July 22, 2011
Why is Law School Hiring So Pedigree-Sensitive?
JK O'Connor start his Off the Quad post, Disciplinary Diversity & Pedigree Consciousness: A Few Thoughts stating "Count me among those who think there is a significant pipeline problem in the legal academia" and ends it with
Perhaps self-interest comes into play (on a subconscious level): after all, if you have invested a ton in an exclusive legal education, you have a considerable incentive to justify and maintain the value of that investment. Or maybe this pedigree preoccupation is a vestige of the desire to treat the law as an objective discipline like physics. Who knows?
Both O'Connor and Chicago law prof Brian Leiter have studied how a small number of law schools account for a "huge percentage" of all the law profs hired (quoting Leiter). Schools such as Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, Columbia and Michigan fill the labor market pipeline for the legal academy.
In The Pedigree-Sensitivity of Law Schools in Faculty Hiring, Leiter asks for readers to respond to the question, "why is law school hiring so pedigree-sensitive?," adding
It surely has to do partly with the fact that law school hiring is done on the basis of less information than most other academic hiring: i.e., most candidates don't have dissertations and don't have letters from faculty advisors who have worked closely with the candidate for years. Under those circumstances, proxies (even dubious ones) for scholarly ability tend to loom large. What do readers think?
You can check Leiter's blog post for reader comments. [JH]
Thanks for sharing this post.
Posted by: JK | Jul 22, 2011 3:01:44 PM