Thursday, November 5, 2020

Two big changes in hiring for law teaching jobs over the last decade

In my conversation with Professor Kerr awhile back, I said there were two, but we ended up discussing only one:  namely, the way in which a PhD or VAP/Fellowship has now become almost essential for being hired.  The other big change that I've observed over the last ten years has been the dramatic increase in hiring driven by "diversity" considerations (I dislike the "diversity" label for reasons discussed here).  Some context:  I have been working with candidates on the law teaching job market since the late 1990s, first at the University of Texas, then at the University of Chicago since 2008.  I've worked by now with 150+ candidates for nearly 25 years of hiring seasons. 

It has been the case for quite some time that "diverse" candidates got more interviews than comparable non-diverse candidates, but often one worried that schools were just trying to fulfill their equal opportunity obligations by making sure their slate of interviews was "diverse."  But what has changed during the last decade is that "diverse" candidates are getting hired far more often than before, and hired at stronger schools.  The job market for "diverse" candidates for law teaching positions has never been more favorable than it is now.

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