TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Students Who Handwrite Notes Get Better Grades Than Students Who Type Notes On Laptops

Laptop BanFollowing up on my previous post, Princeton/UCLA Study: It Is Time To Ban Laptops In Law School Classrooms:  Wall Street Journal, Can Handwriting Make You Smarter?:

Laptops and organizer apps make pen and paper seem antique, but handwriting appears to focus classroom attention and boost learning in a way that typing notes on a keyboard does not, new studies suggest.

Students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes via computer, researchers at Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles found. Compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques.

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April 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

University Of California To Provide $4.5 Million Annually To Berkeley, Davis, Irvine & UCLA Law Schools For 424 Summer ($4,500) & 58 Post-Graduate ($47,500) Public Interest Fellowships

University of California (2015)Press Release, UC President Announces Public Service Law Fellowships:

Pursuing public service just got a lot easier for University of California law school students.

UC President Janet Napolitano today (April 13) announced a first-of-its-kind fellowship program to help UC law school students pursue careers in public interest law.

The President’s Public Service Law Fellowship program will award $4.5 million annually to promising law students at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine and UCLA. The funding will make postgraduate work and summer positions more accessible for students who want to pursue public interest legal careers but might otherwise – out of financial need – seek private sector jobs. ...

The postgraduate fellowships will provide $45,000 for graduates entering public service, plus an additional $2,500 to help defray bar-related costs. The summer fellowships provide each fellow between $4,000 to $4,500 to subsidize summer public interest law jobs.

In all, the program is expected to provide 424 summer fellowships and 58 postgraduate fellowships for students at the four top-tier law schools....

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April 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

To Close $150 Million Deficit, UC-Berkeley To Eliminate 500 Staff, 0 Faculty Jobs

UC-Berkeley (University)San Francisco Chronicle, UC Berkeley to Eliminate 500 Staff Jobs:

Financially troubled UC Berkeley will eliminate 500 staff jobs over two years to help balance its budget by 2019-20, The Chronicle has learned. Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent a memo to employees Monday informing them of the job reductions and said they will amount to “a modest reduction of 6 percent of our staff workforce.”

Berkeley employs about 8,500 staffers, from custodians to administrators. Faculty members will not be affected. ...

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April 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Narcissistic Professors Give Higher Grades To Narcissistic Students

NarcInside Higher Ed, New Study Suggests That Narcissistic Business Students Thrive Under Narcissistic Professors:

Much has been written about the effects of toxic leaders in business, but a new study suggests that toxic business professors -- specifically narcissists -- wreak havoc in the classroom, at least for their more modest students. More narcissistic students, meanwhile, may benefit from having similarly self-obsessed instructors. The study’s authors argue that their findings have implications for instruction as a new generation of graduates seeks jobs in industry. [Faculty Narcissism and Student Outcomes in Business and Higher Education: A Student-Faculty Fit Analysis]

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April 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Utah Law Dean Runs 100-Mile Race For 100% Bar Passage/100% Professional Employment Program

100%Following up on my previous posts:

National Law Journal, Utah Law Dean Runs 100-Mile Race for 100% Bar-Pass Program:

More than 11 hours into his bid to complete a 100-mile ultramarathon on Friday, the rain began falling on Robert Adler, dean of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. The weather worsened as night fell, leaving Adler, 60, and his fellow runners in the Zion 100 Ultramarathon slogging through an increasingly muddy trail in the dark.

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April 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

UC-Berkeley Sex Harassment Scandal Exposes 'Double Standard' Over Professor Protections

UC-Berkeley (University)Following up on my previous posts:

San Jose Mercury-News, UC Berkeley Sex Harassment Scandal Exposes 'Double Standard' Over Professor Protections:

Along with the embarrassing revelations, UC Berkeley's sexual harassment scandal has exposed what a growing chorus of critics call a double standard: While university staffers were routinely fired or forced to resign, tenured faculty members who committed similar transgressions received lighter sanctions and were allowed to keep their jobs.

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April 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Are Financially Desperate Law Schools Using A ‘Reverse Robin Hood Scheme’ To Stay Afloat By Exploiting Poor And Minority Students?

