TaxProf Blog

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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Can Professors Refuse To Write Letters Of Recommendations For Political Reasons?

IsraelInside Higher Ed, The Right to a Recommendation?:

Does a professor have a right to refuse to write a recommendation for a student due to his own political convictions?

A professor at the University of Michigan declined to write a recommendation for a student to study abroad upon realizing the student’s chosen program was in Israel. In an email to the student, which was posted as a screenshot ...  on Facebook by the pro-Israel group Club Z and was first reported by Israeli media, the professor cites support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions as the reason why he was rescinding an offer to write a recommendation letter. At the same time he indicated he would be happy to write other letters for the student, who is identified only as “Abigail.”

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September 23, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Sunstein & Pulliam: Universities (And Law Schools) Need To Hire More Republican Professors

Following up on my previous posts (links below): 

Cass Sunstein (Harvard), The Problem With All Those Liberal Professors:

The paucity of Republicans at many top schools hurts everyone.

Suppose that you start college with a keen interest in physics, and you quickly discover that almost all members of the physics department are Democrats. Would you think that something is wrong? Would your answer be different if your favorite subject is music, chemistry, computer science, anthropology or sociology?

In recent years, concern has grown over what many people see as a left-of-center political bias at colleges and universities. A few months ago, Mitchell Langbert, an associate professor of business at Brooklyn College, published a study of the political affiliations of faculty members at 51 of the 66 liberal-arts colleges ranked highest by U.S. News in 2017. The findings are eye-popping (even if they do not come as a great surprise to many people in academia).

Democrats dominate most fields. In religion, Langbert’s survey found that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is 70 to 1. In music, it is 33 to 1. In biology, it is 21 to 1. In philosophy, history and psychology, it is 17 to 1. In political science, it is 8 to 1.

The gap is narrower in science and engineering. In physics, economics and mathematics, the ratio is about 6 to 1. In chemistry, it is 5 to 1, and in engineering, it is just 1.6 to 1. Still, Lambert found no field in which Republicans are more numerous than Democrats. ...

For two reasons, these numbers, and others like them, are genuinely disturbing.

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September 22, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (13)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

University Of Alabama Law School Receives $26.5 Million Naming Gift; Donor Hopes For Top 10-15 Ranking

Alabama Logo (2018)UA Law School Named for Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. in Recognition of $26.5 Million Donation:

The University of Alabama School of Law announced today a $26.5 million donation from prominent business executive and attorney Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr.

To honor Culverhouse’s impact and generosity, the UA School of Law will now bear his name, becoming the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law at The University of Alabama.

The commitment includes a $25 million gift, the largest in the University’s 187-year history. The gift will be funded over four years; more than $11.5 million of the total donation has already been received.

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September 21, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Teaching Symposium: How A Law Faculty Stays Ahead Of The Curve

Indiana Indianapolis LogoSymposium, Upward! Higher: How a Law Faculty Stays Ahead of the Curve, 51 Ind. L. Rev. 413-70 (2018):

Full-time and part-time faculty of the IU McKinney School of Law convened together with campus and university partners from the IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning and Indiana University e-Learning Design and Services for the second annual “Upward!” teaching symposium at the beginning of Fall Semester 2017. The two-day gathering involved panel discussions on topics including online teaching, online course design, teaching externships, designing lessons for the law school’s active learning classrooms, teaching international students, and teaching with an eye to the bar exam. Participants enjoyed a field trip to IUPUI campus offices supporting the university’s teaching mission, including the Center for Teaching and Learning and the recording studio. Panelists contributed to this joint publication, which includes sole- or joint-authored submissions by Professors Adams, Baker, Boyne, Huffman, Ryznar, Shope, and Sullivan; an introduction by Dean Klein and Professor Huffman; and reactions to the primary papers. These submissions reflect a variety of scholarly methods, drawing from empirical study, anecdotal observation, and theoretical analysis.

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September 21, 2018 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dean Chemerinsky To Decide Fate Of Boalt Hall Name At UC-Berkeley In November

UC Berkeley BoaltFollowing up on last week's post, Committee Recommends Removal Of Boalt Name From UC-Berkeley Law School Building Due To John Boalt's 1870s Anti-Chinese Racism:  Law.com, Berkeley Law Is Deeply Divided on 'Boalt' Name, Chemerinsky Says:

The University of California, Berkeley School of Law has been known colloquially as Boalt Hall for decades, but that name could soon disappear from the Bay Area campus after information surfaced about the racist past of John Boalt—a 19th century California lawyer who pushed for the Chinese Exclusion Act.

A law school committee ... recommended the removal of the Boalt Hall name from one of the school’s four buildings and that other references to Boalt in student organizations and elsewhere be excised. (The committee did not recommend stripping the Boalt name from two endowed professorships, which would require the involvement of the California attorney general.)

The proposed renaming has touched a nerve with many on the law school community, some of whom refer to themselves as “Boalties.” We spoke with Dean Erwin Chemerinsky this week to find out what happens next and what he’s hearing from students and alumni. His answers have been edited for length.

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September 20, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

What Vet School Can Teach Us About Law School

Cornell VetTina L. Stark, What Cornell Veterinary School Taught Me About Legal Education, 15 Transactions  533 (2014):

Law schools continue to seek courses and curricula to prepare students for entry-level positions after graduation. This article examines the innovative pedagogy that Cornell Veterinary School instituted in 1993 and suggests it as a model for law schools. At most vet schools, students follow a specified series of lecture and lab courses; for example, gross anatomy, histology, immunology, diagnostic imaging, and physiology. To the extent these courses intersect, students must figure out the interrelationships on their own.

In contrast, Cornell’s “new” curriculum relies on interdisciplinary courses to teach students the foundations of veterinary medicine. Students study organ systems, using all the scientific disciplines available. To make theory real, students start their clinical skills training immediately. If they are studying the heart, they learn how to examine it. Cornell’s pedagogy also relies heavily on its tutorial courses which meet several times a week to work through real-world cases collaboratively. Importantly, students are not spoon fed the answers. They’re expected to research what they decide they don’t know.

This article imagines a fantasy world that takes the lessons from the Cornell curriculum and applies them to law school.

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September 20, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Before The J.D.: Undergraduate Views On Law School

Law.com, What Pushes Undergrads to Law School? It Ain't the Money.:

A highly anticipated new survey of thousands of undergraduates and first-year law students found that the top four most cited reasons for pursuing law school are: providing a pathway to a career in politics, government or public service; having a passion and high interest in legal work; creating opportunities to give back to others; and the desire to be an advocate for social change.

The study commissioned by the Association of American Law Schools, Before the J.D.: Undergraduate Views on Law Schoolfound that access to high-paying jobs was the fifth most-cited reason undergrads are interested in law schools, with 31 percent placing it among their top three reasons for seeking a law degree.

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September 20, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cracking Student Silos: Linking Legal Writing And Clinical Learning Through Transference

Mary Bowman (Seattle) & Lisa Ellen Brodoff (Seattle), Cracking Student Silos: Linking Legal Writing and Clinical Learning Through Transference:

Why do highly competent and hard-working law students struggle to apply what they learn in legal writing to later clinical courses and law practice? The authors of this article are uniquely qualified to answer this question and to provide strategies for helping students overcome these common struggles. The authors direct the nationally renowned legal writing and clinical programs at Seattle University School of Law, where they have engaged in cutting-edge collaborative teaching projects for nearly a decade. Even so, they found that their students, when faced with the messiness of real client representation, struggled with typical research and writing problems even as the legal writing faculty exclaimed "We know we taught them that!" So the program directors extensively studied the educational literature on transference, then spent nearly two years taking each other's courses to understand more deeply how we could help our students apply what is taught in each program to future client work. This article describes what we learned from these endeavors.

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September 19, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Emory Law Prof Who Used 'N-Bomb' In Torts Class Is Barred From Teaching Required Courses For Two Years And Will Undergo Sensitivity And Bias Training

ZwierFollowing up on my previous posts:

Emory University Statement Regarding Emory Law School Community Issue:

In a September 18 letter to the Emory Law School community, Interim Dean James B. Hughes Jr. outlined the steps that will be taken to reinforce the school’s commitment to the principles of equity, inclusion and respect in light of a law school professor Paul Zwier’s use of the “n” word during a classroom lecture.

After extensive discussions with members of the Emory community, including the students and professor affected by the incident and with clergy and legal representatives in the greater Atlanta community, Dean Hughes has outlined multiple steps that the professor has agreed to take in order to help begin the healing process for the Emory Law School community. These steps include: not teaching any course, for the next two years, in which students do not have the ability to choose their professor; engaging in dialogues focused on racial sensitivity; revising teaching manuals to provide appropriate ways to cover racially sensitive materials; and participating in sensitivity and unconscious bias training.

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September 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Oct. 8 Murder Trial Of Suspects In Dan Markel's Murder Is Delayed, Perhaps For Five Months

Magnauba GarciaWXTL, Trial Delayed For Suspects in FSU Professor Dan Markel's Murder:

The trial for two suspects charged in the murder of FSU law professor Dan Markel won't start next month as scheduled. Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua were in court Tuesday morning.

Magbanua's counsel filed a motion to continue the case, because one of their attorneys is dealing with a "life-threatening medical condition." In the motion, Magbanua's counsel asked to reset trial no earlier than March 2019, since the attorney is unable to travel for some time. ... They'll all be back in court November 19 to figure out a new trial date.

Tallahassee Democrat, Trial of Accused Murderers of FSU Law Professor Dan Markel Delayed

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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September 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Moritz Family Fights Ohio State Over Undisclosed 1% Annual Development Fee Charged Against Naming Gift To Law School, As Endowment Has Shrunk From $30m To $22m In 17 Years

Ohio State LogoColumbus Dispatch, Moritz Family Fights Ohio State For Using Endowment to Pay For Fundraising:

A young Michael Moritz had promise and aspirations, but little money to realize them.

When Ohio State University surprisingly awarded Moritz a full-ride scholarship to law school in 1958, it transformed his life.

Over the decades, Moritz became a partner in a major law firm, a corporate-law expert in demand across the nation for mergers and acquisitions. As he built clients and respect, he also built a fortune.

In retirement, and out of gratitude, he gave back — big time — to his alma mater. In 2001, he donated $30.3 million to Ohio State to endow four faculty chairs and give 30 annual scholarships to needy law students. In recognition of the largest-ever gift to one of its academic units, Ohio State renamed its law college in honor of Moritz.

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September 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

July 2018 Florida Bar Exam Results: Florida International Is #1 For 5th Year In A Row

Florida Bar 2The July 2018 Florida bar passage rates by school are out. The overall pass rate for first-time takers is 67.2%, down 4.1 percentage points from last year. For the fifth year in a row, Florida International is #1. Here are the results for the 11 Florida law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (Florida and overall):

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)

 

School

US News Rank

FL (Overall)

1 (88.1%)

Florida Int'l

5 (101)

2 (84.8%)

Florida State

2 (47)

3 (83.2%)

Miami

3 (65)

4 (70.9%)

Florida 

1 (41)

5 (70.2%)

St. Thomas

Tier 2

6 (67.2%)

Stetson

4 (98)

7 (62.5%)

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

8 (58.5%)

Ave Maria

Tier 2

9 (50.6%)

Florida A&M

Tier 2

10 (45.2%)

Barry

Tier 2

11 (42.9%)

Nova

Tier 2

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September 18, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, September 17, 2018

July 2018 Multistate Bar Exam Scores Collapse To 34-Year Low

National Conference of Bar Examiners, July 2018 Average MBE Scores Decrease:

The national average MBE score for July 2018 was 139.5, a decrease of about 2.2 points from the July 2017 average:

MBE

This is the lowest score since 1984.

45,274 examinees sat for the Multistate Bar Examination in July 2018. This represents 2.9% fewer examinees than those who sat for the July 2017 exam, and is the smallest group of examinees to take the July MBE since 2001.

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September 17, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Call For Tax Papers And Panels: SEALS 2019 (Boca Raton, Florida)

SEALs Logo (2013)It's already time to think about SEALS 2019!  The conference will be held July 28-August 3, 2019 in Boca Raton, Florida.  The conference submission tool is now open, and I am eager to coordinate people who are interested in presenting tax work at the SEALS conference into relevant panel groups.  In addition, we have also had very successful Tax Policy Discussion Groups in recent years.  Panels are generally composed of 4 to 5 people speaking for 15 to 20 minutes each.  I will attempt to group papers so that panels include papers on similar topics.  The Discussion Group includes about 10 people, each speaking for 5-8 minutes on a topic related to tax policy, broadly interpreted.  This has often included topics that are not necessarily fully formed paper ideas, but are thoughts the presenter has had on something he or she would like to discuss with a group of smart, informed people in an informal setting.  Both types of presentation have been very successful in the past.  Each presenter may participate in one Panel AND one Discussion Group.

So, if you are interested in submitting to SEALS and would like me to include you in a group of other tax profs, please email jbirdpollan@uky.edu with the following information:

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September 17, 2018 in Conferences, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Big Lie: Professor Who Fabricated Lateral Offer From University Of Minnesota To Get $5,000 Raise Reaches Plea Deal

McNaughtonFollowing up on my previous post:  Chronicle of Higher Education, The Big Lie

A professor schemed to get a raise and win his department’s respect. Instead, he wrecked his career.

The chemistry professor and his wife argued often in those days, as their marriage was coming to an end and a custody battle brewed over their two young children. Then, one summer night, things got so heated that the police were called to intervene.

Brian and Stacey McNaughton had bought their single-family home in Fort Collins, Colo., six years earlier for $525,000. It was the sort of place, situated on an oversize corner lot in a neighborhood filled with doctors and lawyers, that projected the kind of solid middle-class status that the couple had achieved after years of study. Brian McNaughton, once a first-generation college student, was on the tenure track at Colorado State University, and his wife was a nurse anesthetist.

But all of that risked being torn asunder because of the big lie — a lie that they shared, and that Stacey McNaughton was now threatening to expose. She would recount to the police how she had signaled plans to call her husband’s boss, reveal his deception, and derail his career. The couple struggled for control of a phone, and the professor pleaded with his wife to reconsider, before Stacey McNaughton ran out the back door screaming for help. She jumped a fence and took refuge with some neighbors who were having a backyard campfire.

On that night and many thereafter, Brian McNaughton feared that his wife would tell people at Colorado State how he had fabricated a job offer from another university. It was a simple scheme, one designed to earn him the kind of money and respect that is often so elusive for early-career professors. As McNaughton had hoped, the fake letter spurred a counteroffer, forcing his dean and department chair to reconsider what he might be worth.

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September 16, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

What Can Law Schools Learn From Grade-Nondisclosure In Elite Business Schools?

JohnsonJohnson Students Vote to Enact Grade Non-Disclosure:

Johnson students have voted to enact a policy of grade non-disclosure, effective September 7, 2018. The student-driven policy applies to the school’s full-time students in its Two-Year, One-Year, and Johnson Cornell Tech MBA programs. ...

Under the terms of the referendum, students will not disclose their grades to recruiters until after a full-time, post-graduation job offer has been extended. The policy covers grade point averages (GPAs), grades in courses, and grades on assignments or exams. Exceptions include dual degree students who are pursuing non-MBA roles (e.g. JD/MBA candidates who needs to disclose their GPAs to law firm recruiters), Johnson Cornell Tech students applying to positions not restricted to MBAs at the Cornell Tech campus, and students applying for fellowships, public sector, international, and/or nonprofit positions.

“The exceptions are important. For example, for some positions, such as in the federal government, students are required to share a GPA,” says David Capaldi, MBA ’95, and director of Johnson’s Career Management Center. “Where the policy applies, we are asking that recruiters respect the student referendum and refrain from asking Johnson students about their grades.”

Poets & Quants, Cornell MBAs Join ‘Grade Non-Disclosure’ Ranks:

Grade nondisclosure advocates say the policy gives students freedom to branch out, to take more challenging classes without worrying about a negative impact to their GPAs. Because grades won’t be revealed to potential employers, any inclination to “take the easy way out” has been mitigated. Furthermore, an absence of academic competitiveness is thought to facilitate better networking and the development of stronger relationships.

Wharton, Stanford GSB, Chicago Booth, Northwestern Kellogg, UC-Berkeley Haas, Michigan Ross, and Columbia Business School are among the many elite schools with some form of grade non-disclosure. ...

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September 15, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

More On The New U.S. News College Rankings

Friday, September 14, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

A College President's 'Modest Proposal' To Reform The U.S. News Rankings

USNChronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  The ‘U.S. News’ College Rankings: A Modest Proposal, by Brian Rosenberg (President, Macalester College):

As I enter my 16th year as a college president, it is long past time for me to correct an oversight about which I have been in recent times most troubled. 

I want to thank the good people at U.S. News & World Report for generously and wisely deciding to rank colleges and universities. ... [I]t is painful to think back to the days before 1983 — the first year of what I shall hereafter call The Rankings — a time when prospective college students were forced to select an institution without a number affixed to its name. Even to imagine a time when the distinction between College #37 and College #39 was concealed from the consumer is difficult. ...

Even the most successful of human endeavors, however, can aspire to be better, so, while of course deferring in the end to their greater wisdom, I would like to offer to the compilers of The Rankings a modest proposal for their improvement that would save time and effort and offer greater benefits to colleges and their future students.

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September 14, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Higher Law School Tuition Boosts Enrollment

Law.com, Higher Law School Tuition Actually Boosts Enrollment, Study Finds:

There’s been no shortage of hand-wringing over the high cost of a law degree, but it turns out that hefty tuition prices aren’t a major factor in where aspiring lawyers opt to enroll.

That’s the takeaway from a new paper examining whether rising costs impact the number of people who apply and enroll in law school. Author Amy Li, a professor in the University of Northern Colorado’s department of leadership, policy and development, found that not only is there no correlation between lower costs and the number of applicants and matriculants at individual schools, but that increased costs correlate to higher enrollment at many private law schools. Put another way, enrollment tends to get bigger when schools charge more for tuition and fees, counterintuitive as that may seem.

“The findings highlight the willingness of students to apply to and enroll at law schools despite increases in tuition and fees,” Li wrote in her paper, Dollars and Sense: Student Price Sensitivity to Law School Tuition. “This study reveals that there is in fact, a lack of price sensitivity in legal education.” ...

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September 14, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Gonzaga Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinician

Gonzaga LogoGonzaga University School of Law seeks applicants for a three-quarter-time Lecturer in its Federal Tax Clinic, with flexibility to serve in other areas as needed by the clinical program. This position is dependent on a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) grant awarded from the IRS. Gonzaga Law School has been receiving the LITC grant for over 15 years.

The teaching responsibilities of this 12-month-position include the supervision of students in all aspects of client representation, case selection, and client communication along with some administrative duties related to managing cases and record keeping associated with grants. This grant dependent position is a year-to-year, non-tenure track position.

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September 14, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stark: Implementation Negotiation

Tina Stark, a leader in transactional skills education for lawyers (Fordham, Emory, and Boston University), Implementation Negotiation: A Transaction Skill that Builds on and Transforms Classic Negotiation Theory, forthcoming, Transactions, The Tennessee Journal of Business Law.

Implementation negotiation is the specialized negotiation in which deal lawyers engage after the principals negotiate the business terms of the transaction. Classic negotiation principles guide these deal term negotiations. But once the parties agree, the dynamics, tone, content, and purpose of the negotiation change. Parties are no longer looking at whether they can find a way to agree. They do agree. Now, the lawyers must transform the clients’ bare bones agreed-on business terms into a contract that memorializes the parties’ joint vision. This is implementation negotiation, a new way of thinking about contract negotiations. Implementation negotiation theory does not displace classic negotiation theory. It simultaneously builds on that framework and transforms it to work in a different context. This article begins by reviewing classic negotiation theory and principles and then explains how implementation negotiation builds on and transforms those principles, including why BATNA recedes to the background, why seasoned negotiators know the parties’ interests and issues and the expected zone of agreement, even before negotiations begin. The article next details the multiple subcategories of implementation negotiation through narrative and a series of illustrative, simulated negotiations. It concludes by briefly discussing the implications of this new pedagogy for legal education.


When the business parties have agreed on the basic terms of a deal typically requiring far more complex documentation, it now falls upon the lawyers to get it done without blowing the deal.  This essay, chock full of examples, is in the tradition of James Freund's iconic Anatomy of a Merger, teaching both how to see the forest and how to deal with the trees.

September 14, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Lateral Moves By BigLaw Partners: Age And Gender Implications

P. Cecchi-Dimeglio (Harvard) & H.A. Simons (Ropes & Gray, Boston), Lateral Moves: An Empirical Investigation of Cyclicality, Directional Mobility, and 5-Year Retention Rate by Gender and Age Cohort, 42 J. Legal Prof. 171 (2018):

The present empirical study examines the movements of lateral partners across Big Law firms in the context of what is known as "boundaryless career" movements. We provide statistical evidence on the patterns of the lateral moves of 2,353 partners who moved between AmLaw 100 firms between 2010 through 2012. Our research explores the cyclicality and directional mobility (upward versus downward in terms of new firm profit per partner (PPP) rank and absolute level of new firm PPP rank) of partner moves and their relationship to five-year retention rate (5 years from the initial move) from a gender and age cohort perspective.

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

Senate Confirms Pepperdine Law Grad Chuck Rettig As IRS Commissioner

RettigWall Street Journal, Senate Confirms Charles Rettig as IRS Commissioner:

The Senate confirmed Charles Rettig to run the Internal Revenue Service, giving the veteran California tax lawyer one of the toughest, most thankless jobs in the federal government.

Mr. Rettig, who spent his career representing wealthy taxpayers and businesses in complex disputes with the government, gets a term that runs until November 2022. He will replace David Kautter, the Treasury Department’s top tax policy official, who has been acting as IRS commissioner.

The Senate voted 64-33 in favor of Mr. Rettig’s confirmation. All Republicans who were present joined with 15 Democrats to back the nomination.

Mr. Rettig will run an agency struggling with flat or shrinking budgets, aging computer systems and increased demands from Congress. Last year, the IRS audited 0.62% of individual tax returns, the lowest rate since 2002. In 2017, the agency had 19% fewer employees than in 2010.

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September 13, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Job Satisfaction Among Tenured U.S. Law Professors

Katherine Y. Barnes (Arizona) & Elizabeth Mertz (Wisconsin), Law School Climates: Job Satisfaction Among Tenured US Law Professors, 43 Law & Soc. Inquiry 441 (2018)

In this article, we combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate why post‐tenure law professors of color and women professors within the US legal academy are differentially dissatisfied with their work lives. Previous social science research has indicated lingering difficulties for professionals from traditionally marginalized groups as they advance to higher levels. Post‐tenure law professors have been understudied relative to similar senior‐level professionals. Mixed methods allow us to isolate institutional structure and implicit cultural bias as key mediators of this dissatisfaction, converging on issues of respect, voice, and collegiality as crucial. We use the example of the legal academy to show how empirical research can shed important light on the realities of legal professionals—here, the faculty who are training the next generation of US attorneys. Following in the new legal realist tradition, we demonstrate the power of mixed empirical methodologies for grasping social realities pertinent to law.

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

Villanova Seeks To Hire Director Of Its Graduate Tax Program

Villanova Grad Tax Program LogoVillanova is seeking to fill a faculty position and is in the process of a national search for a new Director of the Graduate Tax Program. The Graduate Tax Program is jointly run by the Law School and School of Business, and offers a Masters of Laws for lawyers and Masters in Tax for accountants.

The program is innovative and includes an extensive suite of online classes and classes on the ground. Villanova is looking for an experienced practitioner with teaching experience and management skills.

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September 13, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

AccessLex Institute Awards $515,000 Grant To State Bar Of California For Job Analysis Study

California State Bar (2014)AccessLex Institute Awards Grant to State Bar of California for Job Analysis Study:

In step with its ongoing efforts to improve access, affordability and value in legal education, AccessLex Institute has awarded a grant of $515,000 to the State Bar of California to build on studies performed last year to address the state’s bar exam passage rate and other matters related to the exam. In 2017, the State Bar of California conducted a series of tests to evaluate various components of the California Bar Exam, including the pass line and the alignment of the subject matters on the exam in relation to the expected knowledge and skills of entry-level attorneys. While the studies represented a milestone in taking a comprehensive assessment of the California Bar Exam, the conclusions were limited partly due to the lack of appropriate information from an attorney job analysis study.

With funding from AccessLex, the State Bar of California is planning a California Attorney Job Analysis Study to collect detailed, empirical data about how attorneys in their daily routines use their knowledge and skills to perform their tasks with competency. Study results will set the foundation for revisiting issues with the bar exam pass line and content, as well as exam format and other aspects of the test.

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September 12, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charlotte Law School Agrees To Pay $2.65m To Settle Accreditation Lawsuit

Charlotte Logo (2016)Law360, Law School Agrees To Pay $2.65M To End Accreditation Suit:

The Charlotte School of Law has agreed to pay $2.65 million to end a proposed class action alleging the shuttered school misrepresented and failed to inform students and prospective students about its compliance with American Bar Association standards and the status of its accreditation once the ABA had placed it on probation.

In a joint motion filed in North Carolina federal court, former students and the law school said Tuesday they had settled a consolidated proposed class action accusing the former institution of bilking students out of money even as it shirked its educational mission.

Students acknowledged that the settlement fund will not come close to reimbursing each of the 2,500 potential class members the average of $44,000 each spent on single year of tuition.

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September 12, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2019 U.S. News College Rankings

US NewsU.S. News & World Report has released its 2019 College Rankings. Here are the Top 25 National Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges (along with their 2016-2018 rankings):

2019

Rank

 

National Universities

2018

Rank

2017

Rank

2016

Rank

1

Princeton

1

1

1

2

Harvard

2

2

2

3

Chicago

3

3

3

3

Columbia

5

5

4

3

MIT

5

7

7

3

Yale

3

3

3

7

Stanford

5

5

4

8

Duke

9

8

8

8

Penn

8

8

9

10

Johns Hopkins

11

10

10

10

Northwestern

11

12

12

12

Cal-Tech

10

12

10

12

Dartmouth

11

11

12

14

Brown

14

14

14

14

Vanderbilt

14

15

16

16

Cornell

14

15

15

16

Rice

14

15

18

18

Notre Dame

18

15

18

19

UCLA

21

24

23

19

Washington (St. Louis)

18

19

15

21

Emory

21

20

21

22

Georgetown

20

20

21

22

UC-Berkeley

21

20

20

22

USC

21

23

22

25

Carnegie Mellon

25

24

23

25

Virginia

25

24

26

Pepperdine is ranked #46 (tied with Georgia and Illinois).

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September 12, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Committee Recommends Removal Of Boalt Name From UC-Berkeley Law School Building Due To John Boalt's 1870s Anti-Chinese Racism

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Remembering September 11th At Pepperdine

Waves

Tenth Annual Waves of Flags Display Honors 9/11 Victims:

For the 10th consecutive year, Pepperdine University’s Alumni Park will become home to the University’s annual Waves of Flags installation that, since 2008, has commemorated the lives lost in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Waves of Flags will feature a display of a total of 2,977 full-size flags—2,887 American flags for each American life lost and 90 various international flags representing the home countries of those from abroad who died in the 9/11 attacks.

The installation became a University tradition in 2008 when the Pepperdine College Republicans, inspired by a similar display, wanted to bring the tribute to the University. Since then, Waves of Flags has become a significant service project for the Pepperdine community. On Saturday, September 8, 2018, a group of more than 200 volunteers, including Pepperdine faculty, staff, students, and Malibu community members, joined together to install and raise the flags.

In addition to the Waves of Flags installation, the Pepperdine community is invited to observe September 11 in honor of the heroes who were lost in 2001 with a brief service to remember the fallen and pray for peace and reconciliation. The service, hosted by the Pepperdine Office of the President and Office of the Chaplain, will be held Tuesday, September 11, at noon at the the Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., Heroes Garden on the Malibu campus. Heroes Garden is a public space for visitors to reflect and honor all those who live heroic lives, including Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. (MBA ’95), a passenger on United Flight 93 whose life was cut short in the 9/11 attacks. A plaque at the garden's entrance reads: "Dedicated to freedom's heroes of September 11, 2001, and the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, among them Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., who sacrificed their lives to overcome terrorists’ intent on destroying American lives and landmarks in our nation's capital. We shall never forget."

Heores Garden

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September 11, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Using Performance Tests To Enhance Student Engagement While Furthering Assessment, Bar Passage, and Other ABA Accreditation Objectives

Sara Berman (AccessLex), Integrating Performance Tests into Doctrinal Courses, Skills Courses, and Institutional Benchmark Testing: A Simple Way to Enhance Student Engagement While Furthering Assessment, Bar Passage, and Other ABA Accreditation Objectives, 42 J. Legal Prof. 147 (2018):

This article explores ways to weave performance tests into the law school curriculum to enhance student engagement and active learning, and to further ABA-mandated assessment and accreditation objectives. Some options include using them as discrete simulation exercises in doctrinal courses, as content for certain dedicated skills courses, or as possible institutional benchmark testing.

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September 11, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 100 Most Influential People In Tax And Accounting

Top 100 4I am honored to be included on the list of Accounting Today's 100 Most Influential People in Tax and Accounting for the thirteenth consecutive year:

Even after his elevation to dean, Caron remains one of the most trusted voices on tax in the blogosphere, helping direct the conversation on multiple fronts.

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

  • Jon Baron (Managing Director, Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting)
  • Wayne Berson (CEO, BDO)
  • Kevin Brady (Chair, U.S. House Ways & Means Committee)
  • Wesley Bricker (Chief Accountant, SEC)
  • Jay Clayton (Chair, SEC)
  • Lynne Doughtie (Chair & CEO, KPMG)
  • William Duhnke (Chair, PCAOB)
  • Kimberly Ellison-Taylor (Immediate Past Chair, AICPA)
  • Cathy Engelbert (CEO, Deloitte)
  • George Farrah (Executive Director, Bloomberg Tax)
  • J. Russell George (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)

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September 11, 2018 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Ex-Law Prof Gets Green Light In Bias Case Claiming CUNY Retaliated Against Her After She Was Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis

CUNYLaw.com, Ex-Law Prof Gets Green Light in Bias Case Against CUNY:

A former law professor in charge of a Skadden-sponsored diversity program at City College of New York can move forward with her retaliation suit against the school.

U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York on Sept. 7 denied City College’s motion to dismiss Lynda Dodd’s suit on the grounds that she had supplied enough evidence to further argue her claims that administrators undermined her tenure bid after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“Dodd has pleaded a number of instances in which protected acts—i.e., complaints that Dodd’s employer reasonably should have understood to concern disability discrimination or retaliation—were followed shortly thereafter by adverse employment actions,” Engelmayer wrote in his opinion. ..

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September 11, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 10, 2018

ABA Report Finds Persistent Gender And Racial Bias In The Legal Profession

ABA

UC-Hastings College of Law Center for Worklife Law, You Can’t Change What You Can’t See: Interrupting Racial & Gender Bias in the Legal Profession

New York Times, Lawyers Say They Face Persistent Racial and Gender Bias at Work:

Women and people of color in the legal profession continue to face barriers in hiring, promotions, assignments and compensation, according to a study released Thursday by the American Bar Association. ...

The researchers had 2,827 lawyers fill out online surveys in spring 2016 about their experiences at work. The surveys were distributed by the bar association’s email list and other professional networks. The association has 400,000 members.

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September 10, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

One Way To Show Students You Care — And Why You Might Want To Try It

Chronicle of Higher Education, One Way to Show Students You Care — And Why You Might Want to Try It:

For years, Reesa-Marie Dawkins has included on her course syllabi a note to students titled: “When life happens … send me an email.” In several paragraphs, Dawkins, an adjunct professor for the University of Alaska system who teaches statistics and logistics online, describes the kinds of personal challenges students might confront during the term, and urges them to seek her help when they do. “I will help you get through it,” she writes, “(no matter what it is).”

Dawkins’s message is unusually detailed and personal, but it’s part of an emerging pattern in which instructors seek to communicate their care and concern for students from the outset of a course. Professors, of course, are no monolith, and the matter of how involved they ought to get in students’ lives is in flux. Some point to changes in the college-going population — today’s students are less advantaged than those of years past, and more likely to experience depression and anxiety — and see a need to intervene more proactively.

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September 10, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Has The Alternative Legal Provider Market Already Peaked?

Prism Legal, Why Alternative Legal Provider Market Share May be Limited:

Numerous recent articles and blog posts cite the rise of alternative legal service providers, prompted in part by EY acquiring Riverview Law and and UnitedLex deals. ... In a nutshell, all combine multidisciplinary teams, lower cost labor, process focus, and technology investment to deliver more value to clients than do law firms. That’s the argument and I generally agree with it. Nonetheless, I think that alternative legal provider market share may be limited. Here’s why ...

I fear that many of the discussions about alternative legal providers taking share implicitly assume ceteris paribus. The alternative continues growing and nothing else changes significantly. They discount steps law firms take to respond to alternate legal provider growth.

The real world is mutatis mutandis: market players respond to competition. Specifically, I see law firms making many changes. ...

The only time-series data I have found about the alternative legal provider market share comes from the Altman Weil CLO survey. It shows flat if not shrinking share of client spend:

LPO

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September 10, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Legal Writing Professors: A Story Of A Hierarchy Within A Hierarchy

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  LawProfBlawg, Legal Writing Professors: A Story Of A Hierarchy Within A Hierarchy:

Today’s column is about a different type of hierarchy in academia. This column is dedicated to some of the hard-working colleagues who go to faculty meetings but don’t speak much, who do a lot of the thankless committee work at many schools, and who spend more time with students than most other law professors. The colleagues who, for the most part, don’t have tenure, get paid a lot less, and in many schools often have smaller offices away from their tenured companions. ...

Good data exists about the structures afforded to legal writing professors, because they actually take meaningful surveys with data. For the 2017 survey, only 21 percent of the legal writing professors described themselves as being in traditional tenure or tenure track positions. About 7 percent involve programmatic tenure. The remainder of legal writing professors are in either 405(c) status (longer term, presumptively renewable contracts), short-term non-renewable, or in five-year or more contracts that are not presumptively renewable. In other words, a lot of legal writing professors are in precarious positions.

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September 9, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: Is Yale Law Student Note ('Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox') Seminal Reframing Of Monopoly Law Or 'Hipster Antitrust'?

Amazon logo (2018)New York Times, Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea:

With a single scholarly article, Lina Khan, 29, has reframed decades of monopoly law.

Amazon has more revenue than Facebook, Google and Twitter put together, but it has largely escaped sustained examination. That is beginning to change, and one significant reason is Ms. Khan.

In early 2017, when she was an unknown law student, Ms. Khan published Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox [126 Yale L.J. 710 (2017)] in the Yale Law Journal.  Her argument went against a consensus in antitrust circles that dates back to the 1970s — the moment when regulation was redefined to focus on consumer welfare, which is to say price. Since Amazon is renowned for its cut-rate deals, it would seem safe from federal intervention.

Ms. Khan disagreed. Over 93 heavily footnoted pages, she presented the case that the company should not get a pass on anticompetitive behavior just because it makes customers happy. Once-robust monopoly laws have been marginalized, Ms. Khan wrote, and consequently Amazon is amassing structural power that lets it exert increasing control over many parts of the economy. ...

The paper got 146,255 hits, a runaway best-seller in the world of legal treatises. That popularity has rocked the antitrust establishment, and is making an unlikely celebrity of Ms. Khan in the corridors of Washington.

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September 9, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, September 8, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

ABA: Florida Coastal Remains Out of Compliance With Law School Accreditation Standards

Florida Coastal (2017)ABA Journal, Florida Coastal Still Out of Compliance With Accreditation Standards, ABA Legal Ed Council Says:

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has affirmed its findings that Florida Coastal School of Law is out of compliance with certain accreditation standards—increasing the likelihood that the matter will be settled in court.

The decision rebuffs an appeal from Florida Coastal, which the ABA originally found out of compliance in October of 2017. The council found after a March hearing that it had come into compliance with one of the standards but maintained that most of the problems it had identified still existed.

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September 8, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Dealing With Helicopter Parents In Law School

ABA Journal, Halting the Hover: Dealing With Helicopter Parents in Law School:

As an associate dean of the University of Houston Law Center, Sondra Tennessee has witnessed her share of helicopter parents. She’s seen parents ask law schools to switch their child’s professor, because they didn’t think he or she was a good fit.

She’s seen them try to get an extended finals date, without their child knowing they contacted the school. She’s also heard of parents contacting potential employers for law students to get more detail about benefits packages. ...

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September 8, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, September 7, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

WSJ: Temple Rankings Scandal Spotlights MBA Grads’ Swelling Debt

MBA WSJWall Street Journal, Temple Rankings Scandal Spotlights M.B.A. Grads’ Swelling Debt:

When Temple University said in July that its business school had misreported student data for U.S. News & World Report’s annual M.B.A. rankings, the school disclosed another troubling error: It had understated the debt load its typical business student carried after graduation.

U.S. News ranked the online master’s in business administration at Temple’s Fox School of Business as the nation’s best for four years running, including in 2018, before Fox admitted in January to reporting inflated standardized-test scores. Since then, the university has found Fox staff submitted other incorrect information for six additional Fox programs, and in some instances did so “knowingly and intentionally.”

Some of the inaccuracies concern student-debt records. Fox told U.S. News & World Report that 40% of its online M.B.A. students who graduated last year had loans, owing an average of $16,275 apiece. According to the July report, Fox had included graduates with zero loans when calculating students’ debt burdens from 2016 to 2018, which lowered the average amount. Temple declined to say how much debt its approximately 100 online M.B.A. graduates who had loans last year actually held for the $60,000 degree.

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September 7, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Testy: The Quantity And Quality Of Law School Applicants: 2018 Edition

Testy (2018)Kellye Testy (President and CEO, Law School Admission Council), The Quantity and Quality of Law School Applicants: 2018 Edition:

So much has changed in legal education since last summer, when Paul and I first teamed up to post the “state of the state” of law school admission. Back then, the numbers were not good, and neither was the morale of law school administrators and faculty. What a difference a year has made!

Paul’s July 31, 2018 blog post declared: “Legal Education Gets Its Mojo Back.” The buzz started at the end of 2017, and the 2018-2019 admission cycle ended with an 8.1 percent increase in law school applicants and 8.7 percent increase in applications. 

There has been much speculation about the reasons for this increase, the largest since 2010, so I will refrain from doing that. I like data, and LSAC has set as a priority to enhance the useful data available to the legal education community. You can now access applicant and LSAT trends data, updated daily on our website, LSAC.org—no password required. I invite you to interact with the data—it is easy to access, and great for presentations. As our new website launches on September 12, you will find additional tools to enhance public information about legal education.

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September 7, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)