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Friday, April 18, 2014

Oregon Provost Rejects Law Faculty's Offer to Divert Money for Pay Raises to Public Interest Jobs for Students

Following up on Tuesday's post, Oregon Law Prof Objects to Shifting Funds for Faculty Raises to Public Interest Jobs for Students:  Oregon Law Blawg, Some Information:

Oregon LogoRecently the University announced across-the-board cost of living adjustments and merit pay increases to take effect later in the year. A group of law faculty came up with the idea to divert the law school’s portion of the faculty merit pay funds to a post-graduate fellowship program for new law grads, in lieu of accepting a pay increase. Last Friday, this group brought this idea as a resolution (included below) to the regularly scheduled faculty meeting.  A wide majority of those present voted to approve the resolution—in addition, a majority of the full faculty support the resolution.

We brought the matter to the Provost and although he is supportive of our goals he cannot bend the University rules to make this creative idea happen.

April 18, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

San Francisco Launches Tax LL.M. Program

USFThe University of San Francisco School of Law is launching an LL.M. in Taxation Program beginning in August, 2014:

All classes will be held in the heart of San Francisco at USF’s downtown campus. The program is structured to provide students with a firm grounding in the major areas of taxation and prepare graduates to launch or advance careers in tax law.

Full-time faculty teaching in the USF LL.M. Program include Professor Daniel Lathrope, the E.L. Wiegand Distinguished Professor in Tax and Director of the Program; and Professor Joshua Rosenberg. Adjunct professors teaching in the Program are highly qualified, experienced practitioners in fields of tax and estate planning.

The curriculum in USF’s LL.M. in Taxation Program is wide ranging, offering both breadth as well as specialization in fields such as business taxation, international taxation, and estate planning. The program offers advanced standing for certain tax courses taken at an ABA-accredited JD institution. Merit scholarships and financial aid are also available to students applying for the inaugural class. For additional information on the Program, contact Associate Director Natascha Fastabend.

April 18, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

National Law Journal: Is Now the Ideal Time to Enroll in Law School?

Following up on yesterday's post:  National Law Journal, Theory: The Time Was Never Better to Enroll in Law School:

Is now the ideal time to enroll in law school? Steven Freedman, assistant dean for admissions at the University of Kansas School of Law, has been making the counterintuitive case that it is. In a series of posts on the law professor blog The Faculty Lounge, he argues that the relatively small number of people set to graduate with J.D.s in 2017 will mean better job prospects for those who do. In short, the supply of new lawyers will be much more closely aligned with the demand for their services than for the Class of 2013. ... “Enroll today or you will miss out on what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Freedman wrote on April 10. “Namely, the chance to graduate from law school in 2017-2018, which will likely be one of the best times ever to graduate from law school.” ...

Freedman is not the first to float this idea. University of Washington School of Law professor Ryan Calo made a similar argument in Forbes in November. And Theodore Seto, a professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, wrote a [TaxProf] blog post in June suggesting demand for legal services would grow along with the U.S. population. “...

Still, Freedman clearly struck a nerve with readers of The Faculty Lounge, many of whom disputed his findings in the comments section.  ...

Continue reading

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Malcolm Morris Named Dean at John Marshall (Atlanta)

Morris-malcolmTax Prof Malcolm Morris (John Marshall (Chicago)) has been named Dean at John Marshall (Atlanta):

A former attorney with the Internal Revenue Service's estate and gift tax division in Chicago, Morris' teaching interests include federal tax, trusts and estates and property. He is an expert on notarial law.

Morris is the director of graduate estate planning programs and associate director of graduate tax law programs at John Marshall in Chicago. He is a member of the Law School Admissions Council's board of directors and has served as an accreditation site visitor for the American Bar Association.

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

The Right Coast Joins the Law Professor Blogs Network

LPBN LogoI am delighted to announce that The Right Coast, edited by Thomas A. Smith (San Diego), has joined the Law Professor Blogs Network.  

With the support of our sponsor Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers, the Network is seeking to expand in two ways.

First, I am actively recruiting law professors to launch blogs in other areas of the law school curriculum not currently covered by the Network, including Administrative Law, Bankruptcy, Intellectual Property, National Security, Native American Law, Race and the Law, and Trial Advocacy.

Second, I am actively recruiting law professors to affiliate their existing blogs with the Network, like Tom Smith's The Right Coast, Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings, and Doug Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy.

The Network offers law professors the premier blogging platform and the opportunity to share in growing sponsorship and advertising revenues. For more information about these opportunities, see here.

April 16, 2014 in About This Blog, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Legal Education Roundup

April 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Pepperdine Faculty Member

Haugen SkeelOne of the joys of being a faculty member at Pepperdine is the opportunity to spend time with wonderful visitors who come to the law school because of its unique mission.  Today is a great illustration, as we welcomed Gary Haugen (President & CEO, International Justice Mission) and David Skeel (S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School):

Gary Haugen is here again this week teaching a short course and graciously hosted a breakfast this morning with faculty and students.  He talked about how he came to found International Justice Mission and the incredible work the organization is doing to protect the poor in the developing world from violence.  He also discussed his new book, The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence (2014):

Haugen BookBeneath the surface of the world’s poorest communities, common violence — including rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse and other brutality — has become routine and relentless. And like a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path, the unchecked plague of violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development.

How has this plague of violence grown so ferocious? The answer is terrifying and startlingly simple: There’s nothing shielding the poor from violent people. In one of the most remarkable — and unremarked upon — social disasters of the last half century, basic public justice systems in the developing world have descended into a state of utter collapse.

Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros offer a searing account of how we got here and what it will take to end the plague. Filled with vivid, real-life stories and startling new data, The Locust Effect is a gripping journey into the streets and slums where fear is a daily reality for billions of the world’s poorest, where safety is secured only for those with money, and where much of our well-intended aid is lost in the daily chaos of violence.

While their call to action is urgent, Haugen and Boutros provide hope, a real solution, and an ambitious way forward. The Locust Effect is a wake-up call: Its massive implications will forever change the way we understand global poverty and will help secure a safe path to prosperity for the global poor in the 21st century.

Throughout my life I’ve seen firsthand that while talent, ambition, and hard work are distributed equally among all people around the world, many face challenges each day simply surviving. The Locust Effect is a compelling reminder that if we are to create a 21st Century of shared prosperity, we cannot turn a blind eye to the violence that threatens our common humanity. Bill Clinton Former U.S. President

This crucial study carefully documents the fundamental truth that the end of poverty demands the end of violence. Both fascinating and important, Gary Haugen's book is a moving demonstration that is at once fact-filled and highly readable — a truly unusual combination. Laurence H. Tribe Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

Gary Haugen and IJM are waking up the social consciences of the worldwide Church, even as they have shown the international human rights community why the end of poverty requires the end of violence caused by the widespread failure of justice systems in the developing world. In this important book, Haugen continues to do both. Tim Keller Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York Cit

David Skeel delivered the annual Brandeis Lecture this afternoon for faculty and students on The Justice Paradox, in True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of a Complex World (2014):

True ParadoxEvery system of thought gives rise to ideas about justice and the kind of legal code that can foster a just social order. As different as they are, these legal codes have one very odd thing in common: their advocates insist they will ensure a just social order, yet the legal codes always fail. Whether it is the Mosaic law, the Napoleonic Code or the Soviet Union, legal codes are rolled out with great optimism about their capacity to ensure justice, but they never succeed. This is the justice paradox.

Unlike any other religion or system of thought, Christianity rests on a story whose hero is murdered by legal process. In the narrative of his arrest, trial and execution, Jesus encounters two of the finest legal systems the world has ever known, the Old Testament legal system and Roman law. Both fail. A clearer picture of the limits of law’s capacity would be hard to imagine.

Christians do not believe that we should take no interest in justice. Quite to the contrary, the Christian teaching that each of us is made in the image of God inspired William Wilberforce’s campaign to end England’s slave trade and served as the foundation for the modern movement for international human rights. But Christianity explains why the belief that we can be saved by the right legal system is both persistent and deeply mistaken

I am delighted to join a group of faculty this evening for dinner with David.

Of course, it is not quite paradise at Pepperdine today:  we have two faculty meetings, and it is an unusually warm day (by Malibu standards).

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

Oregon Law Prof Objects to Shifting Funds for Faculty Raises to Public Interest Jobs for Students

UO Matters:  UO Law School Prof Angry About Plan to Use His Raise for Student Fellowships:

Oregon LogoSeveral members of the law school email lists (which included staff, secretaries etc.) have forwarded these two emails from professor Rob Illig (Law) about a plan apparently floated by Law Dean Michael Moffitt (paid $292,800 after a recent raise) to deal with the law school’s enrollment problems and US News ranking, which has fallen from #80 to #100 since Moffitt took over in 2011.

The plan? Cancel raises for the faculty, and use the money to increase student scholarships create a program to give non-profits money to hire law school graduates, boosting the employment numbers that go into the US News rank. ...

Prof. Illig's emails are reprinted below the fold, along with his follow up comments:

Continue reading

April 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Ten-Year Anniversary of TaxProf Blog

Happy 10Today marks the ten-year anniversary of TaxProf Blog (and the nineteen-year anniversary of the TaxProf Email Discussion Group).  I hope the blog has at least partially succeeded in its mission (announced in my very first post) to provide daily news and information of interest to law school tax professors and students; tax lawyers in private practice, government, nonprofits, for-profit corporations, and think tanks; accountants; and others in the tax community. 

Since acquiring 100% control of the Law Professor Blogs Network in May 2013 and undertaking a top-to-bottom re-design in July (details here), the network's traffic and advertising revenues are up nearly 100%. The network now consists of over 50 blogs, with over a over a dozen new blogs launched and existing blogs like Brian Leiter's Law School Reports and Law School Rankings joining the network.

April 15, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Nova Offers Buyouts to Law Faculty With Age + Experience > 60

NovaDaily Business Review:  Nova's Law School Offering Professors Voluntary Buyouts:

After 40 years as a law professor at Nova Southeastern University, Bruce Rogow—who has taught at the school since it first opened—delivered his final lecture last week. Rogow is one of dozens of tenured law professors to be offered buyouts by the school. ...

Nova’s NSU Shepard Broad Law Center is not the only law school to offer buyouts to professors. Several law schools around the country, including Albany Law School, Vermont Law School and University at Buffalo Law School, have offered faculty members buyouts to shore up finances as enrollment continues to drop.

At Nova, letters were sent to all 60 full-time law professors in March notifying them of the buyouts. To become eligible, professors must achieve a “point” rating of 60, which combines age and years of service. For example, Rogow is 74 and has taught at Nova for 40 years, so his score is 114.

The faculty has until May 25 to decide whether to take the buyouts, which have been capped at 20 percent of the faculty, according to Bob Jarvis, another longtime law professor. ... Gail Richmond, who has been teaching at Nova law school for 35 years, is another professor who is considering a buyout. “I might be taking it,” she said. “I’m certainly interested in it.” Because the number of professors eligible is capped at 20 percent, Richmond said she doesn’t feel the program will weed out all the experienced, senior faculty.

(Hat Tip:  Above the Law.)

April 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Donald Tobin Named Dean at Maryland

Tax Prof Donald P. Tobin (Ohio State) has been named Dean at Maryland:

Tobin (2014)Tobin comes to UMB from Ohio State University where he was the John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Professor of Law at the Michael E. Moritz College of Law. During his 13 years at the Moritz College of Law, Tobin held numerous academic appointments that include: Founding Co-Director of the Program on Law and Leadership, Associate Dean for Faculty, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Professor Tobin’s' scholarly work has earned him national recognition as a leading expert on the intersection of tax and campaign finance laws. His publications include law texts on federal income taxation and tax ethics, along with articles on campaign finance disclosure and taxation of political organizations [including, most recently, The 2013 IRS Crisis: Where Do We Go From Here?, 142 Tax Notes 1120 (Mar. 10, 2014)]. ...

Tobin has strong Maryland ties. A native of Columbia, Md., and a graduate of Oakland Mills High School, Tobin received his JD degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. He served as a legislative aide for U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), and was a staff member of the Senate Committee on the Budget specializing in tax and budget issues. He also served as an appellate staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division. Tobin is a member of the Maryland Bar, as well as the bars of the Maryland Court of Appeals, U.S. District Court for Maryland, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Hat Tip: Francine Lipman.)

April 14, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Prof Blog Traffic Rankings

Below are the updated quarterly traffic rankings by page views of the Top 50 blogs edited by law professors for 2013 (Jan. 1, 2013 - Dec. 31, 2013), as well as the percentage change in traffic from the prior 12-month period.  As I previously announced, in response to several requests and in light of the continued degrading of Site Meter, I am now including the more accurate, stable Google Analytics data in these quarterly traffic rankings (marked with an asterisk).



2013 Page Views

Change From 2012










Legal Insurrection*




Volokh Conspiracy*




TaxProf Blog*




Leiter Reports: Philosophy




Hugh Hewitt












The Incidental Economist*




Faculty Lounge




Harvard Law Corp Governance




Sentencing Law & Policy




Jack Bog's Blog




Opinio Juris*




Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog




College Insurrection*




Leiter's Law School Reports








Constitutional Law Prof Blog




Concurring Opinions




Election Law Blog








Turtle Talk




Antitrust & Comp. Policy Blog




ImmigrationProf Blog




Legal Skills Prof Blog




Workplace Prof Blog




Mirror of Justice




Religion Clause




Legal Whiteboard




Legal Profession Blog




Josh Blackman Blog*




Legal History Blog




ContractsProf Blog




White Collar Crime Prof Blog




Legal Ethics Forum




EvidenceProf Blog




Dorf on Law




CrimProf Blog




Sports Law Blog




M&A Prof Blog








PropertyProf Blog




Legal Writing Prof Blog




Nonprofit Law Prof Blog








Law School Academic Support







Adjunct Law Prof Blog



  • The rankings include all blogs edited by law professors -- both law-related and non law-related.
  • The rankings include all blogs that have publicly available Site Meters or that have emailed me a screenshot of their Google Analytics data (or granted me read-only access to their data).
  • Please email me the names of any Law Prof Blogs with traffic in 2013 that would qualify for inclusion on the list (130,795 page views). If necessary, I will re-publish the list to include all qualifying blogs.
  • Several popular Law Prof Blogs do not have publicly available Site Meters and have not sent me Google Analytics data and thus are not included on the list:  e.g., California Appellate Report, Credit Slips, The Deal Professor, Feminist Law Professors, Legal Theory, PatentlyO, Point of Law,
  • These rankings cover only those blogs edited by law professors. Other law-related blogs edited by practitioners, librarians, non-law school academics, and journalists are not included on this list:  e.g., Above the Law, How Appealing, Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
  • Members of my Law Professor Blogs Network comprise 6 of the Top 25 blogs and 21 of the Top 50 blogs.

April 14, 2014 in Blog Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Daddy's Home!

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

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Law School Matriculants by Major, LSAT, & UGPA

MajorFollowing up on Tuesday's post, College Majors That Produce the Highest (and Lowest) LSATs and UGPAs:  Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Sorting Law School Matriculants by Major, LSAT, & UGPA:

Here are the LSAT and UGPA for matriculants to law school. As with the applicants post, majors with at least 150 self-reported matriculants are included.

As before, here are the Top 10 and Bottom 10 (the full list of 37 majors is here):

Top 10


Bottom 10

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

Caron Family 2013-14 House Group

One of the joys of working at Pepperdine and living on campus is the opportunity to interact in a more intimate way with students.  In this our first full academic year at Pepperdine, my wife and I had the privilege of hosting a house group organized by the campus church and open to any undergraduate student.  Each Thursday night, my wife and I welcomed 12 undergrads into our home for dinner and fellowship.  Last Thursday was our last evening with Brianna, Christina, Samantha #1, Samantha #2, Jake, Peter, Garrett, Brooke, Jesssica, Joel, Justina, and Andrew (not pictured).  It was a great year, and we are very grateful to have had the chance to do life together with these wonderful young men and women. We undoubtedly fell short of the house group goal to create "a space so abundant in forgiveness, mercy, grace and accountability that it invites and compels honest confession and true vulnerability," but we gave it our best shot.


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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Law School Rankings: Grads With Bar Passage-Required or J.D.-Advantage Jobs

Following up on two of my previous posts:

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Legal Employment Outcomes in 2013:

[The following chart] includes the "full weight" positions as determined by U.S. News & World Report, which are full-time, long-term, bar passage-required or J.D.-advantage positions. It includes the 2015 USNWR peer score, the 2013 full-time, long-term, bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions, along with the year-over-year increase or decline in points from the 2012 rate. It then lists the raw number of students who obtained such positions, along with a parenthetical notation of how many of those positions were school-funded. The same is listed for 2012.

