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October 10, 2007

AALS Hiring and Innovation

Like many other schools, we are getting ready to send a contingent to the annual AALS hiring convention later this month to interview prospective professors. I was looking through the list of prospects, and marveling once again at how summary the data sheets are-- a single page of information.

Does this limit us if we are looking for innovators? Perhaps, since it tends to emphasize factors which are not strong indicators of innovation: Class rank, schools attended, membership on law review. Certainly, some students are high achievers because of their creativity, but many more are not. The brevity of the form masks many indicators of innovation, such as outside interests and inter-disciplinary work in school.

If a school is truly interested in finding innovators, they may want to emphasize some factors over others. For example, it might make sense to highly value published work which is striking and original, even if it is in the form of a student note.

But then, is innovation potential really something we even look for, or should?

-- Mark Osler

October 10, 2007 | Permalink


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As I read your post, I'm wondering how many law schools actually hire as a result of finding someone through the AALS hiring conference and how many hire as a result of posting in the Chronicle and letting the applicants apply individually? (I'm genuinely asking.)


Posted by: Hillary Burgess | Oct 10, 2007 9:46:38 AM

Hillary, My experience at Davis is that entry level hiring in the Law School is almost entirely through AALS. Exceptions are rare.

Posted by: Anupam Chander | Oct 10, 2007 1:53:54 PM

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