2008 hiring year), and the Tsesis Report (entry level, 2012-2013 hiring year). This is just a report about self-reported entry level hires as of the spring before the school year starts. 

Q: Is this available in an easy-to-print format?

A: I am waiting until the report is more finalized to put up the easy-to-print format; I will probably add it in June.

Originally posted 5/15/2020; edited 5/17/20 to add one hire; edited 5/21/20 to add one hire and remove the PDF report, to be added back in June; edited 5/27/20 to add one person and to clean up fellowship/doctorate graph to reflect percentages of all hires, instead of just doctrinal hires, for consistency with other portions of the report.


Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 15, 2020 at 12:00 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


Just a guess, but from my experience if you interviewed at a school and it's not listed, a majority though not most of the time they end up hiring no one or else you check the leiter report and see that they made a lateral hire. Many of my schools are not listed, though some appear on the list of lateral hires. If schools waited to hire (i.e.,first choice candidates declined them) they may also have canceled searches in light of the pandemic when many schools instituted immediate hiring freezes (though most continue with offers signed or searches underway). There was someone on here that had an unsigned offer pulled in March.

Sarah also said a few asked not to be listed, Often schools announce new hires on twitter if you are curious in the fall.

Posted by: anon | Jun 2, 2020 3:37:56 PM

One possibility is to include another sheet on the Google spreadsheet that allows faculty from schools that did not hire to input their school's name. Some schools know a the start of hiring that they will not be looking at entry-levels, whereas others don't know until the late-spring whether they had an unsuccessful search on the entry-level market.

Posted by: anon | Jun 2, 2020 3:20:33 PM

@ former_candidate | Jun 2, 2020 1:38:37 PM:

I really wish I knew how to figure out the answer to your question of which schools didn't hire at all! I used to try to collect that information, but most schools weren't motivated to provide that, so after a few years of collecting just a few names each year, I gave up. Short of calling each school to ask (that's what Alex Tsesis did when he did his true entry level report a few years back), I don't know how to do this.

I may well be missing something though--so if you or anyone can think of a way to figure out relatively easily which schools did not hire in a given year, please send me an email or post in the comments.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | Jun 2, 2020 1:59:30 PM

I had a dozen AALS interviews, but only see 3 of the schools I interviewed with listed here. Just curious if there's a way to (easily) find out which schools that did interviews ended up not hiring anyone, versus those who hired somebody that you lack data on?

Posted by: former_candidate | Jun 2, 2020 1:38:37 PM

All valid points. As you point out, people make life choices for many different reasons. When I was a fellow, I overlapped with 3 fellows who started the fellowship while finishing up a PhD, some of them for funding reasons. One was in a field close enough that they already came in with law-review publications and were able to go on the market pretty quickly. The other two first had to finish their PhD, publishing in a different field, before they were able to turn to more traditional legal scholarship. For both, this meant moving on to another fellowship (at the same institution) and going on the market from there. Their circumstances didn't have a lot to do with the practicalities of the fellowship, though who knows if they'd have finished their PhD faster in a fellowship with a lower teaching load. And maybe other fellowships would not have taken them in while they were still wrapping up a PhD.

Posted by: anon | May 21, 2020 10:35:04 AM

Reading these replies, I guess I think it does matter somewhat how many fellows "should" be on the market, not just how many actually were. It's true that when a fellow chooses to take an extra year, seek another fellowship, or take a job outside academia then, strictly speaking, it doesn't tell us about the fellowship's placement power. And fellows make those decisions for all kinds of personal reasons at every program. But if, over the years, a significant fraction of fellows aren't on the market "on schedule" it does say something about how well those fellows are being supported: e.g., perhaps the teaching burden is too high for the two-year schedule to be realistic for many. This would be something for prospective future fellows to consider. I would worry particularly if many fellows are leaving the fellowship for a second fellowship: that seems like an especially rough kind of outcome for the candidate given the burden of moving for temporary fellowships. I don't mean to single out any particular fellowship, just to emphasize that it's a valid concern.