The full ranking of the 198 law schools is here.  The Top 20 are:


April 12, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

ABA Releases 'Bleak' Jobs Data for 2013 Law School Grads

ABA Logo 2Press Release, ABA Releases Class of 2013 Law Graduate Employment Data:

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar today released data on law graduate employment outcomes for the class of 2013. The data covers the employment status of the 2013 graduates of ABA-approved law schools as of Feb. 15, 2014, approximately nine months after spring 2013 graduation.

Law schools reported that 57% of graduates of the class of 2013 were employed in long-term, full-time positions where bar passage was required, compared with 56.2% for the class of 2012. In addition, 10.1% of graduates of the class of 2013 were employed in long-term, full-time positions where holding a J.D. provides an advantage in obtaining or performing the job, compared with 9.5% for the class of 2012.

Schools reported outcomes for 97.7% of their 2013 graduates. The size of the 2013 graduating class was the largest ever at 46,776, slightly larger than the 2012 class of 46,364. The data show both more jobs and a slightly higher percentage of graduates obtaining jobs in which a J.D. was required or considered relevant.

The ABA released this chart with aggregate data breakdowns and comparisons to the previous year, along with definitions of the various categories:

ABA Chart_Page_1

The ABA also released individual pdfs for each of the ABA-approved law schools, as well as a spreadsheet with all of the data for each of the schools.

Law School Transparency, New Law School Jobs Data Indicate Flat Entry-Level Legal Market:

The national full-time, long-term legal rate is 57.0%.

  • By definition these jobs:
    • require bar passage or are judicial clerkships; and
    • require 35+ hours per week and have an expected duration of at least one year.
  • At 64 law schools (31.8%), 50% of graduates or less had these legal jobs.
    • 33 schools (16.4%) had 40% or less;
    • 13 schools (6.5%) had 33% or less.
  • 103 schools (51.2%) exceeded the national rate of 57.0%.
    • 51 schools (25.4%) had 66% or more;
    • 21 schools (10.4%) had 75% or more;
    • 5 schools (2.5%) had 90% or more.

The national full-time, long-term legal rate, excluding jobs funded by law schools, is 55.3%.

  • The richest schools were able to hire their struggling graduates full time and long term; only 18 schools (9.0%) paid 5.0% or more of their graduates for long-term, full-time jobs that required bar passage.
    • 50% of these schools (9) were in the top 20 on the full-time, long-term rate without the benefit of the school-funded jobs; including school-funded jobs in the rate puts 67% of those schools (12) in the top 20.
    • Excluding school-funded jobs from the full-time, long-term legal rate caused all 5 schools over 90% to drop below that threshold.
  • Although the absolute number of full-time, long-term legal jobs funded by schools was relatively small (775, 2.0% of all employed graduates), there were 50% more of these jobs this year compared to last year.

Law School Transparency also released individual profiles of each law school, as well as sortable rankings for all law schools by various categories, including its "employment score" (full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, excluding self-employed solo practitioners).

Matt Leichter ranks all 201 law schools by full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, excluding law school-funded jobs.  Here are the Top 50, along with each school's U.S. News Ranking:

Percent Employed Full-Time/Long-Term Bar Passage-Required Jobs (Excluding Law-School-Funded Jobs)
 Law School (US News Rank)20122013Change
1 COLUMBIA (4) 85.3% 88.3% 3.0%
2 CHICAGO (4) 87.0% 86.5% -0.5%
3 NEW YORK UNIVERSITY (6) 79.0% 86.2% 7.2%
4 PENNSYLVANIA (7) 91.9% 85.7% -6.1%
5 DUKE (10) 84.9% 85.1% 0.2%
6 STANFORD (3) 89.0% 85.1% -3.9%
7 HARVARD (2) 84.6% 84.9% 0.4%
8 CORNELL (13) 85.3% 81.3% -3.9%
9 MICHIGAN (10) 81.7% 81.2% -0.5%
10 VIRGINIA (8) 79.7% 79.7% 0.0%
11 UC-BERKELEY (9) 85.9% 78.4% -7.5%
12 VANDERBILT (16) 71.4% 78.2% 6.7%
13 NORTHWESTERN (12) 75.9% 77.5% 1.5%
14 IOWA (27) 71.4% 76.3% 5.0%
15 TEXAS (15) 75.3% 75.1% -0.2%
16 KENTUCKY (58) 74.1% 74.4% 0.3%
17 YALE (1) 77.0% 74.4% -2.6%
18 NEW MEXICO (72) 67.2% 73.7% 6.5%
19 GEORGETOWN (13) 66.8% 72.4% 5.6%
20 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (Tier 2) 52.3% 72.1% 19.7%
21 ALABAMA (23) 77.3% 71.7% -5.6%
22 SMU (42) 75.1% 70.9% -4.2%
23 NOTRE DAME (26) 65.3% 70.7% 5.3%
24 BAYLOR (51) 67.1% 70.5% 3.4%
25 FLORIDA STATE (45) 66.4% 69.6% 3.2%
26 NEW HAMPSHIRE (93) 60.9% 69.2% 8.3%
27 MONTANA (121) 61.0% 69.1% 8.2%
28 SETON HALL (68) 65.8% 68.9% 3.1%
29 GEORGIA (29) 69.4% 68.4% -1.1%
30 MINNESOTA (20) 64.3% 68.2% 3.9%
31 SOUTH CAROLINA (93) 70.4% 68.2% -2.2%
32 ARKANSAS, FAYETTEVILLE (61) 70.5% 68.2% -2.3%
33 NORTH CAROLINA (31) 67.6% 68.1% 0.6%
34 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON (24) 68.0% 67.8% -0.2%
35 LSU (72) 76.7% 67.4% -9.3%
36 WYOMING (129) 56.0% 67.1% 11.1%
37 COLORADO (43) 51.4% 67.0% 15.6%
38 SOUTH TEXAS (146) 71.4% 67.0% -4.4%
39 OHIO NORTHERN (Tier 2) 59.4% 66.7% 7.3%
40 UCLA (16) 70.0% 66.6% -3.4%
41 OKLAHOMA CITY (Tier 2) 53.6% 66.5% 12.8%
42 FLORIDA (49) 56.8% 66.4% 9.6%
43 OKLAHOMA (58) 66.5% 66.3% -0.2%
44 NEBRASKA (54) 65.6% 66.1% 0.5%
45 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY (18) 67.0% 66.0% -1.0%
46 MERCER (104) 72.5% 65.6% -6.9%
47 UC-DAVIS (36) 60.9% 65.3% 4.4%
48 TENNESSEE (72) 65.2% 65.3% 0.1%
49 LOUISVILLE (87) 66.9% 64.8% -2.1%
50 BYU (36) 63.3% 64.6% 1.4%

Seventeen schools ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. News are ranked outside the Top 50 for full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, excluding law school-funded jobs:

Employment Rank

Law School

US News Rank





Boston College









George Washington






Arizona State



Boston University






Ohio State









Wake Forest



Washington & Lee



William & Mary








Press and blogosphere coverage:


April 10, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

NY Times: Elite College Acceptance Rate Hits All-Time Low

New York Times:  Best, Brightest and Rejected: Elite Colleges Turn Away Up to 95%:

Enrollment at American colleges is sliding, but competition for spots at top universities is more cutthroat and anxiety-inducing than ever. In the just-completed admissions season, Stanford University accepted only 5 percent of applicants, a new low among the most prestigious schools, with the odds nearly as bad at its elite rivals.

Deluged by more applications than ever, the most selective colleges are, inevitably, rejecting a vast majority, including legions of students they once would have accepted. Admissions directors at these institutions say that most of the students they turn down are such strong candidates that many are indistinguishable from those who get in. ...

Stanford received 42,167 applications for the class of 2018 and sent 2,138 acceptance notices, for a first-year class that, ultimately, will number about 1,700.

The University of California, Los Angeles, the national leader in applications, had more than 86,000 requests — twice as many as in 2005 — for space in a first-year class of about 6,000, and it also received 19,000 applications to transfer from other colleges and universities. This year, for the first time, the admission rate for first-year applicants at UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley, could drop below 20 percent. ...

This was the second year in a row that Stanford had the worst odds of admission among top colleges, a title that in previous years was usually claimed by Harvard. This year, by the April 1 deadline for most colleges to send admission notices, Harvard and Yale had accepted about 6 percent of applicants, Columbia and Princeton about 7 percent, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago about 8 percent.

Several universities, including Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania, had admission rates this year that were less than half of those from a decade ago. The University of Chicago’s rate plummeted to a little over 8 percent, from more than 40 percent.

The most competitive small colleges draw comparably accomplished applicants, but far fewer of them relative to their size, so their admission rates are higher. Even so, the acceptance rates at Pomona, Amherst, Harvey Mudd, Bowdoin, Claremont McKenna, Swarthmore, Middlebury, Williams and others were between 10 and 20 percent this year.

April 9, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Great April Fool's Prank on Professor

Economics Professor Stephen Barrows (Aquinas College) has a strict cell phone policy:  if a student's phone rings in class, the student must answer on the speaker.  Check out what happened in his class on April 1:

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Muller: College Majors That Produce the Highest (and Lowest) LSATs and UGPAs

MajorDerek Muller (Pepperdine), The Best Prospective Law Students Read Homer:

Several years ago, Professor Michael Nieswiadomy (North Texas) released a paper (available on SSRN) [blogged here] on the LSAT scores of economics majors. I thought I'd make some inquiries with LSAC for some data on this subject to follow up.

I asked for all data of 2013 applicants and matriculants to law school. Applicants self-identified one of 142 majors; they could select more than one if they so desired. I obtained the median LSAT scores, and the median GPA scores, for these groups. ...

As you can see, the best prospective law students were the Classics majors. Even though there were just 190 of them, they achieved a 159.8 LSAT and a UGPA of 3.477--the highest in both categories. ... The chart below includes the comprehensive list of all majors with at least 150 applicants, sorted by LSAT score. Some very small majors (e.g., Art History, Music, and Policy Studies) scored quite well. ... Among those majors with at least 1000 takers, the top major was Philosophy, followed by Economics, History, English, and Political Science.

Here are the Top 10 and Bottom 10 college majors by LSAT and GPA (the full list of 46 majors is here).

Derek 1


Derek 2

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

Bias, Retaliation Lawsuit by Former Profs Against Atlanta's John Marshall Law School Is Headed for Trial

John MarshallNational Law Journal:  Former Professors' Lawsuit Headed for Trial: Two Ousted Professors Accused Atlanta's John Marshall Law School of Discrimination and Retaliation, by Karen Sloan:

A racial discrimination and retaliation case brought against Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School by two former professors has survived a motion for summary judgment.

U.S. District Judge William Duffy Jr. on Monday ruled that the claims of breach of contract, bad faith, racial discrimination and retaliation could proceed. However, he wrote that his denial of summary judgment to John Marshall was “difficult and close.”

“The claims and factual content supporting them are just sufficient to survive,” Duffy wrote. “They were allowed largely because of the conflicting and inconsistent testimony, and other evidence offered by the defendant. In the end, while the claims are nominally viable, they ultimately will have to be evaluated by a jury.” ...

Pinder 2Plaintiffs Kamina Pinder, an African-American woman, and Scott Sigman, a white man, were informed by the law school in March 2011 that their yearlong teaching contracts would not be renewed. Neither were tenured. They filed suit in 2012.

Pinder claimed discrimination and retaliation because of her race and because she had aired her views that the law school had a history of giving minority women the least desirable teaching assignments and of discouraging them from seeking tenure.

Sigman alleged he was fired for raising concerns about unfair grading practices against white students and the administration’s handling of personnel matters. Both plaintiffs alleged the law school violated its internal policies in their dismissals.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

April 8, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Faculty Salaries Increased 2.2% in 2013-14

AAUP, Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2013-14:

AAUPThe left side of table 1 provides the percentage change in average salary, which is a measure of the increase in the salary paid for a given faculty position rather than in the earnings of individual faculty members. The bottom row of the table indicates that the average salary for a full-time faculty member increased by 2.2 percent this year at those institutions that responded to the AAUP survey for the last two years. The table provides percentage change in the figures for the four upper faculty ranks at each type of institution surveyed and illustrates the variation among the different institutional categories and faculty ranks. As has been the pattern for a number of years, the increase at private-independent institutions overall was higher than that at public institutions, due almost entirely to the disparity in the salary change in doctoral universities for those two sectors. ...

The right side of table 1 presents a measure of changing salaries that is unique to the AAUP survey: the average change in salary paid to a continuing faculty member who has remained in his or her position at the same institution from the previous year. The percentage increases reflected in the table could be thought of as the “average raise” an individual faculty member received this year, and those figures include increases from all sources: promotions, merit raises, and across-the-board salary adjustments. In the aggregate table, all the figures are positive this year, meaning that salaries rose on average—but that is certainly not the case at every institution. The “bottom-line” overall average increase for continuing faculty members this year was 3.4 percent, and the pattern by type of institution was similar to that observed in average salaries. The continuing faculty figure is almost always higher than the overall increase in average salary, since the former includes only faculty members who have added a year of experience. The broader figures from the left side of the table reflect the continuous churning of faculty members through positions, as senior faculty members depart and are most often replaced by faculty members at lower salaries, keeping the overall averages down.

Table 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

April 7, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Law Schools With the Highest (Yale, 81%) and Lowest (UC-Davis, 11%) Yields

U.S. News 2015U.S. News & World Report, 10 Law Schools Where Accepted Students Usually Enroll:

The number of students applying to law school continues to decline – according to a March report from the Law School Admission Council – but among those accepted, many students tend to favor enrolling at certain institutions.

The rates at the 10 schools with the highest yield rates ranged from 42 percent to 80.6 percent for fall 2013 first-year, full-time and part-time J.D. entering students. At these schools, an average of about 383 students were accepted and, on average, 52.3 percent of accepted students enrolled....

US News Rank
Yale 247 199 80.6% 1
Harvard 858 568 66.2% 2
BYU 217 139 64.1% 36
New Mexico 258 120 46.5% 72
Southern 487 224 46% RNP
Stanford 392 179 45.7% 3
UMKC 383 172 44.9% 104
North Dakota 189 83 43.9% 129
Indiana-Ind 533 227 42.6% 87
UNLV 269 113 42% 83

University of California—Davis had 11.2 percent of accepted students enroll, the lowest percentage of accepted students according to the survey data. Of the 10 schools where most accepted students did not enroll, the average yield was just 12.7 percent, and the average number of accepted students was about 1,298.

April 7, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

ESPN 30 for 30: The Law School Gunner (by Notre Dame Law Students)

30 for 30ESPN 30 for 30: The Law School Gunner (by Notre Dame law students):

This short mockumentary takes a look at the mythos and realities of the law school gunner, a stock character in all law schools. A parody of the ESPN 30 for 30 series of films. Produced by students at Notre Dame Law School, and featuring members of the JD classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016. 

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

April 7, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Farewell, My Friend

Diet CokeAfter many years of nagging encouragement by my wife, I have reduced my Diet Coke consumption by 75%, and am well on the way toward my 100% goal.  I did not realize the full impact of my decision:

Wall Street Journal, The Diet Soda Business Is in Freefall:

A nearly decade-long decline in U.S. carbonated soft drink sales accelerated last year as more Americans turned their backs on artificially sweetened diet sodas, according to data published Monday.

The drop-off is a mounting problem for industry giants Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which have long depended on zero-calorie sodas to make up the difference as Americans became increasingly concerned about the health effects of sugared drinks.

Overall soda volumes fell an estimated 3% in 2013, the ninth straight yearly contraction and more than double the 1.2% decline in 2012, according to Beverage Digest. ...

Sales volumes of full-calorie Coke, the top-selling U.S. soda, slipped 0.5% last year but Diet Coke plunged 6.8%, according to Beverage Digest. ... Coca-Cola Co., whose soda brands also include Sprite and Fanta, increased its market share of U.S. carbonated soft drinks to 42.4% from 42.0% in 2012, according to Beverage Digest. PepsiCo, which also counts Mountain Dew among its brands, slipped to 27.7% from 28.1%. Dr Pepper Snapple's share inched up to 16.9% from 16.8%.

Beverage giant Coke is far more exposed to soda than chief rival PepsiCo, which also has a huge snacks business. About 60% of Coke's U.S. revenue comes from soda, compared with roughly 25% at PepsiCo. The bulk of Dr Pepper's sales are also tied to soda.

Diet Coke 2

April 6, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (40)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

NY Times: Brooklyn's Bold Move to Reduce Merit Scholarships to Survive the Law School Crisis

MeritFollowing up on Thursday's post, Brooklyn Law School Cuts Tuition by 15%:  New York Times, A Bold Bid to Combat a Crisis in Legal Education, by James B. Stewart:

Brooklyn Law School is hardly alone in facing a crisis in legal education. Five law schools have closed in the last two years, more than at any other time in American history.

But this week, it announced that it was taking some unusually bold steps to confront the crisis: The school is cutting tuition and abandoning what has become a widespread obsession with climbing the ladder of national law school rankings. ...

A few other schools are experimenting, but few, if any, have taken the comprehensive steps that Brooklyn Law School is adopting. Brooklyn will hold tuition at its current level — $1,800 a credit, or $53,850 a year — for the class entering this fall. Next year, it will introduce an across-the-board 15 percent cut in tuition. It is also reducing some kinds of merit aid, increasing need-based aid and offering a curriculum that allows some students to graduate in two years rather than the standard three. “It’s still expensive, and I wish we could do more,” Mr. Allard said.

The move will be closely watched by other law schools. “I really admire what they’re doing,” Brian Tamanaha, author of the groundbreaking book “Failing Law Schools” and a law professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, said of Brooklyn Law School. “If we all did this, it would be so much better than the current situation. Everyone is fighting for their own economic survival.” ...

The riskiest of Brooklyn’s moves isn’t likely to be the headline tuition cut, but the accompanying reduction in merit aid. Merit aid is really a tuition discount for the most qualified students. Law schools (not to mention colleges and universities generally) speak in terms of “net” tuition revenue, since so few students pay the list price. And as the competition for the best students — or even average students — from a rapidly dwindling pool of applicants has intensified, law schools’ net tuition revenue has been in steep decline.

As Professor Tamanaha points out, the result of so much merit aid is that students with lower test scores and weak academic records receive little or no merit aid and take on the biggest debt. Those are the very students who are least likely to perform well at law school, pass the bar and get jobs after graduation, but they end up subsidizing the best students — those least likely to need the assistance. “It’s bizarre,” Professor Tamanaha said. “Law schools nationwide could immediately drop tuition by one-third if we cut out merit scholarships.”

Brooklyn isn’t quite going cold turkey. “We’ll be much more selective about merit scholarships,” Mr. Allard said, but the school will still award scholarships “for people with impressive G.P.A.s who have demonstrated they are well prepared for success in law. LSAT scores don’t figure in this.”

The risk for Brooklyn Law School, or for any school trying to break ranks by reducing merit aid, is that their rivals will pick off the best applicants with better offers and they’ll drop in the U.S. News rankings, which rely heavily on average test scores and grade point averages.

April 5, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Ethics of Law School Merit Scholarships

MeritForbes:  The Ethics of Law School Merit Scholarships, by Michael Krauss (George Mason):

What can be wrong with giving scholarships to the meritorious?  A meritorious society is a just society, right?  Giving money according to “worth” seems way better, ethically, than giving to the well-connected, or to those of a favored race or religion, right?

Well, maybe.  But then again, sometimes maybe not.

The problem of law school merit scholarships is a complicated and nuanced one, especially for those who have not considered it at length.  In brief, here are five background points underlying the ethical conundrum I will subsequently sketch out:

  1. Law Schools, like car dealerships, have list prices for their wares.  ... 
  2. But in reality not everyone pays list price. ... Law Schools always want to attract the “best” students, and one way to attract them is to price discriminate, i.e., to offer discounts from list.
  3. U.S. News and World Report rankings are so influential that they have become the cart driving the law school admissions horse. USNWR has homogenized our understanding of student value. ... The higher the median LSAT and GPA scores of the admitted student body, the higher a law school’s ranking will be. ... Rising ranking thus stimulates a “virtuous circle” while falling ranking leads to a “vicious circle” that, if left unattended, can result what some fear to be a “death spiral.”  Buying better students is one attempt to move from a vicious circle to a virtuous one.
  4. Today, law jobs are quite hard to come by for many law school grads, and law school tuition as risen so high during the boom years that many grads are saddled with student loans they have great difficulty repaying.  ...
  5. In our increasingly meritorious nation, the cream has often already risen to the top.  The wealthy tend to be smarter and better educated than the poorer – and they tend to have children who are smarter and better educated than are the children of poorer parents.

These five factors play out in predictable ways.  At super-elite law schools (Yale/Harvard/Stanford, etc.), virtually all students have stellar LSAT and GPA scores.  Those with such scores are willing to pay list price for the experience, the contacts and the credential these Brahmin schools provide – and these schools can therefore eliminate merit scholarships and admit selectively based on criteria other than LSAT and GPA.  [Did you rise from humble beginnings?  Did you overcome your physical handicap and climb Everest, writing a Pulitzer-winning account of your exploit?]  But at most schools, merit scholarships will be offered to the high LSAT and GPA scorers among applicants to that school.  Most schools must pay to lure those scorers away from other, equally or possibly higher-ranked schools that are bidding for their attendance.  And those merit scholars will tend to be more intelligent and from tonier zip codes than lower-ranked admittees to the same law school. ...

The upshot of all this is that, at most law schools, price discrimination results in poorer, less well-educated students “subsidizing” (paying higher tuition than) richer, better-educated students.  For their subsidy, poorer students are penalized a second time at graduation – because the subsidized richer students will tend to finish at the top of the class and get better paying jobs, while the poorer students will find it harder and harder to find employment to pay for their higher student loans.  Thus are  “list price” payers made to seem to be chumps over and over again, while the recipients of merit scholarships laugh, as it were, all the way to the bank.

This looks in many ways like a classic regressive tax. ...

Law professors are, for the most part, lawyers, and we are bound ethically to make access to our profession accessible to qualified and interested people.  Have we done this by setting up a system that transfers resources from the more to the less needy? If so, perhaps we need to rethink what we are doing.

April 5, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Diversity and Disgrace: How the U.S. News Law School Rankings Hurt Everyone

DiversityAnthony E. Varona (American), Diversity and Disgrace – How the U.S. News Law School Rankings Hurt Everyone, N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change Blog (Apr. 3, 2014):

U.S. News and World Report recently released its law school rankings and, as happens every year, readers have focused almost exclusively on the many extreme fluctuations in ranks. ... Instead, or in addition, we should be asking more probing questions, like: Does the U.S. News measuring stick itself measure up? Is it measuring the right things? And what effects have the U.S. News rankings had on legal education and society itself? ...

[I]n light of how valuable diversity among students is to legal education, you might be wondering how much weight U.S. News devotes to student diversity in rating America’s law schools. Ten percent? Fifteen?

The answer is …  zero. The U.S. News ranking methodology ignores student diversity altogether in calculating the rankings. It treats a law school with little diversity as virtually indistinguishable from a very diverse school where pedagogically rich exchanges like those above abound.

For a variety of reasons, the average underrepresented minority student tends to have lower GPA and LSAT scores -- the myopic academic credentials that U.S. News “counts” -- than his or her White, nonminority counterpart. So, it is easy to see how schools that trade student diversity for higher numbers tend to move up in the U.S. News ranks. By contrast, schools that refuse to sacrifice diversity pay a big U.S. News price for pursuing what most educators agree is best for all our students. U.S. News actually rewards less diverse schools for admitting less diverse classes, and altogether ignores the clear learning advantages at the more diverse schools.

It is no secret that law schools have gone as far as admitting much smaller and significantly more homogenous first-year classes, and then letting many more students in through the 2L transfer “back door” (where U.S. News’s methodology does not look), thereby hiding the true credentials of their students from the magazine and artificially inflating their U.S. News ranksU.S. News does nothing to stop schools from engaging in this obvious manipulation. ...

Since U.S. News goes so far as to provide diversity data separately from the main rankings, why does it not reward schools that are more diverse than others by incorporating a diversity score in the rankings themselves? Mr. Morse insists that doing so would be difficult. ...

The sad truth is that the U.S. News law school rankings have hurt, and not helped, American law students, the legal profession and, thus, society as a whole. The U.S. News rankings have resulted in the denial of a quality legal education to minority law school applicants with great promise and drive but modest, rankings-unfriendly credentials. It has kept deserving students with great potential in the legal profession outside the doors of quality law schools and the profession itself by encouraging restrictive admissions policies geared more towards gaming the rankings than doing what is right societally, and what is best pedagogically. ...

Continue reading

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

Weekly Tax Roundup

LegalED: Igniting Law Teaching -- A TEDx-Styled Conference

LegaledLegalED hosts its first conference today on Igniting Law Teaching! (webcast):

The conference theme – Igniting Law Teaching – responds to the calls for reform of legal education. This theme was selected so that we could create a forum for professors experimenting with cutting edge technologies and techniques in law teaching with the goal of spreading their ideas to the broader community. We see the conference as a way to showcase professors who are leaders in teaching innovation and to inspire innovation by others as well.

This conference will be unlike other gatherings of law professors. Here, talks will be styled as TEDx Talks, with each speaker on stage alone, giving a well scripted and performed talk about an aspect of law school pedagogy. The goal is to create a collection of short, 10-minute videos on law school-related pedagogy that will inspire innovation and experimentation by law professors around the country to bring more active learning and practical skills training into the law school curriculum. The videos will be available for viewing by the larger academic community on LegalED, a website developed by a community of law professors interested in using online technologies to facilitate more active, problem-based learning in the classroom, in addition to more assessment and feedback.

Michele Pistone, (Villanova), Why Law Schools Need to Change

Panel #1:  Flipping the Law School Classroom

  • William Slomanson (Thomas Jefferson), hy Why Flip? and Macro Design
  • Jennifer Rosa (Michigan State), Legal Writing on Steroids: The Art of Flipping Your Classroom
  • Debora L. Threedy (Utah), Flipping Contracts: The Making of the Videos
  • Wes Reber Porter (Golden Gate), A Better Class to Class Process to Accompany Flipping
  • David Thomson (Denver), Move 1L Online

Panel #2:  Using the Classroom for Active Learning

  • Jamie R. Abrams (Louisville), The Socratic Method, Revisited
  • Erika L. Wood (New York Law School), Borrowing from the Skills Classroom to Teach Doctrine
  • Jeremiah Ho (UMass), Not Your Father’s Case Method: Bringing Skills into Doctrinal Courses
  • Victoria Duke (Indiana Tech), Bringing Exercises in Large Classes
  • Enrique Guerra-Pujol (Barry), Using Film to Teach Torts
  • Victoria Szymczak (Hawaii), Using Video to Convert Student into Teachers

Panel #3:  Applying Learning Theory to LegalEDucation

  • Leah Wortham (Catholic), Graduating Them Whole Not Broken
  • John P. Joergensen (Rutgers-Newark), Scaffolding
  • Paul D. Callister (UMKC), The Metacognition Imperative: Beyond Research Training
  • Warren Binford (Willamette), How to Be the World’s Worst Law Professor
  • Jeffrey B. Ritter (Georgetown), Mapping the Law: Building and Using Visual Mindmaps in Legal Education

Panel #4:  The Craft of Law Teaching

  • Sharon Keller (District of Columbia), Old Professor Tricks
  • Kim Hawkins (New York Law School),  What Law Professors Need to Know About Visual Arts
  • Jill A. Smith (Georgetown), Going Hollywood on your Desktop: Creating Great Screencasts
  • Doni Gewirtzman (New York Law School), Teaching and Theater: The Craft of Law Teaching
  • Leah A. Plunkett (New Hampshire), An Improviser’s Guide to Law Teaching

Luncheon Address:  Leo Martinez (UC-Hastings; President, AALS)

Panel #5:  Simulations, Feedback, & Assessment

  • Shawn Marie Boyne (Indiana-Indianapolis), Disaster in the Classroom: Using Simulations to Teach National Security Law
  • Renee Nicole Allen (Florida A&M), Metacognition and the Value of Reflection in Learning
  • Michele Gilman (Baltimore), Why Use Clickers? To Provide Students Real Time Feedback
  • Sydney Beckman (Lincoln Memorial), Using Technology For Engagement and Assessment
  • Margaret Hahn-Dupont (Northeastern), Learning Through Reflection and Self-Assessment

Panel #6:  Beyond Traditional Law Subjects

  • John M. Bickers (Northern Kentucky), Using a Wok:  How Non-Bar Tested Electives Can Teach Lawyering
  • Susan L. Brooks (Drexel), The ABCs of Communication for Teaching Relational Lawyering and Resilience
  • Ryan Dooley & Allison Robbins (CUNY ), The Law School as a Classroom
  • Vicenç Feliú (Villanova), Clinics and Librarians Collaborating
  • Elizabeth Keyes (Baltimore), Teaching Narrative
  • James G. Milles (SUNY-Buffalo), Returning the Client to Legal Education
  • Emmeline Paulette Reeves (Richmond), Teaching with the End (Bar Passage) in Mind

Panel #7:  Teaching for the 21st Century

  • Dan Jackson (Northeastern), Designing Lawyers: Leading an Experiential Law School Design Lab
  • Jay Gary Finkelstein (DLA Piper), Get Real!: Using Experiential Learning and Collaborative Teaching to Train ‘Practice Aware’ Lawyers
  • Christine P. Bartholomew (SUNY-Buffalo), Finding Tim
  • Jeanne Eicks (Vermont), Game On! Educational Games for Law Students
  • Brett Johnson (Harvard), H2O: Remixing the Casebook

April 4, 2014 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Brooklyn Law School Cuts Tuition by 15%

Brooklyn LogoIn the wake of steep enrollment declines, a downgrade of its bonds, and the sale of six of its student dormitories, Brookyln Law School has announced a 15% cut in tuition (from $53,850 to $45,850) beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.  From the Wall Street Journal:

[Dean] Allard said applications to Brooklyn Law "have experienced a decline" since before the recession, but he did not cite numbers. He said the tuition cuts were enabled by a number of cost-saving measures, including a 15% cost-cutting goal among senior managers last year and a reduction of some staff salaries. A spokesman for the school also cited donations and sales of real estate as factors.

April 3, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Named Dean of Belmont Law School

Gonzales 2Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been named Dean of Belmont University College of Law, effective June 1:

Judge Gonzales joined Belmont Law in 2012 as the then-newly established Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law and has taught courses in Constitutional Law, Separation of Powers, National Security Law and First Amendment Law. His appointment to dean was approved by the College of Law faculty prior to the announcement. As dean Gonzales will serve as the chief academic and executive officer for Belmont’s College of Law and will be responsible for the programmatic leadership, financial management, personnel administration and planning and development for the College.

After attending the United States Air Force Academy, Alberto Gonzales graduated from Rice University (B.A.) and Harvard University (J.D.). Gonzales was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate as the 80th Attorney General of the United States on February 3, 2005 and served in that capacity until September 2007. Previously, he served as a partner at a major Houston law firm (Vinson & Elkins) and held positions as Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas, Secretary of State (Texas) and Counsel to the President of the United States (2001-2005) in addition to his consulting and mediation practice.

During his time in Nashville, Judge Gonzales has also served as counsel at Waller, a position he will resign to focus full-time on the College of Law.

(Hat Tip: Haskell Murray.)

April 3, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

UC-Berkeley Seeks to Hire Fellows for the 2014-15 Academic Year

UC-Berkeley (2014)UC-Berkeley seeks applications for the Darling Fellowship for the 2014-15 academic year:

Fellows must be committed to producing publishable work in public law and policy, which will help form the foundation for their entry into the job market for law teaching positions.

The Darling Fellowship is a one-year, residential, full-time position expected to run from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. Fellows are required to devote their attention to research and writing, and to contribute to the intellectual life of the law school. Fellows will assist faculty in running the public law and policy workshop and may also be invited to guest lecture or teach in other law school classes. They may also help plan a small number of events related to law and public policy and advise interested students. Berkeley Law will provide office space, an annual salary of $50,000 and benefits, and access to the UC Berkeley library system and resources for research. 

The application deadline is May 1, 2014.

April 3, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

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April 2, 2014 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hiring Star Professors Boosts Faculty Productivity

StarInside Higher Ed, Recruiting Stars Bolsters Departments' Research Productivity:

The hiring of "star" professors -- defined by their research output -- results in improvement in the research productivity of the departments they join, according a study published Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research.  The study [Why Stars Matter, by Ajay Agrawal (University of Toronto), Alexander Oettl (Georgia Institute of Technology) & John McHale (National University of Ireland)] finds that the recruitment of research stars does nothing to lift the productivity of those already in the department (and actually leads to reduced productivity of some of them). But the productivity of researchers who join the department after a star joins increases significantly -- for scholars who work in related and unrelated fields alike. The study finds that the effects are most pronounced at mid-ranked institutions.

April 2, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Muller: The Improving Job Market for California Law Grads

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Legal Employment Outcomes in California in 2013:

The USNWR methodology gives "full weight" to "graduates who had a full-time job lasting at least a year where bar passage was required or a J.D. degree was an advantage." ... Imperfect a measure as it may be, I took this metric and calculated the differences in 2012 and 2013 data for 19 California ABA-approved schools and 2 California provisionally-accredited schools. Here's what the data show. 

First, there were more graduates. Total graduates from these 21 schools increased 1.4%, from 5114 graduates in 2012 to 5185 graduates in 2013.

Second, more graduates obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required or J.D.-advantage positions. In 2012, there were 2848 who obtained such employment, for a 55.7% employment rate. In 2013, there was a 1.2 percentage point increase, with 2950 who obtained such employment for a 56.9% employment rate. ...

Third, law school funding for these types of positions tripled. There were 24 school-funded full-time, long-term bar passage-required or J.D.-advantage positions in 2012; that number jumped to 100 in 2013. Leading the way were UC-Berkeley (from 0 to 25), UCLA (from 9 to 34), USC (from 0 to 12), and UC-Davis (from 2 to 10), which accounted for 70% of the increase. ...

Below is a chart reflecting the 2012 and 2013 data, with links to the school's underlying data. It includes the 2015 USNWR peer score, the 2013 full-time, long-term, bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions, along with the year-over-year increase or decline in points from the 2012 rate. It then lists the raw number of students who obtained such positions, along with a parenthetical notation of how many of those positions were school-funded. The same is listed for 2012. ...


All 21 schools are here.

Update:   I have updated the post to reflect the data released by UC-Berkeley.

April 1, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tenure Under Fire, Law Professors Fight Back

Forbes:  Tenure Under Fire, Law Professors Fight Back:

It runs like clockwork: When businesses run into trouble, managers move to reduce salaries and expenditures. If only it were that simple for the multimillion-dollar law school industry, which is up against the wall trying to balance plummeting budgets while maintaining employees' academic freedom.

Law school deans' cost-cutting efforts are colliding with decades of strong job protections -- short of incompetence or financial emergency -- that have been granted to full-time professors. The academic ranks let out a collective sigh when the ABA decided to examine whether to jettison or curb the tenure system.

It didn't take long for some 600 tenured law professors to warn that unpopular views would be stifled if tenure were diminished and have urged that any changes to the system be scotched. Many professors fear being pushed aside for cheaper, less experienced replacements.

Law school deans, meanwhile, have been remarkably silent. As leaders of faculties, they are reluctant to side openly with efforts to undercut the job security of the people who work for them.

"There's so little likelihood of this [abolishing tenure] coming to pass that deans don't feel the need to speak out," says Deborah Rhode, director of Stanford's Center on the Legal Profession. She advocates changes in tenure as part of a broader reform package in which law schools offer various levels of education and degrees and have more flexibility on the use of adjunct professors

Any legal education overhaul, however, is likely to run at a glacial pace, and deans are acutely aware that top-notch legal educators are crucial to national law school rankings, which, in turn, attract students to their schools. At the same time, few in the tenured ranks teach the workplace-ready skills that more students are demanding as they see the low percentages of graduates finding work that requires a law degree and the considerable debt accumulated after three years of legal studies.

April 1, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 31, 2014

College Return on Investment

President 'Crushed Hopes of Law School' by Rejecting Dean Candidates Approved by Faculty

Florida Logo (GIF)Gainesville Sun op-ed:  Failed dean search delivers a terrible blow to law school, by Michelle Jacobs (Florida):

I am a tenured full professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. I came to this institution in 1993, as both the college and the university were struggling to free themselves from the legacy of southern segregation.

Between then and now, the College of Law has experienced many tumultuous moments, particularly over diversity issues. These chaotic upheavals have rarely produced anything of value for our college. The same can be said of the current fiasco created by UF President Bernie Machen's act of failing our dean search.

An article in The Sun last week did not adequately reflect the depth of the anger and embarrassment our community is experiencing as a result of the rejection of two candidates we believed provided our college with an excellent opportunity to move forward. Machen could not give any concrete explanation for why the candidates forwarded to him, particularly University of Kentucky College of Law Dean David Brennen and former ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner, could not satisfy his criteria.

In an email sent to our faculty, he stated that he made his decision after consulting "stakeholders." These "stakeholders" could not have been anyone from our community who would have worked with the new dean. We suspect that these "stakeholders" were the individuals who tried to force Alex Acosta, dean of the Florida International University College of Law, upon our faculty.

Our faculty rejected him as unsuitable. Machen was quoted as saying he wanted a "visionary" to lead the law school. Where was his concern for visionary leadership when he reappointed our current dean six years ago, despite the fact it was clear he had absolutely no coherent vision for our college?...

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March 31, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Henderson Reviews The Lawyer Bubble and Tomorrow's Lawyers

BCWilliam D. Henderson (Indiana), Letting Go of Old Ideas, 112 Mich. L. Rev. ___ (2014) (reviewing Steven Harper, The Lawyer Bubble  (Basic Books 2013) and Richard Susskind, Tomorrow’s Lawyers (Oxford University Press 2013)):

Two recently published books apply a rigorous analytical lens to the same topic — the state of the legal profession — and come to dramatically different conclusions. Yet, what is more remarkable is the fact that the authors’ analyses neither overlap nor conflict with one another. One is backward-looking and filled with regret at the legacy we have squandered (Steven Harper’s The Lawyer Bubble); the other is forward-looking and bound to inspire a mix of fear and hope among its readers (Richard Susskind’s Tomorrow’s Lawyers).

Similarly, there’s been a lot of public handwringing in recent years over the state of the legal industry, with some arguing that we are in crisis and others countering that the real problem is overzealous critics. Those looking for a common narrative to unify and lead law practitioners and students must grapple with these two important books. In this review, I suggest that arriving at such an understanding requires each of us to do something uncomfortable and unnatural — let go of old ideas.

Bill blogs about his review on The Legal Whiteboard.

March 31, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Depressing Law Student Loan News

U.S. News & World Report, Which Law School Graduates Have the Most Debt?:

The states of the 25 law schools with the highest average debt of 2013 graduates with debt:  California (10), Florida (4), New York (4), Washington, D.C. (3), Illinois (2), South Carolina (1), Vermont (1):


Law School (US News Rank)

Ave. Debt 2013 Grads With Debt

2013 Grads With Debt


Thomas Jefferson (Tier 2)




New York Law School (140)




American (72)




Cal-Western (Tier 2)




Northwestern (12)




Whittier (Tier 2)




Chicago (4)




Florida Coastal (Tier 2)




St. Thomas (FL) (Tier 2)




Miami (61)




NYU (6)




USC (20)




San Francisco (Tier 2)




Charleston (Tier 2)




Pepperdine (54)




Georgetown (13)




Catholic (107)




Golden Gate (Tier 2)




McGeorge (146)




Fordham (36)




Loyola-L.A. (87)




Columbia (4)




UC-Berkeley (9)




Vermont (129)




Stetson (93)



New America Education Policy Program, The Graduate Student Debt Review:


Wall Street Journal, Grad Students Driving the Growing Debt Burden:

 Huffington Post, Student Loan Crisis Is Making Inequality Worse: Experts:

Every month that Gregory Zbylut pays $1,300 toward his law school loans is another month of not qualifying for a decent mortgage.

Every payment toward their student loans is $900 Dr. Nida Degesys and her husband aren't putting in their retirement savings account.

They believe they'll eventually climb from debt and begin using their earnings to build assets rather than fill holes. But, like the roughly 37 million others in the U.S. saddled with $1 trillion in student debt, they may never catch up with wealthy peers who began life after college free from the burden.

The disparity, experts say, is contributing to the widening of the gap between rich and everyone else in the country. ...

Zbylut, an accountant-turned-attorney in Glendale, Calif. He's been chipping away at nearly $160,000 in student debt since graduating in 2005 from law school at Loyola University in Chicago. Now 48, the tax attorney estimates he could have $150,000 to $200,000 in a 401(k) had the money he's paid toward loans gone there.

"I'm sitting here in traffic. I've got a Mercedes behind me and an Audi in front of me and I'm thinking, 'What did they do that I didn't do?'" Zbylut said by cellphone from his Chevrolet. He's been turned down twice for the type of mortgage he needs to buy a home big enough for himself, the fiancee he would have married already if not for his debts and her 10-year-old son.

"I have more education and more degrees than my father, as does she than her parents, and yet our parents are better off than we are. What's wrong with this picture?" he said.

Matt Leichter, New America Foundation Discovers Law School Debt Disaster:

The point of the policy brief is to show that graduate and professional students are borrowing more than a few years ago and that their borrowing accounts for a large portion of total federal student loans (40 percent of the evil $1 trillion+ figure). Therefore, we should separate trends in college borrowing from post-college borrowing. As evidence, the NAF sampled a dataset of people who finished several types of graduate and professional programs in 2004, 2008, and 2012 and displayed their median, 75th percentile, and 90th percentile debt levels.

The tables the NAF provides are interesting for what they are, and along with data provided elsewhere they do show that typical grad students’ debt levels are growing more than undergrads’. However, the tables don’t really answer the questions the NAF is asking. If 40 percent of all student loans are owed by graduates and professionals, we’d want to know the distribution of that 40 percent aggregate by course of study. (How much of it went to med school students? Is it really as bad as those law school scambloggers say? Etc.) That way, we’d know if the growth seen in the tables is systemic as the NAF asserts or isolated to a handful of degree fields.

Update:  Above the Law, The Law Schools With The Most Heavily Indebted Graduates, by Staci Zaretsky:

As we’ve noted previously, going to a low-ranked law school is like “playing Russian Roulette with your financial future.” As you can see, the differences between having high debt from a T14 law school and high debt from a second-tier law school are quite stark in terms of employment outlooks. The odds aren’t on your side when you’ve got more than $180K in student debt and a less than 30 percent chance of securing employment as a lawyer. But once again, if you’re willing to bite that bullet, then by all means, please do.

March 31, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How Law Schools Goose Their U.S. News Ranking by Hiring Their Graduates

U.S. News 2015The Economist, NPR, and The Faculty Lounge report on how law schools can goose their U.S. News ranking through school-funded jobs.  Placement counts 18% in the current U.S. News methodology, and school-funded jobs are included.  William & Mary rose in the rankings this year from 33 to 24, due in large part to hiring 20.1% of the graduating class -- the second largest percentage among the 194 law schools ranked by U.S. News.  As a result, William & Mary's employed at 9 months figure (which accounts for 14% of the 18% placement weight) rose 17.2 percentage points this year, from 68.1% to 85.3%.  George Washington hired the largest percentage of their graduating class (22.6%), which helped increased their employed at 9 months rate to 91.0%; and Virginia hired the fourth largest percentage (15.1%), which helped increase their employed at 9 months rate to 97.3%.  The chart shows the impact of the school funded jobs in the two most significant placement categories:

  • Full time, long term, bar passage required
  • Full time, long term, bar passage required and J.D. advantage



G. Washington

William & Mary

FT LT Bar Required

Include School Funded  


94.9% (2)


81.0% (14)


73.5% (22)

FT LT Bar Required

Exclude School Funded


79.7% (11)


60.3% (76)


56.4% (94)

FT LT Bar Req’d + JD Advantage

Include School Funded


97.3% (1)


91.0% (9)


85.3% (18)

FT LT Bar Req’d + JD Advantage

Exclude School Funded


82.1% (17)


74.8% (49)


65.2% (99)

March 30, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Legal Education's Moment of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change

MomentsChris Ertel (Deloitte Consulting) & Lisa Kay Solomon (Innovation Studio), Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change (Simon & Schuster, 2014), reviewed by Adrian Wooldridge (Management Editor, The Economist) in the Wall Street Journal, The Best 'Strategy Meetings' Unleash Fresh Thinking and Offer Maverick Views; The Worst Are Dull, Unstructured Time-Sucks:

Anybody who has anything to do with the corporate world will be only too familiar with "strategy meetings" in which senior managers try to lift their heads above the parapets and gaze over the competitive landscape. The organizers try do everything they can to shake people out of their "default settings." They hold the meetings off-site. They tell everyone to forget about corporate hierarchies and routine agendas. They bring in outside experts to talk about industry trends. They experiment with corporate games.

And the result of all this effort? More often than not a huge waste of time. Few management techniques have produced more toe-curling embarrassment than what the authors of "Moments of Impact" call "strategic conversations." Brain-storming sessions produce airy-fairy nonsense. Attempts to abandon hierarchy generate status hierarchy. The outside experts are nothing more than cliché-mongers. As for the corporate games, the less said the better.

And yet the need for wide-ranging discussions of strategy has never been greater. Many companies confront radical challenges that cannot be dealt with by business as usual....

Mr. Ertel and Ms. Solomon make several points that ought to be obvious but are clearly not, given the number of strategic conversations that go wrong. The first is that you need to define the purpose of your meeting. Are you trying to get a broad overview of industry trends? Or are you trying to make specific decisions? The second is that unstructured meetings are as dangerous as over-structured ones. Companies that are used to having tight agendas often throw agendas out of the window when they hold off-site meetings. But unstructured "brainstorming" sessions seldom produce any light.

"Moments of Impact" is at its best on the importance of promoting different perspectives. Businesses need to look at the world through as many disciplinary lenses as possible if they are to cope with the fast-changing threats that confront them. But day-to-day corporate life is all about fences and silos. Strategic conversations give companies a chance to examine their business models from the outside—and, as the authors put it, to "imagine operating within several different yet plausible environments."

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

March 29, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Northwestern Athletes May Face Big Tax Hit From Unionization Victory

NUESPN, Players Could Get Big Tax Bill:

Northwestern football players won the right to unionize on Wednesday, but the potential tax implications alone could immediately kill the idea.

Much of what was argued in the National Labor Relations Board testimony is in direct opposition to why scholarships aren't being taxed today.

"It appears like the case brought forward by the players focused on things other than the potential tax implications," said Garrett Higgins, a partner at O'Connor Davies in the firm's Exempt Organization Tax and Advisory Services group. "The fact that the players were not considered employees in the past is essentially the reason why their scholarship or parts of it weren't taxed before. The IRS may be able to make the argument that the scholarship is really payment for services, and therefore compensation, and is now taxable to the athlete." ...

If Northwestern players did form a union and they were taxed, it's not clear exactly what they would be paying tax on. If, for example, their entire scholarship was deemed taxable, the athletes would be paying at least $15,000 in federal tax alone on the $61,000-a-year scholarship. One athletic director in a major conference, who requested anonymity, speculated that the value the players received from the training table, travel and even coaching could be taxed.

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March 28, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tax LL.M. Program Rankings by Tax Hiring Authorities

Tax TalentFollowing up on my post on the new 2015 U.S. News Tax Rankings: TaxTalent asked U.S. corporate tax hiring authorities to rank the following programs:

  • Undergraduate Accounting
  • MS Tax
  • MAcc
  • MAcc Tax
  • MBA Tax
  • JD Tax
  • LL.M. Tax

For the LL.M. Tax Survey, respondents were asked to select up to five schools (out of 31) with LL.M. Tax programs that they hold in highest regard when hiring candidates.  Respondent Profile: 144 currently employed heads of corporate in-house tax departments.

2014 LLM

For the J.D. Tax Survey, respondents were asked to select up to five schools (out of 20) with JD Tax programs that they hold in highest regard when hiring candidates.  It is a bizarre list of 20 law schools, as it omits 14 of the 15 schools ranked in tax by U.S. News (Georgetown is the only school ranked by both U.S. News and Tax Talent.) 

March 28, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Faculty Rankings | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

U.S. News Rankings: 2015 v. 2014 Changes in All 11 Categories for All 194 Law Schools

U.S. News 2015Brian Huddleston (Senior Reference Librarian, Loyola (New Orleans)) has compiled this wonderful 29-page color-coded chart showing the changes in this year's U.S. News Law School Rankings from last year's rankings in all eleven of the published U.S. News rankings categories for each of the 194 law schools:

  • Green:  school improved in category in this year's rankings
  • Red:  school declined in category in this year's rankings
  • Yellow:  school's performance in category in this year rankings is same as last year

Top 3

(Note that Brian uses 2014 to refer to the rankings released in March 2014, and 2013 to refer to the rankings released in March 2013. In usual rankings parlance, these are referred to as the 2015 rankings and the 2014 rankings.)

March 27, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Suffolk Offers Three Year J.D./Tax LL.M. Degrees

Sufolk Law SchoolSuffolk University Law School is launching a new Tax LL.M. Program in May 2015 that will permit Suffolk students to earn J.D. and Tax LL.M. degrees in three years:

The heart of the program is an intensive 12-credit, 10-week summer program that allow Suffolk Law students to obtain a tax LLM and a JD in the same three-year period (day students) or four-year period (evening students) required for obtaining only a law degree. At graduation, successful students would receive both a JD and LLM degree.

In addition to the summer session, tax LLM students must take an additional eight credits of required courses and six credits of electives.

The tax LLM program also will be available for students who have already completed law school at Suffolk or elsewhere. These students will generally need to take tax courses in addition to the intensive summer to have the same total tax law education as Suffolk students simultaneously obtaining a JD and tax LLM.

The National Jurist quotes Associate Dean Anthony Polito, Faculty Director of the Tax LL.M. Program:  "Compared to the J.D. program, the only additional classes would be those in the summer session, so law students could graduate with J.D. and LL.M. degrees for about half the cost of attending a separate LL.M. program."

Suffolk joins other law schools like Boston UniversityLoyola-L.A. Northwestern, and Washington University that offer three-year J.D./Tax LL.M. programs. Other law schools (like Georgetown, NYU, and San Diego) offer seven-semester J.D./Tax LL.M. programs.

March 27, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)