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February 23, 2011


If you think law school deans make a lot of money take a look at business school deans.

"Non-profit" is merely an accounting designation. If you aren't making profit you aren't in business.

Don't be silly. To be wealthy, become the head coach of a football team at large university.

I would have much less of a problem with this if law schools actually provided a good service at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, most law schools wildly overcharge their students for a degree which is often worth far less than the students realize.

On a larger note, there is a big problem in society with bad people who pretend to be good, both to themselves and others.

Those are good salaries, but I don't know about "wealthy", at least in the financially independent sense. As Nano points out, most of the deans probably make less than an assistant football coach, though in fairness the coaches bring in a lot more revenue.

Also, is there more to this story? Here's an interesting link to football coach salaries: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/2009-coaches-contracts-database.htm . Note that while the base salaries are in some cases not all that high, total compensation guaranteed by the university certainly is. Do law deans have a similar arrangement?

"Law schools are supposedly “non profits”

If you don't return profits to the shareholders, they have to go somewhere.

J you have it backwards. It's the law school deans who bring in a lot of money. That's their only job - schmoozing the alums. Ass't football coaches are fungible, much like associates.

I'm not sure I have it backwards - I think we're talking about different things. I understand what the Dean's job is, and an assistant coach doesn't directly schmooze alums, but the amount of money brought in by the program the coaches manage (to be clear, I'm talking about football and, in some cases, basketball) dwarfs what the Dean brings in. And that's in direct revenue. Here's a link with numbers from 2004, which I doubt have gotten smaller: http://www.fanblogs.com/ncaa/005403.php . The dean may get a donation like that once in a while, but these guys are pulling this every year. If you factor in advertising and alumni interest that wouldn't exist without the sports programs, there is no comparison. There's a reason coaches make a lot more than a law school deans.

Non-profits are only non-profit with respect to their shareholders (if any), non-profits are never non-profit with respect to their executives and bureaucrats. I recall a 'scandal' about the United Way. Its directors received free houses (yes, plural) and million-dollar salaries.

A job in a non-profit is far more stable and only slightly less lucrative than jobs in private companies. Compare the turnover at PBS/CPB or the BBC versus private media companies or even legislatures.

I bet this is a correlation and causality fail HS. My guess is that if you want to be a law school dean you have to do something to make yourself relatively famous in the legal world first. Make sure you are making friends with key donors to big universities with major law schools also make sure you're remaining friendly with boards of trustees.

Bottom line, I'd bet most law school deans are pretty well set when they take the job.

This was a point made on 100 reasons not to go to grad school:


Today, the higher education establishment is less about the people it educates, and more about the people who work for it.

Law school are like many large charities: "profiteering non-profits."

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