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August 15, 2008

Which Specialties are in Demand on the Teaching Market?

A law professor writes:

I am a regular and enthusiastic reader of your blog. One topic I would welcome your addressing at some point, if you have the opportunity, is the relative demand for various specialties on the academic job market. My sense is that quite a few promising students and recent graduates have multiple serious interests and get little helpful advice about which would offer them the best prospects of landing a teaching job. By the time they learn that a field is glutted, their sunk costs are substantial.

I fear that the hiring being done at the top schools and that in the rest of the market, where most entry-level applicants end up, differs quite substantially. Students at top schools, for example, see their faculty adding several international law specialists and assume that is a growing field in the academy. Yet for the great majority of schools, who send few if any graduates to the firms practicing international law, I am not at all sure that is the case. Conversely, I think students at top schools may not give much thought to specializing in areas where scholarship is so weak that their faculty may not have a single exemplar (e.g., health).

My informal sense is that tax and health are in unusually strong demand, relative to the supply of candidates, and that constitutional law, international law, and federal courts are quite glutted, but that is based on a very limited supply of information. (I suppose a third category would be fields in which schools may not have specialists but also often do not feel a strong need to have them.) Apart from con law and tax, however, I am not sure how much of this is widely known or conveyed to potential academic candidates early enough to help them. It would be great if you had the chance to kick off a serious discussion of this.

My own sense is that the following areas are almost always in demand:  tax, trusts & estates, commercial law, and corporate law.  The demand for intellectual property and Cyberlaw is still substantial, though perhaps not as great as it was a few years ago.  I do not have the sense that health law is "in demand," but I may have just missed this. 

Bear in mind that while the top 15-20 law schools, plus a few others (e.g., George Mason, San Diego etc.), generally do "best athlete" hiring (sometimes with an eye, of course, to curricular needs), the vast majority of law schools do curricular-driven hiring.  And that means, of course, that in any given year, a school you're particularly interested in may have zero needs in tax or corporate, but be desperate for environmental law or criminal procedure. 

Comments are open; signed comments only.  It would be interesting to hear the perspective of others with experience in the hiring process in recent years.  Post only once; comments may take awhile to appear.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 15, 2008 in Professional Advice, Student Advice | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

August 14, 2008

Harvard and Stanford's Teaching Candidates in 1997--Some Perspective on the Law School Teaching Market

Cleaning up my old office in Texas, I came upon the September 1997 "Teaching Candidates Resume Book" from Harvard Law School (I was Chair of appointments at Texas in 97-98).    There were 56 candidates, of whom I recognize a little more than a half-dozen names as "established" academics more than a decade later.  That doesn't mean that more didn't make it into teaching, just that only a handful have established national reputations in their fields.  I recognize only two as being on faculties at top law schools (Stanford and Georgetown, in this instance).   The Stanford "Book," by contrast had 34 resumes, from which I recognize a half-dozen names, though none of these folks made it to any of the top law schools.  I should add that, in each case, I'm sure more than the folks whose names I recognize made it into law teaching positions.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 14, 2008 in Professional Advice | Permalink | TrackBack

August 12, 2008

Law Faculties with Most Scholarly Impact, 2008-09

MOVING TO FRONT FROM JULY 31:  Just to be clear, this 'update' did not do new citation counts, but used the citation data from July 2007, but adjusted the results to reflect faculty moves in the interim (plus eliminating the untenured faculty, which was the single most frequent criticism of the earlier approach).  I hope to conduct a new scholarly impact study in summer 2009.


This is a rough updating of the 2007 study, taking account of faculty moves, retirements, and deaths since then, plus eliminating untenured faculty, whom many readers complained last year can not be expected to have high citation counts and so should be excluded.  Here are the twenty law faculties (based on 2008-09 affiliations) who have the most scholarly impact (based on the data collected last year).  The mean per capita impact of the tenured faculty is in the first set of parentheses.  In the second set, I list those select faculty who had over 2,000 citations since the year 2000 (those over 70 are marked with an *). 

1.  Yale University (mean of 810) (Bruce Ackerman, Akhil Amar, William Eskridge)

2.  Stanford University (mean of 760) (Mark Lemley, Lawrence Lessig, Deborah Rhode, Kathleen Sullivan)

3.  Harvard University (mean of 700) (Cass Sunstein, Laurence Tribe, Mark Tushnet)

4.  University of Chicago (mean of 670) (Richard Epstein, Eric Posner)

5.  New York University (mean of 450) (*Ronald Dworkin)

5.  University of California, Berkeley (mean of 450) (Daniel Farber)

7.  Columbia University (mean of 430) (John Coffee)

8.  Duke University (mean of 340)

9.  University of Michigan (mean of 330)

10. Northwestern University (mean of 320)

11. Cornell University (mean of 300)

11. Vanderbilt University (mean of 300)

13. University of California, Los Angeles (mean of 290)

13. University of Texas, Austin (mean of 290)

15. Georgetown University (mean of 270)

16. University of Pennsylvania (mean of 260)

17. University of Virginia (mean of 250)

18. University of Illinois (mean of 240)

19. George Washington University (mean of 220)

20.  University of Minnesota (mean of 200)

(I've not included Irvine here, because the faculty is so small as of yet, meaning Chemerinsky's huge citation count alone would be enough to get them into the top 20 even if Burk, Menkel-Meadow, and others did not have substantial numbers of citations as well.  But I would guess Irvine is solidly on track to be in the top twenty in terms of "scholarly impact.")

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 12, 2008 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

August 11, 2008

Hunter from Brooklyn to Georgetown

Nan Hunter (health law, civil rights) at Brooklyn Law School has accepted a senior offer from Georgetown University.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 11, 2008 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

August 7, 2008

Goldberg from Vanderbilt to Harvard

John C.P. Goldberg at Vanderbilt, who has been a leading writer on tort theory over the last dozen-or-so years, has accepted a tenured offer from Harvard Law School.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 7, 2008 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

August 6, 2008

AALS Annual Meeting Boycott?

Blog Emperor Caron has collected all the links you need (and several you don't) regarding a call to boycott the AALS annual meeting if it is held in a hotel owned by an anti-gay bigot. 

Of course, personally, I am always in favor of boycotting a meeting of the hopeless Association of American Law Schools!

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 6, 2008 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

August 4, 2008

Dead Wood, Composite Wood, Dry Rot

Jeffrey Harrison (Florida) comments.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 4, 2008 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

August 1, 2008

New Contact Info...

...for Brian Leiter.  The Texas e-mail will continue to work for another couple of weeks, but the Chicago e-mail is already operational.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 1, 2008 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack