November 07, 2022

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

MOVING TO FRONT (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 (2022-23).  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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November 7, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink | Comments (14)

October 04, 2022

Leading student-edited law reviews issue statement on new requirements for data and code transparency in empirical legal scholarship

Here.

(Thanks to Andrew Granato for the pointer.)


October 4, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

September 29, 2022

Lawsky's (final) entry level hiring report for 2022

Here (earlier version).   118 tenure-track hires last year, at 75 schools!  That's the highest number in a decade, although still short of the 150+ figure most years prior to the Great Recession.


September 29, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 28, 2022

Florida lawyers take position in court that public university faculty curricula and classroom speech are "government speech," so regulable by state

Those thinking about taking jobs in the Florida public university system will want to watch this case.  If it makes it to SCOTUS, we may find out if Garcetti extends to faculty at public universities; if it does that will be the end of academic freedom at public universities.


September 28, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

September 21, 2022

71 applicants in the 2nd FAR distribution from the AALS...

...compared to 39 last year.  Probably the attention accorded to the astonishingly low number of applicants in the first distribution in August inspired a few latecomers to enter the market.


September 21, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink

September 06, 2022

Bigelow Fellowship at Chicago now accepting applications

Those interested in law teaching with strong qualifications can apply here.   Bigelow Fellows are fully immersed into the intellectual culture of the Law School and receive excellent mentoring.   The Bigelow is the most powerful credential on the law teaching market, and Bigelows are in demand every year.  Every Bigelow in the last nineteen years has received one or more tenure-track job offers.  You can see a full list of Bigelow alumni here.


September 6, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

August 26, 2022

Where did aspiring law teachers in the first FAR graduate law school? (And why are there so few candidates in the first FAR?)

MOVING TO THE FRONT FROM AUGUST 22--MANY INTERESTING COMMENTS, MORE WELCOME

The AALS has implemented a better search engine, which allows one to identify where candidates received their JD (thus excluding LLM and SJD graduates from the picture, which makes for a cleaner comparison between schools).  Here is the distribution in the first FAR for the 16 schools that produce the most law teachers:   Harvard (24), Yale (21), NYU (10), Michigan (9), Columbia and Georgetown (8 each), Berkeley (7), Stanford (6), UCLA (4), Chicago, Virginia, Penn, Cornell, and Duke (3 each), Northwestern and Texas (2 each).  Recall, of course, that the success rates of candidates varies quite a bit by school, and does not track the number of applicants.  And this year's first FAR is unusually small.

One puzzle is why so many fewer graduates of elite law schools are entering the FAR.  I have a couple of hypotheses, but would be glad to hear from readers as well.   First, the private sector market is strong right now, with salaries having risen signifcantly, and lawyers with some experience are particularly in demand.  Second, the barriers to successful entry to the tenure-track market have risen significantly over the last 25 years, and even over the last ten years.  25 years ago, plenty of folks got good tenure-track jobs on promise.  Now, of course, one needs publications in most cases, and often the kind of profile one would associate with a graduate of a PhD program (one reason JD/PhDs are increasing their share of the market).  I suspect it is harder now for even the typical very strong JD from an elite law school to contemplate the moves (e.g., to VAPs or Fellowships), or carve out the time (for writing), that is now required. 

Thoughts from readers?  Signed comments preferred, but all comments must include a valid email address (which will not appear).  Submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.

 


August 26, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | Comments (20)

August 18, 2022

The first FAR is out...

...and there are only 272 applicants for law teaching positions!  Since this year is, I expect, going to have even more schools searching than last year, this will be a great year to be a job seeker.  I do wonder whether the second FAR distribution won't have more resumes than usual.  272 is very low.

UPDATE:   Professor Lawsky has the comparative data.  This is an all-time low since I've been in law teaching (1993), so even further back than Professor Lawsky's data.  In the 1990s, it was not uncommon for there to be 1,000 applicants in the first FAR, although back then,  at least half were not really serious candidates.  As more information has become readily available about entering law teaching, and as the requiremnts for being a viable candidate have risen, the number of applicants has declined.  But this year's number really is astonishingly low.


August 18, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

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...