A number of students have asked me what is causing all the faculty buzzing and meetings. Well, simply, a number of individuals are being interviewed for open faculty positions.
The process for appointment involves a special faculty committee that reports to the full faculty for the faculty’s decision. The process starts with an identification of one or more vacancies. The appointments committee advertises the open slot in various media and sometimes by letters to or notices in various legal newsletters and web-sites. They can also solicit recommendations from faculty at other schools or interested parties. In addition, the Association of American Law Schools [AALS] has an elaborate process to assist in recruiting.
The AALS process includes a periodic newsletter with job openings, and job requests and individuals and schools can respond to those notices. There is also an AALS two day meeting to help faculty and prospective faculty meet. Prior to this session, the AALS also distributes the resumes of numerous individuals who desire teaching positions. Appointment committees at law schools review those lists and can either contact someone directly or select a number of them to meet with appointment committee members at this two day event usually held in Washington, D.C. , and affectionately called the “Meet [Meat] Market.”
This two day session is a marathon. Appointment committees can scheduled numerous interviews over the two days and the prospective law teachers can go to numerous interviews over the two day period.
After the event, the appointment committee for the law school may invite a few prospects to campus to meet with more faculty and students and staff and the Dean. Prospective faculty members decide which of these on campus visit offers to accept. Once this match occurs, the candidates come to campus for the interview. Other candidates may, of course, come to campus, through processes other than the AALS process [direct solicitation, responses to advertising, word of mouth].
The appointments committee then meets and prepares a recommendation to the faculty, which then votes and sends the recommendations onto the Dean. The Dean’s job is then to recruit in priority order the candidates the faculty recommended.
Whew! So you should be seeing a number of prospective faculty member candidates over the next weeks. You should also hear more faculty hallways discussions about candidates. The end result will be great new colleagues for us and great new teachers for you.