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Editor: Paul L. Caron
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

How Much Self-Citation Is Too Much?

Highly CitedTimes Higher Education, Journal Editor’s Self-citation Rate Under Scrutiny:

A senior psychology professor has strongly denied any wrongdoing, after a blog highlighted what it claimed was his high self-citation rate in papers published in journals he edited.

Johnny Matson, a professor at Louisiana State University and an expert in autism, was the founding editor-in-chief of the Elsevier journals Research in Developmental Disabilities (RIDD) and Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders (RASD).

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February 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Seto: Law School Rankings by 2014 Graduates Hired into BigLaw Jobs

Seto (2014)TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Law School Rankings by 2014 Graduates Hired into BigLaw Jobs, by Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.):

On Monday, February 23, TaxProf Blog blogged the National Law Journal’s article, The Go-To Law Schools [more here], which identified “the top 50 law schools by percentage of 2014 juris doctors who took jobs at the largest 250 firms by lawyer head count—as identified in The National Law Journal’s annual survey of the nation’s 350 largest law firms.”

This post reports the same data for all other law schools as to which NLJ’s website provides data, and reports it in two forms: (1) by percentage of the graduating class (“% Hired”), extending the NLJ’s own ranking, and (2) by absolute numbers of hires (“# Hired”) by the NLJ250.

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February 26, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

SSRN Tax Faculty 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 February 1, 2015) 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):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

43,558

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

6709

2

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

27,757

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

5297

3

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)

25,790

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)

4130

4

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

23,537

Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)

2871

5

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

21,636

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2764

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

20,533

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

2740

7

James Hines (Michigan)

20,367

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2285

8

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

19.573

Omri Marian (Florida)

1886

9

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

19,347

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1823

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

17,263

David Gamage (UCBerkeley)

1728

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

16,879

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1708

12

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

15,558

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1575

13

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

15.551

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1569

14

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

15,027

DIck Harvey (Villanova)

1495

15

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

14,908

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1466

16

David Weisbach (Chicago)

14,832

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

1464

17

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

14,724

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1395

18

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

14,609

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1302

19

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

14,469

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1301

20

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

14,311

James Hines (Michigan)

1279

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

14,208

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1243

22

David Walker (BU)

14,139

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

1131

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

12,815

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

1120

24

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

12,662

Steve Willis (Florida)

1086

25

Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)

11,926

Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)

1085

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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February 26, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tax Prof Brant Hellwig Named Dean at Washington & Lee Law School

HellwigContinuing the stunning series of developments over the past week at Washington & Lee Law School (links below):

Brant Hellwig Named Next Dean of W&L Law:

Washington and Lee University President Kenneth P. Ruscio has announced the appointment of Brant Hellwig, professor of law at Washington and Lee University and an expert in the field of federal taxation, as dean of the W&L School of Law, effective July 1, 2015.

Hellwig succeeds Nora V. Demleitner, who announced earlier this week she would step down as dean at the end of the academic year.

Hellwig joined the W&L law school faculty in 2012. He teaches a variety of tax courses, including Federal Income Taxation of Individuals, Partnership Taxation, Corporate Taxation, and Estate and Gift Taxation. His scholarship in the field is similarly broad, ranging from the income tax treatment of deferred compensation arrangements to the estate tax treatment of closely held business entities employed as trust substitutes.

Update:  Above the Law, Formerly Top 30 Law School Enters Full-On Meltdown

February 25, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

The First Two Law Schools to Drop the LSAT Could Be Just the Beginning

Bloomberg, The First Two Law Schools to Drop the LSAT Could Be Just the Beginning:

Two law schools said this month that they would begin accepting applicants who have not taken the Law School Admissions Test, a move that may help curb weak interest and plunging enrollments in law schools across the country. The State University of New York-Buffalo Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law said they would admit students from their respective undergraduate colleges based on their grade point average and scores on standardized tests other than the LSAT. ...

The two schools are the first to announce that they've taken advantage of a recent ruling by the American Bar Association, which accredits U.S. law schools. In August, the ABA changed its rules to allow law schools to fill up to 10 percent of their class with students who have not taken the LSAT, as long as they were at the top of their college class and scored highly on the SAT and ACT, college aptitude tests, or on the GRE or GMAT graduate school exams.

Additional law schools will probably follow. Before the ABA loosened its standards, around 15 schools had successfully applied for special dispensation to admit some students without LSAT scores, and Barry Currier, managing director of accreditation and legal education at the ABA, expects these and other programs to take advantage of new rules allowing them to do so without informing the ABA. ...

