Faculty

The results are in. It turns out that a snazzy, mass-transit ad campaign mocking elites is not enough to turn around an entire law school. Law school applications are down because law school isn’t a good value, not because law school hasn’t been correctly marketed to prospective students.

It looks like Suffolk Law is going to have to face the music. The university has already replaced its president. Now the law school is offering buyouts to tenured faculty and professors with renewable contracts…

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This law school has a healthy approach to slimming down.

Layoffs continue to march through law firms. We reported yet another layoff story earlier today.

But now we have some happy news to share, regarding potential layoffs that were averted. A law school that was contemplating junior-faculty layoffs fortunately won’t have to go through with the cuts it had been contemplating.

Which law school achieved this feat? And what lessons might it have to offer to other law schools that are attempting to rightsize themselves in this challenging environment for legal education?

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Untenured law professors are not protected from pink slips.

As law school applications continue to decline, law schools must make hard choices. A law school can maintain the size of its entering class — and the revenue stream generated by those students — but at the cost of lowering its admissions standards. Or a law school can shrink the size of its entering class, accepting the decline in revenue to maintain the caliber of its student body, and make up for the lost revenue by cutting costs.

In my view, the second approach is superior. As the legal job market continues to shrink, with even top law firms conducting large-scale layoffs, it makes sense for law schools to produce fewer graduates. The legal profession is “right-sizing,” and law schools should follow suit.

But even if the second approach is better than the first, it’s not without pain. Last week, we heard reports of one law school basically axing its entire junior faculty. All of the untenured professors received notice that their contracts might not be renewed for the 2014-2015 academic year. Ouch.

As is so often the case, though, there’s more to this story than meets the eye….

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Minnesota, or Vaes Dothrak?

When I think of Minnesota, I think of Lake Wobegon — “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

Michele Bachmann is strong. Jesse Ventura is good-looking (if you’re into that whole “manly” thing). And the law students at the University of Minnesota Law School are above average. Their academic qualifications help Minnesota Law claim the #19 spot in the U.S. News law school rankings. (In the Above the Law law school rankings — which focus on outputs, like job placement, rather than inputs — Minnesota also fares well, ranking #25.)

The professors at Minnesota Law are above average too. The Minnesota faculty ranks #19 in terms of scholarly impact.

How do they fare in the professorial pay sweepstakes? Let’s look at the data….

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UCLA School of Law

Welcome to the latest installment of Law Professor Pay Watch. After visiting Texas and Michigan, we’re back on the coasts, this time in sunny southern California.

Los Angeles is home to many celebrities — and we’re not just talking about Hollywood stars. The superb faculty of UCLA School of Law boasts several prominent pundits and public intellectuals.

How much do star bloggers like Eugene Volokh and Stephen Bainbridge earn from their day jobs? What about such academic adversaries as Kimberlé Crenshaw, the critical-race queen, and Richard Sander, a leading opponent of affirmative action?

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A commenter on our story from last month about salaries for Boalt Hall law professors requested data about faculty compensation at UC Hastings. Ask and you shall receive. As noted over at TaxProf Blog (via the ABA Journal), the median salary for an assistant professor at Hastings is $112,942 and the median salary for a tenured professor at Hastings is $187,221 (not counting summer stipends).

Let’s continue our law professor salary survey. Last week, we looked at the University of Michigan (#9 in the latest U.S. News rankings, and #12 in the inaugural Above the Law rankings). Now we turn to the University of Texas (#15 in U.S. News, and T14 to ATL).

They say that everything is bigger in Texas. Is that true of law school faculty salaries?

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As we reported yesterday, Dean Paul Schiff Berman is leaving the deanship at the George Washington University Law School to assume a university-wide position as GW’s “Vice Provost for Online Education and Academic Innovation.” He’s switching jobs effective January 16, 2013.

Since the news of Dean Berman’s resignation became public, we’ve heard all sorts of rumors about why he’s departing as dean of GW Law. What are the rumors — and is there any truth to them?

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Members of the University of Illinois College of Law community received sad and disturbing news yesterday when they learned that a faculty member at the law school was the victim of an apparent hate crime.

The law professor (who remains anonymous at the request of the University) was found on the second floor of the Illinois Terminal on Wednesday.

University president Michael Hogan assured students and faculty that the alleged attack was made by a person who is not affiliated with the university….

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Yesterday we received an email with the following subject line: “the problem with tenure.” Now, I actually think that this tip illustrates the problem with law students and the classic awesomeness of tenure, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

What we can at least agree on is that we have a story about a law professor executing a stern, verbal smackdown of a law student who tried to go over the professor’s head to complain.

Let this just be a reminder to everybody that they need to respect the chain of command….

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