Early Returns on Entry-Level Hiring

Corey Yung

Corey Rayburn Yung is a Professor at the University of Kansas School of Law. His scholarship primarily focuses on sexual violence, substantive criminal law, and judicial decision-making. Yung’s academic writings have been cited by state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Before Yung began his professorial career, he served as an associate for Shearman & Sterling in New York and clerked for the Honorable Michael J. Melloy of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

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6 Responses

  1. Frustrated anon says:

    As a “naked” JD candidate who was on the market this past year, I thought I would add my two cents. It may be that those without advanced degrees and, in particular, fellowships/VAPs are older and at a point in their lives where it is more difficult to find an entry-level position that meets their needs. In my case, I’m half of a two-career couple with two young children. I turned down one offer because the salary was too low given our mortgage and childcare costs. I turned down a second offer because the law school needed a quick answer and in this economy we could not take the risk that my husband would be unable to find a job. So I find myself likely going back on the market again next year, praying that the stars will align for us. I’m curious whether my situation is unique. In the meantime, I’m struggling to find the time to write another article. I would add that relative to PhDs and fellows/VAPs, it may be more difficult for those in private practice to find the time to do high quality scholarship. As a result, “naked” JDs may appear to have less scholarly potential.

  2. Stuart Buck says:

    This all seems an bad development for professional schools whose main worth to prospective students is the promise of teaching them how to practice law. How many of these new teachers are spending any meaningful time in practice in addition to their VAPs?

  3. Anon_Prof_Tier2 says:

    Stuart Buck said:

    This all seems an bad development for professional schools whose main worth to prospective students is the promise of teaching them how to practice law. How many of these new teachers are spending any meaningful time in practice in addition to their VAPs?

    Well, Stuart, the answer is “who cares?” Not that that is my answer, but as someone at a Tier 2 school that just went through a hiring season, teaching students is a secondary concern. In fact, it may be much lower on the list that that for most school.

    Schools want scholars. And “interesting” people. And, if the students get an education in the process, so be it. Unfortunately, that is the system. And, I think that it is getting worse.

    This follows Frustrated anon’s statement that those who work in private practice and have less time to write may appear to have less scholarly potential. This may not seem fair, but it is the way of the world.

    I would wonder what salary Frustrated anon turned down? I am not sure what kind of pay she is looking for, but if she is comparing her worth in the academic marketplace to that of private practice, she is unlikely to be happy in academia.

    All of this sounds like a rant by someone who hates his/her job. That is far from the truth. I am extremely happy in my career – and with my salary – but understand that the politics of academia are sometimes hard to swallow.

    Good luck!

  4. Frustrated Anon says:

    To Anon_Prof_Tier2 — I’m curious who you consider “interesting” people. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, but are you suggesting that schools believe those with advanced degrees, fellowships, and VAPs are more interesting than naked JDs with experience practicing law? As for schools’ search for scholars, I can’t speak for others, but I have no doubt that my time in both private practice and government helps me produce scholarship that is much more thoughtful and original than it would have been 10 years ago. Unfortunately, my sense is that many schools assume the opposite.

    Just to clarify, I’m a government attorney so my current salary is on par with the salaries received by many junior law faculty members. Also, I hope you give those of us who enter the law prof market some credit — most of us investigate academic salaries before making the decision to leave private practice. If we thought the pay was too low, we would not make the switch to academia. (The offer I turned down due to the low salary was on the low end of the salary range for entry-level faculty. When I was single this salary would have been fine for me, but as the primary breadwinner for a family of 4 that is no longer the case.)

  5. Stuart Buck says:

    I’ve said this before, but it seems like it bears repeating:

    If law professors really want to move into a world of purer academic qualifications and skills, then they should lobby the University to create a “Department of Legal Studies,” where they could (1) think and write all sorts of interesting, abstract, and/or rarefied thoughts about legal theory or empirical effects of legal developments or whatnot; (2) teach any students who happen to be interested in such subjects; (3) be paid more on the scale of the rest of academia; and (4) leave the real law students — i.e., the 98% of students who want to learn how to practice law — to be taught by law professors who know a lot about law practice (whether or not they can write a dissertation).

  6. Brian Mitchell says:

    Is part of this simply explained by supply and demand? Do we have any data on the number of entry level applicants over the last 20 years and what the increase has been (if any) relative to the number of available entry level positions?

    If there indeed has been an increase in candidates, the increase in upfront qualifications can just be seen as an up-front filtering proxy for dealing with the larger numbers.