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October 12, 2010


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It seems odd that one should not ask what resources are available to support a new faculty member's scholarly pursuits. This is probably the question that is most relevant to candidates, the answer differs from school to school, and one can't find out about it by looking at a school's website.

Tim Zinnecker

JuniorProf, thanks for the comment. It is a question frequently asked. My answer would touch on summer stipends, research assistants, in-house work shops, willingness of colleagues to review drafts, sabbatical policy, funding of trips to conferences, etc. Are we the norm? Do you sense that there is no norm? I'd be curious to know what sort of response you may have received that set a school apart from most of the other law schools. If, from this thread, our readers conclude that there are marked differences in the answers to the question, then I would indeed encourage a candidate to make the inquiry.

Tung Yin

Some potential differences that I've noted at the two institutions I've taught at:

- what kind of pre-tenure research leave, if any, does the law school offer?

- what kind of committee assignments does the law school give to junior faculty? (heavy, important but potentially perilous committees like Appointments? or cushy ones like Student Honors?)

- how much research assistance is provided (total hours available to students)?

- is there a materials/books/research budget?

- does the law school have any arrangements with peer schools to send junior faculty to workshop papers?

Matt Lister

"Energy...Preferably not chemical-induced."

I hope that caffeine doesn't count here, as with me it's more or less required for normal functioning, let alone energy and enthusiasm! (More seriously, though, these seem like good tips, Tim. Thanks for posting them.)

Tim Zinnecker

Matt, without coffee, I don't think any of us would survive this process (particularly those who have to adjust to more than a one-hour time difference when arriving in DC).

And for additional thoughts on beginning a response with "So", see this link:

Jeff Lipshaw

I offer this selection from "Memo to Lawyers: How Not to 'Retire and Teach'" on the subject of remaining energetic and enthusiastic:

* * *

"I had become a cyber-friend of a very accomplished professor at a particular school, who, as it turned out, happened also to be the chair of the appointments committee for the 2005 FRC. About ten days before the FRC, she called to tell me that in fact the committee was interested in seeing me. The problem was that the committee only had time slots left at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Timing your interviews is the subject of much lore. Some people insist Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings are the best. Many people consider Saturday afternoon the death zone, on the theory that everybody is burned out at that point. My friend offered me these two times, and I already had an interview booked in the morning. So I said, “I will take the afternoon interview, but on the condition that I promise to supply the energy.” We chuckled together about that.

"I thought the interview went swimmingly. People complimented my work. People smiled and nodded. But I did not hear back from my friend. That is, I learned, customary. Rarely does anybody get back to you for anything other than a callback. In many cases, you missed the first cut, but the committee doesn’t want to let you go in case it needs to go to the B team, and it doesn’t want to tell you that you are on the B team, even though it’s clear that if you don’t get called in the first week after the FRC, you are either out of the game or on the B team. Some weeks later, I called her. After an uncomfortable moment, she said, 'it really didn’t go well at all. A number of the committee members thought you were hyper and unfocused.'”

Mary Dudziak

On the chemicals (aka caffeine) I have a post on what to pack for the AALS.

Mary Dudziak

Link didn't work -- here it is:

Tim Zinnecker

Mary, excellent advice! (A "must read" -- if you're reading this far in the comments thread.) Permit me to add one other item: an umbrella!

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