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Friday, January 3, 2014

Today's AALS Annual Meeting Highlights

AALSToday's highlights at the AALS Annual Meeting in New York:

AALS Hot Topic/Bridge Program:  After the JD: A Look at the Evolving Careers of Lawyers Who Entered Practice in 2000 (8;30 - 10:15 a.m.):
This session will report on the results of the third wave of the After the J.D. longitudinal study. It will assess career progress of the cohort of lawyers who began their careers in 2000. We address questions about how much mobility has occurred; how incomes and practice settings have changed over the 12 years; dimensions of stratification in the legal profession; impacts of race, ethnicity and gender; the management of debt; and career satisfaction as it relates to the other categories.

The relevance of the research has increased over the course of the three waves of the study. In particular, the question of the value of a law degree has become a subject of intense debate in the media and in the legal profession. The AJD Project provides the only longitudinal information on debt, how lawyers have paid down debt, and its impact on their lives. The third wave also provides unique data on the impact of the economic downturn on this cohort of lawyers. This would be the first formal release of the Wave 3 AJD Report, and we think that the topic fits the call for “hot topics”, since it is very relevant to schools rethinking their curriculum and approaches to legal education in the face of the continuing decline of applicants to law schools.

  • Ronit Dinovitzer (Toronto) (speaker)
  • Bryant G. Garth (UC-Irvine) (speaker)
  • William D. Henderson (Indiana) (discussant)
  • Lynn Mather (SUNY-Buffalo) (discussant)
  • Lauren K. Robel (Indiana) (discussant)
  • Joyce S. Sterling (Denver) (moderator) 

ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Program:  Workshop on Innovation in Legal Education: Likely New Approach to Variances and Room for Innovation Within the Standards (10:30 - 11:30 a.m.):
Law schools should constantly be considering how to improve their legal education programs. The ABA Standards for the Approval of Law Schools are often cited as one, or a primary, reason that schools do not innovate. This program will consider ways in which the Standards constrain innovation and the considerable room they allow for innovation. Moreover, while it is not possible to predict whether the Accreditation Committee or Council of the Section would approve a particular request for a variance, this workshop will explain how the variance process works, where it is likely headed, and offer guidance on how to seek a variance.

  • Catherine L. Carpenter (Southwestern) (moderator and speaker)
  • Scott F. Norberg (ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar) (speaker)
  • Frank H. Wu (UC-Hastings) (speaker)
  • David N. Yellen (Loyola-Chicago) (speaker)

Section on Scholarship Program:  Legal Scholarship Beyond the Law Review:  Books, Briefs, Letters, and Other Avenues of Influence (1:30 - 3:15 p.m.):
Many law professors publish exclusively or primarily in law reviews. Others make different choices and author books, write essays, draft amicus briefs, prepare comment letters to regulators, or blog. Some do a combination of the above. Panelists will discuss why they have chosen to disseminate their ideas outside of the conventional law review format. Why write a book? What kind of scholarship is more appropriate for a book as opposed to a series of articles? When should one try to draft an amicus brief, or prepare a comment letter to a regulator? The panel will be asked to discuss choices they have made in deciding how they disseminate their ideas and try to influence lawyers, colleagues, policy-makers and others.

  • Douglas A. Berman (Ohio State) (speaker)
  • Matthew T. Bodie (Saint Louis) (speaker)
  • Michelle Dempsey (Villanova) (moderator)
  • Mary L. Dudziak (Emory) (speaker)
  • Greg Lastowka (Rutgers-Camden) (speaker)

Section on Taxation Program:  Now You See It, Now You Don’t:  Salience in Taxation (3:30 - 5:15 p.m.):
The tax law and scholars who study it often operate under the assumption that taxpayers behave rationally. Yet, as legislators seem to know, often we do not. One cognitive failure that influences the scope and shape of taxes is our tendency to fixate on some facts while ignoring others. For example, employer withholding of taxes from an employee's salary should make the tax no less burdensome than if it were paid directly by the employee. Nevertheless, some taxpayers who didn’t seek excess withholding to force savings irrationally celebrate the receipt of a federal or state tax refund as if it were a windfall. Similarly, shoppers react differently to posted prices that include or don’t include sales tax, even though the total cost of the item is the same. The panel will consider the systemic implications of tax salience (and its absence) on both tax policy and the tax system’s regulatory functions.

  • Steven A. Dean (Brooklyn) (moderator)
  • Brian D. Galle (Boston College) (speaker)
  • David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) (speaker)
  • Andrew Hayashi (Virginia) (speaker)
  • Leigh Osofsky (Miami) (speaker)

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