Saturday, September 3, 2011

Are Law Schools Discriminating Against Older Applicants for Professorships?

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law is the latest to be hit with an age discrimination lawsuit, joining the University of Baltimore School of Law, University of Iowa College of Law and Michigan State University College of Law.

Longtime Pittsburgh tax law professor William Brown, 73, filed suit on Aug. 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, claiming that the law school passed him over for a tenured position in favor of someone 40 years younger.

Here is coverage of these lawsuits by the National Law  Journal.

It is my understanding that before the rise of anti-age discrimination laws, law schools regularly favored hiring young applicants for professorships. The youngsters were less expensive hires. I addition, schools harbored a prejudice against those who spent too long in practice (over 5 years) on the assumption that they no longer could adopt an academic perspective. One would hope that this (illegal) prejudice is no longer with us, particularly as the pendulum swings away from high theory and toward lawyering skills.


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