Friday, April 27, 2007

A new market: law professors?

Paul Caron (MoneyLaw2.0: The Law Prof Exchange) & Jeff Harrison (Is There Hope for MoneyLaw?) have posed some great questions for MoneyLaw, and if we're going to come up w/a market for Law Professors (LaPDAQ? MLPE?), we're going to need analysts to provide information.

That, of course, gets us back to the original issue that MoneyLaw suggested: that someone is worth more for what he's doing than for where he went to school and where he clerked. Not all law schools understand this concept in hiring, but they do in allocating annual raises. (I've never heard an executive committee of the faculty argue for higher raises for someone on the basis of school/clerkship.)

Should the analysts take those raises themselves into account? (From a personal point of view, I hope not--after I stepped down as dean and announced that I was going to Boyd School of Law at UNLV, I was told that I wasn't getting a raise for the rest of my time at Houston.) Dick Chait, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and one of my personal gurus, has suggested that raises really don't affect what good professors do. We'd still want to teach well and continue our research whether or not the administration rewarded us for our past work.

What about raises that reflect a bidding war for a professor "in play"? There are good and bad reasons for an analyst to look at those types of raises. A large raise (or the granting of a professorship) indicates the current institution's valuation of the professor but could be limited by the current institution's funds, by a provost who doesn't approve the raise, or by a dean's unwillingness to retain that professor. Most retention packages fly slightly under the radar, making more internal news than external news. And the more that people have to resort to school-shopping to get large raises, the less institutional cohesiveness that school will have.

So what factors should MLPE analysts use?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there consensus that faculty pay actually contributes to outcomes for students? I'm sorry, but I catch the stench of regulatory capture when deans promise to improve law school rankings by increasing outlays to the ranks from which they rose.

One school I can think of has had fantastic rankings success on the back of a "faculty quality" revolution. People are trying to duplicate the result elsewhere, putting other aspects of their schools on the chopping block. If it legitimately improves the students, great. But show me the evidence.

The institutional problem, though, is that all the other LS's do this. It's like how you need to buy an SUV to see over all the other SUV's - complete bandwagon effect.

4/28/2007 6:15 PM  

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