The Relative Efficacy of Adjunct Faculty in Law School Classrooms
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The efficacy of adjunct and fulltime non-tenureline instructors relative to tenured and tenure-track faculty is a timely issue relevant to national policy debates as there are at least two reasons that law schools might wish to increase the usage of adjunct and other non-tenure track instructors (Ehrenberg, 2013). First, as job prospects and salaries for newly minted lawyers have levelled off in recent years, the lower costs of hiring adjuncts offer law schools an attractive way to reduce expenditures, and in turn, tuition. Second, proposed rule changes by the American Bar Association (ABA) for law school accreditation may make it easier for law schools to hire and staff more classes with adjunct and other types of non-tenure track instructors.
To date, however, rigorous evidence on the relative efficacy of adjunct and other types of non-tenure track law school faculty is lacking (Ehrenberg, 2013). This paper fills this gap in the literature by providing credible evidence on the causal impacts of adjunct and term (non-tenure track) faculty on law students’ academic and labor-market outcomes relative to those of their tenured (and tenure-track) counterparts. Specifically, we address three research questions:
i) Relative to tenured and tenure-track faculty, are adjunct and non-tenure track faculty more, less, or equally effective in promoting law students’ academic and labor-market success?
ii) Does the relative efficacy of adjunct and non-tenure track faculty vary by law students’ sociodemographic backgrounds?
iii) Does exposure to adjunct and non-tenure track faculty in first-year law classes vary by students’ sociodemographic backgrounds?