TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, December 2, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Harrison:  Normative Legal Scholarship Is An Oxymoron

Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), Scholarship, Rush, and Still Waters:

I ran across the term "normative scholarship" in an article in the Journal of Legal Education by Robin West [The Contested Value of Normative Legal Scholarship, 66 J. Legal Educ. 6 (2016)]. It is, of course, and I think she would admit, an oxymoron. I've looked up every definition of scholarship I could find and no where is there any mention of normativity. Scholars search for information, inconvenient and otherwise, and report it. When they do, it is scholarship.

When they add the "should" element, it stops being scholarship and it becomes advocacy. This is not true just of your run of the mill article in which someone tries to convince you that the position they hold is the "right" one (usually by reporting what others have written that supports that position and not reporting what does not.) It also applies to any empirical work in which the author interprets the results with a certain "correct" spin without coming clean about other possible interpretations.

This is not to say no law professors produce scholarship. Some do. And, this is not to say all normative scholarship is bad. But it is to say that it is not scholarship, it is advocacy. Why don't more law professors do scholarship? The easy answer is they do not know how. They were not trained to be scholars. ...

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December 2, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Penn Prof: 10-15 Law Schools May Close

ABA JournalABA Journal, 10 to 15 Law Schools Could Close If Enrollment Keeps Shrinking, Higher-Ed Market Analyst Says:

Although there’s been a contraction in the law school market, tuition continues to rise, including at private institutions that take first-year students with lower LSAT scores and have high attrition rates, says Robert Zemsky, a professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania [and author of Remaking the American University, Market-Smart and Mission-Centered]. Zemsky predicts several of these schools will close if trends continue.

His study, Mapping a Contracting Market, analyzed 171 law schools and found that enrollment dropped by 21 percent at private law schools between 2011 and 2015. At public law schools, enrollment dropped by 18 percent. Zemsky also analyzed attrition rates at schools within both categories. ...

If the law student market contracts further, it’s possible that between 10 and 15 schools will close, says Zemsky, a founding director of Penn’s Institute for Research on Higher Education. He notes that law schools are already losing money. “You can’t continue to muddle through and hold your breath,” he told the Chicago audience on Nov. 16. “You can only hold your breath for so long.”

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December 2, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Josie Caron, Malibu Celebrity

The local paper featured this photo of our dog on the front page of the Malibu Life Section:

Josie

I fear we are going to have to evade the paparazzi on our future walks. Here is the original higher resolution photo:

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December 2, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

GAO Assails Department Of Education's Cost Estimates Of Income-Driven Student Loans, Projects 39% ($137 Billion) Of 1995-2017 Loans Will Not Be Repaid

GAO (2016)Government Accountability Office, Federal Student Loans: Education Needs to Improve Its Income-Driven Repayment Plan Budget Estimates (GAO-17-22) (Nov. 30, 2016):

Because Education administers the federal government’s largest direct loan program, it is especially important that the agency corrects its methodological weaknesses associated with estimating IDR plan costs. More specifically, until Education assesses and improves the quality of data and methods it uses to forecast borrowers’ future incomes and accounts for inflation in its estimates, its IDR plan budget estimates may be unreliable.

GAO

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December 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Simkovic:  U.S. LL.M. Programs Probably Benefit International Students

LLM 2Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall; moving to USC), U.S. LLM Programs Probably Benefit International Students:

Part 1: Students Who Stay in the U.S.:

At a conference I recently attended, some law professors and administrators seemed willing to assume the worst about LLM and international JD programs.[fn 1] They seemed to think that LLM programs provide revenue to law schools but do little to help students. This stoked my curiosity about international law programs. It seems likely, as conference attendees suggested, that LLM admissions are less exclusive than JD admissions at comparable institutions. But lower selectivity does not imply that LLM programs fail to help their students.

Immigrants are generally at a disadvantage relative to those born in the United States because of language, culture, and legal issues. But comparing immigrants to U.S.-born individuals tells us nothing about the benefits of U.S. education for immigrants. Instead, we can either compare immigrants to those from their countries who stay home, or compare immigrants to each other by education level.

Decades of peer reviewed labor economics research indicates that additional education boosts earnings. Moreover, Immigration to the United States can often dramatically boost earnings for immigrants over the long term. Are foreign LLM programs or international JDs exceptions to widely observed trends regarding benefits of education and immigration?

While data is limited, the unsurprising answer appears to be: Probably not.

Using U.S. Census data (ACS), I found (in a very preliminarily, quick analysis intended primarily to satisfy my own curiosity) that an LLM might boost long term annual earnings by as much as $25,000 on average compared to a bachelor’s degree (depending on unobserved selection effects, the causal boost could be lower since these are cross-tabbed means by race sex and education level). The earnings boost from a JD for immigrants might be around two or two and a half times as high as the boost from an LLM.

[Fn. 1]:  At the conference, attendees saw data on international student market share and growth. The data suggested that a relatively small number of law schools attract the lion’s share of international LLMs and JDs. Attendees were also informed that U.S. News does not rank LLM programs, that the ABA does not collect much data about LLM programs, and that the ABA requires that LLM programs not adversely affect JD programs. Based on little more than ostensibly lighter regulation, some attendees enthusiastically speculated about competitor law schools’ nefarious activities. Some went further than speculation. One senior law school administrator compared LLMs and other non-JD programs to “Trump University”—a for-profit institution that critics allege used high-pressure sales tactics and unqualified faculty. A senior faculty member lambasted a local competitor for accepting many international students, while mentioning that his own institution had not “lowered its standards” in accepting international students.

Part 2: Students Who Return Home:

In part 1 of this 2 part post, I noted that U.S. LLM programs may provide substantial financial benefits to students who remain in the United States, even if they do not necessarily pass a U.S. bar exam. But what about the LLM graduates who return to their countries of origin?

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December 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Law School Rankings By Job Placement

Dan Filler (Drexel) has mined the ABA placement data to rank all 203 law schools by the percentage of graduates in the class of 2015 who found full-time non-law school funded long term J.D.-required or J.D.-advantage jobs within nine months after graduation, along with each school's U.S. News rank.  (He notes glitches in the data in a later post.) Here are the Top 25:

Job Rank US News Rank School Percentage
1 7 PENN 93%
2 11 DUKE  92%
2 60 KENTUCKY 92%
4 13 CORNELL  91%
4 2 HARVARD  91%
4 4 CHICAGO 91%
7 6 NYU 90%
7 4 COLUMBIA  90%
9 2 STANFORD  89%
9 12 NORTHWESTERN 89%
11 8 MICHIGAN 88%
12 8 VIRGINIA 87%
12 65 SETON HALL 87%
12 8 UC-BERKELEY 87%
15 55 BAYLOR  86%
15 30 OHIO STATE 86%
15 18 WASHINGTON UNIV. 86%
18 25 ARIZONA STATE 85%
18 20 IOWA 85%
18 1 YALE  85%
21 45 GEORGE MASON 84%
21 57 NEBRASKA 84%
21 86 ARKANSAS 84%
21 45 SMU 84%
25 30 BOSTON COLLEGE 83%
25 33 GEORGIA 83%
25 86 TULSA 83%
25 16 VANDERBILT 83%

Dan notes "there are other ways to slice the data," and my Pepperdine colleague Rob Anderson does so in Law Schools Ranked by Employment.  Rob notes the many "oddities" in Dan's ranking, including Kentucky (2), Georgetown (78), and UC-Irvine (127):

I decided to use a technique have written about in the past to produce a better ranking of law schools by ABA employment data. Professor Filler's post really isn't fair to excellent schools like Georgetown, and is especially harsh to UC Irvine, which Professor Filler's approach ranks at #127. My technique takes into account all of the ABA data and uses a dimensionality reduction technique to squash the data into a single dimension. It counts some categories as negatives and some as positives, and uses information about "biglaw" versus "small law" jobs, etc. This ranking, which I denote A-Rank to distinguish it from Filler's F-Rank, is far from perfect, but it is clearly a significant improvement and I think readers will find it more informative.

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December 1, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

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December 1, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Social Media Is Impacting Law Students

Facebook Twitter InstagramD Magazine, How Social Media is Impacting Law Students:

Given the prevalence of social media–Facebook now boasts more than 1.7 billion users worldwide, with 293,000 status updates posted each minute–wannabe lawyers are being scrutinized through the unforgiving lens of social networking. As far back as 2011, a Kaplan Test Prep survey indicated that 37 percent of law school admissions officers reported checking out applicants on social media–a far higher percentage than admissions officers for colleges and business schools. A 2015 survey by recruiting software company Jobvite found that 52 percent of recruiters say they “always search” candidates’ online profiles during the hiring process. And, according to a 2013 Careerbuilder study, 43 percent of hiring managers disqualified applicants based on information found online, including provocative photos (50 percent), posts about alcohol or drug use (48 percent), badmouthing a current or former employer (33 percent), making discriminatory comments related to things like race, gender, or religion (28 percent), and lying about qualifications (24 percent).

Law students and recent law graduates today have to navigate one of the most challenging job markets in recent history. The National Association for Legal Placement recently reported that the class of 2015 secured fewer private practice jobs than any class since 1996. And they are doing so having come of age in the era of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where comments and content that can sink a career are just a few keystrokes away, preserved for posterity, and sharable with an online audience of millions. ... Of course, even older lawyers aren’t immune to social media missteps that can jeopardize employment or professional standing.

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December 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

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December 1, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

More Law Degrees For Women, But Fewer Good Jobs

NY Times Dealbook (2013)New York Times Deal Book: More Law Degrees for Women, but Fewer Good Jobs, by Elizabeth Olson:

Women currently occupy nearly half of all the seats in American law schools, gaining credentials for a professional career once all but reserved for men. But their large presence on campus does not mean women have the same job prospects as men.

New research indicates that female law students are clustered in lower-ranked schools, and fewer women are enrolled in the country’s most prestigious institutions. Such distribution can make a significant difference in whether female law graduates land legal jobs that pay higher wages and afford long-term job security and professional advancement.

Women “are less likely than men to attend the schools that send a high percentage of graduates into the profession,” said Deborah J. Merritt, a law professor at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, who co-wrote the report called The Leaky Pipeline for Women Entering the Legal Profession.

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November 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Blawg 100 And Blawg Hall Of Fame

Top 100 2The ABA Journal has released its annual list of the Top 100 Blawgs.  I am delighted that five members of our Law Professor Blogs Network are honored:

Three members of our Law Professor Blogs Network are in the ABA Journal Blawg 100 Hall of Fame:

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November 30, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Several Law Profs Named On Watchlist Of Academics Who Advance 'Leftist Propaganda'

PWFollowing up on last week's post, New Website Seeks To Register Professors Accused of Liberal Bias:  New York Times, Professor Watchlist Is Seen as Threat to Academic Freedom:

A new website that accuses nearly 200 college professors of advancing “leftist propaganda in the classroom” and discriminating against conservative students has been criticized as a threat to academic freedom.

The site, Professor Watchlist, which first appeared Nov. 21, says it names those instructors who “advance a radical agenda in lecture halls.”

“We aim to post professors who have records of targeting students for their viewpoints, forcing students to adopt a certain perspective, and/or abuse or harm students in any way for standing up for their beliefs,” wrote Matt Lamb, an organizer of the site.

ABA Journal, Several Law Profs Land on Watchlist of Academics Who Advance 'Leftist Propaganda':

Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet says he isn’t bothered by his inclusion on a conservative group’s new watchlist of leftist professors. “It’s not a big deal,” Tushnet tells the Harvard Crimson. “It comes with the territory.” ... The watchlist targets Tushnet for a May 2015 blog post saying conservatives lost the culture wars, and it’s time to take a hard line with the losers. ...

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November 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Grand Jury Charges Katherine Magbanua With First Degree Murder In Killing Of Dan Markel

MagnaubaFollowing up on yesterday's post:  Tallahassee Democrat, Katherine Magbanua Indicted on First-Degree Murder Charges in Dan Markel Case:

Prosecutors secured a murder indictment of Katherine Magbanua, a prime suspect in orchestrating the July 2014 shooting of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

After hearing from police investigators and Luis Rivera, one of two men suspected of carrying out the murder-for-hire, grand jurors Tuesday charged the 31-year-old with first-degree murder.

She is the suspected link between Markel’s former in-laws and two men, Sigfredo Garcia and Rivera, charged with his murder.

Magbanua has two children with Garcia, who has an extensive criminal record. She was arrested on Oct. 1 in Broward County and is being held in the Leon County Jail.

Investigators believe she is the go-between for the family of Markel's ex-wife Wendi Adelson, whose brother, Charlie Adelson, and mother, Donna Adelson, have been linked to the murder-for-hire plot by investigators but have not been charged. ...

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

After Big Associate Salary Boost In June, Cravath Holds Year-End Bonuses Steady ($15k-$100k)

CravathOn the heels of its big June increase in associate salaries, Cravath Swaine & Moore announced yesterday that is is awarding the same amount of associate bonuses as last year:

Class of 2016 — $15,000 (pro-rated) (on top of $180,000 salary)
Class of 2015 — $15,000 (on top of $190,000 salary)
Class of 2014 — $25,000 (on top of $210,000 salary)
Class of 2013 — $50,000 (on top of $235,000 salary)
Class of 2012 — $65,000 (on top of $260,000 salary)
Class of 2011 — $80,000 (on top of $280,000 salary)
Class of 2010 — $90,000 (on top of $300,000 salary)
Class of 2009 — $100,000 (on top of $315,000 salary)
Class of 2008 — $100,000

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November 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Brooklyn Law School Sues Property Professor For Refusing To Vacate Rental Apartment After School's Sale Of Building To Developer

MurumbaThe Real Deal, Law Professor’s Eviction Fight Complicates Billionaire’s Plans for Brooklyn Rental Building:

A Brooklyn Law School professor is refusing to vacate a Brooklyn Heights rental building that a billionaire investor snapped up last year, setting in motion a flurry of lawsuits.

Professor Samuel Murumba asserted his tenants rights and would not vacate his combined apartments at 2 Pierrepont Street in time for renovations, the New York Post reported. The owner of the building, billionaire Vincent Viola, bought the 12-story rental from the Brooklyn Law School for $35 million in September last year.

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November 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Prosecutors To Seek First Degree Murder Charge Today Against Katherine Magbanua In Grand Jury Proceedings In Dan Markel's Murder

MagnaubaTallahassee Democrat, Grand Jurors Weighing Magbanua's Connection to Markel Murder:

Leon County grand jurors will decide Tuesday whether to indict Katherine Magbanua in connection with the murder of Florida State law professor Dan Markel. ...

Investigators believe she is the go-between for the family of Markel's ex-wife Wendi Adelson, whose brother, Charlie Adelson, and mother, Donna Adelson, have been linked to the murder-for-hire plot by investigators but have not been charged. ... The Adelsons, through their attorneys, have called investigators’ theories “fanciful fiction.”

WCTV, Case Against Katherine Magbanua Headed to Grand Jury:

Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman says the grand jury is scheduled for November 29th and she will seek a first-degree murder indictment against Magbanua. ...

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November 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Law School Dean Wants al-Qaeda To Go After The U.S. News Rankings

EnginesFollowing up on my previous post, The U.S. News Law School Rankings: Engines Of Anxiety: Washington Post, Law School Administrators Would Like Al-Qaeda To Go After U.S. News & World Report. This Is Why.:

Wendy Nelson Espeland and Michael Sauder’s new book, Engines of Anxiety, explains how law schools try to game the U.S. News & World Report’s academic rankings to attract students. I interviewed them by email to understand why these rankings are so important, and what law schools do to try to improve their rating. ...

HF — Most law school deans seem to detest these rankings — you quote one who compares the rankings to a cockroach infestation, and another who wishes that al-Qaeda would go after U.S. News. Why do deans pay so much attention to the rankings if they hate them so much?

WNE & MS — The primary reason most deans pay attention to the rankings is that there are a number of external audiences — prospective students, current students, employers, boards of trustees — who either take the rankings at face value or use them to make decisions. Deans believe that rankings (no matter how questionable their methodology) can have real effects on their school as these external audiences decide where to go to school or whom to hire based on them. Many deans also fear losing their jobs if they don’t produce good numbers. This fear is warranted, given the number of deans and administrators who have lost their jobs as a result of not meeting expectations in the rankings. ...

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November 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Texas Legislators Push For New Public Law School In The Rio Grande Valley Because 'Everybody Has A Law School'

Rio GrandeThe Monitor, Valley Legislators File Bills Asking For a Law School in the Area:

A new legislative year is bringing renewed hope for Rio Grande Valley representatives who hope to establish a law school in the area.

“The law school is a natural progression as our demographics grow, as our population grows,” said Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville. “There are some great, very talented young professionals who for financial reasons or reasons related to family cannot travel to San Antonio, which is our nearest law school.”

Lucio III and Armando “Mando” Martinez, D-Weslaco, both filed legislation — House Bill 169 and 46, respectively — last week calling for the establishment of a public law school in either Cameron or Hidalgo County.

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

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Saturday, November 26, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Law Student Loan Forgiveness 'May Be In Crosshairs' Of Trump Administration, Republican Congress

Trump (President Elect)National Law Journal, Trump's Election Fuels Worry Over Lawyer Loan Forgiveness:

President-elect Donald Trump offered few specifics on the campaign trail about student debt and the government's role in aiding those saddled with massive educational loans.

Now, student loan experts and public-interest advocates are parsing those sparse comments on the subject for clues about what a Trump administration means for current and future borrowers, lawyers and law students included.

Their takeaway? Good news for attorneys already practicing, and a precarious position for lawyers-to-be, especially those wanting public-interest jobs.

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November 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Law Profs: Take The Pledge For The Public Good

TakeAlexi Freeman (Denver) & Katie Steefel (Denver), The Pledge for the Public Good: A Student-Led Initiative to Incorporate Morality and Justice in Every Classroom, 22 Wash. & Lee J. C.R. & Soc. Just. 49-106 (2016):

"The first thing I lost in law school was the reason I came." This is the disheartening reality for countless law students. While legal education has made great strides towards diversifying its offerings and expanding its focus over time, the struggle to maintain one's vision and identity, especially if such things connect to the public interest, remains challenging. Some notable exceptions exist, but overall, law schools often still underserve those who are public interest focused and fail to graduate many students who devote themselves to serving the public good.

While the climate at our school is supportive and embracing of public interest, and efforts to do even more are on the rise, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (Denver Law) is no exception. To move any law school to "the other side" that only a few are privileged to be a part of, large-scale, long-term transformation is needed to connect public interest to all aspects of culture and curriculum. The consumers of legal education—the students—can play a major role in jumpstarting this transformation. At Denver Law, the Chancellor's Scholars did just that with the creation of the Pledge for the Public Good.

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

WKRP in Cincinnati Thanksgiving Turkey Drop

November 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Shearman & Sterling Joins Growing BigLaw Trend In De-Equitizing Partners: 'Shearminations'

ShearmanNew York Times: Law Firms, Struggling Financially, Cull Partner Ranks, by Elizabeth Olson:

Wrestling with a difficult market, some big law firms are demoting partners — meaning they are no longer owners in the firm who share in annual profits.

The latest to publicly weigh such a step is Shearman & Sterling, a powerhouse New York firm that indicated recently that it would revamp itself, primarily through demotions and delays in promotions to full partnership status.

Demoting, or even cutting, partners is not new in the legal industry. A decade ago, the efforts at Shearman & Sterling to jettison unproductive partners were called “Shearminations.” But it is a tool the legal industry once wielded sparingly.

“It’s back now because there is a growing recognition that demand for legal services is not picking up and firms are facing overcapacity issues,” said Peter Zeughauser, a law firm consultant.

Some firms have been quietly weeding their partner ranks as a result. In a process called de-equitizing, law firms set retirement dates for certain equity partners or reduce them to salaried status, cutting them out of the yearly profit distribution. ...

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

Concord Law School Seeks Permission For Its Graduates To Take The Bar Exam In States Other Than California

Concord Logo (2016)ABA Journal, For-Profit Concord School of Law Seeks More State Bar Exam Opportunities For its Grads:

The Concord Law School of Kaplan University, which offers online courses, in the past month has filed petitions in Arizona, New Mexico and Connecticut, asking the states to change existing rules that restrict its graduates from taking bar exams.

California is currently the only state that allows Concord graduates to sit for its state bar exam as first-time test takers, says Martin Pritikin, the for-profit law school’s dean and vice president. He expects to file more petitions on other states.

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

Law School Student Debt Rankings

2017 U.S. News LogoJD Journal, Law School Debt Rankings — Law Schools with the Highest Debt:

U.S. News and World Report analyzed the indebtedness of law school graduates in 2015, and they discovered a huge gap between the school with the highest student debt, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and the least, University of Hawaii-Manoa. To no one’s surprise, the majority of graduates had student loan debt, but what was shocking about this list was that even the non-top ranked schools came with a heavy price tag for students.

Here are the ten law schools with the highest student debt, and the ten law schools with the lowest student debt:

Top 10

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November 23, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

WSJ:  Many Deans Resist Law School Accreditors Raising The Bar—'Nobody Looks At Job Outcomes Of PhDs, MBAs'

WSJWall Street Journal, Law School Accreditors Raising the Bar:

With the percentage of fledgling lawyers failing state licensing exams on the rise, national accreditors are getting tough and telling law schools to better prepare students for legal practice or risk losing their accreditation.

The American Bar Association, which oversees the nation’s more than 200 accredited law schools, is working on a new rule that would require 75% of a law school’s graduates sitting for a bar exam to pass it within two years.

The proposal, which recently cleared a key administrative hurdle and could be implemented early next year, is rankling some law schools that say it will unfairly hurt those institutions with a mission of increasing access to legal education to a more diverse array of students.

Others say a national standard makes little sense when some states, such as California and New York, have notoriously more difficult bar exams than others.

“Nobody looks at what percentage of Ph.D.s end up as college professors, or what percentage of M.B.A.s achieve their goal,” said Gilbert Holmes, the dean of University of La Verne College of Law in California, who opposes the rule.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

July 2016 California Bar Exam Carnage

The California State Bar has released the results from the July 2016 bar exam.  The overall pass rate was 43%, the lowest in 32 years.  For California ABA-accredited law schools, the pass rate fell 6.2 percentage points from 2015, to 62%, down 21 percentage points from 2008. 

California Bar

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November 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

New Website Seeks To Register Professors Accused of Liberal Bias

ProfessorInside Higher Ed, Being Watched: New Website Seeks to Register Professors Accused of Liberal Bias and “Anti-American Values”

A new website is asking students and others to “expose and document” professors who “discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

The site, called Professor Watchlist, is not without precedent -- predecessors include the now-defunct NoIndoctrination.org, which logged accounts of alleged bias in the classroom. There's also David Horowitz's 2006 book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. But such efforts arguably have new meaning in an era of talk about registering certain social groups and concerns about free speech.

At the same time, the new list has attracted Twitter jokesters under the hashtag #trollprofwatchlist, with complaints about Indiana Jones, Professor Plum of "Clue University," and Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter's Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, among others.

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November 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Sandy Levinson Receives Hateful Postcard

Sandy Levinson (Texas), who is visiting at Harvard Law School this semester, received this hateful postcard in the mail:

Sandy Levinson

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November 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Financial Times Special Section On Law Schools:  
The Admissions Collapse Continues

Financial Times (2017)Financial Times, Law School Admissions Collapse Continues: They Are Being Forced to Innovate or Face Being Left Behind:

Since 2010, US law schools have experienced a drop in student admissions to a level not seen since 1973, when there were 53 fewer schools than today (204). The number of first-year students entering law school in 2015 dropped to just above 37,000 compared to 52,000 in 2010, according to figures released by the American Bar Association. The latest enrolment numbers are due in December.

FT Chart 2

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

#AcademicHumblebrags

HumblebragInside Higher Ed, Academic Humblebrags:

Consider the humblebrag, a seemingly modest utterance that’s actually a boast. ...

  • Gosh, if I don’t send in that manuscript to Oxford by this fall, they’re gonna kill me!
  • You know, if it weren’t for all the grateful letters that I’ve gotten from students over the years, I’d’ve given up teaching a long time ago.
  • I’m sure plenty of people could have delivered the keynote address at this conference, but I’m the one who got suckered into it.
  • Never mind all my publications. The teaching award I got this year makes me realize what really matters in life.

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

Law Profs Weigh In On The Hamilton/Pence/Trump Controversy

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 20, 2016

129 College Presidents Send Letter Asking President-Elect Trump To Condemn 'Harassment, Hate And Acts Of Violence'

Trump (President Elect)Inside High Ed:

Dear President-elect Trump,

As do you, we “seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.” In order to maintain the trust required for such productive engagement, it is essential that we immediately reaffirm the core values of our democratic nation: human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. As college and university presidents, we commit ourselves to promoting these values on our campuses and in our communities, and we stand alongside the business, nonprofit, religious and civic leaders who are doing the same in organizations large and small.

In light of your pledge to be “President for all Americans,” we urge you to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name, which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office. In our schools, on job sites and college campuses, on public streets and in coffee shops, members of our communities, our children, our families, our neighbors, our students and our employees are facing very real threats, and are frightened.

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November 20, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (15)

Law Prof Submits Letter With 12,000 Lawyer Signatures Opposing President-Elect Trump's Selection Of Stephen Bannon As White House Strategist

Leong 2

Daily Kos, Over 12,000 Lawyers Sign Letter Opposing Steve Bannon:

Later today, a letter with over 12,000 signatures of attorneys from all over the country will be delivered to key members of Congress. The letter, originally drafted by University of Denver law professor Nancy Leong, has garnered such a huge number of signatures in just 60 hours of being online.  Leong drafted the letter because “Bannon is on a different level.  His website has enabled white supremacists and his public comments show he does not respect the democratic institutions that we as lawyers have sworn to uphold.”

The letter has signers from all types of legal work and all different political persuasions. As Leong described it, “It’s not a partisan issue to support our democratic institutions and oppose a white supremacist, and I hope that what this communicates to vulnerable communities is lawyers have your back in opposing this.”

Bloomberg Law, Meet the Law Prof Who Found 10,000+ Lawyers Opposed to Bannon:

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November 20, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (10)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

After Battles With Conservatives, Michael Hunter Schwartz To Step Down After 4 Years As Arkansas Dean

Hunter SchwartzFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Arkansas Times, UALR Law Dean Stepping Down in June:

Michael Schwartz, dean of UALR's Bowen School of Law, has announced he's stepping down as dean June 30 to go to a full-time teaching position. He's held the position since July 2013.

Schwartz found himself enmeshed in several controversies at the law school, engendered by conservative activists. One involved faculty member Rob Steinbuch's effort to dislodge student records to determine whether under-qualified black students were gaining admittance. Steinbuch filed suit for records after Schwartz provided redacted copies of some material he sought to analyze bar exam performance. Steinbuch also accused two other faculty members of retaliating against him for seeking the information. He called them "race police."

More recently, Schwartz has been derided by conservatives on the web for providing on-campus counseling to students upset by the presidential election. ...

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November 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Reynolds:  Universities' Reactions To Presidential Election Constitute Microaggressions Against Students Who Voted For Trump

Following up on last Saturday's post, Law Schools React To Donald Trump's Election:  USA Today op-ed: 'Tolerant' Educators Exile Trump Voters From Campus, by Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee):

One of the more amusing bits of fallout from [the presidential] election has been the safe-space response of many colleges and universities to the election of the “wrong” candidate. But on closer examination, this response isn’t really amusing. In fact, it’s downright mean.

Donald Trump’s substantial victory, when most progressives expected a Hillary Clinton landslide, came as a shock to many. That shock seems to have been multiplied in academe, where few people seem to know any Trump supporters — or, at least, any Trump supporters who’ll admit to it.

The response to the shock has been to turn campuses into kindergarten. The University of Michigan Law School announced a “post-election self-care” event with “food” and “play,” including “coloring sheets, play dough (sic), positive card-making, Legos and bubbles with your fellow law students.” (Embarrassed by the attention, UM Law scrubbed the announcement from its website, perhaps concerned that people would wonder whether its graduates would require Legos and bubbles in the event of stressful litigation.) ...

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November 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (9)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

What American Law Professors Forgot And What Trump Knew

Law ProfessorsChicago Tribune op-ed: What American Law Professors Forgot and What Trump Knew, by Stephen B. Presser (Northwestern; author, Law Professors and the Shaping of American Law (West 2016)):

It was lonely being a Donald Trump supporter in the legal academy. Of my thousands of colleagues teaching law in this country, I don't think more than a few dozen believed that he would have made a better president than Hillary Clinton, and not more than a handful of us were willing to go public with our support.

It has always been a risk to be a Republican teaching in a law school, where many teachers see a thin line between support for the GOP and bigotry or insanity. And yet, enough Americans liked what they saw in Trump to give him a smashing Electoral College victory.

How did it come about that law professors grew so out of touch with much of America?

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November 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (10)

Pomona President Denies Wrongdoing As IRS Complaint Filed Against College For Funding Anti-Trump Student Protesters

PomonaFollowing up on Wednesday's post, Pomona College May Have Violated 501(c)(3) Tax Status To Fund Anti-Trump Student Protesters:  The Claremont Independent, President Oxtoby Denies Wrongdoing as IRS Complaint Filed Against Pomona College, by Matthew Reade & Ross Steinberg:

The Claremont Independent has learned that a concerned individual has lodged a complaint with the IRS in response to Pomona College’s promotion and funding of an anti-Trump rally.

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November 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (3)

Law Students Protest SNAILS In The Library: Students Not Actually In Law School

SnailThe Gauntlet, U of C Law Students Raise Concerns Over Other Faculties Using Library:

There’s a problem with SNAILS in the Bennett Jones Law Library in Murray Fraser Hall — but not the kind you’re probably thinking of.

According to Students’ Union law representative Mark Shearer, some University of Calgary law students have recently complained about a high number of “Students Not Actually In Law School” (SNAILS) studying in the Bennett Jones library.

In Canada and the United States, “SNAILS” is a popular term used by law students to describe non-law students. “It’s kind of an unfortunate term but the acronym seems to work quite well,” Shearer said. ...

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

After Denying Provisional Accreditation, ABA Gives Reprieve To Dallas Law School

UNT 2Following up on my previous posts on the ABA's denial of provisional accreditation to Dallas Law School (links below):  the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar announced today that it is sending the school’s application back to the accreditation committee for additional review:

In light of the law school’s appearance and the new evidence offered, the Council adopted a motion that remanded the matter to the Accreditation Committee for further consideration in accordance with the provisions of Rule 25(b)(4), and directed a fact finder, in accordance with Rule 9, to visit the law school to review and verify the new evidence, in particular, the reliable plan submitted by the school. The fact finder shall submit a report to the Accreditation Committee. The Council directed that the fact finder and the Accreditation Committee particularly focus their attention on all matters related to admissions and finances (Standards 501(a), (b), and (c); Standard 202(a) and the reliable plan related to these matters.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Indiana Dean:  The ABA's Troubling Focus On The Bar Exam

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Indiana Lawyer: A Troubling Focus by the ABA on the Bar Exam, by Austen Parrish (Dean, Indiana):

For those in legal education, the bar exam has oddly emerged as a key focus. The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions recently recommended a new accreditation standard. If the ABA’s House of Delegates approves it in February, law schools with a bar pass rate below 75 percent over a two-year period could lose their accreditation. This proposal has teeth, particularly as the pass rate in many states has plummeted. In Indiana, the pass rate fell to 64 percent from 75 percent just one year ago.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Will Indiana Tech Law School Donors Get Refunds?

Indiana Tech (2016)ABA Journal, Will Indiana Tech Law School Donors Get Refunds?:

After making five-figure scholarship donations to Indiana Tech School of Law, some attorneys are wondering what will happen with their money.

Eric Welch, a Muncie lawyer with his own firm, told Indiana Lawyer that he was “very disappointed” with the law school’s Oct. 31 announcement that it would close. He pledged $20,000 to the law school in 2013, to endow scholarships, and hopes that his donation will be returned.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

ABA Places Charlotte Law School On Probation, Censures Valparaiso

CVFollowing up on my previous post, Ave Maria's Admissions Policies Violate ABA Standards, Law School Required To Take Immediate Remedial Action:  ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Statement on Accreditation Actions Regarding Charlotte School of Law and Valparaiso University School of Law:

At its October 20-22, 2016, meeting, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar conducted separate hearings on appeals by Charlotte School of Law (Charlotte) and Valparaiso University School of Law (Valparaiso) of decisions from the Accreditation Committee that each school was out of compliance with certain ABA Accreditation Standards. The Council’s decisions were communicated to the schools on Monday, November 14, 2016 and have been made public on November 15.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

These Professors Make More Than A Thousand Bucks An Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers

Pro PublicaProPublica, These Professors Make More Than a Thousand Bucks an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers:

The economists are leveraging their academic prestige with secret reports justifying corporate concentration. Their predictions are often wrong and consumers pay the price.

If the Government ends up approving the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, credit won’t necessarily belong to the executives, bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists pushing for the deal. More likely, it will be due to the professors.

A serial acquirer, AT&T must persuade the government to allow every major deal. Again and again, the company has relied on economists from America’s top universities to make its case before the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission. Moonlighting for a consulting firm named Compass Lexecon, they represented AT&T when it bought Centennial, DirecTV, and Leap Wireless; and when it tried unsuccessfully to absorb T-Mobile. And now AT&T and Time Warner have hired three top Compass Lexecon economists to counter criticism that the giant deal would harm consumers and concentrate too much media power in one company.

Today, “in front of the government, in many cases the most important advocate is the economist and lawyers come second,” said James Denvir, an antitrust lawyer at Boies, Schiller.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)