Law Professors

Fewer people are interested in becoming law professors, new data shows

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The number of entry-level law professor applications hit its lowest point in more than a decade, according to data shared last week on a blog published by law professors.

Sarah Lawsky, vice dean at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, pointed out in her Aug. 18 post on PrawfsBlawg that only 272 new candidates have submitted applications to the Association of American Law Schools’ Faculty Appointments Register.

Lawsky’s data, which she provides for each year since 2009, shows that 662 applications were submitted in 2010. Recently, 297 applications were submitted in 2020, and 328 applications were submitted in 2021.

Reuters reported on the Faculty Appointments Register data, noting that the Association of American Law Schools will distribute a smaller group of applications next month. However, the media outlet said August applications are typically used to gauge the entry-level market for law professors.

Brian Leiter, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, also commented on the Faculty Appointments Register data on his blog. He said it represents “an all-time low since I’ve been in law teaching (1993), so even further back than Professor Lawsky’s data.”

“In the 1990s, it was not uncommon for there to be 1,000 applicants in the first FAR,” Leiter added. “As more information has become readily available about entering law teaching, and as the requirements for being a viable candidate have risen, the number of applicants has declined. But this year’s number really is astonishingly low.”

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