Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Is Hiring VAPs Ethical?

Today, many law schools hire VAPs—visiting assistant professors. In theory, the VAPs get some experience teaching courses and some learning about the law school culture. They also get time to finish the writing project that seems necessary to succeed in today’s job market. In return, the law schools get cheap labor and the ability to avoid hiring expensive full timers to teach the courses that the VAPs will be teaching. (I think this is a fair description).

In this economy, however, there are not many full time jobs waiting for the VAPs. Some VAPs move from school to school, hoping that next year they will get that wonderful job.

If my analysis is right, then something is wrong. One might argue that the VAPs know what the risks are. However, they may not fully understand the realities of the job market. Their hopes may cloud their judgment. The economy may also cloud the judgment of the law schools in perpetuating the VAP system. If I am wrong, please educate me.


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