Monday, September 25, 2006
Nancy Rapoport, former Dean of the law schools at the University of Houston and the University of Nebraska, writes with advice to law school Appointments Committees:
People choose to attend particular law schools for all sorts of reasons, but I don't know too many who choose a law school based on whether or not that school is a good "feeder" school for budding law professors. Don't punish the candidate for his choice of law school. Look beyond the group membership (choice of law school) to the candidate's talent.
This is not consistent with my anecdotal evidence over the last dozen years or so. I talk frequently with prospective students at Texas who are interested in law teaching, what we do to help aspiring law teachers, and how their prospects for law teaching coming from UT would compare with opportunities from other top schools; we sometimes lose students as transfers to Yale or Stanford after the first year, precisely because they want to maximize their chances for law teaching; and I've heard from hundreds of students over the years about my data on which schools produce the most law teachers, suggesting a high level of student interest in selecting a school with an eye to entering law teaching. That schools like Yale, Harvard, Chicago, and Stanford dominate the market for new law teachers surely has a great deal to do with self-selection.
I would be interested to hear what students and other academics think about Professor
Rapoport's claim. (As a sidenote, I agree with her more general points about what to look for in hiring new law teachers.) Comments may take awhile to appear; post only once. Non-anonymous comments are, as usual, more likely to be approved.