Bainbridge on Law Professor Well-Being

‘Tis the season for discussions of happiness. Steve Bainbridge has joined the fray with Are Law Professors Unhappy? And, if so, Why? Check it out. He answers his titular question as follows: (1) no; and (2) “In sum, there may be miserable law professors, but I suspect it’s more likely because they’re miserable people than that they have a miserable job.”

Fun thought. When you put discussions of law professor happiness together with Jeremy’s recent post here, I think you could come up with a chart of some sort, where there is an optimal level of happiness resulting in maximized scholarly output. Really miserable professors, like me, right now, grading exam #120 out of #150, don’t write. Really happy professors also don’t write, but they feel good about it. What lateral hiring committees should be looking for is a baseline level of happiness mixed with tinge of anxiety and status-based competition.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Loyola2L says:

    Can I ask you law professors a question?

    While you sit on your tush, in one of the most cush jobs ever, where you earn well over six figures for a few hours of work a week, and one paper a year . . . do you ever wonder why no one else in society gets such an easy life? Do you know of anyone else who does jack all day and makes six figures?

    do you ever ask who has to sacrifice to pay for this largesse?

    I’m in $150,000 of debt, and after three years of hard work all I have to look forward to is the job below. All that stuff you “taught” me – preparing motions, interrogatories and so on – is worth a whopping $14 an hour. I paid a fortune in tuition to learn a skill no one wants to pay for. So while you’re depressed about your anonymity and immeasurement, know that the people you taught are depressed because they don’t know how they’re going to eat.


    Employer Name:

    Contact Name: x

    Address: x


    Telephone: x

    Facsimile: x

    E-Mail: x

    Description: HOURS: Part-time (20hrs/week) SALARY: $11-$14 per hour. STUDENT LEVEL: 2L, 3L JOB DESCRIPTION: Small Monrovia automobile accident defense law firm looking for part-time law clerk to primarily assist in preparation of discovery responses. Responsibilities will include communicating with clients, preparing draft interrogatory and document request responses, and limited research and motion preparation work. HOW TO APPLY: Please fax resume to 626-471-1094.

    Date Entered: 12/20/07

    Job ID: 421929