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Monday, May 11, 2015

Maine Law School's New Dean Charts New Course After 31% Decline in Applications

Maine LogoLewiston-Auburn Sun Journal, Maine Law School's New Dean: Leading the Way in an Uncertain Future:

The number of applicants to law schools is on the decline nationally, and Maine's only law school is no exception.

Over a three-year period from 2012 through 2014, the number of applications to the University of Maine School of Law plunged from 929 to 639, a 31 percent drop.

Some administrators might react to those numbers by seeking strategies that would boost the number of students who apply to their schools in an effort to beef up enrollment.

Not Danielle Conway. "That is not the responsible thing to do," she said. "That's unsustainable."

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May 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

'The Vultures Are Circling' Charleston Law School

Charleston LogoPost and Courier, No Matter How You Say It, Law School Is In Serious Trouble:

The Charleston School of Law’s Class of 2015 will graduate today, and their diplomas surely will be embossed with the institution’s lofty Latin motto: Pro bono populi, which means “for the good of the people.” Pro bono populi is a proper guiding principle for future lawyers.

The idea is that graduates of the Charleston School of Law invest three years and approximately $180,000 in tuition and related expenses, learn some Latin legal terms, pass required courses while doing free work with local attorneys, and ultimately land good jobs.

But no matter how intelligent it sounds, actions speak louder than words (facta non verba).

Since the Charleston School of Law started 12 years ago, four of the five founders took in millions in profits and are vacating the premises.

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May 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

UMass Law School Cuts Incoming Class By 33%, Faces $3.8 Million Deficit

UMass 2Boston Globe, Deficit Mounting, UMass Law Cuts Size of Incoming Class; Deficit Is $3.8m, Enrollment Down:

The University of Massachusetts School of Law has a mounting deficit, which hit $3.8 million last fiscal year, a gap expected to widen next year. UMass Dartmouth is picking up the bill for now, that school said.

The law school for now has scrapped plans to increase enrollment and instead decided to cut the size of its incoming class by a third, to 72 students. In addition, the school is not fully accredited by the American Bar Association, a generally accepted stamp of approval in the field. ...

Dean Mary Lu Bilek says the UMass Law School’s goal is “making sure that not only people born with silver spoons in their mouths are making the law.” ...

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May 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

More on Conditional Law School Scholarships

Hunger GamesFollowing up on last week's post, Law School Hunger Games? Profs Debate The Ethics Of Conditional Scholarships

Jerry Organ (St. Thomas), Revisiting Conditional Scholarships:

Having been one of the people who brought attention to the issue of conditional scholarships a few years ago, I feel compelled to offer a few insights on a rekindled conversation about conditional scholarships involving Jeremy Telman and Michael Simkovic and Debby Merritt. ...

While there are other things mentioned by Prof. Telman, Prof. Simkovic and Prof. Merritt to which I could respond, this post is already long enough and I am not interested in a prolonged exchange, particularly given that many of the points to which I would respond would require a much more detailed discussion and more nuance than blog postings sometimes facilitate.  My 2011 article describes my views on competitive scholarship programs and their impact on law school culture well enough.  Accordingly, let me end with one additional set of observations about what has happened with conditional scholarships in an era of increased transparency.

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May 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Texas A&M Law School Dean Is Still Cheerful About The Future Of Legal Education

Following up on my previous posts:

Andrew Morriss (Dean, Texas A&M), Still Cheerful About the Future of Legal Education:

It was a privilege to have three such eminent commentators on my Reasons to Be Cheerful essay. Brian Tamanaha deserves enormous credit for being among the first to sound the alarm on the financial problems of legal education. Sam Estreicher is not only a pioneer in bringing bench, bar, and academy together through his programs at NYU but also deserves some of the credit and/or blame for my presence in the academy. Not only was he enormously helpful and kind in participating in a workshop on my dissertation, he has proven equally helpful and kind ever since. Finally, Ken Randall is not only without peer in the world of deans for his success at the University of Alabama, where I had the privilege of being a faculty member, but has become a good friend. Responding to such eminent commentators is thus a challenge.

Prof. Tamanaha is gloomier than I am, because he thinks tuition levels are too high, debt burdens too great, law schools are admitting unqualified applicants, and bar pass rates are likely to continue to decline. He thinks loans and Income Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay as You Earn (PAYE)  will continue to subsidize bad behavior by law schools and innovation will be blocked or slowed by a combination of faculty resistance and ABA accreditation standards. I think we should be cheerier than Prof. Tamanaha because I think that while there is some truth in each of his concerns, things are better than he recognizes. ...

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May 10, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tacha: Just Mom

Tacha 4TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Just Mom, by Deanell Tacha (Dean, Pepperdine):

As I drove down the street recently, I jerked to attention when I noticed the vanity license plate on the car in front of me. It said simply "Just Mom". My lifelong fascination with the written word went into high gear. I wondered what message the woman driving could be hoping to convey. Those two words carried all the ambiguities that have haunted my generation of mothers. One possible interpretation is that of the boasting stay-at-home Mom who somehow managed to inoculate those of us who chose not to be "just Mom" with a healthy dose of guilt and questioning about what mortal deprivations we had visited upon our children by making the choice to combine motherhood with other professional and economic endeavors. Another possible interpretation is the counterposition. It is the mother who deprecates her other talents, interests, and aspirations by an apologetic admission that she resigns herself to being "just Mom". Neither of these opposing messages resonates with me. The first denigrates and belittles women who have combined motherhood with other occupations. The second diminishes the rich array of talents beyond those required to be a mother that an individual woman possesses. I reject both interpretations.

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May 10, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Why Some Men Pretend To Work 80-Hour Weeks

80 HourNew York Times, How Some Men Fake an 80-Hour Workweek, and Why It Matters, by Neil Irwin:

Imagine an elite professional services firm with a high-performing, workaholic culture. Everyone is expected to turn on a dime to serve a client, travel at a moment’s notice, and be available pretty much every evening and weekend. It can make for a grueling work life, but at the highest levels of accounting, law, investment banking and consulting firms, it is just the way things are.

Except for one dirty little secret: Some of the people ostensibly turning in those 80- or 90-hour workweeks, particularly men, may just be faking it.

Many of them were, at least, at one elite consulting firm studied by Erin Reid, a professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. It’s impossible to know if what she learned at that unidentified consulting firm applies across the world of work more broadly. But her research, published in the academic journal Organization Science [Embracing, Passing, Revealing, and the Ideal Worker Image: How People Navigate Expected and Experienced Professional Identities], offers a way to understand how the professional world differs between men and women, and some of the ways a hard-charging culture that emphasizes long hours above all can make some companies worse off.

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May 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School To Offer 'Deflategate' Course

LiarWashington Post, University of New Hampshire Law School to Offer Deflategate Class:

“They’ll be teaching that at colleges one day.”

Usually when someone says that, it’s about an important scientific discovery, or a nation-altering leader, or a new way of communicating. Something big like that.

Or they could be talking about that time when the New England Patriots (probably) deflated a bunch of footballs to gain a very slight competitive edge and then got caught.

Michael McCann, an attorney who serves as the in-house legal expert for Sports Illustrated and NBA TV and founded the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute, will teach a course simply called “Deflategate” at the University of New Hampshire School of Law this fall.

The 4 credit course will enroll up to 75 students:

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May 9, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

ABA Tax Section May Meeting

ABA Tax Section Logo (2012)The ABA Tax Section May meeting continues today in Washington, D.C. The full program is here. Tax Profs with speaking roles today include:

  • Bankruptcy & Workouts:  Don Leatherman (Tennessee)
  • Diversity:  Allen Madison (South Dakota)
  • Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers:  Robert Peroni (Texas)
  • Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Foreign Lawyers Forum, Transfer Pricing & U.S. Activities of Foreigners and Tax Treaties:  Karen Brown (George Washington)

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May 8, 2015 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Charleston Law School May Not Enroll Students In Fall; Owners Who Withdrew $25m In Profits Refuse To Pay $21k For Graduation Reception; Students With $147k Average Debt Take Up Collection

Charleston LogoPost and Courier, Charleston School of Law May Not Enroll New Students in the Fall:

The Charleston School of Law has been trudging along on life support for months, but could it be about to take its final breath?

While students were taking final exams Tuesday, George Kosko and Robert Carr, the remaining owners of the troubled law school, released a statement that said they might not enroll a new class of students in the fall.

They did not elaborate on what the statement might mean for the future of the for-profit law school, and said they would not make additional comments until next week, when they plan to release an update on the school’s situation.

American Bar Association and state rules prohibit the school from simply closing its doors. If the board decides to close the school, it would have to submit a “teach-out” plan that details how students who already are enrolled would finish their education programs.

In their prepared statement, Kosko and Carr said they could not in good faith enroll another class when “like last year, the school is spending more money than is coming in.”

Post and Courier, Charleston School of Law Scales Back Graduation Events:

If Charleston School of Law’s newest graduates want better than Ramen noodles at their commencement reception, they and their friends are going to have to pay for it.

The troubled law school’s two-member board cut the traditional post-commencement reception from its budget this year — despite pulling in $25 million in profit from the school between 2010 and 2013. The move has pushed student and alumni groups to take up a collection to cover the cost, said Matt Kelly, president of the Student Bar Association.

He and others, through Dean Andy Abrams, have asked board members and owners George Kosko and Robert Carr to reconsider holding the reception, which last year cost $21,000. “We’ve given them two weeks to stand up and do the right thing, but they haven’t,” Kelly said. ...

Tuition at the law school this year is $39,096, and many students borrow more than a $100,000 in student loans to pay for their law degrees.

Above the Law, Law School Cuts Graduation Events To Protect Profits:

Charleston may be a failing law school right now — shortchanging the graduates and turning away 1Ls certainly doesn’t sound like a recipe for success — and closing up shop may be the right thing to do long-term. What Kosko and Carr should do is wrap-up operations covering the shortfall with the millions in profits they personally collected to ensure every current student gets to graduate with the same dignity as their predecessors. There’s more than enough.

But that’s probably not going to happen. No, like Mr. Burns, the powers behind Charleston appear more than willing to trade the goodwill of their students to pinch out just a little bit more. 


May 7, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Stanford B-School Offers Grads $140k To Leave Bay Area

StanfordWall Street Journal, For Stanford’s Business School, Bay Area’s Pull Is Mixed Blessing:

Stanford University’s tech-heavy alumni network, close ties to Silicon Valley and nearby pool of venture investors attract top M.B.A. students. Trouble is, those students don’t leave.

More than half of recent graduates from the M.B.A. program at the Graduate School of Business stay in the San Francisco Bay Area, mainly to join—or start—tech companies. That gives the school, which is near Palo Alto, Calif., formidable contacts in the tech industry and region. But it also limits networking opportunities for some young alumni trying to establish themselves elsewhere, said Madhav Rajan, the program’s dean.

This year the school will offer as many as 13 fellowships, worth over $140,000 each, to foreign students willing to commit to returning home after graduation. ...

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May 7, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Prof Moves, 2015-16

Moves VAP Hire

  • Hayes Holderness (McDermott, Will & Emery, New York) to Illinois

Entry Level Hires

Lateral Moves

Promotions, Tenures, Chairs, and Professorships

  • Steve Arsenault (Charlotte) to Professor of Law With Tenure
  • Craig Boise (Dean, Cleveland-Marshall) to Baker & Hostetler Chair
  • David Herzig (Valparaiso) to Professor of Law With Tenure
  • Benjamin Leff (American) to Professor of Law With Tenure
  • John Plecnik (Cleveland-Marshall) to Associate Professor With Tenure
  • Susannah Tahk (Wisconsin) to Associate Professor With Tenure
  • Robert Wooten (Northwestern) to Professor of Practice

Administrative Appointments


  • Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky) to Indiana-Bloomington (Fall 2015)
  • Danshera Cords (Albany) to Pittsburgh (2015-16)
  • Cliff Fleming (BYU) to Vienna University (Oct. 2015), Central European University (May 2016)
  • Keith Fogg (Villanova) to Harvard (2015-16)
  • David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) to Dule (Fall 2015), Georgetown (Spring 2016)
  • Myron Grauer (Capital) to Ohio State (Fall 2015)
  • Edward Kleinbard (USC) to Stanford (Fall 2015)
  • Sarah Lawsky (UC-Irvine) to Northwestern (Fall 2015)
  • Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Bloomington) to Chicago (Fall 2015)
  • Charlene Luke (Florida) to Boston College (Spring 2016)
  • Gail Richmond (Nova) to Stetson (Fall 2015)
  • Tracey Roberts to UC-Hastings (2015-16)
  • David Schizer (Columbia) to Harvard (Fall 2015), Yale (2016)


For prior years' Tax Prof Moves, see:

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May 7, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

LoPucki: Disciplining Legal Scholarship

Lynn M. LoPucki (UCLA), Disciplining Legal Scholarship, 95 Tul. L. Rev. ___ (2015):

American law schools are hiring large proportions of J.D.-Ph.D.s in tenure-track faculty positions in an effort to increase the quantity and quality of empirical legal scholarship. That effort is failing. The new recruits bring methods and objectives unsuited to law. They produce lower-than-predicted levels of empiricism because they compete on the basis of methodological sophistication, devote time and resources to disputes over arcane issues in statistics and methodology, prefer to collaborate with other Ph.D.s, and intimidate empiricists whose work does not require high levels of methodological sophistication. In short, Ph.D.s impose the cultures of their disciplines on legal scholarship.

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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Federal Judge Allows Prof's Lawsuit Against Law School, Faculty Colleague For Bullying To Proceed

GerberNational Law Journal, Law Prof’s Assault, Workplace Claims Cleared for Trial:

A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit brought by a professor at the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law against the university and a colleague to move forward.

Professor Scott Gerber filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in December 2014, claiming faculty members had bullied him for years and retaliated against his for seeking redress. He also claimed the university mishandled his retirement account and owes him money as a result.

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary on April 30 dismissed four of Gerber’s eight claims, but allowed the remaining four.

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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Silver: The Responsible Way Out Of The Law School Crisis

Jay Sterling Silver (St. Thomas), Pedagogically Sound Cuts, Tighter (Not Looser) Accreditation Standards, and a Well-Oiled Doomsday Machine: The Responsible Way Out of the Crisis in Legal Education, 66 Rutgers L. Rev. 353 (2014):

This Article outlines the actual causes of exorbitant tuition and graduate unemployment, the pedagogical problems posed by the proposed solutions urged upon the ABA as the accrediting body for law schools, and the solutions that will preserve legal education as both a public and a private good.

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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller: College Majors That Produce The Highest (And Lowest) LSATs And UGPAs

MajorAs he did last year, Derek Muller (Pepperdine) has mined the latest data to produce this neat visualization of the college majors that produce the highest (and lowest) LSATs and UGPAs among law school applicants, with this caveat:

One cannot identify causation based upon these scores. Students self-identify majors, sometimes more than one, or sometimes none at all; others self-select into taking the LSAT altogether (opting for medical school, business school, or a lucrative career instead of law school). Therefore, it is emphatically not necessarily the case, based on this data, that these majors cause students to perform better or worse on the LSAT. It simply describes them.

Here are the Top 10 and Bottom 10 college majors by LSAT:

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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

We Would Be Better Off If 30 Law Schools Closed

30Following up on last week's post, Law School Moral Hazard:  Above the Law, We Would Be Better Off If 30 Law Schools Closed:

In Steven J. Harper’s recent article, The Real Moral Hazard: Law Schools Exploiting Market Dysfunction ... he details how misguided bankruptcy policy and unlimited, indiscriminate federal student loans have isolated schools from any accountability. In laying out his case, Harper describes how law schools actually operate in distinct submarkets. He identifies three of these submarkets, each offering drastically different employment prospects for their graduates:

1. National schools
2. Regional schools
3. The “Problematic Submarket”

By Harper’s reckoning, there are 89 law schools in that third category. Generally speaking, most graduates of the Problematics are simply not finding work as lawyers. ... Harper’s prescription for this market dysfunction includes linking a law school’s eligibility for the 100% federal guarantee for its students’ loans to employment outcomes. If a school meets a fixed minimum threshold (he suggests 55%) for placing its graduates in FTLT-JD positions, then it would qualify for the full federal guarantee. Below that threshold, the percentage of the guarantee would adjust downward on a sliding scale.

Independently, our friends at M7 Financial — who really have been on a roll lately with data on law student debt — have reached essentially the same conclusions: there ought to be a rational nexus between federal student loan guarantees and graduate employment. ... The straightforward and unsentimental M7 proposal to reform the legal education market is to reduce the number of ABA-approved law schools. This is hardly a novel idea, and probably seems like common sense to most anyone who is not a law school dean. However, M7 takes the analysis a further step and quantifies its implications. M7 estimates that if the 30 law schools with the highest unemployment rates were excluded from the statistics, then the law school Class of 2014 would have an unemployment rate of 17% (way down from 29%). Moreover, the aggregate student loan burden would be reduced by an estimated $500 million (click to enlarge image):


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May 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Preparing The Online Generation For The Occupational Hazards Of The Legal Profession

Brittany Stringfellow Otey (Pepperdine), Buffering Burnout: Preparing the Online Generation for the Occupational Hazards of the Legal Profession, 24 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 147 (2014):

OnlineThis article explores legal education’s “elephant in the classroom”: the innate psychological toll of the legal profession and legal education’s failure to adequately prepare law students for that reality. This article will address the increasing need for reform by: 1) examining several unique qualities of Millennials and their use of technology; 2) exploring the occupational hazards of lawyering, namely stress, burnout and compassion fatigue; 3) identifying the ways in which technology increases Millennials’ vulnerability to these occupational hazards and subsequent professional impairments; and 4) providing best practices and preventative tools to be used in a professional formation curriculum aimed at preparing Millennial students to thrive in legal practice.

May 6, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New York Becomes 16th State to Adopt UBE, Predicts 'Domino Effect' Will End Local Law Testing In Remaining States

NCBENew York Times, New York State to Adopt Uniform Bar Exam:

New York State will begin using a standard bar examination given in 15 other states next summer, making it the largest state so far to adopt what amounts to a national credential for lawyers, the state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, announced on Tuesday.

While other states already use the so-called Uniform Bar Examination, Judge Lippman said in an interview that he expected the move by New York to result in a “domino effect” with the remaining states, given New York’s prominence in the legal world.

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May 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law School Hunger Games? Profs Debate The Ethics Of Conditional Scholarships

  • Hunger Games 2 Jeremy Telman (Valparaiso), Another Transparency Issue: Conditional Merit-Based Scholarships:  "Students who lose their merit-based scholarships for law school will have to choose whether to continue through two more years of law school at full price, transfer to a less expensive law school, or reconsider career options. It is good to have choices. It makes sense for law schools to continue to use conditional merit scholarships to attract students, and most likely, those students will benefit from the opportunities created by those fellowships, whether they enjoy those benefits for one year or three."
  • Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Are Conditional Scholarships Good for Law Students?:  "Professor Telman ... [makes] a powerful argument. Are conditional scholarships yet another example of critics applying a double standard to paint law schools in the worst possible light?"
  • Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Hunger Games:  "Some law schools ... impose conditions that, because of mandatory curves in required first-year courses, a significant percentage of recipients will fail to meet. It is mathematically impossible for all scholarship recipients to keep their awards at these schools, and the percentage who will fail is quite predictable to the schools. These are hunger-game scholarships."

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May 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

Yale Journal on Regulation Blog Joins Law Professor Blogs Network

LPBN LogoThe Law Professor Blogs Network is thrilled to announce that the Yale Journal on Regulation's Notice & Comment Blog has joined the Law Professor Blogs Network as an affiliate member.  We are delighted to welcome Nicholas Bagley (Michigan), Peter Conti-Brown (Stanford), Andy Grewal (Iowa), Bruce Huber (Notre Dame), Jeffrey Pojanowski (Notre Dame), and Chris Walker (Ohio State) to our fold.

Over the past several months, the Law Professor Blogs Network has launched a number of new blogs:

With the support of our sponsor, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers, the Network is seeking to expand in two ways.

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May 5, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Committee Wants To Either Eliminate Or Expand Admission Of Students Without LSATs

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal, ABA Committee Wants to End Use of Alternative Law School Admission Tests:

An ABA committee is recommending the elimination of a rule that allows most law schools to admit up to 10 percent of their entering classes with students who haven’t taken the Law School Admission Test.

Barring that, the committee is proposing to make the rule applicable to all schools.

The rule, approved last year by the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, currently applies only to students enrolled in undergraduate programs at the same university as the law school and/or students pursuing another degree in addition to their JD.

Applicants admitted under the rule must have scored in the top 85th percentile nationally on one of four standardized college or graduate admissions tests and must either have ranked in the top 10 percent of their undergraduate class or achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better through six semesters of academic work.

The rule was adopted at the request of the section’s accreditation committee to provide a safe harbor and clear guidance to schools that want to use undergraduate admission tests such as the ACT or the SAT or graduate-level admission tests such as the GMAT or GRE as alternatives to the LSAT. It came after 16 schools had been granted variances from the requirement that all applicants must take a test that is valid and reliable in assessing an applicant’s capability of satisfactorily completing the school’s program of legal education. To date, only the LSAT has demonstrated such reliability.

But members of the section’s Standards Review Committee, which met Friday and Saturday in Chicago, are concerned that none of the alternative admissions tests have been shown to be valid and reliable predictors of law school performance.

So they voted to recommend that the council either do away with the rule altogether or amend it in a way that would make it available to all law schools. ...

At its meeting Friday, the committee also voted to recommend:

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May 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, May 4, 2015

NY Times: A Woman-Led Law Firm That Lets Partners Be Parents

GellerNew York Times, A Woman-Led Law Firm That Lets Partners Be Parents:

Ms. Simon is a partner at the Geller Law Group, a six-woman firm, the founding credo of which is family-friendliness and whose stance on office face time is best described as “militantly against.”

In addition to practicing law, Ms. Simon and her law partner, Rebecca Geller, have a near-evangelical determination to show that parents can nurture their professional ambitions while being fully present in their children’s lives. Ms. Simon has such conviction on this point that she is almost personally offended by suggestions it might not be possible. The widely read and debated 2012 essay in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, by Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former State Department official, is a particular source of irritation. “I think women can have it all,” she said. “It’s just based on your paradigm of ‘all.’ ”

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May 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores, 1998-2015

2016 U.S. News RankingsRobert L. Jones (Northern Illinois), Academic Reputation Scores for Law Schools Continue Their Decline in 2015:

This essay summarizes the results of the U.S. News & World Report rankings published in 2015 with respect to the academic reputation scores of law schools.  In addition to analyzing the most recent results for the U.S. News rankings, the essay supplements the more extensive longitudinal study published by this author in 2013 [A Longitudinal Analysis of the U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores between 1998 and 2013, 40 Fla. St. L. Rev. 721 (2013)].  The article also includes updated appendices from the prior study that catalog the U.S. News academic reputation scores for every law school between 1998 and 2015.

Chart A

Chart E

Chart F

Biggest Changes in U.S. News Peer Reputation, 1998-2015

Law School








Michigan State








Texas A&M




Florida State




Georgia State




















New York Law School








Case Western




Wayne State




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May 4, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 3, 2015

New Mexico Dean Resigns After Two Years, Citing 'Poor Fit With Faculty'; New Dean Will Be Selected From Senior Faculty By July 1

HerringDavid Herring has resigned as Dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law after serving two years in the position:

“It’s just a poor fit between me and the law school faculty at this point,” Herring said. “I have certain goals that I articulated from the beginning when I joined this law school about two years ago. The faculty was excited about those goals but now they’ve changed their minds so it’s time to part ways.”

The goals he had highlighted were a “rigorous assessment of student learning outcomes” and to “create incentives for faculty to pursue interdisciplinary, empirical scholarship.”

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May 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Remembering Dan Markel

MarkelIn Memoriam: Dan Markel, 42 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 1-15 (2015):

From Dan's father:

On April 26, 2015 we had the “Unveiling of the Headstone” for Dan.


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May 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

98% Of Harvard Law Faculty Political Donations Go To Democrats

Harvard 2015The Crimson, Harvard Faculty Donate to Democrats by Wide Margin:

Eighty-four percent of campaign contributions made by a group of 614 Harvard faculty, instructors, and researchers between 2011 and the third quarter of 2014 went to federal Democratic campaigns and political action committees, according to a Crimson analysis of Federal Election Commission filings.

During the three years, the Harvard affiliates represented in analyzed public filings gave nearly $3 million to federal campaigns and candidates. Each of Harvard’s schools leaned to the left in the contributions made by their affiliates, many by wide margins. Ninety-six percent of donations in the data set from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which includes Harvard College, supported Democratic efforts. That figure was even higher—nearly 98 percent—at Harvard Law School. Harvard Business School was the most Republican, with 37 percent of its contributions supporting Republicans and 62 percent going to Democrats.


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May 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

ABA Rejects Indy Tech's Accreditation; Law School Calls It A 'Temporary Setback'

Indiana Tech Law SchoolFort Wayne News Sentinel, Indiana Tech Law School Fails in First Bid for Accreditation:

An ABA committee has recommended against accreditation for Indiana Tech's two-year-old law school, but officials say the decision was not unusual and should represent only a temporary setback. ...

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May 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Slate: Is The Lost Generation Of Law School Graduates Still Lost?

Slate (2015)Slate:  Is the Lost Generation of Law School Graduates Still Lost?, by Jordan Weissmann:

The class of law school students who graduated immediately after the Great Recession is sometimes referred to as the industry's lost generation, thanks to the barren job market that left so many young J.D.'s struggling to find work. Of course, 2010 and 2011 weren't really a great time for anybody in the United States. But the legal business seemed to be experiencing a special sort of meltdown, with big firms laying off droves of young lawyers and rescinding offers to new recruits. Both because it appeared that law firms might be suffering a permanent correction—shrinking after having grown too quickly, too fast during the good times—and because firms tend to hire entry-level talent straight out of school, there was a sense that those whose careers had been derailed by the downturn might never recover.

So what happened next?

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May 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

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May 1, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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May 1, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Harper: Law School Moral Hazard

Moral HazardSteven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern), Bankruptcy and Bad Behavior — The Real Moral Hazard: Law Schools Exploiting Market Dysfunction, 23 Am. Bankr. Inst. L. Rev. 347 (2015):

The widespread discussion about the market for law graduates ignores an essential fact: it's not a single market at all. Employment opportunities vary dramatically across schools, yet tuition prices fail to reflect those differences. As a consequence, many schools with the worst placement rates burden their students with the highest levels of educational debt. How is that possible?

The answer is market dysfunction. Current federal student loan and bankruptcy policies encourage all law school deans to maximize tuition and fill classrooms, regardless of their students' job prospects upon graduation. This law school moral hazard combines with prelaw students' unrealistic expectations about their legal careers to produce enormous debt for a JD degree that, for many graduates, does not even lead to a JD-required job.

This article proposes a way to identify three distinct law school submarkets [24 National Law Schools, 88 Regional Law Schools, 89 Problematic Law Schools]. Using those submarkets, it offers a plan to create a more functional market that enhances law school accountability, encourages meaningful price differences among schools based on outcomes, and spurs innovation.

Here are the 24 National Law Schools:

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April 30, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

ABA Releases Class of 2014 Law Graduate Employment Data

ABA Logo 2Following up on Saturday's post, Class of 2014 Law School Job Placement Rankings:  Press Release, ABA Releases Law Graduate Employment Data for Class of 2014:

Law schools reported a slight rise in the percentage of 2014 graduates obtaining entry-level jobs compared with 2013 and a slight decline in the total number of jobs, according to figures announced today by the American Bar Association's accrediting body. The two numbers are explained, in part, by the decrease in law school graduates from 2013 to 2014.

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar released aggregate national data on law graduate employment outcomes for the class of 2014 and posted individual schools' post-graduate employment figures online. An online table also provides select national side-by-side comparisons between the classes of 2014 and 2013.

The nation's 204 ABA-approved law schools reported that roughly 10 months after graduation, 31,160 graduates of the class of 2014, or 71 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time positions where bar passage is required or a J.D. is preferred. The 2014 figures break down as follows:

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April 30, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A J.D. Is The Sixth Best Graduate Degree For Jobs In 2015

Payscale LogoFortune, Best and Worst Graduate Degrees for Jobs in 2015:

PayScale crunched the numbers for Fortune and identified the grad degrees that lead to lucrative careers — and those that lead to high stress and low pay.

It’s that time of year when college graduates ponder their future plans, and those heading for more higher learning put down deposits for grad school tuition. In a knowledge economy, the pay gap is the widest it’s been in a generation, between those with more education, versus those with less. Which degrees are the best investment?

To determine the best and worst graduate degrees for jobs, Fortune consulted the careers site, PayScale. The site considered the full-range of graduate degrees, including Ph.D.s, master’s degrees, and law degrees.

The ranking is based upon these factors:

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April 29, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Ajay Mehrotra Named Director of American Bar Foundation

MehrotraAmerican Bar Foundation Names New Director:

The American Bar Foundation has announced that Ajay K. Mehrotra, Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Law at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, has been appointed Director of the American Bar Foundation, effective September 1, 2015. He is also appointed a full Research Professor at the ABF and will become a professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law. Mehrotra succeeds Robert L. Nelson, Director and MacCrate Chair in the Legal Profession and Professor of Sociology and Law at Northwestern University, who will return to full-time research and teaching.

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April 29, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Brookings Value-Added College Rankings

BrookingsBrookings Institution, Beyond College Rankings: A Value-Added Approach to Assessing Two- and Four-Year Schools (press release, report, FAQ):

New data and analysis of two - and four - year schools released today by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program provides fresh insight into how well colleges prepare students for high-paying careers.

The report is the first to develop measures of “value added” for a broad array of two- and four-year colleges. To do so, it analyzes data on economic outcomes for graduates of these institutions, adjusting them for the characteristics of their students at the time they are admitted, and other factors. The resulting measures capture the contributions that the colleges themselves make to their graduates’ eventual economic success. ... Compared to popular college rankings, the value-added method focuses on how well colleges contribute to student economic success, rather than simply their ability to attract top students.

Brookings ranked over 7,000 colleges.  The six four-year colleges with the biggest gap between  predicted and actual midcareer earnings for graduates are Cal-Tech, Carleton, Colgate, MIT, Rose-Hulman, and Washington & Lee:

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April 29, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Don't Law Professors Play Well With Others?

PlayMichael I. Meyerson (Baltimore), Law School Culture and the Lost Art of Collaboration: Why Don't Law Professors Play Well with Others?, 93 Neb. L. Rev. 547 (2015):

I have an Erdős number. Specifically, I have an Erdős number of 5. For the uninitiated, the concept of an “Erdős number” was created by mathematicians to describe how many “degrees of separation” an author of an article is from the great mathematician Paul Erdős. If you coauthored a paper with Erdős, you have an Erdős number of 1. If you coauthor a paper with someone with an Erdős number of 1, you have earned an Erdős number of 2. Coauthoring a paper with someone with an Erdős number of 2 gives you an Erdős number of 3, and so on.

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April 29, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

North Carolina Legislation Would Require All UNC Faculty To Teach Eight Courses Per Year

UNC LogoChronicle of Higher Education, N.C. Legislation Would Set teaching Load at 8 Courses a Year:

A bill introduced in late March in the North Carolina General Assembly has set college faculty members across the state abuzz with a bold suggestion:  Require all professors within the University of North Carolina system to teach at least eight courses each academic year.

Senate Bill 593, titled "Improve Professor Quality/UNC System," would reduce the salary of any professor who fails to hit that annual mark. ..

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April 29, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (20)

McGinnis: The New Architecture of Legal Education

John O. McGinnis (Northwestern), The New Architecture of Legal Education:

One can think of higher education as providing three distinct services: transferring information and skills, signaling the quality of students to employers, providing professional networking opportunities for students.

Nothing better represents the decline of the first function than the plight of the university library. Historically, universities have flourished in part because of exclusive access to information, not just in the books they owned but also in the professors they employed. But their monopoly is fast eroding with the rise of the internet. Every year I have been at Northwestern, I have noticed fewer people in the library on my trip there. I now rarely cross its threshold myself: almost everything I need is available with a few keyboard strokes or mouse clicks. And, with its strict norms of silence and fragmented space, the library is not well-suited to networking. ...

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April 29, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tom Brennan Leaves Northwestern For Harvard

BrennanThomas Brennan (Northwestern) has accepted a tenured lateral offer from Harvard, effective July 2015:

Also trained as a mathematician, Brennan focuses his research on the use of finance and economics to analyze and inform tax policy, as well as the use of empirical methods to investigate the effects of tax laws and the strategic behavior of taxpayers. In addition, he analyzes how finance and economics can inform other areas of the law, with a recent focus on regulations designed to limit risk, and he applies mathematical methods to gain insight into the theory of finance.

“Tom is a triple-threat: his detailed knowledge of contemporary finance and tax, his talent for integrating doctrinal and empirical studies, and his teaching each reveal meticulous and rigorous work and imagination,” said Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School. “His rigorous, empirical study of a wide range of subjects – from tax law to judicial decisions – yields important analyses of policy effectiveness and powerful lessons for law students, practitioners, policymakers, and scholars. Plus his generosity and kindness pervade his teaching and his collegiality. We are thrilled to welcome this wonderful alum to our faculty.”

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April 28, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

ATL's 2015 Law Revue Video Contest

Above the Law has announced the six finalists in its 2015 Law Revue Video Contest. My two favorites are (click on Vimeo/YouTube button on bottom right to view video directly on Vimeo/YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate):

Harvard Law School — Rather Read:

Columbia Law School — Fed Soc:

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April 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

State Law School Job Placement Rankings: CA, NY, And DC/MD/VA

Job Placement RankingsDerek Muller (Pepperdine) has created state-by-state law school placement rankings by full-time, long-term, bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions (with and without school-funded jobs):

For a national ranking of every law school by full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, see here.

April 28, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ohio State Law Grad Has $328,000 Of Student Loan Debt

Ohio State LogoABA Journal, Law Grad From Ill-fated Class of 2010 Had $328K in Student Debt and Worked Three Jobs:

The numbers were bad for law grad Hyatt Shirkey.

He graduated from Ohio State’s law school in 2010—a particularly tough year for Ohio law grads, according to a study by a law professor at the school, Deborah Jones Merritt. And he had $328,000 in student debt, according to the New York Times. TaxProf Blog noted the story.

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April 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, April 27, 2015

InfiLaw Op-Ed On Charleston Law School's Deteriorating Financial Position

Infilaw CharlestonCharleston Post and Courier op-ed:  CSOL on Shaky Ground, by C. Peter Goplerud (President, InfiLaw Management Solutions):

I know that there are rumors and frustrations concerning the future of the Charleston School of Law. I, too, am very concerned and believe that it is in the best interests of the community and South Carolina Bar that, with or without InfiLaw, the school continues to survive. The CSOL was already in a fragile position when we signed the agreement almost two years ago to acquire it. Like most law schools, it was facing the challenging prospects of falling enrollment as legal employment and, as a result, law school applications were declining rapidly, just as they were throughout the nation.

Moreover, since 2010, the owners have taken $25 million in distributions, depriving the school of capital to withstand a downturn in the economy. Unlike schools affiliated with a university system, the Law School has no source of financial support other than tuition....

Unfortunately, our efforts to acquire the Law School ran into opposition based on arguments that we believed were either without basis in fact or clouded by bias against a business model that ironically is the same as that of the CSOL. ... [N]o serious or credible offer to acquire the Law School ever materialized, even though we allowed the school to consider such an offer by waiving our binding purchase agreement. And all the while, the situation at the CSOL has continued to deteriorate:

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April 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ryan Receives St. Louis Faculty Scholarship Award

RyanCongratulations to Kerry Ryan (St. Louis), who received the St. Louis Law School Faculty Award For Exceptional Legal Scholarship today for her article, EITC as Income (In)Stability?, 14 Fla Tax Rev. 583 (2014):

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April 27, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Love and Merit

New York Times op-ed:  Love and Merit, by David Brooks:

There are two great defining features of child-rearing today. First, children are now praised to an unprecedented degree. As Dorothy Parker once joked, American children aren’t raised; they are incited. They are given food, shelter and applause. That’s a thousand times more true today. Children are incessantly told how special they are.

The second defining feature is that children are honed to an unprecedented degree. The meritocracy is more competitive than ever before. Parents are more anxious about their kids getting into good colleges and onto good career paths. Parents spend much more time than in past generations investing in their children’s skills and résumés and driving them to practices and rehearsals.

These two great trends — greater praise and greater honing — combine in intense ways. Children are bathed in love, but it is often directional love. Parents shower their kids with affection, but it is meritocratic affection. It is intermingled with the desire to help their children achieve worldly success.

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April 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)