March 14, 2008
Secunda on the Lateral Market for Law Professors
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
Paul Secunda (left), who is moving from Mississippi to Marquette, has posted Tales of a Law Professor Lateral Nothing on SSRN. This is a combined narrative and "how-to" on moving from school to school once you have already climbed the ivy-covered walls and deposited yourself in legal academia.
You know, when you consider it, "lateral" as the descriptor doesn't make much sense. Personally, I think "Upwardly Mobile Market" would be better. Or the most accurate would be the "Wannabe Upwardly Mobile Market Except When I Can't Stand It Here So Much I'll Take Anything or They're Offering Me a Chair and a Lot of Money to Move the Other Way Market."
My view on looking for jobs is that one should do it less frequently than one has colonoscopies. Anyway, here's Paul's abstract:
This Essay seeks to uncover the mysterious world of the law professor lateral hiring market, which has become increasingly important in the last number of years as law schools seek to build their reputations in this U.S. News & World Report world through the hiring of prominent faculty members.
Although the advice and guidance given in this essay are sometimes written with tongue firmly in cheek, I do attempt to accomplish two important objectives here. First, there has been scarcely anything written about the lateral hiring market for law professors, as opposed to the cottage industry that has been devoted to the entry-level law professor hiring market. This essay methodically takes the lateral-to-be professor through every step of the lateral process from the first-person perspective of one who has been on the market for three years and successfully lateraled this past year.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, I want to contribute to the process of bringing back to legal academic writing the form of the first-person narrative. Like my colleague, David Case, I believe that, "the narrative voice is an important, and perhaps underutilized, tool in deconstructing the arbitrary processes of the legal academic hiring market." See David Case, The Pedagogical Don Quixote de la Mississippi, 33 U. Mem. L. Rev. 529, 530 n.2 (2003).
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