TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

July 2016 California Bar Exam Carnage

The California State Bar has released the results from the July 2016 bar exam.  The overall pass rate was 43%, the lowest in 32 years.  For California ABA-accredited law schools, the pass rate fell 6.2 percentage points from 2015, to 62%, down 21 percentage points from 2008. 

California Bar

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November 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

New Website Seeks To Register Professors Accused of Liberal Bias

ProfessorInside Higher Ed, Being Watched: New Website Seeks to Register Professors Accused of Liberal Bias and “Anti-American Values”

A new website is asking students and others to “expose and document” professors who “discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

The site, called Professor Watchlist, is not without precedent -- predecessors include the now-defunct, which logged accounts of alleged bias in the classroom. There's also David Horowitz's 2006 book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. But such efforts arguably have new meaning in an era of talk about registering certain social groups and concerns about free speech.

At the same time, the new list has attracted Twitter jokesters under the hashtag #trollprofwatchlist, with complaints about Indiana Jones, Professor Plum of "Clue University," and Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter's Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, among others.

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November 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Sandy Levinson Receives Hateful Postcard

Sandy Levinson (Texas), who is visiting at Harvard Law School this semester, received this hateful postcard in the mail:

Sandy Levinson

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November 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Financial Times Special Section On Law Schools:  
The Admissions Collapse Continues

Financial Times (2017)Financial Times, Law School Admissions Collapse Continues: They Are Being Forced to Innovate or Face Being Left Behind:

Since 2010, US law schools have experienced a drop in student admissions to a level not seen since 1973, when there were 53 fewer schools than today (204). The number of first-year students entering law school in 2015 dropped to just above 37,000 compared to 52,000 in 2010, according to figures released by the American Bar Association. The latest enrolment numbers are due in December.

FT Chart 2

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


HumblebragInside Higher Ed, Academic Humblebrags:

Consider the humblebrag, a seemingly modest utterance that’s actually a boast. ...

  • Gosh, if I don’t send in that manuscript to Oxford by this fall, they’re gonna kill me!
  • You know, if it weren’t for all the grateful letters that I’ve gotten from students over the years, I’d’ve given up teaching a long time ago.
  • I’m sure plenty of people could have delivered the keynote address at this conference, but I’m the one who got suckered into it.
  • Never mind all my publications. The teaching award I got this year makes me realize what really matters in life.

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November 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Profs Weigh In On The Hamilton/Pence/Trump Controversy

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 20, 2016

129 College Presidents Send Letter Asking President-Elect Trump To Condemn 'Harassment, Hate And Acts Of Violence'

Trump (President Elect)Inside High Ed:

Dear President-elect Trump,

As do you, we “seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.” In order to maintain the trust required for such productive engagement, it is essential that we immediately reaffirm the core values of our democratic nation: human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. As college and university presidents, we commit ourselves to promoting these values on our campuses and in our communities, and we stand alongside the business, nonprofit, religious and civic leaders who are doing the same in organizations large and small.

In light of your pledge to be “President for all Americans,” we urge you to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name, which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office. In our schools, on job sites and college campuses, on public streets and in coffee shops, members of our communities, our children, our families, our neighbors, our students and our employees are facing very real threats, and are frightened.

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November 20, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (15)

Law Prof Submits Letter With 12,000 Lawyer Signatures Opposing President-Elect Trump's Selection Of Stephen Bannon As White House Strategist

Leong 2

Daily Kos, Over 12,000 Lawyers Sign Letter Opposing Steve Bannon:

Later today, a letter with over 12,000 signatures of attorneys from all over the country will be delivered to key members of Congress. The letter, originally drafted by University of Denver law professor Nancy Leong, has garnered such a huge number of signatures in just 60 hours of being online.  Leong drafted the letter because “Bannon is on a different level.  His website has enabled white supremacists and his public comments show he does not respect the democratic institutions that we as lawyers have sworn to uphold.”

The letter has signers from all types of legal work and all different political persuasions. As Leong described it, “It’s not a partisan issue to support our democratic institutions and oppose a white supremacist, and I hope that what this communicates to vulnerable communities is lawyers have your back in opposing this.”

Bloomberg Law, Meet the Law Prof Who Found 10,000+ Lawyers Opposed to Bannon:

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November 20, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (10)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

After Battles With Conservatives, Michael Hunter Schwartz To Step Down After 4 Years As Arkansas Dean

Hunter SchwartzFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Arkansas Times, UALR Law Dean Stepping Down in June:

Michael Schwartz, dean of UALR's Bowen School of Law, has announced he's stepping down as dean June 30 to go to a full-time teaching position. He's held the position since July 2013.

