Some Data on Legal Academics’ Tenure and Promotion

Over at Opinio Juris, Duncan Hollis has an informative report up about the tenure and promotion practices of law schools, based on a survey of 41 schools he and I completed earlier this year. The difference between rank and tenure was something that didn’t enter my mind when I was on the hiring market, but it probably should have. Here’s a taste of Duncan’s post, which should be read in full by both folks on the tenure track and aspiring profs alike:

Alternatively, if one thinks of this solely in terms of how long until a newbie professor can expect it will take before being considered for full professor, we found that of the 36 schools that gave us time-lines, 18 allow tenure and promotion to full professor one way or another in year 5 (American, ASU, Cincinnati, Cornell, George Mason, Georgetown, Illinois, Maryland, Miami, Missouri, Notre Dame, San Diego, Seton Hall, Texas, UC Hastings, UCLA, UVA, and Washington University). By year 6, it’s 26 out of the 36 schools (those listed above, plus Berkeley, BYU, Cardozo, Hofstra, Minnesota, Penn State, Pitt, and Wake Forest).

I strongly recommend that aspiring folks seek to bargain about rank, if it is a deal point subject to negotiation.

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3 Responses

  1. Guessed says:

    “I strongly recommend that aspiring folks seek to bargain about rank, if it is a deal point subject to negotiation.”

    Why? Assuming it’s negotiable, it doesn’t seem anywhere near issues like salary, and it’s not as though one can pursue all issues with equal vigor. You may want to explain for benefit of all AALS applicants.

    On the potential downside, I have been told of circumstances in which coming in at a higher rank is associated with a shortened tenure clock.

  2. dave hoffman says:

    1. Rank advancement usually means a relatively large salary bump. 2. If you negotiate your way out of a rank, you don’t have to go through that level of review, which means less administrative hassle. 3. I have never heard of a shortened tenure clock by virtue of skipping a rank, but if that were true, it would be an advantage.

  3. Guessed says:

    1. As to salary bump, is that shown by the data? In any event, the experience of those being promoted is obviously different from those negotiating that aspect when coming in. You can achieve the same dollars without the rank, and I can imagine a dean giving the rank in lieu of more dollars.

    2. True about the hassle. But all bargaining points are relative to one another.

    3. A shortened tenure clock may an advantage or disadvantage. If one assumes it’s a lock, it doesn’t really matter. If it’s hard to achieve, or one wants greater certainty, accelerating the process is at least a mixed virtue.