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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Baylor Prof Replaces Exams With 'Celebrations Of Learning'

BaloonsInside Higher Ed, Celebrations, Not Tests:

Students entering a classroom to take a test can be filled with a sense of dread. But in one classroom at Baylor University, students in some sections of Introduction to Sociology are greeted by balloons, streamers, bright lights and loud music.

Their professor isn’t administering an exam, they’re told. Instead, they are there to celebrate what they’ve learned.

Kevin Dougherty, an associate professor of sociology at Baylor University, is trying to reframe the way both students and faculty members approach assessments by changing the environment in which students are evaluated, relabeling quizzes and exams as “learning checks” and “learning celebrations.” ...

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July 14, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Multiple Choice Exam Twist: The Prisoner's Dilemma

ScantronKTVB, Professor Asks Cruelest Extra Credit Question Ever:

For most college students, extra credit opportunities usually come in the form of essay questions at the bottom of the test, additional assignments, or a detail hidden in the exam instructions.

So when a group of University of Maryland students got a multiple choice prompt for an extra credit question (that required no additional information they needed to study), it seemed like a dream come true.

But instead they saw this:


In short, the entire class would get at least two points of extra credit, but only if less than 10 percent of students took the six points option.

It's a college exam sized version of "The Prisoner's Dilemma" ...

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July 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Brophy: The Coming Age Of Micro Law Schools

MicroAl Brophy (North Carolina), The Micro Law School:

Maybe what we’ll see are micro law schools — schools with entering classes of 50 or fewer students. Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, seems headed in that direction now — with about a dozen full-time faculty and a first year class of 48 in fall 2014.  Micro law schools will permit schools that serve geographically remote communities, like Appalachian School of Law, to continue to provide an education to people who might not be able to travel far from home.  This will work well for the communities and those students, both.

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July 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brooklyn Law School Offers 15% Tuition Refund For Students Who Don't Find Full-Time Jobs 9 Months After Graduation

Brooklyn (2015)New York Times, Brooklyn Law School Offers a Safety Net for New Students:

Beginning with students entering this year — whether in two-, three- or four-year programs — Brooklyn Law School is offering to repay 15 percent of total tuition costs to those who have not found full-time jobs nine months after graduating. That, according to school officials, is how long it typically takes graduates to get such jobs and, if necessary, to obtain the requisite licenses. ...

The introduction of the program, called Bridge to Success, comes as law school graduates across the country face increasing competition in a depressed job market that is only slowly recovering from the economic downturn. ...

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July 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

20 Schools Are Responsible for 20% Of All Graduate School Debt

Washington Post, These 20 Schools Are Responsible for a Fifth of all Graduate School Debt:

A new study from the Center for American Progress (CAP) found that 20 universities received one-fifth, or $6.5 billion, of the total amount of loans the government gave graduate students in the 2013-2014 academic year. Those schools, however, only educate 12 percent of all graduate students.


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July 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Saturday, July 11, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

65% Of Faculty Plan To Delay Retirement

TIAA-CREF Institute, Understanding the Faculty Retirement (non)decision: Results from the Faculty Career and Retirement Survey:

Tenured faculty age 50 or older can divided into three groups—35% expect to retire by normal retirement age; 16% would prefer to retire by normal retirement age, but expect to work longer (i.e., they are “reluctantly reluctant” to retire); and 49% would like to and expect to work past normal retirement age (i.e., they are “reluctant by choice”). The key drivers differ between those reluctantly reluctant and those reluctant by choice.


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July 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Light At The End Of The Law School Tunnel?

LightThe number of LSAT takers in June 2015 (the first test of the 2015-16 cycle) increased 6.6% from June 2014.  This is the third consecutive increase, following the 0.8% increase in December 2014 and 4.4% increase in February 2015. This follows 14 consecutive declines in LSAT takers from February 2010 through December 2013.

The June 2015 figure is even more impressive because it reflects a whopping 10.9% increase in first time LSAT takers from June 2014.



LSAT also reports that law school applicants are down only 2.0% for the Fall 2015 entering class (which represents 97% of the preliminary final applicant count):

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July 10, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Indiana Law School Freezes Tuition For Three Years For Entering 1L Class

Indiana (2016)Press Release:

Tuition for students entering the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in the fall of 2015 will not increase during their entire three years in Bloomington, the school has announced. "Fixed-rate tuition, along with the generous guaranteed, nonconditional scholarships our school has long offered, will enable our students to plan actively for their future," said Austen L. Parrish, dean and the James H. Rudy Professor of Law.

Tuition for Indiana residents of this year's entering class will be $30,500 per year, while for nonresidents it will be $50,500. Most students pay significantly less after scholarships and financial aid packages are considered.

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July 10, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

After Selection Of New Mexico Law School Co-Deans, Passed Over Candidate Resigns From Faculty Amidst 'Revolt' Over Increased Publication Demands Imposed By Prior Dean

BergmanAlbuquerque Journal, New Co-Deans Are Facing Divided UNM Law School:

For a group of people trained to manage and mediate, if not master, other people’s conflict, lawyers turned professors at the University of New Mexico School of Law haven’t had much success mastering their own conflict recently.

So much so that selecting – and keeping – leaders for the school has been a task akin to directing battle, some in the legal community say.

Even UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah said, only half-joking, that he suggested the two men – professors Alfred Mathewson and [Tax Prof] Sergio Pareja – he appointed last month to share deanship at the school “deserve combat pay.”

The move to create a co-deanship, only the third law school in the nation to ever do so, set off a frenzy in the tight-knit New Mexican legal community. “There is great concern about what is going on at the law school,” said David Martinez, 30-year member of the alumni board and practicing lawyer in Albuquerque.

Emotions are running so high that longtime faculty and student favorite professor Barbara Bergman [right], who had been a contender for the deanship, resigned within a week after Abdallah’s selection. Her supporters are angry. Bergman declined to comment.

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

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The New Regulatory Regime In Legal Education

Sarah Valentine (CUNY), Flourish or Founder: The New Regulatory Regime in Legal Education, 44 J. Law & Educ. ___ (2015):

There is a new regulatory regime in legal education. Outside regulators, whether nationwide or state specific, are seeking to alter the education and training provided by U.S. law schools. These new mandates build on decades of work distilling how best to provide a professional legal education. Law schools have long fought outside reform; we do so now at our peril. This Article explores the current reforms, places them in historic context, and then articulates how legal educators should engage with the reforms to recenter student learning. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, this Article argues that law schools can flourish if we embrace the regulatory reforms and may founder if we continue to resist them.

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

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 July 1, 2015) 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):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)


Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



James Hines (Michigan)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Omri Marian (Florida)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


David Gamage (UC-Berkeley)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


William Byrnes (Texas A&M)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)



Brad Borden (Brooklyn)


Dick Harvey (Villanova)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


James Hines (Michigan)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Chris Sanchirico (UNLV)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Joe Bankman (Stanford)



David Walker (BU)


Carter Bishop (Penn)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)


Ruth Mason (Virginia)



Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)


David Weisbach (Chicago)


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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July 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

California’s Practical Skills Plan Alarms Out-of-State Deans, May Hurt Students Who Want To Be Tax Lawyers

Welcome to CaliforniaNational Law Journal, California’s Practical-Skills Plan Alarms Out-of-State Deans:

The State Bar of California is pushing forward with a proposal to require candidates for admission to the profession to have completed 15 credit hours of practical training, over objections from deans around the country.

The idea is to ensure that new lawyers are ready to practice law. But the Association of American Law Schools’ Deans Steering Committee warned the proposed rule would stifle curricular experimentation, limit the flexibility students now enjoy in choosing courses, and create a confusing patchwork of differing state requirements.

Moreover, the repercussions would be felt well beyond the Golden State, since so may graduates want to practice there, the group said in a written statement.

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

Ellen Aprill Chairs Loyola-L.A. Dean Search Committee

Loyola-L.A. Logo (2013)Tax Prof Ellen Aprill is chairing Loyola-L.A.'s dean search committee. For more details, see here.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

More On The Resignation Of LSU Law School Dean/Chancellor

LSU Logo (2016)Following up on Monday's post, LSU Law School Dean/Chancellor Steps Down Due To 'Major Policy Differences With Vocal Segment Of Faculty'; Tax Prof Claims Retaliation After She Filed Sexual Misconduct Complaint Against Faculty Colleague:  Kyle Alagood, a 2015 LSU graduate, has posted the letter signed by 25 of the 31 tenured and tenure-track LSU faculty (other than administrators), including Tax Profs Elizabeth Carter and Philip Hackney, requesting a change in leadership at the law school:

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

For The 10% Of Law Students Able To Snag A Summer Associate Position, The Living Is Easy (And Remunerative: $3,000/Week)

SummerWall Street Journal, For Summer Law Interns, the Livin’ Is Easy:

Ah, to be a law-firm summer associate. For several thousand lucky law students, it’s the season to be courted by the nation’s top firms.

