Why has the cost of attending law school increased so drastically? Private law school tuition is a little more than two and half times higher in real dollars today than it was 25 years ago ($15K v. $40K), while resident tuition at public law schools is an astounding five times higher in real terms ($3.7K v. $18K). This post will look at the role that the increase in faculty costs have played. A subsequent post will look at other factors.
Faculty costs have gone through the roof, because of a combination of increased pecuniary and non-pecuniary compensation. In regard to the former, consider this data from one elite law school (Michigan. All figures are in 2010 dollars per the CPI).
In 1980, the highest-paid members of the faculty were making $172K per year, while the dean was paid $175.7K. Salaries for first-year tenure-track faculty were just under $74K. I don't know precisely what sort of summer research support, if any, was available at this time at UM (summer research money, which at many schools has come to function as a de facto part of peoples' salaries, began to be introduced at elite law schools at around this time, although the sums were comparatively modest when considered from today's perspective).
In 2010, the highest-paid members of the faculty had base salaries of $286K, while the dean was paid $447K. Salaries for first-year tenure-track faculty were $158K. In addition, all tenure-track faculty and most tenured faculty received summer research support equivalent to 15% of their base salaries. What this means, of course, is that a new faculty hire at UM last year was paid more ($182K) than the dean was being paid 30 years earlier, while senior faculty were making well north of $300K. It also means that entry level hires are being paid more than first year associates at top law firms, including bonuses (30 years ago first year associates at such firms were making $105K, i.e. 40% more than entry-level profs at elite law schools).
Surprisingly, this functional doubling of direct tenure-track faculty compensation -- considerably more than doubling at the junior level -- only accounts for about half of the increase in faculty costs over the course of the last generation. (Naturally this figure will vary somewhat from school to school, but given normal patterns of behavior within an economic cartel, it's fairly safe to extrapolate limited data to other members of the arrangement). The other main driver in the rise of the cost of the faculty has been how many more of us there are today relative to a generation ago.
Between 1978 and 2008, the student-faculty ratio at ABA law schools declined from 29 to 1 to 14.9 to 1. This ratio is calculated using the formula employed by the ABA when applying its accreditation standards, which count a full-time tenure-track faculty member as 1.0, a full-time non-tenure-track faculty member as .7, and an adjunct faculty member as .2 (tenure-track faculty who have administrative positions are counted as .5). The ABA standards currently feature a "presumption" that a student-faculty ratio of less than 20 to 1 is acceptable, and that one of 30 to 1 or greater is not (schools with anything between these two ratios are subject to what is no doubt a very careful and scientific balancing test by ABA accreditation review site committees).
Most of this decline in student-faculty ratio has taken place recently. Some individual schools have undergone truly stunning changes in student-faculty ratios in just the past few years. Between 1998 and 2008, for example, Harvard's ratio went from 21.6 to 10.3, mostly as a result of a hiring binge during the much-celebrated reign of Dean Elena Kagan. Stanford cut its ratio even more drastically over the same period, from 18.3 to 8.3, while Chicago went from 19.1 to 10.3. And, like everything else in legal academia, what's going on at the elite schools has a very strong ripple effect everywhere else. In the course of the same decade Emory went from 19.1 to 10.8, Seton Hall went from 26 to 15.5 and Widener went from 24.8 to 13.7.
In other words, since the 1980s per capita law school faculty direct compensation has roughly doubled, while the sheer number of faculty, relative to the size of law school student bodies, has also doubled. I have entered this data into a program that can only be run on a Cray supercomputer, and the resulting calculation suggests that total law school faculty costs are four times higher now than they were 30 years ago.
To what extent has this spending spree improved the quality of legal education? It has certainly reduced faculty teaching loads by quite a bit, and enabled a quadrupling of the number of law review articles being published, from a modest 2,500 per year in 1980 to about 10,000 per year in 2010. And of course it has attracted people to legal academia who would otherwise rather bill 2500 per year as big law firm associates than get paid 30% less to teach three or four classes per year and write one law review article as law school junior faculty members. That these people must exist in large numbers is evident from the fact that if they did not, then the current compensation structure for junior law school faculty would make no sense in terms of classic market theory, and since that is obviously impossible, we must assume that it makes sense to pay entry level faculty at top law schools close to $200,000 per year (In law school this is known as "reasoning from first principles.").
In this sense, I suppose, law students are getting what they're paying for.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Where all the money goes
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Hey, there are a ton of unemployed lawyers and no jobs - some of them would naturally become teachers. What's a law school supposed to do with a Cum Laude, clerkship etc. graduate gets Lathamed and is unemployable because they don't know how to bring in business because every penny of legal work is being chased by a pack of lawyers?ReplyDelete
You give them a jerb as a professor. My TTT was chock full of these HYS losers.
Surely the professors are working twice as hard than they were thirty years ago in order to earn this increase in pay.ReplyDelete
"That these people must exist in large numbers is evident from the fact that if they did not, then the current compensation structure for junior law school faculty would make no sense in terms of classic market theory, and since that is obviously impossible, we must assume that it makes sense to pay entry level faculty at top law schools close to $200,000 per year (In law school this is known as "reasoning from first principles.")."ReplyDelete
While it's true that law professors have been one of the main beneficiaries of the law school scam, can we blame them for it? I mean, it's not like they contrived the misleading job placement and average salary statistics.ReplyDelete
In fact, Ted Seto is the only law professor I know of in the entire country who advocates for his school's ability to place graduates into good jobs. See e.g. his recent laughable law review "scholarship" touting Loyola's "ability" to place partners in LA law firms (about 100 LA big firm partners came from Loyola, if you were wondering. About 10,000 graduates, and 100 biglaw partners.).
I find the comments to this blog amusing. You complain and complain but when it comes time to actually do something you chicken out or are too lazy. When CBS wanted to do a story you were too cowardly to come forward. The class action lawsuits re floundering because noone wants to put their names on the lawsuits. How many of you have written Boxer or Grassley? It is time to get off your behinds and do something. You and all your friends need to write Boxer and Grassley. And use your own names! Someone else is not going to solve your problem, you have to do it yourself.ReplyDelete
It's true 8:07. It's a blog of do-nothing losers, except for lawprof.ReplyDelete
Excellent piece, professor.ReplyDelete
Don't forget to include capital improvements, although these are often financed with capital donation funds or taxpayer money. (However, when those goals come up short, you can rest assured that current and subsequent classes of students will help pay the cost, in the form of higher tuition and fees.)
This stems from "higher education" as a whole. Isn't it amusing that as more classes are available online, and the job market requires more IT skills, the schools and universities insist on more classrooms, physical buildings, etc?!
Many law school professors are prima donnas and are jealous of and expect to be paid like biglaw partners. In fact, many of them could never hack it in biglaw and have turned into nothing more than glorified welfare queens suckling off the federal loan teat.ReplyDelete
This is just more evidence that law school is nothing but a wealth transfer from studens, and the American taxpayers via government backed student loans, to professors and administrators.ReplyDelete
The justification for the incredibly high salaries afforded law professors when compared with junior faculty in other disciplines has been that there is a market for legal services with which law schools must compete in order to lure the best and brightest legal minds. Of course, the reason that so many of the best and brightest find their way into legal academe may have at least something to do with the fact that the actual practice of law in the private/biglaw sector is, as has often been stated on this blog, uniquely awful. I personally think it says more about the entitlement that stems from elite legal education than actual viable alternative career paths that compensation for law professors is so high. It's interesting that basically the only way to have a humane and remunerative occupation as a lawyer is as a law professor. There's something morally bankrupt about this system.ReplyDelete
"There's something morally bankrupt about this system."ReplyDelete
Because fraud is an element of the machine, I would use the word criminal. As distasteful as all of this is, I could tolerate it if not for the fraudulent job placement promises. To me that crosses the line from decadence to somethign that requires complicit Deans to take the perp walk for defrauding - ultimately - the taxpayers.
I would like to add that in my recent law school experience, I ran across several (many) legal educators whom were little more than the embodiment of failure in the marketplace. I was being taught the practice of law (sorry, "theoretical underpinnings" of law) by people who could not maintain employment in the private sector. The irony was wrenching.ReplyDelete
It made about as much sense as it would for me to charge $100,000 to educate a person to be an astronaut.
The argument that law professors need to be so highly compensated because otherwise they'd just go back to private practice is a joke.ReplyDelete
Not because they'd have a hard time going into practice with their limited experience. I don't think that's true. Maybe for the Law And set, but people teaching things like securities, administrative law, environmental regulations, they'd have a pretty easy time. Firms will take the prestige, and professors are generally pretty well connected politically and socially, so they'd be decent rainmakers. Plus, they join as partners and have associates do all the grunt work anyways.
The reason we can reject the flee-to-practice argument is by looking at other fields where professors could make a ton of money out in the private sector but instead choose to remain professors, despite being paid less than law professors. Specifically, look at math and physics professors. They make about as much as an assistant law professor, but out in the real world could easily beat the median lawyer pay, especially if they went to Wall Street.
Should professors of law be paid this much? Of course not. It seems like we've gone waaaay beyond the point of diminishing returns on professor salary. How much better at teaching torts would a professor who makes $400,000 a year be than a professor who makes $100,000 a year? This situation is absurd.ReplyDelete
As many have been pointing out, this is just another symptom of the distorting effects of unlimited government subsidization.
At my law school, we employ several tenure-track professors that we call "writing professors." Each of them teaches exactly one class per semester and earns between $65K and $95K per year.ReplyDelete
Staff are told that there isn't money for raises year after year, and students are told that declining state support and increasing operational costs make annual tuition increases necessary. Yet faculty get raises every year (last year, faculty got 6%).
I really don't understand how a faculty member, who is doing the exact same job he or she did in the previous year, can look a student in the eye and explain how the increased student loan burden is improving that student's education or future earnings prospects in any way.
Okay so let's do something. Lets make this weekend write the senators weekend. Spread the news. email your friends, twitter, facebook, announce it around law school or work. Get as many people as possible to write.ReplyDelete
Senator Chuck Grassley
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224 - 3744
Fax: (202) 224-6020
Office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Thanks 9:46. Don't forget the other Senator, I think Coburn.ReplyDelete
Why not also call the professors at your law school, explain your miserable financial situation and tell them that you resent the fact that you had to be victimized to support their cush and opportunistic lifestyle?ReplyDelete
In ALL other businesses - ripping people off leads to them expressing their dissatisfaction to you personally. Why should law professors get a pass?
Where do endowments fit in, and how does that differ down the food chain? I'd imagine it's a pretty drastic descent. HYS could probably charge zero dollars tuition and still pay its faculty whatever it pays them. But that's probably not true even by the time you get to Michigan. (Yes, you're right. I should look it up. And so I will.)ReplyDelete
"HYS could probably charge zero dollars tuition and still pay its faculty whatever it pays them."ReplyDelete
This is true. Lawprof showed numbers a few days ago demonstrating that Harvard's endowment grows by about $70 million per year (note this is net, after all expenses, including salaries, are paid).
There are other faculty "perks" such as interest free loans, subsidized apartments, and funding for sabbaticals. I also look forward to the post on administrative costs (which indirectly subsidize faculty who do not have to play roles in admissions and career counseling) and facilities costs (if alumni pay for a brand new building, do the maintenance costs also come from alumni donations?)ReplyDelete
I also know some lawprofs do lucrative consulting work for law firms or on cases and command hourly rates as high as a senior biglaw partner. One prof even tried to take a percentage of the contingency fee on a billion dollar tobacco litigation case. Disgusting.
Lawprof, do you have any data on how private law schools stack up to their public counterparts? Could we expect profs at UPenn to be paid more than profs at Michigan?
"I also know some lawprofs do lucrative consulting work for law firms or on cases and command hourly rates as high as a senior biglaw partner."ReplyDelete
This is true, but not as common as you think. For example, at NYU Arthur Miller (hall of fame level talent civ. pro. professor, but to be fair, also kind of an asshole) regularly consults. But not all professors get that level of status.
There's no systematic data that I know of regarding private law school salaries, but for competitive reasons it's unlikely they deviate much from the figures reflected at comparable public schools. Michigan is the highest ranked public school, which is a problem in this regard, since that could mean the scale at HYS for example is a good deal higher.ReplyDelete
As regards consulting, an anecdote I've heard from more than one person: until about 30 years ago HLS senior faculty salaries were set to be equal to those of federal judges (they are now of course much higher). Professors who found this insufficiently munificent were expected to consult. Relatedly, when Philip Areeda (HLS antitrust guru) died he left a several million dollar estate, which his will donated back to the law school.
Then let's make this weekend mail the senators weekend!ReplyDelete
What I want to know is, what percent is faculty cost of the total tuition income?ReplyDelete
Actually, to know "Where all the money goes", we would need to see a school's complete income and expense statement and balance sheet.
Isn't part of the salary run-up due to USN&WR? The peer assessment is as much of a factor as student body quality, and thus that starts a bidding war for professors who can bring some name recognition to the school.ReplyDelete
At the junior end, one imagines that the increases in salary for the "name" professors would also raise salaries for new profs, if only to keep the gap between the two at a reasonable level.
11:48: The quoted figures indicate that the increase in entry level salaries has been quite a bit larger in percentage terms than that in senior salaries. 30 years ago the highest-paid senior people at UM wee making about 2.3 times as much as the entry-level hires. The comparable proportion is now about 1.8 times.ReplyDelete
One reason why medical and dental schools charge so much, is because they have low student/faculty ratios for the purposes of clinical instruction.ReplyDelete
The classical law school model was to jam 80 to 120 student in a room for most classes which saves money for the school and allows them to maximize profits.
It appears that the increase in faculty members has generally not flowed into clinical programs. (good ones last a full academic year IMO to give students more time to work on real cases)
Instead the increase in faculty allows more professors to write more law school review articles and teach small seminars, some with no, or questionable applicability to the real world.
For those law schools (most of them) which are producing practicioners rather then judicial clerks and future professors, this is very dishearting. Law schools could have helped prepare their students for future practice, but found it more convienant to spend the money in other ways.
Do you guys think most law profs would really be able to transition easily to actual law practice? Given how ugly and competitive it is out here in the real world, I'm just not sure.ReplyDelete
What I'm saying is: there's not a ton of work to go around; the working conditions are awful (including for partners); not -all- law profs are going to be rainmakers; and how are these law profs going to have any practical skills at all?
The thought of some of these overpaid, clueless law profs with lax workloads dealing with the same grind and bullshit those of us who actually practice deal with. . . well, it's amusing to think about,
"Do you guys think most law profs would really be able to transition easily to actual law practice?"ReplyDelete
Of course not. There are so many lawyers chasing so little work that they wouldn't stand a chance.
Interesting. This Is very different from the days I've seen from universities in general, which have mostly held faculty salaries flat br replacing tenured profs with adjuncts that don't get benefits,ReplyDelete
Physics and math professors on Wall Street...ReplyDelete
@1:39: See Quantitative AnalysisReplyDelete
Does anyone have numbers on how this is reflected on what law professors do at law schools these days. At my law school, and a long time ago, professors taught three courses a semester. 1L sections were 110 students, mainline courses (evidence, wills, civil procedure, criminal law and so forth) were 75 or more. Throw in a specialized discipline at 40-50 and a seminar and they were handling 350+ students a year. Now with four classes a year, including a law and ____ course and a seminar or two it must not be much more than half of that. It seems that the modern professor is taking part of his compensation in the coin of idleness. William OckhamReplyDelete
Ockham: How long ago was that, if you don't mind sharing?ReplyDelete
@1:39-- yeah, I know. But being on Wall Street for any length of time is about more than just being good with numbers.ReplyDelete
I'm doubtful that the vast majority of law profs would be able to find work in private practice. You'd have to be an expert in a field with a lot of business (sec reg comes to mind), and the firm hiring you would need to have enough purely analytical work to keep you busy (since you wouldn't know how to do anything other than analyze issues).ReplyDelete
My guess is that the growth in faculty has a lot to do with the ascendancy of USNWR rankings as the sole metric of success in law school land.ReplyDelete
Re: physics/math profs on Wall Street. The numbers guys can always partner with the "rainmakers" or they work in a division trading the bank's own money or where they don't have to deal with clients. See the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management which was founded by a traditional, non-quant trader but included an All-Star roster of Ph.Ds and Nobel Prize winners (the fund blew up spectacularly in the late 90s.)ReplyDelete
The fact that so many engineers, physicists and math Ph.Ds head to Wall Street is a huge fail on the part of the country.
The norm is two classes per semester. Then there are committee assignments--one or two committees--depending upon the difficulty of the committee. If you are a good faculty member, you read the work of others--in your school and outside. You attend Faculty workshops given by professors in the law school and visitors. You are also supposed to read the work of candidates who are interviewing at the school. Some faculty members are asked to supervise student papers, particularly third year papers,independent research projects, and externships. They work with the students on the law review and Moot Court. Then there are letters of recommendations for clerkships, which can be a large number in some schools. Not so much in others. Some people work on their own scholarship during the year, others save it for summer.There are other things, but that's about it.ReplyDelete
Engineering, math, and physics PhDs, yes. People who actually become professors are a different matter. The person above was talking about professors in those fields leaving academia and going off to Wall Street.ReplyDelete
And if the prof worked on the tobacco litigation case, why should he not get paid?
"The fact that so many engineers, physicists and math Ph.Ds head to Wall Street is a huge fail on the part of the country."ReplyDelete
Here we go again with the arm-chair high finance commentary. Listen people, I understand wall street is sexy because they are perceived as these uber-wealthy people, but I'm tired of every poser interjecting it into every conversation everywhere. You're not Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger or George Soros, so stop acting like it.
Three classes per year is the norm at pretty much all top 50 schools, and is becoming increasingly common at schools below that level. At elite schools there are so many research leaves and the like that the average is probably closer to two classes per year for a lot of people.ReplyDelete
He should get paid if he worked on the case. However, the "agreement" at issue was a handshake, and I have a hard time believing a plaintiff's lawyer agreed to award a percentage fee of a case to a law professor. You have to be doing substantial work on the case to earn that kind of compensation. If that was the case, what about that professor's other obligations during that time, including teaching? I wonder how the Northeastern students felt knowing their professor was making a good salary as an academic (i.e. not taking on any of the risk of losing the case) while trying to claim 5% of over $2 billion in fees.ReplyDelete
If you are interested, the case is
Daynard v. Ness Motley 290 F.3d 42
As for professors on Wall Street:
2:34: I'm not a law professor, so I have no right to comment on law professor salaries. I'm not a law dean, so I can't hold an opinion on whether law school tuition is too high. Got it.ReplyDelete
Law Prof, where do we find the information on the the teaching loads at the top 50 law schools, along with information about the research leaves? of individual professors?ReplyDelete
Didn't they settle the Daynard case?ReplyDelete
And I would be really happy if my prof were involved in that litigation. I had a prof who was involved in a very high profiled case while I was in his class. Several people from our section got to be research assistants on the case.ReplyDelete
Teaching loads for tenure track faculty are easy to calculate by adding up the number of credits taught by tenure track faculty at a school in an academic year and then dividing by the total number of tenure track faculty. This is public information if you want to do it yourself.ReplyDelete
You have done that for 50 schools? I know you have written about law schools in other contexts. So, on average, professors at the top fifty law schools teach two classes per year. This is becoming (has become) the norm, you say, at lower ranked schools, too.ReplyDelete
What I meant to ask was did this information come to light in your earlier work on law schools?ReplyDelete
Three per year is the normal load at several dozen schools. People will end up averaging less than that because of sabbaticals and research leaves. The latter are far more common at the highest ranked schools, so at elite schools the functional average will creep toward two.ReplyDelete
I have just never heard that people at most schools only teach 3 classes per year. That isn't how it is at any institution I know of. How many sabbaticals does Colorado give individual professors. And how many paid research leaves?ReplyDelete
This is the problem with law school: Why do you think what you've "heard" means something? You can believe what I write or you can do your own goddamned research.ReplyDelete
What is the matter with you? All I'm saying is that of the people I have encountered at law schools over the years, I do not recall anyone ever saying that the normal teaching load at their school was approaching two course per year. I asked you if these figures are part of other work you have done, and you get all riled up.ReplyDelete
Great post, but I don't think Michigan is representative. They're known for paying above market not only to attract talent, but also because they need to compete with more desirable climates and metro areas (nice as its location is).
For law professor salary info, see, e.g., http://www.saltlaw.org/userfiles/SALT_salary_survey_2009.pdf
3:53: The flip side is that Ann Arbor, while very expensive by state of Michigan standards, is a lot cheaper than most of the places that are home to elite law schools. $250K in AA goes a whole lot further than in the Bay area or NYC or DC or even Chicago.ReplyDelete
Law prof: you should also mention the very generous retirement benefits many universities offer. My dad retired from Vandy in the mid-nineties with a very generous retirement portfolio. I doubt Vandy is uniquely generous in this regard. It seems this is yet another additive to the high cost of legal education.ReplyDelete
Additionally, it seems to me when he retired, he was probably teaching only three to four, at most, courses a year.
One more point: At Vandy, your kids can attend undergrad tuition free. If your kids don't gat in Vandy, Vandy will pay tuition, up to the cost of Vandy tuition at another accredited school. I believe this is a fairly standard perk at most good, private universities. This too, is a rather costly additive.ReplyDelete
Okay, could we just have a moratorium on asking LawProf questions about the University of Colorado Law School. How much the other law professors make, the amount of work they do and their politics, his opinion on recent faculty hires. Isn't his life hard enough as it is? William OckhamReplyDelete
A common pension arrangement (now that to the best of my knowledge almost all schools have gone to defined contribution rather than defined benefit plans) is for the school to contribute an amount equal to 9% of professor's salary to the professor's retirement fund, while the faculty member contributes 5%, which is taken out from his or her salary pre-tax.
Good point about tuition benefits for spouses and children. That can be a huge fringe benefit for people who teach at expensive private schools and have several kids.
Absolutely huge. Vandy's tuition is 40k per year.
Michigan matches 10% to 5% for retirement fund contributions.ReplyDelete
4:39: Thanks for the info.ReplyDelete
I've talked to a fair number of law professors and aspiring law professors. Overwhelmingly, they want to be professors, not lawyers. Indeed, one reason that JD/PhDs are proliferating is that academics complete a PhD and then cannot find a position. More than once I've heard, "well, I don't really want to be a lawyer."ReplyDelete
Given this strong preference for being a professor, I don't see why law schools need to offer such high salaries. The chances that these people would depart for the private sector, the public sector, or public interest law are low. It's true that schools are competing with each other, but I'm still surprised that the salaries have increased so much, particularly since the schools aren't really all in competition with each other. For example, most professors I know would not take a lower-tier position over a T-14 job, regardless of pay (unless the difference was massive).
I disagree about the math/physics professors going on Wall Street. Speaking from someone who has a math degree and is familiar with the field, I don't doubt these jobs exist. But the problem is that for most PhDs their background for such jobs is insufficient. If your background is in a low demand/esoteric field like analytic number theory or weird parts of algebraic topology it would be hard to land a job at a bank. True, these people probably got programming skills along the way (which is why I think engineers and physicists are more apt for these jobs since they involve more computer skills than most theoretical pure branches of mathematics)but the mathematics behind this field is pretty much based on probability, which not everyone specializes in. Your post seems to suggest that anyone with math/science PhD can jump into quantitative finance and I think that's only true if they can prove themselves and it helps if they come from an appropriate background. Also there seems to be multiple masters programs popping up that are designed to get people into this field without the time commitment of a doctorate, most notably the one at NYU Courant. IMO quantitative finance seems to be a fad in this generation and who knows how long it will last. Let's face it most math professors are more similar to philosophy professors in terms of their works and methodologies ,agree?
5:31: The justification for law professor salaries is ideological, not "rational" in the classical micro-economic sense. It would be easy to cut faculty compensation in half with zero loss of educational quality. The notion that it's necessary to pay entry-level law professors the same salary as Princeton full professors in genuine academic fields is, shall we say, not well established.ReplyDelete
Paid undergraduate tuition for faculty children. Is this taxable income? William OckhamReplyDelete
Not when my brother and I attended Vandy in the Seventies. I believe it is still tax free as long as it complies with certain IRS requirements, i.e. accreditation, etc. but I'm not certain. I'm just a PI lawyer after all.ReplyDelete
8:25. Scholarships are generally tax free income so long as the funds are used for tuition and books. See IRS Publication 570.ReplyDelete
LovelyHulaHands: "Speaking from someone who has a math degree and is familiar with the field, I don't doubt these jobs exist. But the problem is that for most PhDs their background for such jobs is insufficient."ReplyDelete
Agreed. I think the idea that anyone with a math or physics phd can easily walk over to Wall Street and easily pick up a super high paying quantitative finance job is just a myth that grad students tell each other to make themselves feel better. There's a lot of people with skills in programming and probability, and not that many high paying quant jobs to go around. And nowadays, there's specialized degree programs specifically to prepare people for that kind of work.
I hadn't really thought much about the absurdity of how much law school professors get paid until I found out that Supreme Court Justices get paid around $215,000. I'd like to hear the rationalization for someone teaching gender law or legal theory in France in the 1760s getting paid more than John Roberts.
Nevertheless, I can understand if a private school like Harvard or Yale raises tuition through the roof: they are private, don't go if you don't want to pay. What bugs me is when public law schools or law schools of religious institutions ("We believe in social welfare") do the same. I guess from that standpont it is acceptable from a religious standpoint to burden a student with 200K of debt with no job prospects.
Anonymous @ JANUARY 24, 2012 7:56 AM.ReplyDelete
"I hadn't really thought much about the absurdity of how much law school professors get paid until I found out that Supreme Court Justices get paid around $215,000. I'd like to hear the rationalization for someone teaching gender law or legal theory in France in the 1760s getting paid more than John Roberts."
I did a little google'n of a few random state / public schools off the top of my head, thinking most would have salaries posted online somewhere. I found several without much difficulty. Every Dean I looked at, as well as many of the professors, made more than a sitting Supreme Court Justice.
Links of interest:
"Salares for current Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court." http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscourtsystem/a/supctjustices.htm.
"The median expected salary for a typical Dean of Law in the United States is $264,577." http://www1.salary.com/Dean-of-Law-Salary.html.
It should be of little surprise that others in the judiciary make far less than those ensconced within the comforts of academia.
"Pay gap dismays federal judges." http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-09-23-judges-pay_N.htm.
Would any Supreme Court justice voluntarily trade place with any of those higher-paid profs?ReplyDelete
Would any (all?) of those profs trade places and give up their salary?
I'm not trying to justify the profs' salaries, but this isn't about the relative "worth" of their jobs.
No of course not. You'd have to have the opportunistic morals of a psychopath to take a deanship at a TTT.ReplyDelete
I assume you understand that the fraud machine doesn't run on auto-pilot. The Dean has to make very intentional and carefully planned decisions to propogate the scam. Add in the fact that Deans are usually very old, and that their victims are very young, and you have an additional creepy intergenerational theft dynamic.
I'd rather make sandwiches at Subway than do that. Honest living.
For guidance purposes as to the rate some professors are charging, one admitted to charging $1000/hr for advanced expertise in Chinese law. I'm sure he doesn't bill a lot of those day in day out, but still a nice bonus when it happens.ReplyDelete
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