A few highlights:
Three major factors have fueled this spectacular rise. From 1998 to 2008 alone (as reported in National Jurist): 1) law faculties expanded in size by 40%; 2) pay for full professors increased by an average 45%, and benefits by 25%; and 3) scholarships increased by 300%.
I recognize that the high earners among you, many of whom are accomplished senior scholars, will be dismayed by my proposal. Let me say just two quick points in defense. Law professors often remark that we have sacrificed income to become professors since we could have earned more as lawyers (this rationalization justifies the fact that we earn upward of a third more than professors in other university departments except for the medical school). It’s a terrific deal for us. We exchanged money for freedom of time and thought, and quality of life. To be paid two hundred thousand dollars a year is a handsome sum for what we do. The particular salary cut-offs I have identified are arbitrary and open to discussion. But the essential point is that salary increases must be sharply reduced.
The most direct way to increase faculty productivity is through teaching loads. Thirty years ago many law professors taught five courses a year; the norm then became four courses, and many schools have since moved to three courses. The justification for the reduction in course load is to free up professors to engage in more scholarship. When individual professors teach fewer courses, more professors are required overall to achieve the same course coverage.
I know we all love or profs, but it seems like they are a huge part of the problem and deserve a fair portion of the blame.