TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Law School Deans:  How To Avoid Sinking Your Ship Like Captain Ahab

AhabLawProfBlawg, Deans: How To Avoid Sinking Your Ship:

Recent events compel me to update my column about how deans can totally assure that they will have a disastrous term.  It doesn’t take much for a dean to create controversy, even when none may be warranted, depending on the history of the school and the history of those who once held that esteemed position at that school.

It’s easy to talk about the absolutely mean, contemptuous, evil souls who run around the dean market. But what about those who are trying hard to make a difference and still come out scathed? What did they do wrong? Deans, if you are in this boat, here’s what you did wrong.

Continue reading

September 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

$10 Million Gift To Wayne State Law School To Honor Departing Dean Jocelyn Benson

BensonFollowing up on last week's post, Jocelyn Benson, Youngest Woman To Ever Lead An American Law School, Steps Down From Wayne State To Be CEO Of National Campaign In Sports For Equality:  Press Release, Ross, Gilbert Donate Largest Gifts in Wayne Law History, Totaling $10 Million:

Real estate developers, professional sports team owners and alumni Stephen M. Ross and Dan Gilbert today announced their intentions to donate $5 million each to Wayne State University Law School, for a joint gift of $10 million.

Both gifts represent the largest donations in the law school’s history.

Ross and Gilbert’s gifts will create the Benson Legacy Fund for Wayne Law and the Benson Endowed Enhancement Fund for Wayne Law. Ross and Gilbert named the funds in recognition of Wayne Law Dean Jocelyn Benson and her successful efforts as dean to elevate the law school’s national reputation and prestige.

Continue reading

September 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2017 U.S. News College Rankings

US NewsU.S. News & World Report today released its 2017 College Rankings. Here are the Top 25 National Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges (along with their 2014-2016 rankings):

2017

Rank

 

National Universities

2016

Rank

2015

Rank

2014

Rank

1

Princeton

1

1

1

2

Harvard

2

2

2

3

Chicago

3

4

5

3

Yale

3

3

3

5

Columbia

4

4

4

5

Stanford

4

4

5

7

MIT

7

7

7

8

Duke

8

8

7

8

Penn

9

9

8

10

Johns Hopkins

10

12

12

11

Dartmouth

12

11

10

12

Cal-Tech

10

10

10

12

Northwestern

12

13

12

14

Brown

14

16

14

15

Cornell

15

15

16

15

Notre Dame

18

18

18

15

Rice

18

19

18

15

Vanderbilt

16

17

17

19

Washington (St. Louis)

15

15

14

20

Emory

21

21

20

20

Georgetown

21

21

20

20

UC-Berkeley

20

20

20

23

USC

23

25

23

24

Carnegie Mellon

23

25

23

24

UCLA

23

23

23

24

Virginia

26

23

23

Pepperdine is ranked #50 (tied with Florida, Penn State, and Villanova, above #54 Ohio State and University of Washington).

Continue reading

September 13, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Ohio Northern Welcomes 59 1Ls, Down 15% From Last Year (51% From 2010)

Ohio Northern LogoOhio Northern University College of Law (unranked by U.S. News (#168 in peer reputation)) welcomed 59 1Ls this Fall, down 15% from last year's 69 (and 51% from 2010's 120). Despite the enrollment decline, Ohio Northern's 25% LSAT fell to 143 in 2016 (from 144 in 2015), and their 25%/50%/75% LSAT of 143/148/152 is down from 149/154/156 in 2010. Here are Ohio Northern's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

Continue reading

September 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Brooklyn Welcomes 350 1Ls, Down 11% From Last Year (28% From 2010)

Brooklyn Logo (2016)After suffering perhaps the largest decline among American law schools in LSAT scores of its entering class from 2010 (162/163/165) to 2015 (152/155/158), despite a 19% reduction in 1L enrollment (from 486 to 394), with a corresponding 30-place cratering in its U.S. News ranking (from 67 to 97), Brooklyn welcomed 350 1Ls this Fall (an additional 11% reduction from 2015) with across the board improvement in LSAT scores:  154/156/159.  Here are Brooklyn's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

Continue reading

September 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tulsa Law School Slashes Tuition 35%; Last Year, 100% Of Students Got Scholarships, 54% Average Tuition Discount

TulsapreLaw, University of Tulsa Slashes Tuition 35%:

The University of Tulsa College of Law will cut tuition by 35 percent for students entering in 2017 through its new Access to Legal Education Tuition.

Tuition at the private school had risen 10 percent over the past three years, to $37,960 for students entering this fall. But next year, tuition will be just $24,600.

“This tuition reduction is designed to be really transparent about the cost of legal education,” said Dean Lyn Entzeroth. ...

Continue reading

September 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Average Private Law School Tuition Discount: 28% (55% W&L, 54% WashU, 53% Case)

How Much Does Law School Really Cost?, preLaw, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2016, at 26:

[T]he vast majority of law schools discount their tuition through scholarships, some as much as 50 percent. The average tuition discount for private law schools was 28 percent in 2014-15, up from 25 percent the year before. ...

The ABA makes available the number of scholarships per school, the percentage of students receiving scholarships, the median scholarship amount and the scholarship amounts at the 25th and 75th percentiles. With this data. preLaw estimated the average grant amount and the average tuition discount per school. (PreLaw focused on private schools only because it is difficult to determine how much public schools discount, given that most have two tuition rates — one for residents and one for non-residents.)

Here are the nine law schools with tuition discounts in excess of 50%, and the ten law schools with tuition discounts under 15%:

Continue reading

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering September 11th At Pepperdine: Life, Death, And Light

Waves

Pepperdine University to Honor 9/11 Victims with Waves of Flags Display:

On Saturday, September 10, Pepperdine University’s Alumni Park will become home to the University’s ninth annual Waves of Flags installation. The display will commemorate the lives lost in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Waves of Flags will feature a display of a total of 2,977 full-size flags—2,887 American flags for each American life lost and 90 various international flags representing the home countries of those from abroad who died in the 9/11 attacks.

On September 10, at 1 PM, a group of over 150 volunteers, including Pepperdine faculty, staff, students, and Malibu community members, will join together to install and raise the flags.

The installation became a Pepperdine tradition in 2008 when the College Republicans, inspired by a similar display, wanted to bring the tribute to the University. Now in its ninth year, Waves of Flags has become a significant service project for the Pepperdine community. ...

In addition to the Waves of Flags installation, the University is the permanent home of Heroes Garden, a public space for visitors to reflect and honor all those who live heroic lives, including Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. (MBA ’95), a passenger on United Flight 93 whose life was cut short in the 9/11 attacks.

Heores Garden

Continue reading

September 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

UC-Berkeley Law School Dean's Return Stirs Campus Outrage

UC Berkeley (2016)Following up on last week's posts:

Daily Californian editorial, Choudhry Does Not Belong on UC Berkeley Campus:

Sujit Choudhry’s open letter in The Daily Californian’s opinion section demonstrates unequivocally that the former UC Berkeley School of Law dean still has no meaningful concept of his actions, their implications or sexual harassment in general. His diatribe weaves together the most prevalent tactics of sexual violence perpetrators — survivor shaming, self-victimization and false apologies — and further emphasizes why he does not belong on campus. ...

In the ongoing battle to create an environment where all people, particularly survivors of sexual violence, feel safe and supported on campus, Choudhry’s presence is a step in the wrong direction.

Choudhry implored readers of his op-ed to refrain from judgment until they understood the facts on both sides. His account has been published — in his own repugnant words. He can no longer hide behind the claim that his side has not been heard.

Daily Californian, Tyann Sorrell’s Statement:

When I read Professor Sujit Choudhry’s letter in The Daily Californian, I groaned, and then belted out the biggest, loudest and longest scream. I screamed for myself and UC Berkeley. I screamed for everyone who has been sexually harassed, including those who are too scared to come forward to accept, name and report what they are experiencing. Choudhry’s letter made me scream because it demonstrates how sexual harassment, including its profound effects, continues to be misunderstood, misaddressed and openly denied.

Continue reading

September 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

University Of Houston Gets Patent Office To Suspend South Texas's Trademark Application For 'Houston College Of Law'

Houston South TexasFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Houston Chronicle, Not So Fast: UH Brings Temporary Halt to Rival Law School's Trademark Efforts:

The downtown law school known for most of its existence as the South Texas College of Law has hit another snag in its rebranding effort.

While the freshly renamed Houston College of Law awaits a judge's ruling in a federal lawsuit filed by its crosstown rival the University of Houston Law School, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has officially suspended the application for a logo featuring the scales of justice with its new name, on the heels of a complaint filed by UH.

The private law school, which opened 93 years ago, applied for the trademark on May 12. It began using its new name and logo - a peachy red-and-white image of balanced scales of justice with the words "Houston College of Law" and "Established in 1923" beneath - on billboards, promotional materials and letterhead shortly thereafter.

Continue reading

September 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Police Reach Out To Feds As Tensions Flare With Prosecutor Over Decision Not To Charge Adelson Family In Markel Murder; Ex-Brother-in-Law Discussed Killing Undercover Agent

Adelson Family

Following up on yesterday's post, Adelson Family Will Not Be Charged In Dan Markel's Murder Despite Circumstantial Evidence Released By Police (Including $1 Million Offer To Allow Children To Move To Miami, Communication And Money Trail To Hit Men):

Tallahassee Democrat, Tensions Flare in Markel Case After Unexpected Document Drop:

After two years of investigation into the murder-for-hire plot of Dan Markel, prosecutors are unlikely to approve the arrest of his former in-laws.

Police chipped away at leads, drafting arrest affidavits filled with evidence laying out investigators’ case against Charlie and Donna Adelson, the brother and mother of Markel’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson.

Documents detailing their theories were made public Thursday.

But State Attorney Willie Meggs said the speculations of police investigators do not make a case for murder. 

TPD's release of the documents is an indication of the tension between police — who have devoted extensive resources to piece together evidence — and prosecutors, who must rely on that evidence to try to secure a conviction.

Continue reading

September 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Faculty Office Hours: The Cure For FMOOWMP
(Fear of Meeting One-on-One With My Professor)

From Arizona State:

September 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Adelson Family Will Not Be Charged In Dan Markel's Murder Despite Circumstantial Evidence Released By Police (Including $1 Million Offer To Allow Children To Move To Miami, Communication And Money Trail To Hit Men)

Adelson FamilyProbable Cause First Degree Murder/Principal First Degree Murder:

Daily Mail, Brother-in-Law Will NOT Be Charged in Murder of FSU Professor Who Was Locked in Vicious Custody Battle With His Sister Despite Years of Police Investigation:

The former brother-in-law of a prominent Florida State University law professor will not be charged in the alleged murder-for-hire plot that led to his death.  Charlie Adelson and his girlfriend Katherine Magbanua have both avoided charges in the murder of Dan Markel, the Tallahassee Police Department have revealed. ...

State Attorney Willie Meggs approved charges against Garcia and Rivera, but did not feel there was sufficient evidence to go forward with cases against Adelson and Magbanua.  Meggs said no additional arrests will be made in the case unless more evidence is found.

Garcia is the father of Magbanua's two children. In the three months before the murder, he called her 2,700 times, according to investigators. ... A number of phone calls also occured between midnight and 1am among Adelson, his mother Donna, Magbanua and Garcia on July 18, the day Markel was murdered. ...

The probable cause affidavit also reveals that in the days and months after the murder Garcia purchased a new car and motorcycle, according to WCTV. Records show Rivera also purchased a motorcycle within 10 days of the murder.

Meanwhile, Magbanua began receiving checks from Adelson and his father's dental practice, the Adelson Institute, from September 2014 to January 2016. In the year prior to Markel's murder, Magbanua was making cash deposits that totaled $15,000. In the months after the murder she was making deposits totaling $44,000, the affidavit states. ...

The probable cause affidavit for Charles Adelson revealed a judge refused to allow Wendi to move her sons to South Florida in June 2013. It states that the family then discussed paying Markel $1million to allow the children to relocate. ...

Wendi Adelson and several of her family members said in a statement earlier this month that speculation they had a role in Markel's murder is 'categorically false'.

Tallahassee Democrat, Documents Detail Potential Links to Markel's In-Laws:

Continue reading

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Students, Alleged Victim Of Sexual Harassment By Former UC-Berkeley Law School Dean Protest His Return To Campus

UC Berkeley (2016)Following up on Monday's post, Despite UC President Napolitano’s Previous Ban, Former UC-Berkeley Law Dean Still On Campus:

The Daily Californian, An Open Letter From Sujit Choudhry About Sexual Harassment:

To the students of the UC Berkeley School of Law:

Last week, I went to work in my office on campus. I understand that this has caused some of you confusion or even alarm. I know many of you thought I had been banned from campus. But even in times of controversy, and in fact especially in times of controversy, the facts still matter. The undisputed fact is that I am not and have never been banned from campus. There is not, and has never been, any legal or factual basis for banning me. I have the right to go to work. I am exercising that right, peacefully and unobtrusively.

Continue reading

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

Religious Diversity At Pepperdine

Once of the things I love most about Pepperdine is the religious diversity of faculty, staff, and students. Today, to conclude our week-long series of events commemorating Diversity Week, faculty members of four different faith traditions (Sukhsimranjit Singh, Naomi Goodno, Ahmed Taha, and Michael Helfand) participated in a lunchtime conversation about faith moderated by Pepperdine University Chaplain Sara Barton (left) and Dean of Graduate Studies Al Sturgeon (right).

Diversity Week

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

Does Learning To Code Make You A Better Lawyer?

ABA Journal (2014)ABA Journal (Sept. 2016), Hacking the Law: Does Learning to Code Make You a Better Lawyer?:

Learning to code can be portrayed as an essential job skill for all Americans, advocates say. But do lawyers need to learn it?

Continue reading

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

LSAT, Law School GPA, Journals, Moot Court, Contracts, Evidence Predict Bar Exam Success; UGPA, Clinics, Con Law, Crim Law, Crim Pro, Property, Torts Do Not

Texas Tech Logo (2016)Katherine A. Austin (Texas Tech), Catherine Martin Christopher (Texas Tech) & Darby Dickerson (Dean, Texas Tech), Will I Pass the Bar Exam?: Predicting Student Success Using LSAT Scores and Law School Performance:

Texas Tech University School of Law has undertaken a statistical analysis of its recent alumni, comparing their performance in law school with their success on the Texas bar exam. The authors conclude that LSAT predicts bar exam success while undergraduate GPA does not. The study also replicates findings in previous literature that both 1L and final law school GPA predict bar exam success.

Continue reading

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

Want To See The Inside Of A Faculty Meeting? Go To A Zoo

Faculty MeetingLawProfBlawg, Want To See The Inside of A Faculty Meeting? Go To A Zoo:

The neat thing about faculty meetings is the chance to see the people around the law school you very rarely see. All in the same room. Thus, it is vitally important you embrace these rare opportunities and be happy about them. Or so I’m told. But beyond all else, it is important to recognize how we really haven’t gotten too far from the animal kingdom. ...

Continue reading

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

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Harvard Law Review Inducts Most Diverse Class Of Editors In History

HarvardHarvard Crimson, Law Review Inducts Most Diverse Class of Editors in History:

For the first time in the publication’s nearly 130-year history, the Harvard Law Review inducted a group of editors this year whose demographics reflect those of their wider Law School class—including the highest-ever percentages of women and students of color.

The demographic composition of the new editors—who were selected over the summer—reflects the broader makeup of the Law School’s class of 2018, according to numbers provided by Harvard Law Review President Michael L. Zuckerman ’10. Forty-six percent of the incoming editors are women, an increase of about 10 percentage points from an average of the past three years. Forty-one percent are students of color, compared to the same three-year average of 28 percent on the Law Review. Both roughly reflect the corresponding breakdown of the wider Law School class.

Continue reading

September 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Jocelyn Benson, Youngest Woman To Ever Lead An American Law School, Steps Down From Wayne State To Be CEO Of National Campaign In Sports For Equality

BensonCrain's Detroit Business, Wayne State Law Dean Takes Post as CEO of Ross Initiative:

Wayne State University’s law school dean of nearly four years, Jocelyn Benson, is stepping down to become CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, founded by Wayne Law alumnus and The Related Cos. Chairman Stephen Ross.

Benson, 38, replaced Robert Ackerman as interim dean in December 2012, and became permanent dean in 2014 of the Detroit-based law school with more than 400 students and about 140 employees. She was previously associate director of the law school’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, and has been a faculty member since 2005.

The Ross initiative, a nonprofit founded in 2015, is led by representatives of sports organizations including the NFL, NBA and MLB, to improve U.S. race relations. Benson also becomes a special adviser on philanthropic investments to Ross. She is expected to make the transition later this month.

Continue reading

September 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Bard:  Law Schools As Baskin Robbins? Disentangling Correlation From Causation In Addressing Curriculum Challenges

BRJennifer S. Bard (Dean, Cincinnati), Disentangling Correlation from Causation in Addressing the Contemporary Challenges of the Law School Curriculum:

The disconnect between the actual curriculum of law schools in the United States meeting the ABA Standards for Accreditation and the multiple calls to reform that curriculum in order to create “practice ready” lawyers and increase bar passage is national in its scope and has led to considerable tension both in and out of the academy. I wrote this piece, Not Your Parents' Law School, last February to put the balance of classroom and experiential learning in context, but the on-going calls to increase bar passage, lower costs, cut a year out of the curriculum, and increase hands-on skills instruction continue to create a climate of considerable dissonance. If that wasn't hard enough, we are trying to address these issues in an environment where everyone involved has not just their own opinion, but their own facts. Baskin Robbins wouldn't launch a new flavor based on evidence equal to the paucity of reproducible research that supports either the claims about the scope of legal academe's problems or the proposals for solving them.

Continue reading

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

Did Wayne State Give Donor Too Much Control Over Curriculum, Dean's Salary In $40 Million Gift To B-School?

Wayne State 2Inside Higher Ed, Wayne State Donor Agreement Goes Under the Microscope:

Terms of a pizza-and-sports magnate family’s $40 million gift to build Wayne State University’s business school have come under scrutiny in Detroit, with clauses about donor consultation on curriculum and dean pay catching attention in particular.

But while a donation agreement between Wayne State and Michael and Marian Ilitch reveals intriguing details about the current tricks of the trade in university fund-raising, much of it is actually keeping with current trends. The university maintains that those much-dissected provisions on pay and curriculum aren’t out of the ordinary — even though many continue to worry it could leave open the door for the big-name donors to exert undue influence.

Others say that if anything is out of lockstep with current practices, it’s the length of the naming rights being awarded. The donation agreement calls for the school to be named after Michael Ilitch in perpetuity. But even if many of the conditions — including details on how the donors are to be recognized — are honored, others are raising concerns of faculty members. ...

Continue reading

September 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The 100 Most Influential People In Tax And Accounting

Accounting Today CoverI am honored to be included on the list of Accounting Today's 100 Most Influential People in Tax and Accounting for the eleventh consecutive year:

A prolific blogger, Caron’s widely read site thoroughly covers the latest developments in the field of tax, particularly with his ongoing coverage of the scandal involving IRS employees’ extra scrutiny of tax-exempt applications from conservative groups. Caron also blogs extensively about issues related to academia.

Accounting Today also mentioned tax bloggers in its discussion of Just a Few More ...:

We need to find a way to cram more people into the Top 100, because new and interesting people keep rising up to change the profession. Until we can get 150 or so people into a 100-person list, however, we offer our annual list of Ones to Watch — men and women whose influence is waxing, and whom we’ll be keeping an eye on. ...

While we’ve long noted the influence of tax blogger Paul Caron, many others are now using the blogosphere to share tax information, analysis, insights and, occasionally, humor. This year we’re going to cite two, both of whom appear on Forbes.com: WithumSmith+Brown partner Anthony Nitti (who also writes on taxes for many other outlets, and frequently teaches well-received CPE courses), and Kelly Phillips Erb, a tax lawyer whose Tax Girl blog draws lots of eyeballs. And while we’re on the subject of taxes, you might want to keep an eye on Howard Gleckman, a fellow at the Tax Policy Center think tank, whose thoughts on tax policy are often sought after by the mainstream media.

I am honored to be on the Top 100 list with such high-powered people in the tax and accounting worlds, including:

Continue reading

September 6, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Bard:  Not Your Parent's Law School—The Role Of Case Analysis In An Increasingly Skills-Based Curriculum

CBAJennifer S. Bard (Dean, Cincinnati), Reflections on Contemporary Legal Education: The Role of Case Analysis in an Increasingly Skills-Based Curriculum, Cin. Bar Ass'n Rep., Feb. 2016, p. 5:

Anyone who attended law school more than 15 years ago would likely be very surprised at today’s curriculum. The days when law school was a self-contained, threeyear period consisting entirely of 50-minute hours in which a professor might ask a single person questions about an appellate opinion for the entire class period are gone. Today, most professors bring the world of law practice into their rooms through guest lectures, field trips, or problem sets requiring students to apply what they have learned. Beyond what goes on in individual classes, all law students can experience a balance between courses devoted to analyzing cases and learning tools, like drafting and oral advocacy, that allow them to use their knowledge of the law for the benefit of their clients. Finally, today’s law students can get experience representing people with real legal problems, in closely supervised clinics, as well as working with practicing attorneys in work placements.

Continue reading

September 6, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Papers:  Iowa-ACTEC Symposium On Wealth Transfer Law In Comparative And International Perspective

IowaACTECThe University of Iowa College of Law and American College of Trust and Estate Counsel have issued a Call for Papers for a symposium on Wealth Transfer Law in Comparative and International Perspective, to be held at the University of Iowa College of Law on Friday, September 8, 2017, with the papers to be published in the Iowa Law Review:

Continue reading

September 6, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Abreu:  McGonagall Replies to Snape on Taxes—'Be Proud Of The Tax Law You Have, Rather Than The One You Wish You Had'

McGonagalTaxProf Blog op-ed:  McGonagall Replies to Snape on Taxes, by Alice G. Abreu (Temple):

Because Professor Minerva McGonagall is my favorite member of the Hogwarts faculty, particularly as played by the inimitable Dame Maggie Smith, and because she and Severus Snape led rival houses, here’s how I think she would reply to Adam Chodorow’s reimagined Snape, who as a TaxProf warns his students on the first day of class that because there is “little foolish argument by analogy here, many of you will hardly believe this is law.”

Humph . . . It’s high time you learned to be proud of the tax law you’ve got, rather than the one you think you ought to have.

Our rival houses are the House of Tax Exceptionalism and the House of Tax as Everylaw. Snape as a TaxProf may wish that the tax law were exceptional, different from other fields of law in such fundamental ways that it is perhaps not law at all, but that is not the tax law we actually have.

Continue reading

September 6, 2016 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Perdue:  Law Schools, Universities, And The Challenge Of Moving A Graveyard

Rethinking 2Wendy Collins Perdue (Dean, Richmond), Law, Universities, and the Challenge of Moving a Graveyard, 50 U. Rich. L. Rev. Online 3 (2015) (reviewing Carel Stolker, Rethinking the Law School: Education, Research, Outreach and Governance (Cambridge University Press 2015)):

The last five years have been difficult ones for American legal education. With applications to law schools declining 40% nationally, many schools are struggling to maintain quality in the face of significant budgetary pressures. But one component of the legal-education world has been robust: there is a boom market in books, articles, reports, websites, and blogs filled with criticism and even anger at the current state of legal education. There are many villains in these narratives—greedy universities that suck resources, self-absorbed faculty who are indifferent to their students, and dishonest deans willing to misrepresent their current reality—and many victims—duped college graduates and lawyers leading miserable lives of tedium, long hours, and depression.

Against this dark narrative genre, Carel Stolker’s new book, Rethinking the Law School, stands in sharp contrast. Having been both a law school dean and university president at Leiden University in The Netherlands, Stolker brings the perspective of a dean who has sought to innovate, and of a university president who has dealt with the political, academic, financial, and managerial complications of a modern university. The book offers a broad look at legal education around the world, along with a thoughtful exposition of the challenges facing law schools and law deans. Stolker is no cheerleader for the current state of legal education, but recognizing that “the nature, content and quality of legal education is a subject that flares up frequently and dies down again,” he approaches the issues without the shrillness and anger that characterize some of the current commentary. He also leavens his realism with some welcomed humor, noting, for example that “changing a university is like moving a graveyard, you get no help from the people inside.” ...

Continue reading

September 6, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Despite UC President Napolitano’s Previous Ban, Former UC-Berkeley Law Dean Still On Campus

UC Berkeley (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Daily Californian, Despite Napolitano’s Previous Ban, Former Berkeley Law Dean Still on Campus:

Former UC Berkeley School of Law dean Sujit Choudhry will be on campus this semester working in his office, according to an email sent Thursday by interim Berkeley Law dean Melissa Murray to law faculty, staff and students.

Earlier this year, UC President Janet Napolitano asked Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to ban Choudhry from campus for the remainder of the spring semester after a former employee sued him for sexual harassment.According to Choudhry’s lawyer William Taylor, however, the ban was never implemented by Dirks, and Choudhry retained access to campus for that time.

Continue reading

September 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fired Medical School Professor Shoots Dean

MountInside Higher Ed, Police: Dean Shot by Fired Professor:

Authorities have charged Hengjun Chao, a former assistant professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, with attempted murder for shooting the school's dean and another man Monday morning at a deli in Chappaqua, N.Y. Chao is being held in jail. ...

[R]evenge is believed to be a motive in the shooting of Dennis Charney, who is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The other man who was shot was treated at a hospital and released.

Mount Sinai officials confirmed that Chao was dismissed in 2010. He then sued Mount Sinai in federal court and lost at the district court level and in a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

In the latter ruling, the appeals court rejected Chao's claims that the medical school and its officials -- including Charney -- defamed him and denied him his rights in finding that he engaged in research misconduct. The appeals court found that Mount Sinai officials had been "presented with substantial evidence indicating that Chao had committed research misconduct." The case involved alleged data fraud, which Chao denied.

Continue reading

September 4, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Horwitz:  Another Upside of Being A Law Professor—Chronic Illness

Paul Horwitz (Alabama), Another Upside of Being an Academic: Chronic Illness:

I have been generally sick the past two years and had ankle replacement surgery this summer—a pleasant bookend to my last summer, which featured fusion surgery on my other ankle. I will say as a quick side-note that although it's relatively early, both surgeries appear to have gone very well and I'm looking forward to brighter days. 

Chronically-ill-academic pieces are kind of a genre at this point [e.g., here, here, here, and here], and I've written here before on living with chronic pain and illness. ... [G]iven that my skill set as a blogger, such as it is, involves saying professionally imprudent things, but at such length that no one notices, I thought I'd add two points—one mildly contrarian, the other mildly "rude"—that I haven't seen made much of in the law professor posts I've seen on the subject of academics and chronic pain or illness [e.g., here, here, and here].

The first is that, all things considered, one has to be counted as damned lucky to be an academic if one has to be chronically ill. The usual narrative and counter-narrative about law professors, certainly post-2008 but before then too, involves claims on the one side that law professors, like many other academics, wallow in free time and light duties, and extravagant claims on the other about 80-hour weeks and how much harder one works as a legal academic than one did in private practice. Both are exaggerated and both obscure the single greatest academic privilege concerning the use of one's time: flexibility. With few exceptions, law professors and other academics (although we are probably even better situated) have incredibly few fixed time commitments. Sure, we sometimes work long hours (though not as much or as often as the defenders assert). But for the most part we choose whether and when to do so. And, apart from classes and some service obligations, long pauses between major professional activities are easily—no doubt too—available. ...

Continue reading

September 3, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

LSAT Takers By State, 2010-2016

Keith Lee, LSAT: Don’t Call It A Comeback:

The number of LSAT takers have been on the decline since 2009. This continual downward trend put immense pressure on law schools to shrink class sizes, admit less qualified students, and focus on employment outcomes for graduates. ... It appears that LSAT takers bottomed out last year. In 2014, there were 69,448 LSAT takers. In 2015, there were 71,492 takers, a 2.94% increase.

AM1B

Continue reading

September 3, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Networks Are More Responsible For Career Success Of Young Lawyers (And Everyone) Than Achievements

Keith Lee, Social Behavior More Indicative of Career Success Than Achievements:

Many freshly minted lawyers (and law students) are concerned about their career opportunities. Things have never really been the same since 2007. Law firms continue to shed excess lawyers and defer the start of new associates. Or they just don’t hire new lawyers at all. Here’s a chart I made in 2015 if you need a visualization.

ALM 3

In this environment, new lawyers are doing everything they can to get hired and then stay hired. They’re working harder, better, faster, stronger. Many new lawyers likely focus on their achievements to display their competence when it comes to their work. Yet evidence suggests defining success by “achievement” and “competence” might actually be detrimental to career success. ... [P]eople who are able to emphasize social relationships and adaptability are more likely to find career success in an organization than those who exclusively pursue work achievements. ...

Continue reading

September 2, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Drake Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Drake LogoDrake University Law School invites applications from entry level and lateral candidates for a tenure-track or tenured position beginning in the 2017-18 academic year:

We are especially interested in candidates with demonstrated interest or experience in Wills and Trusts or Taxation. Qualifications include: a record of academic excellence, substantial academic or practice experience, and a passion for teaching. Appointment rank will be determined commensurate with the candidate’s qualifications and experience.