Schwartz found himself enmeshed in several controversies at the law school, engendered by conservative activists. One involved faculty member Rob Steinbuch's effort to dislodge student records to determine whether under-qualified black students were gaining admittance. Steinbuch filed suit for records after Schwartz provided redacted copies of some material he sought to analyze bar exam performance. Steinbuch also accused two other faculty members of retaliating against him for seeking the information. He called them "race police."

More recently, Schwartz has been derided by conservatives on the web for providing on-campus counseling to students upset by the presidential election. ...

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November 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Reynolds:  Universities' Reactions To Presidential Election Constitute Microaggressions Against Students Who Voted For Trump

Following up on last Saturday's post, Law Schools React To Donald Trump's Election:  USA Today op-ed: 'Tolerant' Educators Exile Trump Voters From Campus, by Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee):

One of the more amusing bits of fallout from [the presidential] election has been the safe-space response of many colleges and universities to the election of the “wrong” candidate. But on closer examination, this response isn’t really amusing. In fact, it’s downright mean.

Donald Trump’s substantial victory, when most progressives expected a Hillary Clinton landslide, came as a shock to many. That shock seems to have been multiplied in academe, where few people seem to know any Trump supporters — or, at least, any Trump supporters who’ll admit to it.

The response to the shock has been to turn campuses into kindergarten. The University of Michigan Law School announced a “post-election self-care” event with “food” and “play,” including “coloring sheets, play dough (sic), positive card-making, Legos and bubbles with your fellow law students.” (Embarrassed by the attention, UM Law scrubbed the announcement from its website, perhaps concerned that people would wonder whether its graduates would require Legos and bubbles in the event of stressful litigation.) ...

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November 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (9)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

What American Law Professors Forgot And What Trump Knew

Law ProfessorsChicago Tribune op-ed: What American Law Professors Forgot and What Trump Knew, by Stephen B. Presser (Northwestern; author, Law Professors and the Shaping of American Law (West 2016)):

It was lonely being a Donald Trump supporter in the legal academy. Of my thousands of colleagues teaching law in this country, I don't think more than a few dozen believed that he would have made a better president than Hillary Clinton, and not more than a handful of us were willing to go public with our support.

It has always been a risk to be a Republican teaching in a law school, where many teachers see a thin line between support for the GOP and bigotry or insanity. And yet, enough Americans liked what they saw in Trump to give him a smashing Electoral College victory.

How did it come about that law professors grew so out of touch with much of America?

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November 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (10)

Pomona President Denies Wrongdoing As IRS Complaint Filed Against College For Funding Anti-Trump Student Protesters

PomonaFollowing up on Wednesday's post, Pomona College May Have Violated 501(c)(3) Tax Status To Fund Anti-Trump Student Protesters:  The Claremont Independent, President Oxtoby Denies Wrongdoing as IRS Complaint Filed Against Pomona College, by Matthew Reade & Ross Steinberg:

The Claremont Independent has learned that a concerned individual has lodged a complaint with the IRS in response to Pomona College’s promotion and funding of an anti-Trump rally.

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November 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (3)

Law Students Protest SNAILS In The Library: Students Not Actually In Law School

SnailThe Gauntlet, U of C Law Students Raise Concerns Over Other Faculties Using Library:

There’s a problem with SNAILS in the Bennett Jones Law Library in Murray Fraser Hall — but not the kind you’re probably thinking of.

According to Students’ Union law representative Mark Shearer, some University of Calgary law students have recently complained about a high number of “Students Not Actually In Law School” (SNAILS) studying in the Bennett Jones library.

In Canada and the United States, “SNAILS” is a popular term used by law students to describe non-law students. “It’s kind of an unfortunate term but the acronym seems to work quite well,” Shearer said. ...

