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Friday, October 25, 2013

New England Law Faculty Face 8-Course Teaching Loads, Mandatory Office Presence (M-F, 9-5) Unless 35% Accept Buyouts

New England Law Logo (2013)Following up on my previous post, Boston Globe: New England Law Dean's $867,000 Salary Draws Scrutiny Amidst Soaring Tuition, Bleak Job Prospects for Grads:  a source close to New England Law | Boston reports:

New England Law | Boston plans to eliminate 14 fulltime faculty positions by August 1, 2014. Depending on how one counts, this is about 35-40% of the regular faculty. The School's entering class was up in 2012, but was down in 2013 and by some accounts the School has an endowment of $80,000,000. Faculty have been told by Dean John O'Brien that these 14 positions will be eliminated according to the School's needs, regardless of tenure or seniority. An incentive plan has been offered to senior faculty and certain clinical faculty, but those who don't take it have been threatened with termination. Their decisions must be final by the end of the Fall term. Those who still do not comply or were not offered the plan, were told that if they remain, their workload during the next academic year will move from 2 to as much as 4 courses per semester and that they will be required to be at their desks from 9 to 5 each day of the work week or an equivalent time period if they are teaching evening classes.

Update:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2013/10/new-england-.html

Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

Oh, like a real job?

Posted by: Jeffrey Harrison | Oct 25, 2013 3:47:43 PM

They should also be required to report how they spend their time in 6 minute increments.

Posted by: D++ | Oct 25, 2013 7:45:38 PM

This sounds great, but in practice it means that they probably won't produce much if any scholarship, and the school will continue to fall.

Posted by: michael livingston | Oct 26, 2013 2:29:55 AM

The horror!!

Posted by: Todd | Oct 26, 2013 5:21:09 AM

I'll take "Things That Won't Keep Me Up at Night" for 400, Alex.

Posted by: No, breh | Oct 26, 2013 10:58:36 AM

Jeff, be fair. In a "real job," if the terms and conditions suddenly changed, perhaps more in an attempt to provoke resignation than to respond to customer needs, according to a CEO not apparently disciplined by the market, workers might reasonably express concern. Particularly in a "real job" in which 9-5 work is supplemented by overtime magically exempted from the FLSA. Those aspiring to be directed just as in a real job might reflect a moment on whether they are entitled to run blog sites during the business day, or bash one's workplace and coworkers even while off the clock. It's an unconventional arrangement, by any reckoning, and this is throwback conventionalism that on its surface looks unconnected to improving actual performance. Why not a uniform, while we're at it?

Posted by: Nel | Oct 26, 2013 11:55:00 AM

Law schools don't fire good professors so I can't imagine the good professors have anything to worry about.

Posted by: Sean | Oct 26, 2013 6:47:57 PM

Really? Bosses don't favor those who suck up to them and always allocate positions based on pure merit? Well, then, I guess no one has any worries then.

Posted by: flitcraft | Oct 27, 2013 6:04:42 PM

The madness of law school corruption is so extensive (and long standing) that 12 classroom hours per week and an actual 40-hr in-school requirement per week is correctly understood to be a punitive "threat".

The professoriat is corrupt and decadent and *that* is why they looked the other way (and/or "did not want to know") with regard to near universal placement statistic fraud.

It would have interfered with their "lifestyle".

The JD's "willing executioners" (Google it).

Posted by: cas127 | Oct 27, 2013 11:10:10 PM

I'm new at this, but last year I spent 10-15 hours preparing for each hour in the classroom. Teaching 4/4 would have prohibited spending so much time working on creating effective lessons. After I'd taught the same classes a few times, it would have become less onerous, but 4/4 would be either very challenging or result in me short-changing my students.

Posted by: Smarts | Oct 28, 2013 7:08:24 AM

"Particularly in a real job in which 9-5 work is supplemented by overtime magically exempted from the FLSA."

That is, of course, the same as most professional jobs (such as attorneys), who also fall within the FLSA's professional, executive, and administrative employee exemption, and who also generally work significant amounts of what would be overtime. Hard to see how that's a significant distinguishing feature of the law school-professor employment relationship.

Posted by: Jobs | Oct 28, 2013 10:29:40 AM

Smarts,

It is extremely self-serving to say you would end up short-changing the students by having to teach 8 classes per year. Practicing lawyers don’t need anywhere near the degree of academic nuance they are provided at law school.

Do you realize that your prep time is paid for by the students? If you had their best interest in mind, you would learn to teach them what they need to know, and provide it economically.

Posted by: JM | Oct 28, 2013 11:44:03 AM

JM,

How it is self-serving to say that I spend 60 hours a week prepping for 6 hours of class? That doesn't seem like phoning it in to me.

Besides, how do you know what students "need to know"? I don't know what path their careers are going to take. They need to learn to think independently, to challenge received wisdom, to research, to write, etc. And it takes a lot of time to figure out not just what doctrine to teach but how to do it in a way that encourages these important lawyerly competencies.

Posted by: Smarts | Oct 29, 2013 6:48:27 AM

JM,

How it is self-serving to say that I spend 60 hours a week prepping for 6 hours of class? That doesn't seem like phoning it in to me.

Besides, how do you know what students "need to know"? I don't know what path their careers are going to take. They need to learn to think independently, to challenge received wisdom, to research, to write, etc. And it takes a lot of time to figure out not just what doctrine to teach but how to do it in a way that encourages these important lawyerly competencies.


Smarts,

“How it is self-serving to say that I spend 60 hours a week prepping for 6 hours of class?”

It is self-serving for you to argue that you cannot take on an additional courseload because this prep time is necessary for you to do your job. It should not be necessary to prep that much for a class. Furthermore, your students would benefit more by savings tens of thousands than by whatever added educational value they get out of your 5 extra hours of prep time.

For a comparison, as a lawyer, it is self-serving for me to say I need to read the full text of every case cited in an opponent’s brief, rather than just the relevant parts. The client would be better off with the savings.

“Besides, how do you know what students ‘need to know’?”

Because I graduated from law school in the last 5 years and have been a commercial litigator for almost 4 years in both an AMLAW 50 Firm and a small commercial litigation firm and I have argued appeals and tried cases. I can say with total confidence and zero hesitation that routine practice does not require anywhere near the depth of instruction that law students are provided. Only BigLaw does.

Posted by: JM | Oct 29, 2013 10:47:29 AM

JM,

Unless you've taught, I think it's preposterous for you to suggest that you know how much time is an appropriate amount of time to prep for class. Similarly, that you would know exactly what each student "needs to know" when they are going to go off and do wildly different things with their careers.

But since I have to prep for class--instead of, say, weeding my garden--I'm going to stop debating the point.

Posted by: Smarts | Oct 30, 2013 7:51:45 AM