TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Law Prof (And Associate Dean For Academic Affairs) Kendra Fershee Announces Congressional Bid

KendraKendra Fershee, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at West Virginia University College of Law (and fellow Hamilton aficionado), announced on Thursday she is running for Congress as a Democrat in West Virginia's First District:

I am a working mom who has dedicated the majority of my professional life to public service. I am a law professor, a family law expert, and a mom of two kids. I’ve been married to the love of my life for almost nineteen years, and together we’ve built a life in West Virginia.

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September 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Firms Plan To Increase First Year Associate Hiring By 22%; Average Salary Is $68,000

One-Quarter Of Law Firms To Expand First-Year Associate Hiring:

Newly minted associates may see employers extend more job offers, research indicates. Nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of lawyers recently interviewed by Robert Half Legal said their law firm plans to increase its hiring of first-year associates in the next 12 months, while 67 percent indicated no change in hiring activity and 7 percent plan a decrease.

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September 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Pepperdine Receives $8 Million Gift For Global Justice Program, Largest Single Endowment Gift In Law School's History

Laure Sudreau RippePepperdine School of Law Announces $8 Million Endowment of Sudreau Global Justice Program:

The Pepperdine University School of Law is proud to announce the endowment of the Sudreau Global Justice Program made possible by the generosity of alumna Laure Sudreau (JD ’97). The $8 million contribution is the largest single endowment gift ever to the School of Law and will help advance the profound impact of the Global Justice Program, which operates within the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics at the School of Law.

Since 2007, the Global Justice Program has touched all corners of the globe through its initiatives in international human rights and religious freedom, advancement of the rule of law, and global development. The Sudreau Global Justice Program will support and enhance current programs while envisioning new and innovative initiatives that will create a lasting impact in the lives of the Pepperdine law community and those experiencing injustices in the world’s most vulnerable places.

“We are humbled by Laure's generosity and confidence in the law school,” says School of Law dean Paul L. Caron. “This gift will empower us to expand our important work bringing justice to those around the globe who desperately need the legal assistance of our students, alumni, and faculty.”

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September 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Law Prof Reactions To The Wax & Alexander Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' 

LSAT, Law School GPA, Journals, Moot Court, Contracts, Evidence Predict Bar Exam Success; UGPA, Clinics, Con Law, Crim Law, Crim Pro, Property, Torts Do Not

Katherine A. Austin (Texas Tech), Catherine Martin Christopher (Texas Tech) & Darby Dickerson (Dean, John Marshall), Will I Pass the Bar Exam?: Predicting Student Success Using LSAT Scores and Law School Performance, 45 Hofstra L. Rev. 753 (2017):

Texas Tech University School of Law has undertaken a statistical analysis of its recent alumni, comparing their performance in law school with their success on the Texas bar exam. The authors conclude that LSAT predicts bar exam success while undergraduate GPA does not. The study also replicates findings in previous literature that both 1L and final law school GPA predict bar exam success.

Going beyond existing literature, this study also conducted more specific analysis of how student performance in specific courses can predict success on affiliated subcomponents of the bar exam; the Article identifies which courses [Contracts, Evidence] have significant impact on bar exam performance and which do not [Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Property, Torts].

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September 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hadfield: Law Schools Are Letting Down Their Students And Society — A 3-Point Plan To Fix Legal Education

Quartz: Law Schools Are Letting Down Their Students and Society—Here Are Three Steps They Can Take to Fix Things, by Gillian Hadfield (USC; Member, ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Education):

Law schools in the US today have become depressingly single-purpose: training members of a closed profession and failing to equip them to tackle the full breadth of problems facing economies and societies that are undergoing extensive transformations.

Law schools are letting down their students. They’re requiring anyone who wants to do any type of legal work, even the pro-forma and routine, to enroll in three years of graduate school and take on an average debt of $140,000, all the while facing dwindling job prospects.

This is bad news for students. But it is even worse news for the rest of us. Today’s law schools are graduating hordes of would-be lawyers who are not prepared to respond to, or innovate new solutions for, the pressing legal and regulatory needs of citizens and businesses alike. ...

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September 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2016-17 Survey Of The Clinical Legal Education Programs At 187 Law Schools

Robert Kuehn (Washington University) & David A. Santacroce (Michigan) (with Margaret Reuter (UMKC) & Sue Schechter (UC-Berkeley), The 2016-17 Survey of Applied Legal Education (Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education ("CSALE") (2017)):

Over 1,100 law clinic and externship faculty from 187 law schools (94% of ABA accredited U.S. schools) participated in CSALE’s latest tri-annual survey. The 2016-17 survey (CSALE’s fourth) provides the most comprehensive, accurate picture to date of clinical legal education programs, courses, and faculty. The report summarizes the collective responses from schools and their faculty on questions relating to program design, capacity, administration, staffing, funding, and pedagogy, and the role of clinical legal education and educators in the legal academy.

