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Saturday, November 1, 2014

The 20 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America

Washington Examiner, Top 20 List of Most Beautiful Universities in America:

Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but for independent educational consultants (IEC’s) asked this week to name the most beautiful universities in America there were a few clear favorites.

In an opinion poll circulated to members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the University of Virginia came out on top of almost 100 university campuses nominated for the honor.

Here are the Top 10:

1. Virginia
2. Princeton
2. Stanford
4. Duke
5. Yale
6. Colorado
7. Chicago
8. Pepperdine
Pepperdine Campus Photo 2 (2014)
8. William & Mary
10. Indiana
10. UCLA
10. University of Washington
10. Vanderbilt

November 1, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

October 31, 2014 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Coming 'Civil War' Between Doctrinal Faculty and Experiential Faculty as Law Schools Downsize

David Barnhizer (Cleveland State), ‘Drumbeats of Doom’ and the Downsizing of Law Faculties:

The “drumbeats of doom” are everywhere for law schools. Let’s review just a few. Thomas Jefferson School of Law is bankrupt. Cooley law school closed its Ann Arbor campus. Ave Maria was launched in Ann Arbor and ended up moving to Naples, Florida. Of course no one besides those directly involved in those institutions and alumni could care in the slightest if they disappeared overnight but their problems are just the “tip of the iceberg”. There have been significant cuts of tenured law faculty at the Albany law school, its dean, Penny Andrews, just quit and the faculty voted to form an AAUP union to protect their employment interests. Catholic University imposed a 20 percent all-university budget cut due to declining enrollment at its law school, indicating a stunning example of the law school subsidizing the overall university. Maine slashed three positions in its law library. The New England law school announced plans to cut 14 full time faculty positions in 2014, indicating that faculty who are offered that option but reject it could have their teaching loads doubled. UNLV faces a $3 million deficit. Twelve positions were cut at Vermont Law School due to declining enrollment.

Beyond these and other well-publicized downsizing and closure events at US law schools, quite a few other law schools have made “stealth” cuts in faculty and staff. ... [J]ust as there is an oversupply of lawyers and new law graduates there is an oversupply of full-time law teachers of various sorts and ranks in relation to the changed conditions under which many law schools must operate. That surplus of law faculty will only get worse.

It will not be surprising if in another six to ten years we will find something like 5,000 full-time law faculty (traditional tenure track, clinical and legal writing) employed in the law schools rather than 8,000. It is also the case that in many law schools the faculty that do remain will find their teaching loads heavier. ...

[E]ven though the regular production of quality scholarship is a general duty of law faculty the fact is that a large proportion of faculty are not productive in terms of published works after receiving the “gift” of lifetime tenure. There has never been even a half serious effort to terminate a law professor for lack of scholarly productivity. Nor in law schools is it generally even thought appropriate to ask a faculty member who falls short on the scholarly productivity index to compensate for that failure by teaching added classes. ... As faculty jobs increasingly come under pressure we can expect that the relations between law deans and their faculty will in many instances become tinged with suspicion, resentment and conspiracy theories. ...

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October 31, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Math for Law Students

MathTerrance O'Reilly (Willamette), Math for Law Students:

Topics include fractions, decimals, absolute values, powers/exponents, rounding, percent and percentage change, average, median, bytes, interest, future value, present discounted value and linear functions.

October 31, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cornell's Free Online Tax Code Now Offers Links to IRS Letter Rulings

LIIThe wonderful, free online Internal Revenue Code from Cornell's Legal Information Institute ("LII") now contains links to private letter rulings for each Code section (just click on the "IRS Rulings" tab above the statutory language (e.g., here)). Over 58,000 rulings are linked to across the Code's 850 section. From LII Director Tom Bruce:

A few caveats:  the feature is still in beta test, and we're going to need a month or so to be completely sure that updates are running smoothly. According to the IRS, updates run "every Friday morning" at their end, so we're running ours early on Saturday morning (it appears from this week's events that they don't actually appear on the site until late Friday night). They take about an hour to process once they're available.  As you will see in the explanatory text that comes along with the listing inside the tab,  there are some problems in the data as we receive it, mostly in the date fields.

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October 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

MIT Law School: Legal Education in the 21st Century

Daniel Martin Katz (Michigan State), The MIT School of Law? A Perspective on Legal Education in the 21st Century, 2014 Ill. L. Rev. ___ :

MITDespite some of the blustery rhetoric attendant to the ongoing market transition, lawyers and the market for legal services are not going away. Lawyers serve integral roles in a wide variety of social and political systems. Their work supports the proper functioning of markets and helps individuals and organizations vindicate their respective rights. At the same time, the processes associated with completing their work — as well as the contours of their respective expertise and judgment — are already changing. These changes are being driven by a number of economic and technological trends, many of which Larry Ribstein identified in a series of important articles published in the years before his untimely death.

This Essay is offered as part of a symposium honoring the work of the late Larry Ribstein. This Essay is a thought exercise about a hypothetical MIT School of Law — an institution with the type of curriculum that might help prepare students to have the appropriate level of substantive legal expertise and other useful skills that will allow them to deliver value to their clients as well as develop and administer the rules governing markets, politics, and society as we move further into the 21st Century. It is a blueprint based upon the best available information, and like any other plan of action would need to be modified to take stock of shifting realities over time. It is not a solution for all of legal education. Instead, it is a targeted description of an institution and its substantive content that could compete very favorably in the existing and future market. It is a depiction of an institution whose students would arguably be in high demand. It is a high-level sketch of an institution that would be substantively relevant, appropriately practical, theoretically rigorous and world class.

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October 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pomp Receives Excellence in State Taxation Award

PompRichard D. Pomp (Connecticut) is the recipient of the 6th Annual Council on State Taxation/Paul Frankel Excellence in State Taxation Award:

Richard Pomp, a graduate of Harvard Law School, has dedicated his academic career to the teaching and study of tax law. An internationally known expert on state and local taxation, he is the author of State and Local Taxation, a casebook used in more than 100 law schools and translated into several languages. Pomp has also taught tax law at Harvard, New York University, the University of Texas and Boston College. As author of more than 100 articles, his views on tax law are regularly solicited by local, state and national and international media. He has been described by State Tax Notes as “the most knowledgeable person on state corporate income taxation in the country.”

"Professor Pomp has earned the respect and admiration of both the business community and state tax administrators,” said Doug Lindholm, President & Executive Director of COST. “That is quite an accomplishment in an area often defined by continuing and often contentious litigation. We are pleased to present the Award to such a deserving recipient.”

October 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Be the World's Best Law Professor

Warren Binford (Willamette), How to Be the World's Best Law Professor:

World's BestThis essay is based on a TedX-style presentation at the 2014 Ignite Law Teaching Conference organized by LegalED and hosted at American University Washington College of Law. The presentation summarized some of the latest and most consistent findings in educational research about which teaching and learning methods increase retention and comprehension and which ones do not, and then compared them to the dominant methods used in legal education. The results challenge legal educators who are committed to their students' success to reconsider their own teaching practices, their advice to students regarding effective study methods, as well as the current structure of legal education overall.

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

October 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Iowa Is Seeking One-Week Visitors in 2015-16 Academic Year

Iowa LogoThe University of Iowa College of Law Library welcomes applications for its newly-created Bonfield Fellowship for a visiting researcher:

The aim of the Bonfield Fellowship is to bring a faculty member at another institution to the University of Iowa, to spend a brief time in residence conducting research in the Law Library’s world-class collections. The fellowship is named in honor of Professor Arthur Bonfield, who directed the Law Library from 1985 to 2014. The University of Iowa Law Library is among the three largest law school libraries in the United States. ... 

The Bonfield Fellowship will provide:

  • Round-trip economy airfare for the Fellow between the Fellow’s home city and the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City airport;
  • Hotel accommodation for the Fellow in Iowa City for up to one week;
  • A student research assistant during the Fellow’s period of residence; and
  • A lockable faculty carrel in the Law Library equipped with a desktop computer.

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October 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (3)

Born to Run: How Law Schools Can Meet Law Firm Expectations for New Litigators

Neil Joel Dilloff (Senior Partner, DLA Piper), Born to Run: How Law Schools Can Meet Law Firm Expectations for New Litigators, 33 Rev. Litig. 857 (2014):

This is a tough time for the legal profession. Law firm revenue is mostly stagnant. Law school enrollment is down to 1975 levels. Jobs for recent law graduates are scarce by historical standards. Just 55% of law school graduates of the Class of 2011 had a law-related job nine months after graduation. The legal profession lost 1,000 jobs between December 2012 and December 2013. For litigators, the number of trials is shrinking'" About 97% of all civil cases settle. In 2009, only 1.7% of all federal court civil cases were tried by a jury. One might even question whether entry into the legal profession is worth it after considering the typical law graduate's indebtedness from student loans and the extremely difficult job market. Notwithstanding this dire picture, clients will still sue and bc sued, competent litigators of all kinds will still be needed, and the judicial system will not grind to a halt. Thus, this Article is directed to the hearty bunch of new law school graduates who will practice as litigators and their respective law schools. Both should want to increase the value of a law degree so that the litigators and trial lawyers of tomorrow can not only survive, but flourish, even in this difficult environment.

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October 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thomas Jefferson Law School Reaches Agreement With its Bondholders, Reduces Debt by $87 Million and Continues Operations

Thomas Jefferson LogoPress release, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Announces Debt Restructuring:

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law has signed a Restructuring Support Agreement (RSA) with nearly 90 percent of its bondholders that reduces its debt by two thirds ($87 million), reduces annual cash flow obligations by half ($6 million) and ensures continued operations of the school in its state-of-the-art campus in downtown San Diego.

