Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Law Dean Salaries

The median 2010 law school dean salary was $278,454, according to a report issued yesterday by the  College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (via Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.)  Sample law school dean salaries:

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Going to have to second Emeritus. As a 3L at UVA Law, I'm proud of my dean's efforts, attitude, and overall performance. High pay often attracts a commensurate level of talent.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 13, 2011 5:40:56 PM

Thanks, that was interesting.

Posted by: Stephen M (Ethesis) | Mar 1, 2011 6:16:21 PM

Note that UVA Law, as far as I understand it, takes in NO state funds.

UVA consistently attracts top notch legal academics and professionals with years of private and/or public experience in part because it pays both deans and law profs so well. This is despite the fact that Charlottesville is over 2 hours from a top US city (compare other schools in the top 10). This is not signs of excess; it's just plain smart.

We also have one the best and (actually!) helpful Career Services departments I have ever heard tell of (part of the reason I came). Dean of Career Services--former top partner at Morgan Lewis who answers emails from students at 8:00pm by 8:02pm. Also well paid. I'm getting my money's worth.


Posted by: 1L | Feb 28, 2011 7:16:25 AM

"I think we could all agree that these same people could make double what they do now if they were in private practice. Anyone who can make it to the Dean of a top tier law school could probably be a senior partner at a big firm."

False. Academically/intellectually that might be true -- but let us not forget most deans and law professors are in school as opposed to private practice because private practice at big firms require 90+ hours a week of work and tends to suck the life out of people. In comparison, being an academic is a vacation. They went into academia because they couldn't hack in at a firm (not blaming them, most people, including me, cannot hack it there).

Posted by: Emeritus | Feb 26, 2011 1:01:13 PM

"I think we could all agree that these same people could make double what they do now if they were in private practice. Anyone who can make it to the Dean of a top tier law school could probably be a senior partner at a big firm."

Not really. They definitely were in a great position to do well in private practice when they came out of law school--they had to be in order to obtain a legal professorship. However, that was decades ago and that professorship was usually obtained with little to no experience.

When law professors, without experience, have waded into the courtroom in recent years, the results have been predictable. (Cf., Lawrence "I never met a case I didn't lose" Lessig or the numerous JAG suits by the preeminent schools in the country that the Supreme Court rejected 9-0, though that obviously wasn't just the schools doing the litigating) Becoming dean requires a different skill set than becoming partner. With no offense intended to anybody here, I don't think it's debatable that it also requires a different work schedule *after you become tenured* than academia does.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 26, 2011 4:09:19 AM

I don't understand why these have any negative impact on a Dean's credibility? I think we could all agree that these same people could make double what they do now if they were in private practice. Anyone who can make it to the Dean of a top tier law school could probably be a senior partner at a big firm. The point is that schools want to attract top talent and pay is part of the equation. I've seen our Dean at work and he puts in an incredible of time into it and every student I've talked to sees the same. I also know a few senior partners who make way more and don't put spend nearly as much time working . . .

Proud UCI Law Student

Posted by: Jenny | Feb 25, 2011 1:23:19 PM

A managing director on Wall Street would laugh at these salaries.

Posted by: Porcupine | Feb 24, 2011 1:51:23 PM

i love the advice and explanations regarding 990 forms.... caron is a tax prof, me thinks he knows....

Posted by: classic | Feb 24, 2011 8:41:14 AM

How about Dean salaries at one of the lowest ranked lawschools: Ave Maria School of Law. For the last 990F ending the 2008 academic year, Dean Bernard Dobranski on medical leave earned a salary of $363,199. Acting Dean Gene Milhizer (now the Dean) earned $252,831. (that's not including non-taxable deferred income).

Posted by: Jiminy Cricket | Feb 24, 2011 6:28:09 AM

You could dig up some private school dean salaries too - as non profits private colleges and universities have to file 990s with the IRS. Those require disclosure of the salaries of highly paid employees which will of course include the football coach and the president but also often the deans of the law and business schools, and maybe even some endowed chairs.

Posted by: btraven | Feb 23, 2011 9:09:57 PM

About the same as a welder makes up here in Fort McMurray, Canada.

Posted by: Jason P | Feb 23, 2011 11:07:18 AM

No, Wahoo, overpaid is the correct answer! Indeed a good many of these are way higher than appropriate. A 'cap' of $250K across the board would be highly appropriate!

Posted by: DJG | Feb 23, 2011 5:35:51 AM

I'm having a tough time determining whether I take pride in UVA's Dean being so well paid (you know, results should matter and UVA has a well-thought of Law School) or if the Dean is overpaid. I think I'll stick with the former.

Posted by: Conservative Wahoo | Feb 23, 2011 3:36:22 AM

According to the numbers they are all considered rich according to Obama. I think
they should all pay higher taxes. They can all volunteer to pay those higher taxes.
Where are the Ivy League deans?

Posted by: PTL | Feb 22, 2011 3:29:13 PM

Any data on the median salaries of the 5000 to 6000 law school profs?

Posted by: cas127 | Feb 22, 2011 3:19:22 PM

As George Orwell reminds us, every society in human history has had a High, a Middle, and a Low.

"Social justice" has nothing to do with actually improving the lot of, or caring for, the Low. It has EVERYTHING to do with a disaffected group from the (upper) Middle trying to set itself up as the new High, using the Low as mascots.

Most of the policies that they promote to further this goal are both socially nefarious and perversions of justice.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | Feb 22, 2011 1:25:24 PM

this is really sad considering that about one in three law grads owe over 120,000 in debt; thus we see a business plan similar to that of the plantations of yore

Posted by: jack | Feb 22, 2011 1:12:01 PM

I believe the UC salaries listed above leave out some very cushy benefits such as housing allowances, car allowances, etc. Chemerinsky's and Edley's credibility suffers...

Posted by: anon | Feb 22, 2011 11:37:37 AM

No wonder none of them has moved on to Supreme Court justice ($213,900).

Posted by: Bob | Feb 22, 2011 6:49:35 AM

Two quick notes:

1. The salaries obviously don't have much to do with actual performance.

2. These are the same people who frequently talk about "social justice," does it undermine the argument--or at very least, their standing to raise it--that most are paid in the top two or three percent of all Americans.

Posted by: mike livingston | Feb 22, 2011 6:40:22 AM