Offers & Negotiating Terms

The process law schools follow after callbacks varies. Some law schools make offers on a rolling basis; others wait until all the potential candidates have interviewed and then make offers. This is information you want to learn during the course of your callback. Generally, the dean will be the person extending you the offer. The dean will not expect you to accept or decline the offer immediately; you should be prepared to negotiate for the terms that matter to you. In addition to the information listed in connection with callbacks, here are some terms that you may want to ask about:

  • 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
  • Summer grant prior to beginning to teach in the fall
  • The possibility of a return visit with your family
  • Whether work published before being hired will count towards promotion and tenure
  • Deadline for responding
  • Pretenure leave or lighter load in first year

Additional Factors to Weigh

While faculty do move between schools, you should anticipate staying at your first school for several years, if not longer. Thus, 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

Exploding Offers

Sometimes a dean will only provide a very small time frame 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.