TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Allard: The Future Of The Legal Profession

Nick Allard (Departing Dean, Brooklyn), Remarks At the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum (SPILF VII) on The Future of the Legal Profession

Prime Minister Medvedev, Justice Minister Konovalov, distinguished guests of the St. Petersburg international legal forum, it is an honor to be invited to participate again, for the sixth time, in the St. Petersburg international legal forum which is a unique global, forward- looking collaborative initiative promoting better understanding of the future of law. If I were forced to use only one word to describe the future changes of the legal profession, I would choose the word “inevitable.” The legal profession and legal educators—always slow and even resistant to adaptation—must evolve with the times. Standing still, clinging to the “business as usual” status quo is not an option.

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June 20, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rossman: In Search Of Smarter Homeowner Subsidies

Matthew J. Rossman (Case Western), In Search of Smarter Homeowner Subsidies, 40 U. Haw. L. Rev. 270 (2017):

Critics have long assailed the federal tax code’s principal homeowner subsidies as lucrative tax breaks for upper income households that are essentially worthless to those financially constrained from purchasing a home. This article examines the subsidies through a different lens and reveals another serious flaw. It demonstrates how the homeowner subsidies, which represent a massive federal investment in homeownership, do very little to contain and instead probably increase costs on others that result from certain types of housing choices and that other federal policies seek to remedy. These negative housing externalities include: (i) blight, deterioration, and public health risks in disinvested housing markets, (ii) an array of individual and societal harms associated with heightened economic and racial housing segregation, (iii) environmental degradation, and (iv) taxpayer funded disaster relief for those who reside in environmental hotspots. In effect, the subsidies pay for housing choices that the government later pays to cleans up after.

This article provides several explanations for this disconnect. Among these is an idealization of homeownership, reflected in the tax code, which sees only its benefits. Accordingly, the subsidies reward homeowner decisions at large and are insensitive to the varying amounts of positive and negative externalities that follow from particular types of homeowner choices. For this reason, the article contends that the current subsidies are not “smart.”

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June 20, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Yale And Stanford Law Journals Team Up For #MeToo Project, In a First, Yale and Stanford Law Journals Team Up for #MeToo Project:

The #MeToo movement has highlighted the problem of men wielding their workplace power to sexually harass women, but the issue of gender-based harassment and discrimination is much broader and pervasive than the current media narrative allows.

That’s the takeaway from a new #MeToo Symposium—a collection of 12 essays from leading employment discrimination law experts—published Monday in a collaboration between the Yale Law Journal and the Stanford Law Review.

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June 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charitable Giving And The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act

AEI (2016)Alex Brill & Derrick Choe (American Enterprise Institute), Charitable Giving and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

This paper investigates how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects household charitable giving in the United States. We find that the law will reduce charitable giving by $17.2 billion (4.0 percent) in 2018 according to a static model and $16.3 billion assuming a modest boost to growth. Four-fifths of this decline is driven by an increase in the number of taxpayers who claim the standard deduction.

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June 19, 2018 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

A College President’s Twitter Strategy

OnoInside Higher Ed, A College President’s Twitter Strategy:

The University of British Columbia’s president, Santa Ono, is a social media star among college presidents.

On Ono’s Twitter feed, there are beautiful pictures of the UBC campus, details of upcoming events and celebrations of the achievements of students and staff.

When not promoting his institution on Twitter, Ono shares more personal posts: a recommendation for a local ramen bar, a quote from Pablo Picasso or the news that the Harry Potter play just won six Tony Awards.

Mixed in with these promotional and personal posts, however, is the occasional statement of university policy. And that, students say, is a big problem.

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June 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Papers: The Commerce Clause And The Global Economy

Chapman Logo (2017)The Chapman Law Review is pleased to invite article submissions on the theme: The Commerce Clause and the Global Economy. Publications will appear in a symposium edition, and authors will receive an honorarium.

With the growth of online retailers and the rise of the global marketplace, federal and state governments have been charged with the task of navigating the waters of the global economy and its inevitable collision with the Commerce Clause. In June, the United States Supreme Court is expected to render a decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, in which South Dakota has asked the Court to reconsider its ruling in Quill v. North Dakota and allow states to require out-of-state retailers that do not have a physical presence in the state to collect local sales taxes from their customers. Regardless of the outcome, this case has opened up a series of questions about the scope of the Commerce Clause in an increasingly global economy—specifically the ability of state and local governments to regulate global economic actors in order to protect communities against the adverse effects of globalization.

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June 19, 2018 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

CBPP Seeks To Hire Tax Analyst

CBPP Logo (2013)Senior Tax Legal Analyst or Tax Legal Analyst:

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a non-profit research organization with a mission to improve the well-being of low- and moderate-income people. The Center has a national reputation for rigorous analysis of fiscal policies and an ability to influence policy debates.   It is widely respected for its expertise on federal budget and tax issues.

The Center seeks to hire a senior tax legal analyst or tax legal analyst to expand our work to identify examples of tax loopholes, gaming, and unintended consequences under the new tax law and lift these examples up among the tax community, policymakers, media, and the public. Working with other experts on the Federal Fiscal Policy team, the analyst will help to shape and drive public debate on these issues.

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June 19, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Coastal School of Law Seeks Restraining Order Against The ABA

Florida Coastal (2017)Following up on my previous post, Florida Coastal Law School Sues ABA; Kirkland & Ellis Alleges Arbitrary Enforcement Of Accreditation Standards:, Florida Coastal School of Law Seeks Restraining Order Against ABA:

Florida Coastal School of Law has asked a federal judge to halt new disclosures the American Bar Association has required the troubled school to make to its students, arguing the requirements will undermine its efforts to improve.

In a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, filed June 15 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Florida Coastal and owner InfiLaw Corp. have asked the court to postpone several requirements the ABA imposed in April after determining that the school is out of compliance with rules pertaining to the rigor or it educational program and its academic support.

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June 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Newman: Modern Day Lessons From Two New York Tax Opinions By Benjamin Cardozo

Joel S. Newman (Wake Forest), Two New York Tax Cases, 34 Touro L. Rev. 301 (2018):

While he was on the New York Court of Appeals, Benjamin Cardozo wrote a number of opinions on state tax issues. People ex rel. Studebaker Corp. v. Gilchrist was an early transfer pricing case. Studebaker Corporation established a number of sales subsidiaries, so that income could be shifted away from states with corporate franchise taxes. As a result of its manipulation, a net loss of over $400,000 was reported to New York State in 1920, even though Studebaker earned a profit of over $11 million nationwide. The New York State Tax Commission and the Appellate Division reallocated the income, but the Court of Appeals reversed. Cardozo disagreed with the method of allocation used below. However, his opinion left the door open for reallocations in subsequent cases. Curiously, the facts would have lent themselves to transfer pricing analysis, which is used in modern international tax cases, rather than the formulary apportionment used by the courts below, which has become the standard method in state cases.

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June 19, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Google Now Displays Acceptance, Cost And Graduation Data In College Search Results

MontanaChronicle of Higher Education, Google Wants to Play a Bigger Role in Your College Search. Here’s What You Need to Know.:

Google waded into the college-search process on Tuesday, announcing that it would elevate certain statistics about four-year colleges when people use the ubiquitous search engine to seek out information.

Here’s what that will look like in practice, Google says: Enter “University of Montana” into the search bar, and a prominent result will be a selection of statistics about the institution — its graduation rate and average cost after financial aid, among other things.

To get those stats, Google will draw from two favorite data troves of higher-ed researchers: the College Scorecard and the Education Department’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, known as Ipeds.

On a search-by-search basis, the change might seem relatively minor. Searches already amplify information on colleges’ acceptance rates and material drawn from their Wikipedia pages. But Google’s immense power means the shift could have real-world ripple effects for students and the colleges recruiting them.

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June 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Christians: Introduction To Tax Policy Theory

Allison Christians (McGill), Introduction to Tax Policy Theory:

Taxation involves the compulsory transfer of resources among members of society. Tax policy is concerned with how societies carry out taxation. That is a technical and legal question, but it is inescapably a political, social, and cultural one as well. To study tax policy is to engage simultaneously with the existential philosophical foundations of taxation: why and how societies tax. This introduction to tax policy theory presents an overview of tax policy discourse. The goal is to outline a working framework for reflection and analysis to examine the ways in which current assumptions and approaches require further development.

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June 18, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Boardrooms Need Reform

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Wall Street Journal op-ed:  University Boardrooms Need Reform, by Paul S. Levy:

I recently resigned as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and an overseer of its law school to protest the shameful treatment of law professor Amy Wax. Her career-threatening offense was to state that in her experience with black students over 17 years at Penn, few had performed in the top half of their class. Penn Law’s dean, Ted Ruger, declared her in error but refused to provide evidence. For dissenting from politically correct orthodoxy, Mr. Ruger forbade Ms. Wax to teach her much-admired first-year course in civil procedure—for which the university gave her an award in 2015.

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June 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Krugman: Tax Cuts And Leprechauns

New York Times op-ed:  Tax Cuts and Leprechauns (Wonkish), by Paul Krugman:

The political news seems even more horrible than usual today. So to get away from the headlines a bit, I’m going to commit some economics. Specifically, I want to pull together some thoughts — some inspired by Gabriel Zucman’s recent work [Tax Havens Blunt Impact Of Corporate Tax Cuts], some of my own — about the case or lack thereof for corporate tax cuts, the centerpiece of the only major legislation enacted under Trump. ...

There is no question that multinational corporations like low-tax countries like Ireland, and report earning a lot of their profits in those countries. But does this really reflect large-scale capital movements to those low-tax jurisdictions?

No, say Gabriel Zucman and co-authors. They produce strong evidence that most of what we see is basically a statistical illusion: corporations use transfer pricing, allocation of rents on intangible assets, etc. to make profits appear in low-tax countries; but there’s very little real production or employment behind those profits. As Figure 3 shows, tax-haven countries end up showing ridiculously high levels of profits relative to wages, basically because the profits aren’t being earned where they’re being reported.


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June 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Hamilton And Philosophy

HamiltonI gotta get back in the classroom:  Professor Carrie-Ann Biondi at Marymount Manhattan College is teaching a course in the fall on Hamilton and Philosophy:

Alexander Hamilton not only participated in the American Revolutionary War as George Washington’s right-hand man, but he also introduced revolutionary ideas into American political philosophy before and during the early American republic. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda created a revolution of his own on Broadway with his smash-hit Hamilton: An American Musical. In this course, we will explore both the political philosophy of Hamilton and examine various philosophical issues surrounding the creation and reception of Miranda’s Hamilton

Professor Biondi contributed a chapter (Legacy and Happiness in Hamilton: An American Musical) in the book Hamilton and Philosophy (2017):

In Hamilton and Philosophy, professional thinkers expose, examine, and ponder the deep and controversial implications of this runaway hit Broadway musical.

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June 18, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lesson From The Tax Court: Where Is A Retiree's Tax Home?

Tax Court (2017)The last couple of weeks have seen Tax Court cases with several interesting lessons. The one I choose today is Roger G. Maki and Lilane J. Gervais v. Commissioner, T.C. Summary Op. 2018-30 (June 6, 2018). It teaches a lesson about what constitutes travel “away from home” for purposes of the §162 deduction. I posted a basic lesson (here) on this issue late last year. The wrinkle in today’s case is that the taxpayer was retired and traveled from his home in the Seattle metro area to a house he had inherited, ostensibly to manage the surrounding land for eventual timber sales. The Tax Court decided the travel was deductible. I question whether that’s the right outcome here — it seems to me this was just a commute — but notice this is just a Summary Opinion. That means it can still teach a lesson, even if it carries no precedential weight.

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June 18, 2018 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Problem With Law Schools? They Only Prepare Future Lawyers, The Problem with Law Schools? They Only Prepare Future Lawyers:

Working in today’s legal market requires more skill than just knowing the law, but not all law schools have matched their curriculum to this changing marketplace.

“If you look at the legal market from the point of view of a law student, that is very far removed from the market you see,” said Jae Um, founder & executive director of  legal market insights company Six Parsecs, at the June 8 “Training the 21st Century Lawyer: Envisioning a Legal Industry Alliance” session of Thomson Reuters’ 2018 Legal Executive Forum in New York.

Um noted that the current model of education, which trains around “conceptual subject matter expertise,” is outdated, and what law schools need to do is focus more on teaching students how to work in today’s legal market. Such a market is defined by the recent rise of legal operation professionals, knowledge management staff, and e-discovery managers, all of whom play an integral part in law firms. The work of today’s lawyers and legal professionals, therefore, is as much about solving a client’s business and operational needs as it is their legal ones.

William Henderson, professor of law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, noted that the rise of these new and different types of law firm positions was proof that the industry had undergone a profound change, even if legal education hasn’t kept up.

“We don’t change very often. But when we change, we change in an order of magnitude that is fairly large,” he said at the forum. “And I hope legal education is on the brink of creating a different narrative.”

