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April 11, 2013

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Tier 2 VAP

If people like this aren't placing, I'm glad my current institution is discontinuing my program after I leave.

another VAP out in the cold

I conducted the survey, and I'll monitor this thread to try to respond to questions. Thanks to Eric for posting.

one of the vaps

Super interesting. Thank you for compiling, AVOITC!

another VAP out in the cold

You're welcome.

VAPplicant

So I'm confused by Question 9. Did 4 people receive offers (some of which were declined) and 13 no offers, or did 4 people receive and accept offers and 13 either did not receive and offer or rejected the offers they received? Based on "All of the people who declined," it sounds like the latter because all is more than one and I find it hard to believe that only, at most, two VAPs who filled out your survey accepted a TT position.

another VAP out in the cold

Responding to VAPplicant's question, from my read of the survey responses, the first description is correct. A total of 19 people completed the survey. Of those, 13 people did not receive any offers at all, 4 people received TT offers but declined them because of family/location, and 2 people did not respond to the question. Of the 4 people who received but declined TT offers, one of them took a non-TT academic position in a better location. Another person (not sure whether part of the 4 or part of the 13, or perhaps someone who didn't answer question #9 at all) took an offer at a business school.

So, my conclusion from all of this is that of the 19 people who completed the survey, only 2 of them definitely know what they'll be doing professionally in 2 months.

In case anyone else wants to complete the survey, it's still available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DHDZTNN.

another VAP out in the cold

Sorry - here's a link that works (the comment upload mistakenly included the period in the link):

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DHDZTNN

VAPplicant

Thanks, that's helpful. Though it only makes me more skeptical about how reflective the survey is of VAPs and fellows who hit the market last year. I wonder what type of selection bias exists for filling out this survey, and what about the 60-70 other current VAPs and fellows who didn't answer Question 9 (or presumably take complete the survey at all)?

I'm no Pollyanna as to the prospects for VAPs. And I think that the VAP Trap comment thread raised a lot of important questions for anyone considering a VAP. But I question whether it is as bad as those out in the cold make it seem.

Anon

VAPlicant, the survey was described in the earlier thread as intended to collect information only from those VAPs and fellows who did not place in the last hiring cycle.

VAPplicant

Thanks, Anon. I must have missed that when the thread got taken over by the law school scammers.

brr...

FWIW, though the survey was specifically designed for VAPs who did not place, I think the hiring report over at Prawfs and various comments there, here, and at other blogs indicate just how bad it is. Sure, some folks placed, but lots of folks didn't, and the impression that getting a VAP was getting a foot in the door to a TT placement simply is not true any more. Honestly, I think the opposite is true. VAP candidates might get the VAP placement, but with the market in its current state, I think getting a VAP does not in any way mean that you're going to place in a TT position.

If I'd known this when I decided to go down this path, I never would've done it. Taking a VAP means tanking a prior career for many of us. It's going to be ridiculously and unnecessarily challenging for us to overcome that obstacle.

another VAP out in the cold

FYI - another person filled out the survey and s/he also didn't get any offers. So, Q9 totals are now 4 declined offers because of poor location, 2 non-answers, and 14 people without any offers at all.

Make it 15...

I didn't fill out the survey, but FWIW, I'm another (soon-to-be-former) VAP who received no TT offers. My responses to other questions would be pretty consistent with what's reported here.

Tier 2 VAP

I got no offers through the regular process but have recently gotten 4 letters/calls about jobs for next year. Two rejections and two interviews. I am flexible on the business vs law school front, and also geographically flexible. But if you are too, hope is not yet dead for next year.

VAPplicant

Right, there is a problem. We've identified that. But for folks who want to be law prawfs, what is the solution?

Would we be better to wait out the disturbance in the market and keep practicing before going straight on the meat market. Should we only accept a T10 fellowship or VAP? Should we recognize and assume the dangers of taking VAPs further down? Or should we just resign to a life in practice before we are overqualified and underexperienced?

No longer a prawf wannabe

"But for folks who want to be law prawfs, what is the solution?"

I don't think there is a solution. People who want to be law profs (or at least those who aren't in the elite part of the elite, like SCOTUS clerks or top-5-school-plus-econ-PhDs) just need to understand that it's unlikely to happen. Just like a lot of aspiring non-law academics do when they decide to get a PhD despite the fact that they're unlikely to find a TT job.

Different people will do different things with that realization. Some will decide to stay in practice. Some will still try to go into academia, but they'll hedge their bets by staying in practice while on the market. And some will gamble despite the bad odds and do a VAP.

Ray of hope

Not a VAP, but I took a similar term-limited job and went on the market last fall (totally unsuccessfully).

I've been putting out feelers since about February when it looked like it was a good idea to find a "real" job. The first offer just came in. It's from a satellite office of a national firm in my "home" market (a non-NYC/LA/SF/DC/Chicago city -- along the lines of Seattle or Minneapolis). The pay is a bit below market, but it's still a lot.

So don't lose hope. The legal market is crappy, but people are hiring.

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