Thursday, May 6, 2021
Here. The AALS also cancelled last fall's in-person hiring convention for the obvious reasons.
What this means for academic jobs seekers is that they have to be ready to do screening interviews (via Zoom) within a week or two of the FAR forms being released next August 18 (forms will be due before that of course). It will also mean that the hiring "season" will have a less predictable timetable, with many callbacks in September and October and offers before Thanksgiving likely. That happened last year too, but a countervailing force was that many law schools entered the market quite late in 2020-21, as it became clearer that the pandemic might end and that enrollments (and thus income) were shaping up favorably: as a result, many hiring schools did not enter the market until early 2021.
2021-22 promises to be an excellent year for law school enrollments, and early indicators suggest that the 2022-23 year will be at least as strong. Since enrollments drive hiring at 80-85% of the law schools in the country, this bodes very well for academic job seekers. I expect many more law schools to be in the market for new teachers this coming year, compared to this past year. (This past year, 1 in 5 tenure-track jobs weren take by Chicago alums and/or Fellows. Needless to say, we hope that will continue, and we appreciate the strong interest in law schools in our graduates and Fellows.) I doubt we'll get back to the pre-2010 levels of hiring (when 150+ new faculty were hired each year), but I would not be surprised if next year saw 100 or so new faculty hired.
ADDENDUM: A colleague elsewhere points out to me a possible countervailing consideration: namely, uncertainty about whether foreign LLMs will be able to come to the US next year for their degrees. LLM enrollment is a significant source of tuition revenue at many schools. My guess is that a majority of foreign LLM students will be able to enter the country for purposes of study.