Wednesday, June 27, 2018

On filling out the FAR form, Part I

One of the key parts of the FAR form are the two columns (left and right) for subject areas the candidate is interested in.  The left column is far and away the more important:  these are the five primary areas of teaching and research interest, though not all five have to be areas of research interest.  You must list five, and any of these five are fair game for teaching questions at interviews:  what casebook do you like and why?  which parts of the subject do you view as essential to teach (which do you ignore or give less time to)?  and so on.  It is customary, though not essential, to include one core 1L subject in the list (e.g., torts, contracts, criminal law, civil procedure, property); a candidate specializing in all areas of tax and corporate already covers so many essential classes, that are always in demand, that having a 1L class in the left column won't matter.  The right column is courses that one would be willing to teach if asked; you don't need to be prepared to answer detailed teaching questions about these.

In the ideal case, the courses in the left column fit together as some kind of intelligible package:  intelligible with regard to their connections to each and/or your scholarship and/or your experience.  Someone whose left column includes tax, land use, federal courts, and criminal law will have a lot of explaining to do!   Public law and private law clusters are common:  e.g., administrative law, legislation, environmental law, constitutional law, federal courts (public); or contracts, business associations, secured transactions, corporate finance (private); or torts, insurance, products liability (private).   Criminal law, for FAR purposes, has several categories, ranging from substantive to procedure as well as the "criminal justice system," which is suitable for those doing, e.g., empirical work on various aspects of the criminal justice system.

The order of courses in the left column doesn't matter much, so don't waste time over-strategizing:  be who you are actually are, and not someone else.  I recall a candidate several years ago who was advised by folks elsewhere not to list professional responsibility first, even though that was clearly the candidate's main area of research.  That was foolish advice, which we corrected!  And the candidate did quite well, as schools really do hire in PR.  But don't list a 1L course first unless it's really your main area of research and teaching interest!

Signed comments from faculty with hiring experience welcome:  full name and valid e-mail address (the latter will not appear); post the comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.  (I can not answer questions from job seekers here.)

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2018/06/on-filling-out-the-far-form-part-i.html

Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

Comments

Terrific advice. A related (or possibly just restated) point: too many disparate 1L courses in the left-hand column (e.g., Torts, Civ Pro, Property) may be intended to signal “I’ll do whatever you need,” but might actually signal a lack of focus.

Posted by: Enrique Armijo | Jun 27, 2018 1:19:07 PM

Post a comment