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November 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

After Denying Provisional Accreditation, ABA Gives Reprieve To Dallas Law School

UNT 2Following up on my previous posts on the ABA's denial of provisional accreditation to Dallas Law School (links below):  the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar announced today that it is sending the school’s application back to the accreditation committee for additional review:

In light of the law school’s appearance and the new evidence offered, the Council adopted a motion that remanded the matter to the Accreditation Committee for further consideration in accordance with the provisions of Rule 25(b)(4), and directed a fact finder, in accordance with Rule 9, to visit the law school to review and verify the new evidence, in particular, the reliable plan submitted by the school. The fact finder shall submit a report to the Accreditation Committee. The Council directed that the fact finder and the Accreditation Committee particularly focus their attention on all matters related to admissions and finances (Standards 501(a), (b), and (c); Standard 202(a) and the reliable plan related to these matters.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Indiana Dean:  The ABA's Troubling Focus On The Bar Exam

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Indiana Lawyer: A Troubling Focus by the ABA on the Bar Exam, by Austen Parrish (Dean, Indiana):

For those in legal education, the bar exam has oddly emerged as a key focus. The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions recently recommended a new accreditation standard. If the ABA’s House of Delegates approves it in February, law schools with a bar pass rate below 75 percent over a two-year period could lose their accreditation. This proposal has teeth, particularly as the pass rate in many states has plummeted. In Indiana, the pass rate fell to 64 percent from 75 percent just one year ago.

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

Will Indiana Tech Law School Donors Get Refunds?

Indiana Tech (2016)ABA Journal, Will Indiana Tech Law School Donors Get Refunds?:

After making five-figure scholarship donations to Indiana Tech School of Law, some attorneys are wondering what will happen with their money.

Eric Welch, a Muncie lawyer with his own firm, told Indiana Lawyer that he was “very disappointed” with the law school’s Oct. 31 announcement that it would close. He pledged $20,000 to the law school in 2013, to endow scholarships, and hopes that his donation will be returned.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

ABA Places Charlotte Law School On Probation, Censures Valparaiso

CVFollowing up on my previous post, Ave Maria's Admissions Policies Violate ABA Standards, Law School Required To Take Immediate Remedial Action:  ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Statement on Accreditation Actions Regarding Charlotte School of Law and Valparaiso University School of Law:

At its October 20-22, 2016, meeting, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar conducted separate hearings on appeals by Charlotte School of Law (Charlotte) and Valparaiso University School of Law (Valparaiso) of decisions from the Accreditation Committee that each school was out of compliance with certain ABA Accreditation Standards. The Council’s decisions were communicated to the schools on Monday, November 14, 2016 and have been made public on November 15.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

These Professors Make More Than A Thousand Bucks An Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers

Pro PublicaProPublica, These Professors Make More Than a Thousand Bucks an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers:

The economists are leveraging their academic prestige with secret reports justifying corporate concentration. Their predictions are often wrong and consumers pay the price.

If the Government ends up approving the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, credit won’t necessarily belong to the executives, bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists pushing for the deal. More likely, it will be due to the professors.

A serial acquirer, AT&T must persuade the government to allow every major deal. Again and again, the company has relied on economists from America’s top universities to make its case before the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission. Moonlighting for a consulting firm named Compass Lexecon, they represented AT&T when it bought Centennial, DirecTV, and Leap Wireless; and when it tried unsuccessfully to absorb T-Mobile. And now AT&T and Time Warner have hired three top Compass Lexecon economists to counter criticism that the giant deal would harm consumers and concentrate too much media power in one company.

Today, “in front of the government, in many cases the most important advocate is the economist and lawyers come second,” said James Denvir, an antitrust lawyer at Boies, Schiller.

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

Former Law School Dean Accused Of Sexual Harassment Drops Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against UC-Berkeley

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pomona College May Have Violated 501(c)(3) Tax Status To Fund Anti-Trump Student Protesters

PomonaThe Claremont Independent: Pomona College May Have Violated 501(c)(3) Tax Status to Fund Anti-Trump Protesters, by Matthew Reade & Ross Steinberg:

By funding the transportation of students to and from anti-Trump rallies in the Los Angeles area with tuition dollars, Pomona College’s Draper Center for Community Partnership may have violated IRS regulations prohibiting tax-exempt educational institutions from engaging in partisan political activity. ...

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November 16, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium

Access GroupAccess Group Legal Education Research Symposium:

[T]he Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium offers law school deans, administrators, faculty and researchers from across the nation the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions on the most critical issues facing legal education today.

