As I start to read through AALS FAR forms for the 4th time in 9 years in teaching, I once again find hundreds of small empirical questions I want to answer. A random sample:
- Do people in the first distribution with last names A-D do better than others with similar qualifications? My intuition is that the giddiness that is associated with the start of the process causes us to be wowed by the first resumes we look at and to award a disproportionate share of DC interviews to those in this group. Of course, these people are largely on their own after that, but maybe over-sampling them at the start of the process increases their ultimate job prospects.
- Do people who fail to list a class rank in law school do better or worse than those who list a mediocre-poor class rank? I'd guess that schools are more willing to overlook the absence of a class rank than they are the fact that someone finished in the middle of the class. Similarly, I'd guess that the absence of a publication is easier to overlook than a single, poor article.
- Does a catchall comment such as: "I would be willing to teach any first year subject" help or hurt? Again, I have an intuition. I would guess that someone SO open-minded will be seen as a desperate dilettante and treated accordingly.
- Finally, what happened to the infamous candidate who said that s/he would not accept a job in a red state?