Most law school hiring of tenure-track faculty is conducted on a national scale with the season beginning in August and ending in late spring. A typical cycle for the process follows:
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. Refer to the pathways to academia for more information on ways to prepare yourself for the market.
Step 2: Finalize Application Materials
The majority of law schools require candidates to submit the following documents as part of the application:
- Curriculum Vitae (CV )
- Job talk paper
- Research agenda
If a school is using the Faculty Recruitment Services of AALS (as most do for entry-level hiring), the Faculty Appointments Register (FAR) form is an important component of the required application materials.
Step 3: Apply
Once you are ready to go on the hiring market, there are two primary methods used by candidates to search for a job:
AALS Faculty Recruitment Services
Most law school entry-level hiring goes through the Faculty Recruitment Services of AALS, including the FAR (see above) and the Faculty Recruitment Conference (FRC).
FRC is 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 multiple potential candidates whom they have identified from the FAR. The conference is held over a 3-day weekend 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 know that you are limited in your ability to relocate, you may bypass AALS and write directly to those schools that are within your preferred geographic area. 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) 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 in your communications with the chair. You may want to ask in your letter whether the school is looking for someone to teach in a particular area, and indicate why you are particularly interested in this school.
Step 4: Preparing for Screening Interviews
If a school is interested in your candidacy, they will contact you to schedule a screening interview. These screenings may happen:
- In person through AALS at FRC (most entry-level hiring is done via this method).
- On campus, for local candidates.
- Online/via video conference, either before or after the AALS hiring conference.
If you have contacted a 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 callbacks, schools will consider your candidacy and decide whether to make an offer to join the faculty. There are many details to consider about offers, terms, and negotiating.