TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, April 30, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

University Of Minnesota Study:  Enhanced Individualized Feedback In One Core 1L Class Improves Student Performance In All Of Their Other Classes

Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota) & Dion Farganis (Minnesota), The Impact of Individualized Feedback on Law Student Performance:

For well over a century, first-year law students have typically not received any individualized feedback in their core "doctrinal" classes other than their final exam grades. Although this pedagogical model has long been assailed by critics, remarkably limited empirical evidence exists regarding the extent to which enhanced feedback improves law students' outcomes. This Article helps fill this gap by focusing on a natural experiment at the University of Minnesota Law School.

The natural experiment arises from the random assignment of first-year law students to sections that take a common slate of classes, only some of which provide individualized feedback. Meanwhile, students in two different sections are occasionally grouped together into a "double section" first-year class. In these double section classes, students in sections that have previously or concurrently had a class providing individualized feedback consistently outperform students in sections that have not received any such feedback. The effect is both statistically significant and hardly trivial in magnitude, approaching about 1/3 of a grade increment even after controlling for students’ LSAT scores, undergraduate GPA, gender, race, and country of birth. The positive impact of feedback also appears to be stronger among lower-performing students.

These findings substantially advance the literature on law school pedagogy, demonstrating that individualized feedback in a single class during the first-year of law school can improve law students' performance in all of their other classes. Against the background of the broader literature on the importance of formative feedback in effective teaching, these findings also have a clear normative implication: law schools should systematically provide first-year law students with individualized feedback in at least one “core” doctrinal first-year class.

Note that the authors (at p.12) "defined individualized feedback to include assigning grades to individual students’ work products, providing individualized written comments to students, or providing individualized or small-group oral feedback to students. By contrast, we did not consider individualized feedback to include instances in which instructors provided students with only a model answer, grading rubric, or generalized oral comments regarding common mistakes."

Larry Solum (Georgetown):

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April 30, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dr. Jayne Caron: My Baby Girl Is Going To Be A Doctor!


My beloved, brilliant, and beautiful daughter Jayne has decided to go to NYU Medical School in the fall.  We are so, so proud of Jayne, albeit a bit sad that she will not be going to med school closer to us in California (I blame Lin-Manuel Miranda.)  I am going to cherish these next few days in Madison helping her move out of her apartment after two years working at Epic Systems before she departs on a 2-month backpacking adventure in Europe on Wednesday.  For more on my journey with my amazing daughter, see:

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April 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tulane Is Seeking To Hire A Tax Visitor

Tulane (2015)Tulane Law School is seeking to hire a visiting tax professor for either Fall 2016 or the entire 2016-17 Academic Year:

Visitors would be expected to teach basic Income Tax and other tax related courses. Applicants at any career stage are encouraged. To apply, please submit a CV along with a statement of interest and any supporting documentation. Applications and questions may be directed to Vice Dean Ronald J. Scalise Jr.

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April 29, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through April 1, 2016) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich)



Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)


Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



James Hines (Michigan)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


David Weisbach (Chicago)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Chris Hoyt (UMKC)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Brad Borden (Brooklyn)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Steven Bank (UCLA)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Richard Kaplan (Illinois)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)



David Walker (BU)


Yariv Brauner (Florida)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Chris Sanchirico (Penn)



Steven Bank (UCLA)


William Byrnes  (Texas A&M)



Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)


Francine Lipman (UNLV)


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

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April 29, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Prof's Email To 1Ls Who Skipped Class:  Con Law Is Way More Important Than Legal Writing Paper; 'Get Your Asses In Gear'

Con Law DummiesAbove the Law, Con Law Professor Has Meltdown In Email Blast To Students:

Look, being a law professor is rough. Especially if one finds himself teaching a gaggle of Younglings who don’t quite yet “Think Like A Lawyer". ... [W]e understand why Professor Steven Winter lost it on his students at Wayne State Law. We may not wholly agree, but it’s easy to see where he’s coming from.

There were way too many people — about 30% of the class — absent today. This is unacceptable.

A handful had valid excuses (although pinkeye isn't really one of them). For the rest of you, missing class because you have a legal writing paper is neither a valid excuse nor an exercise of good judgment.

It is not just that Con Law is way more important (to your education, not to mention your GPA) than legal writing. As I told those who were there the single best predictor of bar passage is your grade in Con Law. And standing usually is one third of the exam. So all of you who were out today are already significantly behind the eight ball.

So get your asses in gear.

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April 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:  Florida, Texas

Following up on my previous posts on Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:

Derek Muller (Pepperdine) blogs legal employment outcomes among Florida's 11 law schools and Texas's 9 law schools:

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April 28, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

George Mason Faculty Senate Votes 21-13 To Oppose Naming Law School For Justice Scalia

Scalia 2George Mason's Faculty Senate voted 21-13 yesterday to condemn naming the law school in Justice Scalia's honor.

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April 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The U.S. News Law School Rankings:  Engines Of Anxiety

EnginesWendy Nelson Espeland (Northwestern) & Michael Sauder (Iowa), Engines of Anxiety: Academic Rankings, Reputation, and Accountability (Russell Sage Foundation 2016):

Students and the public routinely consult various published college rankings to assess the quality of colleges and universities and easily compare different schools. However, many institutions have responded to the rankings in ways that benefit neither the schools nor their students. In Engines of Anxiety, sociologists Wendy Espeland and Michael Sauder delve deep into the mechanisms of law school rankings, which have become a top priority within legal education. Based on a wealth of observational data and over 200 in-depth interviews with law students, university deans, and other administrators, they show how the scramble for high rankings has affected the missions and practices of many law schools.

Engines of Anxiety tracks how rankings, such as those published annually by the U.S. News & World Report, permeate every aspect of legal education, beginning with the admissions process. The authors find that prospective law students not only rely heavily on such rankings to evaluate school quality, but also internalize rankings as expressions of their own abilities and flaws. For example, they often view rejections from “first-tier” schools as a sign of personal failure. The rankings also affect the decisions of admissions officers, who try to balance admitting diverse classes with preserving the school’s ranking, which is dependent on factors such as the median LSAT score of the entering class. Espeland and Sauder find that law schools face pressure to admit applicants with high test scores over lower-scoring candidates who possess other favorable credentials.

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April 28, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Law School LL.M.s:  'Encouraging International Cultural Diversity Or Cynical Method Of Revenue Generation'?

LLM 2Steven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern; author, The Lawyer Bubble), Warm Bodies:

Colleges have entered a game that law schools have been playing for years. According to a recent New York Times front page headline, “Colleges Seek Warm Bodies From Overseas.” The title of the online version was equally pointed: “Recruiting Students Overseas to Fill Seats, Not to Meet Standards."

For years, law schools have been dropping standards to fill classrooms. Marginal schools have been the worst offenders, and the profession is now paying the price in declining bar passage rates. But even among top schools, a more subtle and profitable technique has pervaded law school business plans for years: expanding LLM programs.

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April 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Organ:  Fall 2016 Law School Enrollment Projections

Jerry Organ (St. Thomas), Projections for Law School Enrollment for Fall 2016:

In this blog posting I am doing two things. First, I provide a detailed analysis to estimate the likely total applicant pool we can expect at the end of the current cycle based on trends from March through the end of the cycle in 2013 and 2014 and 2015. Second, given the increase in the strength of the applicant pool, I suggest that law schools in the top 60 or 70 of USNEWS ranking will see more enrollment growth and profile stability in comparison with law schools further down the rankings continuum. ...

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April 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Video Of Tom Bost's Last Class At Pepperdine

Following up on yesterday's post, Tom Bost's Last Class At Pepperdine:

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April 27, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Foundation Press Publishes Election Law Stories (36th Book in the Law Stories Series)

Election LawFoundation Press has published Election Law Stories (2016), by Joshua A. Douglas (Kentucky) & Eugene D. Mazo (Rutgers):

One of the most dynamic fields in the legal academy now has its own Stories book. This title offers a rich and detailed account of the most significant cases in election law, including the landmark decisions of Reynolds v. Sims, Bush v. Gore, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and Shelby County v. Holder. The book relies on a unique encapsulated approach to storytelling, as each of its authors surveys an important doctrinal area in the field through the telling of his or her story. The volume’s thirteen cases concern the right to vote, redistricting and gerrymandering, campaign finance, and election administration. The book is suited for courses in the law of democracy at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

The table of contents is here.  Other titles in the Law Stories Series (for which I serve as Series Editor) are:

April 27, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pew:  54% Of Adults With Post-Graduate Education Are Liberal, 24% Are Conservative

Pew Research Center, A Wider Ideological Gap Between More and Less Educated Adults:

Two years ago, Pew Research Center found that Republicans and Democrats were more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the previous two decades. But growing ideological distance is not confined to partisanship. There are also growing ideological divisions along educational and generational lines.

Highly educated adults – particularly those who have attended graduate school – are far more likely than those with less education to take predominantly liberal positions across a range of political values. And these differences have increased over the past two decades.

Pew 3

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April 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tom Bost's Last Class At Pepperdine

Today was a day of transitions at Pepperdine, as legendary Tax Prof Tom Bost retired after 16 years on the faculty, following an illustrious 31 year career as a tax associate and then partner at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles.  Tom served for many years as member and chair of Pepperdine's Board of Regent and was Interim Dean when Pepperdine hired me (the only black mark on his otherwise distinguished career).  Like everyone at Pepperdine, I have enormous respect and affection for Tom, and will miss his daily presence in our lives.

We shamelessly stole the idea from Michigan and organized a moving "clap-off" send-off for Tom's last class today, as the faculty and staff joined with Tom's students in sending him out of a Pepperdine classroom for the last time to thunderous applause (and not a few tears). Pepperdine will forever more be a profoundly different place because of this extraordinary man.

Tom 4

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April 26, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Dean Deanell Tacha To Retire On Dec. 31, 2016

Tacha (2015)Pepperdine President Andy Benton and Provost Rick Marrs today announced that our wonderful Dean Deanell Tacha is extending her five-year term to continue serving through our ABA Re-Accreditation visit in Fall 2016 and will retire on December 31, 2016:

Deanell Reece Tacha, who has served as dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law since 2011, will retire on December 31, 2016. Deanell will continue her tenure at the School of Law during the American Bar Association accreditation process through fall 2016.

The first female dean of the School of Law, Deanell came to Pepperdine prepared to confront the challenges facing legal education, including a crippling debt crisis and an often unreliable job market. In her five years at the school, Deanell tirelessly raised money for student scholarships to assist with rising tuition costs, traveled cross-country to advocate for post-graduation job placements for Pepperdine Law students, and built relationships with leading legal scholars and thought leaders to develop a more robust faculty. She also led the effort to fully remodel the school to dramatically improve the 40-year-old facility.

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April 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Michael Rich (Elon) On His Metastatic Kidney Cancer Diagnosis

ElonMichael Rich (Elon), Hard Prawf Choices:

A little less than three years ago, I was diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer, a disease that does not lend itself to optimistic prognoses. I have been fortunate to be able to continue prawfing since then, but it has changed the way I understand my job and interact with my students and the prawf community.

One of my first challenges was deciding how much of my situation to share with my students. I pride myself on treating my students as much like adults as possible. So, the first semester after my diagnosis, knowing that treatment would interfere with their class schedule, I shared with them the general diagnosis (cancer) and let them know that it would require flexibility on their part. I also reconfirmed my commitment to them to do my best and to be available when I could. That semester was challenging, but the students were incredibly generous and forgiving. Since then, however, I've tended to share less and less with my students. I don't tell them I have cancer. I simply explain cancellations by pointing vaguely to medical necessity. The change didn't came about because I trust these students any less than the others, but because the process of disclosure was hard and I don't want to add my problems to the preexisting stress of law school. Moreover, my current set of treatments are not as disruptive to class schedules as the first ones were. I wonder sometimes if this is right decision -- if I value setting boundaries between myself and my students too much -- but fortunately my students have continued to be flexible and generous.

Another challenge has been whether to disclose my disease broadly. ...

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April 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nearly One-Fourth Of Texas Law School Grads Are Unemployed Or Underemployed

Texas  (JPEG)Dallas Morning News, Nearly One-Fourth of Texas Law Grads Are Unemployed or Underemployed:

Just a decade ago, earning a law degree was the sure fire way to a guaranteed job and a six-figure income. Not so much anymore.

Despite paying as much as $200,000 for their legal education, nearly one-fourth of the 2,072 Texas law school graduates of 2015 are unemployed or underemployed, according to new data compiled by The Texas Lawbook.

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April 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:  Ohio

Following up on my previous posts on Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:

Derek Muller (Pepperdine) blogs legal employment outcomes among Ohio's 9 law schools:

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April 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law School Rankings:  Graduates Who Made Partner In AmLaw 100 In 2015

Go ToFollowing up on my previous post,   NLJ: Law School Rankings By Graduates In BigLaw Jobs:  National Law Journal, Chart: The Go-To Law Schools' Associates to Partner

The law schools that saw the most alumni promoted to partner in the nation's 100 largest law firms during 2015:

1 (2 in U.S. News) Harvard (34 new partners)
2 (14) Georgetown (32)
3 (8) Michigan (24)
3 (8) Virginia (24)
5 (6) NYU (18)
6 (7) Penn (17)
6 (25) George Washington (17)
8 (12) Northwestern (16)
8 (8) UC-Berkeley (16)
10 (30) Boston College (15)
10 (37) Fordham (15)
12 (4) Columbia (14)
12 (74) Villanova (14)
14 (15) Texas (12)
15 (2) Stanford (11)
15 (17) UCLA (11)
15 (16) Vanderbilt (11)
15 (92) Rutgers (11)
19 (20) Boston University (10)
19 (72) Loyola-Chicago (10)
19 (50) Temple (10)
19 (50) Houston (10)
23 (97) Brooklyn (9)
23 (11) Duke (9)
23 (50) UC-Hastings (9)
23 (4) Chicago (9)
23 (48) Florida (9)
23 (40) Illinois (9)
23 (1) Yale (9)
30 (57) Case (8)
30 (22) Notre Dame (8)

American Lawyer, Law Schools that Feed Big Law Partnerships:

First, what's not a surprise: Harvard, NYU and Georgetown being top generators of partners. This make sense, because they are highly ranked schools with big graduating classes (Harvard had 590 grads, NYU 485 and Georgetown 676). Virtually all the top eight schools for new partners are T-14 schools, with the exception of GW, which ranked 22nd place in last year's U.S. News & World Report. (GW, however, has a big class—461 grads in 2015.)

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April 25, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Did Student Activists Enlist FBI And Harvard Law School To Investigate Conservative Student Blog?

Harvard Law School (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  The College Fix, Claim: Harvard Law School Protesters Sought FBI Investigation of Their Conservative Critics:

According to those behind the blog Royall Asses — which was set up to expose “the misfits behind the ‘hate crime’ hoax at Harvard Law School” (the blog’s byline, pertaining to the notorious “black tape” incident) — some of the targets of their commentary “press[ed] for the FBI and Harvard administrators to use extralegal means to investigate” them. ...

Powerline’s John Hindraker says of the Royall Asses blog’s allegations, “If true, this is seriously troubling. The Royall Asses authors committed no offense, except to the dignity of far-left campus movements.”

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April 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Law Revue Videos: Northwestern Law Professors Read Mean Course Evaluations

Following up on last week's post on, the six finalists in Above the Law's Law Revue Video Contest:  Above the Law also has released five honorable mention student videos from George Washington, Northwestern, NYU, Syracuse, Virginia.  My favorite video riffing on Jimmy Kimmel's Celebrities Read Mean Tweets did not make the cut:  Northwestern Law Professors Read Mean Course Evaluations:

My favorite honorable mention video is Northwestern's riff on Jay Leno's Jaywalking "man on the street interviews," Law Firm Or Not A Law Firm:

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April 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Anderson:  Law Schools Should Deliver More 'Practical Education', Not 'Experiential Education'

Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), Clinical Legal Education Survey Results:

The law school world is currently enthralled with the idea of "experiential education." The push for experiential education comes from bar associations, accrediting agencies, and especially from lobbying groups of a certain segment of the law professoriat.

I am a big supporter of what I call "practical education" in law schools, which I consider to be education that will prepare law students to be effective early in their careers in their chosen areas of practice. My idea of "practical education" overlaps with, but is not the same as experiential education. A student can have an "experiential" bonanza in The Clinic for the Protection of Left-Handed Ferrets and emerge with no practical skills at all. Indeed, much of what passes for experiential education is not oriented toward imparting practical skills, because it focuses on narrow ideological areas of interest to faculty but not to students who need to get a real job when they graduate.

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April 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Accreditation Battle Over Canada's First Christian Law School

Trinity WesternFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Richard Moon (University of Windsor), The Accreditation of Trinity Western University's Law Program:

There is a debate at the moment about whether the law societies (which regulate the legal profession in the various provinces) must accredit a law program to be offered by Trinity Western University [TWU], a private Evangelical Christian college. The Law Society of Upper Canada [LSUC], along with the law societies of British Columbia and Nova Scotia, refused to the accredit the proposed program because of the school’s discriminatory admissions policy and in particular the covenant that all students are required to sign, in which they agree, among other things, not to engage in sex outside of marriage and sex with a same-sex partner. The issue in the TWU accreditation case is whether the covenant is simply an internal matter (a rule that applies simply to the internal operations of a voluntary religious association) or whether it impacts outsiders to the religious community or the public interest, more generally. As I understand it, the law societies are not claiming that the members of a religious community need to be protected from oppressive or discriminatory internal rules. There are two ways in which it may be argued that the TWU program (and the covenant in particular) will have an impact on the public interest.

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April 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Barton:  Syracuse's Hybrid Online J.D. Program Is Not The Reboot Legal Education Needs

RebootFollowing up on Thursday's post, Syracuse Law School Seeks Approval For Nation's Second Hybrid Online J.D. Program:  Bloomberg BNA:  Nothing Exciting Yet about the (Mostly) Online J.D. from Syracuse, by Ben Barton (Tennessee):

Everyone knows that hidebound law schools have been too slow to respond to changes in the market and technology. ... [M]aybe the program at Syracuse and a similar one at Mitchell Hamline Law School are good news? Is any change good change?

Keep the champagne corked for now. First and foremost, both programs cost the same as attending in person. And yet they will be radically cheaper for the law school to operate, especially once the first round of technical bugs are worked out. Law school’s most glaring weakness is its cost. Law school tuition has outpaced inflation since the 1980s, and has continued its staggering rise even since the market for lawyers and law school attendance have cratered since 2008. According to the non-profit advocacy Law School Transparency, there are fourteen different law schools where the total cost of attendance tops out at over $300,000! Syracuse’s tuition for 2016-17 is $46,460 and Mitchell Hamline’s is $40,570. It will likely be cheaper for students to live at home and work during law school, but until online law schools start passing on their savings to the students I will remain skeptical.

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April 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Simkovic: Law School Attendance, Happiness, And Success

GuidePaula Franzese (Seton Hall), A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student (2014):

A Short & Happy Guide to Being a Law Student is a must-read whenever worry or doubt creep in. In this volume you will find essential wisdom for the study of law and life. Learn from the unprecedented ten-time recipient of the Professor of the Year award how to be your best in and out of class, how to prepare for exams, how to succeed on exams, how to put your best foot forward in a job interview, how to find teachers to inspire you, what to do in classes that leave you uninspired, how to cope with stress and how to create value in everything you do.

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Book Encouraging Law Students to be Happy Is Latest Target for Scambloggers:

Paula’s well-intentioned book has rather bizarrely been attacked by scambloggers as “dehumanizing”, “vain”, “untrustworthy” and “insidious.” The scambloggers are not happy people, and reacted as if burned by Paula’s sunshine. They worry that Paula’s thesis implies that “their failure must be due to their unwillingness to think happy and thankful thoughts.”

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April 23, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (27)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Now That There Aren’t As Many Law Students, Hiring Has Stabilized (NALP 2016)

Above the Law, Now That There Aren’t As Many Law Students, Hiring Has Stabilized (NALP 2016):

With pants singed from an ironing mishap and a wicked Boston hangover, I showed up at Executive Director Jim Leipold’s morning panel at the recent NALP conference on the state of the legal hiring market. I can therefore report that the legal hiring market has more or less stabilized. There aren’t more jobs, but fewer people are coming out of law schools so employment rates are up for those who graduate. 

In 2007, the last good year on Earth, 68 percent of law grads received long-term, full-time, bar passage required jobs. Last year, 62% of graduates received such positions. Granted, law school enrollments are near record lows, but still, the news is that the market has corrected itself. The employment rate is up. The real number of jobs obtained is down. These are the times we live in.

There was also some good news about the most important chart in legal education: the NALP bimodal salary distribution chart. Once again, it shows that most grads get jobs in the $45,000 – $65,000 range, with only a lucky few getting the Biglaw jobs that pay $160,000.

NALP DistributionCurve2014

This year, Leipold says that if you look really closely you’ll see a slight uptick in the amount of people making salaries in the “valley.” Those high-five-figures/low-six-figures jobs would be great for grads who can’t work in Biglaw but would still like to have a reasonable shot at loan repayment. ...

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April 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

The Slow Professor:  Resisting Higher Education's 'Corporatizing Culture Of Speed,' Or 'Self-Indulgent Tenured Faculty Privilege'?

SlowInside Higher Ed, 'The Slow Professor' (reviewing The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy (University of Toronto Press, Mar. 28, 2016), by Maggie Berg (Queen’s University) & Barbara K. Seeber (Brock University)) (interview):

New book argues that professors should actively resist the "culture of speed" in academe.

In 2013, the jobs website CareerCast named university professor the No. 1 least stressful job, unleashing a torrent of criticism that only grew after Forbes picked up the ranking. Professors -- those with tenure and without -- said the study ignored the changing dynamics of the university, namely the increasingly administrative nature of academic work, the emerging student-as-customer model, unrealistic research expectations and 24-7 contact with colleagues and students via email. Non-tenure-track professors also pointed out that they in many cases lack all job security.

CareerCast evidently learned something from the controversy -- its 2016 least stressful jobs list specifies tenured professor, at No. 3 -- but old notions about what it is to be a professor die hard. And the CareerCast study is just one example. From the running errands to social and family events, someone always seems to be wondering what it’s like to have summers off and “just think” for a living.

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April 22, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

University of Washington (Seattle) To Open Separate Second Law School In Tacoma

UWThe News Tribune, Law School at UW Tacoma Would be Separate from Seattle Program:

University of Washington officials are moving forward with plans to create a law school at the UW Tacoma and want it to operate separately from the law school at the university’s Seattle campus, UW President Ana Mari Cauce said Wednesday. ...

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April 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

UC-Davis Spent $175,000 To Scrub Pepper Spray Incident From Google Search Results

UC DavidInside Higher Ed, How (Not) to Hide a Scandal:

Google “University of California, Davis.” What do you see? Who controls what you see?

Until last week, here’s what you wouldn’t see: images of a police officer, back in 2011, pepper spraying a group of student protesters. The students are assembled peacefully, sitting in a line on the ground, heads ducked. ...

Here’s the video of the incident, which racked up over a million views in the days after it was posted:


Once the video started circulating, the university tried to control the fallout. Over the last five years, it paid contractors at least $175,000 to scrub references to the controversy from the Internet.the video started circulating, the university tried to control the fallout. Over the last five years, it paid contractors at least $175,000 to scrub references to the controversy from the Internet.

But last week, the PR campaign backfired. On the afternoon of April 14, the top search result for “UC Davis” was the headline from The Sacramento Bee, the paper that broke the story through open-records requests: “UC Davis spent thousands to scrub pepper-spray references from Internet.”

Now, lawmakers and students are calling for Chancellor Linda Katehi’s resignation. They see the spending as an ethical breach: in the midst of budget cuts, how can the university use public funds to smooth over a scandal? ...

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April 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

NYLJ Special Report:  Law Schools

NYLJ Cover

New York Law Journal Special Report: Law Schools:

  • Jeremy Paul (Dean, Northeastern), Ask What the Bar Can Do for Law Schools:  "Bar leaders have looked to law schools to get better at producing so-called "practice-ready" graduates. But it is the profession's leaders who are best positioned to partner with law schools to solve the very problems legal employers so often identify."

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April 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law Revue Video Contest

Above the Law has announced the six finalists in its annual law revue video contest, with entries from students at George Washington, Georgetown, Northwestern, NYU, Texas, and Virginia law schools.  My favorite is from Texas:  Give Me My Grades Today:

For you Hamilton fans, NYU offers Trevor Effin’ Morrison:

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April 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Implicit Bias In Law Review Article Selection

Michael J. Higdon (Tennessee), Beyond the Metatheoretical: Implicit Bias in Law Review Article Selection, 51 Wake Forest L. Rev. ___ (2016):

Every year, law review editors around the country are forced to select which authors, out of the hundreds who annually submit articles, to extend offers of publication. For law review editors, these are stressful times given 1) the short time frame they have for reading and assessing this ever growing number of submissions and 2) the fear that a poor selection on their part could potentially embarrass both themselves and their law schools. Although legal scholars sometimes forget about article selection from the perspective of the hurried, stressed law review editor, everyone in the academy should be somewhat concerned about the current process. After all, numerous studies have shown that, when people are asked to make decisions quickly and under stressful conditions, their decision-making is more likely to be influenced by implicit bias.

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April 20, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Syracuse Law School Seeks Approval For Nation's Second Hybrid Online J.D. Program

Syracuse Logo (2016)Syracuse University Press Release, College of Law Partners With 2U for Juris Doctor Degree Program:

The College of Law and 2U today announced a partnership to develop a hybrid juris doctor (J.D.) degree program, pending New York State and American Bar Association approval.

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April 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Texas Law School Reallocates Tenured And Adjunct Faculty, Suspends Supreme Court Clinic

Texas Logo (2016)The Daily Texan, Students, Alumni Concerned Over Supreme Court Clinic Suspension:

The University’s Supreme Court Clinic has offered law students experience with drafting briefs and researching arguments used in front of the highest court of the country since fall 2006, but for the first time the clinic has been put on hiatus. ...

Current law students and Supreme Court Clinic alumni have said they’re concerned about the sudden semester-long closing, which they noticed a few weeks ago. Law school Dean Ward Farnsworth said a staffing problem had caused the clinic’s sudden suspension. ...

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April 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Student Activists Demand Free Tuition At Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School (2016)Harvard Crimson, Law School Activists Demand End to Tuition:

In the most recent wave of activism at the Law School, some students are calling on the school to eliminate tuition completely as part of their new campaign for financial justice.

Members of the group Reclaim Harvard Law published an open letter Sunday addressed to Law School Dean Martha L. Minow and members of the Harvard Corporation—the University’s highest governing body—demanding an end to tuition.

The demand is the cornerstone of “Fees Must Fall,” a campaign activists launched several weeks ago during the Law School’s admitted students weekend. The initiative marks a new focus on economic issues in their movement for better treatment of minorities at the Law School, after activists successfully advocated for the school to remove its controversial seal. ...

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April 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (20)

ABA Continues Inquiry Into BYU Law School’s Expulsion Of Ex-Mormon Students

BYUFollowing up on my previous post, Group Files Complaint With ABA Alleging Discrimination By BYU Law School Against LGTB, Ex-Mormon Students

Wall Street Journal, ABA Reviewing BYU Law’s Policy of Expelling Ex-Mormon Students:

Brigham Young University Law School is coming under fire for a potentially discriminatory practice of expelling ex-Mormons. An alumni group first brought concerns to the American Bar Association in January, and, according to the National Law Journal, the inquiry is still in the works.

National Law Journal, Inquiry Into BYU Law School’s Expulsion of Non-Mormons Proceeds:

Brad Levin, a law graduate and director of FreeBYU—the alumni group that filed a complaint with the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in January—was informed by letter on April 6 that the complaint survived an initial review by ABA administrators and has been referred to the organization’s accreditation committee for consideration.

FreeBYU’s complaint alleges that the university’s policy of expelling students who leave the Mormon faith runs afoul of ABA rules meant to protect against religious discrimination. Additionally, the group says the university honor code, which bans homosexual behavior, violates the accreditor’s protections of gay, lesbian and transgender students. ...

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April 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law School Dean Completes Boston Marathon 8 Months Pregnant

WaynePress Release, Wayne Law Dean Completes Boston Marathon 8 Months Pregnant:

Jocelyn Benson, dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, today became one of only a handful of women in history to complete the Boston Marathon in her eighth month of pregnancy.

Benson, 38, of Detroit completed the nation's most-prestigious marathon in 6 hours, 12 minutes, 32 seconds.

She planned to run Boston again, and she qualified at the San Diego Marathon in May with a time of 3 hours, 37 minutes.

"I found out in September that I was accepted to run in Boston, and I found out a month later that I was pregnant," Benson said. "Initially, I thought that eight months would be too far along for me to compete. But then I read a story about Amy Kiel, who had my same due date, was in her mid-thirties and had finished Boston in 2015. Her story inspired me to realize what seemed impossible was possible. So, I started training and, with the blessing of my doctor, flew to Boston to run."

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April 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:  California

Following up on Sunday's post, Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes: New York And D.C./Maryland/Virginia:  Derek Muller (Pepperdine) blogs legal employment outcomes among California's 21 ABA-accredited law schools.  Stanford (92.3%, 8 law school funded jobs (LSF)), UCLA (91.3%, 34 LSF), and UC-Berkeley (91.0%, 11 LSF) are head and shoulders above the other California law schools in "total placement" (per U.S. News).

April 19, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Death Of Les Snyder

SnyderTax Prof Lester B. Snyder (San Diego) died on April 11 at the age of 87 (obituary; condolences; memorial gifts).  From San Diego Dean Stephen Ferruolo:

Professor Snyder began his long legal career in 1956 in legal practice in Boston, during which he served as a consultant to attorneys and accountants on tax issues.  He moved to academia in 1957 with an appointment to the law faculty of the University of Connecticut.  He remained at Connecticut until 1983 and held emeritus status.  During a leave of absence from 1968 to 1969, Professor Snyder was Professor-In-Residence in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he represented the Internal Revenue Service in tax litigation before federal courts. 

Professor Snyder joined the faculty of University of San Diego School of Law in 1983. From 1983 to 1989, he was the director of the graduate tax program. He retired from faculty in 2009. During his 26 years at USD, Professor Snyder taught mostly in the field of tax law, including federal income tax, taxation of corporations and partnerships, tax accounting, federal tax policy, business planning, estate and gift tax planning, and state and local taxation.  Through his teaching, scholarly reputation and leadership, he established the foundation of our graduate tax program.

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April 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 18, 2016

ABA Tax Section Announces 2016-18 Public Service Fellows

ABA Tax Section Logo (2012)The 2016-2018 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship Class:

  • Laura LaPrade, a recent graduate of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, will be working with Community Tax Aid, Inc., in Washington, DC.
  • Catherine Strouse, who earned her J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law and an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego School of Law, will be working with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.

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April 18, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Princeton Review's Best 173 Law Schools (2016 Edition)

Princeton 2The Princeton Review has published the 2016 edition of The Best 173 Law Schools (press release) (FAQs) (methodology):

The Princeton Review surveyed over 19,700 students attending the 173 law schools.  The 80-question survey asked students to rate their schools on several topics and report on their experiences at them. Some ranking list tallies also factored in school-reported data.

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. St. Thomas (Minnesota)
  8. Stanford
  9. Samford
  10. Charleston

Best Quality of Life:  Based on student answers to survey questions on: whether there is a strong sense of community at the school whether differing opinions are tolerated in the classroom, the location of the school, the quality of social life at the school, the school's research resources (library, computer and database resources).

  1. Virginia
  2. Vanderbilt
  3. St. Thomas (Minnesota)
  4. NYU
  5. Florida State

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

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

Best Career Prospects:  Based on school reported data and student surveys. School data include: the median starting salaries of graduating students, the percent of students employed in a job that requires bar passage (and not employed by the school) 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. Pennsylvania
  2. NYU
  3. Chicago
  4. Stanford
  5. Columbia

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April 18, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:  New York And D.C./Maryland/Virginia

Derek Muller (Pepperdine) has two great posts on visualizing legal employment outcomes among New York's 15 law schools and D.C/Maryland/Virginia's 16 law schools

In New York, Columbia (98.8%, goosed by 31 law school funded jobs (LSF)), NYU (96.7%, 39 LSF), and Cornell (95.5%, 11 LSF) again are head and shoulders above the other New York law schools in "total placement" (per U.S. News).  Cardozo (76.8%, 1 LSF) and Fordham (76.1%, 0 LSF) surprisingly trail St. John's (81.9%, 0 LSF) and Albany (80.3%, 0 LSF).

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April 17, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

UC-Berkeley Provost Resigns Amid Controversy Over His Handling Of Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Law School Dean

UC-Berkeley (University)Following up on my previous posts (links below): New York Times, Provost Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Case at Berkeley:

The University of California, Berkeley, announced Friday that Claude Steele, the university’s executive vice chancellor and provost for the past two years, resigned his administrative positions for personal reasons. Mr. Steele’s abrupt departure comes at a time of turmoil for the university, as he and other top administrators have been criticized for their handling of a widening sexual harassment scandal. ...

Mr. Steele has been criticized for his handling of claims of sexual harassment made against the dean of the law school, Sujit Choudhry. ... A report by the university found that Mr. Choudhry had repeatedly hugged and kissed his executive assistant, behavior that an investigator concluded was “unwelcome and objectively sexual in nature.”

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April 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts