TaxProf Blog

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

Friday, July 20, 2018

ALI Elects 34 New Members — 17 Are Law Profs

ALI Logo (2015)The American Law Institute Elects 34 New Members:

  • Kerry Abrams (Dean, Duke)
  • Jonathan Adler (Case Western)
  • Mario Barnes, Seattle – Dean, University of Washington
  • Maxine Burkett (Hawaii)
  • Peter Joy (Washington University)
  • Glynn Lunney, Jr. (Texas A&M)
  • Timothy Lytton (Georgia State)
  • John Manning (Dean, Harvard)
  • Erin Ann O'Hara O'Connor (Dean, Florida State)

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July 20, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

NY Times: Brett Kavanaugh's Law Student Evaluations — 'Significantly Better Than Harvard's Full-Time Faculty,' 'Great Hair'

KavanaughNew York Times, ‘Best Professor.’ ‘Very Evenhanded.’ ‘Great Hair!’: Brett Kavanaugh, as Seen by His Law Students:

Anonymous evaluations of professors by their students can be caustic or catty. But they are also unfailingly candid, and collectively they paint a revealing picture of a teacher’s strengths and weaknesses.

Over the last decade, about 350 law students at Harvard, Yale and Georgetown expressed views on classes offered by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. With rare exceptions, they praised his mastery of legal materials, intellectual rigor, fair-mindedness and accessibility. ...

[I]n 12 sets of evaluations spanning 700 pages, there was almost only glowing praise for Judge Kavanaugh’s teaching. More than a few students said he was the most impressive law school professor they had encountered.

“Significantly better than any full-time faculty I’ve had,” a Harvard student wrote. “Kavanaugh is the best professor I have had in law school,” wrote another. “Best class I’ve taken at HLS by a mile,” said a third. ...

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July 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Illinois-Chicago To Vote Today On Merger With John Marshall Law School

JMUICFollowing up on my previous post, University of Illinois-Chicago May Absorb John Marshall, Creating Chicago's First Public Law School: Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette, UI Chicago Moving Ahead on Merger With Private Law School in Loop:

The University of Illinois at Chicago could soon have its own law school, a counterpart to the 121-year-old College of Law at the Urbana campus.

The UI Chicago announced last November that it was in merger talks with John Marshall Law School, a diverse private institution in Chicago's South Loop area.

The university is now poised to move forward, asking UI trustees Thursday to approve a resolution supporting the idea and a formal proposal to establish the UI Chicago John Marshall College of Law. ...

Coincidentally, the move comes just two weeks after the Carle Illinois College of Medicine opened at the Urbana campus.  The UI Chicago has a major health care center and one of the nation's largest medical schools. ...

[B]ackers at both schools have noted that almost two-thirds of the public universities designated as top-tier research institutions by the Carnegie Foundation have law schools. The UI Chicago, the second-largest university in the state, is among the 35 percent that do not.

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July 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vermont Law School's Tenured Faculty Purge And What It Portends For Legal Education

Vermont Law School Logo (2017)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Forbes, When the Numbers Don't Add Up: Vermont Law School's Tenured Faculty Purge and What It Portends:

Vermont Law School (Vermont) recently announced it had issued pink slips to 14 of its 19 tenured faculty members. This is not the first time a law school has terminated tenured professors for something other than sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Albany Law School, Charleston Law, and others have traveled that road, and several other law schools have shuttered. Vermont’s wholesale decimation of its tenured faculty is something different—a clarion call to the legal Academy that its economic model is unsustainable for all but a handful of elite institutions. Students have borne the brunt of the model’s economic pain; now it’s affecting the other side of the lectern. ...

Vermont cited fiscal constraints as the basis for the tenured faculty housecleaning. The law school’s recent $17M loan from the Department of Agriculture to lower the interest rate of its existing debt is, as lawyers say, res ipsa loquitor of its fiscal extremisThe ABA Journal reported that Craig Pease, one of the sacked professors, contends that “the institution has not stated that it faces financial exigencies.” Let’s hope Professor Pease does not teach bankruptcy or evidence. While it’s understandable that he is pursuing his legal and equitable remedies (and foregoing a settlement package), his contention that Vermont fails to meet its financial exigency burden itself flunks the giggle test. That level of economic denial is all-too-prevalent among law school faculty. Vermont’s action might just be that “Thanks…I needed that” slap in the face to wake them up. ...

The unsustainable cost of law school is nothing new to students—most graduate with six-figure law school debt on top of undergrad obligations. Let’s put aside other faults one could assign to the legal Academy—doctrinally-heavy curricula, detachment from the marketplace, most faculty lacking meaningful marketplace experience and awareness of its trends, the (ir)relevance of most legal “scholarship” (noted by Chief Justice Roberts), a “one-size fits all” pedagogical model, a recent building frenzy—and focus on economics. Law school is just too damn expensive for all but the handful that can afford it and/or elite candidates who are given free/steeply discounted rides for ranking purposes. Let’s also exempt graduates of top-tier schools provided they are among a dwindling pool that land high-paying jobs. For everyone else, it’s reasonable to ask, “Is law school worth it?” Short answer: perhaps, but only if one can stomach the debt and has differentiated skillsets—technological, business, linguistic skills, etc.— to augment baseline legal knowledge.

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July 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Public College President Salaries, 2016-17

Book-It-Legal: Uber For Law Students Seeking Micro-Clerkships

BookIntroducing Book-It Legal: The Innovative Legal Startup That May Forever Change the Student Clerkship:

Named by the ABA as the number-one legal startup in the country for 2018, Book-It Legal is singlehandedly changing the way law students and attorneys across the country view the student clerkship. 

In a nutshell, Book-It Legal is the Uber of law student clerkships.  Book-It’s platform allows top law students to bid on paid legal projects posted by licensed attorneys from across the country.  Book-It gives law students the flexibility to bid on the projects they want — and to work at their own pace.

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July 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cornell Is Second Law School To Accept The GMAT And GRE

GMATGRECornell has joined Penn in accepting both the GMAT and the GRE, and is 21st law school to accept the GRE (joining Arizona, Brooklyn, BYU, Cardozo, Chicago Kent, Columbia, Florida State, Georgetown, Harvard, Hawaii, John Marshall (Chicago), Northwestern, Pace, PennSt. John's, Texas A&M, UCLA, USCWake Forest, and Washington University). Two law schools allow the GRE in limited circumstances:  Chicago (admissions committee may grant LSAT waiver) and Georgia (students enrolled in a dual degree program at the university). (George Washington has rescinded its use of the GRE because it has not done a school-specific validation study.)

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July 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Reveals $1.3M Theft By Former Staffer On Tax Form

ABA Journal (2014)ABA Journal, ABA Reveals $1.3M Theft by a Now-Former Staff Member on Tax Form:

The American Bar Association has posted a tax form that reveals a onetime staff member diverted about $1.3 million from the ABA over a period of eight years.

The ABA became aware of the theft by a nonmanagerial staff member last September, according to Form 990 (see page 118) and an interview with ABA Executive Director Jack Rives.

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July 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Planning Your Law School Class To Utilize Effective Learning Techniques

James McGrath (Texas A&M), Planning Your Class to Take Advantage of Highly Effective Learning Techniques, 96 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. ___ (2018):

What are the most highly effective learning techniques? Take a moment and consider what you think they are. Write them down if it is convenient. The symposium that is the subject of this law review volume examines the impact of formative assessment. In this article, I will connect formative assessment possibilities with ideas on how to take advantage of some of the proven highly effective learning techniques. The road there is a bit tortuous, but it is my hope that even the most well-informed teacher will find something that they can add to their quiver of techniques to help with her efforts of continually improve her teaching.

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July 17, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Firm Leaders Are Bullish: 70% Expect Growth In 2d Half Of 2018; Only 9% See Drop

Citi (2016), Confidence Dips, but Firm Leaders Bullish on Demand Growth, Citi Report Says:

Law firm leaders are taking a slightly dimmer view of the legal industry’s prospects in the second half of 2018 as their confidence in the U.S. and global economy wanes, according to a survey released Wednesday by Citi Private Bank.

Citi’s latest edition of its Law Firm Leaders Confidence Index showed that while top brass at firms remain a confident group, they have some concerns about the state of the economy, and that has had an impact on overall confidence. The Citi index runs on a scale of 0 to 200, where everything above 100 indicates confidence. Overall confidence among law firm leaders had an index score of 118 in the latest semiannual Citi report, down one point from the previous edition of the report released in February.

Despite the dip firm leaders were more bullish about their own firms’ prospects, particularly in the realm of demand for their services, Citi’s report showed.

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July 17, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NYU Law Grad, Creator Of The Trump Resistance Manual, On The 'Hidden Privileges' Of Wealth

ForbesVox:  Like Kylie Jenner, I Was on a Forbes List. Here Are the Hidden Privileges That Made Me a “Success.”, by Aditi Juneja (J.D. 2017, NYU):

Gracing the cover of Forbes’s 60 Richest Self-Made Women issue this week was none other than Kylie Jenner, the 21-year old member of the Kardashian family dynasty and cosmetics mogul.

The problem with this particular cover, and more generally with magazine lists like these, is they often gloss over the role intergenerational wealth and access plays in success. This is especially true when that success is achieved at a young age. I should know. I was on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list this year for Law and Policy.

Lists like these — which fetishize achievement, particularly at a young age — erase the privilege and access that allow some of us to take career risks and be entrepreneurial in ways others can’t. They diminish the hard work done by people in more challenging circumstances and add to the myth that if you just work hard enough, you can pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. They ignore that some people have neither boots nor straps.