Posted by: anon | May 20, 2020 2:13:26 PM

Thank you, Sarah, for the almost instantaneous look at hiring areas! Agreed about the fuzziness of the metric for determining courses taught.

On NYU AAPs, I know the conversation has been focused on the NYU Lawyering AAP program but I'd also like to chime in about the NYU Tax AAP program. There is only one Tax AAP on the market per year and every Tax AAP has received multiple tenure-track offers for at least the past five years.

Posted by: Jeremy Bearer-Friend | May 19, 2020 2:34:28 PM

Last year (2018-19) 4 Lawyering AAPs were on the market. All 4 landed tenure-track offers.

Posted by: Anon former Lawyering | May 19, 2020 12:43:41 PM

To the Lawyering AAPs folks: how many AAPs were on the market last year and how many placed? It seems pretty clear that it's necessary to look across two or more years to assess three-year programs.

Posted by: anonon | May 19, 2020 11:21:37 AM

I'm a former NYU Lawyering AAP. Only 2 Lawyering AAPs were on the market this year.

Posted by: Anon | May 19, 2020 11:00:10 AM

@Established Fellowships -- A correction to the Lawyering AAP (NYU) numbers: the Lawyering fellowship is up to three years but some fellows go on the market after two. That means new fellow hiring can vary from approximately 3-7 fellows per year, some of whom go on the market after two years and some of whom wait three. Additionally, usually 1-2 fellows per year choose not to pursue a career in academia or choose to go on to other fellowships. This year, only two fellows went on the market and both received tenure track jobs, so the placement rate was 100%.

Posted by: Anon NYU | May 19, 2020 10:56:42 AM

Thanks, Shirin! Mind sharing how the Greys did last year? I seem to recall that there weren't any Greys reported on the hiring spreadsheet, and now I'm wondering if either someone was left off the list or if nobody went on the market. (Or, we all understand that sometimes you just have a tough year.)

Posted by: anonon | May 18, 2020 3:36:40 PM

Some of the information on law fellowship placement rates in the Comments is incorrect. I am one of the faculty co-directors of the Grey Fellowship program at Stanford. We had one fellow on the market this past year, and she accepted a tenure-track job offer (at U Penn Law). Thus, the placement rate was 100%, not 33% as estimated in the Comments. While we have 6 fellows in the program, fellows remain in the program for staggered terms (generally for 2-3 years), and therefore the number on the market fluctuate from year to year. Please feel free to contact me for additional information on the program.

Posted by: Shirin Sinnar | May 18, 2020 12:12:05 PM

Jeremy Bearer-Friend -- A few big caveats. First, this will be bother over and underinclusive if the question is teaching. Someone who lists Contracts as an interest doesn't necessarily teach Contracts. And I some people are presumably listing research areas, not teaching. Someone could well teach in an area that they do not feel is one of their top four research interests. (I taught Contracts for several years, for example. I would not list Contracts as one of my four research areas.)

That said, I called the following six classes 1L classes; not all schools require all of these classes in the first year, and some schools require other classes, but this seems like a pretty solid core.

Civ Pro; Con Law; Contracts; Crim; Property; Torts

A majority of people for whom I had area information listed at least one of these areas in all years but 2011. Here's the breakout:

2011: 39%
2012: 62%
2013: 72%
2014: 72%
2015: 61%
2016: 75%
2017: 61%
2018: 90%
2019: 80%
2020: 56%

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 18, 2020 11:34:53 AM

Thank you, Sarah, for this terrific service to our community. It's both fascinating and useful. One way that I rely on this annual report is when I get contacted by aspiring law profs. I'm regularly contacted for advice about whether to go into law teaching and this is an off the shelf resource I can share.

As one follow-up question, I wonder if we could add a dummy variable for whether the candidate teaches in the 1L curriculum (up to you if we include admin/legreg/conlaw in that bucket). I just teach tax (income tax, tax exempt orgs, tax policy, etc...) and don't teach in the 1L curriculum. Does that make me special? Would love to know!

