TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Student Loan Derivatives:  Improving On Income-Based Approaches To Financing Law School

Benjamin M. Leff (American) & Heather Hughes (American), Student Loan Derivatives: Improving on Income-Based Approaches to Financing Law School, 61 Vill. L. Rev. 99 (2016):

Despite extensive public discussion of the high cost of legal education and student debt levels, too few critics show creativity in thinking about the optimal mechanism for funding a legal education. This Article proposes — and explores the legal and practical implications of — a new model of law-school financing called an income-based repayment swap (“IBR Swap”). The IBR Swap is a student loan derivative: a novel idea that improves upon existing income-share contracts. Under an IBR Swap, students still borrow money from a bank or the government to pay for their legal educations. But students then enter into contracts with a financial institution under which the institution agrees to make the students’ loan payments and the students agree to pay the institution a percentage of income. An IBR Swap is a student’s exchange of a fixed obligation to lenders for an income-based obligation to a financial institution. The parties exchange no money upfront, which distinguishes this form of transaction from existing income-share and “human capital” contracts that face barriers to enforcement.

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August 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Rankings Of 117 Private Law Schools By Tuition Increases Since 2010

Matt Leichter, So Just How Far Off Were My Tuition Projections?:

Thanks to the ABA’s 509 information reports, I get $44,413 mean-average tuition at the [117] private law schools that were around in 2010. ... On average, tuition is 17 percent higher than 2010. ... 

Below the fold, here’s a list of [the 117] private law schools by cumulative cost increase between 2010 and 2015.

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August 16, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

New York Law Journal Special Report On Law Schools

New York Law Journal Special Report, Law Schools:

Harness the Skills of the Introverted Lawyer
Heidi K. Brown, author and associate professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, writes: Introversion in the law profession is a gift. Once quiet law students and lawyers understand that they can be powerful advocates by being their natural newly amplified selves, they will endow the profession, setting examples for colleagues struggling with similar angst or questioning their professional roles.

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August 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chodorow:  A Derivative Market For U.S. News Rankings

Chodorow (2014)TaxProf Blog op-ed:  A Derivative Market for U.S. News Rankings, by Adam Chodorow (Arizona State):

Our law and economic brethren never tire of telling us that markets are the perfect solution for just about any problem. So, what is the biggest problem facing law schools? The slowdown in the legal employment market? The steep decline in applicants? Rising tuition? If you ask law professors and administrators, many would likely say the U.S. News & World rankings, which evaluate schools on an ever changing array of factors, often leading to head scratching results. Who doesn’t know of a school that is over or underrated?

I say we unleash the market on this problem. And by that I don’t mean create competing ranking systems that focus on more relevant factors. Instead, let’s treat schools like securities or commodities, with the rankings as their value, and allow people to buy and sell derivatives. Think a school is overrated? Short it. Think it is underrated? Go long. (Yes, Brian Leiter, I’m thinking of you and USD) If there is truly wisdom in crowds, the derivative market for schools could tell us (legal academics, prospective students, and employers) a lot more about schools than a much-maligned magazine. Think of this as akin to unskewed polls. Or perhaps not. That didn’t end so well, if memory serves.

Now I know this sounds crazy—and I’m not saying it’s not—but bear with me for a moment. Significant research is being done into predictive markets in a variety of different contexts. For instance, there is now a derivative market for presidential candidates (distinct from the actual market in which large donors participate), which some believe are more accurate than polls. Some companies are using this approach with their employees to get a handle on anticipated sales and other figures. They’re finding that markets beat estimates made the traditional way. The key is that people must have some skin in the game. It turns out that it’s not only a pending execution that focuses the mind.

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August 16, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Slow And Painful Death Of Academic Freedom At Arkansas-Little Rock Law School

Arkansas Little RockRobert Steinbuch (Arkansas-Little Rock), The Slow and Painful Death of Academic Freedom:

A now-former university president once said to me:  “the most important title in academia is professor.”  Professors are supposed to be given appropriate deference and respect to make critical decisions regarding teaching, research, and service.  Schools are places of inquiry and experimentation.  Professors individually manage their spaces.

I have seen recurring instances of a growing problem in academia, however, wherein administrators view their roles more like kings than deans.  Under this model, administrators not only advise, but also dictate.  I’ve seen this phenomenon, and it’s not good. ...

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August 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Should Law Students Call Professors By Their First Names?

Shima Baradaran Baughman (Utah), What Should Students Call Professors?:

A decision that many of us make early on (or sometimes change later) in teaching is what to have students call us: “Professor X,” or our first name, or by some sort of nickname. Or this may organically evolve. I’ve gone from being called Professor Baradaran to most often, “Shima” in the last 6 years, but not by choice. I introduce myself every year in class as “Professor Baughman” pronounce it and sign all of my emails “Prof. B”, but still somehow, I am referred to as “Shima” by a large number of students. I understand that I went from one hard to pronounce last name (Baradaran) to another (Baughman) when I got married, but I don’t think that’s the problem here. I’ve spoken to several colleagues and they have experienced frustration with this nonconsensual first-name calling as well. I believe that students call me by my first name because there is a growing movement by professors to allow students to call them by their first name, both in undergrad and in law school.

I wonder what percentage of law professors encourage or allow students to call them by their first name and whether this is a good move. I tend to think that it is not a good development. Here are a couple reasons why: ...

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August 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Top U.S. Legal Markets By BigLaw Head Count

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer, Where the Lawyers Are: Top US Legal Markets by Head Count:

The following U.S. cities have the largest counts of big-firm lawyers. Plus, we list the most dominant firms in those markets.

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August 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Tax Clinic Wins Big Case For Students Seeking To Deduct MBA Expenses

MBATCWall Street Journal: Good News for M.B.A. Students: Tuition Is Now More Deductible, by Laura Saunders:

A specialized court’s decision should embolden more students enrolled in M.B.A. programs across the country to deduct their tuition—especially if they are getting an executive M.B.A.

In the case [Kopaigora v. Commissioner, T.C. Summ. Op. 2016-35 (Aug. 2, 2016)], ... [Alex Kopaigora] was employed at a hotel in Los Angeles and commuted to Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, for its executive M.B.A. program. Mr. Kopaigora and his wife, Elizabeth, deducted $18,879 for tuition, commuting and other expenses on their 2011 tax return that the IRS disallowed, in part because he was unemployed for several months of the year. But the judge disagreed with the IRS, saving the Kopaigoras $2,111 in taxes—and providing more ammunition to M.B.A. students who want to deduct education expenses in the future.

“This case is a big win for all M.B.A. students,” says Robert Willens, a tax expert who teaches at Columbia University’s business school and has advised hundreds of M.B.A. students on the ins and outs of deducting tuition. ...

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August 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Arizona State Law School Opens New $129 Million Building Today In Downtown Phoenix

Welcome, Pepperdine Law School Class Of 2019

Launch Week 4

Welcome to the members of the Pepperdine Law School Class of 2019 who begin 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 very strong class — kudos to Dean Shannon Phillips and her team for putting together such a gifted class in such tough circumstances.  Although this is only my fourth 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.

August 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Twelve Tables Press And Carolina Academic Press Announce Publishing Alliance

12CAPPress Release,  Twelve Tables Press and Carolina Academic Press Announce Publishing Alliance

Twelve Tables Press today announced a publishing alliance with Carolina Academic Press. The new joint venture will provide all back-office fulfillment, editorial, sales, and marketing support to enable Twelve Tables Press to focus on its vision to chronicle the individuals behind the landmark decisions, capture the craft, scholarship and often sheer will needed to change and redefine American Law, jurisprudence and society..

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

American Absurd

American 2The bad news:  the Internet was down on my six hour New York to Los Angeles flight yesterday.  The good news:  it gave me the chance to read Colorado Law Prof Pierre Schlag's new novel (American Absurd: A Work of Fiction) and article (The Law Review Article), brought to my attention by Jeff Lipshaw of our The Legal Whiteboard:

Mr. David Madden lives in L.A. He's an ordinary man. Every day, he gets up and drives to work. Only he never gets there. Instead, he drives from here to there, from Westwood to Santa Monica, Santa Monica to Venice . . . and so on. It seems he's always just going from point A to point B. Of course, driving from point A to point B--that's pretty much what people do in L.A.

But then one day a mishap occurs, a breakdown of sorts, on Santa Monica Boulevard. Soon the media takes notice, and overnight Mr. Madden is transformed into a pioneering cultural figure as his "A-to-B thing" goes viral and becomes the defining issue of our time. Questions are asked, solutions offered, and blame assigned as therapists, academics, police, and lawyers all get involved. Safe to say, no one escapes unscathed in this caustic, irreverent, and hilarious social satire.

Jeff writes:

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August 15, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 14, 2016

UNT-Dallas Wants to Make Law School Less Elitist — And That Could Be Its Downfall

UNT 2Following up on yesterday's post, ABA Must Give Dallas Law School Time To Achieve Audacious, Vital Mission: (1) De-emphasize LSAT To Increase Diversity, (2) Focus Faculty On Teaching Rather Than Research, (3) Charge Low $15k Tuition: Dallas Morning News, UNT-Dallas Wants to Make Law School Less Elitist — And That Could Be Its Downfall:

Officials at the UNT-Dallas College of Law tried something different. They welcomed a diverse group of students, many with grit but not the grades or test scores to get into top law schools. They kept tuition low to avoid six-figure debt.

But that plan will succeed only if students graduate, pass the bar exam and find jobs.  A key group with the ABA doubts UNT-Dallas can pull it off, and has recommended that the school not be accredited.

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August 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Bainbridge:  The Parable Of The Talents

ParableStephen M. Bainbridge (UCLA), The Parable of the Talents:

On its surface, Jesus’ Parable of the Talents is a simple story with four key plot elements: (1) A master is leaving on a long trip and entrusts substantial assets to three servants to manage during his absence. (2) Two of the servants invested the assets profitably, earning substantial returns, but a third servant — frightened of his master’s reputation as a hard taskmaster — put the money away for safekeeping and failed even to earn interest on it. (3) The master returns and demands an accounting from the servants. (4) The two servants who invested wisely were rewarded, but the servant who failed to do so is punished.

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August 14, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

ABA Must Give Dallas Law School Time To Achieve Audacious, Vital Mission: (1) De-emphasize LSAT To Increase Diversity, (2) Focus Faculty On Teaching Rather Than Research, (3) Charge Low $15k Tuition

UNT 2Following up on Wednesday's post, New Dallas Law School In Peril After ABA Denial Of Provisional Accreditation:  Dallas Morning News editorial, The ABA Must Give UNT Dallas Law School Time to Achieve its Audacious, But Absolutely Vital, Mission:

It's a time for candor at the UNT Dallas College of Law, and a time for courage.

As the new law school prepares to welcome its third class later this month, anxiety is running high. Earlier this week, the school disclosed that a committee of ABA evaluators has recommended against accreditation for the school.

Without eventual accreditation, the school cannot survive. Students set to become its first graduates next May could find themselves barred from even taking the bar exams in Texas or most any other state.

We write today, however, to urge the students, their faculty, and the school's many backers to not despair. Courage and hope, and a bit of patience, are in order.

The school has a strong case to make to the ABA, and it has time to make it. A decision on accreditation will not be made until October. Even a negative decision is not permanent, and can be revisited.

But the main reason to not lose hope is because the school is on track to deliver on what everyone involved always knew was a tremendously ambitious — and equally vital — mission.

Dallas, to say nothing of Texas, desperately needs this new law school because it needs the kind of lawyers it has promised to produce.

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August 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Law Prof's Last Lecture: Unsolicited Advice For Future And Current Lawyers

Last LectureJohn Lande (Missouri), My Last Lecture: More Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers, 2015 J. Disp. Resol. 317:

I was invited to write this essay on the occasion of my retirement, following in the footsteps of my former colleague, Steve Easton, who wrote a wonderful article, My Last Lecture: Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers. My essay supplements Steve’s article with additional advice about law school and legal practice. This article is suitable for students in many different courses, orientations, and professional development programs.

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August 12, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

13th International And European Tax Moot Court Competition

KI13th International and European Tax Moot Court Competition 2016-2017:

KU Leuven (Brussels) and IBFD will organize in academic year 2016-2017 the 13th edition of the International and European Tax Moot Court Competition. ... 

Students will work intensively on a case drafted by IBFD researchers specifically for purposes of this competition. They will draft memoranda and present their case to a panel of renowned judges selected from academia and private practice. The Academic Chairman of the IBFD, Professor Pasquale Pistone, will serve as Arbitrator.

The 13th edition contains two parts. A first, written, phase runs from October till December 2016. The second, oral, phase will be held in Leuven from 26 March till 1 April 2016. There is no pre-selection based on the written phase, hence, all participating teams will defend their case during the oral pleadings.

The 2016-2017 Competition is open to sixteen universities. Universities are invited to send in their application by the specific deadline depending on the start of the academic year:

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August 12, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ave Maria's Admissions Policies Violate ABA Standards, Law School Required To Take Immediate Remedial Action

Ave Maria LogoABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, Council Decision:  Public Notice of Specific Remedial Action—Ave Maria School of Law (Aug. 2016):


At its June 3-4, 2016 meeting, the Council conducted a hearing pursuant to Rules of Procedure 2, 3, 16-18, 21(c), 22, 24, and 25 with respect to the compliance of the Ave Maria School of Law (the “Law School”) with ABA Standard 501(a) and 501(b). This proceeding followed a hearing by and recommendation of the Accreditation Committee (the “Committee”), which hearing resulted from interim monitoring of the Law School, a process which began in the Spring of 2013, pursuant to ABA Rule of Procedure 6.

Following the hearing and based on the record, the Council affirmed the Committee’s conclusions that the Law School is not in compliance with Standard 501(a) ["A law school shall maintain sound admission policies and practices consistent with the Standards, its mission, and the objectives of its program of legal education"] and 501(b) ["A law school shall not admit an applicant who does not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar."]. The Council has directed the Law School to take the following specific remedial actions, including, but not limited to, this public notice.

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August 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Aug. 15 Deadline For AALS Annual Meeting Call For Papers:  Sex, Death, And Taxes

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

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

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

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August 12, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jayne Caron (M.D. 2020, NYU)

My beloved, brilliant, and beautiful daughter Jayne launched her medical career today:

Jayne 1

Jayne is named after my sister, who died shortly after birth. My late mother, a secretary at a nursing school, absolutely loved the medical profession.  Shortly before my mother died in 1992, my pregnant wife and I told her we were going to name our daughter Jayne.  My mother would be bursting with pride and gratitude today, as Jayne's parents and brother are.  For more on my journey with my amazing daughter, see:

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August 12, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tax Court Denies Deduction For Professor's DirecTV, Internet & Cell Phone As Part Of His 'Lifelong Burden Of Developing Knowledge'

Tax Court Logo 2Tanzi v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-148 (Aug. 9, 2016):

During the first half of 2011 the Tanzis were employed by Seminole State College. Dr. Tanzi taught math and communications classes as an adjunct professor, and Mrs. Tanzi was employed as a campus librarian.  

Dr. Tanzi is highly educated—he holds a doctorate in communication. As he explained at trial, individuals holding such terminal degrees bear a lifelong burden of “developing knowledge, finding knowledge, exploring, [and] essentially selfeducating”. Dr. Tanzi therefore insists that all expenses paid in adding to his “general knowledge” should be deductible as unreimbursed employee business expenses. ...

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August 11, 2016 in Legal Education, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

McArdle:  ABA Should Shut Down 'Avaricious' Law Schools That Make 'Morally Abhorrent' Decision To Admit Students With Little Chance Of Paying Off Their Loans, Despite Adverse Effects On Diversity

Bloomberg View:  Crack Down on Law Schools That Don’t Pass the Bar, by Megan McArdle:

The American Bar Association is considering a plan that would endanger the accreditation of any law school where fewer than three-quarters of the students pass the bar within two years.

That is setting up a battle within the organization, pitting critics of two very different problems against each other. Those who are worried about the glut of law graduates who can’t get jobs want to crack down on law schools that have shored up their finances by admitting students who may not be able to pass the bar exam. But those who are worried about a lack of diversity in the profession fear that any crackdown on accreditation could disproportionately hurt schools that strive to bring more minorities into the field. ...

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

Barton Responds To Simkovic And Diamond:  IRS And Census Data Not That Far Apart Upon Closer Inspection

BartonFollowing up on my previous posts (here and here):  TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Barton Responds to Professors Simkovic and Diamond: IRS and Census Data Not that Far Apart Upon Closer Inspection, by Benjamin Barton (Tennessee):

On July 25th Professor Stephen Diamond criticized my use of IRS income statistics to discuss the earnings of solo practitioners on his blog.  I responded to Professor Diamond in the comments.  On July 26, 2016 Professor Michael Simkovic published a number of critiques here.  Two days later Professor Simkovic followed up with a second post asking me a series of questions and challenging me to respond to both of his posts.  Here I accept Professor Simkovic’s invitation.

Below I explain more about the IRS data and how I use it, but I will not bury the lede.  The data that Professors Simkovic and Diamond use to criticize my work, ACS data for lawyers who are in the category of “self-employed, not incorporated,” is not appropriate data for defining the earnings of solo practitioners.  That Census category likely includes two very different types of self-employed lawyers – solo practitioners (the lowest paid lawyers in private practice) and law firm partners (the highest paid lawyers in private practice).  The Census Department does not make it easy to figure out exactly which lawyers are counted in the category of “self-employed, not incorporated,” but combining this definition with this one and looking at the ACS form itself it seems pretty clear that partners in law firms are included in this category.[i]

Because the ACS data includes an indeterminate number of partners and solos, the average earnings in that category ($165-200,000) are a misleading proxy for the earnings of American solo practitioners.  If there was a data category of “professional baseball players” that included minor league (low paid) and major league (highly paid) baseball players, and there was no way to tell how many of each were in the sample, you could not use the average earnings of “all professional baseball players” as a proxy for minor league salaries, since some members of the sample earn much, much more than other members of the sample.

The ACS data is inappropriate, but is the IRS data better?  I use the IRS data in my book, Glass Half Full – The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession (Oxford 2015) and in later work to talk about several trends in the market for legal services.  Here is an updated version of a chart I first created for the book:

Barton Chart (081116)

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

Three Views Of The Academy: Legal Education And The Legal Profession In Transition

BooksBarbara Glesner Fines (UMKC), Three Views of the Academy: Legal Education and the Legal Profession in Transition, 51 Tulsa L. Rev. 487 (2016) (reviewing James E. Moliterno, The American Legal Profession in Crisis: Resistance and Responses to Change (Oxford University Press 2013), Deborah L. Rhode, Lawyers as Leaders (Oxford University Press 2013) & Robin L. West, Teaching Law: Justice, Politics, and the Demands of Professionalism (Cambridge University Press 2013)):

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August 11, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Inside OCI:  The Scoop On This Year's Law School On-Campus Interviews

InterviewNational Law Journal, Inside OCI: The Scoop on This Year's Law School On-Campus Interviews:

On-campus interviews are underway at law schools across the country, as students and partners engage in the summer-associate hiring equivalent of speed-dating. We’re covering the annual ritual with on-scene reaction from students coming out of the interviews and war stories from partners who’ve been in the hiring trenches for years. As the competition among firms tightens for top talent amid smaller class sizes, we’ve got news about recruitment trends. We’ve covered the law school angle, too, with a story about the impact that newly increased associate salaries are having on student expectations and the hiring process.

Competition Between Law Firms Conducting On Campus Interviews Heats Up
When Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo’s director of legal recruiting Shannon Davis gave a presentation to the firm’s lawyers who were preparing to interview law school students this summer, she started with a slide that had some ominous facts.

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

ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement Underscores Tension Between Consumer Protection, Diversity Concerns

ABA Logo (2016)ABA, Bar Passage Proposal Underscores Tension Between Consumer Protection and Diversity Concerns:

A proposal by the ABA’s law school accrediting body to simplify the bar passage standard was roundly criticized at an Aug. 6 hearing for threatening the diversity of the legal profession, although most of the dozen critics acknowledged the difficulty of balancing consumer protection of students with the goal of bringing more minorities into the legal profession.

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August 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium

Access Group2016 Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium (Nov. 16-17, Chicago):

Hugely successful in 2015, its inaugural year, the Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium offers law school deans, administrators, faculty and researchers from across the nation the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions on the most critical issues facing legal education today. Join your colleagues for this one-of-a-kind event that examines access, affordability and the value of legal education and the promising practices and innovative strategies to address these issues.

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August 10, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

New Dallas Law School In Peril After ABA Denial Of Provisional Accreditation

UNT 2Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Dallas Public Law School in Peril After Accreditation Setback:

Dallas’ first public law school opened its doors in 2014 with the goal of catering to would-be lawyers who may not have the money or the academic credentials to earn a degree elsewhere. But that mission could be thwarted by the school’s struggle to get accredited. A committee of the American Bar Association, which regulates law schools, has recommended against granting the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law provisional accreditation.

The ABA committee said it lacked confidence that the school is enrolling enough students capable of completing J.D. degree requirements and passing the bar exam. ...

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August 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Law Prof:  Law School Deans Are 'Running A Bait And Switch Operation'

Financial Review op-ed: Law Schools Sell Graduates Down the River, by Frank Carrigan (Macquarie Law School):

If the quip about "make crime pay, become a lawyer" is true, Australia is set for a massive crimewave. Towering overproduction is a reality in the Australian legal education market. But it seems that only when the bust hits will those who should have read the signs instigate a shakeout of the sector.

The cloistered company of Australian law deans has long closed its eyes to this. The leaders of the 41 law schools have enrolled students much faster than the overall growth of their respective universities. ... Law student numbers are out of hand. Nearly 15,000 finish their degree each year, and enter a market where there are only 66,000 solicitors. These graduate numbers far transcend the growth in the legal market. ...

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August 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Baker Reviews Building On Best Practices to Transform Legal Education

Best PracticesJeffrey R. Baker (Pepperdine), Book Review, 65 J. Legal Educ. 988 (2016) (reviewing Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville (University of Washington), Lisa Radtke Bliss (Georgia State), Carolyn Wilkes Kaas (Quinnipiac) & Antoinette Sedillo López (New Mexico), eds., 2015):

Building on Best Practices is a worthy addition to the canon of literature on reforming legal education. Before the Great Recession, without today’s pressing economic incentives, law schools made uneven strides to incorporate lessons from MacCrate, Best Practices, and Carnegie. Today, compounding economic crises and escalating accreditation requirements make reform urgent, necessary, and inevitable.

To demonstrate that law schools can still add value to careers and society, legal educators must grapple with structural changes that affect every aspect of teaching, learning and researching. Building on Best Practices provides diverse expertise and useful guidance on approaching these challenges and on improving and expanding the enterprise of legal education.

August 9, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Approves Academic Credit For Paid Externships Despite Faculty Opposition

ABA Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  National Law Journal, ABA Approves Pay for Law Students’ For-Credit Externships:

After more than two years of debate, the American Bar Association has lifted its ban on law students receiving both pay and academic credit for externships.

The organization’s House of Delegates on Monday signed off on a package of changes to its law school accreditation standards that eliminates the longstanding ban on law students getting paid and earning academic credit for externships—programs in which aspiring lawyers gain experience by working in government entities, non-profit organizations, or law firms or companies while in school. ...

It’s too soon for law students to celebrate any potential financial boost from the new policy, however. The ABA is letting individual law schools decide whether or not to allow both pay and academic credit, and externships coordinators and clinic professors are wary of the unintended consequences of adding compensation into the externship mix. Some schools plan to maintain the pay ban, at least initially. ...

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

Monday, August 8, 2016

Professor Sues College, Says Requiring Learning Outcomes On Syllabus Violates His Academic Freedom

DIllon 2Post and Courier, Ousted Biology Professor Suing College of Charleston After Syllabus Fight:

Associate Professor of Biology Robert Dillon ... will not return to his lab or the classroom this fall after he locked horns with college leaders in the spring in an obscure battle over a course syllabus. Dillon said he intends to retire on Aug. 15. He is also suing the college and Provost Brian McGee, saying that the college defamed him and denied him due process.

“The Defendants had no right to require Plaintiff to add trivial banalities to the wording of his syllabus,” Dillon wrote in the lawsuit, filed July 21 in Charleston County. ... 

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August 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Law Firms 'Blindsided' By Drop In Demand, Tax Suffers Biggest Drop (3.4%)

Thomson Reuters, Peer Monitor:

[D]emand pulled back 0.9% in the second quarter. It was the biggest quarterly drop in more than three years. ... While overall market demand dropped in the second quarter, Midsize firms were largely unaffected. Demand for the segment rose 1.1%, and is still up 1.6% year-to-date. In contrast, Am Law 100 fell 1.0% in the quarter and is now down 0.2% year-to-date, while Am Law Second Hundred dropped 1.8% and is down 1.0% year-to-date.

Demand by Practice Areas
Transactional practices, which have largely been a bellwether for the market, turned in a mixed-to-weak performance. Corporate work was largely flat, up barely 0.1%. Year-to-date, it remains up 0.5%. Real estate and tax work, however, both retreated and are now negative year-to-date. Real estate was down 2.3% and is now down 0.4% year-to-date. Tax work declined 3.4% and is down 1.9% yearto-date


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August 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

SEALS 2016 Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference continues today in Amelia Island, FL.  Among today's highlights:

The Federal Tax Code as a Tool of Public Policy
This panel introduces a variety of proposals aimed at enacting policies through amendments to the Internal Revenue Code. These proposals take the form of deductions, credits and other tax provisions. The policies considered include easing the strain of student loan repayment, the tax consequences of home ownership, and the tax consequences of being a victim of a natural disaster. The panelists consider these and other problems in the context of using tax as a strategic tool for achieving public policy goals.

  • Linda Beale (Wayne State) (moderator)
  • Ted Afield (Georgia State)
  • Stephen Black (Texas Tech)
  • Eric Chaffee (Toledo)
  • Bobby Dexter (Chapman)
  • Daniel Hemel (Chicago)
  • Steve Johnson (Florida State)
  • Patrick Tolan (Western Michigan-Cooley)

Is There a Recovery in Your Future? : A Candid Conversation Between Deans and Former Deans
This is a Panel Discussion similar to that in the last several years dealing candidly with hot topics around legal education. The specific topics depend on the “hot issues” of the moment, but are likely to include questions about whether legal education is recovering from the recession, and what it means for law schools and the profession.

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August 8, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tenured Rutgers Law Prof Resigns From Bar After Misappropriating $250,000 Of Client Funds

Rutgers Logo (2016)Following up on my previous post, Tenured Rutgers Law Prof Suspended From Practice Of Law For Misappropriating Client Funds: Michael Frisch (Georgetown), Rutgers Law Prof Admits Misappropriation, Resigns From Bar:

A tenured member of the Rutgers Law faculty [Ari Afilalo] has resigned from the Bar of the New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department.

Respondent avers his resignation is voluntary, free from coercion and duress, and he is fully aware of the implications of submitting his resignation. Respondent acknowledges that he is the subject of an investigation into allegations of misconduct in connection with his attorney escrow account based upon a dishonored check drawn from his IOLA Trust Account. Admittedly, respondent misappropriated approximately $255,000 from his IOLA Account, in connection with real estate matters, in order to meet his personal and business expenses. Respondent later replenished the funds from an operating account.

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August 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

SEALS 2016 Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference continues today in Amelia Island, FL.  Among today's highlights:

New Tax Scholars Workshop:

  • Neil Buchanan (George Washington) (moderator)
  • Tessa R. Davis (South Carolina), Citizenship and Taxation (Mentor: Patrick Tolan (Western Michigan-Cooley))
  • Adam Smith (Florida), Tax Law Confidential: Limitations on the Attorney-Client Privilege for Tax Lawyers (Mentor: Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky))
  • Elaine Waterhouse Wilson (West Virginia), Cooperatives in the Exempt Organization Space (Mentor: Terri Helge (Texas A&M))

International Tax Policies and Practices
Papers in this panel address a variety of concerns in the topic of international tax law. Presenters will consider consequences of international tax design questions, as well as issues of international tax enforcement. As international organizations and countries all over the world consider the issue of coordinated international tax enforcement, the topics considered by this panel are more important than ever.

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August 7, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

At Harvard Law School, Tim Kaine Was Driven By Faith

KaineThe Boston Globe, At Harvard Law, Tim Kaine Was Driven by Faith:

He was a year younger than most of his classmates, a state-school graduate and devout Catholic from the Midwest suddenly surrounded by Ivy Leaguers on a secular East Coast campus.

It was clear, when Tim Kaine arrived at Harvard Law School in the fall of 1979, that he was not exactly in his natural element. And it didn’t take long for him to lose faith in his chosen field on the cutthroat camp“

He had a crisis of purpose during his first year in law school when he realized most of his fellow classmates went on to become corporate lawyers with practices and principles with which he didn’t agree,” said Scott Brown, a New Hampshire energy investor who met Kaine on their first day of law school. “I encouraged him to veer off.”us of career-minded law students.

Kaine’s bumpy years at Harvard helped clarify what he wanted — and didn’t want — in life, friends said, and introduced him to some of the issues, like the death penalty, that he would later confront as a governor, senator, and, now, Democratic vice presidential nominee.

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August 7, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (7)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

SEALS 2016 Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference continues today in Amelia Island, FL.  Among today's highlights:

Philosophies and Approaches to Law School Teaching
What are the philosophies of teaching held by experienced and effective law professors? How do these teachers approach the law school classroom? More specifically, how do the professors define their learning goals for their students? What are the things these teachers do that make them effective? This panel answers these and other questions about the art and science of teaching.

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August 6, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Pepperdine Law Grad Brittney Lane To Clerk For Justice Thomas

LanePress Release:

Pepperdine School of Law valedictorian Brittney Lane (JD ’12) will clerk for Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas during the October 2017 term. Lane, currently an associate attorney with O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, previously clerked on the Sixth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal. The last Pepperdine Law graduate to clerk for the Supreme Court was Jack L. White (JD ’03), who served Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2008-2009.

“Pepperdine School of Law is very proud that Brittney Lane will be clerking for Justice Clarence Thomas,” says Dean Deanell Reece Tacha, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law at Pepperdine and former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. “Justice Thomas honors us with this selection and recognizes one of our most outstanding graduates. Brittney will bring to her clerkship all of the talents of the finest lawyers: a brilliant intellect, excellent writing and analytical skills, superb experience in prior clerkships, and a refreshing openness to new ideas, perspectives, and approaches to legal problems. She is animated by a strong sense of personal integrity and humility. She will serve the Justice according to the highest personal and professional standards and will be a joy for him to have in his chambers.”

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

Georgetown 3L:  Put Down That Law School Application, Part 2

Following up my previous post, Georgetown 3L: Law School Is A Terrible Idea For Most People:  Boston Globe, Put Down That Law School Application: Part 2, by Isvari Mohan (J.D. 2016, Georgetown):

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece on why law school is a bad idea for many people who pursue it. Among the reasons I cited the were the costs, the narrow training, and the reality that the financial payoff may not be as big as expected.

I also mentioned the 1 percent of people it’s right for — people who have experience working in the law and actually like it, people who want the flexibility to bounce between government and private sector jobs, and people who have the money and time to spend three years in school.

But even if you’re not in that 1 percent — and I wasn’t — you might end up in law school. A few years ago, everyone told me not to go, and I went nonetheless. Today, I couldn’t love it more.

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August 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup 2.0

Note from Paul Caron:  As I explained on Monday, due to my growing other commitments, I have taken steps to reduce the amount of time I devote to TaxProf Blog. Two weeks ago, I stopped doing the weekly tax, legal education, SSRN, and student tax note roundups. Scott Fruehwald of our sister Legal Skills Prof Blog has graciously agreed to take over the weekly legal education roundup. If you would like to take over the weekly SSRN or tax roundups as a service to the tax community, please let me know.

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August 5, 2016 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number Of LSAT Test-Takers Falls 0.8% in June

After registering the first increase in LSAT test-takers in six years in the 2015-16 cycle, LSAC reports that the number of test-takers was down 0.8% in the first test administration (June) of the 2016-17 cycle:


Matt Leichter, LSAT Tea-Leaf Reading: June 2016 Edition:

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

SEALS 2016 Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference continues today in Amelia Island, FL.  Among today's highlights:

Scholarship Nuts and Bolts
This panel addresses how to create an environment, agenda and process for successful scholarship. It explores such topics as using research assistants, developing outside resources, co-authors, and more. The session emphasizes the scholarship process for all kinds of publications, including law review articles, books, bar association reports, and the like. It offers perspectives on how to prioritize work, as well as suggesting some dos and don’ts.

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

Former Davis Polk Tax Partner Named Dean At Touro Law School

BallanFollowing up my previous post, Former Davis Polk Tax Partner Now Plays A Different Tune: Music (And The Brain):  Touro Law School, Press Release:

The Touro College & University System today announced that Harry Ballan will join Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center as its new Dean. Ballan previously served as a partner and senior counsel for the New York office of the international law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. Ballan received a bachelor of arts, master of arts, and a Ph.D. in history and theory of music—all from Yale University. Ballan attended Columbia Law School and was awarded his J.D. in 1992. 

Ballan has more than 30 years of experience in higher education. He began his teaching career as an instructor in music at Yale University, and since then, he has taught music at Penn State University and Brandeis University. His career in legal education began in 2003 as an adjunct associate professor of law at Brooklyn Law School and has also taught law as an adjunct professor at New York University. At Yeshiva University, he has taught a range of subjects relating to music and the brain, creativity, and decision-making. Additionally, he has served as Vice Chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee and member of the Investment Committee at Yeshiva University among many other volunteer roles throughout his career.

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

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Marian Named National Reporter For Congress Of The European Association of Tax Law Professors

Marian (2016)Press Release, Omri Marian Named National Reporter for Congress of the European Association of Tax Law Professors:

The University of California, Irvine School of Law tax Professor Omri Marian has been appointed the United States national reporter for next year’s Congress of the European Association of Tax Law Professors (EATLP), a professional organization of professors teaching tax law at universities in Europe. The annual Congress will be held June 2017 in Lodz, Poland. This year’s topic is “Corporate Tax Residence and Mobility” and national reporters are called upon to submit a report describing the legal status in their jurisdiction on the topic. ...

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August 4, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Former UC-Berkeley Law School Dean Files Supplement To Grievance Over Attempt To Revoke His Tenure In Wake Of Sexual Harassment Complaint

UC Berkeley Primary Logo Berkeley BlueFormer UC-Berkeley Law School Dean Sujit Choudhry, who resigned in March amidst a sexual harassment scandal, which prompted calls for the revocation of his faculty tenure, has filed a supplement to his grievance with the university's tenure committee.

Brian Leiter again has criticized the University's actions:

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August 4, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)