TaxProf Blog

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

Monday, March 5, 2018

Law Professors As Plaintiffs

Robert M. Jarvis (Nova), Law Professors as Plaintiffs, 81 Alb. L. Rev. 145 (2018):

To date, it appears no one has systematically examined lawsuits brought by law professors.[Fn.10] Yet doing so provides a different way to look at the academy and obtain a sense of what it means to work and have a career as a law professor. What is particularly striking is how often the same three issues are at the root of these lawsuits: dissatisfaction with, and professional jealousy of, faculty colleagues; disagreements with, and distrust of, administrators; and a feeling that others are receiving better, and undeserved, treatment.
[Fn.10: Individual reporting of such lawsuits, on the other hand, occurs regularly on such web sites as Above the Law, Jonathan Turley, TaxProf Blog, The Faculty Lounge, and The Volokh Conspiracy.]

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March 5, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 4, 2018

45th Annual Pepperdine Law School Dinner: Our Place In The World


I was honored to speak last night at the 45th Annual Pepperdine School of Law Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.  The theme of the dinner was Our Place in the World, which is particularly appropriate this year in light of the $8 million gift we received in September to support our global justice program (the largest single endowment gift in the law school's history).

In my remarks, I of course wove Hamilton clips into the tapestry of Pepperdine Law School's story:

  • Non-stop, to highlight Alexander Hamilton's scholarly work writing 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers to showcase our upcoming symposium on Federalism: Past Present, and Future as an example of the extraordinary scholarly work produced by our faculty.
  • My Shot, to show that Pepperdine is a "young, scrappy, and hungry" law school that has made enormous strides since our founding in 1970.
  • The Room Where It Happens, to describe the core of the Pepperdine student experience as what happens in the classroom, especially in the 1L year, as attested by our #6 ranking in best law professor-teachers by the Princeton Review from a nationwide survey of 20,000 law students (behind Virginia, Duke, Boston University, Stanford, and Chicago, and above Washington & Lee, Notre Dame, and Boston College).
  • I could not find an appropriate lyric in Hamilton, so I used photos and maps to illustrate how our 2Ls and 3Ls take what they are learning in the classroom and apply that knowledge in the real world helping real clients, as attested by our #5 ranking in practical training by the National Jurist (behind Northeastern, St. Thomas, Yale, and Arizona, and above UC-Irvine) and our #1 ranking (for 12 of the past 13 years) in alternative dispute resolution by U.S. News & World Report (above Ohio State, Harvard, and Missouri).
  • Right Hand Man, to share some very personal feelings about becoming dean ("Can I be real a second? Let my guard down and tell the people how I feel a second?").

I concluded by using Alexander Hamilton's words in The World Was Wide Enough and George Washington's words in Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story to reflect on U.S. District Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell ('90), who died on October 8 at the age of 52:

What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control:
Who lives
Who dies
Who tells your story?

Here were my closing reflections on those verses:

Part of Judge O’Connell’s legacy, and the legacies of students, alumni, staff, faculty, and friends here tonight, are intertwined with the story of Pepperdine Law School.

The country and the world have never needed Pepperdine-trained lawyers, counselors, and peacemakers more.

We need your help to bring the very best students to our law school, provide them with a transformative legal education, and send them out into a hurting country and world to do their part to bring about peace, justice, and reconciliation.

So what is our place in the world?

My answer is everywhere.

The world will be a better place when we have more Pepperdine-trained lawyers in every corner of the globe.


There was great karma last night, as Lin-Manuel Miranda was staying at the same hotel before his appearance at tonight's Oscars.  A member of the law school staff saw Lin in the lobby and invited him to stop by the dinner and meet Pepperdine's Hamilton-obsessed dean.  I took up the cause on social media:

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

Urged By Law School Deans, Federal Judges Revamp Clerk Hiring

National Law Journal, Urged by Law School Deans, Federal Judges Revamp Clerk Hiring:

Supported by a plea from more than 100 law school deans, an ad hoc group of federal appeals judges has reinstated a plan for recruiting future law clerks after their second year in law school, rather than basing the hires on first-year performance.

The new hiring plan, promulgated on Feb. 28, mirrors a policy that dated back to 2003 but collapsed in 2013 when fiercely competitive individual judges ignored the rules and pursued top first-year students for clerkships, some of whom went on to Supreme Court clerk positions. Former Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski famously flouted the earlier rules, once joking that he started recruiting clerks “at birth.”

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

Saturday, March 3, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Give Students Who Complete Their 1L Year And Then Leave A Master’s Degree In Legal Principles

Joni Hersch (Vanderbilt), Increasing Diversity by a New Master’s Degree in Legal Principles, 67 J. Legal Educ. 86 (2017):

Students who leave their J.D. program before graduation leave emptyhanded, without an additional degree or other credential indicating that their law school studies had any professional, educational, or marketable value. The absence of such a credential combines with the substantial risks and costs associated with law school education to discourage risk-averse students from applying. The adverse impacts of these risks may be especially great for lower-income students who have fewer financial resources to draw on and less information about their fit with legal education and the legal profession. I propose that law schools award a master’s degree to students who successfully complete the 1L curriculum but leave before completing the full J.D. curriculum. My suggested name for this degree is master of legal principles (M.L.P.).

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March 3, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

University Of Minnesota Study: Enhanced Individualized Feedback In One Core 1L Class Improves Student Performance In Other Classes

Minnesota LogoDaniel Schwarcz (Minnesota) & Dion Farganis (J.D. 2017, Minnesota), The Impact of Individualized Feedback on Law Student Performance, 67 J. Legal Educ. 139 (2017):

For well over a century, first-year law students have typically not received any individualized feedback in their core "doctrinal" classes other than their final exam grades. Although this pedagogical model has long been assailed by critics, remarkably limited empirical evidence exists regarding the extent to which enhanced feedback improves law students' outcomes. This Article helps fill this gap by focusing on a natural experiment at the University of Minnesota Law School.

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March 2, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Hamilton At Pepperdine

Hamilton Lecture Photo

It was my pleasure to speak with Pepperdine alum ('90) Charles Eskridge (Quinn Emanuel, Houston) to students, staff, and faculty about each of the 46 songs in Hamilton.  We divided the workload as follows:  Charles covered 45 songs, I covered one song — can you guess which one?

For more on my obsession with interest in Hamilton, see here and:

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March 2, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

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March 1, 2018 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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March 1, 2018 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Anxiety Psychoeducation For Law Students: A Pilot Program At Stanford & Yale

Stanford YaleIan Ayres (Yale), Joseph Bankman (Stanford), Barbara Fried (Stanford) & Kristine Luce (Stanford), Anxiety Psychoeducation for Law Students: A Pilot Program, 67 J. Legal Educ. 118 (2017):

Many law students experience anxiety, which can impair academic performance and reduce quality of life. The authors developed a brief psychoeducation program designed to help law students cope with anxiety. The program was based on the cognitive behavioral model of anxiety and was offered to first-year students at Stanford and Yale Law School. Class attendance was voluntary and consisted of two one- to two-hour meetings. Student response was measured by anonymous online surveys. Virtually all the students thought the material was worthwhile and should be taught as a part of the curriculum. Students reported using many of the techniques described to reduce anxiety, and many students reported a decline in anxiety. Student comments were almost uniformly positive.

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March 1, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Tyranny Of Metrics

MetricsFollowing up on my previous post, The Tyranny Of Metrics: 'Not Everything That Is Important Is Measurable, And Much That Is Measurable Is Unimportant':  Inside Higher Ed, 'The Tyranny of Metrics':

These days colleges boast about their admissions rankings, their graduation rates, their faculties’ achievements and much more. Many say that the statistics are a tool to promote accountability and improvement.

Jerry Z. Muller disagrees. His new book, The Tyranny of Metrics (Princeton University Press 2018), critiques not only higher education but many parts of society that rely on metrics.

"Gaming the metrics occurs in every realm: in policing, in primary, secondary and higher education; in medicine, in nonprofit organizations; and, of course, in business," Muller writes. "And gaming is only one class of problems that inevitably arise when using performance metrics as the basis of reward and sanction. There are things that can be measured. There are things that are worth measuring. But what can be measured is not always what is worth measuring; what gets measured may have no relationship to what we really want to know."

Q: Some colleges, government agencies and businesses promote tools to evaluate faculty productivity -- number of papers written, number of citations, etc. What do you make of this use of metrics?

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February 28, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Median Private Law School Tuition Discount: 28% (Average Scholarship: $20,129)

Which Schools Are Discounting Tuition the Most?, Nat'l Jurist, Vol. 27, p. 13, Winter 2018:

The National Jurist analyzed ABA grant and scholarship data, using the number of scholarships per school, the percentage of students receiving scholarships and the scholarship amount at the 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles to estimate an average grant amount. With an average, it then determined the average tuition discount per school.

The median private law school discounted tuition by 28.3 percent, with an average scholarship of $20,129. That was up from 25.4 percent from two years earlier and significantly higher than 2010, when it was an estimated 16 percent.

Here are the 20 private law schools with the highest tuition discounts:

NJ Top 20

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February 28, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Buchanan: Law Schools Need Faculty To Both Teach And Write In All Major Fields

Neil Buchanan (George Washington), Do Law Faculties Need to Cover the Range of Fields in Scholarship or Only in Teaching?:

[T]he decline in potential students’ interest in attending law school inevitably led to a marked decline in law faculty hiring. ... I am interested in the question of whether law schools should commit themselves to maintaining a faculty whose scholarship covers the full range of intellectual areas that are typically part of the law school curriculum.

This question can be applied to any area of law: Does it matter whether a law school has no one on its faculty who writes about criminal law? Or human rights law? Or legal history? Answering that question is surprisingly challenging.

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February 28, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2019 U.S. News Law School Rankings

US NewsRobert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News & World Report) announced today that the new 2019 law school rankings will be released on Tuesday, March 20. Here is my coverage of the current 2018 law school rankings:

February 27, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Net Tuition Trends By LSAT Category, 2010-2014: Net Tuition Rose In Highest (165+) And Lowest (<145) Bands, Fell In Middle (145-164) Bands

Jerry Organ (St. Thomas), Net Tuition Trends by LSAT Category from 2010 to 2014 with Thoughts on Variable Return on Investment , 67 J. Legal Educ. 51 (2017):

The “macro” discussion of legal education highlights that law school is expensive. This general point fails to highlight the extent to which differences exist at a “micro” level due both to geography and LSAT profile. First, some regions of the country are more expensive than others. Second, where one is on the LSAT distribution profile influences the average net tuition because of scholarship patterns associated with institutional efforts to preserve or improve ranking. As a result, law school is not equally expensive across the entire LSAT distribution.

This article begins in Section I by briefly summarizing the geographic differences in tuition, which are not insignificant. Then, in Section II, this article briefly describes a dynamic net tuition model I developed for calculating net tuition trends by LSAT category and describes the results of that dynamic net tuition model. The results demonstrate that the variability of average net tuition by LSAT category increased significantly between 2010 and 2014 after accounting for inflation, with two LSAT categories seeing increases of 9.1% and 11.9% and four seeing decreases ranging from 2.8% to 13%. Section III looks at various outcome measures—specifically, bar passage rates, “bad news” employment outcomes, and imputed average first-year income—and demonstrates that, on average, the short-term return on investment varies significantly depending upon where someone is in the LSAT distribution. Section IV concludes with some thoughts on what this might mean for prospective law students and for law schools.

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February 27, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Amidst Declining 1L Enrollments, Competition For Transfer Students Heats Up

Crain's Cleveland Business, Law Schools Get Creative With Their Pitches:

The competition for top undergrads among U.S. law schools is so intense that administrators at Case Western Reserve University School of Law are trying to recruit first-year law students at other universities.

It's a new tactic for Case this year — and a clear sign of the times.

U.S. law schools, which have faced dwindling student ranks in the years following the last recession, are beginning to see enrollment trends flip back in their favor.

Despite optimism in the outlook for the legal field, the fight to draw not only a sizable group of students, but the best of the bunch, is far from over — as a message from Case law school's associate dean of admissions to potential transfers shows.

That email was received mid-month by several students at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Besides touting the school's merits, Case tells recipients "special privileges" are reserved for them should they reapply, including a waiving of the $40 application fee, an "expedited" review and consideration for one of their "generous" scholarships.

Case's law school co-deans, Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf, said the emails were sent to students with high LSAT scores and GPAs who applied to the school in the past, but didn't matriculate. They said there isn't one university or geographic region being targeted.

Cleveland-Marshall dean Lee Fisher said that while messages like that are rare, they're not to be totally unexpected. "Of course, I hope that none of you transfer to Case or to any other law school, but if you are considering transferring for any reason, I have a request," wrote Fisher in a direct email response to students. "Please give me the opportunity to speak with you before you make any decision."

Like increasingly aggressive or imaginative recruiting efforts, more direct contact with law school deans seems to be a trend among schools looking to attract and retain students in today's climate. And it's just one in a litany of ways schools are reworking themselves to not only prep law-minded academics for changing careers, but keep their ranks — and the schools themselves — viable.

Total enrollment in U.S. law schools remains at one of its lowest points in more than 40 years. According to stats from the American Bar Association, total nationwide J.D. enrollment as of fall 2017 stood at 110,156 students. That's 25% less than the collective number of students in fall 2010, when enrollment last peaked. In Northeast Ohio, law schools are seeing comparable impacts, according to ABA data.


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February 26, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Artificial Intelligence Software Is More Accurate, Faster Than Expert Lawyers In Reviewing Contracts

AILMashable, An AI Just Beat Top Lawyers at Their Own Game:

The nation's top lawyers recently battled artificial intelligence in a competition to interpret contracts — and they lost.

A new study, conducted by legal AI platform LawGeex in consultation with law professors from Stanford University, Duke University School of Law, and University of Southern California, pitted twenty experienced lawyers against an AI trained to evaluate legal contracts. Competitors were given four hours to review five non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and identify 30 legal issues, including arbitration, confidentiality of relationship, and indemnification. They were scored by how accurately they identified each issue.

Unfortunately for humanity, we lost the competition — badly.

The human lawyers achieved, on average, an 85 percent accuracy rate, while the AI achieved 95 percent accuracy. The AI also completed the task in 26 minutes, while the human lawyers took 92 minutes on average. The AI also achieved 100 percent accuracy in one contract, on which the highest-scoring human lawyer scored only 97 percent. In short, the human lawyers were trounced.

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February 26, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Updated LSAC Data On The Quantity And Quality Of Law School Applicants

Continuing my partnership with LSAC President (and former University of Washington Dean) Kellye Testy (see links below), here are updated data from LSAC on the quantity and quality of law school applicants:


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February 26, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Two More Law Schools Admit 1Ls Based On GRE Rather Than LSAT

 GREFlorida State and Pace are the latest law schools to accept the GRE in lieu of the LSAT, joining: Arizona, Brooklyn, BYU, Cardozo, Columbia, George Washington, Georgetown, Harvard, Hawaii, John Marshall, Northwestern, St. John's, Texas A&M, Wake Forest, and Washington University. In addition, two law schools allow the GRE in limited circumstances: Chicago (admissions committee may grant LSAT waiver) and UCLA (students enrolled in, or applying to, another UCLA graduate program).

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February 25, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times Op-Ed: The Misguided Drive To Measure 'Learning Outcomes'

Here at Texas Tech University School of Law we are gearing up for our ABA site inspection.  In the past few years the ABA has required law schools to create "Learning Outcomes."  Here's the language from Section 3.02:

A law school shall establish learning outcomes that shall, at a minimum, include competency in the following:
(a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law;
(b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context;
(c) Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system; and
(d) Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.

This is the first year that the site teams will be evaluating a law school's compliance with the new standard.  We knew it was coming and I have been on a committee for the past three years that has been trying to translate this standard into operation. While I believe we have done a good job with it, I also believe the standard to be of questionable value. 

I read with pleasure this New York Times op-ed by Molly Worthen, The Misguided Drive to Measure 'Learning Outcomes'.  I especially like its concluding line:  "[T]here's just no app for that." 

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February 25, 2018 in Bryan Camp, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (7)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

College Consultant Charged $1.5 Million To Get Student Admitted To Ivy League College

Ivy CoachInside Higher Ed, $1.5 Million to Get Into an Ivy:

In 2005, Inside Higher Ed reported that a leading private college consultant was charging $9,999 each to 10 attendees for a weekend "boot camp" on college admissions. The idea that parents would pay that kind of money for a few days of advice stunned and appalled many.

These days, $9,999 may be pocket change in the world of elite college consulting. A lawsuit filed last week by Ivy Coach revealed that it charged a woman in Vietnam $1.5 million to help her daughter apply to 22 elite colleges, as well as seven top boarding schools she sought to attend in high school, before applying to college. The fee was worth it, the lawsuit says. In December, an (unnamed) Ivy League institution granted the daughter early admission.

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February 24, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Gelbach: On Amy Wax’s Credibility And Conduct

Penn (2017)Folowing up on Wednesday's post, Penn Dean Denies Amy Wax's Claim That He Asked Her To Take Leave Due To Controversial Op-Ed:  The Daily Pennsylvanian op-ed:  On Amy Wax’s Credibility and Conduct, by Jonah B. Gelbach (Penn):

In the Evidence class I’m teaching, we’ve just finished discussing “impeachment” — how to challenge a witness’s credibility. Sometimes a trial lawyer may ask a witness about past conduct, because reasonable jurors may doubt a witness’s truthfulness today if they determine the witness has behaved deceitfully in the past.

That came to mind Tuesday when The Daily Pennsylvanian asked me to write a guest column about Professor Amy Wax’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. ...

Professor Wax’s WSJ op-ed characterizes conversations with several colleagues — and the Dean, who she claims caved to “pressure” to “banish” her by asking her “to take a leave of absence.” A news article in the DP quotes the law school’s spokesperson stating the Dean discussed Professor Wax’s regular sabbatical leave, which is one form of leave of absence under Penn’s policies.

I wasn’t involved in whatever communications occurred between Professor Wax and either Dean Theodore Ruger or our other colleagues. But her record of selective editing and behavior that contradicts her claimed principles have led me to distrust whatever Professor Wax won’t document in full. ...

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February 24, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Survey Confirms 'Trump Bump' In Law School Applications


Following up on Wednesday's post, LSAT Test-Takers Surge 29.7% In December; 19.2% Yearly Rise Would Be Highest In 16 Years:  Kaplan Test Prep Survey, Over 30 Percent of Pre-Law Students Say the Results of the 2016 Election Impacted Their Decision to Apply to Law School:

The results of a new Kaplan Test Prep nationwide survey of over 500 pre-law students reveal a potential reason why the number of law school applications and LSATs® administered are up by double digits compared to last year: politics*. Nearly one third of pre-law students surveyed (32 percent) say the results of the 2016 election impacted their decision to become lawyers. ...

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February 23, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Charleston Law Students Win 7th Consecutive National Tax Moot Court Competition

2018 National Tax Moot CourtPost and Courier, Charleston School of Law Moot Court Team Defends its Dynasty With 7th National Title:

To the uninitiated, tax moot court might sound like a bit of a snoozefest.

Unlike the academic marathon of a spelling bee or the sassy courtroom repartee of "Judge Judy," deliberations over the finer points of U.S. tax code do not make for a lively spectacle.

But to the Charleston School of Law, the 2018 National Tax Moot Court Competition in St. Pete Beach, Florida, was a chance to defend a dynasty. The school's Moot Court Board had won the championship six years in a row leading up to the event on Feb. 1-3, and its team was ready to notch a seventh national title. ...

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February 23, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

NALP: Perspectives On 2017 Law Student Recruiting

Nalp 2NALP, Perspectives on 2017 Law Student Recruiting:

Following the near collapse of entry-level recruiting by large law firms in 2009, most law firms have rebuilt their summer programs and in many ways, Big Law recruiting volume and practices resemble those measured before the recession. On the other hand, for the second year in a row aggregate summer offer volume decreased compared with the year before, and a significant percentage of law firms said they made fewer offers for 2018 summer programs than for 2017 summer programs. Also, the average summer program class size at the largest law firms dipped in 2017. The data collected from NALP’s surveys of law schools and law firms at the end of the 2017 recruiting cycle present something of a nuanced picture, suggesting not so much a contraction as a leveling of recruiting volumes following years of growth.

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February 23, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Disaster Relief Clinic Helps California Fire Victims

PDRPepperdine Legal Clinics Aid California Fire Victims:

The Pepperdine School of Law instituted the Disaster Relief Clinic this semester in response to the need of the hundreds of individuals affected by the local Thomas fires, as well as the Texas hurricanes. Through this program, law students are able to provide pro-bono legal services to those who would not otherwise be able to afford it.

The School of Law’s Clinical Education Program includes 10 separate clinics this semester. ... “When teaching students, we also manifest our mission to the world and try to contribute to our communities and our neighbors and serve people who need it,” Director of Clinical Education and Associate Clinical Professor of Law Jeffrey Baker said. ... “Generally, the legal clinics are our teaching law firm inside the law school. So we actually practice real law for real clients…and students work under faculty supervision to get experience practicing law,” Baker said.

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February 23, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Law Schools Examine Predictive Value Of GRE, LSAT

GRELSATABA Journal, Law Schools Examine Predictive Value of GRE, LSAT:

In 2016, the University of Arizona announced that its law school would accept Graduate Record Examinations scores as well as the traditional Law School Admission Test from applicants. Since then, debate has swirled around how valid and reliable both standardized tests are in predicting how applicants would perform in law school.

The Educational Testing Service, which designs and administers the GRE, claims that exam’s ability to predict law school success is comparable to that of the LSAT. The Law School Admission Council, which designs and administers the LSAT, counters that its exam is specifically designed to test skills needed to excel in law school, and that the validity of the exam has years of research.

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February 22, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Syracuse Law School's New Hybrid J.D.: 75% Online, 25% Residential/Externships

Syracuse (2017)Following up on last week's post, ABA Approves Online JDs At Syracuse, Southwestern:  Inside Higher Ed, Syracuse Law Gains Approval for (Mostly) Online J.D.:

Syracuse University College of Law has won approval from the American Bar Association's accreditation division to offer a J.D. program in which roughly two-thirds of the course work will be completed online — although about half of the credits completed at a distance will be conducted live, in real time, school officials note. The ABA has been cautious in permitting law schools to educate students via the internet, and before Syracuse, the bar association had approved two institutions to offer more than 15 of their credits online, its current limit (though an increase is under review).

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February 22, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2017 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Winners

Tannenwald (2016)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship has announced the winners of the 2017 tax writing competition:

First Prize ($5,000):
David Berke (Yale), Reworking the Revolution: Treasury Rulemaking & Administrative Law
Faculty Sponsor:  Anne L. Alstott

Second Prize ($2,500):
Daniel W. Blum (NYU), Treaty Shopping and its Prevention in a Post-BEPS World Limitation-on-Benefits, Beneficial Ownership and the Principal Purpose Test: Evolution, Underlying Rationales and Interrelation
Faculty Sponsor:  H. David Rosenbloom

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February 22, 2018 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gallup: Only 23% Of Law School Grads Say Their Education Was Worth the Cost

Gallup, Few MBA, Law Grads Say Their Degree Prepared Them Well:

Masters of business administration (MBAs) and law degree graduates are less likely than other postgraduates to say their graduate degree prepared them well for life outside of graduate school and that it was worth the cost. Only two in 10 MBAs and law degree holders say their education prepared them well, while half of medical degree holders say the same.


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February 22, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Key To Law Student Well-Being? We Have To Love Our Law Students

David B. Jaffe (American), The Key to Law Student Well-Being? We Have to Love Our Law Students:

Anyone paying attention has moved well beyond guesswork regarding the health of our law students. A recent survey focusing on law student well-being reflects, inter alia, that students are drinking excessively, are taking drugs not prescribed to them, and are expressing high rates of depression and/or anxiety. Another landmark study refutes earlier notions that these issues befall attorneys as they age, suggesting instead that younger attorneys are suffering in greater numbers, which in turn reflects a closer proximity to a lawyer’s time in law school and underscores the importance of addressing these issues at an earlier time. Law school deans of students report increasing meetings and counseling of students (a good sign), which may reflect a coming of age of students who were diagnosed with a mental health issue or substance use disorder, as well as a greater self-awareness and desire for self-care than previously witnessed. However, these students are not seeking professional help for their issues in the numbers that would be anticipated. Unfortunately, after acknowledging that something more should be done to help these students, those who are able to make a difference often return to their own tasks and responsibilities, assuming someone else will address the myriad problems.

This article is an effort to close the gap in the care provided to law students. A National Task Force, convened to focus on well-being in the legal profession, developed a series of recommendations for critical stakeholders. Underscoring the recommendations, the Report is a “call to action” at a critical juncture for those in the legal profession. This article focuses on the greater attention needed in law schools, offering concrete suggestions to take each of us beyond merely agreeing that more needs to be done to making a commitment to action. The article is thus divided into sections in an effort to address the many stakeholders who can play a role in taking better care of our students.

After counseling thousands of law students, many of whom came forward only when in crisis and thus with reduced opportunities to help at the law school’s disposal, I suggest that the time for strengthened approaches is upon us. Together we can make a significant difference in the lives of our law students; we have to start by loving them.

The Dean’s role is critical to the success of almost every suggestion provided here. The Dean must establish the policy if it does not exist, or modify the policy if it is not addressing the needs of the school. Perhaps above all, however, the Dean must decide if well-being is to be among the mandates of governance. The Dean is the face of the law school and as such should be modeling what well-being looks like at the institution. The traditional prongs for assessment of law faculty — teaching, scholarship, and service — do not cater to the substantial needs raised in this article, perhaps because the needs are less traditional, and perhaps because they are less quantifiable. Whether choosing to expand on “service” to include regular non-classroom dedication to one’s students, or to expand the prongs in a similar vein, the Dean is charged with making this work.

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February 21, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

LSAT Test-Takers Surge 29.7% In December; 19.2% Yearly Rise Would Be Highest In 16 Years

After 19.8% (June) and 10.7% (Sept/Oct) surges in the number of LSAT test-takers in the first two test administrations for the 2017-18 admissions cycle, LSAT test-takers skyrocketed 29.7 in December.  The 19.2% increase in the first three test administrations is the largest since 2001-02.

LSAT Test-Takers

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February 21, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Penn Dean Denies Amy Wax's Claim That He Asked Her To Take Leave Due To Controversial Op-Ed

Penn (2017)Following up on Monday's post, Amy Wax (Penn), The Closing Of The Academic Mind:, Penn Law Disputes Prof's Claim She Was Asked to Take Leave Due to Op-Ed:

A professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School claims the school’s dean recently asked her to take a leave of absence after she published a controversial op-ed last year, but the school says the dean was merely discussing a routine sabbatical with her.

Amy Wax alleges in a new Wall Street Journal op-ed published Feb. 16 about free speech on campus that Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger asked her to stop teaching required first-year courses in addition to taking a leave of absence after her first op-ed created a firestorm. Wax offered the request as an example of how college campuses pay lip service to free speech and free inquiry when in reality those who espouse views that are not politically correct face personal attacks rather than reasoned debate.

The law school on Tuesday disputed Wax’s characterization of events, saying that Ruger’s conversation with Wax was not in response to her op-ed, but a routine discussion about her taking a sabbatical.