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June 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Hackney: Why The IRS Should Go After Trump

New York Times op-ed:  Why the I.R.S. Should Go After Trump. by Philip Hackney (LSU; moving to Pittsburgh):

The New York State attorney general yesterday filed a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation and its directors, accusing the charity and the Trump family of violating campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign. It asks that Mr. Trump pay restitution and be prohibited from leading a nonprofit in New York for 10 years.

As a former attorney for the chief counsel of the I.R.S. who specialized in nonprofit organizations, I believe Mr. Trump is also criminally liable for his actions. If I were still at the I.R.S., based on the lawsuit, I would make a criminal referral, on charges of tax evasion or false statements on a tax return, or both.

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June 18, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Supreme Court Votes 7-2 To Deny Accreditation Of Canada's First Christian Law School, Says LGBT Rights Trump Religious Freedom To Ban Student Sex Outside Of Heterosexual Marriage

Trinity WesternFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Globe and Mail, Law Societies Can Deny Accreditation to B.C. Evangelical University’s Law School Graduates: Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court has upheld the right of provincial law societies to reject the graduates of a proposed Christian law school over its requirement that students abstain from sex outside of heterosexual marriage [Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada; Trinity Western University v. The Law Society of British Columbia].

In a highly anticipated contest between religious freedom and equality, most of the court said the limit on religious freedom was a minor one – well short of “forced apostasy,” as five of the judges put it. By comparison, the effects on equality, if the school had been accredited, would have been large enough to threaten the integrity of the legal system, the judges said.

The court had been asked whether the law societies of British Columbia and Ontario were within their rights when they voted not to give licences to graduates of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school at its campus in Langley, B.C. In a pair of 7-2 rulings, the court said they were.

“Limiting access to membership in the legal profession on the basis of personal characteristics, unrelated to merit, is inherently inimical to the integrity of the legal profession,” five of the seven judges in the majority wrote.

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June 17, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Tax Court's Constitutional Home

Allen Madison (South Dakota) & Sharyn M. Fisk (California State Polytechnic), The Tax Court's Home, 157 Tax Notes 1249 (Nov. 27, 2017):

This article analyzes issues related to the Tax Court’s constitutional status. Although the issue has been debated for decades, recent litigation has revived the issue. In Battat v. Commissioner, [148 T.C. No. 2 (Feb. 2, 2017),] the primary issue before Tax Court was whether the President’s limited removal power over tax judges violates the Constitution’s separation of powers. In addressing this issue, the Tax Court outlined the background on the Tax Court’s status to show the Tax Court is not in the Executive branch. Further, the Battat opinion holds that even though the court exercises judicial power, the Tax Court does not exercise the “judicial power of the United States” reserved for Article III courts. Thus, the President’s limited removal power presents no separation of powers violation. The Tax Court did not reach an ultimate answer as to which branch of the government it resides, but it does provide background showing that it lies outside the Executive branch.

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June 17, 2018 in New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Chicago Drops SAT/ACT Admissions Requirement — Will Other Elite Schools Follow?

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN Logo (2018)This week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list, with some reshuffling of the order of the papers within the Top 5:

  1. [290 Downloads]  The 2017 Tax Cuts: How Polarized Politics Produced Precarious Policy, by Michael Graetz (Columbia)
  2. [244 Downloads]  IRC Section 678 and the Beneficiary Deemed Owner Trust (BDOT), by Edwin Morrow
  3. [236 Downloads]  The New U.S. Tax Preference for 'Foreign-Derived Intangible Income', by Chris Sanchirico (Pennsylvania)
  4. [223 Downloads]  Higher Education Savings and Planning: Tax and Nontax Considerations, by Philip Manns (Liberty) & Timothy Todd (Liberty)
  5. [185 Downloads]  Code Sec. 1031 after the 2017 Tax Act, by Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

June 17, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

13th Annual Junior Tax Scholars Workshop Concludes Today

Colorado Logo (2016)Panel #4: Business Taxation

Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings), A Worker-Centric Model for Sharing Economy 
Commentators: Pippa Browde (Montana), Jacob Goldin (Stanford)

Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto), Signaling by Small Suppliers Through Voluntary VAT Registration
Commentators: Edward Fox (NYU), Clint Wallace (South Carolina)

Ari Glogower (Ohio State), Requiring Reasonable Compensation in a C Corp
Commentators: Jacob Goldin (Stanford), Ariel Stevenson (San Diego)

Panel #5: International

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June 16, 2018 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

USC Is 20th Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions

GREUSC is the 20th U.S. law school to announce that it will accept the GRE for the 1L admissions. The other nineteen law schools are Arizona, Brooklyn, BYU, Cardozo, Chicago Kent, Columbia, Florida StateGeorgetown, Harvard, Hawaii, John Marshall (Chicago), Northwestern, Pace, Penn, St. John's, Texas A&M, UCLA, Wake Forest, and Washington University. Two law schools allow the GRE in limited circumstances:  Chicago (admissions committee may grant LSAT waiver) and Georgia (students enrolled in a dual degree program at the university).  (George Washington has rescinded its use of the GRE because it has not done a school-specific validation study.)

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June 16, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

How The Rich Are Paying Real Estate Taxes Through Non-Grantor Trusts To Dodge State & Local Tax Cap

Bloomberg, How the Rich Can Dodge Trump’s Property Tax Hike:

Jonathan Blattmachr, an estate planning lawyer, is such a fan of the strategy he’s created to help some of his wealthy clients get around the new property tax deduction cap that he’s using it himself.

Blattmachr plans to put his two New York residences -- in Garden City and Southampton on Long Island -- into a limited liability company. Then he’ll transfer interests in the LLC to five separate trusts set up in Alaska, with each taking the maximum $10,000 deduction. By doing so, he says he’ll be able to preserve the write-off for about $50,000 in property taxes he and his wife pay each year on both homes.

“This is an under-the-radar thing and it’s novel,” said Blattmachr, who’s written several books on estate planning.

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June 16, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Glogower Reviews Kysar's Tax Law And The Eroding Budget Process

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new work by Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn, moving to Fordham), Tax Law and the Eroding Budget Process, 81 Law & Contemp. Probs. 61 (2018).

Glogower (2016)

Rebecca Kysar’s new work describes the evolution of the budget process and its effect upon tax policy, through a detailed study of the process leading to the 2017 tax legislation. At the same time, the work also describes how political pressures are changing the budget process and eroding longstanding norms.

The work begins with a brief history of the reconciliation process since its inception in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. In this account reconciliation—which allows the Senate to pass legislation conforming to budget instructions with a simple majority—was originally intended as a way to assist Congress in reducing deficits and balancing the budget. The process was soon expanded, however, as a way to sidestep the filibuster for a broader range of legislation and social policy. To curb this trend, the Byrd Rule was adopted in the 1980s, which limited the ability of Congress to use reconciliation for legislation that is extraneous to the budget or that increased deficits beyond the specified budget window.

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June 15, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

NY Times: How The IRS Could Punish Trump And His Foundation

New York Times, How the I.R.S. Could Punish Trump and His Foundation:

The New York attorney general sued President Trump and his foundation on Thursday. But his bigger problem might be with the Internal Revenue Service.

The lawsuit accused Mr. Trump and three of his children of using the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a nonprofit charity, for political and business purposes, even though he signed federal tax returns swearing that wasn’t happening. Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood referred her findings to the I.R.S. for further investigation.

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June 15, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

13th Annual Junior Tax Scholars Workshop Kicks Off Today At Colorado

Colorado Logo (2016)Panel #1: SALT and Transfer Programs

Pippa Browde (Montana), Cannabis Complexities in State-Tribal Tax Revenue Sharing Compacts
Commentators: Sloan Speck (Colorado), Hayes Holderness (Richmond)

Mary Leto Pareja (New Mexico), Work Requirements for Medicaid and Other Safety Net Programs: Giving Real Credit for Community Engagement
Commentators: Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto), Goldburn Maynard (Louisville)

Ariel Stevenson (San Diego), User Fees and Public Accountability
Commentators: Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah), Zachary Liscow (Yale)

Hayes Holderness (Richmond), Wither Transactional Nexus?
Commentators: Ariel Glogower (Ohio State), Edward Fox (NYU)

Panel #2: Tax Administration and Compliance

Goldburn Maynard (Louisville), Legislating with Tall Tales
Commentators: Mary Leto Pareja (New Mexico), Clint Wallace (South Carolina)

Sloan Speck (Colorado), The Taxation of Crowdfunding for Health Care
Commentators: Jacob Goldin (Stanford), Genevieve Tokić (Northern Illinois)

Zachary Liscow (Yale), Democratic Law and Economics
Commentators: Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings), Ariel Stevenson (San Diego)

Panel #3: Political Economy/Redistribution

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June 15, 2018 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Apple Watches And iPhones To Replace Student ID Cards At Six Colleges

DukeInside Higher Ed, Apple's New Focus: Student ID Cards:

On many campuses, students must carry ID cards to access their residence halls, take out library books, go to the gym and pay for lunch in the dining hall.

But this practice could soon be a thing of the past, with the launch of digital student ID cards on Apple Watches and iPhones.

Using Near-Field Communications technology, students will be able to access a multitude of services on campus just by waving their phone or watch near compatible readers.

Six universities have been working with Apple and Blackboard on the initiative, including Duke, Johns Hopkins, Santa Clara and Temple Universities and the Universities of Alabama and Oklahoma.

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June 15, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ: Philadelphia’s Affordable-Housing Plan — A Tax On New Buildings

Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia’s Affordable-Housing Plan: a Tax on New Buildings:

Philadelphia’s City Council is weighing a proposed 1% tax on construction to raise millions of dollars for affordable-housing programs, marking the latest push by a U.S. city to address rising residential costs.

The council could pass the new tax this week, setting up a possible showdown with Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, whose administration warns the levy would hurt the city’s competitiveness as it vies to land Inc.’s second headquarters.

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June 15, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Women Of Color In Academe Make 67 Cents For Every Dollar Paid To White Men

Chronicle of Higher Education, Women of Color in Academe Make 67 Cents for Every Dollar Paid to White Men:

Women of color earn only 67 cents on the dollar compared with white men in the higher-education work force, according to a recently released research brief from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, or CUPA-HR.


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June 15, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Rodriguez: First Mile-Last Mile Problems Create Bumpy Road In Legal Tech Innovation op-ed:  First Mile-Last Mile Problems Create Bumpy Road in Legal Tech Innovation, by Daniel B. Rodriguez (Dean. Northwestern):

San Francisco city officials have been working with Uber and Lyft to devise a scheme so that mobility and resource-limited people can get transportation to the bus station and ultimately to their final destination. At the same time, local utility companies are rapidly building more cell towers to enable end users to get decent cell service in rural areas in which 3G and 4G cell service is sporadic or nonexistent.

In the telecommunications and urban transportation fields, these are styled as scrupulous strategies to tackle the so-called first mile and last mile problem, the dilemma that emerges from the serious obstacles to properly beginning and completing the journey. The economic evidence indicates that the first and last mile add disproportionately to the costs of the service, and the challenge is to reduce the unique costs borne by companies of beginning and ending the journey on these otherwise efficient networks. Much creative thinking, and public-private infrastructure investment, is devoted to what is called colloquially the “FMLM” twin problems.

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June 14, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

McCarden: Uncovering Assets Hidden From Spouses And Tax Authorities

Khrista McCarden (Pepperdine), Till Offshore Do Us Part: Uncovering Assets Hidden from Spouses and Tax Authorities, 62 St. Louis U. L.J. 19 (2017):

This paper explores how U.S. tax authorities may assist spouses in the uncovering of offshore assets in divorce proceedings and thus decrease the ability of some of the wealthiest taxpayers to use offshore accounts to escape taxation.

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June 14, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bruising Primary Drives Wedge Between UC Irvine Law Prof Candidates

IrvineThe Recorder, Bruising Primary Drives Wedge Between UC Irvine Law Prof Candidates:

Katie Porter, a professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, on Tuesday narrowly defeated her faculty colleague, David Min, to secure a spot on the ballot for a Congressional seat following a hard-fought primary that turned ugly.

Porter snagged 20 percent of the vote—the second-highest percentage behind Republican incumbent Mimi Walters, for whom 53 percent of voters cast their ballot. Min won 17 percent of the vote, but only the top two vote-getters will appear on the November ballot under California’s primary system. (The results aren’t final, as absentee ballots have until Friday to arrive, but Porter currently has a 2,600 vote lead over Min.)

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June 14, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Tax Section Awards

June 14, 2018 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Creighton Law School Seeks to Move Past Conflicts That Consultant Says Created 'Toxic' Atmosphere; Former Associate Dean Decries 'Mad Men' Culture

Creighton (2017)Omaha World-Herald, Creighton Law School Seeks to Move Past Conflicts That Consultant Says Created 'Toxic' Atmosphere:

Creighton University’s law school endured a clash between tradition and change during the 2016-17 school year, and tradition won.

