July 18, 2008
Advice on Entering the Law Teaching Market/AALS
A number of friends have recently emailed seeking advice on entering the law teaching market, inspired by the upcoming deadline to make the first AALS deadline (this FAR deadline is important), and with that in mind I have complied here a number of resources available online and added a few observations.
A great listing of Fellowships for Aspiring Law Professors from Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog. Some schools have someone in their career service office that can help with the law teaching market. Note: at the bottom of the list, Prof. Caron has also made a list of other resources/articles that discuss becoming a law professor; Caron's list is below:
- Jack Chin (Arizona) & Denise Morgan (New York Law School), Breaking Into the Academy: The 2002-2004 Michigan Journal of Race & Law Guide for Aspiring Law Professors, 7 Mich. J. Race & L. 457 (2002)
- James D. Gordon III (BYU), An Insider's Guide to the Faculty Recruitment Conference, 43 J. Legal Educ. 301 (1999)
- Eric Goldman (Santa Clara), Careers in Law Teaching
- Law Crossing, Becoming a Law Professor: Part 1 and Part 2
- Brian Leiter (Texas), Information and Advice for Persons Interested in Teaching Law
- Rick Swedloff (Temple VAP), The Fellowship of the (Hi)Ring
- Brad Wendel (Cornell), The Big Rock Candy Mountain: How to Get a Job in Law Teaching
- David Zaring (Washington & Lee), Whether a Fellow or a Visitor Be
- Don Zillman (Maine), Marina Angel (Temple), Jan Laitos (Denver), George Pring (Denver) & Joseph Tomain (Cincinnati), Uncloaking Law School Hiring: A Recruit's Guide to the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference, 39 J. Legal Educ. 345 (1988)
My own experience was that while a fellowship at Harvard, Chicago, or Georgetown (they have a great 18 month one that based on its description gives you a great deal of freedom) may be great, I really appreciated being a fellow at a less prestigious institution, Loyola University New Orleans, both because of the mentoring that can take place as part of these fellowships and for the chance to write they can offer. As I now am a "regular" faculty member, looking back I am even more appreciative of the time these fellowships open up for doing research, time that seems more precious now with committee, class, and student demands higher than they are during a fellowship. The key to a fellowship is to use that time to write enough that law schools pay attention to your CV and FAR form.
One "resource" not included in the above list is an article that is illuminating, hilarious, and well worth reading: Robert A. Williams, Vampires Anonymous and Critical Race Practice, 95 Mich. L. Rev. 741 (1997).
Other things perhaps of interest to those thinking about a legal academic job:
- Daniel J. Solove, Law Professor Hiring: Statistics on JD Placement on Concurring Opinions
- Lawrence B. Solum, Entry Level Hiring Report on Legal Theory Blog
- Dan Merkel, Hiring Chairs 2008-2009: Announce Yourself at PrawfsBlawg (check the comments for self-identified chairs)
Note: I have no clue about the effectiveness of reaching out yourself to hiring chairs or really when to send a letter if you do decide to contact those hiring in your field (I haven't seen a listing specifically looking for "poverty law") that you find out about through either the FAR Bulletin or the Announce Yourself listing above. Another purely personal observation is that it does seem to matter if your mentors reach out to schools on your behalf and with that in mind, the summer before you enter the market it is worth emailing your mentors, updating them with what you have been doing and expressing your hope that they will help you as you enter the market.
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