Tenured or not, members of the ivory tower used to feel like they had reached a point in their legal careers where they had a good amount of job security. That was before the recession. Now, it seems they’re ready to poop their pedagogical pantaloons at a moment’s notice for fear of layoffs.

Well, we hope the professors at the law school we’re about to tell you about have a change of pants, because the dean thinks it’s time to flush out some faculty members. There aren’t any buyouts to be had — we’re talking straight-up law prof layoffs.

Which school is decimating its law professor headcount this time?

The school we’re talking about is Appalachian Law, an ABA-accredited school that falls into the “rank not published” section of the U.S. News law school rankings. You may remember hearing about Appalachian a few years ago after a student opened fire inside the deans’ suite, killing three and wounding three others.

Once referred to as a “gulag” by the Daily Caller, Appalachian is in the news again because Dean Lucy McGough wants to “whittle down class sizes,” which means that the number of faculty members will also have to be whittled down. Here’s some additional information from the Roanoke Times:

McGough said the school is experiencing a decline in applications, and some of the things added during the school’s expansion have been trimmed….

She said the trimming will come in the form of eliminating some classes that aren’t taught all the time and don’t reflect the college’s specialties, which are natural resources and alternative dispute resolution. The school is also looking to add a public health specialty, she said, because school officials think those are the most important subject matters for lawyers in the region.

The downsizing will mean layoffs, McGough said.

“We’ve already lost three faculty members with our mutual agreement,” she said. “We will maintain a student/faculty ratio of no more than 15-to-1, and that’s always been presumptively accepted for the American Bar Association.”

Current enrollment is 222, with about 70 in each incoming class, but Dean McGough expects next year’s class to have about 40 students. According to the school’s website, right now, there are 22 faculty members employed. It looks like a few more of Appalachian’s law profs are going to have to take a hike.

Best of luck to those who are losing their jobs. We hear the mountain trails are lovely this time of year.

Appalachian School of Law to scale back class sizes, staff [Roanoke Times]
Appalachian Law Downsizing Student Body, Faculty [The Faculty Lounge]


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