Law schools are in crisis: Enrollment is plummeting, bar exam pass rates are declining and the employment rate for fresh graduates is abysmal.
There’s one area, however, in which law schools still outpace the rest of academia — how much they pay. Tenured law professors pulled in a median salary of $143,509 in 2014, more than professors in any other discipline, according to new survey data.
All told, professor salaries rose 2 percent in 2014, edging above the inflation rate and pushing the median pay for tenured professors to $100,087, according to a report released by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. The group tracked faculty pay at 303 public institutions and 543 private institutions.
Professors teaching business, management, marketing and related studies were the second-highest paid of the bunch and reported making $126,549 before bonuses.
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Engineering professors were a close third at $126,653, still far more than the lowest-paid professors, who pulled in about $80,000 teaching theology and religious vocations, the arts, English and history.
Keep in mind the data on tenured professors tell only part of the story.
Professors who are publishing groundbreaking research or commanding world-renowned laboratories are likely to make hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the median figure. So, too, are faculty members who score tenure at top private universities.
Yet academics who fail to get tenure, are employed at public institutions with shaky finances or work as adjuncts aren’t likely to command competitive salaries.