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Friday, February 20, 2015

Nova Symposium: Transforming Legal Education

NovaSymposium, Transforming Legal Education, 38 Nova L. Rev. 171-322 (2014):

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February 20, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

W&L Law School Permanently Reduces 1L Class to 100 (Down 47% From 2012), Eliminates 6 Faculty and 6 Staff Positions, Cuts or Freezes All Faculty Salaries, and Invades Corpus of Endowment

W&L Logo (2014)Washington & Lee School of Law Strategic Transition Plan:

n response to the changes in the legal profession and legal education nationally, Washington and Lee's School of Law has adopted a proactive approach to stabilize the school's enrollment and financial structure without sacrificing its special strengths. The University's senior administration, in consultation with a working group of faculty and administrators within the law school and a task force of trustees, has developed a strategic initiative that is now being implemented after being presented to the Board of Trustees at its winter meeting this month.

As outlined in the bullet points below, Washington and Lee's law school intends to protect its core values, including its emphasis on educating students for professional integrity, as well as its defining characteristics of personalized attention, strong student-faculty relationships, and an innovative curriculum. At the same time, the financial framework will enable the school to return to self-sufficiency by the 2017-18 academic year.

Highlights of the Plan

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February 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

North Carolina Board of Governors Committee Votes to Close Law School Poverty Center Founded by John Edwards

UNCInside Higher Ed, Who Is Being Political?:

There is wide agreement in North Carolina that Gene Nichol is an articulate and forceful advocate for the impoverished of his state, unafraid to criticize political leaders who in his opinion aren't doing enough about poverty. Nichol does so from an academic perch. He is a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and leads the university's Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.

On Wednesday, a committee of the board of the University of North Carolina System voted to kill the center, along with a biodiversity center at East Carolina University and a civic engagement and social change center at North Carolina Central University. Conservatives in the state have long complained that some UNC centers (and especially the poverty center) were being used for political attacks on Republican politicians and so had no place in the university.

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February 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Kerr: Senior Law Faculty Are Just as Productive as Junior Faculty

The Volokh Conspiracy:  Law Faculty Productivity Over Time, by Orin Kerr (George Washington):

It’s generally understood that faculty productivity declines over time. The common wisdom is that professors write up a storm to get tenure; they then write somewhat less mid-career; and they don’t do much writing at all when they are senior. There has been some study of this dynamic in the sciences. As far as I know, however, this pattern hasn’t actually been measured at law schools. I recently decided to measure it at my own law school, George Washington University. The results really surprised me, as they suggested no change in productivity over time. ...

First, we can see how productivity changed over time for the faculty as a whole; second, we can see the changes within each cohort over time; and third, we can compare productivity of different cohorts at the same stage of their careers.

The chart below shows the results. The vertical axis is the average number of published articles per year, and the horizontal axis represents five-year bands of time starting at the beginning of each professor’s career and moving on over time.

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February 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Katz & Margolis: The Role of Leadership and Curricular Change in Transforming Legal Education

Martin Katz (Dean, Denver) & Kenneth R. Margolis (Case Western), Transforming Legal Education as an Imperative in Today's World: Leadership and Curricular Change:

This article is a chapter in the new book, Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas & Antoinette Sedillo Lopez eds., forthcoming Lexis 2015.) The article aims to identify and explore the emerging best practices for law school leaders in encouraging both individual and institution-wide reform. The authors identify and discuss the differing interests of the various stakeholders in legal education: students, faculty, university administrators, alumni and practitioners, potential clients, and society at large. They urge reformers to take the interests of the various stakeholders into account, obtain input from them, and set reform goals with their interests in mind. The authors discuss various models for engaging in the process of reform and some of the factors that will lead to sustainable change. They further describe the importance of reform being “data driven” and some of the processes that can be used to obtain helpful data. They urge reformers to be deliberative and collaborative and, at the same time, bold and timely by establishing clear timelines and deadlines for various steps in the process. The authors then discuss the most significant barriers to institutional and curricular reform, and how they can be overcome: the need for balance in teaching, scholarship and service of faculty members; concerns about academic freedom; cultural inertia and law school rankings; faculty fears about time, expertise and negative student reactions to change; and cost. Finally, the authors urge law school administrators to use incentives to enlist faculty as “change agents” and to expand teacher training programs to meet the new demands.

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Marvin Chirelstein's Letter of Recommendation on Behalf of Prospective Law Prof Bill Clinton: 'He Would Do Well as a Tax Teacher'

Following up on yesterday's post on the death of Yale/Columbia tax legend Marvin Chirelstein:  Arkansas Tax Prof Will Foster passed along Marvin's 1973 letter of recommendation supporting Bill Clinton's appointment to the Arkansas law faculty:


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

Princeton Review: The 200 Best Value Colleges

PrincetonPrinceton Review, Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In (2015):

The Princeton Review has released a new book and online resource that addresses two of the major concerns of college applicants and their parents: paying for college and graduating with a good job and paycheck"  ... [A] one-of-a-kind guide to the nation's academically best and most affordable colleges that also have excellent records of alumni employment. The Princeton Review ... developed a unique “Return-on-Education” (ROE) rating to winnow its list of colleges for this book. ROE measures 40 weighted data points. Everything from academics, cost, financial aid, and student debt to statistics on graduation rates, alumni salaries and job satisfaction.

The Princeton Review lists the Top 5o Schools for Return on Education.  Here are the Top 10:

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February 18, 2015 in Book Club, Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Death of Marvin Chirelstein

ChirelsteinColumbia Law School, Marvin A. Chirelstein: Revered Professor and Leading Scholar of Federal Taxation, Corporate Law, and Contracts:

Columbia Law School Professor Emeritus Marvin A. Chirelstein, a leading scholar of federal taxation, corporate law, and contracts whose textbooks are still used by students across the country, died on Feb. 16. He was 86.

Chirelstein first joined Columbia Law School in 1954 to work on the Federal Income Tax Project under Dean William C. Warren. He then joined the government as an attorney in the U.S. Department of the Treasury and later taught at Rutgers School of Law and Yale Law School. Chirelstein returned to Columbia Law School as a visiting professor in 1981 and became a full-time faculty member in 1984. Two years later, he was named the first Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, an appointment announced by then-Columbia University President Michael I. Sovern ’55.

In addition to being a highly sought after academic expert on taxation, contracts, and corporate law, Chirelstein was a beloved professor who once taught a seminar on the legal side of one of his favorite sports: boxing. A music lover who played the violin, he was known for his dry sense of humor and quiet wit and was adored by students. Two of his textbooks, Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts and Federal Income Taxation: A Law Student’s Guide to the Leading Cases and Concepts, have guided generations of future lawyers through the complexities of the law. A third, Cases and Materials on Corporate Finance, opened the way to interdisciplinary analysis of corporate law.

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February 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

2016 U.S. News Law School Rankings

U.S. News Logo (2014)Robert Morse (Director of Data Research, U.S. News & World Report) has announced that the new law school rankings will be released online on March 10 and in hard copy later in March. Here are the current 2015 law school rankings:

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February 17, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NLJ: Minorities Gain at Less Prestigious Law Schools

National Law Journal,  Lower Tier Leads in Diversity: Minorities Gain at Less Prestigious Law Schools:

DiversityThe percentage of African-American and Hispanic students enrolled in law school increased between 2010 and 2013, but those gains came almost exclusively at less prestigious law schools with lower admission standards, according to new research.

Aaron Taylor, an assistant professor at the Saint Louis University School of Law, examined application trends, Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores and enrollment figures for minority and white students in both 2010 and 2013. He hoped to better understand how the dramatic downturn in law school applications nationwide has affected diversity.

He found that law schools at the bottom of the prestige ladder — those with the lowest median LSAT scores for incoming students — have relied disproportionately on African-American and Hispanic students to fill their classes. That shift may have served as an economic lifeline for law schools during a difficult period, but bolstered the racial stratification that already existed. Elite law schools with higher median LSAT scores actually saw a proportional decrease in African-American and Hispanic students between 2010 and 2013, Taylor found.

"You've got more black and Hispanic students attending schools that are considered less prestigious in 2013," he said of his paper, Diversity As A Law School Survival Strategy, which will appear in the Saint Louis University Law Review.

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

Law School Pedigree and Law Firm Success

Above the Law, Translating Talent Into ‘Success': Another Look At Law School Pedigree:

How do law firms fare in translating expected talent to actual success? Recently, we published the ATL Top Litigation Firms By Law School Pedigree ranking, a look, focusing on litigation practice, at how longstanding assumptions about attorney credentials are holding up in this new environment. ...

[H]ow does expected talent (as measured by law school credentials) correlate with other indicators of “success”? Below is a comparison — for amusement purposes only! — of the interplay between School Pedigree Rank and Am Law PPP Ranking. Keep in mind that this group only includes those firms in the intersection between “Top Litigation Firms” (as defined in our methodology) and the Am Law 100 (i.e., the boutiques are generally missing):

Chart A

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February 17, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

2015 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2015 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.


  • 1st Place:  $5,000, and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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February 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Systematic Inequality and Hierarchy in Faculty Hiring Networks

Aaron Clauset (Colorado), Samuel Arbesman (Colorado) & Daniel B. Larremore (Harvard), Systematic Inequality and Hierarchy in Faculty Hiring Networks:

F1.large-1The faculty job market plays a fundamental role in shaping research priorities, educational outcomes, and career trajectories among scientists and institutions. However, a quantitative understanding of faculty hiring as a system is lacking. Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network—who hires whose graduates as faculty—we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines. Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality. Furthermore, doctoral prestige alone better predicts ultimate placement than a U.S. News & World Report rank, women generally place worse than men, and increased institutional prestige leads to increased faculty production, better faculty placement, and a more influential position within the discipline. These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

Inside Higher Ed, Study Suggests Insular Faculty Hiring Practices in Elite Departments:

By now, the secret is out in some disciplines: if you want to land a tenure-line faculty job, you’d better attend a highly ranked graduate program -- not necessarily because they’re better but because the market favors prestige. But a new study suggests that “social inequality” might be worse than previously thought, across a range of different disciplines.

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February 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Call for Proposals: Association for Mid-Career Tax Law Professors

The Association for Mid-Career Tax Law Professors (“AMT”) has issued a  Call for Proposals:

Mid-CareerAMT is a recurring conference intended to bring together relatively recently-tenured professors of tax law for scholarly discussion. Our inaugural meeting will be held on Thursday and Friday, June 4 & 5, 2015, on the campus of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. We anticipate that official proceedings will wrap up by noon on June 5. Thanks to the generous support of Law, Finance and Governance @ Ohio State and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, AMT is able to provide attendees with conference meals and refreshments. AMT can commit to ensuring that these meals will not be “lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.” Attendees will be expected to cover their own travel and lodging expenses.

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

Iowa Law School Admits Iowa Undergrads Without LSATs

Iowa LogoIn the wake of the new ABA Accreditation Standard permitting law schools to admit up to 10% of their class without LSAT scores:  Iowa has announced that it will admit Iowa undergraduates without LSAT scores as long as they (1) are in the Top 10% of their class or have at least a 3.5 GPA after their junior year, and (2) scored in the 85th percentile of higher on the ACT, SAT, GMAT, or GRE.

Iowa's 1L enrollment the past five years:

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February 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Villanova Seeks to Hire Lawyer to Teach Online Courses in Graduate Tax Program

VillanovaVillanova seeks to hire a tax practitioner to teach online courses in its Graduate Tax Program and coordinate faculty coverage of online tax classes:

Teaching responsibilities include teaching multiple online sections of classes in the Graduate Tax Program. In addition, this position will coordinate class coverage with adjuncts or other faculty teaching in the online curriculum. The person will also work closely with full-time faculty in the Graduate Tax Program and instructional designers involved in assisting with the development and maintenance of courses in the online curriculum.

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February 16, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Eleven Law Schools Offer Online Tax LL.M.s

Online DegreeThe National Jurist reports that eleven law schools now offer tax or tax-related online LL.M.s:

Boston University
Western Michigan-Cooley

Estate Planning
John Marshall
Western New England

International TaxThomas Jefferson

Employee BenefitsJohn Marshall

February 16, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Livingston: Rutgers Administration Is 'Pulling a Fast One' With Merger of Camden and Newark Law Schools

Rutgers Law SchoolsFollowing up on my previous post, Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark Law Schools to Merge:  Tax Prof Michael Livingston (Rutgers-Camden), The Rutgers Law "Merger":  Lots of Form, Not Much Substance:

[T]he proposed merger of the Camden and Newark Law Schools into one "R-Law" brand ... is high on form, but low on content, and the style is--well, read on.

The merger was originally prompted by a desire to fend off a proposed takeover of the Camden law school by Rowan University, which was perceived as less prestigious than Rutgers. An unstated goal is to distract attention from the relatively poor performance of both, but especially the Camden, law schools since the Rowan proposal was blocked. In the most recent US News survey, the Camden law school ranked 81 and Newark 83; since Camden has since been forced to accept more (read weaker) students by the central administration, there is a good chance it will fall out of the top 100 in the next survey.

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February 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Is The Bluebook Subject to Copyright Protection?

BluebookABA Journal, Legal Minds Differ on Whether The Bluebook Is Subject to Copyright Protection:

Controversy is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of The Bluebook, but the bible of legal citation is at the center of an increasingly nasty dispute over whether it is subject to copyright protection.

Open-source advocates are contending that the style and citation manual is an essential piece of legal infrastructure and can't be preserved as private property under copyright law. The book's publishers say otherwise.

The dustup began when Frank Bennett, an academic at Nagoya University Graduate School of Law, wanted to add The Bluebook to Zotero, an open-source citation tool. "He was told to stay off the grass," says Carl Malamud, president of, whom Bennett later contacted. "It really bothered me."

Lawyers at Boston's Ropes & Gray, who represent the Harvard-Yale-Columbia-Penn consortium that publishes the manual, claimed that The Bluebook contains "carefully curated examples, explanations and other textual materials" that are protected by copyright.

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February 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Citi: Law Firm Revenues, Profits Up Sharply in 2014, With More to Come in 2015

CitiWall Street Journal Law Blog, Better Times for Law Firms, With More on the Horizon, Says Report:

Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group has some very welcome news to report to the nation’s largest law firms and the people who run them: things are looking up.

American Lawyer, Citi Report: M&A Work Boosts Firm Profitability in 2014:

Stronger industry performance in 2014 caused bigger smiles at more firms than in 2013. As we forecasted, legal industry performance in 2014 was stronger than the year before, with net income and profits per equity partner up 6 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively, compared with 3.2 percent and 3.5 percent in 2013. In fact, profitability performance was the strongest since 2010.  ... These results are based on a sample of 179 firms (78 Am Law 100 firms, 47 Second Hundred firms and 54 niche/boutique firms). ...

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February 15, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Huang & Rosen: The Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse

ZombiePeter H. Huang (Colorado) & Corie Lynn Rosen (Colorado), The Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse, 41 Pepp. L. Rev. ___ (2015):

This article uses a popular cultural framework to address the near-epidemic levels of depression, decision-making errors, and professional dissatisfaction that studies document are prevalent among many law students and lawyers today.

Zombies present an apt metaphor for understanding and contextualizing the ills now common in the American legal and legal education systems. To explore that metaphor and its import, this article will first establish the contours of the zombie literature and will apply that literature to the existing state of legal education and legal practice — ultimately describing a state that we believe can only be termed “the Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse”. The article will draw parallels between the zombie state of being — the state of being mindless, thoughtless, and devoid of hope — and the state of some aspects of legal culture and legal education today.

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February 15, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

America’s New Aristocracy: The Hereditary Meritocracy

EconomistThe Economist, America’s New Aristocracy: As the Importance of Intellectual Capital Grows, Privilege Has Become Increasingly Heritable:

When the robber barons accumulated fortunes that made European princes envious, the combination of their own philanthropy, their children’s extravagance and federal trust-busting meant that Americans never discovered what it would be like to live in a country where the elite could reliably reproduce themselves. Now they are beginning to find out, because today’s rich increasingly pass on to their children an asset that cannot be frittered away in a few nights at a casino. It is far more useful than wealth, and invulnerable to inheritance tax. It is brains.

Intellectual capital drives the knowledge economy, so those who have lots of it get a fat slice of the pie. And it is increasingly heritable. Far more than in previous generations, clever, successful men marry clever, successful women. Such “assortative mating” increases inequality by 25%, by one estimate, since two-degree households typically enjoy two large incomes. Power couples conceive bright children and bring them up in stable homes—only 9% of college-educated mothers who give birth each year are unmarried, compared with 61% of high-school dropouts. They stimulate them relentlessly: children of professionals hear 32m more words by the age of four than those of parents on welfare. They move to pricey neighbourhoods with good schools, spend a packet on flute lessons and pull strings to get junior into a top-notch college.

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February 14, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (15)

New York Law School Launches 2-Year JD at 2/3 the Cost, With Guaranteed Post-Graduate Fellowship

NYLS Logo (2013)Crain's New York, New York Law School Launches 2-Year Degree:

With the launch of its honors program, New York Law students can receive a degree in two years instead of the typical three, and pay two-thirds of the $147,720 they would normally pay for a three-year degree program. 

New York Law School, Two-Year J.D. Honors Applicants:

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

William Mitchell and Hamline Law Schools to Merge Amidst Enrollment Declines

MitchellWilliam Mitchell College of Law and Hamline University School of Law have signed a merger agreement to create Mitchell|Hamline School of Law, which will be located primarily on William Mitchell’s existing campus.

Press and blogosphere coverage:

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February 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

The 50 Law Schools Whose Students Outperform on the Bar Exam

NJBest Schools For Bar Examination, National Jurist (Feb. 2015):

LSAT scores are designed, in part, to predict success on the bar exam. But 33 schools excel above and beyond what their LSAT scores predict. How are these schools bucking the odds? ...

[W]hich schools are adding the most value to their students when it comes to the bar exam? The National Jurist sought to answer this question by undertaking a statistical analysis of the nation's law schools, using linear regression. We compared incoming LSAT scores with bar passage rates. We looked at two classes -- the Class of 2011 and the Class of 2012. ... We also took into account the difference of state bar passage rates.  The end result: more than 62 percent of law schools are within 5 percent of their expected score. But there are some that struggle and some that perform far better than expected.

The National Jurist ranked the Top 50 law schools whose students outperform on the bar exam. Here are the Top 25:

Top 25

Here is the methodology:

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February 13, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: Law Schools Deploy 'Business Boot Camps' to Better Equip Students for Today's Job Market

BootNew York Times, Law Students Leave Torts Behind (for a Bit) and Tackle Accounting:

A group of 170 Brooklyn Law School students cut short their winter break and headed back to campus in January for an intensive three-day training session. But not in the law.

Instead, they spent the “boot camp” sessions learning about accounting principles, reading financial statements, valuing assets and other basics of the business world — subjects that not long ago were thought to have no place in classic law school education. ...

Like Brooklyn Law, more law schools are adding business-oriented offerings to better equip students to compete in a job market that is being reshaped and slimmed down as more routine legal work is being outsourced and corporate budgets cut back. And in the contracting market, students are more focused on trying to land a well-paying job to pay off sizable student loans.

“There’s a broader shift for law schools to prepare students to be more practice-ready when they graduate,” said Brian Z. Tamanaha, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who tracks changes in the legal profession and wrote the book, “Failing Law Schools.”

Law schools as diverse as Brooklyn, Cornell and the University of Maryland are offering focused sessions that aim to bring students up to speed on business practicalities. Like Brooklyn, many are offering brief business-centered workshops, prompted by the lack of exposure many graduates have to teamwork, business strategy, client interaction and other fundamentals of running a corporation.

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015

2015 National Tax Moot Court Competition Results

Moot CourtHere are the results of the 2015 National Tax Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Florida Bar Tax Section:

  1. Charleston
  2. Liberty
  3. Baltimore
  4. Florida

Best Brief:  Texas Tech (runner-up: Suffolk)

Best Oralist:  Hank Young (Charleston)

For more, see Charleston Law Wins the National Tax Moot Court Competition for the 4th Year in a Row:

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February 12, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawyers See Big Pay Growth After First 10 Years of Career

Washington Post, Your Lifetime Earnings Are Probably Determined in Your 20s:

new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York sends a ... sobering message to millennials:  Your first 10 years in the labor market likely shape your lifetime earning potential. ...

For the average person ...  earnings growth stagnates after the first 10 years of a career. Average earnings growth for the 35-to-55 set is zero, the data shows. ... Workers projected to earn the median lifetime amount will see pay swell 38 percent from age 25 to 55, with the strongest upswing in the first decade, the Fed study found.

Workers in the 95th percentile can expect a 230 percent increase over the same period. Those in the 99th percentile --  the doctors and lawyers and engineers --  will see earnings grow a whopping 1,450 percent.

(Photo provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

ABA Journal, Lawyers See Big Pay Growth After First 10 Years of Career, a New Report Shows:

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February 12, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Graetz: Goodbye to Tax Notes

Graetz (2015)TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Goodbye to Tax Notes, by Michael J. Graetz (Columbia):

Today, I received the following email from the Columbia Law librarian announcing a new policy of Tax Analysts:

Tax Analysts is in the process of eliminating their complementary professorial accounts. They have presented us with the following terms, and they will maintain your access for the rest of this work week.

In this case, the alternatives are the library paying $8,500 a year for an broad account shared by the library with individual direct access limited to three professors, or you paying $780 a year for your individual access to Tax Notes and Tax Notes International .... They will not sell access to the “Lawref” e-dress because that is a shared account.....

When Tom Field started a nonprofit publisher and public interest law firm in 1969, he could not have imagined the success Tax Analysts would enjoy. It has for nearly a half century provided a unique and invaluable service to the tax community. I have long relied on it myself for timely information and have had many students use its resources for their papers and publications, even though much of its most useful content is in the public domain. And I have frequently published there and speak often with its correspondents. But with this latest turn, Tax Analysts may be losing sight of its mission. According to its Form 990 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013 (which is the most recent readily available) Tax Analysts had over $23 million in revenues from its publications, cash and securities on hand exceeding $40 million and more than $60 million in total assets. Its revenue exceeded its expenses by nearly $4 million. It is difficult to believe that this change in policy is prompted by financial necessity. And the timing is especially unfortunate for many law schools around the country.

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February 11, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (6)

Law Graduate Overproduction and Lawyers Per Capita by State

Matt Leichter has updated the data in his two ongoing research projects:

Law Graduate Overproduction:

This page tracks law graduate overproduction as of 2013 by contrasting state government lawyer job creation projections with ABA graduate data from the Law School Admissions Council. ...


Here’s a chart of the results. The numbers in parentheses are the number of ABA-accredited law schools operating in 2013. ...

#StateAnnual Job OpeningsABA GradsAnnual SurplusGrads Per Opening
1 Puerto Rico (3)* 130 662 532 5.09
2 Vermont (1) 40 203 163 5.08
3 Mississippi (2) 80 377 297 4.71
4 Massachusetts (8)* 560 2,391 1,831 4.27
5 Minnesota (4) 260 942 682 3.62
6 Delaware (1) 80 279 199 3.49
7 Indiana (4) 240 834 594 3.48
8 Louisiana (4) 270 936 666 3.47
9 Oregon (3) 160 527 367 3.29
10 D.C. (6) 690 2,181 1,491 3.16

Lawyers Per Capita by State:

This page uses the number of attorneys “active and resident” according to the “ABA’s National Lawyer Population by State” count (NLPS) and population figures by state from the U.S. Census Bureau via FRED (Puerto Rico’s is from one year earlier from the World Bank). The NLPS does not tell us the number of inactive or nonresident attorneys, but the Lawyer Statistical Report (pdf) calculates those at 4.8 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. To give you a comparison: For the 1.3 million attorneys on the rolls in 2013, between 1970 and 2012 the ABA conferred just over 1.6 million law degrees and state bars issued nearly 2 million lawyer licenses. According to the Current Population Survey, 1.1 million attorneys were working in the United States in 2012, but the Labor Department’s Employment projections program places the figure at 759,800.

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February 11, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Philanthropist, 98, Sues Chapman for Return of $12 Million Gift

ChapmanOrange County Register, Philanthropist, 98, Sues Chapman for the Return of His $12 million Gift:

A 98-year-old man says Chapman University took advantage of his age to get him him to donate $12 million for an engineering building – and he is suing to get his money back.

Corona del Mar philanthropists James and Catherine Emmi have filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court charging that Chapman University President James Doti put undue pressure on James Emmi to sign an irrevocable contract without the consent of his wife.

The suit alleges breach of contract, fraud, deceit and elder abuse by Chapman University. Chapman officials vowed to fight the lawsuit.

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Legal Profession: From 'The Best And The Brightest' To 'Dumb And Dumber'?

AmLawThe American Lawyer:  Best and Brightest? Or Dumb and Dumber?, by Vivia Chen:

No one wants to admit it, but there's a whiff of anxiety that the legal field is dumbing down.

The source of this angst? The steep decline in law school applicants. Not since 1973, when there were 53 fewer schools in this country, has first-year law student enrollment sunk this low. According to the American Bar Association, there were 37,924 new law students in the fall of 2014—a 28 percent drop from 2010, when 1L enrollment (52,488) hit a historic high.

At the same time, LSAT scores are also dropping. From 2010 to 2014, the number of law schools with median LSAT scores of 160 to 180, a perfect score, declined (from 77 to 50 schools), while the number of schools with median LSAT scores of 150 or lower quadrupled (from nine to 36), according to research by Jerry Organ, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas. It's "a picture of serious deterioration of student quality across dozens of law schools," says Brian Tamanaha, a Washington University School of Law professor. "This is happening in unprecedented numbers."

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

NY Times Debate: Are Economists Overrated?

NY Times Room for DebateNew York Times Room for Debate, Are Economists Overrated?:

One in 100 articles in The New York Times over the past few years have used the term “economist,” a much greater rate than other academic professions, according to a recent article in The Upshot. Economic analysis and pronouncements are crucial to most policy decisions and debates.

But given the profession’s poor track record in forecasting and planning, and the continued struggles of many Americans, have we given economists too much authority?

  • Philip Cohen (Maryland), Exceptions Overwhelm Economic Rules:  "Exploitation, dishonesty, violence, ignorance and demagoguery set vast areas of social life apart outside of economic models."
  • Diane Coyle (Manchester), Economists Deal With the Pie on the Table, Not in the Sky:  "Government decisions balance costs and benefits, winners and losers. It is best to do this explicitly, which is what economists do."
  • Marion Fourcade (UC-Berkeley), An Ambivalent Authority:  "Much of economic science is esoteric and preoccupied with internal struggles. Ideological divisions, exploited by politicians, defy clarity."
  • Peter Henry (NYU), Analyze and Explain, Don’t Prognosticate:  "Economics succeeds when used as a forensic tool, employing history and data, not creating unrealistic expectations."
  • Orlando Patterson (Harvard) & Ethan Fosse (Harvard), Don’t Rely on Pseudo-Science:  "Implementation of mainstream economic ideas has led to massive failures after expertise of other academics were ignored."
  • Charles Plott (Cal-Tech), Failures Shouldn’t Obscure Widespread Success:  "Economic science is the foundation of sound policies and techniques in business and government."

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

Madam C.E.O., Get Me a Coffee

New York Times:  Madam CEO, Get Me a Coffee, by Adam Grant (Wharton) & Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook):

This is the sad reality in workplaces around the world: Women help more but benefit less from it. In keeping with deeply held gender stereotypes, we expect men to be ambitious and results-oriented, and women to be nurturing and communal. When a man offers to help, we shower him with praise and rewards. But when a woman helps, we feel less indebted. She’s communal, right? She wants to be a team player. The reverse is also true. When a woman declines to help a colleague, people like her less and her career suffers. But when a man says no, he faces no backlash. A man who doesn’t help is “busy”; a woman is “selfish.”

In a study led by the New York University psychologist Madeline Heilman, participants evaluated the performance of a male or female employee who did or did not stay late to help colleagues prepare for an important meeting. For staying late and helping, a man was rated 14 percent more favorably than a woman. When both declined, a woman was rated 12 percent lower than a man. Over and over, after giving identical help, a man was significantly more likely to be recommended for promotions, important projects, raises and bonuses. A woman had to help just to get the same rating as a man who didn’t help. ...

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

Monday, February 9, 2015

Moneyball, The Super Bowl, And Faculty Hiring

MoneyballFollowing up on Friday's post on Faculty Scholarship Rankings and Law School Success: Bloomberg View: Would You Hire the Super Bowl Hero?, by Virginia Postrel:

When was the last time your talent-hungry organization hired the equivalent of Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler, the undrafted rookie who came out of the University of West Alabama,a Division II school many football fans had never even heard of? When was the last time you even considered someone with unlikely credentials for a critical position? ...

Elite investment banks, law firms and management consulting firms often hire almost exclusively from a handful of schools, according to research by Lauren Rivera, a sociologist at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “So-called ‘public Ivies’ such as University of Michigan and Berkeley were not considered elite or even prestigious,” she wrote in a 2011 article in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. ...

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

University of New South Wales Issues Call for 2015 Tax Research Fellows

ATaxThe School of Taxation and Business Law (TBL) at the University of New South Wales, Australia, will offer several Atax Research Fellowships  ($7,500) in taxation, business law and related disciplines in 2015. Research Fellows normally spend four weeks working at TBL on a mutually agreed area of research. The preferred timing for successful applicants to undertake the fellowship is August-October 2015, but other times of the year may also be possible. The application deadline is March 31, 2015.

February 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Taylor: Diversity as a Law School Survival Strategy

DiversityAaron N. Taylor (St. Louis),  Diversity as a Law School Survival Strategy (press release):

Over the past few years, law schools have been dealing with a drastic and, so far, unyielding decline in student interest. Between 2010 and 2013, student enrollments fell almost 25%, to levels not seen in 40 years. This trend has prompted many to wonder what schools have done, and what they can do, to ensure their survival in this new climate. This article explores the extent to which law schools have used students of color, particularly black and Hispanic students, to bolster enrollments and lessen the effects of the downturn. The results of this analysis suggest that a school’s median LSAT score influenced the extent to which the racial composition of its entering classes changed between 2010 and 2013. Black and Hispanic students were critical components of the enrollment management calculus for private law schools with the lowest median LSAT scores. Higher-median schools tended to rely more heavily on white and Asian enrollments to stem declines. These trends led to increased racial and ethnic stratification in law school enrollments, where black and Hispanic students were more likely to attend schools with lower median LSAT scores in 2013 than in 2010, while white and Asian students were more likely to attend schools with higher median scores. Perceptions of law school quality and prestige are greatly influenced by a school’s median LSAT score; therefore, the trend of stratification may only serve to intensify racial and ethnic differences in career paths and trajectories.

Update:  National Law Journal, Law School Diversity Improves—But Only at the Bottom

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

'No Relief' for Law School Enrollment Slump

Indiana Business Journal, 'No Relief' for Law School Enrollment Slump:

After three down years for law school enrollment, Austen Parrish expected a rebound of applications and enrollment this year at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

But it isn’t happening. The law school, which Parrish leads, saw the number of first-year law students decline 10 percent this school year on top of the nearly 25-percent decline in first-year enrollment it suffered from 2010 to 2013.

law school numbers

A similar story is playing out at most law schools in Indiana and the nation. Enrollment has fallen at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI and Valparaiso University Law School in northwest Indiana.

And a law school started recently by Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne has enrolled only a third of the students it expected.

In response, Indiana’s law schools are not replacing retiring faculty, spending more on recruiting, creating programs for non-attorney types of legal education, and experimenting with an educational approach that responds to what many see as permanent shifts in demand for legal services.

law-school-bars.jpgSimilar, and in some cases more drastic, moves are being taken by law schools around the country.

First-year enrollments have plunged almost 28 percent since 2010 and stand at their lowest level since 1973, according to the American Bar Association. Making matters worse, there are 53 more law schools now than there were then.

“This continued decrease in student demand is consistent with our belief that the legal industry is experiencing a fundamental shift rather than a cyclical trend,” Susan Fitzgerald, a higher education analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, said in a January report titled “No Relief in Sight.”

Not everyone agrees the enrollment declines are permanent. But even if they aren’t, the change in status for law schools is stunning.

What used to be one of the surest routes to the upper middle class is now one of the best routes to a life of debt.

Starting salaries for law school graduates with full-time law jobs remain 8 percent below their 2009 peak, averaging $78,205 in 2013, according to the most recent data available from the National Association for Law Placement.

Meanwhile, law school debt runs about $100,000 or more among those with debt.

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

Brill: My Frank Look At A University President’s Frank Look At Law Schools

BrillTaxProf Blog op-ed:  Ralph Brill (Chicago-Kent), My Frank Look At A University President’s Frank Look At Law Schools: An 18-Point Analysis (Feb. 6, 2015):

The detailed version of the views of the university president are quite accurate in many respects ... Scholarship is read by very few; student edited law reviews predominantly pass over articles from professors at lesser schools; and that fact hampers lesser schools in the USNW rankings. But the parts of the interview that rankle me and others are the last few paragraphs:

  • It was also suggested that Legal Writing and clinical programs need to be looked at carefully in terms of their resource intensity and the extent to which LW particularly has come to have a heavy influence on law school decision making. This point in no way claims that the teaching of legal writing in various forms and for diverse uses in law practice is not a valid element of a legal education. But it is fair to ask whether it is being done in the most effective and sophisticated way when writing is essentially shunted over to a “lesser” part of the curriculum in large part because traditional tenure track law faculty defaulted on their own responsibility to incorporate writing into the mainstream curriculum due to its labor-intensive nature and the fact that it diverted them from the kinds of activities in which they desired to engage.  Over the last 8-10 years it seems as if there has been created a coherent bloc of special interests that essentially operates as a sort of “quasi-union” in legal education, one capable of dictating operational terms that impose “work rules” that may be in the “union’s” interests but inhibit the adaptive and innovative flexibility of law schools.
  • The great expansion in LW programs and LW faculty has reshaped the quality and structure of law schools in ways that might have been needed conceptually but where the credentials and experience of LW faculty are often not on a par with others. At a point in time where law schools are being asked to improve their ability to better prepare their graduates for entry into the legal profession there is a need to gain a broader and deeper understanding of what is involved in achieving this goal. It may well be that Legal Writing courses achieve much of what is needed. But given the intense focus on more formalized legal writing that often represents what is done in many LW courses it is legitimate to review such programs to determine if they should be modified into deliberately more comprehensive approaches to “skills” education.

Yes, the so-called "regular" faculty historically has shunted off its responsibilities to train students in the fundamentals of legal analysis, reasoning, research, advocacy, and oral and written communication through Legal Analysis and Writing courses.  One cannot teach Legal Writing or Oral Presentation of Analysis in traditional Socratic or Lecture classes, in 100 student classrooms.  The method has to be geared to individual training.  Smaller class sizes; multiple assignments; rewrites; individual conferences; separate focus on a student's analysis; a student's reasoning; a student's advocacy; a student's legal and other research skills; and a student's ability to communicate clearly and simply to others in writing or orally.  Most doctrinal teachers I know do not even provide individual feedback to students on their examinations in their courses.  They haven't the time, while also engaging in their own legal analysis, reasoning, research and writing of law review articles and trying to get them published in elite law reviews.  

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February 9, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Is the Professor Bossy or Brilliant? Much Depends on Gender

New York Times:  Is the Professor Bossy or Brilliant? Much Depends on Gender, by Claire Cain Miller:

Male professors are brilliant, awesome and knowledgeable. Women are bossy and annoying, and beautiful or ugly.

These are a few of the results from a new interactive chart that was gaining notice on social media Friday. Benjamin Schmidt, a Northeastern University history professor, says he built the chart using data from 14 million student reviews on the Rate My Professors site. It allows you to search for any word to see how often it appeared in reviews and how it broke down by gender and department.

NY Times Chart

The chart makes vivid unconscious biases. The implications go well beyond professors and college students, to anyone who gives or receives feedback or performance reviews.

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February 8, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Can America's Faith-Based Law Schools Restrict Sexual Activity to Heterosexual Marriage?

Religiously Affiliated Law SchoolsDeseret News National, Can America's Faith-Based Law Schools Restrict Sexual Activity to Heterosexual Marriage?:

The travails of a Canadian Christian university's quest to establish a law school may reverberate in the United States as conflicts over legalizing same-sex marriage continue, some educators say.

At issue is whether religiously affiliated law schools with honor codes restricting student conduct to heterosexual marriage could trigger challenges to either a school's accreditation or the ability of graduates to sit for bar exams, or both.

While religiously affiliated law schools in the United States can enforce honor codes, the American Bar Association also requires the schools it accredits not to discriminate in admissions on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Schools such as Liberty University's School of Law in Lynchburg, Virginia, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, are thus in the crosshairs, being both accredited and claiming protection under the religious school provision.

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February 8, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Case Western Purchased Home of Former Dean in Settlement of Law Prof's Retaliation Lawsuit

MitchellFollowing up on my coverage of the controversy surrounding former Case Western Dean Lawrence Mitchell (links below):  The Observer, A Land Purchase CWRU Would Like to Forget:

One of Case Western Reserve University’s newest building isn’t on campus. There are no classrooms, lab space or conference rooms, but it is equipped with the following: granite counter tops, a landscaped stone patio, two wood burning fireplaces, a detached 3 car garage and a “glamour bath.”

Nobody’s name graces the outside of this building; university officials would prefer to keep the previous owner out of the spotlight.

Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer records indicate that on July 1, CWRU purchased former law school Dean Lawrence Mitchell’s five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home for $575,000.

Mitchell resigned last March after Law School Professor Raymond Ku sued both Mitchell and CWRU, alleging that Mitchell retaliated against Ku for bringing forth a number of allegations of sexual harassment against the dean, his superior.

The lawsuit alleged that while at CWRU, six professors experienced sexually inappropriate harassment from Mitchell, along with four members of the administrative staff and a law student. Several of these individuals allegedly stated to Ku that they feared for their jobs if they reported Mitchell’s misconduct.

The 3072 Fairmount Blvd. address is located in the middle of a residential Cleveland Heights neighborhood, a 10-minute drive from campus.

The timing of the purchase suggests that CWRU may have bought Mitchell’s residence as part of the undisclosed settlement which ended Ku’s lawsuit. The property was bought a week before the settlement was announced in a joint statement by representatives for CWRU, Mitchell and Ku. ,,,

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

NLJ: Scandals Put Law Schools in Damage Control Mode

National Law Journal, This is Not the Attention Law Schools Want: Scandals Put Law Schools in Damage Control Mode:


Clockwise, from top left:  Mark Sargent (Villanova), Lawrence Mitchell (Case Western), Ronald Murphy (Connecticut), John Dwyer (UC-Berkeley), John Patrick Shannon (Florida), Donald Marvin Jones (Miami), Barry Freundel (Georgetown), and John Attanasio (SMU).

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February 7, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Caron Presents Faculty Scholarship Rankings and Law School Success Today at Pepperdine

Caron 2012 PhotoPaul L. Caron (Pepperdine) presents Faculty Scholarship Rankings and Law School Success at Pepperdine today:

In What Law Schools Can Learn From Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Tex. L. Rev. 1483 (2004), Rafael Gely and I argued that legal education must use technology to develop more sophisticated measures of law school success and faculty contributions to law school success.  Here, I use existing measures of faculty scholarly output (publications) and influence (law review citations, Google Scholar citations (H-Index and M-Index), and SSRN downloads) both to chart how Pepperdine's faculty compares with our competitors and to detail individual Pepperdine faculty contributions in these measures.  I then offer some thoughts on what these existing ranking methodologies leave out in measuring faculty contributions to law school success.  I argue that religious law schools are uniquely positioned to thrive in the midst of the law school crisis because our faith-fueled commitment to our students and to each other empowers us to better define the pathways to success for our schools, our students, and our faculties and equips us to make that journey together.

February 6, 2015 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

A University President’s Frank Look at Law Schools: An 18-Point Analysis

David Barnhizer (Cleveland State), A University President’s Frank Look at Law Schools:

Not too long ago I had an intriguing and frank conversation with a university president who had once served as a law school dean. He leads a university that is home to a middle-rung law school that is going through the same stresses and changes being experienced by most of the country’s institutions of legal education. We both agreed that law schools at the top of the pecking order had no real difficulties and that we hoped the institutions at the very bottom that are increasingly admitting applicants with qualifications indicating they are unlikely to become well-qualified lawyers simply disappeared. Our focus was on the numerous law schools—perhaps 80 to 100—that are subject to strong pressures from declining enrollments and reduced revenues, from information technologies that are altering and eliminating traditional “law jobs”, and from the variety of ways in which the legal profession and alternative mechanisms for delivering legal services and “law knowledge” were “morphing” into forms that altered the ways law schools need to educate to best serve the profession and society. ...

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February 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Marquette to Fire Tenured Professor for His Blogging

McAdamsFollowing up on my previous post, Marquette Suspends Tenured Professor for Blogging, Orders Him Off Campus:  Inside Higher Ed, Firing a Faculty Blogger:

A controversial professor on Wednesday revealed that Marquette University is trying to revoke his tenure and fire him for statements he made about a graduate instructor, with her name, on his blog.

The university says his behavior was unprofessional and that he misled the public about what happened in a dispute between the graduate instructor and an undergraduate student. The professor, John McAdams, says he is being punished for his free speech. He also maintains that Marquette shouldn't be attacking him, given that he is defending an undergraduate's views against gay marriage that are consistent with Roman Catholic teachings. (Marquette is a Jesuit university.) ...

In November, McAdams, an associate professor of political science, wrote a blog post accusing a teaching assistant in philosophy of shutting down a classroom conversation on gay marriage based on her own political beliefs. His account was based on a recording secretly made by a disgruntled student who wished that the instructor, Cheryl Abbate, had spent more time in class one day on the topic of gay marriage, which the student opposed. McAdams said Abbate, in not allowing a prolonged conversation about gay marriage, was “using a tactic typical among liberals,” in which opinions they disagree with “are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed ‘offensive’ and need to be shut up.” ...

McAdams on Wednesday posted a letter he received from his dean, Richard C. Holz, in which Holz told McAdams the university was starting the firing process.

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