ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bonding at the Meat Market

1908RandallCountyCourthouseCanyonTexas907TJnsn Over at Prawfsblawg, Florida State's Dan Markel discusses a problem: interviewees at the AALS job conference who waste the time of law school hiring committees by agreeing to be interviewed (and even to be brought back for a campus visit) when they have no real interest in going to the school.  He suggests mechanisms for dealing with this, such as requiring interviewees to pay for their own trips out (refunding the money if they are rejected or if they accept the job) or requiring interviewees to make charitable donations as a sign of their interest in a school.. These "bonding costs" allow the parties to reveal their real intentions.

Sure, it may seem a bit hard to make the interviewees (who are the only ones there NOT on expense account and who have already been charged an arm and a leg by the AALS to be there) to pay more money, but the suggestion does improve the information available to both parties.  From my experience, however, lots of schools waste the time of applicants in whom they know they aren't really interested.  These schools fill up the dance cards of interviewees and sometimes cause them to turn down an interview with a school where they might actually get an offer.  Consistent with Markel's idea, I suggest that hiring committees signal their interest by paying each interviewee they schedule $250, which the interviewee will repay when offered the job.  This will help applicants get a better idea of who's really serioius about them and who's just filling slots or papering the record for diversity or internal political purposes.

Well, think about it.


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