So many of us have now returned home from the AALS Recruitment Conference hopefully unscathed for the most part. I thought I'd share a few of my general observations on this year's meat market. First, I was wondering was it just me or did the place seem a little more subdued (ie less like a zoo) than usual? I got the distinct impression that less schools participated this year than is typically the case, which, if true, wouldn't be surprising in this economy. I also noted that many of the interview teams seemed to be smaller than usual, with many schools only fronting two or three faculty on their interview teams.
It also seemed to me that despite a somewhat smaller group of CVs than in some previous years (again, this is anecdotal - I may be wrong about this), the quality of the candidates was generally notably high. It's not often that there aren't a number of candidates met in D.C. that a school can easily knock off its list for potential call-back slots. However, I spoke to representatives of a number of schools' hiring teams who felt that just about any of the people they interviewed in D.C. would make good candidates to proceed with. This may again be a testament to a sluggish legal job market or maybe candidates are getting generally better prepped for the AALS interviews.
There also seemed to be a lot of law school deans accompanying their teams to D.C. - which I think is generally a nice thing and good for the candidates to have a chance to meet with the person they will ultimately be negotiating with if they get a job offer.
How did others feel that this year's conference compared with previous years? I'm sure candidates got the typical amount of exercise running from one tower to the other. And I must admit I never got to try the new Illy's (?) coffee place, so would welcome any comments on how it compared with the old Starbucks...