Paul L. Caron

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Legal Writing Professors, Salary Disparities, And The Impossibility Of 'Improved Status'

Amy Soled (Rutgers), Legal Writing Professors, Salary Disparities, and the Impossibility of 'Improved Status', 24 J. Legal Writing 47 (2020):

There should be a concerted effort to eliminate the wage discrimination experienced by legal writing faculty. A legal writing professor’s status cannot truly improve until the pay gap that exists between those who teach legal writing and those who teach other legal topics is closed. Until law schools address the economic disparity between these two classes of professors, a legal writing professor’s status will remain mired below that of her counterparts who teach other areas of the law.

This essay first highlights the pay disparities that exist among doctrinal faculty and legal writing professors. It then demonstrates the negative effect those disparities have on the employee and the institution. Finally, it suggests ways to achieve pay parity and improve the status of legal writing professors.

Not every professor should earn the same salary, but pay differentials should not be based on whether a full-time faculty member teaches legal writing or some other course. Instead, the difference in pay among faculty — regardless of the course the faculty member teaches – should be determined based upon a number of factors such as educational background, scholarly productivity, performance in the classroom, and experience.

Law schools should support their faculty holistically. The first step towards equality is to erase the pay gap that exists between legal writing professors and other faculty members. Until this is done, legal writing professors will always be de facto second-class citizens compared to their colleagues. Pay equity will improve the status of the legal writing professor and, by extension, the quality of legal education in general.

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