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07 April 2006


Mark Hall

I'm a relatively rare law prof. with extensive experience in grant-getting and administration because I'm also on the medical school faculty, where my appointment requires me to secure grant funding for roughly half my salary. That's why I run all my grants through the medical school. It's true that they have more administrative infrastructure, but that's often as much a curse as a blessing. At the law school, there is sufficient admin. support through the central univ. if you already have some experience as a PI. But, for most law prof's who have to learn how to do this from scratch, my advice would be to start by partnering with someone (probably in another dept.) who knows the ropes. Otherwise, the learning curve is awfully steep, and frustrating.

Regarding whether it's worth the effort, one good use of even small grants is to support summer salary for those who are on 9-10 month contracts.

Laura Beth Nielsen

This post ties in with lots of other issues we have been talking about in the past few weeks. External funding will require IRB approval and provide a nice review of the research methodology so those are 2 GREAT benefits for seeking and (ideally) getting outside funding.

On the issue of the post, administering grants: As soon as there is enough funding coming in from granting organizations, it becomes very good for the law school to administer the grants. The administering agency gets a cut for overhead.

In our departments, the incentives are huge to run the grant through the department not just for the overhead but also so we can fund our graduate assistants in the form of Research Assistant jobs. Lots of law students would love to work with us on research (espcially if they are planning to try to become a legal academic) and could use the money.

So, I think there are lots of good reasons to encourage our law schools to administer these grants.

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