February 22, 2016
Provocative piece from Bloomberg News, prompted by a recent paper by Lynn LoPucki (UCLA). We've certainly seen this already in some sub-fields: e.g., first-generation law & economics scholars were almost all JDs, while the current generation are almost all JD/PhDs. The rise in expectations for scholarly writing from junior faculty candidates over the last twenty years has strongly favored those with PhDs, who, of course, have a lot of writing in hand. And some of this is simply attributable to the revolution in legal scholarship wrought by Richard Posner in the 1970s, which finally finished off the Langedellian paradigm of legal scholarship.
Although I'm quoted saying that the rise of JD/PhDs will continue, that's a descriptive not normative statement. I think different schools have different missions. And the relevance of the JD/PhD varies by field. We have ten current junior faculty, only four of whom are JD/PhDs. Our Dean is a JD/PhD, our two most recent tenures were one JD/PhD and one JD (who had even been a partner in a major law firm). We placed three Chicago candidates at "top" law schools this year, two were JD/PhDs, one a "mere" JD. I think my prediction is an accurate one--and at other top schools it's already come true--but it will be another twenty-five years before it is realized at the top law schools generally.
January 14, 2016
My colleague Jonathan Masur asked that I call the attention of interested readers to a new Fellowship opportunity here at Chicago; he writes:
The Wachtell Fellowship in Behavioral Law & Economics is designed for aspiring legal academics with research or teaching interests in behavioral law & economics. Fellows will have have substantial time and resources (including research funding) to pursue their own research. In addition, Fellows will have the opportunity to teach seminars of their choosing related to behavioral law & economics, present papers at faculty workshops, and participate in conferences. The Fellowship will run for one year, with an option to renew for a second year. We are currently accepting applications for fellowships covering the 2016-17 academic year, and we anticipate having one or more openings in subsequent years as well. Any candidates who are interested in the Fellowship or would like more information are very welcome to email me at email@example.com.
To apply, go here. I'll just note that all our Fellows are thoroughly integrated into the intellectual life of the institution.
November 30, 2015
Signs of the times: a list of schools that offered retirement incentives and "buyouts" to faculty in recent years
Blog Emperor Caron has a list of schools and links to the stories with details. It's perhaps worth noting that a number of these schools are now hiring junior faculty this year, indicating that their finances have stabilized, and they are now ready to meet the institutional needs that require full-time faculty. I expect we will see more of this in the next couple of years, which will contribute to an improved market for new law teachers (I do not expect we will get back to the pre-recession highs of 170 or more new faculty being hired each year, however, but I expect we will get back to 100 or so, from the lows of the last two years, which saw only about 65 new tenure-stream academic faculty hired nationally each year.)
October 21, 2015
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 08, 2015
September 09, 2015
An increasing number of schools are now asking candidates to supply "teaching statements." This is common in many PhD fields, where, of course, the candidates typically have teaching experience. I'm more doubtful how productive it is on the law teaching market. But mostly I'm curious what readers, either faculty or candidates (candidates may post with a pseudonym) think should go into such a statement. Here are some possibilities: (1) texts you favor for certain subjects, and why; (2) "Socratic" vs. lecture vs. other teaching modalities, why and how you expect to use them; (3) "experiential" components of courses you might use; (4) how your practice experience (or PhD study or other pertinent experience) will factor into your teaching.
September 08, 2015
Blog Emperor Caron has some excerpts (it is otherwise behind a paywall). The chart overstates the hiring, since it includes all faculty appointments, not only tenure-stream academic lines. My anecdotal impression is that more schools are hiring, and hiring for more positions, this year--we won't get over 100 new hires, but I am guessing we will get to 80 or more (compared to 60 or 65 the last two years). With the enrollment decline over, schools can now budget for the future and start filling positions that need to be filled.
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.
August 17, 2015
This is the week that job seekers in law teaching are sending out packets of their materials to the schools they are particularly interested in. The question often arises whether to send the materials via e-mail or via regular mail or both. I generally advise both, but I'm curious what readers with experience in hiring think. (Comments are moderated and may take awhile to appear, so please submit the comment just once and be patient. Thank you.)