This Elite Law School Is Cutting Faculty

Pritzker Law School at Northwestern University

This Elite Law School Is Cutting Faculty

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is cutting faculty as part of a plan to reduce budget and expenses.

While the law school is not currently in a dire financial situation, newly appointed Dean Kimberly Yuracko says the law school is looking to reduce costs, Law.com reports.

“The truth is, as a new dean I would have come in anyway and looked closely at our budget and expenses,” Yuracko tells Law.com. “But I was certainly prompted to do so more quickly and thoroughly because the university told all the units that we needed to reduce expenses.”

Not Even Elite Law Schools Are Safe

The move to cut faculty highlights an important observation about law schools as a whole – not even elite programs are immune to the recent financial challenges facing the industry. Northwestern Law, which is ranked 11th by U.S. News & World Reports, is experiencing this reality first hand.

In January, Northwestern Provost Jonathan Holloway announced that the law school’s expenses were projected to be more than its revenue in the following fiscal year. That deficit was expected to be between $50 million and $100 million, according to The Daily Northwestern.

In May, Provost Holloway told the Daily that the law schools didn’t have plans to lay off faculty nor staff. However, in July, Northwestern announced that it would be laying off 80 administrative staffers and getting rid of 80 unfilled positions. That plan also included a direction for all departments to perform 5% cuts to initiatives such as student-funded programs, Patch reports.

In addition to the faculty and staff cuts, the law school is planning to increase the size of its LL.M. class in order to increase revenue, Law.com reports.

Faculty and staff who have been affected by the cuts will have their contracts terminated by the end of the academic year.

“These have not been easy steps to take, especially in regard to our faculty and staff colleagues,” Yuracko says in an email to faculty. “We are trying to treat impacted individuals with sensitivity and are looking for ways to ease the stress of this transition.”

Sources: Law.com, Patch, The Daily Northwestern