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October 19, 2008

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Roger Dennis

There is a good article in today's Philadelphia Inky about this topic, reporting on an upcoming meeting of the Association of American Universities on the financial crisis.

Hark

The hiring freeze does not affect the Law School at W&M.

anon

Connecticut and South Carolina have also apparently cancelled their AALS interviews. A number of schools are continuing to interview, but rumors have it that many schools will be cutting hiring in half or freezing hiring later this year. How many of these schools will actually be making offers? Candidates interviewing with schools should not be optmistic at all that most schools will be making offers. In light of the unprecedented cuts that seem to be occuring, it would be helpful if someone would start a blog post on hiring freezes and how many offers each law school expects to actually make.

The message to entry level candidates is unmistakable -- if you receive an offer for employment, accept it before it is revoked and make sure that you get it in writing!!!!!!!

anon

Is it acceptable to call/email a school and just ask them about this? I mean, if the school is not going to be hiring, isnt it fair to know as the candidate?

hiringvet

Someone needs to start a blog reporting the maximum number of slots various schools wuill fill this year. If a school doesn't have any slots, or if it is uncertain whether it will do any hiring at all, it is unfair to interview candidates and to ask them to give up other interviews. If course, it still is early in the year and things change, but many state schools may now think they have lines but may lose them by January or February of next year.

As to whether it is appropriate to ask, I think it is if you have a good reason such as a) an offer of a tenure-track position from another school which you might accept, b) a full dance card for interviews that would require you to cancel other interviews to interview with the school in question, or c) have read in a newspaper about hiring freezes at that university. Already, it is looking to me as if this will be one of the worse markets for candidates (translation, one of the best markets for those law schools hiring) in my 15 year career. There simply are not goiong to me as many offers going around as there usually are -- I'd anticipate it will be in the range of 2/3 of the ordinary hiring we see by law schools.

Candidates will need to recognize that the game has changed from recent years and old strategies of interviewing with as many schools as possible without thinking about the likelihood of an offer may not work as well.

anon

It's unclear how this translates to the law school, but Arizona is also announcing a campus-wide hiring freeze: http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/byauthor/262292

Some schools limit such freezes to positions that are not "essential", and maybe some law teaching jobs are, but it doesn't look good for those of use who have signed up to interview with Arizona.

anon

BU has also called for a hiring freeze -

http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2008/10/01/bu_head_calls_for_a_hiring_freeze/

The University of Washington has implemented a hiring freeze too --

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/383471_uw16.html

Definitely don't count on offers from these places!!!!

anon

How do/should all of these cuts and hiring freezes change the strategies for a candidate? Will things get better or worse as the year goes on???

anon

Does/will the W&M hiring freeze extend to the University of Virginia as well?

matt

I don't know if anything has changed or not, but when the news of a BU hiring freeze first came out the head of the hiring committee there said that it did not effect the law school this year and that their search was going on as planned. This is obviously something to take very seriously but also not something to jump to conclusions about based on partial reports. (The Colorado article also seems to fall into that category.)

Alfred

Thanks for joining the conversation, everyone--and sharing this additional information.

Matt--The report I saw about BU said that its hiring freeze did not affect approved searches.

As I noted in the initial post, the real crunch may come next year. That's when administrations may refuse to approve new searches. As to this year, one guess is that there will be a rush by schools to fill slots shortly after the AALS conference (and thus avoid mid-year freezes).

I also guess that next year will be a worse year than this one. Some people have speculated that because more students will be applying to law school, instead of heading into the job market right after college, that law schools may have increased revenue next year. I think that's counter-balanced by a couple of things. First, adminstrations may look even more hungrily on the law schools' budgets than they have in the past; second, schools may be reluctant to fill slots even if there is a temporary up-tick in students, because they fear longer-term financial problems. I think we're entering a prolonged period of belt-tightening in the academy, which may include increased teaching loads for tenured and tenure-track faculty and increased reliance on visitors and part-time faculty.

anon

There's an interesting article in today'sw Chronicle of Higher Education on misplaced optimism in the current job market -- http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i09/09a00103.htm

To put it bluntly, "But with the economy in a tailspin, new sources of anxiety have surfaced for job seekers. Steep budget cuts, either anticipated or in place, threaten many colleges. So do hiring freezes or slowdowns. Some institutions are already couching their job ads in timid terms: Two tenure-track appointments in history at Auburn University are "contingent on funding," according to a Chronicle advertisement that is among several that include such cautionary words."

The article embraces what it calls "cautious optimism", but I think that the budget forecast for many colleges is quite clear and to pretend otherwise is to ignore the reality.

anon2

Can we expect private schools to be similarly affected in their ability to hire?

Kurt Strasser

Connecticut is interviewing a full schedule of 25 people. However, there is some risk that budget pressures may require that we curtail our hiring, as we have told all our interviewees.

anon

Anon of 11:37: I just read the Chronicle piece, which deals with the arts and sciences (not law), and I think it's a mischaracterization to say that it's about "misplaced optimism in the current job market." It actually presents a cautiously optimistic picture, based on the assessments of neutral parties (i.e., not job candidates).

You may disagree with that assessment (based on information you have not shared), but I agree with Matt: it's not yet clear to me that we need to be so darkly pessimistic about law school hiring. Certainly the Chronicle piece does not support that position.

anon

There were hiring freezxes at law schools in the early 1990's (when offers were revoked by many schools), and the economic forecast then was nowhere near as dim as it is now. If it is not already here, the time of hiring freezes is coming. I have heard that candidates are getting messages from many school similar to that Connecticut is sending.

Eric Kades, Vice Dean, William & Mary School of Law

Hi. Just wanted to affirm from the administration that the hiring freeze at the College of William & Mary does not apply to Law School faculty positions. We are actively seeking entry level and lateral candidates.

- Eric Kades, Vice Dean, W&M Law

Kurt Strasser

Connecticut is interviewing a full schedule of 25 people. However, there is some risk that budget pressures may require that we curtail our hiring, as we have told all our interviewees.

-- Kurt Strasser, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, UConn Law

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