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June 25, 2010


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Richard Gershon

Tim the main thing is that only one law school can count you in their student-faculty ratio. If you taught a class for TSU, while maintaining your South Texas teaching load, you could only be counted as a full-time faculty member by South Texas. If you teach exclusively at Case for a semester, they can count you as a full-time faculty member for that semester, but South Texas should not also count you. I think of a visitor as someone who I can count as a full-time faculty member.

I recently taught a course for Stetson in their LL.M. program, while I taught my full load at Charleston. I was called an adjunct professor, which I think was the appropriate title.

Please come visit us in Oxford!!!


Among the post-practice, pre-tenure track positions (such as the Bigelow and Duke's VAP Program), I personally tend to think whether someone is a VAP has to do with whether they are teaching doctrinal courses. Accordingly, if you're administering or helping teach LRW through one of various "fellowships" designed for aspiring law professors (E.g., Climenko, Columbia Associates-in-Law, Tulane's Forrester Fellows), you're not a "visitor." However, if you're teaching doctrinal courses at a school (E.g., Duke's program, Cornell's program, Northwestern's program, etc.), you're a visitor.

Alfred Brophy

Tim, perhaps you should have titled this post: "How many law professors can dance on the head of a pin and all that!" (smiling). Without giving it a lot of thought, I'd say all four examples count as visitors, but I guess it also depends in part on what purpose you have in counting visitors. I think Brian Leiter's made an observation along these lines when he posts on visits at our nation's most elite law schools.

Some of this discussion reminds me of the question about whether Barack Obama was "law professor" or not. Some purists said something along the lines of, "he wasn't a professor; he wasn't on tenure track." Most people don't see those fine distinctions.

There's a related issue when the lateral list comes out, as I recall. Because there's a question of whether someone who's moving from a "visiting assistant professor" is a lateral or entry level....

Having said all that, doesn't this blog have a separate list of "visiting assistant professors"? Maybe, Tim, you should also have lists for Bigelows and similar programs, adjuncts, visiting scholars, and whatnot. More lists might help capture the exciting things that are going on at law schools around the country.

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