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February 21, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Early, Individualized, Outreach To Low-Performing Law Students Does Not Improve Their Final Grades

David M. Siegel (New England), Should You Bother Reaching Out? Performance Effects of Early Direct Outreach to Low-Performing Students, 94 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 427 (2017):

Do early alerts to students at-risk in a law school course affect their performance? Increased use of formative assessments throughout higher education, and now their required use in legal education, permits identification of students whose performance suggests they are at-risk early in a course. In legal education, formative assessments must “measure and improve student learning and provide meaningful feedback to students,” and recent research suggests individualized feedback to law students can improve students’ overall performance. Outside law schools, higher education has increasingly used early alert systems to identify and reach out to at-risk students, but their utility at improving performance is still in question.

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February 21, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Secret To Midcareer Success: Shift From Primary (Hard) Skills For Personal Productivity To Secondary (Soft) Skills For Leadership

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  The Secret to Midcareer Success, by Michael S. Malone (Santa Clara):

Why are some top professionals able to maintain peak performance throughout long careers, while others who may be even more talented quickly fade and fall behind? And why do some lesser performers suddenly take off in midcareer and accomplish astonishing things?  Two successful tech leaders offer remarkably similar answers to these questions.

Anil Singhal was born in India but emigrated to the U.S. before co-founding NetScout Systems in 1984. ... A key part of Mr. Singhal’s management strategy has involved helping top young employees make the transition to midcareer success. In particular, he believes that employees’ “primary skills” can take them only so far. “Those talents by which you earned your college degrees and first made your professional reputation,” writes Mr. Singhal in his upcoming book, can drive success for the first 10 years of a career. After that, “secondary skills”—social qualities like the ability to interact well with colleagues—become the key to continued success.

Mr. Singhal believes that most employers mistakenly nurture primary skills at the expense of secondary ones. This is especially true for employees who are highly productive right off the bat. Unless they move into management or mentorship roles, these increasingly expensive employees can become a drag on employers as their productivity naturally falls off.

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

Tax J.D. And LL.M. Program Rankings By Tax Hiring Authorities

Tax Talent, 2018 Top in Tax Educational Survey:

This annual survey provides tax employers the opportunity to vote for the best U.S. undergraduate, graduate and legal programs from their perspective for the 2017-2018 school year. 370 total respondents (U.S. tax hiring authorities, from both corporate in-house tax departments and professional service firms). This respondent total is up from 321 the previous year.

Recuiter 10 (JD)

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February 20, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

45th Annual Pepperdine Law School Dinner: Our Place In The World

Our Place in the WorldTickets are available for the 45th Annual Pepperdine School of Law Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.  The theme is Our Place in the World, which is particularly approprriate this year in light of the $8 million gift we received in September to support of our global justice program (the largest single endowment gift in the law school's history).

Our featured speaker is Gary Haugen, CEO of International Justice Mission.  Before founding IJM in 1997, Gary was a human rights lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition to his work across the globe on human rights issues, Gary is an author of several books and a visiting professor at Pepperdine.  To pique your interest, check out his 2015 TED Talk:

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

Millennials, Deliberate Learning, Motivation, Resilience, And Law Students

Kim Kass (Valparaiso), Millennials, Deliberate Learning, Motivation and Resilience:

Law school faculty and staff frequently engage in conversations about the challenges of teaching the millennial generation. The millennial generation will continue to fill law school seats for the next several years. Many of these students have had much different educational and life experiences than the law faculty who have been tasked with teaching them.

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February 20, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Wax: The Closing Of The Academic Mind

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Wall Street Journal:  The Closing of the Academic Mind, by Amy Wax (Pennsylvania):

There is a lot of abstract talk these days on American college campuses about free speech and the values of free inquiry, with lip service paid to expansive notions of free expression and the marketplace of ideas. What I’ve learned through my recent experience of writing a controversial op-ed is that most of this talk is not worth much. It is only when people are confronted with speech they don’t like that we see whether these abstractions are real to them.

The op-ed, which I co-authored with Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego Law School, appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Aug. 9 under the headline, “Paying the Price for the Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture.” It began by listing some of the ills afflicting American society. ...

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February 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Uncertain Landscape For Online Legal Education

Inside Higher Ed, The Uncertain Landscape for Online Legal Education:

In late 2013, the American Bar Association gave a private nonprofit law school in Minnesota permission to create a part-time Juris Doctor program that blended online courses heavily with face-to-face instruction. The question Inside Higher Ed posed in our article at the time was “whether it marks an experiment or a turning point for how legal education is delivered in the U.S.”

More than four years later, the answer remains unclear, with a mixed record for law schools seeking approval to create programs with significant online presences and the ABA apparently contemplating a loosening of its standards.

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

Denver Adopts A Kinder, Gentler Post-Tenure Review Policy: Development, Not Punishment

DenverFollowing up on my previous posts on the lawsuit by female law profs against the University of Denver Law School (links below):  Chronicle of Higher Education Special Report, A More Upbeat Approach to Post-Tenure Review:

The University of Denver is instituting a program focused not on punitive measures but on helping professors develop their skills.

Most Professors Hate Post-Tenure Review. A Better Approach Might Look Like This.

Skill development and guidance from colleagues take precedence at the University of Denver.

"Once you’ve got tenure you can antagonize people or bring them in. You can get the most out of them rather than force them to fit a cookie-cutter mold." ...

"Faculty development is not a punishment. The final goal was to make people understand that they couldn’t get tenure and just rest."

The Evolution of a Faculty-Focused Approach

At the University of Denver, faculty members overcame anger and distrust to hammer out a novel set of post-tenure policies.

[T]here were numerous faculty members who were pushing for post-tenure review in what I viewed as a punitive fashion. Some of them were angry at colleagues that they didn’t perceive as being productive and wanted a way to get rid of them. I thought it was fairly draconian, but it started a conversation.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 18, 2018

WSJ: Admissions Officers Personally Deliver Acceptances To Applicants (Sometimes With A Dog)

ButlerWall Street Journal, Who’s at the Door? College Officials Delivering Your Acceptance in Person (Sometimes With a Dog):

Admissions officers are traveling hundreds of miles with a live animal to inform high-school seniors they have been accepted to a college—and to urge them to enroll. It’s not just the star athletes or scholarship winners who get the treatment. It is pretty much anyone, a tactic driven by competition to snag the declining number of college-bound high-school students.

One of the hardest working college salesmen is Trip, a 6-year-old English bulldog with doleful, dark eyes. His predecessors are retired.

On road trips, he paces himself with long naps in the back seat of the school’s car while it shuttles him from Butler University in Indiana to prospective students’ homes in Boston, Milwaukee, Orlando and Chicago. Occasionally he hitches an airplane ride if his visits coincide with road games for the school’s nationally ranked basketball team. ...

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February 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Religious Organizations Should Not Lose Their Tax-Exempt Status Based On Public Policy, Post-Obergefell

Sally Wagenmaker (Wagenmaker & Oberly, Chicago), Why Religious Organizations Shouldn't Lose Tax-Exempt Status Based on Public Policy, Post-Obergefell:

Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic same-sex marriage decision in Obergefell v Hodges in June 2016, the question has been raised whether religiously-affiliated organizations could lose their Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or not, based on the “fundamental public policy” doctrine as used in the Court’s 1983 decision in Bob Jones University v. United States. Several significant considerations come into play: the value and place of religious liberty freedoms within our country’s constitutional framework and shifting cultural context; the IRS’s role as arbiter of Section 501(c)(3) recognition; and the “tax subsidy” theory that accompanies tax-exempt status, particularly whether it should affect religious Section 501(c)(3) organizations.

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February 18, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cincinnati Law School Dean's Son Subject Of Racist Taunts At High School Basketball Game

Cincinnati Enquirer:  We're All Better Than This Racist Crap Going on at Our Area High Schools, by Paul Daugherty:

Standing at the free throw line Friday night at Elder High School, St. Xavier senior basketball player Bobby Jefferson was no more than 30 feet from the Elder students who chanted this at him:

“He can’t read.’’

Later, Jefferson would also hear:

“(He) smokes crack.’’


“(He’s) on welfare.’’ ...

For the record, Bobby Jefferson is an African-American, headed to Dartmouth College next fall. ...

What the heck is going on with us? What are we doing?

Have we suddenly lost our minds and misplaced our collective conscience?

I’ve lived here 30 years. Today is the first day I’m embarrassed about that.

First, we had kids in a recreational league wearing jerseys bearing the words “Knee Grow’’ and “Coon’’. Now, we have students at Elder, disgracing themselves, their families and their school. When might it stop, when do the angels of our better natures reappear?

Elder High School is better than this. Its students are better. Their parents who raised them are better, the city in which they live is better. We’re all better than the racist crap we’ve had to put up with from our high school kids the last few weeks. ...

Mina Jefferson, Bobby’s mother [and Associate Dean, Chief of Staff, and Director of the Center for Professional Development at the University of Cincinnati College of Law] was in the stands Friday night. She listened to the slurs for more than a half, until St. X coach Jimmy Lallathin beseeched the referees to do something. That’s when an Elder coach told the students to cool it.

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February 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts