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November 19, 2012


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At my old school, the dean and the committee made almost all the decisions; the committee usually wouldn't allow someone to be voted on by the full faculty unless they (1) knew the dean would approve him/her (which often was not the case), and (2) the candidate had a solid majority of faculty support.

By contrast, at my current school the faculty as a whole actually makes nonconsensual decisions- more fun, though more time wasting as well.

Orin Kerr

Your post asks two questions: 1) whether process differences among schools generally reflect genuine differences in who has the power to influence hiring, and 2) whether genuine differences in who influences hiring consistently translate into better or worse hiring decisions. My own sense is that different schools have very different traditions in terms of who has the power to influence hiring, some of which may be reflected in formal process and some of which may not be.


Seconded on the formal/informal distinction. Particularly at some religiously-affiliated institutions, the formal law school hiring procedures may matter little when unspoken institutional goals come into play. It happens more often than we may think, and leads to disappointing outcomes.

Jeffrey Harrison

Interesting questions and I think it is very hard to generalize. The deference issue may be more a function of the people appointed to the committee than the structure of the process.

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