Most tenure-track law faculty hiring is conducted on a national scale beginning in August and ending in late spring. Many, though not all, schools follow the same timeline for hiring legal writing faculty—particularly if the school has a unitary tenure track or programmatic tenure. A typical cycle for the process is as follows:
Schools may not rely primarily on AALS Faculty Recruitment Services to hire LRW faculty. Some law schools also may hire “off-cycle” rather than (or in addition to) during the traditional fall hiring season. Regardless, the steps necessary to prepare for the market are the same.
Step 1: Make Yourself an Effective Candidate
The cycle begins with having prepared yourself for the teaching market through some combination of scholarly writing, a strong academic record, and relevant employment. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the qualifications specific to legal writing. You may also find it valuable to join the Legal Writing Institute and follow the Legal Writing Prof Blog.
Step 2: Finalize Application Materials
Schools with a unitary tenure track or programmatic tenure will require candidates to submit the following documents as part of the application:
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Job talk paper (or documents related to a teaching demonstration)
- Research agenda
For schools using AALS Faculty Recruitment Services, the Faculty Appointments Register (FAR) form is another important component of the required application materials.
Schools seeking long- or short-term contract faculty may not require a research agenda, as scholarly production may not be required. They may instead require a teaching demonstration or a statement of teaching philosophy.
Step 3: Apply
Once you are ready to go on the hiring market, there are many ways to search for a job:
AALS Faculty Recruitment Services
A school might use AALS Faculty Recruitment Services, including the FAR (see button above) and FRC (see below) if:
- Their legal writing faculty are included in either a unitary tenure track or programmatic tenure. As more schools convert LRW faculty to tenure-track positions, they also transition to using these services to hire LRW faculty.
- They are recruiting long-term contract LRW professors with 405(c) status.
The Faculty Recruitment Conference (FRC) is a national event designed to make hiring more convenient for schools and candidates. When candidates submit their FAR form, law school hiring committees search the FAR for profiles that match their school’s needs. During the conference, hiring committees meet and interview potential candidates whom they have identified from the FAR. The conference is held over three days every fall in Washington, DC.
Click the button in Step 2 for more information about how to complete the FAR form and information on how faculty hiring committees use the forms. Click the button in Step 4 to learn more about the screening interviews at FRC.
Direct Contact with Law Schools
If you are limited in your ability to relocate, you should write directly to schools within your geographic boundaries. The timeline is the same: you should contact schools in August.
You will need to determine who is chairing the hiring committee (often called the faculty appointments committee or faculty recruiting committee) and write directly to that person, expressing your interest in teaching at their school. You may want to include a CV and a research agenda, and to ask in your letter whether the school is looking for someone to teach legal writing. You should indicate why you are particularly interested in this school.
Individual Job Postings
The AALS Placement Bulletin, issued four times a year, lists open LRW positions. Additionally, the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research will occasionally post open positions in its newsletter. Law schools frequently solicit applicants by advertising on LRW faculty listservs such as the one hosted by the Legal Writing Institute, which also hosts a job board.
Step 4: Preparing for Screening Interviews
If a school is interested in you, they will contact you to schedule a screening interview. These screenings may happen:
- In person at FRC.
- On campus, for local candidates.
- Online/via video conference, either before or after the AALS hiring conference.
If you have contacted the school directly, the school may use any of the above-described methods of conducting a screening interview.
Step 5: Preparing for On-Campus Callbacks
After the screening interviews, schools interested in pursuing your candidacy will contact you to schedule a day long on-campus visit.
Step 6: Responding to Offers
Following the on-campus call backs, schools will decide whether to make an offer to join the faculty. There are many details to consider about offers, terms, and negotiating.
There is a wealth of scholarship about scholarly writing. Consult your law school librarian for a recent list of articles or conduct your own search using Westlaw or Lexis. The following articles and book may be valuable:
Legal Writing Sourcebook (J. Lyn Entrikin & Mary B. Trevor eds., 3d ed. 2020).