Rethinking Law School Tenure Standards

37 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2018 Last revised: 28 Nov 2020

Date Written: November 17, 2020

Abstract

Academic departments decide on tenure standards with limited evidence about their accuracy and efficacy. We study the implications of stricter tenure standards in law schools, an environment in which 95 percent of all tenure track hires receive tenure. To do so, we construct a novel dataset of the articles and citation counts of 1,720 law professors who were granted tenure at top-100 law schools between 1970 and 2007. We first show that pre-tenure research records are highly predictive of future academic impact. We then simulate the costs and benefits of applying stricter tenure standards using predictions of law professors' future academic impact at the time of their tenure decision. Of faculty members not tenured under stricter standards, only 5 percent have greater future academic impacts than their counterfactual replacements. Moreover, increasing tenure denials by 10 percentage points would increase the academic impact of a school's median professor by over 50 percent.

Keywords: law professors, tenure, citation analysis, academic impact, analytics

JEL Classification: M51, J24

Suggested Citation

Chilton, Adam and Masur, Jonathan S. and Rozema, Kyle, Rethinking Law School Tenure Standards (November 17, 2020). University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 887, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3200005 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3200005

Adam Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.adamchilton.org

Jonathan S. Masur (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773.702.5188 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/masur/

Kyle Rozema

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kylerozema.com

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,010
Abstract Views
5,294
Rank
42,568
PlumX Metrics