Continue reading

September 2, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

UCLA Graduate Student Body President Leaves Law School For NYU Due To Anti-Israel Harassment

UCLA LogoDaily Bruin, Former Graduate Stduent Association President to Leave UCLA, Finish Law School at NYU:

Former Graduate Students Association president Milan Chatterjee announced he will leave UCLA for his last year of law school.

In a letter dated Aug. 24 and addressed to Chancellor Gene Block, Chatterjee claimed to have been bullied and harassed by members of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.

Continue reading

September 2, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Professor Goes on Hunger Strike Following Denial Of Tenure By President And Board, Following 12-1 Favorable Faculty Committee Vote

RojoInside Higher Ed, Going Hungry for Tenure:

Lafayette professor goes on a hunger strike to protest what he sees as irregularities and injustices in his failed tenure bid. He is the latest minority professor to raise questions about fairness of teaching evaluations.

Professors who think they’ve been treated unjustly in their tenure bids have protested in a variety of ways, including lawsuits and social media campaigns. Juan Rojo, an assistant professor of Spanish at Lafayette College, is doing something different, and arguably harder. After receiving the final word on his failed tenure bid last month, he announced at a faculty meeting this week that he was going on a hunger strike until his job is restored. Rojo’s main contention is that his bid was approved by two separate faculty bodies — one unanimously — before it was a rejected by Lafayette’s president, Alison Byerly, over concerns about his teaching. Much of the evidence she cited against him was taken from student evaluations of teaching, which can be highly subjective.

Continue reading

September 2, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Reuven Avi-Yonah Leaves Michigan For UC-Irvine

Avi-YonahPress Release, University of California, Irvine School of Law Welcomes New Faculty, Largest First-Year Class in School's History and New LL.M. Program:

University of California, Irvine School of Law has hired four new full-time faculty members, bringing the total number of full-time professors to 48. ... All of these new faculty members are leading scholars and skilled practitioners in their respective areas of expertise. ...

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah
Professor Avi-Yonah specializes in corporate and international taxation, international law and legal history. His scholarship focuses on defining the underlying principles of an international tax regime and what consequences follow from these principles for the allocation of tax revenues among countries and for the taxation of multinational enterprises. He will join UCI Law in fall 2017 from University of Michigan Law School, where he has been the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law and Director of the International Tax LL.M. program.

Continue reading

September 1, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (3)

Jerry Brown Vetoes 50-Hour Pro Bono Mandate For California Bar Admission, Citing 'Skyrocketing' Costs Incurred By Students Who 'Struggle To Find Employment'; Instead, Focus Should Be On Lowering Costs Of Law School And Bar Exam

California State Bar (2014)Veto Message (Aug. 29, 2016):

I am returning Senate Bill 1257 without my signature.

This bill requires an applicant for membership in the State Bar to complete at least fifty hours of supervised pro bono legal service. It also requires that a practicing lawyer or law professor supervise the student.

I certainly support law students and lawyers providing pro bono legal services. Some law schools already promote volunteerism and pro bono service in various ways and many employers also require a certain amount of pro bono hours for associates and clerks. While I commend the author for his desire to further these efforts, I don't believe a state mandate can be justified.

Continue reading

September 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

July 2016 Bar Exam Scores Rise, But Remain Near All-Time Low Amidst Declining LSAT Scores

MBEDeborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Surprise: MBE Scores Rise in 2016:

Erica Moeser, President of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, sent a memo to law school deans today. The memo reported the welcome, but surprising, news that the national mean score on the MBE was higher in July 2016 than in July 2015. Last year, the national mean was just 139.9. This year, it’s 140.3.

That’s a small increase, but it’s nonetheless noteworthy. LSAT scores for entering law students have been falling for several years.

Continue reading

September 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chodorow:  Snape On Taxes

SnapeTaxProf Blog op-ed:  Snape on Taxes, by Adam Chodorow (Arizona State):

Every fall, as I prepare to teach again after a 3-month hiatus, I am reminded of a scene from the first Harry Potter book. The students, some bright-eyed, others fearful, file into Professor Snape’s dungeon classroom for their first Potions class. Glaring out at his students, he introduces them to the subject he loves, but which he fears they will barely comprehend. The passage reads as follows:

You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making,” he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word – like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort. “As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses…I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death – if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.

What if Snape taught tax? Many of our students would likely equate the two subjects. Regardless, with apologies to J.K. Rowling, here’s what I imagine he would say:

Continue reading

September 1, 2016 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

SubscribeWe offer three ways to have TaxProf Blog content automatically delivered to your computer, tablet, or smart phone:

RSS Feeds:  You can subscribe to one of three different feeds to receive TaxProf Blog posts via your RSS reader:

Email:  You can subscribe to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email through one of three approaches:

  • FeedBlitz:  Enter your email address here to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email, delivered to you either daily, every 12 hours, every 8 hours, every 4 hours, or hourly (at your option).
  • TaxProf Blog Tax Email Service:  Email me to be added to my twice daily (during the week) and once daily (on the weekend) emails to the TaxProf Discussion Group with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on tax topics.
  • TaxProf Blog Legal Education Email Service:  Email me to be added to my email distribution list with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on legal education topics.

