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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Law as a Calling for Christian Lawyers

Joshua C. Wilson (Denver) & Amanda Hollis-Brusky (Pomona), Lawyers for God and Neighbor: The Emergence of “Law as a Calling” as a Mobilizing Frame for Christian Lawyers, 39 Law & Soc. Inquiry 416 (2014):

Law & SocialDrawing on movement framing, collective identity, and mobilization scholarship, this article examines the emergence and potential effects of framing “law as a calling” for the Christian Lawyering community. The article finds that the term should have strong resonance and salience in the broader Christian community. It also finds that because of its interpretive malleability, “law as a calling” has been discussed and actualized in three related, but distinct, ways. That is, “law as a calling” has been conceptualized as requiring Christian Lawyers to turn inward, turn outward by pursuing social justice, and turn outward as a culture warrior. The article argues that while the different interpretations of “law as a calling” address a range of needs required to mobilize potential and existing Christian Lawyers, the different ideological factions of self-identifying Christian Lawyers emphasize different understandings of “law as a calling.”

October 5, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Thomas Cooley Law School to Close Ann Arbor Campus on Dec. 31

Thomas Cooley Logo (2014)Statement of Intent to Close:

Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School has notified its students that it intends to cease operations at its Ann Arbor campus on December 31, 2014, subject to the approval of teach-out plans submitted to its accrediting agencies, the Higher Learning Commission and American Bar Association - Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar.

This action follows implementation of a financial management plan announced July 1, 2014.

Anticipating the possibility of the closure, the Law School told its Ann Arbor students in August of accommodations it would provide them should the campus close. Those include:

  • early registration at other campuses
  • $1,500 cash stipend to help cover costs of attending a different campus
  • $3,500 stipend for a bar review course for graduates
  • specialized advising for registration, financial aid, housing and other issues
  • possible adjustment to available financial aid
  • additional consideration to students with special circumstances.

Starting January 2015, the affected Ann Arbor students may choose to take their classes at any of the Law School’s other campuses, including Lansing or Auburn Hills located about an hour away from Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids located about two hours away, or at its Tampa Bay, Florida campus.

(Hat Tip: Above the Law.)  Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

October 4, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Details Emerge in Murder of Dan Markel

Markel[Continually Updated]  More details are emerging in the July 18 murder of Dan Markel, D’Alemberte Professor of Law at Florida State and founder of PrawfsBlawg, as the result of a shooting in his home:

I have collected links to the many tributes to Dan here.

Dan Markel Memorial Fund To Benefit His Sons, Benjamin Amichai Markel and Lincoln Jonah Markel:

Markel

October 4, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Legal Services Sector Sheds Jobs at Highest Rate in Five Years

BLSWall Street Journal, Legal Services Jobs Drop Sharply in September:

The U.S. legal services sector shed 4,600 jobs in September, the biggest one-month drop in employment for the field in nearly five years.

The total number of legal jobs now stands at 1,133,800, a preliminary and seasonally adjusted figure, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s latest monthly report. ... The sector is down 2,900 jobs since the start of the year, dipping to its lowest point since July 2013. Employment numbers are about 46,000 jobs below pre-recession record levels set in 2007. ...

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October 3, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

October 3, 2014 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Unlike Virginia, North Carolina Does Not Hire Its Own Law Grads, Resulting in Rankings Decline

Daily Tar Heel, Activists Push for Law School Transparency; Many Schools, But Not UNC, Fund Jobs For Graduates:

University of Virginia School of Law applicants are likely attracted by the school’s ranking — eighth, according to U.S. News and World Report. It also has the highest employment rate in the nation, 95.6 percent, within nine months of graduation.

But about 16 percent of those graduates hold jobs funded by the university.

Only about 62.2 percent of 2013 law school graduates nationwide reported having a full-time job within nine months of graduation that required passing the bar exam.

Many schools have fellowship programs to assist graduates who are unable to find long-term employment — and students who accept these university-funded jobs are considered to be employed full time when the school reports employment data nine months after graduation.

Among the top 10 schools ranked by U.S. News and World Report, six schools fund jobs for at least 5 percent of graduates nine months after graduation.

UNC School of Law doesn’t have a fellowship program, and its employment rate is about 69 percent, ranking 33rd nationally.

“It does hurt us in the rankings,” said Brian Lewis, assistant dean for career development at UNC School of Law. “Our employment numbers aren’t as good as other schools that are counting people that they’re paying as employed. But we’ve tried to be as transparent as possible.” ...

UVa. Law School Dean Paul Mahoney said while the school does employ a number of graduates in university-funded jobs, most are participating in a yearlong fellowship program for graduates, who work in the nonprofit or government sector. “They are not working here at the law school,” he said.

In contrast, Duke University has an employment rate of 85.9 percent, with less than 1 percent of students working in jobs funded by the school. ...

UNC 2

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October 3, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Georgia Seeks to Hire a Tax Prof

Georgia Law LogoThe University of Georgia School of Law is seeking entry-level and junior lateral candidates in tax.  Course needs are flexible but include Income Tax, Corporate Tax, International Tax, and State & Local Tax.  Interested persons should contact Randy Beck, Chair of the Faculty Recruitment Committee.

October 2, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nebraska Offers Early Retirement Buyouts to 30% of Tenured Faculty

NebraskaThe University of Nebraska (press release; plan) is offering early retirement buyouts to tenured faculty 62 years of age and older with at least ten years of experience (30% of the tenured faculty):  a one-time payment of 90% of salary. (Hat Tip: Inside Higher Ed.)

October 2, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana Tech Seeks to Hire a Tax Prof

Indiana Tech (2014)Indiana Tech Law School invites applications for Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor of Law positions for the 2015-16 academic year who will teach primarily in one or more of the following areas:  Tax and related courses, Wills, Trusts, and Estates and related courses, Torts, Family Law, and Civil Procedure.  More details here.  The application deadline is October 6.

October 2, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kerr: Five Tips on Placing Law Review Articles

Orin Kerr (George Washington), Tips on Placing Law Review Articles:

HarvardI've come back to guest-blog this month at Prawfs in memory of my friend Dan Markel. Dan started Prawfs as a forum for junior law professors. ... I thought it would be fitting to focus my guest-blogging on the topic that originally formed the core of Dan's vision. In particular, I'm going to blog about topics of special interest to junior law professors and those currently on the teaching market. I'll start with a topic that a lot of junior profs worry a lot about: How to place a law review article in a good journal. Here are five tips to consider.

  1. Submit in the spring
  2. Make your abstract and introduction clear and easy to read
  3. Proof-read and Blue Book properly
  4. If you have relevant experience, consider saying so in an "About the Author" blurb
  5. Shorter titles are usually better than longer titles

October 2, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Do Law Schools Teach (and Model) Inefficiency (Especially in Tax Law)?

SeytLines Blog, Another Reason to Re-Think Legal Education:

EfficiencyLawyers have suggested many reasons for changing legal education. I have another one to add to the list. I think legal education teaches inefficiency. From day one in law school, law students are taught to be inefficient in the practice of law. By the time they hit the world outside academia and start practicing, they have three years of intensive inefficiency training. In a world that has moved towards reducing waste, at least in corporations, having someone join the workforce who has been taught inefficiency adds some complications. At a minimum, it means we will spend years re-training them, at the same time they are learning to practice. More realistically, we will end up with many lawyers who are never re-trained. ...

The good news is that this one issue could be fixed at little or no cost. The first step is teaching law school faculty about the modern practice of law. Seminars, workshops, and other training tools can accomplish that goal. The second step is to have law school faculty start modifying existing courses to reflect these modern practices and incorporate them as part of the core learning experience. My son is taking accounting, yet they don’t have him using accounting ledger paper from the 1930s to learn double-entry bookkeeping. If he can learn the basics of accounting with Excel, I’m not sure why law students can’t learn the basics of contract law in combination with Word and contract automation. Third, law schools should start thinking about law in the context of problems presented by clients. This isn’t a novel suggestion, but it still is a good one. Some classes should be integrated classes where students confront problems that require cross-functional thinking. Three years of training students to think one-dimensionally creates habits that are difficult to break. Problems don’t come neatly sliced into property law, tax, or other substantive areas.

The last point involves a personal pet-peeve, so I’ll share a story about it. As a corporate general counsel, I spent a fair amount of time on tax issues. The companies where I worked had global businesses, so we had plenty of international tax “opportunities.” On more than one occasion, partners from whichever of the Big Four accounting firms my company used would come to us with a tax proposal. They would have spent a fair amount of time working on the proposal and consulting with our tax team. They would invite the corporate lawyers to an overview presentation. We would identify several fatal flaws in the plan almost immediately. Those flaws were missed because the tax practitioners knew nothing about and didn’t take the time to ask about, the corporate law aspects of what they proposed. We would suggest many ways to work around the problem, and usually, after much additional work by the tax practitioners, we would land on a solution. I would always ask why the tax practitioners didn’t come to us right at the start, knowing that the key to the entire plan depended on corporate work, so that we could develop an integrated solution that worked. They always responded, “we were taught to look at the tax issues and let someone else think about the rest.” Not very efficient.

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October 2, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lewis & Clark Law School Closes Legal Clinic, Cites Enrollment, Revenue Decline

The Oregonian:  Lewis & Clark Law School Closes Downtown Legal Clinic, Cites Enrollment, Revenue Decline:

Lewis & Clark LogoLewis & Clark Law School is closing its namesake legal clinic in downtown Portland that provides services to the poor, a high-profile victim of the school's budget constraints.

As Lewis & Clark and the state's two other law schools get their new years underway this month, they are dealing with 13 to 30 percent enrollment declines from the peak two to four years ago. Corresponding declines in revenue have forced the schools to cut costs, downsize staff and make other efficiency moves.

"What we have to do, like everybody else, is face budget realities," said Jennifer Johnson, the new dean at Lewis & Clark. The clinic "has largely been a tuition-driven enterprise that we can't afford. It's purely financial."

The clinic's pending closure -- the doors will close Dec. 31 -- has disturbed other public-interest lawyers in town who say the move will worsen an already significant shortage of legal services for the low-income. ...

Lewis & Clark's total enrollment, including part-time evening students, hit 609 this fall. That's down from a peak of 735 in 2010.

Enrollment of law students at the University of Oregon Law School fell to 376 this year, from a peak of 526 in 2010.

Willamette Law School enrollment hit 341 this year, down from a peak of 429.

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October 1, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

University of Arizona Professor Plagiarized Student's Work

Arizona Daily Star, UA Professor Plagiarized Student's Work, School Finds:

Arizona (University)A University of Arizona professor recently lauded as a top new teaching talent in her field has been reprimanded for plagiarizing the work of a former student.

Susannah Dickinson, an assistant professor in the UA’s school of architecture since 2009, recently received a formal admonishment from the university’s provost after the student accused Dickinson of poaching material from his master’s thesis and presenting it as her own.

The finding is a rare one in academia, where professors often are accusers rather than accused in plagiarism cases involving students.

But one national expert believes such cases happen more often than reported because graduate students fear potential repercussions if they complain about professors.

Compare the student's thesis with the professor's paper.

Chronicle of Higher Education, U. of Arizona Reprimands Professor in Wake of Plagiarism Inquiry

(Hat Tip: Bob Kamman.)

October 1, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

A Mother's Love

(Hat Tip: Naomi Goodno.)

October 1, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

UC-Berkeley Law School to Raise Tuition 5.4%

The Daily Californian, Campus Law School Proposes Tuition Increase:

UC-Berkeley (2014)In addition to the proposed supplemental tuition increase, Berkeley Law anticipates systemwide as well as campus tuition increases. Berkeley Law projects that these increases will total a 5.4-percent increase for California residents, raising the total cost of attendance from $51,320 to $54,091. Nonresidents’ total fees would increase by 5.3 percent, from $55,271 to $58,225.

Above the Law, Hey, Let’s Make Law School More Expensive! Top School Dean Proposes Tuition Increase

October 1, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

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October 1, 2014 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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October 1, 2014 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elizabeth Garrett (USC) Named President of Cornell University

Cornell Press Release, Elizabeth Garrett, USC Provost, Named Cornell's 13th President:

GarrettThe Cornell University Board of Trustees today approved the appointment of Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California, as Cornell’s next president. Garrett will assume the presidency July 1, 2015. ...

Garrett is married to Andrei Marmor, professor of philosophy and the Maurice Jones Jr. Professor of Law at USC, who will be joining the Cornell faculty as a full professor with joint appointments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Law School. ...

Garrett’s primary scholarly interests include legislative process, the design of democratic institutions, the federal budget process and tax policy. She is the author of more than 50 articles, book chapters and essays, and is co-author of the nation’s most influential casebook on legislation and statutory interpretation, now in its fifth edition. At Cornell, Garrett will be a tenured faculty member in the Law School with a joint appointment in the Department of Government in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Garrett has an exemplary record of public service. In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed her to serve on the nine-member bipartisan Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. ... Before entering academics, Garrett served as budget and tax counsel and legislative director for Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.) and clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall on the U.S. Supreme Court.

September 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

How to Get Into an Ivy League College—Guaranteed (For $600,000)

Bloomberg, How to Get Into an Ivy League College—Guaranteed (For $600,000):

IVYThe academic transcript looked like a rap sheet. The 16-year-old had dropped out of boarding schools in England and California because of behavioral problems and had only two semesters left at a small school in Utah. Somehow, he had to raise his grade-point average above a C before applying to college. His confidence was shot, and though his parents didn’t openly discuss it, he knew they were crushed at the thought that he might not get into a reputable college. What the boy didn’t know was that back home in Hong Kong, where his dad is chief executive officer of a big publicly traded investment company, the family was calling in a miracle worker.

Through a friend, his father reached out to Steven Ma, founder of ThinkTank Learning, a chain of San Francisco Bay Area tutoring centers that operate out of strip malls. Like many in the field, Ma helps kids apply to college. Unlike his competitors, Ma guarantees that his students will get into a top school or their parents get their money back—provided the applicant achieves a certain GPA and other metrics. He also offers a standard college consulting package that doesn’t come with a guarantee; for a lower price, Ma’s centers provide after-school tutoring, test prep, college counseling, and extra class work in English, math, science, and history.

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September 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rapp: The Professor as Node

Geoffrey Rapp (Toledo), The Professor as Node:

LTIt's hard not to notice a shift this fall(?) among the lawblog world to Twitter.  Though the cool kids are already up on something called "Ello," the rest of us, having only recently figured out how to create a "split post" on a blog are now trying to limit ourselves to 140 characters through imaginative vowel-deletion.

When I entered full-time teaching, the big, symposium-worthy question was whether blogging "counted" as scholarship [Bloggership: How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship, 84 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1025-1261 (2006)]. At that time and today, I thought that question somewhat off point -- it didn't and doesn't matter whether blogging is scholarship or counts as scholarship. The only real question was whether blogging was a worthwhile activity for a scholar and teacher.  That is to say, is blogging what our students are borrowing money to have us do?  Because Twitter posts are necessarily less detailed and thus, at least individually, seem to lack the usual scholarly weight, they perhaps more obviously raise the question of appropriateness as an activity for those whose lives are funded by the future repayment obligations of others.

I've come to the opinion that Tweeting, "LinkedIn-ing", and blogging -- along with other forms of online networking -- are exactly what our students are paying us to do.

(Hat Tip: Michael Helfand.)

September 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mounting Debt Makes Law School a Gamble, But Students Continue to Enroll

New York Observer:  Mounting Debt Makes Law School a Gamble But Students Continue to Enroll, by Gary M. Stern:

Law SchoolIt is a risky proposition getting a graduate degree in the humanities these days, what with the prospect of crippling debt and high unemployment rates. But enrolling in a law program is among the riskiest of all.