Full-time work in the industry can be grueling. But in a sharp divergence from the fate of interns in medical schools and at investment banks, the entry level is pretty cushy.

At Silicon Valley-based Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, 55 summer associates spent a weekend kayaking, hiking and biking on California’s Monterey Peninsula. Back at work they are visiting the offices of Twitter Inc. and the firm’s other technology clients. ...

Other firms are treating their summer associates to chartered helicopter tours, disc-jockey lessons and cooking classes, balanced with mock-deposition sessions, presentations on firm practices and research assignments. At some firms, a saying goes that in the hierarchy, there are partners, then summer associates and then everybody else.

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

Haneman: The Collision Of Student Loan Debt And Joint Marital Taxation

Student LoansVictoria J. Haneman (Concordia), The Collision of Student Loan Debt and Joint Marital Taxation:

Students presently graduating from college represent perhaps the most indebted generation of young adults in the history of the United States, which may be attributed to the fact that interest-bearing debt plays a primary role in ensuring that our children pursue higher education. The long-term consequences of student loan borrowing, and its impact on this generation of borrowers, both remain to be seen. To assist borrowers with the burden of loan repayment, the federal government has developed two income based repayment programs. This Article focuses upon one important detail of the program that has largely escaped the focus of the media and scholars: the ability of a borrower to file separate tax returns and qualify for income based repayment on the basis of his or her income alone.

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

UC-San Diego Sues USC Over Recruitment Of Prominent Professor

UCSDUSCLos Angeles Times:

Though universities commonly recruit or poach faculty from one another, lawsuits arising from those recruitments are rare. This lawsuit, formally filed by the UC regents, accuses USC and the other defendants of going beyond normal recruitment to commit a variety of illegal acts, including contract interference, computer crimes and civil conspiracy. ...

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

Vik Amar Leaves Money On The Table, Takes Less Salary As Illinois Dean

AmarFollowing up on yesterday's post, Vik Amar Named Dean At Illinois Law School:  News-Gazette, UI's Next Law Dean Outlines Priorities:

The new dean for the University of Illinois College of Law thinks the cost of a legal education is a problem, and he's putting his own money behind that premise.

Vikram David Amar, 52, a constitutional law expert and senior associate dean for academic affairs at the University of California-Davis School of Law, was announced Monday as the next dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law at the 118-year-old UI law school. He succeeds Bruce Smith, who stepped down in 2014 after five years as dean. Law Professor John Colombo has served as interim dean since then.

Amar pledged to make affordability a priority and insisted that his salary be lower than what other law schools have recently offered candidates. He will earn a total of $324,900 annually, less than the $326,651 that Smith was paid in 2013-14. He also declined a summer stipend, typically about $25,000, a college official said.

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July 7, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, July 6, 2015

After Board Closes UNC Law School Poverty Center, Gene Nichol Launches New Poverty Research Fund

North Carolina LogoFollowing up on my previous post, North Carolina Senate Cuts $3 Million From UNC Law School Budget: 'The Gene Nichol Transfer Amendment': WRAL, Nichol Opens New Research Project at UNC Law:

The Center on Poverty at UNC School of Law may have been shuttered this week, but its work will continue. That was the message Friday from former Center director Gene Nichol, announcing the opening of a new venture in the same arena.

Nichol will lead the new North Carolina Poverty Research Fund, according to a post he wrote on the Fund's website.

"The purpose of the Fund is to carry forward earlier efforts by the Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity to explore, document, research, and publish about the immense challenges of economic hardship in North Carolina," Nichol wrote on the Fund's site. "Thanks to the generosity of various North Carolina foundations, and engaged and committed citizens from across the state and nation, the Fund allows us to hire student, faculty and post-doctorate scholars to assist in probing the causes of, and solutions to, economic injustice in the Tar Heel state – and to publish, extensively, the fruits of our research."

