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November 13, 2008


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Don't they already have these? I think they are called "adjuncts". I'm not sure this is really the right model to take, though, given all the problems that come from using adjuncts in place of TT faculty.


Don't we already have a massive underclass of non-tenure-track, low status, underpaid teachers? They are called "adjuncts" and "clinical faculty." You also get an overpaid version of this called "deadwood." Do we really want more seperation between the scholars and the teachers than we have already?

Calvin Massey

I dispute the suggestion that teaching and scholarship cna be separated. Good teachers are imaginative, curious, and have lively minds that inspire and demand critical thinking from their students. Thsoe are the same qualities that produce interesting scholarship.

D. Daniel Sokol

Calvin - The empirical work suggests that there is no correlation between teaching and scholarship. On law teaching and scholarship specifically, see Other non-law empirical work comes out with similar results.

Anon - The difference between an adjunct and the condottieri is that the latter will have a full time job in the classroom and in the law school, not an adjunct role. There is nothing that I have seen any school do with deadwood profs with tenure. That is, to my knowledge, no school has decreased deadwood salary or increased pressure to produce either scholarship or provide additional teaching above and beyond what the school requires of other faculty. Certainly the more informal shaming norm does not seem to work.

If an increasing number of condottieri come from the professional class of lawyers, this has a number of potential positive effects such as real world experience that can better inform theoretical assumptions for scholarship oriented faculty and connections for job placement for students. I do not suggest that condottieri will solve all of the structural problems in legal education. I merely suggest that they provide a net benefit.


Unfortunately lots of schools use "full time" adjuncts quite a lot already. It's not usually a lot to be wished on anyone. We might wish it would work out really well, for the benefit of all involved, but experience suggests that it would likely be something more like this:

Now, obviously those with a law degree have more leverage than a typical humanities PhD, but even if you look at the armies of science post-docs unable to find TT jobs you see a pretty sad picture. I'm pretty deeply skeptical that we'd get anything much else than that in law schools, too, and so think this is clearly a path to be avoided if at all possible. (It's not as if mercenary armies worked out really well as long-term solutions in most cases, either!)


Net benefit to whom? The students? I doubt it, since I thought one of the last advantages of law school was that at least the faculty taught their own classes instead of feisting them off to TAs. The full-time adjuncts? Given that this sure looks like a dead-end career move, I'm not sure anyone except a diehard freedom-of-contract-to-screw-your-life believer would agree. The regular faculty and the law schools? Absolutely, what with the cheap labor and all and being relieved to teaching duties. Now the deadwood can really coast.

digital dissertation

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