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Monday, May 15, 2023

Lawsky Entry Level Hiring Report 2023

Following is a data summary of Reported Entry-Level Law School Hiring as of Spring 2023. 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 as of the date of this posting.

This report and the spreadsheet are freely available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license, cited as Sarah Lawsky, Reported Entry-Level Law School Hiring Spring 2023, PrawfsBlawg, https://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2023/05/lawsky-entry-level-hiring-report-2023.html.

Here is the full spreadsheet:

There were 129 tenure-track hires at U.S. law schools reported, at 86 different law schools.

Q: How does 129 reported hires compare to past years?

A: This is most reported hires since the “new normal” began. The average number of hires since 2014 is 85. (I omit 2010 in this and all subsequent cross-year comparisons because insufficient data was collected that year to include it in the report.)


It would useful to know the percentage of those on the market 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--if most people who were on the market used the FAR. This year had fewer FAR forms in the first distribution than any previous year. This might mean fewer people want to be law professors--or it might mean that more people who went on the market decided not to go through the FAR process. The x-axis here is Hiring Year; thus, for example, if the Hiring Year is 2023, the FAR forms were released in 2022.


As that graph suggests, the hires per FAR form were higher than any previous year since I started collecting this information.


Again, though, as is true every year, some people who received entry-level jobs and are represented in this data did not participate in the AALS/FAR process. This graph might represent a higher success rate for those who registered with the AALS and went through the FAR process. However, it may also, or instead, represent an increase in people who got jobs who did not participate in the FAR process.

Q: You say the hires were at 86 law schools. How does that compare to previous years?

A: Higher than previous relatively recent years, and also the highest number of schools hiring since and including 2013. (That is, the most recent year with more schools hiring than this year was 2012.)


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


Yale: 27; Harvard: 13; Stanford: 6; NYU: 6; Vanderbilt: 3; Indiana-Bloomington: 3; Georgetown: 3; Chicago: 3; Berkeley: 3; Virginia: 3; Michigan: 3; UC Law SF (Hastings): 3; Fewer than Three: 53

Schools in the “fewer than three hires” category with two JD/LLBs who reported hires: Boston University; Colorado; Columbia; Cornell; Duke; Fordham; St. Louis; Tennessee

Schools in the “fewer than three hires” category with one JD/LLB who reported hires: American; Arizona State; British Columbia; CUNY; Chicago Kent; Davis; Emory; Florida State; George Mason; Hawaii; Hebrew University; Illinois; Inter-American; Lewis & Clark; Louisville; Minnesota; New South Wales; Nigeria Law School; Northwestern; Notre Dame; Penn; Penn State; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Queen's University; Reichman; San Diego; Sapienza; Savannah; Shandong; South Carolina; Texas; UCL; UCLA; Washington & Lee; Washington (St. Louis); Wayne State; Zimbabwe

A high percentage of hires every year get their degree from Yale, Harvard, Stanford, or NYU.


However, over time, many schools are represented as the source of entry-level hiring.

And each year, there are relatively many unique schools represented--with more unique schools this year than any year since this version of the report started.


The number of unique schools may be in part a function of the number of hires. Unique schools as a percentage of total hires is on the higher side but comparable to recent years. (This graph represents the number of unique schools from which hires got their JD in a given year divided by total number of hires for that year. If in a particular year there were five total hires, and each came from a different law school, the graph would show 5/5 = 100% for that year. If in a given year there were five total hires, and three of those hires came from School X and two came from school Y, then the graph would show 2/5 = 40% for that year.)


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?

91 (about 71%) had a fellowship; 59 (about 46%) had a clerkship; 71 (about 55%) had a higher degree. 5 people had none of these credentials. The percentage of each of these credentials was consistent with but slightly lower than percentages in recent years.



09A_percent_Higher Degree_per_year

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--there was what seemed to be a shift in 2017, but this year drops down even below 2011 levels for the percentage of hires that have all three.


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.


Harvard: 15; NYU: 11; Yale: 8; Georgetown: 6; Chicago: 5; Stanford: 4; Berkeley: 4; Gonzaga: 3; Duquesne: 3; George Washington: 3; Fewer than Three: 49

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 71 “highest” advanced degrees broke down like this:


Doctorate: 43; Masters: 21; LLM: 6; MD: 1

Topics ranged all over the maps. For the 43 Doctorates, a number of topics had multiple hires, including Law: 16; Philosophy: 6; Political Science: 5; History: 4; Economics: 3; Sociology: 2; Literature: 2. The other doctorate topics, each of which had one hire, were Criminology; Accounting; Geography; Education; Psychology.

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?

83% of the hires had either a doctorate (Ph.D., SJD, JSD, D.Phil.), a fellowship, or both. For the first year since and including 2017, the percentage of reported hires with doctorates is below 40%. (That is, the most recent previous year with less than 40% of hires with doctorates was 2016.)


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


Zero to Four Years (Graduated 2019-2023): 27; Five to Nine Years (Graduated 2014-2018): 50; Ten to 19 Years (Graduated 2004-2013): 48; Twenty or More Years (Graduated before 2004): 4

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

Consistent with prior years.


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. [NOTE: Currently I am unable to open the comments; this is a Typepad problem. I will continue to try to open the comments, but in the meantime, if you have questions/comments, feel free to email me.]

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

Yes, this report is certainly missing some information. It is without question incomplete. If you are aware of an entry-level hire who is not reported, please let me know and I will add that person.

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 entry-level hires reported to me as of the spring before the school year starts.

Updated 5/16/2023, 5/17/2023, 5/18/2023, 5/21/2023, 6/10/2023, 8/8/2023 to add hires. Updated 8/9/2023 to update number of schools hiring. Updated 5/18/2023 to change the language regarding the higher ratio of hires to FAR forms to emphasize the point that this may result from people getting jobs outside the FAR process.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 15, 2023 at 11:44 AM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


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