Thursday, February 25, 2021
Carliss Chatman and Najarian Peters recently posted The Soft-Shoe and Shuffle of Law School Hiring Committee Practices, which is forthcoming in the UCLA Law Review Discourse. The piece presents their perspective on the hiring process for legal academics and how many students currently experience the academy. Since it was posted, it has averaged well over a hundred downloads a day.
The abstract also captures attention:
“We have too many Black and Brown faculty,” said no one ever in any law school. Each year we sit in appointments discussions and hear the same things. The classics-oldies but goodies from appointments committees are:
“We can’t find any qualified Black candidates.”
“There weren’t any in the Faculty Appointments Register (FAR), we scoured websites and emailed our Black friend yet found no one.” One of our colleagues actually lifted a large binder filled with leaflets from the FAR from one year over her head with both hands and waved it side to side to punctuate this very point in a faculty meeting. Everyone around the room including the Brown and other non-white faculty shook their heads in agreement co-signing. Seeing this made one of us wonder whether the FAR binder was some kind of Bible or holy text the girth of which triggered some kind of irrational response or hypnosis to accept the rhetorical fuckery that proceeded the lift. Like that table of manilla folders filled with paper that Trump used in his press conference to prove he had turned over control over his businesses to his sons or that weird blank book that Kayleigh McEnany gave “60 minutes” reporter Leslie Stahl more recently.
The piece has resonated and some scholars are sharing stories about their experiences in the hiring market and with fielding questions that no one would ask someone like me. For example:
Since we’re telling horror stories: I was asked by a dean at the meat market what I would do to improve the school’s relationship with the Black community and the BLM movement. I said “do they need to form an LLC? Cause I teach business law.” I did not receive a fly back. https://t.co/hmQXY2d7gT— Carliss Chatman (@carlissc) February 21, 2021