Posted by: Jeremy Bearer-Friend | May 18, 2020 10:05:49 AM

According to the post last July 2019 filed by their director when interviewed by Jessica here on this blog, Columbia's Associate in Law hired 3 each year (and planned to hire 3 this year; I am not sure if they discontinued it this year but as of July they were hiring for this year). I recall specifically at that time looking at the website of the 6 fellows on the website only 1 was a women which I found odd. I wasn't just referring to each year but the whole group and I do find one of 6 odd just like I find 4 out of 14 at Harvard odd, and a pattern that was not a one time thing. It is probably more difficult for certain people to move to new cities in their 30s and do fellows programs. Same for Phds. Not just women, but also people who are not wealthy or who are risk averse by nature or who have family/spousal issues. Given only 85 or so people actually got jobs, big differences in some of the programs, especially if lumped together in any one year, could mean that some programs conceivably have no or few female candidates (or minority candidates) on the market for that particular year.

The years before Columbia had more fellows -maybe 8 or 10. I had friends in the fellows program within the last few years and know some taught in the LLM program as well and some taught 1L legal writing though gradually it was more LLM and the numbers on the website went down; use to be about 10-14 in total 4-5 years ago. Columbia has not consistently hired for the Academic fellows - some years they hired one or two, some years none. Academic fellows don't teach.

Either way, there are alot of reasons that contribute to the 60/40 disparity this year. One possible reason could be some disparity in fellowships. It is hard to extrapolate direct comparisons from year to year because some of the fellows getting hired are off cycle, meaning that they were a fellow, and either did a second fellowship, or went back to practice and appleid again. So a 100% success rate may not necessarily be suggestive of the programs success rate since a given program may have fellows still on the market from years past. Bigelow probably is the only one with a 100% success rate but some of the others may have had more on the market that did not get jobs and the numbers don't show that because former fellows got jobs. (Like I know in the past some fellows got jobs a year later than they were "suppose" to which is offset by others in their second year of the fellowship who do not get a job).

The best way to measure success which I guess one could do if they had the AALS book is to see how many were on market for each fellowship then how many got jobs. Some also choose to do legal writing or clinical, like some at NYU in particular often do that so their "low" rate could reflect that.

So the figures below don't really mean much because you don't know how many fellows and former fellows were on the market. Like Columbia should have had at least 3 Academic Fellows following from the July 2019 post from the director on their numbers plus the Academic Fellows plus some random other fellows plus possibly maybe one or two former fellows who go on the market multiple times.

This is Jessica's post from last July.


Posted by: anon | May 17, 2020 7:13:20 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we actually have the numbers to generally understand how established fellowships performed. I don't know exactly how many fellows from each program went on the market this year, but it's fairly easy to gauge how many fellows are in each program, so I used that as a rough measure of "success rate." I included the Yale PhD program, because I view them as essentially a fellowship. Corrections welcome!

By my count, here's how they did, in alphabetical order by school.

Bigelow (Chicago) - approximately 3 fellows/year in program
100% success rate: 3 Bigelows were hired

Academic Fellow/Associates in Law (Columbia) -- approximately 2 fellows/year in program
100% success rate: 2 Fellows were hired

Climenko (Harvard) - approximately 6 fellows/year in program
100% success rate: 6 Climenkos were hired

Lawyering AAP (NYU) - approximately 5 fellows/year in program
40% success rate: 2 Lawyering AAPs were hired

Sharswood (Penn) -- approximately 2 fellows/year in program
100% success rate: 2 Sharwoods hired

Grey (Stanford) -- approximately 3 fellows/year in program
33% success rate: 1 Grey fellow hired

PhD in Law (Yale) -- approximately 3 candidates/year in program
66% success rate: 2 PhDs hired

18 fellows hired from established programs (meaning that the "established" programs comprise only about 25% of all fellows hired)
75% overall success rate

I wouldn't put too much stock in any one program's numbers for a single year. But I do think that collecting this information over several years could be helpful for understanding how these programs are relatively doing (mostly pretty well), and how influential they are for the tenure-track market more generally (maybe less than what is typically assumed).

