Paul L. Caron

Monday, January 7, 2019

SEALS Launches Law Faculty Recruitment Conference As Alternative To AALS Meat Market: Earlier, Cheaper, And More Inclusive

SEALs Logo (2013)Following up on my previous post:  Russell Weaver (Louisville), Executive Director of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools:

As previously announced, SEALS will hold it’s first faculty recruitment conference in 2019 in conjunction with its annual meeting. To that end, SEALS has been working with ILaw to create a technologically-based faculty recruitment platform which takes advantage of iLaw’s technological expertise and reflects iLaw’s commitment to the legal academy.  We will be making a fuller announcement regarding the details of the conference in the near future.  In the meantime, we have a couple of questions for the membership.

The goals of the SEALS recruitment conference are to introduce innovation into the faculty recruitment process, in the process creating a more dynamic and effective recruitment system, while at the same time lowering the cost for SEALS member schools (both institutional members and affiliate members) as well as for applicants.  To that end, we do not intend to charge member schools anything to access the faculty recruitment platform.  We will charge our ordinary registration fee for any faculty who actually attends the SEALS meeting, but those faculty will not only be able to recruit, but will have access to the entire SEALS meeting.  We do intend to charge prospective law teachers to participate, but we will only charge them the conference registration fee (currently $165) and that registration will entitle them to participate in the entire SEALS meeting, including the Prospective Law Teachers Workshop and the new Aspiring Law Teachers Workshop.  Many prospective teachers already attend SEALS to participate in the Prospective Law Teachers Workshop so they may incur no additional cost (and, if they can land jobs before the other recruitment conference, might be able to avoid paying the registration fee for that conference).

The SEALS/iLaw platform is designed to give prospective law teachers the opportunity to submit far more information about themselves than is currently permitted under existing recruitment systems, and therefore to give faculty recruitment committees far more information on which to base their initial interviewing decisions.  In particular, applicants will be given the opportunity to post the following types of information: 1) a short (5 minute) video introducing themselves to interested law schools; 2) a “form” CV; 3) a full CV; 4) a full job talk; 4) a list of their recent and most important scholarly achievements; and 5) links to their scholarship.  Please let us know if there is anything else that you would like to see candidates be able to post on the platform (e.g., statements of pedagogical approach).

The SEALS/iLaw platform is also designed to make the recruitment process easier for faculty recruitment committees.  As a result, the platform will include features that are specifically directed at participating schools, including the following: 1) the ability to identify applicants by subject matter and locational preferences; 2) the ability to create an interviewing schedule for either online or in-person interviews; 3) the ability for a school to create its own (internal and confidential) online evaluations of applicants; & 4) even the ability to conduct video interviews. Again, please let us know if there is anything else that you would like to see included.

We plan to open the platform to applicants about mid-March, but we are debating when to open the process for participating schools, and would like your input.  We realize that most schools do not make hiring decisions for the following year, or appoint their faculty recruitment committees, until late in the academic year. When would the membership like to have the platform open to them? Is June 1st early enough? Should we open it either earlier or later?

FYI, Boca Resort (where this summer’s meeting will be held) is quite conducive to the faculty recruitment process. It offers sleeping rooms at $159 per night, and suites at good rates. It also offers bungalows (with bedrooms, kitchens and full living rooms).  However, we wonder whether participating schools will actually feel the need to send recruitment teams to the SEALS meeting. We know that this is how the recruitment process has always functioned.  However, while the SEALS platform can only enable “online” interviews, it provides schools with far more information than they can get from a 30 minute interview (e.g., a video introduction; a job talk, and links to scholarship), so we wonder how schools will respond to this vastly increased amount of information.  Please give us your thoughts.

Also fyi, SEALS will be offering extensive programming for “prospective” and “aspiring” law teachers at this year’s meeting. In addition to the traditional Prospective Law Teachers Workshop (which offers potential applicants intense training on job talks, interviewing techniques, etc.), we will be offering an Aspiring Law Teachers Workshop.  This latter workshop will be far less intense, but will give attorneys who have some interest in law teaching the opportunity to learn about the hiring process and the life of a professor.

As with everything else SEALS does, we are absolutely committed to diversity.  SEALS defines diversity broadly to include ideological diversity, and diversity based on identity characteristics like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity

Thanks so much for your support of SEALS! We are excited about this new project!

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