A new dean, Paul McGreal, took over as leader of the law school in 2015. By 2017, he was no longer dean. McGreal’s senior associate dean left, and two female professors who filed a hostile atmosphere complaint with Creighton administrators moved to a different Creighton program. ...

Details are scant about their complaint because neither Palma Strand nor Jacqueline Font-Guzmán would discuss or provide a copy of the complaint.

What is certain is that 2016-17 was a rough period in Creighton’s Ahmanson Law Center. A consultant came in and determined that while the law school wasn’t guilty of gender or race discrimination, the atmosphere in the school was “toxic.”

Personality clashes infected the school, and the consultant, Lincoln lawyer and consultant David Buntain, said some professors kept their doors closed or went home early so they wouldn’t have to encounter certain other professors.

The former senior associate dean, Nicholas Mirkay, said recently that efforts to move the law school forward met resistance from those who had been there for many years.

“When I joined the Creighton law faculty in 2011, it was culturally akin to taking a step back in time to a ‘Mad Men’ episode,” Mirkay wrote in an email. “It was surreal beyond description. I moved almost 4,000 miles away to re-enter the 21st century.” He declined to say more.

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June 14, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: Seattle Officials Repeal Tax That Upset Amazon

Amazon logo (2018)New York Times, Seattle Officials Repeal Tax That Upset Amazon:

Seattle officials scuttled a corporate tax on Tuesday that they had wholeheartedly endorsed just a month ago, delivering a win for the measure’s biggest opponent — Amazon — and offering a warning to cities bidding for the retailer’s second headquarters that the company would go to the limit to get its way.

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June 14, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

ABA, Cooley Law School May Be Headed To Settlement In Accreditation Lawsuit

Thomas Cooley Logo (2017)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA, Cooley Law May Be Headed to Settlement in Accreditation Suit:

The American Bar Association and Western Michigan University Cooley Law School are due in federal court next week for a settlement conference, signaling a possible end to a contentious lawsuit brought by the school over the ABA’s accreditation practices.

The parties are headed to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on June 19 for a settlement conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Grand, and must submit a history of their settlement negotiations to the court by Friday. Cooley sued last November after the school was found to be out of compliance with the ABA’s admissions standard, alleging that rule is unlawfully vague and that the ABA’s accreditation decision-making is cloaked in secrecy.

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June 14, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Corporate Tax Cuts Could Lead To Modest Decline In Wealth Inequality

Baker InstituteRice University Baker Institute for Public Policy, Corporate Tax Cuts Could Lead to Modest Decline in Wealth Inequality:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 could lead to a modest decline in wealth inequality due to the act’s corporate tax cuts, according to an analysis by experts at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Jorge Barro, fellow in the institute’s Center for Public Finance, and Anne Dayton, research manager in the institute’s McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, outlined their insights in a new issue brief, Long-term Macroeconomic Effects of the 2017 Corporate Tax Cuts. The brief presents the results of a dynamic model similar in nature to the macroeconomic models used by the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation in evaluating the tax reform legislation.

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June 14, 2018 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Florida International Law School's Bar Exam Secret Sauce

FIU 2Following up on my previous posts:

Michael Hunter Schwartz (Dean, McGeorge), Florida International School of Law and the Bar Pass Secret Sauce:

Florida International School of Law, ranked fifth among the 11 ABA-approved law schools in Florida, has enjoyed a bar pass rate, over the past six bar exams, that is first, first, first, second, first, and first in the state. In other words, we cannot even see the fluke line from where we are standing; instead, it’s time we recognize that FIU has found the bar pass secret sauce.

What is that secret sauce? It could not be simply having an academic support and/or bar pass program. Many U.S. law schools have implemented academic support and bar pass programs aimed at ensuring their students graduate and pass the bar exam on the first try. These programs have enjoyed varying degrees of success, but no law school has experienced anything close to the long-term, sustained success FIU has enjoyed.

The architect of FIU’s Bar Pass success, Professor Louis Schulze, has authored a law review article that provides some insight [Using Science to Build Better Learners: One School's Successful Efforts to Raise Its Bar Passage Rates in an Era of Decline]. The crux of Professor Schulze’s approach involves empowering law students by teaching them modern brain science principles and study strategies, convincing the students to implement those principles, and supporting their efforts to do so.

