Law schools are in crisis: Enrollment is plummeting, bar exam pass rates are declining, and the employment rate for fresh graduates is abysmal. There's one area, however, in which these institutions still outpace the rest of academia: how much they pay. Tenured law professors pulled in a median salary of $143,509 in 2014, more than professors in any other discipline, according to new survey data. ...
Professors teaching business, management, marketing, and related studies were the second-highest-paid of the bunch. They reported making $126,549 before bonuses. Engineering professors were a close third, at $126,653—still far more than the lowest-paid professors, who pulled in about $80,000 teaching theology and religious vocations, the arts, English, and history.
Well, in the first place, despite the legitimate concerns about the state of the legal job market, it remains the case that law graduates generally have better paying job prospects than graduates with degrees in "theology and religious vocations, the arts, English, and history." Not to mention that despite the problems in the legal marketplace, most law professors have higher paying alternatives than do people who teach "theology and religious vocations, the arts, English, and history." Markets work even if imperfectly even in higher education.
In the second place, don't get me started on what college football coaches get paid. Or university presidents. Higher education has much bigger compensation abuses than law professor salaries.
Third, as David notes, "don't even get me started on a conflation of biological and biomedical sciences." At UCLA, as I suspect at most research universities, the people making the most money--other than coaches and administrators--are the clinical faculty at the medical school rather than law professors.
All in all, I'm not impressed.
Update: A friend sent along this quip:
This story may be apocryphal but I believe it is true: Years ago at a Stanford University general faculty meeting a member of the English Department faculty complained of his colleagues’ salaries compared with those of law professors. John Kaplan of the law faculty rose and responded, “If you’re unhappy with your salary you should just quit and practice English.”