March 23, 2018
November 21, 2017
MOVING TO FRONT (ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 24, 2009--I HAVE UPDATED CERTAIN NUMBERS)--SEE ALSO THE COMMENTS, WHICH HAVE HELPFUL ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS
With luck, some of you seeking law teaching jobs will get offers of tenure-track positions in the next couple of months; a handful of offers have already been extended this season (2017-18). What then? Here's roughly what I tell the Chicago job candidates we work with that they need to find out, and in the interest of having it written down in one place and for the benefit of others too, here it is (not in order of importance):
1. You will want to get (in writing eventually) the basic salary information, obviously, and the nature of summer research support and the criteria for its award (is it automatic for junior faculty? contingent on prior publication [if so, how much?]? awarded competitively (if so, based on what criteria/process)?). You should also find out how salary raises are determined. Are they, for example, lock-step for junior faculty? Fixed by union contract? (Rutgers faculty, for example, are unionized, a huge advantage and why they are among the best-paid faculty, not just in law, in the country.) Is it a 'merit' system, and if so is it decanal discretion or is their a faculty committee that reviews your teaching and work each year?
2. You should ask for a copy of the school's tenure standards and get clear about the expectations and the timeline. Does any work you have already published count towards meeting the tenure standard?
3. What research leave policy, if any, does the school have? A term off after every three full years of teaching is a very good leave policy; some schools have even better policies, most have less generous leave policies. (If there is a norm, it is a term off after every six years.) Many schools have a special leave policy for junior faculty, designed to give them some time off prior to the tenure decision. Find out if the school has such a policy.
4. One of the most important things to be clear about is not just your teaching load, but what courses you will be teaching precisely. You should ask whether the school can guarantee a stable set of courses until after the tenure decision. Preparing new courses is hugely time-consuming, and you also get better at teaching the course the more times you do it. As a tenure-track faculty member, having a stable package of, say, three courses (plus a seminar) will make a huge difference in terms of your ability to conduct research and write. In my experience, most schools will commit in writing to a set of courses for the tenure-track years (and do ask for this in writing), but some schools either won't or can't. In my view, it's a good reason to prefer one school to another that one will give you the courses you want and promise them that they're yours, while another won't--a consideration that overrides lots of other factors, including salary.
November 20, 2017
November 07, 2017
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 often 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 09, 2017
There's less competition (fewer than 500 candidates) and more demand from schools (we don't have hard numbers yet, but there are at least 65 schools that are interviewing rookies, the highest number since 2013--these include Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, Columbia, Yale, NYU, Virginia, Michigan, Berkeley, Penn, Duke, Cornell, Northwestern, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Illinois, North Carolina, Penn State-University Park, Penn State-Dickinson, Miami, American, St. Louis, Baltimore, Tulane, William & Mary, George Mason, Alabama, Richmond, Brooklyn, Cardozo, UC Davis, Northern Kentucky, Belmont, Lincoln Memorial-Duncan, Cal Western, Loyola/Chicago, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Northeastern, Connecticut, Suffolk, Washington & Lee, Ohio State, Colorado, Florida State, St. John's, St. Mary's, Temple, Wash U/St. Louis, Boston Univ, Boston College, Arizona, Denver, UC Irvine, Notre Dame, Drexel, South Carolina, Dayton, Wake Forest, Fordham, Tulsa, Houston, Idaho, Mississippi College, Quinnipiac).
ADDENDUM: Just to be clear, we aren't back to 2010 levels by any means, but the ratio of hiring schools to job seekers is as good as it's been in at least four or five years.
UPDATE: Also looking at rookies are Hofstra (which may appoint up to four people!), Georgetown, Maryland, and Oregon. So now we're up to 69 schools looking at rookie hires! Comments are open, for faculty from schools also hiring this year that I've not mentioned to note that--comments must be signed, full name and valid e-mail address. Thanks.
September 28, 2017
...with only 55 new applicants for faculty positions. Altogether, there are fewer than 500 candidates seeking law teaching positions this year, one of the lowest totals I can recall. There are some indications that hiring is up this year--or at least interviewing--but it's too early to say for sure.
September 06, 2017
The University of Chicago Law School invites applications for the Earl B. Dickerson Fellowship, with an appointment at the rank of Instructor, for a twelve-month term to begin on July 1 or August 1, 2018. The Dickerson Fellowship is named after the first African-American graduate of the Law School, from the class of 1920. The Law School seeks candidates who demonstrate the promise of distinguished legal scholarship and law teaching and ideally have relevant practice experience that will qualify them to act as teachers and mentors of students. Among other considerations, we value candidates with diverse backgrounds and perspectives who will enrich and improve the student experience and the Law School's culture. The Dickerson Fellow will teach one or more courses per year and will be expected to publish high-quality scholarship and contribute to the intellectual life of the Law School. A J.D. is required. Candidates must apply online at the University of Chicago Academic Career Opportunities website, http://tinyurl.com/y94upx29, and upload a current curriculum vitae, law school transcript, and reference contact information. Applications will be considered until the position is filled or until June 30, 2018, whichever comes first.
The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination at http://www.uchicago.edu/about/non_discrimination_statement/.
Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-0287 or email ACOppAdministrator@uchicago.edu with their request.
August 30, 2017
June 01, 2017
...according to the data helpfully compiled by Professor Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern). On the other hand, my strong impression is that there's been an increase in untenured lateral movements--several schools that advertised for rookies, and indeed interviewed at the "meat market," ended up hiring untenured laterals--not surprising, given that the tight market the last few years means many candidates probably underplaced to how they would have done in normal times.
You can see figures on the total number of graduates each school had on the market this year here. The top ten were:
Harvard University (35)
Georgetown University (31)
Yale University (26)
New York University (25)
University of Michigan (18)
Columbia University (16)
Northwestern University (14)
Stanford University (12)
University of California, Berkeley (12)
University of Pennsylvania (9)
George Washington University (8)
(Chicago had a light year, just three graduates on the market, only two of whom we were working with, one of whom got multiple offers and did accept a job. Some other recent Chicago JDs were among the untenured laterals this year as well.)
April 02, 2017
New York Times Reporter Elizabeth Olson Claims That Professors Earning Less than First Year Associates are Paid like Law Firm Partners (Michael Simkovic)
New York Times reporter Elizabeth Olson recently complained that the Dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law was suspended after attempting to slash faculty compensation (“Cincinnati Law Dean Is Put on Leave After Proposing Ways to Cut Budget”). According to Olson, “law schools like Cincinnati [pay hefty] six-figure professor salaries that are meant to match partner-level wages.”
Olson goes on to cite the compensation of the current and former Dean of the law school. This makes about as much sense as citing newspaper executive compensation in a discussion about reducing pay for beat reporters.
Data from 2015—the latest readily publicly available—shows that law professors at Cincinnati earned total compensation averaging $133,000. A few professors earned less than six figures. Only one faculty member—a former dean and one of the most senior members of the faculty—earned more than $180,000. Including only Full Professors—the most senior, accomplished faculty members who have obtained tenure and typically have between seven and forty years of work experience—brings average total compensation to $154,000 per year.
As Olson herself reported less than a year ago, first year associates at large law firms earn base salaries of $180,000 per year, not counting substantial bonuses and excellent benefits. With a few years of experience, elite law firm associates’ total compensation including bonus can exceed $300,000. Law firm partners at the largest 200 firms can earn hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year according to the American Lawyer, and often receive large pensions after retirement.