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July 17, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, July 16, 2018

McGrath & Morriss: Law School Assessment, From Admissions To Curriculum To The Bar Exam

James McGrath (Texas A&M) & Andrew P. Morriss (Texas A&M), Assessments All the Way Down:

The role of assessments is getting attention throughout legal education. A growing acceptance of the Graduate Record Examination (“GRE”) as an alternative to the Law School Aptitude Test (“LSAT”) and its incorporation into the U.S. News & World Report (“USN&WR”) law school rankings opened the door to changes in who is going to law school and how they are recruited. At the other end of students’ journey through legal education, the discussion of recent graduates’ bar exam performance — linked by some to declining LSAT scores of entering students — raised questions about the design of bar exams as well as about law schools’ preparation of graduates for the bar. In between, the American Bar Association’s incorporation of assessment into its accreditation process spurred growing interest in how law schools conduct assessments and is prompting changes in how legal educators evaluate students.

In this article, we begin with the issues raised by the GRE’s appearance as an alternate pathway. Next, we set out assessment principles likely to influence future conversations in the legal academy. Then we look at how the bar results discussion connects to improving assessment strategies. Finally, we conclude with speculation about what this all means.

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July 16, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Simkovic: How Secure Is Tenure?

Following up on my recent posts:

Michael Simkovic (USC), How Secure Is Tenure?:

Colleges and universities typically pay educated professionals a fraction of what similar individuals earn in the private sector (typically around 60 to 80 cents on the dollar) in return for greater job security and academic freedom.  In recent years, some law schools have effectively reneged on this bargain, slashing compensation, de-prioritizing research support and/or accepting outside funding that compromises academic freedom, and terminating even some tenured faculty members.

Recent reports suggest that Vermont Law School has taken this to the extreme. According to the ABA Journal, Vermont Law School recently stripped tenure from 14 of its 19 tenured professors. This was done without a formal declaration of financial exigency, and according to faculty members and the AAUP, apparently without the consent of faculty members typically required for such decisions. ...

If the reports are accurate, Vermont has essentially acted as if tenure does not exist. This could potentially raise questions about whether Vermont is in compliance with ABA standard 405, but it is unclear how assertive the ABA or site visit teams will be in enforcing those standards. 

The incident highlights the importance of faculty members joining organizations like the AAUP which protect tenure and academic freedom.  At many institutions, tenured faculty members are increasingly getting the worst of both worlds—private-sector level risks with public-sector level compensation.

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July 16, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

UC-Irvine Launches Graduate Tax Program

UCI Logo (2018)UCI Law Launches a New, Innovative Graduate Tax Program:

The University of California, Irvine School of Law is pleased to announce its Graduate Tax Program, a one-of-a-kind, practice-oriented Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program led by renowned tax scholars Omri Marian, Joshua Blank and Victor Fleischer. True to the spirit of UCI Law’s cutting-edge approach to legal education, the Graduate Tax Program offers a unique tax curriculum emphasizing practice skills and featuring small class sizes and a collegial, supportive learning environment. The program will provide students with both the doctrinal depth and the experiential learning needed to practice tax law and to develop a deep understanding of the new tax law — enacted in 2017. The program will prepare graduate students for careers as tax attorneys, judges, tax administrators and policy advocates in the United States and abroad, and will also offer the opportunity for current practitioners to dramatically expand their tax knowledge and skills. The Program will begin accepting applications in August 2018 for admission to the inaugural class, with students matriculating in the fall of 2019.

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July 16, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSAT Adopts 12 Different Gender Identity Options; GRE Only Has Two

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Willamette Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

WillametteWillamette University College of Law seeks applicants for up to two full-time, tenure-track faculty positions beginning in fall 2019:

While the focus of our search is for entry-level candidates, we also welcome applications from early-career lateral candidates. Our curricular interests include Business Associations, Commercial Law, and Health Law, as well as Trust & Estates, Property, Family Law, Tax, Torts, and Criminal Law. Applicants must possess strong academic credentials and a proven ability to produce thoughtful scholarship, as well as the skills necessary to communicate their expertise to colleagues and their students. The Faculty Appointments Committee will begin reviewing applications in the late summer and will continue to do so until the positions are filled. ...

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July 15, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Enrollment Soars In College's Online Program Costing 60% Less Than Regular Tuition

60%Inside Higher Ed, A College Prices Its Online Programs 60% Less:

Most institutions charge students the same or more for online programs than for face-to-face. Berklee has found success with a pricing model that favors online students.

Berklee College of Music’s online program, priced at just over a third of tuition for the Massachusetts institution’s face-to-face degree offerings, raised eyebrows when it got off the ground in 2013. Conventional wisdom that online programs require more resources to produce had taken hold, and pricing models that favor online students were few and far between.

Five years later, Berklee remains an anomaly in higher ed, as most institutions continue to charge the same or more for online programs as for their face-to-face equivalents. Some arguments hinge on a philosophical belief that online education should be valued equivalently to face-to-face programs, while others emphasize the significant financial burden of designing and launching online courses from scratch.

In the face of a shifting landscape, Berklee has held firm. Online tuition for a bachelor's degree will go up half a percentage point this fall, from $1,479 per course ($59,160 for a 40-course degree program) to $1,497 per course ($59,880 total), but it still remains more than 60 percent less than face-to-face tuition — $171,520. In the last few years, on-ground tuition has increased by a few thousand dollars while online tuition has stayed the same, widening the gap between the two even farther, according to Debbie Cavalier, Berklee’s senior vice president of online learning and continuing education.

As of fall 2017, Berklee Online's undergraduate enrollment stood at 1,138 students, up from 244 just two academic years earlier. Though Cavalier’s team had worried early on that the online program would cannibalize existing offerings, campus enrollment has instead increased from 4,490 undergraduates in 2013 to 4,532 in 2017, even as online has grown more popular. ...

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July 15, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Want To Kill Tenure? Be Careful What You Wish For

Chronicle of Higher Education, Want to Kill Tenure? Be Careful What You Wish For:

The trustee hadn’t said a word for an hour as the board of the small Midwestern liberal-arts college debated ways to turn around its flagging fortunes. But during a lull in the conversation, he finally spoke up. As David Strauss recalls, "He looked at everybody as if we’d all been fools, and said, ‘Well, the solution is easy. Get rid of tenure.’"

Strauss, a principal of the Art & Science Group, a consulting firm that works with colleges, had heard the argument before. Almost anyone who works in higher education has. Many outside academe — and some within — see tenure as an entitlement that encourages "deadwood" professors to coast and shields firebrands who spout off, an anachronism that hinders colleges from innovating and drives up costs.

Strauss says that the trustee’s suggestion was politely ignored and talk soon turned back to more pressing issues, such as enrollment and academic programs. Though tenure is increasingly scarce, its status as an ­ideal in higher education is so sacred that sentiments like the trustee’s are rarely expressed openly. Indeed, several academic leaders, lawmakers, and advocates for adjuncts and academic freedom didn’t respond to requests for interviews for this article. But the trustee’s argument against tenure isn’t going away, and may be gaining momentum.

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July 14, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Vermont Strips Tenure From 14 Of 19 Law Profs

Vermont Law School Logo (2017)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA Journal, 14 of 19 Vermont Law Professors Lose Tenure, Retention Chair Tells Professors' Organization:

After being informed by the chair of Vermont Law School's retention committee that the school stripped 14 law professors of tenure, the American Association of University Professors has questioned whether the school followed proper regulations.

In a June 19 letter sent to the school’s tenure and retention committee chair, the AAUP conceded that under “extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies,” law schools can terminate faculty appointments for reasons other than adequate cause. However, in such circumstances, the faculty, administration and governing board should together determine if financial exigencies exist, and faculty should have a “primary responsibility” in determining where the termination of appointments occur, as well as identifying criteria for the terminations, according to the letter.

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July 13, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Hemel's Advice To Democrats On Kavanaugh's Nomination

From Tax Prof Daniel Hemel (Chicago):
Give Kavanaugh a Chance:

Several Democratic senators already have said that they will oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court seat that Justice Anthony Kennedy is vacating (here are statements from Richard BlumenthalKirsten GillibrandKamala HarrisBernie SandersChuck Schumer, and Ron Wyden). This strikes me as a grave mistake — normatively and strategically. Kudos to Democrats — including Sherrod BrownJoe DonnellyHeidi Heitkamp, and Joe Manchin — who have resisted the rush to judgment.

Brett Kavanaugh is a conservative. That should not be disqualifying. Republican presidents generally will nominate conservatives to the Court, and Democratic presidents generally will nominate liberals. Senators of the opposite party should insist upon well-qualified nominees who fall within the mainstream of American legal thought — not extreme ideologues. Judge Kavanaugh is well qualified by any measure, and his views are much closer to the center than those of many of his former and current Republican-appointed colleagues on the D.C. Circuit. ...

Judge Kavanaugh, moreover, is about the best that we liberals could hope for. Yes, he is a conservative, but as far as conservatives go, he is a judicial minimalist. ...

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July 13, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

After Temple Admitted That Its Business School Misreported Data To Goose Its Ranking, U.S. News Demands Certification Of Other Schools' Data (Including Law School)

TempleFollowing up on Tuesday's post, Temple Business School Dean Fired For Knowingly Submitting False Data To Inflate U.S. News Ranking Over Several Years:  U.S. News has sent a letter to Temple asking it to certify the accuracy of data submitted by its other schools and programs (including the law school) because "the scope and duration of the misreporting at Fox calls into question all of Temple University’s submissions to U.S. News."

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July 12, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Professor Who Fabricated Lateral Offer From University Of Minnesota To Get $5,000 Raise Faces Criminal Charges

McNChronicle of Higher Education, This Professor Made Up a Job Offer From Another University. Now He Faces a Criminal Charge:

In January 2015, Brian R. McNaughton, an associate professor at Colorado State University, sent his administration an offer letter he’d received from another university.

To entice McNaughton to stay, Colorado State raised his base pay by $5,000, a university spokeswoman said. Using offer letters from other institutions as leverage in salary negotiations is common practiceat colleges and universities.

There was just one problem with McNaughton’s case: The offer letter was fake.

McNaughton now faces a criminal charge of attempting to influence a public official for allegedly falsifying an offer letter from the University of Minnesota. He has since resigned from his position at Colorado State.

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July 12, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Kirkland & Ellis Booted From Arizona Summit's Lawsuit Against The ABA

KirklandLaw360, Kirkland Booted From For-Profit Law School's ABA Suit:

An Arizona federal judge overseeing a suit by a for-profit law school against the American Bar Association has removed from the case three Kirkland & Ellis attorneys representing the school, including former U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, saying they have not complied with out-of-state attorney admission procedures.

In a text order Monday the judge noted that Arizona Summit Law School is still represented by local counsel and removed Clement, Viet D. Dinh and H. Christopher Bartolomucci from the case.

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July 12, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

NALP: Salaries Rise For Public Service Attorneys

NALP New LogoNALP, New Public Service Attorney Salary Figures from NALP Show Slow Growth Since 2004:

According to new research from NALP, salaries for public service attorneys have risen modestly since 2004, but among attorneys working in civil legal services organizations, as public defenders or local prosecuting attorneys, or as attorneys in public interest organizations, those providing civil legal services have the lowest median entry-level salary, earn the smallest increases in salary based on experience, and have seen the slowest growth in salary levels over the past 14 years. ...

The 2018 report demonstrates that, in general, practice experience brings with it relatively modest salary increases, particularly within civil legal services organizations. For example, the median entry-level salary for a legal services attorney is $48,000; at 11-15 years of experience the median is $69,500. Pay for public defenders and local prosecuting attorneys is somewhat higher, starting at about $58,000 and $56,000, respectively, and increasing to about $96,000 and $84,000, respectively, for those with 11-15 years of experience

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July 11, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  This ranking includes downloads from two 30- and 35-page papers by 12 tax professors on the new tax legislation that garnered a lot of media attention (including the New York Times and Washington Post) and generated a massive amount of downloads (the papers are the most downloaded papers over the past 12 months across all of SSRN and the most downloaded tax papers of all-time by over 200%).  See Brian Leiter (Chicago), 11 Tax Profs Blow Up The SSRN Download Rankings. (For some reason, Mitchell Kane (NYU) — the twelfth academic co-author of the two papers — is not included in the SSRN download rankings (although the downloads are included on his individual author page)).  Here is the new list (through July 1, 2018) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Daniel Hemel (Chicago)



David Gamage (Indiana)


David Gamage (Indiana)



Lily Batchelder (NYU)


Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)



Daniel Hemel (Chicago)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)


Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings)



Cliff Fleming (BYU)


Lily Batchelder (NYU)



David Kamin (NYU)


Cliff Fleming (BYU)



Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn)


Ari Glogower (Ohio State)



Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings)


David Kamin (NYU)



Ari Glogower (Ohio State)


Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn)



Michael Simkovic (USC)


Gladriel Shobe (BYU)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Michael Simkovic (USC)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Jacob Goldin (Stanford)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine) 



Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine)


Kirk Stark (UCLA)   



Jim Hines (Michigan)


Hugh Ault (Boston College)



Gladriel Shobe (BYU)


Ruth Mason (Virginia)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Sam Donaldson (Georgia St.)   



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Kyle Rozema (Chicago)  



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Joe Bankman (Stanford) 



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Stephen Shay (Harvard)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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July 11, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Wins Early Round Against Florida Coastal Law In Accreditation Lawsuit

Florida Coastal (2017), ABA Wins Early Round Against Florida Coastal Law in Accreditation Suit:

In denying Florida Coastal School of Law a preliminary injunction, a federal judge ruled on Monday that the "proverbial cat is out of the bag" when it comes to the school's accreditation shortcomings.

Florida Coastal School of Law must continue to disclose its accreditation shortcomings on its website, a federal judge ruled Monday.

The Jacksonville school had sought a preliminary injunction blocking an American Bar Association-imposed requirement that it publicly disclose that it was found out of compliance with several accreditation standards this spring. But Judge Brian Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida thwarted the law school’s efforts, finding that the accreditation dispute is not ripe for judicial review because the school has not yet exhausted the ABA’s internal appeals process.

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July 11, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coase and Fireworks

493l4SRQTVOydKrgKSgSugIn my continuing effort to demonstrate what the mundane world looks like through the eyes of a nerdy law professor, today we will talk about Ronald Coase, recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics, and fireworks.

The bulk of this is cross-posted over at PrawfsBlawg.  But since it deals in part with Pigouvian taxes, it may appeal as well to nerdy tax law types.

Before we had dogs, I liked fireworks, at least the professionally staged kind.  Up here in Charlevoix, Michigan, every year in late July the town has a week-long event called Venetian Festival.  The highlight on Friday night is a spectacular fireworks show out over the lake for which our deck is effectively a front row seat.  For the last seventeen years or so, however, I have not been out on the deck nor have I seen the fireworks.  No, I am back in a closet with the door closed, comforting our dog(s) who is/are going batshit crazy.

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July 11, 2018 in Jeff Lipshaw, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Temple Business School Dean Fired For Knowingly Submitting False Data To Inflate U.S. News Ranking Over Several Years

Temple OnlineFollowing up on my previous post, Rankings Scandal Unfolds At Temple Business School:  Jones Day, Findings and Recommendations from Jones Day Investigation into Rankings Information Provided by Fox School to U.S. News:

In January 2018, Temple University learned that the University’s Fox School of Business (“Fox”) had submitted certain inaccurate information to U.S. News & World Report in connection with U.S. News’s 2018 survey of the best Online MBA (“OMBA”) programs. In particular, the University learned that Fox’s survey submission to U.S. News had erroneously indicated that all new entrants to the OMBA program had provided Graduate Management Admission Test (“GMAT”) scores as part of their applications. Fox self-reported to U.S. News that this GMAT data were incorrect. ...

Jones Day made multiple factual findings based on the investigation, as set forth below. In short, the investigation revealed that, over the past several years, Fox provided U.S. News with inaccurate information across multiple data metrics that are part of the publication’s OMBA rankings methodology. And while Jones Day focused on information that Fox provided to U.S. News relating to the school’s OMBA program, the investigation revealed that Fox provided U.S. News with erroneous information relating to other programs as well. On certain occasions, Fox’s reporting of inaccurate information to U.S. News was done knowingly and intentionally for the purpose of improving or maintaining Fox’s standing in the relevant U.S. News rankings.

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July 10, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Secret Of Success: Think, Don't Act; When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Do Not Get Going — They Think

Never StopWall Street Journal, Don’t Just Dive Into Action: Stop to Think First, by Bradley Staats (North Carolina Business School; author, Never Stop Learning: Stay Relevant, Reinvent Yourself and Thrive (Harvard Business Review Press (2018)):

As we’ve seen in recent weeks, some of the most dramatic moments of the World Cup are the penalty kicks, when the outcome of an entire match can rest on a showdown between the shooter and the goalie. In a penalty kick, the ball is placed 11 meters from the goal line and centered on the goal. The goalie must stay on the line but may move left or right before the ball is kicked.

Surprisingly, however, the goalie’s best strategy may be not to move at all. In a 2007 study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, Michael Bar-Eli of Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and colleagues examined almost 300 penalty kicks taken against goalies in professional competitions. They found that goalies jump to the left 49.3% of the time, to the right 44.4% of the time and stay in the center only 6.3% of the time. Kicks, however, go to the left, right or center 32.2%, 28.7% and 39.2% of the time, respectively. This means that goalies are much more likely to stop a kick if they just stay put.

So why don’t they? The answer is simple, and it has implications for all kinds of work, including jobs far from the soccer pitch. The problem is that we have an action bias: We would rather be seen doing something than doing nothing. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right? This idea is so deeply ingrained that we are afraid to give the appearance of doing nothing, even when it is the best strategy.

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July 10, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

McGowan: Legal Education And The Ethics of Acceptance

David McGowan (San Diego), Legal Education and the Ethics of Acceptance:

This paper reflects comments made at the 2018 AALS annual meeting regarding positive and normative critiques of the ethics of legal education. Adopting a nexus of contracts approach, the paper argues that guild practices interfere with reasonable student expectations from a normative perspective, though not as a matter of positive law. The difference between the study of law as an object and the study of law as a practice, and the different payoff structures to the two approaches, accounts for some of this difference, but guild considerations are the root cause. The paper advocates greater flexibility in accreditation standards to facilitate experimentation with different models.

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July 10, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wax Does Not Wane

A colleague of mine here at Tech Law, Dwight McDonald, only recently found out about the Amy Wax controversy at U. Penn. when he read this editorial by Walter Williams, a professor at George Mason Law School. It was published in our local paper on July 4th.  Dwight was inspired to write a response in a letter to our paper.

In his editorial, Mr. Williams supports Ms. Wax’s claims and says: “The fact that black students have low class rankings at such high-powered law schools as Penn doesn't mean that they are stupid or uneducable. It means that they've been admitted to schools where they are in over their heads."

In Dwight's pithy response, he points out some weaknesses in Williams' claims, and also a curious contradiction among some of those who take Mr. William’s position.  You can read it below the fold.

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July 10, 2018 in Bryan Camp, Legal Education, News | Permalink | Comments (13)

University Slammed For 'Mansplaining" Ad

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Future Of JD Admissions: 91% OF MBA Programs Accept GRE, Many Offer Math Boot Camps For Incoming Students

GREWall Street Journal, M.B.A. Programs Try Catering to Liberal-Arts Types—With Math Camp:

Business schools are making greater accommodations for applicants who have analyzed more sonnets than spreadsheets.

As many flagship M.B.A. programs struggle to attract a broader array of young professionals, some schools, including Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University and Columbia University, are helping former English literature and political-science majors prepare for math-intensive coursework before their first semesters.

M.B.A. admissions offices historically limited applicants to the quant-heavy Graduate Management Admission Test for admission. But some 91% of U.S. business schools surveyed by Kaplan Test Prep last fall accept the Graduate Record Examination, an entrance exam used mainly for social-science and humanities master’s programs. That is up from 24% of schools in 2009. The same survey found that 67% of schools said offering the GRE option has increased enrollment of students from backgrounds outside the traditional pre-M.B.A. tracks of finance, consulting and other business-related fields.

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July 9, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rate My Professors Drops 'Hotness' Rating 72 Hours After Vanderbilt Prof Started Social Media Outcry

RateEdge for Scholars, I Killed the Chili Pepper on Rate My Professors:

I did not kill the chili pepper on RateMyProfessors. You did.

Today we had small but important victory in getting the folks at RateMyProfessors to take down the chili peppers students use to evaluate professors’ ‘hotness.’ Within 72 hours of being called out by 14,000 academics and students, they pulled a thorn from the side of women in education. I am grateful that MTV and Viacom recognized that telling students that evaluating professors based on their looks has aged poorly. In the age of #MeToo, #TimesUp and #MeTooSTEM, we know better, so we must do better.

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July 9, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Autopsy Report Reveals New Details In Dan Markel's Murder

Markel 3WXTL, Autopsy Report Released in Dan Markel Case Reveals New Details:

There are new details about how Florida State University Law Professor Dan Markel died.

WTXL obtained a copy of the autopsy report, which concludes Markel's cause of death was gunshot wounds of the face and head. ... The autopsy report shows Markel was shot two times, in intermediate range, which means between six and 30 inches away. According to the Pathologist, he was shot once in the forehead, and once in the left cheek. He concluded that these bullets caused massive hemorrhaging and bleeding.

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July 9, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Henderson: Using Deliberative Leadership To Meet The Challenges Facing Legal Education (And The Legal Profession)

SmoothWilliam Henderson (Indiana), Studying Leadership Before the Big Test, Part I:

This is a two-part series on leadership. For lawyers and legal educators, the big test is now. ...

After the financial crisis in 2008-09, bleak job numbers and high debt loads gave rise to the scam blog movement followed by relentless negative coverage in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.  With so much bad press and a weak entry-level job market, applications went into a free-fall. In the fall of 2012, Brian Tamanaha published Failing Law Schoolsfollowed by Steve Harper’s The Lawyer Bubble in the spring of 2013.

Law professors and law school deans were unprepared for the depth and magnitude of the change. Moreover, there was evidence that things might get worst, as lawyers were now discussing the likelihood of a permanent market shift in how law was being practiced. Through decades of prosperity and growth, we had been conditioned to believe that an endurable normal would eventually return.  But what if that wasn’t true? How would we know? Could the old guard be counted upon to make the call? If not, what then?

These questions were very much on my mind. Thus, in the fall of 2014, I convened a small, diverse group of Indiana Law alumni to discuss the topic of leadership. ... I asked the group for their help in creating a course on leadership at  Indiana Law. Everyone agreed to pitch in, but they scuttled the proposed name. How about “Deliberative Leadership?,” offered one seasoned alum who was CEO of a large company. “Before anyone agrees to lead,” he explained, “They should reflect on leadership in a deep and deliberate way.”  ...

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July 8, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Buckles: Unashamed Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ — Public Policy And Public Service By Evangelicals

A new article by Tax Prof Johnny Rex Buckles (Houston), Unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: On Public Policy and Public Service by Evangelicals, 41 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 813 (2018):

Congressional committee hearings considering nominees for federal office have increasingly featured extensive scrutiny of, and even hostility toward, nominees who are more than nominally religious. Congressional interrogations of the religiously orthodox raise important questions of law, public policy, and religion in our constitutional democracy. The exchange between Senator Bernie Sanders and Russell Vought, then-nominee for Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and an evangelical Christian, is especially instructive. Focusing on this exchange as a springboard for discussion, this Article analyzes the constitutional and policy implications of congressional probing into the religious faiths of nominees. The issues raised by the Sanders-Vought exchange are recurring, and they potentially affect not just evangelical nominees, but also historically orthodox believers, in general.

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July 8, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Wisconsin Supreme Court Reinstates Tenured Marquette Professor After He Was Fired For Blog Post

McAdamsWall Street Journal editorial, Marquette’s Black Eye:

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has given Marquette University a bracing refresher on contracts and academic freedom. In a decision overturning a lower court’s dismissal of the case, the court on Friday ruled that Marquette breached its contract with political science professor John McAdams when it disciplined him “for exercising his contractually protected right of academic freedom.”

The case stems from a blog post by Mr. McAdams about a graduate instructor who had told a Marquette student that opinions against same-sex marriage would not be tolerated in her ethics class. The university says Mr. McAdams proved himself unfit by naming the graduate instructor, Cheryl Abbate, and linking to her publicly available website in his post on the encounter, so it suspended him. Even after losing the case Friday, the university continues to accuse Mr. McAdams of having used his blog to intentionally expose “her name and contact information to a hostile audience that sent her vile and threatening messages.”

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July 7, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Outstanding Student Loan Debt Hits $1.5 Trillion, Women Hold Most Of It

American Association of University Women, Women’s Student Debt Crisis in the United States:

Right now about 44 million borrowers in the United States hold about [$1.5 trillion] in outstanding student loans. The scale of outstanding student loans and an increasing share of borrow­ers who fail to repay have made many Americans aware that student debt is a challenge for society and for individual borrowers. Yet despite the fact that women represented 56 percent of those enrolled in American colleges and universities in fall 2016, many people do not think of student debt as a women’s issue. This report reveals that women also take on larger student loans than do men. And because of the gender pay gap, they have less disposable income with which to repay their loans after graduation, requiring more time to pay back their student debt than do men. As a result, women hold nearly two-thirds of the outstanding student debt in the United States — almost $900 billion as of mid-2018.

Women 2

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July 6, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

NY Times Op-Ed: Why Are Women (But Not Men) Ph.D.-Shamed?

JuliaNew York Times op-ed:  Women, Own Your ‘Dr.’ Titles, by Julia Baird:

It had never occurred to me to add “Ph.D.” to my name on Twitter until I was slammed for mentioning that I had one.

In February, I was tweeting about the media’s different treatment of the private lives of male and female politicians when someone snarled back: “And you have evidence of this or are you just being a bitter old sexist?”

“Yes, I have written a Ph.D. on the subject,” I replied. “So it’s Doctor Bitter Old Sexist, mate."

The response blew me backward. Not from those who got the joke, but from those who took offense at the fact that I said I had an advanced degree in history. ...

I was fascinated to discover that some viewed the degree not as a sign of expertise but as a provocation, a pretension. I was repeatedly told on social media that I was an elitist snob, that Ph.D.s were worthless and did not prove anything, that five years of research were simply my “opinion,” that no one cared, that doctorates were no sign of intelligence and that I should be ashamed of myself. I immediately changed my name on Twitter to “Dr. Julia Baird.”

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July 5, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Law Grads' Bar Exam Fears

With the approach of the bar exam in three weeks, several law grads have taken to Whisper to share their insecurities. Many are sad, depressing, and/or scary:

Whisper 9

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July 5, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Feminist Critique Of Indiana Law School's Dean Photo

Following up on yesterday's light-hearted post on Indiana University Law School's photo of their Dean, Austin Parrish, in an Austin Powers pose:


On Feminist Law Professors, Tax Prof Bridget Crawford (Pace) asks @IUMaurerLaw, Is This Dean Photo with “Sexy” and “Shag” Really a Good Idea?:

At first I thought, “Oh, looks like Dean Parrish is a guy who knows that marketing can be fun. Well done.”  But then I looked at the words in the background, including “Sexy” and “Cheeky Shag.”  In the #MeToo and #TimesUp era, does IU Maurer really want to promote its dean (and school) with words like “Sexy” and “Cheeky Shag”?

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July 4, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (19)

Small Class Size Closes Performance Gap For Women

Inside Higher Ed, Class Size Matters:

Do smaller classes help reduce performance gaps in science fields? Yes, according to a new study in BioScience [Do Small Classes in Higher Education Reduce Performance Gaps in STEM?]. Researchers looked at the impact of class size on undergraduates in 17 introductory biology courses at four different institutions: California State University Chico, Cornell University, the University of Puget Sound and the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. Analyzing exam scores, nonexam assessments and final course grades from 1,836 students, the researchers found that smaller class sizes effectively closed the performance gap for women. More specifically, they found that while women underperformed on high-stakes exams compared with their male counterparts as class size increased, women received higher scores than men on other kinds of assessments.

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July 4, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

ABA Moves To Dismiss Florida Coastal's Lawsuit Alleging Arbitrary Enforcement Of Accreditation Standards

Florida Coastal (2017)ABA Journal, Dismiss Florida Coastal Suit, ABA Says; Case Not 'Ripe' For Review:

The American Bar Association has filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Florida Coastal School of Law, arguing that the accreditation dispute is not appropriate for federal court litigation.

On Sunday, the ABA filed a motion to dismiss with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida arguing that, because the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has yet to rule on Coastal’s appeal, the matter is not “ripe” for federal court. According to the motion to dismiss, the Council is expected to consider the appeal during its Aug. 2 meeting.

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July 3, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)