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Friday, May 22, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Yelp Law School Rankings

YelpChicagoInno,  Yelp Launches First TV and Digital Ads, Pointing Out You Can Rate Law Schools:

Would you ever use Yelp to choose a law school?

Whether you would or not, Yelp wants you to know you can.

The San Francisco, Calif.-based reviews company has long been known for its star ratings and customer review features. Mostly it has been used as a tool to find quick info about a local business-- hours, location, BYOB-- and largely restaurant and bar focused. Now Yelp is launching its first round of TV and digital ads, which specifically point out the site can help you choose a university (as well as where to get the best margarita to celebrate your degree).

An ad currently playing on Pandora lays out this new push:

"Let's say you're hungry for justice, want to study to become a lawyer and don't mind paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loans," said a man in the ad. "We know just the place."

A search for "law schools" near "Chicago, IL" showed that all the major law schools in the area have Yelp pages and a handful of reviews. University of Chicago's Law School has a perfect 5 star rating (from three reviews) while John Marshall College of Law averages three stars (with a total of eight reviews).

A search for "law schools" near "Los Angeles, CA"  yields these result:

5Pepperdine (2 reviews), UCLA (6 reviews)


4.5UC-Irvine (3 reviews), USC (5 reviews)


4Loyola-L.A. (11 reviews)


3.5Western State (15 reviews), Whittier (15 reviews)


3Southwestern (22 reviews)

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May 22, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

<4% Chance That Lawyer, Professor Jobs Will Be Replaced By Technology

NPR LogoNPR, Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine?:

Machines can do some surprising things. But what you really want to know is this: Will your job be around in the future?

We have the "definitive" guide.

Researchers took a shot at estimating how technology will affect the job market in 20 years. Find your job below to see what the data say about your future.


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May 22, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Merritt: Compliance Jobs And Law School Reform

Compliance 2Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Campbell on Compliance:

Compliance is one of the 'hot" alternative jobs that law schools are promoting for their graduates. Much of this discussion, unfortunately, pays little heed to the nature of compliance jobs and whether legal education really prepares students to do this work well. The two seem to fit. After all, compliance is all about obeying the law, and JDs know a lot of law. The equation, though, isn’t that simple.

Ray Worthy Campbell explores these issues as one part of a rewarding new paper, The End of Law Schools. Although the title is provocative, and Campbell warns law schools of continued upheaval in the profession, the paper’s thesis is forward looking and upbeat. Campbell urges law schools to reinvent themselves as “schools of the legal professions.”

As part of that analysis, Campbell offers the best discussion I’ve seen of the difference between compliance and traditional law practice. His insights parallel those I’ve heard from contemporary general counsels, which is not surprising since Campbell has extensive practice experience. Educators who are contemplating the addition of compliance courses to the law school curriculum, or who just want to understand this area, should read Campbell’s exposition carefully.

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

New University Of Texas President Rejects 'Vulgar' Salary Slurped Up By His Counterparts At Other Colleges

Texas LogoNew York Times op-ed:  Platinum Pay in Ivory Towers, by Frank Bruni:

Gregory Fenves recently got a big promotion, from provost to president of the University of Texas at Austin. A raise came with it. Instead of his current base of about $425,000, he was offered $1 million.

And he rejected it — as too much. ... He suggested, and agreed to, $750,000.

That’s hardly chump change. But in the context of the shockingly lucrative deals that have become almost commonplace among college presidents, the sum — or, more precisely, the sentiment behind it — is worthy of note and praise.

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May 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Five Law Schools Drop The LSAT For Top Applicants

LSATBloomberg, More Law Schools Drop the LSAT for Top Applicants:

The piecemeal retreat from the Law School Admission Test is gaining momentum.

The University of Hawaii said this month it would drop the LSAT for some applicants, joining a growing number of law schools around the country trying to make it simpler for high-achieving students to enroll. The schools are taking advantage of new rules issued in August by the ABA that let law schools fill 10 percent of their classes with people who have not taken the LSAT but have done very well in college and on other standardized tests, such as the SAT. ...

All five of the schools that have dropped the exam for some applicants [Drake, Hawaii, Iowa, SUNY-Buffalo, St. John's] have seen their enrollments plunge in recent years.


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May 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Welcome To The Blogosphere: Al Sturgeon's Starting To Look Up — Inspiring Positive Change

AlAl Sturgeon, Dean of Students at Pepperdine and one of my favorite people in this business, has launched a new blog, Starting to Look Up — Inspiring Positive Change:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

I fully believe in the wise counsel of Holocaust survivor and Jewish psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, who taught us that nobody can steal our collective ability to choose an attitude in any set of circumstances. If you are skeptical, imagine trying his circumstances on for size.

The law students I serve have this dilemma in spades. They have the tremendous opportunity to study law in Malibu and pursue a most noble profession that offers power and influence. They also work like crazy with looming fears of failure, bar exams, debt, and difficult job prospects.

This blog is my attempt to help all of us, law students along with anyone else in the neighborhood, to work on the attitude choice in our given sets of circumstances.

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

Law School Entry-Level Faculty Hiring Down Only 4%

Sarah Lawsky (UC-Irvine), Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2015:


For a list of the entry level tax hires, see here.

May 20, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Professor Marks 100th Birthday At Brooklyn Law School

CreaSeattle Times, Professor Marks 100th Birthday at Brooklyn Law School:

Professor Joseph Crea ... marked a milestone — his 100th birthday — with a gathering of colleagues and friends Monday at the law school where he’s been a student, librarian and professor since 1944. Crea, whose birthday was last month, taught until September and still advises faculty members, sits on the admissions committee and attends faculty meetings. ...

Crea taught some 22 different classes over the years but came to focus on banking and corporations law. ... Another highlight, he told the school magazine, was teaching tax law in the 1950s to a class full of accountants and treasury agents. Professor and students learned from each other as they debated whether expenses were tax-deductible: “Deduct!” ”Disallow!” ...

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May 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Denver Law School Blazes New Trail, Scores World's First Pot Professorship From Marijuana Law Firm

Marijuana (2015)Chronicle of Higher Education, U. of Denver Law School Scores a Marijuana Professorship:

The University of Denver’s law school is blazing a new trail in the professoriate.

Thanks to a $45,000 donation from Vicente Sederberg LLC, a self-described “full-service marijuana law firm” based in Denver, the Sturm College of Law has established what the firm says is the first professorship of marijuana law in the world.

The three-year professorship will be held first by Sam Kamin, a professor and director of the school’s Constitutional Rights and Remedies Program, the firm said in a news release.

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May 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Two William Mitchell Law Profs Drop Lawsuit Over Abrogation Of Tenure In Merger With Hamline After Four Faculty Accept Buyouts, Part Time Status

MitchellFollowing up on my previous post, Two William Mitchell Law Profs Sue Over Abrogation of Tenure in Merger With Hamline Law School:  Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Professors Drop Lawsuit Against William Mitchell in Tenure Fight:

Two William Mitchell College of Law professors are dropping their lawsuit against the school, ending an ugly public fight about its merger with another law school.

MoyRadsanProfessors John Radsan and Carl Moy filed a voluntary dismissal this week to end the suit “without prejudice and without an award of fees or costs to any party.”

An order for dismissal was signed Thursday by Ramsey County District Judge William Leary.

Radsan and Moy filed the suit in April, alleging that their employer, in an effort to cut faculty numbers as it prepares to merge by fall with Hamline University School of Law, tried to change its tenure code. The code currently allows the dismissal of tenured faculty if they refuse or fail to perform their job, or in the event of a financial crisis. Radsan and Moy alleged that the school wanted the ability to terminate tenured faculty “without adequate cause.”

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May 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rise Of The Robots: How 'The Job-Eating Maw Of Technology Threatens Even The Nimblest And Most Expensively Educated,' Including Lawyers

New York Times Sunday Book Review, ‘Rise of the Robots’ and ‘Shadow Work’:

RiseIn the late 20th century, while the blue-collar working class gave way to the forces of globalization and automation, the educated elite looked on with benign condescension. Too bad for those people whose jobs were mindless enough to be taken over by third world teenagers or, more humiliatingly, machines. The solution, pretty much agreed upon across the political spectrum, was education. Americans had to become intellectually nimble enough to keep ahead of the job-destroying trends unleashed by technology, both robotization and the telecommunication systems that make outsourcing possible. Anyone who wanted a spot in the middle class would have to possess a college degree — as well as flexibility, creativity and a continually upgraded skill set.

But, as Martin Ford documents in Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, the job-eating maw of technology now threatens even the nimblest and most expensively educated. Lawyers, radiologists and software designers, among others, have seen their work evaporate to India or China. Tasks that would seem to require a distinctively human capacity for nuance are increasingly assigned to algorithms, like the ones currently being introduced to grade essays on college exams. Particularly terrifying to me, computer programs can now write clear, publishable articles, and, as Ford reports, Wired magazine quotes an expert’s prediction that within about a decade 90 percent of news articles will be computer-­generated. ...

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May 19, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, May 18, 2015

NLJ: Law Schools Special Report — This Is The Moment For Clinics

NLJNational Law Journal, Law Schools Special Report: This Is The Moment — For Clinics:

Law school clinics are having a moment. They have become an increasingly important part of the law school curriculum during the past five years, as schools faced pressure to provide students with practical, hands-on experience. In this special report, we highlight six law school clinics taking new approaches to student learning, breaking into new areas of the law or that have impressive track records of success.

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May 18, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Survey Of Law Firm Managing Partners: There Are Too Many Lawyers; BigLaw Is Running Out Of Work

Bloomberg, There Are Too Many Lawyers, Say Law Firms; Big Law Is Running Out of Work:

Work-life balance has traditionally been an unfamiliar concept at big law firms, but that might be changing. A majority of managers at firms say they employ too many lawyers and those lawyers are not busy enough, according to a survey released Tuesday by consultancy Altman Weil. 

Among the 320 managing partners and chairmen Altman Weil polled, 60 percent reported that overcapacity was making their firms less profitable. At large firms—more than 250 attorneys—the problem was even worse: 74 percent of leaders said idleness was hurting profit.


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May 18, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Stanford Law Students Are Crowdsourcing Graduation Speech

Stanford Law School Logo (2015)The Recorder, Stanford Law Students Are Crowdsourcing Graduation Speech:

Don't expect the staid old student address at Stanford Law School's June 13 graduation. Instead, the commencement will feature a crowd-written "wiki speech" that includes contributions from more than 80 members of the class.

The idea came from Marta Belcher, a graduating 3L who won the November classwide speaker's election with the proposal.

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May 18, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jacoby: The Legislature Should Close UMass Law School

UMass 2Following up on last week's post, UMass Law School Cuts Incoming Class By 33%, Faces $3.8 Million Deficit:  Jeff Jacoby (Boston Globe), Repeal That Law School:

When the University of Massachusetts agreed in 2010 to acquire the Southern New England School of Law, there were skeptics aplenty. The decision to take over the small private institution and transform it into a state-run facility, rechristened the UMass School of Law, was disparaged by critics who said the merger was unnecessary, unrealistic, and unwise. ...

Now, five years later, the University of Massachusetts School of Law has a record it can be judged by. And as recent reporting on the school’s performance by the Globe’s Laura Krantz makes clear, the skeptics were right all along.

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May 18, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Would A Teaching-Intensive Tenure Track Help Solve The Law School Crisis?

Book CoverInside Higher Ed,  New Book Proposes Teaching-Intensive Tenure Track Model to Address Higher Ed Crisis:

A new book from Michael Bérubé, the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at the Pennsylvania State University, and Jennifer Ruth, associate professor of English at Portland State University, ...  The Humanities, Higher Education and Academic Freedom: Three Necessary Arguments, [argues that] the real crisis in the humanities is the large-scale employment of non-tenure-track professors with no academic freedom who are hired, rehired and fired relatively informally and noncompetitively. Bérubé and Ruth also propose a solution to the “deprofessionalization” of the professoriate: a teaching-intensive tenure track that would grandfather long-serving adjuncts but for everyone else prioritize the competitive hiring of those with terminal degrees.

“We propose that many full-time faculty lines off the tenure track be converted to teaching-intensive tenured positions,” the book says. “The tenure process for such faculty would involve rigorous peer review, conducted by their tenured colleagues at the same institution, but would carry no expectations for research or creative activity,” although service would still be required. Another, more traditional tenure track would remain for professors with research responsibilities. ...

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May 17, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

After 16%-20% Enrollment Declines, New Cardozo ('Slight') And Suffolk (30%) Deans Plan Further Cuts In 1L Class Size

LogoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  National Law Journal, New Cardozo, Suffolk Law Deans Plan Smaller Classes:

Two law schools have tapped faculty members as top administrators.

Vice dean Melanie Leslie will become dean of the Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law on July 1 as the school’s first female leader. And Suffolk University Law School has selected professor Andrew Perlman as its dean, effective on Aug. 1. Perlman will replace Camille Nelson, who has led the school for five years. ...

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May 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

75% Of Charleston Faculty Put Their Jobs On The Line, Blast Law School's Management

Charleston LogoSeventeen (75%) of the Charleston law school faculty have published a remarkable op-ed in the Post and Courier, Charleston School of Law Faculty Wants to Return to Founding Principle. The founding Charleston Dean (and current Mississippi Dean) Richard Gerson notes that "[t]he faculty who signed this letter are aware that publishing it will likely cost them their jobs."

When five South Carolinians opened the Charleston School of Law in 2004 as an “elegant” local law school, it was greeted enthusiastically by the Charleston community. ... In the years that followed, the Charleston School of Law flourished beyond all expectations. ... By any measure, the school was trending towards national distinction.

What happened?

InfiLaw arrived. What follows is the perspective of faculty of the law school. We are teachers, committed to the special “student-first” culture that has come to define the Charleston School of Law. (Don’t take our word for that; ask any law student for an opinion.) Questioning this sale is certainly not in any faculty member’s best personal interest. As one Charlestonian quipped, we sure aren’t earning any “gold stars” from the InfiLaw folks. But this cause has been too important for us to stand aside. ...

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May 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Chilton & Posner Present An Empirical Study Of Political Bias In Legal Scholarship At Today's ALEA Annual Meeting at Columbia

Adam S. Chilton (Chicago) & Eric A. Posner (Chicago) present An Empirical Study of Political Bias in Legal Scholarship at the American Law & Economics Association Annual Meeting today at Columbia:

Law professors routinely accuse each other of making politically biased arguments in their scholarship. They have also helped produce a large empirical literature on judicial behavior that has found that judicial opinions sometimes reflect the ideological biases of the judges who join them. Yet no one has used statistical methods to test the parallel hypothesis that legal scholarship reflects the political biases of law professors. This paper provides the results of such a test. We find that, at a statistically significant level, law professors at elite law schools who make donations to Democratic political candidates write liberal scholarship, and law professors who make donations to Republican political candidates write conservative scholarship. These findings raise questions about standards of objectivity in legal scholarship.

Figure 3

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May 15, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chaffee: Answering The Call To Reinvent Legal Education

Eric C. Chaffee (Toledo), Answering the Call to Reinvent Legal Education: The Need to Incorporate Practical Business and Transactional Skills Training into the Curricula of America's Law Schools, 20 Stan. J.L. Bus. & Fin. 121 (2014):

The legal academy must make the conscious decision to change, or the pressures upon it will combine to transform legal education in ways that may be extremely harmful. The media, the law school applicant pool, the job market, the legal profession, and the legal academy itself have created an unprecedented need for reimagining legal education.

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May 15, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Legal Blogging And The Rhetorical Genre Of Public Legal Writing

Jennifer Murphy Romig (Emory), Legal Blogging and the Rhetorical Genre of Public Legal Writing:

This article brings scholarly attention to the blog posts, tweets, updates and other writing on social media that many lawyers generate and many others would consider generating, if they had the time and skill to do so. In the broadest terms, this genre of writing is “public legal writing”: writing by lawyers not for any specific client but for dissemination to the public or through wide distribution channels, particularly the Internet. Legal blogging is a good entry point into public legal writing because legal blog posts often share some analytical features of longer articles alongside conversational conventions typical of writing on social media. Legal blogging is certainly not new, but this article brings new attention to it.

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May 15, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs

PedigreeLauren A. Rivera (Northwestern, Kellogg School of Management), Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs (2015):

Americans are taught to believe that upward mobility is possible for anyone who is willing to work hard, regardless of their social status, yet it is often those from affluent backgrounds who land the best jobs. Pedigree takes readers behind the closed doors of top-tier investment banks, consulting firms, and law firms to reveal the truth about who really gets hired for the nation’s highest-paying entry-level jobs, who doesn’t, and why.

Drawing on scores of in-depth interviews as well as firsthand observation of hiring practices at some of America’s most prestigious firms, Lauren Rivera shows how, at every step of the hiring process, the ways that employers define and evaluate merit are strongly skewed to favor job applicants from economically privileged backgrounds. She reveals how decision makers draw from ideas about talent—what it is, what best signals it, and who does (and does not) have it—that are deeply rooted in social class. Displaying the “right stuff” that elite employers are looking for entails considerable amounts of economic, social, and cultural resources on the part of the applicants and their parents.

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May 14, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

NY Times: The Declining Role Of Professors As Mentors

New York Times Sunday Review Essay:  What’s the Point of a Professor?, by Mark Bauerlein (Emory, Department of English):

In the coming weeks, two million Americans will earn a bachelor’s degree and either join the work force or head to graduate school. They will be joyous that day, and they will remember fondly the schools they attended. But as this unique chapter of life closes and they reflect on campus events, one primary part of higher education will fall low on the ladder of meaningful contacts: the professors. ...

[W]hile they’re content with teachers, students aren’t much interested in them as thinkers and mentors. They enroll in courses and complete assignments, but further engagement is minimal. ... For a majority of undergraduates, beyond the two and a half hours per week in class, contact ranges from negligible to nonexistent. In their first year, 33 percent of students report that they never talk with professors outside of class, while 42 percent do so only sometimes. Seniors lower that disengagement rate only a bit, with 25 percent never talking to professors, and 40 percent sometimes. ...

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May 14, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

In Wake of 35% Enrollment Decline, Pace Law School Dean Cuts Faculty Pay 10%, Eliminates Research Stipends And Sabbaticals, And Warns Faculty Not To Speak To Press

Pace (2015)Brian Leiter (Chicago) reports that in the face of a $5 million deficit, Pace Law School Dean David Yassky has pledged to cut $2.1 million of that deficit through a 10% salary cut for all faculty, elimination of all research stipends and sabbaticals, and a 5% salary cut for senior staff. Perhaps most curiously:

[T]he Dean, according to one source, "forbade anyone from speaking to the press about this. The materials he passed out carried two watermarks, one large across the text, and another secret one (or so he said), with each faculty member's name so he will know who the leak is, he said.

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May 14, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Dan Halperin To Retire From Harvard Law School Faculty

HalperinHarvard Law Today:  Legacies of Selfless Scholarship: Undisguised Value, by Alvin C. Warren Jr. (Harvard):

Daniel I. Halperin ’61 will retire at the end of this academic year after more than a half-century as a tax lawyer, professor and government official. Unlike most law professors starting out today, Dan worked as a lawyer for a decade—at the firm Kaye Scholer and in the government—before entering law teaching. Serendipitously, he became Kaye Scholer’s expert in the new field of pension law in his second year, after the sudden departure of the only lawyer at the firm with any experience in the field.

In 1996, Dan was appointed the first Stanley S. Surrey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Over the past 19 years, he has continued to write about tax law and policy, and has taught a variety of tax-related courses, covering income taxation, tax policy, pension law, and nonprofit organizations.

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May 14, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

28% Of Harvard Law Grads Do Not Practice Law

Harvard Law School Logo (2014)Harvard Law School, The Women and Men of Harvard Law School: Preliminary Results from the HLS Career Study:

The Preliminary Report presents the results of the Harvard Law School Career Study (HLSCS), conducted by the school’s Center on the Legal Profession (CLP). Begun with a generous grant from a visionary group of women alumnae in connection with the 55th celebration of the graduation of the school’s first female students in 1953, the study seeks to deepen the understanding of the career choices made by HLS graduates by providing for the first time systematic empirical information about the careers trajectories of graduates from different points in the school’s history. In this Preliminary Report, we offer a first look at the Study’s findings about the salient similarities and differences between the careers of the school’s female and male graduates.

ABA Journal, Think Harvard Law Grads Are More Likely to Stay in Law Practice Than Others? 28% Ditched Legal Jobs:

Harvard law grads have the advantage of a JD from an elite institution, but they don’t differ from other law grads when it comes to leaving law practice.

About 28 percent of Harvard law grads from four graduating classes are no longer practicing law in their current jobs, according to preliminary findings from the survey of grads in 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2000. ...

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May 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Law Schools Are Trying To Fix Lawyers' Business Ignorance

Bloomberg, Lawyers Don't Know Enough About Business. Law Schools Are Trying to Fix That:

The popularity of an American legal education is dwindling in the face of disappointing job prospects for graduates. To rescue themselves from oblivion, some law schools are fashioning themselves after a more successful educational institution: business school.

In April, New York Law school announced it would make room in its building for an offsite location for the University of Rochester's Simon Business School, making it easier for law students to take B-School classes. The same month, Harvard Business School announced it would offer incoming students an 11-week course in the fundamentals of business created by HBX, its online business training program.

“Lawyers need to understand and use the tools and skills involved in growing and running a business,” said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow in a statement on Harvard Business School’s website. “Law firms, businesses, and also public sector and nonprofit employers increasingly value these skills.” Harvard Law will cover most of the $1,800 tuition for the program, although students will have to pay $250 to take the courses.

Harvard and New York Law are heeding growing calls to fundamentally reshape the education that comes with a JD. Research published last year by three Harvard law professors suggested that litigators and hiring attorneys at big law firms are desperate for law graduates that understand basic accounting and corporate finance. The 124 attorneys, from such bulwark firms as Skadden Arps and Latham & Watkins, said many business courses were more critical to post-JD life than courses on environmental law or the First Amendment. [John Coates, Jesse Fried & Kathryn Spier, What Courses Should Law Students Take? Lessons from Harvard's BigLaw Survey, 64 J. Legal Educ. 443 (2015)]

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May 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lawyers With Lowest Pay Report More Happiness

New York Times, Lawyers With Lowest Pay Report More Happiness:

Of the many rewards associated with becoming a lawyer — wealth, status, stimulating work — day-to-day happiness has never been high on the list. Perhaps, a new study suggests, that is because lawyers and law students are focusing on the wrong rewards. [Lawrence S. Krieger (Florida State) & Kennon M. Sheldon (Missouri), What Makes Lawyers Happy?: A Data-Driven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success, 83 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 554 (2015)]

Researchers who surveyed 6,200 lawyers about their jobs and health found that the factors most frequently associated with success in the legal field, such as high income or a partner-track job at a prestigious firm, had almost zero correlation with happiness and well-being. However, lawyers in public-service jobs who made the least money, like public defenders or Legal Aid attorneys, were most likely to report being happy.

Lawyers in public-service jobs also drank less alcohol than their higher-income peers. And, despite the large gap in affluence, the two groups reported about equal overall satisfaction with their lives.

Making partner, the ultimate gold ring at many firms, does not appear to pay off in greater happiness, either. Junior partners reported well-being that was identical to that of senior associates, who were paid 62 percent less, according to the study, which was published this week in the George Washington Law Review.

“Law students are famous for busting their buns to make high grades, sometimes at the expense of health and relationships, thinking, ‘Later I’ll be happy, because the American dream will be mine,’ ” said Lawrence S. Krieger, a law professor at Florida State University and an author of the study. “Nice, except it doesn’t work.”

The problem with the more prestigious jobs, said Mr. Krieger, is that they do not provide feelings of competence, autonomy or connection to others — three pillars of self-determination theory, the psychological model of human happiness on which the study was based. Public-service jobs do.

Figure 1

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May 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Journal Of Legal Education Publishes New Issue

Journal of Legal Education (2014)The Journal of Legal Education has published Vol. 64, No. 3:

Symposium: Nurturing Professionalism:

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May 13, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Merritt: On The Bar Exam, My Graduates Are Your Graduates

Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), On the Bar Exam, My Graduates Are Your Graduates:

It’s no secret that the qualifications of law students have declined since 2010. As applications fell, schools started dipping further into their applicant pools. LSAT scores offer one measure of this trend. Jerry Organ has summarized changes in those scores for the entering classes of 2010 through 2014. Based on Organ’s data, average LSAT scores for accredited law schools fell:

* 2.3 points at the 75th percentile
* 2.7 points at the median
* 3.4 points at the 25th percentile

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May 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Law School Website Rankings

For the fourth year in a row, Roger V. Skalbeck (Associate Law Librarian for Electronic Resources & Services, Georgetown) has ranked law school websites. Top 10 Law School Home Pages of 2012, 3 J.L. (2 J. Legal Metrics) 51 (2013) (with Matthew L. Zimmerman (Electronic Resources Librarian, Georgetown).  Here are the Top 10 and Bottom 10:


Thomas Cooley


Ave Maria




Mississippi C.










Florida Coastal


St. Thomas (FL)






U. Mississippi


U. Puerto Rico


Arizona State


St. John's


New England






Catholic U. P.R.

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May 12, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Despite Move To Big Ten, Rutgers' Athletic Department Deficit Increases To $36 Million, Funded From Academics, Students

RutgersNew York Times:  At Rutgers, It's Books vs. Ballgames, by Joe Nocera:

In the 1990s, yearning to join the elite, Rutgers became part of the Big East Conference. But, with the exception of women’s basketball, its overall athletic performance has generally remained mediocre.

What’s more, the Rutgers athletic department has consistently run large deficits; indeed, since the 2005-6 academic year, deficits have exceeded $20 million a year. In the last academic year, Rutgers athletics generated $40.3 million in revenue, but spent $76.7 million, leaving a deficit of more than $36 million. In other words, revenue barely covered half the department’s expense

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May 12, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chemerinsky: California Should Join New York, Adopt UBE

NCBELos Angeles Times op-ed:  It's Time for California to Accept the Uniform Bar Exam, by Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine):

New York's chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, announced last week that the state would adopt the Uniform Bar Exam, a standard licensing test for lawyers. It's the largest state to take this step, which Lippman said could result in a “domino effect.” I hope so, and I hope California will be the next state to fall. The current system, under which each state sets its own requirements and won't recognize out-of-state credentials, is inefficient, burdensome and, frankly, unjustifiable. ...

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May 12, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Critics Are Wrong: The Bar Exam Is A Necessary Process Of Becoming A Lawyer

National Law Journal op-ed:  Like Father Like Son, Bar-Exam Ritual Is a Necessity of the Profession, by Peter Kalis (Chairman & Global Managing Partner, K&L Gates, New York) & Michael Kalis (Associate, Gruber Hurst Elrod Johansen Hail Shank, Dallas):

Law school taught them how to think like lawyers; exam prep taught them the law. ...

Across three decades and 1,000 miles, the experiences of both have left them with a clear view of the bar exam and has rendered its critics a little off-key. Because of the intense pressure surrounding the bar exam, it's not unreasonably viewed as a gating event. After all, the bar exam is how you get your union card.

In reality, however, the bar exam is part of a much longer process on the way to becoming a lawyer. The critics need to get out of an "event" frame of mind and into a "process" frame of mind.

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May 12, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Nominees Sought For $25k Award For Inspiring Law Professors

BeckmanThe Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award Advisory Committee is currently seeking nominations for the 2015 Beckman Award:

The award is given to professors who inspired their former students to achieve greatness. Each recipient will receive a one-time cash award of $25,000. Preference will be given to educators who teach or who taught in the fields of psychology, medicine, or law. ... The nomination deadline is Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

Prior law professor winners include:

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May 12, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Maine Law School's New Dean Charts New Course After 31% Decline in Applications

Maine LogoLewiston-Auburn Sun Journal, Maine Law School's New Dean: Leading the Way in an Uncertain Future:

The number of applicants to law schools is on the decline nationally, and Maine's only law school is no exception.

Over a three-year period from 2012 through 2014, the number of applications to the University of Maine School of Law plunged from 929 to 639, a 31 percent drop.

Some administrators might react to those numbers by seeking strategies that would boost the number of students who apply to their schools in an effort to beef up enrollment.

Not Danielle Conway. "That is not the responsible thing to do," she said. "That's unsustainable."

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May 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

'The Vultures Are Circling' Charleston Law School

Charleston LogoPost and Courier, No Matter How You Say It, Law School Is In Serious Trouble:

The Charleston School of Law’s Class of 2015 will graduate today, and their diplomas surely will be embossed with the institution’s lofty Latin motto: Pro bono populi, which means “for the good of the people.” Pro bono populi is a proper guiding principle for future lawyers.

The idea is that graduates of the Charleston School of Law invest three years and approximately $180,000 in tuition and related expenses, learn some Latin legal terms, pass required courses while doing free work with local attorneys, and ultimately land good jobs.

But no matter how intelligent it sounds, actions speak louder than words (facta non verba).

Since the Charleston School of Law started 12 years ago, four of the five founders took in millions in profits and are vacating the premises.

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May 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

UMass Law School Cuts Incoming Class By 33%, Faces $3.8 Million Deficit

UMass 2Boston Globe, Deficit Mounting, UMass Law Cuts Size of Incoming Class; Deficit Is $3.8m, Enrollment Down:

The University of Massachusetts School of Law has a mounting deficit, which hit $3.8 million last fiscal year, a gap expected to widen next year. UMass Dartmouth is picking up the bill for now, that school said.

The law school for now has scrapped plans to increase enrollment and instead decided to cut the size of its incoming class by a third, to 72 students. In addition, the school is not fully accredited by the American Bar Association, a generally accepted stamp of approval in the field. ...

Dean Mary Lu Bilek says the UMass Law School’s goal is “making sure that not only people born with silver spoons in their mouths are making the law.” ...

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May 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

More on Conditional Law School Scholarships

Hunger GamesFollowing up on last week's post, Law School Hunger Games? Profs Debate The Ethics Of Conditional Scholarships

Jerry Organ (St. Thomas), Revisiting Conditional Scholarships:

Having been one of the people who brought attention to the issue of conditional scholarships a few years ago, I feel compelled to offer a few insights on a rekindled conversation about conditional scholarships involving Jeremy Telman and Michael Simkovic and Debby Merritt. ...

While there are other things mentioned by Prof. Telman, Prof. Simkovic and Prof. Merritt to which I could respond, this post is already long enough and I am not interested in a prolonged exchange, particularly given that many of the points to which I would respond would require a much more detailed discussion and more nuance than blog postings sometimes facilitate.  My 2011 article describes my views on competitive scholarship programs and their impact on law school culture well enough.  Accordingly, let me end with one additional set of observations about what has happened with conditional scholarships in an era of increased transparency.

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May 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Texas A&M Law School Dean Is Still Cheerful About The Future Of Legal Education

Following up on my previous posts:

Andrew Morriss (Dean, Texas A&M), Still Cheerful About the Future of Legal Education:

It was a privilege to have three such eminent commentators on my Reasons to Be Cheerful essay. Brian Tamanaha deserves enormous credit for being among the first to sound the alarm on the financial problems of legal education. Sam Estreicher is not only a pioneer in bringing bench, bar, and academy together through his programs at NYU but also deserves some of the credit and/or blame for my presence in the academy. Not only was he enormously helpful and kind in participating in a workshop on my dissertation, he has proven equally helpful and kind ever since. Finally, Ken Randall is not only without peer in the world of deans for his success at the University of Alabama, where I had the privilege of being a faculty member, but has become a good friend. Responding to such eminent commentators is thus a challenge.

Prof. Tamanaha is gloomier than I am, because he thinks tuition levels are too high, debt burdens too great, law schools are admitting unqualified applicants, and bar pass rates are likely to continue to decline. He thinks loans and Income Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay as You Earn (PAYE)  will continue to subsidize bad behavior by law schools and innovation will be blocked or slowed by a combination of faculty resistance and ABA accreditation standards. I think we should be cheerier than Prof. Tamanaha because I think that while there is some truth in each of his concerns, things are better than he recognizes. ...

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May 10, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tacha: Just Mom

Tacha 4TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Just Mom, by Deanell Tacha (Dean, Pepperdine):

As I drove down the street recently, I jerked to attention when I noticed the vanity license plate on the car in front of me. It said simply "Just Mom". My lifelong fascination with the written word went into high gear. I wondered what message the woman driving could be hoping to convey. Those two words carried all the ambiguities that have haunted my generation of mothers. One possible interpretation is that of the boasting stay-at-home Mom who somehow managed to inoculate those of us who chose not to be "just Mom" with a healthy dose of guilt and questioning about what mortal deprivations we had visited upon our children by making the choice to combine motherhood with other professional and economic endeavors. Another possible interpretation is the counterposition. It is the mother who deprecates her other talents, interests, and aspirations by an apologetic admission that she resigns herself to being "just Mom". Neither of these opposing messages resonates with me. The first denigrates and belittles women who have combined motherhood with other occupations. The second diminishes the rich array of talents beyond those required to be a mother that an individual woman possesses. I reject both interpretations.

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May 10, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Why Some Men Pretend To Work 80-Hour Weeks

80 HourNew York Times, How Some Men Fake an 80-Hour Workweek, and Why It Matters, by Neil Irwin:

Imagine an elite professional services firm with a high-performing, workaholic culture. Everyone is expected to turn on a dime to serve a client, travel at a moment’s notice, and be available pretty much every evening and weekend. It can make for a grueling work life, but at the highest levels of accounting, law, investment banking and consulting firms, it is just the way things are.

Except for one dirty little secret: Some of the people ostensibly turning in those 80- or 90-hour workweeks, particularly men, may just be faking it.

Many of them were, at least, at one elite consulting firm studied by Erin Reid, a professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. It’s impossible to know if what she learned at that unidentified consulting firm applies across the world of work more broadly. But her research, published in the academic journal Organization Science [Embracing, Passing, Revealing, and the Ideal Worker Image: How People Navigate Expected and Experienced Professional Identities], offers a way to understand how the professional world differs between men and women, and some of the ways a hard-charging culture that emphasizes long hours above all can make some companies worse off.

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May 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School To Offer 'Deflategate' Course

LiarWashington Post, University of New Hampshire Law School to Offer Deflategate Class:

“They’ll be teaching that at colleges one day.”

Usually when someone says that, it’s about an important scientific discovery, or a nation-altering leader, or a new way of communicating. Something big like that.

Or they could be talking about that time when the New England Patriots (probably) deflated a bunch of footballs to gain a very slight competitive edge and then got caught.

Michael McCann, an attorney who serves as the in-house legal expert for Sports Illustrated and NBA TV and founded the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute, will teach a course simply called “Deflategate” at the University of New Hampshire School of Law this fall.

The 4 credit course will enroll up to 75 students:

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May 9, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

ABA Tax Section May Meeting

ABA Tax Section Logo (2012)The ABA Tax Section May meeting continues today in Washington, D.C. The full program is here. Tax Profs with speaking roles today include:

  • Bankruptcy & Workouts:  Don Leatherman (Tennessee)
  • Diversity:  Allen Madison (South Dakota)
  • Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers:  Robert Peroni (Texas)
  • Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Foreign Lawyers Forum, Transfer Pricing & U.S. Activities of Foreigners and Tax Treaties:  Karen Brown (George Washington)

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May 8, 2015 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)