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Monday, January 12, 2015

More Debate Over 2016 New Lawyer Job Projections

Matt Leichter, 10 Ways to Falsify Law Graduate Employment Doomsayers:

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles professor Theodore Seto’s response to my American Lawyer article on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ proposed change to how it measures the replacement rate for lawyers ... raises an interesting question worthy of further consideration. He writes:

But we should all remember (myself included) that the best legal counselors, when faced with new evidence, adjust their advice accordingly. They do not simply attack the evidence. ...

here’s a list of events one could point to (and would probably need to) to predict that things will be better for grads in 2016.

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January 12, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Top 10 Law School Stories Of 2014

Video: Jerry Organ on How to Get a Law Degree For Less

The Legal Broadcast Network, How to Get a Law Degree For Less: Professor Jerry Organ Explains His Study Results:

A recent study suggests that prospective law students can get an affordable education if they are strategic about their school choice and select a school based on the size of available scholarship awards rather than prestige. That’s the conclusion of Professor Jerry Organ based on his study on law school tuition, reported in the National Law Journal’s story Study Looks At How to Get a Law Degree For Less. He discusses his conclusions in this report, which he presented at a recent meeting of the Association of American Law Schools.

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

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Troubling Decline of 25th Percentile LSAT Scores at 'Bottom-Feeder' Law Schools

LSAT (2015)Bloomberg Businessweek:  Getting Into Law School Is Easier Than It Used to Be, and That's Not Good, by Natalie Kitroeff:

Getting into law school with low test scores is easier than it used to be. 

Low scores on the Law School Admission Test have dipped at most schools in recent years, a new report shows. A paper released last month by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the nonprofit that creates part of the bar exam, shows that since 2010, 95 percent of the 196 U.S. law schools at least partially accredited by the American Bar Association for which the NCBE had data lowered their standards for students near the bottom of the pack.

[See pages 7-11 of the The Bar Examiner, Vol. 83, No. 4 (Dec. 2014) for this data on all 200 law schools: ]

Change

Standards aren't just falling at lower-tier schools—Emory University, ranked among the top 20 U.S. law schools by U.S. News and World Report, had the single largest drop in LSAT scores for this group, enrolling bottom-tier students who'd scored nine points worse than three years earlier (on a test where 120 is the lowest score and 180 is the highest score.) In fact, 20 of the 22 U.S. News top-20 schools—there was a three-way tie for 20th place—were enrolling students with lower test scores. Across all schools, LSAT scores for the 25th percentile dropped an average of three points. ...

The median LSAT score across all schools has also declined, by 1.7 points from 2010-13, according to the LSAC. Academically weaker students aren't the only thing threatening U.S. law schools—first-year enrollment is down 28 percent across ABA-accredited schools since 2010. Emory's enrollment declined 21 percent from 2010 to 2013. 

Chart

Below are the schools that saw the 25th-percentile LSAT score drop the most of over 200 accredited U.S. law schools from 2010 to 2013.

-9:   Emory (to 157)
-7:   Arizona Summit (141), Charlotte (141), Elon (146), Suffolk (145)
-6:   Arizona (155), Ave Maria (141), Baylor (156), Faulkner (142), Illinois (157), New England (145), Valparaiso (141), Vermont (147), Villanova (153), Western New England (145), Willamette (148)

The 2014 data is available here.

The Faculty Lounge:  Parsing the Bloomberg Businessweek Article on Law School Admissions, by David Frakt (Barry):

The Bloomberg article mostly gets it right, but misses some important points that only someone well-versed in LSAT scores and law school admissions practices would know, and gets a couple of things flat wrong.  In this post, I will identify and explain some of the points they missed or misinterpreted.

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January 10, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015: The Year That the Law School Crisis Ended (Or Not)

American Lawyer LogoThe American Lawyer:  2015: The Year That the Law School Crisis Ended (Or Not) -- Part I, by Steven J. Harper (Northwestern):

Remember that you read it here first: In 2015, many law school deans and professors will declare that the law school crisis is over. After five years of handwringing, relatively minor curriculum changes at most schools, and no improvement whatsoever in the mechanism for funding legal education, the storm has passed. All is well. What a relief.

The building blocks for this house of cards start with first-year law school enrollment that is now below 38,000 – a level not seen since the mid-1970s when there were 53 fewer law schools. The recent drop in the absolute number of future attorneys seems impressive, but without the context of the demand for lawyers, it’s meaningless in assessing proximity to market equilibrium, which remains far away.

To boost the projected demand side of the equation, the rhetoric of illusory equilibrium often turns to the “degrees-awarded-per-capita” argument that Professor Ted Seto of Loyola Law School – Los Angeles floated in June 2013. His premise: “Demand for legal services…probably increases as population increases.”

“Unless something truly extraordinary has happened to non-cyclical demand,” Seto continued, “a degrees-awarded-per-capita analysis suggests that beginning in fall 2015 and intensifying into 2016 employers are likely to experience an undersupply of law grads, provided that the economic recovery continues.”

If only wishing could make it so. The economic recovery did, indeed, continue, but the hoped for increase in attorney demand was nowhere to be found. When Seto posted his analysis, total legal services employment (including non-lawyers) at the end of May 2013 was 1,133,800. At the end of November 2014, it was 1,133,700.

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January 9, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

The Evolution of Legal Careers: The Case of Big Law Associates

Christine Riordan (MIT), The Evolution of Legal Careers: The Case of Big Law Associates:

The legal profession, long an example of a well established professional occupation, has been remade by a combination of technology, which permits outsourcing of work, as well as changing economics within Big Law as customers become more sophisticated and demanding regarding staffing a billing. As a consequence the careers of young associates have been transformed with the probability of making partner diminished. At the same time outsourcing of low level work, such as document review, has the potential for enabling associates to do more interesting work that better develops their skills. This paper, based on interviews with a sample of Big Law associates, will explore the changing nature of legal careers and the implications of these changes for the life chances of young lawyers.

January 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Harvard Law School Prevails in Defamation Lawsuit by 2009 Grad Over Plagiarism Reprimand

National Law Journal, Harvard Law Prevails in Graduate’s Defamation Lawsuit:

WalkerHarvard Law School did not defame a graduate by reprimanding her for plagiarizing a law review article, a federal judge has ruled [Walker v. Harvard College, No. 12-10811 (D. Mass. Dec. 30, 2014)].

Judge Rya Zobel of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts granted summary judgment in a lawsuit brought in 2012 by Harvard Law graduate Megon Walker against the university, law school administrators and two former classmates.

Walker, who graduated in 2009, said in her complaint that the law school committed breach of contract by failing to follow its disciplinary procedures during its investigation into her alleged plagiarism. Moreover, she said, the placement of a reprimand on her transcript was defamatory and cost her a job with a prestigious law firm.

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January 8, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Measuring Faculty Scholarly Impact Through 'Citation Wake' Analysis

Citation WakePhys.org, Assessing Scientific Research by 'Citation Wake' Detects Nobel Laureates' Papers:

Ranking scientific papers in order of importance is an inherently subjective task, yet that doesn't keep researchers from trying to develop quantitative assessments. In a new paper, scientists have proposed a new measure of assessment that is based on the "citation wake" of a paper, which encompasses the direct citations and weighted indirect citations received by the paper. [Stefan Bornholdt & David F. Klosik, The Citation Wake of Publications Detects Nobel Laureates' Papers] The new method attempts to focus on the propagation of ideas rather than credit distribution, and succeeds by at least one significant measure: a large fraction (72%) of its top-ranked papers are coauthored by Nobel Prize laureates. ...

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January 8, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Parental Gap Year: Should You Move to Where Your Child Goes to College (Or Law School)?

Gap YearUSA Today, Too Close? These Parents Moved to College With Their Kids:

Lori Osterberg and her husband are lifelong Denver folk, but they got restless and intended to relocate for adventure’s sake once their only child left home for college.

Well, long story short, they did that. Sort of.

Rather than following the sun down to Mexico, they followed their daughter to Portland, Oregon, where she is a sophomore. While still taking long weekends and other trips to Canada and California, the couple bought an apartment near campus that all three share.

“We’re calling it our gap year. We’re here for now, with the possibility of extending throughout her college career,” Osterberg said. “We’re taking it one year at a time.”

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January 8, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Organ: The Variable Affordability of Law School: How Geography and LSAT Profile Impact Tuition Costs

National Law Journal, Study Looks At How to Get a Law Degree For Less:

Despite rising tuition rates, law school can be more affordable if prospective students are strategic about where they study and select a school that offers the largest available scholarship award—even if it’s not the best school they can get into.

That’s the takeaway from research [The Variable Affordability of Law School: How Geography and LSAT Profile Impact Tuition Costs] by University of St. Thomas School of Law professor Jerome Organ, who has spent years studying enrollment, cost and admission trends. He presented his findings on Monday during the Association of American Law School’s annual meeting in Washington. ...

The trend toward higher tuition has obscured the reality that there are lower-priced schools, primarily in the Midwest, and that students with higher LSAT scores in general will pay far less if they opt for schools ranked lower than would otherwise qualify to attend, Organ said. His findings support the long-standing concern that tuition paid by students with lower LSAT scores often subsidizes scholarships for higher-scoring classmates. ...

Organ used 2012 American Bar Association data on student LSAT scores and first-year student scholarship rates to determine what students with different scores actually pay—known as net tuition. He assumed the largest scholarships went to students with the highest LSAT scores. He also looked at the interplay between LSAT scores, costs and schools’ U.S. News & World Report ranking.

Chart 1

On average, students with LSAT scores of 165 or higher attended higher-ranking law schools, but they didn’t necessarily pay the least. However, students with LSAT scores of 150 or lower on average attended the lowest-ranking schools and paid the highest net tuition.

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January 7, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The 25 Most Influential People in Legal Education

25

The Most Influential People in Legal Education (2014), The National Jurist (Jan. 2015):

Some of the most influential are also the most hated people in legal education. We name those who are Innovators, Intellectuals, Controversial and -- to be sure -- Loathed.

I am honored to be #6:

We used to think of people devoted to blogging as doing so sitting in their par­ents' basement, wearing a bath­ robe, unshaven, with empty Miller bottles next to them.

That is not Paul Caron, who is in the Intellectual category. He runs both the TaxProf Blog and The Law Professor Blog Network, where one can find just about everything hot and current about law at your fingertips. A column from The New York Times on a falling law school? He's got a link to it. An article on the downsizing of law schools and what it means? He links to it. A paper on the correlation and con­cordance between the CR.4 Index and the Herfindahl-Hirscham Index? Yep, you can find that there as well.

Caron, one of the leading tax scholars in the nation, makes the list for the first time thanks in part to the power of blog­ging, which has become a hot mechanism for debate and information sharing in the legal community. The Law Professor Blogs Network, which Caron owns, sponsors more than 40 blogs in an assortment of legal areas. More than 100 deans, professors and lawyers contribute.  

Here are the 10 Most Influential People in Legal Education:

  1. Bill Henderson (Professor, Indiana)
  2. Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine)
  3. Brian Leiter (Professor, Chicago)
  4. Martin Katz (Dean, Denver)
  5. David Yellen (Dean, Loyola-Chicago)
  6. Paul Caron (Professor, Pepperdine)
  7. Brian Tamanaha (Professor, Washington University)
  8. Kyle McEntee (Founder, Law School Transparency)
  9. Frank Wu (Dean, UC-Hastings)
  10. Blake Morant (Dean. George Washington)

Update:  ABA Journal, Indiana University Law Professor William Henderson Named 'Most Influential' Person in Legal Ed

January 7, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Mike Livingston: Tax Prof, Blogger, Fiction Writer

LivingstonTax Prof Michael A. Livingston (Rutgers-Camden) has returned to the blogosphere with From Milan to Mumbai 2.  In one of his first posts, he reveals that he has written three short stories:

  • Avi's Story: A Day in the Life of a Middle-Tier (But In All Other Respects Outstanding) Law Professor:  "[A] brief fiction piece describing a day in the life of a professor at a respectable but nonelite law school in the contemporary period. The article uses humor and irony to address several issues in the legal academy including race and gender relations, US News and other law school rankings, and the economic crisis. It spares no one, including the narrator, but does so in a playful and constructive way."
  • The Descent of Man:  "Mordecai Lomza is a tax professor with a family in the suburbs and a subscription to every available magazine. His life is ordinary until Martha Malinconica, an old friend from law school, makes him an unusual proposal. A story about love, work, and gender roles in the 21st century."
  • Iced Cortado: A Twenty-First Century Story:  "Avi Shalatzki is a somewhat cranky law professor and a committed Republican with strong views on race, gender, and just about everything else. His worldview begins to disintegrate when he meets Cassandra Coen, a 20-something entrepreneur who frequents the same cafe. A story about love, politics, and generational differences in a changing--or is it disintegrating?--society."

January 7, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Harvard: How to Grow a Law Professor

Harvard Law School Logo (2014)How to Grow a Law Professor, Harvard Law Bulletin (Fall (2014)):

For many years it was possible to get a job as a law professor mainly by performing brilliantly as a law student and then clerking for a prestigious appellate court. Over time, there’s been an increased focus on candidates’ publication records, and as a result: “Promising entry-level candidates need to show a track record of writing and publishing scholarship,” says Susannah Barton Tobin ’04, managing director of the Climenko Fellowship Program and assistant dean for academic career advising at Harvard Law School.

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

'Crap-Free' University Websites

In advance of Monday's college football championship game, the University of Oregon has paunched a branding initiative theat includes a re-designed website.  Inspired by this chart:

Chart

the "Unofficial Organ on the University of Oregon" has launched a competing "Crap-Free" University of Oregon website. (Hat Tip: Jack Bogdanski.)

January 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Andrew Guzman (UC-Berkeley) Named Dean at USC

GuzmanAndrew Guzman, Jackson H. Ralston Professor of Law and Associate Dean, International and Executive Education, at UC-Berkeley has been appointed Dean of USC Gould School of Law, effective July 1, 2015.  From the announcement:

Professor Guzman is highly qualified to lead the Gould School of Law as it continues to advance its already-outstanding reputation and influence.  He will join USC form the University of California, Berkeley. ... Professor Guzman has distinguished himself as one of the nation's leading scholars of international law and has proven success in academic leadership. ...

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

Rosy Job Scenario for Econ Profs

Econ 3Inside Higher Ed, Econ Jobs Are Up:

The start of the calendar year is a big time for gatherings of academics, and reports about the state of the job markets in various disciplines. New data on economists continue a trend of better news for the social sciences than for the humanities.

In the 2014 calendar year, the American Economic Association listed 3,051 jobs, an increase of 9.4 percent from the total in 2013. ... The good news for economics Ph.D.s contrasts with the more difficult environment in humanities disciplines, many of which also gather this month for annual meetings and (for many colleges) a preliminary round of interviews for openings:

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

Monday, January 5, 2015

Will a Cheap Engagement Ring and Wedding Help Your Marriage?

SSRNThis paper from SSRN's list of the most downloaded papers of 2014 caught my eye:

Andrew M. Francis (Emory University, Department of Economics) & Hugo M. Mialon (Emory University, Department of Economics), ‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration:

In this paper, we evaluate the association between wedding spending and marriage duration using data from a survey of over 3,000 ever-married persons in the United States. Controlling for a number of demographic and relationship characteristics, we find evidence that marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony.

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January 5, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Seto: Law School Value Added As Measured by Bar Passage

California State Bar (2014)Following up on my previous posts:

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Law School Value Added As Measured by Bar Passage, by Theodore Seto (Loyola-L.A.):

The fact that Stanford graduates pass the California bar exam at higher rates than Cal Western graduates is not particularly interesting. Stanford is chock full of students who were good test-takers before they started law school; Cal Western is not. Their relative first-time bar pass rates therefore tell us little about the value added by either school. Nor do they tell applicants much about which school will better prepare them for the bar exam, should that be their goal.

I have therefore reanalyzed California schools’ July 2014 California first-time bar pass rates controlling for incoming LSATs – specifically, the average of the 25th percentile and 75th percentile LSATs of each school’s 2011 incoming class (“average LSATs”). As one might predict, average LSATs and bar pass rates are highly correlated (r = .86).

This, in turn, allows me to generate predicted bar pass rates – that is, the rates at which schools’ graduates would be expected to pass if average LSATs and bar pass rates were perfectly correlated. And this, in turn, permits an estimate of each school’s value added, as measured by bar passage. Here are the results, ranked by average LSAT:

 

25% LSAT

75% LSAT

Average LSAT

Bar Pass Actual

Bar Pass Predicted

Difference

Stanford

167

172

169.5

87.6

91.78

-4.18

UC Berkeley

164

169

166.5

88.3

85.28

3.02

UCLA

164

169

166.5

81.7

85.28

-3.58

USC

165

167

166.0

86.6

84.19

2.41

UC Irvine

163

167

165.0

77.1

82.02

-4.92

UC Davis

161

165

163.0

85.6

77.69

7.91

Pepperdine

158

165

161.5

77.7

74.43

3.27

UC Hastings

157

165

161.0

68.3

73.35

-5.05

Loyola

158

163

160.5

79.9

72.26

7.64

San Diego

158

162

160.0

72.7

71.18

1.52

Santa Clara

157

161

159.0

60.4

69.01

-8.61

McGeorge

155

160

157.5

60.5

65.76

-5.26

Chapman

154

160

157.0

74.8

64.67

10.13

San Francisco

155

159

157.0

61.4

64.67

-3.27

Southwestern

152

157

154.5

54.4

59.25

-4.85

Cal Western

150

156

153.0

71.3

56.00

15.30

LaVerne

150

155

152.5

65.5

54.91

10.59

Golden Gate

150

155

152.5

43.8

54.91

-11.11

Western State

149

155

152.0

58.8

53.83

4.97

Whittier

149

154

151.5

42.7

52.74

-10.04

Thom Jefferson

148

153

150.5

44.7

50.58

-5.88

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January 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

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

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

Today's AALS Annual Meeting Highlights

AALSToday's highlights at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.:

  • Retirement Policy: Incremental v. Fundamental Reform (8:30 - 10:15) (Maryland Suite B, Lobby Level):  Norman Stein (Drexel), Nancy Altman (Social Security Works), Daniel Halperin (Harvard), Regina Jefferson (Catholic)
  • Differential Affordability: Understanding the Net Cost of Law School (10:30 - 12:15) (Maryland Suite A, Lobby Level):  Michael Dean (Mercer), Jerome Organ (St. Thomas)
  • Tenure, Austerity, and Academic Freedom (10:30 - 12:15) (Delaware Suite B, Lobby Level):  Anthony Paul Farley (Albany), Tayyab Mahmud (Seattle), Natsu Taylor Saito (Georgia State), Terry Smith (DePaul), Donna Young (Albany)
  • Merit Scholarship Policies and the Impact on our Classes and Legal Education (10:30 - 12:15) (Maryland Suite B, Lobby Level):  R. Jay Shively (Wake Forest), Susan Bogart (Penn State), Cary Cluck (Mississippi), Tracy Simmons (McGeorge)

January 5, 2015 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Today's AALS Annual Meeting Highlights

AALSToday's highlights at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.:

  • Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) Breakfast and Annual Members Meeting (7:15 - 8:30) (Marriott Balcony B, Mezzanine Level)
  • Full-time, Long-term Bar Passage Required: Understanding the New Legal Job Market (8:30 - 10:15) (Maryland Suite C, Lobby Level):  Adam Chodorow (Arizona State), James Leipold (NALP), Regina Pisa (Goodwin Procter, Boston)
  • Bringing Numbers into Basic and Advanced Business Associations Courses: How and Why to Teach Accounting, Finance, and Tax (10:30 - 12:15) (Virginia Suite A, Lobby Level) Jeffrey Lipshaw (Suffolk), Lawrence Cunningham (George Washington), Andrew Haile (Elon), Usha Rodrigues (Georgia), Christyne Vachon (North Dakota), Eric Chaffee (Toledo), Franklin Gevurtz (McGeorge)
  • Taxation, Inequality, and Social Mobility (2:00 - 3:45) (Thurgood Marshall North, Mezzanine Level):  Miranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego), Miles Corak (Ottawa), Lily Kahng (Seattle), Edward McCaffery (USC), James Repetti (Boston College), Kerry Ryan (St. Louis)

January 4, 2015 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pepperdine Reception Tonight at the AALS Annual Meeting

Pepperdine LogoIf you are at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.:  please stop by the Pepperdine reception tonight from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. to say hello (and enjoy some wine and hors d'oeuvres before Markelfest).  The reception is in the Marriott Wardman Park, Center Tower Suite 1022.

Update:  Photo from post-reception Tax Prof dinner:

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January 3, 2015 in Conferences, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Today's AALS Annual Meeting Highlights

AALSToday's highlights at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.:

  • Designing a Regulatory System for the Age of Decentralized Virtual Currencies (8:30 - 10:15) (Delaware Suite, Lobby Level):  Victor Fleischer (San Diego), James Gatto (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman), Jim Harper (Global Policy Counsel, The Bitcoin Foundation), Sarah Jane Hughes (Indiana), Omri Marian (Florida), Nicco Mele (EchoDitto), Christopher Peterson (Utah)
  • Implementing Innovation in Law Schools (10:30 - 12:15) (Roosevelt 1 & 2, Exhibition Level):  Daniel Rodriguez (Northwestern; AALS President), Martin Katz (Denver), Paul Lippe (OnRamp Systems), Michael Madison (Pittsburgh), Kelllye Testy (University of Washington)
  • IRS Oversight of Charitable and Other Exempt Organizations – Broken? Fixable? (10:30 - 12:15) (Maryland Suite B, Lobby Level):  Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A.), Philip Hackney (LSU), James Fishman (Pace), Terri Helge (Texas A&M), Donald Tobin (Maryland), Daniel Tokaji (Ohio State)
  • Recent Developments in Human Capital Investing (3:30 - 5:15) (Roosevelt 1 & 2, Exhibition Level):  Diane Ring (Boston College), John Brooks (Georgetown), Victor Fleischer (San Diego), Heather Hughes (American), Benjamin Leff (American), Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane), Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)

Photo of Tax Court Judge Halpern from last night's Tax Prof Dinner (from Leandra Lederman):

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

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 AALS Annual Meeting: Legal Education at the Crossroads

AALSIn the parable of the Delta blues player, the musician considers carefully his choice: to make his pact with the Devil and preserve his guitar greatness or to take the other path. He considers this fateful decision at the crossroads. We are at the crossroads. Our law schools face critical choices: Are we going to continue on the path which, while suitable to the previous world in which we pursued glory and economic progress and our graduates took their rightful place in the generally remunerative legal economy, now has significant pitfalls and predicaments. Or are we going to take the path toward a more promising, albeit risky and uncertain, destination for our students, our faculty, our profession?

As faculty members and law school leaders, we are engaged deeply with questions concerning the efficacy of our current educational and economic model. Some prophesize the demise of this model and, with it, doom and gloom for (many? most? all?) or our member schools; others, for sure, remain ever optimistic. Moreover, we are engaged with complex questions of pedagogical strategy and educational performance. In our teaching, in our scholarship, and in our external engagement with the bench, bar, and business sector, we ask: Are we doing all we can and should to prepare our students for this dynamic new world? Ideally, these questions should be omnipresent parts of our strategies. But, realistically, they have garnered our focused attention in this era in which law schools are under pressure and, in a meaningful way, under siege.

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January 2, 2015 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Amar: Additional Thoughts (and Concerns) About the Low Bar Pass Rates in California and Elsewhere

California State Bar (2014)Following up on my previous posts:

The Verdict:  Additional Thoughts (and Concerns) About the Low Bar Pass Rates in California and Elsewhere in 2014, by Vikram David Amar (UC-Davis):

About a month ago I wrote an essay for this website commenting on the drop in bar passage rates in many states in the fall of 2014. I focused on the large national decrease in scores that test takers received on the so-called Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), a 190-question multiple-choice exam that accounts for much of the entire bar exam in most states, and on remarks made by Erica Moeser, who heads the organization that makes and scores the MBE (the National Committee of Bar Examiners or NCBE), to the effect that this year’s takers were “less able.” Much has happened since I wrote that essay: on November 25, about 80 law deans (I should note my dean at UC Davis was not among them) joined in a letter to Ms. Moeser requesting that “a thorough investigation of the administration and scoring of the July bar exam” be conducted, and that “the methodology and results of the investigation . . . be made fully transparent to all law school deans and state bar examiners” so that there might be “independent expert review” of the exam’s “integrity and fairness”; on December 18, Ms. Moeser responded with a letter, and an attached essay from NCBE’s quarterly magazine that provided additional analysis and data; and other states, including the largest state, California, have in recent weeks released details on bar passage within their jurisdictions. In the space below, I analyze some of these recent developments, with specific reference to what likely accounts for the large drop in MBE performance (and thus bar pass rates in many states) this year. ...

