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Your academic resume, commonly referred to as a curriculum vitae or CV, is the centerpiece of your application. You should think of your CV as a one-stop information source for law school hiring committees.
We strongly suggest you include your CV in the Yale teacher candidate book. This book is sent to every law school in the United States in early August. To do so, you must submit a copy of your CV to CDO’s YLS Career Management System by July 24. More information and instructions are distributed through the Law Teaching Committee email list during the summer.
Members of the Law Teaching Placement Committee are available to review your CV before you send it out to hiring committees. If you would like the Committee’s feedback, please send a draft of your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, before July 17.
Below is some advice for preparing your CV:
- Length: Unlike most resumes, your CV does not need to be limited to one page. Most CVs for entering law teachers are two to four pages.
- Format: If you plan to include your CV in the YLS Candidates for Positions in Law Teaching book, please use one-inch left and right margins to facilitate binding, and do not number the pages, because the book is consecutively paginated.
- Content: Be sure your CV includes a list of the courses that you are interested/willing to teach; a list of your recommenders and their contact information (including telephone and email addresses); hyperlinks to your publications and works in progress; and brief abstracts for the publications you list on the CV describing each paper’s central questions, stakes, claims and/or arguments.
- Education: Put your education as the first major heading, and begin with your most recent degree, including the school, your degree and the year you received it (e.g., Yale Law School, JD 2003). Since your YLS degree carries weight in the law teaching market, in some cases, if you have more recently been involved in a graduate program that is not as directly related to your teaching goals, you may list that educational experience second. If you received any degrees with honors, be sure to include the honors designation with the degree. Also, list relevant activities such as journal work, pro bono projects, or research assistant positions.
- Publications and Works in Progress: For academic candidates, a publication section is extremely important; for clinical candidates, few or no publications may be fine, but you should at a minimum list your job talk paper as a work in progress. If at all possible, begin your list of publications on the first page of your CV, right after the education section. In addition to listing your publications (or instead of listing them if you have no publications), be sure to include any works submitted for publication or works in progress (WIP), indicating their current status (e.g. submitted for review, accepted for publication, forthcoming in the __ issue, etc.). Make sure you use current Bluebook citation form for your publications. You should clearly indicate which of your pieces (usually a work in progress) will be used for your job talk. This piece is often placed at the top of the list. For each piece of writing you list on the CV, provide a brief abstract of a few sentences which describes the publication’s central questions, stakes, claims, and/or arguments. Where appropriate, include a hyperlink to online versions. (Note: The decision when to circulate your job talk paper is one best made with your faculty mentors. You may choose to make abstracts for papers you are not yet ready to circulate a few sentences longer.) You may have published different types of pieces in different venues. Keep in mind that law school faculty are most interested in publications in law reviews, or legal books. Legal publications in bar journals or more popular press are discounted, since they are perceived as not involving the same level of scholarly research, analysis, and writing. Typically, non-legal publications are also discounted. Your publications are the proof of your interest and aptitude in legal research and writing. A publication on medical research does not attest to this fact. That said, other publications do attest to your interest in publishing generally, may show similar research ability, and prove your work ethic. Related topics may also help validate your specialty interest.
- Teaching and Research Interests: For academic candidates, you will need a section on your teaching and research interests, even before you list your work experience. Clinical candidates may choose to list teaching and research interests after work experience, and this section can be briefer than that for academic candidates. While you should, of course, be honest about your teaching interests and abilities, flexibility in your teaching preferences is important in the search for a teaching position. It is a good idea to think expansively about what you would like to teach, and to consider what additional subjects you would be willing to teach, especially if those subjects make you a stronger candidate at a school that is attractive to you. Keep in mind that although one or two esoteric teaching interests may be okay to showcase your research interests, law schools are often looking to cover core courses. Many people suggest that academic candidates identify at least one basic first-year course that you would like to teach, since every school needs to offer these subjects to every student; this may be prudent for clinical candidates as well, though the most important subject to list is simply “clinical teaching.” Don’t feel limited by fields where you are actively writing or practicing, and don’t feel like you need to draw compelling connections between diverse interests. Prospective teachers often believe that they need more expertise and experience than most schools would require of them. Many schools just want to know whether they can get certain subjects covered by a capable person, or whether a clinical candidate is willing to learn a new practice area (as well as, often, new courts, rules of procedure, and state law).
- Work Experience: For academic teaching positions, your practice experience, unless relevant to your teaching and research interests, is of less importance. You do not have to provide extensive details about your practice areas or describe individual matters you have handled. But it can still be worthwhile to include annotations highlighting job experiences that particularly relate to your teaching or research interest. For clinical teaching positions, practice experience assumes greater significance. Nevertheless, you need not describe all of your past jobs in exhaustive detail. Focus instead on particular cases or experiences that are directly relevant to the position you seek. Because more junior attorneys may have worked on large legal teams, clinical hiring committees will often want to know the specific responsibilities of a clinical candidate. You may want to note, for instance, that you have not merely worked on a prominent case, but also that you personally argued motions, tried cases, took or defended depositions, negotiated transactions, testified personally before a legislature, and so on. If you have teaching experience—for example, if you have been a teaching assistant, adjunct, visitor, or guest lecturer—make sure to include it in your CV. If you have more than one such experience you may want to create a separate section for Teaching Experience.
- References: You should have at least 3 references and it is highly recommended that at least one recommender is a YLS professor. Many candidates have 4-6 recommenders. References should be your last section, or they can be submitted as a separate sheet. Each entry should include the recommender’s full name, title, place of employment, telephone number, and email address. There are many acceptable formats for reference lists; however, it is helpful to keep all the references on one page, even if it means leaving some empty space on the last page of your CV.