TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Law School Applicants From Top Colleges Increased 1% In 2016 (But Down 48% Since 2010)

Keith Lee, Top University Students Avoiding Law School 2017 Edition:

Back in 2013, I was the first person to notice students graduating from the top universities in the country were avoiding law school in droves. ... For the first time since 2010, the total number of graduates from the nation’s top universities increased instead of continuing to decline. From 1,916 to 1,939, a 1.20% increase. 

Top University

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March 1, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times:  Harvard Law Review Elects Its First Black Woman President

HLRUmanaNew York Times, After 130 Years, Harvard Law Review Elects a Black Woman President:

It has been 27 years since the first black man, an older student by the name of Barack Obama, was elected president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. It has been even longer — 41 years — since the first woman, Susan Estrich, was elected to the position. Since then, subsequent presidents have been female, Hispanic, Asian-American, openly gay and black.

Only now, for the first time in the history of the venerable 130-year-old journal, is the president a black woman.

ImeIme (pronounced “Ah-MAY-may”) Umana, 24, the third-oldest of four daughters of Nigerian immigrants, was elected on Jan. 29 by the review’s 92 student editors as the president of its 131st volume. ...

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March 1, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Manhire Presents Peer-Based Leadership And Effective Listening For Lawyers (And Law Professors) At Texas A&M

Following up on his previous presentation, Why Lawyers (And Law Professors) Eat Last: A Workshop On Selfless Service, Jack Manhire (Texas A&M) presented The Force Is Strong With This One: Peer-Based Leadership and Effective Listening for Lawyers at Texas A&M yesterday as part of the Professionalism and Leadership Program (PLP) and the Professionalism and Academic Workshop Series (PAWS):

Continuing the theme on “how to lead without a rank,” this presentation will teach you the Jedi mind trick of effective listening that you can use with clients, employers, colleagues, and even children and spouses. The session builds on earlier topics from Breaking Implicit Bias, Resilience, and Why Lawyers Eat Last. You will learn why most lawyers have conversations backwards and how you can build trust in record time by doing it the correct way. This is for intermediate and advanced students only, as master-level secrets will be revealed.

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March 1, 2017 in Colloquia, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Professors And Politics: What The Research Says

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Inside Higher Ed, Professors and Politics: What the Research Says:

When Betsy DeVos on Thursday accused liberal faculty members of trying to force their views on students, the new education secretary infuriated many professors — and won praise from some conservatives. Most faculty members who weighed in on social media denied the indoctrination and unfairness charges. While not disputing her assertion that they are more likely than others to be liberal, they said it was unfair to say that this meant they were indoctrinating anyone. Many conservatives who applauded DeVos said their personal experiences (or those of their children, nieces, nephews, etc.) showed she was correct.

For all the back-and-forth of traded anecdotes, there is research on these subjects — in peer-reviewed articles, books published by scholarly presses and so forth. And most of these studies reach a consensus.

Yes, professors lean left (although with some caveats). But much of the research says conservative students and faculty members are not only surviving but thriving in academe — free of indoctrination if not the periodic frustrations. Further, the research casts doubt on the idea that the ideological tilt of faculty members is because of discrimination. Notably, some of this research has been produced by conservative scholars.

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February 28, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Law Profs Debate Prevalence Of Ideological Discrimination In Faculty Hiring At Chicago-Kent, Other Law Schools

Chicago-KentFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  one current and one former Chicago-Kent law professor debate the prevalence of discrimination against conservative/libertarian candidates in law faculty hiring:

Ralph Brill (Chicago-Kent, 1961-current):

I have never seen evidence at my school, nor at any of the schools I have inspected for the ABA, of a concerted effort to bar possible hires based on their political beliefs. Several of the signers of the letter have been on our faculty in fact. I think that most of the people who seek teaching jobs tend to be liberal but only because the conservatives are much more apt to stay in law firms and move up to much more lucrative partnerships. Pay scales in law schools do not match up well against what one can earn in private practice.

James Lindgren (Chicago-Kent, 1990-96; Northwestern, 1996-current):

Response to Ralph Brill (of Chicago-Kent):

I was on the Chicago-Kent faculty from 1990-96, and served on the appts. committee for many of those years (as a member, chair, or assoc. dean serving on the committee).

Chicago-Kent had an excellent record hiring libertarians and conservatives for only about 8 years in the 1980s, essentially ending around the time I was hired in 1990. That short spurt was partly because of the efforts of Randy Barnett who pushed the school to hire on both sides of the spectrum.

Since I was hired at Chicago-Kent in 1990, Ralph, how many conservatives, libertarians—or even moderate Republicans—has Chicago-Kent hired? Ralph, how many current C-K faculty hired since 1990 do you know who voted for any of the last three Republican presidential candidates? Do you think that maybe part of the reason that Chicago-Kent’s amazing improvement plateaued in the early to mid-1990s was that it ceased to do substantial hiring on the right half of the political landscape?

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February 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

California Legislator Proposes New Law School: UC-Riverside

Ucr_logoThe Recorder, California Needs Another Law School, State Legislator Says:

One week after California’s state bar leader declared a “crisis” in legal education due in part to a decline in student applicants, a first-year lawmaker has introduced legislation endorsing the creation of a new law school at UC Riverside.

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February 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

University Of Oregon Withholds From Public Discipline Of Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz For Wearing Blackface To Halloween Party

Shurtz

Register-Guard, University of Oregon Secrecy Keeps Shroud Over Actions Related to Law Professor and Assistant Offensive Coach:

During the past four months, the University of Oregon encountered two unprecedented high-­publicity crises with its employees.

Late last year, a law professor donned a Halloween costume that included blackface for a party at her house — sparking widespread outrage and defense of free speech.

Early this year, a newly hired assistant football coach was ­arrested on drunken driving charges in downtown Eugene — drawing ­public attention to a football program that new head coach Willie Taggart was striving to resuscitate and put a happy face on.

The UO took action on both the law professor and assistant coach, but the public may never know the details, because UO ­lawyers ­maintain that the public has no right to inspect the disciplinary records of these and many other UO employees.

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February 27, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

2016 San Diego Grad Sues Twitter, Law School For $100 Million Over Parody Account That Mocked Her Pro-Trump Political Views

DehenTech Dirt, Recent Law School Grad Sues Twitter Because Someone Made A Parody Twitter Account:

Another day, another wacky legal complaint. This one, first spotted by Eric Goldman was filed by a recent law school grad, Tiffany Dehen (FacebookTwitter; LinkedIn; Instagram). She's fairly upset that someone set up a parody Twitter account pretending to be her that portrayed her in an unflattering light. So she has sued. For $100 million. And she's not just suing the "John Doe" behind the account... but also Twitter. Oh, and also the University of San Diego, because she's pretty sure that someone there is responsible for this account (she just graduated from USD's law school). Oh, and according to the exhibits that Dehen put in her own lawsuit, the account is labeled as a parody account.

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February 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Blackman:  The First Step To Addressing The Political Imbalance Of Law School Faculties Is For The AALS To Acknowledge There Is A Problem

AALS (2018)Following up on my previous posts (links below): Josh Blackman (South Texas), The First Step To Improving Intellectual Diversity, Is To Acknowledge There Is A Problem:

Debates over the lack of intellectual diversity on law school campuses usually deadlock in one of three ways. ... Fortunately, there is a way to resolve this deadlock. The American Association of Law Schools (AALS) maintains extensive records of applicants on the entry-level hiring market through the Faculty Appointments Register (FAR). With proper protections for confidentiality, scholars can systematically compare the intellectual diversity of the applicant pool, with those in fact hired for tenure-track positions. The AALS granted access to the 2007 FAR registry to Professors Trace E. George and Albert H. Yoon. Their research considered how hiring was impacted by an applicant’s race, gender, clerkship, alma mater, advance degrees, and other factors. (Among their findings, “at the intermediate call-back interview stage … women and non-whites are statistically significantly more likely to be invited for a job talk interviews,” but are “no more likely than similarly situated men and whites to get a job offer.”). George and Yoon’s important work, however, did not focus on intellectual diversity.

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February 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 26, 2017

How Not To Address Liberal Bias In Academia

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Bloomberg View: How Not to Address Liberal Bias in Academia, by Megan McArdle:

Politically, academia is about as unbalanced as Norman Bates. Attempts to justify it contain eerie echoes of a 1950s CEO explaining why blacks and women simply weren’t qualified to ever do anything more taxing than make coffee and sweep floors.

I have argued about this topic before, and I am not going to rehash. Accept, arguendo, that academia isn’t balanced. The problem is bigger in some disciplines, smaller in others, but there’s nowhere that the skew doesn’t show up to some extent. Nor is it simply caused by academia hewing to its good old empirical priors while American politics moves wildly in other directions; academia has moved sharply to the left. What should we do about it?

Well, the first thing we should consider doing is “nothing.” As a public policy choice, "nothing" is far too often undervalued — indeed, often ignored. But as I like to say, the existence of a problem does not imply the existence of a solution. It does not guarantee that any plausible cure will be better than the disease.

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February 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Supreme Court To Decide Fate Of Canada's First Christian Law School: Does Religious Freedom To Ban Student Sex Outside Of Heterosexual Marriage Trump LGBTQ Rights?

Canadian LawyerFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Toronto Globe and Mail, Supreme Court to Hear Appeals About Trinity Western University Law School:

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed Thursday to hear two appeals involving a private Christian university that demands all students sign a code of conduct forbidding sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage.

Trinity Western University has been seeking accreditation in all provinces for future graduates of its proposed law school but has faced pushback from law societies in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia over its controversial conduct code.

The Ontario and British Columbia cases, which pit religious freedom against equality rights, are now before the country’s top court.

Trinity Western’s “community covenant” or code of conduct requires students to abstain, among other things, from obscene language, harassment, lying, stealing, pornography, drunkenness and sexual intimacy “that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Critics say it discriminates against people in the LGBTQ community who are looking to enter the legal profession.

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February 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

28 Conservative/Libertarian Law Profs Demand That AALS Address Political Imbalance Of Law School Faculties

AALS (2018)Following up on my previous posts:

The Volokh Conspiracy: Our Letter to the Association of American Law Schools, by Randy Barnett (Georgetown):

Recently, the former-Provost of Stanford University, John Etchemendy, gave a speech entitled The Threat From Within in which he observed:

Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. . . . We need to encourage real diversity of thought in the professoriate, and that will be even harder to achieve. It is hard for anyone to acknowledge high-quality work when that work is at odds, perhaps opposed, to one’s own deeply held beliefs. But we all need worthy opponents to challenge us in our search for truth. It is absolutely essential to the quality of our enterprise.

As it happens, for several years, a group of conservative and libertarian law professors from a variety of law schools has quietly been urging the Association of American Law Schools, which has taken a leadership role in addressing racial and gender diversity—including by establishing a Racial Diversity Task Force in 1999—to do the same with viewpoint or political diversity. Our complaint was not limited to the gross political one-sidedness of the Annual Meeting of the AALS, but primarily concerned the gross political imbalance of law faculties—especially in such subjects as public law where viewpoint most affects a professor’s legal scholarship and teaching.

Although we were treated respectfully—and some marginal, though welcome, steps were taken this year to diversify the annual AALS program—as the following letter to the AALS explains, our requests for concrete preliminary steps to address the existing pervasive imbalance of law faculties have apparently been denied. ...

Having worked patiently behind the scenes for several years, we believe it is time to make our complaint more public. To that end, I reproduce below our joint letter to the Executive Committee–drafted by Case Western Reserve law professor George Dent, who led our effort. (I will be happy to publish in this space any reply that the AALS may wish to make.)

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February 25, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (19)

Brooklyn Dean:  Donald Trump Is Causing A Legal Education Renaissance, Just As Woodward & Bernstein Inspired A Generation To Pursue Journalism Careers

WBT

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  The Hill op-ed:  An Unexpected Trump Effect: Lawyer as Hero, by Nicholas W. Allard (Brooklyn):

Almost single handedly, President Trump has made lawyers the breakout stars in the early days of his new administration.

Legal experts in immigration and refugee law, international trade, religious freedom, and the constitutional powers of the executive branch have, seemingly overnight, become regular guests on network and cable news, quoted on front pages of national newspapers, and gained thousands of followers on social media.

Law schools can seize this moment and, like the generation inspired by Woodward and Bernstein to pursue careers in journalism, lead the renaissance in legal education that would revive a profession in need of an injection of youth, idealism, and high-tech savvy.

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February 25, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Minnesota Law Prof Francesco Parisi Accused Of Rape; His Lawyer Says Charges Are Frivolous

ParisiBrian Leiter (Chicago) has blogged the rape allegations against Minnesota law professor Francesco Parisi, whose lawyer calls the charges "frivolous":

Minneapolis Star Tribune, U Law School Prof Charged With Sex Assault, Stalking; Lawyer Said the 55-Year-Old Woman Has "Zero Evidence" of Her Accusations:

A University of Minnesota law professor engaged in years of protracted legal battles over real estate with the woman he is charged with sexually assaulting and stalking, according to court documents.

