Update on Down Lateral Prawfs Market
posted by Lawrence Cunningham
I promised to update my post from last week about the weak state of the lateral hiring market for law professors. The Faculty Lounge has updated its figures through March 3, now showing lateral moves of 28 prawfs in recruiting by 21 schools (up from the prior report, through February 4, of 21 prawfs and 17 schools).
We know of at least a few schools/prawfs not yet reported at FL (including two involving Temple University, thanks to Dave Hoffman of this blog, and seven Paul Caron reports knowing about). All seem agreed, however, that this is a down year, well off from the years when 70 or 80 schools wooed 130 or more prawfs. This reflects the contraction of the legal profession and resulting uncertainties plaguing legal education. The new environment entails a reexamination of past sector-wide practices, which is probably wise.
The signal that lateral recruiting used to send for a school, being competitive to boast the greatest faculty, may nowadays backfire, being a signal of peculiar resource allocation amid tough times for students. Notably, New York University’s John Sexton was a pioneer in the former and these days is getting negative press for sticking with it. Academic luxuries can no longer be taken for granted. It remains a difficult balancing act, however, because in many cases a lateral recruit is vital to fill an important need at a school. It is not always easy from the outside to see the difference.