Law schools could apply for an even more liberal application of the new rule: ditching the LSAT for more than 10 percent of the class and using a different standardized test as an admissions gauge for those students if they can conclusively show that the exam is as good a predictor of academic achievement as the LSAT. As further schools begin experimenting with admissions, the composition of incoming law school classes could change, and the LSAT could lose standing as an exclusive ticket to law school.

The Spectrum, UB Law School Without the LSAT: A Crime Against Competition:

These initiatives favor UB students too strongly and make the law school appear far less competitive.

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February 25, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

More on Law School Rankings by Graduates in BigLaw Jobs

The Anemic Law Jobs Recovery

American Lawyer, Law Jobs Sees Lag in Recovery:

Legal employment is still well below its pre-recession peak and is more or less flat, while non-farm employment is strongly rebounding, according to recent average quarterly government figures.

AmLaw

February 25, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Number of 'Subpar' Applicants Admitted to Texas Law School Surged After Dean Sager's Ouster

Watchdog.org, Weak Admissions to University of Texas Law Increased After Sager’s Ouster:

The number of subpar applicants admitted to the University of Texas School of Law surged after President Bill Powers forced Larry Sager to resign as dean of the law school in 2011, according to numbers from a recent report on admissions favoritism by Kroll Associates. ...

Texas

For its purposes, Kroll considered subpar to be a grade point average beneath 3.0 or a score on the Law School Admission Test under 155. ...

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February 25, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Virginia Law School Cuts Enrollment to Lower Student/Faculty Ratio, Improve U.S. News Ranking

The Cavalier Daily, National Law School Enrollment Reaches 40 Year Low:

The number of first-year law students has reached its lowest national level since 1973, according to an American Bar Association report. In the fall of 2014, only 37,924 first-year students entered the 204 ABA-approved law schools, a 4.4 percent decrease from 2013 and a 27.7 percent decrease from 2010’s all-time high.

Whereas the University Law School has also seen a decrease — with a current total enrollment of 1,005 students, down 88 students from an enrollment of 1,093 students in 2011 — Law School Dean Paul Mahoney attributes this decline not to national trends, but rather to an intentional effort to lower the student-faculty ratio to 10:1.

Virginia

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February 25, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Nora Demleitner to Step Down as W&L Law School Dean After Three Years of Service

W&L Logo (2014)Following up on Thursday's post, W&L Law School Permanently Reduces 1L Class to 100 (Down 47% From 2012), Eliminates 6 Faculty and 6 Staff Positions, Cuts or Freezes All Faculty Salaries, and Invades Corpus of Endowment:

To:  The Law School Alumni

From:  President Kenneth P. Ruscio and Provost Daniel A. Wubah

Subject: Important News from Lewis Hall

This morning Dean Nora Demleitner announced her intention to step down as dean at the end of the academic year and return to the faculty after a sabbatical year. Her message to the Law School Community is below.   On behalf of the entire Washington and Lee community, we want to express our deepest appreciation for her contributions these last three years.

During these extraordinarily difficult times in legal education, Dean Demleitner has led the School of Law in meeting these challenges. Her letter cites a number of the significant accomplishments during her tenure.

By the end of the week, we will announce our plan for the transition as the University continues to take a leadership role in adapting to the changing environment for legal education [emphasis added]. For the moment, we simply want to thank Dean Demleitner for her considerable efforts on behalf of the school. We look forward to her return to the faculty after her sabbatical.

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February 24, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

ABA Makes Standard 509 Law School Data For 2011-2014 Available in Excel Spreadsheets

ABA Logo 2ABA Offers Law School Consumer Data in Easy-to-Use Format:

Information reported by American Bar Association-approved law schools is now publicly available at no charge in online spreadsheets that enable easy searching, sorting, school-by-school comparisons and analysis, the ABA's law school accrediting body announced today. The spreadsheets, developed by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, will significantly improve the accessibility of information for prospective law students, pre-law advisors, media outlets and others who study and write about legal education.

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February 24, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Yale Professors Oppose Proposed Standards of Faculty Conduct

Yale University LogoInside Higher Ed, Yale Professors Object to Vague New Faculty Conduct Policy:

Is a professor sending out a late recommendation letter for a student as bad as one who commits academic misconduct or, say, sexually harasses a colleague? And shouldn’t staff and administrators be held to the same ethical standards as faculty members? Professors at Yale University are asking those questions, among others, and generally scratching their heads at what they say is a “curious” and “confusing” proposed faculty conduct code threatening undefined sanctions for a mishmash of transgressions.

Faculty members who are critical of the document also say it seems like it’s being ramrodded through an appointed committee just weeks ahead of the formation of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ first-ever Faculty Senate.

The university, meanwhile, says the document is an attempt to centralize its various policies regarding faculty conduct.

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February 24, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fennell: Do Not Cite Or Circulate

DNCCLee Anne Fennell (Chicago), Do Not Cite or Circulate, 19 Green Bag 2d ___ (2015):

This short essay ponders why legal scholars attach formulations such as "Do Not Cite or Circulate" to draft works. It argues against the practice in most circumstances, particularly for work posted on the internet.

February 24, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Memoranda on New Law School Accreditation Standards

Monday, February 23, 2015

NLJ: Law School Rankings by Graduates in BigLaw Jobs

National Law Journal, The Go-To Law Schools:

Go ToThe new associate hiring picture at large law firms improved for the third straight year in 2014, but that growth wasn’t due to firms enlarging the size of the first-year associate classes. Instead, a smaller cohort of new law graduates meant that a higher percentage of them could land associate jobs at the largest 250 law firms in the country, even though those firms hired roughly the same number of new associates as in 2013.

We’ve ranked the top 50 law schools by percentage of 2014 juris doctors who took jobs at the largest 250 firms by lawyer head count—as identified in The National Law Journal’s annual survey of the nation’s 350 largest law firms. We also identified the schools that saw the most alumni promoted to partner, and highlighted the 20 schools that outperform their U.S. News & World Report ranking when it comes to large firm hiring. We take an even deeper dive into our annual law school report in our special interactive feature.

The Top 50 Go-To Law Schools:  These schools sent the highest percentage of new graduates to the largest 250 law firms:

RankLaw School2014 Grads at NLJ 2502014 JDs% Grads at NLJ 250TuitionU.S. News Rank
1 Columbia 310 468 66.24% $60,274 4
2 Pennsylvania 177 278 63.67% $56,916 5
3 Chicago 129 211 61.14% $55,503 4
4 NYU 287 479 59.92% $56,838 6
5 Harvard 326 586 55.63% $55,842 2
6 Cornell 101 191 52.88% $59,360 13
7 Northwestern 144 291 49.48% $56,434 12
8 Duke 105 215 48.84% $55,588 10
9 Virginia 163 349 46.70% $51,800 8
10 Stanford 85 187 45.45% $54,366 3
11 UC-Berkeley 115 287 40.07% $48,166 9
12 Michigan 153 390 39.23% $51,398 10
13 Georgetown 239 625 38.24% $53,130 13
14 Yale 80 224 35.71% $56,200 1
15 USC 71 216 32.87% $57,507 20
16 Texas 113 351 32.19% $33,162 15
17 UCLA 102 336 30.36% $45,226 17
18 Vanderbilt 56 194 28.87% $49,722 16
19 Boston Univ. 71 246 28.86% $47,188 27
20 Fordham 119 462 25.76% $52,532 36

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February 23, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chen: Modeling Citation and Download Data in Legal Scholarship

James Ming Chen (Michigan State), Modeling Citation and Download Data in Legal Scholarship:

Impact factors among law reviews provide a measure of influence among these journals and the schools that publish them. Downloads from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) serve a similar function. Bibliometrics is rapidly emerging as a preferred alternative to more subjective assessments of academic prestige and influence. Law should embrace this trend.

This paper evaluates the underlying mathematics of law review impact factors and per-author SSRN download rates by institution.

 Chen

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February 23, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Op-eds on Death and Dying

Two powerful op-eds on death and dying:

February 23, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Duquesne Law School Dean's Nomination to Pennsylvania Supreme Court Threatened by Discrimination Lawsuits by Law Faculty

GormleyTribune, Wolf Nominee to Top Court Causes Stir With Controversial Email:

Senate Republicans received a document anonymously involving the second nominee, Duquesne University School of Law professor Ken Gormley, that included an administrative officer's report from 2007 suggesting there was “sufficient evidence” to support a professor's discrimination claim related to a tenure quest. ...

[F]ederal court records show Gormley was named in at least two lawsuits alleging discrimination and harassment, arising from tenure quests.

One lawsuit, filed in 2010 by former law professor Alice Stewart, was settled out of court under seal in 2011. The other, filed Oct. 31, 2014, by Susan Hascall, alleges religious discrimination and is pending. Hascall is a law professor whose teachings include Islamic law. ...

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February 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Fed: The Growing Student Loan Crisis

Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Quarterly Report on House Hold Debt and Credit (Feb. 2015):

Outstanding student loan balances reported on credit reports increased to $1.16 trillion (+$31 billion) as of December 31, 2014, representing about $77 billion increase from one year ago. Student loan delinquency rates worsened in the 4th quarter. About 11.3% of aggregate student loan debt is 90+ days delinquent or in default in 2014Q4, up from 11.1% in the third quarter. 

NY 2

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February 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (16)

North Carolina Law Faculty Push Back Against Board's Decision to Close Law School Poverty Center

UNCFollowing up on Thursday's post, North Carolina Board of Governors Committee Votes to Close Law School Poverty Center Founded by John Edwards:  Washington Post, Law Faculty Accuses UNC Panel of Attempting to Chill Free Speech:

[S]cores of members of the law faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill have signed a statement deploring the recommendation to close the poverty center and are also pushing back against another recommendation by the panel: for the university to tighten policies banning political participation and limiting advocacy. This could affect advocacy work done by the law school’s Center for Civil Rights:

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February 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Law School Survival Strategy From a Former Dean: Cut Tuition by 50%

NewsweekNewsweek:  Law Schools: Reform or Go Bust, by James Huffman (Former Dean, Lewis & Clark):

Like it or not, law schools face real business challenges. Demand has declined every year since 2010—not just a little but by nearly 40 percent. The same number of law schools have 33,000 fewer prospective customers than they had five years ago. ...

The longer legal educators remain in denial about the true magnitude of the financial crisis they face, the more devastating will be the crash. It should be obvious to even the casual observer why the existing business model is broken for all but the well-endowed, elite law schools.

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February 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Boosting Awareness, Citation, and Placement Of Your Next Law Review Article

Harvard Law ReviewDanielle Padula, Don’t Just Build It: How to Boost Awareness of Your Scholarly Publications:

"People will come, Ray"—says Terence Man, played by James Earl Jones, when Kevin Costner’s character questions his decision to build a ball park in the middle of a cornfield in the 1989 film Field of Dreams.

Spoiler Alert: Contrary to this hopeful movie message, if you build it, more than likely, people will not come. This principle holds true for most personal and professional outputs, whether they be middle-of-nowhere baseball stadiums or academic publications.

If you want people to know about your scholarly work you have to give them an accessible place, or ideally variety of places, to learn about it. Accessible has two meanings here—you want to promote your research in places that are easy to access, and you want to explain it in a way that is accessible to a wide audience.

So how can you raise awareness of your scholarly contributions?

  • Become an Expert
  • Write About Your Research and Your Field OFTEN
  • Present Your Findings in a Dynamic Way
  • Seek Speaking Engagements

 Danielle Padula, Proactively Improve Your Law Review Article Citation Rate:

Publishing in law reviews presents the opportunity to contribute scholarship to the legal community with the capacity to impact the research of other scholars and ultimately the way the law is interpreted. In most cases, the impact a law review article will have is dependent upon the number of people who not only read it but also choose to cite it in their own work. Of course, manuscripts worthy of publication and with the power to conceivably move the law must begin with a relevant topic and be written in a clear and compelling way. Beyond how well a manuscript is written though, for many authors without a history of being cited in their field the impact their article will have can often seem to be a matter of luck.

Serendipity aside, are there any steps that legal authors can take prior to being published to improve their chances of citation? ... Here are some potential ways to proactively improve your law review article citation rate:

  • Include an Abstract and Table of Contents
  • Present a Working PaperBefore Submitting
  • Take a Second Look at Your Title and Abstract
  • Become Known in the Legal Community Prior to Being Cited

Jeff Sovern (St. John's), Does Pre-Submission Media Coverage Increase the Odds of a Good Article Placement?:

As law students, law professors, and lawyers know, most law reviews are edited by law students, which means that law students select the articles that appear in their journals.  The prime submission season is just underway, and so newly-minted law review editors—most in their second year of law school—are choosing among the flood of articles submitted by lawyers and law professors.

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February 20, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Profs Remember Marvin Chirelstein

ChirelsteinFollowing up my posts (here and here) on the February 16 death of Yale/Columbia tax legend Marvin Chirelstein: below the fold are remembrances of Marvin from these Tax Profs (and others):

  • Joe Bankman (Stanford)
  • Paul Caron (Pepperdine)
  • Bill Clinton (Former U.S. President)
  • Mark Cochran (St. Mary's)
  • Steve Cohen (Georgetown)
  • Cliff Fleming (BYU)
  • Will Foster (Arkansas-Fayetteville)
  • Michael Graetz (Columbia)
  • Calvin Johnson (Texas)
  • Richard Kaplan (Illinois)
  • Ed Kleinbard (USC)
  • Michael Knoll (Pennsylvania)
  • Al Lauber (Judge, U.S. Tax Court)
  • Michael Livingston (Rutgers-Camden)
  • Jim Maule (Villanova)
  • Philip Oliver (Arkansas-Little Rock)
  • Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia)
  • David Schizer (Columbia)
  • Dan Shaviro (NYU)
  • George Yin (Virginia)

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February 20, 2015 in Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Dan Markel's Death Remains a Mystery Seven Months After Shooting

MarkelTallahassee Democrat, Markel's Death Remains a Mystery:

Seven months after someone shot Florida State law professor Dan Markel in the garage of his Betton Hills home, the Tallahassee Police Department has yet to make an arrest or identify a suspect.

It's frustrating to those who knew the 41-year-old father of two. His friends and neighbors worry that the trail has gone cold. But police say they are still working the case. ... Investigators still believe Markel was the "intended target" of whoever killed him, said TPD spokesman Officer David Northway. ...

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February 20, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Nova Symposium: Transforming Legal Education

NovaSymposium, Transforming Legal Education, 38 Nova L. Rev. 171-322 (2014):

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February 20, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

W&L Law School Permanently Reduces 1L Class to 100 (Down 47% From 2012), Eliminates 6 Faculty and 6 Staff Positions, Cuts or Freezes All Faculty Salaries, and Invades Corpus of Endowment

W&L Logo (2014)Washington & Lee School of Law Strategic Transition Plan:

n response to the changes in the legal profession and legal education nationally, Washington and Lee's School of Law has adopted a proactive approach to stabilize the school's enrollment and financial structure without sacrificing its special strengths. The University's senior administration, in consultation with a working group of faculty and administrators within the law school and a task force of trustees, has developed a strategic initiative that is now being implemented after being presented to the Board of Trustees at its winter meeting this month.

As outlined in the bullet points below, Washington and Lee's law school intends to protect its core values, including its emphasis on educating students for professional integrity, as well as its defining characteristics of personalized attention, strong student-faculty relationships, and an innovative curriculum. At the same time, the financial framework will enable the school to return to self-sufficiency by the 2017-18 academic year.

Highlights of the Plan

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February 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

North Carolina Board of Governors Committee Votes to Close Law School Poverty Center Founded by John Edwards

UNCInside Higher Ed, Who Is Being Political?:

There is wide agreement in North Carolina that Gene Nichol is an articulate and forceful advocate for the impoverished of his state, unafraid to criticize political leaders who in his opinion aren't doing enough about poverty. Nichol does so from an academic perch. He is a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and leads the university's Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.

On Wednesday, a committee of the board of the University of North Carolina System voted to kill the center, along with a biodiversity center at East Carolina University and a civic engagement and social change center at North Carolina Central University. Conservatives in the state have long complained that some UNC centers (and especially the poverty center) were being used for political attacks on Republican politicians and so had no place in the university.

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February 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Kerr: Senior Law Faculty Are Just as Productive as Junior Faculty

The Volokh Conspiracy:  Law Faculty Productivity Over Time, by Orin Kerr (George Washington):

It’s generally understood that faculty productivity declines over time. The common wisdom is that professors write up a storm to get tenure; they then write somewhat less mid-career; and they don’t do much writing at all when they are senior. There has been some study of this dynamic in the sciences. As far as I know, however, this pattern hasn’t actually been measured at law schools. I recently decided to measure it at my own law school, George Washington University. The results really surprised me, as they suggested no change in productivity over time. ...

First, we can see how productivity changed over time for the faculty as a whole; second, we can see the changes within each cohort over time; and third, we can compare productivity of different cohorts at the same stage of their careers.

The chart below shows the results. The vertical axis is the average number of published articles per year, and the horizontal axis represents five-year bands of time starting at the beginning of each professor’s career and moving on over time.

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February 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Katz & Margolis: The Role of Leadership and Curricular Change in Transforming Legal Education

Martin Katz (Dean, Denver) & Kenneth R. Margolis (Case Western), Transforming Legal Education as an Imperative in Today's World: Leadership and Curricular Change:

This article is a chapter in the new book, Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas & Antoinette Sedillo Lopez eds., forthcoming Lexis 2015.) The article aims to identify and explore the emerging best practices for law school leaders in encouraging both individual and institution-wide reform. The authors identify and discuss the differing interests of the various stakeholders in legal education: students, faculty, university administrators, alumni and practitioners, potential clients, and society at large. They urge reformers to take the interests of the various stakeholders into account, obtain input from them, and set reform goals with their interests in mind. The authors discuss various models for engaging in the process of reform and some of the factors that will lead to sustainable change. They further describe the importance of reform being “data driven” and some of the processes that can be used to obtain helpful data. They urge reformers to be deliberative and collaborative and, at the same time, bold and timely by establishing clear timelines and deadlines for various steps in the process. The authors then discuss the most significant barriers to institutional and curricular reform, and how they can be overcome: the need for balance in teaching, scholarship and service of faculty members; concerns about academic freedom; cultural inertia and law school rankings; faculty fears about time, expertise and negative student reactions to change; and cost. Finally, the authors urge law school administrators to use incentives to enlist faculty as “change agents” and to expand teacher training programs to meet the new demands.

February 19, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Marvin Chirelstein's Letter of Recommendation on Behalf of Prospective Law Prof Bill Clinton: 'He Would Do Well as a Tax Teacher'

Following up on yesterday's post on the death of Yale/Columbia tax legend Marvin Chirelstein:  Arkansas Tax Prof Will Foster passed along Marvin's 1973 letter of recommendation supporting Bill Clinton's appointment to the Arkansas law faculty:

 

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February 18, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Princeton Review: The 200 Best Value Colleges

PrincetonPrinceton Review, Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In (2015):

The Princeton Review has released a new book and online resource that addresses two of the major concerns of college applicants and their parents: paying for college and graduating with a good job and paycheck"  ... [A] one-of-a-kind guide to the nation's academically best and most affordable colleges that also have excellent records of alumni employment. The Princeton Review ... developed a unique “Return-on-Education” (ROE) rating to winnow its list of colleges for this book. ROE measures 40 weighted data points. Everything from academics, cost, financial aid, and student debt to statistics on graduation rates, alumni salaries and job satisfaction.

The Princeton Review lists the Top 5o Schools for Return on Education.  Here are the Top 10:

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February 18, 2015 in Book Club, Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Death of Marvin Chirelstein

ChirelsteinColumbia Law School, Marvin A. Chirelstein: Revered Professor and Leading Scholar of Federal Taxation, Corporate Law, and Contracts:

Columbia Law School Professor Emeritus Marvin A. Chirelstein, a leading scholar of federal taxation, corporate law, and contracts whose textbooks are still used by students across the country, died on Feb. 16. He was 86.

Chirelstein first joined Columbia Law School in 1954 to work on the Federal Income Tax Project under Dean William C. Warren. He then joined the government as an attorney in the U.S. Department of the Treasury and later taught at Rutgers School of Law and Yale Law School. Chirelstein returned to Columbia Law School as a visiting professor in 1981 and became a full-time faculty member in 1984. Two years later, he was named the first Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, an appointment announced by then-Columbia University President Michael I. Sovern ’55.

In addition to being a highly sought after academic expert on taxation, contracts, and corporate law, Chirelstein was a beloved professor who once taught a seminar on the legal side of one of his favorite sports: boxing. A music lover who played the violin, he was known for his dry sense of humor and quiet wit and was adored by students. Two of his textbooks, Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts and Federal Income Taxation: A Law Student’s Guide to the Leading Cases and Concepts, have guided generations of future lawyers through the complexities of the law. A third, Cases and Materials on Corporate Finance, opened the way to interdisciplinary analysis of corporate law.

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February 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

2016 U.S. News Law School Rankings

U.S. News Logo (2014)Robert Morse (Director of Data Research, U.S. News & World Report) has announced that the new law school rankings will be released online on March 10 and in hard copy later in March. Here are the current 2015 law school rankings:

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February 17, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NLJ: Minorities Gain at Less Prestigious Law Schools

National Law Journal,  Lower Tier Leads in Diversity: Minorities Gain at Less Prestigious Law Schools:

DiversityThe percentage of African-American and Hispanic students enrolled in law school increased between 2010 and 2013, but those gains came almost exclusively at less prestigious law schools with lower admission standards, according to new research.

Aaron Taylor, an assistant professor at the Saint Louis University School of Law, examined application trends, Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores and enrollment figures for minority and white students in both 2010 and 2013. He hoped to better understand how the dramatic downturn in law school applications nationwide has affected diversity.

He found that law schools at the bottom of the prestige ladder — those with the lowest median LSAT scores for incoming students — have relied disproportionately on African-American and Hispanic students to fill their classes. That shift may have served as an economic lifeline for law schools during a difficult period, but bolstered the racial stratification that already existed. Elite law schools with higher median LSAT scores actually saw a proportional decrease in African-American and Hispanic students between 2010 and 2013, Taylor found.

"You've got more black and Hispanic students attending schools that are considered less prestigious in 2013," he said of his paper, Diversity As A Law School Survival Strategy, which will appear in the Saint Louis University Law Review.

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February 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law School Pedigree and Law Firm Success

Above the Law, Translating Talent Into ‘Success': Another Look At Law School Pedigree:

How do law firms fare in translating expected talent to actual success? Recently, we published the ATL Top Litigation Firms By Law School Pedigree ranking, a look, focusing on litigation practice, at how longstanding assumptions about attorney credentials are holding up in this new environment. ...