Francesco Parisi, 54, of Minneapolis, made his first appearance in Hennepin County District Court Wednesday on charges of first degree criminal sexual conduct and stalking. His bail was set at $350,000.

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February 24, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stanford Provost:  Academia Is Its Own Worst Enemy

Stanford (2016)John Etchemendy (Provost (2000-2017), Stanford), The Threat From Within:

Universities are under attack, both from outside and from within. ... But I’m actually more worried about the threat from within.

Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country — not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines — there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves.

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February 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Atticus Finch Effect: Has Donald Trump Made Attorneys (And Law Schools) Popular Again?

FT

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  My Northwest, The Atticus Effect: Has Trump Made Attorneys Popular Again?:

Kellye Testy knew perceptions had shifted when, purely by accident, she bumped into a couple of her former students while having dinner in Seattle.

Testy, dean of the University of Washington School Of Law, said the two men — now attorneys — had just arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Excited, they gushed to her that they had engineered the legal proceedings which grounded an aircraft and stopped U.S. immigration authorities from deporting legal immigrants in the hours following President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban. Then, as they loudly gabbed about the evening’s events, a surprising thing happened: The other diners broke out in applause.

“The whole restaurant was, ‘Woo hoo!’ and applauding these guys,” she recalled. “It was an amazing scene.” ...

The wave of pro-lawyer sentiment in the wake President Donald Trump’s election and subsequent executive orders and cabinet appointments has caught even the most thick-skinned, skeptical attorneys a little off-guard. ...

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February 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Iowa, North Carolina Bills Would Require 'Partisan Balance' In Faculty Hiring

Chronicle of Higher Education, Iowa Bill Would Force Universities to Consider Political Affiliation in Faculty Hiring:

Iowa’s public universities would have to base faculty-hiring decisions on applicants’ political-party affiliations under a bill pending before the State Senate’s Education Committee.

The measure, SF 288, would require the state’s three public universities to gather voter-registration data on prospective instructors and not make any hire that would cause either Democrats or Republicans on an institution’s faculty to outnumber each other by more than 10 percent. ...

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February 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

Lawyers For Adelsons, Magbanua Attack Prosecution's Case Against Their Clients In Dan Markel Murder

Markel SuspectsOrlando Sun Sentinel, 'That's What We Went to Go Kill That Man For': New Details Emerge in FSU Professor's Killing:

No one in the Adelson family has been arrested or charged in the case. The family, through its attorneys, has denied any involvement in Markel's death. "There is a reason that the police have not arrested any of the Adelsons — they weren't involved in Dan's death,” according to a statement released in August 2016 by attorneys representing the family.

David Oscar Markus, Charlie Adelson’s attorney, said Friday: “Even though Charlie wasn't involved, the prosecution has run a smear campaign against him and his family by using alternative facts created by people with quite a bit of time on their hands.” ...

Christopher DeCoste, one of Magbanua’s attorneys, said his client has done nothing wrong. "The prosecution created a theory fit for a soap opera, built a case around that preposterous plot using the wholly unreliable word of a thug as mortar, and peddled it through the media without mentioning any of the massive inconsistencies,” DeCoste said in a statement. “Before they turned Luis Rivera, a lifelong gangster, into their snitch, the threadbare circumstantial evidence wasn't even enough to arrest Katie.” ...

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February 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Racism In The Legal Academy: A Tale Of Two Law Professors

Racism In Academia (Not A Breaking Story), by LawProfBlawg (Anonymous Professor, Top 100 Law School):

This is a story of a traditional law school. It is a story I have heard many times at law professor gatherings around the country. It’s a story, which, while not true as a whole, is an amalgam of true experiences people have had being a person of color in academia. ...

As with many tragic tales, this story starts with a Dean. The Dean makes a genuine effort to promote diversity in a predominantly white faculty. The faculty’s new hire is a person of color. People of color now represent 5 percent of this school’s faculty. ...Let’s call the new hire Professor X. ...

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February 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2018 U.S. News Law School Rankings

US News 2018Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News & World Report) announced today that the new 2018 law school rankings will be released online on Tuesday, March 14 and in hard copy on Tuesday, April 11. Here is my coverage of the current 2017 law school rankings:

February 21, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will Trump Make Legal Infrastructure Great Again?

Rules for a Flat WorldPaul Lippe (ABA Legal Rebels), Will Trump Make Legal Infrastructure ‘Great Again’? (reviewing Gillian Hadfield (USC), Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy (Oxford University Press, 2016)):

President Donald Trump says he wants to ‘make America great again,” in part by investing in upgrading our “obsolete” infrastructure. University of Southern California law professor Gillian Hadfield has a proposal that may not be on the top of the president’s list. ...

To the extent that law schools concern themselves primarily with legal theory, they tend to operate in a self-contained echo chamber, with less influence over the profession and society and less opportunity to test those theories against reality to make them more powerful. Medicine and other fields have moved much more strongly to an evidence-based model, with faster learning, less hierarchy and faster practice improvement.

Hadfield is one of the most consequential legal scholars doing evidence-based work. Her recent book ... is a must-read for lawyers trying to see the whole landscape of the legal New Normal.

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February 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Syracuse's Secret Sauce For Its Outperformance On NY Bar: Tougher 1L Curve And Readmit Policy, Mandatory Bar Courses

Syracuse Logo (2016)I previously have blogged Syracuse's over-performance on the New York State Bar Exam: although Syracuse is the seventh highest ranked of fifteen New York law schools, it ranked fourth (89.5%) in bar passage on the July 2016 bar exam, behind only Columbia, Cornell, and NYU (and above Fordham, Cardozo, St. John's, and Brooklyn); fifth (83.3%) in 2015; and fourth (87.0%) in 2014.    Brian Leiter reprints a note from Syracuse professor Christian Day,  who attributes the impressive results to the faculty's decision after much study to:

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February 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

2017 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2017 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:   $5,000, and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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February 21, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Creighton Dean Lifts Law Prof's Suspension After Faculty Threaten Vote Of No Confidence

MelilliOmaha World-Herald, Creighton University Law Professor Reinstated After Brief Suspension:

A professor at Creighton University has agreed to return to the law school today after he was temporarily suspended by the school’s dean.

Kenneth Melilli [right], who won the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement at Creighton last year, was suspended by the dean of law Wednesday evening, evidently after an argument this month with a senior associate dean of law.

Letters obtained by The World-Herald show Melilli had support from numerous faculty members who intimated they would push for a vote of no confidence against Paul McGreal, dean of law, and Nicholas Mirkay, associate dean of law [and tax professor]. ...

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February 20, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (6)

Hawaii Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Hawaii LogoThe University of Hawaii Law School invites applications from entry level and lateral candidates for a tenure-track or tenured tax position beginning in the 2017-18 academic year:

We are seeking applicants with the ability and interest to teach in the area of federal taxation and preferably also trusts and estates. ...

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February 20, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Names Fred Murray Professor Of Tax Practice

Muray (2018)Dean Laura Rosenbury has announced that Fred Murray will join the faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law as a full-time Professor of Tax Practice:

Since 2007, Professor Murray has been at Grant Thornton LLP, where he serves as a Managing Director, International Tax Services. In addition, he has taught International Tax as an adjunct Professor of Law in the LL.M. program at the Georgetown University Law Center since 2005. Professor Murray started his career as a tax lawyer at Chamberlain, Hrdlicka in Houston, Texas, where he was a partner, before he left to serve as Special Counsel (Legislation) to the Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service from 1992 to 1996. Professor Murray also has served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, as General Counsel and Director of Tax Affairs of the Tax Executives Institute, and as Vice President for Tax Policy at the National Foreign Trade Council.

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February 20, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 19, 2017

University Of Washington Delays Launch Of New Law School In Tacoma Until At Least 2021 In Face Of Projected Annual $5.5 Million Deficits

UWT2Following up on my previous posts (links below): News Tribune, UW Tacoma Law School Vision Remains Years Away:

If you share the years-old vision of adding a law school to the growing University of Washington Tacoma campus, prepare to wait a few more years.

A newly released study has found trends in law school applications and available jobs that persuaded officials to wait a few years longer than they hoped to try to restore postgraduate legal education to the South Sound.

Because a UW Tacoma law school — like most public universities’ graduate-school programs, including the UW law school in Seattle — wouldn’t pay for itself, backers of the plan said they want to be sure the school will be sustainable enough to justify investing an estimated $62 million over a decade to get the school started, stabilized and accredited.

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February 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Did Florida State President Violate Lobby Ban In Special $1 Million Annual Appropriation For Law School?

Florida State logoTallahassee Democrat, Did FSU President John Thrasher Violate Lobby Ban?:

Florida State University President John Thrasher’s push for a special law school appropriation includes a 2015 form with Thrasher named as the requester and dated before the former senator’s ban on lobbying expired, records show.

Thrasher denies he unlawfully lobbied the Legislature for the $1 million a year, and said he’s been careful to follow the rules as FSU president. ...

The $1 million, tucked away in this year’s $82.3 billion state budget, is among the special lawmaker requests that have surfaced in a battle between House and Senate leaders over how to write the spending plan. ... 

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February 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Anderson:  Law School Scholarship Policies — Markets Or Social Engineering?

Robert A. Anderson (Pepperdine), Law School Scholarship Policies: Markets or Social Engineering?:

Quite a few law school commentators have been talking about the 2016 annual report of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE). The report provocatively calls law school merit scholarship policies "engines of inequity." In his Foreword, Frank Wu says that law school scholarships cause a "'reverse Robin Hood' revenue model in which the poorest students are being forced to subsidize their wealthier peers." Aaron Taylor parrots virtually the same line word-for-word in his "Director's Message." It's unclear who copied whom. The basic gist of the report is that law school scholarship policies favor students with higher LSATs who tend to have higher socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. The authors see this as a scandalous outcome.

It is true that many students come out of law school hopelessly indebted with poor prospects for financial independence. However, very few students are being "forced" to subsidize anyone, because of some basic facts that the report doesn't mention. The report makes it sound as if a student with a high LSAT will receive scholarships everywhere and a student with a low LSATs will not receive scholarships anywhere. In reality, however, most applicants with a given LSAT will receive a generous scholarship from some schools and will receive no scholarship (or not even be admitted) to other schools. It is the student's choice of whether to attend the higher-ranked school with no scholarship or the lower-ranked school with a scholarship that will determine whether he or she graduates with high debt. Of course, the more prestigious school is enticing, but there's a price to pay for attending it. ...

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February 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Syracuse Law School Offers $20,000 Scholarships To New York Residents

Syracuse Logo (2016)Syracuse Post-Standard, New Law School Grant Will Make Syracuse University NY's Cheapest Private Option:

Syracuse University's College of Law will offer new tuition grants to New York state residents starting with the upcoming school year.

The Empire State Scholars Grant will offer $20,000 of tuition assistance to all admitted state residents. Qualified students in good standing will receive the grant for all three years of their program. The College of Law's tuition cost is $46,460 this year, and the grant will make tuition comparable to law schools in the SUNY system for residents. Currently, tuition at the law school at SUNY Buffalo is $26,997 for in-state residents.

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February 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Is Donald Trump Making Law School Great Again?

TrumpFollowing up on my previous post, Will Donald Trump Solve The Law School Crisis?:  Quartz, Trump’s Disregard for the Judicial System Has Accidentally Made Law School Cool Again:

When US president Donald Trump signed his immigration ban on Jan. 27, law enforcement, customs officials, and airports were thrown into disarray. The executive order, which temporarily barred people from seven predominantly Muslim nations, as well as Syrian refugees, from entering the country, left people stranded in airports in the US and abroad. Families waited frantically for news of loved ones detained or were otherwise unaccounted for.

In this crucial time, lawyers from across the country stepped up to help. Many were immigration lawyers who work regularly on political asylum cases, but many others were not. Lawyers arrived at airports in drove over the weekend, carrying signs offering free legal assistance. They stayed there until the ACLU, representing plaintiffs affected by the order, won an emergency stay blocking parts of the executive order.

Suddenly, in the face of US president Trump’s bold—albeit hastily planned—agenda, lawyers seem heroic. And for the first time in what feels like the better part of a decade, the legal profession is being talked about as something other than a soul-and-money sucking dead-end.

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February 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

ADR And International Law Curriculum Rankings (Pepperdine Earns A+, A- Grades)

ADRADR Curricular Leaders, 20 preLaw 48 (Winter 2017):

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialty programs aren't easy to come by, but the 86 schools that do offer the specialty provide a wide range of options. We graded all schools on curricular offerings, and three earned an A+ — Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University; University of Missouri School of Law; and Pepperdine University School of Law.  Their offerings include workplace conflict resolution training for the Los Angeles Police Department, participating in a dispute resolution journal and dispute resolution skills competitions. ...

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February 16, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WSJ:  Universities, Facing Budget Cuts, Target Tenure

Wall Street Journal, Universities, Facing Budget Cuts, Target Tenure:

For decades, tenured professors held some of the most prestigious and secure jobs in the U.S. Now, their status is under attack at public and private colleges alike.

In states facing budget pressures such as Missouri, North Dakota and Iowa, Republican lawmakers have introduced bills for the current legislative sessions to eliminate tenure, cut back its protections or create added hoops that tenured faculty at public colleges must jump through to keep their jobs. University administrators, struggling to shave their costs, are trying to limit the ranks of tenured professors or make it easier to fire them. ...

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

California Law Deans Take Bar Exam Complaints To Lawmakers; State Bar Director Admits There Is 'No Good Answer' For High MBE Pass Score

California (2016)Following up on my previous coverage (links below):  The Recorder, Frustrated Law Deans Take Bar-Exam Complaints to Lawmakers:

The head of California’s state bar told lawmakers on Tuesday “there’s no good answer” for why the state requires the second-highest bar exam passing score in the nation.

“For many years it was seen as a point of pride that it was such a rigorous exam but perhaps it’s time now to look again,” Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker said at an Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing. “Is it doing what we want? Is it a fair exam? Is the pass score effectively set where it is? When you ask why is [the multistate bar exam cut score] set at 144, I’m embarrassed to tell you there’s no good answer.”

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Proposed ABA Accreditation Rule Sets Process To Determine Validity Of GRE, Other LSAT Alternatives In Law School Admissions

GRELSACFollowing up on my previous coverage (links below):  ABA Journal, Any LSAT Alternatives Must be Validated Through New Process, According to Proposed Rule Revision:

There’s still no official green light for ABA-accredited law schools to rely on entrance exams other than the Law School Admissions Test, but a recently proposed standards revision suggests how a validation process for LSAT alternatives should be developed.

Under the proposed revision to Standard 503, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar would establish a process to determine the reliability and validity of other tests. That’s a change from the current version, which directs law schools using alternate admissions tests to demonstrate that the exams are valid and reliable.

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Jones Day Is #1 U.S. Law Firm Brand, Supplanting Skadden

Jones DayAmerican Lawyer, Big Law Brand Survey Shows Client-Led Shakeup:

In a sign of a legal market where competition for work is stiffer than ever, a survey of legal buyers’ preferred Big Law brands has a new No. 1 for the first time in its six-year history.

Jones Day topped the Acritas U.S. Law Firm Brand Index, released Monday, after finishing in second place for the previous five years to the same firm: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. This year, Skadden ranked second and the top five was rounded out, in order, by the newly re-branded Baker McKenzie, Latham & Watkins and DLA Piper.

The survey, which had 765 in-house respondents at the senior level, tracks six metrics, such as consideration for top-level deals and litigation, aimed at ranking the firms viewed most favorably and hired most often by large company legal services purchasers.

Here are the Top 10 (the full Top 20 are here):

Jones Day 2

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Two Prison Inmates Provide Link To Adelsons In Dan Markel's Murder

Adelson FamilyForward, Accused Hitman Points Finger At Dan Markel In-Law In Jailhouse Confession:

Two prison inmates may have provided a long-awaited break in the mysterious slaying of Jewish law professor Dan Markel.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the alleged hit man charged with killing Markel confessed to a fellow inmate that Markel’s ex-mother-in-law had ordered the murder.

The inmate told police that Sigfredo Garcia, claimed that his girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua, told him that “a mother-in-law or grandmother” wanted Markel killed to gain custody of their two children.

Garcia, who is awaiting trial in connection with Markel’s killing, reportedly referred to the woman as “Don Adelson.”

Markel’s ex-wife’s mother is named Donna Adleson. She and her son, Charlie Adelson, remain suspects in the murder, the paper said. They deny any involvement and have not been charged.

Magbanua is also awaiting trial. Garcia’s alleged accomplice, who has pled guilty to second-degree murder, implicated Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, in the murder plot.

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Dean Michael Schwartz On Legal Education 2.0

Legal Tech News, How to Teach Tech: Dean Michael Schwartz on Law Education 2.0:

Preparing future generations of attorneys for what's to come in the evolution of law is no easy task. As technology continues to stretch the boundaries of legal reasoning and what is doable at law offices across the world, so too must legal education adapt to changing times.

Few have witnessed this adaptation as intimately as Michael Hunter Schwartz, who recently started the next chapter of his long legal career as dean of University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. A California native, Schwartz is returning to his home state after serving as dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas since 2013. ...

Q: What is your No. 1 pet peeve about legal education today?

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Siri For Tax Lawyers, Accountants, And Students

AiliraAustralian Business Review, Tax Agents’ Future Questioned as AI Finds Answers in Seconds:

It’s Siri for lawyers and accountants. Ask “Ailira” a question about Australian tax law and she will scan through millions of uploaded documents and use her artificial intelligence nous to deliver an answer.

Ailira, or “Artificially Intelligent Legal Information Resource Assistant” is so clever at tax that her creator believes she could help prompt the end of human tax agents. And within two months, she will answer questions in other areas of Australian law.

Ailira is the brainchild of Adelaide-based tax lawyer Adrian Cartland. The story goes that with no professional tax background, his girlfriend Sarah, a speech pathology student, scored 73 per cent on a first-year university tax exam with just 30 minutes’ training and Ailira at her side.

“Your tax agents will probably be gone within five years,” said a confident Mr Cartland, who added that their demise was ­already happening with the Australian Taxation Office pushing to automate tax returns, technology issues not withstanding.

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February 14, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Great Shame Of Higher Education

AdjunctChronicle of Higher Education op-ed: 'The Great Shame of Our Profession', by Kevin Birmingham (Instructor, Harvard College Writing Program):

[T]o talk about adjuncts is to talk about the centerpiece of higher education. Tenured faculty represent only 17 percent of college instructors. Part-time adjuncts are now the majority of the professoriate and its fastest-growing segment. From 1975 to 2011, the number of part-time adjuncts quadrupled. And the so-called part-time designation is misleading because most of them are piecing together teaching jobs at multiple institutions simultaneously. A 2014 congressional report suggests that 89 percent of adjuncts work at more than one institution; 13 percent work at four or more. The need for several appointments becomes obvious when we realize how little any one of them pays. In 2013, The Chronicle began collecting data on salary and benefits from adjuncts across the country. An English-department adjunct at Berkeley, for example, received $6,500 to teach a full-semester course. It’s easy to lose sight of all the people struggling beneath the data points. $7,000 at Duke. $6,000 at Columbia. $5,950 at the University of Iowa.

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February 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Law School Lateral Hiring Network

Ryan Whalen (Dalhousie), Law School Lateral Hiring:

Lateral Hiring

The network contains data on 245 schools, with 912 directed, weighted hiring links between them. The top 10 schools by laterals hired are:

Harvard 25
NYU 25
UC-Irvine 23
Northwestern 20
Florida State 18
Drexel 17
Minnesota 17
Virginia 17
Alabama 16
UC-Berkeley 16

Similarly, the top 10 schools who have their faculty hired by other schools are:

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February 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times:  Haunted By Student Debt Past Age 50

New York Times editorial, Haunted by Student Debt Past Age 50:

The experience of being crushed by student debt is no longer limited to the young. New federal data shows millions of Americans who are retired or nearing retirement face this burden, as well as the possibility of having their Social Security benefits garnished to make payments.

Americans age 60 and older are the fastest-growing age group of student loan debtors. Older debtors, many of whom live hand-to-mouth on fixed incomes, are more likely to default. When that occurs with federal loans, as happens with nearly 40 percent of such borrowers who are 65 and over, the government can seize a portion of their Social Security payments — even if it pushes them into poverty. About 20,000 Americans over the age of 50 in 2015 had their Social Security checks cut below the poverty line because of student loans, with poverty-level benefits falling even further for 50,000 others, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office.

A report issued last month by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows that the number of Americans aged 60 and older with student loan debt has grown fourfold over the last decade, to 2.8 million in 2015 from about 700,000 in 2005 [Snapshot of Older Consumers and Student Loan Debt]. ...

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February 14, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (13)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Call For Tax Papers:  First Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum

Richmond (2017)Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum: Call for Papers:

The University of Richmond School of Law invites submissions for the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum. This workshop will be held on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia.

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February 13, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup