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11 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 1 (2014)

handle is hein.journals/emplest11 and id is 1 raw text is: JOURNAL OF

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies
Volume 11, Issue 1, 1-38, March 2014
The Labor Market for New Law Professors
Tracey E. George and Albert H. Yoon*
Law school professors control the production of lawyers and influence the evolution of law.
Understanding who is hired as a tenure-track law professor is of clear importance to debates
about the state of legal education in the United States. But while opinions abound on the law
school hiring process, little is empirically known about what explains success in the market
for law professors. Using a unique and extensive data set of survey responses from candidates
in the 2007-2008 legal academic labor market, we examine the factors that influence which
candidates are interviewed and ultimately hired by law schools. We find that law schools
appear open to nontraditional candidates in the early phases of the hiring process but when
it comes to the ultimate decision-hiring-they focus on candidates who look like current
law professors.
Every year in the United States, approximately 1,000 people apply to become a tenure-
track law professor.' Nearly all hold law degrees, often from the most selective
*Address correspondence to Tracey E. George, Vanderbilt Law School, 131 21st Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203; email:
tracey.george@vanderbilt.edu. George is Charles B. Coxx III & Lucy D. Cox Family Chair in Law & Liberty, Professor
of Political Science, and Director of the Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program at Vanderbilt
University; Yoon is Professor of Law, University of Toronto.
We are indebted to the Association of American Law Schools and especially former Executive Directors Carl Monk
and Susan Westerberg Prager, Managing Director Jane LaBarbera, and Registration Manager Kai Baker for their
assistance. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
AALS or its staff. We are grateful to Chris Bransford and Linda Reynolds for their assistance with creation and
implementation of the survey, and to Ashley Dennis, Ellen Hunter, and Uros Petronijevic for research assistance. We
presented earlier versions of this article at Georgetown, Houston, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt law schools and
benefited from their faculties' and students' thoughtful feedback. We also received valuable input from the American
Bar Foundation Research Group on Legal Diversity. We thank Ronit Dinovitzer, John Goldberg, Mitu Gulati, Chris
Guthie,Joni Hersch, Lonnie Hoffman, Edward lacobucci, Helen Levy, David Madigan, Tom Merrill, Richard Posner,
Fred Tung, and Alan Wiseman for their helpful comments. This project benefited from the generous financial
support of the Russell Sage Foundation and Vanderbilt Law School. All remaining errors are our own.
'New law professors are hired either through a formal process organized by the Association of American Law Schools
(AALS) or by informal applications submitted directly to law schools. From 2000-2010, the AALS market has averaged
967 applicants. AALS Statistical Report on Faculty, http://www.aals.org/resourcesstatistical.php. In 2012, 875 appli-
cants participated in the AALS market. We do not have an accurate count of how many applications are sent to law
schools by candidates who bypass the AALS process, but we do know that some new professors are hired outside the
AALS process. Thus, 1,000 annual applicants is a reasonable estimate of the number seeking a tenure-track post each


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