As the legal academy debates tenure, Fortune magazine takes notice:
When businesses run into trouble, managers move to reduce salaries and expenditures. If only it were that simple for the multimillion-dollar law school industry, which is up against the wall trying to balance plummeting budgets while maintaining employees' academic freedom.
Law school deans' cost-cutting efforts are colliding with decades of strong job protections — short of incompetence or financial emergency — that have been granted to full-time professors. The academic ranks let out a collective sigh when the American Bar Association decided to examine whether to jettison or curb the tenure system.
It didn't take long for some 600 tenured law professors to warn that unpopular views would be stifled if tenure were diminished and have urged that any changes to the system be scotched. Many professors fear being pushed aside for cheaper, less experienced replacements.
Law school deans, meanwhile, have been remarkably silent. . . .