October 02, 2012

Do you think any ABA-accredited law schools will actually close over the next decade?

There are about 200 of them, and the belief certainly seems widespread in the bowels of cyber-space that half of them are destined to disappear, or something like that, due to the cost of legal education relative to the actual professional outcomes in the current market (indeed, in some cases, even before the current economic crisis).   Of course, we've already seen some law schools reduce enrollments, and others withdraw from the market for new faculty--so 'shrinkage' is already happening.  But will accredited law schools actually close?  Assume that there are no changes to the current student loan structure (i.e., the federal government still backs them), and assume that there is some improvement in the legal market in the years ahead. How many of the 200 accredited law schools do you think will close their doors over the next decade?

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UPDATE: So with 140 votes cast, here's the breakdown: 12% think no law schools will close in the next decade; 68% expect 1-10 to close; 14% expect 11-25 to close; 4% think 26-50 will close; and about 1% think more than 50 will close. So an overwhelming majority of respondents so far, 88%, expect at least one or more law schools to close, and nearly one in five expect a non-trivial number to close, i.e., 5% or more.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several hours later and 209 votes, here's the breakdown:

None       13%

1-10        64%

11-25      16%

26-50        6%

51+           1%

POLL IS CLOSE and the results and discussion are here.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 2, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 19, 2012

On "Joint" Appointments Prior to Tenure

The proliferation of JD/PhDs over the past generation has resulted in many junior faculty candidates facing the question:  should I seek a "joint" appointment between the Law School and the cognate PhD discipline? 

"Joint" appointments come in various forms, of which the two main ones are:  (1) tenure-track status in two units, with two separate tenure reviews, and two separate tenure decisions; and (2) a "courtesy" or "secondary" appointment in the cognate department, with the tenure home residing in the Law School.  The former is, I suppose, a fully "joint" appointment, but it is also to be avoided (perhaps even after tenure, since it is likely to increase your administrative burdens [committee work, faculty meetings etc.]).  Although it's still easier, alas, to get tenure in a law school than in most academic departments, the bottom line is having two different tenure masters is a bad position to be in.  (There are cases of faculty who didn't get tenure in the non-law department, but did get it in the law school, and those situations are unhappy ones all around.)  On the other hand, (2) can have benefits for the faculty member (perhaps teaching in the cognate department, involvement with PhD students and the like) without any of the costs.  

But a JD/PhD on the rookie law market should be careful about raising the question of courtesy appointments.   Law schools understand full well that they offer better terms of employment (in teaching load, salary, and research support) than almost every academic department in the humanites and social sciences, and so a key question for them in hiring JD/PhDs is:  why do you want to be in the Law School rather than in the cognate field?  The answer had better turn on intellectual and pedagogical considerations.  After a JD/PhD has an offer, you can raise the question about courtesy appointments (assuming they exist, not all schools have them), but if you're hired by a Law School, do understand your primary obligations reside there.

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 19, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

September 18, 2012

A list of Fellowships for Aspiring Law Professors


Posted by Brian Leiter on September 18, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

September 04, 2012

Remember that "Faculty Lounge" posts...

...job ads.

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 4, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

September 03, 2012

Attention Hiring Committees: Don't Google Candidates

An interesting cautionary tale from Lyrissa Lidsky (Florida).

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 3, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

August 28, 2012

Exploding Offers--What are the Norms?

These devices are becoming more common is my impression.  Some schools have actually made them prior to the 'meat market,' and others make them afterwards.  In the typical case, the candidate is given two weeks, or some even shorter period of time, to accept or decline.  My impressions are that, as a strategy, these do not work well--candidates tend to decline them, or, if they accept, they accept with a plan to head out the door ASAP.  I'm curious what experiences others have had with these offers?

But that's not the main topic I wanted to address.  The main question is should schools utilize exploding offers at all and if so with what time frame?  My own view is that it is in the interest of both the hiring schools and the candidates to provide a 30-day window for any offer, and that anything much less than that is certainly unfair to the candidate, but will also backfire for the hiring school.

What do readers think?  Signed comments only:  full name and valid e-mail address.

UPDATE:  The AALS has officially endorsed a four-week standard.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 28, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (5)

August 21, 2012

The PrawfsBlawg "Hiring Thread"


PrawfsBlawg hosts many informative threads related to the job market, to which we often link, but this one still seems to me counter-productive, and I continue to urge our candidates to ignore it.  The problem is not the misinformation (though there is always some, whether malicious or inadvertent), but that the "information" posted is always woefully incomplete, and so tends to increase the anxiety or blood pressure of other candidates for no good reason.   Imagine, you are a job seeker working in IP, and you see that some anonymous soul posts on this thread that the University of My Dreams (UMD), which is hiring in IP, has called to schedule an interview, and yet you have heard nothing!  Panic sets in.  Of course, anonymous soul usually doesn't voulnteer that s/he has a significant other on the UMD faculty, or that s/he is a diversity candidate in a year when UMD is desperate to increase the diversity of its faculty, or that s/he went to school with a key member of the hiring committee, and so on.   Most schools schedule interviews over a period of several weeks, and the vast majority of interviews won't be scheduled until later in September.  Bear that in mind should the temptation to look at this incomplete information prove irressistible, and also bear in mind that behind each anonymous posting there is often more of a story than simply, "I got an interview with UMD."

