Law professor salaries vary a lot
. Michigan is pretty far out on the high end. Most others are more in the 80-120K range, with a good bump when you get tenure.
(The above is just the first listing I found that seemed reasonably reliable. There are probably better lists in existence.)
Yeah, this is about what I'd been thinking. Contrast that with starting salaries for TT positions in philosophy departments, which are more like 35-65K.
Since they're subsidized by the government, salaries at public universities are viewable via government databases. I checked the salaries at my local public law schools a few months ago; the school ranked ~90 started their professors out at around 80k, and the school ranked ~50 started them out at 100k.
Every article I've read about legal academia tries to terrify me into believing it's a virtually impenetrable market. I know there's a good reason for that-- it's clearly a very, very difficult path. However, the faculty bios I've read online don't seem to reinforce the notion that you must
make law review and you must
clerk for a high profile justice in order to be competitive, at least if you graduate from HYS. One of the young professors at the aforementioned top ~50 school, for example, is a recent HLS grad who worked at a secondary law journal, did not clerk at all, and has only one publication to her credit (she is an expert in tax law, though--perhaps that's a very marketable research focus?). I don't mean to underestimate the challenge of breaking into academia, but I also think it's reasonable for an HLS student to view it as a legitimate, achievable career goal, as long as you have a backup plan.