Tales of a Law Professor Lateral Nothing

boss_button.gifFor those of you like Scott Moss who followed every word, sentence, nay punctuation mark, of my previous series of posts here on the blog on the lateral hiring market, I am pleased to announce that I have turned all that material (with some additional extras!) into an essay, Tales of a Law Professor Lateral Nothing.

Here’s the abstract:

This Essay seeks to uncover the mysterious world of the law professor lateral hiring market, which has become increasingly important in the last number of years as law schools seek to build their reputations in this U.S. News & World Report world through the hiring of prominent faculty members.

Although the advice and guidance given in this Essay are sometimes written with tongue firmly in cheek, I do attempt to accomplish two important objectives here. First, there has been scarcely anything written about the lateral hiring market for law professors, as opposed to the cottage industry that has been devoted to the entry-level law professor hiring market. This Essay methodically takes the lateral-to-be professor through every step of the lateral process from the first-person perspective of one who has been on the market for three years and successfully lateraled this past year.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, I want to contribute to the process of bringing back to legal academic writing the form of the first-person narrative. Like my colleague, David Case, I believe that, “the narrative voice is an important, and perhaps underutilized, tool in deconstructing the arbitrary processes of the legal academic hiring market.” See David Case, The Pedagogical Don Quixote de la Mississippi, 33 U. Mem. L. Rev. 529, 530 n.2 (2003).

It is still in the draft stage, so I would appreciate people’s criticisms, thoughts, and strong, violent reactions.

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4 Responses

  1. 2005 says:

    Here’s my visceral reaction to the abstract.

    It tells me that you’re more interested in getting a first-person narrative into the law reviews than passing on useful information about the lateral hiring market.

    The latter point is the only reason why I’d read the article. The “Second…” paragraph says to me “don’t waste your time.”

  2. prawfessorus says:

    I agree with the comment above. Moreover, your blog posts didn’t strike me as the case of “legal academic writing.” Presenting your essay as such doesn’t do any good to academic writing, and hardly attracts readership to the essay. I’d just present the piece for what it is (summary of one man’s experience on the market plus some general gossip) without grander claims. Not every paper has to use words “narrative” and “deconstruction.”

  3. Curmudgeon says:

    “…the narrative voice is an important, and perhaps underutilized, tool in deconstructing the arbitrary processes of the legal academic hiring market…”

    A joke, right? A micro-version of the Sokal hoax? Law professors have always loved to dress up their prosaic opinions in the clothes of high-flown theory, but this is ridiculous.

  4. Scott Moss says:

    Notwithstanding the snipes by the above bravely anonymous commenters, there is a serious debate about the propriety of narrative in legal scholarship. It’s entirely legit for Paul to say (I’m paraphrasing), “this is an example of how, for some kinds of writing about some legal topics, narrative is entirely appropriate.” Think of it in the reverse: For Paul to write about what he learned about the lateral market in a NON-narrative way would be forced and artificial.

    And to the third commenter: You might want to stick with comic books if you think “deconstructing” is too big a word, or “deconstructing the arbitrary processes of the legal academic hiring market” means he’s writing about “high-flown theory.” I suppose Paul could have said, “The first-person narrative is good for pointing out problems in professor hiring” — but I don’t think he’s really required to dumb it down to your personal reading level.