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 21, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink | TrackBack

August 16, 2012

More on OUP Journals and Westlaw

I see Dan Filler, independently, picked up the story about the removal of most OUP journals from Westlaw.  As it happens, I was corresponding with Rhodri Jackson at OUP about this issue, and was invited to share the following information and explanation:

The central fact of Daniel Sokol's piece, that we have pulled some journals from Westlaw, is correct. This happened as of August 1, 2012, and was announced here:


There are some things we would correct or add to in Daniel's post. Firstly, European Journal of International Law, Reports of Patent, Design and Trade Mark Cases, and Industrial Law Journal remain in Westlaw.

Secondly, many of the journals Daniel lists were never in Westlaw in the first place, and many are not in Westlaw OR Lexis now. I’ve listed the actual titles removed from Westlaw at the bottom of this email. All our titles remain in the LJI (Legal Journals Index).

Thirdly, re the W&L rankings, whilst Daniel is correct that the W&L rankings are based on Westlaw, it is unlikely removal from Westlaw will have any discernible impact on a journal’s ranking. Citations to journals are pulled from Westlaw – so OUP journals would only fall in those rankings if they received a significant proportion of their citations from one of the removed titles. W&L will still pull citations to OUP journals in other publications in Westlaw’s databases.

More generally, it’s never quite as straightforward as us taking a decision that affects all our journals. We have standard policies but the final decision on appropriate licensing is taken on a journal by journal basis.

Hopefully that helps clarify. As to why - we took the decision to take journals out of Westlaw because we have agreed a preferred licensing partnership deal with Lexis Nexis. We continually evaluate which services are the best fit for our titles, and at present Lexis’ global reach and commitment to working with us to disseminate our content (including new journals) stands out. Usage of the journals within Westlaw was very low, and runs somewhat counter to the dire warnings regarding discoverability which Daniel makes.

We’re very keen to ensure that all our journals are discoverable and citable, and we do appreciate that some scholars and practitioners use Westlaw and the JLR. We are working with Lexis to make our journals as visible and easy to find within their database as possible. It’s also worth noting that the primary method of delivery for all our journals is of course through our own site http://www.oxfordjournals.org/subject/law/index.html. We have licensing agreements with multiple providers including Lexis, Westlaw, Hein, and EBSCO, but usage of the journals at all of those venues is dwarfed by that at Oxford.

I hope that helps clarify, but if you have follow up questions we'll be happy to answer

Titles Removed from Westlaw as of 1 August 2012

British Journal of Criminology

Human Rights Law Review

International Journal of Constitutional Law

International Journal of Law and
Information Technology

International Journal of Law, Policy and
the Family

International Journal of Refugee Law

Journal of Competition Law & Economics

Journal of Conflict and Security Law

Journal of Environmental Law

Journal of International Criminal Justice

Journal of International Dispute Settlement

Journal of International Economic Law

Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization

Journal of Refugee Studies

Law, Probability and Risk

Medical Law Review

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

Statute Law Review 

This is useful information, and it's certainly right that the effect on any kind of "citation" rankings will be minimal.  On the other hand, this move is not without costs for US-based legal scholars, who overwhelmingly do their research on-line and some of whom (I'm one of them) never use Lexis anymore (I don't even know my Lexis password, it's been so many years!).  Scholarship that isn't in the Westlaw database is going to be missed by some non-trivial number of researchers.  That's unfortunate indeed, and may well give some pause about submitting to these journals.  (As a sidenote, the W&L journal rankings are pretty worthless, I'm surprised to learn anyone is looking at them.)

Thoughts from readers?  Comments must have a full name in the signature line and a valid e-mail address, or they won't see the light of day.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 16, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink | Comments (5)

August 10, 2012

Declining Enrollments and Credentials at Law Schools

A very useful (and sobering) analysis of what's been going on since 2010; some excerpts:

ENROLLMENT IN DECLINE – Between 2010 and 2011, 141 law schools had a decline in enrollment (of which 63 had a decline of 10% or more), 30 had an increase in enrollment (of which 6 had an increase of 10% or more), and 26 had flat enrollment (within +/- 1% of 2010 enrollment).  This means over 70% of schools had a decline in enrollment and that nearly one-third had a decline in enrollment of 10% or more....

ENROLLMENT AND PROFILES IN DECLINE – Most significantly, 75 schools (roughly 38%) saw declines in enrollment and in their LSAT/GPA profiles, of which 37 schools saw declines in enrollment of greater than 10% and saw declines in their LSAT/GPA profiles....Four of the schools are ranked in the top-50, while the other 33 schools are relatively evenly divided between the second-50, the third-45 and the alphabetical schools....

FORECAST FOR 2012-- Given that LSAC has estimated a decline of roughly 14.4% in the number of applicants for fall 2012, from 78500 to roughly 67000, and given that the decline has been greatest among those with higher LSAT scores, one should anticipate further declines in enrollment and further erosion of entering class LSAT/GPA profiles for fall 2012....

IMPACT FELT ACROSS THE RANKINGS CONTINUUM, BUT WORSE FOR LOWER-RANKED SCHOOLS...-Among the top 100 schools, 55 schools (over one-half) had a decline in profile, while 67 (two-thirds) had a decline in enrollment, with 27 experiencing a decline in enrollment of 10% or more....Overall enrollment was down roughly 6%.

Across the bottom 97 schools then, 56 saw a decline in profile while 74 (more than three-quarters) saw a decline in enrollment, of which 36 (nearly 40%) saw a decline in enrollment of 10% or more.  Notably 40 schools saw a decline in enrollment and a decline in profile, of which 22 saw a decline in enrollment of 10% or more and a decline in profile.  Overall, enrollment was down nearly 10%.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 10, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

August 06, 2012

Hiring Chairs can announce themselves...

...and their hiring needs here.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 6, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink