At my school we blind grade which does not mean we cannot see the papers but that we do not know whose they are. The idea is that you might be inclined -- consciously or unconsciously to grade some agreeable people higher and others lower. And then there is the halo effect that may influence the grade you give someone who was really great in class but did not do so well on the exam.
If you think law school Deans are unaffected by personal views and halo effects, you are asking too much and I have some swamp land for sale in Forida. Thus, shouldn't law schools consider blind salarying? There is a difference, though, between deans and graders. Deans are closer to elected officials than most other professionals I know of. For elected officials the first priority is to do what is necessary to keep the job or, in deanspeak, not have a "failed deanship." In the "what is necessary" department I have seen some doozies including the world record one that was in this very sentence until my better judgment, in one of its rare appearances, said "Don't do it."
Blind salarying would mean salaries would be based on an objective assessment of productivity. I don't think that could be achieved by blotting off the names on yearly reports because Deans -- unlike faculty grading papers -- will know who did what. So, the blind grading should be done by a third party -- say a special committee of the AALS that analyzes faculty performance from each school each year and files a report -- almost like a big arbitration but there are are no "sides."
I fear some readers may not know that I realize this is unworkable. In the last AALS listing that included a category for Objective Law Professors there were only 27 entries and that was in 1955. Can you imagine what would happen today with blind salarying. The quality of work would depend largely on whether the reviewer agreed (as it probably did in 1955).
Aside from the objectivity matter, how would we define productivity? Here this a little more hope because we could at least agree on what it is not. There would be no correlation between salary and:
1. Unquestioning loyalty to the dean whether in the form of formal membership in the administration or cheer leading.
2. Threats to leave when one has tried and can not scare up an offer.
3. Threats to leave that the dean feels would make him or her look bad. This is very different from a departure that would actually damage the law school.
4. Never having uttered a public word in opposition to the dean.
5. Whining, butt-kissing and office visits to the dean. In fact salaries would be inversely related to the amount of time in the dean's office or on the phone with the dean.
6. Ingratiating efforts in the form of "advising" the dean on what is really going on with the faculty that she should know about not because she needs to know but because you want her to know you are on her side. Yes, I am talking about the self-appointed confidants.
7. Complaining about how overworked you are. On this I have a story. One semester a few first year teachers were asked to teach two 4 credit sections of the same course in the same semester. So, 8 hours in the semester. I did it and and I have to confess it was the easiest teaching load I ever hand. Eight of my 9 hour yearly teaching load (actually 10 that year) was taken care of with one preparation that I had done for years. The howling in the halls from others was deafening and you can bet the Dean was reminded every week of how they were going beyond what is expected. Of course, maybe they were craftier than I think and they were pulling the old "briar patch" trick.
8. Race, gender or sexual preference.
Maybe I have this all wrong and what we need is not blind salarying but X ray salarying. Here the dean would be required not simply to assess what the faculty member does that is obvious but what good and bad things actually go on. Is the faculty member a constant source of stress by virtue of gossip, exaggerations, and unwanted office visits? Very often the ingratiator is also a stress producer because he is so self absorbed he is not content to let the teaching and writing speak for itself.