TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Students Protest Elimination Of 'Covered' Freshman Year Grades At Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins 2Baltimore Sun, Grading Policy Change Draws Protests at Johns Hopkins:

Plans to end a decades-old policy of concealing the first-semester grades of freshman at the Johns Hopkins University from graduate school admissions officers and future employers are drawing outrage from students.

Hopkins has been one of the few schools nationwide that "cover" the grades of their newest students, shielding them on transcripts and keeping them out of grade-point averages as the freshmen make the transition to college.

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May 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death

The Perils Of Writing A Provocative Email At Yale

Yale University LogoThe Atlantic, The Perils of Writing a Provocative Email at Yale:

Last fall, student protesters at Yale University demanded that Professor Nicholas Christakis, an academic star who has successfully mentored Ivy League undergraduates for years, step down from his position as faculty-in-residence at Silliman College, along with his wife, Erika Christakis, who shared in the job’s duties.

The protesters had taken offense at an email sent by Erika Christakis.

Dogged by the controversy for months, the couple finally resigned their posts Wednesday. Because the student protests against them were prompted by intellectual speech bearing directly on Erika Christakis’s area of academic expertise, the outcome will prompt other educators at Yale to reflect on their own positions and what they might do or say to trigger or avoid calls for their own resignations. If they feel less inclined toward intellectual engagement at Yale, I wouldn’t blame them.

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May 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, May 30, 2016

Former Assistant Dean For Bar Prep/Academic Success Sues Law School For Gender Discrimination, Says 'All-Female Management Team' Made Him Fall Guy For Poor Bar Results Caused By Systemic Problems At School

MoueryOrlando Sentinel, Ex-Law School Official Alleges Discrimination After He Was Fired From Job:

A man who was fired from his job at an Orlando law school accused the university of discrimination because he was a man in senior leadership when students struggled to pass the bar exam, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

David Mouery, the former assistant dean for bar preparation and academic success, said Barry University singled him out and disciplined him after the test results were released last year, court documents said.

He sued Barry University for gender discrimination and retaliation in Orange County Circuit Court. ...

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

Talking The Talk Or Walking The Walk Of Legal Education Reform

Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers (2016)Keith R. Lee (Hamer Law Group, Birmingham, AL), Ten Years of IAALS: Walking the Walk with Legal Education Reform:

There is lots of talk about making changes in legal education at law schools. That's no surprise, law professors love to talk. If they loved practicing law, they'd be lawyers. Instead, ensconced in the ivory tower, safe from the perils of the real world, they leisurely debate what should happen to those poor souls (law students) who must leave the hallowed halls of law school, and actually go out in the world to practice law.

If you can't tell, I'm not particularly sympathetic or supportive.

Since we're talking about legal education, here's a hypothetical:

A 10-mile bicycle race is going to take place one year hence. There are two competitors, Adam and Barbara.

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May 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Report:  Harvard Law Prof Hid Far Left Views To Chair Hiring Committee And 'Heavily Influence Hiring Critical Race Theorists'

Harvard Law School (2016)Daily Caller, Leaked Document Shows Harvard Students, Profs Planning To Make School Even More Liberal:

Leaked notes from an alleged meeting between Harvard Law School (HLS) professors and student activists shows them planning how to coordinate their efforts in order to take the school in a more institutionally left-wing direction.

The notes also suggest that at least one professor at Harvard may be concealing the full extent of his liberal views in order to be appointed to positions where he can shape the university’s politics more decisively.

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May 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend In Our Pepperdine Neighborhood (And On CBS News)

Car

Amazingly, no one was hurt when a car flew into our neighborhood pool at 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Update #1:  I finally made it on CBS News — not as a tax expert, but as a photographer:

Update #2:

May 28, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Missouri Law School Dean Resigns Day After Lawsuit Filed Seeking Public Records Of Law Prof Running For Attorney General

MyersABC17 News, MU Law School Dean Says Decision to Step Down Not Linked to Lawsuit:

The dean of the University of Missouri Law School [Gary Myers, right] says his decision to step down is not related to the lawsuit filed this week related to the state's Sunshine Law.

This comes after a former state representative [Kevin Elmer] filed a lawsuit against Josh Hawley over an apparent unfulfilled open records request. Hawley is an MU law professor who running for Missouri Attorney General. Myers was also named in the suit.

Dean Myers apparently raised concerns to the university nearly three weeks after Elmer requested the records. Myers thought a request for Hawley's tenure application would threaten "the integrity of the University's tenure procedures," and hoped the system would keep in mind "these important institutional considerations" when sorting through the documents. ...

The lawsuit claims the university allowed Hawley to first review his emails before letting the UM System's custodian of records, Paula Barrett, begin processing Elmer's request. While some email correspondences may be exempt from public record, such as personal student information, the lawsuit claims the university broke the law by allowing Hawley that review.

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May 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Penn State Law Faculty 'Discontent' Amidst Failed Dean Search, Two Year 'Downward Descent (From #51) Into Rankings Oblivion (#86)'

Penn State Logo (2016)Kimberly Krawiec (Duke), Rumblings of Discontent at Penn State Law:

Penn State Law’s dean search has been unsuccessful (announced to the faculty by the provost) and that at least some faculty have been unhappy with the search process and a perceived lack of faculty input. ... [T]he complaints apparently include search committee composition, a lack of openness and communication during the search process, the way in which candidates were vetted, and whether (or the extent to which?) faculty are polled on their views of candidates. Some of the discontent may also stem from the law school’s recent rankings drop. As Above the Law reported in March:

Penn State, fresh off separating its campuses into two separate law schools, continues its downward descent into oblivion by losing another 15 spots in the rankings, following up on a 20-spot drop just last year. To think, Penn State was once so close to being ranked as a Top 50 school.

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May 27, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Oyez Supreme Court Media Project Leaves Chicago-Kent For Cornell, Justia

OyezNational Law Journal, 'Oyez Project' New Home Will Keep Supreme Court Audio Free to Public:

After months of uncertainty about its future, the Oyez Project, a free repository of more than 10,000 hours of U.S. Supreme Court oral-argument audio and other court resources, has found a new home.

The project’s founder, Jerry Goldman, who is retiring soon, told The National Law Journal on Tuesday that a newly minted arrangement with Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute and Justia, the online publisher of legal information, will keep Oyez alive. ...

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Curve: Life At Manhattan Law School

Curve 2Jeremy Blachman (J.D. 2005, Harvard; author, Anonymous Lawyer) & Cameron Stracher (J.D. 1987, Harvard; Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, New York), The Curve (2016):

The students at Manhattan Law School, a decrepit institution on the edge of the toxic Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, are geographically-challenged and mad as hell – in debt up to their eyeballs and fighting over the few legal jobs left for those who are far outside the Ivy League. Our hero, Adam Wright, is a newly minted professor with high hopes and low expectations. But nothing has prepared him for a classroom of digitally distracted students, a rebellion of grade grubbers, a Law Journal staff at the helm of a school-wide scam, and a corrupt administration that runs the school as if it were a personal ATM. Adam regrets leaving his lucrative corporate law firm for the wilds of academia, until he finds an ally in the brilliant and fetching Laura Stapleton, a colleague with her own troubling secrets.

Now the two professors may just have to save legal education ... or join their students in the unemployment line … or worse.

With its colorful cast of eccentrics and law school misfits, a satirical plot that – without too much of a stretch – could be ripped from the headlines, and a proven author duo who know this world and have six previous books between them, The Curve continues Ankerwycke’s trend of publishing high quality/highly readable legal fiction with an edge.

The Curve is a hugely entertaining and deeply felt novel that satirizes the current state of higher education and reads like a cross between Dangerous Minds and The Paper Chase.

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May 26, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Oberlin Students Demand Abolition Of Midterms, Grades Lower Than C

OberlinThe Week, Oberlin Students Want to Abolish Midterms and Any Grades Below C:

Students at Oberlin College are asking the school to put academics on the back burner so they can better turn their attention to activism. More than 1,300 students at the Midwestern liberal arts college have now signed a petition asking that the college get rid of any grade below a C for the semester, and some students are requesting alternatives to the standard written midterm examination, such as a conversation with a professor in lieu of an essay.

The students say that between their activism work and their heavy course load, finding success within the usual grading parameters is increasingly difficult.

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May 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Dan Markel Killing Investigated As Murder for Hire, 5-6 More Arrests Expected

GarciaFollowing up on this morning's post, Man Arrested In Murder Of Dan Markel:  Tallahassee Democrat, Markel Killing Investigated as Murder for Hire, More Arrests Expected:

Law enforcement officials are investigating Florida State University law professor Dan Markel’s death as a murder for hire, according to two sources close to the investigation.

The sources add that more arrests are expected.

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May 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Man Arrested In Murder Of Dan Markel

GarciaUpdateDan Markel Killing Investigated As Murder for Hire, 5-6 More Arrests Expected

Tallahassee Democrat, Man Faces Murder Charge in Dan Markel's Death:

A man has been arrested in connection with the July 2014 shooting death of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

Sigfredo Garcia [right], 34, was arrested in Broward County Wednesday, according to the Tallahassee Police Department.

Garcia is charged with first-degree murder and possession of cocaine. The State Attorney's Office In Tallahassee approved an arrest warrant for him Wednesday.

He is being held in the Broward County Jail after being arrested by the Hallandale Beach Police Department.

Garcia has a criminal history, according to Miami-Dade County records, that includes strong arm robbery, burglary, drugs and concealed weapons violations.

TPD, which provided information about the arrest in a 12:11 a.m. email, is holding a press conference at 11:30 a.m. today to provide details.

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

Chicago Is #1 In Law Grad Employment; Five California Law Schools Are In The Bottom Ten

National Law Journal (2016)National Law Journal, Chicago Law School Jumps to No. 1 in Full-Time Jobs After Graduation; California Schools Show High Percentage of Underemployed J.D.s.:

The University of Chicago Law School had a strong year on the employment front. It sent a higher percentage of 2015 graduates into full-time legal jobs than any other law school—nearly 91 percent according to The National Law Journal’s analysis of the latest employment data from the ABA. ...

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More On Canaries In The Law School Coal Mine

CanaryFollowing up on my previous posts on canaries in the law school coal mine:

Jeremy R. Paul (Dean, Northeastern), Saving the Canary, 66 Syracuse L. Rev. ___ (2016):

It’s hard not to admire Rick’s turn of phrase observing that law schools resemble the canary in the coal mine because downward pressure on tuition increases, with potentially harmful consequences, is hitting law schools just a few years ahead of when it will batter our partners around campus [Richard A. Matasar, The Canary in the Coal Mine: What the University Can Learn from Legal Education, 45 McGeorge L. Rev. 161 (2013)]. Yet faculty members throughout the country wonder why things seem suddenly out of control. ...

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Above The Law Top 50 Law School Rankings

ATLAbove the Law, 2016 Top 50 Law School Rankings:

We welcome you to the fourth annual installment of the Above the Law Top 50 Law School Rankings. These are the only rankings to incorporate the latest ABA employment data concerning the class of 2015. The premise underlying our approach to ranking schools remains the same: that given the steep cost of law school and the new normal of the legal job market, potential students should prioritize their future employment prospects over all other factors in deciding whether and where to attend law school. The relative quality of schools is a function of how they deliver on the promise of gainful legal employment. 

The Top 10:

  1. Yale
  2. Stanford
  3. Chicago
  4. Penn
  5. Harvard
  6. Virginia
  7. Duke
  8. Northwestern
  9. Cornell
  10. UC-Berkeley

Methodology:

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May 24, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Merritt:  Job Prospects For Doctors And Lawyers

Law and MedicineDeborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Doctors and Lawyers:

Medicine and law are highly regarded professions; talented students used to eagerly seek entry to both of these fields. But now applications to law schools are falling while those to medical schools are rising. What’s behind that phenomenon? Let’s take a look at employment trends in these two professions over the last forty years. ...

The Bureau estimates that the economy will generate 99,300 new jobs for doctors between 2014 and 2024, but just 43,800 for lawyers. The medical profession will add even more new jobs each year (9,930) than it did in the 1980’s (8,800). The number of new lawyering jobs, in contrast, will sink to just 4,380 positions per year. That’s less than a quarter of the positions added annually during the 1980’s and not much higher than the average number of jobs added between 2008 and 2014.

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May 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fast-Talking Dean Speeds Up Graduation Ceremony By Hitting 15 NPM (Names Per Minute)

Inside Higher Ed, When You Need a Fast-Talking Dean:

These days, many colleges and universities graduate so many people at a single commencement that the tradition of reading graduates' names is long gone. For smaller colleges, the tradition lives on. But many in the audience care only about the name of their child or loved one and lose patience waiting for those with names at the end of the alphabet.

Hamilton College may have found the perfect solution. Its dean of the faculty, Pat Reynolds, has been timed, and he reads the names of the nearly 500 graduates faster than any of his predecessors in the last 25 years. Hamilton knows this because an emeritus professor of biology, Ernest Williams, has been timing the reading of names for that long. And he certifies that Reynolds -- who some years gets in about 15 names a minute -- is far speedier than any of the five other deans Williams timed.

Dean Reynolds is good, but after sitting through my first Pepperdine outdoor graduation ceremony under the Southern California sun last Friday, I think John Moschitta has a real future as a commencement speaker:

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pomona College Adds Diversity As A Tenure Requirement

PomonaInside Higher Ed, Diversity as a Tenure Requirement:

Pomona College's faculty has voted to change the criteria for tenure to specifically require candidates to be "attentive to diversity in the student body."

While many colleges and universities encourage faculty members to support diversity efforts, and a few have encouraged tenure candidates to reference such work, Pomona's requirement may go farther in that it applies to all who come up for tenure. The faculty voted overwhelmingly this month to approve the change. At Pomona, the faculty controls the tenure criteria, so the vote is final, although there is a grandfather clause exempting those already in the tenure-review process.

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Peter Thiel's Advice To Graduates: 'My Ambition To Be A Lawyer Was Less A Plan For The Future Than An Alibi For The Present'

Peter Thiel (Co-founder, PayPal), Commencement Address at Hamilton College (May 22, 2016):

(Click on YouTube button on bottom right to view video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.)

Thank you so much for the kind introduction. It’s a tremendous honor to be here.

Like most graduation speakers my main qualification would seem to be that I am one of the few people who are even more clueless about what is going on in your lives than your parents and your professors.

Most of you are about 21 or 22 years old, you’re about to begin working. I haven’t worked for anybody for 21 years. But if I try to give a reason for why it makes sense for me to speak here today I would say it’s because thinking about the future is what I do for a living. And this is a commencement. It’s a new beginning. As a technology investor, I invest in new beginnings. I believe in what hasn’t yet been seen or been done.

This is not what I set out to do when I began my career. When I was sitting where you are, back in 1989, I would’ve told you that I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t really know what lawyers do all day, but I knew they first had to go to law school, and school was familiar to me.

I had been competitively tracked from middle school to high school to college, and by going straight to law school I knew I would be competing at the same kinds of tests I’d been taking ever since I was a kid, but I could tell everyone that I was now doing it for the sake of becoming a professional adult.

I did well enough in law school to be hired by a big New York law firm, but it turned out to be a very strange place. From the outside, everybody wanted to get in; and from the inside, everybody wanted to get out.

When I left the firm, after seven months and three days, my coworkers were surprised. One of them told me that he hadn’t known it was possible to escape from Alcatraz. Now that might sound odd, because all you had to do to escape was walk through the front door and not come back. But people really did find it very hard to leave, because so much of their identity was wrapped up in having won the competitions to get there in the first place.

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Simkovic Presents What Can We Learn from Credit Markets At ALI

ALI Logo (2015)American Law Institute 93rd Annual Meeting:

[On] the last day of the Annual Meeting ... Young Scholar Medal Recipient Michael Simkovic of Seton Hall University School of Law presented What Can We Learn from Credit Markets. He opened with a quote from, Oliver Wendell Holmes from his address entitled The Path of the Law: “For the rational study of the law, the blackletter man may be the man of the present, but the man of the future is the man of statistics and the master of economics”:

My research uses economic analysis to explore how laws affect financial markets and how courts and regulators can use financial information to make legal and policy decisions. ...

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of Iowa President Says Law School Enrollment Decline Has Stabilized At -30%

Iowa Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts:

KCRG, University of Iowa President Weighs in Law School Enrollment:

Earlier this month, the University of Iowa College of Law graduated one of its smallest classes in recent memory, about 100 students.

That's nearly half of what it used to be more than four years ago. ...

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Symposium:  Legal Education In A Time Of Change

UNLV Logo (2016)Symposium, Legal Education in a Time of Change: Challenges and Opportunities,  16 Nev. L.J. 143-274 (2015):

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May 22, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Late To The Ball:  Finding My (Tennis) Bliss

LateWall Street Journal:  A Sport for Life, Learned Late,  by Jason Gay:

Gerry Marzorati, author of the new book Late to the Ball, is trying to prove an avid tennis fan can become a successful tennis player in his mid-50s and beyond.

I don’t want to give the impression that Late to the Ball is a hardcore tennis book. Well, it sort of is: If you love tennis, you will geek out at Marzorati’s travels to supercamps, stroke gurus, and the Jedi-sounding United States Tennis Congress. But at its heart, Late to the Ball is a soulful meditation on aging, companionship and the power of self-improvement. I know that sounds like the kind of cheesy thing people say on the cover of book jackets. But it’s really true.

“The book was an opportunity to ponder these questions,” said Marzorati, a well-regarded writer and editor who retired last year from the New York Times, an adorable community newspaper which I believe publishes several times a week. Immersing himself in tennis, he said, was a way to test if it was possible, later in life, to “really fall in love with something—something you didn’t think was going to happen again.”

This is a common life crossroads, the author believes. Marzorati gave an example: former President George W. Bush’s recent immersion in oil painting. “I completely understand what he’s doing,” Marzorati said. “I know what he’s thinking, how much pleasure it gives him, and that he really wants to get better at it.”

I, too, picked up tennis in my mid-50s when I left Cincinnati for Pepperdine.  But I have found my tennis bliss and can now compete with the best Pepperdine faculty players, but not from "tennis gurus" or "supercamps."   This 2-minute video harkens back to John Wooden's life lesson about the importance of properly tying your sneakers and changed my (tennis) life:

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May 22, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

The 10 Most-Cited Tax Faculty

Brian Leiter (Chicago) has updated his ranking of the Ten Most-Cited Tax Faculty to now cover the 2010-2014 period (2009-2013 data here):

Rank

Tax Prof

Citations

Age

1

David Weisbach (Chicago)

420

53

2

Michael Graetz (Columbia)

410

72

3

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)

360

59

4

Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

350

59

5

Lawrence Zelenak (Duke)

310

58

6

Leandra Lederman (Indiana)

300

50

7

Edward Zelinsky (Cardozo)

280

66

8

Victor Fleischer (San Diego)

270

45

9

Edward McCaffery (USC)

260

58

10

Joseph Bankman (Stanford)

230

61

Leiter also lists four highly-cited scholars who work partly in tax:

Rank

Tax Prof

Citations

Age

1

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1150

60

2

Brian Galle (Georgetown)

380

44

3

Kristin Hickman (Minnesota)

360

46

4

Mark Gergen (UC-Berkeley)

280

60

In our article, Ranking Law Schools: Using SSRN to Measure Scholarly Performance, 81 Ind. L.J. 83, 120-22 (2006), Bernie Black (Northwestern) and I examined the Top 25 tax faculty as measured by SSRN downloads, a practice I update monthly on TaxProf Blog.  Five of the most-cited tax faculty (Avi-Yonah, Fleischer, Kaplow, Shaviro, Weisbach) also are five of the most-downloaded tax faculty.

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May 21, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Small Bar Prep Company Files $50 Million Antitrust Action Again BARBRI, 11 Law Schools

LogosWall Street Journal, Bar Prep Company Accused of Boxing Out Smaller Rival:

The nation’s largest bar exam-prep company is facing allegations that it elbowed a smaller rival out of the market, capitalizing on special relationships with law schools that it had nurtured with donations and gifts.

BARBRI and several [11] law schools [Cardozo, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Fordham, Georgetown, Harvard, NYU, St. John's, UC-Berkeley, USC] were named in a federal antitrust lawsuit brought by LLM Bar Exam, a company that prepares foreign lawyers to sit for the bar exam in the United States. The complaint, which was filed in Manhattan on Thursday, alleges an illegal monopoly and asks for $50 million in damages. ...

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May 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Congratulations, Pepperdine Law School Class of 2016!

Graduation

May 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Ten Ways To Tell You May Be Sitting Next To An Economist On An Airplane

PassengersThe Economist, Ten Ways to Tell You Might be Sitting Next to an Economist:

An academic economist was taken off a plane last week after a fellow passenger became suspicious. He was feverishly scribbling what she thought was "terrorist code" or foreign lettering into a notebook. It turned out that Guido Menzio, an Italian economist from the the University of Pennsylvania, was working on some differential equations for a model on menu costs and price dispersion. Thankfully, Mr Menzio was allowed back on his flight. But passengers can't be too careful. Here are ten ways to tell you might be sitting next to an economist; police have also released pictures of two prime suspects (see above). 

1. He refuses to listen to the safety announcement because "in the long run, we're all dead" ...

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May 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Too Many Lawyers? Report Faults Firms For Resisting Layoffs

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer, Too Many Lawyers? Report Faults Firms for Resisting Layoffs:

Should law firm leaders be firing more lawyers? That seems to be the takeaway of a report released Wednesday by the legal consultancy Altman Weil.

Nearly 60 percent of the 356 law firm leaders surveyed for the report said that overcapacity is hurting their firm’s profitability. The problem is more pronounced among firms with 250 lawyers or more, with 75.6 percent of them citing overcapacity as a drag on profits, the report said.

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May 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

LSAT Is Poor Predictor Of Law School Grades: 6 LSAT Points = 0.1 LGPA

LSAT (2015)Alexia Brunet Marks (Colorado) & Scott A. Moss (Colorado), What Predicts Law Student Success? A Longitudinal Study Correlating Law Student Applicant Data and Law School Outcomes, 13 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 205 (2016):

Despite the rise of "big data" empiricism, law school admission remains heavily impressionistic; admission decisions based on anecdotes about recent students, idiosyncratic preferences for certain majors or jobs, or mainly the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Yet no predictors are well-validated; studies of the LSAT or other factors fail to control for college quality, major, work experience, etc. The lack of evidence of what actually predicts law school success is especially surprising after the 2010s downturn left schools competing for fewer applicants and left potential students less sure of law school as a path to future success. We aim to fill this gap with a two-school, 1400-student, 2005-2012 longitudinal study. After coding non-digitized applicant data, we used multivariate regression analysis to predict law school grades ("LGPA") from many variables: LSAT; college grades ("UGPA"), quality, and major; UGPA trajectory; employment duration and type (legal, scientific, military, teaching, etc.); college leadership; prior graduate degree; criminal or discipline record; and variable interactions (e.g., high-LSAT/low-UGPA or vice-versa).

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May 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Private College Tuition Discounts Hit All-Time High Of 49%

49%National Association of College and University Business Officers, Tuition Discounts at Private Colleges Continue to Climb:

The gap between the sticker price on a private college education and the amount most students actually pay continues to widen, according to new data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

In the 2015 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study, 401 private, nonprofit colleges reported another year of record-breaking tuition discount rates for 2015-16, topping last year's previous highs. For academic year 2015-16, the average institutional discount rate—or the percentage of total gross tuition and fee revenue institutions give back to students as grant-based financial aid—was an estimated 48.6 percent for first-time, full-time freshmen and 42.5 percent for all undergraduates. In other words, these private colleges put about 42 cents on every dollar of tuition and fee revenue toward scholarships and grants.

NACUBO

For student recipients, those funds went further than ever before. About 88 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen and 77.6 percent of all undergraduates were awarded aid, which averaged roughly half the cost of tuition and fees for both cohorts.

 

May 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rutgers Faculty Rebels Against Use Of Metrics To Assess Their Scholarly Performance

AAFollowing up on my previous post:  Inside Higher Ed, Refusing to Be Measured:

The faculty of the Graduate School at Rutgers University in New Brunswick took a stand against Academic Analytics on Tuesday, resolving that administrators shouldn’t use proprietary information about faculty productivity in decisions about divvying up resources among departments, or those affecting the makeup of the faculty, graduate teaching assignments, fellowships and grant writing. They also demanded to view their personal data profiles by Sept. 1. The vote was 114 to 2.

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May 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Emotionally Intelligent Law Professor: A Lesson From The Breakfast Club

Breakfast clubHeidi K. Brown (Brooklyn), The Emotionally Intelligent Law Professor: A Lesson From the Breakfast Club, 36 U. Ark. Little Rock  L. Rev. 273 (2016):

While some law review articles emphasize the importance of teaching Emotional Intelligence (EI) as part of the students' law school curriculum as a component of “professionalism,” fewer articles thus far have illuminated how professors can cultivate their own EI to become better educators. The present article aspires to provide law professors with a workable explanation of EI, and practical guidance to make EI accessible and useful in the classroom.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tax Court:  Accountant Cannot Deduct Law School Tuition

Tax Court Logo 2Santos v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-100 (May 17, 2016):

Santos earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting [from Indiana University (Bloomington)]. In 1990, he began working as a tax-return preparer. In 1995, he became an “enrolled agent”, a person authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS. In 1996, Santos earned a master’s degree in taxation [from San Francisco State University]. He began offering other services to his clients, including accounting and financial planning.

At some point Santos enrolled in law school [John F. Kennedy University College of Law]. He was attending law school in 2010. During that year, he paid tuition and fees of $20,275. He graduated from law school in 2011. In July 2011, he took the California bar examination. ... In December 2014, he was admitted to the State Bar of California and admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court.

In 2015, Santos started a law firm, Santos and Santos Law Offices, with his father. The firm performs multiple services including legal representation, tax planning, accounting, and financial planning. ...

Whether Santos is entitled to a deduction of $20,275 for his law school tuition and fees remains at issue. ...

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May 18, 2016 in Legal Education, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

As Law School Enrollments Drop, Decline In Legal Jobs Keeps Law Grads Struggling To Find Work

American Lawyer LogoThe American Lawyer:  As Supply of Law Grads Drops, More Struggle To Find Work, by Matt Leichter:

What would it take to spark an employment recovery for law school graduates?

In simple economic terms, there are just two factors at play: the demand for new lawyers and the supply of graduates. The U.S. economy is still lagging, and the legal sector hasn't improved either, so it's understandable if law grads aren't finding more and better jobs amid slack demand.

That leaves the supply side. If the number of graduates falls, then those remaining should have an easier time finding jobs, leaving fewer graduates unemployed. And even if poor demand for new attorneys limits the positions available to graduates, those who don't find work as lawyers should be able to find it elsewhere. Like musical chairs, the fewer people who play, the fewer are left standing when the music stops. This is the glass-half-full prediction for law school graduates.

Unfortunately for graduates, the employment results for the class of 2015, which the American Bar Association officially released in May, tell a different story.

Excluding the three law schools in Puerto Rico, 3,772 fewer people graduated from ABA-accredited law schools in 2015, an 8.7 percent decline from 2014. Somewhat surprisingly, the number of graduates with jobs requiring a law degree fell by nearly 2,000, equivalent to more than half the difference in graduates between the two years. ...

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May 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Students' Work Drive Positively Correlates To Their 1L Grades

Jeffrey Minneti (Seattle), Work Drive Matters: An Assessment of the Relationship between Law Students' Work-Related Preferences and Academic Performance, 42 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev. 150 (2016):

This article explores the dimensions of law students' schoolwork-related preferences and discusses an empirical assessment of those preferences. The assessment revealed two findings: (1) a positive correlation between students' schoolwork-related preferences and their first-year law school cumulative grade point average (LGPA); and (2) students' schoolwork-related preferences significantly enhanced the predictive power of the traditional law school success predictors, law students' LSAT performance and their undergraduate cumulative grade point average (UGPA).

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May 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

It's Official:  'Antonin Scalia Law School At George Mason University'

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 May 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):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

56,012

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

10,555

2

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

32,036

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

4479

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

31,056

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3702

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

26,620

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2461

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

25,850

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2366

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

22,306

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1892

7

James Hines (Michigan)

21,719

Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)

1850

8

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

21,052

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1776

9

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

20,965

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1759

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

19,768

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1747

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

18,807

Chris Hoyt (UMKC)

1688

12

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

17,814

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1683

13

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

16,933

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1670

14

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

16,913

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

1595

15

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

16,799

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1575

16

David Weisbach (Chicago)

16,768

Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)

1554

17

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

16,521

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

1545

18

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

16,385

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1482

19

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

16,016

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1428

20

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

15,862

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

1426

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

15,557

Yariv Brauner (Florida)

1387

22

David Walker (BU)

14,988

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1373

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

14,791

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1306

24

Steven Bank (UCLA)

13,314

Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)

1273

25

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

13,161

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1246

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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May 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ:  Women In Elite Jobs Face Stubborn Pay Gap

WSJWall Street Journal, Women in Elite Jobs Face Stubborn Pay Gap:

On average, American women earn less than their male peers. Highly educated women fare worst of all.

A Wall Street Journal examination of pay in 446 major occupations found that women in many elite jobs earn well below men, with professions such as doctors, compensation managers and personal financial advisers among those showing the widest earnings gaps.

Male doctors working full time earned about $210,000 annually on average for the five years through 2014, the Journal’s analysis of Census Bureau data found. Female physicians made 64% of that, about $135,000 a year. Among personal financial advisers, men took in about $100,000 while women made about $62,000.

Many white-collar jobs give substantially larger financial rewards to those logging the longest hours and who job-hop often, phenomena that limit white-collar women who pull back for child-rearing. Researchers on the topic say ingrained workplace cultures also impede women’s earnings.

The gender pay gap has become a big issue in corporate boardrooms, state capitols and the 2016 presidential campaign. Executives and policy makers are weighing ways to bridge it, with ideas such as limiting employers from asking about salary histories and attempting to create “wage transparency” by requiring employers to report salary data.

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May 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NLJ:  Law Grad Employment Rates Up, But Class Size Is Smaller

National Law Journal (2016)National Law Journal, Law Grad Employment Rates Up, But Class Size Is Smaller:

The latest law school graduate employment data from the American Bar Association show mixed results for the class of 2015.

A slightly higher percentage of graduates landed in long-term, full-time jobs that require bar passage 10 months after graduation: 59.3 percent had such jobs, compared with 57.9 percent for the previous class. But the overall number of those gold-standard law jobs declined by nearly 1,700 year-over-year. In short, the employment rate went up because of the 9 percent decline in the number of new law graduates, not because of growth in the market for new lawyers.

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May 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BakerHostetler Hires Robot Lawyer 'Ross', Ushers In Legal Jobs Apocalypse

ROSS
Built on Top of Watson, IBM's Cognitive Computer

Sputnik News, Law School Scam? $200,000 in Student Debt, Replaced by Job-Killing Robot:

Law school, the default location for America’s brightest unemployed Liberal Arts graduates and the worst decision a 20-something can make in the modern era just became an even worse bargain, if that’s possible. ...

The world’s first "artificial-intelligence attorney," touted as the newest member of white-shoe law firm BakerHostetler, threatens to spark a job-killing trend in a vocation where career prospects already frighten a terrorized workforce.

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May 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

Gold:  Reducing The Cost Of Legal Education — We Either Hang Together Or Hang Separately

HangVictor James Gold (Former Dean, Loyola-L.A.), Reducing the Cost of Legal Education: The Profession Hangs Together or Hangs Separately, 66 Syracuse L. Rev. ___ (2016):

Is a legal education worth the cost? Until just a few years ago, there was little doubt that the answer was yes. The recession that began in 2007 changed everything. The job market for entry-level lawyers suddenly collapsed. With tuition high and job prospects low, many concluded that legal education was a bad investment. This essay documents the challenges confronting legal education and advises law schools to meet those challenges by reducing the cost of a JD degree. But forces within the legal profession itself make it unnecessarily difficult to follow this advice.

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May 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Elsevier Acquires SSRN

ESSRNPress Release, Elsevier Acquires the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), the Leading Social Science and Humanities Repository and Online Community:

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today the acquisition of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Founded in 1994, SSRN is a Rochester, NY-based scholarly research preprint repository and online community. SSRN will be further developed alongside Mendeley, a London-based free reference manager and scholarly collaboration network owned by Elsevier.

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