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September 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Controversy Over Law Profs' Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' Shifts From Penn To San Diego

USD (2016)Following up on my previous posts:

San Diego Dean Stephen Ferruolo has issed this statement:

I want to thank the student groups, as well as the many individual students, faculty and other members of the USD law school community who have spoken or written to me to express their concerns about the article written by USD School of Law Professor Larry Alexander, along with University of Pennsylvania Professor Amy Wax, and their subsequent interviews about the article.

As I said in my remarks at 1L Orientation, I am committed, as Dean of USD School of Law, to ensuring that there are opportunities for respectful discussion of important issues and for everyone's voices to be heard. The rights we must respect in an academic community include freedom of speech and academic freedom, and those rights and freedoms extend to every member of our community. No less importantly, however, in exercising our rights and expressing our views, we must be sensitive to all the members of our community, especially those who may feel vulnerable, marginalized or fearful that they are not welcomed. We must recognize that, for many students, racial discrimination and cultural subordination are not academic theories, they reflect the students’ personal experiences.

USD School of Law supports the rights of its faculty to comment as individuals on matters of public interest. When professors speak and write, they speak in their personal capacities and not for or on behalf of the law school or the university. The views expressed by Professor Alexander were his personal views. I personally do not agree with those views, nor do I believe that they are representative of the views of our law school community.

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September 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (18)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Anderson: Are LSAT/GPA A Leading Indicator, And Peer Reputation A Lagging Indicator, Of The U.S. News Overall Rankings?

US NewsFollowing up on my recent post, Law School Rankings By Student Quality (LSAT And UGPA):  Rob Anderson (Pepperdine):  Predicting the Future of US News Law School Rankings With Revealed Preference Rankings?:

The approach used by US News includes a variety of factors with varying weights but among the most important are factors based on surveys of academics and of lawyers and judges. Specifically, the US News ranking methodology is based 25% on "peer assessment score" (academics) and 15% on "assessment score by lawyers and judges." The both categories are weighted heavier than LSAT scores (.125) and GPA (.10), which are the raw material for the Ryan and Frye ranking.

As might be expected, the Ryan and Frye rankings correlate strongly with US News rankings, but there are some significant outliers. ... [I] thought it might be interesting to examine the potential causes of divergence between the Ryan-Frye approach and US News by comparing the US News survey-based rankings between 1993 (the year of the first full ranking of law schools) and 2018 (the most recent ranking).

The peer ranking is the largest single component of US News and is measured somewhat comparably across the years so I will focus on that component of US News. The chart below shows a plot of the 1993 peer rankings (then called "academic" rankings) and those for 2018. Because higher ranked schools have lower ranking numbers, the highest ranked schools are in the lower left and the lowest ranked schools in the upper right. Schools above the line have improved in their rankings between 1993 and 2018. Schools below the line have lower rankings in 2018 than in 1993. 

Anderson 3

The correlation between the 1993 peer ranks and the 2018 peer ranks is .93, which is evidence of incredible stability over time. As a result, the 1993 rank can predict with a high degree of accuracy the 2018 rank, especially for the higher-ranked schools (the lower left). However, there are some notable outliers, which I've noted with text in the figure. It is interesting to note that among the largest gainers are three that changed names by affiliating with an existing university (Michigan State, New Hampshire, and Quinnipiac). The remainder of the schools with large jumps in peer rankings (Alabama, CUNY, Georgia State, and Pepperdine) have other explanations. My institution (Pepperdine) and Alabama have made major pushes toward emphasis on research productivity, which may explain the changes in their scores. ...

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September 20, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

University Of Illinois Professor Put On Paid Leave For Refusing To Give PowerPoint Slides To Learning Disabled Student

IllinoisInside Higher Ed, A Hill to Retire On?:

A dispute over electronic lecture slides and accommodations for a learning-disabled student may have ended the teaching career of Michael Schlesinger, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Schlesinger said Thursday that he's learned from his lawyer that he is on paid administrative leave over the matter, pending a hearing. He said he has not resigned, despite previously having indicated otherwise to students.

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September 20, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Women Lawyers Continue To Lag In Partnership Positions, Pay

National Association of Women Lawyers, 2017 Survey on Promotion and Retention of Women in Law Firms:

This year’s survey demonstrates a continuation of a pattern observed over the last 10+ years, that numbers of women in equity partner positions in law firms have increased slowly, if at all, even while there has been some improvement in other areas, such as representation on governance committees. ...

Of primary interest, given the focus of the Survey and the NAWL Challenges, are the numbers for women equity partners and other leadership positions in law firms. Compared to 5 and 10 years ago, this year’s Survey shows a small increase in the percentage of women equity partners (19 percent in the 2017 survey compared to 15 – 16 percent in the 2012 and 2007 Surveys). While this increase is welcomed, law firms continue to fall short of the original NAWL Challenge goal of 30 percent set more than 10 years ago, and long-term sustained progress will be required to achieve the Challenge goal.


