TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, November 30, 2015

List Of Law School Faculty Buyouts

Update:  Brian Leiter (Chicago):

It's perhaps worth noting that a number of these schools are now hiring junior faculty this year, indicating that their finances have stabilized, and they are now ready to meet the institutional needs that require full-time faculty.  I expect we will see more of this in the next couple of years, which will contribute to an improved market for new law teachers.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/11/list-of-law-school-faculty-buyouts.html

Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

The fact that there are 70+ schools still out there hiring faculty is beyond me. The fact that a few hundred highly qualified individuals each year still try to enter the market on the hopes of obtaining a cushy, six-figure job that only requires 6-12 hours of real work a week--all at the expense of indebted students who will never work in practice--is equally incomprehensible to me.

Can a hiring faculty member, or a candidate please explain either one to me? I am really curious.

Posted by: JM | Nov 30, 2015 7:38:56 AM

All your factual assertions are false, no wonder it seems "incomprehensible" to you.

Posted by: Reader | Nov 30, 2015 9:29:23 AM

Other law schools are doing targeted buyouts but trying to keep it confidential.

Posted by: incomplete list | Nov 30, 2015 9:59:32 AM

As a newish faculty member, I wish someone would explain to me how to do this job in under 12 hours a week!

Posted by: new prof | Nov 30, 2015 10:39:43 AM

My for sale sign is up.

Posted by: Jeff Harrison | Nov 30, 2015 10:45:07 AM

JM-

Thoughts aren't going to think themselves. Public intellectual is nice work if you can get it. You still have to grade papers, though. The horror!

Posted by: Jojo | Nov 30, 2015 11:09:32 AM

The Nebraska buyout appears to be targeted at professors across the university, so it's misleading to treat it as a "law school" buyout.

Posted by: anonprof | Nov 30, 2015 12:37:39 PM

Sure, I can explain it to you:

(1) I didn't make 6 figures until after my sixth year of teaching at a fairly well regarding private law school. That was after taking roughly a 50% pay cut from the private sector (making $140K plus $25K bonus as an associate, to roughly $80K as a law professor). And before anyone begins frothing at the mouth: I don't regret it for a moment, and $80K was and is still a lot of money.

(2) Even as a non-administrative faculty member, I have always worked roughly 50-60 hours per week during the academic year, approximately 20-30 hours of that on teaching or student-related activities. Per semester: Roughly 6-8 hours in class; 2-3 hours prepping for each and every class session; 5 or so hours of formal office hours; 5-10 hours weekly responding to student emails; 2-3 hours advising, speaking to, or working with individual students or student groups around academics, job searches, student events, writing references, etc. So, 20 hours per week per semester on the low end and about 30 on the high end on teaching or student-related matters alone.

Then, add in committee work and research & writing and you easily get to 50-60 hours per week if you are a responsible and productive teacher, scholar, and mentor, which – believe it or not –the overwhelming majority of my colleagues and I are. The fact that some self-admitted slackers, like a certain well-known hero of the scambloggers, may choose not work as much as the rest of us doesn't mean the rest of us don't work hard.

But hey, why let facts get in the way of your argument?

(3) The fact that X number of schools are searching doesn't mean that X will actually end up hiring in a given year. Thus, the actual number of hires will be X minus something.

Posted by: anon | Nov 30, 2015 1:21:29 PM

"Finances have stabilized."

Funny, my law school is now taking in less than half of the 1L's that it did a few years ago and has to give out a LOT more >50%, full, and more-than-full discounts to get them to enroll. They are almost certainly losing multiple millions per year - unless those dubious new LLM and MLS programs are enrolling by the legion, that is.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Nov 30, 2015 2:00:15 PM

Hey "anon," that's a pretty impressive work schedule. Let's look at one item of it to get a sense of how realistic your billing sheets actually are: 5 to 10 hours per week responding to student emails. How long does it take to respond to an email? Let's say five minutes on average, although that's probably way too high, given that most can be answered in a minute or less. Five minutes per email would mean you're answering 60 to 120 student emails per week. Wow! You must be super popular with your students, or a completely incomprehensible lecturer, or maybe both.

More likely you're wildly exaggerating all the numbers in your hypothetical time sheets, but since nobody will ever audit them who will ever know? (The notion that the *typical* law professor works 55-60 hours per week is really too comical for words).

Posted by: Certain Well Known Hero | Nov 30, 2015 7:42:58 PM

6-12 hours a week? I prefer to think that the job is so interesting that we don't have to do any "real work" except when we're writing and grading exams.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Nov 30, 2015 10:10:03 PM

I would take issue with the characterization that hundreds of "highly qualified" individuals seek law teaching jobs each year. Hundreds of highly credentialed individuals seek law teaching jobs each year, and the majority of them suck at teaching. They write the hell out of narrowly-focused, predominately useless "legal scholarship" in the form of law-review articles, which seems to be the way their club has agreed they shall be evaluated, to the exclusion of teaching any of the students anything useful.

Posted by: Brendon Carr | Dec 1, 2015 3:19:03 AM

@ Anon,

I meant the 6-12 hour figure to be an inflammatory exaggeration, but then you went out and validated it: ["Roughly 6-8 hours in class; 2-3 hours prepping for each and every class session"]. That is all I consider to be "real work" as office hours are frequently empty, and answering emails is easy and only should take an hour or so a week.

Posted by: JM | Dec 1, 2015 6:15:07 AM

Sure, JM and "Well Known." You win. Whatever you say about my work schedule is fine with me: I'm sure you know my job better than I do.

Posted by: anon | Dec 1, 2015 6:33:51 AM

I love how people who have never done this job have complete understanding of its responsibilities and schedule. Got hubris?

PS: just because something is repeated ad nauseum on your scamblogs doesnt make it true.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 1, 2015 6:37:51 AM

PPS: Just because something is repeated ad nauseum by law professors doesn't make it true either. Now it may be true, Anon, that you spend two or three hours prepping for "each and every class session," but I've observed the work habits of law faculty from the inside at four different law schools, and your practices, if that's what they are, are very far from the norm. The scam blogs do tend toward exaggeration, but people like you exaggerate just as much if not more in the opposite direction. The median number of weekly hours worked by tenured law faculty, at least at schools below the elite national level (I can't vouch for faculty habits at that level) is certainly far below 40, even assuming a Euro-style 46-week work year. 20-25 hours is probably a realistic estimate (again this is a median -- obviously some people work a lot more, but quite a few work less).

BTW, surfing Taxprof etc doesn't count as work.

Posted by: CWKH | Dec 1, 2015 10:28:04 AM

CWKH,

Interesting. Are your observations based on having actually been a law professor yourself? I ask not to suggest that your observations aren't truthfully reported, but they may well be incomplete (If, for example, based solely on the number of hours you see tenured faculty in the building, it would not count, e.g., the fact that after leaving the office yesterday, I also worked from home from about 7:30-10pm last night on class-related matters).

To be clear: I don't mean any of this to be at all self-congratulatory or martyrdom. As Orin expressed up thread, most of what we do is so enjoyable that it hardly qualifies as "work" in the world where I come from (which is not the elite corridors of academia or the upper class, but from a working class, often broke, and sometimes literally hungry family due to insufficient income). That doesn't mean that I don't work hard (and yes, my work habits are what I said they are: whether you choose to believe I'd make it up for some reason isn't something I can persuade you otherwise about). It just means that unlike most people, I get to work hard at something I really enjoy, for which I really am grateful.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 1, 2015 12:23:35 PM

I'm a new, untenured prof at a non-elite law school. I sometimes work as many hours as I did in practice. But not regularly. I regularly work ~40 hours weeks. But those hours are not at all 9-5. After all, giving up the big law salary was supposed to be in exchange for a better life, wasn't it?

During the week, I usually work 8-1130, 3-530 and 8-10. I regularly work on the weekends too, though I don't mind it at all (in contrast to when I was in practice). If someone was evaluating my hours based on how many hours a week I was in my office, they'd have a misguided understanding of how many hours I work.


Posted by: new prof | Dec 1, 2015 6:06:54 PM

My goodness. Perhaps some of the law professors in these comment sections should leave their gilded environs and ask professors from other parts of the academy about their teaching loads and salaries. I won't even get started on the plight of adjuncts. Law professorizing is pretty much the sweetest teaching gig in higher education.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Dec 2, 2015 3:58:49 PM

U NE,

Yes. We know. We said that ourselves earlier.

Your point?

Posted by: Anon | Dec 2, 2015 6:20:14 PM

Orin Kerr: " I prefer to think that the job is so interesting that we don't have to do any "real work" except when we're writing and grading exams."

As I like to say - Those who can do, those who don't have to get to teach.

Posted by: jon | Dec 6, 2015 1:47:48 AM

Most law deans and professors have not seen the inside of a courtroom in a long time. I practice more law in a week than most have in the last several years, if any. You students need to ask this: When was the last time you filed an appearance for a client in a real court room and was the ONLY attorney of record and tried that case or put on a contested motion?

Posted by: Sy Ablelman | Dec 6, 2015 10:12:23 AM

Paul Campos has the actual data that indicates that the average Solo in the US brings in about 37K per year. You law deans and professors, to save the profession and save students from crushing debt, take a salary hair cut. A cap of 49-50K to bring you in line with the solo in an over saturated market.

Posted by: Sy Ablelman | Dec 6, 2015 10:17:35 AM