TaxProf Blog

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

Friday, May 11, 2018

LSAT Test-Takers Surge 18.1%, The Biggest Increase In 16 Years

The number of LSAT test-takers in the 2017-18 admissions cycle increased 18.1%, the largest increase since 2001-02.


May 11, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Florida Coastal Law School Sues ABA; Kirkland & Ellis Alleges Arbitrary Enforcement Of Accreditation Standards

Florida Coastal (2017)Press Release, Florida Coastal School of Law Files Suit Against American Bar Association:

  • Complaint Cites Arbitrary and Inconsistent Enforcement of Accreditation Standards
  • School alleges ABA's actions constitute an attack on diversity

In a lawsuit filed on Thursday in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, (Jacksonville Division), Florida Coastal School of Law (Florida Coastal) alleges that the American Bar Association (ABA) has acted arbitrarily in its dealings with Florida Coastal while applying its law school accreditation standards, despite Florida Coastal posting top marks state-wide in recent bar passage rates, as well as Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) passage rates, and the achievements of its nationally lauded National Moot Court team.

Florida Coastal is represented by former Solicitor General of the United States Paul D. Clement, former Assistant Attorney General of the United States Viet D. Dinh, and H. Christopher Bartolomucci, all of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

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

Thursday, May 10, 2018

He Made A Joke, She Isn't Laughing: ‘Lingerie’ Comment In Elevator Leads To Uproar Among Scholars

LSChronicle of Higher Education, He Makes a Joke. She Isn't Laughing: ‘Lingerie’ Comment in Elevator Leads to Uproar Among Scholars:

He says he was joking when he asked to be let off an elevator at the ladies’ lingerie department. A female scholar who was attending the same annual meeting of the International Studies Association was not amused, and neither was the association when she complained.

Now his refusal to formally apologize has touched off the latest skirmish in the #MeToo battles rocking academe. At issue is whether a comment made in jest rises to the level of a punishable offense, and what happens when a complaint some deem as trivial results in a vicious online backlash against the offended party.

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May 10, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

University Of Montana To Lay Off 50 Faculty To Close Budget Deficit

Montana LogoChronicle of Higher Education, 4 Months Into His Tenure, a Flagship’s President Proposes 50 Faculty Layoffs:

About 50 full-time faculty positions may be on the chopping block at the University of Montana at Missoula, according to a new proposal that seeks to plug the college’s $10-million deficit over the next three years.

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May 10, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

James Comey's Five Principles Of Ethical Leadership For Law School Deans

Higher LoyaltyJack Goldsmith (Harvard), Comey on Ethical Leadership:

“A Higher Loyalty” conveys what Comey learned about ethical leadership over the course of his life. ... It is also a book about how and why he practiced ethical leadership during his career, and his self-criticisms of those efforts.

I will analyze Comey’s assessment of his controversy-filled time as FBI director in a subsequent review. Below I simply try to summarize, in a way that cannot begin to do the book justice, some of what we might term Comey’s “Principles of Ethical Leadership.” ...

1. The Sacrosanctity of Truth
The subtitle of Comey’s book—“A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership”—indicates the priority of truth in Comey’s thinking. He believes truth is the most important value in private and public life. ...

2. Openness to Criticism and Contrary Points of View
“The danger in every organization, especially one built around hierarchy, is that you create an environment that cuts off dissenting views and discourages honest feedback,” Comey cautions. “That can quickly lead to a culture of delusion and deception.” This danger is worrisome because leaders need to know the truth, and “to see the world as it is and not as they wish it to be,” in order to make wise decisions. To fight this danger, advises Comey, the ethical leader must seek out and create an environment that invites criticism. “Ethical leaders do not run from criticism, especially self-criticism, and they don’t hide from uncomfortable questions,” he says. “They welcome them.” ...

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May 10, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Cleary Gottlieb Legal Secretary Dies At Age 96, Leaves $8.2m To Charity

Cleary GottleibABA Journal, Frugal Cleary Gottlieb Secretary Who Invested in Stocks Leaves $8.2m to Charities:

Longtime Cleary Gottlieb secretary Sylvia Bloom, who died soon after her retirement at age 96, made some smart stock picks during her lifetime.

Bloom had accumulated more than $9 million when she died in 2016, and she left $8.2 million to charities to establish scholarships for disadvantaged students, according to the New York Times. Bloom “joins the ranks of unassuming and magnanimous millionaires next door, who have died with fortunes far larger than their lifestyles ever would have suggested,” the Times reports. ...

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May 10, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Retiring LRW Professor's Parting Letter To His Scholarly Colleagues

Following up on this morning's post on UCLA Law Prof Gerald Lopez's Alternative Vision of Legal Education:   here is the remarkable letter written by Brian Mikulak and shared with his colleagues upon his retirement as a LRW professor at the University of San Francisco Law School:

Dear [Dean],
As you know, I’m retiring at the end of this semester after nearly twenty-seven years of teaching as skills faculty in the law school. Trent has practiced environmental public interest law for nearly forty years, and particularly in this climate, he really needs to pass the torch to younger people with more stamina. We’ve sold our preposterously appreciated flat in the Mission and we’re expatriating. We’ll spend our first year in Latin America, our second in Italy, and figure out the rest on the road. We’re not sure whether we’ll come back.

I know it sounds cliche, but it has absolutely been a privilege and a terrific pleasure to have taught for the bulk of my legal career. The kids have been a fantastic and incredibly fulfilling part of my life. But as much as I’ll miss them—and as lucky as Trent and I have both been professionally—we want to launch our long-contemplated adventure while we’re still young enough to adventure.

I’ve collected my thoughts about my experience in the law school and the challenges it faces, and I want to share them with you and the rest of the law school community. I know what I’ve written is long, but after nearly twenty-seven years I think it’s time this subaltern spoke, and I ask you to hear me out.

Let me say at the outset that I respect scholarship and the people who produce it. I published one law review article many years ago. It wasn’t very long and it wasn’t published in a prestigious journal, but it took a great deal of energy and effort. I’ve now written a book I’m trying to get published. It’s not a scholarly work, but it is a serious book, and it, too, took a great deal of energy and effort. I very much appreciate our doctrinal faculty members’ role as scholars as well as teachers in the law school.

But I think your identity as scholars and your elite school formation have left most of you with an emotional need to believe that you’re vastly smarter than everyone else. So you tart up law in an attempt to make of it something more intellectual than it is. The result is that many of you teach in a needlessly opaque way that harms the students and the school.

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May 9, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

McGinnis: Antonin Scalia Law School Is Under Attack For Being Successful And Different

George Mason (2018)Following up on last week's post, NY Times: Revelations Over Koch Gifts Prompt Inquiry At George Mason: John O. McGinnis (Northwestern), Antonin Scalia Law School Is Under Attack for Being Successful and Different:

Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University has a very highly cited faculty, showing that it has a relatively large impact on the world of legal ideas. It is ranked as the 21st, just after the University of Texas. This ranking is an extraordinary achievement, given that it was a young school with a small endowment, not at all comparable to long established schools like Texas. As is clear from objective data, Antonin Scalia Law School’s faculty is also unusual in having a faculty that it is right of center in a profession where every school with a higher citation count is left of center, sometimes far to the left of center.  For instance, schools in the top twenty citations regularly have less than ten percent conservatives and frequently less than five percent.

This is the context of the large recent gifts to the law school, a context that makes nonsense of the idea in a recent New York Times article that conservatives are trying to buy influence over its hiring or anything else. The reporters have the causation exactly backwards. The gift is not designed to elicit conservative thought from the school. Instead the school’s thoughtful conservatism elicited the gift. Those who support liberty, as defined in classical liberalism, want to help an effective institution that does not currently follow the academic orthodoxy arrayed against it. What a surprise!

Anyone who is interested in more diversity of views in the legal academy should also applaud this gift. Indeed, anyone who wants more high impact scholarship should be happy. Given how well George Mason has done with little money, increasing its endowment is likely to do much more at the margin than giving to most other schools. ...

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May 9, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Transform—Don’t Just Tinker With—Legal Education

Gerald P. Lopez (UCLA), Transform—Don’t Just Tinker With—Legal Education, 23 Clinical L. Rev. 471 (2017):

In this two-part article, Part I evaluates how the past decade’s “transformation” of legal education amounts so far to just so much time-honored tinkering. Over the past ten years, most schools changed very little, and the small number that changed a fair amount (overwhelmingly in the second and third years) borrowed directly from what other law schools have been doing for decades. Because we must learn all we can from these recent years (and earlier eras), Part I aspires to present in something like realistic form the institutional, material, and ideological forces we all encounter and too often reproduce. What makes the past decade’s near-ritualistic experience all the more regrettable is that we have available an alternative vision of legal education ready now for a full roll-out. Because this vision traces its origins, its implementation, its improvements to the best of clinical programs in the United States, cynics will doubtlessly scoff. Facing down the disparagers, Part II will sketch the radically different assumptions, methods, and aspirations that define how this vision contrasts with the at best status-quo-plus version of legal education strongly internalized and widely practiced. Part I is not at all the “setup” to Part II, and Part II is not at all an impractical ideal offered to soften the blunt realities portrayed in Part I. The two parts stand alone and belong together, both to chasten and embolden us, at least if we’re willing.

Gerald P. Lopez (UCLA), Transform—Don’t Just Tinker With—Legal Education (Part Two), 24 Clinical L. Rev. 247 (2018):

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

Why Are Law Professors So Unhappy? — Part Five

Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), The Best Job in the World:

Law teaching is a pretty great job. You are paid more than most academics (although this is lost on most law professors who have never lived the life of a real academic) and you get to do pretty much whatever you like assuming you are intellectually curious. A few times a week you teach a group of students and the only real downside is about two weeks of grading twice a year.

Cool job, right? So why do I see so many people who seem to be so unhappy. Drama is pervasive, Demands are made about the most trivial things. There are always conspiracies afoot. Someone else is racist, sexist, or homophobic, that is, if you listen to the gossip. High blood pressure is far from rare. Emails are sent that demand attention yesterday. There is never enough for whichever "me" you happen to be.

Is it the job or is that people cannot accept having one of he best jobs in the world? What is this with the office to office gossip, the complaints about the wrong room, the wrong secretary, and imagined slights? Really, do people need to be unhappy about something? ...

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May 9, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Ugly Truth Of Being A Black Professor In America

Chronicle of Higher Education Review:  The Ugly Truth of Being a Black Professor in America, by George Yancy (Emory):

"Dear Nigger Professor." That was the beginning of a message that was sent to me. There is nothing to be cherished here, despite the salutation. Years ago, Malcolm X asked, "What does a white man call a black man with a Ph.D.?" He answered: "A nigger with a Ph.D."

The message came in response to an op-ed I published in The New York Times in December 2015. I’d spent much of that year conducting a series of interviews with philosophers about race. I wanted to hold a disagreeable mirror up to white readers and ask that they take a long, hard look without fleeing. My article, "Dear White America," took the form of a letter asking readers to accept the truth of what it means to be white in a society created for white people. I asked them to tarry with the ways in which they perpetuate a racist society, the ways in which they are racist. In return, I asked for understanding and even love — love in the sense that James Baldwin used the term: "Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within."

Instead, I received hundreds of emails, phone messages, and letters, an overwhelming number of which were filled with racist vitriol. My university did its important and necessary part — top administrators assured me that my academic freedom was protected. Yet my predicament was not easy. Campus police had to monitor my office. Departmental instructions were clear: No one was to provide any strangers with my office hours. I needed police presence at my invited talks at other universities. It all felt surreal — and dangerous.

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May 8, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

SSRN e-Journal Rankings By Average Downloads Per Paper

SSRN LogoRyan Whalen (University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law), SSRN e-Journals and Downloads:

I did a bit of SSRN/LSN hacking, and determined that ... there are some pretty major differences in the average number of downloads different LSN journals get. The below relies on data from just under a quarter million papers that are classified to LSN e-journals, and only extends to LSN classifications (i.e. working paper series or other SSRN e-journal classifications are not included).

The Tax Law & Policy Journals rank 54th out 94 SSRN e-journals, with 185 downloads per paper:


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May 8, 2018 in Law Review Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Defense Of Student Evaluations Of Teaching

Student Evaluations (2017)Following up on yesterday's post, Why We Must Stop Relying On Student Ratings Of Law School Teaching — Like The University Of Oregon Is Doing:  Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  In Defense (Sort of) of Student Evaluations of Teaching, by  Kevin Gannon (Grand View University):

[W]e know student evaluations matter. Perhaps the better question is: Should they? Given their many demonstrable and potential flaws, why would we still use them to gather feedback on teaching and learning? It turns out the answer is more complicated than appearances suggest.

Certainly, students are not experts qualified to evaluate us on, say, whether we used the best and most applicable course readings. But they are experts on what they experienced and learned in a course, and they ought to have a voice. Just because their feedback is sometimes misused doesn’t mean it’s invalid or unnecessary.

In fact, course evaluations — despite their many problematic elements — may still provide the most accurate information available on teaching effectiveness. Elizabeth Barre, whose research into student evaluations — in particular, the metastudies of the subject — is essential reading, observed that "we have not yet been able to find an alternative measure of teaching effectiveness that correlates as strongly with student learning. In other words, they may be imperfect measures, but they are also our best measures."

And therein lies the rub: We need to assess teaching, and we often have to rely on not the best, but the least worst, option. ...

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

The Median Tenure Of Law School Deans Is 3.35 Years

Rosenblatt's Deans Database has a wealth of information about law school deans.  The median tenure of the 209 currently serving law school deans is 3.35 years; the average tenure is 4.25 years.  The longest serving current deans are:

  1. John F. O'Brien (New England-Boston):  29.88 years
  2. Bradley J. B. Toben (Baylor):  26.50 years
  3. Don LeDuc (Western Michigan-Cooley):  21.99 years
  4. Katherine S. Broderick (District of Columbia):  18.79 years
  5. Harold J. Krent (Chicago-Kent):  15.36 years
  6. Aviam Soifer (Hawaii):  14.95 years
  7. Joseph D. Kearney (Marquette):  14.87 years
  8. Maureen O'Rouke (Boston University):  12.03 years
  9. Leticia M. Diaz (Barry):  11.34 years
  10. David F. Levi (Duke):  10.86 years
  11. Thomas J. Romig (Washburn): 10.86 years

Four of these deans have announced that they will be stepping down:

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May 8, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Private College Tuition Discount Rate Hits All-Time High Of 50%

National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), Average Freshman Tuition Discount Rate Nears 50 Percent:

Private colleges and universities are on the brink of using half the tuition and fee revenue they collect from first-time freshmen to fund institutional grants, according to a new report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). 

In the 2017 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study, 404 private, nonprofit institutions reported an estimated 49.9 percent institutional tuition discount rate for first-time, full-time students in 2017-18—the highest in the history of the survey. ... Among all undergraduates, the estimated institutional tuition discount rate was 44.8 percent, another record high. 


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May 8, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, May 7, 2018

18 New Law School Dean Appointments (61% Are Women)

ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, New Dean Appointments:

  1. Appalachian:  Sandra McGlothlin
  2. Arkansas-Fayetteville:  Margaret Sova McCabe
  3. Arkansas-Little Rock:  Theresa Beiner
  4. University of California, Irvine:  L. Song Richardson
  5. Duke:  Karen (Kerry) Abrams
  6. Faulkner:  Charles D. Campbell (Interim)
  7. Gonzaga: Jacob Rooksby
  8. Iowa:  Kevin Washburn
  9. Louisville:  Colin Crawford
  10. Miami:  Osamudia James (Acting; Patricia White returns as dean on Jan. 1. 2019 following a sabbatical)
  11. North Texas:  Felecia Epps
  12. Northern Kentucky:  Michael Whiteman (Interim)
  13. Northwestern:  Kim Yuracko
  14. Pace:  Horace Anderson (Interim)
  15. Pittsburgh:  Amy Wildermuth
  16. Washburn:  Carla Pratt
  17. University of Washington:  Mario Barnes
  18. Western New England:  Sudha Setty

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May 7, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller: Small Law Firm Jobs Shrink Dramatically (-30%), Big Law Hiring Picks Up (+15%)

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Small Law Firm Jobs Shrink Dramatically and Big Law Hiring Picks Up For the Class of 2017:

Last year, I noted that jobs in smaller firms and business and industry were disappearing for entry-level hires. That continues to be the case. ... A nearly 60% decline in entry-level sole practitioners, and more than a 25% decline in 2-10-attorney firm hiring, is pretty sharp in just four years. ...

[B]ig law hiring — at firms with more than 500 attorneys — has increased 15% in four years. Given the dramatic decline in the number of graduates — 12,000 fewer graduates between 2013 and 2017— things look even better. For the Class of 2013, 8.6% of graduates ended up in the biggest of law firm jobs; that figure climbed to 13.3% for the Class of 2017. ...


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May 7, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Why We Must Stop Relying On Student Evaluations Of Law School Teaching — Like The University Of Oregon Is Doing

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Why We Must Stop Relying on Student Ratings of Teaching, by Michelle Falkoff (Northwestern Law School):

Few academics will be surprised to hear that more evidence has come out showing that student evaluations of teaching are often biased.

The latest study [Gender Bias in Student Evaluations], released this year by the American Political Science Association, found that the "language students use in evaluations regarding male professors is significantly different than language used in evaluating female professors." The study also showed that "a male instructor administering an identical online course as a female instructor receives higher ordinal scores in teaching evaluations, even when questions are not instructor-specific."

Table 1

Kristina Mitchell, one of the study’s authors, summarized its findings in Slate last month and concluded: "Our research shows they’re biased against women. That means using them is illegal." Academic institutions must stop giving an inordinate amount of weight to student evaluations when making employment decisions, she argued, until the institutions can account for, address, and eliminate bias.

Unfortunately, there’s no consensus on how best to do that, and gender isn’t the only kind of bias at issue. Still, it’s time for academic institutions to do better on this front. ...

[I]t’s time to stop relying primarily on one approach — in this case, student evaluations of teaching — and move to a more holistic strategy in which multiple factors contribute to a more accurate, consistent, and well-rounded assessment.

I was convinced of that by my experience as director of the program in communication and legal reasoning at Northwestern University’s law school.

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May 7, 2018 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Catholic University Plan To Cut 35 Profs (Including 10 With Tenure), Increase Teaching Loads (From 2 To 3 Courses Per Semester) Draws Faculty Fire

CatholicFollowing up on my previous post, Is Catholic University’s Devotion To Its Faith Scaring Off Students?:  Washington Post, Catholic University Plans to Cut Full-Time Faculty by 9 Percent:

Catholic University officials are planning to cut their full-time faculty by 9 percent through attrition, buyouts and possibly layoffs, a cost-saving proposal that has rattled professors at the school known for its close ties to the Vatican.

Under the proposal, 35 positions would be eliminated from a roster that this school year includes 381 faculty members. Twenty-five of the departures would be “voluntary” and 10 “involuntary,” according to a Proposal for Academic Renewal, a document that has been circulating over the past several weeks on the campus in Northeast Washington. University officials said they are hoping to keep the number of layoffs of tenured faculty as low as possible.

Officials said their goal is to cut costs without eliminating academic programs. To do that, they’re asking some professors to take on a larger teaching load than they previously had by enforcing, with certain exceptions, a standard of three classes per semester for those in undergraduate and professional programs. Professors in doctoral programs would generally teach two classes a semester.

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May 6, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

The Academic Billable Hour: Why Law Profs Should Be Required To Track Their Time

TimeEli Wald (Denver), A Thought Experiment About the Academic 'Billable' Hour or Law Professors' Work Habits, 101 Marq. L. Rev. ___ (2018):

This essay imagines a world in which law professors tracked their work hours. It identifies some of the diagnostic attributes of the academic “billable” hour, explores the potential destructive dark side of timekeeping, and examines the nature of the relationship between the diagnostic and destructive qualities of recording academic time. Next, it introduces some of the political implications of recording academic time, and explores some of the normative discussions timekeeping might help inform.

We know little about what law professors do and how they spend their time. While we know law professors’ teaching loads, we do not know how many hours they spend preparing for classes, interacting with students, or developing and grading assignments, let alone how they spend their time pursuing all of these activities. Similarly, while we know quite a bit about how much law professors publish and about the quality and impact of their scholarship, we do not know how they identify topics for inquiry, research, write, and publish. Finally, while we know a fair amount about law professors’ service commitments, such as their committee assignments, we do not know how much time and how they spend their time on service activities. In short, we know very little about law professors’ work habits.

