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Friday, August 28, 2020

Law School Hiring Spreadsheet and Clearinghouse for Questions, 2020-2021

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, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020. 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 28, 2020 at 04:32 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


Thinking about the current, and likely future, hiring market, does anyone have advice for how to make oneself more attractive to law schools when coming from a TT position in a non-law discipline (with a PhD and a JD)? Is it harder to get in from the outside (but while already an assistant prof) than from an entry-level position w/o the current faculty job? This market seems brutal for everyone, and *initial* interviews don't even materialize for candidates with PhDs, multiple top-50 flagship law review placements, existing TT jobs, and strong records of teaching law-related classes. Is the best advice to keep publishing in the best law reviews? stop publishing in non-law journals or doing law+ or other, less-legal types of research? network more? Something else? (I imagine a mix of all of this, plus lots of luck?)

Posted by: Non-Law Prof in Adjacent Field | Feb 12, 2021 5:17:27 PM

Where are the those new spring semester job posts people had been promising would open up? I’m not seeing much...

Posted by: New spring jobs | Feb 4, 2021 1:32:53 AM

Where are the those new spring semester job posts people had been promising would open up? I’m not seeing much...

Posted by: New spring jobs | Feb 4, 2021 1:32:52 AM

In the spring, do hiring committees ever add new files to their list of candidates under consideration if/when people they already invited for talks start accepting offers from other schools?

Posted by: anon fellow | Jan 23, 2021 7:52:10 PM

Hi - apologies for cross-posting: The Yale Information Society Project is accepting applications for its WIII Fellow, running the Initiative on Intermediaries and Information. It's an incredible opportunity to spend a year to two years with Jack Balkin and the brilliant folks in the Yale Law community. Deadline to apply is Feb. 10. If you are interested in knowing more please feel free to reach out to me, or to Nik Guggenberger our Executive Director: https://law.yale.edu/isp/initiatives/wikimedia-initiative-intermediaries-and-information/wiii-blog/come-join-us-yalewikimedia-fellowship-accepting-applications

Posted by: Current WIII Fellow - @M_Karanicolas | Jan 23, 2021 11:37:36 AM

Thank you. This is very helpful.

Posted by: New | Jan 22, 2021 8:58:02 AM

@New - well, it works differently in the US. Start with one of the many guides available on the internet. For example https://www.law.uchicago.edu/careerservices/academicmarketmechanics or https://law.yale.edu/sites/default/files/area/department/cdo/document/cdo_law_teaching_public.pdf.

Posted by: Response to New | Jan 22, 2021 8:29:03 AM

Hi everyone,

I’m not from the U.S., and I was wondering how does one offer herself for an academic position here.
Where I’m from it is required to contact the Dean, who later on screens candidates based on cv and publications.
After the initial screening there is a more formal process of a committee, job talks and so on.
How does one initiate the process in the U.S? Or even knows which law schools are hiring?

Thank you

Posted by: New | Jan 21, 2021 4:28:07 PM

Anyone heard anything from Mich. St. regarding their chaired family law position?

Posted by: AnonProf2 | Jan 21, 2021 3:33:05 PM

Anyone hear of any activity on the lateral front?

Posted by: LateralAnon | Jan 21, 2021 3:05:23 PM

@namingthename Ask Sarah Lawsky :-) Sarah usually posts them, but not until later in the spring. Someone in the comments below suggested posting earlier this year, to help schools know which candidates are off the market.

Posted by: Ask Sarah | Jan 16, 2021 1:14:26 AM

There used to be a chart with the hired fellows each year. Is that avaible? If so, where can we find it?

Posted by: namingthename | Jan 15, 2021 2:36:31 PM

Well this has been a depressing job cycle. Only a few interviews, no offer. Unless more positions open up this spring, guess I’ll be going back to the drawing board this fall. Now time to look for academic adjacent research jobs, I guess. Curious to know how others fared and if the data shows any skew regarding gender or race or disability in this year of pandemic inequality.

Posted by: Depressed Candidate | Jan 15, 2021 1:08:03 PM

"For example, at Oxford or Cambridge, a top student would learn 500-600 tort cases, 400-500 contract cases, and perhaps 300-400 criminal law cases. Most cases require learning only the main principle of the case. Academic critiques of the law and dissenting opinions are also required to do well."

This would not be terribly helpful in the practice (much less teaching) of law in the US. I question whether it's the wisest course in other legal systems, but I can't say.

What's the marginal value of learning the 100th case, let alone the 300th or 600th, especially if all you're learning about it is the "main principle" (holding?)? If my credit hours were doubled, I'd do some more cases, sure, but not double. I'd add other things. In the US anyway, memorizing hundreds of cases sounds like an engineer's idea of what law school should be like.

As "comparative law teaching" noted, federalism may be one difference here. But if I taught in a law school that exclusively focused on a single jurisdiction (to my knowledge, no such law school exists in the US, not even in Louisiana where there might be a case for that), I still don't think I would ramp up coverage of cases much. We would do more state statutes and state regulations, and probably learn more things about aspects of law practice in the state (local rules, norms at local firms, etc.).

Posted by: Memorizing 500 cases is not a great way to do US legal education | Jan 13, 2021 11:36:02 AM

Interesting discussion. Part of the reason for the difference may be the difficulty of teaching 50 systems of substantive law in the U.S. (plus the federal system). In other countries, I imagine one is commonly teaching about a single unified legal system. So it makes more sense to memorize important cases, since they have authority throughout the country. But in American law teaching, it is less useful to memorize specific cases establishing principles of tort, contract, or criminal law. Knowing the name of a case in Minnesota would not generally be helpful in Nevada. And casebooks are generally not published about law specific to one state. Constitutional law may be the exception that validates the rule. There is a lot more case memorization in conlaw classes, and it is a more unified system of law (state constitutional law is not widely taught).

Posted by: comparative law teaching | Jan 11, 2021 10:52:34 PM

Yeah, from a US perspective, this is an odd question. We don't think of courses in terms of numbers of cases. Some courses cover lots of cases, others cover just a few but more in-depth, or they cover more rules or law review articles. From a US perspective this question sounds like "how many numbers do you cover in a math course?"

Posted by: 'case loads' | Jan 11, 2021 12:28:45 PM

Thanks for the responses. I am astonished. In the non-US common law world, the situation is reversed. Higher ranked schools require knowledge of more cases than lower-ranked schools, and only the latter allow open-book examinations.

For example, at Oxford or Cambridge, a top student would learn 500-600 tort cases, 400-500 contract cases, and perhaps 300-400 criminal law cases. Most cases require learning only the main principle of the case. Academic critiques of the law and dissenting opinions are also required to do well. However "law and economics" is hardly discussed, but the teachers are aware of its importance in the US.

I had looked at some US textbooks but that had puzzled me. For example, a leading English criminal textbook has ~1200 cases in the table of cases, while a US one has ~350. For contract law, there was a similar gap, but the proportional difference was closer to 6/10, if I recall.

Sorry to hijack this thread, but thank you very much for the responses.

Posted by: 4:31pm Anon | Jan 10, 2021 3:34:18 PM

@4:31pm anon -

Most U.S. casebooks are organized to include a mix of edited cases (depending on the casebook and course, taking up between 2-10 pages of the book), and "notes" on those cases that reference numerous other cases (with rarely more than a paragraph per referenced "notes case"). In my previous post, I used "non-notes case" to refer to the semi-edited cases, where students will read basically the entire relevant portion of the opinion and there will be substantial class discussion on it. Most class reading will also includes numerous "notes" cases -- depending on the casebook, usually something like 5-15 per every non-notes case. If you haven't looked at a U.S. case book, that should be your first step. A core U.S. course is unlikely to cover the entire book, but it will likely cover much of it (maybe 600-700 pages?).

As "cases" mentioned, most U.S. law exams are open book, so the emphasis is not on memorizing any of these cases, but on being able to use them effectively in (usually) some sort of semi-simulation exercise, like an "issue spotter."

Posted by: anon3 | Jan 10, 2021 2:26:18 PM

@4:31 pm As a U.S. lawyer, I found your question rather difficult to answer. I don't think we think of law school courses in terms of number of cases here. There isn't really any emphasis on memorizing (or even deeply learning) too many cases, if that's what you're asking about. At many law schools, most exams are open-book. The higher ranked the school is, the less emphasis there is on learning any cases or any laws at all.

Posted by: cases | Jan 10, 2021 3:09:42 AM

Thanks for explaining that. I'm not sure I know what "non-notes case" means. Does that mean the lecturer goes over 60-100 cases over the course, but the students need to learn other cases too?

As for why I'm asking, it's because I'm trying to get a sense of what is expected in the US. I'm coming from another common law jurisdiction where for criminal/tort/contract the lecturer may cover at least 200 cases and students would be responsible for learning more. Caseload seems lighter in US, but maybe it's because of Socratic method teaching and going deeper into major cases.

Posted by: 4:31pm Anon | Jan 9, 2021 10:22:03 PM

@4:31pm Anon:

It totally depends on the course and the teacher. I think it's pretty standard to cover 2-3 non-notes cases per class period in a lot of subjects, and for classes to meet ~35x per semester, so that maybe averages out to 60-100 over the course of the semester? I think most professors expect their students to have some grasp of notes cases as well, too. Why?

Posted by: anon3 | Jan 9, 2021 5:37:19 PM

Random question: foreigner here. Can anyone tell me how many cases are covered (or students are expected to know) in a semester-long US class on: Criminal law, tort law, or contract law?

Posted by: Anon | Jan 9, 2021 4:31:09 PM

@StillWaiting same here though I was just given “early January,” so they still have time. I doubt anyone would mind if you checked in mid next week or so. Good luck!

How’s everyone doing out there? The numbers looked bad at the start of the cycle, and we had that depressing Plea from a Candidate post. Are people ok? Did y’all get jobs?

Posted by: Also Waiting | Jan 9, 2021 12:27:59 AM

Still waiting on a school after being told to expect a vote (post-callback) on a given day “at the earliest.” It’s been a couple days since that date but since there are a lot more important things going on in the world this week, I’m trying to keep things in perspective. Anyone experienced something similar?

Posted by: StillWaiting | Jan 8, 2021 1:10:29 PM

Got a wave of rejections today. Guess everyone is back to work!

Posted by: Rejected | Jan 7, 2021 8:57:00 PM

Got a wave of rejections today. Guess everyone is back to work!

Posted by: Rejected | Jan 7, 2021 8:56:59 PM

Well, damn.

Posted by: LateralAnon | Jan 5, 2021 7:39:07 PM

Most successful lateral candidates are those who were recruited, not those who simply applied on their own. So if you fall into the latter, don't be surprised if you never hear.

Posted by: AnonProf | Jan 5, 2021 2:05:25 PM

Does anyone have any insights regarding the lateral market? When should one expect to hear about screening interviews, call backs, etc.?

Posted by: LateralAnon | Jan 5, 2021 1:33:00 PM

It's confusing. I hope that next year the headers can be clarified a bit. E.g., "ding without interview"; "ding after screener"; "ding after callback."

Posted by: Dings | Jan 1, 2021 11:25:52 AM

How are folks using the different "ding" options? Is a "Callback ding" used to say you were dinged AFTER a callback or following one? I'm trying to understand the difference between a callback ding and an offer ding, unless the callback ding is used to mean one did not receive a callback with the offer ding then used to refer to a rejection after a callback. Thanks in advance (and Happy New Year everyone!)

Posted by: Clarifying | Jan 1, 2021 10:44:02 AM

"Any idea of whether schools will move before the end of the year? Or hiring will only resume after the new years?"

In my experience, nothing happens in law schools between December 15 and January 15 at the earliest.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 22, 2020 3:40:25 PM

Any idea of whether schools will move before the end of the year? Or hiring will only resume after the new years?

Posted by: EndofYear | Dec 22, 2020 11:41:37 AM

Is a short tenure track even unambiguously a good thing? Aren't there advantages to having more years to meet the requirements?

Posted by: Tenure Q | Dec 22, 2020 10:06:23 AM

To the tenure negotiation question: this seems like a bad idea to me. Many of the 2-4 year tracks are probably the result of a recently hot junior lateral market. The successful juniors either get tenure upon lateraling or negotiate that as the price of staying at their home institution.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 22, 2020 9:21:38 AM

I would say I am surprised how quick some of my colleagues get tenure at certain schools; it seems like at some schools the clock is only 3-4 years, whereas at others it can be 6. But these are institutional things and are not something I doubt any entry level has any leverage to negotiate. Everyone is awesome on the market that is getting interviews so it's not like you can say "I will only accept your offer if you give me a 3 year clock." Short of having a very extensive record, it would come off as presumptuous to do this I think.

One, I assume, is in the best position to negotiate early tenure if they later get competing offers and you would be willing to move to the other schools that is offering you tenure.

And titles for law school don't mean the same as in the social sciences; many schools start out profs as "associate profs" and they don't have tenure. The tenure issue may be something to think about but the actual title is something most universities have set policies on; all entry law profs are either assistant or associate. The best I think an entry level could do would be mention if it is possible to go up early for tenure; most places allow a 1 year early tenure if you want to go up and that is nothing special. I suppose someone could ask for 2 year early but that would be highly unusual. Many people may want to delay especially if the pandemic is inhibiting research.

Posted by: anon | Dec 22, 2020 1:32:51 AM

What is an "offer ding"? Someone got an offer and then rejected it? Or someone did a callback interview but then received no offer?

Posted by: Dings | Dec 21, 2020 9:43:00 PM

@rank @anon -- while I agree that one probably cannot (and more importantly should not) negotiate entry rank I do think that there are a couple of things worth highlighting: (1) different institutions have VERY DIFFERENT tenure clocks. While I was on the market there were schools that said their clock was a three-year one, and where I ended up the clock is a six-year one. These things matter and while not something to negotiate, definitely are a consideration when you're choosing between different offers. Understanding the tenure process at the school you pick is important and should be one of the things you learn more about (including by asking to see the law school's tenure and promotion guidelines and bylaws). In fact, after being hired making some research, teaching,. and service decisions as a junior faculty with a general mindset towards those tenure policies is probably wise; (2) at some schools the fact that you start as assistant does mean that there will be two (not one) promotions in your future (to associate and then to full/tenure). Again, not something you can really negotiate (because of institutional structures and internal policies) but nonetheless something you should be prepared for. While every new faculty get's annual reviews by the P&T committee, having to meet a certain requirement for promotion at some halfway point during your tenure clock is something you should come prepared for and thus familiarize yourself early with the requirements.

Posted by: OnRankandTenure | Dec 18, 2020 9:26:00 AM

Cal Western hired at least one entry-level assistant professor, according to Twitter.

Posted by: Cal Western | Dec 17, 2020 1:33:42 AM

there is no fast tracking tenure with a title. whether law professors are assistant or associate is institution specific. many law schools, because of the higher pay of law profs, have entry level come in as associate, but it is just a name;it matters nothing for tenure nor does it shorten the time.

treating law profs differently since the associate for law prof does not mean anything has caused some schools to go back to the normal system and call entry levels prof assistant profs instead. This is still the minority but some are changing back to this. this makes the law school more in line with university practices.

I doubt this is something you could negotiate and it might look odd for not realizing the school's practices and the historical irregularity of law schools calling profs associate profs to even raise it. Look at the young law profs at your school; they are either all associate or all assistant. If your school has assistant profs, then the associate have tenure. If your school only has a junior associate then the associate means nothing with regard to tenure.

Posted by: anon | Dec 17, 2020 12:13:40 AM

This probably ranges per individual situation but any advice on whether it's worth negotiating entry as an Assistant or Associate Prof (and fast tracking tenure)?

Posted by: rank | Dec 16, 2020 9:38:51 PM

I’m on the market and I also appreciated Anon Safe’s message. (Congrats on your offers!). I would be willing to travel to visit schools post-offer, but my personal situation is different. People have different preferences and risk calculations. It would be unfortunate if an unwillingness to travel was wrongly interpreted as a lack of interest.

Posted by: Candidate | Dec 16, 2020 10:29:29 AM

Come on, Anonhiringchair. The whole point of this thread is to share experiences and data points. So now if somebody shares positive experiences they are accused of bragging? Seems a little extreme. Personally, I appreciated hearing how somebody else is approaching this issue.

Posted by: Anondevilsadvocate | Dec 15, 2020 5:28:50 PM

Anon Safe,

I'm sorry, but what is the point of your post? Nobody is saying people can't decide for themselves, so your decision is your decision. And I would be surprised if anyone on here hasn't already gotten the memo regarding masks and social distancing.

I'm guessing you just wanted to brag about having received more than one offer, which is quite frankly gross.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Dec 15, 2020 3:13:01 PM

I’m a current candidate, and I will not be visiting any of the schools where I have received offers. None of the schools interested in hiring me are within driving distance, and I do not think it is wise to travel by air (plus local transport, indoor tours and dining, and hotels) right now, especially if you plan on seeing family during the holiday season. It sucks, but I am not willing to risk my health or the health of my loved ones (not to mention everyone I come into contact with in traveling).

If you choose to travel, please wear masks and distance as much as you can. Also, if tests are easily available in your area, a test before you travel can bring peace of mind, as well as isolating ~5 days after you return, getting tested, and only socializing with your family and friends after you receive negative results and/or complete a 7-14 day quarantine. Especially if you plan on socializing indoors or if anyone in your family is elderly, disabled, or otherwise high risk.

Posted by: Anon Safe | Dec 15, 2020 3:00:23 PM

It seems a bit odd to me that a school would not pay to bring you out post-offer, but even so, I would visit before accepting if possible health-wise. It may mean a long drive; if you're uncomfortable in a hotel, a full-house Airbnb would do. You could also self-isolate and/or get tested before you go to reduce the chances of your accidentally bringing the virus with you. I realize these things are a pain and not free, but it is an important decision.

That being said, mid-December is not a representative period on campuses or in many towns, even during regular times. But you can get a sense of the vibe.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 15, 2020 1:56:45 PM

If you can’t visit the school in person due to Covid (good for you limiting travel!), the next best thing is to thoroughly vet the school and location as much as you can by talking to people at the school and people you know who may have experiences and opinions on the school. It’s not the same as getting an in-person feel for it, but you’ll be able to get a sense of things that may be helpful. I have found that even profs currently at the school are willing to be somewhat open about some issues. They don’t want to end up with an unhappy colleague who leaves after a year. Hiring you is in investment.

Posted by: Talkback | Dec 15, 2020 12:43:03 PM

Some possibilities:

1) Schools typically don't want to exclude most candidates until someone has accepted (i.e., they might have to come back to the well); 2) The committee is made of people who are inconsiderate; or 3) They're considerate, but they can't get over the anxiety associated with communicating bad news.

Before someone jumps in and says "those are terrible reasons," I agree. It's one of the ugliest parts of this process.

FWIW, I always keep candidates in the loop--even if it's just to say "you're an alternate" or "we're not pursuing your candidacy." I will say, though, you'd be shocked at the nasty/passive-aggressive responses I often get, which certainly doesn't incentivize committees to keep folks in the loop (not to mention the harm to the candidate's reputation).

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Dec 15, 2020 12:28:46 PM

I don’t understand the system of “callbacks”. Why do law schools not simply send rejection notices to unsuccessful applicants? Why does everything have to be shrouded in mystery? It shows no respect for applicants AT ALL.

Posted by: Annoyed | Dec 15, 2020 12:20:26 PM

For those of you with offers who are trying to decide, you can definitely ask the school if they'll pay for travel to the area, assuming you feel comfortable flying/staying in a hotel. You won't get a chance to meet colleagues or students in person, but you'll get a better sense of whether the town/city is a place where you'd want to live. You might be able to do a remote tour of neighborhoods with a real estate agent and walk around campus. Know that some schools can't do this - budgets are frozen across the board - but if they can't, they may be able to come up with some virtual alternatives.

Posted by: JuniorProf | Dec 15, 2020 11:28:23 AM

I don't think reneging on offers is common at all and the previous poster is right: this is a small community, word gets around, and it will hurt you.

Posted by: Anonprof | Dec 15, 2020 10:11:30 AM

I’d also be interested in hearing thoughts on how to best handle the new reality of COVID. There’s a real possibility some of us may need to choose a school without stepping foot inside the building. Any advice for how we should deal with this reality?

Posted by: Covid | Dec 15, 2020 1:28:44 AM

To gambling man's point. Ethics aside, how common is it for candidates to renege on an offer after acceptance? If heard it happens more often than one thinks. If that is true, is there really reputational damage outside the school you backed away from?

Posted by: Anon | Dec 14, 2020 10:20:36 PM

Any thoughts on how to handle the unique phenomenon of this COVID year where candidates are being asked to accept offers without possibly ever having visited the school or the area?

Posted by: covid_year | Dec 14, 2020 10:10:17 PM

@explosive_offers Ask for extensions politely. If higher-ranked schools don't get back to you in time, you have the choice of taking the offer in hand or taking a gamble and waiting. It's a buyer's market, so be prepared for even low-ranking schools to not grant extensions. Sometimes it may be worth waiting a year and going on the market again.

Do not under any circumstances renege on an offer after acceptance. The legal academic community is small, and word gets around.

Posted by: gambling man | Dec 14, 2020 9:04:16 PM

Any advice on how to handle explosive offers? How to treat an offer with a 1-3 weeks timeline from lower ranked schools when you know you are still in the run at higher ranked places or have other scheduled callbacks?

Posted by: explosive_offers | Dec 14, 2020 8:33:07 PM

Wayne State appears to be done with hiring.

Posted by: Wayne State | Dec 14, 2020 4:16:12 PM

Has UC Irvine filled their constitutional law position?

Posted by: Irvine | Dec 12, 2020 10:56:48 AM

@spring hiring: Yes, we'll post when we can.

Posted by: hiring committee member | Dec 10, 2020 9:18:34 AM

Any early bets on whether next year’s hiring cycle will be better? Law school enrollments are going up nationwide, and budgets are unfreezing. Thoughts?

Posted by: Next year | Dec 10, 2020 4:22:04 AM

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