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November 16, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

What's Happened To The University? A Sociological Exploration Of Its Infantilisation

University 2Wall Street Journal:  Free Thought Under Siege, by Daniel Shuchman (reviewing Frank Furedi, What's Happened to the University? A Sociological Exploration of its Infantilisation (Routledge 2016)):

Rancorous trends such as microaggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings and intellectual intolerance have taken hold at universities with breathtaking speed. Last year’s controversy over Halloween costumes at Yale led to the departure of two respected faculty members, and this year made the fall festival a flashpoint of conflict at campuses across the country. The recent explosion in the number of university administrators, coupled with an environment of perpetual suspicion—the University of Florida urges students to report on one another to its “Bias Education and Response Team”—drives students who need to resolve normal tensions in human interaction to instead seek intervention by mediators, diversity officers, student life deans or lawyers.

As Frank Furedi compellingly argues in this deeply perceptive and important book, these phenomena are not just harmless fads acted out by a few petulant students and their indulgent professors in an academic cocoon. Rather, they are both a symptom and a cause of malaise and strife in society at large. At stake is whether freedom of thought will long survive and whether individuals will have the temperament to resolve everyday social and workplace conflicts without bureaucratic intervention or litigation.

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November 16, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Muller:  The Coming Reckoning For Non-JD Legal Education, As Enrollments Soar And Bar Passage Rates Hover At 30% For Foreign LLMs

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), The Coming Reckoning for Non-JD Legal Education:

As JD enrollment falls and non-JD enrollment increases at law schools, leading to a dramatic increase in the percentage of legal education focused on a non-JD student body, it's worth considering what non-JD legal education looks like, where it's going, and what the future may hold. It's a story of some unusual and under-discussed factors that portend a coming reckoning....

As I've noted before, one in ten students enrolled in law schools in the United States are not part of a JD program, a number likely to continue to rise:


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November 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Access Group Invites Proposals For $50,000 Grants For Legal Education Research

Access GroupFollowing up on yesterday's post, Access Group Awards $1.28 Million In Grants To Six Law Schools, ABA & ABF:  Request For Proposals, Access Group/AIR 2016 Research and Dissertation Fellows Grant Program:

The Access Group Center for Research & Policy Analysis, in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research(AIR), is excited to announce the 2016 Research and Dissertation Fellows Program. The Fellows program is a grant competition promoting scholarship on issues related to access, affordability and value of legal education specifically, and graduate and professional education more broadly. Two types of grants are available to support year-long research projects-$50,000 Research Grants and $25,000 Doctoral Grants.

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November 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

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 November 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)


Lily Batchelder (NYU)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



James Hines (Michigan)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


William Byrnes (Texas A&M)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Brad Borden (Broklyn)


David Weisbach (Chicago)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Steven Bank (UCLA)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Chris Hoyt (UMKC)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Yariv Brauner (Florida)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Brian Galle (Georgetown)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)



Bridget Craford (Pace)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



David Walker (Boston Univ.)


Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)



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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November 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium: Fifteen Law School Deans/Former Deans On The Future Of Legal And Higher Education

Syracuse Logo (2016)Richard A. Matasar Symposium, The Future of Legal and Higher Education, 66 Syracuse L. Rev. 419-729 (2016):

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November 15, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, November 14, 2016

July 2016 New York Bar Exam Results: Pass Rate Increases 4% After Adoption Of UBE

NYThe July 2016 New York bar passage rates by school are out. Here are the results for first time test takers for the 15 New York ABA-approved law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (New York and overall).

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

NY (Overall)

1 (97.5%)


2 (6)

2 (96.2%)


1 (4)

3 (93.2%)


3 (13)

4 (89.5%)


7 (86)

5 (88.5%)


4 (37)

6 (83.0%)


8 (97)


Statewide Average

7 (82.7%)


12 (129)

8 (79.5%)


5 (74)

9 (76.5%)

St. John's

5 (74)

10 (75.0%)


13 (131)

11 (73.0%)


9 (100)

12 (71.0%)


14 (136)

13 (70.3%)

New York Law School

10 (111)

14 (64.1%)


10 (111)

15 (62.0%)


15 (Tier 2)

New York Law Journal, Bar Exam Pass Rate Rose for Many Schools in First Year of UBE:

Graduates of New York law schools who took the July bar exam—the first time the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) was administered—improved the state's pass rate by 4 percentage points, to 83 percent, bouncing back from its lowest rate in a decade. ...

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

Access Group Awards $1.28 Million In Grants To Six Law Schools, ABA & ABF

Access GroupPress Release, Access Group Center for Research & Policy Analysis® Awards $1.2 M to Promote Diversity and Access:

Access Group’s Center for Research & Policy Analysis® recently announced the award of $1,280,000 in grants to promote access, diversity and research in legal education.

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

Indiana Tech:  Another Law School Lesson Ignored

ALITFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  The American Lawyer: Indiana Tech: Another Law School Lesson Ignored, by Steven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern):

A law school that never should have existed bites the dust; the systemic problems remain.

Back in 2013, when Indiana Tech opened the state's fifth law school, I wrote that the decision was the latest example of pervasive legal market dysfunction. As the number of applicants declined, marginal schools increasingly were admitting students who wouldn't be able to pass the bar, much less get decent jobs requiring a JD. Schools such as Indiana Tech were continuing to inflate the growing lawyer bubble, which was also the title of my 2013 book. (Proving that some things never change, it came out in paperback earlier this year.)

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November 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Donald Trump’s Plans For Law Student Debt

Trump (President Elect)Above the Law, What Are Donald Trump’s Plans For Law School Debt

President-elect Trump — a man who ran his own for-profit “college” — has claimed to support income-based loan repayment plans. During a speech given in October, he even went so far as to propose an income-based repayment plan that is more generous than those that are currently offered. From TIME Money:

Under his proposal, graduates would pay 12.5% of their income for 15 years, after which the remaining balance would be forgiven. “You graduate from college and you’re starting out with like an anchor around your neck,” he said in the speech. “No good. It’s no good.”

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November 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Dan Markel Murder Case: Who Is (Or Was) Paying The Killers' Attorneys' Fees?

Magnauba GarciaWXTL, Attorneys Request Waived Lawyer Fees for Suspect in FSU Law Professor Death:

A request has been put in from one of the men charged in the death of Florida State law professor Dan Markel to waive his lawyer fees because he can no longer afford them.

Sigfredo Garcia's attorneys filed the motion on Tuesday to request that his lawyer fees be waived due to his ex-wife Katherine Magbanua's arrest and charges as a co-defendant in the case involving Markel's death.

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November 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Editorial:  'Cowering Oregon Law Faculty Need To Learn What Decency, Tolerance And Diversity Really Look Like'

Oregon 2

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  

The Oregonian editorial, Straitjacketed at the University of Oregon:

Despite Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency, political correctness has risen nationally in recent years and placed a choke hold on communities that depend most on free speech and the freedom to fruitfully resolve differences. It's a damaging irony that's come home to Oregon.

In Eugene, at the University of Oregon, a law professor held a Halloween party at her off-campus house this year and wished to provoke a discussion about racism in society and some of its premier institutions. One of those institutions is Brown University, on the other side of the country, where the law professor's daughter attends medical school and had noted a lack of diversity. So University of Oregon School of Law Professor Nancy Shurtz, a tax specialist who'd previously chaired the law school's diversity committee, decided to "play" the protagonist in Dr. Damon Tweedy's memoir, Black Man in a White Coat, by greeting visitors in a white coat, stethoscope and blackface. Happy Halloween.

It didn't play out. Bad idea? Check. Miscalculation? Check. Offensive? In every way. Stupid, even? Yes. Black face is a relic of 19th Century theater and correctly viewed as a modern form of racist stereotyping. It's ugly. It's no joke. And it's no way to open a conversation, not even on Halloween: Putting on blackface is to grab the third rail against tolerance.

But was Shurtz' action malevolent? No. Racist? Unwittingly. Harmful? Yes, but not because it was so wrong-headed or because there was evidence offered by aggrieved individuals. Instead, the incident has become harmful to the brand of the law school, 23 of whose faculty members were so cowed by the event that they asked Shurtz to immediately resign. In shame. As an idiot. Significantly, as in: not one of them.

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November 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (13)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

preLaw Magazine Grades Law Schools On Breadth Of Tax Curriculum:  2 A's, 9 A-'s, 8 B+'s

Prelaw 3Top Schools for Taxation, preLaw 49 (Fall 2016):

There has never been a more exciting time to be a tax lawyer.

That's straight from the mouth of Paul Caron, professor of law at Pepperdine university School of Law and the publisher of TaxProf Blog.

Employment prospects are currently and will likely remain high, compared to other areas of law, making the specialty a fairly safe one to enter. Tax law is not subject to booms and busts like real estate, said Caron.

"There are always tax needs, and tax professionals need to meet those needs," Caron said. "It's never really a booming practice, but the upside is, it's never really a down practice area."

One hundred and nine schools offer either concentrations or certificates in taxation, but just two schools earned A grades [90% or higher] from preLaw magazine for the breadth of their curricular offerings [30% for a concentration, 24% for a clinic, 12% for a center, 12% for an externship, 9% for a journal, 8% for a student group and 5% for a certificate]:  Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. ... Nine schools earned A- [75%-89%], and eight more earned B+.

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November 12, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools React To Donald Trump's Election

College Fix, UMich Law School Scrubs Post-Trump Play-Doh and Coloring Event From Website:

Like many other universities this week, the University of Michigan Law School scheduled an event designed to help students recover from the trauma of Republican Donald Trump’s election victory.


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November 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Thursday, November 10, 2016

52 Tax Profs Urge Senate To Vote On Tax Court Nominees

SCLetter From 52 Tax Professors to Sen. Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid (Nov. 10, 2016):

We the 52 undersigned tax law professors, academics, and clinicians strongly encourage you to set the U.S. Tax Court nominees, nominee numbers 510 and 511 (Vik Edwin Stoll and Elizabeth Ann Copeland), for an immediate floor vote. Both nominees were unanimously, favorably reported out of the Senate Finance Committee on April 18, 2016 and await a confirmation vote. The Senate received each nomination over a year ago. Vik Edwin Stoll’s nomination was received by the Senate on November 9, 2015, more than one year ago. Elizabeth Ann Copeland’s nomination was received by the Senate on May 4, 2015, over eighteen months ago.

These two nominees have been fully vetted and favorably reported out of the Senate Finance Committee. Moreover, appointment to the U.S. Tax Court has traditionally been a nonpartisan appointment, based on merit. The Senate should therefore look past any partisan concerns and bring these nominees to the floor for a vote.

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November 10, 2016 in Congressional News, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Scalia Bump? George Mason Increases 1L Class Size, Median LSAT And GPA

Scalia Law SchoolThe Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University (ranked #45 in U.S. News) welcomed 179 1Ls this Fall, up 14% from 2015 (157) while also increasing its median LSAT (162, +1) and GPA (3.66, +0.6).  The 2016 class is 41% smaller than 2010 (303), with decreases in its median LSAT (-2, from 164) and GPA (-.12, from 3.82).

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

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

Judge Denies Richard Sander Access To California Bar Admissions Data To Study Racial Implications Of Bar Passage Rates

California State Bar (2014)Following up on my previous post, UCLA Law Prof's Long Legal Fight Over Access To California Bar Admissions Data Headed To Trial: Wall Street Journal, California Judge Denies Release of Lawyer-Race Data:

A years-long fight over the release of lawyer admissions data in California could finally be over, after a state court judge ruled Monday that publicizing the information on race and exam scores runs too high a risk of violating privacy rights [Sander v. State Bar of California, No. 08-508880 (Nov. 7, 2016))].

UCLA School of Law Professor Richard H. Sander asked the state bar back in 2006 to disclose the bar exam score, grade point average, LSAT score, race, gender and law school alma mater of everyone who applied for bar admission since 1972. He asked for the data to be given to him without names attached, related to his research into “the large and persistent gap in bar passage rates among racial and ethnic groups.”

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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Post-Merger Rutgers Law School In 'Crisis' As 1L Enrollment Falls 31% From 2015 (62% From 2011) At Camden

Rutgers Logo (2016)Philadelphia Inquirer, Rutgers Puzzles Law Enrollment in Camden: Why Did Twice as Many Students Choose Newark?:

First-year law-student enrollment at Rutgers-Camden fell 31 percent this year, to its lowest in at least a decade, while its Rutgers-Newark counterpart saw a slight increase. ... The unexpected enrollment imbalance comes in the first year of a merged law school [ranked #92 in U.S. News] which had planned on equal numbers on each campus.

“It’s one of the issues we’re going to be looking at very carefully in the second year,” said Ronald K. Chen, the Newark-based co-dean of Rutgers Law School.

The consequence of students’ preferences, in the aggregate, is a clear imbalance: Newark has 214 first-year law students, exactly double Camden’s 107.

The 2-1 enrollment ratio matches a 2012 crisis at Rutgers-Camden. Law students were reluctant to enroll because of a proposed merger of Rutgers-Camden and Rowan University that sparked fierce resistance from Rutgers-Camden students, faculty, staff, and alumni. That year, the Camden law school enrolled 116 first-year students to Newark’s 225.


