Thursday, August 20, 2015
Sarah Lawsky (UC Irvine) has the numbers. In the past, I would estimate that 50% of those in the FAR were non-starters wasting their time and their money. That percentage has probably gone down with the amount of information easily accessible via the Internet. But does the drop in total applicants represent the casual/tourist candidates not bothering or does it represent credible, but well-informed candidates deciding to wait in light of the weak market? I'm not sure. Here's another data point: there are roughly 200 candidates in the FAR with JDs or LLMs from Yale, Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Michigan, Columbia, NYU, and Virginia, to take schools that send sizable numbers into law teaching on a regular basis. Add in graduates of Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, UCLA, Northwestern, Penn, Southern California, and Texas, and the total rises to about 270. Not all these candidates are going to turn out to be serious--I'd guess 15-25% of these folks threw their hat in the ring without much consultation or preparation. If, in fact, there is more hiring this year (my impression so far is that the number of schools hiring is up slightly), then it could turn out to be a good year to be on the teaching market given the overall decline in candidates--but it's too soon to say for sure.