In a post on Facing South, the website of the Institute for Southern Studies, Nichol wrote, "Donors have indicated repeatedly that they are unwilling to see the crucial work of the Poverty Center driven from the halls of the university. The Fund will assure that it continues, and that it continues in Chapel Hill. Censorship has [a] poor track record. It won't prevail here either."

Gene Nichol, UNC Poverty Center Closes, NC Poverty Research Fund Opens

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

Lipshaw: Law Schools Whose Rankings Are Helped (Or Hurt) By Their Law Reviews

Following up on last week's post, 2015 Brophy Law School Rankings: Median LSAT, Full-Time J.D.-Required Jobs, And Law Review Citations:  

Jeff Lipshaw (Suffolk), Playing With Al Brophy's Alternative Law School Rankings - Student Centered vs. Student/Scholarship Centered Results:

Al did two analyses, one using only the student variables (LSAT and employment - the "2 var" rank) and one using all three (the "3 var rank").  His Table 2 shows the relative 2 var and 3 var rank for each school, but his comparison are all as against USNWR.  I was interested in "law review lift" versus "law review drag."   So I made a list from Al's Table 2, arbitrarily taking a difference of ten or more as the cutoff.

After the jump, you can see a list of [38] schools whose ranking with their law reviews improves by ten spots or more (law review lift) or [36 schools] whose ranking drops by ten spots or more when the law review gets included (law review drag).  I'll leave it to you to theorize about meaning, if any.

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July 6, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Last-Minute Publishing Opportunity: American University Law Review

American 3The American University Law Review would like to invite authors to submit their complete or nearly complete articles for possible publication in Volume 65.2 of the Law Review.  We are beginning production on this volume shortly and are interested in acquiring one additional article to add to the outstanding pieces that we are already featuring in the issue. Because of the short amount of time we have prior to entering production, we are hoping to receive your submissions no later than Friday, July 10th, 2015.

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

Vik Amar Named Dean At Illinois Law School

AmarIllinois Press Release:

The University of Illinois has named Vikram David Amar as the next dean of the College of Law, pending approval from the University’s Board of Trustees at their July 15 meeting. Amar will assume the deanship, and also become the Iwan Foundation Professor of Law, on August 16. For the last several years, Amar has been the senior associate dean for academic affairs and a professor of law at the University of California, Davis School of Law. ...

During his seven years as associate dean at UC Davis, Amar has been extensively involved in faculty hiring, tenure, and promotions; clinical programming; admissions; career services; and curricular development. In addition to teaching at Davis, Amar has been a professor of law at UC Hastings and a visiting professor of law at UC Berkeley and UCLA. 

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

Congratulations, Team USA!

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

LSU Law School Dean/Chancellor Steps Down Due To 'Major Policy Differences With Vocal Segment Of Faculty'; Tax Prof Claims Retaliation After She Filed Sexual Misconduct Complaint Against Faculty Colleague

LSU Logo (2016)The Advocate, LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack Weiss to Step Down in August, Cites 'Major Policy Differences With a Vocal Segment of the Faculty':

Jack Weiss, head of the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, is stepping down as law chancellor and dean in August in the wake of conflicts with faculty, some of whom had advocated for his ouster.

“I am proud of the many positive developments at the Law Center during my eight years as chancellor and look forward to submitting the progress of the Law Center during those years to the judgment of history,” Weiss said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, however, major policy differences with a vocal segment of the faculty have made it difficult, if not impossible, for me to continue to lead the Law Center on a day-to-day basis and to implement my vision for the Law Center’s future.”

Weiss, who was out of the country Friday, said in an email he’s heard that a small number of faculty gathered signatures on a document expressing disapproval with him and submitted it to LSU’s provost in May. But he said he’s neither seen the document nor heard specifically what claims those faculty members made against him.

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

ABA Proposes Changes To Rules On Reporting Law School-Funded Jobs

ABA Logo 2Memorandum From Barry Currier (Managing Director, ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar), ABA Employment Questionnaire Reporting of Law School-Funded Position – Continuing Matter and Invitations to Comment Further (June 30, 2015):

At its July 31, 2015 meeting in Chicago, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will consider additional proposals to reform the reporting of law school/university-funded positions in the annual ABA Employment Questionnaire. The pending proposals are attached to this memorandum. One is a revised report and recommendations from the Data Policy and Collection Committee to the Council (Attachment A), and the second is a proposed amendment to the Committee’s prior recommendations by Dean Paul Mahoney, a member of the Council (Attachment B). 