The full article is worth a read. Below, to whet your appetite for the full article, I detail three principles that animate Professor Schulze’s approach. ...

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June 13, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Virginia Tax Review Publishes New Issue

Virginia Tax Review (2016)The Virginia Tax Review has published Vol. 37, No. 3 (Spring 2018):

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June 13, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium: The Impact Of Formative Assessment: Emphasizing Outcome Measures In Legal Education

Symposium, The Impact of Formative Assessment: Emphasizing Outcome Measures in Legal Education, 94 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 387-457 (2017):

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June 13, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Arbitration And Sexual Harassment Policies At 200 Law Firms

Following up on my previous post, Top 14 Law Schools Demand That Law Firms Disclose Summer Associate Arbitration Agreements:   the law schools have released the results of a survey of workplace harassment policies at 200 law firms.

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June 13, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  This ranking includes downloads from two 30- and 35-page papers by 12 tax professors on the new tax legislation that garnered a lot of media attention (including the New York Times and Washington Post) and generated a massive amount of downloads (the papers are the most downloaded papers over the past 12 months across all of SSRN and the most downloaded tax papers of all-time by over 200%).  See Brian Leiter (Chicago), 11 Tax Profs Blow Up The SSRN Download Rankings. (For some reason, Mitchell Kane (NYU) — the twelfth academic co-author of the two papers — is not included in the SSRN download rankings (although the downloads are included on his individual author page)).  Here is the new list (through June 1, 2018) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Daniel Hemel (Chicago)



David Gamage (Indiana)


David Gamage (Indiana)



Lily Batchelder (NYU)


Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)



Daniel Hemel (Chicago)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)


Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings)



Cliff Fleming (BYU)


Lily Batchelder (NYU)



David Kamin (NYU)


Cliff Fleming (BYU)



Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn)


Ari Glogower (Ohio State)



Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings)


David Kamin (NYU)



Ari Glogower (Ohio State)


Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn)



Michael Simkovic (USC)


Gladriel Shobe (BYU)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Michael Simkovic (USC)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Jacob Goldin (Stanford)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine) 



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Hugh Ault (Boston College



Jim Hines (Michigan)


Sam Donaldson (Georgia St.) 



Gladriel Shobe (BYU)


Kirk Stark (UCLA)     



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Ruth Mason (Virginia)    



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Kyle Rozema (Chicago)  



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Stephen Shay (Harvard)  



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)  



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Steven Bank (UCLA)


Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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June 13, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: Corruption Gutted South Africa’s Tax Agency. Now The Nation Is Paying The Price.

New York Times, Corruption Gutted South Africa’s Tax Agency. Now the Nation Is Paying the Price.:

The nation’s tax chief steeled himself. Chiding and pleading with President Jacob Zuma to get him to file his taxes — much less pay the full amount — was always an excruciating task.

And it kept getting worse. One of the president’s sons, a nephew and countless business allies had serious tax problems as well, four former senior officials said, alarming investigators and leaving them wondering what to do.

South Africa’s young democracy had depended on the faith — and taxes — of its people since the end of apartheid, so the risks were evident. If the leader of the African National Congress, his relatives and his influential associates could dodge their tax duties, the rest of the country might shirk them, too, hollowing out the government’s ability to function at the most basic level.

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June 13, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should Law Schools Tie Faculty Summer Teaching Pay To Enrollment?

ChronicleChronicle of Higher Education, Professors Decide Whether to Teach Summer Courses — for Cuts in Pay:

When Amanda Klein, an associate professor in the English department at East Carolina University, decided to cancel her "Introduction to Film Studies" course, she was disappointed. It was her decision, but she didn’t feel she had much choice.

This summer, Klein said, she couldn’t afford to teach.

East Carolina has had an enrollment minimum for summer sessions for several years. If a course does not attract the required number of students, it is canceled. This year a new proportional-pay system on campus means that if a course does not reach the minimum enrollment, determined by administrators, it may still run but the salary for the professor teaching it will be reduced by a proportionate amount.

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June 13, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Winchester: The Deduction For Passthrough Firms — A Hodgepodge Of Ideas

Richard Winchester (Thomas Jefferson), The Deduction for Passthrough Firms: A Hodgepodge of Ideas, 158 Tax Notes 1517 (2018):

This article describes the principal features of the deduction enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for the owner of any business that is not classified as a corporation for tax purposes. The article also offer a wide range of personal observations about the law.

June 13, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)