The Right Coast

August 25, 2005
What not to put on your law school teaching application
By Tom Smith

I agree with Brian that putting on your FAR that you are only interested in teaching in blue states is stupid. However, the idea that it is stupid because there is a good chance that there will be one or more Republicans on the faculty hiring committee is, well, improbable. There may be a number of conservative law professors, but most of them are conservative Democrats. Republican law professors, such as perhaps a few of us at the RC, are a pretty rare lot. Displaying an inability to live next to Republicans is tacky, and suggests that one would perhaps be a doctrinaire teacher, but the odds of offending actual Republican law professors is pretty small.

When I first applied to law schools back in the dark ages, I expressed a geographical preference for the mountain west. This was at a stage in my life when I cared about skiing more than scholarship. Now, of course, I realize that producing erudite papers that have a low probability of being read by more than a few dozen people is more important than fun in the outdoors. In any event, I think this actually helped me get my first job at Colorado, or at least one person who interviewed me seemed to like that about my application. So I think if you really do have a strong geographical preference, and that coincides with the market where you have the best shot anyway, it makes sense to express it. Otherwise, be prepared to swear that you always wanted to live in a really humid, remote, and rural location and that you coincidentally have a passion for whatever pasttime the locals use to stave off boredom.