TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Law Schools With The Lowest Student Debt

Student Loans

Following up on my previous post, 2016 U.S News Law School Rankings: Average Student Debt:  U.S. News & World Report, 10 Law Schools That Leave Grads With the Least Debt:

SchoolAve. DebtU.S. News Rank
1. BYU $54,203 34 (tie)
2. Hawaii $56,266 82 (tie)
3. N.C. Central $58,061 Not Ranked
4. Nebraska $62,985 56 (tie)
5. Arkansas $63,541 75 (tie)
6. North Dakota $64,818 138 (tie)
7. Tennessee $66,201 52 (tie)
8. Wyoming $67,087 108 (tie)
9. Missouri $67,289 59 (tie)
10. Alabama $69,440 22 (tie)

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September 3, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The 100 Most Influential People In Tax And Accounting

Top 100I am honored to be included on the list of Accounting Today's 100 Most Influential People in Tax and Accounting for the tenth year in a row:

In the years since Caron was one of the few pioneering tax bloggers, a veritable host of others have sprung up, but none can match his authority, his comprehensive approach, or his willingness to doggedly, persistently pursue the long-term unfolding of the scandal around the IRS's targeting of conservative groups.

Accounting Today also quoted me in a sidebar on "The Quest for Work-Life Balance":

I fear that I have achieved work-life balance because work is my life! But seriously, it is a gift to be able to do a job that you love, so that the time you spend does not feel like “work.”

I am flattered to be on the Top 100 list with such high-powered people in the tax and accounting worlds, including:

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September 2, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. News Law School Rankings 'Echo Chamber' Affects Peer Reputation, Lawyer/Judge Reputation, Selectivity & Tuition, But Not Employers

2016 U.S. News RankingsJeffrey Evans Stake (Indiana) & Michael Alexeev (Indiana), Who Responds to U.S. News & World Report's Law School Rankings?, 12 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 421 (2015):

U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) publishes annual rankings of ABA‐approved law schools. The popularity of these rankings raises the question of whether they influence the behavior of law teachers, lawyers and judges, law school applicants, employers, or law school administrators. This study explores some indicia of USN&WR influence. Using data purchased from USN&WR, we attempt to determine whether USN&WR might have influenced (1) law faculty members who respond to the USN&WR survey of law school quality, (2) lawyers who respond to USN&WR surveys, (3) law school applicants choosing a school, (4) employers who hire law school graduates, and (5) administrators who set tuition.

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September 2, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

NY Times: Why Students With The Smallest Debts Have The Larger Problem

Student LoansNew York Times:  Why Students With Smallest Debts Have the Larger Problem, by Susan Dynarski (Michigan):

Politicians who complain about college costs frequently cite two numbers: one trillion and seven million. Student borrowers owe more than $1 trillion, and seven million borrowers are in default, according to the latest Department of Education data.

It’s natural for people listening to the politicians to connect the two facts with a causal arrow: More debt leads to more default. But the reality is surprising: Borrowers who owe the most are least likely to default.

The reason for this strange pattern? The biggest borrowers tend to become the highest earners.

In particular, borrowing is highest for those who go to graduate school. Forty percent of new loans go to graduate students. Among those earning law and medical degrees in 2012, median debt (undergraduate and graduate school) is $141,000 for lawyers and $162,000 for doctors.

Those holding graduate degrees tend to handle higher debt because they earn more. Over the past 50 years, workers with graduate degrees have enjoyed the largest gains of any education group, with their inflation-adjusted earnings nearly doubling since 1964. Some struggle, of course: The Department of Education estimates that 7 percent of graduate borrowers default. But this default rate is far lower than the 22 percent rate for those who borrow only for their undergraduate studies.


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September 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tax Prof Moves, 2015-16

Moves VAP Hires

  • Hayes Holderness (McDermott, Will & Emery, New York) to Illinois
  • Clint Wallace (Caplin & Drysdale, New York) to NYU

Entry Level Hires

Lateral Moves

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September 2, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

WaPo: How Student Loans Help Keep Expensive Law Schools In Business

Student LoansWashington Post, How Student Loans Help Keep Expensive Schools in Business:

Income inequality bedevils the United States, as does debt, of the public and private varieties. Under the circumstances, you’d think that the federal government’s priorities would not include channeling billions of dollars in cheap credit for the benefit of highly paid lawyers who train more lawyers.

Yet that is essentially what happens each year through the student loan program known as Grad PLUS. 

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September 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fired Employee Claims Arizona Summit Law School Inflated LSAT, Bar Passage Data

Arizona Summit Logo (2015)Following up on my previous post:  National Law Journal, Ex-Law School Employee in Fraud Case Fires Back:

A former graduate and employee of Arizona Summit Law School is claiming that she has ample grounds to sue for discrimination and fraud despite the school’s arguments that her lawsuit is meritless.

Plaintiff Paula Lorona in court papers on Aug. 27 responded to Arizona Summit’s motion to dismiss her lawsuit, refuting the school’s assertion that she failed to state any claims. Lorona claims, among other things, that the school misrepresented the academic credentials of its students and overstated their success on the bar exam.

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September 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

EEOC: Denver Law School Is Underpaying Female Faculty, Who May Recover $1.2 Million In Damages

Denver Logo (2015)Denver Post, EEOC Accuses DU Law School of Discriminating Against Women Professors:

University of Denver's law school could have to pay $1.2 million in damages to its female faculty members

The federal commission that investigates discrimination in the workplace has threatened to sue the University of Denver's law school over what the commission calls a "continuing pattern" of paying female professors less than their male colleagues.

In a letter sent to the university on Friday, the director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's office in Denver wrote that an EEOC investigation found a gender pay gap among the school's legal faculty dating back to at least 1973. The commission concluded that the university knew about the gap by 2012, "but took no action to ameliorate this disparity, in effect intentionally condoning and formalizing a history of wage disparity based on sex."

MarshThe EEOC's investigation came after longtime DU law school Professor Lucy Marsh filed a complaint with the commission more than two years ago. Marsh's attorney on Monday provided a copy of the letter to The Denver Post.

Marsh said the law school could have to pay as much as $1.2 million in total damages to its female law professors, in addition to paying them salaries going forward equal to what their male colleagues in similar positions are paid.

"I think it's wonderful," Marsh said Monday. "I am delighted that the EEOC has seen this as a big, systematic problem, and they are going after the big problem."

In a statement, the law school defended its merit-based pay structure and blamed Marsh for her lower salary, saying she showed, "sub-standard performance in scholarship, teaching and service."

"In this era of cost containment and assessment we stand by our historical system of evaluation and merit pay," DU's chancellor, Rebecca Chopp, said in the statement. ...

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September 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

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September 1, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charleston Law School President Resigns After Less Than Three Months On The Job

Charleston LogoCharleston Regional Business Journal, Charleston School of Law President Resigns:

Joseph Harbaugh’s tenure as president of Charleston School of Law is expected to end after less than four months on the job.

The interim president submitted his letter of resignation to the school’s owners, Robert Carr and George Kosko, on Thursday, citing “personal circumstances.” Harbaugh’s contract was supposed to end Dec. 15. ...

Harbaugh, the former dean of the University of Richmond School of Law and Nova Southeastern University Law Center, was named president of Charleston School of Law on June 5.

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September 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

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September 1, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Three Signs Of A Dying Law School

CLosingJeff Redding (St. Louis), The Perverse Statistics of Dying Law Schools:

A ‘dying’ law school can give off any number of perversely alluring statistics.  I’m sure there are more statistical signs of death than I can think of presently, but here’s my top 3 and also my explanation of how prospective students can research each:

1) A rapidly decreasing student/faculty ratio ... Is the law school you’re considering rapidly hiring faculty (unlikely) or is the school rapidly losing students?  Do your homework and find out what this ratio has been in years past and not just where it is now.

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August 31, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Most Liberal And Conservative Law School Graduates

Liberal ConservativeFollowing up on Saturday's post, The Most Liberal And Conservative Lawyers By Practice Area; Law Professors Are The Most Liberal Among 61 Groups:   the paper by Adam Bonica (Stanford), Adam S. Chilton (Chicago) & Maya Sen (Harvard), The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers, also ranks law schools by the most liberal and conservative law school graduates.  Rob Anderson (Pepperdine) mines the data in this post.  Here are the Top 25 of each:

Most Liberal Law School Graduates:

  1. Charlotte
  2. Northern Illinois
  3. Howard
  4. UC-Berkeley
  5. UC-Hastings
  6. Northeastern
  7. Lewis & Clark
  8. Oregon
  9. Maine
  10. University of Washington
  11. Thurgood Marshall
  12. NYU
  13. San Francisco
  14. Golden Gate
  15. UCLA
  16. Seattle
  17. Boston University
  18. Yale
  19. Minnesota
  20. Columbia
  21. Stanford
  22. Pennsylvania
  23. Illinois
  24. New Mexico
  25. USC

Most Conservative Law School Graduates:

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August 31, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana Tech Law School Enrolls 1L Class Of 15 Students, Down 50% From Last Year

IndyTech LogoIndiana Lawyer, Indiana Tech Law School Restarts Accreditation Process, Welcomes Zoeller:

The incoming Class of 2018 is comprised of 15 students who have a median LSAT score of 151 and a median GPA of 3.42. This is the smallest group yet to enroll in the Fort Wayne law school which opened in 2013. The institution’s first two classes each had about 30 students, and the Class of 2017 came with a median LSAT of 148.

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August 31, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The End Of Summer

Summer 2New York Times Sunday Review:  The Summer That Never Was, by Tim Kreider:

I never went to Iceland. I suppose I should say I didn’t go to Iceland this summer — never sounds a little melodramatic, possibly terminal. It’s not as if I’ve died and all hope of ever having gone to Iceland is obviated. But for some reason this missed opportunity is causing me more than the usual, near-toxic level of regret. I’ve had a free apartment in Reykjavik on offer for several years, and somehow I’ve never made it there. The owner of the apartment sends me photos of the aurora borealis that break my heart. ...

Every reminder of forgone pleasures — the empty hammock I hardly ever lay in, a little sugar-cube melon that went bad before I’d even cut one slice from it — makes me want to cry. This end-of-summer melancholy is a common experience, even a cliché. Part of it of course is just my dread and hatred of back-to-school time, unchanged since childhood. The whole world of work and productivity still seems to me like an unconscionable waste of time; the only parts of life that really matter are the summers, the in-between times — the idle goofing off. ...

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August 30, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lawyers Are Just As Likely To Lose Their Jobs To Robots As Truck Drivers And Factory Workers

HumanTech Insider, Lawyers Are Just as Likely to Lose Their Jobs to Robots as Truck Drivers and Factory Workers:

It's no surprise that the coming robotic workforce will take over jobs that require manual labor.

But white-collar workers like lawyers are equally at risk of losing their jobs to artificial intelligence (AI) that's cheaper and better than human workers, according to Jerry Kaplan, author of Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

Kaplan said any person that toils through many "repetitive and structured" tasks for a living won't be safe from the bread lines.

"Even for what you think of as highly-trained, highly-skilled, intuitive personable professions, it is still true that the vast majority of the work is routine," Kaplan told Tech Insider.

Lawyers, for example, may conjure up images of formidable debators pontificating in front of grand juries, but the reality is much more mundane.

"The vast majority of activities that lawyers are engaged in are straightforward drafting of contracts, putting together things like apartment leases, real estate deals, pre-trial discovery," Kaplan said. "It's these very tasks that make the profession susceptible to automation."

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August 30, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

The Most Liberal (Entertainment, Civil Rights, Personal Injury) And Conservative (Oil & Gas, M&A, Energy) Lawyers By Practice Area; Law Professors Are The Most Liberal Among 61 Groups

Adam Bonica (Stanford), Adam S. Chilton (Chicago) & Maya Sen (Harvard), The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers:

The ideology of American lawyers has been a persistent source of discussion and debate. Two obstacles, however, have prevented this topic from being systematically studied: the sheer number of attorneys in the United States and the need for a methodology that makes comparing the ideology of specific individuals possible. In this paper, we present a comprehensive mapping of lawyers’ ideologies that has overcome these hurdles. We use a new dataset that links the largest database of political ideology with the largest database of lawyers’ identities to complete the most extensive analysis of the political ideology of American lawyers ever conducted.

Here is the breakdown by practice area:



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August 29, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Boyack: Is The Goal Of 'Practice Ready' Law Grads Merited, Achievable & Worth The Cost?

PracticeAndrea J. Boyack (Washburn), Get "PRACTICE READY." Get set. Go!:

The ABA’s new standard 303(a)(3) instructs law schools to require graduating students satisfactorily complete “one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credit hours.” This standard (along with the subsequent standard 304) goes on to explain that the requirement can be satisfied through a simulation course, a law clinic, or field placement (externship).  This experiential requirement seems aimed at fulfilling the ABA House of Delegates Recommendation 10B from the 2011 Annual Meeting of the ABA that legal education implement curricular programs “intended to develop practice ready lawyers including, but not limited to enhanced capstone and clinical courses that include client meetings and court appearances.”  The California Bar has gone even further, requiring that graduates take 15 “skills” credits in order to be admitted to practice in the state. These enhanced experiential requirements are responsive to calls from all quarters – from the Carnegie Report and the MacCrate Report to Brian Tamanaha’s book and the scam-blogosphere – that law schools revamp their curricula in order to ensure that their graduates are “practice ready.” 

Creating experiential learning opportunities for students is a great idea.  But mandates that law schools produce “practice ready” graduates seem incompletely thought out.  Fundamental questions about “practice ready” graduates remain and will continue to plague the system. ... Basically, although many clamor that law schools need to increase their focus on “practice readiness”, we still don’t know if “practice readiness” instruction is merited, if is it ever achievable (measurable, teachable, possible) in law school, and whether it is worth the cost.

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August 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Grit And Legal Education: Female Students Are Grittier Than Male Students

True GritEmily Zimmerman (Drexel) & Leah Brogan (Drexel), Grit and Legal Education, 36 Pace L. Rev. ___ (2015):

Although research indicates that grit predicts successful performance in a variety of contexts, grit is underexplored in the context of legal education. We investigated the relationship between grit and law school grade point average (GPA) among recent law school graduates. Contrary to expectations, a statistically significant correlation did not emerge between grit and law school GPA. However, average grit scores of women and men did significantly differ, with women reporting higher overall grit scores than men. Female and male participants’ law school GPAs did not significantly differ. This article discusses our research project and the questions regarding legal education that our findings raise. We also identify areas for further research regarding grit, legal education, and law practice.

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August 28, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

More On The Resignation Of LSU Law School Dean/Chancellor

LSU Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  The Civilian, Chancellor Weiss Resigns: PMH Community Responds:

Following an eight-year stint at the helm of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, former Chancellor, Jack Weiss, steps down this month, citing “major differences” with the Law Center faculty as his reason for resigning.

“I am proud of the many positive developments at the Law Center during my eight years as Chancellor and look forward to submitting the progress of the Law Center during those years to the judgment of history,” Weiss said in a July statement.

“Unfortunately, however, major policy differences with a vocal segment of the faculty have made it difficult, if not impossible, for me to continue to lead the Law Center on a day-to-day basis and to implement my vision for the Law Center’s future.”

Though the specific events that led to Weiss’s decision to resign remain unknown, his resignation comes on the heels of a petition signed by Law Center faculty calling for an “urgently needed” change in leadership. The petition, which surfaced as a result of a public record request filed by 2015 law school graduate, Kyle Alagood, is signed by 25 of the 33 Law Center’s tenure or tenure-track faculty members and was presented to LSU’s provost in May.

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August 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Madison: Preparing For Service — A Template For 21st Century Legal Education

Pitt Logo (2015)Michael J. Madison (Pittsburgh), Preparing for Service: A Template for 21st Century Legal Education:

Legal educators today grapple with the changing dynamics of legal employment markets; the evolution of technologies and business models driving changes to the legal profession; and the economics of operating – and attending – a law school. Accrediting organizations and practitioners pressure law schools to prepare new lawyers both to be ready to practice and to be ready for an ever-fluid career path. From the standpoint of law schools in general and any one law school in particular, constraints and limitations surround us. Adaptation through innovation is the order of the day.

How, when, and in what direction should innovation take place? Who should lead, guide, and participate? These are questions often asked in both legal education in particular and in higher education in general. Rarely are answers accompanied by specific examples, strategies, or programs. This paper offers precisely that specificity. It documents one institution’s process and output, beginning with the concept of innovation in the face of multiple challenges and proposing one set of concrete, actionable strategies, tactics, and programs. These range from school-wide interventions to ideas for use at the level of the individual faculty member and course.

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August 28, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Coming To A Law School Near You: Law Prof Cubicles?

CubicleWall Street Journal Law Blog, Lawyer Cubicles Are Coming to New York:

Here at Law Blog, it’s not often we see a large law firm do something unprecedented when it comes to running its business. But we’re pretty sure Paul Hastings LLP is about to forge new ground when it moves its New York office next spring.

In its new midtown Manhattan space, junior lawyers won’t get the offices many dream of in law school. Instead, they’re getting a cubicle.

The move will only affect first- and second-year associates, who will be seated in pods of 12 in prime window-lined real estate on the ends of floors. For now, the firm is calling them the “end zones.”

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August 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

ABA Encourages Law School Shell Game: Minority 2L Transfers Count For Diversity Purposes, Not For U.S. News Rankings

Diversity (2)National Law Journal op-ed:   Law Schools' Shell Game of Minority Enrollment: Admitting Diverse Students as Transfers in their Second Year Does Not Improve Overall Numbers, by Jay Sterling Silver (St. Thomas (Florida)):

Here we go again. Although law schools no longer can give prospective students misleading data on graduate employment, some are creating the illusion they're doing more to expand minority representation in the profession than they really are, and many are clinging to their ranking in U.S. News & World Report through smoke and mirrors.

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August 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Taylor: Diversity As A Law School Survival Strategy

DiversityAaron N. Taylor (St. Louis), Diversity as a Law School Survival Strategy, 59 St. Louis U. L.J. 321 (2015):

Over the past few years, law schools have been dealing with a drastic and, so far, unyielding decline in student interest. Between 2010 and 2013, student enrollments fell almost 25%, to levels not seen in 40 years. This trend has prompted many to wonder what schools have done, and what they can do, to ensure their survival in this new climate. This article explores the extent to which law schools have used students of color, particularly black and Hispanic students, to bolster enrollments and lessen the effects of the downturn. The results of this analysis suggest that a school’s median LSAT score influenced the extent to which the racial composition of its entering classes changed between 2010 and 2013. Black and Hispanic students were critical components of the enrollment management calculus for private law schools with the lowest median LSAT scores. Higher-median schools tended to rely more heavily on white and Asian enrollments to stem declines. These trends led to increased racial and ethnic stratification in law school enrollments, where black and Hispanic students were more likely to attend schools with lower median LSAT scores in 2013 than in 2010, while white and Asian students were more likely to attend schools with higher median scores. Perceptions of law school quality and prestige are greatly influenced by a school’s median LSAT score; therefore, the trend of stratification may only serve to intensify racial and ethnic differences in career paths and trajectories.

August 27, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wisconsin Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Wisconsin LogoThe University of Wisconsin Law School invites applications for a tenure-track position from among a variety of subjects, including tax:

Particularly of interest are individuals to teach in the areas of corporate law, securities law, commercial law, bankruptcy, antitrust, banking, tax and related fields. Applicants must possess a J.D. degree and have relevant experience such as teaching, legal practice, or a judicial clerkship. For entry-level candidates, scholarly promise as evidenced by publications, works in progress or a research plan is required. For junior lateral applicants, a distinguished record of teaching and scholarship is required. Once hired, faculty members are evaluated and advancement is determined by contributions in teaching, research, and service to the law school and the university. ...

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August 27, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Final Fall 2015 Law School Applicant Data: Down 1.8%

LSAC, Three-Year ABA Volume Comparison:

The following charts report ABA applicants and applications for each of the past three falls.


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August 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Average Private Law School Tuition Discount Approaches 50%

Tuition DiscountDavid Yellen (Dean, Loyola-Chicago), Tuition Discounting on the Rise and its Impact on Law Schools:

According to this new survey, tuition discounting at private colleges and universities reached an average of 48% for freshman last year.  That is up from 38% in 2004.

How does this compare to what has been happening in legal education?  Back around 2004 I surveyed a range of private schools and the average discount rate was around 20%, about half of what it was then at colleges.  This year, based on what I know about my school and a handful of others, the average private law school discount rate is close to the college rate of 48%, maybe even somewhat higher.  

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August 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Found Happiness When I Abandoned My Work As A Lawyer And Became A Clown

ClownNew York Times:  Abandoning the Work I Hated, by Robert Markowitz:

I was the envy of my 30-something friends in Palo Alto, Calif. I had my own law office right on California Avenue. People charged with crimes handed me cash, in advance, over a big oak desk. Occasionally, I’d make a couple of grand in an afternoon.

But soon, my body started giving out one part at a time. First a shoulder, then my lower back, knee cartilage, neck vertebrae. Two groin hernia surgeries later, at 33 years old, I could not lift a bag of groceries, or sit without an orthopedic pillow. After 10 years as a law student and lawyer, working in a profession I didn’t like was taking its toll. I sold my practice and fled. ...

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August 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kuehn: Measuring Legal Education's Employment Outcomes

Robert R. Kuehn (Washington University), Measuring Legal Education's Employment Outcomes, 2015 Wis. L. Rev. ___ :

This Article examines evidence of a possible link between learning opportunities in law school and J.D. employment outcomes. It responds to a paper [Does Experiential Learning Improve JD Employment Outcomes?] by Jason Yackee that finds, using 2013 data from top 100 ranked schools, “not much evidence” that law clinic opportunities are likely to improve a school’s graduates’ employment outcomes and suggesting that those opportunities may even harm employment prospects.

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August 26, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Foundation Press Publishes Seventh Edition Of Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation

Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation CoverFoundation Press has published the seventh edition of Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation (amazon), by the late Paul McDaniel (Florida), Jim Repetti (Boston College), and me:

This edition continues the comprehensive, yet flexible, presentation of prior editions. It explores technical and policy issues and is adaptable for use in a single course covering basic wealth transfer taxation or a sequence of such courses at either the J.D. level or LL.M. level. It includes approximately 300 problems, designed to help students master the material covered in each chapter. Within each section, the book moves from the straightforward to the more complex, empowering the professor to select the appropriate level of complexity for her course. It thoroughly integrates all changes in the law through May 1, 2015, including case law, legislation, regulations, rulings, and other administrative pronouncements.

Jim and I have sent the 212-page Teacher's Manual to Foundation Press:

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August 26, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Economic Guide To Picking A College Major: It's TEM, Not STEM

538 (2015)Five Thirty Eight, The Economic Guide To Picking A College Major:

The millions of American college students heading back to campus this month face a grim reality: A college degree is no guarantee of economic success. But through their choice of major, they can take at least some steps toward boosting their odds.

The link between education and earnings is notoriously fraught, with cause and effect often difficult to disentangle. But a look at detailed data on college graduates by major reveals some clear messages: Don’t be pre-med if you aren’t planning to go to medical school; don’t assume that all “STEM” — science, technology, engineering and math — majors are the same; and if you study drama, be prepared to wait tables.

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August 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

NY Times Op-Ed: Too Many Law Students, Too Few Legal Jobs

New York Times op-ed:   Too Many Law Students, Too Few Legal Jobs, by Steven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern; author, The Lawyer Bubble):

Ten months after graduation, only 60 percent of the law school class of 2014 had found full-time long-term jobs that required them to pass the bar exam. ...

Amazingly (and perversely), law schools have been able to continue to raise tuition while producing nearly twice as many graduates as the job market has been able to absorb. How is this possible? Why hasn’t the market corrected itself? The answer is that, for a given school, the availability of federal loans for law students has no connection to their poor post-graduation employment outcomes.

Students now amass law school loans averaging $127,000 for private schools and $88,000 for public ones. Since 2006 alone, law student debt has surged at inflation-adjusted rates of 25 percent for private schools and 34 percent for public schools.

In May 2014, the ABA created a task force to tackle this problem. According to its recent report, 25 percent of law schools obtain at least 88 percent of their total revenues from tuition. The average for all law schools is 69 percent. So law schools have a powerful incentive to maintain or increase enrollment, even if the employment outcomes are dismal for their graduates, especially at marginal schools.

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August 25, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

California's 15-Credit Practical Skills Requirement Divides AALS: Clinicians Favor, Deans Oppose

AALS (2017)National Law Journal, Practical-Skills Plan Divides Law School Association:

Whether the State Bar of California’s plan to require new attorneys to complete at least 15-credits of practical skills courses in law school is unduly restrictive or a needed step to ensure they have some real-world competencies depends on whom you ask—even within the same organization.

The Association of American Law Schools is split over the bar’s proposal, with a coalition of law school deans in opposition and a group of clinical professors in favor.

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August 25, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN 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.  Here is the new list (through August 1, 2015) 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 (Michigan)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)


Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



James Hines (Michigan)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


David Gamage (UC-Berkeley)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Dick Harvey (Villanova)



Brad Borden (Brooklyn)


Chris Sanchirico (Penn)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


William Byrnes (Texas A&M)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


James Hines (Michigan)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Ruth Mason (Virginia)



David Walker (BU)


Joe Bankman (Stanford)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Carter Bishop (Suffolk)



Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)


Francine Lipman (UNLV)



Steven Bank (UCLA)


Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


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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August 25, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Tax Section Accepting Nominations For 2016-2018 Public Service Fellowships

ABA Tax Section Logo (2012)The ABA Tax Section is accepting applications for Public Service Fellowships for 2016-2018:

The American Bar Association Section of Taxation is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship program class of 2016-2018. ...

The Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowships provide funding for the Fellows’ salaries and benefits, as well as law school debt assistance, by means of charitable contributions to the sponsoring organization. The Section plans to award two fellowships each year.

Applications must be received by November 13, 2015, to be considered. Interviews will be conducted during the Section’s Midyear Meeting in Los Angeles, CA, on January 28-30, 2016. The Section will cover the cost of travel and accommodations for applicants selected for interviews.

To apply for the Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowships, see here

August 25, 2015 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Simkovic Calls For 50%-100% Increase In Law School AALS Dues To Change Public Perception Of Legal Education

AALS (2017)Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Law Schools’ Four Billion Dollar Collective Action Problem:

Earlier this month, I charted the overwhelmingly negative press coverage of law schools and the legal profession over the last 5 years and discussed the disconnect between the news slant and economic reality. To the extent that news coverage dissuaded individuals from attending law school for financial reasons, or caused them to delay attending law school, newspapers will on average have cost each prospective law students tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. The total economic harm across all prospective law students could easily be in the low billions of dollars.*

What can we learn from this?

Accurate, informed, and balanced news coverage does not happen of its own volition, particularly in a world where sensationalism and negativity attract eyeballs and sell advertising. ...

Collective action problems precluded any individual law school from acting unilaterally to correct the record and from bearing all of the associated costs for a small fraction of the benefits. ... Worse yet, some law schools unwittingly contributed to the press’s anti-law school excesses. ...

Law schools are competitors, but they need not compete in ways that are mutually destructive. Competition should drive progress, innovation, and value, not mud slinging. Law schools have a great deal in common, make important contributions to society, and can and should pursue shared goals and values together. ...

For years, misinformation accelerated while the AALS failed to respond effectively. ... The AALS now has new leadership with new priorities and there have been welcome signs of progress. ... However, there is still a great deal of work to be done. ...

[T]he AALS needs to become a valuable resource for journalists, helping them provide higher quality coverage and guiding them toward greater accuracy when they err. If this effort is to succeed, it will require more resources. ...

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August 24, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

ABA Releases Three Guidance Memos On Law School Accreditation

ABA Logo 2The Managing Director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar has released thee Guidance Memos:

  1. Standards 102(e), 102(f), and 509(e), which regulate how a school is to disclose its status as an approved school
  2. Standard 504, which stipulates how to inform applicants of bar admission requirements
  3. Interpretation 305-2, which describes compensation and reimbursement restrictions on field placements.

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August 24, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Stephen Colbert's Secret Of Life (And Faith): 'I Love The Thing That I Most Wish Had Not Happened'

GQGQ, The Late, Great Stephen Colbert:

He used to have a note taped to his computer that read, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the existence of God.”

It's hard to imagine any comedian meditating every day on so sincere a message. It's even harder when you know his life story, which bears mentioning here—that he is the youngest of eleven kids and that his father and two of his brothers, Peter and Paul, the two closest to him in age, were killed in a plane crash when he was 10. His elder siblings were all off to school or on with their lives by then, and so it was just him and his mother at home together for years. They moved from James Island to downtown Charleston, and she sent him to a prep school, Porter-Gaud, where for the next several years he did next to nothing academically. “There was no way to threaten me,” he said. “It was like, ‘What? What's that? Oh, okay, I might get a bad grade? Oh no. Wouldn't want that.’ ”

He was completely traumatized, of course. And one way of contending with the cruel indifference of the universe is to be indifferent in return. But he was also raised in a deeply Catholic intellectual family (his father had been a dean of Yale Medical School and St. Louis University and the Medical College of South Carolina). And so his rebellion against the world was curiously self-driven and thoughtful. He refused to do anything his teachers required of him, but would come home every day and shut himself in his room and read books. “I had so many books taken away from me,” he said. “I read a book a day. Spent all of my allowance on books. Every birthday, confirmation, Christmas—books, please, stacks of books.” 

He barely graduated from high school and then went to Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia only because a friend had applied there. He studied philosophy; he joined the school's theater troupe. After his sophomore year he transferred to Northwestern's theater program, where he was purely focused on drama. “I was doing Stanislavsky and Meisner, and I was sharing my pain with everyone around me,” he says in an interview that appears in Judd Apatow's book Sick in the Head. “It was therapy as much as it was anything.”

And then he met Del Close, the legendary improv teacher and mentor and champion of the idea that improvisational comedy, when performed purely, was in fact high expressive art.

“I went, ‘I don't know what this is, but I have to do it,’ ” he said. “I have to get up onstage and perform extemporaneously with other people.” He was part of the same Second City class that included Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello and Chris Farley. “Our first night professionally onstage,” he said, the longtime Second City director Jeff Michalski told them that the most important lesson he could pass on to them was this: “You have to learn to love the bomb.”

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August 23, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Does Student Assessment Work? Yes.

AssessmentFollowing up on Wednesday's post, Why Don't We Ever Assess The Value Of The Student Assessment Mania?:  Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Does Assessment Make Colleges Better? Let Me Count the Ways, by Joan Hawthorne (University of North Dakota):

Erik Gilbert’s recent commentary in The Chronicle, "Does Assessment Make Colleges Better? Who Knows?" raises an important question about the value of assessment. As one who has worked in education for 15 years and dutifully assessed learning in his classes, Gilbert now wonders if that measurement has been a worthwhile use of time. He’s not certain that the tweaks he’s made (and they’ve been mostly tweaks) have been meaningful enough to merit the time all that assessing has required. ...

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August 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Anderson: Opting Out Of New Editions Of Casebooks And Saving Students 97 Cents On The Dollar

BooksRob Anderson (Pepperdine), Opting Out of New Editions for Casebooks:

The price of law school casebooks (as well as college textbooks generally) seems to grow every year. At the present time, many casebooks cost over $200 when purchased new. The high cost is made worse by the appearance of a new edition every few years, which makes the cheaper used books in short supply (or completely unavailable). New editions seem to appear every five years or so for many casebooks, and this is true not only in fast-moving areas of law, but even in subjects where most of the cases are decades (or centuries) old.

We as faculty can greatly reduce the cost of casebooks to students by simply opting out of new editions and staying with the older edition.

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August 22, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Jessica Berg And Michael Scharf Named Case Western Law School Co-Deans

Case WesternAs expectedJessica Berg and Michael Scharf, who have been serving as acting or interim co-deans since November 2013 following the resignation of former dean Lawrence Mitchell amidst a tawdry sexual harassment scandal and resulting lawsuit (and settlement), have been named permanent co-deans:

"Jessica and Michael worked closely with faculty, staff, students and alumni to create a sense of community and possibility," President Snyder said. "The results have been outstanding, and we look forward to the school's continued progress."

Over the past two years, the school has achieved an all-time record for annual fundraising; moved up nine slots in U.S. News & World Report rankings; and grown the number and quality of student admissions applications.

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August 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

From The Paper Chase To Dumb And Dumber: Are Lawyers (And Law Students) Getting Dumber?

Bloomberg,  Are Lawyers Getting Dumber? Yes, Says the Woman Who Runs the Bar Exam:

Paper ChaseLast August, the tens of thousands of answer sheets from the bar exam started to stream into the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The initial results were so glaringly bad that staffers raced to tell their boss, Erica Moeser. ... By the time all the states published their numbers, it was clear that the July exam had been a disaster everywhere. Scores on the multiple-choice part of the test registered their largest single-year drop in the four-decade history of the test.

Panic swept the bottom half of American law schools, all of which are ranked partly on the basis of their ability to get their graduates into the profession. Moeser sent a letter to law school deans. She outlined future changes to the exam and how to prepare for them. Then she made a hard turn to the July exam. “The group that sat in July 2014 was less able than the group that sat in July 2013,” she wrote. It’s not us, Moeser was essentially saying. It’s you.


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August 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

LSAT Takers Fall 34% Since 2010

Following up on yesterday's post, Cumulative Percent Decline In LSAT By State:  Keith Lee mines the data in The Continuing Declining In LSAT Takers:


Although California's 36.5% decline does not even put it in the Top 25 states in percentage terms, the large numerical decline (4,200 (from 14,309 in 2010-11 to 9,089 in 2014-15)) is dramatic:

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August 20, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Former UCLA Law Dean To Lead ABF Diversity Research Initiative

Moran (Rachel)Press Release, American Bar Foundation Appoints Rachel F. Moran Inaugural William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law:

The American Bar Foundation has announced the appointment of Rachel F. Moran as the first scholar to hold the William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law.  Moran, who recently stepped down as dean of UCLA Law School, is Dean Emerita and the Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, and will hold the Neukom Fellows Research Chair as a visiting professor in 2015-2016.

The Neukom Fellows Research Chair was established in 2014 by the ABF to spearhead empirical research on law and legal processes centered on issues of diversity and inequality that women, people of color, people with disabilities, and persons from the LGBTQ community face in legal practice and before the law. At the ABF Moran will serve as co-director of a new ABF research initiative, The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility.  She will also begin a new research project on U.S. inequality, diversity, and the future of legal education and the legal profession. ...

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August 20, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)