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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Are You a Chicago-Style (Quantity) or a Harvard-Style (Quality) Scholar?

CHOrin Kerr (George Washington), Writing, Fast and Slow:

Zachary Kramer's thoughtful post, The Slow Writing Movement, brings up a broader choice between two approaches to producing legal scholarship.   Fast versus slow.  Or what I think of as the Chicago style versus the Harvard style.  

The Chicago style is to pump out a bunch of articles every year.  When you get an idea for an article, whether big or small, you write it up.  The idea is to produce a steady stream of scholarship. Not every article will be a home run.  But among your articles enough will be a hit that you'll produce a major body of influential work.  I call this the Chicago style because it is most closely associated with the traditional faculty culture at the University of Chicago Law School.  

On the other hand, the Harvard style is to write less but bigger.  You focus on quality instead of quantity, not sending out an article unless and until you think it is the definitive statement about that area of law.  You won't win any productivity awards.  But what you send out should be a signficant statement -- if not a home run, at least a double or triple.  And by focusing your efforts on really big ideas, the thinking runs, you'll produce a major body of influential work.  I call this the Harvard style because I have heard it associated with the traditional faculty culture at Harvard Law School. ...

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October 25, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Law School Carnage Enters Its Fifth Year

LSAC reports that LSAT takers declined 8.1% in September, on the heels of a 9% decline in June:

LSAC 3

As Derek Muller (Pepperdine) notes, the worst may be yet to come:

Excess

Matt Leichter, LSAT Tea-Leaf Reading: September 2014 Edition:

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October 24, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

October 24, 2014 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

U.S. News Annual Peer Assessment of Law School Tax Programs

U.S. NewsI received in the mail my ballot for the 2016 U.S. News Tax Rankings (2015 U.S. News tax rankings). As in prior years, the survey is intended "to identify the law schools having the top programs in tax law."  The survey is sent "to a selection  of faculty members involved in and who are knowledgeable about the area of tax law. Law schools supplied names of these faculty members to U.S. News in summer 2014."  Recipients are asked "to [i]dentify up to fifteen (15) schools that have the highest-quality tax law courses or programs. In making your choices consider all elements that contribute to a program's excellence, for example, the depth and breadth of the program, faculty research and publication record, etc."

As Donald Tobin (Dean, Maryland) has noted, it is more than strange that NYU has finished ahead of Florida and Georgetown each year that U.S. News has conducted the survey.  Because the survey ranks the schools by how often they appear on the respondents' "Top 15" lists, this means that some folks list NYU, but not Florida and Georgetown, among the Top 15 tax programs.

In filling out your survey, you may want to consult our forthcoming book, Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree, which compiles information about 13 highly ranked tax LLM programs: (1) NYU; (2) Florida; (3) Georgetown; (4) Northwestern; (5) Miami; (6) Boston University; (7) San Diego; (8) Loyola-L.A./LMU; (9) SMU; (10) Denver; (11) University of Washington; (12) Villanova; and (13) Chapman. The topics on which information is reported in the book include:

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October 23, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Law Schools Rankings by Mid-Career Salaries

Wall Street Journal, Harvard Law Graduates Top Salary Survey:

SalaryAt $201,000 a year, Harvard Law School alumni earn more than those of any other U.S. graduate school by the midpoint in their careers. ...

The data come courtesy of the online salary-information company PayScale [press release], which has asked 1.4 million people what they earn in return for finding out how they stack up against their peers. ... The survey pulled data for more than 600 graduate schools, including only those for which there were enough respondents to make their answers statistically valid. ...

Among their findings: the midcareer median salary for seven of the top 10 graduate programs were law schools, but business schools produced eight out of the top 10 highest salaries for those less than five years past graduation. Eight of the top 17 programs that produced graduates with the highest midcareer salary were in California, many in and around Silicon Valley.

Among the top law schools ranked behind Harvard by salary were Emory, Santa Clara, UCLA, Pepperdine, Georgetown, Columbia, Fordham, Berkeley and University of Texas at Austin.

Capture 2

Capture 

Capture 3

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October 22, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Kerr: Tips for First-Year Law Professors

Orin Kerr (George Washington), Tips for First-Year Law Professors:

I want to offer some advice for the fortunate few who landed a tenure-track law teaching job recently and are now in their first year of teaching. Everyone has a different perspective, of course, and if I go astray, I hope others will respond in the comment thread. But if this is your first year of tenure-track law teaching, here are some tips you might consider:

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October 22, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Organ: Will 10% of Law Schools Close by 2019, Just as 10% of Dental Schools Closed 25 Years Ago?

Following up on my previous post, Will Top Tier Law Schools be the First to Close, Like Emory and Georgetown Dental Schools?:  The Legal Whiteboard:  What Law Schools Can Learn from Dental Schools in the 1980s Regarding the Consequences of a Decline in Applicants, by Jerry Organ (St. Thomas):

Dental SchoolAlthough there may be a number of people in the legal academy who continue to believe that somehow legal education is “exceptional” – that market forces may impose financial challenges for law schools in the near term, but will not result in the closing of any law schools -- this strikes me as an unduly optimistic assessment of the situation. 

To understand why, I think those in legal education can learn from the experience of those in dental education in the 1980s. In the 1980s, dental school deans, along with provosts and presidents at their host universities, had to deal with the challenge of a significant decline in applicants to dental school. 

At least partially in response to federal funding to support dental education, first-year enrollment at the country’s dental schools grew throughout the 1970s to a peak in 1979 of roughly 6,300 across roughly 60 dental schools.  ... By the mid-1980s, applicants had fallen to 6,300 and matriculants had fallen to 5,000.  As of 1985, no dental schools had closed.  But by the late 1980s and early 1990s there were fewer than 5000 applicants and barely 4000 first-year students – applicants had declined by more than two-thirds and first-year enrollment had declined by more than one-third from their earlier peaks. ...

How did dental schools and their associated universities respond to this changing market?  Between 1986 and 1993, six private universities closed their dental schools: Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma (1986); Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia (1988); Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (1990); Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, New Jersey (1990); Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri (1991); and Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois (1993). ...

In terms of applicants and enrollment over the last decade, the trends law schools have experienced look remarkably comparable to the experience of dental schools in the 1970s and 1980s. ...

Chart 2

The law school experience tracks pretty closely the dental school experience over the first ten years reflected in the charts. For law schools, 2014 looks a lot like 1985 did for dental schools. ...

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October 21, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Amidst 13% Enrollment Decline, Wayne State Law School Offers 14% Scholarships to Every Incoming Student

Detroit Free Press, Wayne State Law to Freeze Tuition, Offer Scholarships:

Wayne State LogoWayne State University's Law School will freeze tuition next year and give a scholarship to every incoming student in a move designed to make a law degree more affordable, while boosting sagging enrollment at the Detroit school.

In total, the tuition freeze and additional scholarship money will amount to the equivalent of a 14% tuition cut for all incoming students, the school is to announce this morning. ...

Wayne's law school will also offer nearly $1 million in new scholarship money to its current students and a minimum $4,000 annual scholarship to all incoming students.

While officials said the move was about affordability, the school could also use some growth in enrollment. There were 419 students in the law school this fall, down from 484 students the previous year.

October 21, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Social Mobility College Rankings

SMISocial Mobility College Rankings:

Unlike the popular periodicals, we did not arbitrarily assign a percentage weight to the five variables in the SMI formula and add those values together to obtain a score. The relative weight of any variable was established by testing how much a realistic change in the value of that variable would move a school within a set of rankings derived from real data. Accordingly, the greatest sensitivity for movement in the SMI rankings comes from making changes in tuition or making changes in the percentage of students within the student body whose family incomes are less than or equal to the national median--$48,000. Simply put, a school can most dramatically move itself upwards in the SMI rankings by lowering its tuition or increasing its percentage of economically disadvantaged students (or both).

While tuition and economic background of the student body are the most sensitive variables in the SMI, three other variables in descending order of sensitivity are also critical. These are: graduation rate, early career salary, and endowment. While capable of producing big movements, graduation rate and early career salary carry approximately ½ the sensitivity of the first two variables. The rationale for this is not only that tuition and economic background are the most critical front end determinants for access, they are also the two variables over which policy makers have almost 100 percent, decisive control. By contrast, improving early career salary or graduation rate—critical outcomes to economic mobility-- require more substantial policy and system changes over a longer term. Finally, endowment carries ½ the sensitivity of the outcome variables. Although a strong indicator of power to act, endowment primarily serves a “tie-breaking” role in the SMI as explained below.

The relative sensitivity of the variables in the 2014 SMI are as follows:

VariableSensitivity
Tuition 126
Economic Background 125
Graduation Rate 66
Early Career Salary 65
Endowment 30

Here are the Top 10 and the bottom 10 coleges in the social mobility rankings:

Oberlin

Princeton, Harvard and Yale, which are 1, 2, and 3 in the U.S. News college rankings, are 360, 438, and 440 in the social mobility rankings.  (Hat Tip: Maureen Weston.)

October 21, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Great Advice for New Faculty (and Anyone Starting a New Job)

GossipMarc Roark (Savannah), “Be Careful of Those That Meet You at the Train…”:

Every now and then, a fortune cookie dispenses with advice that is so spot-on you just have to keep the little sliver of paper tucked away.  Here is my fortune cookie keeper of all time:

“Be careful of those that meet you at the train for they know where they want you to go…” ...

In my experience, the people on a faculty who you should be most leery of are those that will tell you either the people or the kinds of people you should be careful of.  What sounds as if it comes from experience and insight most often comes from places of fear, mistrust, manipulation, and insecurity.  What it can tell you, if you did not already know it, is that there are fault lines on the faculty for which a subterranean battle for the institution’s soul may be playing out.  As a young faculty member, don’t choose sides without carefully understanding what is at stake.

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October 20, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Call for Book Reviews: Journal of Legal Education

Journal of Legal Education (2014)The Journal of Legal Education has issued a call for book review essays and book review essay proposals:

The Journal of Legal Education, the official scholarly publication of the Association of American Law Schools, solicits submission of book review essays and book review essay proposals. The JLE believes that review essays constitute an important means of communicating scholarly ideas and are particularly well-suited to facilitating dialogue and engagement within and among the legal scholarly community. Accordingly, the JLE has adopted a policy of dedicating space in all of its print issues to the publication of timely reviews of books related to the law (broadly defined). 

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October 20, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Friday, October 17, 2014

Open Access Legal Scholarship Is Cited 60% More in Law Review Articles, 40% More in Judicial Opinions

James Donovan (Kentucky), Carol Watson (Georgia) & Caroline Osborne (Washington & Lee), The Open Access Advantage for American Law Reviews:

Open AccessOpen access legal scholarship generates a prolific discussion, but few empirical details have been available to describe the scholarly impact of providing unrestricted access to law review articles. The present project fills this gap with specific findings on what authors and institutions can expect.

Articles available in open access formats enjoy an advantage in citation by subsequent law review works of 53%. For every two citations an article would otherwise receive, it can expect a third when made freely available on the Internet. This benefit is not uniformly spread through the law school tiers. Higher tier journals experience a lower OA advantage (11.4%) due to the attention such prestigious works routinely receive regardless of the format. When focusing on the availability of new scholarship, as compared to creating retrospective collections, the aggregated advantage rises to 60.2%. While the first tier advantage rises to 16.8%, the mid-tiers skyrocket to 89.7%. The fourth tier OA advantage comes in at 81.2%.

Figure 5

Citations of legal articles by courts is similarly impacted by OA availability. While the 15-year aggregate advantage is a mere 9.5%, new scholarship is 41.4% more likely to be cited by a court decision if it is available in open access format.

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October 17, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

October 17, 2014 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Albany Law School Dean Steps Down Amidst 34% Enrollment Decline, Faculty Buyouts

Albany logoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below) on the financial troubles at Albany Law School (including a 34% decline in the entering 1L class to 123 students in 2014, from 187 in 2013 (and a 52% decline from 255 in 2009)), Penelope Andrews is stepping down as Dean at the end of this academic year (her third year as Dean), while the Board of Trustees has appointed Alicia Ouellette, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Intellectual Life, as Acting Dean.  As Bridget Crawford (Pace) asks, "Does it happen at other schools [that] an interim/acting dean is appointed while the existing dean is still serving out the last year of the dean's term?"

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

October 17, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

NPR: The Most Common Jobs For The Rich, Middle Class And Poor

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Call for Nominations: CALI Board of Directors

CALI Logo (2014)The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is seeking nominations to fill vacant positions on its Board of Directors:

If you know of someone who would like to contribute to the research and development, strategic planning and governance of CALI, then consider nominating them for the CALI Board of Directors. Self-nominations also are welcome. ...

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October 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 55 Law School Buildings

Prelaw Magazine, Best Law School Facilities:

MemphisPreLaw magazine did an exhaustive review of the nation's 200-plus law schools to identify the very best facilities. We started by looking at numerous sources, including our own staff visits and The Princeton Review's 2014 edition of The Best 169 Law Schools to narrow the pool down to the top 60 based primarily on student satisfaction. ...

[A]esthetics and student feedback accounted for 35% of our score, library hours and seating for 27.5%, amenities [dining, fitness center, lockers, study carrels] for 20%, and square footage per student for 17.5%. ... In the end, even though we had initially set out to identify the 50 best buildings, we felt compelled to honor 55.

  1. Memphis
  2. Marquette
  3. Duke
  4. Baylor
  5. Colorado
  6. Richmond
  7. Villanova
  8. Yale
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Penn State-Dickinson
  11. Washington University
  12. Stetson
  13. Southwestern
  14. Nebraska
  15. Connecticut
  16. Penn State
  17. Fordham
  18. Stanford
  19. Quinnipiac
  20. Catholic
  21. William Mitchell
  22. UNLV
  23. Arizona
  24. Chapman
  25. Cornell

October 16, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Symposium: Expanding the Boundaries of Legal Education

On TaskSymposium, On Task? Expanding the Boundaries of Legal Education, 65 S.C. L. Rev. 519-638 (2014) (Video):

October 16, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do Too Many Faculty Stars Hurt Law School Performance?

SAScientific American, The Surprising Problem of Too Much Talent:

Whether you're the owner of the Dallas Cowboys or captain of the playground dodge ball team, the goal in picking players is the same: Get the top talent. Hearts have been broken, allegiances tested, and budgets busted as teams contend for the best athletes. The motivation for recruiting peak performers is obvious — exceptional players are the key to team success — and this belief is shared not only by coaches and sports fans, but also by corporations, investors, and even whole industries. Everyone wants a team of stars.

While there is no denying that exceptional players like Emmitt Smith can put points on the board and enhance team success,new research by Roderick Swaab and colleagues suggests there is a limit to the benefit top talents bring to a team. Swaab and colleagues compared the amount of individual talent on teams with the teams’ success, and they find striking examples of more talent hurting the team [The Too-Much-Talent Effect: Team Interdependence Determines When More Talent Is Too Much or Not Enough].

The researchers looked at three sports: basketball, soccer, and baseball. In each sport, they calculated both the percentage of top talent on each team and the teams’ success over several years. ... For both basketball and soccer, they found that top talent did in fact predict team success, but only up to a point. Furthermore, there was not simply a point of diminishing returns with respect to top talent, there was in fact a cost. Basketball and soccer teams with the greatest proportion of elite athletes performed worse than those with more moderate proportions of top level players.

Basketball
Table 4 (NBA)

Soccer
Table 3

Why is too much talent a bad thing? Think teamwork. In many endeavors, success requires collaborative, cooperative work towards a goal that is beyond the capability of any one individual. Even Emmitt Smith needed effective blocking from the Cowboy offensive line to gain yardage. When a team roster is flooded with individual talent, pursuit of personal star status may prevent the attainment of team goals. The basketball player chasing a point record, for example, may cost the team by taking risky shots instead of passing to a teammate who is open and ready to score.

Two related findings by Swaab and colleagues indicate that there is in fact tradeoff between top talent and teamwork. First, Swaab and colleagues found that the percentage of top talent on a team affects intrateam coordination. ... The second revealing finding is that extreme levels of top talent did not have the same negative effect in baseball, which experts have argued involves much less interdependent play. In the baseball study, increasing numbers of stars on a team never hindered overall performance.

Baseball
Table 5 (MLB)

Together these findings suggest that high levels of top talent will be harmful in arenas that require coordinated, strategic efforts, as the quest for the spotlight may trump the teamwork needed to get the job done. ...

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October 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

'Prospective Law Students Are Staying Away From Louisville — And Other Law Schools — In Droves'

Louisville Courier-Journal, Law School Applications Plummet -- At U of L Too:

LouisvilleProspective law students are staying away from the University of Louisville law school — and other law schools — in droves.

Mirroring a national trend, applications to Brandeis plummeted 59 percent over the past three years, to 618 from 1,495, while enrollment of first-year students dipped nearly 30 percent, to 94 from 132. Nationally, enrollment in law schools has declined 24 percent since 2010 as college graduates realize that law is no longer an automatic ticket to the good life. ... 

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October 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Muller: Bar Exam Scores Dip to Their Lowest Level in 10 Years

Harvard Law School Seeks to Hire Bankruptcy Roundtable Research Director and Program Fellow

Harvard Law School LogoThe Harvard Law School Bankruptcy Roundtable seeks to hire a Research Director and Program Fellow:

The Harvard Law School Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Project is seeking applicants for the position with the title “Research Director and Bankruptcy Program Fellow.”  Specific responsibilities include academic and policy-based research for the project, supervising the HLS Bankruptcy Roundtable and its student fellows, and assisting in teaching bankruptcy-based courses.

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October 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Symposium on the Work of Larry Ribstein: Unlocking the Law

Ribstein 2Symposium, Unlocking the Law: Building on the Work of Professor Larry E. Ribstein, 38 Int'l Rev. L. & Econ. 1-173 (2014):

October 14, 2014 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Boston College Seeks to Hire a Tax Clinician

BC LogoBoston College Law School seeks to hire a full-time tax clinician:

Boston College Law School seeks a full-time faculty member interested in establishing and teaching in a transactional clinic that emphasizes entrepreneurship, technology, and the innovation economy.

JOB DESCRIPTION: The successful applicant will be expected to expand the offerings of one of our existing clinics or develop a new program, which may include hybrid arrangements with outside institutions such as incubators, corporations or law firms, and may include simulation as a method of instruction. The focus of teaching should be business formation, business transactions, taxation, or intellectual property. The successful applicant will play a major role in determining the clinic's specific emphasis and operation.

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October 14, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Henderson: Is the Legal Profession Showing Its Age?

The Legal Whiteboard:  Is the Legal Profession Showing Its Age?, by William D. Henderson (Indiana):

The figure below suggests that a growing number of students are attending law school but not going on to become lawyers.  This conclusion requires some explanation, which I will supply below.  Alternative explanations are also welcome, as I’d like to find a plausible narrative that foreshadows a brighter future for the licensed bar. [PDF version of this essay]

Slide14

I have shown this chart to various law firms, legal departments, law faculty and bar association audiences.  Through this process, I have developed two working theories that are not mutually exclusive:

  1. Increased exits from law practice based on gender integration
  2. Slowing absorption of law graduates into the licensed bar

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October 14, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Should Law Schools Consolidate Multiple Sections of a Course to Save Money, Free Up Faculty Time?

Inside Higher Ed, A New Metric:

It’s hard to raise much excitement over a chart, but a recent one that breaks down how colleges can reduce the number of sections they teach and reduce faculty time while educating the same number of students might be getting there. But not all the excitement is positive. 

The chart is part of a summary of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded studies by the Education Advisory Board, a business that produces research for colleges. The board looked at seven colleges, mostly regional public universities whose names have not been revealed, and tried to figure out what it costs to teach students. Analysts combed through 250 million rows of data to draw up reports that spelled out the costs of each student credit hour in each section in each department of each college. ...

On a simple chart, the results are stunning: here’s how many classes are empty compared to the current maximum class size -- so, if you combined enough relatively empty classes, you could teach the same number of students without increasing caps on class size. The data also allow administrators to easily see how much it costs to teach the average credit hour in each department, a comparison that has been done elsewhere but that faculty say can be dangerous.

Chart

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October 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Why Do Lawyers Blog?

Legal Productivity, Why Do You Blog? 23 Lawyers Weigh In:

Blogging means different things to different people but I’m less interested in narrowly defining blogging, than examining why lawyers blog. So I went to the source and asked: “Why do you blog?” Twenty-three lawyers responded, some of whom have been at it for a very long time.

Several have their own practice or are part of a larger firm. Many still maintain their blog, while some write for other blogs. Topics range from their area of legal expertise to other interests like technology and practice management. But these blogging lawyers all have one thing in common: they write with passion and purpose. Business development doesn’t drive their writing. These lawyers blog because they love to write and share their knowledge, experience, and passions.

October 13, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Henderson: Does Coop Placement Accelerate Law Student Professional Development?

The Legal Whiteboard:  Does Cooperative Placement Accelerate Law Student Professional Development?, by William D. Henderson (Indiana):

NortheasternThe title of an earlier essay posed a threshold question for legal ed reform: "If We Make Legal Education More Experiential, Would it Really Matter?" (Legal Whiteboard, Feb 2014) (PDF). I answered "yes" but admitted it was only my best guess.  Thus, to be more rigorous, I outlined the conditions necessary to prove the concept.

The essay below is a companion to the first essay.  It is a case study on how one type and brand of experiential education -- cooperative placements at Northeastern Law -- appears to accelerate the professional development of its law students. The outcome criteria are comprised of the three apprenticeships of Educating Lawyers (2007) (aka The Carnegie Report) -- cognitive skills, practice skills, and professional identity.

The better outcomes flow from Northeastern's immersive, iterative, and integrative approach. First, students are immersed in full-time coops that last a standard 11 weeks. Second, students move through four iterations of coops interspersed with four quarters of upper-level classes. Third, this experiential approach is integrated into the Law School's value system -- i.e., the experiential component is perceived as central rather than marginal to the School's educational mission.

Northeastern's coop model asks more of faculty and students, thus it may be hard to replicate. Yet, there is evidence that such an approach does in fact accelerate professional development in ways that ought to please law school critics and reformers. The benefits may be well worth the costs. ...

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October 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 12, 2014

More on Canaries in the Law School Coal Mine

Following up on my previous post, Former AALS President: Thomas Jefferson Is 'The Canary in the Coal Mine of Legal Education,' Expects Six Law Schools to Close:  George Leef, The Canary in the Law School Coal Mine?:

CanaryCoal miners used to bring a canary down into the mine to warn them when the air was becoming too dangerous. If the canary went limp, it was time to get out.

For the last several years, conditions for American law schools have been getting progressively more dangerous, as students respond to the realities of the market: the legal profession is over-saturated with people holding Juris Doctor credentials. Law schools have been graduating far more students than there are legal jobs, and the number of jobs is apt to shrink further as technology sinks its teeth into legal work.

In his recent City Journal article Machines v. Lawyers, Northwestern Law School professor John O. McGinnis explained why the demand for lawyers will keep shrinking. “Law is, in effect, an information technology – a code that regulates social life. And as the machinery of information technology grows exponentially in power, the legal profession faces a great disruption not unlike that already experienced by journalism, which has seen employment drop by about a third….”

Throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, law was a growth industry and a great many people (especially students who had taken “soft” majors in college) figured that earning a JD was an attractive option. Naturally, law schools expanded to accommodate the throngs of degree seekers, who were aided by federal student loan programs. Going to law school both delayed the need to start repaying undergraduate loans and appeared to be the pathway into a bright and lucrative career.

That’s not true anymore. ...

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October 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

U.S. News to Issue Global University Rankings

U.S. News Logo (2014)Inside Higher Ed, 'U.S. News' to Issue New Global University Rankings:

U.S. News and World Report has announced that it will release its first global ranking of universities on Oct. 28. U.S. News plans to publish a global ranking of the top 500 universities across 49 countries, as well as four regional, 11 country-level, and 21 subject area-specific rankings. 

The Best Global Universities ranking will be based on reputational data, bibliometric indicators of academic research performance, and data on faculty and Ph.D. graduates. Robert Morse, U.S. News’s chief data strategist, said that there will be no cross-over of data between the publication's longstanding ranking of American colleges and the new global ranking, which will rely on data from Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters also provides data for the global university ranking compiled by Times Higher Education (THE). 

“What we’re doing is completely, 100 percent independent from THE,” Morse said. “It’s our methodology, our choice of variables, our choice of weights, our choice of how the calculations are done, our choice of how the data’s going to be presented.”

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October 12, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Camille Nelson to Step Down as Suffolk Law School Dean

Boston Business Journal, Suffolk Law School Dean to Leave at Year's End:

SuffolkThe dean of Suffolk University Law School, Camille Nelson, will step down at the end of the current academic year, Suffolk University said in a press release.

Nelson joined the law school in September 2010 as the first woman and the first person of color to lead the law school. Suffolk University will conduct a national search to replace her.

In an email sent to the Suffolk University community on Thursday announcing her decision, Nelson offered no explanation, though Suffolk said in its press release that she is leaving to pursue other opportunities. ...

Nelson's announcement comes on the heels of the university's news in August that James McCarthy, the former president, had abruptly stepped down and being replaced by Norman Smith, who now serves as Suffolk University's interim president. The university little explanation for McCarthy's departure, except that he would be pursuing business and consulting opportunities.

Earlier this summer, Suffolk Law School announced that it had closed its Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service and returned the $5 million endowment it had received from the Jerry and Phyllis Rappaport and the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation to launch the center in 2006. The university's decision, which also included ending an endowed chair at the law school, came as a surprise to the Rappaport family.

Suffolk's 2010-2013 admissions and placement data.  Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

October 11, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Elon Law School Shortens J.D. to 2.5 Years, Cuts Total Tuition by $14k (to $100k)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

October 10, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

SALT Teaching and Junior Faculty Development Conference

SALTUNLV is hosting the 2014 SALT Teaching Conference Program on Legal Education in a Time of Change: Challenges & Opportunities and 12th Annual LatCrit-SALT Junior Faculty Development Workshop.

Teaching Tax/Business Law Courses Through a Social Justice Lens:
As Congress continues to use the federal tax systems (e.g., income, FICA, Medicare) for delivering social benefits and redistributing wealth these concepts are critical to understanding tax theory and practice generally. Moreover as our tax systems become more opaque, the public and political discourse regarding how these systems work or don’t work has become disconnected from the facts. As tax policy and administration have become increasingly politicized, presenting these issues to our law students has become even more critical and challenging. This group of tax faculty will discuss these issues generally and specifically will discuss techniques and strategies for incorporating consideration of race, gender, sexual orientation, poverty, and politicization of tax matters into the basic tax law course.

  • Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh)
  • Francine Lipman (UNLV)
  • Leo Martinez (UC-Hastings)

October 10, 2014 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do Professors Have a Right to Be Told Why They Have Been Denied Tenure?

Inside Higher Ed, Right to Know Why Not:

Kessler 2Some 28 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, $1.4 million in research funding and strong evaluations along the way – but still no tenure. The only thing more disturbing to Dylan Kesler, an assistant professor of wildlife sciences at the University of Missouri at Columbia, than his failed bid this summer is that he still hasn’t been told why. Kesler thinks he’s being retaliated against for blowing the whistle on alleged misuses of federal research funds in his department. But he says can’t confirm that or appeal the university’s decision without a formal reason for his denial.

While admittedly more complicated than most tenure disputes, Kesler’s case raises a basic question: Does a professor have a right to know why he or she didn’t earn tenure?

The American Association of University Professors says yes. Its Statement on Procedural Standards in the Renewal or Nonrenewal of Faculty Appointments recommends that “in the event of a decision not to renew an appointment, the faculty member should be informed of the decision in writing, and, upon request, be advised of the reasons which contributed to that decision.” The statement also says that the faculty member should be able to request reconsideration of the unsatisfactory decision.

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October 10, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

WSJ: In-State Students Are Increasingly Left Out as Colleges Welcome More Higher-Paying Out-of-State Students

Wall Street Journal, Colleges’ Wider Search for Applicants Crowds Out Local Students; State Schools Look to Higher-Paying Out-of-State Students to Fill Budget Holes:

Last spring, Nicholas Anthony graduated as co-valedictorian of Malibu High School with a résumé that included straight A’s, top marks on nine advanced placement exams, varsity quarterback and baritone horn in the wind ensemble.

But Mr. Anthony didn’t get into the top two public schools in his home state: the University of California, Berkeley or the University of California, Los Angeles. Instead, he is going to Brown University, an Ivy League school which will cost over $100,000 more during four years.

Mr. Anthony’s experience is an example of an aftershock still reverberating across higher education in the wake of the recession: Qualified residents are getting crowded out of their state universities by students paying higher tuition from out-of-state and foreign countries.

“If I had been born five years earlier, I would have gotten in,” said Mr. Anthony.

State funding for public universities fell by 23% in real dollars between 2008 and 2013, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.

To backfill the billions that evaporated from their budgets, public schools around the nation raised tuition and fees. When public outcry forced them to moderate those increases, scores of universities turned to out-of-state students who pay two to three times as much in tuition as their in-state counterparts.

But that out-of-state windfall is coming at a cost that is now being paid by people like Mr. Anthony: fewer seats for in-state students, even the most highly qualified.

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October 9, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (18)

Kirk Stark Named Barrall Family Professor of Tax Law and Policy at UCLA

Kirk J. Stark (UCLA) has been named Barrall Family Professor of Tax Law and Policy at UCLA:

Stark (2014)James D. C. Barrall ’75 and Carole Barrall (UCLA ’75) established the UCLA School of Law Barrall Family Endowed Chair in Tax Law and Policy in honor of Jim's parents, Raymond C. and Shirley C. Barrall. James Barrall is a partner in the Los Angeles office of the international law firm Latham & Watkins and serves as the global co-chair of the firm's Benefits and Compensation Practice. The chair recognizes the achievements of a distinguished faculty member whose scholarship and teaching contribute to excellence in the field of tax law and and policy at UCLA School of Law. Professor Kirk J. Stark, whose research focuses on taxation and public finance, with a particular emphasis on state and local tax policy and U.S. fiscal federalism, is the first Barrall Family Endowed Chair in Tax Law and Policy.

 

October 9, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Princeton Review's Best 169 Law Schools (2015 Edition)

Princeton 2015The Princeton Review has published the 2015 edition of The Best 169 Law Schools (FAQ) (User's Guide):

The Princeton Review surveyed over 19,500 students to create our book's school profiles and its 11 unique ranking lists.

Best Professors:  Based on student answers to survey questions concerning how good their professors are as teachers and how accessible they are outside the classroom.

  1. Duke
  2. Boston University
  3. Virginia
  4. Washington & Lee
  5. Chicago
  6. Pepperdine
  7. Stanford
  8. St. Thomas (Minnesota)
  9. Samford
  10. Regent

Huffington Post, Law Schools With the Best Professors

Best Quality of Life:  Based on student assessment of:  whether there is a strong sense of community at the school, how aesthetically pleasing the law school is, the location of the law school, the quality of the social life, classroom facilities, and the library staff.

  1. Virginia
  2. Duke
  3. Chapman
  4. St. Thomas (Minnesota)
  5. Northwestern

Best Classroom Experience:  Based on student answers to survey questions concerning their professors' teaching abilities, the balance of theory and practical skills in the curricula, the level of tolerance for differing opinions in class discussion, and their assessments of classroom facilities.

  1. Stanford
  2. Duke
  3. Virginia
  4. Chicago
  5. Northwestern

Best Career Prospects:  Based on school reported data and student surveys. School data include: the average starting salaries of graduating students, the percent of students immediately employed upon graduation and the percent of these students who pass the bar exam the first time they take it. Student answers to survey questions on: how much the law program encourages practical experience; the opportunities for externships, internships and clerkships, and how prepared the students feel they will be to practice the law after graduating.

  1. Northwestern
  2. UC-Berkeley
  3. Chicago
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. NYU

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October 9, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Will Social Justice Save Law Schools?

Following up on Tuesday's post on Edward Rubin (Vanderbilt), The Future and Legal Education: Are Law Schools Failing and, If So, How?, 39 Law & Soc. Inquiry 499 (2014):  Orin Kerr (George Washington) noted in the comments:

Social JusticeIf I understand Rubin correctly, he believes that two future trends will profoundly reshape U.S. legal education: (1) The future will be technologically different from today, and lawyers will be needed create the new legal arrangements for that different future based on an understanding of new technologies, and (2) Our future society will realize that social justice demands that everyone get free lawyers paid for by the state for their legal problems, which will create a dramatically expanded need for lawyers. As for (1), it's not clear to me why law school training would need to change in any substantial way for that. As for (2), the evidence supporting that prediction seems very thin. Or so it seems to me; I'm curious if others who have read the article have a different reaction.

Here is an extended excerpt of Ed's argument on "The Social Justice Agenda and Legal Education" (citations and footnotes omitted):

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October 9, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2014 World Law School Rankings

QSHere are the U.S. law schools in the 2014 World Law School Rankings (based on academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per paper, and h-index per faculty member), along with each school's position in the latest SSRN World Law School Faculty Rankings):

1.   Harvard (#1 in SSRN)
4.   Yale (#7)
5.   NYU (#6)
6.   Stanford (#5)
9.   Chicago (#3)
10. UC-Berkeley (#12)
11.  Columbia (#4)
17.  Georgetown (#8)
24.  Pennsylvania (#9)
30.  Cornell (#30)
31.  Michigan (#19)
35.  UCLA (#13)
39.  Virginia (#20)
42.  Duke (#16)
45.  Northwestern (#10)
51-100.  American (#41)
51-100.  Boston University (#29)
51-100.  Notre Dame (#48)
51-100.  Texas (#28)
51-100.  Wisconsin (#97)
101-150.  Arizona State (#60)
101-150.  Fordham (#22)
101-150.  George Washington (#2)
101-150.  Minnesota (#21)
101-150.  North Carolina (#45)
101-150.  UC-Davis (#40)
101-150.  USC (#23)
101-150.  University of Washington (#82)
151-200.  Florida (#54)
151-200.  Illinois (#17)
151-200.  Indiana (#47)
151-200.  Ohio State (#69)
151-200.  Penn State (#61)
151-200.  Pittsburgh (#95)
151-200.  Temple (#32)
151-200.  UC-Irvine (#31)
151-200.  William & Mary (#84)
151-200.  Washington University (#33)

October 8, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mnookin: A Dissent From the Practice-Ready Movement

Jennifer L. Mnookin (UCLA), Reflections on Law Teaching, 62 UCLA L. Rev. Disc. 126 (2014):

PracticeThere is one goal that is being bandied about now with some frequency that I think we, as teachers, should resist.  That’s the idea that one of our chief functions is to make our students, as we often hear it put, “practice ready on day one.”

I confess I don’t entirely know what it means for students to leave law school “practice ready on day one.”  Our students will be practicing in so many different ways, and in so many distinct areas, that what they need, in terms of grounded, concrete, practical knowledge, cannot possibly be reduced to a checklist.  There surely are not one-size-fits-all solutions, notwithstanding some of the unfortunate proposals gaining traction these days, like the potential—and in my view distressingly excessive—fifteen credits of experiential education requirement put forward by the California Bar.7   Perhaps every law student should indeed have some exposure to experiential or skills-based training while in law school, but to say that every lawyer is better off with a full  semester of such training fails to ask the “compared-to-what?” question.  

For some students fifteen credits of skills training may be a quite appropriate and valuable use of their time.  But, for others, it may mean many missed opportunities to pursue other options that would have been more personally and professionally valuable.  It should be the students, the law schools, and the marketplace that decide whether, for example, an externship is or is not more valuable for the future transactional lawyer than a variety of upper-level courses in corporate finance and other subjects that may have significant practical payoff without being explicitly defined as experiential; or whether the future would-be appellate litigator is better served by a skills class followed by a live-client clinic or, instead, selections from the many upper level doctrinal offerings.

There are, to be sure, major challenges facing law schools right now, but this  should, in my view, be a moment for curricular deregulation, not intensified gatekeeping by the bar of what law schools do.  I say this not because I believe that law schools should continue in their teaching as if it is business as usual, but rather as a corollary to what I said before: We should be encouraging experimentation and innovation, not stymying it, nor limiting it by channeling it in only in one predetermined direction.

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October 8, 2014 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Hidden Sources of Law School Stress: Avoiding the Mistakes That Create Unhappy and Unprofessional Lawyers

HiddenLawrence Krieger (Florida State), The Hidden Sources of Law School Stress: Avoiding the Mistakes That Create Unhappy and Unprofessional Lawyers (Kindle 2014):

This brief book has been purchased for students by more than half the law schools in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It tells you why law school can be so stressful (p.s. -- it's not what you think!), and why it doesn’t have to be that way. The content combines the experience of generations of law students and lawyers, many law teachers, and 40 years of scientific research on what determines whether you will be happy, anxious, or depressed.

The author is a recognized expert in attorney and law student well-being. He recently completed the largest in-depth study of lawyer mental health to date, involving several thousand lawyers in four states.

October 7, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rubin: Are Law Schools Failing?

FailingEdward Rubin (Vanderbilt), The Future and Legal Education: Are Law Schools Failing and, If So, How?, 39 Law & Soc. Inquiry 499 (2014):

In Failing Law Schools (2010), Brian Tamanaha recommends that law schools respond to the current economic crisis in the legal profession by reducing support for faculty research and developing two-year degree programs. But these ideas respond only to a short-term problem that will probably be solved by the closure of marginal institutions. The real challenge lies in the powerful long-term trends that animate social change, particularly the shift to a knowledge-based economy and the demand for social justice through expanded public services. These trends demand that law schools transform their educational programs to reflect the regulatory, transactional, and interdisciplinary nature of modern legal practice.

October 7, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Adam Chodorow: Teaching Tax Policy with Senator Kyl

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Teaching Tax Policy with Senator Kyl, by Adam Chodorow (Arizona State):

Chodorow KylePerhaps I’m a little biased, but after Basic Income Tax, I think Tax Policy is the best course in the law school curriculum. The course can be taught in a variety of ways, ranging from a traditional seminar, where students read and discuss academic articles and write a seminar paper or a series of reaction papers, or as a colloquium, where tax scholars present their works in progress to students, who are asked to engage with the works and provide feedback to the presenters. For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to teach tax policy with Senator Jon Kyl, who served on the Finance Committee for many years before he retired in 2012. Given his experience and interests, we decided to structure the class around current reform proposals and to combine the discussion of tax policy with some practical skills training. While I’m sure we’re not the first to hit upon this format, I offer up our experiences as food for thought for those looking to create or modify a tax policy course.

The basic idea is to alternate weeks between teaching and lobbying. In the first week, I assign readings on and teach the basic issues surrounding a particular reform under discussion, such as changes to the charitable deduction or switching from a global to territorial international tax regime. At the end of that class, I assign each student to an interest group and have them prepare a 3 page position paper. In week 2, Senator Kyl attends, pretending to be a senator on the finance committee (a real stretch on his part). We start each class with a discussion of the politics surrounding the proposals under discussion or some other aspect of the tax writing process, such as the scoring rules, after which the students lobby the senator. The class finishes with a broad discussion about the policy under consideration. At the end of the semester, the students must write a 5 page reflection piece on how their thoughts on tax policy had changed, or not, as a result of the semester’s journey.

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October 7, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Retired CUNY Professor Gets $560k/Year Pension: 'Darn Right I Deserve It'

New York Post, Retired CUNY Professor Gets $560K a Year Pension:

He’s New York’s pension king.

Retired Queens College history professor Edgar J. McManus, 90, gets a city pension of $561,286 a year, newly released figures show. His payout is the highest by far in both the city and state teachers retirement systems, according to data obtained by the Empire Center for Public Policy, an Albany-based think tank. ...

The city’s second-biggest pension, $308,358, goes to Alvin Marty, a Baruch College economics professor who retired after 55 years in 2008. Fifteen other retirees collect more than $200,000 a year — including city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, who gets $208,506. And 1,796 retired educators get more than $100,000 a year. ...

McManus, who has written groundbreaking books on slavery, retired in February 2012 after teaching history and constitutional law for more than 50 years. His final salary was $116,364. “They don’t pay you much when you’re working, but the pension is certainly good,” McManus told The Post. “Darn right I deserve it.”

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October 7, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hoffman: Law Schools Should Stop Apologizing and Playing Defense and Instead Go on Offense and Brag About How Well We Prepare Students for a Demanding Job

Dave Hoffman (Temple), “If You Don’t Like What’s Being Said, Change the Conversation.”:

SitzfleischLaw Schools ... now ask “who do we want to teach.” Some – like Penn State – increasingly make foreign LLMs a key constituency, rather than a tolerated budgetary crutch. Other schools compete in the increasing crowded online education/certification market for domestic lawyers, or paralegals.  And all over the country, law professors teach increasing numbers of undergrads. ...

There’s ... something faintly defensive and catastrophic about the enterprise. If law schools say: “we have to teach new skills to new people,” they in effect admit “the old skills are no longer particularly valuable.” But that position is profoundly stupid, not to mention self-defeating. It reinforces a prevailing narrative about law schools – they are broke, and need fixing. The reason that law schools are in trouble today is that every single person going to law school is being told by everyone who loves them not to go. That’s not entirely a reflection of the projected future employability of members of the bar in 2025 (when the robots take over). It’s also a current gestalt cultural judgment: legal education doesn’t deliver the value it ought to.  Whose at fault for that? In part, law schools, which, everywhere you look, remind you with new, practice-ready/real-world/constantly innovating slogans, that they are slightly ashamed of what they’ve always done.

But, as the great ad man put it, if you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. Law Schools (and synagogues) should spend less time justifying and perseverating on their decline, and more time trumpeting what they do well – much better than any alternative out there.  What’s that? As one of my colleagues keeps on hammering at me, we’re really good at three things. Maybe they are the only things we’re good at – everything else is just a loss-leader, including legal scholarship.

  1. Teaching students how to read cases with the requisite degree of care.
  2. We prepare students for a very hard, demanding, job which rewards sitzfleisch more than any other personality trait.
  3. We teach judgment in the only way it can be taught: by watching error.

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October 6, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Kyle Graham Announces He Does Not Want Tenure at Santa Clara Law School: 'I Don't Want To Be That Guy'

Kyle F. Graham has announced that he will not seek tenure from Santa Clara Law School:

So, I decided a while back that I didn’t want to apply for tenure, and advised the administration and (more recently) the faculty at Santa Clara Law of my decision. I reached this conclusion after conducting an inventory of my strengths and weaknesses. Pursuant to this census, I determined that, assuming I remain in academia, I’d probably be a better teacher and scholar without the cushion that tenure provides.

I was worried that my colleagues on the Santa Clara faculty would — to use a scientific term — freak out at my decision. So far, that hasn’t been the case. To the extent I have spoken with other faculty members on the topic, they generally have responded with characteristic equanimity. I suspect that most of them pegged me as an odd duck long  ago (in hindsight, my commissioning of Scalia and Ginsburg puppets probably represented the tipping point), and believe that, by a milligram, my positives outweigh my quirks. ...

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October 6, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup