April 10, 2014
Lots of students are applying to law school late in the season
Anyone following Al Brophy's reports on the LSAC data will notice that, while applications are still down from last year, they are down a bit less with each subsequent report. That's consistent with anecdotal reports from colleagues who teach undergraduates who report being asked to write letters of recommendation later and later in the season than just a few years ago. One surmises that at least part of what is happening is that (1) students waivering about going to law school are realizing that they don't have other tangible professional plans, (2) students are realizing their chances of getting good admissions offers--either in terms of the caliber of the school and/or the cost--are much better this year than just a few years ago. Along with this indicator, I suspect the decline in applications is about to bottom out. It will still take a couple more years, though, for most law schools to begin hiring new faculty again given the dramatic decline in applications and enrollments of the last few years.
April 09, 2014
Congratulations to the Chicago Alumni (and Bigelows) who accepted tenure-track positions this year
This was the most difficult year in the law teaching market in decades (my guess is maybe sixty or seventy new faculty were hired nationwide this year--down from over a hundred last year, and over 150 just a few years ago). Fortunately, most of the Chicago graduates and Fellows were extremely successful in securing tenure-track positions in this challenging market. They are:
Vincent Buccola '08, who will join the faculty at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with High Honors and Order of the Coif from the Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review. He clerked for Judge Easterbrook on the 7th Circuit, and was a litigator at Bartlit Beck in Chicago for three years before becoming a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School. His scholarship has appeared in Kansas Law Review and George Mason Law Review. His areas of research and teaching interest include bankruptcy, contracts, business associations, corporate finance, and civil procedure.
Adam Chilton, who will join the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he is presently a Bigelow Fellow. He earned both his J.D. and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University. His scholarship has appeared or will appear in University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, and elsewhere. Hhis teaching and research interests are primarily in international law and empirical legal studies.
Roger Ford '05, who will join the faculty at the University of New Hampshire. He graduated with Honors and Order of the Coif from the Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review. He practiced patent and trademark litigation and privacy law at Covington & Burlington for five years, and also clerked for Judge Easterbrook on the 7th Circuit. He has also been a Microsoft Research Fellow at NYU, and an adjunct professor at George Mason, where he taught Federal Courts. Most recently, he was a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School. His articles appear in Cornell Law Review, George Mason Law Review, and elsewhere. His research and teaching interests include intellectual property (esp. patents and trademarks), property, information privacy, criminal and civil procedure, and antitrust.
Randall K. Johnson '12, who will join the faculty at Mississippi College School of Law. At the Law School, he held the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Earl Warren Legal Training Scholarship for two years. He then served as a Law Fellow with the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. His articles appear in Northern Illinois Law Review and Wake Forest Law Review Online. His research and teaching interests include property, evidence, real estate transactions, land use, and civil rights.
Greg Reilly, who will join the faculty at California Western School of Law in San Diego. He is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2006 and clerked for Judge Dyk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He was a patent and products liability litigator with Morrison & Foerster in San Diego for five years before coming to Chicago. His articles appear in Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue, and elsewhere. He has research and teaching interests in intellectual property (esp. patents), civil procedure and complex litigation, federal courts, and contracts.
Nathan Richardson '09, who will join the faculty at the University of South Carolina. He graduated with Honors from the Law School, where he was Articles Editor of the Chicago Journal of International Law. He is presently a Research Scholar at Resources for the Future in Washington, DC, where he has extensive experinece doing legal and interdisciplinary research, often in collaboration with economists. His dozen publications appear in Environmental Law, Stanford Journal of Environmental Law, Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, and elsewhere. He has research and teaching interests in environmental law, property, administrative and energy law, and law and economics.
Veronica Root '08, who will join the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where shes is presently a VAP. At the Law School, she was Managing Editor of the Chicago Journal of International Law, and also received the Mulroy Prize for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy. She clerked for Judge Stewart on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and then litigated with Gibson Dunn in Washington, D.C. for three years, before taking up a Visiting Assistant Professorship at Notre Dame Law School, where she has taught professional responsibility. Her articles appear in University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law and University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform. Herresearch and teaching interests include professional responsibility, employment law, business associations, contracts, and commercial law.
If you're curious, you can read about some of our recent placements in law teaching here, here and here, and see a more comprehensive listing here. You can also see a list of past Bigelows and where they now teach here.
March 07, 2014
Rookie hiring in 2013
A complete report. Interesting. Only 125 positions filled last year, though I expect that will be double the number filled this year. This means we can also revise the placement rate, based on the number of candidates from each school on the market last year.
1. Univeristy of Virginia (57%, 4 total)
1. Yale University (57%, 21 total)
3. University of Chicago (50%, 6 total)
4. Duke University (46%, 6 total)
5. New York University (42%, 13 total)
6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (39%, 5 total)
7. Harvard University (32%, 18 total)
8. University of California, Berkeley (25%, 5 total)
8. University of California, Los Angeles (25%, 2 total)
10. Cornell University (21%, 3 total)
10. Northwestern University (21%, 3 total)
12. University of Texas, Austin (18%, 2 total)
13. Columbia University (17%, 3 total)
13. Georgetown University (17%, 3 total)
13. Stanford University (17%, 2 total)
January 22, 2014
Submitting to law reviews: what you need to know
Professors Rostron & Levit (both UMKC) have updated their very helpful guide!
November 27, 2013
Windfall multi-million dollar gift from 1940 alumnus...
(Thanks to Nicholas Marritz for the pointer.)
October 31, 2013
Another 10%+ decline in LSAT takers compared to last year
Blog Emperor Caron has links to the latest news. (He also includes links to a chart about which majors do best on the LSAT--because they lump Philosophy with Theology, I'm sure that depresses the result for Philosophy majors, since those two majors are VERY different.) [UPDATE: Professor Filler's post and mine crossed paths in cyber-time!]
A couple of thoughts on this:
1. People who don't get a JD still have to do something professionally. What are they doing instead? Getting an MBA? Just entering the workforce in some other capacity? Entering PhD programs? We don't really know yet, and given the Simkovic & McIntyre research, it is likely that at least some of those not going to law school are making serious mistakes economically (if not professionally or personally).
2. The likelihood that the 10%+ decline in LSAT takers will translate in to 10% fewer applicants is, of course, very high. One things that means for those thinking about law teaching is that next year on the law teaching market will be as tight as this year, and this year is very tight indeed. An uptick in applicants this year would have increased the likelihood of law schools waivering on whether to hire to jump into the market, but this newest development probably means that schools uncertain about tuition revenue and their budgets will err on the side of not hiring.
3. While some schools are undergoing major contractions (e.g., the recent New England story), the reality is that lots of teaching positions for which schools have genuine needs are going unfilled currently due to budgetary uncertainties (schools are relying on adjuncts, short-term visitors, existing faculty teaching overloads or teaching outside their areas, etc.). When the situation stabilizes in the next year or two (barring another economic collapse, of course), I expect we will see a dramatic uptick in academic hiring as schools try to meet the unfilled needs.
UPDATE: I can not vouch that this comment is an accurate summary of Dean (soon-to-be President) Syverud's remarks, but the analysis sounds credible, and more-or-less consistent with what I've heard (though I can not vouch for the 175 number, below):
LSAC provided a graph showing that we have had similar cycles since the mid-1960s. This one is a bit more dramatic because we came off all-time highs in hiring and applicants in 2007.
The Dean of Wash U Law School, Kent Syverud, gave a very compelling speech. He says 175 of 202 law schools are operating at a substantial deficit, and the pain is being felt across the board, not just at so-called "marginal" law schools. Applicant numbers, by LSAT score, support that comment.
He also says law schools will cut costs in the following ways (any errors in this summary or mine):
- Private universities may shut down associated law schools, as they did dental schools in an earlier era;
- Schools have let hiring of new faculty grind to a halt [BL COMMENT: there were about 70 law schools at this year's hiring convention, less than half the number from two years ago; not all which attended will necessarily hire];
- Schools will not replace, with a tenure-track faculty member, any faculty member who successfully moves laterally or retires;
- Schools will cut tenured faculty via buy-outs, etc., and use instead much more affordable adjuncts; Skills teachers could be especially hard-hit even at a time when the ABA and the profession are emphasizing skill development;
- Schools will cut staff;
- Schools will consolidate law libraries into main campus libraries;
- Schools will merge (like Texas Wesleyan); or
- Schools will sell out (like Charleston.
October 21, 2013
How Long After "Meat Market" Before Candidates Hear from Schools?
MOVING TO FRONT FROM LAST YEAR (SINCE TIMELY AGAIN--AND MORE COMMENTS WELCOME--ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 2007)
A rookie job seeker writes:
A question about the law teaching market, which I suspect will be of interest to a number of candidates who read your Law School Reports blog: When can we expect to hear from hiring committees we spoke with at AALS? Do the better schools tend to wait longer to make their calls? And do schools tend to notify candidates that they *won't* be inviting them for a job talk, or do you only hear from them if they're interested?
If you think this is a worthwhile topic, perhaps you could open a post for comments so that hiring committee members could say what their procedure is.
My impression is that schools will contact the candidates they are most interested in within the first two weeks after the AALS hiring convention, and, more ofthen than not, within the first week. Schools will often have some candidates "on hold" beyond this period of time: e.g., because they are reading more work by the candidate, or collecting references, or waiting to see how they fare with their top choices. So it is quite possible to get call-backs beyond the two-week window. Schools tend to be much slower in notifying candidates they are no longer in contention (you might not hear for a month or more).
Schools higher in the "food chain" in general do move at a somewhat more, shall we say, "leisurely" pace, and schools lower in the "food chain" are more likely to have tiers of candidates they remain interested in, on the theory that they are likely to lose their first-round choices.
Those, to repeat, are my impressions, based on a decent amount of anecdotal evidence. But I invite others to post their impressions and/or information about their school's practices. No anonymous postings. Post only once, comments are moderated and may take awhile to appear.
October 03, 2013
The Labor Market for Law Professors
This is an empirical study of one year of it (2007-08) by Tracey George (Vanderbilt) and Albert Yoon (Toronto). It confirms mostly what I would have expected. This may be particularly noteworthy:
Among the metrics of comparison they look at are publications, fellowships, PhDs, school graduated from, clerkships and so on. They do err, I think, in taking U.S. News a bit too seriously in viewing one metric as "graduation from Yale, Harvard, Stanford," even though the evidence suggests that while Yale is in a class by itself for teaching placement, the other two are not. I've urged Professor Yoon to include some data on Chicago, Columbia, and Michigan, at least. (Of course, this was only one year, and it is possible that the data for this one year do support the grouping. In any case, hopefully the final version of the paper will include more evidence in support of the grouping.)
Despite the ink spilled on race and gender in legal academic hiring, we find, with limited exceptions, these factors have little effect. After controlling for credentials, gender and race do not improve a candidate's chance of getting a screening interview. The only stage where we find that race and gender have statistically significant effects are at the intermediate call-back interview stage where women and non-whites are statistically significant more likely to be invited for a job talk interview. But, women and non-whites are no more likely than similarly situated men and whites to get a job offer or, if they get an offer, for the offer to come from a more elite school.