[H]ow does expected talent (as measured by law school credentials) correlate with other indicators of “success”? Below is a comparison — for amusement purposes only! — of the interplay between School Pedigree Rank and Am Law PPP Ranking. Keep in mind that this group only includes those firms in the intersection between “Top Litigation Firms” (as defined in our methodology) and the Am Law 100 (i.e., the boutiques are generally missing):

Chart A

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February 17, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

2015 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2015 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000, and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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February 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Systematic Inequality and Hierarchy in Faculty Hiring Networks

Aaron Clauset (Colorado), Samuel Arbesman (Colorado) & Daniel B. Larremore (Harvard), Systematic Inequality and Hierarchy in Faculty Hiring Networks:

F1.large-1The faculty job market plays a fundamental role in shaping research priorities, educational outcomes, and career trajectories among scientists and institutions. However, a quantitative understanding of faculty hiring as a system is lacking. Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network—who hires whose graduates as faculty—we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines. Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality. Furthermore, doctoral prestige alone better predicts ultimate placement than a U.S. News & World Report rank, women generally place worse than men, and increased institutional prestige leads to increased faculty production, better faculty placement, and a more influential position within the discipline. These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

Inside Higher Ed, Study Suggests Insular Faculty Hiring Practices in Elite Departments:

By now, the secret is out in some disciplines: if you want to land a tenure-line faculty job, you’d better attend a highly ranked graduate program -- not necessarily because they’re better but because the market favors prestige. But a new study suggests that “social inequality” might be worse than previously thought, across a range of different disciplines.

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February 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Call for Proposals: Association for Mid-Career Tax Law Professors

The Association for Mid-Career Tax Law Professors (“AMT”) has issued a  Call for Proposals:

Mid-CareerAMT is a recurring conference intended to bring together relatively recently-tenured professors of tax law for scholarly discussion. Our inaugural meeting will be held on Thursday and Friday, June 4 & 5, 2015, on the campus of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. We anticipate that official proceedings will wrap up by noon on June 5. Thanks to the generous support of Law, Finance and Governance @ Ohio State and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, AMT is able to provide attendees with conference meals and refreshments. AMT can commit to ensuring that these meals will not be “lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.” Attendees will be expected to cover their own travel and lodging expenses.

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February 16, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Iowa Law School Admits Iowa Undergrads Without LSATs

Iowa LogoIn the wake of the new ABA Accreditation Standard permitting law schools to admit up to 10% of their class without LSAT scores:  Iowa has announced that it will admit Iowa undergraduates without LSAT scores as long as they (1) are in the Top 10% of their class or have at least a 3.5 GPA after their junior year, and (2) scored in the 85th percentile of higher on the ACT, SAT, GMAT, or GRE.

Iowa's 1L enrollment the past five years:

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February 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Villanova Seeks to Hire Lawyer to Teach Online Courses in Graduate Tax Program

VillanovaVillanova seeks to hire a tax practitioner to teach online courses in its Graduate Tax Program and coordinate faculty coverage of online tax classes:

Teaching responsibilities include teaching multiple online sections of classes in the Graduate Tax Program. In addition, this position will coordinate class coverage with adjuncts or other faculty teaching in the online curriculum. The person will also work closely with full-time faculty in the Graduate Tax Program and instructional designers involved in assisting with the development and maintenance of courses in the online curriculum.

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February 16, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Eleven Law Schools Offer Online Tax LL.M.s

Online DegreeThe National Jurist reports that eleven law schools now offer tax or tax-related online LL.M.s:

Tax
Alabama
Boston University
Denver
Georgetown
NYU
Temple
Villanova
Western Michigan-Cooley

Estate Planning
John Marshall
Western New England

International TaxThomas Jefferson

Employee BenefitsJohn Marshall

February 16, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Livingston: Rutgers Administration Is 'Pulling a Fast One' With Merger of Camden and Newark Law Schools

Rutgers Law SchoolsFollowing up on my previous post, Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark Law Schools to Merge:  Tax Prof Michael Livingston (Rutgers-Camden), The Rutgers Law "Merger":  Lots of Form, Not Much Substance:

[T]he proposed merger of the Camden and Newark Law Schools into one "R-Law" brand ... is high on form, but low on content, and the style is--well, read on.

The merger was originally prompted by a desire to fend off a proposed takeover of the Camden law school by Rowan University, which was perceived as less prestigious than Rutgers. An unstated goal is to distract attention from the relatively poor performance of both, but especially the Camden, law schools since the Rowan proposal was blocked. In the most recent US News survey, the Camden law school ranked 81 and Newark 83; since Camden has since been forced to accept more (read weaker) students by the central administration, there is a good chance it will fall out of the top 100 in the next survey.

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February 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Is The Bluebook Subject to Copyright Protection?

BluebookABA Journal, Legal Minds Differ on Whether The Bluebook Is Subject to Copyright Protection:

Controversy is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of The Bluebook, but the bible of legal citation is at the center of an increasingly nasty dispute over whether it is subject to copyright protection.

Open-source advocates are contending that the style and citation manual is an essential piece of legal infrastructure and can't be preserved as private property under copyright law. The book's publishers say otherwise.

The dustup began when Frank Bennett, an academic at Nagoya University Graduate School of Law, wanted to add The Bluebook to Zotero, an open-source citation tool. "He was told to stay off the grass," says Carl Malamud, president of Public.Resource.org, whom Bennett later contacted. "It really bothered me."

Lawyers at Boston's Ropes & Gray, who represent the Harvard-Yale-Columbia-Penn consortium that publishes the manual, claimed that The Bluebook contains "carefully curated examples, explanations and other textual materials" that are protected by copyright.

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February 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Citi: Law Firm Revenues, Profits Up Sharply in 2014, With More to Come in 2015

CitiWall Street Journal Law Blog, Better Times for Law Firms, With More on the Horizon, Says Report:

Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group has some very welcome news to report to the nation’s largest law firms and the people who run them: things are looking up.

American Lawyer, Citi Report: M&A Work Boosts Firm Profitability in 2014:

Stronger industry performance in 2014 caused bigger smiles at more firms than in 2013. As we forecasted, legal industry performance in 2014 was stronger than the year before, with net income and profits per equity partner up 6 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively, compared with 3.2 percent and 3.5 percent in 2013. In fact, profitability performance was the strongest since 2010.  ... These results are based on a sample of 179 firms (78 Am Law 100 firms, 47 Second Hundred firms and 54 niche/boutique firms). ...

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February 15, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Huang & Rosen: The Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse

ZombiePeter H. Huang (Colorado) & Corie Lynn Rosen (Colorado), The Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse, 41 Pepp. L. Rev. ___ (2015):

This article uses a popular cultural framework to address the near-epidemic levels of depression, decision-making errors, and professional dissatisfaction that studies document are prevalent among many law students and lawyers today.

Zombies present an apt metaphor for understanding and contextualizing the ills now common in the American legal and legal education systems. To explore that metaphor and its import, this article will first establish the contours of the zombie literature and will apply that literature to the existing state of legal education and legal practice — ultimately describing a state that we believe can only be termed “the Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse”. The article will draw parallels between the zombie state of being — the state of being mindless, thoughtless, and devoid of hope — and the state of some aspects of legal culture and legal education today.

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February 15, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

America’s New Aristocracy: The Hereditary Meritocracy

EconomistThe Economist, America’s New Aristocracy: As the Importance of Intellectual Capital Grows, Privilege Has Become Increasingly Heritable:

When the robber barons accumulated fortunes that made European princes envious, the combination of their own philanthropy, their children’s extravagance and federal trust-busting meant that Americans never discovered what it would be like to live in a country where the elite could reliably reproduce themselves. Now they are beginning to find out, because today’s rich increasingly pass on to their children an asset that cannot be frittered away in a few nights at a casino. It is far more useful than wealth, and invulnerable to inheritance tax. It is brains.

Intellectual capital drives the knowledge economy, so those who have lots of it get a fat slice of the pie. And it is increasingly heritable. Far more than in previous generations, clever, successful men marry clever, successful women. Such “assortative mating” increases inequality by 25%, by one estimate, since two-degree households typically enjoy two large incomes. Power couples conceive bright children and bring them up in stable homes—only 9% of college-educated mothers who give birth each year are unmarried, compared with 61% of high-school dropouts. They stimulate them relentlessly: children of professionals hear 32m more words by the age of four than those of parents on welfare. They move to pricey neighbourhoods with good schools, spend a packet on flute lessons and pull strings to get junior into a top-notch college.

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February 14, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (15)

New York Law School Launches 2-Year JD at 2/3 the Cost, With Guaranteed Post-Graduate Fellowship

NYLS Logo (2013)Crain's New York, New York Law School Launches 2-Year Degree:

With the launch of its honors program, New York Law students can receive a degree in two years instead of the typical three, and pay two-thirds of the $147,720 they would normally pay for a three-year degree program. 

New York Law School, Two-Year J.D. Honors Applicants:

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February 14, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)