Law Professors

Adjunct Law Prof: A Low-Paying Job, If You Can Get It

The pay is low and the hours are long, but the competition is stiff for jobs as adjunct law professors.

Adjunct professors typically earn a “four-figure stipend” for each class they teach, compared to salaries for tenured college professors that can reach into the six figures, the Wall Street Journal reports. And some adjuncts give back in the form of school donations that eclipse their meager salaries.

But that hasn’t discouraged adjunct job applicants at New York University School of Law. NYU has only a few adjunct law prof openings each year, but it fields hundreds of applications. “In a time of inconspicuous consumption,” the newspaper says, “an adjunct-professorship at a prestigious university is a coveted token of success among finance, law and media professionals.”

Law prof adjuncts include celebrity divorce lawyer Robert S. Cohen (at the University of Pennsylvania), Mayer Brown partner Andrew Pincus (at Yale), and Fried Frank partner Arthur Fleischer Jr. (at New York University).

Schools benefit from the “cachet and credibility” of professional adjuncts, but those aren’t the only benefits, the story says. The profs are also potential donors. At the University of Michigan Law School, for example, fundraisers may approach adjuncts for donations. The benefits go both ways. Lawyer donors interested in adjunct jobs may get their applications passed on to the dean and other screeners, the newspaper says.

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