October 09, 2019

How Long After "Meat Market" Before Candidates Hear from Schools?

MOVING TO FRONT FROM LAST WEEK (MORE COMMENTS WELCOME--ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 2007)

A rookie job seeker writes:

A question about the law teaching market, which I suspect will be of interest to a number of candidates who read your Law School Reports blog:  When can we expect to hear from hiring committees we spoke with at AALS?  Do the better schools tend to wait longer to make their calls?  And do schools tend to notify candidates that they *won't* be inviting them for a job talk, or do you only hear from them if they're interested?

If you think this is a worthwhile topic, perhaps you could open a post for comments so that hiring committee members could say what their procedure is.

My impression is that schools will contact the candidates they are most interested in within the first two weeks after the AALS hiring convention, and, more often than not, within the first week.  Schools will often have some candidates "on hold" beyond this period of time:  e.g., because they are reading more work by the candidate, or collecting references, or waiting to see how they fare with their top choices.  So it is quite possible to get call-backs beyond the two-week window.  Schools tend to be much slower in notifying candidates they are no longer in contention (you might not hear for a month or more). 

 

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October 9, 2019 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (16)

August 05, 2019

Rostron & Levit's guide to submitting to law reviews updated

I am happy to share the following announcement from Professors Rostron & Levit:

Dear Colleagues,

We  just updated our charts about law journal submissions, expedites, and rankings from different sources for the Spring 2019 submission season covering the 203 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. 

There has been some change in law reviews’ submission preferences:  Now 82 schools prefer or require Scholastica as the exclusive avenue for submissions, 40 law journals prefer direct emails, and 39 law reviews prefer or require submission through ExpressO, with 37 accepting articles submitted through either ExpressO or Scholastica. Seven schools now have their own online web portals.  Ninety-three schools permit email submissions even if they prefer submission through a service.

The first chart contains information about each journal’s preferences about methods for submitting articles (e.g., e-mail, ExpressO, Scholastica, or regular mail), as well as special formatting requirements and how to request an expedited review.  The second chart contains rankings information from U.S. News and World Report  (overall, peer, lawyers and judges), as well as data from Washington & Lee’s law review website (citation count, impact factor, and combined ratings).

Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews and Journals:  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1019029 

We would welcome your forwarding of this link to your faculty.   We appreciate any feedback you might have.

Happy writing!

All the best,

Allen and Nancy

Professor Allen Rostron

Associate Dean for Students and William R. Jacques Constitutional Law Scholar and Professor of Law

rostrona@umkc.edu

Professor Nancy Levit
Associate Dean for Faculty and Curators' Distinguished Professor and Edward D. Ellison Professor of Law

levitn@umkc.edu             

UMKC School of Law
500 E. 52nd St.


August 5, 2019 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Professional Advice | Permalink

July 24, 2019

Amy Wax, again, and academic freedom and the duties of administrators

Penn's Amy Wax has done it again, and this time her Dean has caved into those (reasonably) offended and condemned the substance of her remarks.  In the past, Penn Dean Ruger did the right things when it came to Wax, but in this instance he failed:  it is not the job of a Dean to condemn the protected and lawful speech of faculty members.  (See this for more details about my views on this score.)   The public response should have been succinct and consisted only of this:  "Professor Wax speaks for herself, not for the institution."   Individual faculty are free to exercise their speech rights to criticize Wax's latest stupidity, but the institution, for whom the Dean speaks, should remain silent. Here is how the University of Chicago's 1967 Kalven Report (authored by famed First Amendment scholar Harry Kalven) puts it:

The mission of the university is the discovery, improvement, and dissemination of knowledge.  Its domain of inquiry and scrutiny includes all aspects and all values of society.  A university faithful to its mission will provide enduring challenges to social values, policies, practices, and institutions.  By design and effect, it is the institution which creates discontent with the existing social arrangements and proposes new ones.  In brief, a good university, like Socrates, will be upsetting.

The instrument of dissent and criticism is the individual faculty member or the individual student.  The university is the home and sponsor of critics; it is not itself the critic.....To perform its mission in the society, a university must sustain an extraordinary environment of freedom of inquiry, and maintain an independence from political fashions, passions, and pressures.  A university, if it is to be true to its faith in intellectual inquiry, must embrace, be hospitable to, and encourage the widest diversity of views within its own community....

Since the university is a community only for these limited and distinctive purposes, it is a community which cannot take collective action on the issues o fthe day without endangering the conditions for its existence and effectiveness.


July 24, 2019 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

April 05, 2019

A case of bad editorial practice at a journal

MOVING TO FRONT FROM MONDAY--ADDITIONAL COMMENTS WELCOME

Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon (Berkeley) called to my attention a case of bad editorial practices, in  this instance, involving the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, a distinguished journal in its field.   Briefly, JELS rejected an article of Professor Solomon's, sending along two referee reports; however, the editors revised one of the referee reports to make it sound less positive than it really was.  Professor Solomon discovered this because the referee had contacted him about his paper independently.   Professor Solomon submitted a "letter to the editor" of JELS about this matter, but JELS declined to break with its practice of not publishing such letters, so Professor Solomon supplied the letter to me (along with other documentation):  Download Letter to the Editor JELS.  The letter sets out the details of what transpired.

Journal editors are well within their rights to disregard the recommendations of referees or to disagree with their ultimate assessments.  Journal editors may also decide not to share referee reports with authors, or not to share them in full.  But what they should not do, out of respect for both their referees and authors, is unilaterally revise the content of a referee report to make it support their independent decision.  One hopes this is an anomalous incident.  I've opened comments here in case the editors or others wish to comment.  Comments must include a full name and a valid e-mail address, or they will not appear.

 


April 5, 2019 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (15)

February 11, 2019

Professors Chilton, Masur and Rozema respond on raising tenure standards and the costs

MOVING TO FRONT FROM FEBRUARY 6--MANY INTERESTING COMMENTS, BELOW; OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS WELCOME

We’re grateful to Brian Leiter and Michael Simkovic for blogging about our article “Rethinking Law School Tenure Standards.” We agree with both of them that there are costs to raising tenure standards. The goal of the project is not to claim that those costs are unimportant. In fact, after acknowledging some of the costs of applying stricter tenure standards, we end the paper’s introduction by saying “[w]e thus caution against jumping to conclusions about whether tenure standards should be increased, and we hope future work builds on what we have started here to better understand how the legal academy’s personnel decisions can be improved.”

Instead, the goal of the project is to provide new evidence that can help faculties set tenure standards in a more informed way. So even granting Michael’s argument that the costs of increasing tenure standards are high, the results in the paper should still be helpful to law schools.

We’ll highlight just three results that we think are important. First, the results show that pre-tenure research records are highly predictive of post-tenure research records. This illustrates that it is possible to tenure scholars that will be influential in the future with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Second, the results show that there are fantastic scholars across a wide range of law schools. For instance, roughly 30 percent of professors at law schools ranked 50-100 have more citations than all but the top 30 percent of professors in the same tenure cohort at the top 20 law schools. Not everyone is moveable, of course, but there is a lot of talent available in the lateral market. Third, the results illustrate that modest increases in denial rates could result in large increases in law schools’ academic impact. It’s reasonable to think that denying more people tenure is not worth the trade-off, but schools should know how big the potential benefits are when making those decisions.

That said, Michael is right that we only focus on estimating the costs and benefits of applying stricter tenure standards on academic impact, and we don’t claim to be performing a full cost-benefit analysis of the effects of raising tenure standards. But a lot of the costs he described wouldn’t arise or are not as high as he makes it seem.

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February 11, 2019 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (12)

February 01, 2019

Raising tenure standards is no free lunch (Michael Simkovic)

Brian Leiter and Paul Caron both recently noted a study by Adam Chilton, Jonathan Masur, and Kyle Rozema which argues that law schools can increase average faculty productivity by making it harder for tenure track faculty to get tenure.  While this seems plausible, denying tenure more often is no free lunch. 

A highly regarded study by Ron Ehrenberg (published in the Review of Economics and Statistics) found that professors place a high monetary value on tenure, and a university that unilaterally eliminated tenure would either have to pay more in salary and bonus or suffer a loss in faculty quality. After controlling for faculty quality, university rank, and cost of living, university economics departments that are less likely to offer faculty tenure must pay untenured faculty more, in part to compensate for increased risk.  Reduced tenure rates is associated with higher productivity, but it is costly.

It's easy to understand why.  A promising candidate with offers from otherwise comparable universities A and B would be unlikely to take an offer from A knowing that A denies tenure 70 percent of the time while B only denies tenure 10 percent of the time. 

Faculty who are untenured and at an institution with high tenure denial rates would also have strong incentives to spend their most productive years avoiding publishing anything that might upset private sector employers who could give them a soft landing in the event that they are denied tenure.  Quantitative measures of faculty "productivity" based on number of citations and publications don't capture the harmful qualitative shift this would produce in faculty research, particularly in an area like law.

There are numerous other advantages to tenure (and disadvantages to weakening it), which I've discussed here and here, including protecting intelletual freedom, encouraging faculty to share rather than hoard knowledge, promoting investment in specialized skills, aligning faculty and institutional incentives, increasing the rigor of teaching and improving outcomes for students (compared to use of adjuncts).  

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February 1, 2019 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings, Science, Weblogs | Permalink

January 31, 2019

Deny tenure more often, raise scholarly impact

That's the conclusion of a study by three colleagues of mine, Adam Chilton (just tenured, easy case!), Jonathan Masur, and Kyle Rozema (our Behavioral L&E Fellow).  I've not looked at the details of the study, but I wonder how much the results are affectedd by Harvard's historical pattern (changed in recent years) of hiring and then tenuring everyone based on good grades in law school, which results in more "dead wood" there than elsewhere.   Even if Harvard has some effect on the findings, I think their basic point is correct:  law schools, especially those maintaining a high scholarly profile, should be more demanding about tenure.


January 31, 2019 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

January 21, 2019

Rostron & Levit's guide to submitting to law reviews, updated again

They asked me to share the announcement, which I'm happy to do:

We  just updated our charts about law journal submissions, expedites, and rankings from different sources for the Spring 2019 submission season covering the 203 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. 

There has been some change in law review preferences from a year ago, with the upticks going to Scholastica and to law reviews’ own emails.  Now 78 schools prefer or require Scholastica as the exclusive avenue for submissions (compared to 62 last year), 42 law journals prefer direct emails, and 41 law reviews prefer or require submission through ExpressO (compared to again 62 last year), with 33 accepting articles submitted through either ExpressO or Scholastica. Six schools now have their own online web portals (compared to thirteen last year).

The first chart contains information about each journal’s preferences about methods for submitting articles (e.g., e-mail, ExpressO, Scholastica, or regular mail), as well as special formatting requirements and how to request an expedited review.  The second chart contains rankings information from U.S. News and World Report as well as data from Washington & Lee’s law review website.

Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews and Journals:  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1019029 

Professors Rostron and Levit welcome feedback, as always.

 


January 21, 2019 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

January 07, 2019

SEALS decides to screw over academic job seekers...

...by creating a competitor hiring conference (the Blog Emperor reprints the self-serving announcement in its entirety, although at least Professor Weaver dropped some of his earlier false claims about its purpose).  I'm not aware of any other academic field where there are competing hiring conferences.  Their absence is easy to explain:  it's costly enough--in time and money--to seek an academic job, without having to think about going to two different conferences.  In other fields, the main professional organization runs a hiring conference, which simplifes things for job seekers.  I will be advising all Chicago candidates to ignore Professor Weaver's vanity project, and I would urge all hiring schools, including those that are part of SEALS, to boycott this process.  More importantly, I urge all the placement directors at Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Michigan, Stanford, NYU, Virginia, Berkeley, Penn etc. to steer their candidates AWAY from this destructive undertaking.  One hiring conference is enough.

(I asked Professor Weaver how many candidates actually participated in the SEALS workshop for prospective law teachers.  The answer:  18.)

ADDENDUM:  Professor Weaver is correct that AALS rips off both schools and candidates for participation in its process, so perhaps the AALS will seize this opportunity to reduce costs.  And if the AALS does, then Professor Weaver will have accomplished something worthwhile.

ANOTHER:  Brad Areheart (Tennessee), whom I had the privilege of working with when I taught at the University of Texas, writes:  "As you may or may not know for the last several years I have run the Prospective Law Teachers Workshop at SEALS. It’s a pretty streamlined enterprise (mock job talks, mock interviews, and CV review sessions + a panel and networking with others on the market) but I think it’s a nice enough service for future law profs. We get dozens of applications each year and limit our workshop to just 12 people. We also usually have approximately 100 faculty who volunteer their time at SEALS to make this workshop run.  I am writing you just to clarify that my workshop will continue to operate the same way that it has each year to this point. I have no involvement with the new hiring initiative."  I'm sure Professor Areheart does an excellent job with this, and I commend him for his efforts in helping law teaching candidates.


January 7, 2019 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice | Permalink

December 16, 2018

McKinsey responds to New York Times hit piece (Michael Simkovic)

The consulting firm McKinsey is a leading employer of graduates of elite law schools, business schools, medical schools, and other professional programs.  The New York Times recently ran a piece attempting to link McKinsey to regimes that abuse human rights.  McKinsey's response appears below.

Readers of this blog are probably familiar with how uneven in quality New York Times coverage can be in the higher education context.  I would encourage readers not to jump to conclusions about McKinsey based on N.Y. Times coverage. 

Note: I worked as consultant at McKinsey in New York approximately 10 years ago.  I have published in the N.Y. Times within the last 3 years.

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December 16, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice, Weblogs | Permalink