TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Why Are There So Few Conservative/Libertarian Law Profs, Even Though They Are More Productive Scholars Than Liberal Law Profs?

James Cleith Phillips (Ph.D. Candidate, UC-Berkeley), Why are There So Few Conservatives and Libertarians in Legal Academia? An Empirical Exploration of Three Hypotheses, 39 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 153 (2016):

There are few conservatives and libertarians in legal academia.

Graph 3

Why? Three explanations are usually provided: the Brainpower, Interest, and Greed Hypotheses. Alternatively, it could be because of Discrimination. This paper explores these possibilities by looking at citation and publication rates by law professors at the 16 highest-ranked law schools in the country. Using regression analysis, propensity score matching, propensity score reweighting, nearest neighbor matching, and coarsened exact matching, this paper finds that after taking into account traditional correlates of scholarly ability, conservative and libertarian law professors are cited more and publish more than their peers.


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May 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

When You Are Called To Your Life's Work

Oxford 4Wall Street Journal, When You’re Called to Your Life’s Work:

Callings come in many ways, some unexpected. ... A chance encounter with an elderly homeless man led physician Lara Weinstein to her work treating marginal populations. “It was almost like a transcendental experience,” says Dr. Weinstein, a family doctor in Philadelphia.

Such events are more prevalent than one might expect. A 2006 Gallup poll of 1,004 adults, the most recent it has done on the subject, found that 33% of Americans said the following statement “applies completely” to them: “I have had a profound religious experience or awakening that changed the direction of my life.”

The experiences vary. A revelation, directive or message comes unexpectedly. A series of unlikely synchronistic events occur. Some people sense a divine presence, and others feel deeply connected to something larger than themselves, be it nature or others around them, and pursue more altruistic work.

People of all ages and faiths, agnostics and atheists, have such experiences, yet they rarely talk about them. They’re concerned others will dismiss them as delusional or won’t take them seriously. Sometimes words fall short of conveying the intensity of what they felt.

Some scientists and scholars are beginning to pay attention, says Lisa Miller, director of clinical psychology at Columbia University and editor of The Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality, published in 2012, which includes chapters written by quantum physicists and other scientists.

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May 15, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Big Law Women Talk About Abortion (Their Own)

PhotoAmerican Lawyer, Big Law Women Talk About Abortion (Their Own):

Most lawyers I know are a bit uptight. They don't usually reveal too much information, particularly  if it might cast them in a negative or controversial light. They don't even like to admit to having a cold, lest their professional armor appears tarnished.

Why, then, would lawyers working at major law firms, the epitome of corporate discretion, go public about their own abortions? Weren't they worried about the reaction of clients and colleagues? Did their firms try to stop them? Or is abortion not a controversial subject in the world of elite law firms?

I've been curious about those questions since Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal reported that some 113 female lawyers signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court challenging Texas's restrictions on abortion clinics. (The high court is expected to rule on the case this summer.) The brief was powerful, both as narrative and symbol. There were personal anecdotes about the women's abortions, though they were not identified with the individual signers. 

I tracked down three of the signers from Big Law to see what possessed them to go public about such a private matter, and how it's affected their career thus far.

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May 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Lindgren:  The Most Under-Represented Groups In Law Teaching Are Whites, Christians, Republicans, Males

James Lindgren (Northwestern), Measuring Diversity: Law Faculties in 1997 and 2013, 39 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 89 (2016):

This article is the first careful look at the demographic makeup of law faculties compared to the larger pools of lawyers and the general public. It examines which racial, gender, religious, and political groups were the most under- and overrepresented in 1997 and in 2013 compared to persons of similar ages in larger pools, including the U.S. full-time working population and the U.S. lawyer population.

The data show that in 1997 women and minorities were underrepresented compared to some populations, but Republicans and Christians were usually more underrepresented. For example, by the late 1990s, the proportion of the U.S. population that was neither Republican nor Christian was only 9%, but the majority of law professors (51%) was drawn from that small minority. Further, though women were strongly underrepresented compared to the full-time working population, all of that underrepresentation was among Republican women, who were—and are—almost missing from law teaching.

Table 13
Table 13B

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May 14, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Harrison:  Law Professor Divas

DivaJeffrey Harrison (Florida), The Diva Tax: Insufferable Diva, BUT He Writes:

I mean he and she divas although I know that is technically incorrect but cut me some slack on this one.

I wrote about this general idea some time ago. The context was whether "character" should be consider a plus among law professors so that it off-sets a lack of productivity. The converse question is harder -- should a low character law professor be cut extra slack if he or she writes or at least is perceived as being productive. ...

Here, I think, would be the conventional thinking. If you do not write enough you will pay for character issues or being a pain in the ass. On the other hand, if you write enough, you pay no price. ... [I]n law school rankings, the bottom line, along with student qualifications and placement, there is image which is often based on writing. So, in a sense, law school administrators do not and should not care about divas unless it affects the writings of others.

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May 14, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Firm Revenues Surged In First Quarter

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer, Citi Report: Law Firm Revenues Surged in First Quarter:

Challenging market conditions belied the strong results, on average, that the legal industry reported in the first quarter of 2016. In the first quarter, revenue grew 5.8 percent, driven by increases in demand and billing rates, as well as a strong collections effort. Further, the industry saw revenue growth outpace expense growth, while inventory growth was solid. Both are positive signs heading into the second quarter. Has the legal industry broken from the pattern of modest growth that defined the post-recession years of 2009-13? Or were the results from the first quarter of 2016 simply fueled by fourth-quarter activity and buoyed by a comparison to the slow start of 2015?   These results are based on a sample of 176 firms (79 Am Law 100 firms, 45 Second Hundred firms and 52 niche/boutique firms). ...

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May 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, May 13, 2016

66 Year Old Law Firm Partner/Lifeguard Wins Age Discrimination Appeal Challenging Requirement That Swim Test Be Taken Wearing A Speedo

LifeguardNew York Law Journal, Lawyer's Age Bias Suit Over Lifeguard Swimwear Is Revived:

A Long Island bankruptcy attorney who lost his job as a summer weekend lifeguard after refusing to sport a Speedo [top photo] for his recertification test will be able to take his age discrimination suit to trial, an appeals court ruled.

Roy Lester [J.D., University of San Diego], 66, the principal at Lester & Associates in Garden City, has worked for decades at Jones Beach State Park, one of the more than 100 beaches supervised by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The state office requires lifeguards to take an annual exam that includes a timed swimming component. Lester said he prefers wearing a "jammer" [bottom photo] a bicycle-short style bathing suit that extends to just above the knees, to get a better time on the test.

But before the start of the 2007 season, the parks office prohibited Lester from taking the test while wearing a jammer rather than a Speedo, which is the state-issued uniform for lifeguards. He was not hired for the season.

Prior to 2007, the parks office did not have restrictions on the type of swimsuit applicants wore to take the test, according to court papers. Lester filed an age discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Division, which was dismissed for lack of evidence.

In 2008, he attempted to take the test for new hires while wearing a jammer, once again refusing to don a Speedo or wear state-approved boxers, briefs or board shorts. He was barred from the test.

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May 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pepperdine 3Ls Receive Two of The Eight Available Merit Scholarships To Attend NYU Graduate Tax Program

PeppNYUCongratulations to Pepperdine 3Ls Brady Cox and David Khanjyan, who will be attending the #1 ranked NYU Graduate Tax Program in 2016-17.  They received two of the eight 50% merit scholarships available from NYU and will be serving as Graduate Editors of the Tax Law Review.  I was fortunate to have both Brady and David in my tax classes, and I can personally attest to their bright tax futures.  I am proud to be part of the tax faculty at Pepperdine that offers a robust tax curriculum to prepare our students for exciting tax careers. 

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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

NY Times:  Amidst 33% Enrollment Decline (From 260 1Ls To 174), University Of Minnesota Funds $16 Million Law School Operating Deficit

Minnesota LogoFollowing up on my previous post:  New York Times, Minnesota Law School, Facing Waning Interest, Cuts Admissions:

Resisting the temptation to admit more students to bolster tuition receipts, the University of Minnesota, which has one of the nation’s highly ranked law schools, has gone in the opposite direction. It decided to shrink enrollment, and take in less tuition income, to preserve its national standing as a top law school. It did this even as some argued for broader inclusion of students who would fall outside the school’s admissions parameters.

During Mr. Wippman’s tenure, Minnesota has gradually admitted fewer students, shrinking its first-year class to only 174 in the 2015 academic year from more than 250 a few years ago. It offset the sharp loss in tuition income with more public subsidies, which in Minnesota are decided by a Board of Regents.

Minnesota’s law school has closed its deficits with university money — expected to total $16.1 million through 2018 — according to university officials. ...

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May 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (20)

George Mason Law Faculty Unanimously Supports Naming Law School After Justice Scalia For $30 Million

Scalia 2The tenured and tenured-track faculty of George Mason University School of Law voted unanimously in favor of a resolution yesterday to support renaming the school after the late Justice Antonin Scalia:

  • Full support by the law school faculty of the renaming of the law school.
  • Recognition of the confidentiality that is normally connected to major gifts.
  • Finds appropriate the minimal conditions placed on the two gifts connected to the renaming of the law school.
  • Condemns ill-informed criticisms of educational programs of the Law & Economics Center by faculty unaffiliated with the Law School.
  • Highlights criticism by the George Mason Faculty Senate as baseless and ideological.
  • Expresses regrets over criticisms to the Scalia family.
  • Praises gratitude to Law School Dean Henry Butler, President Angel Cabrera, the Board of Visitors, and others who were instrumental in bringing these transformative gifts to the Law School as well as to the donors of the two gifts to the Law School.

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May 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Why Law Students Need The Humanities

HumanitiesChronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Why Law Students Need the Humanities, by Peter Brooks (Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton):

News that law schools are in crisis has been around for a while now, but the crisis itself persists — though maybe not where it is usually thought to lie. It is couched mainly in terms of jobs and debt: There are too many students finishing law school with crushing debts and poor job prospects. The legal profession itself has been changing as more and more routine work goes offshore, or onto the Internet, and even large firms hire fewer new associates. Most of all, firms that are hiring insist that the newly minted J.D.s be "practice ready."

Inevitably, this has led to calls — from lawyers, from bar associations, even from President Obama — for a more vocationally oriented law school, one that offers more hands-on legal experience, possibly reduced to two years in order to cut costs. As a report of the Illinois Bar Association put it: "It is no longer sufficient for law school graduates to merely think like lawyers; they must be able to perform the basic tasks central to legal practice." The final recommendations voted by that bar included: "Law schools should cut back on courses such as ‘Law and Literature’ that focus exclusively on the academic study of law, with no practical application."

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May 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Brooks:  The Moral Foundation Of 'Grit'

GritFollowing up on Tuesday's post on Angela Duckworth (University of Pennsylvania), Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (May 3, 2016)):  New York Times:  Putting Grit in Its Place, by David Brooks:

We all know why it exists, but the grade-point average is one of the more destructive elements in American education.

Success is about being passionately good at one or two things, but students who want to get close to that 4.0 have to be prudentially balanced about every subject. In life we want independent thinking and risk-taking, but the G.P.A. system encourages students to be deferential and risk averse, giving their teachers what they want.

Creative people are good at asking new questions, but the G.P.A. rewards those who can answer other people’s questions. The modern economy rewards those who can think in ways computers can’t, but the G.P.A. rewards people who can grind away at mental tasks they find boring. People are happiest when motivated intrinsically, but the G.P.A. is the mother of all extrinsic motivations.

The G.P.A. ethos takes spirited children and pushes them to be hard working but complaisant. The G.P.A. mentality means tremendous emphasis has now been placed on grit, the ability to trudge through long stretches of difficulty. Influenced by this culture, schools across America are busy teaching their students to be gritty and to have “character” — by which they mean skills like self-discipline and resilience that contribute to career success.

Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania is the researcher most associated with the study and popularization of grit. And yet what I like about her new book, “Grit,” is the way she is pulling us away from the narrow, joyless intonations of that word, and pointing us beyond the way many schools are now teaching it. ...

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May 12, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller:  The Small Uptick In The Quantity And Quality Of The Law School Class Of 2019

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), What We Can Expect About Legal Education and the Class of 2019:

Much has been written about the "bottoming out" of the law school applicant pool, as schools have experienced a small uptick in applicants over last year. It's true. But I'll offer a few visualizations of where things stand this year for the incoming Class of 2019 and where it stands in relation to recent history.

Derek has four great visualizations showing the small uptick the quantity and quality (but not in the 150-54 and 155-59 bands) of LSAT test-takers, applicants, and (likely) matriculants.  Here is one of the visualizations:


Derek concludes:

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May 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

U.S. News:  Law Schools Offer Loan Assistance Programs To Debt-Burdened Grads

2017 U.S. News LogoU.S. News & World Report, Law Schools Offer Loan Assistance Programs to Debt-Burdened Grads:

Deciding between a law school with a generous scholarship and a school with a well-known loan assistance plan, 30-year-old Michael Kaercher made his choice based on the loan assistance plan provided after graduation.

"I thought that if I ended up at a firm, then I wouldn't miss the $100,000 in scholarships," says Kaercher, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 2010 and works as an attorney adviser at the IRS. "But if ended up going into the public sector and went to Harvard, then I'd qualify for this program."

Roughly half of law schools offer a loan assistance program to their graduates, but it's usually limited it to those in the public sector and has an income cap.

"Harvard has one of the most generous programs that I've seen based on their formula," says the fifth-year attorney, who receives $8,849 in loan assistance every six months from Harvard to pay his $220,000 law school debt. "You don't have to work for a 501(c)(3) or anything like that in order to be eligible. You just have to not make that much money."

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

Law School Entry-Level Faculty Hiring Up 19%

Merritt:  The Real Resistance To Clinical Legal Education

Following up on yesterday's post, Robert Kuehn (Washington University), Clinical Costs — Separating Fact From Opinion:  Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Prices and Priorities:

We don’t favor LSAT scholarships over need-based ones because budgets force us to do so; we make that choice to pursue higher rankings. Similarly, we don’t cater to the demands of tenured research faculty, rather than expanding clinical education, because our budgets are limited. We make that choice because it suits us (the tenured faculty) and because we hope, once again, that our choice will propel higher rankings.

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More On The 'Grim' ABA Jobs Data For Law School Graduates

LSTKyle McEntee (Law School Transparency), How Law School Job Rates Changed This Year:

Last week, the American Bar Association released the latest law school employment data. The entry-level market for new graduates remains grim.

Nationally, the legal job rate is up slightly from 58% to 59.2% for 2015 graduates. However, the raw number of legal jobs declined to levels not seen since 2011. The number of new entry-level jobs at large firms, on the other hand, remains steady — although the types of jobs offered by large firms continue to diversify.

With fewer students enrolled today, jobs rates in 2016 and beyond should improve, even if the raw number of jobs continues to decline. But given that law schools still face significant financial pressure, administrators will be tempted to increase enrollment to keep the doors open. Current employment rates indicate that, for the vast majority of schools, that is not an equitable idea.

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May 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

LoPucki:  Six-Hour Experiential Learning Accreditation Requirement Puts ABA On Collision Course With Ph.D.-Laden Law Faculties

National Law Journal op-ed:  With Ph.D. Hiring Trend, Who'll Help Law Students Find the Courthouse?, by Lynn M. LoPucki (UCLA):

The American Bar Association's adoption two years ago of an accreditation standard requiring law schools to provide students with six credit hours of experiential learning has put the ABA on a collision course with the tenure-track faculties of American law schools.

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May 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Kuehn:  Clinical Costs — Separating Fact From Opinion

Robert Kuehn (Washington University), Clinical Costs: Separating Fact From Opinion:

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once observed, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” When it comes to expanding clinical legal education, the knee-jerk opinion is that it is too expensive for legal education to follow the lead of other professional schools and ensure that every student graduates with a clinical experience through a law clinic or externship. Even the richest law schools couldn’t resist playing the cost card to scare the ABA out of requiring additional professional skills training: “Requiring all law schools to provide 15 experiential credit hours to each student will impose large costs on law schools, costs that would have to be passed on to students. . . . Even a law school with significant financial resources could not afford such an undertaking.”

Yet, the facts show otherwise — every school, from the well-heeled to the impecunious, can provide a clinical experience to each student without increasing tuition.

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May 11, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Grit:  The Power Of Passion And Perseverance

GritFollowing up on last week's post, Grit and Legal Education:  Wall Street Journal, The Virtue of Hard Things (reviewing Angela Duckworth (University of Pennsylvania), Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (May 3, 2016)):

Most people would think of John Irving as a gifted wordsmith. He is the author of best-selling novels celebrated for their Dickensian plots, including “The Cider House Rules” and “The World According to Garp.” But Mr. Irving has severe dyslexia, was a C-minus English student in high school and scored 475 out of 800 on the SAT verbal test. How, then, did he have such a remarkably successful career as a writer?

Angela Duckworth argues that the answer is “grit,” which she defines as a combination of passion and perseverance in the pursuit of a long-term goal. The author, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has spent the past decade studying why some people have extraordinary success and others do not. “Grit” is a fascinating tour of the psychological research on success and also tells the stories of many gritty exemplars, from New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, who submitted some 2,000 drawings to the magazine before one was accepted, to actor Will Smith, who explains his success as follows: “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. . . . If we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.”

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May 10, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lenders To Ivy League Student Borrowers Face Unanticipated Risk:  Prepayments

WSJWall Street Journal, Lenders Get Burned Betting on Ivy Leaguers:

For online lenders, the business model of targeting Ivy League student borrowers is starting to backfire.

The problem isn’t that graduates of these and other prestigious universities are deadbeats. Rather, these customers, who the lenders covet for their superlow default rates, are proving savvier and more anti-debt than anticipated.

Borrowers are prepaying their student loans at a quicker pace—in some cases three times faster—than some companies expected, a potentially bad outcome for the lenders and investors that wanted to collect higher interest payments over time, according to people familiar with the industry. Not only are customers aggressive about refinancing at lower rates, some are paying more than required each month in an attempt to get rid of their debt faster. ...

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

McGinnis:  Despite Schadenfreude, Don’t Tax University Endowments

John McGinnis (Northwestern), Don’t Tax University Endowments (Even if It Might Seem Like Rough Justice):

It is hard to suppress schadenfreude as legislators offer proposals to tax the endowments of our elite universities. Their administrators and professors are overwhelmingly Democratic—indeed left-liberal Democrats. They regularly support candidates who want to raise taxes on for-profit corporations and individuals.

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

Call For Papers For AALS Annual Meeting Program:  Sex, Death, And Taxes

AALSCall for PapersAALS Trusts & Estates Section Program, 2007 AALS Annual Meeting (Jan. 3-7, 2017):

Sex, Death, and Taxes: The Unruly Nature of the Laws of Trusts and Estates

Trusts & Estates is a far-reaching and broad-based discipline of law that impacts private citizens’ decisions about sex, death, and taxes.  This legal discipline is based on speculation about donors and their intentions that, by their very nature, create unintended consequences because the laws exist largely unseen until they come into play.  Moreover, ascertaining these preferences prove difficult because individuals are entrenched with idiosyncratic preconceptions about death, family, property rights, personal legacies, paternalism, altruism, investment strategies, taxes, and many other effective interests.  In addition, the field sits at the crossroads of other legal disciplines such as family law, property law, elder law, and tax law. 

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May 10, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

2015-16 Moot Court Rankings

Moot Court2015-16 Moot Court Rankings:

1.   Texas Tech
2.   Chicago-Kent
2.   Stetson
4.   Georgetown
5.   Regent
5.   SMU
7.   South Texas
7.   UC-Hastings
9.   Liberty
10. St. Mary's

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May 10, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Student Says He Was Almost Expelled From BYU For Writing Book In Favor Of Gay Marriage

BYU BookFollowing up on my previous posts:

Fusion, Law Student Says He Was Almost Expelled for Writing in Favor of Gay Marriage:

In the middle of his final year at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brad Levin finally finished a draft of what he hoped would be a game-changing book on the university owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective. In the book, Levin laid out why same-sex marriage was not, according to his research, at odds with the church’s teachings. Proud of his work, he shared a few copies with friends for some feedback.

But when the feedback came, it wasn’t the kind he had been hoping for.

“I was basically threatened with removal from the university if I went forward and took a public stance in favor of gay marriage,” Levin, 33, told Fusion, citing conversations he said he had with senior school officials. “I was told that I had to change the contents of my book to be on the right side of the church.”

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May 10, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Incentivizing And Assessing Law Faculty Committee Work Contributions

Committee Meeting 1Andrea Anne Curcio (Georgia State) & Mary A. Lynch (Albany), Incentivizing and Assessing Faculty Committee Work Contributions: Why Now?, 65 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2016):

Faculty scholarly productivity reaps tangible internal and external rewards while the "reward" for excellent faculty committee work performance often is additional committee work. Some faculty members perform substantial committee work while others spend little time on institutional service, leaving them more time for scholarship. Despite equity issues, this system maintains the faculty self-governance model integral to academic freedom, and the necessary service work gets done. This article suggests that this traditional workload distribution model may be unsustainable.

Innovations in legal education brought about by financial pressures, declining enrollments, and new accreditation standard requirements will result in increased committee workloads while reductions in full-time faculty at many schools leave fewer faculty members available to do that work. Those currently doing the lion's share of the work may be unable, or unwilling, to take on more committee work. This article examines methods for avoiding an institutional governance crisis.

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

Law Review Rankings By Supreme Court Citations: 2013-2016

Supreme Court (2014)Empirical SCOTUS, Gold Standard Cites:

Publications and citations are essential to the research academic. They help separate experts from novices in a given field. They provide metrics for universities to gauge the quality of their professors’ scholarship. In legal scholarship there is a particularly meaningful measure that distinguishes law from other disciplines: citations in published opinions. Supreme Court citations to law reviews convey the importance of an article to a particular area of law.

Articles by Sirico [The Citing of Law Reviews by the Supreme Court:1971-1999, 75 Ind. L.J. 1009 (2000)] and Newton [Law Review Scholarship in the Eyes of the Twenty-First Century Supreme Court Justices: An Empirical Analysis 2001-2011, 4 Drexel L. Rev. 399 (2012)] previously tracked these citations over different periods of time in the 20th and 21st centuries.

1.  Harvard (27 citations in 23 cases)
2.  Yale (26,18)
3.  Columbia (16,12)
4.  Chicago (11,9)
5.  NYU (9,8)
6.  Stanford (8,6)
7.  Michigan (7,5)
7.  Penn (7,7)
9. Georgetown (6,4)
9. Texas (6,5)
9.  Texas (6,5)

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May 9, 2016 in Law Review Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Georgetown Graduate Tax Program Receives $1 Million Gift For Student Scholarships

Georgetown (2016)Press Release, Georgetown Law, Baker & McKenzie Establish Leonard B. Terr Memorial Scholarship:

Georgetown Law, the law firm of Baker & McKenzie, and family and friends of the late Leonard B. Terr have established a $1 million scholarship to assist students in the graduate tax program. Terr, a Baker & McKenzie partner and Law Center adjunct professor, taught tax law at Georgetown for 17 years before his death in 2015.

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May 9, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

L.A. Jones Day Associate: 'Let’s Do This Together'—In Law, Women Need To Help Other Women

Jones DayBloomberg Law op-ed: In Law, Women Need to Help Other Women, by Rachel Gezerseh (Associate, Jones Day, Los Angeles):

I’ve seen a lot of articles lately about the difficulties at large law firms with retaining female attorneys, the so-called “leaky pipeline” in Biglaw. To me, as a female associate at a large law firm, the solution is simple: women need to help other women. If you know another woman has your back, you stay. If you don’t have that support, you leave. Also, giving back to other women when you can is important.

I have three stories on this from my life. ... 

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

Harvard Law School Sees 50% Increase In STEM Majors After Accommodating Their Lower UGPAs In Admissions Decisions

Harvard Law School (2016)Harvard Crimson, To Keep Pace with Tech, Law School Seeks STEM Students:

As Harvard Law School admissions officers finalize next year’s class, they do so with an eye toward a group of fields that deviate from the traditional path to legal studies: STEM.

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May 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

LSAC Backs Down (For Now) On Threat To Expel University Of Arizona For Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions

GRE Arizona Following up on my previous posts (links below):  National Law Journal, Opposition to Arizona Law School’s Use of GRE Fizzles:

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law will remain a member of the Law School Admission Council—for now.

The council, which administers the Law School Admission Test, informed Arizona law dean Marc Miller by letter Saturday that the Tucson law school will be allowed to remain in its membership ranks “for the time being.”

The council’s board of trustees at its meeting on Friday and Saturday discussed whether Arizona’s use of the GRE in addition to the LSAT violated the council rule that requires “substantially all” applicants to members schools take the law school-specific test. ...

“We understand the Accreditation Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will review the GRE study and address the validity of the alternative tests as well as other issues related to [the ABA admissions standard],” the council’s May 7 letter reads. “The resolution of these issues may well impact LSAC’s membership requirements.” Hence, the board decided to maintain the existing membership, the letter said.

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May 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

NLJ Special Report:  The Mental Health Of Law Students

National Law Journal (2016)National Law Journal, In Focus: The Mental Health of Law Students:

The numbers are disturbing: Law students suffer from depression, anxiety and substance abuse at unusually high rates. In our report about mental health on law campuses, we examine why law school exacerbates these problems and what administrators and fellow students can do to help. We also share first-person accounts of navigating law school with a mental health condition, from the student and faculty perspective.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sagers:  The Antitrust Implications Of LSAC's Threatened Expulsion Of University Of Arizona Over Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions

GRE Arizona Following up on my previous posts:

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Did LSAC Just Get Itself In Antitrust Trouble? Could Be; It’s Kind of Hard to Say, by Christopher L. Sagers (Cleveland State):

Here’s a story of a kind that’s been of acute interest to me, ever since my own absurdly dismal LSAT score nearly cost me entrance to any law school and unambiguously predicted I would flunk out of the one that grudgingly took me off its wait list. (That latter prediction was rather mistaken as it happens, thank you very much).

The Law School Admissions Council and its erstwhile member the University of Arizona College of Law got some headlines last week, and battle lines are forming quickly. LSAC ejected Arizona over its choice to permit applicants to submit GRE scores instead of LSAT scores. Arizona was the very first law school to do so, basing its decision on a study finding the GRE as predictive of first-year law school success as the LSAT. Dean Marc Miller said his goal is to “reach a broader pool of would-be applicants,” in order “to put together the best and most diverse class we can.” LSAC expulsion, he said, “seems like a pretty bald way to punish us for innovating.”

LSAC’s move looking rather like a collective act of its law school members to control the means by which they’ll sell the legal education product, and the industry being one that has generated a fair bit of antitrust litigation, a natural question is whether the expulsion could expose anyone to antitrust risks. Critics quickly said as much; as one of them put it, “I’m no antitrust expert, but this rule smells bad.”

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May 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

New Decanal Appointments At Pepperdine Law School

Big ThreeContinuing our season of change at Pepperdine:  three of my favorite and stunningly effective and caring colleagues have assumed important new decanal duties at the law school:

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

Saturday, May 7, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Friday, May 6, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

WSJ:  Is Taxing Harvard, Yale And Stanford The Answer To Rising College Costs?

Harvard Yale StanfordWall Street Journal, Is Taxing Harvard, Yale and Stanford the Answer to Rising College Costs?:

Lawmakers have a new solution for the high cost of college: Make the wealthiest universities pay for it.

Elite U.S. schools have grown richer since the 2008 financial crisis by investing their endowment money in everything from California vineyards to Chinese startups. State and federal policy makers now want to tax those profits—or force the wealthiest schools to spend down their endowments—to defray soaring student bills and refill depleted higher-education budgets.

“College costs have outpaced health-care inflation, and at the same time, there’s this benefit for endowments,” said Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, complaining in an interview about the funds’ tax-free status. “I don’t want to assert a conclusion, but let’s put this in the ‘I’m just saying’ category.”

Mr. Roskam and two other Republican congressional leaders have asked 56 private colleges with endowments of more than $1 billion—including Harvard University, Yale University and Stanford University—for detailed information about their holdings and policies for rewarding large donors with naming rights.

The lawmakers are looking for assurances that the schools are using their investment profits to help students and serve their nonprofit educational missions. The congressmen may propose taxes on endowment income or requirements that funds increase their earmarks for financial aid, a spokesman for Mr. Roskam said.

Rep. Tom Reed (R., N.Y.), who is also on the House Ways and Means committee, floated a plan late last year that would require endowments bigger than $1 billion to pay out a quarter of their earnings in grants to working-class families or face steep penalties or even the loss of their tax-exempt status. He is waiting for the committee to outline its next steps before introducing the bill, a spokeswoman said.

Behind the push is discontent over a growing gap between higher education’s haves and have-nots. About half of U.S. endowment wealth is held by two dozen schools enrolling 5% of the roughly 20 million students attending American colleges and universities, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund data as well as federal data.


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May 6, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Best LL.M. Programs For International Students

IJInternational Jurist (2016), The Best LL.M. Programs:

Which are the best U.S. LL.M. programs for  attorneys outside the U.S.?

With more than 80 law schools and 300 graduate law programs to choose from, it would be a lot easier to answer that question if there were one overall ranking of the best programs.

The problem, experts agree, is that a strong program for one student could be a weak program for another. ...

We researched which schools offer the most robust LL.M. programs for international students and divided our findings into [four] areas: Academics, the Law School Experience, Career Opportunities, Cost and Value.

We gathered data from the American Bar Association and other sources. We then determined some of the key points that make a school great for each of those categories. We identified the schools that excelled and recognized them on our honor roll.

1.  Academics (11 law schools)

2.  NJThe Law School Experience (14 law schools):

A quality legal education is about more than academics. Many students, especially those with plans to take the U.S. bar and work in the United States, are seeking institutions that help them adjust to campus life, let them participate in extracurricular offerings, get to know and collaborate with U.S. students, explore the surrounding communityand gains hands-on training through clinics and/or externships. ...

Thomas Stipanowich, academic director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law, said the entire focus of the LL.M. program revolves around building a sense of community. " "We have 50 students from 22 foreign countries represented in this year's group of 70 LL.M. candidates at the Institute," Stipanowich said.

The Institute offers five different LL.M. degrees, including an LL.M. in dispute resolution and an LL.M. in international commercial arbitration.

He said the institute's staff works closely with international students to help them find housing and get to know the campus and the Los Angeles area. "We offer a variety of outside activities, some that are sponsored by the school and others that are hosted by faculty," he said. "My wife and I live [near] the campus and have hosted multiple gatherings at our home, with a spotlight on our international students."

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

Robert Sitkoff's 'Last Lecture':  Hope For The Best; Plan For The Worst

Harvard Law Today, A Trust and Estates Lawyer’s ‘Last Lecture’: ‘Hope For the Best; Plan For the Worst’:

“Hope for the best; plan for the worst,” Harvard Law School Professor Robert Sitkoff told the audience on March 29, in his contribution to the Last Lecture series. Sitkoff, an expert in trusts and estates, wove the trusts and estates motto throughout his speech as he explained the importance of private law in helping individuals organize their lives.

The Last Lecture Series, which is organized by the Class Marshals, asks popular HLS professors to give lectures addressing the graduating class. This year’s series has also featured Professors Jeannie Suk ’02, Annette Gordon-Reed ’84, and Robert Bordone ’97.

(Click on YouTube button on bottom right to view video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.)

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

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Harper:  Recent ABA Jobs Data Show That Boom Times For Lawyers (And Law Schools) Are Not Around The Corner

ABA Logo 2Steven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern), About That Lawyer Shortage …:

Facts are stubborn things — almost as stubborn as persistent academic predictions that boom times for attorneys are just around the corner.

Back in 2013, Professor Ted Seto at Loyola Law School-Los Angeles observed, “Unless something truly extraordinary has happened to non-cyclical demand, a degrees-awarded-per-capita analysis suggests that beginning in fall 2015 and intensifying into 2016 employers are likely to experience an undersupply of law grads, provided that the economic recovery continues.”

In November 2014 after the Bureau of Labor Statistics proposed a new and deeply flawed methodology for measuring attorney employment, Professor Seto weighed in again: “If the new BLS projections are accurate, we should see demand and supply in relative equilibrium in 2015 and a significant excess of demand over supply beginning in 2016.” His school’s full-time long-term bar passage employment rate for the class of 2015 was 62 percent — slightly better than the overall mean and median for all law schools, which are just under 60 percent. ...

To his credit, Professor Jerry Organ at the University of St. Thomas School of Law has been fearless in challenging the relentless optimism of his academic colleagues. And he does it with the most persuasive of lawyerly approaches: using facts and evidence. Analyzing the ABA’s recently released law school employment reports for all fully-accredited law schools, Professor Organ notes that the number of graduates dropped in 2015. But for the second straight year, so did the number of full-time long-term jobs requiring bar passage. ...

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May 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (16)

George Mason President Resists University Faculty's Call To Reject Naming Law School After Justice Scalia For $30 Million

Pace Renames Law School For Late Environmentalist For $25-$30 Million

148 Deans Demand LSAC Rescind Threat To Expel University Of Arizona Over Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions

GREFollowing up on Sunday's post, The Empire Strikes Back: LSAC Threatens To Expel University Of Arizona Over Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions: Letter, From 148 Law School Deans to LSAC President Dan Bernstine (May 3, 2016):

We write as law school deans to express our great concern over LSAC’s threat to expel the University of Arizona Law School because it experimented with using the GRE as a small part of its admissions process. Experimentation benefits all of us. We all expect to learn from the University of Arizona’s experiment and it should not be punished by LSAC.

Most importantly, we strongly urge that the Board of Trustees allow the University of Arizona to remain a member of the Council. Expelling it for this is unwarranted under the existing rules and sends a terrible message to law schools about experimentation in the admissions process. Also, as deans at ABA accredited law schools and members of the LSAC Council, we urge the LSAC Board of Trustees to modify the provision of LSAC Bylaws Article I, Section 1, which “requires that substantially all of its applicants for admission” take the LSAT. The rule should be changed to allow experimentation with alternative tests.

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May 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Educating Lawyers And Engineers

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Law and Engineering Should Share Curriculum, by Julio M. Ottino (Dean, Northwestern Engineering) & Daniel B. Rodriguez (Dean, Northwestern Law):

A crashing Google car. An encrypted iPhone. These are more than recent technological controversies — they represent how technology collides with law, security, and public policy, with multiple trade-offs. They are just two examples of what will be an endless list of legal issues stemming from relentless innovation.

It’s said about innovation — considered a key advantage for the United States over global competitors — that engineers drive it, entrepreneurs profit from it, and lawyers impede it. But that’s off-base: Engineering and law should work together to advance the future. And because lawyers and engineers acquired their skills at a university somewhere, the logical entry point for change is education.

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May 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Corporate Tax Papers:  ClassCrits IX

Class Crits 2ClassCrits IX Call for Papers and Participation: The New Corporatocracy and Election 2016:

We invite panel proposals, roundtable discussion proposals, and paper presentations that speak to this year’s theme, as well as to general ClassCrits themes.  Proposal due: May 16, 2016.

As the U.S. presidential election approaches, our 2016 conference will explore the role of corporate power in a political and economic system challenged by inequality and distrust as well as by new energy for transformative reform.

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May 5, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tulsa Votes To Strip Founder's Name Off Law School Building Due To KKK Ties

TulsaFollowing up on yesterday's post, Tulsa To Vote Today On Whether To Strip Founder's Name Off Law School Building Due To KKK Ties:  Tulsa World, TU Trustees Vote to Remove Name with KKK Ties From College of Law Building:

Completing a process one insider described as "challenging for all of us," University of Tulsa trustees on Wednesday voted to remove the name of one of its most steadfast supporters from the College of Law building.

John Rogers, a prominent attorney who died in 1977, was a TU trustee for 40 years and the law school's founding dean, but belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and another vigilante organization in the 1920s.

TU President Steadman Upham said those associations, although apparently brief, led to the decision to remove Rogers' name from the campus building erected in his honor in the 1970s.

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May 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Law School Rankings:  Federal Judicial Clerkships

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Visualizing Law School Federal Judicial Clerkship Placement, 2013-2015:

The release of the latest ABA employment data offers an opportunity to update the three-year federal judicial clerkship placement rates. Here is the clerkship placement rate for the Classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015.

The Top 10 are:

  1. Yale (31.3%)
  2. Stanford (28.6%)
  3. Harvard (16.8%)
  4. Virginia (14.6%)
  5. UC-Irvine (13.6%)
  6. Chicago (13.5%)
  7. UC-Berkeley (11.0%)
  8. Duke (10.2%)
  9. Vanderbilt (10.1%)
  10. Michigan (9.4%)

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May 4, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)