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March 18, 2011


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Kevin Jon Heller

What's wrong with including a presentation to a student group?

Bridget Crawford

There's absolutely nothing wrong with including a presentation to a student group if indicated as such. Under a CV heading "Scholarly Presentations," I would interpret the text "Presentation at X Law School (March 18, 2011)" as tending to convey that the faculty member had presented at a faculty colloquium -- not to a student group -- at X Law School. "Presentation at X Law School (March 18, 2011) for the Y Law Students Association" would be more accurate, IMHO. I should have explained more in the initial post.

Miriam Baer

I think you have to distinguish between those aspects of the CV that are hokey or arguably silly, and those that are downright misleading. The hokey/silly stuff is just a matter of taste. I personally don't care to list every blog post (even substantive blog posts) I have ever written, but I can't say that it's wrong for someone else to do so.

The vague descriptions of employment pre and post law school may or may not raise issues. If the employment has relatively little relevance to law teaching, I don't know that it is so terrible to just include a vague one-line sentence on these matters. On the other hand, if your contention is that the vague description provides a false impression that someone enjoyed a more important position than was actually the case, then I think this is a greater concern.

Further along on the misrepresentation spectrum, I am not sure if "presentation at X law school" is quite so bad, since knowledgeable interviewers probably would ask the follow-up question "was this a workshop?" without actually assuming it. [If the CV said "workshop", then I would be far more concerned]. At the same time, I agree that "presentation to student group at X law school" is preferable.

Finally, omitting the fact that a piece has been co-authored falls at the far end of the spectrum. It's just wrong.

Orin Kerr

I mostly agree with Miriam.

We could also draw a distinction between CVs actually used for some professional purpose and CVs generated just because the school's website calls for one. If a professor is submitting a CV for some professional purpose, it should be as accurate and clear as possible. But I see a lot of CVs on websites that (I suspect) were just generated because law school websites have a spot for them.


Good post. I wonder if c.v. norms are more unsettled in legal academia than in non-professional-school academia. Appropriate length and degree of comprehensiveness might be unsettled because law profs are familiar w/ both academic c.v.'s and short professional resumes. I believe the traditional c.v. outside of professional school has been quite long and inclusive of everything academic (making organization and formatting key to ensure the important stuff doesn't get buried) while tending to exclude non-academic employment.

Bridget Crawford

Orin, could you say a bit more about CVs used for a professional purpose (like a grant application, perhaps) and a CV generated because the school's website requires it? My initial thought was that the CVs should be the same; that misleading "the public" is no different than misleading a grant reviewer. Perhaps there is a difference between a CV that a professor prepares for himself or herself, and one that a school's marketing department prepares for the website. But in the latter case, I think the professor should be proactive in making sure that any marketing materials are accurate.


Here's a common one: saying in the text bio that Prof X published in Y journal, but they really published in Y journal's online version. That seems misleading.

Peter Yu

NSF requires a two-pager. Most people want more. So, it's hard not to have different versions of a CV.

Also, please keep in mind that a law review is a student organization. More disclosure is always better, but I wouldn't hold it against the faculty member if he/she stated "X Law School," as compared to "X Law Review." A law review presentation is not necessarily less attractive than a faculty talk.

In addition, some schools may not be lucky enough to have a faculty colloquium series ($$$!). Some schools may also have to rely on budgets set aside for student organizations to fund events or outside speakers.

On top of that, a considerable number of faculty members may show up to ask questions in a student organization event. Some public, well-attended student organization events, esp. those at top schools or in a metropolitan area, may also have far more faculty members than a faculty talk.

Again, more disclosure is generally better, but I wouldn't assume speaking at "X Law School" means speaking at a faculty colloquium. Nor would I discount speaking for student organizations. I would ask follow-up questions.

David J. Garrow

Failing to list a co-author is a *big* no-no, and a colleague--associate dean or otherwise--should *definitely* flag that. Whenever I see a C.V. that lists Who's Who entries or the like--especially radio talk shows, or newspapers one's been quoted by--it makes me think the person is more insecure than most people. I'd be perfectly comfortable with an associate dean actively reviewing *all* faculty members' C.V.s that are available on a school's web site and making (sometimes pointed) recommendations

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