August 11, 2022

The AALS springs another surprise on job seekers

The first round FAR forms were due yesterday.

The AALS has continued its tradition of springing surprises on job seekers.  The last two years the surprise was, first, abandoning the old FAR form, and then, the next year, reinstating it, with some minor modifications (most notably, eliminating the secondary list of teaching interests).

This year's surprise was inviting applicants to upload a "Diversity Statement," described as follows:

Many law schools now require that candidates for faculty positions submit statements as to how they will teach to a diverse student body and contribute to the diverse academic community. If you wish, and this is not required by AALS, you may include such a statement with your FAR form and it will be available to law schools.

As some public universities are using these statements, they are of dubious legality.   In addition, everyone is expecting the Supreme Court to decide next year that "diversity" is no longer a compelling interest when it comes to college admissions, which is likely to raise further legal questions and challenges to the use of diversity statements in faculty hiring.

Be that as it may, I think the most compelling reason not to encourage diversity statements is that they add to the burden on already over-burdened job seekers, and they add very little real information.   The proliferation of supplemental statements is a trend that should not be encouraged by the AALS.

August 11, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

July 19, 2022

Law schools hiring in 2022-23 can announce their plans/needs...

June 08, 2022

"Faculty Lounge" blog is already posting hiring announcements for 2022-23

May 12, 2022

Professor Lawsky's Entry-Level Hiring Report for 2021-22

The report is now available here.  Professor Lawsky recorded 106 hires, the most in a good number of years, although nothing like the numbers before 2010, when 150 or more was the norm.  Inevitably some rookie hires are missed:  Chicago had three grads on the market, all three of whom received tenure-track offers, but it looks like one did not report to Professor Lawsky.  Some misses are inevitable, but I'm confident her overall picture is quite informative.

As Professor Lawsky also notes, we don't have data on how many graduates of each school were on the market.   You can see past "success rate" data from some prior years here and here.

UPDATE:  Professor Lawsky very kindly updated her report to include the missing Chicago candidate. Thank you, Professor Lawsky!

May 12, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

May 03, 2022

If you've accepted a tenure-track law teaching job...

April 26, 2022

What are standard law school teaching loads these days?

Professor Jeff Sovern (St. John's) writes:

I wonder whether schools that perform better on lists like the citation lists posted on this blog from time to time have lower requirements for the amount of teaching professors do and if so, how much. I am also curious to know what standard law school teaching expectations are these days, something others may also wonder about.  Could those of you who read this please post the teaching requirements at your law school in the comments? At my school, St. John’s, the default teaching load is twelve credit hours per year. Professors with chairs are expected to teach ten hours per year while early-career professors get a course reduction of about one course a year and in one semester in their first few years teach no courses. Professors may seek a research leave every seventh year consisting of a semester at full pay or a year at half-pay.  

Comments are open; submit your comment only once, they are moderated and may take awhile to appear.  Include a valid university email address, which will not appear.   It would be preferable for posters to name the school in question, which is why I need to know the email address, even if you choose not to post your full name.

April 26, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink | Comments (8)

April 11, 2022

Congratulations to the Chicago Alumni and Fellows on the law teaching market who secured tenure-track jobs this year

All our candidates received offers this year (including those that only searched selectively), and several received more than one offer.  They are:


Adam A. Davidson’17, who will join the faculty at the University of Chicago.  He is currently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  He graduated with Honors from the Law School where he was Articles Editor of the Law  Review and a Rubenstein Scholar all three years.  He clerked for Judge James Gwin in the Northern District of Ohio; for Judge Diane Wood on the the Seventh Circuit; and for Judge Guido Calabresi on the Second Circuit.  His areas of teaching and research interest include criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, federal courts, and race and the law. 


Aneil Kovvali, who will join the faculty at Indiana University, Bloomington.  He is currently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2012, clerked for Judge Christopher Droney on the Second Circuit, and was a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton for six years before coming to Chicago.  His areas of teaching and research interest include corporate law, contracts, securities regulation, bankruptcy, and antitrust.  


Abigail Moncrieff ’06, who will join the faculty at Cleveland-Marshall School of Law at Cleveland State University, where she will also be Co-Director of the Health Law and Policy Center and have a courtesy appointment in the Department of Political Science.  She graduated with Honors from the Law School, where she served on the Law Review.  She clerked for Judge Sidney R. Thomas on the Ninth Circuit, before joining the law faculty at Boston University, where she taught for several years.  She is presenting finishing a PhD in Government at the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus on constitutional theory.  Her areas of teaching and research interest include constitutional law, administrative law, health law, legislation, and torts.


Joe Schomberg '17, who will join the faculty at Drake University.  Since graduating from the Law School, he has been a bankruptcy associate at Sidley Austin in Chicago.   His teaching and research interests include bankruptcy and commercial law


Daniel Wilf-Townsend, who will join the faculty at Georgetown University.  He is currently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  He earned his J.D. from Yale in 2015, where he was a Coker Fellow.  He clerked for Judge Marsha Berzon on the Ninth Circuit and then for Judge Jeffrey Meyer of the District of Connecticut.  He practiced law for three years with Gupta Wessler in Washington, DC, focusing on class actions and complex litigation on behalf of consumers, workers, and government entities.  His areas of teaching and research interest include civil procedure, federal courts, contracts, consumer law, and administrative law.  

April 11, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink

March 02, 2022

What do you need to find out now that you've gotten a tenure-track offer?


With luck, some of you seeking law teaching jobs will get offers of tenure-track positions in the next couple of months; a handful of offers have already been extended this season (2019-20).  What then?  Here's roughly what I tell the Chicago job candidates we work with that they need to find out, and in the interest of having it written down in one place and for the benefit of others too, here it is (not in order of importance):

1.  You will want to get (in writing eventually) the basic salary information, obviously, and the nature of summer research support and the criteria for its award (is it automatic for junior faculty?  contingent on prior publication [if so, how much?]?  awarded competitively (if so, based on what criteria/process)?).   You should also find out how salary raises are determined.  Are they, for example, lock-step for junior faculty?  Fixed by union contract?  (Rutgers faculty, for example, are unionized, a huge advantage and why they are among the best-paid faculty, not just in law, in the country.)  Is it a 'merit' system, and if so is it decanal discretion or is their a faculty committee that reviews your teaching and work each year?

2.  You should ask for a copy of the school's tenure standards and get clear about the expectations and the timeline.  Does any work you have already published count towards meeting the tenure standard?

3.  What research leave policy, if any, does the school have?  A term off after every three full years of teaching is a very good leave policy; some schools have even better policies, most have less generous leave policies.  (If there is a norm, it is a term off after every six years.)  Many schools have a special leave policy for junior faculty, designed to give them some time off prior to the tenure decision.  Find out if the school has such a policy.

4.  One of the most important things to be clear about is not just your teaching load, but what courses you will be teaching precisely.  You should ask whether the school can guarantee a stable set of courses until after the tenure decision.  Preparing new courses is hugely time-consuming, and you also get better at teaching the course the more times you do it.  As a tenure-track faculty member, having a stable package of, say, three courses (plus a seminar) will make a huge difference in terms of your ability to conduct research and write.   In my experience, most schools will commit in writing to a set of courses for the tenure-track years (and do ask for this in writing), but some schools either won't or can't.   In my view, it's a good reason to prefer one school to another that one will give you the courses you want and promise them that they're yours, while another won't--a consideration that overrides lots of other factors, including salary.

Continue reading

March 2, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink | Comments (14)

March 01, 2022

Blast from the past: On "joint appointments" prior to tenure

August 22, 2021

University of Chicago Law School now accepting applications for Bigelow Fellowships

You can apply here.   You can see the academic placement of past Bigelow Fellows here (scroll down).

August 22, 2021 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink