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November 21, 2011


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Um, what? Does this actually happen? Examples?

Len Rotman

Interesting post, Bridget. While I don't know about the viability of cluster hiring (I have never seen anything beyond a 2 spouse hiring here in Canada), I would be interested in a register along the lines you suggest, particularly since the existing AALS Visiting Faculty Register is not open to foreign scholars such as myself. Certainly, it is rather difficult for foreign scholars to attract attention from U.S. law schools as potential visitors (although I must give hat tips to Washington & Lee and Denver for being willing to take a chance on me). Perhaps a register of the type you suggest would not only assist American scholars with their career goals, but also expand the scope of potential lateral hires/visitors to include foreign scholars.

A word of helpful advice to American law schools on the lookout for new legal talent: Canadian law schools are a tremendous untapped market for accomplished legal academics. Try contacting some of us Canadian profs for your visiting and/or lateral needs. I, for one, would be happy to take your call.


Len Rotman, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario Canada

Anon in SF

Your silence is deafening, Bridget. Unless you can respond to Achoo!'s question somehow -- and with something more than a "vague" recollection -- we should all assume that this post is bunk. It might be well-intentioned bunk, but it's bunk.


I'm pretty sure UNC, for one, hired a couple of folks from the same school a few years back and I think NW took much of Texas' corporate law faculty recently. It seems like it happens more when the cluster members come from the same subject area. As to the original question, I can't imagine many lateral candidates would have such an affinity for their colleagues that they would require a lateral move to be a cluster one. So it would seem to matter only insofar as one candidate A might offer a hiring school greater access to another attractive candidate B than would an alternative to A.

On the buy side, I guess lower-ranked schools might give themselves a better chance to hire people from higher-ranked schools if they committed to hiring a lot of them at the same time. I dunno...


Both the UNC and the NW stories are SPOUSAL stories, NOT cluster stories. Still think, like Anon in SF, that this is hokum through and through. Seems like the author has disavowed it altogether too . . . .


Achoo and anon in sf,

Why the attacking posture? Did Bridget do something to you to justify going beyond simply ignoring the thread?

Anon in SF

Maybe she just doesn't like getting called out for posting inanity to start.


I think the school ad Bridget vaguely remembers is Miami, which for at least a couple of years in a row has invited groups of faculty to apply as laterals. It has seemed odd to me every time I've seen it, but it's not "bunk." There are also cases like Georgia state, which has funding for what it explicitly calls a cluster hire in health disparities, including a lawyer, an epidemiologist, and someone else (can't recall). Looking for an entry level law person willing to accept a fairly pre-set research agenda is a little odd, but perhaps advertising for an interdisciplinary group of scholars already working together on that issue would make more sense.

Alfred Brophy

I can see two different kinds of "clusters" -- one is where a school decides that it wants to hire several people in a particular field; the other is where it wants to hire a particular set of people. Seems like schools probably make the former decision with some frequency -- such as where they try to develop a specialty in a field, like health care or IP or some other topic that's dramatically increasing in importance. I'd imagine that would make it easier to hire those specialists if they knew they'd have colleagues to work with. Those specialists might come from several different schools and might not know each other ahead of time. The second is where a particular set of people decide they want to move together to a school (and perhaps they're moving from separate places so they all end up together). Years ago I heard a story that Stanford hired a bunch of Columbia faculty, including Gerald Gunther, more or less simultaneously.

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