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Friday, May 23, 2014

Courts - Paying For Prestige: What do law schools pay federal appeals judges?

The National Law Journal has this lengthy, interesting story by Zoe Tillman - some quotes:

Law schools paid federal appeals judges anywhere from several thousand dollars for a lecture to nearly $278,000 for full-semester teaching in 2012 — at once buying prestige and giving students a direct line to some of the judiciary's top legal minds.

Senior Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was the top earner, receiving $277,906 from New York University School of Law, according to the most recent financial disclosure reports judges must file under federal law. NYU Law paid $190,528 to D.C. Circuit Senior Judge Harry Edwards.

Ginsburg and Edwards were among five senior judges who reported law school salaries of at least $100,000, according to the disclosures.

All told, these judges were among 57 active and senior appeals judges reporting income from U.S. law schools. The NLJ reviewed 257 financial reports released in late 2013 and this year. Together, the judges earned nearly $2 million for teaching and lecturing as they navigated a thicket of ethics rules that restrict activity off the bench. The latest reports covered information from 2012. * * *

Judges Frank Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit * * * earned $29,000 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he taught before becoming a judge. * * *

Chief appellate judges must approve paid teaching jobs. Seventh Circuit Chief Judge Diane Wood said she makes sure a judge is current on his or her work. Then she checks that the job is legitimate.

"It has to be real teaching — it has to be students sitting there in the room," she said. Wood, who taught before becoming a judge, earned $26,955 for teaching at Chicago Law.

Judges were most often hired as adjuncts. Adjuncts on average earn between $1,500 to $3,500 per credit, depending on the school, said Marcia McCormick, a professor at Saint Louis University School of Law. Courses usually range from one to three credits. * * *

Judges can be paid for teaching and lecturing at law schools and bar associations, but they can't accept honoraria. The judiciary describes an honorarium as a payment for an "appearance, speech or article" outside of approved activities.

Charles Geyh, a professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington, said the honorarium rule was meant to stop organizations from throwing money at judges to curry favor.

"Does it actually buy access? Probably not. But it creates perception issues the judiciary is mindful of," he said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 23, 2014 09:46 AM
Posted to Courts in general