“Law school is a major gamble,” said Daniel A. Hochheiser, a criminal attorney and managing partner at New York-based Hochheiser & Hochheiser. “It works only for a minute number of students, leaving the majority of students holding the bag, entering a saturated market struggling with debt.”

In 2013, the average public law school graduate carried a debt of $84,600, while graduates of private colleges incurred $122,158 in debt. At the same time, legal firms are cutting back on hiring, causing a glut of attorneys and rising unemployment.

In 2012, only 56.2 percent of all law school graduates found full-time employment in their chosen field, and nearly 28 percent were unemployed or underemployed, according to Law School Transparency, a reform group.

When the end result, it seems, is likely to be high debt and little to no employment, one has to wonder why more wannabe lawyers aren’t screaming “Objection!” before they apply. ...

Oliver Bateman, an assistant professor of law at the University of Texas at Arlington, qualified Mr. Hochheiser’s sentiment, but in far blunter terms. “If you’re not going to be first at a mid-tier or lower-level school,” Mr. Bateman said, “you may as well be last.” ...

Not everyone in the field, however, is quite as negative.

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September 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three Chicago Law Schools Prevail in Fraud Lawsuits Brought by Alumni Over Placement Data

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Law Schools Prevail in Suit Over Job Stats:

Disgruntled alumni from three local law schools cannot claim their schools deceived them in marketing materials containing high employment and salary statistics, the 1st District Appellate Court ruled today in a trio of orders.

For several years, The John Marshall Law School, DePaul University College of Law and IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law each published post-graduation employment rates for their classes above 90 percent.

But that rate included graduates holding a job, not necessarily one requiring the time and expense of earning a law degree.

In one published opinion and two unpublished orders — each written by Justice Mary K. Rochford, each addressing one school — the panel found the former students did not show how the data was deceptive or how the data was the cause of any injuries.

(Hat Tip: Brian Leiter.)

September 30, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Build a Better Law Professor

National Law Journal Special Report, How to Build a Better Law Professor:

Book 2A good legal education offers more than an understanding of case law — it provides students with the real-world skills they need to succeed, an appreciation for the role of attorneys in society and the confidence to pursue their career goals. In this special report, we look at a new book [What the Best Law Professors Do (Harvard University Press, 2013)] that identifies the top law teachers in the country and spotlight how some of those honorees approach teaching.

Patti Alleva (North Dakota)
Rory Bahadur (Washburn)
Cary Bricker (McGeorge)
Roberto Corrada (Denver)
Bridget Crawford (Pace)

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September 29, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Deep Rift Exposed as SUNY-Buffalo Dean Resigns; Faculty Foes Allege Perjury, Mismanagement of Law School

MutuaFollowing up on my previous posts:

Buffalo News, Deep Rift Exposed as UB Law’s Dean Resigns; Faculty Foes Allege Perjury, Mismanagement of School:

Behind the scenes at one of Buffalo’s oldest and most important legal institutions, there is a growing rift, an internal family feud fueled by allegations of perjury against its leader, a near vote of no confidence and an internal review that paints a portrait of a deeply divided institution.

At the center of the storm is Makau Mutua, a Harvard Law graduate, an internationally known human rights activist, and the dean of the University at Buffalo Law School. Mutua suddenly gave up that position Monday in the wake of criticism over his leadership, and he will step down in December to return as a faculty member.

Mutua’s seven years as dean appear to have divided the law school, pitting a man known across the world for human rights activism against many of the school’s most distinguished faculty members.

“It’s very toxic. It’s very sad,” one faculty member said of the environment at the law school. “We have a community that feels alienated by the administration and distanced from the school.”

The dean’s critics, and they are numerous, include some of the school’s most highly regarded faculty members.

They claim Mutua’s management style divided the school at a time of great economic turmoil. Applications and enrollment at UB Law, like at most law schools across the country, are down dramatically, and the school is going through a downsizing of both faculty and students.

Critics say Mutua, who came from within the ranks of the faculty, arrived in the dean’s office with a “divide and rule” philosophy that placed a priority on loyalty and penalized critics while rewarding allies.

But many alumni and donors view his stewardship as a much-needed step forward.

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September 29, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should Law Schools Adopt the Montessori Method?

Emily Grant (Washburn), The Pink Tower Meets the Ivory Tower: Adapting Montessori Teaching Methods for Law School, 66 Ark. L. Rev. ___ (2014):

MontessoriSome principles of teaching are timeless. Maria Montessori developed a methodology for teaching children over 100 years ago, nearly the same time Christopher Columbus Langdell was adapting the Socratic Method for teaching law students. Law school professors can incorporate Montessori’s ideas to foster a more robust educational environment for law students as they join a profession of life-long self-directed learners.

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September 29, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cass Sunstein's Ode to the Independent Bookstore: 'Church, House of Worship, Sacred Place'

Seminary

Chicago Tribune:  A Treasure-Trove Beyond Words, by Cass Sunstein (Harvard):

I joined the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School in 1981. On the day after I moved to Hyde Park, a young English professor told me, in hushed tones, "The best thing about the University of Chicago is the Sem Co-op." He added, as if he were discussing a legendary priest, or a world leader, or perhaps a spy, "It's run by Jack Cella."

Of course I had no idea what a "Sem Co-op" might be, and I had never heard of Jack Cella — and I was properly intimidated by both. A week later, I discovered the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, and I was able to see, at his small desk on the right as you enter the store, the famous Jack Cella.

