Offers & Negotiating Terms

The process a law school follows after callbacks will vary. Generally, the dean will be the person extending the offer. They will not expect you to accept or decline immediately; you should be prepared to negotiate for the terms that matter to you. See Negotiation Tips below for more advice about negotiating terms.  

Before you begin negotiations, make sure you know the answers to all the questions suggested for the callback interview. If you do not already know the answers to these additional questions, you will want to find out as you consider the offer:

  1. If the position is on a unitary tenure track, does the school provide funds for an attorney or other assistance to manage the clinic over the summer so that clinicians can engage in scholarship?
  2. If the position is on a programmatic tenure track, must LRW faculty produce scholarship under the same standards as podium/classroom faculty? If different, how (different number, different types of scholarship considered)?
  3. What other professional benefits go along with the position:
    • Eligibility for sabbaticals?
    • Eligibility for research stipends?
  4. Is it possible to teach courses in addition to legal writing?
    • Would there be additional compensation?
  5. Do LRW faculty have voting rights on issues of school governance, and do they participate on law school committees?

General Considerations

  • Moving expenses and housing support
  • Salary
  • Benefits (e.g. family leave, retirement contributions, tuition benefits for family members, medical benefits)
  • Assistance in locating a job for spouse/partner
  • Courtesy appointments at another school within the university
  • The possibility of a return visit with your family
  • Whether work published before being hired will count towards promotion and tenure (if tenure-track position)
  • Pretenure leave (if tenure-track position)
  • Start date and bridge compensation (specifically, whether you will receive compensation the summer before your regular appointment begins)
  • Travel budget to attend conferences and other professional development opportunities
  • Title and rank, e.g. Director
  • Teaching package, e.g. whether you will be required or permitted to teach courses in addition to legal writing
  • Teaching load, i.e. how many courses and credits you will be expected to teach
    • Contract 
    • Is base compensation paid over nine, ten, or twelve months 
    • Probationary period
    • Presumptive renewal
      • Review process – who reviews? 
      • Length of renewal period

Additional Factors

In addition to the terms set forth above, you may want to consider the following:

  • Attractiveness (to you) of the city or town in which the school is located, or cities and towns nearby
  • The collegiality of the law school community
  • The educational options available if you have or anticipate having children
  • Whether the relationship between the Dean and faculty is a healthy, productive one
  • The general financial health and stability of the law school and the university
  • Whether the law school is welcoming to junior faculty, faculty of color, LGBTQ, and women faculty

Negotiation Tips

While you should consider negotiating over any of the above terms, you should do so thoughtfully, and only after having done sufficient research. Dean Darby Dickerson offers the following tips:

  • Deans may have limited flexibility as to base salary. Consider negotiating instead for things that are finite or are one-offs, such as moving expenses or pre-tenure leaves.
  • It is helpful if you can articulate a specific justification for the term over which you are negotiating, e.g. you have received a competing offer that contains the benefit you are seeking.
  • Be transparent about your priorities and how they relate to your requests.
  • Choose the terms that matter most to you; it is probably not a good idea to negotiate over all the terms of the offer.
  • Learn as much as you can about the law school and university-wide policies and practices regarding faculty pay and workload (this research is easier to do with public schools than with private).

Exploding Offers

Sometimes a dean will only provide a very short timeframe within which a candidate must decide whether to accept their offer; this is known as an “exploding offer.” The norm is to give a candidate at least two weeks to make a decision. If you receive an exploding offer from the dean of your ideal school, then accept the offer. If it is not your ideal school and/or you have other schools from which you have not yet received an offer, here are some possible actions to consider:

  • Contact the faculty hiring chairs at the other schools and let them know about the exploding offer. They may be able to expedite your candidacy.
  • Contact your faculty mentor or advisor for advice about how to proceed
  • Think about asking for more time—but be judicious if you choose to do so. While schools know that they are competing over candidates, you do not want to give the impression that you do not want to be a faculty member at the school that has made you the offer.