Which Law Schools Are Shedding Full-Time Faculty? (2014 Edition)

It’s a question I posed earlier this year and can answer before 2015 comes along.

One thing the latest 509 Information Reports do is consolidate “full-time” and “other full-time” faculty into just “full-time faculty.” This decision, which likely relates to the change in the accreditation standards that removed the student/faculty ratio requirement, has led to two results. One, we no longer know in detail what’s going on with legal writing instructors or clinicians, and two, the peak for full-time faculty (total and mean average) is now 2010 instead of 2011 as I reported last year. I’ve merged the categories retroactively to better illustrate the trends.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

 

Since last year, the number of fall full-time instructors at all law schools fell by 8 percent; the cumulative decline since 2010 has been 11 percent, so much of what’s going on happened just before this academic year.

Once again, here are your law schools ranked by net change in full-time faculty and smallest faculty size in 2010.

**********

FULL-TIME FACULTY (FALL)
RANK SCHOOL ’10 ’13 ’14 ANNUAL CHANGE NET CHANGE
1. WMU Cooley 101 115 49 -66 -52
2. George Washington 106 93 72 -21 -34
3. Florida Coastal 69 51 36 -15 -33
4. Vermont 55 33 26 -7 -29
5. Pacific, McGeorge 63 43 36 -7 -27
6. Texas 103 80 80 0 -23
7. Seton Hall 59 47 38 -9 -21
8. Hamline 34 24 14 -10 -20
8. Albany 46 36 26 -10 -20
8. Villanova 49 38 29 -9 -20
11. Detroit Mercy 42 29 23 -6 -19
11. St. Louis 65 50 46 -4 -19
11. Seattle 66 55 47 -8 -19
11. Boston University 67 48 48 0 -19
11. John Marshall (Chicago) 75 64 56 -8 -19
16. Capital 35 25 17 -8 -18
16. Widener 50 39 32 -7 -18
16. Catholic 56 41 38 -3 -18
16. Hofstra 60 47 42 -5 -18
16. California-Berkeley 90 72 72 0 -18
21. Arizona Summit [Phoenix] 32 34 15 -19 -17
21. Golden Gate 42 30 25 -5 -17
21. DePaul 56 50 39 -11 -17
24. Florida A&M 35 23 19 -4 -16
24. Cleveland State 39 31 23 -8 -16
24. Fordham 81 72 65 -7 -16
78. Southern University 35 36 20 -16 -15
27. Southern Methodist 46 42 31 -11 -15
27. Stetson 59 51 44 -7 -15
30. Western New England 36 24 22 -2 -14
30. New England 40 35 26 -9 -14
30. Case Western Reserve 47 47 33 -14 -14
30. New York Law School 71 65 57 -8 -14
30. American 104 113 90 -23 -14
35. Quinnipiac 32 28 19 -9 -13
35. Touro 42 36 29 -7 -13
35. Pace 47 41 34 -7 -13
38. Wake Forest 48 41 36 -5 -12
38. St. John’s 50 42 38 -4 -12
38. Rutgers-Camden 54 56 42 -14 -12
38. Maryland 63 63 51 -12 -12
38. San Diego 66 60 54 -6 -12
43. La Verne 19 11 8 -3 -11
43. Regent 25 17 14 -3 -11
43. Nova Southeastern 60 55 49 -6 -11
43. Santa Clara 65 60 54 -6 -11
47. Roger Williams 27 20 17 -3 -10
47. Whittier 31 25 21 -4 -10
47. Oklahoma City 34 28 24 -4 -10
47. Hawaii 35 28 25 -3 -10
47. Pittsburgh 47 39 37 -2 -10
47. Chapman 51 41 41 0 -10
47. Penn State (Dickinson) 57 49 47 -2 -10
47. Michigan 92 88 82 -6 -10
55. Ohio Northern 22 21 13 -8 -9
55. Dayton 27 19 18 -1 -9
55. Thomas Jefferson 42 34 33 -1 -9
55. Syracuse 60 56 51 -5 -9
55. Brooklyn 68 62 59 -3 -9
60. Appalachian 16 17 8 -9 -8
60. Faulkner 23 15 15 0 -8
60. Gonzaga 29 26 21 -5 -8
60. Charleston 31 30 23 -7 -8
60. William Mitchell 34 32 26 -6 -8
60. Oregon 35 31 27 -4 -8
60. Arizona 44 36 36 0 -8
60. California Western 45 37 37 0 -8
60. Loyola (CA) 66 63 58 -5 -8
69. Montana 19 15 12 -3 -7
69. Widener (Harrisburg) 25 22 18 -4 -7
69. Howard 26 24 19 -5 -7
69. Arkansas (Little Rock) 30 20 23 3 -7
69. George Mason 38 34 31 -3 -7
69. Alabama 47 45 40 -5 -7
69. Florida State 47 42 40 -2 -7
69. California-Hastings 71 65 64 -1 -7
77. Ave Maria 26 20 20 0 -6
77. St. Thomas (MN) 29 27 23 -4 -6
77. New Hampshire 33 25 27 2 -6
77. San Francisco 37 32 31 -1 -6
77. Louisiana State 41 37 35 -2 -6
77. Iowa 46 46 40 -6 -6
77. Connecticut 52 46 46 0 -6
77. Lewis and Clark 53 50 47 -3 -6
77. SUNY Buffalo 54 51 48 -3 -6
77. Washington University 68 65 62 -3 -6
77. Houston 76 68 70 2 -6
88. Northern Kentucky 28 26 23 -3 -5
88. Wayne State 38 31 33 2 -5
88. Marquette 39 37 34 -3 -5
88. North Carolina Central 42 33 37 4 -5
88. Illinois 49 52 44 -8 -5
88. Temple 63 58 58 0 -5
88. Miami 82 83 77 -6 -5
88. Georgetown 129 132 124 -8 -5
96. Samford 23 21 19 -2 -4
96. Baylor 27 23 23 0 -4
96. Tulsa 28 25 24 -1 -4
96. Texas A&M [Wesleyan] 30 26 26 0 -4
96. Missouri (Kansas City) 34 36 30 -6 -4
96. Valparaiso 35 31 31 0 -4
96. St. Mary’s 36 41 32 -9 -4
96. Loyola (LA) 50 49 46 -3 -4
96. Cornell 51 50 47 -3 -4
96. Indiana (Bloomington) 59 52 55 3 -4
96. Loyola (IL) 60 65 56 -9 -4
96. Chicago 71 59 67 8 -4
96. Pennsylvania 75 69 71 2 -4
109. Maine 16 22 13 -9 -3
109. Mississippi College 26 25 23 -2 -3
109. Southern Illinois 27 24 24 0 -3
109. Drake 28 29 25 -4 -3
109. Arkansas (Fayetteville) 29 28 26 -2 -3
109. Tennessee 30 31 27 -4 -3
109. Texas Southern 30 33 27 -6 -3
109. Washburn 31 30 28 -2 -3
109. Akron 33 27 30 3 -3
109. Rutgers-Newark 40 40 37 -3 -3
109. Georgia 51 49 48 -1 -3
109. Tulane 53 51 50 -1 -3
109. Minnesota 58 57 55 -2 -3
109. Wisconsin 65 65 62 -3 -3
123. Louisville 26 26 24 -2 -2
123. Kansas 35 35 33 -2 -2
123. Vanderbilt 36 39 34 -5 -2
123. Indiana (Indianapolis) 41 43 39 -4 -2
123. Notre Dame 46 46 44 -2 -2
123. Arizona State 53 54 51 -3 -2
123. Georgia State 57 59 55 -4 -2
123. Chicago-Kent, IIT 66 66 64 -2 -2
123. Virginia 79 78 77 -1 -2
123. Suffolk 80 74 78 4 -2
123. Harvard 141 140 139 -1 -2
134. South Dakota 14 14 13 -1 -1
134. District of Columbia 21 18 20 2 -1
134. Campbell 23 22 22 0 -1
134. Kentucky 25 22 24 2 -1
134. Toledo 26 23 25 2 -1
134. Duquesne 26 28 25 -3 -1
134. Willamette 28 28 27 -1 -1
134. Mississippi 31 31 30 -1 -1
134. Utah 34 36 33 -3 -1
134. Richmond 36 39 35 -4 -1
134. Southern California 43 45 42 -3 -1
134. Yale 76 81 75 -6 -1
146. Northern Illinois 19 23 19 -4 0
146. Elon 20 26 20 -6 0
146. Wyoming 21 17 21 4 0
146. Mercer 27 29 27 -2 0
146. Drexel 27 27 27 0 0
146. Cincinnati 29 30 29 -1 0
146. Atlanta’s John Marshall 35 41 35 -6 0
146. Southwestern 57 59 57 -2 0
146. Cardozo, Yeshiva 61 67 61 -6 0
155. Creighton 23 25 24 -1 1
155. Washington and Lee 35 34 36 2 1
155. City University 36 38 37 -1 1
155. Baltimore 58 59 59 0 1
159. North Dakota 12 13 14 1 2
159. Nevada 26 32 28 -4 2
159. Barry 33 33 35 2 2
159. Texas Tech 35 38 37 -1 2
159. South Carolina 36 38 38 0 2
164. Liberty 19 21 22 1 3
164. Nebraska 26 31 29 -2 3
164. Missouri (Columbia) 28 33 31 -2 3
164. Florida International 32 37 35 -2 3
164. California-Davis 43 48 46 -2 3
164. South Texas 44 49 47 -2 3
164. Boston College 51 54 54 0 3
164. Florida 56 63 59 -4 3
164. Emory 58 65 61 -4 3
164. New York University 151 154 154 0 3
174. Western State 16 22 20 -2 4
174. Memphis 18 20 22 2 4
174. Idaho 21 25 25 0 4
174. St. Thomas (FL) 28 34 32 -2 4
174. Pepperdine 35 40 39 -1 4
174. Northeastern 36 42 40 -2 4
174. Duke 70 75 74 -1 4
174. Northwestern 99 102 103 1 4
182. New Mexico 28 34 33 -1 5
182. West Virginia 33 40 38 -2 5
182. Oklahoma 34 39 39 0 5
182. Washington 54 60 59 -1 5
186. Michigan State 52 56 58 2 6
187. Brigham Young 19 26 26 0 7
187. Colorado 43 46 50 4 7
189. William and Mary 39 53 49 -4 10
189. North Carolina 42 51 52 1 10
189. Ohio State 42 53 52 -1 10
192. Denver 62 84 73 -11 11
193. California-Los Angeles 86 99 98 -1 12
194. Belmont 17 14 -3 14
195. Massachusetts — Dartmouth 15 17 2 17
196. Stanford 68 81 90 9 22
197. Charlotte 35 66 64 -2 29
198. California-Irvine 27 32 5 32
199. Columbia 107 154 167 13 60
10TH PERCENTILE 23 22 19 -9 -18
25TH PERCENTILE 30 28 25 -6 -10
MEDIAN 42 39 35 -3 -4
75TH PERCENTILE 58 55 51 0 0
90TH PERCENTILE 75 72 70 2 4
MEAN 46.4 44.4 40.8 -3.5 -4.8
GROSS GAIN 88 343
GROSS LOSS -786 -1,308
CUMULATIVE 9,093 8,826 8,128 -698 -965

Editorial observations:

  • The data look a lot more consistent than last year, e.g. the University of Chicago losing a dozen law professors last year.
  • But I still have no idea how Columbia has added so many more teachers.
  • Kudos to Campos for discovering the first ranked winner
  • It occurs to me is that law schools might be buying out some full-time instructors but rehiring them as part-timers. There wouldn’t be a way to tell though.
  • Two law schools, La Verne and Appalachian, now have fewer than 10 full-time instructors. Both are down more than 50 percent from 2010.
  • I didn’t include them, but the number one decline by percentage is Chapman at 61 percent. Hamline. and La Verne follows.

That’s all for now.

21 comments

  1. Given that Dear Northeastern has lost 42% of its entering class since 2010, it is striking that they have added any faculty. Particularly since I can’t think of any prof who did much in the way of research, and I’ve certainly not run across any studies or articles by any Northeastern Law prof in the years I’ve haunted about half of the blawgosphere.

    1. Yeah, that one is odd. It did let go of a bunch of part-time faculty this year. Maybe they made full-time offers to some of them because it was in their interests?

      1. The place is screwy. The long-time tax professor died about a year and a half ago (they only had one tax professor), and as far as I can tell, they simply went a year without offering any tax courses.

        My guess about adding faculty is because they have abandoned their public interest ethos to add both LLM and MLS programs in the last two years, no doubt just to get more revenue flowing.

        If things really get dire, though, maybe we’ll see the first ABA law school to close its doors twice – they closed from the early 1950’s to about 1969 or so. Fingers crossed.

  2. Thank you for sharing this interesting article. The laid off faculty should have no problem finding partner or “of counsel” level positions at large law firms since they choose to give up these types of positions and the opportunity to make millions in order to teach law school, just saying.

  3. Which number are we to look at when it comes to the number 1 ranking? Do we look at the annual change or the net change? Once we determine which change we look at does Chapman have the highest annual change or net change? If they have the highest change that would place them at number one why did you chose not to put them on the list?

    Sincerely,

    Curious

  4. I’m just trying to understand this so I can determine how to go about making my choice.

  5. Matt, my understanding is that the ABA recently changed the way it calculated the number of faculty, and that this change explains the major change in faculty size that you record for GW last year. If you compare the non-visiting faculty list at GW Law today and last fall, the size is almost exactly the same. The faculty lost four senior colleagues to retirement (Dienes, Friedenthal, Spanogle, and Morgan) and picked up two new hires (Morant and Hammond). Otherwise, everyone on the GW faculty who was there last year is still there this year, which is pretty different from the loss of 21 faculty(!) that you assert.

    Here’s the Fall 2013 GW law faculty, via the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20130929130359/http://www.law.gwu.edu/Faculty/List.aspx

    Here’s the current GW Law faculty: http://www.law.gwu.edu/Faculty/List.aspx?ID=1

  6. Slight addendum: I just realized that the late Tom Dienes had retired the year before, so I think the GW faculty was just one person smaller in ’14 than ’13, not two persons smaller.

    1. Hello Orin.

      Part 5 of the questionnaire’s directions state that “any visitor replacing a full-time faculty member or filling a full-time permanent visitor slot” are “full-time employees who teach or hold faculty rank.” The only recent change the ABA made that I know of and might be relevant is eliminating the faculty-student ratio calculation, but this doesn’t affect the number of faculty appearing in the Official Guide and the information reports, which count people in whole numbers and not the fractions used in that defunct calculation. If you know otherwise, please tell me.

      Looking through GWU’s information reports, I’m seeing a large spike in part-time faculty in 2014 over 2013 accompanying the fall in full-time faculty. If this shift is attributable to visiting faculty, then it’s possible GWU simply misreported its faculty information by mistakenly classifying some full-time faculty as part-timers. If that’s the case, then GWU will have to contact the ABA (and myself so I can make the correction) and correct its information report as Chapman did.

  7. Matt:

    Your post suggests that GW “shed” 21 faculty this year, which is false. During 2014, the ABA changed its definition of “full-time faculty” member in a couple of ways, including adding a reference to faculty members who are designated by a given law school as full-time faculty members. See link below. The effect was to reclassify from full-time faculty numerous GW colleagues whom the law school does not so designate, including numerous associate deans who may teach and write but also devote huge amounts of time to running sizable specialty academic programs. Hence the corresponding increase in the “other faculty” category. When you apply the same “accounting principles” to this year as last, as any proper analysis must, GW had a natural attrition of a handful.

    Lawrence Cunningham

    http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/201404_src_meeting_materials_proposed_standards.authcheckdam.pdf

    1. Hello Lawrence.

      Although I was aware of the changes to the standards that you cite, I hope you will forgive me for assuming that a law school would not choose to designate many of its full-time faculty as something other than “full-time” faculty, particularly since many other law schools apparently did so. However, I cannot correct the table as I did for Chapman University for a few reasons:

      (1) The “other faculty” category you refer to has been eliminated from the information reports this year, so there is no “corresponding increase in the ‘other faculty’ category,” as you describe it that I can look at. In any event, I fused the “full-time” and “other” categories in the table for prior years to make it useful, which makes sense given that the overall number of “deans, librarians, and others who teach” and “part-time” faculty at all law schools did not change as much as the number of “other” faculty from 2013. Presumably, law schools now report “other faculty” as “full-time faculty.” I think it’s reasonable to assume that GWU did or was supposed to do this too.

      (2) As I told your colleague Orin Kerr above, this year GWU appears to have experienced a concurrent growth in its number of part-time faculty as its full-time faculty dropped (its number of “deans, librarians, and others who teach” remained about the same). These changes shouldn’t have any relationship to the “other” faculty category. If the faculty you are are referring to were reclassified as “part-time,” as I suspect they were, I don’t think it’s misleading to report that the number of full-time faculty at GWU has decreased. They might not have been “shed” in she sense of being “laid off,” but a reduction of a large number of faculty to part-time status is probably not something most full-time law professors would want under normal circumstances. If those faculty were incorrectly reported as part-time, then GWU will have to correct its information report accordingly. Either way, the table is accurate.

      Until someone tells me how those “missing” faculty were classified in GWU’s 2014 information report and whether it was erroneous, I cannot tell readers that GWU did not reduce its faculty.

      Unfortunately, I’m going to be busy for some time, so I might not be able to respond or make a correction as promptly as I could for Chapman, if any are necessary.

      1. Matt, perhaps the point we can all agree with is that you are reporting what the forms say, not trying to verify what the faculty size actually is. If someone wants to actually figure out the size of a faculty over time, the best way to do that is to compare the published faculty directories for the different years — which in the case of GW from 2013 to 2014, shows that they are the same, with the exception of three retirements and two new hires. And if you want to verify that the faculty is teaching the same courses as last year, and not being shifted from “full time” to “part time,” it’s easy to make that comparison, too, by looking at the class schedules for each semester. Again, in the case of GW, there was no such shift as far as I can tell.

        Put another way, I take your project as just reporting what numbers in the forms say, under certain assumptions you are making. The assumptions may be wrong, as different schools may be making different assumptions about what the new ABA categories are supposed to mean. But given the number of schools you’re reporting on, that short cut is certainly understandable! Comparing faculty directories would take much more time, so it’s understandable not to do that for a blog post. At the same time, it may mean that your data has some limitations that may be worth pointing out to readers.

        Orin

      2. Orin,

        I’ve been busy for the last few days, so I couldn’t get to your comment sooner.

        I report what the 509 Information Reports and the Official Guide say because they are standardized according to a single set of questions the ABA requires law schools to answer. Even if I had the time, looking at law schools’ Web sites would involve using my own definitions which might not be agreeable or compatible among law schools. The entire purpose of the reports is to facilitate comparisons, and because the schools’ deans are required to sign off on the underlying questionnaires, researchers are well justified relying on them over other data sources, even direct ones like Web sites. For those reasons, I disagree that the methodology I use is inferior to the one you propose.

        Now, there are times when I suspect that there are errors or discrepancies in a law school’s information reports. As I wrote in an earlier post, I try to publicize these if I notice them, but I do not promise to do so exhaustively. For example, this year Atlanta’s John Marshall reported that it charged $0 tuition this year, which is implausible and challenged by a quick check on its Web site. The problem is that the number I plugged into that hole might not be precise or conform to the ABA’s standards either. It’s the best I can do. However, it’s an easy correction for me to make because I think I know what the right answer should look like. I could easily be wrong.

        By contrast, it’s ambiguous to me what GWU’s faculty table should look like. I don’t know where those 21 people were reported, if they were at all, or where they should be reported. According to a comment (allegedly) by your colleague Lawrence Cunningham, GWU simply chose not to designate those 21 people as “full-time” and they are instead reported in the “other full-time” faculty category, which I told him is no longer included in the information reports. As I wrote in the post, I think the “other” category was removed due to the changes to the accreditation standards. It’s unlikely that the ABA would collect faculty data and simply not publish them, and without the “other full-time” category, the number of “full-time” faculty in 2014 would’ve risen over the unadjusted number from 2013, which is highly unlikely.

        Most law schools, I believe, chose to designate their “other full-time” faculty as “full-time” faculty this year. GWU perhaps did not. That means as far as the ABA is concerned and for the purposes of comparisons to other law schools, using accepted terminology those 21 people are not “full-time” faculty, irrespective of their employment status at GWU. As I told Professor Cunningham, this doesn’t mean they were “shed” in the sense of “laid off,” but it is clearly a change in their status. As a result, there’s little reason to notify readers of any correction or clarification as the published numbers plausibly reflect GWU’s intent, and any alteration would make comparisons less useful, not more.

        As of now, I do not know if GWU made a mistake or if it deliberately chose to not designate those individuals as “full-time” fully aware of the consequences, saliently that those 21 individuals might no longer benefit from the ABA’s tenure requirements and other aspects of Standard 400. This decision might be very serious for your coworkers and they might want to know about it.

      3. Matt, I’ve looked into this, and my understanding is that the answers changed because the ABA changed the definition it uses for full-time faculty. The person who filled out the form interpreted the new definition as indicating a change in how a segment of the faculty should be classified. There has been no change in the status of anyone other than for purposes of the form itself.

        You may take the view that the form is the most important thing, even if no one on the faculty is actually aware of what the form says. In that case, you are right that the numbers on the form have changed.

  8. Matt,

    Your responses to the facts that Orin and I have supplied remind me of the following observation made by John Kenneth Galbraith:

    “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

    L. A. Cunningham

    1. Lawrence,

      I renew my invitation to you to show me where in GWU’s 2014 information report those 21 faculty were reported, and if they were not, please explain why. As I told you last week, the “Other Full-Time” faculty category does not appear in any of the information reports this year.

      Until you or someone else does so, the post will not be changed.

      1. Matt, I can’t speak for Larry, but I was just letting you know the limitations of your data so you understood what you were reporting. It doesn’t matter to me if you change the post.

      2. Concurring with Orin, the record is clearer at this point, though much belated, so I don’t care whether the report is changed or not either.

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