What we do not know matters. Timekeeping by law professors can generate useful diagnostic insights that may inform and improve legal academia. If all law professors were to record their time teaching, serving, and researching we would know more about what law professors do and how they do it and would be able to generate benchmarks and best practices, which may inform individual decision-making by faculty members regarding how to allocate their time, as well as institutional decision-making by law schools about how to assess and allocate their human capital resources and how to effectively train and mentor junior colleagues.

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

Politico: Trump’s Lawyer Went To The Worst Law School In America

Thomas Cooley Logo (2017)Politico, Trump’s Lawyer Went to the Worst Law School in America; Michael Cohen’s Alma Mater Has Long Been a Punchline in the Legal World:

Cooley may be, by some measurements, the worst law school in America. And its standing has not been enhanced by a flood of publicity about the quality of the legal work of its best known and, increasingly, most notorious alum: Michael D. Cohen, class of 1991, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and the target of a federal criminal investigation in New York that has clearly rattled Trump.

The school is sensitive to the headlines: “In light of the current publicity about Mr. Michael Cohen, one of our graduates, it is disappointing to see all the gratuitous negative comments about our law school from people who know nothing about us,” the school’s general counsel, James Robb, said in an impassioned written statement to Politico. “What I am seeing is incivility and bullying by people who truly know little about legal education—and especially about our fine law school.”

Bullies, however, are not responsible for the troubling statistics that Cooley discloses to applicants on its own website.

The school accepts almost anyone who can pay the $51,000 annual tuition bill—more than 85 percent of its applicants were admitted last year. Fewer than half of its graduates manage to pass a bar exam on their first try; among all law school graduates in the country, about 75 percent pass on their first attempt. The 46-year-old school has had to go to court over the past year to fight for its accreditation from the American Bar Association, which found that the school was out of compliance on basic admission standards for a time. Last year, the National Advisory Council for Law School Transparency gave Cooley a ranking no school wants: It was No. 1 on the group’s list of “the 10 least selective law schools in the country.” ...

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May 5, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

ABA: The Number Of Lawyers Has Grown 15% Since 2007

ABA Journal, Lawyer Population 15% Higher Than 10 Years Ago, New ABA Data Shows:

The number of active attorneys in the United States has increased by 15.2 percent over the last decade, according to the ABA’s National Lawyer Population Survey.

The total number of lawyers in the United States as of Dec. 31 was 1,338,678. Ten years before that, the total number was 1,162,124. ...

In raw numbers, the five states reporting the highest number of resident active lawyers were:

  1. New York – 177,035
  2. California – 170,044
  3. Texas – 90,485
  4. Florida – 78,244
  5. Illinois – 63,422

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

Thursday, May 3, 2018

'Westlaw For Originalism': Big Data Meets The Constitution, Big Data Meets the Constitution in New Originalism Project:

Five Georgia appellate judges visited a Georgia State University College of Law seminar recently to evaluate an innovative new big-data tool for ascertaining the original meaning of oft-contested words in the U.S. Constitution and other historic legal texts.

Law students in the seminar on judicial power came up with results that might surprise some Constitutional originalists: In proscribing ”cruel” punishment in the Eighth Amendment, for instance, the framers’ aim may have been to prevent the state’s abuse of power as much as physical pain.

The students are the first to try out a searchable new database, the Corpus of Founding Era English (COFEA), made up of more than 95,000 documents from the era that Brigham Young University Law School is developing. The COFEA documents encompass newspapers, speeches, novels, diaries and personal correspondence that were produced from 1760 to 1799 during the colonial independence movement and subsequent ratification debates over the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

One criticism of originalism, noted the seminar’s professor, Clark Cunningham, is that it’s impossible to know what people really meant with certain terms back then. “Now it’s easier to,” he said.

“This is revolutionary,” said Georgia Appeals Court Chief Judge Stephen Dillard, himself an originalist. “It’s like Westlaw for originalism.” ...

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May 3, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

ABA: Florida Coastal Law School Remains Out Of Compliance With Three Of Four Accreditation Standards

Florida Coastal (2017)ABA Accreditation Committee Decision, Public Notice of Specific Remedial Action: Florida Coastal School of Law:

At its March 15-17, 2018 meeting, the Accreditation Committee of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (the “Committee”) conducted a hearing pursuant to Rules of Procedure 2, 3, 14, 16-18, 20, and 21 with respect to the compliance of Florida Coastal School of Law (the “Law School”) with ABA Standards 301(a), 309(b), and 501(a) and 501(b) and Interpretation 501-1.

Following the hearing and based on the record, the Committee concluded that the Law School is in compliance with Standard 501(a). The Committee further concluded that the Law School remains in non-compliance with Standards 301(a), 309(b), and 501(b) and Interpretation 501-1, and has directed the Law School to take the following specific remedial actions, including, but not limited to, this public notice.

