Experienced Lawyers and Law Teaching Careers–PART IV

This is the last of a four part series on experienced lawyers seeking law teaching careers, which in turn extended a five part series about law teaching careers generally. You can see the entire series (and a few other posts) here.

4) Is adjunct a barrier to teaching at the school where you are an adjunct but a good thing to teach elsewhere?

I am not aware of any empirical studies on this, but I would assume that there are relatively few recent instances where an existing adjunct converted that position into a full-time tenure-track position at that school. The reason why is that most hiring schools conduct a nationwide search for the best candidates, often through the AALS hiring process. It’s fairly serendipitous if an existing adjunct emerges as the best candidate through that search, especially when the school wants to hire only in a certain substantive area. It can and does happen, but I suspect that it’s fairly infrequent.

However, I don’t think that being an adjunct is a “barrier” to being hired by that school. If anything, being an adjunct can be a plus; an adjunct can build personal relationships and institutional goodwill that will help their candidacy. However, schools generally will hire the best candidate, and in that sense, adjuncts often don’t have any material advantage over other candidates.