Fellowships for Aspiring Law Professors:

Paul Caron has a very useful list here. Interestingly, almost none of these programs existing when I was on the teaching market 13 years ago, though I somehow managed to procure a one-year grant to be a research fellow at Columbia. FWIW, of the five entry-level professors George Mason has hired so far this year, four have served as either post-J.D. research fellows or visiting assistant professors.

One question that's been nagging me is a chicken-and-egg issue. Are law schools more interested in hiring VAPs because they're VAPs, or are they merely interested in people who have published and VAPs are the easiest way to do it?

Also, it seems curious that many of these VAP programs are one-year stints (although some are two), which means that a VAP likely has not published anything by the AALS conference in November of that year, but they seem to be the gobbling up many of the slots for teaching. Is this simply another hoop, a kind of pre-screening mechanism for the AALS conference, if the 2 months' experience pre-AALS meat market doesn't make for much difference in the area of publication?
3.21.2008 12:42pm
davidbernstein (mail):
It seems to me that VAPs and research fellows have at least three advantages in the marketplace:

(1) They have shown a real commitment to academia as a career.

(2) They ususally have strong references at the school they are VAPing at, references that have seen their recent work, unlike perhaps some of their alumni references.

(3) In applying for a VAP or research fellow position, the candidates had to clarify in their own minds what their research (and for VAPs, teaching) agenda is.

It's also a lot easier to prepare for interviews and job talks if you don't have clients breathing down your neck.
3.21.2008 12:53pm
Pliny, the Elder (mail):
This is slightly off topic, and may betray my ignorance, but are there VAPs or fellowships for those who do not wish an academic career but would like to teach and/or do research for a year or two?
3.21.2008 1:53pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Without care this turns into another version of post-doc
3.21.2008 11:51pm