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Harvard Law Ranked #1 in the World (Yes, the World)

Vivia Chen

May 13, 2013


Editor's note: We've amended the original post to include news about a complaint filed by a tenured faculty member against Brooklyn Law School.

International law school rankings. Are you still fussing with that U.S. News & World Report ranking of law schools? How provincial!

We live in the global economy, so what really matters is how your law school ranks internationally. Here's Quacquarelli Symonds 2013 World Law School Rankings:







London School of Economics




(Hat tip: TaxProf Blog)

Much better than killing yourself in Big Law. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Being a law professor is a dream job. You teach a couple of boring courses eight months a year, keep erratic office hours, get lots of time to do "research," go on sabbaticals in exotic locales (Maldives Law School, anyone?), etc.

And the best part: You don't have to teach at a top school to make decent moolah! TaxProf Blog reports on salaries of law faculty at some of the nation's law schools. Here's a sample of the median salaries of tenured law professors:

School                    Ranking                        Salary                Summer Stipend                

Iowa                          26                               $184,800              $15,000

UC–Hastings             48                              $187,221               $10,000

Nebraska                  61                               $150,720               $11,000

Northeastern            86                               $179,362                $7,500

Rutgers-Newark       86                                $186,000              $10,000

It's not Big Law partner money, but perfectly respectable for what some treat as a part-time job. Plus imagine what $200k can buy you in Iowa!

And this just in: TaxProf Blog reports that "a tenured Brooklyn [Law] faculty member has filed an explosive 12-page ABA complaint against the law school." The allegations, among others, include "withholding of material information concerning a dean candidate; the full-time employment outside the law school of the current dean; executive decisions of school policy made without faculty input; waste and mismanagement of school resources, including exorbitant administrative and faculty salaries."

So how exorbitant? Try this: "The total value of the salary and benefits provided to the president of the law school—which include a tax-free furnished apartment complete with designer kitchen and skyline views of Manhattan, a car, and a driver—exceed a million dollars," which, this Brooklyn faculty alledges "is the highest compensation paid to any law school dean or administrator in the United States."

Of course, what we'd really like to know is how much professors at top schools rake in. Paul Caron, who runs the Tax Prof Blog, tells me that's top-secret. But he says Above the Law got its hands on spreadsheets for Michigan, UC–Berkeley, and Virginia that "show the eye-popping salaries —$250k is common, with stars at $350k+." And let's not forget, a lot of those profs also do lucrative Big Law consulting on the side.

Brooklyn Law School starts two-year J.D.—a jump start to what? When I first read Brooklyn Law's press release about launching a two-year J.D. program, I thought this was a game changer. I thought Brooklyn was blazing a trail to make legal education more affordable and practical—something along the lines advocated by certain radical wings of legal eduction.

Sadly, this is not a revolution. Students on the two-year track at Brooklyn Law will simply squeeze three years of courses into 24 months—but without summer and winter breaks. Worse, they will pay the same tuition. Brooklyn dean Nick Allard told The National Law Journal's Karen Sloan: “It’s going to be intense, and we are going to be selective in our admissions. But we believe it will be an attractive option for many different people, including MBAs, CPAs, or people who are looking to start a second career."

Finish law school in two years so you can get a head start on a "second career"? Not to be facetious, but what kind of "second career"? Considering that Brooklyn alums have been griping about their job prospects, you have to ask: What's the hurry?

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Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.


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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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