Hyde Park's Seminary Co-op Bookstore is not merely a bookstore. It is a community. It is a small town. It is a church, a sacred place. The air is cleaner there, and the people are more gracious, and they move more slowly. It is defined by quiet, and by gentleness, and by respect. No one disturbs anyone there. When they talk, they tend to whisper.

A confession: During my first years at the University of Chicago, I was a bit frightened whenever I entered the Seminary Co-op. I met Jack, or sort of met Jack, but I didn't know if he knew my name. When I saw him, I felt painfully shy. You could find the university's legendary professors there — the people who wrote the books that made it onto the celebrated Front Table (more on that in a minute). Wayne Booth might be there, or Marshall Sahlins, or Wendy Doniger, or David Tracy, or William Julius Wilson, or Gary Becker. (Would one say, "hello, Professor Becker"? "Hi there, Gary?" Nothing at all?)

The Seminary Co-op was a magnet. It was analogous to a great city as memorably described by Jane Jacobs: It was full of life-altering surprises, and unknown treasures, and whenever you turned a corner, you never knew what you would see. ...

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September 28, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

September 26, 2014 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nine Law Schools Offer Online Tax LL.M. Degrees

National JuristAccording to the National Jurist and other sources, nine law schools now offer an online Tax LL.M. degree:

September 26, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The U.S. News Law School Rankings and the Rise of Transfer Students

Bruce M. Price (San Francisco) & Sara Star (Miller Starr Regalia, Walnut Creek CA), The Elephant in the Admissions Office: The Influence of U.S. News & World Report on the Rise of Transfer Students in Law Schools and a Modest Proposal for Reform, 49 U.S.F.L. Rev. ___ (2014):

U.S. News (2015)Students who perform well after the first year of law school are increasingly transferring to schools ranked higher by U.S. News to maximize their chances of getting a law firm job immediately following graduation. This phenomena raises two fundamental and understudied issues: how students make the decision to seek to transfer to a higher-ranked and higher-tier law school, and why such law schools are willing to admit transfer students into their second-year class who they were not willing to admit initially. The first issue we explore through interviews with students who transferred as well as those who could have transferred but chose not to. The second issue we explore by highlighting the persuasiveness of U.S. News as a determinant of law school status and the ways in which the magazine has spawned the growth and development of law school competition for transfer students. We conclude that the scale and magnitude of the phenomenon of transfer students is affecting significantly the practices and procedures of all law schools, and that this phenomenon is driven by U.S. News’s failure to account for the LSAT scores and UGPAs of students that both transfer into and out of law schools when determining rankings. We conclude with a modest proposal that the ABA and U.S. News should require law schools to provide the metrics of incoming transfer students and exclude the metrics of departed transfer students.

September 26, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kahng: Tax, Incest, and Big (Gay) Love

Lily Kahng (Seattle), Next Up, Incest (Jotwell) (reviewing Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh), Big (Gay) Love: Has the IRS Legalized Polygamy?, 92 N.C. L. Rev. Addendum ___ (2014)):

Big LoveGay marriage opponents love to fear monger about the slippery slope of extending marriage beyond the legal union between one man and one woman. They prophesy that if we allow marriage between two men or two women, we will descend into a Gomorrah of incest, adultery, polygamy, and animal love. In his essay, Big (Gay) Love: Has the IRS Legalized Polygamy?, Anthony Infanti makes subversive use of this repugnant meme to advance his view that tax results should not depend on marriage in the first place. ...

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September 25, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Nightmare Future of Higher-Ed

Minding the Campus:  A Nightmare Future of Higher-Ed, by Lee Kottner:

A favorite trope of science fiction dystopias is a classroom of students wearing metallic skull caps wired to a blinking, monolithic computer, and staring vacantly into space while the propaganda and “facts” that pass for knowledge and education are downloaded directly into their brains. That scenario may be coming soon to a college campus near you, if in a somewhat more refined manner.

Consider the state of higher education today. Since the late 1970s, the total of poorly paid untenured and contingent faculty has far outstripped the number of tenured faculty on college campuses all over the world and now accounts for roughly 76 % of faculty in U.S. higher education.

The shrinking number of tenured academics has been paralleled by a growing number of very well-paid administration positions, filled by MBAs or Educational Administration doctorates who have spent little or no time in the actual educational trenches. The current corporate administrative pattern emphasizes a profit model of efficiency, cost control, and knowledge delivery, which is fundamentally different from the academic and pedagogical model of knowledge creation, a messy, individualistic but often life-changing process. This new emphasis is evident in the constant rise of tuition (going to grandiose building projects and bloated administrative salaries mirroring the corporate world), increasing demands for the quantification and standardization of instruction, larger class sizes, and the devaluing of educators’ professionalism, expertise, mentoring, innovative pedagogy, and the kind of student-centered, highly personalized learning opportunities I had at my small liberal arts college in the 1980s.

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September 25, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Former AALS President: Thomas Jefferson Is 'The Canary in the Coal Mine of Legal Education,' Expects Six Law Schools to Close

Chronicle of Higher Education, As Law School Struggles to Stay Open, Some See ‘a Canary in the Coal Mine’:

Much has been written about the sky-high debts facing law-school graduates, who face difficult odds in landing jobs that will help pay off their loans. But students at Thomas Jefferson School of Law are among the first who are contemplating the possibility of a get-out-of-debt-free card that no one’s eager to cash in. 

It would apply only if the law school, which is struggling to restructure a $133-million debt, were to close—a prospect the private, stand-alone school in downtown San Diego is determined to avert. After failing to make a June payment, the school was given a reprieve until October 17 but ordered to pay an additional $2-million.  ...

The number of applicants to law schools accredited by the American Bar Association plummeted 45 percent from 2004 to 2014, according to preliminary figures released by the association. By 2013, first-year enrollment had slid about 18 percent, a devastating decline for schools, like Thomas Jefferson, that depend heavily on tuition.

CHE 2
 

As Thomas Jefferson struggles to remain afloat, Michael A. Olivas, a former president of the Association of American Law Schools, suggested it may be "a canary in the coal mine of legal education." The nation has too many law schools, said Mr. Olivas, who is also a professor of law at the University of Houston, and he expects some will close in the next several years. "I believe there will be, in all likelihood, about a half-dozen schools that are on anybody’s watch list," he said.

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September 25, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

U.S. News Jobs Rankings: Lawyers #51 (Down From #33 Last Year)

Best Jobs 2U.S. News & World Report, The 100 Best Jobs:

All jobs aren’t created equal. In fact, some are simply better than the rest. U.S. News 100 Best Jobs of 2014 offer a mosaic of employment opportunity, good salary, manageable work-life balance and job security. Some careers offer just the right mix of these components – for instance, nearly 40 percent of our picks are health care jobs – but the list also includes strong showings from occupations in the social services and business sectors. And for the first time, our No. 1 pick is a technology job. Read more on how we rank the best jobs, and check out our complete list.

Best Jobs 451.  Lawyer (details here).  Consider this: 25 of our U.S. presidents have been lawyers. So it almost goes without saying that working in law holds a particular draw for us Americans. There will be the need for about 74,800 more professionals with Juris Doctor degrees by the year 2022.

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September 25, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

ABA Announces Plan to Implement New Law School Accreditation Standards

ABA Logo 2ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar Standards Review Committee, Implementation of New Standards and Rules for Approval of Law Schools:

At its meeting on Monday, August 11, 2014, in Boston, the ABA House of Delegates concurred in all of the proposed new Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools with the exception of Interpretation 305-2. The Interpretation, which prohibits law schools from granting credit for field placement programs for which the student receives compensation, was referred back to the Council after the House heard strong testimony for and against the provision. Because the revised Standards proposed to continue the existing rule on this matter, the existing rule remains in place, pending further review by the Council.

In accordance with the Rules of Procedure, a decision by the Council to adopt, review, amend or repeal the Standards, Interpretations or Rules is subject to a maximum of two referrals back to the Council by the House. If the House refers a Council decision back to the Council twice, then the decision of the Council following the second referral will be final and will not be subject to further review by the House.

The revised Standards and Rules are legally effective as of the end of the ABA Annual Meeting on August 12, 2014. However, cognizant that law schools will need time to do the work that some of the changed Standards will require, the Council and the Section have established a transition and implementation plan. The revised Rules do not require a delay for implementation and are effective immediately.

September 25, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How Appealing Partners With Above the Law

HAATLHoward Bashman’s wonderful appellate litigation blog, How Appealing, is partnering with Breaking Media's Above the Law, effective October 1, 2014.  For details of the arrangement, see:

Howard does not reveal the traffic numbers for How Appealing, but reports that Above the Law receives "7 million page views per month from over 1.1 million visitors."

(Hat Tip: Greg McNeal.)

September 24, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

College Rankings by Billionaire Alumni

One BillionWEALTH-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014:

Of the top 20 most popular schools for billionaires – in terms of the number of billionaires who have obtained their bachelor’s degree at these institutions – 16 were in the United States.

Rank

School

No. of Billionaires

1

Penn

25

2

Harvard

22

3

Yale

20

4

USC

16

5

Cornell

14

5

Princeton

14

5

Stanford

14

8

UC-Berkeley

12

8

Mumbai

12

10

London School of Econ.

11

10

Moscow State U.

11

12

Dartmouth

10

12

Michigan

10

12

Texas

10

15

Duke

9

15

NYU

9

17

Brown

8

17

Columbia

8

19

MIT

7

20

ETH Zurich

6

September 24, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Dramatic Employment Gains at 19 Law Schools

National JuristNational Jurist (Sept/Oct 2014):  Employment Turnarounds: Despite a Tepid Job Market, Some Schools Have Made Dramatic Improvements in the Number of Graduates Finding Jobs:

While the nationwide employment rate for recent graduates has been largely flat during the past few years, some schools have bucked the trend and significantly improved their employment rates. Nineteen law schools improved their employment rate by 10% or more during the past two years, according to a formula created by The National Jurist ... using data from the ABA. ... The National Jurist calculates its employment rate using a formula that tracks full-time bar passage required employment at 100%, full-time-JD preferred employment at 70%, and ten other categories at percents from 60% to as low as 10% for non-professional, full-time positions.

Chart 2

September 24, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SUNY-Buffalo Law School Dean Resigns Amidst Perjury Allegations in Lawsuit by Former Professor

Buffalo Art Voice, UB Law School Dean to Step Down Amid Charges of Perjury:

MutuaMakau Mutua will be stepping down as Dean of UB’s Law School effective December 19. He’ll then return to the law school faculty as SUNY Distinguished Professor and Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar. ...

Mutua was educated at the University of Nairobi, the University of Dar-es-Salaam and Harvard Law School. But the statement from UB doesn’t mention anything that was reported last month in The Star newspaper based in Nairobi, Kenya.

From The Star:

A Kenyan law professor based in US has been accused of committing perjury in an American court, his co-accused now wants the cases separated.

Makau Mutua, a human and civil rights activist, has been accused of lying in court. He is sued for allegedly irregularly laying off Jeffrey Malkan, a lecturer at Buffalo Law School where Mutua is a Dean. [Malkan was the former director of the law school’s Legal Research and Writing program.]

Evidence against Mutua is said to include sworn deposition testimony and sworn affidavits from seven tenured faculty members.

How embarrassing to all us local media outlets that this hometown story was broken over a month ago by a paper in Nairobi.

More details here and here.  The University's press release and other local and national press reports do not mention the lawsuit.

September 23, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tax Prof Wedding: Victoria Haneman

Tax Prof Victoria Haneman (Concordia) married Jeff Stone yesterday.  Victoria reports:

Jeff and I moved to Idaho at the end of May 2014. We wanted to get married before the end of the tax year, and we also wanted to be married in our new home state. We did not, however, want to trouble our friends and family with having to fly all the way to Idaho to attend a ceremony. Jeff and I were married this afternoon by Idaho Supreme Court Justice Joel Horton, in a small private ceremony performed at the Court.  

Victoria Haneman

And to top things off, today is Victoria's birthday!

September 23, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Scholars Critique Validity of Student Evaluations: 'Consumer Satisfaction' ≠ 'Product Value'

Chronicle of Higher Education, Scholars Take Aim at Student Evaluations’ ‘Air of Objectivity’:

Student EvaluationsStudent course evaluations are often misused statistically and shed little light on the quality of teaching, two scholars at the University of California at Berkeley argue in the draft of a new paper.

"We’re confusing consumer satisfaction with product value," Philip B. Stark, a professor of statistics at Berkeley, said in an interview.

An Evaluation of Course Evaluations, which he wrote with Richard Freishtat, senior consultant at Berkeley’s Center for Teaching and Learning, lays out a mathematical critique of the evaluations and describes an alternative vision for analyzing and improving teaching.

Even though evaluations have become ubiquitous in academe, they remain controversial because they often assume a high-stakes role in determining tenure and promotion. But they persist because they are easy to produce, administer, and tabulate, Mr. Stark said. And because they are based on Likert scales whose results can be added and averaged, he said, they offer the comfort of a number. But it is a false kind of security. "Averages of numerical student ratings have an air of objectivity," the authors write, "simply because they are numerical."

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September 22, 2014 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)

$700 Million in New Buildings at Five Law Schools

Nat'l Law Journal, Law Schools Continue to Build Out
NY Law Journal, Fordham Celebrates New Law School

September 22, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Enrollments Decline at 8 of 9 Ohio Law Schools

The Blade, UT Law School Enrollment Decline Worst in Ohio as Slump Spooks Students:

OhioAs law school enrollment continues a four-year slide locally and across the country, Toledo attorney Randall Dixon didn’t have any trouble coming up with a topic for his first column as president of the Toledo Bar Association. “Don’t let your babies grow up to be lawyers” went the headline on a piece that posed the question, “What do you tell people about pursuing a career in law?” ...

Last week, the University of Toledo, whose law school took the biggest hit in the state this year with a 25.9 percent decline in first-year law students, announced a 13 percent reduction in tuition in an attempt to reverse the trend.

UT law school Dean Daniel J. Steinbock said he believes tuition costs, the resulting debt, and the less-than-promising job market for new lawyers have combined to create an overall decline in people interested in law school. ... Mr. Steinbock dismissed the idea that UT’s ranking as No. 140 in U.S. News and World Report’s annual law school ratings for 2014 played a part in its declining enrollment. ...

All nine of Ohio’s law schools have seen applications and enrollment drop since law school enrollments peaked in 2010.

Ohio

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September 21, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Harvard Law School Debate: Save the World by Working in BigLaw?

HarvardThe Harvard Law Record: Want to Save the World? Do BigLaw!, by Bill Barlow:

For people systematically chosen for being able to root out and analyze the rationality of arguments, lawyers are pitifully bad at being reasonable. Let us look, for instance, at the current theories about what to do with your law degree. ...

If you really want to do good by law, consider becoming a corporate lawyer, making a lot of money, and donating a substantial sum to charity. This is by far the greatest utility maximizing option you have. Let’s consider the following different scenarios:

Chart

So there you have it—be a corporate lawyer, donate 25% of your post tax income to charity, and save 150 lives a year, or deworm 25,000 kids.  Alternatively, go into Public Interest, Government, or Academia, and feel warm and fuzzy about yourself.  Sadly, when people at this school talk about public service, they mean the latter, rather than the former.  If only people applied the same amount of cognitive skill used in just one LSAT logic game to the most critical question of what to do with their law degree, hundreds of lives could be saved.

Harvard Law Record:  In Response to “Want to Save the World? Do BigLaw!”, by Sima Atri:

I am not responding to this article because I think the arguments merit the time and energy I will spend writing this up. I am writing because I want students, but most especially ILs, to know that there are incredibly critical, thoughtful, committed, intelligent people at Harvard Law School who have made the choice not to go into corporate law for very important reasons.

Yes, it is true that some students are going into non-corporate work for self-interested reasons. I know I love my work and being engaged with causes I care about makes me happier. This does not reduce or demean the impact of the work I am involved in. For those who have all the choices of employment at their fingertips, we should all graduate into employments we love. With all the choices in the world, I also hope we’ll choose well – taking seriously the power society has handed us because of our degrees and profession.

However, even where my work gives me meaning, the emotions I feel while engaging with the world are far from the “warm and fuzzies” the author assumes adequately compensate me (an equally qualified, intelligent, hardworking classmates) for my work. In fact, in my opinion, when you work with marginalized communities, you are reminded every day how unjust and unfair and disempowering our system is. This does not make me feel warm and fuzzy, but rather pretty angry and upset. Through critical engagement with big societal problems, I find that I’ve found communities of people working through effective and empowering strategies that give me moments of hope. But deep down, I realize that the systems that currently exist are set up to marginalize certain populations and to maintain the status quo for those of us who have made it. Not warm and fuzzy realizations.

The article entitled Want to Save the World – Go into Big Law is self-aggrandizing at its best and naïve and unrealistic at worst. Because, I can bet that almost no one going into corporate law next year is donating 30% of their post-tax income to charity. Because, even if they did, charity is not going to deal with the inequality and marginalization that is deeply structural and complex. ...

If you disagree with the way I’ve chosen to do my work, engage with me, and your other classmates. I love to talk about strategies to confront our unequal society and can readily speak to the trade-offs I’ve chosen to make by not making hundreds of thousands of dollars. All I ask is that you are equally honest with yourself, and that you engage with me with respect.

Harvard Law Record:  Fellow Law Students, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, by Michael Shammas:

Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was thinking of death and old age when he wrote his famous refrain: “Do not go gentle into that good night … Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Yet this line is applicable to many twenty-something students here at Harvard Law School. Because, quite frankly, a lot of us are, well, dying. ...

Resist the tide. Leave law school not as an attorney, but rather as a human being who happens to be an attorney. Graduate as a more interesting person than you were when you first started your Harvard Law application. It is easy to become complacent and to follow the tide, but too much of value is lost if you surrender to law school’s various conforming pressures. If you wish to judge real people in the future, if you wish to help real people, then you must be a real person—not a mechanical legal automaton.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

September 20, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

S&P Lowers Thomas Jefferson Law School's Junk Bond Rating to CC (3 Notches Lower Than Venezuela's); Default Is Expected

Following up on Wednesday's post, Thomas Jefferson Law School Defaults on $133m of Junk Bonds, Hopes to Restructure Debt and Remain Open:  Standard & Poor's, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, CA Rating Lowered To 'CC' From 'B+', On Watch Neg; Failure To Make Loan Payments Cited:

Thomas Jefferson Logo Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its long-term rating to 'CC' ["default imminent with little prospect for recovery"] from 'B+' [highly speculative"] on the California Statewide Communities Development Authority's series 2008A tax-exempt revenue bonds and series 2008B taxable revenue bonds issued for Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL). At the same time, Standard & Poor's placed the rating on CreditWatch with negative implications.

"The rating action reflects our view of TJSL's failure to make payments in full to the trustee of its June 26 loan payment, which secures the series 2008 bonds, and our anticipation that it will not make its Sept. 26 loan payment in full either," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Carlotta Mills. We understand the school has made partial payments toward debt service, though we were unable to confirm from the trustee or the school if the debt service reserve has been drawn upon to pay bondholders.

"The CreditWatch designation reflects our understanding that the school has had multiple forbearance agreements with its bondholders and that it is working toward a restructuring of the debt, due to be in place by Oct. 17," continued Ms. Mills. We expect that the bonds will default once the restructuring is completed.

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September 20, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Details Emerge in Murder of Dan Markel

Markel[Continually Updated]  More details are emerging in the July 18 murder of Dan Markel, D’Alemberte Professor of Law at Florida State and founder of PrawfsBlawg, as the result of a shooting in his home:

I have collected links to the many tributes to Dan here.

Dan Markel Memorial Fund To Benefit His Sons, Benjamin Amichai Markel and Lincoln Jonah Markel:

Markel

September 20, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

September 19, 2014 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

St. Thomas Hosts Conference Today on Religious Identity in a Time of Challenge for Law Schools

RALThe University of St. Thomas School of Law hosts the annual Religiously Affiliated Law Schools Conference on Religious Identity in a Time of Challenge for Law Schools today in Minneapolis:

  • Keynote Address:  Robert Cochran (Pepperdine) & David VanDrunen (Westminster Seminary), Justice and Mercy
  • Deans' Panel: Jeff Brauch (Regent), Mike Simons (St. John's), Deanell Tacha (Pepperdine), Robert Vischer (Dean, St. Thomas)
  • Employment & Student Well-Being:  Judith McMorrow (Boston College), Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Jerry Organ (St. Thomas), Amy Uelman (Georgetown)
  • Faculty Scholarship:  John Breen (Loyola-Chicago), Howard Lesnick (Penn), Nekima Levy-Pounds (St. Thomas), Brett Scharffs (BYU)
  • The Changing World: Pope Francis and Religious Freedom:  Janet Epps-Buckingham (Trinity Western), Susan Stabile (St. Thomas), Michael Scaperlanda (Oklahoma) 

September 19, 2014 in Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Georgia Dean Finalists