Law School Climates: Job Satisfaction Among Tenured US Law Professors

Katherine Y. Barnes, Elizabeth Mertz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this article, we combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate why post-tenure law professors of color and women professors within the US legal academy are differentially dissatisfied with their work lives. Previous social science research has indicated lingering difficulties for professionals from traditionally marginalized groups as they advance to higher levels. Post-tenure law professors have been understudied relative to similar senior-level professionals. Mixed methods allow us to isolate institutional structure and implicit cultural bias as key mediators of this dissatisfaction, converging on issues of respect, voice, and collegiality as crucial. We use the example of the legal academy to show how empirical research can shed important light on the realities of legal professionals—here, the faculty who are training the next generation of US attorneys. Following in the new legal realist tradition, we demonstrate the power of mixed empirical methodologies for grasping social realities pertinent to law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-467
Number of pages27
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Law


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