Friday, September 9, 2022
From what I can tell, law schools are seemingly falling over one another to hire this season. Following an understandable period of dormancy, lots of schools are apparently looking to fill a lot of slots -- perhaps restocking to get back to pre-pandemic student-faculty ratios. But there appear to be some dark clouds looming. The news on college enrollments is not great (cf. "First-year and transfer enrollment at Rutgers-Camden is down 27%, and faculty are concerned"), hiring is slowing in some areas (cf. "Some law firms are 'pulling back the throttle' on hiring as expenses rise and deal work slows"), winter is coming (cf. "Europe’s household electrical bills could surge by $2 trillion by next year amid a worsening energy crisis"), and some smart market watchers are predicting a long period of significant economic pain ahead (cf. "Chamath Palihapitiya goes into detail on the 2022 economic crisis and warns about an imminent and very prolonged recession."). Of course, these sorts of predictions are fraught with peril, and -- despite the click-bait title of this post -- I'm not arguing that newly-hired faculty will be fired even if the gloomy predictions pan out (buyouts and early retirements for senior faculty are much more likely). I'm also not arguing that law schools should slam on the brakes when it comes to hiring because, as we know: "When the music stops ... things will be complicated.... But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.”
ADDENDUM: You might want to avoid Googling "layoffs" if the foregoing has bummed you out (cf. "The 'scariest economic paper of 2022' predicts big layoffs over the next 2 years as the fight against inflation gets more intense").