Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Ethics Of Law Faculty Buyouts

Faculty BuyoutsJeff Redding (St. Louis), Revisiting Buyout Ethics:

I've written on this before, but even more so now than before, it’s buyout season in American legal academia.  While there are only a few law schools’ buyout programs which have been made public, many suspect that most law schools have tried to handle their declining enrollments, in part, by buying out tenured faculty.  For the most part, buyouts are handled confidentially, lending inscrutability to their parameters—and also their ethics.  In this post, I’d like to revisit this topic and suggest again some ethical queries that should be a part of the design of every law school’s buyout program.  The following set of queries is certainly not exhaustive;  I’m sure there’s many others that could be—and will be—raised!

The first issue that some people might surely raise, with respect to all this, is an ethical query about the existence of a buyout program itself.  Isn’t this just a bonanza for anyone who gets and takes a buyout offer? ... My analysis here suggests that there are some serious inter-generational equity concerns implicit in buyout programs.  In turn, these can serve as proxies for some serious inter-racial, inter-gender, and inter-sexuality ethical quandaries.

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