Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dear Abby

Dear Abby: I want to be a law professor. I have signed for the law professors' recruiting conference and have some interviews scheduled. Any advice?

Dear Lester: I do not know that much about being a law professor so I have forwarded your letter to someone I found on the moneylaw website.

Dear Lester:

Thanks for your letter. Actually I am surprised you are not already awash with advice. There is a surplus of expertise on the topic. I'll keep it short and make two points:

1. Has the School you interviewed made arrangements for you to meet alone with untenured faculty? If it has not (and even that is a little worrisome), ask to have a session with untenureds. These folks have experienced what you are considering and will disproportionate affect the quality of your life. When you meet, ask how often they have presented their research in an informal setting to both tenured and untenured faculty and what percentage of the faculty attended. Also ask how many tenured faculty they circulate drafts to. If the numbers are low then my advice as given to William Hurt by Mickey Rourke in a movie too old for you to remember is "Don't do it."

2.What type of faculty do you want to be part of? A law school is like the "commons." Excessive self interest and a lack of leadership can destroy it. Norms related to serving the needs of others can make it florish. How can you tell the difference? Be sure to meet with students and ask about the course offerings. Also, look at the teaching schedules. Are most classes crunched into the middle of the week and overlapping so that conflicts arise? Are students concerned about courses they cannot get while the teaching schedule reveals all kinds of high level narrow scope offerings. These signs are indicative of a school that has been has been captured by the faculty for its own ends and a lack of control by the administration. You might want to listen to Mr. Rourke again.



Post a Comment

<< Home