TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Corporate Clients Push Back Against $180k Starting Salary For First Year BigLaw Associates

$180,000Following up on last week's post, BigLaw First Year Associate Salaries Jump To $180,000 (From $160,000):  Wall Street Journal, Corporate Clients Push Back After Law Firms Hike Starting Salaries:

After Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP said last week it would boost starting pay for its junior-most lawyers to $180,000, law firms across the country stumbled over themselves to announce salary increases for their own associates.

But now companies are pushing back.

Bank of America Corp.’s top lawyer recently sent an email to a group of law firms calling the increases in associate lawyer pay unjustified, making it clear the bank wouldn’t help firms absorb the cost. ...

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June 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

McEntee:  Brooklyn Publishes 'Misleading,' 'Egregious' 92.5% Law Grad Employment Statistic

Brooklyn 2Kyle McEntee (Law School Transparency), Caveat Venditor: Throwback To The Days Of Junk Employment Statistics:

Welcome to the second installment of Caveat Venditor, a series that assesses claims made by law schools to separate truth from fiction. This week we look at Brooklyn Law School’s employment rate of 92.5% posted on its “By The Numbers” infographic. ...

After the continued bad news about the job market for law school graduates, 92.5% looks fantastic to students looking at Brooklyn Law School. It’s therefore worth examining further. ...

The employment rate on the infographic has an asterisk on it. Follow the asterisk to the bottom of the page and there’s a link. At that link, Brooklyn refers to an “adjusted employment rate” and explains the rate in minimal detail. Even with the explanation, however, the figure is misleading.

Indeed, it’s a return to the way things were before the law school transparency movement. Law schools and the ABA maintained a tapestry of fictional statistics that deceived the public. Schools advertised employment rates north of 90 percent without disclosing that its parts were… not what consumers thought. Much of the deception was unintentional because law school administrators were afflicted by the same cultural conditioning that afflicted applicants who saw these statistics and confirmed their perceptions of law school.

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June 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

T&E Is Resurgent In BigLaw:  '50% Psychiatrist, 50% Tax Geek'

T&E 2American Lawyer, The Lawyers Behind the 0.1 Percent:

High-end trusts and estates lawyers ... have some of the most fascinating practices in Big Law, with client lists packed with entertainment stars, business moguls, Internet entrepreneurs and reclusive billionaires. While drafting wills, setting up trusts for wayward children, crafting prenuptial agreements for third wives and structuring complex vehicles to reduce taxes, they're privy to the intimate personal and financial details of the lives of the creative and the ultrawealthy. ...

Putting aside the glamour factor, the practice has taken on increasing relevance, with top T&E lawyers on the front lines of one of the most pressing political issues of our time: the shocking wealth disparity in the country. Their typical client sits in the top 0.1 percent of U.S. households, defined as those with more than $20 million in assets. These individuals own 22 percent of the nation's total wealth—roughly the same amount held by the bottom 90 percent, according to Federal Reserve data. These are the lawyers who help ensure that the 0.1 Percent stay comfortably at the top.

With the increasing concentration of riches, some firms are refocusing on these clients. "I know a lot of big firms want to start estate planning practices," says Julie Miraglia Kwon, a T&E partner in McDermott, Will & Emery's Menlo Park office. Noting the number of calls she's received lately from recruiters, she remarks, "Maybe they see headlines about all the wealth."

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June 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Legal Tech Firm UnitedLex Establishes Residency Program At Seventh Law School (Boston University)

UnitedLex LogoLegal technology services provider UnitedLex has established a legal residency program with Boston University, joining pre-existing programs with Emory, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, and Vanderbilt law schools:

The The two-year program will train recent Boston University School of Law graduates in cutting-edge legal technologies, project management, and delivery processes to provide high-quality, efficient legal services to corporate legal departments and top law firms. Those selected for the residency program each year will receive rigorous classroom instruction provided by senior attorneys, serve in a supervisory capacity for client engagements, and work directly with clients to deliver legal services in key emerging legal areas including: litigation management, e-discovery, cyber security, contract management, patent licensing, IP management, and immigration law. Residents will earn salaries and benefits equivalent to judicial clerkships.

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June 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ:  Jobs, Salaries Dwindle For Ph.D.s

Wall Street Journal, Job-Seeking Ph.D. Holders Look to Life Outside School:

[A] conversation [is] taking place across dozens of research universities that is aimed at preparing doctoral candidates entering the job market for a jarring reality: Their Ph.D. doesn’t deliver the bang for the buck it once did.

The percentage of new doctorate recipients without jobs or plans for further study climbed to 39% in 2014 from 31% in 2009, according to a National Science Foundation survey released in April. Median salaries for midcareer Ph.D.s working full time fell 6% between 2010 and 2013.

WSJ

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June 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

More On Law Firm (And Law School) Tech 'Disruptors'

Ross

Following up on yesterday's post, Artificial Intelligence Will Revolutionize Legal Practice (And Legal Education):  Keith Lee has a great series of posts from the 2016 Stanford CodeX Future Law Conference on these "legal disruptors": 

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June 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harvard Grad Who Flunked Bar Sues Over Loss Of Big-Law Job

WycheNational Law Journal:  Harvard Grad Who Flunked Bar Sues Over Loss of Big-Law Job, by Karen Sloan:

A 2013 Harvard graduate who twice failed the bar exam has sued the New York State Board of Law Examiners, claiming its refusal to provide testing accommodations derailed her career at Ropes & Gray.

Tamara Wyche, who alleges she suffers from anxiety and cognitive impairment, asserts that the board’s decision not to grant all of her requested accommodations the first two times she took the exam led to her termination from the Boston-based law firm. She passed the exam on the third try in 2015 with additional accommodations but hasn’t been able to find work at a large firm, according to the complaint, filed June 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. ...

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June 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (45)

ABA Proposes Changes To Law School Accreditation Standards

ABA Section on Legal EdABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools Matters for Notice and Comment (June 14, 2016):

At its meeting held on June 3-4, 2016, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved for Notice and Comment the following proposed revisions to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools:

  • Standard 204
  • Standard 303
  • Use of the term “Full-Time Faculty” in the Standards

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June 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The ABA Is Auditing Law School Placement Data For The First Time

ABAAuditNational Law Journal: ABA to Audit Law Schools' Job Stats for Accuracy,  by Karen Sloan:

For the first time, the American Bar Association is randomly auditing graduate employment data reported by law schools to ensure its accuracy.

The closer scrutiny of the jobs numbers has been in the works since 2012 but the employment data for the class of 2015, which the ABA made public in May, is the first to be analyzed under the ABA’s new audit procedure.

Students who feel duped by overly rosy employment projections have questioned the veracity of the school-released employment data since at least 2011. The new audit is “intended to promote confidence among the ABA, law schools, law school applicants, and other interested parties that law graduate employment information is complete, accurate, and not misleading,” according to a 2014 ABA memo.

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June 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Artificial Intelligence Will Revolutionize Legal Practice (And Legal Education)

Ross

Following up on my previous post, BakerHostetler Hires Robot Lawyer 'Ross', Ushers In Legal Jobs Apocalypse:

Deborah J. Merritt (Ohio State), Artificially Intelligent Legal Research:

At least three law firms have now adopted ROSS, an artificial legal intelligence system based on IBM’s pathbreaking Watson technology. The firms include two legal giants, Latham & Watkins and BakerHostetler, along with the Wisconsin firm vonBriesen. Commitments by these firms seem likely to spur interest among their competitors. Watch for ROSS and other forms of legal AI to spread over the next few years.

What is ROSS, what does it do, and what does it mean for lawyers and legal educators? Here are a few preliminary thoughts.

College Fix, Still in Law School? Artificial Intelligence Begins to Take Over Legal Work:

For those thinking of law school, keep in mind that technology may revolutionize the profession before you earn that J.D.

In the research-driven, labor-intensive legal profession, the age-old question of man vs. machine is being answered as some law firms have begun to use an “artificially intelligent attorney” to research and hash out legal issues – a trend that legal minds predict will displace some human lawyers.

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June 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Bilionis:  Professional Formation And The Political Economy Of The American Law School

Louis D. Bilionis (Former Dean, Cincinnati), Professional Formation and the Political Economy of the American Law School, 83 Tenn. L. Rev. ___ (2016):

This article proposes that a comprehensive model for doing professional formation in law school is now in sight. The model can work for formation – which is to say that it has the right vision of the fundamentals and the appropriate program features and pedagogies to effectively support students in the development of their professional identities. The model also can work for the political economy of the typical American law school – which is to say that its strategy and approach to roles and resources makes it congenial to postulates about power, resources, work, and governance that shape relations inside the law school.

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June 14, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools Cancel Classes On Election Day (Nov. 8)

VoteBloomberg Law, Law Schools Cancel Classes for Election Day:

Some law schools want to make sure voters turn out for this year’s presidential election cycle.

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law just became the latest school to announce that classes are cancelled on Nov. 8, when American voters will have to decide between Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

The announcement came after two campus groups — American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and the conservative Federalist Society — pushed law school administrators to make the decision.

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June 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Disappearing Humanities Faculty Jobs

Inside Higher Ed, The Disappearing Humanities Jobs:

The arrival of annual reports on the job market in various humanities fields this year left many graduate students depressed about their prospects and professors worried about the futures of their disciplines. English and foreign language openings were down 3 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. History jobs fell 8 percent.

On Sunday, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences released several new collections of data that show that these declines, part of a continuing pattern, are far more dramatic when viewed over a longer time frame. The academy also released new data showing that the proportion of all faculty members who are in the humanities -- crucial not only to their own fields but to general education at many colleges and universities -- has been flat amid substantial gains for the health professions.

For all humanities disciplines, listings for positions are at least 31 percent below the levels reported in the 2007-08 academic year, the last year before the economic downturn hit in 2008. Many of these fields were relatively stable or even increasing in the years leading up to 2008, so the most recent data from the academy show significant long-term losses.

IHE

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June 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bentley University Seeks To Hire A Tenure-Track Tax Prof

BentleyBentley University (Waltham, MA) is seeking to hire a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Law in its Law, Tax & Financial Planning Department:

The Law Taxation and Financial Planning Department at Bentley University, located in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, is seeking a full-time tenure-track Assistant Professor of Law to start in July 2017. With a strong faculty of teacher-scholars, Bentley strives to lead higher education in the integration of global business with the arts and sciences, information technology, and corporate ethics and social responsibility. Providing an intellectually stimulating academic community for both faculty and students, Bentley supports its faculty as they pursue high quality and impactful cutting-edge research and bring their expertise and real world experiences into the classroom. We seek individuals who represent different backgrounds, interests and talents and who share a commitment to the fusion of business and arts & sciences education, information technology, and business ethics.

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June 13, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wu:  Higher Education And Legal Education Are Headed Toward Disaster

Frank Wu (Former Dean, UC-Hastings), Is Higher Education Headed Toward Disaster?:

I will be honest. I’m surprised nobody has shouted this already.

The latest news about higher education is dire. We might be headed for disaster. The “discount rate” has reached record levels for many institutions.

Discount

[F]or an increasing number of schools, the “discount rate” should be triggering alarms. It has become the means, at best a stop-gap, of “enrollment management.”

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June 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

ABA Section Of Legal Education And Admissions To The Bar 2016-17 Council Nominees

ABA Section on Legal EdABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Nominating Committee Announces 2016-2017 Council Slate:

The Nominating Committee, chaired by the Honorable Solomon Oliver Jr., Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, presented the following slate to the Council. The election of Council officers and members will take place at the Section’s annual business meeting, Saturday, August 6, 10:15-11:15 a.m., at the Park Central San Francisco during the ABA Annual Meeting.

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

Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death

Tallahassee Democrat, Mystery Endures: What We Don't Know About the Markel Investigation:

A surge of initial details following the first arrest in the 2014 killing of Dan Markel provided a rough but compelling outline of what investigators say happened to the Florida State law professor.

But more than a week after the bombshell probable cause report for the arrest of 34-year-old Sigfredo Garcia was made public, many key questions remain unanswered.

With no more arrests — so far — theories still swirl in the case that has captivated Tallahassee and beyond.

Here are some of the outstanding mysteries yet to be revealed:

  • Anatomy of a Hit [interactive]

Anatomy

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June 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thirty Reflection Questions To Help Law Students Find Meaningful Employment And Develop An Integrated Professional Identity

Neil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas ) & Jerome M. Organ (St. Thomas), Thirty Reflection Questions to Help Each Student Find Meaningful Employment and Develop an Integrated Professional Identity (Professional Formation), 83 Tenn. L. Rev. ___ (2016):

Law schools must now define learning outcomes for their programs of legal education. Many law schools (and many professors in individual courses) are defining learning outcomes that include values beyond just minimal compliance with the law of lawyering — called here professional-formation learning outcomes.

This article, drawing on and synthesizing scholarship from law and other disciplines, will focus on the design of a curriculum with thirty reflection questions to help each student’s step-by-step development toward professional-formation learning outcomes beyond mere compliance with the law of lawyering. Section I of this article will describe the present context in which law schools must develop learning outcomes, and will highlight the number of law schools that have embraced one or both of the elements of a professional-formation learning outcome where a law school or a professor in an individual course requires that each student demonstrate an understanding and integration of:

1. proactive professional development toward excellence at all the competencies needed to serve clients and the legal system well;
2. an internalized deep responsibility to clients and the legal system.

Section II of the article analyzes the principles that should inform the design of an effective curriculum for these two professional-formation learning outcomes. Section III of the article will suggest thirty reflection questions that help each student:

1) reflect on the story, experiences and passions that brought her to law school and that she develops during law school as a means of both (a) identifying what she wants to do with her law degree and (b) proactively taking ownership over her growth toward meaningful post-graduate employment; and
2) make progress moving through developmental stages regarding these two professional formation learning outcomes; so that
3) she can begin to define and to live out who she wants to be as a lawyer in the context of what clients and the legal system expect of her.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 12, 2016

NY Times:  Messages To Graduates Of The Class Of 2016

New York Times, Message to Graduates: Times Are Tough, but You Can Make It:

Thousands of college graduates across the nation have gathered with families and friends over the past few weeks to mark not just receiving their degree, but a symbolic crossing from childhood to adulthood. Commencement speakers gave them their marching orders.

If commencement speeches reflect the times we live in, then this year’s entries suggest the times are bleak. The common themes are almost biblical. Among them are resilience, overcoming adversity, not fearing failure and taking risks.

But wait, graduates! Take heart, this year’s commencement sages go on to say. Just because you are leaving college in an uncertain job market during one of the most angry and unpredictable presidential election seasons in memory, and are quite possibly destined to return home to live with your parents, it does not mean that you will not ultimately profit from your experience of hardship and self-doubt. Do not give in to the forces of darkness and despair, the speakers urged the Class of 2016, for you will emerge stronger in the end.

The New York Times prints excerpts with links to these fifteen 2016 graduation speeches:

Hank Azaria (video), actor and Tufts alumnus
Tufts University, Medford, Mass.

Michael Bloomberg (video), business executive and former New York City mayor
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

John Kerry (video), Secretary of state
Northeastern University, Boston

John Lewis (video), congressman and civil rights leader
Washington University in St. Louis

Loretta Lynch (video), Attorney General
Spelman College, Atlanta

Lin-Manuel Miranda (video), creator of “Hamilton”
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

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June 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ:  How To Cheat Your Fitbit And Win Fitness Challenges

SurgeI am a Fitbit fanatic, assiduously tracking my exercise and sleep on my Surge (right).  The Wall Street Journal opened my eyes on how I can jack up my numbers in our intra-family fitness wars in a front page article,  Want to Cheat Your Fitbit? Try a Puppy or a Power Drill:

Workplace "step challenges" are big with companies aiming to encourage employee fitness. In pursuit of victory, some workers are using power tools, pets and household appliances to fool digital fitness trackers and boost their step totals without lifting a foot.

During a step challenge at an electronics-manufacturing firm in Texas, suspiciously high activity on one employee’s fitness tracker prompted a call from Sonic Boom Wellness, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company running the challenge. After a brief interrogation, the man came clean: He had clipped his tracker to a hamster wheel.

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

Saturday, June 11, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Yale Tiger Mom's Advice For Parenting Adult Children: Contracts

TMCFollowing up on my previous posts:

Wall Street Journal:  The ‘Tiger Mother’ Has a Contract for Her Cubs, by Amy Chua (Yale):

I recently had a harrowing parenting experience, which I addressed through recourse to the law.

My daughters Sophia and Lulu are now 23 and 20, and they’re both working in New York City this summer. Their plan is to stay (for free) in our Manhattan apartment—the pied-à-terre that my husband, Jed, and I spent 20 years saving up for.

I was on the phone with one of my daughters. “I’m so excited to spend some time in New York this summer—so many of my friends are going to be there!” she said happily.

“Me too!” I said. “I can’t wait.”

Pause.

“Wait—what?” she said. “You’re going to be in the apartment too?”

“What do you mean am I going to be in the apartment? Of course I’m going to be in the apartment. It’s daddy’s and my apartment.”

“But you live in New Haven.”

My head started to explode.

I suddenly realized that I was on the verge of becoming a tenant farmer in my own life.

Fortunately, I teach contracts law at Yale, and I came up with a solution. I made my daughters sign a contract—totally valid and legally enforceable—the text of which is reproduced below. ...

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June 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Brunson:  Is It Time To Ban Clickers In The Law School Classroom?

ClickersThe Surly Subgroup:  Teaching Tax — On Clickers and Laptops, by Sam Brunson (Loyola-Chicago):

I’ve used clickers in class ever since I started teaching. In fact, thanks to Paul Caron’s tireless advocacy, I’ve known I was going to use clickers since before I entered academia.

And, like Paul, both I and my students have found clickers tremendously helpful in the classroom. In my experience, they do three main things:

  • They force all students to actively engage with the class. It’s easy enough to sit back in class and passively absorb (or not) the content. Sure, whomever I call on has to actively engage, but I can only call on a small portion of my class on any given day. But clicker questions allow students to not only listen, but actually answer, at least a handful of questions.
  • They tell me how well the students grasp what I’m teaching. If most of the students get the right answer, I know my explanation and the discussion were helpful. If a significant portion get it wrong, I know that I need to go back and address it again (and, depending on the answers they choose, I may be able to figure out where I or they went wrong).
  • They tell my students how well they grasp what I’m teaching. If most of the students get the problem right, a student who gets it wrong knows that she may need to go back and review the topic. Or ask a question. Or do something else.

But I have a problem: ...

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June 10, 2016 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Dan Markel's Law Prof Colleagues Finger Ex-Wife's Family In Murder-For-Hire Killing

PeoplePeople Magazine, Colleagues of Murdered Florida Law Professor Suspected Link to Bitter Divorce from Ex-Wife: 'I Hope to God She Wasn't Involved':

Colleagues of the popular Florida law professor Dan Markel, who was fatally shot execution-style in July 2014, say they long feared the recent revelation by authorities who said his death was tied to a bitter divorce with his ex-wife, a fellow law professor.

"A number of people here – and that includes myself – had some suspicions about her family because of a number of things that Danny had confided," says Fernando Teson, another law professor at Florida State University who counted Markel and his then-wife Wendi Adelson as friends before she filed for divorce in 2012. "I see now that my instincts were right, but it's still just incredibly shocking that this would happen. I don't want to accuse anybody," he says, "but I always had a funny feeling that this had to be connected to the custody battle somehow." ...

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June 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

NYLS Hosts Third National Symposium On Experiential Learning In Law

NYLS

Third National Symposium On Experiential Learning In Law (agenda):

The 2016 Third National Symposium on Experiential Learning in Law will take a careful look at how to identify and effectively assess experiential learning outcomes in the legal education context. This symposium will offer highly interactive sessions that will provide learning designed to improve the quality of assessment in law schools’ experiential programs.

Assessment is the pedagogical topic of our time.

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June 10, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Graetz & Greenhouse:  The Burger Court And The Rise Of The Judicial Right

Burger CourtMichael J. Graetz (Columbia) & Linda Greenhouse (New York Times), The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right (June 7, 2016).  From Columbia Law School:

Early reviews are extolling the insights of The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right, the new book by Columbia Law School Professor Michael J. Graetz and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Linda Greenhouse. Graetz—the author of seven books, an eminent scholar and teacher, and a former official in the U.S. Treasury Department—is the Columbia Alumni Professor of Tax Law. He has argued before the Supreme Court. For nearly 30 years, Greenhouse covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times

The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right, published today by Simon & Schuster, challenges the accepted portrayal of the Supreme Court from 1969 to 1986 as pragmatic and accommodating, a moderate or transitional period when “nothing much happened.” On the contrary, explain Graetz and Greenhouse, American law moved to the right with President Richard Nixon’s four appointments to the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Warren Burger. A new conservative majority reacted to the previously liberal Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren, curbing and rolling back landmark rulings on civil rights and civil liberties, while granting a First Amendment right to “commercial speech,” which would enable businesses to invoke the Constitution in opposition to government regulation. The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right shows how the Court reached its most lasting decisions, laying a legal foundation for the conservative Rehnquist and Roberts Courts. ...

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June 9, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

University Of Washington Combats Salary Compression ('Loyalty Tax') With Faculty Vote On Retention Bonuses To Star Professors

UWInside Higher Education, University of Washington Plan Seeks to Alleviate Faculty Salary Compression:

Salary compression — when assistant professors make close to what associate and full professors make due to changes in the market between their points of hire — is a problem across academe. But fixing it is a complicated undertaking that some institutions avoid. ...

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June 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

AAUP Handbook:  Best Practices In Peer Review

AAUP Handbook, Best Practices in Peer Review (2016):

AAUPThe purpose of this document, written by the AAUP’s Acquisitions Editorial Committee, is to articulate a set of practices that comprise a rigorous process of peer review. The Committee acknowledges, however, that the peer review process is highly complex, involves many individuals, and must be responsive to the norms of the appropriate fields. Thus, while the steps discussed below are recognized as generally acceptable best practices, this document is not intended to prescribe the conduct of an acceptable peer review in every case. Moreover, though strong peer reviews are necessary for moving forward with a project, they form only one part of a broad range of factors, including considerations of fit and budget, that together lead to a publishing decision.

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June 9, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Chicago Dean Resigns Amid 10% Budget Cuts Imposed On Academic Departments

University of ChicagoCrain's Chicago Business, Dean Steps Down Amid U of C Budget Pressures:

The dean of the humanities division at the University of Chicago quit with a year left in her term today, underscoring pressures on scholars to cut costs and initiate layoffs at the Hyde Park campus.

Martha Roth, an ancient Near East scholar and dean for nine years, only hinted at the financial challenge in an email disclosing her resignation, effective June 30:

A colleague said she cited in a meeting last week an administration mandate to slice spending by 8 percent, on top of previous reductions [of 2 percent], in the fiscal year that begins next month.

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June 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Law Grad Responds To Fundraising Appeals From 'Greedy' Law School: 'Go To Hell, You Parasite'

Minneapolis Star-Tribune op-ed:  Law School Fundraising: What Have You Ever Done For Me?, by Robert G. Larson III (J.D. 2010, William Mitchell (now Mitchell Hamline)):

To my greedy law school:

No. Stop asking. I’m not going to give you any money. Ever. So you can stop sending those fundraising letters every few months, begging for more of my hard-earned cash.

I’m not blaming you for the collapse of the legal job market. ...  I’m blaming you because you lied to us. You reported employment statistics — even back in 2007, when things were decidedly rosier — that led prospective students to believe that a huge portion of your graduates walked out of your hallowed halls and right into lucrative associate positions at fancy law firms. The reality, as we now know, is that you were counting everyone with any kind of job at all — from the guy working just a few hours per week at the 7-Eleven to the girl who took your perennial temporary position in the student affairs office — as employed, for the purposes of bragging about postgraduation employment. ...

I truly, deeply regret attending law school. Full of youthful optimism, I tried to better my life through education, and was slapped down hard. Despite assurances to the contrary, the things I learned haven’t helped me in the slightest. ...

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June 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (26)

Merritt:  Lessons For Online Legal Education

Deborah Merritt (Ohio State), Lessons for Online Legal Education:

An increasing number of law schools are creating online courses, certificate offerings, and degree programs. As newcomers to online education, we should look to existing programs for inspiration. One of those is Harvard Business School’s successful CORe program, an online certificate course in business basics. I wrote about CORe’s suitability for law students several weeks ago. Here, I examine three lessons that the program offers to law schools interested in online education.

1.  Evaluate Your Expertise From New Perspectives. ... We tend to think of creating majors, minors, and degree programs. Creating a useful course for students majoring in something else falls outside our typical worldview. Yet this approach is just what online education demands: categorizing our expertise by subject rather than course or degree program; exploring new audiences, again looking outside of traditional concentrations; and finding a match between the two.

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June 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wendi Adelson Discusses Her Ex-Husband Dan Markel's Murder: Transcript And Commentary

AdelsonFollowing up on yesterday's post on Wendi Adelson's discussion of the murder of her ex-husband Dan Markel on the Writing Class Radio Podcast:

David Lat provides a transcript and commentary on Wendi's story and other remarks in:

The Murder Of Dan Markel: Wendi Adelson Speaks (Part 1):

Before we dig into the podcasts, a macro-level observation: I view this as additional evidence that Wendi Adelson did not know about, and was not involved in, the murder of Dan Markel. ... [I]f Wendi knew about or was involved in Dan’s murder and then wrote about it for a class and spoke about it on a podcast, she would have to be stupid, insane, or both. ...

That said, there are aspects of the podcast that some listeners might find chilling or insensitive. And in an interesting twist, Wendi herself at times acknowledges the creepiness factor. The resulting podcast is rich and has so many layers to it; I’ve listened to it about a half-dozen times now. I’m going to discuss some highlights below, but do yourself a favor and listen to the original during your commute or while at the gym. You won’t regret it.

David Lat (Above the Law), The Murder Of Dan Markel: Wendi Adelson Speaks (Part 2):

I am far from a member of “Team Wendi” — in my opinion, she acted abominably in the divorce (more on that later) — but as I’ve written before, I don’t think she was involved in Dan’s murder or had advance knowledge of it (although it’s possible she at some point in the past two years acquired such knowledge)

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

WSJ:  Foreign Students In U.S. Colleges Cheat Five Times More Than Domestic Students

WSJ 3Wall Street Journal, Foreign Students Seen Cheating More Than Domestic Ones:

A flood of foreign undergraduates on America’s campuses is improving the financial health of universities. It also sometimes clashes with a fundamental value of U.S. scholarship: academic integrity.

A Wall Street Journal analysis of data from more than a dozen large U.S. public universities found that in the 2014-15 school year, the schools recorded 5.1 reports of alleged cheating for every 100 international students. They recorded one such report per 100 domestic students.

Students from China were singled out by many faculty members interviewed. “Cheating among Chinese students, especially those with poor language skills, is a huge problem,” said Beth Mitchneck, a University of Arizona professor of geography and development.

In the academic year just ending, 586,208 international undergraduate students attended U.S. colleges and universities, according to the Department of Homeland Security. More than 165,000 were from China. South Korea and Saudi Arabia were the source of nearly 50,000 each and India of about 23,500.

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June 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

WSJ:  Student Loans Increasingly Backfire, Leaving Borrowers Worse Off For Going To School

Wall Street Journal, College Loan Glut Turns Sour:

The U.S. government over the last 15 years made a trillion-dollar investment to improve the nation’s workforce, productivity and economy. A big portion of that investment has now turned toxic, with echoes of the housing crisis.

The investment was in “human capital,” or, more specifically, higher education. The government helped finance tens of millions of tuitions as enrollment in U.S. colleges and graduate schools soared 24% from 2002 to 2012, rivaling the higher-education boom of the 1970s. Millions of others attended trade schools that award career certificates.

 WSJ

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June 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Northeastern Fund-Raising Pitch To Alums: Donate, Win $1,000 Student Loan Repayment

Northeastern 2Inside Higher Ed, Northeastern Criticized for Fund-Raising Pitch:

Northeastern University is getting grief on social media for a text it sent encouraging alumni to donate and to win a chance at having the university pay back $1,000 in their student loans.

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June 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Harvard Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinician

Harvard Law School (2016)Attorney Fellow, Harvard Law School Federal Tax Clinic:

Duties & Responsibilities. The Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School (LSC) seeks to hire a Clinical Fellow in the Federal Tax Clinic. The Clinic—through which Harvard Law students receive hands-on lawyering opportunities—provides direct legal representation in tax controversies to low-income taxpayers. The Clinic’s docket includes cases before the IRS, in Federal Tax Court, and in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. Many of the Clinic’s cases raise cutting-edge issues regarding tax procedure and tax law. The Fellow will work closely with Visiting Clinical Professor of Law T. Keith Fogg, who directs the Clinic. The Fellow’s responsibilities will include screening cases for merit and law reform opportunities, representing clients, helping to manage the Clinic’s docket, contributing to community outreach and engagement efforts, and supporting the Clinic’s teaching mission. The position represents a unique opportunity to join Harvard Law School’s clinical program, to work in a dynamic public interest and clinical teaching law office, and to develop lawyering and clinical teaching skills. Salary is commensurate with experience. The position is for an initial one-year appointment. The possibility of reappointment depends on the availability of funding and Law School and project requirements.

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June 7, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harrison:  The Donald Trump Chair And Professor Of Law

Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), The Donald Trump Chair and Professor of Law:

Trump UniversityMany law professors hold this esteemed position. It is for those who sell nothing to unsuspecting buyers. Here is what I mean. There was a fellow at a law school at which I once taught. He was up for tenure and that meant class visitation. The visits took place over a 2 week period. Near the end of that time, a student asked me why Professor Trump was giving the exact same lecture every day. Yes, he had one particular presentation he had down pat and he went to that one whenever a visitor appeared. ...

All of us have minor Trump appointments in the form of confercating -- going to conferences that are actually vacations. I am happy to say that the new dean at my school has a rule that you actually must do something at a conference before the School will fund it. God forbid! Great idea but there is still the moral hazard of a 5 minute minute panel appearance or recycling the very same work you reported on 23 other times. ...

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

Should You Go To Law School?

Business Insider, Only a Small Percentage of Law School Graduates Actually Make Big Money — Here's a Simple Way to Tell If You'll Be One of Them:

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June 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Pay To Play Hits Law School 'Rankings'

Newsweek 2Above the Law, Schools Touting Appearance In ‘Best Law Schools’ Sponsored Content Article:

If your school is paying to be hailed as one of the “Best Law Schools [of] 2016,” then it’s probably not one of the actual “Best Law Schools of 2016.” And yet, a few law schools appear to be banking on some less-than-diligent prospective students who might take a passing reference in a sponsored article as genuine praise. Moreover, the schools are actively patting themselves on the back for these accolades that they actually paid for in the first place! ...

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June 7, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wendi Adelson Discusses Her Ex-Husband Dan Markel's Murder

AdelsonWendi Adelson told the story of her ex-husband Dan Markel's murder as a student in the Writing Class Radio Podcast (iTunes), hosted by Andrea Askowitz (executive producer & teacher; author, My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy) & Allison Langer (producer/CEO & student; photographer):

Update:  

David Lat (Above the Law), The Murder Of Dan Markel: Wendi Adelson Speaks (Part 1):

Before we dig into the podcasts, a macro-level observation: I view this as additional evidence that Wendi Adelson did not know about, and was not involved in, the murder of Dan Markel. ... [I]f Wendi knew about or was involved in Dan’s murder and then wrote about it for a class and spoke about it on a podcast, she would have to be stupid, insane, or both. ...

That said, there are aspects of the podcast that some listeners might find chilling or insensitive. And in an interesting twist, Wendi herself at times acknowledges the creepiness factor. The resulting podcast is rich and has so many layers to it; I’ve listened to it about a half-dozen times now. I’m going to discuss some highlights below, but do yourself a favor and listen to the original during your commute or while at the gym. You won’t regret it.

David Lat (Above the Law), The Murder Of Dan Markel: Wendi Adelson Speaks (Part 2):

I am far from a member of “Team Wendi” — in my opinion, she acted abominably in the divorce (more on that later) — but as I’ve written before, I don’t think she was involved in Dan’s murder or had advance knowledge of it (although it’s possible she at some point in the past two years acquired such knowledge)m

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June 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Washington University Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinician

Washington U. Law School Logo (2014)Washington University School of Law seeks to hire a Staff Attorney for its Low Income Taxpayer Clinic:

The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, through its second- and third-year law students, provides free legal assistance to low income taxpayers on income tax disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. The Staff Attorney is expected to assist the clinic’s co-directors in supervising and monitoring the work of the students, handle matters relating to the day-to-day administration of the clinic law office and its cases, and assume primary responsibility for clinic cases that begin or are not concluded during the academic year.

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June 7, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

BigLaw First Year Associate Salaries Jump To $180,000 (From $160,000)

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, A Closer Look at Cravath’s New Salary Scale:

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Cravath is bumping first-year pay up to $180,000 from its nearly decade-long perch at $160,000. If history is any guide, this will trigger other firms to match. Here’s the full new pay scale, according to an internal Cravath memo reviewed by the Wall Street Journal:

Class of 2015 — $180,000
Class of 2014 — $190,000
Class of 2013 — $210,000
Class of 2012 — $235,000
Class of 2011 — $260,000
Class of 2010 — $280,000
Class of 2009 — $300,000
Class of 2008 — $315,000

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June 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Trump:  Wall Needed To Prevent Mexicans From Swarming Across Border, Enrolling In Law School

New YorkerThe New Yorker:  Trump: Mexicans Swarming Across Border, Enrolling in Law School, and Becoming Biased Judges, by Andy Borowitz:

Unless the United States builds a wall, Mexicans will swarm across the border, enroll in law school en masse, and eventually become biased judges, Donald J. Trump warned supporters on Monday. ...

While Trump offered no specific facts to support his latest allegations, he said that he had heard about the threat of incoming Mexican judges firsthand from border-patrol agents. “They see hundreds of these Mexicans, and they’re coming across the border with lsat-prep books,” he said. “It’s a disgrace.”

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June 6, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Poll:  Majority Of Law Schools Are Not Racing To Follow Arizona In Replacing LSAT With GRE

Kaplan Test Prep Survey, The GRE® Tries to Break the LSAT’s® Lock on Law School Admissions, but Most Admissions Officers Are Cool to It (pie charts here):

A majority (56 percent) of law schools have no plans to adopt the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law’s controversial new policy allowing applicants to submit GRE scores instead of LSAT scores, according to a recently conducted Kaplan Test Prep survey of admissions officers at 125 law schools across the United States.* Just 14 percent say it’s something they plan to adopt, while 56 percent say it’s something they don’t plan to do. The remaining 30 percent say they are unsure. The University of Arizona’s law school announced their decision to begin accepting the GRE earlier this year after conducting research with Educational Testing Service, the GRE’s administrator. The validity of this research is now being evaluated by the American Bar Association, the organization that accredits the nation’s 200 plus law schools.

GRE

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

Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death

TallahasseeTallahassee Democrat, Markel, Adelson Sparred Up to the End:

Florida State University law professor Dan Markel returned home from a September 2012 business trip to find his wife of six years, his two young boys and most of the couple’s possessions gone from his Betton Hills home.

While he was away, his then-wife and fellow FSU College of Law professor Wendi Adelson, moved out of the house, taking the toddlers with the help of her parents. Divorce paperwork dated Sept. 5, 2012, before Markel had left for his trip, sat on what used to be the couple’s shared bed. She left no address where she and the children were, court filings said. ...

Two years later, Tallahassee Police and FBI investigators point to the couple’s sparky divorce and her wealthy family’s eagerness to move the children to South Florida as the motive for the crime. In the arrest affidavit for 34-year-old Sigfredo Garcia, a North Miami man charged with first-degree murder in Markel’s death, details of the divorce are listed under the heading “Motive for Murder.”

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

BYU Prof Told Not To Give Extra Credit To Physiology Students Who Drink His Urine

Fox13, BYU Student Believes She Drank Professor’s Urine for Extra Credit:

A classroom prank some BYU students say crossed the line. A student drank what she thought was her professor's urine as part of a lesson on kidney function. The student got extra credit for slugging back a small vial. ... [Professor Jason] Hansen gave us this statement about the class lesson earlier in the week.

The exercise we did in class where we used fake urine to illustrate principles of hydration and dehydration.  The color of your urine dictates how well your body conserves water.  The darker the urine, the more your body is trying to conserve water.  The fake urine was used to illustrate that purpose.  Furthermore, physicians used to drink urine to determine various metabolic diseases by the taste, including determining how sweet it was for as diagnosis of diabetes.  In class, we used the fake urine for this purpose.  I asked a student if they were willing to try some of the fake urine.  She agreed. I agreed that we would both try it.  I have done this in the past with no complaints.  Later, usually the next class, I tell them that it was fake.   This is usually a fun way to teach this concept to the class and was not intended to offend anyone.  After getting your email on Saturday, I did send a message to everyone letting them know that it was indeed fake.

Wednesday, Hansen's department chair at BYU confirmed that, while the demonstration does teach some critical aspects of kidney function, they've asked the professor not to repeat the exercise.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 5, 2016

More On The Accreditation Battle Over Canada's First Christian Law School