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September 20, 2011

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Tim Zinnecker

Campbell: full interview schedule (one FAR Form candidate from second distribution). Have started a "wait list" of candidates to contact if one or more time slots open up between now and the Conference.

Bernard S. Sharfman

So far, I have received seven invitations for interviews based on the second distribution of the FAR.

Jacqui Lipton

I think we have a pretty full interview schedule at CWRU although we may have a couple more slots for candidates from the third round FAR CVs. (Oh, and I'm not the hiring chair but am on the committee.)

First year on the market

I have submitted a FAR Form within the first deadline but I have not received any invitation so far. I have also just finished submitting applications to the law schools I am interested into from the first and second bulletin. Many of the law schools replied that they are still in the process of selecting candidates.

My question is: if I have not been contacted from the FAR Form submission, what is the probability I will be contacted because I sent an application to the law school?

Tim Zinnecker

To FYOTM: I would encourage you to submit materials directly to hiring committees. Perhaps you will shine with your stand-alone materials, offering information about yourself that didn't come through on the FAR Form.

If you receive no (or very few) interview requests, contact someone on a hiring committee in November and ask for some honest feedback. Several of us who blog at this website have served on hiring committees (present and past) and might offer advice. Seek us out privately.

Anon

Question: I wonder if it is common for a school to invite a candidate to apply, but then decline to interview the candidate?

Tim Zinnecker

Anon: I'm guessing that schools that invite candidates to apply are probably seeking information from the candidate not found on the FAR Form. Examples of that sort of information may be hard copies of scholarship, teaching evaluations, a statement addressing the mission statement of the law school, etc. While the FAR Form may be the first filter, this additional information may serve as a second filter. And some candidates may not pass.

How often does this happen? I don't know. Maybe others out there who have served on hiring committees could offer thoughts.

Cinderella

What am I doing wrong? Second year in a row with no invitation to interview. My JD is not from a top tier school. But I graduated Summa Cum Laude with law review as well. It may not have been a pedigree law school, but I couldn't of graduated any higher. Is my tier 3 or 4 choice of law schools doomed a possible teaching career? Is there no redemption in the fact that I've published 6 times; obtained an LL.M., Magna Cum Laude, from a top 25, tier 1 law school; and have over 15 years experience as an AV rated lawyer? Besides building a time machine, what more can I do? Or, is it simply hopeless at this point?

Dr. Pangloss

Cinderella probably has no shot at a top 50 school. But all is not lost.

If by "published" you mean actual law review articles, and not bar journal or book chapters, there MAY be schools that will notice. And choice of subject matter will be influential as well. It would also help if you have actual teaching experience - adjuncting at a law school.

But yes there is a bias based on school attended for j.d., and yes there is a bias against practitioners (at many schools). Part pure bias, part related to age bias, and partly the legit problem that reading your resume the hiring committee can't tell the excellent lawyer from the average one, and can't tell who wants to slow down" as a professor.

Good luck.

Cinderella

Dr. Pangloss: Thank you for your candor. I was hoping that my top 25 LL.M., with high honors, would compensate for my run of the mill J.D. with highest honors. But, it is what it is. Publications are 3 law review articles (1 with a T1; 1 with a T3; and 1 with a T4); 1 book supplement; and 2 practice journals. I'd be more than willing to start as an adjunct, but can't seem to get that invitation either. But, I've always relished overcoming long odds.

anon

Cinderella:

Have you considered applying to teach law at a business school? It is my understanding and experience that many business schools out there (including ones that are highly ranked) are more willing to look heavily at publications/practice experience as a factor than the school attended for J.D.

Not a prawf

Publications are 3 law review articles (1 with a T1; 1 with a T3; and 1 with a T4)

Are we talking general law reviews or speciality journals? Especially if the T1 is not the main law review, that publication record isn't as impressive as it might seem at first blush. It could be seen as more of a quantity-not-quality situation.

Cinderella

@ Not a prawf: All law review publications are the main and primary law review and not some other "I couldn't make law review so I joined this instead" journal at the law schools. For a working professor, I agree that it's not impressive at all. However, I have seen more than a few faculty bios that still don't match it after working in the academy for many years. But, from what I have seen, it is certainly more than your average practitioner transitioning from practice to academia or a new pedigree JD grad. Most practitioners also don't show their commitment to the transition by taking a 9 month leave to obtain a top 25 LL.M. But, you must be correct and I must be incorrect because my phone's not ringing.

Anon

@Cinderella, no-one wants to admit this, but you're going to face serious discrimination because of your 15 years of experience. I know it makes no sense in many ways, especially since you've published three times in main law reviews.

The truth is, though, that while your 15 years of experience and AV rating are nice, they mostly mean that you'll be able to hit the ground running teaching a bit faster, since you're presumably very familiar with the substantive and procedural law in the areas you practice in. That's it. And people may think that you'll have the attitude that you're not starting on the first floor again.

I'd think three law review articles in main law reviews (including a tier 1) would put you on the map, though. After all, they're looking first and foremost for legal scholars. How long ago were they?

And also, what are you looking in? Do you want to teach hot topics like con law, or something less "cool" but more in demand like UCC? Are your articles on hot topics? Do your articles read like glorified bar journal pieces? (I imagine they don't, but...).

Further, do you have geographic restrictions?

You might want to look at doing a VAP. Why not contact your JD alma mater? If you graduated summa surely they'll remember you and want you back?

Just some thoughts. Good luck.

Tim Zinnecker

Did someone just suggest that the UCC is "less cool" than con law????????

Cinderella

@ Anon: 1993 (property law); 2010 (civil rights and international law); and 2011 (torts and international law). I'd like to teach torts. I know that some topics are harder to place than others. For example, in any high school, history teacher resumes come in at 25 to 1 in comparison to chemistry teacher resumes. Is torts a popular subject that many professors want to teach, thus lowering my chances? Or, is torts a subject that many professors do not want to teach so my chances may be improved? Thank you to you and everyone responding. The insight is invaluable. And, a BIG thank you to this site - which I just recently discovered.

Not a prawf

From what I understand, you won't get credit for the 1993 article -- that's way too old. You won't get much credit for your LLM, unless it is in tax from NYU, Georgetown or Florida. The main reason to do any other sort of LLM isn't for the credential, it's to get a published work out of it (though you might have done that, so it worked if so!). Did you clerk out of law school? If not, that's probably another strike against you, at least at some places. The fact that you want to teach torts neither helps nor hurts you -- it's not a strike like con law or federal courts would be, but it's not a boost like property or commercial law. (By the way, next year say that you really, really want to teach property.)

All of that said, I'm surprised you aren't getting at least some interest, especially if one of the two recent publications is in a T1 mainline law review. My background is basically like yours except much less impressive -- out roughtly a decade with great, high profile practice experience, a recent T1 LR article, a couple of industry pieces, no teaching experience, no clerkship -- and I have a (small) handful of interviews. I guess the big difference is the law school pedigree. I went to an elite school (though not Yale, which would be an even bigger boost). Though on the other hand, my grades were merely "pretty good." So even that is probably close to a wash.

Cinderella

@ Not a prawf: Good luck with your interviews. Keep the dream alive for the rest of us.

Not a prawf

Actually, I'm yet to reach the critical mass (for me, 5) to justify going to the AALS conference, so I'll probably cancel. To be honest, my career circumstances are pretty unique (and too complicated to describe here), which really made this year's search kind of halfhearted -- mostly it was a back-up long shot in case something else didn't pan out (it did). One of the interviews is local, and another is for a school in the region, so I may see if they'd be willing to do the first round interviews pre-AALS. No sense flying across the country when I could drive for 15 minutes (or even 5 hours) and save a ton of $$$.

But thanks! And good luck to you, too.

John William Nelson

@ Cinderella,

This is my second year on the market. I've tired of posting anonymously about it, so I'll attach my name and a link to my personal/academic website. You can compare your credentials with mine, and I'd be happy to discuss my experience with you via email (and I would respect your wish for anonymity). I extend this offer to anyone else frustrated by the process, too.

I received no interviews last year, but did little to advocate on my behalf. This year I am doing more, but I still have no interviews. I have received interest from one school, but they declined an interview. C'est la vie.

You and I do not have all of what one of my mentors likes to call the professorial "merit badges." This will make our path to the academy more difficult. Some would say it is impossible. (I have even had one person laugh at my ambition.)

But the academy is changing. It has been changing. I believe what some on faculty recruitment committees see as weaknesses—such as school tier or length in practice—will become less important or even switch to an asset.

One thing I would advocate is to become involved in an area in which you are interested. And I mean involved in the academic side. Try and find some conferences; reach out to some professors. Networking can result in you receiving quality feedback and a better understanding of the academic world. It also provides academics a better understanding of your reasons for aspiring to become part of the academy.

Also remember that hiring market needs shift from year to year. Last year I recognized a number of business law and tax law candidates get interviews. This year there has been a number of business law folks getting interviews, from what I can tell.

There are a number of variables at play. I am an optimist, and I believe that if you and I, and those like us, keep plugging away honestly then we will get the positions we're seeking.

And cheer up; you're merit badges appear to stack up better than my own. Keep writing, keep networking, and keep trying. We'll get there.

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