September 1, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Revised ABA Law School Accreditation Standards

ABA Logo (2016)ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Memorandum on Adoption and Implementation of Revised Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, Criteria for Accepting Credit for Student Study at a Foreign Institution, and Criteria for Summer and Intersession Programs Offered by ABA-Approved Law Schools in a Location Outside of the United States (Aug. 31, 2016):

At its meeting in March 2016, the Council approved changes to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools. The changes had been circulated for Notice and Comment and a public hearing was held on January 29, 2016. The following amended Standards and Rules of Procedure became effective upon concurrence by the ABA House of Delegates at its meeting on August 8-9, 2016:

  • Standard 304: Simulations Courses, Law Clinics, and Field Placement
  • Standard 305: Other Academic Study
  • Standard 307(a): Studies, Activities, and Field Placements Outside the United States
  • Interpretation 311-1: Academic Program and Academic Calendar

Continue reading

September 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Support TaxProf Blog By Shopping On Amazon

Amazon-associatesTaxProf Blog participates in the amazon.com affiliate program. You can help support TaxProf Blog at no cost to you by making purchases through Amazon links on the blog and through the "Shop Amazon" tab on the header at the top of the blog:

Header

and the search box in the right column of the blog:

Amazon Search

September 1, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Is The ABA Using Dallas, Ave Maria Law Schools As Scapegoats To Deflect Criticism From Department Of Education?

UNTAMInside Higher Ed, ABA Tightens Up:

The ABA takes a hard line on two law schools' admissions standards amid criticism that the group's accrediting arm is not doing enough to help struggling law-school graduates.

Earlier this month, the ABA’s accrediting arm recommended against approving the University of North Texas-Dallas College of Law, citing low admissions test scores of entering students. Days later, it found Ave Maria Law School in Florida out of compliance with its standards, again citing admissions practices.

The bar association also has considered tightening bar-passage standards to make them tougher for schools to meet. Taken together, the moves might indicate a tougher approach at a time when law-school graduates are facing a tougher job market with ever-growing debt loads.

The struggles of law-schools' former students have led to increased criticism of the association and the schools. That scrutiny came to a head in a summer meeting of the federal panel that oversees higher education accreditors, who grilled ABA leaders over their monitoring practices and suspended the group from accrediting new institutions for one year.

Continue reading

August 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Rotunda:  Why Does The ABA Charge Different Fees To Different Authors To Use Model Ethics Rules?

ABA Logo (2016)Ronald D. Rotunda (Chapman), The ABA Wants Copyright Royalties From Authors Who Publish the Law:

  • The ABA requires law schools to study the ABA Model Rules (even if those Rules are not law).
  • Law students must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), which is based on the ABA Model Rules, even if those Rules are not law. When the ABA amends its Model Rules, the MPRE automatically follows the change, usually within one year even if no state adopts the ABA change.
  • Law professors (or at least some of them) must prepare teaching materials on the ABA Model Rules.
  • This is the interesting part: The ABA is prohibiting many authors (but not all) from using the ABA Model Rules unless they first pay hefty royalties to the ABA. ...

Continue reading

August 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Battle Over Plummeting Bar Exam Pass Rates Is Roiling Legal Education

ABA Journal (2014)ABA Journal (Sept. 2016), Bar Fight: Exam Passage Rates Have Fallen, but Battles Over Why and What It Means Are Roiling Legal Education:

David Frakt is a lawyer, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve and a former law professor who has studied the relationship between LSAT scores, undergraduate grades, law school performance and bar passage rates. But he may be better known as the candidate for dean of the Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville (which had a July 2015 first-time bar pass rate of 59.3 percent) who was asked to leave the campus in the middle of his presentation to faculty and staff. He had dared to suggest that the school was risking its accreditation by admitting too many students with little or no chance of ever becoming lawyers.

Frakt concedes that some applicants with modest academic qualifications can excel in both law school and practice, but he says there’s a point below which a candidate’s aptitude for legal studies and legal reasoning is highly predictive of failure. “However dedicated and skilled law professors and academic support staff may be,” Frakt maintains, “there is only so much they can do with students with no real aptitude for the study of law. They are not miracle workers.”

Frakt was shown the door in 2014, which may seem to be old news. The problem is that much of current bar passage news isn’t much different. To be plain, it has been lousy:

  • The mean test score on the February administration of the Multistate Bar Examination fell significantly for the fourth consecutive time, down 1.2 points from 2015 to a dismal 135—its lowest score since 1983.
  • February’s decline followed an even bigger drop in the average score on the July 2015 administration of the exam, which fell 1.6 points from July 2014 to 139.9, its lowest level since 1988. (July and February results are not comparable because the test pool is smaller and has more repeat test-takers.)
  • And last year’s poor showing followed the single biggest year-to-year drop in the average MBE score in the four-decade history of the test, from 144.3 in 2013 to 141.5 in 2014.

The numbers don’t lie, but proffered explanations for the descent in bar exam scores leave serious questions about what’s happening with law school admissions, legal education and even the quality of legal representation in the future.

Continue reading

August 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)