April 05, 2021
MOVING TO FRONT FROM MARCH 18--APOLOGIES FOR THE DELAY IN APPROVING COMMENTS; MORE WELCOME
Blog Emperor Caron excerpts the relevant parts of the decision. To put it simply: if Professor Male turns down an offer from Harvard for an extra 40k in salary, Professor Female (in the same department, doing the same general kind of work, who previously had been paid the same as Professor Male) may have an equal pay claim even if she never got a Harvard offer. Thoughts from experts on these issues? Do I misunderstand the potential import of the decision? Submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.
March 15, 2021
The big increase in applicants to law schools this year (and the big increase in high-end LSAT scores)
Informative piece at the ABA Journal. This bodes very well for the law teaching market in 2021-22, as does the impending end of the pandemic. I wouldn't be surprised if next academic year more than 100 new tenure-track faculty were hired, a figure we haven't seen in a decade.
March 02, 2021
February 04, 2021
MOVING TO FRONT FOR THE LAST TIME THIS SEASON (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.
February 02, 2021
We just updated our charts about law journal submissions, expedites, and rankings from different sources for the Spring 2021 submission season covering the 199 main journals of each law school.
We have created hyperlinks for each law review to take you directly to the law review’s submissions page. Again the chart includes as much information as possible about what law reviews are not accepting submissions right now and what months they say they’ll resume accepting submissions.
Washington and Lee has changed its methodology on law review statistics. Now Washington and Lee only ranks the top 400 law review (many of which are specialty journals, online supplements, etc.), so not all flagship journals are now ranked by them. But we put in the data for those that are ranked. [BL comment: the W&L data is junk, ignore it]
January 08, 2021
November 05, 2020
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.
November 03, 2020
...which will bode well for law school faculty hiring next year, and may even lead some schools to invest this year in new faculty. Given the tight job market for college grads, it may also be that more college seniors have decided to apply to law school already. If economic conditions brighten, some of them may turn out to forego a law school spot. We'll see what the pool looks like after January (and assuming the monster-child in the White House is replaced).
October 29, 2020
...on display here, especially in many of the comments (and there's also pushback in the comments). The law teaching job market is very far from a "lottery" (as one commenter put it); if it were a lottery, it wouldn't be possible to predict fairly well how candidates will fare. It is true that the law teaching job market is even more pedigree-sensitive than most academic job markets, and that is not a good thing. But in other respects it rewards conventional markers: e.g., decent publications, strong oral presentation skills. Max Weber observed, correctly, that "luck" plays an outsized role in academic careers, which is undoubtedly true; but that doesn't mean the results are wholly random, as they would be in a lottery. It does mean that even if one does all the right things, the outcome is far from assured.
October 15, 2020
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.