The Visiting Assistant Professor Program

The Visiting Assistant Professor program is a centerpiece of the Chicago-Kent legal writing program. The program is designed to provide students with a faculty that has diverse academic interests and legal practice experience and provides promising teachers an opportunity to bridge from their practice and legal writing teaching experience to doctrinal law teaching and academic scholarship.

Each year, several legal writing classes are taught by Visiting Assistant Professors. Visiting Assistant Professors 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 Visiting Assistant Professor normally teaches a single section of approximately 30 first-year legal writing students, with Legal Writing I taught in the Fall and Legal Writing II taught in the Spring. Regular faculty meetings are held to coordinate assignments and provide newer Visiting Assistant Professors 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 Visiting Assistant Professor teaches a single doctrinal course each year. Visiting Assistant Professors 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 Visiting Assistant Professor has written at least one article, as the labor-intensive nature, of course, preparation makes it difficult to find time for scholarship. Visiting Assistant Professors are provided with mentoring and guidance from other faculty in preparing and teaching doctrinal courses.

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

Visiting Assistant Professors 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 Visiting Assistant Professor program has produced exceptional doctrinal and skills professors. Some of them have continued their academic careers at such schools as University of Alabama School of Law, Brooklyn Law School, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Catholic University School of Law, Cumberland School of Law, Florida State University College of Law, Gonzaga University School of Law, Hofstra University School of Law, Howard University School of Law, Indiana University School of Law, John Marshall Law School, Loyola Law School Los Angeles, McGeorge School of Law, University of Memphis School of Law, Oklahoma City University School of Law, Ohio Northern University College of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pennsylvania State University School of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, Stetson University College of Law, Suffolk University Law School, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, University of Tulsa College of Law, University of Virginia, Western New England College School of Law, Widener University School of Law, College of William and Mary School of Law, and William Mitchell College of Law.

Applying to the Visiting Assistant Professor Program

If you are interested in applying for our Visiting Assistant Professor (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 O'Neal at