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January 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The 10 Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts Of 2014

  1. Top 10 (2014)Median SAT Scores for the 2015 U.S. News Law School Rankings (Mar. 5, 2014) (158,325 page views)
  2. Details Emerge in Murder of Dan Markel (Aug 31, 2014) (150,744 page views)
  3. Ten Life Lessons From Navy SEAL Training (May 26, 2014) (71,258 page views)
  4. Farewell, My Friend (Apr. 6, 2014) (70,757 page views)
  5. The Most Overrated and Underrated Law Schools (Mar. 13, 2014) (55,853 page views)
  6. Law School Rankings by Graduates in BigLaw Jobs (Feb. 24, 2014) (49,396 page views)
  7. What College Presidents Do While Students Are Away on Winter Break (Jan. 5, 2014) (46,312 page views)
  8. NY Times:  Two Monitors Are Not Better Than One (Mar. 24, 2014) (40,192 page views)
  9. House Releases Report on Lois Lerner's Role in the IRS Scandal (Mar. 11, 2014) (36,875 page views)
  10. 2015 U.S. News Peer Reputation Rankings (v. Overall Rankings) (Mar. 11, 2014) (36,819 page views)

January 1, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Organ: The Declining LSAT Scores of Law School Matriculants

The Legal Whiteboard:  The Composition of Graduating Classes of Law Students -- 2013-2016 -- Part One, by Jerry Organ (St. Thomas):

This is the first of two blog posts regarding the changing composition of entering classes and the changing composition of graduating classes.  In Part I, I analyze the distribution of LSAT scores across categories based on the LSAC’s National Decision Profiles for the years 2009-2010 through 2012-2013, and then analyze the distribution of law school median LSATs and the 25th percentile LSATs across ranges of LSAT scores.  In Part II, I will analyze how attrition trends have changed since 2010 to assess what that might tell us about the composition of graduating classes three years after entering law school as a way of thinking about the likely impact on bar passage over time.

Chart 1

Chart 2

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December 31, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

Department of Education Finds That Harvard Law School's Sexual Assault Policy Violates Title IX

Harvard Law School Logo (2014)Bloomberg, Harvard Law Loses a Four-Year Fight Over Its Sexual Assault Policy:

For the past several months, members of the Harvard Law School faculty have lobbied hard against Harvard’s new sexual harassment policy, which they said lacked “the most basic elements of fairness and due process.” They demanded the university withdraw the policy.

Now, Harvard Law School no longer has a choice. The Department of Education announced on Tuesday that the law school violated Title IX by failing to properly respond to two student complaints of sexual harassment and using the wrong standard of evidence in campus cases. As part of an agreement it reached with the government, Harvard Law must revise its sexual harassment policy and change how it responds to sexual assault cases.

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December 31, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Legal Educators to Gather at AALS to Set the Agenda for 2015

AALS (2015)National Law Journal, Legal Educators Gathering to Set the Agenda for 2015:

More than 2,000 law professors and law school administrators are expected to attend the Association of American Law Schools’ annual meeting this week in Washington. It’s the largest yearly gathering of legal educators, but attendance is projected be down by about 15 percent as law schools have been cutting spending amid enrollment declines. Still, plenty of big legal names are scheduled to speak, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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December 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Next Moneyball Frontier: Facial Coding?

New York Times, Teams Turn to a Face Reader, Looking for That Winning Smile:

FACSWhen two financiers purchased the Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million last April, they promised to pour not only money and new management into the moribund franchise, but also the same kind of creative and critical thinking that had helped make them hedge fund billionaires.

It was not enough to increase the franchise’s sales force or beef up the team’s analytics department — the Bucks were looking for a more elusive edge. So in May, the team hired Dan Hill, a facial coding expert who reads the faces of college prospects and N.B.A. players to determine if they have the right emotional attributes to help the Bucks.

The approach may sound like palm reading to some, but the Bucks were so impressed with Hill’s work before the 2014 draft that they retained him to analyze their players and team chemistry throughout this season.

With the tenets of “Moneyball” now employed in the front offices of every major sport, perhaps it was inevitable that professional teams would turn to emotion metrics and neuroscience tools to try to gain an edge in evaluating players.

“We spend quite a bit of time evaluating the players as basketball players and analytically,” said David Morway, Milwaukee’s assistant general manager, who works for the owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. “But the difficult piece of the puzzle is the psychological side of it, and not only psychological, character and personality issues, but also team chemistry issues.”

Hill contends that faces betray our true emotions and can predict intentions, decisions and actions. He employs the psychologist Paul Ekman’s widely accepted FACS, or Facial Action Coding System, to decipher which of the 43 muscles in the face are working at any moment. Seven core emotions are identified: happiness, surprise, contempt, disgust, sadness, anger and fear. ...

Face

Hill said he was inspired to take his work into sports after observing “profound sadness” in the face of Rafael Nadal soon before he lost the 2008 United States Open semifinal match to Andy Murray. The epiphany convinced Hill he could help teams find the “heart of a champion” by predicting and improving performance through facial coding. ...

Hill has worked with a few other teams, but the use of facial coding in sports is hardly widespread. Its acceptance may rest on the success of the Bucks. If you want to be creative, Smith, the Bucks’ psychologist, said, “you have to be willing to be ridiculed." "People laugh until they see results.”

New York Times, What Expressions Can Say About a Player:

Many sports teams have adopted advanced data analytics to help determine a player’s athletic abilities and value. Now, some are taking it a step further — trying to analyze psychological aspects as well. These teams are using facial-expression coding, which is based on the premise that human faces cannot hide true emotions, intentions or decisions.

December 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Debate: How Low Can the InfiLaw Law Schools Go?

InfiLaw (2014)Following up on last week's post, How Low Can You Go, InfiLaw?:

Jay Conison (Dean, Charlotte), Guest Post:

Mr. David Frakt purports to be an expert on legal education and in particular the relationship between LSAT and educational outcomes. He has asserted that no one with an LSAT below 145 has more than a trifling chance of passing a bar examination, and that schools that admit students with such low LSATs are deceiving students and the public. Mr. Frakt has chosen in particular to attack the Charlotte School of Law, the Florida Coastal School of Law, and the Arizona Summit Slaw School. The crux of his attack is the relatively low LSAT profile of the students. ... I can shed light on how Mr. Frakt has gone astray.

LSAT scores have two functions for law schools. One is as a measure of prestige. ... This function of LSAT, however, has been put under severe stress by the sharp downturn in applicants. Many schools want to simultaneously publish a high LSAT profile, in order to continue to compete for status, but also maintain the high enrollment needed to provide large operating revenues. This tension has led many schools to reduce first-year class size, in order to preserve LSAT profile and thus prestige, while engaging in aggressive transfer admissions to build revenues from students whose LSAT scores are not counted (in U.S. News and other measures of status). As a result, first-year LSAT profile no longer accurately represents the real student body LSAT profile.

The other function of the LSAT—and the one for which it was designed—is as a predictor of academic success. While it does have predictive value, an important question is just how good, and that varies from school to school. Charlotte uses the LSAT only as a predictor of academic success, and not as a measure of prestige. Charlotte also understands the limits of the LSAT as a predictor, and understands that it is possible to have other, even better, predictive models using other forms of assessment. ...

Thus, it is wildly over simplistic to look—as Mr. Frakt does—only at first-year LSAT profile and believe that it tells a dispositive story about a law school. LSAT profile is not destiny, and it is not now (if it ever was) an unequivocal indicator of aggregate likelihood of academic success, because many schools hide their lower LSAT students from public reporting, and because some schools, like Charlotte, utilize more comprehensive, validated predictors of success. ...

Mr. Frakt’s view rests on model of a law school as just a black box, into which one inputs LSAT scores and outputs bar passage. But as anyone in a law school knows, it is no such thing. Rather, it is a complex system for delivery of educational services, the details of which are very important for assessing the quality and value of a school.

David Frakt (Barry), Response to Dean Conison:

I commend Dean Jay Conison of Charlotte School of Law for coming on to The Faculty Lounge and trying to defend the recent admission practices of Charlotte and his sister InfiLaw schools.  I appreciate that he is willing to engage, at least indirectly, in this important debate with me.  As an experienced criminal defense attorney (I’m currently back on active duty with the Air Force defending a capital murder case), I know very well what it is like to defend a position when the overwhelming weight of evidence is against you, so I don’t envy Dean Conison’s position.  Well, come to think of it, maybe I do envy his position.  Wasn’t I just trying to become Dean at Florida Coastal?  But I digress. . . 

In this post, I will respond to several of the points raised by Dean Conison and raise some questions that I hope he will consider answering in a follow-up post. ...

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December 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Do Colleges (and Law Schools) Need a Business Productivity Audit?

College TuitionWall Street Journal op-ed:  Colleges Need a Business Productivity Audit, by Frank Mussano & Robert Iosue (authors, College Tuition: Four Decades of Financial Deception (2014)):

College tuition rates are ridiculously out of hand. Since the late 1970s, tuition has surged more than 1,000%, while the consumer-price index has risen only 240%. ...

[T]hree quarters of a typical college budget is spent on personnel expenses, including benefits. Yet the average professor spends much less time in the classroom today than two decades ago. In 2010 44% of full-time faculty reported that they spent nine or more hours a week in the classroom, according to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. In 1989 more than 60% said they did. The traditional 12-15 hours a week teaching load is changing into a six-to-nine-hour workweek, a significant decrease in productivity.

The typical defense of the reduced workload goes something like this: Professors have increased research demands, more extensive classroom preparation and committee work, as well as additional administrative and student-counseling responsibilities. Except for a handful of elite researchers, this argument doesn’t add up. ...

There’s another problem: The number of college administrators has increased 50% faster than the number of instructors since 2001, according to the Education Department. Administrative costs have far outpaced other college expenses during the past two decades. ...

All the while, colleges launched a prestige arms race, dropping millions on extravagant buildings. Higher-education construction spending has doubled since 1994, with a peak of $15 billion in 2006 that has leveled off at $11 billion in recent years. Adding to the frenzy are the various magazine rankings that base much of their quality-assessment formula on the amount of money spent on student services and facilities, even if the funds are wasted. Campuses have everything from lazy rivers to climbing walls to luxury dormitories.

On top of that, student-loan debt has skyrocketed to $1.2 trillion. Easy access to government loan money has given colleges license to boost tuition with no motivation to keep costs down. ...

[C]olleges and universities engaged in a spending spree because they can. But there’s one simple idea that might start to reverse the spending spree: audits of higher education. ...

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December 30, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through December 1, 2014) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

41,740

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

6701

2

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

27,185

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

5227

3

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

23,266

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

2863

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

21,236

Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 

2655

5

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

20,333

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2546

6

James Hines (Michigan)

20,177

Gregg Polsky (North Carolina)

2332

7

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

19,426

Omri Marian (Florida)

1984

8

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

19.234

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1944

9

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

16,991

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1791

10

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

16,621

David Gamage (UCBerkeley)

1673

11

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

15,510

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1559

12

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

15,404

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1532

13

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

14,801

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

1531

14

David Weisbach (Chicago)

14,683

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1513

15

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

14,594

Dick Harvey (Villanova)

1450

16

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

14,551

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1381

17

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

14,340

James Hines (Michigan)

1353

18

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

14,240

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1317

19

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

14,206

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1308

20

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

14,100

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1240

21

David Walker (Boston Univ.)

14,065

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1234

22

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

12,575

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

1210

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

12,541

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

1183

24

Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)

11,875

Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)

1107

25

Ed McCaffery (USC)

11,844

Steve Willis (Florida)

1104

Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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December 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Anderson: The Best College Majors for Business Success: STEM

Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), The Best College Majors for Business:

STEMOne of the most daunting tasks college students face is the choice of a major. When students seek advice from counselors, they are often told to "follow their passions," on the theory that the choice of a major has little impact on future success. Students are often told that the most important thing is "critical thinking" and "communication" skills, and that all college majors prepare students for success in these ways.

Yet a forceful minority in education has long claimed that there is something special about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors that uniquely prepares students for success. STEM advocates argue that the rigor of a STEM education better prepares students for the skills that are most in demand in a modern economy. Still, sometimes students resist this, thinking that with a STEM education they will be "locked into" a job in a laboratory, without the opportunity to advance into broader endeavors.

One way of testing this proposition is to look at the leaders in the world of business, where the bottom line depends on hiring the best talent and where the (monetary) rewards are highest. This post examines the most visible and arguably prestigious slice of business leaders--the directors and senior executive officers of publicly traded companies. Combing through this data to extract the college majors of officers and directors may give some insight into which college majors are most valuable in the long term.

The results of this data collection, summarized below, are unequivocal. All majors do not lead to the same level of business success, and STEM graduates are not "locked in" to technical careers; indeed, STEM majors outperform virtually all other majors in the business world by a large margin. Perhaps counterintuitively, the best major for success in business clearly is not business administration. The top majors for success in business are engineering, science, mathematics, economics, and accounting. ... The bottom line is that ... [a]ny type of engineering or mathematics, as well as most types of science, outperform virtually all liberal arts (and other) degrees.

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December 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

What Do The July 2014 California Bar Exam Results Tell Us About Law Student Quality?

California State Bar (2014)Following up on yesterday's post, July 2014 California Bar Exam Results:

Stephen Bainbridge (UCLA), Is the Law School Slump Starting to Affect Student Quality?:

One might reasonably infer that the slump in law school applications has meant that all schools are taking in students today that they would not have taken 10 years ago, but that the bottom tier schools have been disproportionately affected by this trend, which makes sense. ... The bottom tier schools now are truly scraping the bottom of the barrel, which is reflected in their bar passage rates.

Orange County Register editorial, Bar Exam Failing Would-Be Lawyers:

Law schools have done their best to run from the plunge in fortunes brought on by the 2008 financial crisis. But they have never quite managed to hide. In California, where the legal-industrial complex hums as loudly as anywhere, new evidence suggests that the long-inflated law school bubble, at last, may be popping in earnest.

And no: that’s not a problem.

“Most law school graduates who took the summer California bar exam failed, adding to the pressure on law schools already dealing with plummeting enrollments, complaints about student debt and declining job prospects,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Law school administrators are quick to observe that pass rates dipped nationwide, suggesting that the exam may have ticked upward in difficulty this year.

Nevertheless, the structural issues are clear. In California, for instance, it’s been an open secret that the bar exam serves a harsh purpose: to cull those JDs who were good enough to graduate but not to practice law.

On the other hand, it’s also well known that the bar exam is an insanely exaggerated test of the skills one needs to succeed as a first-year associate at a respectable law firm.

Not only does the bar exam weed out those who truly can’t hack it; it also selects for those willing to hack anything in order to receive the credential that unlocks the big bucks.

As a result, the legal-industrial complex breeds two kinds of problems – a class of misbegotten losers and a class of misbegotten winners. The losers have an all-but-useless legal degree, and, often, the dizzying tuition tab to match. The winners have relatively plum legal jobs – not because they’re the soundest and sharpest legal minds, but because they’re the most ruthless and efficient hoop-jumpers.

Both these outcomes tarnish the legal profession, no matter how noble its aims. Lawyering attracts too many young Americans. It disappoints too many, and turns too many into intellectual hustlers. Reforming the bar exam is just one element of the change that must come.

December 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Boston Law Schools (Other Than Harvard) Suffer Large (24%) Enrollment Declines

BostonFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Boston area law schools suffered a 17.7% enrollment decline from 2011 to 2014:

School

US News Rank

2011 1Ls

2014 1Ls

Change

Harvard

2

564

563

-

Boston Univ.

27

242

208

(14.0%)

Boston College

36

269

230

(14.5%)

Northeastern

93

217

126

(41.9%)

Suffolk

Tier 2

534

423

(20.8%)

New England

Tier 2

380

265

(30.3%)

Excluding Harvard, the enrollment decline of the other 5 law schools is 23.8%

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December 29, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

NLJ: 2014 Legal Education Year in Review

2014National Law Journal, Law Schools: Growth, Retrenchment:

  • Accreditation Overhaul
  • Murder in Tallahassee
  • Bar Exam Blues
  • New School in Dallas
  • Empty Coffers
  • Big Law Bound
  • A Dearth of Students
  • Breaking Ground
  • A Hostile Takeover
  • Campus Calls for Justice

 

December 29, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The End of the Professions?

EndNational Review, The End of the Professions?:

We also read that much of what lawyers do now will be turned over to machines. (Insert lawyer joke here.) The supply of lawyers already far exceeds the demand. This seems, of course, bad news for political science as a liberal-arts, pre-professional major. Constitutional law used to be touted as a really tough course that would show your readiness for law school. Well prepared by all the reading and writing you did in college, you will, it’s very, very likely, do well enough in law school to be rather securely set for life in a good firm. Many a Berry grad has followed some version of that “career path.”

But things have changed.  I’s easier to get into law school. Some pretty decent programs, in fact, aren’t filling up and are getting desperate for warm bodies. Even grads from the best programs are having trouble getting secure jobs, and compensation for lawyers is, in general, getting worse. The business of borrowing huge bucks to fund your legal education is now way too risky. Everyone knows of underemployed law-school grads (many of whom got good grades in law schools) drowning in debt. So the new challenge is to go to law school for free or at least on the cheap, and that is getting a lot easier to do, as law-school discounting is getting closer to college discounting. A reputable law school not far from where I’m sitting now used to basically stiff their students with an exorbitant tuition, and the profit was redistributed to the rest of the campus programs. Now, money is being frantically redistributed to the law school for financial aid to keep it afloat.

It’s still the case that if you want to be a lawyer you should “follow your passion” and go to law school. But you have to do so with a much more entrepreneurial spirit. Jobs aren’t guaranteed for the nerds who get all A’s. Everyone has to hustle to find gainful employment. And lawyers are more and more stuck with being independent contractors selling their labor piecemeal for a price.

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December 29, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 2014 California Bar Exam Results

California State BarThe July 2014 California bar passage rates by school are out. Here are the results for first time test takers for the 21 California ABA-approved law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (California and overall):

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)

 

School

US News Rank

CA (Overall)

1 (88.3%)

UC-Berkeley

2 (9)

2 (87.6%)

Stanford

1 (3)

3 (86.6%)

USC

4 (20)

4 (85.6%)

UC-Davis

5 (36)

5 (81.7%)

UCLA

3 (16)

6 (79.9%)

Loyola-L.A.

9 (87)

7 (77.7%)

Pepperdine

6 (54)

8 (77.1%)

UC-Irvine

n/r

9 (74.8%)

Chapman

11 (140)

10 (72.7%)

San Diego

8 (79)

11 (71.3%)

California Western

Tier 2

69.4%

Statewide Ave. (CA ABA-Approved)

12 (68.3%)

UC-Hastings

6 (54)

13 (65.5%)

La Verne

n/r

14 (61.4%)

San Francisco

Tier 2

15 (60.5%)

McGeorge

12 (146)

16 (60.4%)

Santa Clara

10 (107)

17 (58.8%)

Western State

Tier 2

18 (54.4%)

Southwestern

Tier 2

19 (44.7%)

Thomas Jefferson

Tier 2

20 (43.8%)

Golden Gate

Tier 2

21 (42.7%)

Whittier

Tier 2

The big story this year is the striking decline in the bar passage rate:

  • First time test takers from ABA-aproved law schools:  down 6.5 percentage points
  • All test takers:  down 7.1 percentage points

These declines are concentrated in the lowest ranked schools:

  • First time test takers at the 5 highest ranked schools:  down 1.5 percentage points
  • First time test takers at the 5 lowest tanked schools:  down 12.3 percentage points

Among the individual law schools, the biggest underperformers in bar passage are:

  • UC-Hastings:  #6 among California law schools in U.S. News (#54 overall), #12 in bar passage (and below the statewide average)
  • UC-Irvine:  its stated goal is to be a Top 20 law school in its inaugural U.S. News ranking to be announced this March, which would place it 4th in the state (tied with USC), but its bar passage rate is only 8th in the state, below UC-Davis, Loyola-L.A., and Pepperdine.  UC-Irvine was also 8th in the state in bar passage in 2013 (again below UC-Davis, Loyola-L.A., and Pepperdine)
  • Santa Clara:  #10 among California law schools in U.S. News (#107 overall), #16 in bar passage (and below the statewide average)
  • UCLA:  #3 among California law schools in U.S. News (#16 overall), #5 in bar passage
  • McGeorge:  #12 among California law schools in U.S. News (#146 overall), #15 in bar passage

Among the individual law schools, the biggest overperformers on bar passage are:

  • Loyola-L.A.:  #9 among California law schools in U.S. News (#87 overall), #6 in bar passage
  • Chapman:  #11 among California law schools in U.S. News (#140 overall), #9 in bar passage
  • California Western:  Tier 2 in U.S. News, 11th in bar passage
  • La Verne:  unranked in U.S. News, 13th in bar passage

Here are the out-of-state schools with the highest and lowest pass rates:

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December 29, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Enrollment Declines at Washington, D.C. Law Schools: A Tale of Two Cities

D.C.Washington Post, First-year Enrollment Down From 2010 Levels at Some Washington-area Law Schools:

The number of people entering U.S. law schools is at its lowest point in 41 years, as the shrinking job market for young lawyers continues to chip away at demand for legal education.

Nationally, 37,924 people started their first year of law school in fall 2014 — down 4 percent compared with 2013, and down nearly 28 percent compared with the peak enrollment of 52,488 in 2010, according to data released this month by the American Bar Association. It is the fourth consecutive year of enrollment declines. ...

Although nationally the numbers are down, enrollment trends are more mixed at some of the Washington area’s law schools. ... Enrollments by first-year students at both Georgetown (#13 in U.S. News) and GWU (#20) are roughly at the same levels they were in 2010. Georgetown has slipped less than 2 percent, and GWU has actually increased by 3 percent. ... At American U (#72) and George Mason (#46) , enrollment by “first years” is down 15 percent and 35 percent, respectively, compared with 2010.

[At lower ranked Washington, D.C. law schools, the declines are:

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December 29, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 28, 2014

University of Mississippi Intentionally Cuts Law School Enrollment by 36%

Mississippi LogoThe Clarion Ledger, Ole Miss Law School Enrollment Drops Intentionally:

The University of Mississippi School of Law’s first-year enrollment has dropped from 199 in 2010, to 156 in 2012 and just 127 students this year.

The decrease was intentional. Officials began reducing the class sizes at a time when a recovering economy and improving job market began to lure potential students away from law school. “We were much more concerned about placement. If we had a large class, that impacts the profession in a negative way when the market isn’t real strong for lawyers. What we’ve found by getting smaller is placement percentages have gone up,” law school dean Richard Gershon told The Sun Herald. Last year, about 85 percent of the law school graduates had a job in the legal field nine months after graduation, Gershon said.

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December 28, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Jim Harbaugh Takes His 'Dad Pants' to Michigan

HarbaughWall Street Journal:  ‘Jim Harbaugh’ Goes to Michigan, by Jason Gay:

For years, bossy men’s magazines have been telling us it’s all about plain fronts and narrow silhouettes; basically, they want everyone to dress like Daniel Craig’s butler. Harbaugh does not dress like Daniel Craig’s butler. He has alternated between pleats and flat fronts, but he likes his pants roomy and airy like a McMansion’s wine cellar. Harbaugh’s wife Sarah did a hilarious mock PSA [below] in which she lamented her husband’s condition of “dad pants,” and her description is perfect. It doesn’t matter if you have kids or not—if you wear Jim Harbaugh pants three days in a row, you wind up buying a minivan.

But I loved these khakis. I loved them the second I put them on. Harbaugh is a sartorial genius. You wear these khakis and within two minutes, you forget you’re wearing pants. You’re free, relaxed, comfortable, happy. In Harbaugh pants, I felt like Brando in Tahiti.

Los Angeles Times, Jim Harbaugh Agrees to Michigan Coaching Job, Reports Say:

Those rumors about Michigan making Jim Harbaugh an offer he couldn't refuse appear to be true. Multiple reports say the embattled San Francisco 49ers coach has agreed to become the Wolverines' next coach. ... The New York Times first reported that Harbaugh has accepted the deal, which has been reported to be six years at nearly $50 million.

December 28, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

More on Teaching (and Examining) Today's Sensitive Law Students

Following up on my previous posts on whether today's law students are too sensitive to study rape law or take exams in the wake of the recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island  (links below):

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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December 27, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

LSU Law School Offers Buyouts (1 Year's Salary) to Seven Tenured Profs Over 65; Dean Hopes They Will 'Retire With Dignity'

LSU Logo (2015)Baton Rouge Advocate, LSU Law Center Offers Buyouts to 7 Professors as Interest in Law Schools Dwindles Nationally:

LSU’s Law Center is offering an incentive to seven professors if they retire next summer as it looks to cut costs amid a dwindling interest in law schools nationally.

The professors, all older than 65 and tenured faculty members, have until Monday to decide whether they will retire June 30 and get paid a bonus of roughly a year’s salary in return. The total that would be saved if all decide to take the buyout: $1.12 million a year.

“This is really part of a necessary effort to provide additional financial flexibility for the Law Center,” LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack Weiss said during a recent LSU Board of Supervisors meeting, at which the plan was unanimously approved. ...

The LSU Law Center’s fall 2014 enrollment is about 570 students — 200 of them in their first year. That’s a slight uptick from the year before, but LSU has seen a significant drop in interest in recent years, reflective of the national trend. It’s down nearly 16 percent from LSU law’s 238 first-year student enrollment in 2011. ...

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December 27, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)