November 23, 2020
November 12, 2020
November 10, 2020
November 06, 2020
Not good for Cooley, but perhaps not fatal: Cooley has already changed enormously in the wake of the 2010 downturn in law school applicants. From the article:
Once a large law school with four campuses, Cooley downsized in the past decade. Enrollment fell from more than 3,900 students in 2010-11 to 1,156 in 2019-20. The law school announced in August that it would close its campus in Grand Rapids, Mich., in August 2021 and move all classes and operations to its campus in Lansing, the state capital. It also closed its campus in Auburn Hills, Mich., last year and reduced the footprint of the Lansing campus. Cooley still maintains one other campus in Tampa Bay, Fla.
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 27, 2020
Richard Stewart, a leading scholar of administrative and environmental law at Harvard, moved to NYU in the early 1990s. He lived in a 4,000 square foot town house in Greenwich Village, a few blocks from NYU's law school. This was rented to him by the University at an undisclosed price, but no doubt well below market rates which even a law professor could not ordinarily afford in that area. As part of the deal, he had the option to sell the property, with some of the gain going to NYU, and some to Professor Stewart. He exercised that option a few years ago, netting over eight million dollars. Eight million divided by the 25 years he taught at NYU up to that time works out to an additional $320,000 per year of service, on top of his salary. (The article notes that another NYU law faculty member, recruited from Chicago in the early 1990s, lives in a similar townhouse, but without the option to profit from a sale.)
October 21, 2020
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.