Paul L. Caron
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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Why Are Some Law Teachers Called 'Instructor' Rather Than 'Professor'?

ABA Journal, At Some Law Schools, Why Are Those Who Teach Called 'Instructor' Rather Than 'Professor'?:

At Rutgers, everyone who teaches law is called a professor, but that is not true at many other institutions, where faculty who teach topics including legal writing, academic success and clinical work are often given titles including “instructor” or “director.” They are usually paid less than tenure-track professors and sometimes have little if any job security, according to academics interviewed by the ABA Journal.

According to 2019 article by Renee Nicole Allen, Alicia Jackson and DeShun Harris, men traditionally occupying faculty seats at law schools, while women work in skills positions, including libraries, legal writing, clinics, academic success. The article, titled “The ‘Pink Ghetto’ Pipeline: Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Legal Education,” states that women often enter legal education work through nontenured skills-based teaching jobs, which frequently are done on a contract basis and pay poorly, with heavy workloads.

Besides gender disparities, racial disparities exist, too, says says Rachel López, a professor at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University, who also directs its Andy and Gwen Stern Community Lawyering Clinic. “In the legal academy, so many who dispel racism and inequality in scholarship for some reason are blind to it at their own institution,” she adds.

López wrote an article, Unentitled: the Power of Designation in the Legal Academy, which is scheduled for publication in the Rutgers University Law Review. Law school titles can cement disparities for people who teach but are not given the professor title, according to the article.

It also describes problems some academics, including López, have had when students, unprompted, call them by their first names. According to her article, it’s not unusual for students to call her by her first name, even after she asks them to use her professor title.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2021/09/why-are-some-law-teachers-called-instructor-rather-than-professor.html

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