Jacksonville Daily Record, Florida Coastal School of Law Found in Compliance With ABA General Standards:

Florida Coastal School of Law is in compliance with general American Bar Association standards, but remains in noncompliance with others related to admission standards.

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

NY Times: Revelations Over Koch Gifts Prompt Inquiry At George Mason

George Mason LogoNew York Times, Revelations Over Koch Gifts Prompt Inquiry at George Mason University:

The president of George Mason University has ordered an inquiry into whether big-money donors are being given undue influence over academic matters, after documents were released showing that the Charles Koch Foundation had been given a voice in hiring and firing professors.

The university president, Angel Cabrera, wrote in an email to faculty Monday night that he was ordering the investigation after learning of documents revealing “problematic gift agreements.”

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

Call for Papers: New Voices In Tax Policy And Public Finance (2019 AALS Annual Meeting)

The AALS Tax Section committee is pleased to announce the following Call for Papers:

(co-sponsored by the Section on Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law and Section on Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation)

The AALS Section on Taxation is pleased to announce the following Call for Papers. Selected papers will be presented at a works-in-progress session at the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA from January 2-6, 2019. The works-in-progress session is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, January 5.

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May 3, 2018 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Shuyi Oei, Tax, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Measuring Law School Clinics

ClinicColleen Shanahan (Temple), Jeffrey Selbin (UC-Berkeley), Alyx Mark (George Washington) & Anna Carpenter (Tulsa), Measuring Law School Clinics, 92 Tul. L. Rev. 547 (2018):

Legal education reformers have long argued that law school clinics address two related needs: first, clinics teach students to be lawyers; and second, clinics serve low-income clients. In clinics, so the argument goes, law students working under the close supervision of faculty members learn the requisite skills to be good practitioners and professionals. In turn, clinical law students serve clients with civil and criminal justice needs that would otherwise go unmet.

Though we have these laudable teaching and service goals — and a vast literature describing the role of clinics in both the teaching and service dimensions — we have scant empirical evidence about whether and how clinics achieve these goals. We know from studies that law students value clinics, but do clinics prepare them to be lawyers? We also know from surveys that clinics provide hundreds of thousands of hours of free legal aid in low-income communities, but how well do clinic students serve clients?

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

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Khan Academy And LSAC To Offer Free LSAT Prep, Beginning In June

KhanLSATFollowing up on my previous post, Khan Academy To Offer Free LSAT Prep:  ABA Journal, Free LSAT Prep, From Khan Academy and the LSAC, Coming in June:

A free online LSAT prep program from Khan Academy and the Law School Admission Council, announced in 2017, will be available to the public starting June 1.

The collaboration between the LSAC and the nonprofit online platform, known for its large library of interactive math courses, includes two practice tests. One assesses skills, and the other determines the taker’s progress toward his or her goal LSAT score. The product also develops practice plans based on the user’s desired score, and offers practice questions with step-by-step explanations. Beta testing, with 7,600 people, starts April 30. A video about the offering can be seen here.

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May 2, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Advice To Law Profs On Using PowerPoint

May 2, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Success Of A Disruptive Leader Depends On Her Successor

CaptainInteresting inaugural piece in the Wall Street Journal's new column on the lessons and strategies of leadership, The Captain Class, by Sam Walter (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams (2018)):  One Leader Sent Boeing Into a Hurricane; Landing It Was the Next Guy’s Job:

Jim McNerney’s tenure shows that the success of a disrupter often hinges on who comes next.

Boeing ’s board of directors knew one thing for certain when they handed the institutional yoke to Jim McNerney in 2005. The incoming chief executive planned to steer the aerospace giant straight into the turbulence.

This wasn’t a tactical blunder. Turbulence was the whole point.

Boeing’s deepest problem in 2005 was a universal one:  No empire rises forever. The company had been floundering, and the digital revolution was barging down the gangway. The board figured it was time to buckle up.

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May 2, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Simkovic: A Well-Organized Campaign To Bait, Discredit, And Take Over Universities Is Exploiting Students And Manipulating The Public

Following up on my previous post, Conservative Law Prof Heckled by CUNY Protestors:  Michael Simkovic (USC), A Well-Organized Campaign to Bait, Discredit, and Take Over Universities Is Exploiting Students and Manipulating the Public:

Key takeaways:

  • Many lectures about “free speech” are not really about “free speech,” but rather are intended to provoke a reaction that will discredit universities.
  • When such reactions occur, many news stories about them are created, shaped, and disseminated by a well-funded network that wants to transform and take over universities.
  • Students, professors, administrators should not take the bait; nor should journalists. ...

The purpose of media exaggeration of incidents at universities appears to be to discredit universities in the eyes of conservatives, libertarians, and moderates. The anti-university campaign is working. Pew reports that individuals who lean Republican have traditionally held mostly positive views of universities, but those views became less favorable after 2010, and turned sharply negative around 2015 to 2016. ...

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

Law School Rankings In Ten Job Categories, Law Grads Hiring Report: Job Stats for the Class of 2017:

The American Bar Association this month released new law school employment data that showed the class of 2017 fared better in the entry-level job market than its recent predecessors.

We’ve waded through the ABA’s trove of employment numbers to break down how schools performed in 10 different areas, including sending graduates into jobs for which bar passage is a requirement; into federal clerkships; into large firm jobs; and government and public interest positions. We’ve also ranked schools according to their percentage of unemployed recent graduates, as well as each school’s underemployment rate—which includes graduates who are unemployed, in part-time or short-term jobs, or in non-professional jobs.

Our charts illustrate how stratified legal education is when it comes to graduate employment. For instance, seven law schools sent 90 percent or more of their 2017 graduates into full-time law jobs that require bar passage, largely considered the gold standard for law jobs. (They were led by Duke Law School, at nearly 94 percent.)


On the other end of the spectrum, 12 schools sent fewer than 40 percent of their recent graduates into those positions. (Thomas Jefferson School of Law reported the lowest percentage outside of Puerto Rico, at less than 26 percent.)

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May 1, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friedman: Fixing Law Reviews

Harvard Law ReviewBarry Friedman (NYU), Fixing Law Reviews, 67 Duke L.J. 1297 (2018):

Very few people are happy at present with the law review publishing process, from article submission and selection to editing. Complaints are longstanding, and similar ones emerge from faculty and students alike. Yet, heretofore, change has not occurred. Instead, we are locked in our ugly world of submit and expedite, stepping on the toes of numerous student editors in the process. And the editing process falls far short of ideal.

This Article recommends wholesale change to the submission and editing process.

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

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

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

Georgia To Accept GRE For Law Students Enrolled In A Dual-Degree Program

GREGeorgia has announced that it will begin accepting the GRE for the 1L class entering in Fall 2019, but only for students enrolled in a dual degree program at the university.  Two other 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).  Seventeen law schools (Arizona, Brooklyn, BYU, Cardozo, Chicago Kent, Columbia, Florida StateGeorgetown, Harvard, Hawaii, John Marshall (Chicago), Northwestern, Pace, St. John's, Texas A&M, Wake Forest, and Washington University) accept the GRE in lieu of the LSAT without any limitations.  (George Washington has rescinded its use of the GRE because it has not done a school-specific validation study.)

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

Monday, April 30, 2018

Kuehn: Mandatory Professional Skills Training In Law Schools

KuehnTax Prof Blog op-ed:  Mandatory Professional Skills Training: What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been, by Robert Kuehn (Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Washington University):

The ABA first adopted standards for accreditation of law schools in 1921. But, as explained in a recent article by my colleague Peter Joy,[1] it was not until 1993 that schools were required to provide a program of education that would prepare students for the practice of law, not simply for admission to the bar. And not until 2005 did schools have to begin to ensure that each J.D. student receives instruction in the professional skills necessary for effective participation in the legal profession. Even then, the ABA determined that a student needs only “one solid credit” hour of skills training to be considered adequately prepared to begin the practice of law.

Since the adoption of a professional skills requirement, law school enrollment has declined precipitously, graduates have struggled to find employment, and bar passage rates have dropped in many states. In the midst of this turbulent period, in 2014 the ABA recognized the inadequacy of its one-credit skills requirement and adopted a six-credit experiential requirement that will apply to graduates starting next year. With a decade of mandatory professional skills training now completed, it is a good time to examine enrollment trends in law clinic, externship, and simulation courses over the past ten classes of law students.

Reviewing data submitted to the ABA in annual questionnaires certified by each school’s dean to be true, accurate, and complete,[2] there has been significant growth in enrollment in experiential courses since academic year 2005-2006. Total enrollment in law clinic, externship, and simulation courses has increased by almost 25% over the past ten years,


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April 30, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Why Some Women Are Getting RBG Tattoos

Refinery29, Why Some Women Are Getting RBG Tattoos:

RBGThe documentary film RBG, in theaters May 4, portrays Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a hard-nosed workaholic with more than a few wins for women's rights under her jabot. But it also highlights, rather pointedly, her influence on The Youths. In several scenes, fawning would-be attorneys run up to her to ask for her autograph or take a selfie. ...

While flattered by superfans who get tattoos of her face, the 85-year-old has also said she was "a little distressed that people are really doing that." It's permanent. She's more traditional than that. But this hasn't stopped people from commemorating her with ink.

Amy Wallace, a 34-year-old attorney in Minneapolis, got a Rosie the Riveter-inspired RBG sleeve last year, which had a blink-or-you'll-miss-it cameo in the new film. "Justice Ginsburg is my only personal hero, and as an atheist, my adoration of her is the closest thing I get to personal worship," she told Refinery29. "The secular iconography of Rosie the Riveter mashed up with Justice Ginsburg seemed like a perfect articulation of the way I feel about her." The idea for it came after seeing someone else's tattoo of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a modern, feminist twist (A.K.A. standing inside a vulva instead of surrounded by a religious halo).

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April 30, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Frakt: Did The ABA Find WMU-Cooley In Compliance With Accreditation Standards As Part Of Lawsuit Settlement?

Thomas Cooley Logo (2017)Following up on Thursday's post, ABA: Western Michigan-Cooley Law School Is Now In Compliance With Accreditation Standards:  David Frakt, The ABA Finds Thomas Cooley In Compliance. But Why?:

The ABA made a surprise announcement this week, reversing their earlier decision that WMU Thomas Cooley Law School was out of compliance with Admissions Standard 501(b) and finding the school is now in compliance. So how did the least selective law school in the country convince the ABA to let it off the hook? I have been trying to make sense of this decision and have a theory. But before I share it, let’s review the history. ...

[T]he ABA’s finding of non-compliance was completely justified. In fact, Cooley’s admissions practices were worse in almost every respect than all of the other dozen schools that the ABA has found to be out of compliance with Standard 501(b). ...

[H]ere is my theory of what is really going on:  the Council’s decision must be part of a settlement between the ABA and Cooley to resolve the lawsuit that Cooley has filed against the ABA.  Cooley must have agreed to make significant changes to their admission practices (the key words in the ABA Letter are “concrete steps taken by the Law School with respect to its admissions policy and practices”) and drop their lawsuit in exchange for the ABA finding that the school is now in compliance.   Maybe Cooley agreed to pay for the ABA’s legal fees as well. I expect to see an announcement in the near future that the suit has been voluntarily dismissed.    Anything else just doesn’t make sense. ...

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April 30, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Vanderbilt Hosts Summit On Law And Innovation

SOLIVandyABA Journal, SoLI Summit and its Facilitators Seek to Spur Innovation in Legal Profession and Education:

Creating connections and collaborations between people across the legal world, including academics, practitioners, legal technology experts, and others. Moving the legal profession and legal education into the 21st century and beyond. Those are the goals of an April 30 summit at Vanderbilt Law School called SoLI: The Summit on Law and Innovation.

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April 30, 2018 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pelicans Crash Pepperdine's Graduation

This never happened at graduation in Cincinnati!

April 30, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 29, 2018

NY Times: How Liberty University Built A Billion-Dollar Empire Online

Liberty 3Following up on my previous post, An Online Kingdom: How Liberty U. Became a Model for the Future of Higher Education With Pervasive Christian Faith and Marketing, No Faculty Tenure:  New York Times Magazine, How Liberty University Built a Billion-Dollar Empire Online:

Liberty is spread out on more than 7,000 acres overlooking Lynchburg, a former railroad-and-tobacco town on the James River below the Blue Ridge Mountains. The student body on campus is 15,500 strong, and the university employs more than 7,500 people locally. Throughout the university grounds, there is evidence of a billion-dollar capital expansion: mountains of dirt and clusters of construction equipment marking the site of the new business school; the $40 million football-stadium upgrade, to accommodate Liberty’s move into the highest level of N.C.A.A. competition; and the Freedom Tower, which at 275 feet will be the tallest structure in Lynchburg, capped by a replica of the Liberty Bell.

Jerry Falwell Jr., who has led the university since 2007, lacks the charisma and high profile of his father, who helped lead the rise of the religious right within the Republican Party. Yet what the soft-spoken Falwell, 55, lacks in personal aura, he has more than made up for in institutional ambition. As Liberty has expanded over the past two decades, it has become a powerful force in the conservative movement. The Liberty campus is now a requisite stop for Republican candidates for president — with George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney all making the pilgrimage — and many of Liberty graduates end up working in Republican congressional offices and conservative think tanks.

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April 29, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

How Berkeley Law School Dean Set The World Cycling Record

MollyGreat article about Molly Shaffer Van Houweling (Wikipedia), Harold C. Hohbach Distinguished Professor of Patent Law and Intellectual Property, Associate Dean for J.D. Curriculum and Teaching, and Co-Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology at UC-Berkeley Law School:  ESPN, How Berkeley Law School Dean Molly Shaffer Van Houweling Set the World Cycling Record:

Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, an associate dean at the University of California, Berkeley law school, teaches classes on intellectual property and serves on the board of a number of legal and technology organizations.

And in her free time, she has set national and world records in track cycling.

In September 2015, she broke the cycling hour record that had stood for 12 years by riding 46.273 kilometers (28.75 miles) in 60 minutes around a track in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Suddenly the international cycling community was wondering: Who is this professor?

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April 28, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz To Return To Teach At Oregon Law School In Fall 2018 After Controversy Over Her 2016 Halloween Costume

ShurtzFollowing up on my previous post (links below):  Daily Emerald, Law Professor Nancy Shurtz to Return After Sabbatical:

University of Oregon law professor Nancy Shurtz, who was at the center of controversy in fall 2016 after a photo of her in black makeup at her Halloween party circulated online, will return to campus in July, following her one-year sabbatical in Florida.

Shurtz said after the incident that her costume was inspired by the memoir of a Black doctor dealing with racism in the U.S., and she intended for the costume to “provoke a thoughtful discussion on racism in our society.” Many in the UO community criticized her costume for including blackface makeup; over 1,200 UO students signed a petition calling on her to resign and 23 of Shurtz’s fellow faculty members penned an open letter calling on her to resign as well. ...

Following the incident, the university launched an investigation that found Shurtz guilty of violating UO’s anti-discrimination policies. As a result, Shurtz was placed on administrative leave. Shurtz will return to campus in July and teach classes in the fall.

“My heart is racing,” Shurtz said in an email interview with the Emerald. “Is the question am I ‘excited’ or ‘terrified’? This leave and sabbatical has been a long one, so I have missed being home and am eager to get back to the great Northwest, my home of 38 years.”

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April 27, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)