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

July 08, 2021

Law schools hiring in 2021-22 can announce their committees and hiring priorities...

June 03, 2021

Is the age bias in law school hiring a thing of the past?

In my other academic field, philosophy, it is quite common (indeed probably the norm) for faculty to make lateral moves later in their careers, rather than earlier:  faculty in their 50s and 60s frequently take tenured positions at peer or stronger departments.  When I started in law teaching in the early 1990s, this was very clearly not the case:  most lateral moves occurred 5-15 years into a teaching career, with lateral moves by faculty in their 50s, let alone 60s, almost unheard of, except for administrative appointments.  Yet just in the last couple of years, we've seen multiple lateral moves to peer or stronger schools by faculty age 55 and older.  For example:

Lateral faculty moving in their late 50s:  Curtis Bradley from Duke to Chicago; Robin Kundis Craig from Utah to Southern California; Mitu Gulati from Duke to Virginia; Ran Hirschl from Toronto to Texas; Nancy Kim from Cal Western to Chicago-Kent; Kimberly Krawiec from Duke to Virginia.

Lateral faculty moving in their 60s or older:   Naomi Cahn from George Washington to Virginia; Herbert Hovenkamp from Iowa to Penn; Lawrence Solum from Georgetown to Virginia; Gerald Torres from Cornell to Yale.

I may have missed some from the last two years that are also in these brackets, but this is fairly representative.

What explains this change in hiring practices?  I have a couple of hypotheses:

1.  As academic law as an interdisciplinary and scholarly field has matured, there is more appreciation for cumulative scholarly achievement over the long haul, with the result that more faculty with sustained achievement over decades are finding themselves in demand.

2.  The scholarly impact rankings that I started and Greg Sisk and colleagues at St. Thomas have continued--and which US will now produce (and eventually incorporate into their rankings, I predict)--have probably enhanced the value of adding senior faculty with substantial scholarly profiles to a law faculty.  It may just be a coincidence that, for example, Virginia, which underperformed in the various impact studies, has hired a large number of high cited scholars in their 50s and 60s in recent years.

June 3, 2021 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

May 27, 2021

"Why are so few law professors interested in antitrust?"

Lawprof, antitrust expert and Chicago alum Daniel Crane (Michigan) comments.

May 27, 2021 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

May 17, 2021

Lawsky's Entry-Level Hiring Report for 2021

Although Professor Lawsky will continue to update the report, an initial version is here.  A few notable results:

*There were 64 rookie hires, down from 88 last year.

*There were only 45 schools hiring, down from 66 last year.

*All rookie hires had some combination of a clerkship, a fellowship, and/or an advanced degree.  If I'm reading the data rightly, only one candidate got hired with only a clerkship.  88% of those hired had done a fellowship, and 45% of those hired had a PhD.

May 17, 2021 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink