TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, October 24, 2016

Succession Planning in Law Schools

Bales 2TaxProf Blog op-ed: Succession Planning in Law Schools, by Rick Bales (Former Dean, Ohio Northern):

In business, one of the principal responsibilities of a leader is to groom a successor. At General Electric, for example, CEO Jeff Immelt spends about 40% of his time on developing the company’s future leaders. At Eli Lilly, half the variable compensation for senior executives is tied to mentoring skills and leadership development.

The impact of succession planning in business is often obvious and public. On the negative side, consider Sumner Redstone, who is having a King Lear year as family and confidants publicly grovel for his affection and fight among each other over his media empire even while he’s on the right side of the grass. On the positive side, consider Proctor & Gamble, where for 175 years every CEO started a career there as an entry-level employee.

In law schools, and higher education generally, the impact of succession planning is equally dramatic, if less public. Universities drift; law schools become internally dysfunctional. Moreover, the change in skill sets required as one moves up the higher-education ladder are at least as significant as in business. A great faculty member is strong in the classroom (which requires lots of solo class prep) and a gifted researcher — mostly solitary work; a successful dean must be visible and social and a consensus-builder. Likewise, a great associate law dean is detail-oriented and knows precisely how the train works; a successful dean envisions future destinations and can raise money to lay the track.

The average tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO is 4.6 years — longer than the 3-odd-year tenure of an average law dean [the average tenure of serving deans is 3.6 years; the median tenure is 2.4 years]. Yet, though succession planning is institutionalized at most large companies, in law schools and higher education generally it is haphazard at best. Consider, for example, the number of  searches in which there is not a single viable internal candidate.

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October 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weapons Of Math Destruction: How U.S. News' 'Craven' Decision To Eschew Affordability In Its Rankings Increases Inequality

WeaponsThe Traps of Big Data (reviewing Cathy O'Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (2016)):

As O’Neil defines it, a weapon of math destruction, or WMD, has three elements: Opacity, Scale, and Damage. Combined, these factors create traps with feedback loops, capturing victims in systems they can’t understand and can’t escape, all the while exploiting them. Of the three, Scale seems the most pernicious element, enabling Damage.

After a critique of value-add theory for teachers and a refresher course on the 2008 credit-default swaps and mortgage-backed securities that led to the Great Recession’s financial meltdown, O’Neil produces a trenchant analysis of the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. After reading this chapter about how higher education has become captured by a big data system, the limitations and difficulties of the Impact Factor seem downright charming.

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October 24, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 23, 2016

More Than 30 Law Schools Pay Student Bar Review Costs: Does It Improve Pass Rates?

Bar Review LogosABA Journal, More Law Schools Are Covering Bar Review Costs: Is It Improving Pass Rates?:

Out of law schools who have July 2016 bar results for first-time test takers, many saw their pass rate percentages drop.

And of the schools that saw pass rates rise, some are increasingly covering partial or entire bar review costs for graduates.

Mike Sims, president of the test prep group BARBRI Bar Review, told that ABA Journal that more than 30 law schools now pay for their students’ bar review. According to the business’s website, courses cost between $2,595 and $3,995, depending on when someone enrolls.

“I beg for money from alumni and say it’s a great investment, because otherwise these people will keep failing,” says Lawrence W. Moore, interim dean of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.

The school’s first-time test-taker pass rate for July 2016 was 76.69 percent;last year it was 71.53 percent.

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

Focus On Reputation/Selectivity Over Earnings/Outcomes Will Render U.S. News Rankings An Anachronism

US NewsNew York Times, How Much Graduates Earn Drives More College Rankings:

PayScale introduced its first college salary report in 2008, and the College Scorecard from the federal government followed last year, ushering an elephant into the hallowed halls of college admissions: What do the schools’ graduates actually earn?

Despite the hand-wringing of many in academia, who saw the immeasurable richness of a college education crassly reduced to a dollar sign, the data has wrought a sea change in the way students and families evaluate prospective colleges. Earnings data are finding their way into a proliferating number of mainstream college rankings, shifting the competitive landscape of American higher education in often surprising ways.

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October 23, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

ABA Council Approves 75% Minimum Bar Pass Rate

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)National Law Journal, Tighter Bar-Pass Rule Adopted by ABA Accrediting Body:

The American Bar Association body that accredits law schools voted on Friday to tighten the bar exam-passage standard that schools must meet in order to get the organization’s accreditation blessing. The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar overwhelmingly decided to strengthen its bar pass standard for accredited law schools—a long-debated move proponents said is necessary to ensure law schools don’t admit students unlikely of passing the all-important attorney licensing exam.

The council voted for the stricter standard over the opposition of diversity advocates who warned that schools with large numbers of minority students could lose their accreditation and that the stricter rule would prompt schools to admit fewer minority students. That, in turn, would exacerbate the legal profession’s longstanding diversity problem, they argued.