Posted by: Established Fellowships | May 17, 2020 4:30:37 PM

anon - your information is incorrect. Columbia only has the Academic Fellows program now, and Columbia Academic Fellows/Associates in Law haven't taught 1Ls for several years (except for one legacy fellow). And Anon1 was correct that Columbia generally hires about 2 fellows per year and has for several years running. I think it's been half a decade or longer since Columbia had classes of 6 fellows.

More crucially, anon1's point about numbers here is 100% right on. You're drawing inferences based on cherrypicked small numbers. There were something like 70 fellows hired this year. Your argument is that we can extrapolate from *some* (but not all!) of the well-established fellowship programs the gender balance of fellowships as a whole.

Posted by: anon3 | May 17, 2020 4:09:35 PM

correction:Columbia associate in law not academic fellow is their primary program. that is the one with 6-8 people.

Posted by: anon | May 17, 2020 3:45:38 PM

Columbia's legal writing academic fellow one which is their primary fellowship program has more like 7 or 8 fellows since they hire for 2 years to teach legal writing for 1Ls and LLMs and during the past 2 years at various times they had 1 or two females. They have a smaller academic fellow one which is different; that only has 1-2 fellows. Climenko Is one of the largest program with 2/3 male and 14 fellows. The only other large program is really NYU which Is more equal. Programs like Penn, Chicago are a very small share so yes, you can't really gather much from them. My statement was clearly limited to the large fellow programs. Chicago is not so much as large but well-established so it is often linked the same with the other schools since they hire regularly whereas Penn does not always hire 2 every year. Yale phd is not a fellow but is more equal as well. But a large share of the total fellows are coming from the larger programs.

Point is if you look at all the fellows and especially if you look at some of the larger ones there is a strong gender divide the last 2 years so it's not surprising we find that reflected in the market results. If the fellowship classees at some of the large programs are 60/40 or 70/30 then yeah overall we will see some gender disparity in the results owing to the importance of the fellowship. Some of these gender divides is not a one-off thing;it is a trend I have noticed over the past few years, with the programs becoming less 50/50 than they use to be. The fact that so many phds are also fellows compounds it, since I think it is very difficult for anyone to commit that many years and to move multiple times. The effect may especially be felt among females candidates.

Posted by: anon | May 17, 2020 3:44:31 PM

@anon - you're extrapolating from very small numbers. Columbia has approximately two fellows/year in its primary fellowship program. Chicago has three. Penn has two. These are "large" fellowship programs insofar as they basically always have one or more fellows on the market -- but the difference between Chicago being 2/3 male or 1/3 male is really just one person or two.

In a world in which fellowships were 50/50 male/female, you would expect a statement like the following to be true: "Among the top large programs, except Chicago and NYU, some of the fellowship classes the past 2 years were disproportionately male, and very heavily so." Fellowship programs may well be more heavily male than female, but your gerrymandered selection here doesn't reveal this truth -- and it certainly doesn't reveal any sort of deeper institutional or systemic problem with fellowships (which also may exist).

Personally, I find the growing de facto PhD requirement to be far more concerning from a gender and income inequity standpoint than I do the growing de facto fellowship requirement. If we're concerned about the way in which these dual requirements impact the access to academia, PhDs require far more of a time commitment (3-10 years) for far less money ($15,000-30,000) than do fellowships (1-2 years for $35,000-70,000). They're both concerning, but any discussion that focuses just on fellowships is, at best, incomplete and, at worst, disingenuous and self-serving.

Posted by: anon2 | May 17, 2020 1:00:37 PM

While true that the same issue applies for Phd, there is no way really to know whether the gender gap in Phd programs has changed much over the past 2 years. It probably was always disproportionately male. But the fellowship programs are easy to check. Just look at the program pages and if you have looked at them the past few years, it is obvious that the ratios the past 2 years at least are beyond 50/50, and in some cases way beyond that. This was not the case so much 3-5 years ago; it was more 50/50 then.

I am surprised how the stats bear out that it is really the fellowship that seems to matter most, given the high numbers of phd who also do a fellowship. So any disparity in the fellowship ranks would be more obvious in explaining the disparity in the gender ratio this year as a fellowship is almost a de facto requirement (outside of being a favored alum at your school or Supreme Court clerk).

Indeed, who are the people who are getting jobs without fellowships? It's not the Phd; most of them still need fellowships whereas 5 years ago you probably had less that had both credentials or where the Phd did not ask need a fellowship. That speaks to either 1) Phds writing too much in their fields and not in law or peer reviewed journals articles being disfavored in the hiring process; or 2) connections really mattering the most and lone Phd without any law connections have a tough time. I think it's more number 2 than 1, but is probably a function of both. Phd have time and resources to write. there is no logical reason other than connections to explain why most need a fellowship in addition to a Ph.D., and needing 2-7 years to be a law professor just exacerbates the gender inequality.

Posted by: anon | May 17, 2020 12:39:17 PM

I would suspect that the 40/60 female/male ratio more closely tracks the female/male PhD ranks the last 2 years. Among the top large programs, some of the PhD classes the past 2 years were disproportionately male, and very heavily so. There are dozens I know of that had one or maybe two females and more had way way less than 50/50. While PhD programs with smaller numbers are harder to gauge accurately, the large programs certainly do not have even gender balances. This may speak to more systematic reasons why women don't want or can't participate in multi-year PhDs that don't always have a good track record of landing a tenure track job. It would be interesting to see breakdowns by top PhDs and how they do(some don't get jobs at all or go back to practice and get jobs later so it's probably a hard statistic to figure out. And some programs don't publicize it so much, and don't always publicize it by gender either).

Posted by: anon1 | May 17, 2020 12:06:51 PM

I would suspect that the 40/60 female/male ratio more closely tracks the female/male fellowship ranks the last 2 years. Among the top large programs, except Chicago and NYU, some of the fellowship classes the past 2 years were disproportionately male, and very heavily so. I think Columbia had one or maybe two females and Harvard too had way way less than 50/50. While the lone fellowships may have had more of a 50/50 ratio, the large programs certainly did not. This may speak to more systematic reasons why women don't want or can't participate in 2 years legal writing programs that don't always have a good track record of landing a tenure track job. It would be interesting to see breakdowns by top fellow programs and how they do(some don't get jobs at all or go back to practice and get jobs later so it's probably a hard statistic to figure out. And some programs don't publicize it so much, and don't always publicize it by gender either).

Posted by: anon | May 17, 2020 11:45:32 AM

It looks like the overall 40/60 female/male statistic is 60/40 in the T14 and T20 and less than 40/60 elsewhere.

Posted by: anon | May 17, 2020 9:32:33 AM

Let me add one other thing - if you are interested in collaborating on the post, I can run some numbers on initial law degrees coming from foreign schools and comparing to this year and throw that graph in as well. I will probably work on that and put it up anyway, but it would better accompanied by your points.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 17, 2020 9:14:01 AM

Observer | May 17, 2020 8:13:48 AM - these are all fantastic points regarding the SJD/JSD pool. Would you be interested in doing a guest post, instead of these points being in the comments? We can discuss over email or if you would prefer to remain entirely anonymous, just indicate that you are ok with my putting these comments in a post and I will do so, cut and pasting, and crediting anonymous "Observer." Thanks!

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 17, 2020 9:11:09 AM

Just a couple more thoughts about the JSD/SJD discussion:

1. @Sara Lawsky - I am counting 9 JSD/SJD graduates and not 7 (Buchhandler-Raphael, Lubin, Ravid, Rudolphy, Rao, Furth-Matzkin ,Gillis, Grey, Restropo). It is true that 2 of these 9 also received a PhD. Nonetheless, their professional journeys into the U.S. legal academy are not different than any of the remaining 7 and I don't see a reason to exclude them from this count. Certainly, if you follow a count of 9 then it is an abnormal number.

2. I think one of the points that people raised was how well these 9 JSD/SJD graduates did on the market this year. If you examine the ranking of the law schools where these graduates got placements (based on US News 2021 rankings, and treating Widener which is between 148-194, as being ranked 148) you get an average of 52.5 and a median of 38. Just to compare, this year the average for the entire population of hires was 68.7 and the median was 62 (again treating all 148-194 ranked law schools as being ranked 148). To fully grasp the accomplishment of this cohort of JSD/SJD graduates, the last time there was a large pool of JSD/SJD hires was 2013 with 6 hires. If you rely on the 2021 ranking again to do an average/median placement analysis for that cohort, you get an average of 87.8 and a median of 76 (as one of the schools who hired a JSD that year -- Whittier -- was an unranked school, that in fact recently closed, I gave it a favorable ranking of 172 based on one available ranking from 2011). What I'm getting at is that you would expect JSD/SJD graduates to get lower ranked positions on the legal academic job market compared to the average population of hires, because on top of every other challenge that the market introduces for applicants, JSD/SJD candidates have to deal with a mountain of explicit and implicit bias as foreigners in this country, especially now as the COVID19 reality and the Trump Administration pushes an aggressive America (and Americans) First general mentality. Therefore, for this cohort to do better than the average hire is simply incredible.

3. Finally, one obvious eyebrow-raising accomplishment is what Hebrew University managed to do this year, which is not comparable to any other foreign law school in any other year in the history of documenting these hires. To get 5 of their graduates hired in U.S. law schools, a number comparable to that of NYU and Berkeley and higher than that of Chicago, Georgetown and Michigan is astounding. It says something really foundational about the oversized footprint that Israelis have on U.S. legal academia but also says something quite troubling about the future of Israeli legal education and "brain drain" concerns, as a growing number of graduates simply don't return home after their JSD/SJD experiences.

Posted by: Observer | May 17, 2020 8:13:48 AM

Anon @ May 15, 2020 8:17:13 PM asked about diversity along other axes: I don't have this information, but AALS does (and won't release it). They used to provide aggregated data about entry-level hires but stopped.

AnotherAnon @ May 15, 2020 9:13:43 PM made the interesting point that the 40/60 male/female ratio tracked the FAR forms and asked whether that was a typical pattern. This is a great point--it's another base-rate question, and just as the constraints AALS places on using the FAR form prevents us from learning, for example, the actual rate of success of various schools' or fellowships' applicants (though Brian Leiter does do a rough estimate each year of schools, link below), we also can't learn in a systematic way about whether the male/female ratio of hires over the years tracks the male/female ratio of applicants in those years.

Leiter school success rate:


tl;dr: Because of the AALS's choices, I don't know the answers to these questions.

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 16, 2020 10:06:26 AM

It looks like the 40/60 female/male statistic tracks the first FAR distribution at least as far as I can tell. I wonder if that's a typical pattern from past years as well - do we know?

Posted by: AnotherAnon | May 15, 2020 9:13:43 PM

Thanks as always for this, Sarah!

Posted by: Orin Kerr | May 15, 2020 8:59:34 PM

Any sense of diversity along other axes such as race, nationality, ethnicity, Thanks!

Posted by: Anon | May 15, 2020 8:17:13 PM

And/or US law schools are simply shrinking. Enrollments have dropped, modestly at some schools and considerably at others. Not every departing f/t faculty member has been replaced. (Nb. this comment and Alex's are, in my view, consistent with each other.)

Posted by: Michael Madison | May 15, 2020 4:58:29 PM

Thank you a million times over for such an invaluable service to the academic community. Your statistical report is marvelous, as always. You've taken the already excellent model Larry Solum developed years ago to an all new level!

The downward trend in hiring demonstrates a long-term shift in US law schools replacing tenure track positions with contractual and adjunct instructors.


Posted by: Alexander Tsesis | May 15, 2020 2:20:18 PM

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