July 20, 2011
Post-Tenure Study: Despite Differences in Work Experiences, Most are Happy. . .
Posted by Lisa Fairfax

In case you missed it, the American Bar Foundation, in collaboration with the Law School Admission Council, recently issued its "After Tenure" study.  According to the study, it is the "first in-depth examination of the lives of post-tenure law professors in the United States."  

Some quick highlights:

  • Nearly 39% of tenured law professors teach in the top 50 law schools.
  • Most tenured law professors did very well in law school.  53% of the surveyed professors reported graduating in the top 10% of their class, while 72% indicated that they had graduated in the top 25%.
  • Survey responses of both women and professors of color reflect differences in work experience based on race and gender.  Such professors reported feeling less respected and comfortable in the work setting, while also reporting that they felt as if they performed more committee work (though similar numbers of all professors reported that they had opportunities to serve on "important" committees).
  • Despite the aforementioned differences, most post-tenure law professors reported high levels of satisfaction with their job and work setting.  However, a small group of faculty--disproportionately women and scholars of color--are less satisfied.  Regardless of the differences in satisfaction, similar numbers of all professors reported strong feelings of loyalty towards their law school.

The full study can be found here

While the study's findings are interesting and significant, they do not really seem surprising.  Instead, they seem to confirm what many suspected.  The author's hope to shed some light on their findings in the second phase of their study which focuses on qualitative data.

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