One of the classic gambits in the salary shakedown at the universities is to say that Prof. X would be making twice as much in private industry. This is repeated so often that I’m sure that the real standouts probably think that they, being much better than average, would make three or four times as much. If only this were true…
The brilliant LawProf continues to supply us with deep insights and nice data points on the way to writing wonderful explications of the problems confronting the legal corner of the college industrial complex. My favorite line from a recent post:
In other words, since the 1980s per capita law school faculty direct compensation has roughly doubled, while the sheer number of faculty, relative to the size of law school student bodies, has also doubled. I have entered this data into a program that can only be run on a Cray supercomputer, and the resulting calculation suggests that total law school faculty costs are four times higher now than they were 30 years ago.
He finds that while new law professors took a salary cut to work in academia back in the 1980s, the new professors are getting pretty much the same amount. They’re not taking that cut any longer.
I continue to submit that the college industrial complex pays as much as if not better than the private sector for all but a few strange outliers. The Bank of America, that evil bastion of the 1%, pays Senior Vice Presidents between $150k and $250k. That’s less than many stars make at universities. Elizabeth Warren was pulling in almost $400k at Harvard Law and she had plenty of time to work for outside clients.
Oh, I’m sure there will be a few partners at the very top firms who work very long hours and make more than Ms. Warren, but their numbers are shrinking and there’s a great deal of pricing pressure on lawyers. Why I know several smart people who were pushed out of the best firms because they couldn’t bill enough.
And the huge salaries made by a few private sector folks are more than balanced out by the large group of professors who do things that no one in the private sector would ever want to pay someone to do at any price and certainly not at the six figure salaries collected by many specialists in advanced metatheory.
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