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October 14, 2020

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Prof. Kevin Heller

Not sure if you want the perspective of an American who has spent most of his career (except two years at Georgia in the beginning) teaching at non-US law schools, but I was recently appointed Professor of International Law and Security at the University of Copenhagen through a search that was conducted solely via Zoom. The appointment process is a bit different outside the US, because non-US law schools don't do small meetings with faculty and students. Instead, the process is more limited and more formal, involving a long interview with the appointments committee and an academic presentation (usually 20 minutes) followed by questions. (The process for my chair also included model 15-minute testimony to an imaginary parliamentary committee, because it's funded by the Danish Ministry of Defence and the leading political parties.)

To be honest,I don't think much was lost via Zoom -- I could see all my interviewers and they could see me. The only "negative," such as it was, was that I could not see the audience when I gave my lecture, because I used the share screen function for powerpoint slides. But even that had an upside, because it allowed me to put my extensive notes up on the screen without the audience seeing them, making the lecture particularly easy to deliver smoothly.

I hope that women and scholars from groups that are underrepresented in the academy were not disadvantaged by the search being conducted solely via Zoom. I can't really say, not knowing who the other finalists were. Then again, I'm a straight white male, so perhaps that says something in and of itself.

Alexander J. Davie

What I feel is most likely to come for hiring during covid is that it will look similar to law school admissions. Firms will look toward static variables such as GPA and law school and hire based on that alone. While they will still likely do virtual interviews its not the same.

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