Michael O'Hear is wondering about lateral hiring of law school faculty. He senses an upswing in lateral hiring and wonders whether it is driven by the demand side or the supply side.
- On the demand side: "lateral hiring seems more likely to provide an immediate reputational bump than entry-level hiring."
- On the supply side ...
"Perhaps the greater connectedness of the academy in the Internet age has spawned a generation of junior faculty members who feel less attached to their home institutions than previous generations and who are more motivated to make moves that will enhance opportunities or status within the national academic community. Likewise, for junior faculty members who are not entirely satisfied with their current situations (for geographical reasons or otherwise), the Internet provides opportunities to build a reputation relatively quickly, and also facilitates the sort of networking that may pave the way for lateral moves."
Notice the implicit assumption: that the driving force behind lateral hiring is scholarship. Of course, this is widely understood, but making that assumption explicit highlights the spread of scholarly ambition beyond elite law schools. While lower-ranked law schools may have their own unique missions -- and thus may be worthy receptacles of institutional investment by faculty members -- they also serve, in some instances, as "farm teams" for higher-ranked schools. Oddly, the quickest path to increased reputational capital for lower-ranked law schools probably does not come from hiring laterals, but from producing laterals for elite law schools.
All of this causes me to wonder: Is there any development in legal education of the past generation that has had a more important influence on the teaching of law than the spread of scholarly ambition beyond elite law schools?
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Links to weblogs that reference Lateral Hiring in Law Schools:
1. Posted by D. Daniel Sokol on December 28, 2007 @ 4:41 | Permalink
How about the rise of dual degree faculty and the increasingly non-doctrinal focus of a number of even pure JD faculty as the alternative major development in legal education?
2. Posted by Jeff Yates on December 28, 2007 @ 7:48 | Permalink
[Cross posted on Voir Dire Blog]
I think that most would agree that both trends are found in political science as well, to one degree or another. I’m not sure if all of the lateral movement in pol sci is upward - there appears to be a lot of “sideways” movement as non-top tier departments vie over productive tenured (and almost tenured) faculty. Given that I know that most people don’t like going on the market and generally don’t like the transaction costs of moving, I am left to wonder if the internal compensation mechanisms and incentive structures of academic institutions don’t play some role in the lateral movement trend. Could it be that the market compensation level for academics is becoming more transparent and national in scope? It seems that (at least) three forces are clearly at work: (a) schools are willing to pay a premium for lateral candidates; (b) home institutions are sometimes willing to make counter offers; (c) faculty are actually willing to move if they do not.
What are the implications of these trends? Is it becoming a winner take all market? Will institutions have to adjust to keep up in this marketplace?