TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, October 1, 2016

EEOC To Sue Denver Law School For Underpaying Female Faculty

Denver Logo (2015)Following up on my previous posts:

9 News, Professor: EEOC Will File Suit Against DU Over Equal Pay:

University of Denver Law Professor Lucy Marsh says the EEOC will file a lawsuit Friday against her employer over equal pay to women professors.

"It seems to me that what we've got is a pattern of a number of law school deans have been intentionally, knowingly, violating the law," Marsh said.

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

Friday, September 30, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Kentucky Bar Passage Rates Crater: UK, Louisville Down 15%, 20% Since 2011

LogosInside Louisville, Bar Exam Pass Rates Decreasing in Kentucky, Following National Trend:

Kentucky joined a number of other states with disappointing results from this summer’s bar exams, as only 65 percent of those taking the state exam passed in July. The total pass rate of 69.9 percent from all winter and summer exams in 2016 marked a low point for Kentucky in the past decade, falling over 10 percentage points from its previous high in 2011.

The fall in pass rates over the last five years among first-time bar exam takers in Kentucky was even larger, with this year’s rate at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and University of Kentucky College of Law decreasing by nearly 20 and 15 percentage points from their previous high marks in 2011, respectively.

The pass rate for first-time takers of the Kentucky bar exam was 86.3 percent in 2011, but has fallen each year since and reached 74.3 percent in 2016. UK’s law school graduates taking this exam for the first time in 2016 passed at a rate of 79.3 percent, which was only a slight decrease from the previous year, but nearly 15 percentage points lower than its 94.8 pass rate in 2011. UofL’s Brandeis graduates taking the exam for the first time this year passed at a rate of 71.2 percent — which is below the state average and a drop of 13.6 percentage points from 2015 and 19.5 points since 2011.

Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law has far fewer graduates who take the Kentucky bar exam — many choose to take the Ohio bar exam — but their first-time takers passed at a rate of 79.6 percent in 2016, which was the highest in the state and a slight increase from 2011.


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

Hills:  UC-Berkeley Is Sacrificing Due Process In Re-Litigating The Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Former Dean Sujit Choudhry To Appease An Angry Mob

ChoudryFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): Rick Hills (NYU), Is Berkeley Sacrificing Due Process to Appease an Angry Mob? The Sexual Harassment Case Against Sujit Choudhry:

How much and what sort of process is due in university sexual harassment administrative proceedings? The question, once for me a relatively academic question, has become painfully personal after Sujit Choudhry [right], a personal friend and the former Dean of Berkeley, was accused by his former administrative assistant of sexually harassing her.

Five years ago, I criticized my friend Peter Berkowitz for insisting in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that criminal procedures – in particular, the “beyond-a-reasonable-doubt” (BARD) standard -- be imported wholesale into university hearings where accusations of sexual misconduct are being adjudicated. Without taking any position on the right standard of proof, I argued that one could not automatically assume that the BARD standard was appropriate for a university’s administrative hearing where the stakes are not personal liberty but rather suspension or expulsion. The justification for criminal trial procedures favoring the accused is that the social and moral costs of convicting one innocent person vastly outweighs the costs of letting a lot of guilty people go free (the exact ratio of false positives to false negatives being a conundrum in which 1L criminal law professors delight). The appropriate ratio of false negatives to false positives in the university setting is, to my mind, a closer call. Because the procedural norms for these university adjudications are both hotly contested and reasonably disputed, I urged that the U.S. Department of Education not prematurely centralize them with OCR guidance documents but instead allow universities to experiment with different procedures.

Peter has now trained his sights on one of those decentralized experiments – namely, University of California’s attempt to re-try an accusation of sexual harassment against former Berkeley Law Dean Sujit Choudhry for which Choudhry has already been charged, investigated, and punished. This time I have to agree with Peter as well as with Brian Leiter and Slate: This is a Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment gone horribly awry. As Choudhry’s complaint in federal court alleges, there is an egregious assault on procedural due process going on at U.C. Berkeley. After the jump, I will offer my reasons for believing that President Janet Napolitano, the President of the University of California, is abetting mob justice in urging a do-over.

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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Judge Denies Change Of Venue In Trial Of Markel's Alleged Hit Man; Defense Seeks Testimony Of Other Possible Perpetrators

Markel 2Tallahassee Democrat, Judge Denies Markel Suspect's Request for Change of Venue:

A Leon County judge denied a motion by one of the men charged in the shooting of Dan Markel to change the trial venue. Circuit Judge James Hankinson denied the motion by Luis Rivera's attorney Chuck Collins on Thursday, the day after it was filed.

Prosecutors also are trying to block the testimony of a convicted double murderer from Broward County, who has been transported to testify in Rivera's Oct. 24 trial. Imran Hussain, who was convicted of the 2001 murders of two shopkeepers the 41-year-old worked for, will be a witness in Rivera's trial. ... [I]n Wednesday court filings, Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said Collins may try to introduce Hussain and two others listed as witnesses in court documents as the possible perpetrators in Markel’s July 18, 2014, shooting. ...

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

John Marshall Is First Law School With Two Diversity Officials

John MarshallNational Jurist, John Marshall Law Adds Diversity Positions:

Two new leadership positions created this summer at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago are focused on diversity.

The school believes it could be the only law school with both a dedicated chief diversity officer and a faculty diversity officer. ... Arthur Acevedo, an associate professor, was named the new director of diversity and inclusion for faculty. ... Acevedo’s appointment comes on the heels of the appointment of Troy Riddle as the school’s chief diversity and inclusion officer.

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

University Of New Mexico Bar Pass Rate Drops 13 Percentage Points After Adoption Of UBE; Law School Urged To 'Refocus On Fundamentals'

UNM 2Albuquerque Journal editorial, Uniform Bar Exam Is Not the Problem, Is Law School?:

There are some advantages to taking a national test, especially in a professional field. You can see how you stack up against other test-takers across the country and, in the case of the Uniform Bar Examination, a passing score makes it easier to practice law in other states that give the same test instead of having to take another exam there.

This year, the University of New Mexico School of Law started giving the national exam, which is used in about half of U.S. states.

The results weren’t pretty. The number of students who passed the exam on their first try (68%) in July was down 13 percentage points compared to July 2015 (81%) [92% in 2012, 96% in 2009] on the old state exam. Those who failed were disproportionately minorities and women. None of the 14 Native American students who took the test passed.

New Mexico

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September 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Best (Columbia, NYU) And Worst (Pace, Seton Hall, Hofstra) New York Law Schools For BigLaw Jobs

Above the Law, The Best (And Worst) New York Law Schools For Biglaw Jobs:

[O]ne tipster has gone through and actually broken down how many students from each New York area school are landing at specific Biglaw firms. Here’s the methodology:

I scoured the websites of Cravath, S&C, DPW, Skadden, STB, Cleary, PW, Debevoise, Latham, and K&E (Weil’s website made it impractical to include them), and saw how many associates they each currently employ from Brooklyn, Columbia, Cardozo, Fordham, Hofstra, NYLS, NYU, Pace, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Johns. Since I was mainly interested in recent placement, I kept the list to associates only (no partners, counsel, etc). My goal was to see how successful each school has been at placing students at these top firms, and if you’re really that much better off paying more to go to a better school (spoiler alert: you are). ...


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September 29, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2017 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings

2017Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings:

Outcomes (40%):

  • Graduation rate (11%)
  • Value added to graduate salary (12%)
  • Value added to the loan repayment rate (7%)
  • Academic reputation (10%)

Resources (30%):

  • Finance per student (11%)
  • Faculty per student (11%)
  • Research papers per faculty (8%)

Engagement (20%):

  • Student engagement (7%)
  • Student recommendation (6%)
  • Interaction with teachers and students (4%)
  • Number of accredited programmes (3%)

Environment (10%):

  • Proportion of international students (2%)
  • Student diversity (3%) 
  • Student inclusion (2%)
  • Staff diversity (3%)

The inaugural WSJ/THE rankings list over 1,000 schools. Here are the Top 25:

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September 28, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Leiter Poll:  The Top 50 Law Faculties (Scholarly Distinction)

Top 50Brian Leiter (Chicago), 50 Best Law School Faculties in Terms of Scholarly Distinction, 2016 Edition:

Here's a list of 76 faculties that might have some claim on having one of the 50 strongest law faculties in terms of scholarly distinction (with apologies to any wrongly omitted).  Have fun!  Detailed ballot reporting will make attempts at strategic voting obvious, so don't!  I'll call out your school!  Remember, this is about the scholarly distinction of the faculties, so if all you know is the U.S. News rank, don't complete the survey, or choose "no opinion" for those schools! 

BAD BEHAVIOR WATCH:  Remarkably, 4  people have ranked Arizona State ahead of Yale!  I wonder where they teach? ...

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

BigLaw Could Retain More Women By Hiring From Lower-Ranked Schools

ABA Journal, BigLaw Could Retain More Women by Hiring from Lower-Ranked Schools, Research Suggests:

Female graduates of law schools ranked in the top 10 are more likely to make an early exit from BigLaw than female grads of lower-tier schools.

After their first three to five years in BigLaw, women from top 10 law schools leave their firms at a much higher rate than those from lower-ranked schools.


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September 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chemerinsky:  The ABA Should Grant Provisional Accreditation To Dallas Law School

UNT 2Following up on my previous posts (links below):  National Law Journal op-ed: In These Times, Innovation in Legal Education Should be Applauded: The ABA Should Grant Provisional Accreditation to UNT Dallas College of Law, by Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine):

The lesson from the past several years of unprecedented struggles for many law schools is that this is a time when innovation in legal education should be encouraged.

Unfortunately, it appears that the American Bar Association is doing just the opposite in its treatment of University of North Texas (UNT) Dallas College of Law. The recommendation of the Accreditation Committee of the ABA to deny provisional accreditation to UNT raises disturbing issues concerning how important innovation is being squelched.

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September 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Illinois Law Review Publishes Ranking Of 81 Online Law Reviews

Law Review Online

Nancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC) maintain a guide to submitting articles to 204 law reviews (last updated in 2016).  The guide contains two charts:  (1) the mechanics of the submission process, and (2) the ranking of the law reviews and their schools in six measures: (a) US. News Overall Rank; (ii) U.S. News Peer Reputation; (iii) U.S. News Judge/Lawyer Reputation Rating; (iv) Washington & Lee Law Review Citation Ranking; (v) Washington & Lee Law Review Impact Factor; and (vi) Washington & Lee Law Review Combined Rating.

Colin Miller (South Carolina) maintains a guide to submitting articles to 49 law review online supplements (last updated in 2013).  The guide contains a chart on the mechanics of the submission process.

The Illinois Law Review has just published a ranking of 81 online law reviews (SSRN) and their schools in three measures:  (1) US. News Overall Rank; (ii) U.S. News Peer Reputation Rank; and (iii) Washington & Lee Law Review Combined Ranking.

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September 27, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

UC-Davis Welcomes 157 1Ls, Down 13% From Last Year (20% From 2010)

UC-Davis LogoUC-Davis School of Law (ranked #30 in U.S. News) welcomed 157 1Ls this Fall, down 13% from last year's 180 (and 20% from 2010's 196).  Despite the enrollment decline, UC-Davis's 25% and 75% LSATs fell one point to 158 and 164, respectively (its 50% LSAT remained 163).  UC-Davis's 25%/50%/75% GPAs all increased, to 3.31/3.52/3.73 (+.04/+.01/+.05).  Here are UC-Davis's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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

Department Of Education Rejects Panel's Recommendation, Will Not Suspend ABA's Power To Accredit Law Schools

Department of Education LogoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA Journal, ABA Won't Be Suspended From Accrediting New Law Schools:

The U.S. Department of Education will not implement a panel recommendation that called for suspending the ABA from accrediting new law schools for one year.

In a letter sent to Barry Currier, managing director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Emma Vadehra, the department’s chief of staff, wrote that she was accepting the recommendation of department staff to allow the ABA to continue accrediting new law schools rather than the recommendation for a one-year suspension made by the National Advisory Council on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

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September 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Speed Matters In Law School Exams: More Words = Higher Grades

SpeedKif Augustine-Adams (BYU), Candace Berrett (BYU) & James R. Rasband (BYU), Speed Matters:

What, if any, is the relationship between speed and grades on first year law school examinations? Are time-pressured law school examinations typing speed tests? Employing both simple linear regression and mixed effects linear regression, we present an empirical hypothesis test on the relationship between first year law school grades and speed, with speed represented by two variables: word count and student typing speed. Our empirical findings of a strong statistically significant positive correlation between total words written on first year law school examinations and grades suggest that speed matters. On average, the more a student types, the better her grade. In the end, however, typing speed was not a statistically significant variable explaining first year law students’ grades. At the same time, factors other than speed are relevant to student performance.

In addition to our empirical analysis, we discuss the importance of speed in law school examinations as a theoretical question and indicator of future performance as a lawyer, contextualizing the question in relation to the debate in the relevant psychometric literature regarding speed and ability or intelligence. Given that empirically, speed matters, we encourage law professors to consider more explicitly whether their exams over-reward length, and thus speed, or whether length and assumptions about speed are actually a useful proxy for future professional performance and success as lawyers.

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Law School Special Report:  Tackling Issues Of Race And Class

NLJLaw School Special Report, Tackling Timely Issues of Race and Class:

In law schools across the U.S., professors are discussing current events and social justice movements in their courses. The idea? To demonstrate how race and class intersect with law. Also, in a contributed piece, a law dean offers students advice for the first year — work hard and connect with classmates of different cultures — for your own benefit and that of your future clients. And law school access to justice initiatives are discussed by another dean and colleagues.

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

Death of LSAC President Dan Bernstine

BernstineLaw School Admission Council Announces Death of President Daniel O. Bernstine:

It is with profound sadness that the Law School Admission Council shares the news that Dan Bernstine, President of LSAC, passed away suddenly at his home late last week at the age of 69. Any additional information that becomes available concerning funeral or memorial services, or directed donations, will be posted on our website,

Mr. Bernstine was appointed to the presidency of LSAC in 2007. For 10 years prior to joining LSAC, he was the president of Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. He also served as Dean at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Prior to his tenure at Wisconsin, Mr. Bernstine was a professor of law and interim dean at Howard University. He was general counsel at Howard University and Howard University Hospital. He was the William H. Hastie Teaching Fellow at Wisconsin and a staff attorney for the US Department of Labor early in his career. He has been a visiting professor and lecturer all over the world, including Taiwan, Germany, and Cuba, and additional US law schools.

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

A Tale Of Five (Indiana) Law Schools:  Notre Dame, IU-Bloomington, IU-Indy, Valpo, Indy Tech

Indiana Lawyer, Indiana Law Schools Welcome Class of 2019:

Law School


1L Class

50% LSAT

50% GPA

Notre Dame


2016:  187




2015:  200




2010:  172





2016:  178




2015:  153




2011:  240





2016:  253




2015:  254




2011:  314




Tier 2

2016:  103




2015:  130




2010:  207





2016:  55




2015:  13




2014:  35



Here are 2010-2015 admissions data for Notre Dame, Indiana-Bloomington, Indiana-Indianapolis, and Valparaiso from Law School Transparency:

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Michelle Alexander Resigns From Ohio State Law Faculty For Seminary, Valuing 'Publicly Accessible Writing Over Academic Careerism'; Law Without 'A Moral Or Spiritual Awakening' Cannot Bring About Justice

Alexander 3Michelle Alexander, recipient of a 2016 Heinz Award ($250,000) for her work as "legal scholar, advocate, civil rights attorney and author of the seminal book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," has resigned from the Ohio State Law School faculty to teach and study at Union Theology Seminary in New York City:

I am walking away from the law. I’ve resigned my position as a law professor at Ohio State University, and I’ve decided to teach and study at a seminary. Why?

There is no easy answer to this question, and there are times I worry that I have completely lost my mind. Who am I to teach or study at a seminary? I was not raised in a church. And I have generally found more questions than answers in my own religious or spiritual pursuits. But I also know there is something much greater at stake in justice work than we often acknowledge. Solving the crises we face isn’t simply a matter of having the right facts, graphs, policy analyses, or funding. And I no longer believe we can “win” justice simply by filing lawsuits, flexing our political muscles or boosting voter turnout. Yes, we absolutely must do that work, but none of it — not even working for some form of political revolution — will ever be enough on its own. Without a moral or spiritual awakening, we will remain forever trapped in political games fueled by fear, greed and the hunger for power. American history teaches how these games predictably play out within our borders: Time and again, race gets used as the Trump Card, a reliable means of dividing, controlling and misleading the players so a few can win the game.

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September 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

LSAC Rescinds Threat (For One Year) To Stop Certifying Matriculant Admissions Data In Response To Law Schools' Use Of GRE

GRELSACFollowing up on my previous post, the LSAC has backed off its threat, for one year, to stop certifying matriculant data in response to the use of the GRE rather than the LSAT in law school admissions:

At the beginning of August, we wrote to you to explain that as a result of uncertainty surrounding the use of alternative admissions tests and concern that LSAT score-certification would no longer present an accurate and complete picture of law school matriculants, the LSAC Board had authorized the suspension of the score certification service. At that time, we asked for your input and the input of your deans, and although there was some variation in responses, much of the input conveyed disappointment at the suspension of the service and support for continuation of the service without interruption.

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

End The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Bonanza For Graduate And Professional Schools

Brookings (2016)Brookings Institution:  The Coming Public Service Loan Forgiveness Bonanza, by Jason Delisle (American Enterprise Institute):

Abstract: The federal government is making more data available about the performance of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program for federal student loans. Many policymakers are not aware of this program, but the new data reveal PSLF is growing rapidly and is larger than most observers expected. Budget agencies recently revised the projected cost of the program upward by a staggering amount, and the U.S. Department of Education reports that many PSLF enrollees borrowed over $100,000 to finance graduate degrees. Recent research suggests that borrowers in certain professions stand to have their entire graduate and professional educations paid for through loan forgiveness under PSLF. In light of these developments, reforms that limit the most excessive features of PSLF are warranted, although repealing PSLF altogether and letting the federal Income-Based Repayment program (IBR) accomplish the goal of PSLF is an even better course of action.

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September 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (11)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

2016-17 World University Rankings

London-based Times Higher Education has released its annual World University Rankings of the Top 980 universities in the world, based on this methodology of 13 variables in five categories:

Here are the Top 25 Universities in the World, along with their scores:


























Imperial College London



ETH Zurich


















University College London






Johns Hopkins


















Carnegie Mellon



National University of Singapore



London School of Economics


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

Indiana Tech Dean Bristles At Media For Making Law School 'Look Bad' Because Only 1 In 12 Grads Passed Bar Exam, Says He's 'Not Worried' About ABA Accreditation

Indiana Tech (2016)Following up on last week's post, Only One Indiana Tech Graduate Passed Bar Exam:  Indiana Lawyer, Indiana Tech Law School Dean Says 5 Graduates Appealing Bar Results:

Five graduates of Indiana Tech Law School have filed appeals with the Indiana Board of Law Examiners to have their bar exams reviewed, according to the law school’s dean Charles Cercone.

The Fort Wayne law school had only one graduate of its charter class pass the July 2016 Indiana Bar Exam. However since the results were announced, the school has maintained the pass rate could not be determined until the appeals process has been completed.

Cercone, speaking publicly for the first time since the bar exam results were announced, said he is confident the law school will turn the results around. The school is offering a “very expensive re-taker program” to the graduates free of charge and is offering other bar prep and doctrinal courses to the graduates and the current third-year students. “If they do what we tell them to do, they’ll pass,” Cercone said. ...

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September 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new paper by Edward Kleinbard (USC), Capital Taxation in an Age of Inequality, the first installment of a two-part project proposing a new tax instrument, the Dual Business Enterprise Income Tax (BEIT).  Kleinbard’s current article explores the theory behind the Dual BEIT, while a subsequent follow up article will describe its technical operation.  

Glogower (2016)In brief, the Dual BEIT, which builds on Kleinbard’s prior proposals, operates as a single flat-rate tax on capital income, divided between an investor-level tax on normal returns, and a business-level tax on profits.  The investor-level tax is implemented through a tax on deemed normal returns to investments.  Businesses deduct a cost of capital allowance of the same normal return (regardless of whether the business is financed by debt or equity), resulting in a business-level tax on profits.

The article begins with a series of arguments justifying capital income taxation in general:  First, the classic optimal tax theory result that normal returns to saving should not be taxed has “no practical lessons to teach” in a world with inherited capital and gratuitous transfers.  Second, capital income taxation addresses increasing concerns with wealth and income concentration.  Third, taxing capital income taxes is necessary to raise revenue for public investment and social insurance programs.  Fourth, recent studies, including by the IMF and the OECD, suggest that reducing inequality may increase economic growth.

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September 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

State Bar Pass Rates Fall Despite Rising MBE Scores

Following up on my recent bar exam posts (links below):

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Despite Improvement in MBE Scores, Bar Exam Rates Appear to be Falling Yet Again:

[E]ven though MBE scores rose, bar exam pass rates are declining again.

Muller, Sagging July Bar Exam Results in Florida and Elsewhere Defy Predictions:

A forecast for better bar pass rates is turning gloomy as scores from the July exam begin to trickle in. 

A slight increase in the average score earned by this summer’s test takers on the multiple-choice portion of the test had fueled optimism that the two-year slide in bar pass rates was at an end. But a number of early-reporting jurisdictions—most notably Florida—show continued pass-rate declines. ...

“Florida’s drop is a little surprising,” said Derek Muller,  a professor at Pepperdine University School of Law who writes about bar pass rates on his blog, Excess of Democracy. “When the MBE rises or falls, we should expect the overall pass rates to also rise or fall.”

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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

28 Florida Graduate Tax Alumni Academics Respond To Robert Rhee's Critique Of The Program

Florida Logo (GIF)Florida Graduate Tax Program Alumni Academics Letter:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

We the undersigned graduates of the UF Tax Program have read the various blog posts and other public information that have emerged regarding the Tax Program at the University of Florida Frederic G. Levin College of Law. As alumni in academia, we write to express gratitude to Tax Program faculty, appreciation for its in-residence structure, and stress the importance of preserving (and even enhancing) one of the truly great programs in legal education. The UF Tax Program represents much of what is good in legal education.

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

Omri Marian Responds To Robert Rhee's Critique Of Florida's Graduate Tax Program

Marian (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the controversy surrounding the Florida Graduate Tax Program: Omri Marian, who started his academic career at Florida before joining the UC-Irvine faculty in 2015, has written a withering 28-page letter responding to Robert Rhee's 24-page critique of Florida's graduate tax program. Here are the introduction and conclusion to the letter:

Dear community of tax students, tax professionals, and tax academics,

As I am sure you are aware, over the past few months, the Graduate Tax Program (the “Program”) at the University of Florida (“UF”) has been embroiled in a heated controversy. This controversy started after the arrival of a new Dean, Laura Rosenbury, and significantly escalated with the publication of a letter criticizing the Program, written by Robert Rhee, a non-tax law faculty member at UF.

Rhee’s letter was not written in a vacuum. It is a result of a toxic organizational environment full of anger and distrust. I do not know who is responsible for breeding such an environment, as I have little firsthand knowledge of the events leading to Rhee’s letter. My best guess is that many individuals, of all parties involved, share the blame.

The purpose of this response letter is to make three arguments:

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

Brian Leiter Weighs In On 'The Turmoil At The University Of Florida Over Its Tax Program'

Florida Logo (GIF)Brian Leiter (Chicago), The Turmoil at the University of Florida Over Its Tax Program:

One peculiarity of the critical analysis of the tax program by UF faculty member Robert Rhee is that, in discussing the Sisk data on faculty citations, he fails to note (at least not that I saw) that tax is a low-citation field compared to corporate or constitutional law or just about every other field!  That does lead me to wonder about the reliability of other parts of his analysis. ...

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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Joshua Blank Named Vice Dean At NYU

Blank (2016)Press Release:

Professor of Tax Law Joshua Blank LLM ’07, faculty director of the Graduate Tax Program, has been named NYU Law’s vice dean for technology-enhanced education.

In his new vice deanship, Blank will focus initially on four areas: working with faculty to introduce and enhance the use of technology in their teaching; overseeing the current online degree programs, the Executive LLM in Taxation and the Master of Studies in Law in Taxation, and helping to launch new degree programs with significant online components; leading the Law School’s efforts in developing open education content; and representing NYU Law on University-level technology committees. While continuing work on current technology-based initiatives, he will also actively seek new and forward-thinking opportunities for the Law School to evolve technologically.

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September 22, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Florida Maintains 1L Class Size, Increases Median LSAT (160, +3) & GPA (3.60, +.10), Enrolls Most Diverse Class In History

Florida Logo (GIF)The University of Florida Levin College of Law (ranked #48 by U.S. News) welcomed 314 1Ls this Fall (essentially flat from its 2015 (310) and 2010 (310) enrollments).  Despite maintaining its class size, Florida increased its LSAT median by three points (160) and its GPA median by .10 (3.60).  Florida's complete 2016 25%/50%/75% LSAT and GPA ranges are 156/160/161 and 3.33/3.60/3.77. 

UF press release:

When Dean Laura A. Rosenbury became UF Law’s leader last July, she set forth several admissions goals for the Fall 2016 entering class: raise the median LSAT and GPA scores, and enroll a class with at least 30 percent of the students representing racial and ethnic diversity. The 2016 entering class met and exceeded both of those goals, even setting a record in UF Law’s 107-year history.

  • Applications (2,759) increased by 103% (1,361 last year)
  • Acceptance rate fell to 35.3%, down from a 62% last year
  • Most diverse class in history: 36% (number of Hispanic/Latino students doubled, to 18.7%)

Here are Florida's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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

Florida State Welcomes 153 1Ls, Down 13% From Last Year (23% From 2010)

Florida State logoThe Florida State University College of Law (ranked #50 by U.S. News) welcomed 153 1Ls this Fall, down 13% from 2015 (175) and 23% from 2010 (199).  Florida State increased its LSAT median by one point (159) and maintained its GPA median (3.52).  Florida State's complete 2016 25%/50%/75% LSAT and GPA ranges are 157/159/160 and 3.33/3.52/3.72.  The racial/ethnic diversity of the class is 20%.  Here are Florida State's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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

Utah Law Prof: Impeach Trump Immediately If He Beats Clinton

Trump (2016-2)Christopher Peterson (Utah), Trump University and Presidential Impeachment:

In the final weeks of the 2016 Presidential campaign Donald J. Trump faces three lawsuits accusing him of fraud and racketeering. These ongoing cases focus on a series of wealth seminars called “Trump University” which collected over $40 million from consumers seeking to learn Trump’s real estate investing strategies. Although these consumer protection cases are civil proceedings, the underlying legal elements in several counts that plaintiffs seek to prove run parallel to the legal elements of serious crimes under both state and federal law. This essay provides a legal analysis of whether Trump’s alleged behavior would, if proven, rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the presidential impeachment clause of the United States Constitution.

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September 22, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (9)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Deans Endorse ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement

National Law Journal (2016)National Law Journal:  A Tightened Bar Passage Standard is Needed, by  Daniel Rodriguez (Dean, Northwestern) & Craig Boise (Dean, Syracuse):

The American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has proposed tightening up its regulation of those law schools with a significant ­percentage of graduates who have failed their state's bar exam. Under the proposed new accreditation standard, law schools must ensure that at least three-quarters of their graduates pass the bar after two attempts, rather than five, as is the case under the current standards. As with any numerical benchmark, the measure is imperfect, yet its purpose is a sound one.

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

After 57% Enrollment Decline, St. Louis Welcomes Larger 1L Class With Lower LSAT, GPA Medians

St. Louis LogoAfter shrinking its class size 57% from 2010 (334) to 2013 (145), St. Louis (ranked #82 by U.S. News) welcomed 186 1Ls this Fall, a 10% increase from 2015 (170) and a 28% increase from 2013.

St. Louis Enrollment

This year's enrollment increase resulted in 1-point decreases in St. Louis's 25th (151) and 50th (154) LSAT percentiles, and decreases in its 25th/50th/75th GPA percentiles.  Here are St. Louis's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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September 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

My Love-Hate Relationship With My Harvard Law Degree

Harvard Law School (2016)Huffington Post: My Love-Hate Relationship With My Harvard Law Degree, by Stephanie Barnes Taylor (CEO, The Fruition Group):

I recently attended a Celebration of Black Alumni at Harvard Law School. It has been held every five years since 2000. I last attended in 2011, and I could not help but marvel at what had changed since then. Class reunions are a dubious mix of reflection, comparison and inspiration. It is a poignant intersection of the past, present and future. I have rid myself of a lot of baggage since attending in 2011—literally and figuratively. ...

During the 2011 reunion, I was reminded that Harvard Law School was founded from the proceeds of the sale of slaves that Isaac Royall, Jr. inherited from his father’s sugar plantation in Antigua. Until 2016, the law school bore the Royall family crest as part of its shield. All of my HLS paraphernalia bears the painful reminder that I, a descendant of slaves, was afforded the opportunity to receive my law degree from the finest legal institution in the world at the literal cost of human lives.

My Harvard law degree is a big deal not because of any material prestige it may bring, but because of the sacrifice that it represents. Every Harvard Law School graduate, regardless of race or color, is a beneficiary of the sale of human lives. Either we honor that legacy and make the world a better place for all humans or we ignore the responsibility that our privilege requires of us. Privilege is accompanied by a responsibility. It bears repeating. To whom much is given, much is required.

My HLS Degree Has Come at a Cost to My Marriage and Motherhood

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September 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Top 25 Cities For Law School Graduates

Good Call, 2016’s Best Places for Law School Graduates:

Top 25

Los Angeles is #7, ahead of New York (#40), Chicago (#151), Washington, D.C. (#129) and other large cities such as Atlanta (#45), Boston (#70), Dallas (#41), Houston (#18), Miami (#29), Philadelphia (#89), Phoenix (#88), and San Francisco (#42).


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

Amidst 23% Enrollment Decline, West Virginia Law School Cuts Tuition 44% For Certain Non-Residents

West Virginia LogoWest Virginia University College of Law (ranked #97 in U.S. News) welcomed 106 1Ls this Fall, up 3% from 2015 (103) but down 23% from 2010 (137).  Last week, West Virginia announced a 44% tuition cut under its Loyalty Tuition Program for non-residents who graduate from a public or private higher education institution in West Virginia by making them eligible for in-state tuition ($20,916 v. $37,674, a $50,274 savings over three years).  Other public law schools offering in-state tuition to certain categories of out-of-state students include Cincinnati, Kansas, UMKC, and Toledo.  Akron charges in-state tuition to everyone.  For more, see Above the Law and National Law Journal

West Virginia's 2016 25%/50%/75% LSAT and GPA are 151/153/156 and 3.06/3.32/3.60. Here are West Virginia's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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September 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Could Robots Replace M&A Lawyers?

M&A LawyersThe American Interest, Start-Up Takes Aim at BigLaw:

Venture capital money keeps flowing to promising new tech companies that are working to automate many of the routine tasks conducted highly-paid 20-somethings at big city corporate law firms [First, Let’s Uberize All the Lawyers; Two New Techs Shaking Up the Law Field]. The latest example, from Bloomberg [Mike Lynch’s Invoke Aims to Replace M&A Lawyers With Robots]:

Could the armies of lawyers needed to close billion-dollar deals soon be a thing of the past?

That’s what Invoke Capital, the London-based venture firm run by former Autonomy Plc Chief Executive Officer Mike Lynch, is betting with its latest project financing. Invoke said Wednesday that it’s making an investment in Luminance, a U.K. startup using artificial intelligence to process legal documents and automate due diligence in mergers and acquisitions. ...

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

July 2016 Florida Bar Exam Results

Florida Bar 2The July 2016 Florida bar passage rates by school are out. The overall pass rate was 68.2%, down 0.7 percentage points from last year and 12 percentage points from 2011.  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 (88.8%)

Florida Int'l

4 (103)

2 (80.6%)


3 (60)

3 (80.5%)


4 (103)

4 (78.8%)

Florida State

2 (50)

5 (78.6%)


1 (48)

6 (66.7%)

Ave Maria

Tier 2

7 (63.0%)


Tier 2

8 (52.9%)

Florida A&M

Tier 2

9 (51.9%)

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

10 (49.0%)


Tier 2

11 (45.5%)

St. Thomas

Tier 2

Here are the results for on the MPRE for the 11 Florida law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (Florida and overall):


Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

FL (Overall)

1 (88.4%)

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

2 (88.1%)

Florida State

2 (50)

3 (87.9%)


Tier 2

4 (87.6%)


4 (103)

5 (85.7%)


3 (60)

6 (83.6%)

Florida Int'l

4 (103)

7 (83.0%)


Tier 2

8 (81.4%)


1 (48)

9 (75.0%)

Ave Maria

Tier 2

10 (71.4%)


Tier 2

11 (60.0%)

Florida A&M

Tier 2

September 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (21)

Ranking The Most (And Least) Diverse Colleges In America

Priceonomics, Ranking the Most (and Least) Diverse Colleges in America:

Top 100

I am delighted that Pepperdine is the eleventh most diverse university among the Top 100 national universities ranked by U.S. News.


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September 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

My Take On Robert Rhee's Critique Of Florida's Graduate Tax Program

Florida Logo (GIF)I read with great interest Robert Rhee's 24-page critique of Florida's graduate tax program, the reaction by Florida Law Profs Marty McMahon and Jeff Harrison and a reader of this blog, and Rhee's defense of his letter (as well as the 35 comments, including by Florida Prof Michelle Jacobs; Tax Profs Linda Beale, Erik Jensen, and Mike Livingson; and Law Profs Orin Kerr and Jason Yackee).  Although I was a visiting professor at Florida many years ago and have many friends on the Florida tax faculty, I have no first-hand knowledge of the state of affairs in Gainesville.  I disagree with several aspects of Rhee's letter (e.g., Rhee claims that Florida is the most expensive high quality graduate tax program in the country because "NYU and Georgetown are 100% online" — like several programs, NYU and Georgetown offer both residential and online tax LL.M.s (NYU and Georgetown dub their online degrees "Executive LL.M.s" to distinguish them from their residential LL.M. degrees); Alabama is the only school to offer an exclusively online tax LL.M.).

I want to focus here on Rhee's criticism of the Florida tax faculty's scholarly bona fides.  I have served as associate dean for research at two law schools and have thought quite a bit about the role of law faculty in today's legal education landscape and expressed those views in multiple blog posts, as well as in several law review articles and presentations (listed below).  Rhee's discussion of the Florida tax faculty's scholarly performance considers only one of the several metrics for measuring law faculty scholarship and ignores other aspects of faculty contributions to law school success.

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September 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

A Tale Of Two (Los Angeles) Law Schools: Enrollment, Student Quality, And Rankings

Last week, USC (23) passed UCLA (24) in the 2017 U.S. News College Rankings.  In the U.S. News Law School Rankings, UCLA consistently tops USC:


The gap may widen in the 2018 law school rankings.  USC welcomed 231 1Ls this Fall, an increase of 22% from last year (and a 5% increase from 2010), resulting in a one-point decrease in its 50th percentile LSAT, to 165.   UCLA welcomed 293 1Ls this Fall, the same number as last year (and a 5% decrease from 2010), resulting in a one-point increase in its 50th percentile LSAT, to 167.  UCLA now has a higher 50% percentile LSAT than UC-Berkeley (166).  Here are UCLA and USC's admissions data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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September 19, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Robert Rhee Defends His Critique Of Florida's Graduate Tax Program

RheeFollowing up on my prior posts (links below) on Florida's graduate tax program:  TaxProf Blog op-ed: Response to Professor Martin McMahon, by Robert J. Rhee (John H. and Marylou Dasburg Professor of Law, Florida):

I really hoped that I would not have to say anything more beyond my letter itself. But Professor Martin McMahon’s comment needs a response. To be clear, I still respect him for the incredible scholar that he is.

Professor McMahon suggests that my motivation was personal arising from last year’s appointments process. Absolutely not. He is wrong. The appointments committee made decisions that the tax faculty strongly disagreed with. That is no secret in the hallways. I simply say that schools at Florida’s level, premier research institutions, do not hire tenure-track faculty without strong evidence of academic scholarship, the best evidence of which is the existence and presentation of a significant job talk paper to faculty. The central obligation of tenure-track faculty is academic research and writing. This standard applies to tenure-track tax hires as well, though some members of the tax faculty believe that hiring a tenure-track faculty without a job talk paper or any record of law review or other substantial academic scholarship was proper for a research university. The appointments process can sometimes lead to real disagreements, reasonable or not. My disagreement with the tax faculty pertaining to appointments had nothing to do with my letter.

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September 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Harrison:  The Trumpian Discourse About Florida's Graduate Tax Program

Florida Logo (GIF)Following up on my prior posts (links below) on Florida's graduate tax program:  Jeff Harrison (Florida), The Trumpian Approach to Discourse at Florida:

A few days ago Rob Rhee wrote AND SIGNED a report that was highly critical of Florida's LLM in tax program. ... There are two reasonable responses to a report like Rob's. You can disagree with the numbers. ... Or you can claim that his assumption that the tax program should generate a profit is wrong. Since I do not understand why taxpayers should subsidize a program that trains people to assist people and businesses with money to avoid paying taxes, I personally think it needs to generate a significant profit. But we could debate that and I already know some good counter-arguments.

Privately several members of the tax faculty concede that it needs to modernize. A starting point was to assign it to classrooms that fit the number of people enrolled and to find a director to ensure the program flourished. These changes and others were unacceptable to some and the Trumpian name calling and accusations of distortions started. Those most terrified by change and most willing to sacrifice the program to suit their personal desires revved up alums many of whom did not need to hear both sides of the story because, like Trump, their heroes could do no wrong. They had joined the ranks of true believers for whom truth was irrelevant.

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September 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (19)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Last Night's ABC News 20/20 Program On The Dan Markel Murder:  In-Laws & Outlaws


ABC reports that one of the alleged hit men (Luis Garcia) is negotiating with prosecutors to provide evidence implicating others in Dan Markel's murder in exchange for a reduced sentence in his case.
[See update below: Garcia's lawyer denies this and law enforcement reportedly planted this with 20/20 to spur plea negotiations.]

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

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