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October 29, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

More on How Technology Is Transforming Law Practice

Cincinnati Dean Search

UC LogoAs regular readers of this blog know, I spent 23 wonderful years at the University of Cincinnati College of Law before joining the tenured faculty at Pepperdine in 2013.  I previously blogged the news that Cincinnati Dean Lou Bilionis is not seeking a third term and will return to the faculty on July 1, 2015.  Cincinnati has begun its dean search, and I encourage aspiring and current deans to check out this great opportunity to join a great law school in a wonderful, livable city.

October 29, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

U.S. News Global University Rankings

U.S. NewsU.S. News & World Report, Best Global Universities Rankings (methodology):

1. Harvard
2. MIT
3. UC-Berkeley
4. Stanford
5. Oxford
6. Cambridge
7. Cal-Tech
8. UCLA
9. Chicago
10. Columbia
11. Johns Hopkins
12. Imperial College London
13. Princeton
14. Michigan
14. Toronto
14.University of Washington
17. Yale
18. UC-San Diego
19. Pennsylvania
20. Duke
21. University College London
22. UC-San Francisco
23. Cornell
24. Tokyo
25. Northwestern

October 28, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

USC Prof: BuzzFeed -- The Next Scholarly Frontier?

Chronicle of Higher Education:  Why One Professor Thinks Academics Should Write ‘BuzzFeed-Style Scholarship’:

BuzzFeedMark Marino wants to shake up academic publishing. To declare his intentions, the associate professor of writing at the University of Southern California chose a format both fitting and provocative: a BuzzFeed listicle.

Posted on Thursday, Mr. Marino’s piece, “10 Reasons Professors Should Start Writing BuzzFeed Articles,” serves as a “manifesto” for BuzzAdemia, a new journal he’s creating to encourage “BuzzFeed-style scholarship.” ...

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October 28, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leiter: Signs of the Law School Times at the Top 25: Can We Make You Teach More Without Paying You More?

Brian Leiter (Chicago), Signs of the Times at "The Top 25":  Can We Make You Teach More Without Paying You More?:

Washington U. Law School Logo (2014)A law colleague at Washington University, St. Louis forwards the following "internal audit" memo sent to the faculty "as a sign of how things are changing even at higher-ranked law schools. I am particularly concerned that the questionnaire is silent about scholarship even though it was sent to all tenured and tenure-track faculty. Many of my colleagues are also referring to the questions as 'interrogatories.'" The auditors' questionnaire: ...

October 28, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, October 27, 2014

President of Macalester College Calls for University of North Carolina to Lose its Accreditation Over Academic Fraud Scandal

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  UNC-Chapel Hill Should Lose Accreditation, by Brian Rosenberg (President, Macalester College):

UNCThe revelations from the report on the academic-fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been startling: More than 3,000 students over a period of 18 years were awarded grades and credit for nonexistent courses.

But much of what has been said and written to date about the extraordinary failures in ethics and oversight seems to miss both the seriousness of the misbehavior and the extent to which it strikes at the core of any college or university.

This is not chiefly an athletics issue, though the students involved are disproportionately intercollegiate athletes. Nor is it primarily a matter for the NCAA, which is more a cause of than a solution to the problem of athletics in American higher education.

This is an issue of institutional integrity, a violation of the most basic assumption upon which the credibility of any college or university is based: that the grades and credits represented on the transcripts of its students are an accurate reflection of the work actually done. Absent this assurance, a transcript—a degree—from the institution has lost its meaning.

What has been uncovered in the Wainstein report at Chapel Hill is not an isolated incident but a barely concealed process of falsification that persisted for well over a decade, involved more than one in five of all the university’s athletes during that period, and was either known to or willfully ignored by many officials in positions of responsibility. ...

I have little interest in whatever penalties the NCAA chooses to impose upon Chapel Hill’s athletics programs or that the university chooses to impose upon itself. As I said, this is not fundamentally an issue about sports but about the basic academic integrity of an institution. Any accrediting agency that would overlook a violation of this magnitude would both delegitimize itself and appear hopelessly hypocritical if it attempted, now or in the future, to threaten or sanction institutions—generally those with much less wealth and influence—for violations much smaller in scale.

Most of us work very hard to conform to the standards imposed by our regional accrediting agencies and the federal government. If falsified grades and transcripts for more than 3,000 students over more than a decade are viewed as anything other than an egregious violation of those standards, my response to the whole accreditation process is simple: Why bother? ...

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October 27, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

Brooks: Income-Based Repayment and the Public Financing of Higher Education

John R. Brooks II (Georgetown), Income-Based Repayment and the Public Financing of Higher Education:

IBR 2The growth in higher education costs has outrun inflation for decades, in part for reasons outside of an institution’s control. This has serious distributional consequences, given that higher education is a quasi-public good that should be consumed widely. Full public financing is a possible answer to the distributional and spillover problems, but the budgetary impact of doing so makes that close to politically impossible in the United States.

Except that the federal government has, to a first approximation, already created a system of public financing of higher education, paid for with progressive taxation: The Income-Based Repayment student loan program. As of 2010, the federal government provides essentially all student loans, and as of 2012, students may pay no more than 10% of discretionary income to service those loans. After a maximum of 20 years, the remaining debt is forgiven — for any borrower, regardless of degree, career, or debt load. Thus higher education tuition is paid by the government and funded with something that looks very much like a tax on income.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Are You a Chicago-Style (Quantity) or a Harvard-Style (Quality) Scholar?

CHOrin Kerr (George Washington), Writing, Fast and Slow:

Zachary Kramer's thoughtful post, The Slow Writing Movement, brings up a broader choice between two approaches to producing legal scholarship.   Fast versus slow.  Or what I think of as the Chicago style versus the Harvard style.  

The Chicago style is to pump out a bunch of articles every year.  When you get an idea for an article, whether big or small, you write it up.  The idea is to produce a steady stream of scholarship. Not every article will be a home run.  But among your articles enough will be a hit that you'll produce a major body of influential work.  I call this the Chicago style because it is most closely associated with the traditional faculty culture at the University of Chicago Law School.  

On the other hand, the Harvard style is to write less but bigger.  You focus on quality instead of quantity, not sending out an article unless and until you think it is the definitive statement about that area of law.  You won't win any productivity awards.  But what you send out should be a signficant statement -- if not a home run, at least a double or triple.  And by focusing your efforts on really big ideas, the thinking runs, you'll produce a major body of influential work.  I call this the Harvard style because I have heard it associated with the traditional faculty culture at Harvard Law School. ...

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October 25, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Law School Carnage Enters Its Fifth Year

LSAC reports that LSAT takers declined 8.1% in September, on the heels of a 9% decline in June:

LSAC 3

As Derek Muller (Pepperdine) notes, the worst may be yet to come:

Excess

Matt Leichter, LSAT Tea-Leaf Reading: September 2014 Edition:

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October 24, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

October 24, 2014 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

U.S. News Annual Peer Assessment of Law School Tax Programs

U.S. NewsI received in the mail my ballot for the 2016 U.S. News Tax Rankings (2015 U.S. News tax rankings). As in prior years, the survey is intended "to identify the law schools having the top programs in tax law."  The survey is sent "to a selection  of faculty members involved in and who are knowledgeable about the area of tax law. Law schools supplied names of these faculty members to U.S. News in summer 2014."  Recipients are asked "to [i]dentify up to fifteen (15) schools that have the highest-quality tax law courses or programs. In making your choices consider all elements that contribute to a program's excellence, for example, the depth and breadth of the program, faculty research and publication record, etc."

As Donald Tobin (Dean, Maryland) has noted, it is more than strange that NYU has finished ahead of Florida and Georgetown each year that U.S. News has conducted the survey.  Because the survey ranks the schools by how often they appear on the respondents' "Top 15" lists, this means that some folks list NYU, but not Florida and Georgetown, among the Top 15 tax programs.

In filling out your survey, you may want to consult our forthcoming book, Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree, which compiles information about 13 highly ranked tax LLM programs: (1) NYU; (2) Florida; (3) Georgetown; (4) Northwestern; (5) Miami; (6) Boston University; (7) San Diego; (8) Loyola-L.A./LMU; (9) SMU; (10) Denver; (11) University of Washington; (12) Villanova; and (13) Chapman. The topics on which information is reported in the book include:

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October 23, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Law Schools Rankings by Mid-Career Salaries

Wall Street Journal, Harvard Law Graduates Top Salary Survey:

SalaryAt $201,000 a year, Harvard Law School alumni earn more than those of any other U.S. graduate school by the midpoint in their careers. ...

The data come courtesy of the online salary-information company PayScale [press release], which has asked 1.4 million people what they earn in return for finding out how they stack up against their peers. ... The survey pulled data for more than 600 graduate schools, including only those for which there were enough respondents to make their answers statistically valid. ...

Among their findings: the midcareer median salary for seven of the top 10 graduate programs were law schools, but business schools produced eight out of the top 10 highest salaries for those less than five years past graduation. Eight of the top 17 programs that produced graduates with the highest midcareer salary were in California, many in and around Silicon Valley.

Among the top law schools ranked behind Harvard by salary were Emory, Santa Clara, UCLA, Pepperdine, Georgetown, Columbia, Fordham, Berkeley and University of Texas at Austin.

Capture 2

Capture 

Capture 3

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October 22, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Kerr: Tips for First-Year Law Professors

Orin Kerr (George Washington), Tips for First-Year Law Professors:

I want to offer some advice for the fortunate few who landed a tenure-track law teaching job recently and are now in their first year of teaching. Everyone has a different perspective, of course, and if I go astray, I hope others will respond in the comment thread. But if this is your first year of tenure-track law teaching, here are some tips you might consider:

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October 22, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Organ: Will 10% of Law Schools Close by 2019, Just as 10% of Dental Schools Closed 25 Years Ago?

Following up on my previous post, Will Top Tier Law Schools be the First to Close, Like Emory and Georgetown Dental Schools?:  The Legal Whiteboard:  What Law Schools Can Learn from Dental Schools in the 1980s Regarding the Consequences of a Decline in Applicants, by Jerry Organ (St. Thomas):

Dental SchoolAlthough there may be a number of people in the legal academy who continue to believe that somehow legal education is “exceptional” – that market forces may impose financial challenges for law schools in the near term, but will not result in the closing of any law schools -- this strikes me as an unduly optimistic assessment of the situation. 

To understand why, I think those in legal education can learn from the experience of those in dental education in the 1980s. In the 1980s, dental school deans, along with provosts and presidents at their host universities, had to deal with the challenge of a significant decline in applicants to dental school. 

At least partially in response to federal funding to support dental education, first-year enrollment at the country’s dental schools grew throughout the 1970s to a peak in 1979 of roughly 6,300 across roughly 60 dental schools.  ... By the mid-1980s, applicants had fallen to 6,300 and matriculants had fallen to 5,000.  As of 1985, no dental schools had closed.  But by the late 1980s and early 1990s there were fewer than 5000 applicants and barely 4000 first-year students – applicants had declined by more than two-thirds and first-year enrollment had declined by more than one-third from their earlier peaks. ...

How did dental schools and their associated universities respond to this changing market?  Between 1986 and 1993, six private universities closed their dental schools: Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma (1986); Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia (1988); Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (1990); Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, New Jersey (1990); Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri (1991); and Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois (1993). ...

In terms of applicants and enrollment over the last decade, the trends law schools have experienced look remarkably comparable to the experience of dental schools in the 1970s and 1980s. ...

Chart 2

The law school experience tracks pretty closely the dental school experience over the first ten years reflected in the charts. For law schools, 2014 looks a lot like 1985 did for dental schools. ...

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October 21, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Amidst 13% Enrollment Decline, Wayne State Law School Offers 14% Scholarships to Every Incoming Student

Detroit Free Press, Wayne State Law to Freeze Tuition, Offer Scholarships:

Wayne State LogoWayne State University's Law School will freeze tuition next year and give a scholarship to every incoming student in a move designed to make a law degree more affordable, while boosting sagging enrollment at the Detroit school.

In total, the tuition freeze and additional scholarship money will amount to the equivalent of a 14% tuition cut for all incoming students, the school is to announce this morning. ...

Wayne's law school will also offer nearly $1 million in new scholarship money to its current students and a minimum $4,000 annual scholarship to all incoming students.

While officials said the move was about affordability, the school could also use some growth in enrollment. There were 419 students in the law school this fall, down from 484 students the previous year.

October 21, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Social Mobility College Rankings

SMISocial Mobility College Rankings:

Unlike the popular periodicals, we did not arbitrarily assign a percentage weight to the five variables in the SMI formula and add those values together to obtain a score. The relative weight of any variable was established by testing how much a realistic change in the value of that variable would move a school within a set of rankings derived from real data. Accordingly, the greatest sensitivity for movement in the SMI rankings comes from making changes in tuition or making changes in the percentage of students within the student body whose family incomes are less than or equal to the national median--$48,000. Simply put, a school can most dramatically move itself upwards in the SMI rankings by lowering its tuition or increasing its percentage of economically disadvantaged students (or both).

While tuition and economic background of the student body are the most sensitive variables in the SMI, three other variables in descending order of sensitivity are also critical. These are: graduation rate, early career salary, and endowment. While capable of producing big movements, graduation rate and early career salary carry approximately ½ the sensitivity of the first two variables. The rationale for this is not only that tuition and economic background are the most critical front end determinants for access, they are also the two variables over which policy makers have almost 100 percent, decisive control. By contrast, improving early career salary or graduation rate—critical outcomes to economic mobility-- require more substantial policy and system changes over a longer term. Finally, endowment carries ½ the sensitivity of the outcome variables. Although a strong indicator of power to act, endowment primarily serves a “tie-breaking” role in the SMI as explained below.

The relative sensitivity of the variables in the 2014 SMI are as follows:

VariableSensitivity
Tuition 126
Economic Background 125
Graduation Rate 66
Early Career Salary 65
Endowment 30

Here are the Top 10 and the bottom 10 coleges in the social mobility rankings:

Oberlin

Princeton, Harvard and Yale, which are 1, 2, and 3 in the U.S. News college rankings, are 360, 438, and 440 in the social mobility rankings.  (Hat Tip: Maureen Weston.)

October 21, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Great Advice for New Faculty (and Anyone Starting a New Job)

GossipMarc Roark (Savannah), “Be Careful of Those That Meet You at the Train…”:

Every now and then, a fortune cookie dispenses with advice that is so spot-on you just have to keep the little sliver of paper tucked away.  Here is my fortune cookie keeper of all time:

“Be careful of those that meet you at the train for they know where they want you to go…” ...

In my experience, the people on a faculty who you should be most leery of are those that will tell you either the people or the kinds of people you should be careful of.  What sounds as if it comes from experience and insight most often comes from places of fear, mistrust, manipulation, and insecurity.  What it can tell you, if you did not already know it, is that there are fault lines on the faculty for which a subterranean battle for the institution’s soul may be playing out.  As a young faculty member, don’t choose sides without carefully understanding what is at stake.

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October 20, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Call for Book Reviews: Journal of Legal Education

Journal of Legal Education (2014)The Journal of Legal Education has issued a call for book review essays and book review essay proposals:

The Journal of Legal Education, the official scholarly publication of the Association of American Law Schools, solicits submission of book review essays and book review essay proposals. The JLE believes that review essays constitute an important means of communicating scholarly ideas and are particularly well-suited to facilitating dialogue and engagement within and among the legal scholarly community. Accordingly, the JLE has adopted a policy of dedicating space in all of its print issues to the publication of timely reviews of books related to the law (broadly defined). 

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October 20, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Friday, October 17, 2014

Open Access Legal Scholarship Is Cited 60% More in Law Review Articles, 40% More in Judicial Opinions

James Donovan (Kentucky), Carol Watson (Georgia) & Caroline Osborne (Washington & Lee), The Open Access Advantage for American Law Reviews:

Open AccessOpen access legal scholarship generates a prolific discussion, but few empirical details have been available to describe the scholarly impact of providing unrestricted access to law review articles. The present project fills this gap with specific findings on what authors and institutions can expect.

Articles available in open access formats enjoy an advantage in citation by subsequent law review works of 53%. For every two citations an article would otherwise receive, it can expect a third when made freely available on the Internet. This benefit is not uniformly spread through the law school tiers. Higher tier journals experience a lower OA advantage (11.4%) due to the attention such prestigious works routinely receive regardless of the format. When focusing on the availability of new scholarship, as compared to creating retrospective collections, the aggregated advantage rises to 60.2%. While the first tier advantage rises to 16.8%, the mid-tiers skyrocket to 89.7%. The fourth tier OA advantage comes in at 81.2%.

Figure 5

Citations of legal articles by courts is similarly impacted by OA availability. While the 15-year aggregate advantage is a mere 9.5%, new scholarship is 41.4% more likely to be cited by a court decision if it is available in open access format.

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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

October 17, 2014 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Albany Law School Dean Steps Down Amidst 34% Enrollment Decline, Faculty Buyouts

Albany logoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below) on the financial troubles at Albany Law School (including a 34% decline in the entering 1L class to 123 students in 2014, from 187 in 2013 (and a 52% decline from 255 in 2009)), Penelope Andrews is stepping down as Dean at the end of this academic year (her third year as Dean), while the Board of Trustees has appointed Alicia Ouellette, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Intellectual Life, as Acting Dean.  As Bridget Crawford (Pace) asks, "Does it happen at other schools [that] an interim/acting dean is appointed while the existing dean is still serving out the last year of the dean's term?"

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

October 17, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

NPR: The Most Common Jobs For The Rich, Middle Class And Poor

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Call for Nominations: CALI Board of Directors

CALI Logo (2014)The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is seeking nominations to fill vacant positions on its Board of Directors:

If you know of someone who would like to contribute to the research and development, strategic planning and governance of CALI, then consider nominating them for the CALI Board of Directors. Self-nominations also are welcome. ...

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

The Top 55 Law School Buildings

Prelaw Magazine, Best Law School Facilities:

MemphisPreLaw magazine did an exhaustive review of the nation's 200-plus law schools to identify the very best facilities. We started by looking at numerous sources, including our own staff visits and The Princeton Review's 2014 edition of The Best 169 Law Schools to narrow the pool down to the top 60 based primarily on student satisfaction. ...

[A]esthetics and student feedback accounted for 35% of our score, library hours and seating for 27.5%, amenities [dining, fitness center, lockers, study carrels] for 20%, and square footage per student for 17.5%. ... In the end, even though we had initially set out to identify the 50 best buildings, we felt compelled to honor 55.

  1. Memphis
  2. Marquette
  3. Duke
  4. Baylor
  5. Colorado
  6. Richmond
  7. Villanova
  8. Yale
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Penn State-Dickinson
  11. Washington University
  12. Stetson
  13. Southwestern
  14. Nebraska
  15. Connecticut
  16. Penn State
  17. Fordham
  18. Stanford
  19. Quinnipiac
  20. Catholic
  21. William Mitchell
  22. UNLV
  23. Arizona
  24. Chapman
  25. Cornell

October 16, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Symposium: Expanding the Boundaries of Legal Education

On TaskSymposium, On Task? Expanding the Boundaries of Legal Education, 65 S.C. L. Rev. 519-638 (2014) (Video):

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do Too Many Faculty Stars Hurt Law School Performance?

SAScientific American, The Surprising Problem of Too Much Talent:

Whether you're the owner of the Dallas Cowboys or captain of the playground dodge ball team, the goal in picking players is the same: Get the top talent. Hearts have been broken, allegiances tested, and budgets busted as teams contend for the best athletes. The motivation for recruiting peak performers is obvious — exceptional players are the key to team success — and this belief is shared not only by coaches and sports fans, but also by corporations, investors, and even whole industries. Everyone wants a team of stars.

While there is no denying that exceptional players like Emmitt Smith can put points on the board and enhance team success,new research by Roderick Swaab and colleagues suggests there is a limit to the benefit top talents bring to a team. Swaab and colleagues compared the amount of individual talent on teams with the teams’ success, and they find striking examples of more talent hurting the team [The Too-Much-Talent Effect: Team Interdependence Determines When More Talent Is Too Much or Not Enough].

The researchers looked at three sports: basketball, soccer, and baseball. In each sport, they calculated both the percentage of top talent on each team and the teams’ success over several years. ... For both basketball and soccer, they found that top talent did in fact predict team success, but only up to a point. Furthermore, there was not simply a point of diminishing returns with respect to top talent, there was in fact a cost. Basketball and soccer teams with the greatest proportion of elite athletes performed worse than those with more moderate proportions of top level players.

Basketball
Table 4 (NBA)

Soccer
Table 3

Why is too much talent a bad thing? Think teamwork. In many endeavors, success requires collaborative, cooperative work towards a goal that is beyond the capability of any one individual. Even Emmitt Smith needed effective blocking from the Cowboy offensive line to gain yardage. When a team roster is flooded with individual talent, pursuit of personal star status may prevent the attainment of team goals. The basketball player chasing a point record, for example, may cost the team by taking risky shots instead of passing to a teammate who is open and ready to score.

Two related findings by Swaab and colleagues indicate that there is in fact tradeoff between top talent and teamwork. First, Swaab and colleagues found that the percentage of top talent on a team affects intrateam coordination. ... The second revealing finding is that extreme levels of top talent did not have the same negative effect in baseball, which experts have argued involves much less interdependent play. In the baseball study, increasing numbers of stars on a team never hindered overall performance.

Baseball
Table 5 (MLB)

Together these findings suggest that high levels of top talent will be harmful in arenas that require coordinated, strategic efforts, as the quest for the spotlight may trump the teamwork needed to get the job done. ...

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October 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

'Prospective Law Students Are Staying Away From Louisville — And Other Law Schools — In Droves'

Louisville Courier-Journal, Law School Applications Plummet -- At U of L Too:

LouisvilleProspective law students are staying away from the University of Louisville law school — and other law schools — in droves.

Mirroring a national trend, applications to Brandeis plummeted 59 percent over the past three years, to 618 from 1,495, while enrollment of first-year students dipped nearly 30 percent, to 94 from 132. Nationally, enrollment in law schools has declined 24 percent since 2010 as college graduates realize that law is no longer an automatic ticket to the good life. ... 

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October 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Muller: Bar Exam Scores Dip to Their Lowest Level in 10 Years

Harvard Law School Seeks to Hire Bankruptcy Roundtable Research Director and Program Fellow

Harvard Law School LogoThe Harvard Law School Bankruptcy Roundtable seeks to hire a Research Director and Program Fellow:

The Harvard Law School Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Project is seeking applicants for the position with the title “Research Director and Bankruptcy Program Fellow.”  Specific responsibilities include academic and policy-based research for the project, supervising the HLS Bankruptcy Roundtable and its student fellows, and assisting in teaching bankruptcy-based courses.

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Symposium on the Work of Larry Ribstein: Unlocking the Law

Ribstein 2Symposium, Unlocking the Law: Building on the Work of Professor Larry E. Ribstein, 38 Int'l Rev. L. & Econ. 1-173 (2014):

October 14, 2014 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Boston College Seeks to Hire a Tax Clinician

BC LogoBoston College Law School seeks to hire a full-time tax clinician:

Boston College Law School seeks a full-time faculty member interested in establishing and teaching in a transactional clinic that emphasizes entrepreneurship, technology, and the innovation economy.

JOB DESCRIPTION: The successful applicant will be expected to expand the offerings of one of our existing clinics or develop a new program, which may include hybrid arrangements with outside institutions such as incubators, corporations or law firms, and may include simulation as a method of instruction. The focus of teaching should be business formation, business transactions, taxation, or intellectual property. The successful applicant will play a major role in determining the clinic's specific emphasis and operation.

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

Henderson: Is the Legal Profession Showing Its Age?

The Legal Whiteboard:  Is the Legal Profession Showing Its Age?, by William D. Henderson (Indiana):

The figure below suggests that a growing number of students are attending law school but not going on to become lawyers.  This conclusion requires some explanation, which I will supply below.  Alternative explanations are also welcome, as I’d like to find a plausible narrative that foreshadows a brighter future for the licensed bar. [PDF version of this essay]

Slide14

I have shown this chart to various law firms, legal departments, law faculty and bar association audiences.  Through this process, I have developed two working theories that are not mutually exclusive:

  1. Increased exits from law practice based on gender integration
  2. Slowing absorption of law graduates into the licensed bar

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October 14, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Should Law Schools Consolidate Multiple Sections of a Course to Save Money, Free Up Faculty Time?

Inside Higher Ed, A New Metric:

It’s hard to raise much excitement over a chart, but a recent one that breaks down how colleges can reduce the number of sections they teach and reduce faculty time while educating the same number of students might be getting there. But not all the excitement is positive. 

The chart is part of a summary of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded studies by the Education Advisory Board, a business that produces research for colleges. The board looked at seven colleges, mostly regional public universities whose names have not been revealed, and tried to figure out what it costs to teach students. Analysts combed through 250 million rows of data to draw up reports that spelled out the costs of each student credit hour in each section in each department of each college. ...

On a simple chart, the results are stunning: here’s how many classes are empty compared to the current maximum class size -- so, if you combined enough relatively empty classes, you could teach the same number of students without increasing caps on class size. The data also allow administrators to easily see how much it costs to teach the average credit hour in each department, a comparison that has been done elsewhere but that faculty say can be dangerous.

Chart

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

Why Do Lawyers Blog?

Legal Productivity, Why Do You Blog? 23 Lawyers Weigh In:

Blogging means different things to different people but I’m less interested in narrowly defining blogging, than examining why lawyers blog. So I went to the source and asked: “Why do you blog?” Twenty-three lawyers responded, some of whom have been at it for a very long time.

Several have their own practice or are part of a larger firm. Many still maintain their blog, while some write for other blogs. Topics range from their area of legal expertise to other interests like technology and practice management. But these blogging lawyers all have one thing in common: they write with passion and purpose. Business development doesn’t drive their writing. These lawyers blog because they love to write and share their knowledge, experience, and passions.

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

Henderson: Does Coop Placement Accelerate Law Student Professional Development?

The Legal Whiteboard:  Does Cooperative Placement Accelerate Law Student Professional Development?, by William D. Henderson (Indiana):

NortheasternThe title of an earlier essay posed a threshold question for legal ed reform: "If We Make Legal Education More Experiential, Would it Really Matter?" (Legal Whiteboard, Feb 2014) (PDF). I answered "yes" but admitted it was only my best guess.  Thus, to be more rigorous, I outlined the conditions necessary to prove the concept.

The essay below is a companion to the first essay.  It is a case study on how one type and brand of experiential education -- cooperative placements at Northeastern Law -- appears to accelerate the professional development of its law students. The outcome criteria are comprised of the three apprenticeships of Educating Lawyers (2007) (aka The Carnegie Report) -- cognitive skills, practice skills, and professional identity.

The better outcomes flow from Northeastern's immersive, iterative, and integrative approach. First, students are immersed in full-time coops that last a standard 11 weeks. Second, students move through four iterations of coops interspersed with four quarters of upper-level classes. Third, this experiential approach is integrated into the Law School's value system -- i.e., the experiential component is perceived as central rather than marginal to the School's educational mission.

Northeastern's coop model asks more of faculty and students, thus it may be hard to replicate. Yet, there is evidence that such an approach does in fact accelerate professional development in ways that ought to please law school critics and reformers. The benefits may be well worth the costs. ...

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October 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 12, 2014

More on Canaries in the Law School Coal Mine

Following up on my previous post, Former AALS President: Thomas Jefferson Is 'The Canary in the Coal Mine of Legal Education,' Expects Six Law Schools to Close:  George Leef, The Canary in the Law School Coal Mine?:

CanaryCoal miners used to bring a canary down into the mine to warn them when the air was becoming too dangerous. If the canary went limp, it was time to get out.

For the last several years, conditions for American law schools have been getting progressively more dangerous, as students respond to the realities of the market: the legal profession is over-saturated with people holding Juris Doctor credentials. Law schools have been graduating far more students than there are legal jobs, and the number of jobs is apt to shrink further as technology sinks its teeth into legal work.

In his recent City Journal article Machines v. Lawyers, Northwestern Law School professor John O. McGinnis explained why the demand for lawyers will keep shrinking. “Law is, in effect, an information technology – a code that regulates social life. And as the machinery of information technology grows exponentially in power, the legal profession faces a great disruption not unlike that already experienced by journalism, which has seen employment drop by about a third….”

Throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, law was a growth industry and a great many people (especially students who had taken “soft” majors in college) figured that earning a JD was an attractive option. Naturally, law schools expanded to accommodate the throngs of degree seekers, who were aided by federal student loan programs. Going to law school both delayed the need to start repaying undergraduate loans and appeared to be the pathway into a bright and lucrative career.

That’s not true anymore. ...

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October 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)