May 08, 2013
Law faculty salaries 2012-13Blog Emperor Caron breaks out the latest SALT data.
Decline in lateral hiring of facultyThe evidence. Not surprising.
April 30, 2013
Law schools with JD Alumni on the Teaching Market
MOVING TO FRONT FROM SEPTEMBER 13, 2012--AS HIRING SEASON NEARS ITS END, AND PRAWFS COMPILES HIRING DATA, THIS INFO IS TIMELY AGAIN (candidates who accepted offers, please submit your info at the Prawfs site--I knnow the information there is not complete as it presently stands)
UPDATED AND CORRECTED
This is from the first FAR distribution, which is the most important one, and typically includes the most viable candidates (meaning also the candidates the school knew about!). The school name is followed by the number of graduates on the market this year, the average recent class size, and then two ranks: how the school ranks over a long period of time in per capita placement in law teaching; and how the school ranks more recently in placement of graduates at leading law schools.
1. Harvard (57 candidates; average class size circa 550) (#2, #2)
2. Yale (37 candidates; average class size circa 200) (#1, #1)
3. NYU (31 candidates; average class size circa 450) (#9, #9)
4. UC Berkeley (20 candidates; average class size circa 250) (#7, #5)
5. Columbia (18 candidates; average class size circa 400) (#5, #6)
5. Georgetown (18 candidates; average class size circa 600) (#14, #14)
7. Cornell (14 candidates; average class size circa 200) (#10, outside top 15)
7. Northwestern (14 candidates; average class size circa 250) (#10, #11)
9. Duke (13 candidates; average class size circa 250) (#10, #9)
9. Michigan (13 candidates; average class size circa 350) (#5, #6)
9. Stanford (13 candidates; average class size circa 200) (#4, #3)
12. Chicago (12 candidates; average class size circa 200) (#3, #4)
13. Texas (11 candidates; average class size circa 425) (#14, outside top 15)
Among the elite law schools, others had smaller number of alumni in the first FAR this year: for example, there were eight from UCLA, seven from Virginia, four from Southern California, and three each from Penn and Vanderbilt. Other major law schools with comparable numbers include George Washington (7) and Wisconsin (5).
ADDENDUM: It is striking how weak the correlation is between the total numbers on the teaching market compared to past success in placement.
April 25, 2013
Academic freedom (and due process) under threat at Brooklyn Law School?Details here.
April 18, 2013
So which areas of law deserve more attention in the legal academy?
The results of our earlier poll, with over 200 votes cast:
|1. Consumer Law (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)|
|2. Energy Law/Natural Resources Law/Water Law loses to Consumer Law by 109–73|
|3. Employment Law loses to Consumer Law by 115–73, loses to Energy Law/Natural Resources Law/Water Law by 91–85|
|4. Alternative Dispute Resolution loses to Consumer Law by 106–80, loses to Employment Law by 89–83|
|5. Immigration Law loses to Consumer Law by 118–67, loses to Alternative Dispute Resolution by 87–86|
|6. Family Law loses to Consumer Law by 123–61, loses to Immigration Law by 99–72|
|7. Insurance Law loses to Consumer Law by 130–53, loses to Family Law by 100–77|
|8. Comparative Law loses to Consumer Law by 117–68, loses to Insurance Law by 91–87|
|9. Elder Law loses to Consumer Law by 135–47, loses to Comparative Law by 88–80|
|10. Wills, Trusts & Estates loses to Consumer Law by 126–58, loses to Elder Law by 88–79|
Thoughts from readers? Signed comments only: full name and valid e-mail address.
February 04, 2013
Submitting to law reviews
Updated for Spring 2013. Co-author Nancy Levit (Missouri/Kansas City) writes:
The highlights from this round of revisions include the following: First, there has been movement toward Scholastica and we have tried to track which law reviews prefer Scholastica or exclusively accept through that channel. Second, the chart now includes, where available, information about whenjournals are open to receive articles—i.e. the opening date for the submission season.
January 29, 2013
Law school applications likely to hit an all-time low this year since records were kept (going back to 1983)
This essentially guarantees that next year's job market for law teachers will be even more difficult than this year's. Until enrollments stabilize (or increase), the majority of schools have to put off or limit full-time faculty hiring.
January 17, 2013
Yale Law School's New Fake "PhD in Law" Program...
...got only 82 applicants, which is surprising. I would have expected higher demand for a three-year paid Fellowship for aspiring law teachers! (The linked article, bizarrely, thinks this is an impressive tally, yet I can't imagine any other "PhD program" at Yale has so few applicants. On why the program is a fake qua PhD program, see the earlier discussion.)
December 02, 2012
What do you need to find out now that you've gotten a tenure-track offer?
MOVING TO FRONT FROM JANUARY 8, 2012 (ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 24, 2009)
With luck (and luck will help more than usual in what is a very tight year on the academic job market), some of you seeking law teaching jobs will get offers of tenure-track positions in the next couple of months. What then? Here's roughly what I tell my Texas and Chicago advisees 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.
5. You should ask for the school's materials on benefits: retirement, life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, and so on. The biggest, and certainly the most easily discernible differences, are often in the retirement and life insurance categories (sometimes longterm disability insurance too, though unlike life insurance, you're hopefully less likely to utilize this!). What is the university's contribution to retirement? At the low end are schools contributing only 5-6% of your base salary to retirement; the more competitive schools will be in the 8% range, and some will be higher. The big issue on life insurance concerns the amount you are guaranteed irrespective of your health history. 500-600K increasingly seem to be the norm. And, of course, if your health is perfect, this doesn't matter, but I've worked with plenty of candidates where this was a serious issue. (Life insurance companies have no incentives to insure faculty beyond the base amount they have to provide, so even health matters that strike you as trivial may disqualify you from more coverage.) A final benefits issue concerns education/tuition benefits for children. State schools don't offer these; the wealthier private schools do, and if you have kids or expect to have kids, this is worth looking into. At the high end is Chicago, which pays up to 75% of Chicago tuition anywhere for each child. Most of the wealthier private schools will pay 30-50% of the home school tuition for faculty children, wherever they go. Some will offer a larger benefit if your kids go to that school. But there are differences, and they don't track your ordinary expectations about prestige (e.g., last time I looked, the Wash U/St. Louis benefit was much better than the benefit at Penn or Cornell). In any case, get the information. But remember, university-wide benefits are rarely a subject for negotiation--the law school can't give you a higher benefit. Of course, if you have a competitive offer, they may be able to compensate for a significant benefits differential.
6. Finally, once you have an offer, this is a good time to raise issues about the employment prospects for a spouse or partner. Sometimes you may just want help: can the Dean help the significant other make relevant professional contacts in the area? Sometimes you may be hoping for more: e.g., a position in the law school, or in another university department, for the significant other. It is certainly fair to explain the situation and ask. Schools vary in their ability to response effectively to these situations, but many have formal universities policies pertaining at least to spouses who are academics. Raise the issue, and see if the school can help. But realize that the school made you the offer, and they may be able to hire you, and that's that.
The last point relates to a more general issue. If you don't have other offers, you are not in a position to bargain. Period. You may certainly ask about things, raise concerns, etc. But unless you're going to walk away from a tenure-track offer (not a wise thing to do in this market), don't make demands. And even then, a collegial discussion about issues of concern is far better than demands. Even if you have other offers, this advice applies: proceed with caution and respect for the institution. You can report that School Y is offering you a salary 20K higher, and ask whether the Dean of School X, to whom your talking, has any flexibility on this front. But remember: you may end up at School X (because of location, or colleagues in your field, or a better teaching load etc.) and living with that Dean and the other faculty for many years to come. Don't poison the well by displaying a sense of entitlement and self-importance before you even get through the door. Remember: no matter how good you are, you're quite dispensable--in almost every instance, you need the job more than the school needs you. Approach any 'bargaining' or discussion of the package in that spirit. A good school has every reason to want you to succeed and to try to help fashion a package of professional duties and support in that spirit. A good school doesn't need a prima donna.
I invite signed comments from faculty or deans on these issues. A comment without a full name and e-mail address won't appear. Post your comment only once; comments are moderated and may take awhile to appear.
Good luck to all job seekers!
November 29, 2012
The Academic Job Market in Law: Looking Forward
As Dan noted last week, there was another nearly 20% drop in the number of LSAT takers in October. That will almost surely translate into another decline in the total number of law school applicants and then law students, which will put further financial pressure on two-thirds or more of law schools in the United States. And that will, in turn, translate into fewer jobs for new law teachers next year. Already this year, we saw 20% fewer schools at the "meat market" than in 2007; we don't have a clear read on how many fewer positions even those schools that went are filling. A number of schools that went are not sure whether they are really hiring this year. In all the cases I know about, these are schools that are being affected by the declining pool of applicants, including the most highly-qualified applicants.
Given all this, my expectation is that next year, 2013-14, will be an even tougher year for aspiring law professors. The fiercer competition will exacerbate the credentials inflation that has taken place over the last decade (more publications, more Fellowships/VAPs, etc.). Some colleagues think they've seen slightly more emphasis at some schools on candidates with practice experience, but I'm skeptical: it still seems that the bulk of candidates doing well have the traditional academic credentials, plus the usual 2-5 years of experience. But we won't have a clearer picture on that score until the hiring season is over. My own impression is that curricular hiring is dominating more of the process at more schools than usual this year (and it usually dominates in a normal year, but this year seems to be extreme--that, of course, creates fabulous opportunities for schools doing "best athlete" hiring).
Until the application pool stabilizes, law schools are going to postpone or forego hiring. There will probably be an increase this Spring in VAP hiring, but this will be driven by curricular needs, rather than presenting opportunities for scholarly and professional development for those seeking tenure-stream positions. Still, now that the recession has really hit home for law schools, job seekers would do well to take those VAP positions seriously as well.