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November 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

University Of Victoria Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

UVicThe University of Victoria Faculty of Law invites applications for two positions:

Appointment(s) will be at the rank of tenure-track Assistant Professor or Associate Professor, and the expected start date would normally be July 1, 2017.

Taxation law and policy is the subject area priority for one position. For the second position, we are interested in hearing from all exceptional candidates regardless of subject matter expertise. Although there are no subject limits for the second position, applications from candidates with the capacities to teach and research in the areas of Immigration and Refugee Law, Family Law, Civil Procedure and Dispute Resolution are especially welcome. ...


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November 8, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ:  Law Professors Grapple With Trump—Some Use The S-Word And Even The C-Word

Trump (2016-3)Wall Street Journal, Law Professors Grapple With Trump:

When it comes to Donald Trump, University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson doesn’t shy away from using the s-word or even the c-word. Secession. Coup.

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November 8, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (3)

Professor Althouse, Dean Amar & President Schill On Oregon Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz's Wearing Blackface To Halloween Party

Oregon 2

Following up on my previous posts (links below):

Ann Althouse (Wisconsin), About That Oregon Law Professor Who Wore Blackface as Part Of a Halloween Costume and Provoked Demands That She Resign:

I find it hard to believe that people are willing to be so vengeful over a single instance of bad judgment. Whatever happened to mercy and forgiveness? And what about our shared interest in living in a culture where people aren't fearful that their lives could be ruined if they said one thing wrong — even when they were trying to say something quite bland (like why can't we all get along)?

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November 8, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

After Losing Federal Trademark Case, 'Houston College of Law' Changes Name To 'South Texas College Of Law Houston', Abandons Color Red

South TexasFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): Press Release, University of Houston System Wins Trademark Dispute as Local Law School Adopts New Name:

The University of Houston has prevailed in its federal trademark lawsuit against South Texas College of Law, which briefly changed its name to Houston College of Law earlier this year. The college announced today it has changed its name once again to satisfy a court order. The 93-year-old private law school is now South Texas College of Law Houston and will feature the color navy in future marketing efforts to distinguish the new name.

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November 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Call for Papers:  Michigan Young Scholars’ Conference

MichiganMichigan Law School has issued a call for papers for its Third Annual Young Scholars' Conference:

The University of Michigan Law School is delighted to invite submissions for its Third Annual Michigan Law Young Scholars' Conference, to be held March 31–April 1, 2017. The conference brings together promising junior scholars to present their work and receive feedback from prominent Michigan Law School faculty. It aims to promote fruitful research collaboration between its participants and to encourage their integration in a community of legal scholars. The Young Scholars' Conference is intended for junior faculty, doctoral students, lecturers, fellows, and individuals in other academic capacities (with an academic appointment of no more than four years) in law and law related disciplines. It also is open to exceptionally promising aspiring legal scholars who are currently engaged in legal practice, and who wish to present a substantial piece of scholarly work in preparation for the entry level teaching market. Abstracts are welcome on any legal or interdisciplinary subject. The selection process will be based on the quality of the abstract, as well as its capacity to engage with other proposals towards a collaborative academic and intellectual dialogue.

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November 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Arizona State Welcomes 230 1Ls, Up 7% From 2015 (80% From 2013) While Maintaining LSATs, GPAs

Arizona State Logo (2016)Arizona State Law School (ranked #25 in U.S. News) welcomed 230 1Ls this Fall, up 7% from 2015 (215) and up 80% from 2013 (128). Despite the large increase in its 1L class size, Arizona State has been able to largely maintain its LSAT medians (161, same as in 2015 and 2010, down only 2 from its 163 peak in 2012) and GPA medians (3.64, up from 2015 (3.63) and 2010 (3.57), down only .01 from its 3.65 peak in 2012). Arizona State admitted a huge number (66) of transfer students this Fall, in line with the past three years when it ranked either first (2015 (65, 47 from Arizona Summit) and 2014 (66, 44 from Arizona Summit)) or second (2013 (73)) in the country as a percentage of its previous first year class (2015: 45.5%; 2014: 51.6%; 2013: 48%)). One wonders about the impact of such large numbers of transfer students on bar passage rates: although Arizona State graduates have led the state the past two years, its pass rate has declined from 92.0% in 2013 to 76.8% in 2016.

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

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November 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)