Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

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:

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.

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.)

October 3, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

October 01, 2013

Stuff faculty appointments commitees say...

...courtesy of Christine Hurt (Illinois).  This is pretty funny and apt.

October 1, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Humor | Permalink

August 06, 2013

Hiring committees, 2013-14

July 16, 2013

More schools shrinking their faculties (and their student bodies)

There is an informative piece (behind a paywall, however) in the WSJ about the elimination of faculty positions, mostly through retirements and buy-outs of existing faculty; besides Seton Hall and Vermont, other schools mentioned are:

Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minn....has shrunk its full-time faculty about 18% since 2010, and the school is exploring ways to further scale back its head count. Ten faculty members have retired since the school began offering early-retirement incentives in 2011, and four more have accepted agreements and plan to retire in the coming academic year....

This year's entering class at Hamline is expected to be about 100 students, Mr. Lewis [the Dean] said—a 55% drop from 2010....

Earlier this year, 21 professors accepted buyout packages at Widener University School of Law, which operates campuses in Wilmington, Del., and Harrisburg, Pa. And last fall, the University of Dayton School of Law offered early-retirement packages to 14 professors, seven of whom took them....

At University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, Calif....[s]everal professors have taken buyouts as the school rescales its JD program from 1,000 students to about 600, a size that Dean Jay Mootz said is better suited to the school's regional market....

The article also reports that George Mason, which had a 2012 entering class that was half the size of its 2010 class, is having faculty teach larger classes and not filling staff positions except when necessary.

July 16, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

NYU's Misleading Presentation of its Academic Job Placement

Tsk, tsk--technically accurate, but also misleading, since it omits the fact that NYU also had the third highest number of candidates on the market (and by a wide margin).  In fact, NYU's percentage placement of its academic job seekers is quite respectable (and better than Harvard's, as it happens!), but the fact is most NYU teaching candidates did not get academic jobs.

July 16, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

July 15, 2013

June 2013 LSAT takers down almost 5% from prior year... co-blogger Dan Filler reports.  A couple of observations about this, especially for the benefit of those readers thinking about the academic job market:

1.  The decline, though modest, indicates that we have probably not yet hit bottom on the significant decline in law school applications over the last three years.  That decline, of course, followed upon two significant developments:  the New York Times series on the recession in the legal employment market, and the pointed inquires by Senators Boxer and Coburn to the ABA about employment reporting, which led the ABA to revise the rules, thus forcing schools to disclose much more detailed (and often unflattering) employment outcomes for graduates. 

2.  We have already seen evidence of schools letting faculty go or simply not hiring new faculty, senior or junior.  Until applicant volumes stabilize, and schools can make realistic budgetary plans going forward, this will not change and will probably get worse:  faculty is the primary expense, and until schools can confidently predict a budget, they can not afford to add to that expense.  The competitiveness of the market this coming year will be exacerbated by the fact that, for example, all the junior faculty at Seton Hall will presumably be on the job market this year, and so too will junior faculty at schools with less publicized financial problems.

3.   Based on last year's applicant decline, I ventured that this year's rookie market would be even worse than last year's.  A continuing decline in LSAT-takers (and thus presumably applicants) will just add to the uncertainty schools face, making them even more reluctant to hire.

4.  There will be law schools hiring new faculty this year, and not only the richest law schools.  The economic pain is not evenly distributed across law schools, and I know of many law schools, both state and private schools, that will be hiring this year, in part because they expect (no doubt correctly) to be able to make strong hires that would have been out of reach a few years ago.

5.  Given all of the preceding, however, those thinking about pursuing careers in law teaching would be well-advised to postpone entering the teaching market if they can.  2013-14 is shaping up to be the worst year on the law teaching market ever in terms of the total number of positions that are likely to be available.

July 15, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

July 02, 2013

Hiring Committees for 2013-14 announce themselves and their curricular priorities, if any

June 13, 2013

The MOOCs are coming...

...and it doesn't bode well for law schools.  Bar review courses have long been done via what were essentially "MOOCs," it would not be surprising were many law schools to start to incorporate them into core classes.  Of course, the so-called "Socratic" method of instruction is not feasible with a MOOC.

June 13, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

May 27, 2013

Rookie hiring summary courtesy of UCI's Sarah Lawsky...

...hereAs a percentage of candidates on the market, here's how the schools fared in terms of tenure-track placement of their alumni (Lawsky's numbers are a bit different, at least in part due to a failure to count tenure-stream jobs in non-US law schools; I list only schools that had at least five candidates on the market):

1.  University of Chicago (58%)

2.  University of Virginia (57%)

3.  Yale University (49%)

4.  Duke University (39%)

4.  New York University (39%)

6.  University of Michigan (31%)

7.  Harvard University (30%)

8.  University of California, Los Angeles (25%)

9.  Cornell University (21%)

9.  Northwestern University (21%)

11. University of Texas, Austin (18%)

12. Georgetown University (17%)

13. Stanford University (15%)

13. University of California, Berkeley (15%)

15. Columbia University (11%)

The Stanford and Columbia performances seem anomalously low--maybe due to underreporting, and maybe due to a fluke this year.

Professor Lawsky's numbers, even allowing for the limits of self-reporting, also clearly show the steep drop-off in hiring this year, on the order of almost one-third fewer hires than in recent years.

UPDATE:  Professor Lawsky's percentage chart, but just for US tenure-track hires.

May 27, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

May 08, 2013

Law faculty salaries 2012-13