Robin Hood 2Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Are Financially Desperate Law Schools Using a ‘Reverse Robin Hood Scheme’ to Stay Afloat?, by Aaron Taylor (St. Louis; Director, Law School Survey of Student Engagement):

Plummeting law-school enrollments across the country have made seats in entering classes more accessible than at any time in recent memory. That can be both good news and bad news for black and Latino students aspiring to practice law.

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April 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Making Better Use Of The First And Last Five Minutes Of Class

SmallJames Lang (Professor of English and Director of Center for Teaching Excellence, Assumption College; ), Small Changes in Teaching (March 2016):

The First Five Minutes of Class:

The opening five minutes offer us a rich opportunity to capture the attention of students and prepare them for learning. They walk into our classes trailing all of the distractions of their complex lives — the many wonders of their smartphones, the arguments with roommates, the question of what to have for lunch. Their bodies may be stuck in a room with us for the required time period, but their minds may be somewhere else entirely.

It seems clear, then, that we should start class with a deliberate effort to bring students’ focus to the subject at hand. Unfortunately, based on my many observations of faculty members in action, the first five minutes of a college class often get frittered away with logistical task. ...

I offer four quick suggestions for the first few minutes of class to focus the attention of students and prepare their brains for learning.

  1. Open with a question or two. ...
  2. What did we learn last time? ...
  3. Reactivate what they learned in previous courses. ...
  4. Write it down. ... Let a writing exercise help you bring focus and engagement to the opening of every class session. Build it into your routine. Class has begun: time to write, time to think.

In writing, as in learning, openings matter. Don’t fritter them away.

The Last Five Minutes of Class:

In my experience — having observed many dozens of college courses over the past two decades — most faculty members eye the final minutes of class as an opportunity to cram in eight more points before students exit, or to say three more things that just occurred to us about the day’s material, or to call out as many reminders as possible about upcoming deadlines, next week’s exam, or tomorrow’s homework.

At the same time, we complain when students start to pack their bags before class ends. But why should we be surprised by that reaction when our class slides messily to a conclusion? We’re still trying to teach while students’ minds — and sometimes their bodies — are headed out the door. We make little or no effort to put a clear stamp on the final minutes of class, which leads to students eyeing the clock and leaving according to the dictates of the minute hand rather than the logic of the class period. ... [L]et us turn to better ways we can make better use of the final five minutes in class.

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April 12, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 11, 2016

2015-16 College Faculty Salaries

Top Private University Faculty Salaries for Full Professors, 2015-16 (Average)

1. Columbia University $236,300
2. University of Chicago $232,400
3. Stanford University $229,600
4. Harvard University $220,200
5. Princeton University $215,900
6. New York University $205,600
7. Yale University $203,500
8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology $202,600
9. University of Pennsylvania $202,000
10. Johns Hopkins University $200,900

Top Public University Faculty Salaries for Full Professors, 2015-16 (Average)

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April 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Should Law Schools Give Summer Grants To Faculty For Teaching Projects As Well As For Research?

Summer GrantsMost law schools offer summer research grants.  The latest Society of American Law Teachers survey reports summer research grant awards at 82 law schools (41% of all law schools), ranging from $3,000 at Gonzaga (ranked #132 in U.S. News) to $27,500 at Georgia (#33).  Only one of the Top 25 law schools (Iowa) responded to the SALT survey, and anecdotal evidence suggests that summer research grants are much higher at those schools, often 2/9 of salary. The Best Practices for Legal Education blog "suggests that in addition to research grants, schools consider summer teaching innovation grants":

At Georgia State, like at many schools, our dean has encouraged us to integrate experiential learning throughout the curriculum.  And, he has put his money where his mouth is.

Faculty can compete for  summer teaching innovation grants which are funded at the same level as research grants. Both junior and senior faculty members have taken advantage of the summer grant  opportunities to either revamp existing courses or create new ones.

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April 11, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Washington Post:  Law Professors Say Posting ‘All Lives Matter’ Flier Was ‘Incident Of Intolerance'

AUALMFollowing up on my previous posts:

Washington Post, Law School Professors Say Posting ‘All Lives Matter’ Flier Was an ‘Incident of Intolerance’:

Earlier this month, someone left a hand-written flier on the door of a faculty member’s office at American University’s Washington College of Law that read, “All Lives Matter.” It didn’t go unnoticed.

That phrase — to some, code language for a racist rejection of an important cultural wake-up call, for others, an idealistic appeal for a simple, more universal truth — set off a series of reactions.

A large group of faculty were offended, saying the phrase was used by white supremacists. Students held a community forum.

And a couple of professors on a national civil-rights commission asked the dean, incredulously, “What is wrong with your faculty and staff members?”

The variety of responses, and their intensity, illustrated how fraught the topic of race is on campuses across the country, how divisive, and how alert people are to differences. ...

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April 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (16)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 10, 2016

2016 Religious Law School Rankings

Firm in the Faith (pre-Law Magazine, Spring 2016):

As gay marriage and other cultural changes sweep the nation, the most devout law schools seek to hold onto their core beliefs.

Religious Law Schools

2014 Religious Law School Rankings:

We compiled a ranking based on the following: percentage and activity of students who belong to the faith; percentage and activity of faculty who belong to the faith; number of religion-focused courses and other ways the school incorporates the faith into the curricula; religion-based journals, centers and clinics; religious services and clergy at the law school; mission of the law school.

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April 10, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Why Universities Hire Co-Deans To Lead Their Law Schools

DeanFollowing up on my coverage of the five law schools who have or have had co-deans (Case Western, LSU, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rutgers):  Inside Higher Ed, Why Universities Hire Two Deans to Lead Their Law Schools:

At first, it was a short-term solution: the law school needed a new dean, and Michael Scharf and Jessica Berg would fill the role together. ...

They started as acting deans, an appointment that could have lasted only weeks or months. Two years later, their titles became permanent. “We came to the conclusion that neither one of us would want to do this solo,” Scharf said. “The provost came around to that line of thinking as well.”

It’s how most co-deanships start: special circumstances, the need to fill an opening immediately, and the belief that the appointment will only be temporary.

But now, more law schools are starting to see the benefits -- beyond short-term logistical convenience -- of having two people fill the role. ...

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April 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Marquette To Fire Tenured Professor For Blogging Unless He Apologizes

McAdamsFollowing up on my previous posts:

Wall Street Journal editorial, Punished for Blogging at Marquette: A Tenured Professor Faces Dismissal After a Blog Went Viral:

Blogging can be dangerous to your livelihood—or at least it can at Marquette University, where a professor may lose his job for expressing the wrong political views.

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April 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (21)

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Most Diverse Law Schools

DiverseFollowing up on my previous posts on two new papers by J.T. Manhire (Texas A&M):

Kevin R. Johnson (Dean, UC-Davis), Measuring Law School Excellence: Diversity Among Law Students, 101 Iowa L. Rev. Online 50 (2015):

Professor J.T. Manhire constructively offers measures of a variety of kinds of diversity among law students that might be worthy of U.S. News consideration. He appears to accept as a starting premise the continued use of the “diversity index” that U.S. News publishes as a supplement to the annual rankings of law schools. As Professor Manhire summarizes his position, “[t]he U.S. News index assumes race/ethnicity to be the sole indicator of diversity. This Essay disagrees and proposes an expansion of a law school diversity index by incorporating, at a minimum, indicators organized across three categories that cause cognitive diversity: identity, experience, and training.” He proposes to improve the index by measuring diversity beyond simply the race and ethnicity of the student body. Professor Manhire ultimately hopes to address the question, “[h]ow do law schools know how diverse their student bodies are?”

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April 8, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

John Marshall Law School Dean's Email Account Hacked, Confidential Internal Report Taken

John Marshall (Atlanta) (2016)Daily Report, Suit: John Marshall Law Dean's Email Account Hacked for Confidential Report:

A lawsuit filed last week said a hacker targeted the email of Malcolm Morris, dean of Atlanta's John Marshall Law School and circulated the contents of a confidential report dealing with a "shouting match" between an associate and assistant dean that erupted last year.

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

Harrison:  A Pervasive Sense Of Faculty Entitlement

Jeff Harrison (Florida), A Pervasive Sense of Entitlement: Tom Waits:

A sense of entitlement comes up quite often on this blog and, actually, in some of my writings. I think what is at the core of a sense of entitlement is a feeling you are an end and not a means. When that is combined with being successful at getting what you want just by demanding it,  the formula is complete.

It happens in legal scholarship where 8000, $30,000 each articles are written each year  without much though going to into what different it makes. In a way you may think this is hypocritical for law profs but it is not. In real life they do not actually care if any of it makes a difference as long as it gets their name out there.

Faculty at law schools have an Everest sized sense of entitlement when it  comes to teaching.

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April 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Deryck van Rensburg (President Of Global Ventures, Coca-Cola) Named Dean Of Pepperdine B-School

Pepperdine 4Press Release:

Deryck J. van Rensburg has been named dean of the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. The former president of global ventures at The Coca-Cola Company will begin his responsibilities at the Graziadio Business School on November 1, 2016.

“After a careful search, with thoughtful faculty engagement throughout, I believe we have found just the right leader for this next chapter in the history of the Graziadio School of Business and Management,” says Pepperdine University president Andrew K. Benton. “In Deryck van Rensburg we have found an experienced, global strategic leader for our future. We welcome Dr. van Rensburg and his family to the Pepperdine community with great anticipation.”

Van Rensburg brings to Pepperdine 32 years of international business experience in leadership roles with The Coca-Cola Company, and formerly with Unilever PLC, where he held roles in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, Greece, Romania, Belgium, and South Africa.

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April 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

As LSAT & MBE Scores Fall, 1L Enrollment Needs To Fall To 25,000 (From 35,500 in 2015)

LSATMBETaxProf Blog op-ed:  As LSAT and MBE Scores Fall, 1L Enrollment Needs To Fall To 25,000 (From 35,500), by David Barnhizer (Cleveland State):

I couldn’t stop looking at the numbers in the recently posted depiction of the severe decline in Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) results. The post included a chart showing the matriculation data for law school First-Year enrollments in the 2010—2015 period.  In what will be a brief discussion I want to discuss the information provided in the chart.  It is broken out according to range of LSAT scores (165 and above, 160-164, 155-159, 150-154, and below 150).

LSAT               2010     % of Enrollment   2015     % of Enrollment   Change
165 +:             9500               19.0%         5600               15.7%          --3900
160-164:      10,700               21.4%         5800               16.3%          --4900
155-159:      11,600               23.2%         7800               21.9%          --3800
150-154:      10,600               21.2%         7800               21.9%          --2800
Below 150:    7,000               14.0%         8500               24.0%          +1500
First Year Enrollment 2010: 49,900     First Year Enrollment 2015: 35,500

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April 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Law Firms Increasingly Use 'Moneyball' Analytics In Lateral Partner Hiring

MoneyballThe American Lawyer, How to Hire a Home-Run Lateral? Look at Their Stats:

Recruiting lateral partners is starting to look more like scouting for Major League Baseball.

Law firms are beginning to use statistical analysis similar to the "sabermetrics" methods used to evaluate ballplayers and made famous by the book and film "Moneyball." Using performance-oriented data, firms try to create profiles of the types of lawyers they need to hire to help boost profits, then search for candidates who fit the profile. They may also use the tools to estimate whether a certain candidate would help the firm's bottom line. More than 20 percent of Am Law 200 firms are starting to use these techniques, according to recruiters and software providers.

There's certainly room for improvement in the hiring process. An ALM Legal Intelligence lateral hiring report with Group Dewey Consulting released last fall found that 30 percent of lateral partners returned less than 30 percent of their expected book of business.

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April 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Student Estate Planning/Estate & Gift Tax Writing Competitions

ACTECThe Legal Education Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), 2016 Law Student Writing Competition:

This competition is open to any law student in good standing (full-time or part-time) who is currently or recently enrolled at the time of submission or during the 90-day period prior to submission as a J.D. or LL.M. candidate in an ABA-accredited law school within the United States or its possessions.

ABA RPP&T (2016)ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, 2016 Law Student Writing Contest:

Open to any law school student in good standing, over the age of 18, who is currently attending an ABA-accredited law school within the United States and its possessions, and who is a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States.

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April 7, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pepperdine Law School Annual Academic Advising Fair

Pepperdine 1Ls swarmed my colleagues to learn more about their 2L/3L courses at our annual academic advising fair held over the lunch hour yesterday:

Fair 1

Sadly, there was a bit less interest in my corner of the curriculum:

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April 6, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

George Mason Renames Antonin Scalia Law School To Avoid Awkward Acronym 'ASSLaw'

Gender Disparities At Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School Logo (2014)Harvard Law School Record, Gender Disparities at HLS:

Starting in the spring semester, 1Ls are inundated with offers of lunch panels and coffee chat invitations from the two-year student organizations on campus. Membership to the Harvard Law Review, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and the Board of Student Advisors is highly selective and the organizations are frequently viewed as “honor societies” within the HLS community, making them approximate measures of normative law school success. The Shatter the Ceiling Committee of the Women’s Law Association analyzed the number of men and women in each of these organizations to see whether male and female students are gaining membership to these organizations at equal rates.

Of the three student groups examined, both the Harvard Law Review (“HLR”) and the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (“HLAB”) had statistically significant deviations from the expected gender breakdown, based on the total number of male and female students in the classes of 2016 and 2017. Interestingly, the gender disparities skewed in different directions. For the classes of 2016 and 2017, HLAB had significantly more women than would be expected (c2 = 6.933, P = 0.008), with 68% women and 32% men, while HLR had significantly more men (c2 = 6.721, P = 0.01), with 35.87% women and 64.13% men. There was not a statistically significant difference in membership to the Board of Student Advisors (BSA), which had 58.14% women and 41.86% men.

Capture

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April 6, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

AALS YouTube Channel On Law Teaching

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Lawyer Employment Growth Slowed in 2015, Incomes Flat

Matt Leichter, Wage-and-Salary Lawyer Employment Slows in 2015, Incomes Flat:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) usually completes its updates of its many measures of occupational employment for the previous year by April. Data for 2015 are now available, allowing a comprehensive summary of lawyer employment for the year. For detailed discussion of what the BLS datasets are and how they address lawyer employment, I recommend the lawyer overproduction page [updated!].

Leichter

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April 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

2016 Meta-Ranking Of Flagship U.S. Law Reviews

Bryce Clayton Newell (Tilburg University), 2016 Meta-Ranking of Flagship US Law Reviews:

I decided to create a meta-ranking of the possible contenders for gauging the relative importance of journals and offers: US News Overall Ranking (averaged from 2010-2017), US News Peer Reputation Ranking (also averaged from 2010-2017), W&L Combined Ranking (at default weighting; 2007-2014), and Google Scholar Metrics law journal rankings (averaging the h-index and h-median of each journal, as proposed here by Robert Anderson). I've ranked each journal within each ranking system, averaged these four ranks using a 25% weighting for each, and computed and ranked the final scores. I think this approach benefits from incorporating a couple different forms of impact evaluation (W&L + Google) while not disregarding the general sentiment that law school “prestige” (USN combined rank + peer reputation rank, each averaged over an 8-year period) is an important factor in law review placement decisions.

Here are the Top 25:

MetaRank

Journal

Change from USN Rank

MetaScore

Avg. USN Peer Rank

Avg. USN Overall Rank

W&L Rank

Google Rank

1

Harvard Law Review

1

1.5

1

2

2

1

2

The Yale Law Journal

-1

1.75

1

1

3

2

3

Stanford Law Review

0

2.75

3

3

1

4

4

Columbia Law Review

0

3.75

4

4

4

3

5

University of Pennsylvania Law Review

2

6.5

9

7

5

5

6

Michigan Law Review

4

8

8

10

8

6

7

California Law Review

1

9

7

8

12

9

8

New York University Law Review

-2

9.25

6

6

14

11

8

Virginia Law Review

1

9.25

9

9

9

10

10

The Georgetown Law Journal

4

9.75

13

14

6

6

11

Texas Law Review

4

12

15

15

10

8

12

University of Chicago L. Rev.

-7

12.75

5

5

25

16

12

Duke Law Journal

-1

12.75

11

11

16

13

14

Cornell Law Review

-1

13.25

12

13

15

13

15

UCLA Law Review

1

13.5

16

16

7

15

16

Northwestern University Law Review

-4

15.25

14

12

13

22

17

Minnesota Law Review

3

15.75

20

20

11

12

18

Vanderbilt Law Review

-1

17.5

17

17

20

16

19

Notre Dame Law Review

4

21.75

27

23

19

18

20

Iowa Law Review

5

22.5

27

25

18

20

21

Boston University Law Review

3

24.25

25

24

22

26

22

William and Mary Law Review

8

25.5

32

30

21

19

23

The George Washington L. Rev.

-2

26

23

21

29

31

23

North Carolina Law Review

11

26

21

34

28

21

25

Southern California Law Review

-7

26.5

19

18

32

37

26

Boston College Law Review

5

27.25

29

31

23

26

The big movers here (in this ranking versus the average US News Overall Rank from 2010-2017) seem to be (but there are quite a few others who moved around):

  • New York Law School moved up a whopping 38 places (to #99);
  • Vermont moved up 31 places (to #91);
  • UC Irvine dropped 30 places (to #59);
  • Akron moved up 28 places (to #99);
  • Albany moved up 27 places (to #96).

Journals like Fordham (#26, up 10 places), Hastings (#36, up 12 places), Cardozo (#42, up 18 places), American (#46, up 11 places), and Lewis and Clark (#53, up 23 places) that have been frequently referred to in Angsting Thread comments as “hitting above their weight” all also improved at least 10 places (as did Missouri, Connecticut, Denver, Brooklyn, Chicago-Kent, Seattle, Oregon, Buffalo, Santa Clara, Indy, DePaul, South Carolina, St. Louis, Hofstra, Marquette, and Howard). Other journals dropping 10 or more places include: Arkansas-Fay., Kentucky, Georgia State, Temple, SMU, Arizona State, Georgia, and Alabama.

Other sizable moves in the top 20:

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April 5, 2016 in Law Review Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Access Group Awards $335,000 In Legal Education Grants

Access GroupPress Release,  Access Group Center for Research & Policy Analysis Awards $335,000 in New Grants to Advance Legal Education:

Access Group’s Center for Research & Policy Analysis (the Center) announced today the award of $335,000 in new grants to advance legal education. The Center operates four grant programs to fund research and other projects related to legal education that focus on access, affordability and value. ...

  • A $138,000 grant to the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education to analyze the law school admissions market. A set of regression models will be estimated for predicting the prices charged by law schools reporting data to the American Bar Association. Similarly, institutional characteristics such as LSAT scores, bar passage rates and employment outcomes will be mapped. The mapping will provide a first estimate of the kinds of changes a contracting market is likely to have on the future of legal education, including the impact on institutional diversity and enrollment prospects.

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April 4, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Posner Explains Why We Should 'Burn All Copies of the Bluebook'

Bluebook (20th edition)The Volokh Conspiracy:  Judge Richard Posner Explains Why We Should “Burn All Copies of the Bluebook”, by Ilya Somin (George Mason):

In a recent article in the ABA Journal, Judge Richard Posner – who is probably the nation’s most influential federal judge outside the Supreme Court – is quoted as saying that we should “burn all copies of the Bluebook,” the standard system of legal citation produced by a consortium of leading law reviews. ...

In general, I am strongly opposed to book burning of any kind. But in this case, I can only say, burn, baby, burn! Like Posner, I have long argued that the Bluebook and its hundreds of pages of useless, time-wasting rules should be abolished and replaced with a much simpler citation system, perhaps similar to those used in other academic fields. It would save lawyers, legal scholars, and law students enormous amounts of time and effort.

Judge Posner laid out his critique of the Bluebook in greater detail in this Yale Law Journal article. In my view, however, he was a little too generous to the Bluebook when he compared it to the pyramids of ancient Egypt. ...

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April 4, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Simkovic:  In Law Firms, Lawyers And Paralegals Prosper While Secretarial Jobs Disappear

NY Times Dealbook (2013)New York Times Deal Book:  Overall Stagnation in Legal Jobs Hides Underlying Shifts, by Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall):

Although about the same number of people work in law firms or in legal services today as a decade and a half ago, superficially static job aggregates mask substantial changes in employment patterns.

According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, law firms employed about 90,000 more lawyers and about 80,000 more paralegals in 2014 than at the start of the survey in 2001. At the same time, law firms shed 180,000 to 190,000 legal secretaries, other legal support workers and their supervisors.

The pattern is the same for other occupations at law firms. Low-skilled jobs like bookkeepers, file clerks and in data entry are shrinking, while high-skilled jobs like professional workers, skilled managers and computer specialists are growing.

Lawyers account for less than half of the jobs in legal services. Like most businesses, law firms employ a large number of support personnel. Unfortunately, many commentators on the legal profession have overlooked the crucial distinctions between legal services employment, lawyers and law school graduates.

As a result, they have mischaracterized a decline in the fortunes for low-skilled support workers at a time of expanding opportunities for highly educated workers as stagnation for all. ...

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April 4, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

American University Law Profs Disgrace Themselves

WCLALMFollowing up on my previous post, 60 American Law Profs Condemn Anonymous Student For Posting 'All Lives Matter' On Prof's Door:  Power Line, American University Law Faculty Members Disgrace Themselves:

Recently, a student at American University Washington College of Law put a note on the door of a law professor stating “All Lives Matter.” This expression of what ought to be truism caused the AU law faculty to freak out.

Nearly sixty faculty members and staff signed a letter calling this an “incidence of intolerance.” A sounder position would hold that objecting to the statement “All Lives Matter” as a response to the statement “Black Lives Matter” smacks of intolerance because it places one racial group on a higher level than others. ...

Our friends Gail Heriot [San Diego] and Peter Kirsanow [Cleveland State] of the Civil Right Commission have sent a letter to the dean of AU law school about this matter. They state:

We write as two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and not on behalf of the Commission as a whole. And while we are required to begin our letters with the preceding sentence under the Commission’s rules, we would have preferred to open with: What is wrong with your faculty and staff members?

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

The Day Free Speech Died At Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School Logo (2014)Observer:  The Day Free Speech Died at Harvard Law School, by Avrahm Berkowitz (J.D. 2016, Harvard):

Under the cloak of anonymity, 'Students For Inclusion' quickly devolved into a means of shaming behavior on campus.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 3, 2016

MBE Average Score Plummets To 33-Year Low; Declining LSAT Scores Of Current Law Students Portend Even Worse Bar Exam Carnage In 2016, 2017 & 2018

MBEABA Journal, Multistate Bar Exam Average Score Falls to 33-Year Low:

The mean scaled score on the February administration of the Multistate Bar Examination fell to 135, down 1.2 points from the previous year and the lowest average score on a February administration of the test since 1983.

The number of test-takers was up 4 percent from last year, from 22,396 in 2015 to 23,324 this year, according to Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which developed and scores the test. February scores are typically lower than July scores, Moeser said, because July test-takers tend to be first-time test takers, who generally score higher on the exam than repeat takers. ,,,

The July 2015 results were also down 1.6 points from the previous year, to 139.9, its lowest point since 1988.

Wall Street Journal, Bar Exam Scores Slip Even Further:

Disappointing but not a shock is how Ms. Moeser described the results. For a couple of years, she’s been warning — and arguing with some law schools — about the caliber of students they’re admitting.

She’s not the only one. Other legal education experts, pointing to an overall slide in LSAT scores of recent incoming classes, have projected weaker bar-exam performance.

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April 3, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Number Of LSAT Test-Takers Increased in 2015-16 For First Time In Six Years

After five consecutive years of declines in the number of LSAT test-takers, the LSAC reports that the number of LSAT test-takers in 2015-16 increased 4.1% over the prior year.

LSAT

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

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April 2, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Pepperdine Symposium Today On The U.S. Vice Presidency

Great symposium today at Pepperdine on The U.S. Vice Presidency with several prominent speakers, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, Illinois Dean Vik Amar, and Pepperdine's own former U.S. Ambassador Doug Kmiec and Pulitizer Prize-winning historian Ed Larson.  You can watch live here beginning at 9:00 a.m. PST. (Vice President Cheney is speaking from 9:15-10:15.)

Symposium

Throughout our history, the powers and responsibilities of the nation’s second highest office have evolved. Caustically described by its first occupant as “the most insignificant office” ever contrived, many vice presidents have now had a profound impact on their place and time. Yet from its original inception to the ratification of the Twelfth 12th Amendment and beyond, many questions continue to surround this office. What did the founders envision as the role of the vice president? What is its place in the constitutional framework of government? What were the special characteristics of notable vice presidents? What is the future of the vice presidency? Could the office serve as an important tool in ending government gridlock?

At this symposium, renowned legal scholars, practitioners, and politicians will explore important questions surrounding the vice presidency. As a special treat, the Honorable Richard Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States, will join us for a lively discussion of these issues and other experiences from his time as Vice President.

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

President Obama To Teach Con Law Class At Penn Law School In Spring 2017

Obama PennThe Daily Pennsylvanian, President Obama to Teach a Class at Penn Law After Presidency:

President Barack Obama will be teaching constitutional law at Penn Law School in the Spring 2017 term upon leaving the White House.

“He wanted to take a break from politics,” an unnamed White House staff member said of his decision. “And he thought the relaxing atmosphere at Penn might be a nice break.”

Outgoing President Obama will spend the first few years commuting to Penn from Washington D.C. because he expects his current battle with the Senate to get Judge Merrick Garland confirmed to the Supreme Court to last several years beyond his presidency. His current battle for the Supreme Court will be the subject of his course at Penn, which will be called “Confirming Supreme Court Nominees: A Case Study.”

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April 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Stanford Raises The Bar In College Admissions Arms Race: 0% Acceptance Rate

Stanford (2016)New York Times op-ed: College Admission Shocker!, by Frank Bruni:

Cementing its standing as the most selective institution of higher education in the country, Stanford University announced this week that it had once again received a record-setting number of applications and that its acceptance rate — which had dropped to a previously uncharted low of 5 percent last year — plummeted all the way to its inevitable conclusion of 0 percent.

With no one admitted to the class of 2020, Stanford is assured that no other school can match its desirability in the near future.

“We had exceptional applicants, yes, but not a single student we couldn’t live without,” said a Stanford administrator who requested anonymity. “In the stack of applications that I reviewed, I didn’t see any gold medalists from the last Olympics — Summer or Winter Games — and while there was a 17-year-old who’d performed surgery, it wasn’t open-heart or a transplant or anything like that. She’ll thrive at Yale.”

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April 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Great April Fool's Prank On Professor

Economics Professor Stephen Barrows (Aquinas College) has a strict cell phone policy:  if a student's phone rings in class, the student must answer on the speaker.

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

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April 1, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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April 1, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

George Mason Renames Law School The Antonin Scalia School Of Law For $30 Million

U.S. News:  Five Law School Pioneers

2017 U.S. News LogoU.S. News & World Report, Law Schools Innovate With Hands-On Learning: These Five Pioneers Are Among the Law Schools Overhauling Programs to Build in Extensive Hands-On Practice:

Law school continues to be more of a buyer's market than in years past, as many programs invent new ways to reel in applicants who've been wary of the poor job outlook and steep tuitions. The legal education community is still trying to regain its footing after the Great Recession forced firms to radically tighten their belts, shutting out many new grads and sending applications into a spiral.

Among the more unconventional curricular experiments law schools will keep an eye on are several new programs. ... Meanwhile, more established schools continue to recast their programs by condensing coursework, addressing tuition and adding intensive on-the-job training, perhaps the biggest trend of all. Here's a look at what's happening at a few of the pioneers. ...

Pepperdine University School of Law
Students in Pepperdine Law School's accelerated J.D. program get their experiential learning at a somewhat reduced cost by packing three years of law school into two. But most students who choose accelerated programs like Pepperdine's have already been out in the professional world and are willing to double down to get back to it sooner.

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March 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conference On The Fate Of Scholarship In American Law Schools

FateBaltimore hosts a two-day conference beginning today on The Fate of Scholarship in American Law Schools:

The conference will reexamine first principles of legal scholarship – its value (to legal education, to the legal profession, to society) and its essential aspects – and will survey particular issues of contemporary concern, including emerging scholarly forms and technologies and the relationship among legal scholarship, journalism and new media.

The two-day conference will consist of themed plenary sessions, concurrent small-group sessions, opportunities to interact informally and a keynote address by Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

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March 31, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hackers Breach Computer Systems At Cravath, Other BigLaw Firms