The Visiting Assistant Professor Program

The Visiting Assistant Professor (VAP) program is a centerpiece of the Chicago-Kent legal writing program. The VAP program provides students with a faculty that has diverse academic interests and legal practice experience and gives promising teachers experience in teaching legal writing and doctrinal law courses and engaging in academic scholarship.

Each year, several legal writing classes are taught by VAPs. VAPs are generally appointed for two-year terms, with the possibility for a single one- or two-year renewal, or in extraordinary cases, for a long-term contract. Each VAP typically teaches a single section of approximately 30 first-year legal writing students. They teach Legal Writing I in the Fall and Legal Writing II in the Spring. Regular Legal Writing faculty meetings are held to coordinate assignments and to provide newer VAPs with the opportunity to enhance their legal writing teaching skills, share experience, and plan upcoming assignments and classes.

In addition to teaching Legal Writing, each VAP teaches a single doctrinal course each year. VAPs may teach any course in the law school curriculum other than required courses with class allocation based on the professor's experience and interests and the school's curricular needs. Teaching additional courses is permitted, but discouraged until the VAP has written at least one article, as the labor-intensive nature of course preparation makes it difficult to find time for scholarship. VAPs are provided with mentoring and guidance from other faculty in preparing and teaching doctrinal courses.

The school provides VAPs with considerable assistance and guidance in developing their academic scholarship, including a Research and Travel fund. Traditionally, VAPs use their time at the school to write and publish one or more scholarly articles as a basis (along with their teaching experience) for obtaining a tenure-track law teaching position. In addition to providing faculty mentors, the school offers a series of informal "roundtables" or workshops at which faculty members, including VAPs, can discuss their works in progress with colleagues.

VAPs are strongly encouraged to become part of the life of the law school by attending faculty and student functions, participating in faculty roundtables and workshops, volunteering to judge moot court practice arguments and competitions, serving on faculty committees, and interacting with current and prospective students.

Over the years, the Chicago-Kent VAP program has produced exceptional doctrinal and skills professors. Some of them have continued their academic careers at such schools as The University of Alabama School of Law, Brooklyn Law School, University at Buffalo Law School, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, Florida State University College of Law, Hofstra University School of Law, Howard University School of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, The John Marshall Law School, Loyola Law School Los Angeles, University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Ohio Northern University College of Law, Oklahoma City University School of Law, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Pennsylvania State University, The Dickerson School of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law, Stetson University College of Law, Suffolk University Law School, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, The University of Tulsa College of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, and William Mitchell College of Law.

Applying to the Visiting Assistant Professor Program

If you are interested in applying for our VAP program, please submit a cover letter, current curriculum vitae, one writing sample, and a research agenda. You may address your cover letter to the "VAP Selection Committee." Our VAP program requires that applicants be out of law school a minimum of three years prior to the start of the academic year in which they would begin teaching in the program.

Please email your materials to Patricia Y. O'Neal at poneal@kentlaw.iit.edu.