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Monday, August 17, 2015

Cooley Law School Enrollment Shrinks 52%, Full-Time Faculty Shrinks 58%

Thomas Cooley Logo (2014)Detroit Free Press, Cooley Law School Enrollment Drops 52%:

More than 3,900 students were enrolled at Cooley Law School in 2010. That was the zenith. It’s been downhill since. Cooley’s enrollment for the 2014-15 academic year was 1,880. That’s a drop of 52%. ...

Law school enrollment has been declining nationwide since 2010, ABA data show. At Cooley, it has declined almost three times as fast.

During its years of explosive growth, Cooley opened three satellite campuses in Michigan and one near Tampa. Last year, administrators at the school, now known as the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, closed its Ann Arbor campus and laid off faculty members in an effort to mitigate the losses. ...

Records from the ABA show 119 full-time faculty employed at Cooley in the spring of 2014 compared to 49 in the fall. ...

Cooley is one of the least selective law schools in the country. That is by design, [President and Dean Don LeDuc] said. The majority of Cooley’s students are part-time, and many are not considered traditional law school applicants. It’s Cooley’s commitment to proving an opportunity for these prospective students that sets it apart from its counterparts, he said. Among the pool of 2014 applicants, 85% received offers. [President LeDuc earned $675,626 in compensation in 2013, the last year figures are publicly available.] ,,,

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

ABA Seeks Comments On Law School Accreditation Standards

ABA Logo 2For academic year 2015-16, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar has directed the Standards Review Committee to review the following Standards and Interpretations of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools:

  • Standard 205. NON-DISCRIMINATION AND EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY
  • Standard 206. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
  • Standard 305. FIELD PLACEMENTS AND OTHER STUDY OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
  • Interpretation 305-2. [Prohibition on granting credit for participation in a field placement program for which a student receives compensation.]

Comments can be submitted to JR Clark by September 11, 2015.

August 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Welcome, Pepperdine Law School Class Of 2018

Launch Week 4

Welcome to the Pepperdine Law School Class of 2018, which begins their legal education today in a week-long introduction to law school and professional formation.  Law students today face a very difficult challenge, with tuition at record highs and the legal profession in turmoil.  Yet you are part of a class that is very strong academically and the most diverse in our history — kudos to Dean Shannon Phillips and her team for putting together such a gifted class in such tough circumstances.  Although this is only my third year at Pepperdine, I have experienced first hand what a very special place this is.  As you have already seen, you will be spending the next three years in a spectacularly beautiful campus and city.  You will begin to experience this week the faculty and staff's faith-fueled commitment to you and to your success that manifests itself in various ways, large and small, in daily life here.  You will hear a lot of advice and goal-setting this week in the wonderful program put together by Dean Danny DeWalt and his team.  My wish is that you will love your time at Peppperdine and that you will leave here in three years with a deep sense of your professional and personal calling in law and in life. I look forward to seeing many of you in my tax classes in your second and third year (and at the softball game on Friday and the dean's bible study on Wednesday nights).

Update:  My friend and colleague Al Sturgeon has further thoughts here.

August 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Appalachian Law School Enrolls 32 1Ls, Down 38% From 2014's 52 1Ls (And Down 78% From 2011's 145 1Ls)

Appalachian LogoFollowing up on yesterday's post, UConn Law School Enrolls 100 1Ls, Down 38% From 2014's 160 1Ls:  Appalachian Law School has enrolled 32 1Ls this year, down 38% from 2014's 52 1Ls (and down 78% from 2011's 145 1Ls).

Appalachian has lost 62% of its faculty since Fall 2014:  8 of the 13 faculty teaching there in Fall 2014 (plus their Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation) are not teaching there in Fall 2015.  They have been replaced with visiting professors and adjuncts.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Saturday, August 15, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Charleston Law School Denies Tenure To Three Deserving Candidates Due To Financial Exigency

Charleston LogoPost and Courier, Charleston School of Law Leaders Withhold Tenure:

Charleston School of Law owners announced Friday that they wouldn’t be offering tenure to non-tenured faculty members because the school is in a financial crisis.

In a  memo to eight non-tenured faculty members, school owners said there are three candidates who already have met the standards for tenure, but they will not get it because of the school’s financial problems. ...

School leaders in May laid off seven tenured faculty members, and two of them have filed breach-of-contract lawsuits against the school. [One has obtained a TRO reinstating her on the faculty.] ...

Law school owners and representatives from The InfiLaw System, a company trying to buy the school, have said one of the reasons the school is in a financial crisis is because the owners took $25 million in profit out of the school between 2010 and 2013.

The remarkable memo is here:

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

Friday, August 14, 2015

Weissenberger's Made to Measure Man: 'Outrageously Humorous Law School Academic Politics Interweave With Intrigue Of Nazi Stolen Art'

GlenMy dear friend and former Cincinnati colleague Glen Weissenberger, whose firing as Dean of DePaul Law School in 2009 sparked nationwide condemnation (links below), has published his first novel, Made to Measure Man (Aug. 11, 2015):

What happens when charming law school dean, Garth Matthews' predictable life is completely upended by his surprise receipt of a multimillion dollar award for his leadership? While Garth is intrigued by the hilarious, crotchety octogenarian matriarch of the Schmidhausen Foundation that created the award, Agnes, he is immediately romantically captivated by Agnes’ granddaughter, Julia, whose beauty and brilliance are accompanied by an enchanting mysterious quality. Romantic suspense and entertaining humor characterize the ten days of Garth’s life captured in Made to Measure Man in his adventures to find out more about this upcoming achievement award from the bestowing Zürich foundation, and more about the elusive Julia. Is the Schmidhausen Foundation involved in nefarious activities? What if the lovely, elegant Julia is not who she appears to be? And despite Garth’s being a man who is usually in control of his surrounding environment, what happens when he is drawn into the suspenseful world of art theft when he is actually considered a suspect? Outrageously humorous episodes of law school academic politics interweave with the intrigue of Nazi stolen art, and Garth travels from his home in Chicago to New York City to unravel these mysteries.

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August 14, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Amidst 48% Decline In 1L Class, Charleston Law School Admissions Dean Abruptly Resigns

Charleston LogoSouth Carolina Lawyers Weekly, CSOL Dean of Admissions Abruptly Resigns; John Benfield Discusses His Decision to Leave Troubled Law School:

For the first time in the history of the Charleston School of Law, longtime associate dean for admissions John Benfield was not on campus on orientation day to greet incoming students.

Benfield’s abrupt departure, announced Aug. 3, came as a surprise to students and faculty who received the news late that afternoon in an email from the school’s dean, Andy Abrams. ...

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

Tax Court: German Lawyer Cannot Deduct Cost Of Obtaining A U.S. J.D.

Tax Court Logo 2The Tax Court held that a German lawyer could not deduct the cost of obtaining a J.D. from the University of San Diego Law School because the education did not maintain or improve skills required in his trade or business. The taxpayer had not established himself trade or business of practicing law in the United States, and the expenses were incurred in entering into a new trade or business. The court also upheld accuracy-related penalties under § 6662(a). O'Connor v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2015-155 (Aug. 12, 2015).

August 14, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

University Of Auckland Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

AucklandThe University of Auckland, Faculty of Business and Economics, seeks to hire a Professor of Taxation in the Department of Commercial Law:

The position is intended for candidates with leadership experience, a relevant PhD and an international research portfolio. The candidate must demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence in research in taxation and will be able to demonstrate excellence in the teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Evidence of leadership in research, a significant international standing, high quality teaching and supervision at PhD level is required. Ideally, in addition to research and teaching in taxation law, the candidate would also be researching, teaching and supervising in company law.

The main purpose of this position is to:

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August 13, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Merritt: Kudos To California's 15-Credit Experiential Learning Requirement

California State Bar (2014)Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Kudos to California:

In February 2012, the California Bar Association appointed a task force to “examine whether the State Bar should develop a regulatory requirement for a pre-admission competency training program.” The group, dubbed the “Task Force on Admissions Regulatory Reform” (TFARR), oversaw hearings, deliberations, and consultations with key constituencies. It issued an initial report in 2013, which was adopted by the bar association’s board of trustees, then held a second round of hearings and deliberations to refine the recommendations for implementation.

That second report has been approved by the bar and awaits action by the California Supreme Court. What’s noteworthy about all of this? If approved, law graduates seeking to join the California bar will have to meet three new requirements. Law schools around the country will also have to help their California-bound students satisfy the first requirement: demonstrating completion of “15 units of practice-based, experiential coursework.”

I see both positives and negatives in the California proposal but, on balance, it’s a strong step forward. The proposal is a lengthy one, so I will explore it in several posts. To start, here are the features I find most appealing. ...

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August 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas Wesleyan Law Grads Sue Texas A&M Over Alumni Status

Texas A&M Law Logo (2015)Houston Chronicle, Texas Wesleyan Law Grads Sue A&M Over Alumni Status:

In one news release, for instance, university officials note that A&M law students have provided more than 120,000 hours of free legal services valued at more than $2.4 million.

But much of that work was done by alumni who earned degrees from Texas Wesleyan School of Law in Fort Worth, before A&M purchased the school in 2013. A&M did not previously have a law school.

While A&M has taken credit for their work, the school won't recognize them as A&M alumni, dozens of the graduates argue in a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday. They contend the refusal of new degrees or alumni status makes it difficult to apply for jobs or take bar exams. ...

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

Revisions To ABA Accreditation Standards

ABA Logo 2Memorandum From Barry A. Currier (Managing Director of Accreditation and Legal Education), Adoption and Implementation of Revised Standards and Rules for Approval of Law Schools

At its meetings in June and July 2015, the Council approved changes to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools. The changes had been circulated for Notice and Comment and public hearings were held on April 30 and July 16, 2015. The following amended Standards and Rules of Procedure became effective upon concurrence by the ABA House of Delegates at its meeting on August 3-4, 2015:

  1. Definition (17) and Standard 106 [Separate Locations and Branch Campuses]
  2. Standard 105 [Acquiescence for Major Change in Program or Structure] and Rule 29(a) [Application for Acquiescence in Major Change]
  3. Standard 304 [Simulation Courses and Law Clinics]
  4. Standard 305(e)(6) and Interpretation 305-3 [Field Placements and Other Study Outside the Classroom]
  5. Standard 311(a) and Interpretation 311-1 [Academic Program and Academic Calendar]
  6. Standard 311(f) [Academic Program and Academic Calendar] and Standard 308(a) [Academic Standards]
  7. Interpretation 311-4 [Academic Program and Academic Calendar]
  8. Standard 502(b)(2) [Educational Requirements]
  9. Standard 505(b) [Granting of J.D. Degree Credit for Prior Law Study]
  10. Rule 27 [Application for Provisional or Full Approval] and Rule 28 [Reapplication for Provisional or Full Approval]
  11. Rule 29(d-g) [Application for Acquiescence in Major Change]
  12. Rule 30 [Major Changes Requiring a Reliable Plan]]

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August 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

McGinnis & Schanzenbach: It's Time To End Faculty Tenure

TenureWall Street Journal op-ed:  College Tenure Has Reached Its Sell-By Date, by John O. McGinnis (Northwestern) & Max M. Schanzenbach (Northwestern):

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has come under fire from academics nationwide for calling on his state’s Board of Regents to reconsider the scope of tenure in its university system. Evaluations of faculty members “should be based on performance,” he said this summer, “they should be based on merit.”

With state universities struggling to keep up with rising costs and technological change, one would expect administrators and educators to at least consider proposals that would save money and encourage change.

Strong tenure protections impose significant costs on higher education. Although these costs were voluntarily created when universities adopted tenure in the first half of the 20th century, they were markedly increased in 1994 when Congress prohibited mandatory retirement for tenured faculty.

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

Barton: The Upside Of The Law School Crisis

GlassFollowing up on my previous post (here and here):  Chronicle of Higher Education,  The Upside of the Legal Profession's Crisis, by Benjamin H. Barton (Tennessee); author, Glass Half Full The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession (Oxford University Press, 2015)):

Four different interlocking trends are squeezing American lawyers and law schools. First, after a 50-year ride of growth in size and profits, corporate law-firm revenues have slowed since 2008.Businesses have grown tired of paying ever-higher fees and are using insourcing, outsourcing, and computerization for more-straightforward legal work, though they have continued to pay more for true bet-the-company transactional and litigation work.

Second, computerization has started to squeeze ordinary lawyers. LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, and others are horning in on traditional areas of practice, like drafting incorporation papers and wills, and are also offering inexpensive legal-advice plans. Right now they are reaching only low-hanging fruit by offering simple legal documents or monthly legal-advice plans. As they grow in size, complexity, and acceptance, price competition will further stiffen. ...

Third, courts and legislatures have reined in litigation since the 1980s. Tort reform has limited class actions, damages, and fees, and tort law is less lucrative for the lawyers involved.

Last, there has been a 30-year decline in earnings for small firms and solo practitioners. ...

In 2008 hard times for corporate law firms finally brought public attention to the employment numbers for law graduates, and applications and attendance at law schools have fallen steeply since 2010. ... [T]roubled law schools will risk disaccreditation by admitting anyone they can and radically cutting costs rather than actually closing their doors. This could mean closing the law library or replacing the bulk of the tenured faculty with adjuncts. It would be inexpensive to run a skeleton law school that has few administrators and is taught by adjunct faculty. The question would then shift to how the A.B.A. might respond. It has never disaccredited a fully accredited American law school, and the legal and public-relations ramifications of such a move are unclear. ...

I think that after some rough sledding, the public, the profession, and the professoriate will all benefit from the law’s transformation. ...

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August 12, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Oregon Symposium: Disruptive Innovation In Law And Technology

DisruptiveSymposium, Disruptive Innovation in Law and Technology, 93 Or. L. Rev. 831-934 (2015):

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August 12, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

WSJ: Number Of Academic Paper Co-Authors Skyrockets In Bid To Goose Citation Ranking — The Proliferation Of 'Kilo-Authors'

WSJWall Street Journal, How Many Scientists Does It Take to Write a Paper? Apparently, Thousands:

A Frenchman named Georges Aad may have the most prominent name in particle physics.

In less than a decade, Dr. Aad, who lives in Marseilles, France, has appeared as the lead author on 458 scientific papers. Nobody knows just how many scientists it may take to screw in a light bulb, but it took 5,154 researchers to write one physics paper earlier this year—likely a record—and Dr. Aad led the list.

His scientific renown is a tribute to alphabetical order. Almost every paper by “G. Aad et al.” involves so many researchers that they decided to always list themselves in alphabetical order. ...

[T]here has been a notable spike since 2009 in the number of technical reports whose author counts exceeded 1,000 people, according to the Thomson Reuters Web of Science, which analyzed citation data. In the ever-expanding universe of credit where credit is apparently due, the practice has become so widespread that some scientists now joke that they measure their collaborators in bulk—by the “kilo-author.” ...

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

Barnhizer: The Warrior Lawyer

WarriorDavid Barnhizer (Cleveland State), The Warrior Lawyer II: Using The Art of War and A Book of Five Rings to Gain Victory Through Disciplined Strategy (2015):

The force that ties all the pieces of law practice together into a coherent system is strategy—which can be understood as the ability to both plan and take action to achieve desired goals, or to at least significantly increase the probability of achieving a client’s goals. One of the main reasons for studying strategy is that it improves our ability to evaluate, diagnose, estimate risks and costs and resolve the problems and opportunities our clients bring to us. Sun Tzu's Art of War and Musashi's Book of Five Rings offer a unique strategic language. Sun Tzu’s Art of War is one of history's most widely read works on strategy. It has had significant influence on military strategy in Asia, including Japan and China. Sun Tzu and Musashi are like puzzle boxes with multi-layered expositions of strategic understanding the strategist can return to again and again. There is no finality to the insights. Musashi observes: "Really skillful people never get out of time, and are always deliberate, and never appear busy." This is the essence of the master strategist, whatever the discipline. The strategist is always in control of self. The Way of strategy offered by the combination of Sun Tzu's and Musashi's strategic thought is a methodology of greater awareness and effectiveness. Their insights as applied to the practice of law enable the strategist to perceive the world more sharply, extensively, and deeply.

August 12, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Harvard Law Prof Larry Lessig Mulls Presidential Bid, Would Resign After Passage Of Campaign Finance Reform And Let VP Bernie Sanders Or Elizabeth Warren Take Over

LessigHuffington Post:  Why I Want to Run, by Larry Lessig (Harvard):

Today I announced the formation of a committee to explore my entering the Democratic Primary for President. By Labor Day, I will decide whether a run makes sense.

I want to run. But I want to run to be a different kind of president. "Different" not in the traditional political puffery sense of that term. "Different," quite literally. I want to run to build a mandate for the fundamental change that our democracy desperately needs. Once that is passed, I would resign, and the elected Vice President would become President.

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig Weighs Campaign for One-Day Presidency:

The Harvard law professor, who says his top priority is to “unrig this rigged system,” is launching an unconventional bid to be what he calls a “referendum president.”

His idea is straightforward: If elected, Mr. Lessig would take action to overhaul campaign-finance laws and end what he describes as voter suppression and partisan gerrymandering. Then — perhaps even after a single day, though he acknowledges that’s “hopeful”—he would step aside and let his vice president lead. He says he would consider Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren—who has repeatedly said she does not plan to run—to join him on the ticket.

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August 11, 2015 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (5)

Amidst Turmoil, LSU Law School Appoints Interim Co-Deans

The 69 Most-Cited Law Faculties

Gregory C. Sisk (University of St. Thomas) et al.,  Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2015: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third:

This study explores the scholarly impact of law faculties, ranking the top third of ABA-accredited law schools. Refined by Professor Brian Leiter, the “Scholarly Impact Score” for a law faculty is calculated from the mean and the median of total law journal citations over the past five years to the work of tenured members of that law faculty. In addition to a school-by-school ranking, we report the mean, median, and weighted score, along with a listing of the tenured law faculty members at each ranked law school with the ten highest individual citation counts.

1.   Yale
2.   Harvard
3.   Chicago
4.   NYU
5.   Stanford
6.   UC-Irvine
7.   Columbia
8.   Duke
9.   Vanderbilt, UC-Berkeley
11.  Pennsylvania
12.  Northwestern
13.  Cornell, UCLA
15.  Michigan, Georgetown
17.  Virginia, George Washington
19.  Minnesota
20.  Texas
21.  George Mason, Washington University, Boston University
24.  UC-Davis
25.  Case Western, Notre Dame
27.  Illinois, Emory
29.  Cardozo, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio State
33.  North Carolina, Brooklyn
35.  Indiana, Utah, Fordham, San Diego
39.  Florida State, Arizona State, USC, St. Thomas, Iowa
44.  UC-Hastings, William & Mary, Maryland
47.  BYU, Hofstra, Washington & Lee
50.  UNLV, Pittsburgh
52.  Temple, Wake Forest, Florida, Chicago-Kent, Alabama
57.  Georgia, Houston, Loyola-L.A., American, Boston College
62.  Missouri, Toledo
64.  DePaul, Rutgers-Camden, Kansas, Tulane, Hawaii, San Francisco

Here are the 16 Tax Profs among the 10-most cited faculty at the Top 69 law schools:

2.   Harvard:  Louis Kaplow
15.  Michigan: Reuven Avi-Yonah
19.  Minnesota:  Kristin Hickman
24.  UC-Davis:  Dennis Ventry
29.  Cardozo: Ed Zelinsky
33.  North Carolina:  Gregg Polsky
35.  Indiana:  Leandra Lederman; San Diego:  Vic Fleischer
39.  USC:  Ed Kleinbard, Ed McCaffery
47.  BYU:  Cliff Fleming
52.  Temple:  Nancy Knauer; Chicago-Kent: Evelyn Brody
57.  Loyola-L.A.:  Ellen Aprill
64.  Tulane: Marjorie Kornhauser; San Francisco: Joshua Rosenberg

Several law faculties achieve Scholarly Impact Scores well above the rankings reported by U.S. News:

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August 11, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Federal Judge Rejects LSAC's Challenge To Expert Panel's Disability Accommodation Plan For LSAT

LSAT (2015)National Law Journal, Magistrate Upholds LSAT Disability Accommodation Plan:

A federal magistrate judge has largely upheld a set of procedures intended to make it easier for people with disabilities to qualify for accommodations when taking the Law School Admission Test.

Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California on Friday issued a 44-page opinion validating nearly all of an expert panel’s recommended changes to the way the Law School Admission Council weighs requests for accommodations. [Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Law School Admission Council, No. 12-cv-01830 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 7, 2015)].

They include:

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August 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Suicide of the Liberal Arts

Liberal ArtsWall Street Journal op-ed:  The Suicide of the Liberal Arts, by John Agresto (former president, St. John’s College):

[T]his tension between getting an education—specifically a liberal arts education—and studying something practical or simply going off to work was hardly unique to me. Yes, this “liberal education” is worth something. But so is making, doing, building and working—so is knowing other good stuff. And that tension—between the practical and productive on one hand, and the intellectual and more academic or cultural on the other—has been and still is at the heart of America’s historical ambivalence toward liberal education.

Parents often still ask, “But what exactly does one do with a major in philosophy, classics, lyric poetry, women’s studies, or the literature of oppression and rebellion?” With jobs so scarce, students ask themselves the same questions.

Still, it’s not simply the high cost of higher education, or their supposed uselessness, that has buried today’s liberal arts. More important, professors in the liberal arts have over-promised, or promised wrongly. We have these lovely phrases, like making our students “well-rounded,” that are more or less just words. Are those who study medicine or nursing not “well-rounded”? Are those who major in film studies or contemporary “lit crit” more intellectually worthy than those who study economics and finance?

Often enough over the years I’ve heard my humanities confreres say that a liberal education makes us finer people, more sensitive, more concerned, more humane, even more human. Pretentious shibboleths such as these, expressed in our egalitarian age, are an excellent way to lose one’s audience. And that’s exactly where the liberal arts are today.

Liberal arts has not been killed by parental or student philistinism, or the cupidity of today’s educational institutions whose excessive costs have made the liberal arts into an unattainable luxury. In too many ways the liberal arts have died not by murder but by suicide.

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

LA Times: California Bar Urged To Require Unaccredited Law Schools To Disclose Graduation, Dropout Rate

California State Bar (2014)Los Angeles Times, State Bar Urged to Require Unaccredited Law Schools to Disclose Graduation, Dropout Rate:

Legislators and legal experts are urging California bar officials to require the state's unaccredited law schools to be more transparent to give prospective students a better idea of their chances of becoming an attorney.

The proposed changes, which include the disclosure of such information as dropout rates and alumni employment, would mirror similar changes made by nationally accredited law schools such as UCLA and USC.

The proposals come after a Times investigation last month showed that nearly 9 out of 10 students at those schools dropped out before their final year of study. About 1 in 5 unaccredited law school students who finish these programs pass the bar each year, according to state statistics.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Saturday, August 8, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Scholastica: Law Review Article Submissions Insights

Scholastica 2Scholastica, Law Review Article Submissions Insights: A Data-Driven Look Into the Yearly Legal Scholarship Cycle:

The Scholastica team read PrawfsBlawg’s “Some Results from the Law Review Submission Practices Survey” post and comments a few months ago, and it stuck in our minds.

Specifically, we thought it was clear that authors want to know: “For a legal scholar, when is the best time to submit a manuscript to a law review?” We realized that, as a portal for hundreds of top law reviews, we could dig into our data (anonymized and aggregated, of course) to see what the yearly life cycle for law reviews looks like and see if we can help answer that question.

Spoiler: we don’t know when the best time to submit a law review article is. Sorry about that! ... We've created a series of interactive charts to offer rich insight into our data.

Scholastica 1

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August 8, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Carly Fiorina, Republican Debate Winner, Is The Daughter Of The Late 9th Circuit Judge (And Tax Prof) Joseph Sneed

CarlyCarly Fiorina, the consensus winner of last night's Republican presidential debate, is the daughter of the late Ninth Circuit Judge Joseph Sneed, who was a Tax Prof at Texas (1947-57), Cornell (1957-62), and Stanford (1962-71), as well as Dean of Duke Law School (1971-73). He was the author of two opinions that are staples in most income tax casebooks:

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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Critics Pan Penn State's New Logo: 'Hypnotized Dog Looking At Cupcakes'

Penn StateInside Higher Ed, Critics Pan Penn State's New Logo:

Pennsylvania State University this week unveiled a new academic logo. And even though the university isn't touching sports imagery, alumni are not happy. In the image at right, the old logo is on the left and the new one on the right. The university said that the old logo was designed in the '80s, before web use was key. Of the new logo, Penn State said: "The updated mark focuses on the head and face of the Nittany Lion Shrine in a more contemporary and engaging way, continuing its heritage and providing the same sense of stature as the sculpture. A slight curve at the top of the shield makes it more distinctive, while reflecting the shape of the lion. Additionally, the lion is now positioned to look forward and connect with the Penn State name."

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August 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

2015-16 ExpressO Law Review Rankings

Expresso2015-16 ExpressO Law Review Rankings:

The following list of [100] reviews represents the most popular law reviews chosen by authors using ExpressO, according to 2014 delivery data. These rankings are intended to complement, not replace, other ranking mechanisms such as the number of citations and law school ranking.

  1. Ohio State Law Journal
  2. Hastings Law Journal
  3. Washington and Lee Law Review
  4. University of Pennsylvania Law Review
  5. Cornell Law Review
  6. University of Illinois Law Review
  7. Washington University Law Review
  8. Georgetown Law Journal
  9. University of Colorado Law Review
  10. Alabama Law Review
  11. George Mason Law Review
  12. Brooklyn Law Review
  13. American University Law Review
  14. Washington Law Review
  15. Florida State University Law Review
  16. Florida Law Review
  17. DePaul Law Review
  18. Michigan State Law Review
  19. University of Richmond Law Review
  20. Missouri Law Review
  21. Oregon Law Review
  22. Buffalo Law Review
  23. Boston University Law Review
  24. Penn State Law Review
  25. Rutgers University Law Review

(Hat Tip: Francine Lipman.)

August 6, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

American University Provost Faces Age Discrimination Charges After Denying Tenure To Two Women Over 50

AmericanInside Higher Ed, Too Old for Tenure:

Does American University have an age discrimination problem when it comes to tenure? That’s what two former assistant professors over 50 are alleging. One is already suing the university and another plans to file a suit soon, after an unsuccessful mediation session last week.

A Faculty Senate committee also has expressed concern, saying it has found statistical evidence of possible age discrimination in recent tenure decisions. The university, meanwhile, denies the claims and says it plans to defend its decisions in court.

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August 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Rhode: The Trouble With Lawyers

TroubleDeborah L. Rhode (Stanford), The Trouble with Lawyers (Oxford University Press, June 1, 2015):

By any measure, the law as a profession is in serious trouble. Americans' trust in lawyers is at a low, and many members of the profession wish they had chosen a different path. Law schools, with their endlessly rising tuitions, are churning out too many graduates for the jobs available. Yet despite the glut of lawyers, the United States ranks 67th (tied with Uganda) of 97 countries in access to justice and affordability of legal services. The upper echelons of the legal establishment remain heavily white and male. Most problematic of all, the professional organizations that could help remedy these concerns instead jealously protect their prerogatives, stifling necessary innovation and failing to hold practitioners accountable.

Deborah Rhode's The Trouble with Lawyers is a comprehensive account of the challenges facing the American bar. She examines how the problems have affected (and originated within) law schools, firms, and governance institutions like bar associations; the impact on the justice system and access to lawyers for the poor; and the profession's underlying difficulties with diversity. She uncovers the structural problems, from the tyranny of law school rankings and billable hours to the lack of accountability and innovation built into legal governance-all of which do a disservice to lawyers, their clients, and the public.

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August 6, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Merritt: Are Law Professors Thin-Skinned?

ThinDeborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Thin Skins:

Appellate judges sometimes complain about the “negative bias” in law review articles. “Scholars don’t write about what we do right,” the judges grumble. “They only write when they think we’ve gotten something wrong.”

I can think of exceptions to this tendency, but I think the judges are largely right. There’s not much point to an article that praises a judicial opinion; the opinion speaks for itself. Colleagues and tenure reviewers, moreover, won’t be very impressed by an article that simply extols a court’s reasoning; we want evidence of the professor’s critical thinking. At the very least, that means the scholar should suggest an alternative ground for the court’s decision. Academic scholarship slants toward the critical.

The same is true when the media cover legal education, but law professors don’t like it one bit. In faculty lounges and blogs across the country, professors complain about the media’s bias against legal education. The press occasionally carries a story that paints law school in a positive light, but most of the stories are critical. When it comes to criticism, legal educators seem much better at giving than receiving. ...

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August 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

ABA Approves A Dozen Accreditation Changes, Adopts Recommendations Of Task Force On Financing Legal Education

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal, After Some Ado Over Class Attendance, ABA House Backs Changes in Law School Accreditation Standards:

The ABA House of Delegates concurred Tuesday with the action of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar’s governing council to make a dozen changes in the law school accreditation standards. 

Most of the changes were either technical corrections or clarifications of revisions made during the section’s six-year project to overhaul the standards, which was completed last year.

The changes sailed through the House with only one hitch.

The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs objected to one change that it contended made attendance-taking in class, which had been mandatory, discretionary.

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

Creating 'Practice Aware' Law Graduates

TransactionalJay Finkelstein (American), Practice in the Academy: Creating 'Practice Aware' Law Graduates, 64 J. Legal Educ. 622 (2015):

Being a transactional partner in an international law firm who has, during the past dozen years, taught transactional law as an adjunct faculty member at four major US law schools [American, Georgetown, Stanford, UC-Berkeley] and on four continents, one develops a “perspective,” informed by experience on both sides of the debate, about what can and should be accomplished through a legal education. Law school education has historically overlooked the transactional side of legal practice. Change has occurred over the past decade, and it is continuing to occur in a positive direction and at an increasing pace toward recognizing the importance of introducing and teaching transactional law topics, practice and skills. This article is a continuing part of that effort.

August 5, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Judge Grants TRO Reinstating Fired Tenured Charleston Law School Professor

ZiskFollowing up on last month's post, Two Fired Tenured Profs Sue Charleston Law School:  Richard Gershon (Dean, Mississippi) reports on our Law Deans on Legal Education Blog:

A judge in Charleston, SC has granted a Charleston School of Law  faculty member's motion for a temporary injunction against the school and its remaining owners. Professor Nancy L. Zisk was one of seven tenured faculty members fired by the law school. 

These type of temporary injunctions are rarely granted in employment cases, and the plaintiff would have to show irreparable harm, and a likelihood of success at trial.

Update:  Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Judge Blocks Layoff of Tenured Law Professor:

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August 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2016 Princeton Review's Best 380 Colleges

Princeton ReviewThe Princeton Review has released The Best 380 Colleges -- 2016 Edition.  According to the press release, the book contains 62 rankings based on surveys completed by 136,000 students at the 380 schools (358 per school) (methodology here), including these categories:

  • Best (Olin) classroom experience
  • Best (Swarthmore), worst (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) professors
  • Most (U.S. Military Academy), least (New Jersey Institute of Technology) accessible professors
  • Best (Rice) quality of life
  • Most (Vanderbilt), least (Manhattanville) happy students
  • Students love (Claremont McKenna) their school
  • Most (Rollins), least (University of Dallas) beautiful campus
  • Best (Claremont-McKenna), worst (Hawaii) run school
  • Most liberal (Marlboro), most conservative (Thomas Aquinas) students
  • Most (BYU),  least (Reed) religious
  • Students study the most (Harvey Mudd), least (Maynooth)
  • Most (Princeton), least (NYU) financial aid

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August 4, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

ABA Approves Merger Of Rutgers-Camden And Rutgers-Newark Law Schools

RutgersPress Release, American Bar Association Approves Merger Creating Rutgers Law School:

The Council of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar approved today the merger of Rutgers’ law schools into one unified Rutgers Law School with two distinct locations in Camden and Newark, during its annual meeting. In June, the ABA’s Accreditation Committee voted to recommend approval of the proposed merger as did the Rutgers Board of Governors in April.

For more, see Newark Morning-Ledger, Philadelphia Business Journal, and Politico.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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August 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

7th Circuit: Florida Coastal Law Grad Cannot Discharge $260,000 Student Loan Debt In Bankruptcy

Student LoansThe Seventh Circuit has affirmed decisions of a federal bankruptcy court and district court preventing a Marquette (MBA) and Florida Coastal (J.D.) graduate from discharging $260,000 in student loan debt in bankruptcy.  Tetzlaff v. Educational Credit Management Corp., No. 14-3702 (7th Cir. July 22, 2015):

Mark Tetzlaff is fifty-six years old and lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin with his eighty-five-year-old mother; they both subsist on the income from her Social Security payments. Tetzlaff is divorced, has no children, and is currently unemployed. From the mid-1990s until 2005, Tetzlaff pursued a Masters in Business Administration from Marquette University, as well as a law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law (“Florida Coastal”).1 Most relevant to this appeal, Tetz-laff took out various federally guaranteed student loans to finance his graduate education.2 In 2004, Tetzlaff consolidated his student loan debt, and Educational Credit Manage-ment Corporation (“Educational Credit”) is now the guaran-tor for the outstanding loan amount.

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August 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Caron Named Associate Dean For Research And Faculty Development At Pepperdine

Caron 2012 PhotoPress Release, Paul L. Caron Named Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development:

Paul L. Caron, Professor of Law at Pepperdine School of Law, has been named Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, effective August 1, 2015.

Caron joined the Pepperdine tenured faculty in 2013 after serving as the D & L Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor in the spring semesters in 2010 2013. He previously was Associate Dean of Faculty and Charles Hartsock Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

In announcing the appointment, Deanell Reece Tacha, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law at Pepperdine, said, "I am delighted that Paul has agreed to serve in this important position. We are fortunate to have someone with Paul’s experience and perspective on the changing role of law faculty during these challenging times in legal education."

Caron said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this role. Although I have only been here two years, I wholeheartedly embrace Pepperdine’s unique mission in legal education and look forward to working with my wonderful colleagues as we all strive to be better scholars, teachers, and mentors.”

Caron has written over 50 books and scholarly articles, including most recently Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation (Foundation Press, 7th ed. 2015) (with Paul McDaniel & Jim Repetti); Tax Regulation, Transportation Innovation, and the Sharing Economy, 82 U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogue 69 (2015) (with Jordan Barry); Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, 64 Emory L.J. Online 2073 (2015); and California Dreamin’: Tax Scholarship in a Time of Fiscal Crisis, 48 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 405 (2014) (with Joe Bankman).

He is the publisher and editor of Tax Prof Blog, the most popular tax blog on the Internet; and the owner and publisher of the Law Professor Blogs Network of more than 50 blogs in other areas of law edited by law professors around the country.

Caron has been named one of the 100 most influential people in tax and accounting for nine years running by Accounting Today. He was named the sixth most influential person in legal education in 2014 by The National Jurist.

Caron succeeds Robert J. Pushaw, who has served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development since 2013. Dean Tacha said, "I am enormously grateful for all of Bob’s work over the past two years in assisting faculty in their scholarly pursuits. Bob has done a wonderful job managing our support for faculty development, including travel, summer research grants, and faculty colloquia. I am delighted that Bob has agreed to continue mentoring our faculty on an informal basis."

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August 3, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (9)

The Best Legal Job Market for Millenials? Tax Law

Tax LawHuffington Post:  The Best Legal Job Market for Millenials? Tax Law, by Debra Carpenter:

According to the National Association for Law Placement, the job market for new law school graduates doesn't look that great at first glance. ... [But] there is one specialty seeing significant growth and has a wealth of opportunity: tax law. Earning a master's degree in tax law opens the door to a variety of career options.

As Richard Ainsworth, Director of the Graduate Tax Program at Boston University says, "Today's complex and global regulatory environment has made tax law one of the most challenging areas of practice, but also one of the most necessary areas of specialization for attorneys." Some of the reasons for the increased need for tax specialists, according to Ainsworth, include:

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August 3, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Brooks & Glater: Raise The Cap On Federal Student Loans

Student LoansLos Angeles Times op-ed:  Raise the Cap on Federal Student Loans, by John R. Brooks (Georgetown) (author, Income-Driven Repayment and the Public Financing of Higher Education, 104 Geo. L.J. ___ (2015)) & Jonathan D. Glater (UC-Irvine) (author, The Other Big Test: Why Congress Should Allow College Students To Borrow More Through Federal Aid Programs, 14 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol'y 11 (2011)):

The most-discussed problem with federal student loans is that some people borrow more than they ultimately can repay. The Obama administration is trying to fix that.

Another problem, paradoxically, is that students cannot borrow enough.

To understand how this is a problem, remember that the federal government is not the only supplier of student loans. Banks and other lenders offer so-called private loans, which often have higher interest rates and less flexible repayment terms. ...

With all of the national hand-wringing about high levels of student debt, why would we advocate offering bigger federal loans? Because that borrowing is going to happen in some form anyway. This is not about whether college is a good investment (although it is), it is about whether students should be forced to take out loans that put them at greater risk of repayment difficulty and possible default.

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

WSJ: Law School Courses Explore Nietzsche, Guns And Bible

COurseWall Street Journal Law Blog, New Law School Courses Explore Nietzsche, Guns and Bible:

The law school curricula is always evolving. There will always be courses on torts, property, civil procedure and other core subjects. But other offerings reflect the passions and problems of the day. Law Blog takes a look at some of the more unorthodox ones on the schedule this coming academic year. 

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August 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Rejects Paid Externships, Tightens Reporting Of Law School-Funded Jobs, Repeals Rule Allowing 10% LSAT-Free Classes

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal, Legal Ed Council Votes to Keep Ban on Academic Credit for Paid Externships:

For the second time in little more than a year, the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has rejected a proposal to lift the ban in the law school accreditation standards on students receiving academic credit for paid externships. ...

The Law Student Division had lobbied hard for the proposed change, arguing that the current rule imposes a financial hardship on students. Many clinicians, however, opposed the lifting of the ban, contending that it would undermine the academic purposes of the placement. ...

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August 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 2, 2015

ABA Task Force Punts On Law Student Debt Reform

American Lawyer LogoFollowing up on last week's post, Harper Calls On ABA To Reject Task Force Report On The Financing of Legal Education:  American Lawyer:  ABA Task Force Report Dodges Student Debt Reform, by Matt Leichter:

In early 2014, the ABA's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education issued a forceful warning: "The current system for financing law school education harms both students and society."

Law schools, the group explained, use federal student loans from students paying full tuition to wastefully subsidize incoming students with higher LSAT scores and undergraduate grade point averages regardless of their financial need. Concluding that the public's confidence in the legal education system was in peril, the task force recommended changing that financing system—a project best overseen by a succeeding task force. Thus was born the ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education, which rapidly got to work (to its credit) and issued its own final report and recommendations in June.

The backstory of the two entities is important because casual readers of the new ABA report might not notice its silent repudiation of the earlier task force's stark statements. Rather than discuss reforming law school financing as expected, it punted, claiming that it lacked the resources to explore whether reforming the Federal Direct Loan Program would do any good. ...

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August 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts