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Today’s Shameless Award Goes to…

… the dean of the recently opened, totally unnecessary, school of law at the University of California Irvine.

In response to the terrible crisis in that state’s public system, Erwin Chemerinsky warns darkly against

freezing or decreasing executive and faculty salaries. If the University of California is going to retain and attract high-level faculty, it must pay the same as comparable schools across the country. Over the last few weeks, I have negotiated salaries with superb professors we are attempting to recruit who are currently teaching at Harvard, Northwestern and Yale. The University of California must match their current salaries or they will not come. As much as I love living in Southern California, I could not have afforded to leave Duke University if it meant taking a substantial pay cut.

Well, let’s get to it. How much do you make? How much do your law school colleagues make? How much do they teach? How many of your graduates get jobs as lawyers (the Irvine school opened despite the fact that California has a glut of lawyers, and large numbers of unemployed law school grads)? And, uh, didn’t you tell me, when justifying your unjustifiable new school, that your faculty would be all about turning out public interest lawyers? So… hard-nosed, hyper-capitalist, private sector salaries for our faculty, but of course! And crappy non-profit positions for our idealistic students.

I mean, I ask how much you make because you say you couldn’t afford to live in California unless you earned what you earn. What do you earn?

Let’s say at Duke you earned $300,000. Are you saying that you couldn’t afford to live on less than that?

Remember the University of Chicago’s Todd Henderson. And he teaches at a private school…

Vous savezUD‘s father, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health, made a lower salary than he would have in the private sector; but he didn’t seem to mind, because he thought public service was a high calling. What happened to that whole thing?

Listen to Kristin Luker, Chemerinsky. She’s a colleague of yours at Berkeley.


UPDATE: From the comments at TaxProf blog:

Going from US News rankings, at the top [of California’s universities] are Stanford and CalTech– both are private and so from the state’s point of view are cheap/free (never mind federal research dollars for a second). Then we get to the state university system: UC Berkeley, USC, UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara.

Then, after all these schools, you finally get to UC Irvine. I can see the rationale for their flagship schools (and even having more than one flagship given the size of California). I can see the argument for a strong set of second-tier institutions, too.

Can anyone explain why Irvine, ranked ninth in the whole wide state, is recruiting from Harvard, Northwestern and Yale? Just what is Chemerinsky saying here? By his own argument, being world-class is expensive, and so from a return-on-taxpayer-investment perspective, Irvine shouldn’t be frozen, they should be gutted to keep the top California universities on top.

Chemerinsky is arguing against freezing or cutting the law school. What he should be defending is the law school’s existence in the first place.

Margaret Soltan, December 28, 2010 9:06AM
Posted in: professors

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8 Responses to “Today’s Shameless Award Goes to…”

  1. cloudminder Says:

    2009 IRVINE CHEMERINSKY , ERWIN STUART DEAN $350,000.04 $0.00 $-11,666.68 $338,333.36
    2008 IRVINE CHEMERINSKY , ERWIN STUART DEAN (SCHOOL/COLLEGE)-EXEC $175,000.02 $0.00 $88,334.44 $263,334.46

    along with other lovely perks to be sure

    one can view all UC salaries here:

    but the low to no interest loans and cars for many UC elite are not included in the salaries database.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Many thanks, cloudminder!

  3. GU Says:

    USC is a private university.

  4. James Says:

    Re: the Taxprof commenter:

    Give me a break. No, UC-Irvine should not have a law school. Lots of schools should not have law schools.

    But exactly what does that have to do with the asinine U.S. News rankings, which exist to sell magazines?

    And no, it’s not unreasonable to think that Chemerinsky is trying to recruit talented faculty (even faculty from Harvard and Yale!) to UC-Irvine. Where’d Derrida wind up, again?

  5. AYY Says:

    “Can anyone explain why Irvine, ranked ninth in the whole wide state, is recruiting from Harvard, Northwestern and Yale?”

    Heh, The Dean wants a law school the left can be proud of. (As I recall from news reports, the plans for Irvine’s law school were that it was supposed to be a place to teach law as a vehicle for social justice.)

  6. Margaret Soltan Says:

    AYY: Greed knows no ideology.

  7. AYY Says:

    That’s true but I was responding to why they were recruiting from the fancy pants schools.

  8. University Diaries » “At a time when law students and recent graduates nationwide have been struggling with large debt and poor job prospects, leftist law professors sojourned in Hawaii in mid-winter, many presumably at school expense, to disc Says:

    […] we ask the liberal law professors at California-Irvine how they can preach to their students that they should engage in public service when they charge […]

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