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

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Will Christian Colleges (And Law Schools) Lose Their Tax Exemption After Obergefell?

White House Same Sex MarriageFollowing up on my previous post, Will Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Decision Cost BYU Its Tax Exemption?:  Inside Higher Ed, The Supreme Court Ruling and Christian Colleges:

Friday's Supreme Court decision that states must authorize and recognize gay and lesbian marriages could create major legal challenges for religious colleges -- primarily evangelical Christian colleges that bar same-sex relationships among students and faculty members. Or the decision may not create much of a legal challenge at all. Or it may create challenges, but not soon.

Legal experts are divided. But the question of whether same-sex marriage as a national right changes the legal status of Christian colleges is no longer just theoretical.

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July 5, 2015 in Legal Education, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (14)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Friday, July 3, 2015

Two Fired Tenured Profs Sue Charleston Law School

Charleston 2Charleston Regional Business Journal, Fired Professors Sue Charleston Law School:

Two former tenured faculty members at the Charleston School of Law say they were fired as retaliation for opposing The InfiLaw System purchase of the school. They’re now suing the school and its owners, Robert Carr and George Kosko.

Nancy Zisk and Allyson Haynes Stuart, along with five other faculty members, were terminated from the school on May 22.

Zisk and Stuart each filed similar lawsuits [Zisk complaint; Stuart complaint] within the past week against Charleston School of Law LLC, saying the owners cited “a state of financial exigency due to continuing reductions in student enrollment” and the faculty members’ high salaries as reasons for their termination.

Both plaintiffs claim the owners have not proved the school is in a financial exigency, or state of emergency, and say the owners have ignored the requirements of their tenured statuses.

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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Genevieve Tokic (McDermott Will & Emery) Joins Northern Illinois Law School Faculty

TokicNorthern Illinois College of Law Press Release:

Genevieve Tokic, an associate from the tax group at McDermott Will & Emery, will teach courses in the areas of tax and international business, where her expertise in international tax planning and cross-border business transactions will well-complement the school's global reach and credentials. Previously, Professor Tokic served as an associate in the U.S. Corporate Finance Group of Norton Rose Fulbright in London, where she focused her practice on securities regulation and mergers and acquisitions. She has taught at the Texas Tech University School of Law and served as a visiting professor at NIU Law in 2011. She holds a masters of law and undergraduate degrees from Northwestern University and a J.D. from the New York University School of Law.

July 3, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School 'Deaning' In The 'New Normal'

New NormalDavid Barnhizer (Cleveland State), “Deaning” in the “New Normal”:

My focus in this analysis is on the kinds of skills and capabilities law deans need if they are seeking to guide law schools through this messy period. A recent report indicated that the median tenure of a law dean in a US law school had fallen to an all-time low of 2.78 years.  ...

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July 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Shit Academics Say: A Social Media Experiment

TwitterChronicle of Higher Education:  @AcademicsSay: The Story Behind a Social-Media Experiment, by Nathan Hall (McGill):

I am not an intellectual, leading expert, or public scholar. I am a rank-and-file academic with the job of balancing respectable research with acceptable teaching evaluations and sitting on enough committees to not be asked to sit on more committees. And in my spare time, I run what is arguably one of the most influential academic accounts on social media: Shit Academics Say (Facebook).

Since starting the account in September of 2013, it has grown to over 122,000 followers, gaining 250 to 300 new followers daily and ranking in the top 0.1 percent across social media influence metrics such as Klout, Kred, and Followerwonk. To unpack this a bit, tweets sent from my phone while recalibrating dopamine levels on the treadmill, or waiting outside my 3-year-old’s ballet class, are showing up in about 10 million Twitter streams and generating 200,000 to 300,000 profile visits a month, effectively making @AcademicsSay a bigger "social authority" on Twitter than nearly all colleges and academic publications. Not weird at all. ...

Twitter 2

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

Bloomberg: Is It Time To Start Shutting Down Law Schools?

Going Out of BusinessBloomberg, Is It Time to Start Shutting Down Law Schools?:

This month, the American Bar Association provisionally accredited a new law school at Concordia University. More than 200 law schools are accredited in the U.S. An analysis of data from the ABA itself raises the question whether that list should be getting any longer. 

Law schools exist for a lot of reasons, but a pretty important one is to prepare people to be lawyers. By that standard, a large handful of institutions seem to be failing. Last year, 10 law schools were unable to place more than 30 percent of their graduating class in permanent jobs that required passing the bar, according to ABA data. Those job numbers don't include positions that schools fund for their graduates or people who say they are starting their own practice.

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

Rethinking Measures Of Quality And Value In The U.S. News Law School Rankings

2016 U.S. News RankingsChristopher J. Ryan (Vanderbilt), Crunching the Numbers: Rethinking Measures of Quality and Value in National Law School Rankings:

Rankings have become an important, if not essential, element of the law school environment since U.S. News & World Report (“U.S. News”) first began publishing law school rankings in 1987. Since the rankings’ first publication, a new fixation on standings took hold of pre-law school consumers, as well as legal academe, coinciding with a historic rise in law school applicants, students, and graduates.However, in the wake of the Great Recession, since 2013, the law school luster has dulled, due in part to increased concern over increasing tuition and student debt, concurrent with diminishing prospects of employment upon graduation. As these disturbing trends illustrate, both the legal profession and legal education are at a crossroads. Still — and perhaps because of legal education has historically been slow to evolve — the U.S. News rankings are an important, if not essential, element of the new law school environment. While several alternative rankings have begun to gain traction in recent years, for better or for worse, the U.S. News ranking has become the “gold standard of the ranking business,” as well as a proxy for determining a law school’s quality and value.

Good ranking systems help consumers of information determine quality and value; however, many have attacked the U.S. News methodology — whose quality assessment, a survey of scholars and lawyers for their ranking of an institution’s reputation, accounts for 40%, whose measures of selectivity comprising 25%, and whose measures of student and faculty diversity account for 0% of a law school’s total score — and its standard of law school rankings as both a product and a source of stagnation in legal education (Arewa, et al., 2013 [Enduring Hierarchies in Legal Education, 89 Ind. L.J. 941]; Morris & Henderson, 2008 [Measuring Outcomes: Post-Graduation Measures of Success in the U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings, 83 Ind. L.J. 791]; Black & Caron, 2006 [Ranking Law Schools: Using SSRN to Measure Scholarly Performance, 81 Ind. L.J. 83]). New measures assessing institutional quality and value, as well as diversity, can and should be developed to address the relevancy of legal education in the 21st Century.

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July 2, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Three Rules for Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers

ThreeMichael D. Cicchini, Three Rules for Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers, 34 Miss. C. L. Rev. 1 (2015):

Legal education reform is currently a hot topic. The most promising ideas involve elevating skills-based training from its current sideshow status (where it is taught by adjunct and clinical instructors) to a meaningful and integral part of the mainstream curriculum. This type of skills-based reform, however, not only faces some practical roadblocks, but also it glosses over legal education’s deeper, more fundamental problem: the failure to adequately train students in the underlying substantive and procedural law. To address this more immediate issue, this Essay recommends three basic rules for reform.

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July 2, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Palfrey: BiblioTech — Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever In The Age Of Google

PalfreyJohn Palfrey (Head of School, Phillips Academy; former Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law & Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources, Harvard Law School), BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google (May 2015):

Libraries today are more important than ever. More than just book repositories, libraries can become bulwarks against some of the most crucial challenges of our age: unequal access to education, jobs, and information.

In BiblioTech, educator and technology expert John Palfrey argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. And libraries, which play a crucial role in making these skills and information available, are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible—by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online.

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July 1, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Are Academic Law Libraries Doomed?

Law LibraryYesJames Milles (SUNY-Buffalo), Legal Education in Crisis, and Why Law Libraries are Doomed, 106 Law Libr. J. 507 (2014):

The dual crises facing legal education - the economic crisis affecting both the job market and the pool of law school applicants, and the crisis of confidence in the ability of law schools and the ABA accreditation process to meet the needs of lawyers or society at large - have undermined the case for not only the autonomy, but the very existence, of law school libraries as we have known them. Legal education in the United States is about to undergo a long-term contraction, and law libraries will be among the first to go. A few law schools may abandon the traditional law library completely. Some law schools will see their libraries whittled away bit by bit as they attempt to answer “the Yirka Question” in the face of shrinking resources, reexamined priorities, and university centralization. What choices individual schools make will largely be driven by how they play the status game.

