TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, December 29, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup: The Best Legal Education Articles Of 2017

Because the week between Christmas and New Years is typically slow for legal education news, I am going to discuss the best legal education articles from 2017.  Several articles in the past year showed the effectiveness of new approaches to legal education.  There have also been several excellent articles this year on professional identity development.  Finally, measuring outcomes was an important area of research in 2017.

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December 29, 2017 in Legal Education, Scott Fruehwald, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (6)

New UC-Irvine Dean Is Only Woman Of Color To Lead A Top 30 Law School

Song 2Los Angeles Times, New UC Irvine Dean Will Be Only Woman of Color to Lead a Top Law School, University Says:

UC Irvine announced that L. Song Richardson will be the new dean of its 9-year-old School of Law following the departure of founding dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

Richardson will take the helm Monday as the only woman of color to lead one of U.S. News & World Report’s 30 top-rated law schools, according to the university.

Richardson was named interim dean after Chemerinsky began his new position as dean of UC Berkeley’s law school in July. Richardson has been part of UCI’s law school faculty since 2014 and was a senior associate dean for academic affairs from 2016 to 2017. She teaches and writes in criminal law, criminal procedure and law and social science.

“It’s rare to find an elite law school with a world-class faculty that excels at both teaching and scholarship, a creative and multi-disciplinary approach to legal education and a commitment to creating and disseminating knowledge that improves lives and communities around the world,” Richardson said in a statement.

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December 29, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Indiana Law Schools Remain Predominantly White But Women Are Gaining Ground

Indiana Road SignIndiana Lawyer, Indiana Law Schools Remain Predominantly White But Women Are Gaining Ground:

Three of Indiana’s four law schools have shrunk in recent years but overall, minority enrollment has slipped while the number of women has been increasing since 2015, according to the recently released in the Fall 2017 Standard 509 Reports from the American Bar Association.

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December 28, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The 20 Cheapest Law Schools In The U.S. News Top 100

National Law Journal, The 20 Cheapest Law Schools in the ‘U.S. News’ Top 100:

We’ve mashed together the latest nonresident tuition and fees data from the American Bar Association (which law schools provide to it) with the U.S. News numbers to present the 20 cheapest law schools ranked in the U.S. News top 100.

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December 28, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Can Mitchonomics Fix The Broken Higher Ed Business?

Bloomberg, Can Mitchonomics Fix the Broken Business of Higher Ed?:

Under [Mitch] Daniels, things have been generally cheery at Purdue. With return on investment increasingly important to students, given the price of attending and the corresponding debt, Purdue has something to sell: static costs and a good job if you graduate, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.


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December 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools Are On The Comeback Trail

Winston-Salem Journal, Are Law Schools on the Comeback Trail?:

After some lean years, law schools might be poised for a comeback.

More people are sitting for the LSAT, the exam required for entry into most U.S. law schools. And law schools in North Carolina and around the country say applications for next fall’s class are up from last year — in some cases significantly.

The uptick in interest is welcome news for U.S. law schools, where enrollment has fallen to 40-year lows in the wake of the Great Recession.

So what’s behind this revived interest? Law school officials have some theories. ...

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December 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Tax Law Takes Aim At Higher Education’s Millionaires Club

One MillionChronicle of Higher Education, New Tax Law Takes Aim at Higher Education’s Millionaires Club:

[The new tax law imposes] a 21-percent tax on annual compensation in excess of $1 million paid to the five highest-paid employees of a nonprofit group — including college presidents, chancellors, and coaches. For medical professionals, however, compensation that is directly related to medical or veterinary services would not be taken into account. ...

According to an analysis by The Chronicle, America’s private, nonprofit colleges had 158 million-dollar employees in the 2015 calendar year, excluding medical staff members. The highest earners primarily included chief executives, athletics staff members, and investment officers. Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the men’s basketball team at Duke University, topped the list, earning $7.4 million in 2015.

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December 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

NY Times: MBAs And #MeToo — B-Schools Embrace Curriculum Reform In The Age Of Trump

MBAMAGANew York Times, Business Schools Now Teaching #MeToo, N.F.L. Protests and Trump:

An M.B.A. education is no longer just about finance, marketing, accounting and economics. As topics like sexual harassment dominate the national conversation and chief executives weigh in on the ethical and social issues of the day, business schools around the country are hastily reshaping their curriculums with case studies ripped straight from the headlines. ...

At Vanderbilt, there are classes on Uber and “bro” culture. At Stanford, students are studying sexual harassment in the workplace. And at Harvard, the debate encompasses sexism and free speech.

“There’s a turning point in what’s expected from business leaders,” said Leanne Meyer, co-director of a new leadership department at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business. “Up until now, business leaders were largely responsible for delivering products. Now, shareholders are looking to corporate leaders to make statements on what would traditionally have been social justice or moral issues.”

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December 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

New ABA Bar Pass Rate Questionnaire Will Yield Better Information But Create More Work For Law Schools

ABA Required DisclosuresABA Journal, New Bar Pass Rate Questionnaire Will Yield Better Information But Create More Work For Law Schools:

There’s no bar passage data on this year’s law school consumer information reports, which came as a surprise to some. That information, with more recent numbers than in years past, is expected to be released in March 2018. 

The council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved the new questionnaire at a June 2017 meeting, according to information on the ABA website, and a change is that accredited law schools must report ultimate bar passage rates along with first-time bar passage rates.

Previously, only law schools that could not demonstrate a first-time test taker bar pass rate that was within 15 percentage points of the state first-time pass rate where the school is located, for three of the last five years, would report ultimate bar passage percentages. Ultimate bar passage data covers a school’s graduates who passed a bar examination within one and two years of graduation.

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December 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

1L Is The New Bar Prep

Sabrina DeFabritiis (Suffolk), 1L Is the New Bar Prep, 51 Creighton L. Rev. 37 (2017):

Law school graduates, in growing numbers, are failing the bar exam. This reality is all the more staggering when we consider that these graduates have been preparing for the bar exam since their first year of law school. First-year legaI-writing courses teach students specific fundamental skills that are the foundation for success on the bar exam. This Article provides the perspective that the goal of passing the bar exam and teaching Iaw students to think and write like lawyers is a symbiotic relationship. It directly analyzes the correlation between the fundamental skills associated with thinking like a lawyer and successful bar-essay writing.

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December 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Hallelujah Christmas

A Pepperdine Christmas

Christmas And The Salvation of ‘Napalm Girl’

Fire RoadWall Street Journal op-ed:  The Salvation of ‘Napalm Girl’, by Kim Phuc Phan Thi (author, Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace (Oct. 2017):

You may not recognize me now, but you almost certainly know who I am. My name is Kim Phuc, though you likely know me by another name. It is one I never asked for, a name I have spent a lifetime trying to escape: “Napalm Girl.”

You have probably seen my picture a thousand times. Yes, that picture. The image that made the world gasp. Some called it a turning point in the Vietnam War—a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of me in 1972, age 9, running along a puddled roadway in front of an expressionless soldier. I was photographed with arms outstretched, naked and shrieking in pain and fear, with the dark contour of a napalm cloud billowing in the distance. ...

Those bombs have caused me immeasurable pain over the course of my life. Forty-five years later I am still receiving treatment for the burns that cover my arms, back and neck. But even worse than the physical pain was the emotional and spiritual pain. For years I bore the crippling weight of anger, bitterness and resentment toward those who caused my suffering. Yet as I look back over a spiritual journey that has spanned more than three decades, I realize the same bombs that caused so much pain and suffering also brought me to a place of great healing. Those bombs led me to Jesus Christ.

My salvation experience occurred on Christmas Eve.

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December 25, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Where Jesus Would Spend Christmas

Lesbos 3New York Times op-ed:  Where Jesus Would Spend Christmas, by Stephanie Saldaña:

In the city of Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesbos, Christmas is approaching. A tree on the main square is alight in blue; a Nativity scene has Mary and Joseph standing vigil beside the baby Jesus. Locals are busily shopping for gifts and sipping coffee at cafes.

Just 15 minutes up the road, at the refugee and migrant camp called Moria, it is not Christmas but winter that is approaching. More than 6,000 souls fleeing the world’s most violent conflicts — in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo — are crowded in a space meant for 2,330. The scene is grim: piles of trash, barbed wire, children wailing, rows of cheap summer tents with entire families crammed inside and fights regularly breaking out on the camp’s periphery. The stench is overwhelming.

I have visited many refugee camps in the Middle East, but never have I seen anything like Moria, a place Pope Francis has likened to a concentration camp. I have also never understood the true meaning of Christmas — a story in which Jesus was born into a family that became refugees — until I visited the people who are now forced to call it home. ...

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December 25, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Hoc Anno Domini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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December 25, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

'Twas The Night Before Christmas (Legal Edition)

Twas 6

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


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December 24, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas Law Schools Outpace National Trend, Increase 1L Enrollments 4%

Texas Lawyer, Texas Law School Enrollment Outpaces National Percentage Growth:

The size of this year’s entering class at Texas law schools rose by 4 percent this year compared to last. ... There were 2,199 first-year law students at the 10 Texas law schools in the Fall of 2017, which is 89 students more than the Fall of 2016.

Compared to national figures, the 4 percent jump in Texas 1L students is significant. The 203 accredited law schools across the country counted 37,398 1L students, which is just 0.8 percent more than last year, according to data from the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.


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December 24, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

NY Times: How To Build A Successful Team

TeamNew York Times, How to Build a Successful Team:

Building a successful team is about more than finding a group of people with the right mix of professional skills. Over the course of interviewing over 500 leaders for Corner Office, I asked them all about the art of fostering a strong sense of teamwork. Their insights can help you lay the groundwork for a highly productive team that can communicate, cooperate and innovate in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.

Make a Plan:  You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish.

  • Hiring Well Isn't Enough
  • Create A Clear Map
  • Have A Shared Scorecard
  • You May Feel Like A Broken Record ...

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December 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 22, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

July 2017 California Bar Exam Results

California State BarThe California State Bar has released school by school data on the July 2017 California Bar Exam.  Here are the results for first time test takers for the 21 California ABA-approved law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (California and overall):

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

CA (Overall)

1 (96%)


1 (2)

2 (89%)


2 (12)

3 (88%)


3 (15)

3 (88%)


4 (19)

5 (83%)


5 (28)

6 (79%)


6 (39)

6 (79%)

Santa Clara

11 (132)

8 (78%)

San Diego

10 (77)

9 (73%)


8 (65)


Statewide Ave. (CA ABA-Approved)

10 (65%)


9 (72)

10 (65%)


Tier 2

12 (64%)


12 (134)

13 (62%)


13 (142)

14 (61%)


7 (54)

15 (57%)


Tier 2

16 (56%)

Western State

Tier 2

17 (54%)

San Francisco

Tier 2

18 (51%)

Golden Gate

Tier 2

19 (41%)

La Verne

Tier 2

20 (38%)


Tier 2

21 (30%)

Thomas Jefferson

Tier 2


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December 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Pepperdine Seeks To Hire A Legal Research & Writing Professor

Pepperdine Law School (2017) (Logo) (High-Res).jpgPepperdine Seeks to Hire a Legal Research and Writing Professor:

Pepperdine University School of Law is conducting a nationwide search seeking a LEGAL RESEARCH and WRITING PROFESSOR. Applicants must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, have excellent academic credentials, be committed to teaching Legal Research and Writing, and support the goals and mission of the University. Applicants should have at least two to three years of post-J.D. experience in a position or positions requiring substantial legal writing. The position comes with a market-competitive salary, employment benefits, and the title of Assistant Professor of Legal Research and Writing.

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December 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

More On The Most Underrated Law Schools In America

2018 U.S. News Law 2Following up on my previous posts:

ABA Journal, These 7 Law Schools May Be the Most Underrated:

The most underrated schools are:

  1. Brigham Young (ranked 20th based on student credentials and 46th by U.S. News, a 26-spot differential.)
  2. Pepperdine (47th on student credentials and 72nd by U.S. News, a 25-spot differential.)
  3. University of Nebraska (37th on credentials and 57th by U.S. News, a 20-spot differential.)
  4. College of William & Mary (24th on credentials and 41st by U.S. News, a 17-spot differential.)
  5. Northeastern (48th on credentials and 65th by U.S. News, a 17-spot differential.)
  6. Southern Methodist University (35th based on credentials and 46th by U.S. News, an 11-spot differential.)
  7. George Mason (32nd based on credentials and 41st by U.S. News, a nine-spot differential.)

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December 22, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Ferruolo: California Supreme Court Fails The Bar Exam

California Bar ExamStephen D. Ferruolo (San Diego), Supreme Court Fails Bar Exam:

On October 18, the Supreme Court issued a ruling keeping the current bar examination pass score of 1440 with an explanation that was, at best, perfunctory. Essentially, the Court said that while there was no basis for setting the current score (“the second highest in the nation”) in 1987, there was also no basis for changing it. The Court dismissed the information and data included in the State Bar’s Standard Setting Study and Final Report, as well as all the amicus letters, finding that they did not “weigh in favor of departing from the longstanding pass score of 1440.” While noting the serious flaws of the Standard Setting Study, the Court “encourage[d]” the State Bar to conduct more studies that “might bear on possible adjustment to the cut score.” The Court was no less forthcoming about when it might “revisit” the cut score “in the next review cycle, or sooner if the court so directs.” As commentators have noted, that review cycle would be seven years from now and could mean no change until 2024 at the earliest!

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December 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

People Magazine Investigates: Who Killed Dan Markel?

People Magazine Investigates: Who Killed Popular Florida State Law Professor Dan Markel?:

More than three years later, the open case is the focus of Monday night’s episode of People Magazine Investigates on Investigation Discovery. The episode zeroes in on the police questioning of Markel’s ex-wife, fellow law professor Wendi Adelson, as the couple emerged from a contentious divorce.

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December 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

How Did Some Law Schools Increase First-Time Bar Pass Rates By > 10%? 'Students Having A Healthy Fear Of God'

ABA Journal (2014)ABA Journal, How Did Some Law Schools Increase First-time Pass Rates by at Least 10 Points in 2017?:

[A]t least eight schools saw first-time pass increases of 10 points or greater between the July 2016 and July 2017 bar exams. ...

Cathy Cox, [Mercer Law School’s dean,] attributes the rise largely to students “having a real healthy level of the fear of God,” following last year’s bar results.

Also, for the class of 2017, students with grade-point averages below 80 percent were required to take a for-credit bar preparation course.

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December 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Murder Trial Of Dan Markel's Alleged Hit Man Pushed Back Six Months

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Some Schools Flagged by ABA Have Not Raised Admissions Standards

ABA Journal, Some Schools Flagged by ABA This Year Have Not Raised Admissions Standards, Latest Data Indicates:

In the past year, the ABA publicly notified various law schools that they are not in compliance with accreditation standards, and based on 509 reports for 2017, it appears that many of those schools have a ways to go to come into compliance, David Frakt writes at the Faculty Lounge.

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December 20, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Colleges Received 19 Gifts Of $100 Million+ In 2017

Chronicle of Higher Education:

  • $600 Million:  Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian
  • $500 Million:  University of California at San Francisco
  • $279 Million:  University of Washington
  • $250 Million:  Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • $219 Million:  University of Maryland at College Park
  • $200 Million:  University of California at Irvine
  • $150 Million:  Cornell University
  • $150 Million:  Johns Hopkins University
  • $150 Million:  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • $140 Million:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • $125 Million:  University of Chicago
  • $120 Million:  University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • $117 Million:  University of Hawaii-Manoa
  • $115 Million:  Boston University
  • $110 Million:  California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo
  • $100 Million:  Colby College
  • $100 Million:  Santa Clara University
  • $100 Million:  University of Chicago
  • $100 Million:  University of Notre Dame

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December 20, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

More Section 509 Data: Biggest Enrollment Decreases (Arizona Summit 89%, Valparaiso 87%), Increases (Lincoln Memorial 194%, Mitchell|Hamline 91%)

Following up on my post on Friday's release of the 2017 law school section 509 reports:  Keith Lee, Law Schools ABA 509 Disclosures 2017 (Stats + Graphs):

Top ten largest percentage decreases from 2011 to 2016:

Lee 1

Upward trends:

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December 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chen: The Mathematics Of Law School Merit Scholarships

Jim Chen (Michigan State), Scholarships at Risk: The Mathematics of Merit Stipulations in Law School Financial Aid, 7 UC Irvine L. Rev. 43 (2017):

Many law schools in the United States condition financial aid grants on the recipients’ maintenance of a certain grade point average. These merit stipulations require students to meet or exceed minimum academic standards in order to keep all or part of their financial aid. Law students should take merit stipulations into account when they decide whether to accept an offer of admission paired with a conditional grant of financial aid. By all accounts, they do not. Law schools should transparently disclose the likely effect of merit stipulations on their financial aid awards. By all accounts, law schools do no such thing. Absent external coercion, they are unlikely to change their current practices. In the absence of industry-wide standards counseling full disclosure of financial aid practices, this article will try to equip law school applicants with the mathematical tools to assess the real impact of merit stipulations on their financial well being.

This article first presents very simple models for discounting financial aid awards for the risk of failure to uphold a merit stipulation. It outlines a simple methodology for calculating the expected value of a financial aid award subject to a merit stipulation. The article also evaluates one extraordinary circumstance in which a law school has implicitly revealed its break-even point — the amount of aid that the school would award if it did not impose any merit stipulations.

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December 19, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

51% Of Iowa Law Students Receive Full (Or Greater) Tuition Scholarships

Friday's release of the 2017 law school section 509 reports will add to the growing data on tuition discounting trends:

One of the new 509 reports that jumped out at me is Iowa's:  more than 50% of its student body receive either full (36%) or more than full (15%) tuition scholarships:


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December 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Symposium: Spiritual Leadership


GBR Special Issue:  Spiritual Leadership
Living in a complex world and moving into the smart machine age, the need for good leadership is even greater; spiritual leadership provides a compass to navigate through difficult decisions.

Spiritual Leadership:  Embedding Sustainability in the Triple Bottom Line
Often, a company’s competitive advantage depends on how intelligent the firm is at observing and interpreting the dynamic world context in which it operates.

Editorial:  Research and Teaching on Spirituality and Spiritual Leadership in Management
Research and teaching in the field will help future managers and organization leaders cope with the stress and anxiety and sometimes rancor that organizations may be experiencing.

Ecologically Conscious Leadership:  Spiritual Convictions that Achieve Sustainability
Spiritual convictions may help business leaders to develop ecological consciousness required for achieving sustainability in business functioning.

Leadership “Jesus Style”:  3 Narratives from the Gospel Accounts of Jesus’ Life
Jesus of Nazareth manifests character traits in His speech and actions that transcend time and culture and offer insights into leadership practices and priorities worth serious consideration.

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December 19, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 18, 2017

ABA Sends Proposed Accreditation Changes Out For Notice And Comment

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure: Matters for Notice and Comment (Dec. 15, 2017):

At its meeting held on November 3-4, 2017, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved for Notice and Comment proposed revisions to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools necessary to accomplish the significant and substantial change of merging the Accreditation Committee and the Standards Review Committee into the Council.  Attached is the explanation of changes and redlined version of the affected Standards and Rules.

The Council also approved for Notice and Comment Standard 306 (Distance Education), which will be circulated for Notice and Comment separately, as well as changes to several Standards and Rules of Procedure, which were circulated on November 17, 2017. All proposed revisions and accompanying explanations are published on the Section’s website.

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December 18, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nick Allard And David Brennen Continue The GRE/LSAT Debate

GRELSATNick Allard (Dean, Brooklyn) and David Brennen (Dean, Kentucky) weigh in on last week's post, Kent Syverud And Dan Rodriguez On The GRE/LSAT Debate:

Nick Allard (Dean, Brooklyn):

I embrace and completely agree with Dan's and David's responses to Kent, and thank them for stating their position ever so much more eloquently, diplomatically, and persuasively than I could possibly have done.

For the record, contrary to Kent's suggestion, I have not, nor has anyone at Brooklyn Law School, been "pitched" by ETS, nor have we decided to begin to consider GREs in a measured way as a reaction to any kind of pressure. As I mentioned to some of you a few years ago when a portion of an "all deans' meeting" was devoted to discussing how deans should deal with stress, I didn't quite understand the exercise because I give rather than get stress. Seriously, at BLS, as I assume at many schools, we have given the question of whether to rely on another entrance test in addition to the LSAT very careful fact based consideration over quite a long period of time. Our decision is also based on our view of the breadth of ability, knowledge and skills that are now useful and in demand for our graduates in the new world of law, in contrast to what that world looked like, and what conventional wisdom about legal education was when the LSAT was designed. Frankly, it is much harder to come up with plausible reasons why not to consider in a careful fashion the GREs of candidates than it is to continue to rely on the LSATs exclusively.

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December 18, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The 2017 Law School Transfer Market

This blog posting updates my blog postings of December 2014, December 2015, and March 2017 regarding what we know about the transfer market. With the release of the 2017 Standard 509 Reports, we know have four years of more detailed transfer data from which to glean insights about the transfer market among law schools.


The number of transfers increased slightly to 1797 in 2017 from 1749 in 2016, still down from 1,979 in 2015, and from 2,187 in 2014 and 2,501 in 2013. The percentage of the previous fall’s entering class that engaged in the transfer market also increased only slightly to 4.8%, on the low end of where it has been since 2011.

In other words, there is no reason to believe the transfer market is “growing” as a general matter. It has been fairly consistently in the 4.7% to 5.8% range for the last six years. In fact, there might be a reason to believe the general transfer market is declining, given that roughly 200 of the transfers this year, more than 10% of all transfers, are from Charlotte, Whittier and Indiana Tech.   Excluding the transfers out from Charlotte, Whittier and Indiana Tech, the number of transfers likely would be below 1600, which would be less than 4.5%, the lowest level in the last several years.








Number of Transfers







Previous Year First Year Enrollment







%   of Previous First-Year Total








The following two charts list the top 15 law schools participating in the transfer market in descending order in Summer 2015 (fall 2014 entering class), and Summer 2016 (fall 2015 entering class), and Summer 2017 (fall 2016 entering class). One chart is based on “numbers” of transfers and the other chart is based on the number of transfer students as a percentage of the prior year’s first year class.

Note that in these two charts, the “repeat players” are bolded – those schools in the top 15 for all three years are in black, those schools in the top 15 for two of the three years are in blue.   Ten of the top 15 have been on the list for the largest number of transfers all three years.  All of the top six law schools in 2016 for transfers in welcomed a smaller numbers of transfers in 2017, although George Washington saw the largest drop in its transfer class between 2016 and 2017, with a decline of roughly 40 from where it had been the two previous years. Two of the three law schools that are new to the list, Charleston and Lincoln Memorial, took significant numbers of transfers from Charlotte.

Largest Law Schools by Number of Transfers from 2015-2017


Number in 2015


Number in 2016


Number in 2017







George Wash.


George Wash


George Wash


Arizona St.


Arizona St.














Arizona St.








Cal. Berkeley


Loyola Marymount














Loyola Marymount
















Cal. Berkeley


Cal. Berkeley






Lincoln Memorial


Florida St.








Florida St.
















In terms of law schools with the highest percentage of transfers in as a percentage of their previous year's first-year class,  only four law schools have been on the list each of the last three years – Arizona State, Emory, Georgetown and George Washington.

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December 18, 2017 in Jerry Organ, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Saturday, December 16, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

ABA Releases Law School Section 509 Reports

ABA Required DisclosuresThe ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has released Fall 2017 Standard 509 Information Reports for all ABA-approved law schools on its website (explanation of changes):

The material is collected by the section, which requires law schools each year to disclose data and information covering matters of interest to potential law students and others with an interest in legal education, including admissions and enrollments, tuition and living costs, financial aid, curricular information, faculty demographics, employment outcomes, bar passage and other areas. The data can be easily searched and sorted, allowing for school-by-school comparisons and analysis and should be useful to prospective law students, pre-law advisors, media outlets and others who study and write about legal education. ...

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December 16, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School J.D. Enrollment Fell 0.7% in 2017-18, But Non-J.D. Enrollment Surged 20.5%, Law School Enrollment Edges Up, with Surprise Spike in Non-JD Programs:

Enrollment in law school J.D. programs dipped a tad this year, but some unexpected good news provided a counterbalance.

While J.D. enrollment fell by 0.7 percent compared with last year, the numbers of non-J.D. students—studying for LL.M., masters or certificate degrees—grew by a whopping 20.5 percent, compared with last year, according to data from the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which accredits U.S. law schools.

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December 16, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 15, 2017

WSJ: Law School Is Hot Again

Wall Street Journal, Law School Is Hot Again as Politics Piques Interest:

It’s cool to go to law school again.

After years of plummeting enrollment and hand-wringing over the value of a law degree, interest in law school is starting to rebound. The number of people applying to law school for next fall is up nearly 12% compared with the same period a year earlier, and around 14% more applications have been submitted, according to the Law School Admission Council.

That marks the first significant uptick since before the last economic downturn. Law school deans and prelaw advisers offer several theories for the rise: a political climate that has thrust legal issues into the spotlight, the recovery of the broader economy and legal job market, and law schools continuing to offer discounts to lure top performers.

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December 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Faculty Object To University Of Wisconsin Tracking Teaching Hours: 'The Packers Don’t Just Work Three Hours On Sunday'

UWCapital Times, Regents Proposal: UW Will Track Professors’ Teaching Hours Starting in January:

The teaching workload of University of Wisconsin faculty and other instructional staff will be monitored starting in January, but no other parts of their jobs will see the same scrutiny, according to a proposal before the Board of Regents for approval Thursday.

The “Teaching Workload Policy” calls on UW System administrators and chancellors of individual campuses to develop policies for monitoring the number of hours spent teaching, rewarding faculty and instructional staff who teach more than a “standard academic load,” and publishing aggregate data on teaching hours on the UW System’s Accountability Dashboard website.

Details on how teaching workload data might be collected or what would constitute a “standard academic load” were not included. ...

UW-Madison faculty members have raised concerns about the provision, saying that hours in the classroom represent only part of a professor’s job.

“The Packers don’t just work three hours on Sunday,” is how UW-Madison associate professor of education Nicholas Hillman put it in February in a tweet.

Hillman said he spends more time grading papers, giving thorough feedback and meeting with students than he does in the classroom, Hillman told the Capital Times. Add to that time spent advising students, responding to email questions and preparing class notes, he said.

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December 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Looming Asteroid For Law Schools: Proposed $28,500 Annual Federal Loan Cap

Asteroid 2Cassandra Burke Robertson (Case Western), A Looming Asteroid for Law Schools:

My last post focused on proposed aggregate debt caps for federal loans. But as a recent article from Inside Higher Ed points out, a more immediate problem for educational institutions and their students may be the Prosper Act's proposed annual lending limits. The bill would limit federal loans for non-medical graduate and professional students to $28,500 per academic year.

Again, debt caps are not unprecedented — federal loans were capped until the GradPlus program was created in 2006. But so much has changed since 2006 that re-instituting federal lending caps would create chaos in law school finance. ...

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December 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Happy Hanukkah, Hamilton-Style

From The Maccabeats, an a cappella group at Yeshiva University:


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December 14, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Federal Court Chides Western Michigan-Thomas Cooley Law School For Seeking TRO To Block ABA's Release Of Letter On School's Noncompliance With Accreditation Standards

Thomas Cooley Logo (2014)Following up on last month's post, Western Michigan-Cooley Law School Seeks TRO To Prevent ABA From Releasing A Letter About Its Accreditation Status:  the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has denied the TRO in a blistering opinion (Thomas M. Cooley Law School v. American Bar Association, No. 17-13708 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 12, 2017):

This case concerns a law school’s attempt to prevent current and prospective students from having access to accurate information about its accreditation status. ...

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December 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kent Syverud And Dan Rodriguez On The GRE/LSAT Debate

GRELSATKent Syverud (Chancellor and President, Syracuse; former Dean, Vanderilt and Washington University):

I know many of you are being pitched from the Educational Testing Service about the Graduate Record Examination. I worked as a law school dean for sixteen years and was involved with LSAC for much of that time. I am acutely aware of the stress law deans are now under in connection with admissions, including the stress from central administrations of universities.

I write just to make three points as you consider the GRE and LSAT.

First, I have great confidence in LSAC’s new president, Kellye Testy, as someone who is heart and soul driven by the desire to serve the unique needs of law schools in this challenging environment. She is willing to talk with deans not to talk you out of any use of the GRE, but to help you make sure that if you do feel compelled to use the GRE that it is used in a way that is not ultimately going to hurt you and all of legal education in the process. I know she is determined to help each school and to broaden the pipeline of applicants into law schools. She was a leader is this effort as a law dean, and she is bringing that attitude to the Law School Admission Council.

Second, LSAC came into existence, I believe, in part because of the challenges of getting large testing organizations, driven by undergraduate admissions and Ph.D. programs, to pay sustained attention to the unique needs of law schools. Over many years, LSAC developed products and services for law schools that met these needs, and that remain the envy of many professional disciplines. These products and services were helpful to the autonomy of law schools, including during periodic efforts to centralize many activities.

Finally, I fear it is unlikely that LSAC will be able to continue to provide many of the services and support that are currently free to all schools – including data, software, and professional development services – if a significant number of schools deemphasize the LSAT. At least when I was a dean, the annual cost of those services and support to schools was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and would have been challenging for me to replace out of my budget.

I encourage you to discuss these issues with Kellye Testy directly before making any decisions.

Daniel B. Rodriguez (Dean, Northwestern):

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December 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Top Law Schools For Tax

TaxTop Law Schools for Tax, Business, Banking and Corporate Law, preLaw (Fall 2017):

Tax law touches nearly every aspect of the law and is critical to the practice of corporate law, estate planning, business planning and property law. For lawyers with specialized knowledge of tax law, the ubiquity of state and federal tax codes presents the opportunity for a challenging and rewarding career. 

Many law schools offer advanced law degrees, or LL.M. degrees, in tax law, which can be extremely valuable to employers. But law students do not need to wait until after earning their J.D.s to pursue this practice area. A number of law schools offer concentrations, certificates, clinics and externships designed to prepare students to enter the profession with a solid understanding of tax law.

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December 13, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Justice Thomas Ventures Beyond Elite Schools To Fill Clerkship Posts

SCOTUS-Hiring-1-383x1024National Law Journal, Justice Thomas Ventures Beyond Elite Schools to Fill Clerkship Posts:

Justice Clarence Thomas has earned a reputation as a frequent dissenter during his 26 years on the U.S. Supreme Court bench, and when it comes to the clerks he hires, he also strays from the pack.

In a system where justices pull heavily from their own alma maters and a handful of other top schools to fill the coveted slots, Thomas casts the widest net.

He has hired from 23 different law schools since 2005, with one-third of his clerks coming from schools outside the Top 10 on the U.S. News and World Report rankings. The approach, he has said, enables him to find excellence “from all over.” ...

By contrast, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Anthony Kennedy have hired 10 percent or fewer of their clerks from law schools outside the U.S. News Top 10 since 2005.  The late Antonin Scalia hired just a single graduate from those nonelite schools during that period. ...

Over the past decade, Harvard and Yale have increased their dominance with graduates of the two law schools accounting for half of all Supreme Court law clerks. ...

Pepperdine is proud that our own Brittney Lane is clerking for Justice Thomas this term:

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December 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)