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September 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Tax Section Reduces Support For Tax Profs

ABA Tax Section (2017)I was sad to learn that at the Austin meeting the ABA Tax Section Council voted to significantly reduce the academic speaker and academic leadership reimbursement policy, retaining it only for academics who meet the Tax Section's definition of "young lawyer" (under 40 or less than 5 years in practice). I believe this is a penny-wise, pound-foolish policy change and can serve only to damage the historically salutary close ties between tax practitioners and tax academics. I think my personal involvement with the ABA Tax Section would likely be much less had those reimbursements not been available to me. I explain more below the fold.

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September 19, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (6)

25% Of Law Schools Plan To Accept The GRE

GREFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Press Release, Law Schools’ Apprehension to Allow Applicants to Use GRE for Admissions Drops:

Kaplan Test Prep’s 2017 law school admissions officers survey shows more law schools warming up to the idea of allowing applicants to submit GRE scores instead of LSAT scores. According to the responses of 128 law schools across the United States, 25 percent say it’s an admissions policy they plan to implement, up from just 14 percent in Kaplan’s 2016 survey; 45 percent say they have no plans to do so, a drop from 56 percent who ruled it out in last year’s survey; and 30 percent are not sure, the same as in 2016.

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September 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Muller: Bar Exam Scores Rebound To Highest Point Since 2013

MBEDerek Muller (Pepperdine), Bar Exam Scores Rebound to Highest Point Since 2013:

After last year's slight year-over-year improvement in bar exam scores, bar exam scores are up again. The scaled mean of the Multistate Bar Exam rose 1.4 points to 141.7, the highest since 2013, which was 144.3, shortly before a hasty collapse in scores. ...

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September 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 18, 2017

July 2017 Florida Bar Exam Results: Florida International Is #1 For 4th Year In A Row

Florida Bar 2The July 2017 Florida bar passage rates by school are out. The overall pass rate for first-time takers is 71.3%, up 3.1 percentage points from last year. For the fourth year in a row, Florida International is #1. Here are the results for the 11 Florida law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (Florida and overall):

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

FL (Overall)

1 (87.8%)

Florida Int'l

5 (100)

2 (84.2%)


3 (77)

3 (83.9%)

Florida State

2 (48)

4 (77.0%)


1 (41)

5 (76.8%)


4 (96)

6 (70.2%)


Tier 2

7 (63.6%)

St. Thomas

Tier 2

8 (58.9%)


Tier 2

9 (51.3%)

Ave Maria

Tier 2

9 (51.3%)

Florida A&M

Tier 2

11 (47.7%)

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

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September 18, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

McIntyre & Simkovic: Are Law Degrees As Valuable To Minorities?

Frank McIntyre (Rutgers) & Michael Simkovic (USC), Are Law Degrees as Valuable to Minorities?, 52 Int'l Rev. L. & Econ. ___ (2017):

We estimate the increase in earnings from a law degree relative to a bachelor’s degree for graduates of different race/ethnic groups. Law earnings premiums are higher for whites than for minorities (excluding individuals raised outside the U.S.). The median annual law earnings premium is approximately $41,000 for whites, $34,000 for Asians, $33,000 for blacks, and $28,000 for Hispanics.


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September 18, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Becoming 'The Nation's Premier Christian Law School'

Pepperdine EquippedMy friend Rick Garnett (Notre Dame) noted on his Mirror of Justice Blog (a member of my Law Professor Blogs Network) that "our good friends at Pepperdine have started to market themselves as 'The Nation's Premier Christian Law School'" and linked to my blog post marking my 100th day as dean.  Rick also wrote:

I certainly agree that Pepperdine is an excellent institution that does a very good job of engaging and meaningfully embracing its Christian character.  I hope, though, that they have not fallen into the old error — and, knowing so many at Pepperdine, I have to believe they have not — of excluding Catholics (and, more specifically, certain outstanding Catholic law schools) from their definition and understanding of "Christian"!  Remember, Evangelicals and Catholics Together (on law)!

I responded to Rick privately that neither of these claims are true.  After an exchange of emails, we agreed that it would be helpful for me to publicly set the record straight so no one is left with the impression that Notre Dame and Pepperdine are anything other than, as Rick put it, "fellow laborers in the vineyard."

On the first point, in the post Rick linked to, I wrote that "our shared goal [at Pepperdine] is to become the nation's premier Christian law school by combining academic and research excellence with a deep-rooted commitment to our Christian mission that welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds."  In my only other blog post on the subject — marking my first day as dean —   I wrote that "I am especially proud to have the support of our faculty, staff, students, and university administration in the ambitious plan I outlined as a dean candidate for Pepperdine to become the nation's premier Christian law school."  Indeed, in all of the speeches I make as dean (including yesterday in San Francisco), I always say that its is Pepperdine's goal (or aspiration) to be the nation's premier Christian law school, not that we currently claim that mantle.

Rick kindly updated his post to say: 

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

Larson & Ruse: On Faith And Science

Larson 2Edward J. Larson (Pepperdine)  & Michael Ruse (Florida State), On Faith and Science (Yale Univ. Press 2017):

Throughout history, scientific discovery has clashed with religious dogma, creating conflict, controversy, and sometimes violent dispute. In this enlightening and accessible volume, distinguished historian and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Edward Larson and Michael Ruse, philosopher of science and Gifford Lecturer, offer their distinctive viewpoints on the sometimes contentious relationship between science and religion. The authors explore how scientists, philosophers, and theologians through time and today approach vitally important topics, including cosmology, geology, evolution, genetics, neurobiology, gender, and the environment. Broaching their subjects from both historical and philosophical perspectives, Larson and Ruse avoid rancor and polemic as they address many of the core issues currently under debate by the adherents of science and the advocates of faith, shedding light on the richly diverse field of ideas at the crossroads where science meets spiritual belief.

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September 17, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Texas A&M Names Jack Manhire Assistant Dean And Chief of Staff Of The I-School, And Assistant Vice President For Entrepreneurship And Economic Development

Manhire (2017)Jack Manhire, former Director of Program Development and Senior Lecturer in Law at the Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth, is taking on new roles in College Station as Assistant Dean and Chief of Staff for Texas A&M’s new School of Innovation (“I-School”) and Assistant Vice President of Operations for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development.

Manhire’s positons prior to entering academe include National Chair of the Executive Education Program for the Treasury Executive Institute, Chief of Legal Analysis for the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, Director of Technical Analysis & Guidance for the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, and Attorney-Advisor to the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate. Before entering full-time government service, he practiced law privately for over a decade and was Division Chief, Tax Law for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary National Office.

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September 16, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Emory Law Profs: Law Deans May Go To Jail For Submitting False Data To U.S. News

Morgan Cloud (Emory) & George Shepherd (Emory) have posted Law Deans In Jail, 77 Mo. L. Rev. 931 (2012), on SSRN:

A most unlikely collection of suspects — law schools, their deans, U.S. News & World Report and its employees — may have committed felonies by publishing false information as part of U.S. News' ranking of law schools. The possible federal felonies include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and making false statements. Employees of law schools and U.S. News who committed these crimes can be punished as individuals, and under federal law the schools and U.S. News would likely be criminally liable for their agents' crimes.

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September 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Net Tuition Trends By LSAT Category, 2010-2014: Net Tuition Rose In Highest (165+) And Lowest (<145) Bands, Fell In Middle (145-164) Bands

I have a new article entitled Net Tuition Trends by LSAT Category from 2010 to 2014 with Thoughts on Variable Return on Investment that is forthcoming in the Autumn issue of the Journal of Legal Education. I am very grateful for the research grant I received from Access Group (now AccessLex Institute) to support this project.  Here is the abstract:

The “macro” discussion of legal education highlights that law school is expensive. This general point fails to highlight the extent to which differences exist at a “micro” level due both to geography and LSAT profile. First, some regions of the country are more expensive than others. Second, where one is on the LSAT distribution profile influences the average net tuition because of scholarship patterns associated with institutional efforts to preserve or improve ranking. As a result, law school is not equally expensive across the entire LSAT distribution.

This article begins in Section I by briefly summarizing the geographic differences in tuition, which are not insignificant. Then, in Section II, this article briefly describes a dynamic net tuition model I developed for calculating net tuition trends by LSAT category and describes the results of that dynamic net tuition model. The results demonstrate that the variability of average net tuition by LSAT category increased significantly between 2010 and 2014 after accounting for inflation, with two LSAT categories seeing increases of 9.1% and 11.9% and four seeing decreases ranging from 2.8% to 13%. Section III looks at various outcome measures—specifically, bar passage rates, “bad news” employment outcomes, and imputed average first-year income—and demonstrates that, on average, the short-term return on investment varies significantly depending upon where someone is in the LSAT distribution. Section IV concludes with some thoughts on what this might mean for prospective law students and for law schools.

The dynamic net tuition model I developed is explained in detail in the Appendix to the article.  I have included below two of the figures from the article that summarize the data generated from my dynamic net tuition model.  

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

State Bar Releases California Bar Exam Cut Score Study

California Bar ExamThe California State Bar has released Report to the Supreme Court of the State of California: Final Report on the 2017 California Bar Exam Standard Setting Study:

The report, which identifies options for a statistically reliable CBX cut score, includes findings from the Standard Setting Study, the second of four studies that the State Bar has undertaken to comprehensively explore the issues outlined by the Court

According to the psychometric literature, the purpose of any licensure examination like the CBX is to distinguish minimally competent candidates from those that could do harm to the public; the purpose is not to evaluate mastery of content, ensure employability, or evaluate training programs. Licensure exams are also not intended to be predictive of career success or possible future misconduct. With this doctrinal understanding of the purpose of a licensing exam, the attached report provides the Court with an analysis of the continued validity of the current CBX cut score of 1440, as well as the potential impact of the implementation of two alternate lower cut scores, 1414 and 1390.

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

Move Over California, Japan Has A 26% Bar Passage Rate

From Rob Anderson (Pepperdine):  Nikkei Asian Review, Fewer Prospective Lawyers Clearing the Bar in Japan:

A lower number of candidates passed the Japanese bar examination this year, new statistics show, with the tally barely topping the government's annual target of 1,500. Passers declined by 40 from 2016 to 1,543, according to Ministry of Justice figures out Tuesday.

Test takers numbered 5,967 this year, down 932. But the pass rate rose 2.91 percentage points to 25.86%.

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September 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times: More On The Feds' Criminal Investigation Of Charlotte Law School

Charlotte Logo (2016)New York Times, Federal Inquiry of Charlotte Law School Is Disclosed by Suit:

Barbara Bernier arrived at Charlotte School of Law four years ago to teach constitutional and other law courses.

But what she found at the for-profit law school was different from her prior teaching experiences, so she quit her tenured post in August 2016. A few months earlier, she had filed a federal claim that the school and its owner, the InfiLaw Corporation, defrauded taxpayers of $285 million over a five-year period.

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Diamond: Does The California State Bar Have A Race Problem?

California State Bar (2014)Stephen Diamond (Santa Clara), Does the California State Bar Have a Race Problem?:

A recent meeting of the State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE) suggests to me that the California Bar may have a problem with race. That is, its leaders do not understand or are not willing to accept that they are putting up a barrier to minorities who wish to practice law. The evidence of this potential problem is found in the tape of the hearing which you can view here as well as a report prepared by the Bar Association’s staff on the bar exam. ...

[W]hile we do not know why the cut score is so much higher than needed to meet the primary mandate of the CBE (protection of the public), we do know that by setting it at 144 the Bar has put up a wall over which minority law school graduates have difficulty climbing with the inevitable outcome: a disparate impact on those hopeful new law school graduates. ...

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September 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

California Accredited Law Schools Support Reducing Bar Exam Cut Score

California Bar ExamTaxProf Blog op-ed:  The California Supreme Court Should Lower The Bar Exam Cut Score, by Mitch Winick (President & Dean, Monterey College of Law):

The California Accredited Law Schools filed the attached letter brief with the California Supreme Court in support of an adjustment of the minimum passing score on the California Bar Exam from 1440 to 1390. 

The CALS joined with the following sources and resources that now identify or support 1390 as a valid interim or final cut score: the State Bar Standard Setting Study, the State Bar Board of Trustees, the State Bar Office of Research & Institutional Accountability, the Assembly Judiciary Committee staff and Committee Chair Mark Stone, the Law School Council, and 56 California law school deans (19 ABA, 13 CALS, and 14 Registered). Further, it is also important to note at the outset that a score of 1390 falls within the national norm (1330 to 1390) of the largest ten jurisdictions (other than California).

These findings support the CALS position that adjusting the cut score to 1390 can significantly moderate the disparate impact of the current disproportionately high minimum passing score of 1440.

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September 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sixth Circuit Rejects Law Prof's Claim That 'Satanic' $666 Merit Pay Raise Was Retaliation For His Union Activities

Cleveland StateFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): Lifter v. Cleveland State University, Nos. 16-4084/4086 (6th Cir. Sept.12, 2017):

This is a First Amendment retaliation case. Married plaintiffs Sheldon Gelman and Jean Lifter were employees of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. When, after the 2008 financial crisis, the law school faced mounting pressure to trim class sizes and reduce enrollment, Gelman, a tenured professor, spearheaded a successful union-organizing campaign among the law faculty. The following spring, Gelman and several other pro-union faculty received a low and allegedly symbolic $666 merit raise. Just over a year later, Lifter’s employment was terminated. Both filed claims against the university and law-school dean Craig Boise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Gelman’s raise, his being deprived of committee appointments, and Lifter’s termination constituted retaliation for Gelman’s protected First Amendment conduct. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiffs appeal the district court’s decision, and the defendants have filed a cross-appeal. For the following reasons, we affirm the district court as to Gelman, dismiss Lifter’s claim for lack of standing, and dismiss the defendants’ cross-appeal as moot. ...

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September 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

University Of North Carolina Law School's Civil Rights Center Closes Following Board Of Governors Vote

North Carolina LogoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Legal Times, Civil Rights Center at UNC Law School Shut Down:

University leaders on Friday voted to strip the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law of its ability to litigate cases.

The move caps a months-long fight between the predominately Republican board of governors for the University of North Carolina and supporters of the center, who say the board’s push was motivated by politics.

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September 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Politico: The U.S. News Rankings Fuel Inequality

U.S. News Logo (2018)Politico, How U.S. News College Rankings Promote Economic Inequality on Campus:

America’s universities are getting two report cards this year. The first, from the Equality of Opportunity Project, brought the shocking revelation that many top universities, including Princeton and Yale, admit more students from the top 1 percent of earners than the bottom 60 percent combined. The second, from U.S. News and World Report, is due on Tuesday — with Princeton and Yale among the contenders for the top spot in the annual rankings.

The two are related: A POLITICO review shows that the criteria used in the U.S. News rankings — a measure so closely followed in the academic world that some colleges have built them into strategic plans — create incentives for schools to favor wealthier students over less wealthy applicants.

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September 12, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida's 12 Law Schools Are Closed Through Wednesday

IrmaLegal Times, Florida's 12 Law Schools Closed Until Wednesday, At Least:

Florida's 12 law schools remained closed Monday as the remnants of Hurricane Irma churned northward out of the Sunshine State.

It was unlikely that any of those schools would reopen before Wednesday, and several have already announced class cancellations for the remainder of the week.

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September 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Remembering September 11th At Pepperdine


Pepperdine to Honor 9/11 Victims with Waves of Flags Display:

From September 9 through September 25, Pepperdine’s Alumni Park will have on display the 10th annual Waves of Flags installation to commemorate the lives lost in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Each year Waves of Flags features 2,977 full-size flags—2,887 American flags for each American life lost and 90 international flags representing the home countries of individuals from abroad who died in the 9/11 attacks.

The installation became a Pepperdine tradition in 2008 when the school’s College Republicans group organized to bring the tribute to the campus. ...

In addition to the Waves of Flags installation, Pepperdine is the permanent home of the Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., Heroes Garden, a public space for visitors to reflect and honor all those who live heroic lives, including namesake and Pepperdine alumnus Thomas Burnett (MBA ’95), a passenger on United Flight 93 who lost his life in the 9/11 attacks.

Heores Garden

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September 11, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Schools Begin Classes In Fancy New, Upgraded Digs, Law Schools Begin Classes in Fancy New, Upgraded Digs:

A new school year means a new look for several law schools.

Students at the University of South Carolina School of Law returned this fall to a brand new, $80 million building. The school is holding a dedication on Sept. 14 featuring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Meanwhile, the University of Akron School of Law on Friday held a ribbon cutting Friday for its freshly renovated law campus, which cost $21 million and took two years to complete.

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September 11, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Penn Law Students Try To Ban Amy Wax From Teaching Civil Procedure Due To Her Breakdown Of The Bourgeois Culture Op-Ed

WaxFollowing up on my previous posts:

National Lawyers Guild, Penn Law Chapter, Penn NLG Statement on Professor Amy Wax:

While we do not challenge Professor Wax’s right to express her views, we question whether it is appropriate for her to continue to teach a required first-year course. The Penn Law administration has long been aware that her bigoted views inevitably seep into her words and actions in the classroom and in private conversations with students. We call on the administration to consider more deeply the toll that this takes on students, particularly students of color and members of the LGBTQIA community, and to consider whether it is in the best interests of the school and its students for Professor Wax to continue to teach a required first-year class. Exposure to a diversity of viewpoints is an essential and valuable part of any educational experience, but no student should have to be exposed to bigotry or abuse in the classroom.

Since Professor Wax is, as usual, scheduled to teach Civil Procedure this fall, and we know that is unlikely to change, we offer ourselves as a resource for first-year students in Professor Wax’s class. 1Ls in Professor Wax’s class: whether you need someone just to listen, to help you figure out how to get through the semester, or to advocate on your behalf, Penn NLG has your back.

In 2015, Professor Wax received the University of Pennsylvania's Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (only three other Penn law professors have received the award in the past twenty years). 

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September 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (41)

Law Grad's GivnGo App Allows You To Round Up Your Purchases For Charity

GivnGo LogoOne of my former tax students, Arian Behboodi (J.D & M.B.A. 2017, Pepperdine), has created a very cool app, GivnGo.  The app allows a user to register a credit or debit card and the app rounds up your purchases to the next dollar and distributes the change to the charity or charities of your choice.  For example, if you spend $15.75, then the next dollar up is $16.00, so GivnGo distributes 25 cents to your charity. The app is available on iTunes.

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September 10, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

ABA Tax Section Releases 17th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge Problem

ABAThe ABA Tax Section has released the J.D. Problem (rules; entry form) and LL.M. Problem (rules; entry form) for the 17th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL .M. Division receive a free trip (including airfare and accommodations for two nights) to the Section of Taxation 2018 Midyear Meeting, February 8-10, 2018 in San Diego, CA, where each team will defend its submission before a panel of judges consisting of the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including tax court judges. The competition is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community. On average, more than 50 teams compete in the J.D. Division and more than 30 teams compete in the LL .M. Division.


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September 9, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Return On Investment: The Core Challenge For Legal Education As 100 Law Schools Fail Department Of Education's Debt-To-Earnings Standard

Martin Pritikin (Dean, Concord), Return on Investment: The Core Challenge for Legal Education and the Legal Profession:

The legal community is facing a myriad of serious challenges ― historically low law school enrollments and bar passage rates, exploding tuition costs and associated student debt and a stagnant job market ― that, if not addressed, will put it in peril. ...

The big problem is return on educational investment, as those who would most logically serve the middle market can ill afford to do so. Annual tuition is about $50,000 at top-tier private law schools, where many graduates land $180,000 starting salaries. But the tuition is roughly the same at so-called “fourth-tier” law schools, where those lucky enough to secure employment typically make between $60,000 and $80,000. There’s a name for this economic model: it’s called broken.

Consider this: of the 205 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association, 199 are exempt from Department of Education requirements to report graduates’ debt-to-earnings ratios. Why? Because they operate as not-for-profits. As reported by the ABA Journal on January 11, 2017, of the six for-profit schools that recently reported their data for the first time, two failed outright and three others were found to be in the “zone,” that is, at risk of failing. Yet, based on available data, if the not-for-profits were subject to the same debt-to-earnings test, it appears at least half of them ― 100 schools ― would have failed as well. ...

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September 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Should Law Schools Shift Scholarship Money From Merit (LSAT & UGPA Medians) To Need?

Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State) & Andrew Merritt, Agreements to Improve Student Aid: An Antitrust Perspective, 67 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2017):

Law schools tie much of their scholarship money to LSAT scores and undergraduate grades. By awarding substantial discounts to students with above-median indicators, schools attempt to climb the U.S. News ranking ladder. This practice, as many educators recognize, reduces access to legal education for low-income and minority students. As a result, many schools would like to shift at least some of their scholarship funds to need-based awards. Schools, however, struggle to make that change unilaterally; they worry about losing ground in the rankings race.

Could law schools act collectively to reform their scholarship practices? Could the ABA reshape those practices by adopting an accreditation standard that limits the award of “merit” based aid?

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September 8, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

My First 100 Days

100 DaysToday marks my 100th day as Dean of Pepperdine Law School.   Since my first day, I have loved working towards our shared goal to become the nation's premier Christian law school by combining academic and research excellence with a deep-rooted commitment to our Christian mission that welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds.  When I sought the deanship, I laid out my three priorities in achieving that goal.

My top priority is to increase our students' return on their investment in a Pepperdine legal education in today's changed legal landscape.  As readers of this blog know, since 2010 law schools have suffered a 38% decline in applicants (and a 45% decline in applicants in the highest LSAT band Pepperdine seeks to attract), which has led to declining credentials in incoming classes and to declining bar passage and job placement results for graduates.  Most law schools have responded by reducing the size of their incoming classes.  This fall, with the full support of the university, Pepperdine reduced the size of our entering class by over 20% and increased our median LSAT (160) and UGPA (3.62).

We are right-sizing the law school in a financially sustainable way by paring our budget while investing in areas of excellence, ramping up our fundraising efforts, and expanding our non-J.D. enrollment in areas of our historic strength.  We are leveraging our #1 ranked (for 12 of the past 13 years) Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution by expanding our Masters and LL.M. degree programs. Last month, we launched a new LL.M. degree program in Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law to capitalize on the opportunities for our students in the Los Angeles market, the university's partnership with AEG, and our great faculty in those areas.  In addition, we are leveraging our faculty's nationally recognized strength in teaching through our new online master of legal studies program, which we launched in August with enrollment 67% higher than our projections.

We also have hit the ground running on my other priorities to:

  • Pursue ambitious and accountable excellence in everything we do
  • Build a community in which all students, faculty, and staff are loved, nurtured, and challenged to grow professionally, personally, and spiritually

Over the summer, my wife and I hosted 20 dinners with faculty and students, and will over the 2017-18 academic year host dinners for the entire first year class.  I met with staff departments to discuss the critically important ways they contribute to the school.  My Dean of Faculty, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and I met with each member of the faculty to discuss how we can support them to help achieve our shared ambitious goals for the school.


I am proudest of simply working on a daily basis over these first 100 days with an amazing collection of faculty, students, administrators, and staff.  Mine has been an unusual journey to the deanship, and my biggest surprise is how much I enjoy the new aspects of my life in alumni relations, advancement, and university administration. In fact, I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of the job, except one:

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September 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Allison Christians Named Associate Dean For Research And Promoted To Full Professor At McGill

Christians (2018)The McGill Faculty of Law is pleased to announce that Allison Christians has been promoted to the rank of Full Professor, effective September 1.

Professor Christians, who was recently renewed as H. Heward Stikeman Chair of Tax Law, coincidentally began her term as Associate Dean (Research) at the Faculty on the very same date for a three-year mandate.

Her research and teaching focus on national and international tax law and policy issues, with emphasis on the relationship between taxation and economic development and on the role of government and non-government institutions and actors in the creation of tax policy norms.

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September 8, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Steinbuch: Questionable Arguments About The LSAT's Role In Admissions And Bar Passage

Following up on my previous posts:

Robert Steinbuch (Arkansas-Little Rock), Questionable Arguments About Serious Statistics:

I write to continue the interesting discussion with Aaron Taylor regarding the proper role of the LSAT in law school admissions. ...

Unfortunately, Taylor confuses some simple statistical truths, both in general and regarding LSAT scores and bar passage, specifically: First, correlations can be explained through any of the following: causation, reverse causation, or "third" variables. Second, nobody actually thinks that LSAT scores cause bar outcomes or vice versa. After all, how can a score on one exam cause a score on another? And, third, LSAT scores demonstrably help predict bar success due to at least one underlying common causal factor of both, i.e., likely some measure of skill. Empirical analysis is complex, and clichés and truisms do nothing to simplify it....

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September 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

How Top U.S. Law Firms Get Away With Paying Women Less

Bloomberg Businessweek, How Top U.S. Law Firms Get Away With Paying Women Less:

In January 2014, the law firm Chadbourne & Parke hired Kerrie Campbell to work in its Washington office. After 27 years in the business, she’d finally reached the pinnacle of private law practice: partnership at a top-tier firm—a century-old stalwart of the elite New York bar. In a press release, Chadbourne said, “We are thrilled to welcome her.”

After two years, the thrill was gone. Chadbourne’s managing partner, Andrew Giaccia, and Abbe Lowell, its head of litigation, appeared together at Campbell’s office. Her time at the firm had been rocky. Still, she says she was shocked by what they had to say. The firm’s five-member, all-male management committee had decided that she didn’t “fit” at Chadbourne. She wasn’t being fired, exactly, but she ought to find a new job, they told her. To “incentivize” a swift departure, her compensation would be cut about 60 percent, to $9,000 a month, less than that of a first-year associate right out of law school. Giaccia and Lowell suggested that, to preserve her reputation, she leave quietly.

It felt like “someone smacking a baseball bat into your gut,” Campbell, 55, says. The firm denies her version of events.

Campbell—a “pit bull,” according to her son Tyler—did not leave quietly. She filed a sex-discrimination suit in August 2016 alleging that Chadbourne treated her like a second-class citizen, paid her much less than male partners, and—when she objected—showed her the door. Indignant, Chadbourne denied wrongdoing and lashed out. It said in court papers that Campbell lacked basic competence, alienated colleagues, and drank too much at firm social events—all accusations she denies.

For a profession dedicated to lofty concepts such as “equal protection” and “due process,” the practice of law has allowed unequal treatment of women to fester for decades. A 2016 survey of the 350 largest U.S. law firms found female partners on average received $659,000 in annual pay. Male partners, meanwhile, averaged $949,000, or 44 percent more.

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September 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Bar Trustees Vote 6-5 To Give Supreme Court Three Bar Exam Cut Score Options: Keep It 144, Lower To 141.4 Or 139

California Bar ExamThe Recorder, State Bar Leaves Reducing Exam Score for Supreme Court to Resolve: Bar Leaders Offer Justices a Range of Lower Scores, or Keeping It At 144:

California state bar trustees on Wednesday punted the fate of the bar exam pass score to the California Supreme Court, offering the justices a range of choices on the controversial issue, from leaving the score at 144 to lowering it to 139.

The trustees’ 6-5 vote endorsing the range reflected the contentious nature surrounding the pass score, or cut score. California law school deans, which have seen their students’ pass rates plummet in recent years, have pleaded with the bar and the Supreme Court reduce the cut score—now the second highest in the nation behind Delaware — to as low as 135. The Committee of Bar Examiners, however, endorsed maintaining the 144 score while additional studies are completed.

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September 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harvard Law School Unveils Memorial Honoring Slaves Who Enabled Its Founding

HLSHarvard Law Today, Harvard Law School Unveils Memorial Honoring Enslaved People Who Enabled Its Founding:

On September 5, at the opening of its Bicentennial observance, Harvard Law School unveiled a memorial to the enslaved people whose labor helped make possible the founding of the school.

The plaque, affixed to a large stone memorial placed at the Crossroads in the center of the Law School’s plaza, reads:

In honor of the enslaved whose labor
created wealth that made possible
the founding of Harvard Law School

May we pursue the highest ideals
of law and justice in their memory

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September 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)