For a long time I have thought that being a law professor is only the second best job in the world. The first is the traveling lecturer. This person is paid a salary and wanders from state to state and school to school and drops in on any class anywhere to give a lecture or just to say what is on his or her mind. It's a little like paid blogging only you go to neat places. So one day, you get up and think. . . hmmm, I wonder what is happening in San Diego and while I am in there I think I will talk to a freshmen class about Rigoletto and advances in reconstructive surgery.
Actually, some people have a job that is fairly close. These are the traveling law professors, often emeritus, who show up for a semester here or there to fill in. When you take those travelers, other double dippers, and adjuncts, it makes you wonder a bit about where this is all going.
For example, at my school and most others, a fair number of the offerings are taught by people who fall into one of four categories. There are adjuncts. They tend to be volunteers or, at least in my view, poorly paid. There are part time teachers who hold full time jobs somewhere else in the law school. And, there are permanent double dippers. These are people who retire from one school and accept a full time and fully paid position at another school. Finally, there are the theoretically temporary double dippers. These are people who retired from my school or another and are hired to teach a semester at a time.
What is true about most of these groups is that there is no tenure obligation. What should also be true is that they are relatively inexpensive. I do not know if any deans actually put it into practice but why pay a double dipper anything close to a regular salary? For example, if you retire from the University of Bozo at 60% salary, wouldn't you take a job and another school for a 70% salary? I mean it's still 130% for the same and probably less work. I understand that if the double dipper is highly valued the price may be bid up to a regular salary but I wonder how often that happens.
I am not sure of any of this, though, and wonder if twenty years from now law faculties will look very different and whether that will be a good thing.