Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
The AALS entry level meeting is upon us. Yesterday, I chatted with someone I know who is on the market who has advanced training and degrees in a non-law field. They asked me for advice about schools and how to figure out if schools are being honest with candidates. One of my favorite comments that I heard from hiring committees from Tier 1 to Tier 4 when I was on the market was "We are into interdisciplinary scholarship."
For quite a number of schools this statement is aspirational rather than reality. How do you sniff out the phonies? Ask yourself the following questions about schools with which you interviewed and had a callback:
How many faculty from outside the law school attended your job talk?
How many law faculty have dual appointments or secondary appointments in other departments, even if a courtesy appointment?
How many of the faculty workshops/speaker series speakers during the course of the year at the law school were given by non-law profs?
How often do the works of self identified "inter-disc" scholars actually cite to literature that is not law and in particular the recent literature in the top journals in the non-law field?
How many people claim to do "inter-disc" work?
How many articles of faculty have appeared in peer review, non-law journals?
How many faculty have co-authored work with non law faculty?
Who on the faculty can tell you about an academic talk that they heard that year outside of the law school?
How many people have taught outside of the law school or taught to a mixed law/non-law class with a colleague from outside the law school?