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Friday, August 15, 2014

Is Legal Scholarship Politically Biased?

Adam S. Chilton (Chicago) & Eric A. Posner (Chicago), An Empirical Study of Political Bias in Legal Scholarship:

Law professors routinely accuse each other of making politically biased arguments in their scholarship. They have also helped produce a large empirical literature on judicial behavior that has found that judicial opinions sometimes reflect the ideological biases of the judges who join them. Yet no one has used statistical methods to test the parallel hypothesis that legal scholarship reflects the political biases of law professors. This paper provides the results of such a test. We find that, at a statistically significant level, law professors at elite law schools who make donations to Democratic political candidates write liberal scholarship, and law professors who make donations to Republican political candidates write conservative scholarship. These findings raise questions about standards of objectivity in legal scholarship.

Figure 3

Professors who are Democrats (adjusted)—shown in the left panel—have an average article ideology of -2.67 with a 90% confidence interval of -3.13 to -2.21. Using a t-test, we can say that this is statistically different from zero (p-value < 0.00). Professors who are Republicans (adjusted)—shown in the right panel—have an average article ideology of 0.17 with a 90% confidence interval of -0.72 to 1.10. For these professors, we cannot reject the possibility that the true net ideology of their articles is zero (p-value = 0.72). In other words, our data suggest that Democrats in our sample do not write articles that are on balance neutral, but that Republicans in our sample may write articles that are on balance neutral. ...

[I]f it is in fact the case that Republicans write less ideologically biased scholarship than Democrats do, then one would naturally ask why. The most plausible explanation is that if the dominant ethos in the top law schools is liberal or left-wing,51 then Republicans are likely to conceal their ideological views in their writings. Republican professors might fear that scholarship that appears conservative may be rejected by leftleaning law review editors, and disparaged or ignored by their colleagues, which will damage their chances for promotions, research money, and lateral appointments. This would explain why even nondonors tilt left. Republicans could suppress their ideological views by avoiding controversial topics, taking refuge in fields that have little ideological valence, focusing on empirical or analytical work, or simply writing things that they don’t believe.

Table 4

The data presented in Table 4 suggest that constitutional rights scholars are less ideologically diverse than other legal scholars. Among constitutional rights scholars, 77% are net Democratic donors, and 4% are net Republican donors. In the rest of the sample, 40% are net Democratic donors, and 20% are net Republican donors. It also shows that constitutional rights scholars are more likely to produce biased research (mean of -3.85 conservative articles) than Republican and Democratic scholars in other fields (mean of -1.35 conservative articles).

August 15, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

UC-Hastings Dean: It's Time to Rethink Law School

San Francisco Daily Journal:  It's Time to Rethink Law School, by Frank Wu (Dean, UC-Hastings):

DangerThere are two schools of thought about legal education. One insists that law schools are fundamentally fine. They face only a momentary lull in demand. They will recover so long as they continue to do as they have done. Another contends that the educational program leading into legal practice is fundamentally flawed. It needs reform even if the marketplace improves. The recent economic crisis exposed problems that always had been there. I count myself among those who embrace the latter view. ...

The problem of legal education is more than one problem. At least three major concerns need to be addresses. First, there appears to be a glut of lawyers. ... Second, there is the cost structure of legal education. ... Third, there are the perennial complaints about the skills imparted during three years of formal schooling. ...

Put all this together. There has not been, in the recollection of anyone now living, a similar set of challenges for law schools. As with all such situations, however, leaders must spot the issues. We are in danger. We should not deny that.

Continue reading

August 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Have You Had Difficulty Using the Internet This Week? 512k Is the Culprit.

Wall Street Journal, Engineers Buzz That Internet Is Outgrowing Its Gear; Routers That Send Data Online Could Become Overloaded as Number of Internet Routes Hits '512K':

InternetNetwork engineers are buzzing this week as the Internet outgrows some of its gear.

Internet providers, corporations and universities all rely on a common map of routes to send emails, videos and everything else on the Web where it's supposed to go. That Internet atlas has thickened, and some of the machines that read it are now straining to hold all the pages.

While a precise count is elusive, many technicians are reporting that the total number of world-wide Internet routes is near or already past half a million, usually abbreviated 512K. Older network routers from Cisco and other makers can't hold any more unless they are tweaked.

The fix is simple. Engineers can buy new gear or raise their routers' memory caps and reboot. But some Web companies need to reconfigure each device one at a time, and the fallout is hard to judge given the numbers involved. The work already caused some websites to go offline Tuesday. ... More websites and broadband firms are likely to feel the pinch in coming days as they hit the seemingly arbitrary limit.

August 15, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Prof Loses Slip-and-Fall Case Against University of Texas; Claimed Injury Prevents Him From Playing Tennis

Texas Lawyer, Law Prof Loses Slip-and-Fall Claim at Third Court:

SampsonA divided Third Court of Appeals has tossed out a law professor's claims against The University of Texas at Austin for injuries he said he suffered after he tripped over an extension cord that was strung across a walkway to provide lighting for a nearby tailgate party [University of Texas v. Sampson]. At the time in November 2009, it was dark, and professor John "Jack" Sampson was walking to The University of Texas School of Law, where he works. ...

Sampson said he would appeal the 2-1 Third Court decision. He said he tore a tendon in his right shoulder and lost the ability to play tennis. "I played tennis two to three times per week, sometimes four. Of course, I can't serve, and I can't hit hard, so I can't play tennis. That is the tragedy of the accident … it stopped me from ever playing tennis again," said Sampson.

August 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fall 2014 Law School Applicants Decline 8.2%

LSAC, Three-Year ABA Volume Comparison:

As of 8/08/14, there are 352,406 fall 2014 applications submitted by 54,527 applicants. Applicants are down 6.7% and applications are down 8.2% from 2013. Last year at this time, we had 100% of the preliminary final applicant count ... [and] 100% of the preliminary final application count.

A line chart titled Fall ABA Applicants by Week. The horizontal axis represents months November through August. Along its vertical axis are numbers 0 through 100,000 indicating number of applicants. The line labeled Fall 2012 steadily rises from 16,719 in November to 59,090 in March, then begins to plateau from March until August ending at 67,735. The line labeled Fall 2013 increases from 12,728 in November to 48,674 in March, then begins to plateau from March until August ending at 59,426. The line labeled Fall 2014 rises slightly from 11,340 to 54,527 at the beginning of August.

Matt Leichter, 54,527 Law School Applicants in 2014:

Here’s what this year looks like compared to previous years.

No. Applicants Over App Cycle

August 14, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Applications at New York State Law Schools

New York Law Journal, Four N.Y. Schools Buck Trend in Declining Applications:

New York StateAt least four of New York's 15 law schools are bucking a national trend in declining applications, according to preliminary figures provided by the schools.

New York University [+8%], St. John's [+14%], Syracuse [+6%] and Touro [+5%] all received more applications in the 2014 admissions cycle than they did last year. Another five saw their applicants decline [Albany (-20%), Cardozo (-14%), Fordham (-9%), Hofstra (-9%), Cornell (-2%)] while six did not provide numbers to the New York Law Journal.

Nationwide, applications are down 8.2% since last year, according to the latest figures released Wednesday by the Law School Admission Council. And they have fallen more than 34 percent since 2008.

August 14, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Rebrand: Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Press Release, Cooley Law is now Western Michigan University Cooley Law School:

WMU Cooley logoAfter reviews by the Higher Learning Commission and the ABA, an affiliation agreement in the works for more than a year has led to a new identity for the nation's largest law school--the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

August 14, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Concordia Law Students in Limbo as ABA Delays School's Provisional Accreditation

ConcordiaNational Law Journal, ABA Delays Action on Concordia Law's Accreditation:

Members of Concordia University School of Law’s inaugural class still don’t know whether they’ll be eligible to sit for the bar examination next summer.

The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar last week delayed action on Concordia’s application for provisional accreditation. Instead, the council appointed a fact-finder to examine the application. ...

With its inaugural class of 45 students nearing graduation, the school had asked the Idaho Supreme Court for a waiver that would allow its graduates to take the state’s bar exam next summer. The court refused in late July.

August 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Best Value Law Schools

Cover 1Prelaw, Best Value Law Schools:

To be considered for the overall list, a school must have an average debt of less than $106,000 [$115,000 for private schools]; employment greater than 69.5%; and a bar pass rate greater than 75%, and no less than 3% below the state average. ...

After we narrowed down the list based on these parameters, we then ranked the schools using this formula: percent of graduates who pass the bar exam (15%); employment rate (35%); tuition (25%); cost of living (10%); and average indebtedness upon graduation (15%).

National Jurist ranked the 53 Best Value Law Schools.  Here are the Top 20:

Page 33

August 13, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Fundraiser for Law School Transparency

FundRazr LogoRacing for Law School Transparency at 10,000 Feet:

A message from Mike Spivey . . .

As you may be aware, I was recently named to Law School Transparency's (LST) board of directors. LST is a non-profit founded five years ago that helps prospective law students make informed decisions about whether and where to attend law school. LST organizes and shares real consumer information with tens of thousands of applicants each year who are looking to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a law degree.

LST has made an enormous impact on legal education through its tireless advocacy efforts, but it still has much to accomplish. For example, schools still hide unfavorable jobs data and the ABA still does not adequately enforce its own standards prohibiting deceptive marketing. I believe that LST will continue to be a major force for accountability. This is why I joined the board and pledged to raise $10,000.

August 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

George Washington Seeks to Hire a Tax Prof

George Washington Law Logo (2014)The George Washington University Law School is seeking to hire a tenure-track or tenured tax professor in a variety fields, including tax:

The George Washington University Law School may make one or more full-time faculty appointments in subject areas that may include Corporate Finance, Intellectual Property, Health Law, and/or Tax, among others. In addition, it is possible that we will make one or more faculty appointments in clinical teaching. Appointments will be for either tenure-track or tenured positions.  ...

Continue reading

August 12, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Approves Changes to Law School Accreditation Standards

National Law Journal, ABA Delegates Approve Law School Reforms:

ABA Logo 2The ABA’s governing body on Monday endorsed an extensive package of law school reforms designed to increase students’ clinical and distance-learning opportunities.

Standards for law schools would require students to take a minimum of six hours in a legal clinic or other “experiential” environment; encourage 50 hours of pro bono service; and allow students to take up to 15 credit hours of distance courses, up from 12. Students won’t be limited to 20 hours of outside work per week anymore.

To protect accreditation, law schools would have to shift toward assessments that focus on student outcomes—including bar-exam results and employment—rather than qualifications of incoming students or other factors.

“J.D. programs will remain a rigorous study of the law,” former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor assured the ABA House of Delegates, which voted on the reforms during the ABA's annual meeting in Boston. “It will basically remain a three-year program.”  ...

While most of the changes were unanimously approved by voice vote, disagreement arose over two aspects of the reform package.

Continue reading

August 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, August 11, 2014

ABA Task Force Debates Financing of Legal Education at its First Meeting

ABA Journal, Task Force on Legal-ed Financing Mulls Causes of Rising Tuition at its First-ever Public Hearing:

ABA Logo 2At its first public hearing, the ABA's new Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education spent much of its time trying to determine exactly what is leading to increases in law school tuition, and debilitating debt loads being carried by so many law students.

The task force, chaired by former Detroit mayor and onetime ABA President Dennis Archer, met over a day and a half Saturday and Sunday during the ABA's Annual Meeting in Boston. Its aim is to examine the cost of legal education for students, and to explore student lending and how law schools are being financed. Beginning with the public hearing, the task force is delving into how law schools use merit scholarships, tuition discounts and need-based financial aid.

Witnesses sought to frame core issues and problems, each from their own perspectives. And task force members pushed each of them to back up their statements with data or anything besides anecdotes. ...

Continue reading

August 11, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

A Moment of Simple Justice: Law School

August 11, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Princeton and Wellesley May Re-inflate Grades

P-WPrinceton and Wellesley are considering reversing actions they took a decade ago to curb grade inflation:  Princeton capped A-range grades at 35%, and Wellesley imposed a mandatory B+ median in introductory (100) level and intermediate (200) level courses with at least 10 students:

Princeton, Report from the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Policies Regarding Assessment and Grading:


Wellesley, The Effects of an Anti-Grade-Inflation Policy at Wellesley College:



Update:  The Economist, What the Ivies Can Learn From Wellesley

August 9, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

August 8, 2014 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Council of the ABA Section on Legal Education Meets Today

ABA Logo 2The Council of the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar meets today in Boston:

Open Session Agenda

A. June 2014 Open Session Minutes

B. Review and Approve Revised Internal Operating Practices (IOPs)
1.  Revised IOPs
2.  Explanation of Revisions

C. Report on Standards Transition Plan

D.  Budget
1.  Consider revised budget, based on ABA budget outcome, hiring, revision to travel budget, technology and set school fees

E. Affiliate Reports
1.  AALL
2.  ALWD
3.  CLEA
4.  LSAC
5.  NALP Update
6.  NALP Class of 2013 Selected Findings
7.  NCBE
8.  SALT

F. Data Policy Committee Report (Strickman)
1. Minor adjustments to AQ
2. Beta testing of employment outcomes protocol

G. Rport on Student Loans Forgiveness Work Group

H. Committee Reports
1.  BOG Liaison
2.  Law Student Division
3.  Young Lawyers
4.  House of Delegates
5.  Managing Director
6.  Chairperson

August 8, 2014 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

1911 College Rankings (U.S. Government Edition)

Chronicle of Higher Education, How Did the Federal Government Rate Your College a Century Ago?:

1911As Vox’s Libby Nelson notes in a chronicle of the 1911 ratings, the Association of American Universities actually asked the government to devise them. Kendric Charles Babcock, the top higher-education official in the U.S. Bureau of Education, itself a division of the Interior Department, undertook the task. Few were happy with the result. (Anyone surprised?) President William Howard Taft later killed it.

So how did your college stack up more than a century ago? A few things to keep in mind: The four tiers of colleges were based on how prepared their graduates were for graduate school. Also, the asterisks in Class II were used to distinguish its stronger colleges, the equivalent of a “plus” in a paper grade.


Continue reading

August 8, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

94% of Academic Economists Admit to Unacceptable Research Practices, Including Sex for Co-authorship and Promotion

Inside Higher Ed, Sex, Lies, Economists:

SLVA small proportion of European economists have confessed to “acceptance or offering of sex” in exchange for co-authorship or promotion, as well as owning up to fabricating or manipulating data.

A survey of about 400 economists, conducted among members of the European Economic Association on an anonymous basis, is analyzed in the article Scientific Misbehavior in Economics, currently in press for the journal Research Policy.

Ninety-four percent of respondents reported having engaged in at least one “unaccepted research practice,” the paper says.

London School of Economics, Scientific Misbehavior in Economics: Unacceptable Research Practice Linked to Perceived Pressure to Publish:

Almost every economist reports having engaged in at least one practice considered unacceptable by peers. For example, one third of the participants admit to having cherry-picked results – the selective presentation of empirical results that confirm one’s argument is rejected by 84%. Even though 64% consider it unacceptable to divide one’s work into small units to maximize the number of publications, 20% confess salami slicing. Strategic behavior in the publication process is considered unjustifiable by two thirds. However, 39% admit that they have taken into account suggestions of referees or editors even though they thought that they were wrong. Even 60% report that they have cited strategically to raise publication prospects.

research practice

August 8, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tenured Florida A&M Prof Sues Law School, Claiming Gender Discrimination in Pay

Tampa Tribune, FAMU’s Law School Hit with Discrimination, Unequal Pay Lawsuit by Female Professor:

Florida AM LogoJennifer Smith, an associate professor hired in 2004, ... accuses [Florida A&M Law School] of eight violations of federal and state law on equal pay and gender discrimination, her suit says. She seeks unspecified damages, a promotion to full professor, attorney fees and other relief.

Her complaint says the law school “consistently hired men at considerably higher rates than women,” with male associate professors “paid considerably more” than females. Smith says she was granted tenure in 2010, but has been repeatedly turned down for promotion to full professor ever since, starting that same year.

Smith’s complaint says that an administrator “sabotaged” her promotion by replacing the good recommendations in her file with bad ones and then called other university officials to further torpedo any promotion. She says her treatment was in part retaliation for submitting public record requests to the school for professor-pay information.

Her complaint also reveals she lodged a workplace-violence complaint against the same administrator, saying that person “made some threatening comments about her.” Smith’s complaint quotes from a September 2012 ABA report on the law school that cited faculty concerns about an “inhospitable environment for women, lesbians and gay faculty members.”

August 7, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How UC-Berkeley and UCLA Law Schools Responded to Ban on Affirmative Action

Inside Higher Ed, How Berkeley and UCLA Law Schools Responded to Ban on Affirmative Action:

UCA new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research [Danny Yagan (UC-Berkeley), Affirmative Action Bans and Black Admission Outcomes: Selection-Corrected Estimates from UC Law Schools] explores the impact of California's ban on consideration of race in admissions on admissions rates for black students to the law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and UCLA. The study finds a significant drop in the black admit rate -- from 61 to 31 percent, controlling for various factors. The 31 percent figure, the study finds, is still significantly higher than it would have been had the law schools focused largely on traditional admissions criteria such as test scores and grades, and the advantage for black applicants is greatest among the share of the applicant pool that is on the line between admission and rejection. The study suggests that the UC law schools have minimized the loss of black students by placing greater emphasis in admissions on race-neutral factors (such as economic disadvantage) that apply to many black applicants. Officials of the two law schools said that they were studying the report and could not comment on it Monday.

Table 1

Cheating: An Insider's Report on the Use of Race in Admissions at UCLA

August 6, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sad News From Vermont Law School

HannaCheryl Hanna, Vice President for External Relations and Professor of Law at Vermont Law School, took her own life last week at the age of 48, leaving behind a husband and two children. Professor Hanna's family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made in her memory to Women Helping Battered Women, P.O. Box 1535, Burlington, VT 05402.

ShieldsFormer Vermont Dean Geoffrey “Jeff” Benson Shields died on August 2 at the age of 68.   His family asks that any gifts in his memory be sent to the Hallowell Singers, 191 Canal St., Brattleboro, Vt. 05301, or to The Jeff and Genie Shields Prize at Vermont Law School, 164 Chelsea St., South Royalton Vt. 05068. A week before his death, Dean Shields and his wife gave their family home to the law school:

“Jeff and Genie have given to this school in so many remarkable ways over the years—their extraordinary and dedicated service to students, faculty, staff and alumni during Jeff’s tenure as president and dean, their contributions to and relentless fundraising for the Center for Legal Services, and, of course, the establishment of the Shields Prize,” Mihaly and Board of Trustees Chairman Edward Mattes ’83 wrote in a letter to VLS faculty and staff. “The Shields have always led by example. This most generous gift is clear manifestation of [their] philanthropic spirit.” The historic 3,400-square-foot home, built in 1810, is currently for sale and rented by VLS students. The law school plans to continue the search for a buyer and have the students remain in residence for the duration of their lease.

August 5, 2014 in Legal Education, Obituaries | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Most Educated Places in America

NerdWallet, The Most Educated Places in America:

Certain cities in the U.S. have populations with higher levels of educational attainment than others. This often depends on what prominent industries are located in these places—cities that offer more technical occupational opportunities tend to draw more skilled and educated members of the labor force.

NerdWallet crunched the numbers to find the most educated places in America. We looked at increasing levels of educational attainment among the populations of 1,990 places across the U.S., from residents with at least a high school diploma to those with a doctorate or professional degree. ... We calculated the overall score for each place by weighting the following factors:

  1. Percentage of population with at least a high school diploma or associate’s degree: 40% of the overall score.
  2. Percentage of population with at least a bachelor’s degree: 30% of the overall score.
  3. Percentage of population with a master’s degree: 10% of the overall score.
  4. Percentage of population with a doctorate degree: 10% of the overall score.
  5. Percentage of population with a professional degree: 10% of the overall score.


(Hat Tip: Bill Turnier.)

August 5, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Memorial Tributes to Dan Markel (1972-2014)

Markel[Continually Updated]  Memorial tributes to Dan Markel, D’Alemberte Professor of Law at Florida State and founder of PrawfsBlawg, who was shot and killed in his home in Tallahassee on July 18.

August 5, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, August 4, 2014

2015 Princeton Review's Best 379 Colleges

PrincetonThe Princeton Review today released The Best 379 Colleges -- 2015 Edition.  According to the press release, the book contains 62 rankings based on surveys completed by 130,000 students at the 379 schools (343 per school) (methodology here), including these categories:

  • Best (Bard) classroom experience
  • Best (Reed), worst (New Jersey Institute of Technology) professors
  • Most (U.S. Military Academy), least (McGill) accessible professors
  • Best (Bowdoin) quality of life
  • Most (Vanderbilt), least (Marywood) happy students
  • Students love (Claremont McKenna) their school
  • Most (Colgate), least (University of Dallas) beautiful campus
  • Best (Elon), worst (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) run school
  • Most liberal (Sarah Lawrence), most conservative (Texas A&M) students
  • Most (BYU),  least (Vassar) religious
  • Students study the most (Harvey Mudd), least (North Dakota)
  • Most (Pomona), least (Spelman) financial aid
  • Most (Stanford), least (College of the Ozarks) LGBT-Friendly
  • Most (George Mason), least (Furman) race/class interaction
  • Best (Chicago), worst (Clarkson) library
  • Best (Virginia Tech), worst (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) food
  • Best (Washington University), worst (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) dorms
  • Biggest (Syracuse), least (BYU) party school
  • Most (Skidmore), least (U.S. Coast Guard Academy) marijuana on campus
  • Most (Iowa), least (BYU) hard liquor on campus
  • Most (Penn State), least (BYU) beer on campus

I am considering demanding a recount: Pepperdine is ranked as only the second most beautiful campus. Really?

Pepperdine Campus Photo

August 4, 2014 in Book Club, Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Georgia State Seeks to Hire a Tax Clinician

Georgia State LogoGeorgia State seeks to fill a full-time assistant professor, clinical teaching position in its Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic:

The clinical faculty appointment would be non-tenure track, with faculty status, a renewable contract, and job security commensurate with tenured faculty.  Clinical faculty have voting rights and serve on faculty committees at the College of Law.  The appointment could begin at the commencement of the 2015-2016 academic year or as early as January 2015.

The Clinical Professor will primarily assist in the operation and administration of the Tax Clinic and will have limited teaching responsibilities. The Clinical Professor will supervise students in all aspects of Tax Clinic client representation.  The preferred applicant should have a law degree, a strong academic background, practical tax experience, and a proven record of, or demonstrated potential for, student supervision, successful teaching, professional engagement, and service to the community. Experience working in a law school tax clinic, while not a prerequisite for the position, is highly desirable.

The deadline for applications is November 30, 2014.  Applications should be submitted to Professor Ronald Blasi.

August 4, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law: The Only Job With an Industry Devoted to Helping People Quit

The Atlantic:  The Only Job With an Industry Devoted to Helping People Quit, by Leigh McMullan Abramson:

Life After LawI went to law school because I didn’t know what to do after college and I'm bad at math. Law school seemed like a safe, respectable path and gave me an easy answer to what I was going to do with my life. And, as part of the millennial generation obsessed with test scores and academic achievement, I relished the spoils of a high LSAT score, admission to an Ivy League law school, and a job offer from a fancy corporate law firm.

I spent my first year as lawyer holed up in a conference room sorting piles of documents wearing rubber covers on my fingertips that looked like tiny condoms. Eventually, I was trusted with more substantive tasks, writing briefs and taking depositions. But I had no appetite for conflict and found it hard to care about the interests I was serving. I realized I had never seriously considered whether I was cut out to be a lawyer, much less a corporate litigator. After a few years, I just wanted out, but I had no idea where to begin.

I knew that I was not alone. Law-firm associate consistently ranks at the top of unhappy-professions lists and despite starting salaries of $160,000, law firms experience significant yearly associate attrition. What I didn’t realize was that the plight of burnt-out attorneys, particularly those at law firms, has recently spawned an industry of experts devoted to helping lawyers leave law. Attorneys now have their choice of specialized career counselors, blogs, books, and websites offering comfort and guidance to wannabe ex-Esqs.

“Law is the only career I know that has a sub-profession dedicated to helping people get out of it,” says Liz Brown, author of the help manual, Life After Law: Finding Work You Love with the J.D. You Have, published last year.

Continue reading

August 4, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Releases Memo on Compliance With Standard 509

Memorandum From Barry Currier (Managing Director, ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar) to Deans of ABA-approved Law Schools, Compliance With Standard 509 (July 14, 2014):

This memorandum revises, updates, and replaces the memorandum we issued in August 2013 regarding compliance with Standard 509. As you will recall, current Standard 509, titled “Required Disclosures,” took effect in August, 2013. There were no further changes to this Standard as the Council concluded the comprehensive review of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure.

This memorandum addresses the form, manner and time frame for publishing certain information as required by Standard 509, and provides other guidance regarding compliance with the Standard. Attached is a chart that summarizes the requirements of the Standard.

Standard 509 divides the information that a law school must publish on its website into two categories: (1) that for which the Council prescribes a particular form, manner and time frame of publication [Standard 509(b)]; and (2) that which schools must disclose in a readable and comprehensive manner [Standard 509(c)]. Each of these categories is addressed below. Additionally and importantly, all information reported, publicized or distributed by a law school is subject to the overriding mandate of Standard 509(a) that it be “complete, accurate and not misleading to a reasonable law school student or applicant.”



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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 3, 2014

ABA Poised to Adopt Sweeping Changes to Law School Accreditation Standards This Week

National Law Journal, Legal Education Due For a Makeover: ABA's House of Delegates Prepares to Vote on a Sweeping Revision of its Accreditation Standards:

To protect their accreditation, law schools will be under pressure to more closely assess student achievement and provide students with more practical skills training under a slate of legal education reforms headed for final consideration by the ABA House of Delegates.

Faculty tenure would remain sacrosanct, and students still would be barred from earning both money and course credit for externships under draft standards headed for a vote by the delegates on Aug. 11.

"If there was a theme to what the comprehensive review accomplished, it moved legal education into a 21st century model in two ways," said Loyola University Chicago School of Law Dean David Yellen, who spent four years on the committee reviewing the standards. "One is by requiring schools to assess their achievement in student learning. The second is requiring more practical skills training." ...

One of the most substantive proposed changes involves "student leaning outcomes." Each law school would define its mission — what it is attempting to teach — and would measure how well it succeeds. Administrators would have plenty of ­leeway in defining their learning goals, but would now be judged less on the nuts-and-bolts of running a law school and more on results of those efforts. ...

Second, every law graduate would have to complete a minimum of six credits of "experiential learning" — clinics, externships or simulation courses. [The Clinical Legal Education Association] unsuccessfully lobbied for 15 credits but has accepted the compromise. Right now, the requirement is a single hour's credit. ...

[T]he review might be best remembered for what didn't change.

Continue reading

August 3, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

NY Times: How the Government Exaggerates the Cost of College

New York Times:  How the Government Exaggerates the Cost of College, by David Leonhardt:

The government’s official statistic for college-tuition inflation has become somewhat infamous. It appears frequently in the news media, and policy makers lament what it shows.

No wonder: College tuition and fees have risen an astounding 107 percent since 1992, even after adjusting for economywide inflation, according to the measure. No other major household budget item has increased in price nearly as much.

But it turns out the government’s measure is deeply misleading.

For years, that measure was based on the list prices that colleges published in their brochures, rather than the actual amount students and their families paid. The government ignored financial-aid grants. Effectively, the measure tracked the price of college for rich families, many of whom were not eligible for scholarships, but exaggerated the price – and price increases – for everyone from the upper middle class to the poor.

Here’s an animation that explains the difference succintly. It shows the government’s estimate of how college costs have changed since 1992 — and, for comparison, toggles between the changes in the colleges' published prices and actual prices, according to the College Board, the group that conducts the SAT.

NY Times 1

NY Times 2

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

Saturday, August 2, 2014

NY Times: Socrates Takes a Back Seat to Business and Tech in Some Law Schools

New York Times:  This Is Law School? Socrates Takes a Back Seat to Business and Tech, by John Schwartz:

Like a number of law schools looking to the future of a challenging profession, [Michigan State] is pushing its students to understand business and technology so that they can advise entrepreneurs in coming fields. The school wants them to think of themselves as potential founders of start-ups as well, and to operate fluidly in a legal environment that is being transformed by technology.

Michigan State professors don’t just teach torts, contracts and the intricacies of constitutional law. They also delve into software and services that sift through thousands of cases to help predict whether a client’s case might be successful or what arguments could be most effective. They introduce their students to programs that search through mountains of depositions and filings, automating tasks like the dreary “document review” that was once the baptism of fire and boredom for young associates. ...

With the marketplace shifting, schools have increasingly come under fire for being out of touch.

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

Prospective Law Students Care More About Rankings Than Financial Aid

Kaplan LogoNational Law Journal, Pedigree Still Matters to Prospective Law Students:  "A survey of prelaw students found that nearly 40 percent would choose a top-tier law school at full cost rather than a less prestigious institution offering a scholarship."

Wall Street Journal, Survey: For Many, Law School Rankings Matter More Than Aid:  "Students contemplating a legal career still place a high premium on law school rankings—with some reporting they would rather attend a top school even if they got no financial aid at all."

Kaplan Test Prep Survey, For Pre-Law Students, a Law School’s Ranking May Matter More Than its Financial Aid Package in Choosing Where to Attend:

A new Kaplan survey of over 600 pre-law students finds that a law school’s ranking continues to factor significantly into their decision where to enroll – in many cases, even more than financial aid and ability to pay. When asked which law school admissions scenario they’d prefer to be in, Kaplan found the following:

  • Mid-Tier School, Some Aid:  A plurality (46%) of those surveyed said they’d rather be accepted by a mid-tier law school, where they’d receive a half-scholarship.
  • Top-Tier Law School, Zero Aid:  39% said they’d prefer to be accepted by a top tier law school, where’d they’d receive no financial aid at all.
  • Lower-Tier Law School, Full Aid: Just 16% said they’d prefer to be accepted by a lower ranked law school and receive a full ride scholarship.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

NY Times Debate: Should More Students Forego Law School and Apprentice to Become Lawyers?

NY Times Room for DebateNew York Times Room for Debate: Do-It-Yourself Lawyers:

Law school isn’t the only route to becoming a lawyer. In states that allow it, a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of people who take state bar exams were trained as apprentices, with no other legal education. It’s a difficult approach, the bar exam failure rate is high, but the costs are low.

Should such a do-it-yourself approach, with the help of lawyers as mentors, be more widely used to avoid excessive debt and create different perspectives on the law?


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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Dhammika Dharmapala Leaves Illinois for Chicago

Dharmapala (2014)Dhammika Dharmapala is leaving his tenured position at Ilinois for a tenured position at Chicago, beginning in the 2014-15 academic year:

He serves on the Board of Directors of the American Law and Economics Association, and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the National Tax Association. Until recently, he was Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal International Tax and Public Finance. He has previously held postdoctoral or visiting positions at Harvard, Michigan, Georgetown, and the Australian National University. His PhD thesis (in Economics at the University of California at Berkeley) was awarded the National Tax Association’s Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. His scholarship, which spans the fields of taxation, the economic analysis of law, and corporate finance and governance, has been published in leading scholarly journals in law, economics and finance. It has also been cited in various media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Economist.

Dhammika suffered serious injuries in a racially-motivated knife attack in Champaign-Urbana in 2011.

For the six other Tax Prof lateral moves for 2014-15, see here.

August 1, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

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

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

Professors With Last Names Beginning With ABCs Get More Citations Than XYZs

ABCInside Higher Ed, 'Do ABCs Get More Citations Than XYZs?':

Want to up your citation stats? Try changing your name – but make sure it starts with an “A,” “B,” or “C.” That’s what a new paper in Economic Inquiry suggests [Do ABCs Get More Citations Than XYZs?]. The study, by Wei Huang, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Harvard University, says that researchers whose last names begin with A, B, or C who are listed first as authors in articles in a variety of science journals receive, on average, one to two more citations than their peers whose names start with X, Y, or Z.

August 1, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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:


July 31, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Memorial Tributes to Dan Markel (1972-2014)

Markel[Continually Updated]  Memorial tributes to Dan Markel, D’Alemberte Professor of Law at Florida State and founder of PrawfsBlawg, who was shot and killed in his home in Tallahassee on July 18.

July 31, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas Wesleyan Law Grads File Complaint With ABA, Seek Reissued Texas A&M Diplomas

Texas Lawyer, Texas Wesleyan Law Grads Want Aggie Status, File Complaint With ABA:

Texas A&M Law LogoA dozen graduates of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, unhappy with how Texas A&M University has treated them since it acquired the law school in 2013, have lodged a complaint with the American Bar Association.

The complaint, sent on July 25 to the ABA, comes two weeks after 500 TWU School of Law alumni submitted a petition to TAMU officials asking the university to "reissue" diplomas under the Texas A&M University School of Law name. The petition was sent to the university president, board of regents and others.

In the complaint to the ABA, the Texas Wesleyan alumni write that they want to be recognized as alumni of Texas A&M University School of Law "with all of the rights and benefits" given to graduates of the law school. ... They allege in the complaint that the TAMU School of Law is out of compliance with standards that require the law school to report accurate and nonmisleading information about the school. The TWU School of Law graduates note in the complaint that TAMU School of Law lists bar passage statistics from 2010, 2011 and 2012, which apply to TWU School of Law, and also publicizes pro bono statistics that include hours done by TWU School of Law alumni.

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July 31, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

NY Times: The Lawyer’s Apprentice: How to Learn the Law Without Law School

New York Times, The Lawyer’s Apprentice: How to Learn the Law Without Law School:

LawyerWhen Chris Tittle meets new people and the topic turns to his work, he sometimes fishes in his pockets and produces a business card that reads “Abraham Lincoln.” Below the 16th president’s name in smaller type the card reads, “Just kidding, but I hope to follow in some of his footsteps.”

Mr. Tittle, who sports the kind of full beard more often associated with folk-rock bands than future junior partners, is working toward becoming a lawyer under an obscure California rule that allows people to “read law” much as Lincoln did, studying at the elbow of a seasoned lawyer. “There is very little that would entice me to go $100,000 or more into debt for a credential,” said Mr. Tittle, who is in his first year of a four-year program of practical study.

California is one of a handful of states that allow apprenticeships like Mr. Tittle’s in lieu of a law degree as a prerequisite to taking the bar and practicing as a licensed lawyer. In Virginia, Vermont, Washington and California, aspiring lawyers can study for the bar without ever setting foot into or paying a law school. New York, Maine and Wyoming require a combination of law school and apprenticeship.

The programs remain underpopulated. Of the 83,986 people who took state or multistate bar exams last year, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, only 60 were law office readers (so-called for the practice of reading legal texts as preparation). But at a time when many in legal education — including the president, a former law professor — are questioning the value of three years of law study and the staggering debt that saddles many graduates, proponents see apprenticeships as an alternative that makes legal education available and affordable to a more diverse population and could be a boon to underserved communities. ...

Before the prevalence of law schools in the 1870s, apprenticeships were the primary way to become a lawyer. “Stop and think of some of the great lawyers in American history,” said Daniel R. Coquillette, a law professor at Boston College who teaches and writes in the areas of legal history and professional responsibility. “John Adams, Chief Justice Marshall, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson. They didn’t go to law school at all.” ...

[T]here are obstacles. None of the states help prospective law readers locate a supervising lawyer, and finding one willing to take on the responsibility of educating a new lawyer can be difficult. Bar passage rates for law office students are also dismal. Last year only 17 passed — or 28 percent, compared with 73 percent for students who attended schools approved by the American Bar Association.

“The ABA takes the position that the most appropriate process for becoming a lawyer should include obtaining a J.D. degree from a law school approved by the ABA and passing a bar examination,” said Barry A. Currier, managing director of accreditation and legal education for the group.

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July 31, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Forbes: America's Top Colleges (Return on Investment)

Forbes 2Forbes, Ranking America's Top Colleges 2014:

For the seventh year, Forbes has partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) for America’s Top Colleges. The Forbes list of 650 schools distinguishes itself from competitors by our belief in “output” over “input.” We’re not all that interested in what gets a student into college, like our peers who focus heavily on selectivity metrics such as high school class rank, SAT scores and the like. Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting out of college? ...

Student Satisfaction (25%):  Professor ratings (RateMyProfessor) (10%), actual (12.5%) and predicted (2.5%) freshman-to-sophomore retention rates
Post-Graduate Success (32.5%):  Salary of alumni ( (10%), America’s Leaders List (22.5%)
Student Debt (25%):  Average federal student loan debt load (10%), student loan default rates (12.5%) and predicted vs. actual percent of students taking federal loans (2.5%)
Graduation Rate (7.5%):  Actual graduation rate (5%) and the actual vs. predicted rate (2.5%)
Academic Success (10%):  Students who win prestigious scholarships and fellowships (7.5%) or go on to earn a Ph.D. (2.5%)

Here are the Top 25 colleges, with their corresponding U.S. News & World Report ranking:

  1. Williams (1 Liberal Arts "LA")
  2. Stanford (5 National Universities "NU")
  3. Swarthmore (3 LA)
  4. Princeton (1 NU)
  5. MIT (7 NU)
  6. Yale (3 NU)
  7. Harvard (2 NU)
  8. Pomona (4 LA)
  9. U.S. Military Academy (17 LA)
  10. Amherst (2 LA)
  11. Haverford (9 LA)
  12. Pennsylvania (7 NU)
  13. Brown (14 NU)
  14. Bowdoin (4 LA)
  15. Wesleyan (17 LA)
  16. Carleton (7 LA)
  17. Notre Dame (18 NU)
  18. Dartmouth (10 NU)
  19. Northwestern (12 NU)
  20. Columbia (4 NU)
  21. Cal-Tech (10 NU)
  22. Davidson (9 LA)
  23. Duke (7 NU)
  24. Chicago (5 NU)
  25. Tufts (28 NU)

July 31, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Are Academic Law Libraries Doomed?

Law LibraryFollowing up on my previous post, WSJ: Law Libraries Are Doomed: Kenneth J. Hirsh (Cincinnati), Like Mark Twain: The Death of Academic Law Libraries Is an Exaggeration:

At the 2013 CALI Conference on Law School Computing, Professor James Milles, professor and former library director of the SUNY Buffalo Law School, presented his draft paper positing that academic law libraries are doomed [Legal Education in Crisis, and Why Law Libraries are Doomed]. The author presented his contrasting viewpoints in the same session. This paper is based on his presentation and has been updated to account for adoption of the revised law school accreditation standards approved by the ABA Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in 2014. While the author agrees with the underlying observations set out by Professor Milles, he envisions a scenario where law libraries, and more importantly librarians, remain an essential part of law school life.

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

UCLA Lowell Milken Institute Law Teaching Fellowship

UCLAThe Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law is now accepting applications for the Lowell Milken Institute Law Teaching Fellowship:

This fellowship is a full-time, year-round, one or two academic-year position (approximately July 2015 through June 2016 or June 2017). The position involves law teaching, legal and policy research and writing, preparing to go on the law teaching market, and assisting with organizing projects such as conferences and workshops, and teaching. No degree will be offered as part of the Fellowship program.

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

Bar Exam Technology Disaster: ExamSoft Servers Unable to Handle Crush of Applicants Trying to Upload Their Exams

Inside Higher Ed, Bar Exam Technology Disaster:

Exam SoftNew law graduates in many states experienced a technology snafu at the worst possible time Tuesday night: as they were attempting to upload bar examinations just before deadlines in their states. Many reported spending hours trying and failing to upload their answers. ExamSoft, a company that manages the bar test submission process in many states, acknowledged "slowness or difficulty" being experienced by many test-takers, and said that it was sorry for the difficulties many were having. The company, working with various state bar associations, announced 17 deadline extensions by states, so that people who couldn't submit their exams would not be penalized.

The legal blog Above the Law posted some of the emails and social media messages being posted by angry law graduates. the blog said that the situation "appears to be the biggest bar exam debacle in history."

Many bar exams continue today, so the frustrated test-takers who were up late, some fearing that they may have failed by not submitting their day's results, have another stressful day ahead of them, for many of them without as much sleep as they might have had otherwise.

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

Law Professor Blogs Network Launches International Financial Law Prof Blog

LPBN LogoThe Law Professor Blogs Network is thrilled to announce the launch of International Financial Law Prof Blog, edited by William Byrnes (Thomas Jefferson), Gary Heald (Georgetown) & David Herzig (Valparaiso).

With the support of our sponsor, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers, the Network is seeking to expand in two ways.

First, I am actively recruiting law professors to launch blogs in other areas of the law school curriculum not currently covered by the Network, including Administrative Law, Bankruptcy, Intellectual Property, National Security, Native American Law, Race and the Law, and Trial Advocacy.

Second, I am actively recruiting law professors to affiliate their existing blogs with the Network, like Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings, Mirror of Justice, REFinBlog, The Right Coast, and Sentencing Law and Policy

The Network offers law professors the premier blogging platform and the opportunity to share in growing sponsorship and advertising revenues. For more information about these opportunities, see here.

July 30, 2014 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)