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A Guiding Hand By Katie Vloet

Michigan Law faculty prepare alumni who are seeking jobs in academia

Sarah R. Wasserman Rajec, ’04, a lecturer and teaching fellow at Stanford Law School, knew that the road to a tenure-track faculty position could be a bumpy one. That’s why she sought the insights of some of the best faculty members she knew: Those who teach at her alma mater. Rajec was one of the alumni who attended the Future Law Professors Workshop at Michigan Law in the fall. She describes the experience as “the perfect mix of helpful, challenging, and welcoming. “It was great to have so many professors share their experiences and wisdom about the academic job market. It can be an opaque process, and these insights and anecdotes helped to pull back the curtain,” she says. “My paper [‘Free Trade in Patented Goods: International Exhaustion for Patents’] benefited greatly from the feedback and discussion I had with former professors who came to my presentation—and what fun to be on the other side of the podium.” All the preparation Rajec put into her pursuit of a faculty position paid off: “I’m thrilled to be joining the faculty of William & Mary Law School next year,” she says. The workshop, which has been offered three times in recent years, includes panel discussions about topics such as surviving the Association of American Law Schools’ annual Faculty Recruitment Conference (FRC), and exploring fellowships and visiting assistant professor (VAP) programs. It also features mock job talks with faculty members and alumni. Some 30 Michigan Law faculty members participated in the workshop in 2013. “Our goal is to help alumni present themselves in the best light possible,” says Jessica Litman, the John F. Nickoll Professor of Law and the chair of the committee that planned last year’s event. “Especially at a time like this, when many law schools are being conservative about hiring because applications and enrollments are down, we want to help people who went to Michigan Law maximize their chances.”


J. J. Prescott

Quadrangle Spring2014