Boalt Hall, John Yoo, Law Professors, Law School Deans, Law Schools, Money

How Much Does Your Law Professor Make? Berkeley Law Edition

Earlier this week, we took a look at faculty salaries at UVA Law School. They’re freely available online because UVA is a public law school. The UVA student newspaper obtained the records through FOIA and then posted them on the web. (If you have a problem with such information being made public, sorry. The best I can do is channel Justice Scalia and tell you: “Amend the statute.” )

We don’t want to pick on UVA, so we’re going to take a look at law professor compensation at a few state law schools. Going down the latest U.S. News rankings, we find ourselves at the ninth-best law school in the nation, Berkeley Law aka Boalt Hall.

The word “Berkeley” conjures up images of long-haired hippies smoking copious amounts of marijuana. But in light of their lush salaries, Berkeley law professors could roll joints using hundred-dollar bills….

For Berkeley, you can access salary data through the Sacramento Bee. It appears that 2011 is the latest year for which there’s publicly available information. We took this list of full-time tenured, tenure-track, and clinical faculty at Boalt Hall, looked up the names in the Sac Bee database, and prepared this handy spreadsheet showing 2011 compensation. (Note that we used a narrower definition of “faculty” for Berkeley; for our UVA story, we went with a broader definition because that’s how the data was presented.)

Regarding Berkeley, here are some highlights:

  • The law school’s total payroll for 2011 for faculty (as defined above) was $17,661,153.38.
  • The average faculty salary was $235,482.05. This is higher than the UVA figure of $177,185, but remember that the definition of faculty in our UVA post was broader and included librarians, non-tenure-track faculty, etc.
  • The lowest faculty salary was $95,999.98; everyone besides Eric Biber earned six figures.
  • Even accounting for the difference in the definition of “faculty,” Boalt Hall professors appear to be better-paid than UVA professors (perhaps because the Bay Area has a higher cost of living). At UVA, just four faculty members earned more than $300,000; at Berkeley, 15 professors earn more than $300,000.
  • But Boalt’s dean earns less than UVA’s: Christopher Edley earned $350,345 in 2011, while Paul Mahoney earned $450,000 in 2012-2013. (Yes, there’s a slight difference in the years at issue, but unless Dean Edley got a huge raise in 2012, Dean Mahoney out-earned him.)

Dean Edley takes fifth place in the compensation top ten. Here are the ten highest-paid professors at Berkeley Law for 2011.

1. Alan J. Auerbach – $423,875.01
2. Daniel A. Farber – $395,975.06
3. Eric Talley – $372,841.68
4. Andrew T. Guzman – $362,958.54
5. Christopher Edley, Jr. – $350,345.22
6. Mark Gergen – $348,141.69
7. Stephen D. Sugarman – $334,727.86
8. Suzanne Scotchmer – $333,333.30
9. Robert P. Merges – $321,800.02
10. Paul M. Schwartz – $314,091.99

These are, not surprisingly, some of Berkeley’s biggest names. Advocates of gender equality will note that the group has just one woman, Suzanne Scotchmer. Narrowly missing the top ten is Boalt’s most famous (or infamous) faculty member, Professor John Yoo, who earns $311,599.98. (Many Berkeley professors would be welcomed in the former Communist Bloc, but Professor Yoo was recently banned from Russia.)

Congratulations to the Berkeley Law professors on their robust pay packages. In an age in which higher education is arguably (and perhaps unfairly) losing some of its luster, it’s nice to see leading scholars and teachers rewarded handsomely for their contributions.

UPDATE (4/25/2013, 3 p.m.): Two clarifications:

1. Pointed out on Twitter by @Dailywrit: “Hey @DavidLat, you mention Boalt Prof. Eric Biber was the only one making <100k. He visited at Chicago Fall 2011 -- possible explanation?"

2. Pointed out by a knowledgeable law professor:

The Berkeley data is comprehensive, it includes the full 12-month packages, including summer money, housing allowances, special stipends, everything. The UVA salary data does not include various supplements (especially those from private sources), which vary among faculty.

So the comparison is a bit apples and oranges. Add in cost of living differentials, and the UVA salaries are off the charts by comparison!

Thanks to this source for the information. No matter which way you slice it, though, law professors at top law schools do quite well for themselves.

Berkeley Law Faculty Salaries [Above the Law via Google Docs]
Search for State Worker Salaries [Sacramento Bee]
Faculty Profiles: Full-Time Faculty [Berkeley Law]

Earlier: How Much Does Your Law Professor Make? UVA Law Edition

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