October 20, 2020

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

MOVING TO FRONT since a small number of schools have extended offers already (ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 24, 2009--I HAVE UPDATED CERTAIN NUMBERS)--SEE ALSO THE COMMENTS, WHICH HAVE HELPFUL ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS

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.

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October 20, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink | Comments (14)

October 15, 2020

The timing of this year's job market

Without a "meat market" around which schools and candidates coordinate their behavior, the timing is quite various this year.  Some schools are still scheduling initial interviews, while other schools hosted call-backs as early as September.  Some schools have even started extending offers.  This is going to make things more challenging all around; I hope hiring schools will give candidates at least one month to consider an offer.  By the same token, candidates should be timely in letting schools know if they are no longer interested in being considered because they have other offers in hand.


October 15, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

October 09, 2020

Where did those teaching in "top" law schools go to law school?

You can guess the answer, but I recently came across this systematic study by law professor Eric Segall (Georgia State) and a political scientist.   Faculty at the top ten law schools graduated from the following law schools (I'm going off a graph in the paper that is a little hard to read):   Yale (more than 190); Harvard (a bit less than 190); Chicago (more than 40); Columbia (more than 30); Virginia (not quite 30); Stanford (about 25); Berkeley and NYU (a bit more than 20); Michigan (not quite 20); Penn (fewer than 10).  Bear in mind that Harvard graduates more than 2 1/2 times as many students each year as Yale, Chicago, or Stanford.  If we normalize for the size of the typical Harvard class, then the figures would be something like this (with rounding to nearest ten):  Yale (480); Harvard (190); Chicago (110); Columbia (60); Stanford (60); Berkeley and Virginia (50); Michigan and NYU (30); Penn (20).


October 9, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

October 06, 2020

Big jump in law school applicants at the start of the 2020-21 admissions season

Blog Emperor Caron has the details.  If this holds, that will bode well for law faculty hiring in 2021-22, and may even lead to some late entries to the hiring market this year.


October 6, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 01, 2020

3rd AALS Placement Bulletin came out the other day...

...and it actually has new job ads from about ten schools, including Akron, Kentucky, McGeorge, Rutgers, South Carolina, and Stanford, among others.


October 1, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

September 15, 2020

Regional law schools that do strong hiring... (MOVING TO FRONT FROM YESTERDAY--CORRECTED)

...as measured by the number of faculty from the 2006-07 academic year that were subsequently hired by a top 18 law school (i.e., Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, NYU, Penn, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Yale).   This is a propos the discussion I had with Orin Kerr noted the other day.  I excluded here top 25ish law schools, which are regularly schools that the top 18 try to raid.  I happened to have a 2006-07 AALS Directory handy, which is why I chose that year to study.  I list below the schools that had at least two faculty who moved on; please e-mail me with additions or corrections:

1.  Florida State University (5) (Craig to USC, Galle to Georgetown, Klick to Penn, Rossi to Vanderbilt, Ruhl to Vanderbilt)

 

2.  Brooklyn Law School (4) (Cheng to Vanderbilt, Hunter to Georgetown, Schwartz to Berkeley, Serkin to Vanderbilt)

2.  Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University (4) (Beebe to NYU, Crane to Michigan, Lemos to Duke, Stack to Vanderbilt)

2.  University of San Diego (4) (Law to Virginia, Partnoy to Berkeley, Prakash to Virginia, Rodriguez to Northwestern)

 

5.  Fordham University (3) (Fisch to Penn, Katyal to Berkeley, Treanor to Georgetown)

 

6.  New York Law School (2) (Gordon-Reed to Harvard, Rostain to Georgetown)

6.  University of Alabama (2) (Geis to Virginia, Pardo to Georgetown)

6.  University of Arizona (2) (Adelman to Texas, Marcus to UCLA)

6.  University of Colorado, Boulder (2) (Bowen to Virginia [now Dean at GW], Ohm to Georgetown)

6.  University of Connecticut, Hartford (2) (Baker to Penn, Mason to Virginia)


September 15, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

September 09, 2020

How to hire a strong scholarly faculty (and a sidenote about status anxiety)

As part of the very enjoyable discussion on "The Legal Academy," Orin Kerr (Berkeley) asked me about how a school can hire strong scholarly faculty.  I made a variety of observations related to this topic.   A school must constitute a good hiring committee, meaning one with faculty who are engaged in scholarship and have good judgment about scholarship.   Schools like Florida State and San Diego (two examples I gave) have, historically, done very strong rookie hiring (better than their peers), in part because Deans have invested serious faculty with good judgment with a decisive role in hiring at those schools.   While "objective" metrics (like citations or place of publication) can be useful proxies, there is, as I said, "no substitute for reading" (as long as those reading satisfy the prior desiderata!). 

Finally, there's the question of how to use recommendations from faculty elsewhere (no committee can read everything, so recommendations are often used to figure out which candidates deserve further scrutiny).   Everyone who has done hiring has their own list of reliable and unreliable references, and everyone of course gives different weight to references based on their opinion of the recommender (if they have one).   I gave the example of a recommendation from a professor at San Diego (an expert I respected in the candidate's area) that ultimately led to Texas hiring someone when I was chairing appointments there.  I also gave the example of the Yale recommender who "never met a candidate he didn't love":  such recommendations are useless, of course.  I remarked that my own approach was not to credit or give weight to references from faculty I wouldn't hire, i.e., those I don't respect on the intellectual merits.

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September 9, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

September 03, 2020

8 more accredited law schools advertise in 2nd AALS jobs bulletin...

...bringing the total number of schools advertising up to 40 (this includes some of the law schools which I alluded to previously that weren't in the first bulletin).  A number of highly ranked law schools are looking selectively this year, although they have not advertised in either bulletin.


September 3, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

August 31, 2020

I talk with Orin Kerr (Berkeley) on "The Legal Academy"...

...about law school hiring trends, rankings, the effect of COVID on the teaching market, and other topics. (Link now added!)


August 31, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

August 25, 2020

The first Faculty Appointments Registry is out...

MOVING TO FRONT FROM AUGUST 20--UPDATED

...with only 297 candidates, down from just under 400 last year.   That's good news, given that there are also fewer jobs.   The new format, however, is a bit harder to search than last year's.  Last year, for example, it was quite easy to search by subjects a candidate was interested in.

ADDENDUM:  Unless I'm missing something (and I may be, given my technical ineptitude), a school needing a contracts professor can't search the 297 candidates to find those interested in teaching contracts!   E-mail me if I'm wrong.  I find it hard to believe they could have reduced the search functionality of the website so dramatically.

CORRECTION:  Thanks to Professor Lawsky, I can report that the first FAR last year had 334 candidates, not "just under 400" (which was more like the final tally after all distributions).

UPDATE:  Professor Jamie Macleod (Brooklyn) helpfully explains how to search by subjects taught:

  1. When viewing the long list of applicants unfiltered, click “Filter”.
  2. At the bottom right corner of the drop-down box that appears, click “Filter by Form Responses”.
  3. In the new window that appears, click “Select Form”à”Position Sought and Teaching Preferences”.
  4. I’m guessing the rest is self-explanatory. But do note that you can then click “Save” and name the filtered view you create, then return to that filtered view later by clicking “Saved Views” (which is next to the “Filter” button).


August 25, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink