The Toy Story Approach to Faculty Hiring

The legal blaw-cademy is again brimming with advice in anticipation of the all-too-soon AALS Faculty Recruitment Conferece, universally known as the meat market. I’ve chimed in on this topic before (and here). In this post I want to reiterate only one point. From what I wrote about a year ago:

Despite the fact that this is a ruthlessly competitive environment, be courteous to absolutely everyone you meet. In the best of all worlds, you will get the law faculty appointment of your dreams, and you can put the meat market unpleasantness safely behind you. Still, your scholarly reputation across the profession will begin at the Marriott Wardman. You will encounter many of your interviewers and many of your fellow candidates in the future, as colleagues at other law schools. Give each of them every reason to respect you when they see you or hear about you again.

To which I now add:

There’s no reason to limit the advice to candidate conduct at the FRC. From the candidate’s point of view, it should extend to participating in academic conferences. If you are a VAP or Fellow or adjunct faculty member, it extends to interacting with current (and prospective) academic colleagues around your building(s). It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: The advice extends to interactions with both current and former students, and to interactions with non-faculty staff, both professional and non-professional, and even to interactions with people who don’t work for or with the law school you may be interviewing with. If you’re on the market, you’re always on, not just when you’re at the recruitment conference.

The advice extends to appointments committee members, too, in their interactions with candidates, though no one should mistake an admonition to be courteous for an admonition not to be challenging in an interview.

As Woody said to Sid at the end of the first Toy Story movie, We toys can see everything. So play nice.