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

Greg Mankiw Happily Paid $2,500 For A Hamilton Ticket, But Asks: Why Should 80% Go To Resellers Rather Than Lin-Manuel Miranda?

Hamilton 3Continuing my obsession with interest in Hamilton (links below):  Sunday New York Times op-ed: I Paid $2,500 for a ‘Hamilton’ Ticket. I’m Happy About It., by N. Gregory Mankiw (Harvard):

You may have heard that “Hamilton” tickets are hard to come by. ... We, however, had no problem getting tickets. Two weeks before our trip, I logged into StubHub, the online ticket marketplace owned by eBay. I found the performance we wanted, located some great seats and within a few minutes was printing our tickets.

The rub is the price. Including StubHub’s fee, I paid $2,500 a ticket, about five times their face value. Such a large markup is not unusual.

Now, at this point, some people might object to this price. Terms like “scalping” and “price gouging” are pejoratives used to demonize those who resell tickets at whatever high prices the market will bear.

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Arizona Summit Law School's Bar Passage Rate Plummets To Shocking 24.6% (Down From 96.7% In 2008)

Georgetown College Rankings: Earnings, Majors, Academic Preparation, And Graduate Degree Attainment

Georgetown CoverGeorgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Ranking Your College: Where You Go and What You Make (pdf):

In September 2015, the U.S. Department of Education released its redesigned College Scorecard, a web tool that allows users to access a vast array of information about the quality of colleges and universities throughout the country. For the first time, users can easily find how much students who have taken courses in thousands of colleges across the United States earn 10 years after enrolling, which is essential information for students deciding where to go to college and how much debt to take on. The Department of Education designed the College Scorecard to be used by prospective students evaluating their college options.

The following tables use the College Scorecard data to rank colleges and universities strictly on earnings, but then test how sensitive the ranking of a university is when adjustments are made to earnings. The analysis attempts to help answer several questions: How important is student preparation? How much are average earnings skewed by choice of majors and by the selection of majors available at a particular university? If a university, such as Stevens Institute of Technology, ranks high strictly in earnings but much lower after adjusting for composition of majors, it would indicate that the distribution of majors at the university is of primary importance. If another university, such as Harvard, retains its ranking even after adjusting for expected earnings based on its share of majors, it might indicate that the quality of the university matters as much as the majors it offers.

The academic preparation of the students is another important factor. If a university, such as Pepperdine University, rose in the rankings based on this factor, it is a clear indication that the university was able to produce a higher quality of students than would have been expected based on the students' academic preparation. In other words, a university helped students to become better and earn more money in their future.


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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

LSAT Is Poor Predictor Of Law School Grades: 6 LSAT Points = 0.1 LGPA

LSAT (2015)Alexia Brunet Marks (Colorado) & Scott A. Moss (Colorado), What Makes a Law Student Succeed or Fail? A Longitudinal Study Correlating Law Student Applicant Data and Law School Outcomes, 13 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 205 (2016):

Despite the rise of "big data" empiricism, law school admission remains heavily impressionistic; admission decisions based on anecdotes about recent students, idiosyncratic preferences for certain majors or jobs, or mainly the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Yet no predictors are well-validated; studies of the LSAT or other factors fail to control for college quality, major, work experience, etc. The lack of evidence of what actually predicts law school success is especially surprising after the 2010s downturn left schools competing for fewer applicants and left potential students less sure of law school as a path to future success. We aim to fill this gap with a two-school, 1400-student, 2005-2012 longitudinal study. After coding non-digitized applicant data, we used multivariate regression analysis to predict law school grades ("LGPA") from many variables: LSAT; college grades ("UGPA"), quality, and major; UGPA trajectory; employment duration and type (legal, scientific, military, teaching, etc.); college leadership; prior graduate degree; criminal or discipline record; and variable interactions (e.g., high-LSAT/low-UGPA or vice-versa).

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October 20, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (11)

Wake Forest Symposium: Revisiting Langdell — Legal Education Reform And The Lawyer’s Craft

Wake 4Symposium, Revisiting Langdell: Legal Education Reform and the Lawyer’s Craft, 51 Wake Forest L. Rev. 231-420 (2016):

Legal Scholarship in the Era of Reform

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October 20, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

The ABA 75% Bar Passage Rule: Dead On Arrival?

Bales 2TaxProf Blog op-ed: The ABA 75% Rule: Dead on Arrival?, by Rick Bales (Former Dean, Ohio Northern):

Current ABA accreditation standards have attracted widespread public criticism for being toothless in the face of predatory law schools granting admission (and charging hefty tuition) to students with little or no chance of passing a bar exam. In response, proposed ABA standards would create a new 75% rule. As Daniel Rodriguez (Northwestern) and Craig Boise (Syracuse) explain in the National Law Journal (cross-posted without subscription requirement at TaxProf Blog):

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

Yet before the ink is even dry on the proposed rule, at least one school has found a way to circumvent it.

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October 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

HBCU Law Deans Oppose ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement Due To Diversity Concerns

HBCUNational Law Journal op-ed:  HBCU Law Deans Say ABA Bar-Passage Rule Changes Will Hurt Profession's Diversity, by Dannye Holley (Former Dean, Texas Southern), Danielle Holley-Walker (Dean, Howard), John Pierre (Dean, Southern), Felecia Epps (Dean, Florida A&M), Phyliss Craig-Taylor (Dean, North Carolina Central) & James Douglass (Interim Dean, Texas Southern):

The proposed changes to the ABA's bar-passage standard, set to be decided this week, have been the subject of great debate. Some, like Daniel Rodriguez and Craig Boise, deans of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and Syracuse University College of Law, respectively, have written in support of the proposed changes to Standard 316. But these proposed changes come at a time when bar-passage rates in many states have been declining, and there are many unanswered questions about the impact of the adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam. Furthermore, at a time when the legal profession continues to struggle with a lack of racial and ethnic diversity, many of the schools that will be impacted by this change are schools who enroll large minority student populations. ...

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October 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Competing Against Luck: Restructuring Higher Education

CompetingWall Street Journal, The Customer Is Always Right (reviewing Clayton M. Christensen (Harvard Business School), Competing Against Luck (2016)):

Every large company is consumed by the question of innovation. How to organize for it, how to execute it and how to deliver its benefits to customers. The attributes of big companies seem incompatible with those required to innovate. Size suffocates creativity. Efficiency kills dynamism. Executives become hostage to the data thrown up in a million slides and presentations, and they forget what it’s like to be a customer of the companies they lead.

Clayton M. Christensen is best known for his theory of disruptive innovation, which for some time now has had CEOs lining up outside his office at Harvard Business School. It is, he reminds us, a theory, not unassailable truth. But as a theory, it is immensely helpful in understanding how incumbent companies respond to the threat of innovation—for the most part, badly. Kodak was disrupted when it could not give up its profitable film business fast enough to adjust to the boom in digital photography. The newspaper industry is still suffering from the loss of its stranglehold on classified advertising to rudimentary services like Craigslist.

Disruption, in Mr. Christensen’s formulation, is not caused simply by anything new or clever. It arrives in the form of “minuscule threats” at the bottom of the market. The studios and networks treated Netflix as a minor player when it mailed DVDs, not seeing that the move to online streaming would turn it into a formidable competitor.

Similarly, grand universities right now see no threat from grubby online courses. But over time students and parents may wonder why they should pay all that money for sports facilities they don’t use and professors who don’t teach. Meanwhile, employers start to ask potential employees what they can do rather than where they went to school. And maybe the whole structure of higher education shifts.

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October 19, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dean Darby Dickerson Leaves Ranked Texas Tech Mid-Year For Unranked, Downsizing, Deficit-Ridden John Marshall

DickersonCrain's Chicago Business, New Dean for Downsized John Marshall Law School:

Darby Dickerson, a South Carolina native and since 2011 dean of Texas Tech University's law school, takes over an institution whose enrollment and full-time faculty have each by more than a third since 2010. She said John Marshall is in “solid financial condition” but could be “a little more right-sized.”

In the latest available IRS filing, the not-for-profit school reported a $1.07 million deficit for fiscal 2014, compared with a $3.65 million surplus the year earlier. ...

Dickerson, 52, said she was asked bluntly during a job interview why she would leave a ranked law school for an unranked one. Being a “functional president” at an independent school appealed to her, she said. Another plus is John Marshall's reputation for producing “practice-ready” attorneys. ...

In 2010 John Marshall had 1,400 students and 80 full-time faculty members. .. Now, there are 900 students and 47 faculty members. ... 

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October 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

What Wendi Adelson's Novel Reveals About Dan Markel's Murder

WendiWendi Adelson's Criminally Lousy Novel, This is Our Story:

A few months ago, Above the Law published recordings of Adelson’s presentations to a writer’s workshop, held some time after Markel’s murder. Adelson complained, inter alia, that her “late ex-spouse” (a phrase Adelson creatively punned as her “latex spouse”) did not care for fiction  and did not read her book. (Podcast, 9:42-9:47, 10:28-10:33) I found this plaint to be unfair because, whatever his private misgivings, Markel extensively promoted Adelson’s debut novel, “This is Our Story” on his popular academic blog “Prawfsblawg.” (The novel was published in 2011, about a year before Adelson walked out on Markel, with infant children, bank accounts, furniture, and Markel family heirlooms in tow).

In spite of the intense publicity generated by the lurid murder mystery starring herself, I do not believe anyone has yet explored Adelson’s novel as a possible window into the self-perception of its enigmatic author.

Even at the risk of death by Prius-driving hitman, I am compelled endorse the latex Markel’s decision not to read his wife's novel. This is Our Story is inartful, shallow, clichéd, oddly bland given its human trafficking theme, and terribly self-important. Interestingly though, Adelson states that her book purports to tell, in substantial part, her own story. In an afterword to her novel, Adelson states that “I, selfishly, wanted you to know a bit about my story, which has much – but not all – in common with Attorney Lily” (i.e. the main character in the novel). Adelson, Wendi (2011-09-12). This is Our Story (Kindle Locations 3948-3949). Kindle Edition. ...

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October 19, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (19)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Nobel Prize In Tax Law Would Go To ... Michael Graetz Or Louis Kaplow?

Nobel PrizeFollowing up on yesterday's post, A Nobel Prize In Law Would Go To ... Calabresi, Posner, Or Sunstein?:  Brian Leiter (Chicago) polled this question:

If there were a Nobel Prize, which living legal scholar in the U.S. should get it? Rank order the [51] candidates. Only those over the age of 60 who might make the top ten are listed as choices. 

Michael Graetz (Columbia) and Louis Kaplow (Harvard) were the only tax folks among the 51 candidates. Louis finished 21st in the 129 ballots cast, sandwiched between Frank Easterbrook (7th Circuit/Chicago)/Martha Minow (Harvard) and Phiilip Bobbit (Columbia). Michael finished 42nd, sandwiched between Deborah Rhode (Stanford) and Daniel Fischel (Chicago).  The results are here, along with the rankings on the 129 individual ballots.

October 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Comprehensive Bar Exam Preparation: The Secret Behind Chapman's Overperformance On The California Bar Exam

Chapman Logo (2017)Mario William Mainero (Chapman), We Should Not Rely on Commercial Bar Reviews to Do Our Job: Why Labor-Intensive Comprehensive Bar Examination Preparation Can and Should Be a Part of the Law School Mission, 19 Chapman L. Rev. 545 (2016):

Increasingly, law school bar passage rates are an important concern for faculty and administration, as well as students. The July 2014 bar exam saw a precipitous drop nationally in bar passage rates, including declines ranging from four to over twenty percentage points. At the same time, there have been declines in applications to law schools, declines in admissions statistics (LSAT and undergraduate GPA), and an empirically demonstrable decline in student preparedness for law school. The confluence of these events portends even greater declines in bar passage if law schools do not rethink how they prepare students for the bar exam. This Article examines developments in academic support and bar preparation programs with an eye toward suggesting models for effective in-house bar preparation programs. Specifically, this Article examines: (1) the evolution of academic support programs in law schools to include bar passage programs, with a brief description of the types of programs that traditionally have been available; (2) the particular difficulty posed by the California Bar Exam; (3) the existing types of supplemental programs, and concerns posed by programs that are limited to “bar tips” or even limited practice exams or substantive lectures, given the increased numbers of “at risk” students due to the increase in underpreparedness; (4) the supplemental program at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law, including the intensity of effort required of both faculty and students in a comprehensive program applicable to all students; and finally, (5) the bar passage results at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since adoption of a comprehensive supplemental bar passage program, that have been significantly better than would be expected by some commentators, given its ranking and relative youth as a law school. This Article suggests that the traditional focus of academic support programs, including bar preparation programs, that focus largely on perceived “at risk” students, is insufficient in light of the increased numbers of underprepared students. In order to avoid further calamitous declines in bar passage rates, law schools will have to move from traditional academic support models to models that encourage the entire cohort of students to work together, cooperatively, and that apply extensive time and effort to ensure that all students receive the benefit of these programs.

California Bar Exam Results and U.S. News Rankings by School:

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October 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN 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.  Here is the new list (through October 1, 2016) 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.)



Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)


Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



James Hines (Michigan)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


William Byrnes (Texas A&M)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Lily Batchelder (NYU)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Chris Hoyt (UMKC)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


David Weisbach (Chicago)



Brad Borden (Brooklyn)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Yariv Brauner (Florida)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Steven Bank (UCLA)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)



David Walker (Boston Univ.)


Brian Galle (Georgetown)



Steven Bank (UCLA)


Francine Lipman (UNLV)



Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)


Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


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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October 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Wisconsin Paid $24 Million To Retain 77% Of Faculty Who Received Lateral Offers From Other Schools

WisconsinChronicle of Higher Education, U. of Wisconsin Spent $24 Million on Faculty Retention After Perceived Threats to Tenure:

After a difficult year for higher education in Wisconsin, including what many academics saw as a clear threat to tenure, the University of Wisconsin at Madison spent a total of $23.6 million on faculty retention. Twenty-nine professors rejected counteroffers and left the flagship campus during the 2016 fiscal year, while 111 who entertained outside job offers were retained.

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October 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tips For Placing Your First Law Review Article

Robert Luther III (Senate Judiciary Committee), Practical Tips for Placing and Publishing Your First Law Review Article, 50 U. Rich. L. Rev. Online 63 (2016):

Many law reviews are only open to the top 10% of the class or to students who excel in a writing competition. While a high percentage of law schools now have at least one journal in addition to the law review, the reality is that well over half of the students enrolled in law school today do not have the opportunity to serve as a law review or journal staff member. Without that experience, those students-turned-lawyers who wish to publish legal scholarship after graduation are left in the dark about where to begin the process. I was one of those individuals, but over the last eight years, I have regularly published legal scholarship. Recently, my former students and other young attorneys have started asking me for advice.

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

A Nobel Prize In Law Would Go To ... Calabresi, Posner, Or Sunstein?

Nobel PrizeStephen L. Carter (Yale), Titans of Law Are Nobel-Worthy, Too:

Now that this year’s Nobel Prizes have all been awarded, we can play the annual game of wondering what other fields should be included. ... This time around, the philosopher and legal scholar Brian Leiter has excited no small conversation among his colleagues by proposing a Nobel Prize for law. He posted a list of 51 legal scholars in the U.S., all but one over the age of 60, whom he thought others might rank among their top 10, and asked his colleagues to vote.

Leiter’s poll isn’t formal or systematic, and there is no way to test who cast a ballot. Still the results are interesting. The three top vote-getters, dominating the rest of the field, were Richard Posner, Cass Sunstein and Guido Calabresi. 

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 16, 2016

NY Times:  The Wheaton College Professor Wore A Hijab in Solidarity — Then Lost Her Job

HawkinsFollowing up on my previous posts:

New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Professor Wore a Hijab in Solidarity — Then Lost Her Job, by Ruth Graham:

When Larycia Hawkins, the first black woman to receive tenure at Wheaton College, made a symbolic gesture of support for Muslims, the evangelical college became divided over what intellectual freedom on its campus really meant. 

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October 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

University Of Houston Obtains Injunction Barring South Texas From Rebranding Itself 'Houston College Of Law'

Houston South TexasFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): Houston Chronicle, UH Wins Temporary Injunction in Legal Battle Against Rival Law College:

A federal judge ruled Friday that South Texas College of Law must stop using its new name - displayed on prominent billboards around town - until it resolves a bitter legal dispute with the University of Houston regents.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison granted a temporary injunction in a 42-page ruling that found South Texas's new name, Houston College of Law, had created confusion among consumers and caused a "substantial threat of irreparable injury" to the University of Houston Law Center.

The facts "weigh heavily in favor" of UH prevailing in the case, Ellison said.

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October 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Update On Dan Markel Murder Investigation

Adelson FamilyJonathan Turley (George Washington), The Murder of Professor Dan Markel: Confession of Contract Killer Raises Questions Over Role of Wendi Adelson:

The clear effort of the police is now to build a case against the Adelsons. While previously the effort seemed focused on Charlie Adelson, it now appears to be also focusing on Wendi Adelson. Clearly, someone hired these hit men and they did not spontaneously decide to kill a law professor. The obvious suspects are the Adelsons and they remain prominent references in the warrants and this confession. With Rivera’s confession and deal, the pressure will be even greater on Magbanua to cut a deal. Her cooperation may be the ultimate goal of this building investigation and the final straw before the arrest of one of the Adelsons, who are clearly the ultimate targets for the investigators.

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October 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Law Profs At Chicago, Harvard And Michigan Turn To 'Hamilton' As A Teaching Tool

Hamilton 3Continuing my obsession with interest in Hamilton (links below):  National Law Journal, Law Profs Turn to Hamilton (Yes, the Musical) as Teaching Tool:

What can law students learn from the hit musical “Hamilton”?  Quite a bit, according to University of Chicago Law School Professor Will Baude, who made the musical’s recent arrival in the Windy City the centerpiece of his welcome address to new law students last month.

No, dueling is not a great idea. But the Tony Award-winning show, which follows the life of Founding Father and real-life lawyer Alexander Hamilton, offers three life lessons for aspiring attorneys, Baude said last month. It illustrates the value of challenging conventional wisdom; the importance of friendships and personal connections in one’s career; and the utility of viewing the law as a separate world—not just as a tool to achieve certain outcomes.

Baude is one of a growing number of legal academics bringing “Hamilton” into the classroom, questioning the accuracy of Hamilton’s pop-culture portrayal, and mining the show for context on modern-day politics. ... Here is a sampling of how other law professors [Annette Gordon-Reed (Hatvard) (Hamilton: The Musical: Blacks and the Founding Fathers), Richard Primus (Michigan) (Will Lin-Manuel Miranda Transform the Supreme Court?), Laurence Tribe (Harvard) (Hamilton Takes Harvard)] are bringing “Hamilton” into their teaching and writing.

The New York Times has a gripping piece on the influence of the play on the artistic director of the theater: ‘Hamilton’ and Heartache: Living the Unimaginable:

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October 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Dan Markel's Parents Discuss With Prosecutors Emergency Placement Of Their Grandchildren Upon Forthcoming Arrests Of Adelsons

Wendi With ChildrenWCTV, Email in Markel Case Suggests Additional Arrests Forthcoming:

An email has surfaced in the murder case of Florida State University professor Dan Markel.

The email was sent by Dan Markel's mother Ruth to lead prosecutor Georgia Cappleman on September 30th. The email was included with court documents recently released in the case. It is not clear if the email was intentionally included in the documents or released by mistake.

In the email, Ruth Markel discusses a "tight plan for emergency placement due to arrests" with Cappleman, appearing to refer to a plan for Dan Markel's children in the event that Markel's in-laws, the Adelsons, are arrested in the case.

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October 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Merritt:  Law Schools Should Attack The Diversity Problem By Freezing Faculty Salaries, Eliminating Summer Research Grants To Lower Tuition For Minority Students

Bloomberg Law op-ed:  How to Attack the Legal Profession’s Diversity Problem, by Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State):

This month the ABA’s Council, which bears responsibility for accrediting law schools, will consider a proposal to tighten the accreditation standard governing bar passage. The proposed standard is a modest one: It requires simply that three-quarters of a school’s graduates who choose to take the bar exam pass that exam within two years of their first try.

Opponents of the proposal argue that it will diminish diversity in the legal profession. They draw upon data showing that minority applicants pass the bar at lower rates than their white peers. Requiring law schools to meet this modest bar passage standard, they suggest, will close down schools that enroll a substantial number of minority students.

Some of these claims are well intentioned, but they are misguided. They endorse a system of legal education in which minority students disproportionately enroll at low-ranked law schools, pay top tuition to attend those schools, and fail the bar exam at distressingly high rates. This is not a recipe for diversifying the legal profession.

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October 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (32)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

David Gamage Leaves UC-Berkeley For Indiana

Gamage (2017)David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) has accepted a lateral offer to join the Indiana law faculty in the fall (announcement). After graduating from Stanford in 2000 (B.A. Economics, M.A. Economic and Organizational Sociology), he worked for Bain Capital before earning his J.D. in 2005 from Yale. He was an Emerging Scholars Program Fellow at Texas in 2005-07 and joined the UC-Berkeley law faculty in 2007. He served as Special Counsel and Senior Stanley S. Surrey Fellow in the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy in 2010-12. His publications include:

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October 13, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Male Law Firm Partners Make 44% More Than Female Partners (949k v. 659k)

The University Of California’s Extraordinary Legal Battle With Ex-Berkeley Law School Dean

ChoudryFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): San Francisco Chronicle, UC’s Extraordinary Legal Battle With Ex-Berkeley Law School Dean:

A lawsuit filed against the University of California raises the extraordinary question of whether UC’s efforts to hold the former dean of one of the nation’s top-ranked law schools accountable for violating its sexual harassment policy are, in fact, illegal.

The claim comes from Sujit Choudhry, a tenured law professor who resigned as dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law on March 10, two days after his former assistant claimed in her own lawsuit that he hugged, kissed and touched her repeatedly against her wishes in 2014 and 2015 and that campus officials did nothing to stop it.

Campus investigators had already determined in July 2015 that Choudhry violated UC’s sexual harassment policy. As punishment, UC Berkeley officials temporarily reduced his pay by 10 percent — from $415,000 to $373,500 — and ordered him to apologize and seek counseling.

That punishment was too light, UC President Janet Napolitano decided in March when she learned of the case — the latest in a string of high-profile sexual harassment incidents at UC Berkeley. Anger had reached a boiling point among students, faculty and the public over what critics saw as the school’s long tolerance of offensive behavior. Similar cases had made news across the country, creating a public perception that campuses willing to strongly discipline sexual harassers were good institutions, while those that did too little were not.

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October 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Laura Rosenbury Stakes Her Deanship On Raising Florida's Ranking To #35; Amidst Claims Of Sexism, Her Regime Comes Under Fire, With The Graduate Tax Program Its Flashpoint

Rosenberry (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the turmoil at the University of Florida College of Law:  Chronicle of Higher Education, As U. of Florida Law Dean Calls Out Sexism, Her Rankings-Driven Regime Comes Under Fire:

An alumnus in Orlando told her he didn’t remember a dean with "legs like that."

The star editor of the law review described her as "young and vivacious," parroting a phrase he’d picked up from his mentor.

Faculty members and graduates have called her a careerist, whose singular focus on national rankings has come at the expense of collegial consultation and respect for beloved professors.

This is the turbulent and lately tortured world of Laura A. Rosenbury, the first woman to lead the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law. Ms. Rosenbury has sought to shake up a 107-year-old school with a reputation that is more often described as good than great. She has staked her deanship on a promise to move the school up 13 spots in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, which would bring Florida to No. 35. It could all happen, Ms. Rosenbury says, as soon as 2019. That is, if the dean and the Gator faithful don’t devour each other first.

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October 12, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (14)

What Would An Efficient Market For Law Schools Look Like?

Bales 2TaxProf Blog op-ed: What Would an Efficient Market for Law Schools Look Like?, by Rick Bales (Former Dean, Ohio Northern):

As the U.S.’s 200-odd ABA-accredited law schools endure a sixth year of admissions and enrollment pain, their response to the market downturn has not been what one would expect in an efficient market. In an efficient market, one would expect to see some combination of the following from oversupply, weak demand, and a plethora of suppliers:

  • Innovation and Differentiation. Considerable market differentiation should result as schools try to find a niche in which they can command a premium price, because chasing a declining demand is, in the long term, a losing proposition. However, except for some tinkering at the LL.M. and Master’s-level margins, law schools still look remarkably the same.
  • Budget Cuts. Most affected law schools have cut their budgets, but not necessarily in ways that efficient markets would predict. Companies experiencing a sustained downturn in demand tend to make the first cuts to high-cost areas that are unlikely to affect future survival. In higher education, personnel costs are the biggest expense, but instead of focusing on efficiency or cutting across the board, most law schools have cut staff first, then non-tenure-track faculty, then tenure-track-but-not-yet-tenured faculty. Staff cuts (especially to admissions, placement, and academic support) and the elimination of junior faculty through hiring freezes and layoffs may have been politically palatable, but amount to eating the seed corn.
  • Closures and Consolidation. An industry with 200+ market participants experiencing a 50% sustained decline in demand should expect some – probably many – of the weakest firms to close, but that hasn’t happened with law schools. Likewise, one would expect industry consolidation, as the strongest schools jostle for market share and the middling schools seek efficiency through growth. Again, that hasn’t happened.
  • Realignment of Supply with Demand. In a world where Blackberry has gone from market leader to obsolescence in a few years, six years is more than enough time for law schools to have adjusted to the new normal. Instead, many if not most schools are still operating at half capacity and a significant financial loss, and are nominally charging (but also discounting) twice the tuition that the market is willing to pay.

What gives?

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October 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Update: Hit Man Implicates Wendi Adelson In Dan Markel's Murder

Online Law School Rankings

Online35 Best Online Law Schools:

  1. Villanova:  Villanova University offers an LL.M. in Taxation fully online. ... This degree is available 100 percent online and is taught in an interesting manner. Although most of the courses are asynchronous, there are debates, discussions, and class activities that are done in real-time on an almost weekly basis. This allows students to study on their own time and bring their knowledge and perspective to share with their class at appointed intervals. ... Students will also have the opportunity to partake in study and tutoring groups, do research with the help of the school’s online law library, speak with online advisors, and more. It is the best tax program for any lawyer in the country, and the overall experience of attending Villanova makes it the top pick for this ranking.
  2. Washington University
  3. USC
  4. NYU
  5. Florida
  6. Boston University
  7. George Washington
  8. Illinois
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Tulsa

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October 12, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

WSJ:  Law Firms Demote Partners as Pressure Mounts Over Profits

WSJ 2Wall Street Journal, Law Firms Demote Partners as Pressure Mounts Over Profits:

Faced with client pressure to keep down costs and industry competition to achieve the highest profits, law firms now frequently assess which lawyers are worthy enough for the top rungs of partnership. Those who don’t bill enough hours or bring in enough business are quietly asked to leave or demoted from the so-called equity tier.

In a survey of law firm leaders from late last year by legal trade publication the American Lawyer, 56% said they planned to take away equity from partners in the coming year, and 67% said they planned to ask partners to leave. ...

Law firms have been demoting and cutting partners since even before the recession, say consultants and others close to the industry. Initial rounds focused on the truly dead weight—partners who enjoyed the title and prestige but didn’t pull in enough revenue.

Demand for legal services never fully bounced back after the downturn, causing firms to trim even further. These days, even partners with strong legal skills and a few clients aren’t making the grade. ... The past year and a half has seen “pervasive” trimming of partners at the nation’s top 100 law firms, said legal consultant Peter Zeughauser.

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October 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Hit Man Implicates Wendi Adelson In Dan Markel's Murder

Rivera WendiFollowing up on my previous post, Prosecutors Zero In On Adelson Family After Plea Deal With Hit Man, Arrest Of Accomplice In Markel Murder:  the Tallahassee Democrat has published an explosive 99-minute video of the prosecutors' interview of hit man Luis Rivera.  Rivera states (beginning at 11:06:17 of the video) that he and hit man Sigfredo Garcia saw Wendi Adelson walking the children in front of Dan Markel's home the day before the murder and that Wendi was making sure that the hit men were there to kill Dan before he left on a flight the following day:

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October 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (46)

Being A Scholar In The Digital Era

ScholarJessie Daniels (CUNY) & Polly Thistlethwaite (CUNY, Being a Scholar in the Digital Era: Transforming Scholarly Practice for the Public Good (University of Chicago Press 2016):

What opportunities, rather than disruptions, do digital technologies present? How do developments in digital media not only support scholarship and teaching but also further social justice? Written by two experts in the field, this accessible book offers practical guidance, examples, and reflection on this changing foundation of scholarly practice. It is the first to consider how new technologies can connect academics, journalists, and activists in ways that foster transformation on issues of social justice. Discussing digital innovations in higher education as well as what these changes mean in an age of austerity, this book provides both a vision of what scholars can be in the digital era and a road map to how they can enliven the public good.

Inside Higher Ed, The Tech-Enabled Scholar:

Q: On the topic of metrics: as you point out, few (if any) academic departments use altmetrics in tenure and promotion cases. We’ve seen the same sort of hesitancy when it comes to evaluating digital scholarship more broadly. Do you feel that colleges have been right to wait it out while these evaluation methods mature, or should they have taken a more active role?

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October 11, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donald Trump And Hillary Clinton: I've Had The Time of My Life

Monday, October 10, 2016

Call for Proposals:  2017 Pepperdine Law Review Symposium On The Supreme Court, Politics And Reform

Pepperdine Law Review
Announcement and Call for Proposals
2017 Pepperdine Law Review Symposium: The Supreme Court, Politics and Reform

On April 8, 2017, the Pepperdine Law Review will hold its annual symposium on the question of whether the political deadlock over the Merrick Garland nomination provides a stark indication the U.S. Supreme Court has become an unduly political institution, and, if so, what internal and external reforms might address this problem. We invite all interested scholars to submit a relevant proposal to present at the symposium and be considered for publication in a special edition of our law review.

COMMENTATORS:  Confirmed lead commentators include:

  • Akhil Amar (Yale)
  • Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine)
  • Michael McConnell (Stanford)
  • Hon. Richard Posner (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit)
  • Deanell Tacha (Pepperdine)
  • Mark Tushnet (Harvard)

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October 10, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Journal Of Legal Education Symposium:  The Future Of Legal Scholarship

Journal of Legal Education (2014)Symposium, The Future of Legal Scholarship, 66 J. Legal Educ. 7-110 (2016):

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October 10, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 9, 2016

How to Fix Law School

Fix ItAry Rosenbaum (J.D. American, Tax LL.M. Boston University), How to Fix Law School:

I enjoyed law school as much as I enjoyed the preparation for my colonoscopy, it was that good. My time at the American University Washington College of Law (WCL) wasn't a great experience because I felt like I was hoodwinked into going and was promised a bill of goods that they failed to deliver. ...

Time hasn't been kind to my waistline and WCL.

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October 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

‘Informed By What I Am’: Judges Talk Faith, Duty And The Law, ‘Informed by What I Am’: Judges Talk Faith, Duty and the Law:

Over the past eight years, President Barack Obama has boosted diversity on the federal bench with his judicial picks. This month he added a name to his list of barrier-busting nominees: Abid Qureshi, believed to be the first Muslim tapped for a federal judgeship. ...

[A]sk judges if their faith factors in their work and most provide a two-part response. They say they don’t apply religious doctrine to cases. However, they acknowledge that religion can inform their sense of justice, empathy and values. Studies have shown a correlation between judges’ religious affiliations and decisions on abortion, gay rights, religious freedom and other hot-button issues. ...

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October 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

New York City Law Firm Launched To Serve Legal Needs Of Religious Institutions And Individuals

FaithWall Street Journal, Law Firm for Churches Launches in New York City:

A new law firm has opened its doors near Times Square founded on the faith that churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions in New York City could use some legal help.

Nelson Madden Black LLP, as the firm is called, says it’s the first private law firm based in the city that’s “dedicated to the legal representation of religious institutions and individuals.” Announcing its launch this week, the firm said it will offer a “full spectrum of litigation, transactional and advisory legal services” to clients of all faiths.

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October 9, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)