NoKenneth J. Hirsh (Cincinnati), Like Mark Twain: The Death of Academic Law Libraries Is an Exaggeration, 106 Law Libr. J. 521 (2014):

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

Nobel Laureate: Replace Student Evaluations With Best Practices

BestChronicle of Higher Education, Amid Criticism of Student Evaluations, Nobel Laureate Offers Alternative:

The list of complaints about how colleges conduct course evaluations is long and seems to keep getting longer. A survey released last week of thousands of professors by the American Association of University Professors found that student evaluations are losing much of the value they once had. Earlier research already showed that student evaluations failed to adequately describe teaching quality, and often reflected judgments about an instructor’s appearance. But if not student evaluations, what should colleges use to judge the effectiveness of teaching?

Carl E. Wieman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, says he may have found an answer. In a paper published recently in Change magazine, Mr. Wieman suggests another form of evaluation: judging professors based on an inventory of their teaching practices. The ultimate measure of teaching quality, he argues, is the extent to which professors use practices associated with better student outcomes.

"It may seem surprising to evaluate the quality of teaching by looking only at the practices used by an instructor," Mr. Wieman wrote in the paper. But he said research over the past few decades had established a correlation between the teaching methods used and the amount of student learning.

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Call For Estate Planning Papers: ACTEC Law Journal

ACTECCall For Papers:  ACTEC Law Journal:

Estate Planning In the 21st Century:  Seismic Shifts and Predictions for the Future

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel announces a Call For Papers on the following topics:

Estate planning has radically changed in the last several decades.   Statutes such as the Uniform Probate Code and the Uniform Parentage Act altered the presumptive definitions of such terms as "children" and "descendants" to include a much broader range of beneficiaries, including adoptees, out-of-wedlock children, and in some cases foster children and stepchildren.  Some children may now inherit from more than two parents.  Very recent changes have broadened those allowed to marry and thus inherit in intestacy from each other.  The assets dealt with by estate planners have transformed dramatically, with the rise in the acceptance of non-probate forms of title, digital assets, etc.  Perpetual trusts, once allowed only for charities, now exist for families, with attendant issues such as decanting, virtual representation, and non-judicial trust modification.  Advance health care directives have become a common tool in the estate planner's box, and in a few states estate planners may deal with clients opting for physician aid in dying.  Papers will address ways in which estate planning has transformed in the last 20, 30 or 40 years, and how it may continue to change over a comparable time in the future. 

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June 30, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reynolds Reviews Barton's The Decline And Rebirth Of The Legal Profession

GlassFollowing up on my previous post:  Glenn Reynolds reviews the new book by Benjamin H. Barton (Tennessee), Glass Half Full: The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession (Oxford University Press, June 15, 2015), in USA Today, Are Happier Lawyers, Cheaper Legal Fees on the Horizon?:

Barton notes that high-end law firms are being squeezed by much-greater client sensitivity to costs, and by technology that lets one junior attorney do the work of ten when reviewing documents. (Increased efficiency isn't a plus when you bill by the hour.) Likewise, lawyers at the bottom end are being squeezed by online legal form services like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer. Still, he sees some upsides for lawyers and clients alike.

For lawyers, he sees incomes falling to the more-modest levels that prevailed before the 1980-2000 legal boom. Lower incomes are bad, of course, but it's also true that prior to the boom, lawyers were happier with their work. Crushing workloads, dog-eat-dog firm politics and fickle clients made the boom time much more stressful. The move to billing arrangements that focus on results, not hours worked, saves clients money, but it also changes the way lawyers work, probably for the better.

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June 30, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jury Rejects Unsuccessful Conservative Faculty Candidate's Discrimination Suit Against University of Iowa Law School

WagnerFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Iowa Press-Citizen, Jury Rejects Conservative's Bias Suit Against UI Dean:

The former dean of the University of Iowa law school didn't commit illegal political discrimination when she passed over a conservative lawyer for teaching jobs, a jury ruled Monday.

After a six-day trial, a federal jury in Davenport rejected Teresa Manning's assertion that then-Dean Carolyn Jones rejected her for the faculty because of Manning's political beliefs and associations. ...

A UI law graduate, Manning had moved back to Iowa from Washington to work as associate director of the law school's writing center when she was one of three finalists for two job openings in 2007. She had previously taught writing at George Mason University law school. But after she gave a talk to faculty members as part of the hiring process, the faculty recommended that Jones hire another finalist who was a self-described liberal and not fill the second opening.

Jones went along with those recommendations even though an associate dean had warned her in an email that he worried professors were blocking Manning "because they so despise her politics (and especially her activism about it)."

Several professors disputed that, testifying that Manning essentially disqualified herself during the interview. They said that Manning responded to a question by saying that she wouldn't teach analysis — a key part of the job — and would focus on writing. Manning argued that claim was bogus and fabricated to justify discrimination.

Manning claimed that the opposition to her appointment was driven by Professor Randall Bezanson, who helped draft the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973 while he was a clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun. At the time, the 50-member faculty included 46 registered Democrats. Since then, the faculty has become at least slightly more politically diverse. ...

Her book, tentatively titled, "Academic Injustices: One woman's fight against bias in higher education and the law," is scheduled for release in January, Encounter Books president Roger Kimball said. He said her story was "worth telling" regardless of how the trial came out.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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June 30, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bezos, Jobs & Musk: Must Visionary Leaders Be Cruel To Their Employees?

LogosNew York Times, The Bad Behavior of Visionary Leaders:

As I was reading Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, I was alternately awed and disheartened, almost exactly the same ambivalence I felt after reading Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs and Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.

The three leaders are arguably the most extraordinary business visionaries of our times. Each of them has introduced unique products that changed – or in Mr. Musk’s case, have huge potential to change – the way we live.

I was awed by the innovative, courageous, persistent and creative ways all three built their businesses. I also love their products. I own a Mac Pro and an iPhone, and I have been a loyal customer of Apple for 20 years. I buy many books and other products on Amazon, lured by a blend of low prices, ease of purchase and reliably quick delivery. The Tesla X is hands down the best car I have ever driven, and it’s all electric, rechargeable in your garage.

Plainly, I have bought in to what these guys are selling.

What disheartens me is how little care and appreciation any of them give (or in Mr. Jobs’s case, gave) to hard-working and loyal employees, and how unnecessarily cruel and demeaning they could be to the people who helped make their dreams come true. ...

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June 29, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

2015 Brophy Law School Rankings: Median LSAT, Full-Time J.D.-Required Jobs, And Law Review Citations

Alfred L. Brophy (North Carolina), Ranking Law Schools, 2015: Student Aptitude, Employment, and Law Review Citations (more here):

This essay builds on a paper released last year that ranked law schools on three variables: the median LSAT of entering students of the most recent class, the most recently available employment outcome for each school’s graduates, and citations to each school’s main law reviews over the past eight years. This paper updates that study with LSAT median data for the class entering in fall 2014, employment data for the class graduating in 2014 ten months after graduation, and the most recent law review citation data for 2007 through 2014. It studies 195 ABA approved law schools.

In addition to using more recent data, this study changes the method of combining those data. Where the last paper used simple ranks for each variable and averaged them, this study has a more granular approach to the data. It converts each school’s median LSAT score and the percentage of students employed in full-time, permanent, JD-required jobs ten months after graduation (excluding school-funded positions and solo practitioners) to standard scores. In addition, given the dramatic differences in number of law review citations among schools, it employs a common log transformation of law review citations and then converts the transformed scores to standard scores. The paper combines the first two scores to provide a two-variable ranking, and then combines all three variables to provide a three-variable ranking. The paper reports average scores for the three-variable ranking, thus permitting examination of how close schools are to each other. It also ranks the 195 ABA-approved law schools in the United States (excluding the three schools in Puerto Rico) that U.S. News included in its rankings released in March 2015. And it compares the new, two- and three- variable rankings to the U.S. News provided ranks in March 2015. It identifies the schools that improve and decline the most with the new rankings.

Here are the Top 25:

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June 29, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

ABA: The Most LGBT-Friendly Law Schools

WhiteABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, LGBT-Friendly Law Schools:

Most law schools are LGBT-friendly. Some law schools, however, are going an extra step further to be more inclusive of LGBT students. These law schools have established associations and forums designed to enhance educational opportunities for  LGBT students:

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