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Think being a new lawyer in the US is tough? Try being a new law professor

AP/Charles Krupa
Hanging tough.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

There are plenty of statistics about the difficult job market for America’s law school graduates. But what about the people who educate them? Law school closings, declining enrollment, and general pessimism about the legal profession have apparently taken their toll on the market for American law school professors, according to a dataset compiled by UC Irvine law professor Sarah Lawsky at PrawfsBlawg, a prominent academic legal site originally started by the late Dan Markel, an American legal academic.

Similar to last year, there were 70 reported hires this year, but that is far below hiring numbers during healthier times. The dataset, drawn from the site’s community of commenters and emails, isn’t exhaustive, but it gives a good sense of the direction of tenure track hiring: 

Lawsky also compares the number of hires to the number of FARS (Faculty Appointment Registry) forms received by the AALS (American Association of Law Schools) in a first wave of submissions. For $495 a pop, this form gets you on a registry of people interested in teaching jobs at law schools, which is sent out to law school administrators.

It’s not a perfect proxy, as there are likely people who get on the registry who aren’t looking for entry level jobs. But the public list, which law schools use to pluck interview candidates at the AALS Faculty Recruitment conference (a giant interview marathon for new faculty) tends to have a large proportion of early career applicants. The comparison shows that the odds of securing a job are going down:

According to Lawsky’s post, 52 schools hired entry level professors this year, up from 49 last year. But that’s down from 99 just four years ago in 2011.

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