TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, January 8, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Students In College Bible Class Get Trigger Warning, Permission To Skip Studying Crucifixion Of Jesus Christ

TWCNational Review, If You Are Too Triggered by Lessons About the Crucifixion, You Cannot Be a Religious Scholar:

Students in a Bible course at the University of Glasgow are being given trigger warnings before being shown images of the crucifixion — and permission to skip those lessons altogether if they are worried they’ll feel too uncomfortable.

Predictably, much of the conversation surrounding this has been focused on the cultural implications of the policy, and how it contributes to creating a generation of weak little snowflakes. ... But the problems with this policy go far beyond the abstract cultural implications. It’s also objectively, indisputably wrong on a logical level — because receiving credits for a class signifies that you have learned enough about the subject matter to earn those credits, and no student in an introductory Bible course could meet that qualification without having learned about the crucifixion.

The crucifixion may be a traumatic Biblical event, but it is also arguably the most monumental one. The crucifixion and corresponding resurrection of Jesus Christ are the entire foundation of the Christian religion, and yet somehow we have an institution willing to give students credit for a class about that religion’s holy book without them having to learn anything about the book’s most consequential event?

I would have no problem with professors offering warnings before displaying graphic images — giving the squeamish ones time to cover their eyes — but giving students the opportunity to opt out of crucifixion-related lessons entirely? Sorry, but . . . nope. Giving a student who did not learn class material about the crucifixion credit for a Bible class is like giving a student who did not learn to do a cartwheel a spot on the gymnastics team, and Glasgow University should be ashamed of itself.

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January 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Op-Ed:  Critics Of University Of Oregon's Punishment Of Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz For Wearing Blackface To A Halloween Party In Her Home Need To "Move On' And 'Get Over It'


Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Register-Guard op-ed: UO Is Right to Insist Upon Cultural Competency, by Martha Moultry:

Get over it!”

“It’s no big deal!”

“You’re too sens­itive!”

“There are people with real problems in the world!”

“Let it go and move on with your life!”

As an African-American woman who grew up in the segregated South and has spent the past 30-plus years in liberal Eugene, I’ve heard these messages all of my life — and they are now being played in stereo in letters to the editor regarding the recent blackface incident at the University of Oregon.

Well, let me add my two cents’ worth.

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January 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Law Students Performed 2.2 Million Pro Bono Hours Worth $52 Million In 2016

Pro BonoNational Law Journal, Law Students Performed 2.2 Million Pro Bono Hours Last Year:

In between reading cases and studying for exams, law students found time in 2016 to take on volunteer legal work — a lot of it.

The law class of 2016 performed more than 2.2 million hours of pro bono work while on campus, which is valued at more than $52 million.

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January 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Rethinking Faculty Hiring At Fourth-Tier Law Schools

Meat MarketPhilip L. Merkel (Western State), Scholar or Practitioner? Rethinking Qualifications for Entry-Level Tenure-Track Professors at Fourth-Tier Law Schools, 44 Cap. U. L. Rev. 507 (2016):

[M]any fourth-tier law schools have lost their way. Rather than embracing their responsibility to educate practitioners, they are trying to look, act, and spend like elite schools. They operate as if they are research centers whose purpose is to produce academic scholarship, not places where future lawyers learn their trade. The research center model creates costs for fourth-tier law schools that ultimately fall on the students. Because most fourth-tier schools rely on tuition for operating expenses and capital budgets, students are paying more tuition and taking on more debt to support their professors’ scholarship. Students subsidize these activities but receive little benefit. They are further short-changed when they graduate and discover their professors taught them little about the actual practice of law.

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January 6, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (12)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 NALP Report On Diversity In U.S. Law Firms

NALPNALP, 2016 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms:

Women and Black/African-Americans made small gains in representation at major U.S. law firms in 2016 compared with 2015, according to the latest law firm demographic findings from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). However, representation of both these groups remains below 2009 levels. NALP’s recent analyses of the 2016-2017 NALP Directory of Legal Employers (NDLE) — the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP — shows that although women and minorities continue to make small gains in their representation among law firm partners in 2016, the overall percentage of women associates has decreased more often than not since 2009, and the percentage of Black/African-American associates has declined every year since 2009, except for the small increase in 2016.

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January 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charlotte Law School Works On Transfer Plan With Florida Coastal As Rumors And Lawsuits Swirl After Feds Cut Off Student Loans

Charlotte Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the ramifications of the Department Of Education's decision to cut off federal student loans for Charlotte Law School:  

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

January 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tax Profs Join Over 1,300 Law Profs In Opposing Jeff Sessions For Attorney General

DOJ Logo (2016)Statement From Law School Faculty Opposing Nomination of Jeff Sessions for the Position of Attorney General:

We are 1330 faculty members from 177 different law schools in 49 states across the country. We urge you to reject the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of Attorney General of the United States.

In 1986, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, in a bipartisan vote, rejected President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of then-U.S. Attorney Sessions for a federal judgeship, due to statements Sessions had made that reflected prejudice against African Americans. Nothing in Senator Sessions’ public life since 1986 has convinced us that he is a different man than the 39-year-old attorney who was deemed too racially insensitive to be a federal district court judge.

Some of us have concerns about his misguided prosecution of three civil rights activists for voter fraud in Alabama in 1985, and his consistent promotion of the myth of voter-impersonation fraud. Some of us have concerns about his support for building a wall along our country’s southern border. Some of us have concerns about his robust support for regressive drug policies that have fueled mass incarceration. Some of us have concerns about his questioning of the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change. Some of us have concerns about his repeated opposition to legislative efforts to promote the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ community. Some of us share all of these concerns.

All of us believe it is unacceptable for someone with Senator Sessions’ record to lead the Department of Justice.

The Attorney General is the top law enforcement officer in the United States, with broad jurisdiction and prosecutorial discretion, which means that, if confirmed, Jeff Sessions would be responsible for the enforcement of the nation’s civil rights, voting, immigration, environmental, employment, national security, surveillance, antitrust, and housing laws.

As law faculty who work every day to better understand the law and teach it to our students, we are convinced that Jeff Sessions will not fairly enforce our nation’s laws and promote justice and equality in the United States. We urge you to reject his nomination.

Tax Prof signatories include:

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January 5, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (10)

Jones:  The University of Oregon, Nancy Shurtz, And The Racial Rules That Keep Us Apart

JonesFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): TaxProf Blog op-ed: The Racial Rules That Keep Us Apart, by Darryll K. Jones (Florida A&M):

What are Nancy Shurtz’ colleagues of color, particularly her African American colleagues, to think about (1) her having dressed up as a “Black Man in a White Coat,” and (2) the reaction to what she did?  She has a friendly smile with genuine eyes, and she teaches Tax.  But I only know that from picture and her bio.  If we ever met I don’t remember.  But I accept, as has her University and even her colleagues who want her out, that she intended no offense and indeed is a strong supporter of diversity and other issues generally thought to involve restorative justice for America’s racism. 

Somehow, I am made to feel defensive by calls for her punishment.  It just makes me very uncomfortable and I don’t want her stoned in the public square for my vindication.  If I were on the faculty at Oregon I would feel compelled to protest the crowd’s outrage ostensibly expressed in recognition of my heritage and feelings.  But I might just sit, quietly grinding my teeth and hoping that the whole thing would just die down.  It is the punishment, the demand for this poor woman’s head on a platter that makes me uncomfortable.  There are clear dangers in an African American saying so.  I imagine that some colleagues might shake their heads in disgust at my own lack of outrage.  There is always the danger of being labeled an “uncle tom” or an apologist for racists if one doesn’t adopt the hot tone of indignation.  Or just plain ignorant. 

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January 5, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Kuehn:  Law Schools Do Not Adequately Prepare Students For Legal Practice

KuehnTax Prof Blog op-ed:  Do Law Schools Adequately Prepare Students For Practice? Surveys Say . . . No!, by Robert Kuehn (Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Washington University):

Under ABA Accreditation Standard 301, law schools have two educational objectives: prepare their students “for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession.” There has been much concern lately over declining bar passage rates, focusing attention on whether some schools are admitting students who may not be capable of passing the bar exam and whether a school’s program of legal education adequately prepares its graduates for the exam.

In focusing on the bar exam, it’s important not to lose sight of legal education’s primary duty of ensuring that law school prepares students for entry into the legal profession and a successful career. If studies of practicing lawyers and recent law graduates matter, it is clear that law schools are failing, even worse than in preparation for bar admission, to adequately prepare their students for legal practice.

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January 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Yoon:  Law Profs Continue To Publish After Tenure, But In Less Competitive Outlets

Albert Yoon (Toronto), Academic Tenure, 13 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 428 (2016):

In academia, a subset of faculty has tenure, which allows its beneficiaries to retain their professorships without mandatory retirement and with only limited grounds for revocation. Proponents of tenure argue it protects intellectual freedom and encourages investment in human capital. Detractors contend it discourages effort and distorts the academic labor market. This Article develops a framework for examining academic tenure in the context of U.S. law schools. We construct a unique dataset of tenured U.S. law professors who began their careers between 1993 through 2002, and follow their employment and scholarship for the first ten years of their career. Across all journal publications, tenured faculty publish more frequently, are cited with roughly the same frequency, and place in comparable caliber of journal. These productivity gains, however, largely disappear when excluding solicited publications. These results suggest that legal academics continue to produce after tenure, but channel more of their efforts towards less competitive outlets.

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January 4, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Dent:  Conservatives Are Not Welcome At AALS

AALS (2018)National Association of Scholars: Association of American Law Schools: Conservatives Not Welcome, by George Dent (Case Western):

As appropriate to its quasi-governmental status, the AALS nods toward non-partisanship. Its by-laws state that it “expects its member schools to value . . . diversity of viewpoints.” Unfortunately, this commitment has been pure window-dressing. In its law school inspections the AALS often criticizes schools for lack of racial or gender diversity, and it makes a big issue of sexual-orientation diversity, but it never criticizes schools for lack of political diversity.

This is not because law faculties reflect the political diversity of the nation. Empirical evidence confirms the obvious; law faculties tilt overwhelmingly to the left [John O. McGinnis et al., The Patterns and Implications of Political Contributions by Elite Law School Faculty, 93 Geo. L.J. 1167 (2005)]. And in its own programs the AALS displays the same bias. An announcement about the 2016 annual meeting included a list of thirteen scheduled “Speakers of Note.” One or two of them might be considered moderate or non-political, but all others were liberals or radicals; not one was a conservative or libertarian.

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January 4, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (13)

Today's AALS Annual Meeting Highlight

AALS (2018)Today's highlight at the 2017 AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco:

Section on Balance in Legal Education:
Understanding and Connecting the Student Experience
Moderating and Speaking: Joseph Bankman (Stanford), Rhonda Magee (San Francisco)

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January 4, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reinventing The Liberal Arts: College In One Year For $5

ReinventingTuck Newport, Reinventing the Liberal Arts: College in One Year for $5:

Hardly a week passes without some luminary decrying the exorbitant cost of higher education and the sorry state of the liberal arts. But none of them explain, in detail, how to obtain a liberal arts education better than that offered by colleges and universities–in less than a year and at a fraction of the cost. "Reinventing the Liberal Arts: College in One Year for $5" provides a comprehensive science and humanities curriculum, with key elements field tested at a well-known liberal arts college over the past two decades. It includes an interdisciplinary survey of crucial concepts in physics, geology, molecular biochemistry, neuroscience, history, literature, ethics, politics, language, information technology, and management.

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January 4, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Martha Minow To Step Down As Harvard Law School Dean

MinowHarvard Gazette, Minow to Step Down as Law School Dean:

Harvard Law School (HLS) Dean Martha Minow announced today that she will step down from that post at the end of this academic year. A legal scholar and human rights expert, Minow has led the diversification of the School’s faculty, staff, and student body, and has overseen significant growth in clinics and research programs, along with record fundraising. She will remain on the faculty and return to active participation in public dialogue and legal policy.

Minow, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, took over in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. She steered the School through the resulting economic challenges to a period of program and faculty growth, strengthened commitment to public service, and campus renewal, with construction of the Wasserstein Hall, Caspersen Student Center and Clinical Wing Building (WCC), and creation of the campus courtyard. She has continued to teach, write, and advise students throughout her tenure as dean.

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January 3, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Volokh:  University Of Oregon's Punishment Of Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz May Signal The End Of Free Speech For All Professors At All Universities


Following up on last week's post, Volokh: Punishment Of Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz Means The End Of Free Speech At The University of Oregon: Washington Post (The Volokh Conspiracy): Silencing Professor Speech to Prevent Students From Being Offended — Or From Fearing Discrimination by the Professors, by Eugene Volokh (UCLA):

People often support disciplining and even firing professors who say things that are perceived as racist on the grounds that 1) those professors can’t be trusted to evaluate minority students fairly, 2) students will be afraid that they won’t be judged fairly, or 3) students will more broadly lose confidence in the professors (or just couldn’t stand to be in the room with them) or even in the institution, and won’t learn as effectively. I’ve seen these arguments made often, most recently as to the University of Oregon controversy. ...

I appreciate the force of these arguments, and indeed, if all you care about is maximum teaching effectiveness and reliability, you might take such a view. But, if accepted, these arguments really will be the end of freedom of expression — both casual and more formally academic — on university professors’ part, because they reach far beyond black makeup in Halloween costumes.

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January 3, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Top 10 Legal Education Stories Of 2016

Top 10

National Law Journal, ABA's Spanking, Law Dean's Ouster Among Top 10 Law School Stories of 2016:

The legal education beat was a wild ride in 2016. Law schools continued to face pressure from the market and regulators, and dust ups involving everything from a handsy dean to a law school's unfortunate new acronym caught the public's attention. We've rounded up the year's top 10 law school stories.

DOEC1.  The U.S. Department of Education cracks down on the American Bar Association and law schools

TaxProf Blog coverage:

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January 3, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, January 2, 2017

NY Times Op-Ed:  Let's Resolve This New Years To Finally Ban Laptops In The Law School Classroom

No LaptopFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): New York Times op-ed: Leave Your Laptops at the Door to My Classroom, by Darren Rosenblum (Pace Law School):

When I started teaching, I assumed my “fun” class, sexuality and the law, full of contemporary controversy, would prove gripping to the students. One day, I provoked them with a point against marriage equality, and the response was a slew of laptops staring back. The screens seemed to block our classroom connection. Then, observing a senior colleague’s contracts class, I spied one student shopping for half the class. Another was surfing Facebook. Both took notes when my colleague spoke, but resumed the rest of their lives instead of listening to classmates.

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January 2, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

The 10 Most Important Legal Technology Developments Of 2016

Robert Ambrogi, The 10 Most Important Legal Technology Developments of 2016:

1.  The legal industry gets smart about artificial intelligence.  In my top 10 list last year, I considered it big news that AI had come to legal research in the form of ROSS Intelligence, a startup that uses IBM’s Watson platform to answer lawyers’ natural-language legal research questions. Just as last year closed out, another AI company, Premonition — which says it is applying AI to the largest legal database in the world — announced a seed round at a $100 million valuation.

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January 2, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

NY Times:  The Evangelical Scion Who Stopped Believing — The Son Of A Famous Pastor, Bart Campolo Is Now A Rising Star Of Atheism As Humanist Chaplain At USC

BartNew York Times: The Evangelical Scion Who Stopped Believing: The Son of a Famous Pastor, Bart Campolo Is Now a Rising Star of Atheism — Using the Skills He Learned in the World He Left Behind:

For most of his life, [Bart] Campolo had gone from success to success. His father, Tony, was one of the most important evangelical Christian preachers of the last 50 years, a prolific author and an erstwhile spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton. The younger Campolo had developed a reputation of his own, running successful inner-city missions in Philadelphia and Ohio and traveling widely as a guest preacher. An extreme extrovert, he was brilliant before a crowd and also at ease in private conversations, connecting with everyone from country-club suburbanites to the destitute souls he often fed in his own house. He was a role model for younger Christians looking to move beyond the culture wars over abortion or homosexuality and get back to Jesus’ original teachings. ...

Though Marty, his wife, had long entertained doubts about Christianity, Campolo had always done his job and, in his words, “brought her back.” But the truth was, he had been breaking up with God for a long time. ... It had been years since he made God or Jesus or the resurrection the centerpiece of the frequent fellowship dinners he and Marty hosted. Talk instead was always about love and friendship. In 2004, he performed a wedding for two close lesbian friends, and in 2006, he began teaching that everybody could be saved, that nobody would go to hell. To evangelicals, he already sounded more like a Unitarian Universalist than like any of them.

Now, after his near-death experience, his wife told him — more bluntly than she ever had — what she thought was going on. “You know,” Marty said, “I think you ought to stop being a professional Christian, since you don’t believe in God, and you don’t believe in heaven, and you don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead three days after dying — and neither do I.” He knew that she was right, and he began telling friends that he was a “post-Christian.” They treated him like an obviously gay man coming out of the closet. “People were like, ‘Yeah, we’ve known this a long time,’ ” he says. “ ‘Why did it take you so long to figure it out?’ ”

For Campolo, admitting that he had totally lost his faith was oddly comforting — he could stop living a lie — but also confusing. He loved talking to people, caring for them, helping them. He loved everything about Christian ministry except the Christianity. Now that he had crossed the bridge to apostasy, he needed a new vocation.

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January 1, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Top 10 TaxProf Blog Legal Education Posts Of 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Oregon Law Prof's Op-Ed:  Did Administration Fuel Outrage Over Prof's Halloween Costume Because She Was One Of Seven Faculty Who Complained To University About Performance Of Dean?


Ofer Raban (Oregon), who was not one of the 23 law professors who signed a letter demanding that Nancy Shurtz resign her tenured faculty position for wearing blackface to a Halloween party in her home, has published an op-ed in The Oregonian, A Setback for Free Speech at University of Oregon:

Last week, the University of Oregon released and officially adopted a legal report regarding a law professor who donned a Halloween costume representing an African-American doctor. University leaders suspended the professor and commissioned the report from a Portland law firm, which worked under the "direction and guidance" of university lawyers.

The report recognized that the professor, who has a history of advocacy for minority rights, donned the costume at a party at her home in order to honor an African-American author and call attention to the scarcity of African-Americans in medical schools. The report also noted that she was genuinely shocked and surprised at the negative reactions to her costume, and promptly apologized.

But the report concluded that the costume constituted racial discrimination and harassment in violation of university rules. It goes on to claim that the professor's expression is not shielded by university rules protecting free speech and academic freedom, nor by the Constitution's freedom of speech.

This is a deeply flawed report, and the university has made a legal and moral mistake in adopting it.

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December 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Because the week between Christmas and New Years is typically slow for legal education news, I am going to discuss the best legal education articles for 2016.

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December 30, 2016 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Dismisses Claim That Arizona Summit Law School Fraudulently Inflated Incoming Students' GPAs, LSAT Scores

Arizona Summit Logo (2015)Following up on my previous post, Fired Employee Claims Arizona Summit Law School Inflated LSAT, Bar Passage Data:  National Law Journal, Fraud Claims Against Arizona Summit Law School Tossed:

A federal judge has dismissed fraud claims against Arizona Summit Law School brought by a former student and employee who alleged the school misrepresented incoming students' grades and Law School Admission Test scores.

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December 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Editorial:  'Unconscionable' Leaders Hid Charlotte Law School's Problems To Keep Revenue Flowing; 'Catastrophic Fiasco May Destroy Lives Of Hundreds Of Innocent Students'

FCFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Charlotte Observer editorial, Charlotte School of Law Students Deserved Better:

Charlotte School of Law leaders have made some big mistakes, it seems. Unfortunately, the people paying for those mistakes are hundreds of innocent law school students.

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December 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Northwestern Law Review Exclusive Submission Window


The Northwestern University Law Review has announced an exclusive submissions window:

We are accepting exclusive submissions for Volume 112 through January 28, 2017 11:59 PM Central Time. For all pieces submitted in accordance with the instructions outlined below, the Law Review guarantees Articles Board consideration and publication decision by February 17, 2017. Furthermore, articles receiving a publication offer via the exclusive submission track will be published in one of the first two Issues of Volume 112. 

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December 29, 2016 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 December 1, 2016) 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 (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)


Lily Batchelder (NYU)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Michael Simkovic (S.Hall)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



James Hines (Michigan)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


William Byrnes (Texas A&M)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Brad Borden (Broklyn)


David Weisbach (Chicago)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Steven Bank (UCLA)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Yariv Brauner (Florida)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Brian Galle (Georgetown)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Bridget Crawford (Pace)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Richard Kaplan (Illinois)



David Walker (Boston Univ.)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Steven Bank (UCLA)


Jordan Barry (San Diego)



Gregg Polsky (Georgia)


Michael Graetz (Columbia)


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

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December 29, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tallahassee Crimes Of The Year: The Murder Of Dan Markel

Adelson FamilyTallahassee Democrat, 2016: The Year in Crime: Dan Markel:

Almost two years.

Many people questioned whether Dan Markel’s broad daylight murder would ever be solved. Others felt it was just a matter of time.

Each person has their story of that day.

Where they were. Who they were with. What they were doing. How they got there. Where they were going. What side of town? What city? That moment.

July 18, 2014.

What happened? ...

See our full coverage of the Dan Markel case.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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December 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Private Law Schools Increased Tuition 2.7% in 2016, Six Schools Top $60,000

Matt Leichter, 2016: Full-Time Private Law School Tuition Up 2.7 Percent:

Full-time tuition costs at private law schools rose an average 2.7 percent before adjusting for inflation. ...

Leichter 2

The chart depicts at least three straight years of top-heavy tuition increases: The more expensive law schools are becoming more expensive—4 percent more among the top 20 percent of law schools. Two years ago, Columbia Law School became the first to charge more than $60,000, and it now costs more than $65,000. This year six other law schools joined the 60k club: NYU, Cornell, Penn, Chicago, Harvard, and USC.

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December 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Drexel Freezes Faculty, Staff Staff Salaries Due To Decreased Enrollments

DrexelPhiladelphia Inquirer, With Revenue Down, Drexel "Withholds" Merit Raises:

Drexel University will withhold merit raises from faculty and staff this fiscal year as the school continues to adjust to less revenue as a result of an admissions strategy designed to attract fewer, but more serious and better qualified, applicants.

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December 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

BigLaw Discriminates In Favor Of Upper Class Males Among High-Credentialed (Top 1%, Law Review) Applicants From Second Tier (Ranked 51-100) Law Schools In Granting Interviews For Summer Associate Positions

Harvard Business Review LogoFollowing up on my earlier posts:

Harvard Business Review: How Subtle Class Cues Can Backfire on Your Resume, by Lauren Rivera (Northwestern) & András Tilcsik (Toronto):

Every fall, tens of thousands of law students compete for a small number of coveted summer associateships at the country’s top law firms. The stakes are high: getting one of these rare internships virtually guarantees full-time employment after law school. The salaries are unbeatable, six-figure sums that catapult young students to the top 5% of household incomes nationally and are often quadruple of those offered in other sectors of legal practice. These jobs also open doors to even more lucrative employment in the private sector as well as prestigious judiciary and government roles. For these reasons, employment in top law firms has been called the legal profession’s 1%.

Now imagine four applicants, all of whom attend the same, selective second-tier law school. They all have phenomenal grade point averages, are on law review, and have identical, highly relevant work experiences. The only differences are whether they are male or female and if their extracurricular activities suggest they come from a higher-class or lower-class background. Who gets invited to interview?

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December 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Merritt:  If Women Dominate Men In College Diplomas, Why Not JDs?

Bloomberg Law op-ed: If Women Dominate Men in Diplomas, Why Not JDs?, by Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State):

This year women claimed just over half the seats at ABA-accredited law schools. That’s a first: women neared the 50% mark in 2015, but didn’t cross it until this year. The milestone is memorable, but why was it such a long time coming?

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December 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Solicitation For Article:  The Top 10 Legal Education Stories Of 2016

Top 10 (2014)For many years, I have published on TaxProf Blog as a New Year's tradition an article on "The Top 10 Tax Stories of [Year]," consisting of contributions by (with attribution to) the individual tax professor authors. In light of the wrenching changes taking place in legal education, I would like to inaugurate a new tradition of an article on "The Top 10 Legal Education Stories of 2016." If you are a law professor and would like to be featured in this article, please send me a contribution of a few sentences (or more) on one (or more) of what you think were the most significant legal education stories of the year. I will knit the best contributions together, with attribution to each of the authors, and publish the article on TaxProf Blog on Tuesday morning, January 3.

Please email your contribution(s) to me by noon on Saturday, December 31.

December 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Plan To Make Students Great Again:  Replace Loans With Income Shares, Force Colleges To Spend 5% Of Their Endowments Each Year

Trump (President Elect)New York Times op-ed: To Boost the Economy, Help Students First, by Sheila C. Bair (President, Washington College):

Donald J. Trump has made bold and provocative campaign promises on taxes, trade, immigration and infrastructure. These pledges are all in service of bolstering our economic future. While we hope these initiatives will help our economic prospects, there is one important measure missing from the debate. And it could have an even more immediate and direct impact on economic growth: student debt relief.

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December 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (30)

Volokh:  Punishment Of Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz Means The End Of Free Speech At The University of Oregon


Following up on my previous posts (links below);  Washington Post (The Volokh Conspiracy): At the University of Oregon, No More Free Speech for Professors on Subjects Such as Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, by Eugene Volokh (UCLA):

Last week, the University of Oregon made clear to its faculty: If you say things about race, sexual orientation, sex, religion and so on that enough people find offensive, you could get suspended (and, following the logic of the analysis) even fired. This can happen even to tenured faculty members; even more clearly, it can happen to anyone else. It’s not limited to personal insults. It’s not limited to deliberate racism or bigotry. ...

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December 27, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, December 26, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

More On The July 2016 California Bar Exam

California (2016)Continuing my coverage of the July 2016 California bar exam (links below):

David Frakt, Some Thoughts on the California Bar Exam:

2.  LSAT scores matter — if you look at the pass rates, with a couple of notable exceptions, they track the selectivity of the school in terms of LSAT scores and UGPA of the entering class of 2013.  In the chart below, I compare the LSAT profiles of the entering class of 2013 with the pass rate on the July 2016 bar. ...  17 of 21 schools had a bar pass ranking within 2 places of their LSAT rank. Only one school noticeably outperformed its predictors, Cal Western, which outperformed four law schools with higher LSAT scores. Three law schools noticeably underperformed, UC Hastings, which was surpassed by five law schools with students with weaker entrance credentials, and San Francisco and Chapman which were outperformed by three schools with lower LSATs.

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December 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blackman:  University of Oregon's Punishment Of Tax Prof Nancy Schurtz For Wearing Blackface To Halloween Party In Her Home Is 'Dangerous And Wrong'


Josh Blackman (South Texas), The University of Oregon Ducks the First Amendment:

On Thursday, I blogged about the dangerous precedents set by the University of Oregon’s decision that it could punish a professor for wearing black face at a Halloween party. In this post, I will discuss how the University’s report completely ignores precedents that are directly on point. This decision is not only dangerous, but is wrong.

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December 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Hallelujah Christmas

In Hoc Anno Domini

The Wall Street Journal has published this wonderful editorial each Christmas since 1949, In Hoc Anno Domini:

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression -- for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

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December 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Prof Op-Ed:  How An Atheist Celebrates Christmas — 'True Believers Owe Jesus A Profound Spiritual Debt; We All Owe Him A Profound Intellectual Debt'

Cockfield (2016)The Globe and Mail Op-Ed: How An Atheist Celebrates Christmas, by Arthur Cockfield (Queen's University Faculty of Law):

As an atheist, I have to admit that I have not always had a stellar relationship with Jesus. Still, as much of the world sets to celebrate his alleged birth on Dec. 25, I will also reflect on this icon and the lasting and positive impression he’s had on my heritage and value system.

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December 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times Op-Ed:  Why It’s Not Wrong To Wish Muslims Merry Christmas

Islamic JesusNew York Times op-ed:  Why It’s Not Wrong to Wish Muslims Merry Christmas, by Mustafa Akyol (Author, The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims):

Billions of Christians around the world are excited to celebrate Christmas this weekend. Those in the world’s second-largest religious community, Muslims, don’t share quite the same excitement. In a few Muslim-majority countries, like Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Somalia, Christmas celebrations are banned. In Turkey, my country, they are not illegal, but some Islamist groups still organize annual protests against Christmas trees and Santa Claus costumes, which they consider Western impositions.

Meanwhile, many other Muslims around the world are rightly respectful to their Christian neighbors and even share in their holy day. They include the owners of a Turkish restaurant in London that decided to offer a free Christmas meal to the homeless and the elderly, and a Muslim businessman in Baghdad who erected a Christmas tree in solidarity with Christians persecuted by the self-declared Islamic State.

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December 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ Op-Ed:   Why This Rabbi Loves Christmas

Wall Street Journal op-ed: Why This Rabbi Loves Christmas: Christians and Jews Await the Messiah. The Only Debate Is If He’s Been Here Before, by Rabbi Michael Gotlieb (Santa Monica, CA):

Christmas fascinates me. I’m drawn to its history, its color, its atmosphere, its music. And, of course, I’m drawn to the fact that Jesus was a Jew. He was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died a Jew. If for nothing else, I can appreciate Christmas as the celebration of one Jew’s epic birthday.

The 20th century philosopher and theologian Martin Buber would often begin lectures to ecumenical gatherings by stating that a key difference separating Jews and Christians is whether Jesus was the messiah. Christians believe he was, and they are awaiting his return. Jews believe that the messiah hasn’t yet come. His suggestion: Let’s all pray for the messiah—Christians and Jews alike. When he arrives, we’ll ask if he’s been here before.

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December 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Twas The Night Before Christmas (Legal Edition)

Twas 6

Check out the original and legal versions of the classic poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas [click on chart to enlarge]:


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December 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz Blasts University Of Oregon For Improperly Releasing Error Filled Report As 'Public Retaliation And Shaming'


Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz has released this statement in response to the University of Oregon's release of a report concluding that she violated the university's anti-discrimination policy by wearing blackface to a Halloween party at her home:


On Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, the University of Oregon improperly released a flawed investigative report into events surrounding a Halloween party that I hosted in my home. This release violated rights of employees to confidentiality guaranteed by law. In addition, the report contains numerous mistakes, errors and omissions that if corrected would have put matters in a different light. For example, it ignored the anonymous grading process, the presence of many non-students as guests, and the deceptive emails that created a firestorm in the law school.

I, and my legal advisers, were preparing a response to the draft report. Although the University was aware of our intention to submit our corrections by noon (local time) yesterday and to deal with its errors in-house, the Provost’s office or its advisers cynically decided to try to publicly shame me instead.

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December 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Students File $5 Million Class Action Lawsuit Against Charlotte Law School

FCFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA Journal, Students File $5 Million Class Action Against Charlotte School of Law:

Two students filed a $5 million class action lawsuit Friday against Charlotte School of Law and its parent company, Infilaw.

The complaint accuses the law school of engaging in misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud. The filing follows the U.S. Department of Education announcement that as of Dec. 31, it plans to cut off the school’s federal student aid, for allegedly misleading current and prospective students about its ABA accreditation status.

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December 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)