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Friday, June 19, 2015

Should Law Students Get A Lower Student Loan Interest Rate?

Student LoansBloomberg, Is the Government Charging Some People Too Much for Student Loans?:

For young people with good jobs, repaying student loans has probably never been easier. In the past four years a growing number of companies have begun offering to refinance people’s federal loans, which generally means buying the debt and then collecting payments from borrowers at a much lower interest rate than the government was charging.

The companies—which include startups and traditional banks alike—say this is an attractive business opportunity because certain graduates are bound to pay back their loans on time. Buying their debt now and collecting small, but virtually guaranteed, payments over time can be a profitable enterprise.

For the people whom these companies target—often graduate school alums—the deal has few drawbacks. Those who refinance public loans through a private company like Social Finance or CommonBond pay less interest over the long haul. They also give up the right to enter into government repayment plans, but it’s unlikely these particular folks would need to rely on such programs, which are aimed at struggling grads.

Sounds like a win-win scenario for all players, except for two: the U.S. government and, by extension, the taxpayer. As Bloomberg reported last week, the boom in student debt refinancing for a few could be bad for the masses. Taking the least risky borrowers—the ones with good jobs and high incomes—out of the pool of those who are repaying student loans makes that pool more risky overall.

Imagine a doomsday scenario (which is unlikely to occur, but still interesting) where private lenders manage to pluck every solvent borrower out of the group of students and graduates indebted to the government. That would leave the rest of us, who finance the loan program and perhaps count on college loans for ourselves or our children, dependent on a set of (theoretically) unreliable people to replenish the government’s coffers. Not fun.

So should the government get in on the refinancing game? Some say yes. The U.S. Department of Education, says Michael Simkovic, a law professor at Seton Hall University, is overcharging certain borrowers, given how unlikely they are to stop paying the debt back. He says it would make more sense to give lower interest rates to people who major in lucrative fields, or those who go to graduate school for certain professional degrees.

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June 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Crespi: The 'Tax Bomb' Facing Lawyers Who Enroll In Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans Is Even Bigger

IBRFollowing on last week's post, The 'Tax Bomb' Facing Lawyers Who Enroll In Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans:  Greg Crespi (SMU) reports that he has

substantially revised and greatly improved my IBR “tax bomb” draft paper that I sent to you on June 7, in response to a lot of very helpful feedback from other scholars and practitioners, and I have replaced my prior SSRN posting with this new draft (attached) .  This new draft has a much more accurate assessment of the actually quite limited significance of the DOE’s new REPAYE Plan (more limited than I had previously realized), and now includes significantly larger and probably much more accurate projections of the size of the problem.  I now project that by 2038 approximately 20,000+ lawyers will be impacted each year by this IBR or PAYE debt forgiveness tax liability (see p. 80-81), with an annual aggregate tax bill imposed upon these lawyers of approximately $800 million to $900 million (see p. 82-83).  According to SSRN many of your readers have downloaded my draft, and you may want to give them a heads-up as to this new and improved  draft with its more dramatic predictions as to the 2032 and later tax implications for high-debt law school graduates of the IBR program.

June 19, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

NY Times: Put Lawyers Where They’re Needed

Liberated LawyeringNew York Times op-ed:  Put Lawyers Where They’re Needed, by Theresa Amato: (author, Liberated Lawyering: How Lawyers Can Change the World (forthcoming 2016)):

Millions of Americans lack crucial legal services. Yet enormous numbers of lawyers are unemployed. Why can’t the supply of lawyers match the demand? ...

To create the entire sector of sustainable, affordable legal service providers that the legal profession needs will take much more entrepreneurship. There’s no shortage of lawyers to bridge the justice gap. For the last four years, less than 60 percent of law-school graduates have found full-time jobs requiring a bar qualification.

The problem is twofold. First, school fees have consistently outpaced inflation over the last 30 years, and on average, 86 percent of law students graduate with six-figure debt. Without help, the drag of this debt makes it near-impossible for willing graduates to take lower-paying legal services jobs.

Second, even for those graduates who are able to serve those who lack affordable legal representation, the jobs are few and much fought-for — despite the often less than chic locales. Recent graduates rarely have the training or resources to create jobs for themselves. ...

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June 18, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Two Computer Monitors Just Don't Cut It Anymore

Monitor 2PC World, How to Create an Insane Multiple Monitor Setup With Three, Four, or More Displays:

Studies have shown that dual monitors can increase productivity [sometimes], but the jury’s still out on whether adding even more monitors means even more productivity. That aside, having multiple monitors (and I’m talking three, four, five, or even six) is just…awesome, and something you totally need in your life.

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June 18, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

William Byrnes Leaves Thomas Jefferson For Texas A&M

ByrnesWilliam H. Byrnes, IV, Associate Dean for Graduate and Distance Education Programs in International Tax and Financial Services at Thomas Jefferson Law School (and co-editor of our International Financial Law Prof Blog), has accepted a position as Executive Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Special Projects at Texas A&M Law School:

William Byrnes is a leading tax and financial crimes expert who has published numerous books and articles. Professor Byrnes pioneered online legal education twenty years ago and created the first online LL.M. offered by an ABA accredited law school. He is formerly an Associate Dean at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on International Legal Exchange. As a tax attorney, he was a Senior Manager, then Associate Director of international tax for Coopers and Lybrand. He brings a unique set of qualifications, having successfully run distance education programs and built an international network that supports them.

June 18, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fennell: Do Not Cite Or Circulate

DNCCLee Anne Fennell (Chicago), Do Not Cite or Circulate, 18 Green Bag 2d 151 (2015):

This short essay ponders why legal scholars attach formulations such as "Do Not Cite or Circulate" to draft works. It argues against the practice in most circumstances, particularly for work posted on the internet.

June 18, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

North Carolina Senate Cuts $3 Million From UNC Law School Budget: 'The Gene Nichol Transfer Amendment'

North Carolina LogoWRAL News, Senate GOP Docks UNC Law $3M:

A last-minute amendment by Senate leaders Wednesday docked the UNC Chapel Hill School of Law budget by $3 million. Democrats say it's political payback for the school's employment of legislative critic Gene Nichol. ...

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June 18, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Simkovic: Understanding Student Loans

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Understanding Student Loans (1 of 2):

A shorthand approach sometimes used to compare the cost and benefits of higher education—comparing student loan balances at graduation to first year earnings—can be seriously misleading.  The implication of this approach is that student loans have to be repaid in full shortly after graduation, and that graduates’ low initial earnings will persist for the rest of their lives.  

This is an apples to oranges comparison.  An investment in education pays dividends throughout one’s life. First-year earnings are one small, unrepresentative, slice of lifetime earnings. Comparing a lifetime investment to one year of expected returns on it feeds ignorance about how student loans and lifetime earnings actually work.  It thus risks misleading prospective students into making financially disastrous decisions to underinvest in education. ...

Because the benefits of education accrue over the course of a career—perhaps 40 years or more—and earnings typically do not peak until middle age, the costs of education should ideally also be spread over a similar time frame. 

Simkovic

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June 18, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

2014-15 SALT Survey Of Law Professor Salaries

SALTThe Society of American Law Teachers has released its 2014-15 Law Professor Salary Survey (June 2015).  82 law schools responded to the survey with data on median base salaries for three faculty ranks (assistant professor, pre-tenure associate professor, and tenured professor (both associate and full)) and median summer stipends.  Here are the data for the 11 Top 60 law schools that responded to the survey:

School (Rank)

Ass’t

Pre-Tenure Assoc

Tenured (Assoc/Full)

Summer

Iowa (22)

134,550

184,800

15,000

Georgia (31)

121,400

144,000

180,765

27,500

Ohio State (34)

121,800

175,002

12,500

Florida (47)

112,240

125,742

158,000

26,757

Wake Forest (47)

125,363

127,506

179,215

13,000

Pepperdine (52)

149,000

164,500

13,500

Tennessee (52)

100,700

137,390

17,000

Nebraska (56)

102,964

109,592

154,764

11,000

Case Western (59)

126,250

141,400

196,400

8,500

Missouri (59)

101,821

143,932

10,000

UC-Hastings (59)

126,250

137,842

180,004

12,000

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Pasquale: The New York Times’ Curious War On Traditional Higher Education

Frank Pasquale (Maryland), The New York Times’ Curious War on Traditional Higher Education:

It’s a strange position for America’s “paper of record” to take. Despite its largely traditionally-college-educated readership, the New York Times is constantly publishing articles attacking the value of university degrees. Tom Friedman dismisses them as expensive merit “badges” oft-unrelated to the exact qualifications needed for jobs. The ubiquitous Tyler Cowen blasts ed sector costs and inefficiencies, despite international acclaim for US universities. The author of The End of College has had a high-profile platform at the Times‘s Upshot blog.

All three men tend to characterize traditional college degrees as mere signals, barely (if at all) related to the actual skills, habits, and qualities of mind and character that lead to successful, fulfilling lives. I’ve never seen them grapple with the extensive empirical literature on why education increases earnings. Nor do they tend to respond much to the hard data that their colleague David Leonhardt provides on the costs and benefits of college.

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Kentucky Law Prof Retires After 50 Years: 'Shame On Us' For Explosion In Law School Tuition

LawsonLexington Herald-Leader, After 50 Years at UK, Professor Who Wrote Much of Kentucky Law and Investigated UK Athletics Is Retiring:

Robert Gene Lawson, who is retiring July 1, wrote much of Kentucky law and taught thousands of the people who practice it.

Lawson spent 50 years as a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law, and he was dean twice. Among his students were U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. Reps. Andy Barr and Ed Whitfield, and most of the Kentucky Supreme Court. ...

The son of a coal miner, Lawson was born in 1938 in a tiny Logan County, W.Va., community almost entirely owned by Island Creek Coal Co. His father urged him to escape the coal camp through an education. He worked his way through tuition-free Berea College and then earned a law degree at UK in 1963.

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

University Of California Bans Microagressions By Faculty (Support For Color Blindness, Meritocracy; Denial of Racism/Sexism/Heterosexism)

University of California (2015)Eugene Volokh (UCLA), UC Teaching Faculty Members Not to Criticize Race-based Affirmative Action, Call America ‘Melting Pot,’ and More:

One of the latest things in universities, including at University of California (where I teach) is condemning “microaggressions,” supposed “brief, subtle verbal or non-verbal exchanges that send denigrating messages to the recipient because of his or her group membership (such as race, gender, age or socio-economic status).” Such microaggressions, the argument goes, can lead to a “hostile learning environment,” which UC — and the federal government — views as legally actionable. This is stuff you could get disciplined or fired for, especially if you aren’t a tenured faculty member.

But of course this concept is now being used to suppress not just, say, personal insults or discrimination in hiring or grading, but also ideas that the UC wants to exclude from university classrooms. Here, from the UC Office of the President, Academic and Personnel Programs department’s site (promoted, for instance, here, here, and here), are some of what the UC wants to see stamped out, in classrooms and presumably elsewhere as well: ...

Tool: Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send

[Theme:] Color Blindness[:] Statements that indicate that a White person does not want to or need to acknowledge race.

[Microaggression Examples:] “There is only one race, the human race.”
“America is a melting pot.”
“I don’t believe in race.” …

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

New Mexico Appoints Two Internal Candidates To Lead Law School As Co-Deans

PhotoPress Release, Mathewson, Pareja Appointed Co-deans at UNM School of Law:

After a rigorous internal search, University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah announced today the appointment of co-deans at the UNM School of Law. Alfred Mathewson and [Tax Prof] Sergio Pareja, both professors at the UNM School of Law, begin as co-deans Aug. 1, 2015.

“The more I learned about the needs of the UNM School of Law, the more my conviction grew that no one person can address the full spectrum of challenges of this period,” Abdallah said. “The combination of Professors Mathewson and Pareja in this role will provide the best possible combination of skills and support to assure success of this critically important and prestigious part of UNM.” ...

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Hiring Partners Reveal New Attorney Readiness For Real World Practice

Sponsored by LexisNexis

LexisNexisLaw Schools and individual faculty are in the process of revising their curriculum and classes to address the demand for more practice-ready graduates. But what are the most desired research, writing and transactional skills and how can law schools develop these skills most effectively? An independent survey was conducted by 5 Square Research, Inc. and funded by LexisNexis®, to answer these questions and more. 

The result is a new white paper, Hiring Partners Reveal New Attorney Readiness for Real World Practice, which shares the responses of 300 hiring partners and associates from small to large law firms practicing in litigation and transactional law. 

Key findings include:

  • 96% believe that newly graduated law students lack practical skills related to litigation and transactional practice.
  • 66% deem writing and drafting skills highly important with emphasis on motions, briefs and pleadings
  • Newer attorneys spend 40% – 60% of their time conducting legal research
  • 88% of hiring partners think proficiency using “paid for” research services is highly important
  • Students lack advanced legal research skills in the areas of statutory law, regulations, legislation and more…
  • The most important transactional skills include business and financial concepts, due diligence, drafting contracts and more…
  • A law firm spends approximately $19,000 per year, on average, to train a new associate

This study reveals the most important and most lacking practical skills desired by legal employers and will help inform law schools of the specific content and tasks they can integrate into applicable classes and experiential learning programs pursuant to employer demand and the new ABA standards.

Read the full article with charts, Hiring Partners Reveal New Attorney Readiness for Real World Practice, or view this Executive Overview Prezi*.  

*Chrome or Firefox is best for viewing Prezi

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Law Student's Guide To Meaningful Employment

RoadmapNeil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas), Roadmap: The Law Student's Guide to Preparing and Implementing a Successful Plan for Meaningful Employment (2015):

Professor Neil Hamilton, former interim dean of St. Thomas University School of Law, has developed a ground-breaking template for law students to use throughout all three years of law school in order to be fully prepared to find employment upon graduation. Hamilton established the core competencies desired by law firms, corporate legal departments, and governmental law departments, to demonstrate what competencies each student should be developing. Through a combination of one-to-one mentoring and student-driven growth plans, each student identifies specific competencies and career goals then demonstrates progress over the final five semesters before graduation. Hamilton’s method is already in use at several law schools, with spectacular results―both increased employment rates and elevated student understanding of the student’s role and path in obtaining employment.

This is the book for law students who want to take control of their law school education, and ensure a positive outcome upon graduation.

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June 16, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition

IFA Logo (2015)The International Fiscal Association is sponsoring the IFA USA Branch 2015 Writing Competition (rules here):

  • Subject:  Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
  • Open to:  All full or part-time students during the 2014-15 academic year pursuing a graduate degree.
  • Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2015.
  • Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting on February 25-26, 2016 in Miami.

Here are the recent winners:

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June 16, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SketchyLaw

SketchyLaw, Law School Review:

Our video library of narrated lectures present legal concepts in more memorable spaces, allowing you to create your own visual memory palace with each scene. 

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June 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jeff Harrison's Restyled Legal Education Blog

Student Loan News

June 15, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bentley University Seeks To Hire A Tenure-Track Tax Prof

Bentley 2Bentley University, located in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, is seeking to hire a full-time tenure-track Assistant Professor of Law and Taxation to start July 2016:

The chosen candidate will teach both undergraduate and graduate law courses with a business focus, and on occasion, as needed, graduate tax courses. The standard teaching load for the tenure-track years is 2-2 (two courses per semester). The chosen candidate will be expected to publish high quality and impactful scholarship in respected academic and/or practitioner journals. ...

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June 15, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Is The Case Western Dean Search A New Model: Co-Deans Selected From Among Internal Candidates With No Faculty Vote?

Case Logo (2014)Following the resignation of former dean Lawrence Mitchell amidst a tawdry sexual harassment scandal and resulting lawsuit (and settlement), Case Western's President and Provost have constituted a dean search committee. The parameters of the search are interesting in three respects:

  1. Only internal candidates will be considered.
  2. The committee will recommend finalists to the president and provost, with no faculty vote.
  3. The president and provost "are open to a model that includes co-deans; while the practice is not common, it has been implemented within both academia and the corporate sector. Our goal is to provide the school the best possible leadership at this moment in its history."

With Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf serving as Acting (Nov. 2013 -  Mar. 2014) and now Interim (Mar. 2014 -) co-deans, the search may result in their appointment as permanent co-deans.

June 14, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Former University of Georgia President Michael Adams Named Pepperdine Chancellor

AdamsPress Release:

Michael F. Adams, who served as president of the University of Georgia from 1997 to 2013, has been named chancellor of Pepperdine University. Adams is an award-winning educator, political communication specialist, and former vice president for university affairs at Pepperdine University (1982-1988). He will assume his duties on August 1, 2015. ...

As chancellor, Adams will focus on cultivating existing relationships and developing new partnerships to extend Pepperdine’s reach throughout Southern California and around the globe. Following the recent success of the Campaign for Pepperdine, the chancellor will take a leadership role on major initiatives and help strengthen the University’s endowment. ...

Adams most recently held the titles President Emeritus and Regents’ Professor at the University of Georgia. Under his leadership, from 1997 to 2013, the university was recognized as one of the nation’s top 20 public research universities for eight out of 10 years by U.S. News & World Report. During his tenure, the university also attained its highest rankings ever, became the most selective in its history, and grew from an estimated 29,000 students to almost 35,000 students today. Prior to his term at the University of Georgia, he served as president of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, one of America’s top 40 liberal arts colleges, from 1989 to 1997. ...

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June 14, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

America’s Law School Applications And Enrollment Just Keep Falling

Quartz, America’s Law School Applications Just Keep Falling:

The great law school exodus continues, propelled by a weak job market for lawyers and securer, better paid opportunities in other professions. According to updated data from the US Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), as of June 5 the number of applicants to accredited American law schools are down 2.5% from the same point last year. ...

Where are people going instead? Engineering school, where graduates see some of the highest salary increases from investing in the degree. The numbers below somewhat understate the overall decline in law school enrollment, as they only include the subset of prestigious schools ranked by US News. Lower-tier law schools, which have much shakier career outcomes, have been the hardest hit by enrollment declines:

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June 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Preschool Tax

Friday, June 12, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Watchdog: Report Of Favoritism In University Of Texas Law School Admissions Whitewashed Evidence Of LSAT Scores Of Admittees In The 130s And 140s

Texas Law School LogoWatchdog.org, Whitewash: Kroll Left Dozens of Bad LSATs Out of UT Report:

An investigation into the corruption of admissions standards at the University of Texas School of Law confirmed Watchdog’s reports that dozens of applicants had been admitted to UT Law despite atrocious test scores.

Nonetheless, Kroll Associates made no mention in its final report of the dozens of inadequate Law School Admission Test scores it found in researching applicant data from 2004 to 2014.

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

Thursday, June 11, 2015

ABA Seeks Comments On Six Proposed Revisions To Law School Accreditation Standards

ABA Logo 2Following up on Tuesday's post, ABA Approves Paid Externships, 10% LSAT-Free Classes For Notice And Comment:  the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar today released  this memorandum:

At its meeting held on June 5-6, 2015, 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 105 and Rule 29(a)
  • Standard 305(e)(6) and Interpretation 305-3
  • Interpretation 305-2
  • Interpretation 311-4
  • Standard 503
  • Rule 29(b-f)nbsp;

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June 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The New 1L: First-Year Lawyering With Clients

1LThe New 1L: First-Year Lawyering with Clients (Eduardo R.C. Capulong (Montana), Michael A. Millemann (Maryland), Sara Rankin (Seattle) & Nantiya Ruan (Denver), eds. Carolina Academic Press 2015):

In The New 1L, leading teachers in the field describe how, in the first year of legal education, they teach students to act, as well as think, like lawyers. In their courses, clients are central not extraneous. Working under a lawyer’s supervision, students interview clients, conduct factual investigations, draft pleadings, and write memoranda and briefs. The authors argue that, in isolation, theory and practice are incomplete, and first-year educators must integrate the two. They discuss the benefits and challenges of this new 1L approach, and also provide a range of successful models for any teacher who wants to adopt this pedagogy to a first-year course.  What they say is particularly relevant today, when many are criticizing law schools for their over-reliance on the Langdellian teaching method and failure to produce practice-ready graduates.

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June 11, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why I'm Glad I Gave Up My Dream Of Going To Law School

LegallyThe Week:  Why I'm Glad I Gave Up My Dream of Going to Law School, by Stephanie Talmadge:

For years, I was dead-set on going to law school. And not just any law school — Harvard. But midway through college, I was forced to confront this plan I had for myself. I asked myself why I really wanted it, and how much I was willing to sacrifice for it.

I realized I wasn't willing to sacrifice much, and that my dream may have been a convenient aspiration — one that ultimately hindered my pursuing less conventional career paths that would have better suited me.

Why did I want to be a lawyer in the first place? I'm not particularly proud of this, but I blame Legally Blonde. Elle Woods was spunky, smart, and accomplished, and when I was 10 years old, I wanted to be just like her. ...

Finally, something in me snapped. Part of it was finally confronting the terrifying reality of taking out massive six-figure loans to finance law school. But more than that, it was the anecdotes from my jaded ex-lawyer professors, who described what daily life as a lawyer would actually be like. They described miserable 60-hour work weeks in huge firms where no one cares about you. They warned us that being a lawyer isn't all sweeping Atticus Finch speeches. There are countless thankless, painstaking tasks, grueling research, and all kinds of things that sounded pretty terrible to me when I actually stopped to think about them.

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June 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Chronicle Of Higher Education: The Fight Over Charleston Law School

Charleston LogoChronicle of Higher Education, Terminations, Accusations, Threats: The Fight Over a Law School’s Planned Sale Gets Muddier:

These are trying times for the nation’s law schools, but few have experienced the kind of drama that Charleston School of Law has, just in the past five weeks.

On May 6 the for-profit school’s owners threatened to pull the plug on new admissions after faculty members, students, and alumni angrily protested their plan to sell the school to the InfiLaw System, a Florida-based consortium that owns three other law schools.

A few weeks later the owners reversed course, but only after terminating seven tenured faculty members who had publicly opposed the plan and buying out several others.

The American Bar Association, which had been taking a wait-and-see stance on the proposed sale, sent a fact finder to the Charleston, S.C., campus this month to determine whether the school had violated any of the ABA’s accreditation standards.

And despite assurances to critics that a sale to InfiLaw wasn’t in the works, Charleston hired a new interim president who happens to serve on the InfiLaw board.

Critics of a sale say that InfiLaw’s three schools — Arizona Summit Law School, Charlotte School of Law, and Florida Coastal School of Law — have lower standards than the Charleston school’s and that a sale would diminish the value of a Charleston law degree.

Watching all of this unfold has been "incredibly painful," says the school’s founding dean, I. Richard Gershon, who has been law dean at the University of Mississippi since 2010. "We thought we were building something that would last beyond our lifetimes," he says.

The pressures on Charleston School of Law aren’t unique. Nationwide, law schools are reeling from five straight years of declining applications that have forced many to accept fewer students, lay off faculty members, and search for new revenue sources.

CHE

But Charleston is one of the few that have come perilously close to closing. ...

Last week the school announced that Joseph D. Harbaugh, a former dean at Nova Southeastern University and the University of Richmond, had been named interim president. He serves on the national policy board of the InfiLaw System, which leads some faculty members and student leaders to believe that the owners haven’t given up on the idea of eventually making a sale.

June 10, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Law School Applications Fall 5%; Al Brophy: We've Hit The Bottom

Wall Street Journal, Law School Applications Keep Falling:

As the cost of law school rises and the number of entry-level legal jobs stagnates, the number of law-school applicants continues to fall.

According to the latest numbers from the Law School Admission Council, 50,269 people submitted applications to nationally accredited law schools as of last week, down 2.5% from the same time last year. Those would-be lawyers applied to an average of more than six schools per person, and the total volume of applications was down 4.6% from 2014. At this point in the year, LSAC says it usually has around 95% of the year’s data collected.

LSAC 2

Law schools have adjusted by scaling back entry-level class sizes, boosting financial aid or cutting tuition price, and trimming staff ranks.

Al Brophy (North Carolina) believes that applications have hit the bottom and stabilized after years of declines, with enrollments projected at 36,000 for the incoming class. As a result, he predicts that "things are unlikely to get worse" and that no more than a dozen law schools will close:

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

Indiana Tech Law School Denied Provisional ABA Accreditation

Indiana Tech (2014)Indiana Tech Press Release:

Indiana Tech Law School has received notification from the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association that the Council has not granted provisional accreditation approval to Indiana Tech Law School. Representatives of Indiana Tech Law School appeared at the Council during its meeting on June 5, 2015.

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

George Mason Offers $2,000 Honorarium For Law Profs To Attend Economics Of Public Pension Reform Workshop

GMThe George Mason Law & Economics Center is offering a $2,000 honorarium (plus free tuition, hotel, and meals) for law professors to attend its Workshop for Law Professors on the Economics of Public Pension Reform in Palo Alto, CA on September 17 - 20:

The goal of the Workshop for Law Professors on the Economics of Public Pension Reform is to introduce law professors to the looming financial and structural crises facing state pensions systems across the nation in order to improve their research and teaching.  With several dozen states adopting modest to major reforms, the economic impact on plan beneficiaries will be substantial and at least twenty-five jurisdictions are facing lawsuits due to the reforms adopted.

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

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Concordia Law School Awarded Provisional ABA Accreditation; Its 11 Graduates Can Take July Bar Exam

ConcordiaNational Law Journal, Concordia Law Secures Provisional ABA Accreditation:

Concordia University School of Law’s inaugural graduating class will be eligible to sit for the July bar examination in Idaho after all.

The American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted over the weekend to provisionally accredit the Boise law school—clearing the way for its 11 expected graduates to take the exam. Graduates of schools not accredited by the ABA are ineligible to take the test.

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June 9, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Roig: The Case For Retaining Law Faculty Tenure

Jorge R. Roig (Charleston), The First Thing We Do, 47 J. Marshall L. Rev. 1275 (2014):

There is currently a concerted effort to dumb down America. In the midst of this, the American Bar Association’s Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar recently agreed to propose that tenure for law professors be eliminated as a requirement for accreditation of law schools. This article analyzes the arguments for and against tenure in legal academia, and concludes that the main proposed justifications for eliminating tenure are highly questionable, at best. A lawyer is more than a legal technocrat. Lawyers are policy makers and public defenders. They are prosecutors and activists. And the development of a critical and independent mind is no more important in any area of human action than in the law. There is a concerted effort to turn law schools into automaton production lines. Practice-ready, skills-oriented legal education (quite meritorious in itself) has become code for the manufacture of attorneys capable only of following their corporate clients’ instructions to the tee. The goal of this concerted effort is not a truly practice-ready and skilled attorney. The endgame is a mindless legal machine. That is not what a legal education is about. The survival of critical thought is at stake. This is not just about law professors. This is but one salvo in a much larger war against independent minds.

June 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Obama Administration Opens Door For More Student-Debt Forgiveness, Including Law School Loans

Student LoansWall Street Journal, Obama Administration Opens Door for More Student-Debt Forgiveness:

The Obama administration said it would forgive federal student loans owed by Americans who can show they were lured to colleges by fraudulent recruiting, a move that potentially could involve billions of dollars and is one of the most aggressive measures yet to ease student debt.

The move, announced Monday, is designed first of all to help former students of Corinthian Colleges Inc., a big for-profit chain that collapsed into bankruptcy reorganization this spring. Federal officials accused the company in 2014 of lying to prospective students about its graduates’ job success. ...

The forgiveness push, though, would reach far beyond Corinthian and even the for-profit school sector. Officials said that under the emerging plan, the government will consider forgiving any loans made directly by the government—those held by the majority of the 43 million Americans with student debt—so long as the borrower can document a school persuaded him or her to take out the loan under conditions that would violate state laws.

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June 9, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

ABA Approves Paid Externships, 10% LSAT-Free Classes For Notice And Comment

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal, Proposal to Allow Academic Credit for Paid Externships Moves Forward in ABA:

A proposed change to law school accreditation standards eliminating the current ban on students receiving academic credit for paid externships has been approved for notice and comment by the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Under the proposal, a law school could decide for itself whether a student should receive academic credit for a paid externship or field placement—but only if the school can demonstrate that it has maintained enough control over the student experience to ensure that the requirements of the standards are being met.

The council, which met Friday and Saturday in Minneapolis, also approved for notice and comment two alternative proposed changes to the current rule allowing most law schools to fill up to 10 percent of their entering class with students who haven’t taken the Law School Admission Test. One of the proposals would do away with the rule altogether. The other would make it applicable to all schools.

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

Monday, June 8, 2015

NY Times: Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans

Student LoansNew York Times Sunday Review:  Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans, by Lee Siegel:

Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.

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June 8, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Crespi: The 'Tax Bomb' Facing Lawyers Who Enroll In Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans

IBRGregory Scott Crespi (SMU), Should We Defuse the "Tax Bomb" Facing Lawyers Who are Enrolled in Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans?:

Starting in the early-2030's each year thousands of mid-career lawyers who have previously incurred large student loan debts, and who unfortunately have been able to earn only relatively modest annual incomes in the 20 or 25 years following their law school graduation, will be subject to large cancellation of indebtedness-based federal and sometimes also state income tax obligations. These tax bills will often be in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $100,000 and in some instances even larger. Many of these lawyers will likely have failed to adequately provide for this large tax obligation and will find that it will impair or even devastate their retirement plans.

The phrase “tax bomb” is an apt one to describe this large tax obligation that will be imposed on income that is attributed to but not actually received by a relatively small group of taxpayers. It will result because a large portion of the student loan debts that have been incurred by many law school graduates will eventually be forgiven under one or another variant of the increasingly popular federal Income-Based Repayment Plan, and those forgiven debts will then be treated under the Internal Revenue Code as taxable income.

This article explains how this tax bomb was created and how the various statutes and regulations that define its scope and size have evolved over time, and how much but not all of its impact will be substantially reduced by the Department of Education’s proposed new Revised Pay as You Earn rules that will be in force as of December of 2015.

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June 8, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (14)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #5:

  1. [287 Downloads]  Taxation of E-Commerce, by Orkhan Abdulkarimli (Baku State)
  2. [206 Downloads]  Tax Compliance as a Wicked System, by J. T. Manhire (U.S. Treasury Department)
  3. [166 Downloads]  Reducing Inequality With A Retrospective Tax On Capital, by James Kwak (Connecticut)
  4. [144 Downloads]  Citizenship Taxation, by Ruth Mason (Virginia)
  5. [123 Downloads]  What Does Voluntary Tax Compliance Mean?: A Government Perspective, by J. T. Manhire (U.S. Treasury Department)

June 7, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Go To Law School (Unless You Really, Really Want To Be A Lawyer)

Vox7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Go to Law School (Unless You Really, Really Want to be a Lawyer), by Amanda Taub:

I went to [Georgetown] law school. I loved all three years of it. Since then, I've had an interesting and fulfilling career: I practiced both human rights law and commercial law, clerked in federal court, taught law courses as an adjunct, and now spend my days writing about fascinating policy issues, many of which are law-related.

Perhaps that is why people expect me to reply with an enthusiastic "Yes, definitely!" when they ask me if they should go to law school.

And why they are surprised when, instead, my response is "Probably not — unless you're really sure you want to be a lawyer."

That's because over the years, I have realized that the people asking me that question aren't really asking for my advice about their careers in the law. Rather, their real question is almost always something else: will law school be a solution to my fears about the future?

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

Saturday, June 6, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Lawsuit: Infilaw Pays Low Performing Law Grads $5k To Defer Bar Exam To Pump Up School's Pass Rate

Arizona Summit Logo (2015)National Law Journal, Lawsuit: Infilaw Paying Law Grads To Put Off Bar Exam:

A former assistant director of financial aid at Arizona Summit Law School has sued the school, alleging it unlawfully fired her in 2013 after she refused to submit false state tax documents and complained of misleading information about student success.

Paula Lorona, who was also a part-time student at the Phoenix school and graduated in January, claimed that that Arizona Summit and the two other for-profit law schools owned by Infilaw Corp.—Florida Coastal School of Law and Charlotte School of Law—in May 2014 began paying poorly performing students $5,000 to delay taking the bar exam, to prop up declining bar-passage rates.

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June 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Congratulations, New Pepperdine Lawyers

I had the pleasure tonight of attending the swearing in ceremony tonight for the 15 Pepperdine graduates who passed the February California bar exam.  It was great to catch up with my former student John Kristofferson and his father, Kris Kristofferson:

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June 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

The U.S. News Rankings And Law School Grading Curves

JD Supra, Law School Ranks and Law School Curves:

[A]n extensive list of law school GPA curves can be found at Wikipedia. That list contains target class median GPAs for roughly 100 law schools. The schools represented there are a fairly representative cross-section of all the law schools in the country; most important for our purposes, there is no difference between the mean U.S. News ranking for schools listed and those which do not appear (t = 1.27, p = 0.21).

CurvePlot2

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June 5, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2014 Law Grad Job Placement Rankings By Region

ABA Logo 2Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System, Guess What Region’s Law Schools Had Best Employment Rates in 2014

Three years ago, we launched Law Jobs: By the Numbers, an interactive online tool that gives prospective law students the most transparent and complete law school employment rate information available.

With the release of the latest ABA employment data, we now have four years of data stored in the tool. ... In 2011, only 63% of graduates landed jobs that are considered full-time/long-term and require bar passage or view a JD as an advantage. That percentage increased to 65.7% in 2012, 67.1% in 2013, and 71.1% in 2014.

2014 full-time, long-term bar-passage required and J.D. advantage by region:

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