TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

BigLaw First Year Associate Salaries Jump To $180,000 (From $160,000)

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, A Closer Look at Cravath’s New Salary Scale:

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Cravath is bumping first-year pay up to $180,000 from its nearly decade-long perch at $160,000. If history is any guide, this will trigger other firms to match. Here’s the full new pay scale, according to an internal Cravath memo reviewed by the Wall Street Journal:

Class of 2015 — $180,000
Class of 2014 — $190,000
Class of 2013 — $210,000
Class of 2012 — $235,000
Class of 2011 — $260,000
Class of 2010 — $280,000
Class of 2009 — $300,000
Class of 2008 — $315,000

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June 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Trump:  Wall Needed To Prevent Mexicans From Swarming Across Border, Enrolling In Law School

New YorkerThe New Yorker:  Trump: Mexicans Swarming Across Border, Enrolling in Law School, and Becoming Biased Judges, by Andy Borowitz:

Unless the United States builds a wall, Mexicans will swarm across the border, enroll in law school en masse, and eventually become biased judges, Donald J. Trump warned supporters on Monday. ...

While Trump offered no specific facts to support his latest allegations, he said that he had heard about the threat of incoming Mexican judges firsthand from border-patrol agents. “They see hundreds of these Mexicans, and they’re coming across the border with lsat-prep books,” he said. “It’s a disgrace.”

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

Poll:  Majority Of Law Schools Are Not Racing To Follow Arizona In Replacing LSAT With GRE

Kaplan Test Prep Survey, The GRE® Tries to Break the LSAT’s® Lock on Law School Admissions, but Most Admissions Officers Are Cool to It (pie charts here):

A majority (56 percent) of law schools have no plans to adopt the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law’s controversial new policy allowing applicants to submit GRE scores instead of LSAT scores, according to a recently conducted Kaplan Test Prep survey of admissions officers at 125 law schools across the United States.* Just 14 percent say it’s something they plan to adopt, while 56 percent say it’s something they don’t plan to do. The remaining 30 percent say they are unsure. The University of Arizona’s law school announced their decision to begin accepting the GRE earlier this year after conducting research with Educational Testing Service, the GRE’s administrator. The validity of this research is now being evaluated by the American Bar Association, the organization that accredits the nation’s 200 plus law schools.


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

Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death

TallahasseeTallahassee Democrat, Markel, Adelson Sparred Up to the End:

Florida State University law professor Dan Markel returned home from a September 2012 business trip to find his wife of six years, his two young boys and most of the couple’s possessions gone from his Betton Hills home.

While he was away, his then-wife and fellow FSU College of Law professor Wendi Adelson, moved out of the house, taking the toddlers with the help of her parents. Divorce paperwork dated Sept. 5, 2012, before Markel had left for his trip, sat on what used to be the couple’s shared bed. She left no address where she and the children were, court filings said. ...

Two years later, Tallahassee Police and FBI investigators point to the couple’s sparky divorce and her wealthy family’s eagerness to move the children to South Florida as the motive for the crime. In the arrest affidavit for 34-year-old Sigfredo Garcia, a North Miami man charged with first-degree murder in Markel’s death, details of the divorce are listed under the heading “Motive for Murder.”

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June 6, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

BYU Prof Told Not To Give Extra Credit To Physiology Students Who Drink His Urine

Fox13, BYU Student Believes She Drank Professor’s Urine for Extra Credit:

A classroom prank some BYU students say crossed the line. A student drank what she thought was her professor's urine as part of a lesson on kidney function. The student got extra credit for slugging back a small vial. ... [Professor Jason] Hansen gave us this statement about the class lesson earlier in the week.

The exercise we did in class where we used fake urine to illustrate principles of hydration and dehydration.  The color of your urine dictates how well your body conserves water.  The darker the urine, the more your body is trying to conserve water.  The fake urine was used to illustrate that purpose.  Furthermore, physicians used to drink urine to determine various metabolic diseases by the taste, including determining how sweet it was for as diagnosis of diabetes.  In class, we used the fake urine for this purpose.  I asked a student if they were willing to try some of the fake urine.  She agreed. I agreed that we would both try it.  I have done this in the past with no complaints.  Later, usually the next class, I tell them that it was fake.   This is usually a fun way to teach this concept to the class and was not intended to offend anyone.  After getting your email on Saturday, I did send a message to everyone letting them know that it was indeed fake.

Wednesday, Hansen's department chair at BYU confirmed that, while the demonstration does teach some critical aspects of kidney function, they've asked the professor not to repeat the exercise.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 5, 2016

More On The Accreditation Battle Over Canada's First Christian Law School

Sunstein:  The World According to Star Wars—Lessons On Faith, Fathers & Feminism

SunsteinCass Sunstein (Harvard), The World According to Star Wars (May 31, 2016):

There’s Santa Claus, Shakespeare, Mickey Mouse, the Bible, and then there’s Star Wars. Nothing quite compares to sitting down with a young child and hearing the sound of John Williams’s score as those beloved golden letters fill the screen. In this fun, erudite, and often moving book, Cass R. Sunstein explores the lessons of Star Wars as they relate to childhood, fathers, the Dark Side, rebellion, and redemption. As it turns out, Star Wars also has a lot to teach us about constitutional law, economics, and political uprisings.

In rich detail, Sunstein tells the story of the films’ wildly unanticipated success and explores why some things succeed while others fail. Ultimately, Sunstein argues, Star Wars is about freedom of choice and our never-ending ability to make the right decision when the chips are down. Written with buoyant prose and considerable heart, The World According to Star Wars shines a bright new light on the most beloved story of our time.

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June 5, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

InfiLaw And The Three Myths Used to Justify Predatory Law School Admission Practices

InfiLaw (2016)David Frakt (Law Office of David Frakt, Orlando, FL), Three Myths Used to Justify Predatory Admission Practices — The Instructive Example of InfiLaw:

For some time now, I have been warning of the catastrophic consequences of admitting students with very poor LSAT scores and correspondingly low grades because such students are at very high risk of failing the bar even if they manage to make it through law school.  The plummeting bar passage statistics from the last several administrations of the bar exam have borne out these warnings.

The Law Schools engaged in these irresponsible admission practices have offered a variety of explanations for admitting significant numbers of students with very low indicators.  These explanations of what are really exploitative admission practices typically fall into three general categories or themes, which I call the “Magic Formula Myth” the “Miracle Worker Myth” and the “Fairness Through Failure Myth.” Often, predatory law schools will use these themes in combination. ...

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

Anatomy Of The Hit On Dan Markel

Tallahassee Democrat, Anatomy of a Hit:


Above the Law, More Details From The Dan Markel Murder Investigation, Plus A Closer Look At The Adelson Family:

A second suspect in the killing — Luis Rivera, who allegedly carried out the killing with Sigfredo Garcia — is already in custody, on separate federal charges. ...

Chief DeLeo did say more arrests are likely. He declined to comment on the Adelsons, except to say with a smirk, when asked if he knew their whereabouts, “We aren’t on speaking terms.”

So let’s talk about the Adelsons. Based on the emails and texts we’ve received from readers, they are a subject of great public interest right now.

It’s important to note what law enforcement authorities do not allege about the Adelsons (at least at this point in the investigation). The affidavit claims that Charles Adelson “was involved in a personal relationship” around the time of the murder with one Katherine Magbanua, who happens to be the mother of the two children of Sigfredo Garcia, one of the alleged killers. The affidavit does not allege that Wendi Adelson knew about Dan Markel’s killing in advance or had any involvement in it (and in my story yesterday, I cited some evidence suggesting a lack of knowledge by Wendi). The affidavit also does not allege advance knowledge or involvement by Wendi and Charlie Adelson’s parents, Donna Sue Adelson and Dr. Harvey J. Adelson.

It is possible, of course, that members of the Adelson family in addition to Charlie Adelson had knowledge of or involvement with the alleged plot (or acquired knowledge at some point in the almost two years since Dan Markel’s death). But as of now, investigators do not make such allegations. ...

In terms of where they are now, Wendi joined Dan on the FSU faculty, but resigned from her post as a clinical professor in January 2015. As we mentioned yesterday, she was not eligible for tenure, so one can understand why she wanted to leave FSU and Tallahassee; there wasn’t much keeping her there after her divorce from Markel, finalized in 2013. She moved back to South Florida, where her parents and brother live, and currently clerks for Judge Adalberto Jordan of the Eleventh Circuit. ...

As for the other three Adelsons — Dr. Harvey Adelson, Donna Adelson, and Dr. Charlie Adelson — they continue to work at their South Florida dental practice, the Adelson Institute for Aesthetics and Implant Dentistry. The Institute’s elaborate website features video footage of the Doctors Adelson. ...

[Donna Adelson's] ... access to her grandchildren, the two sons of Wendi Adelson and Dan Markel, was going to be litigated at a hearing that was scheduled [and was] going to take place had Markel not been murdered; Markel claimed that Donna Adelson was saying negative things about him to her grandkids. ... The hearing had been continued, and no new date had been set when Markel was killed.

Tallahassee Democrat, Markel Case Surely Will Satisfy Our Infatuation With Crime:

While [Chief] DeLeo wouldn’t go into detail, he did make clear that the fallout from the couple’s divorce, including Markel’s infighting with his estranged mother-in-law; the custody battle over the children and money, are summed up as “a motivating factor in this murder.”

Tallahassee Democrat, TPD Concerned Other Markel Suspects May Flee:

Tallahassee Police didn’t want details of their case against a Miami man arrested in Dan Markel’s killing to be made public for fear other suspects in the murder-for-hire scheme might flee the U.S., court documents show.

“Suspected co-defendants have the financial means to flee the country and to not return, and in fact, have already been discovered talking about leaving,” TPD’s legal counsel Theresa Flury wrote in a May 26 motion that successfully sought to have Sigfredo Garcia’s arresting documents sealed. ...

Chiefly, the document appears to implicate family members of Markel’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson – her brother Charles Adelson and mother Donna Adelson – as being involved in the murder plot. Charles Adelson and his father run a cosmetic dentistry practice in Ft. Lauderdale, where his mother also works.

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

Friday, June 3, 2016

Former Ohio Attorney General/Lieutenant Governor Named Interim Dean At Cleveland-Marshall Law School

FischerPress Release, Lee Fisher Named Interim Dean of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law:

Lee Fisher, former Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General of Ohio, has been appointed Interim Dean of Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law for the 2016-17 academic year.  Fisher will continue to enhance the law school’s academic reputation, while building on the innovative efforts Cleveland-Marshall has recently developed to enhance career readiness for its graduates and promote greater connectivity with the Cleveland community. ...

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June 3, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Merritt:  Job Prospects For Doctors, Lawyers And Software Developers

Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Doctors, Lawyers & Software Developers:

I wrote earlier this week about employment trends for doctors and lawyers. There is a third occupation that now vies with these professions for the affections of talented college graduates: software developer. Examining this occupation explains where some might-have-been lawyers are headed. ...

By 2006, the number of computer specialists had grown more than eight-fold to 3,200,000. That category included computer and information scientists, programmers, software engineers, systems analysts, and many others. Notably, the category of software engineers alone had grown to 857,000 workers.

In contrast, there were only 761,000 lawyers and 633,000 doctors practicing in 2006. The number of software developers already exceeded the number of workers in each of these traditional occupations–and that was during the supposed boom years of our profession.

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June 3, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harrison:  Are Law Schools (And Law Professors) Like Trump University?

Trump UniversityJeffrey Harrison (Florida), Trump University, Law Schools, and Law Professors: Snark in the Water:

I was going to write a really snarky blog about how much law school recruiting looks like it was designed by Donald Trump. I am not going to do that. After all, he lured people into paying. Law schools, nowadays, pay people to come. ...

I noticed that the web page for my own school it says "renowed faculty" as do the pages for other schools. ... [W]hile not true it does not rise to Trumpian levels.

How about employment data. You announce that 90% of your students get jobs but not that you hire a couple dozen and when the rating agencies refused to count them as employed you dropped them. This is very clearly Trumpian. It's a version of cooking the books. ...

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June 3, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Police: Dan Markel Was Killed In Murder-For-Hire Plot Orchestrated By Ex-Wife's Brother

MarkelNational Law Journal, Florida Law Professor Killed in Murder-for-Hire, Police Say:

Florida investigators believe law professor Dan Markel was murdered in 2014 by two convicted felons hired by his ex-wife’s brother.

In a newly unsealed probable-cause affidavit, police said that “a desperate desire” by the family of Markel’s ex-wife to move the couple’s two children from Tallahassee to Miami was the motive of murder suspect Sigfredo Garcia, arrested last week for Markel’s murder. ...

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

The Importance Of Qualitative Assessment In Complementing Quantitative Measures Of Mid-Career Scholarly Performance

Mid-CareerFrank Pasquale (Maryland), Scholarship and Mid-Career Self-Assessments: A Brief Reflection on Simkovic’s What Can We Learn from Credit Markets?:

Chris J. Walker has written a very helpful series of posts for young professors on “how to become a voice in one’s field.” ... I also think that we can learn a great deal from the content of successful scholars’ inquiry. Usually, researchers only undertake this type of self-reflection when applying for jobs and preparing research agendas (a mostly private process), or at the end of a career (when a long list of accomplishments may seem too daunting to be relatable to younger peers). But winners of the ALI Young Scholars Medal appear to get invited to give a public talk on their work at an earlier stage of inquiry. Mike Simkovic (whose work I’ve previously praised here) gave such an address in May. ...

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

Indiana Tech Law School's First 20 Graduates Face Pressure To Be Exemplary Attorneys

Indiana Tech (2016)Indiana Lawyer, Indiana Tech Law School Graduates Under Pressure to be Exemplary Attorneys:

The 20 graduates who walked across the commencement stage May 14 and received their J.D. degrees were part of a historic day for Indiana Tech Law School as they were the first to graduate from the state’s fifth law school.

But faculty and graduates acknowledged that the graduation, while a significant milestone, is not the end of their work.

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Congratulations To The Newest Pepperdine Members Of The California Bar


June 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. News Law School Rankings:  Yield

2017 U.S. News LogoU.S. News & World Report, 10 Law Schools Where the Most Accepted Students Enroll:

Yale University, which ranks No. 1 in the 2017 Best Law Schools, topped the list of ranked ​institutions with the highest yield​—the percentage of accepted students who enrolled—at 74.3 percent in fall 2015. ... Harvard University, which ranked in a tie for No. 2 among top law schools, was third on the list with a yield of 60.4 percent. ...

​​Not all schools on the list were as highly ranked. Brigham Young University, where 68.8 percent of admitted students enrolled and which ranks No. 38, came second after Yale. The school, which is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,​ offers discounted tuition to members of the church.

School Accepted Enrolled Yield U.S. News Rank
1.  Yale 269 200 74.3% 1
2.  BYU 186 128 68.8% 38 (tie)
3.  Harvard 931 562 60.4% 2 (tie)
4.  Southern 408 210 51.5% RNP*
5.  UNLV 224 104 46.4% 78 (tie)
6.  Indiana—Indianapolis 562 254 45.2% 100 (tie)
7.  Liberty​  113 51 45.1% RNP
8.  UMKC 314 140 44.6% 123 (tie)
9.  Arkansas—Little Rock 266 115 43.2% 136 (tie)
10.  N. Carolina Central 473 199 42.1% RNP

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

The 69 Most-Cited Law Faculties (And The Most-Cited Tax Faculty At Those Schools)

Gregory C. Sisk (University of St. Thomas) et al.,  Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2015: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third, 12 U. St. Thomas L.J. 100 (2015):

This study explores the scholarly impact of law faculties, ranking the top third of ABA-accredited law schools. Refined by Professor Brian Leiter, the “Scholarly Impact Score” for a law faculty is calculated from the mean and the median of total law journal citations over the past five years to the work of tenured members of that law faculty. In addition to a school-by-school ranking, we report the mean, median, and weighted score, along with a listing of the tenured law faculty members at each ranked law school with the ten highest individual citation counts.

1.   Yale
2.   Harvard
3.   Chicago
4.   NYU
5.   Stanford
6.   UC-Irvine
7.   Columbia
8.   Duke
9.   Vanderbilt, UC-Berkeley
11.  Pennsylvania
12.  Northwestern
13.  Cornell, UCLA
15.  Michigan, Georgetown
17.  Virginia, George Washington
19.  Minnesota
20.  Texas
21.  George Mason, Washington University, Boston University
24.  UC-Davis
25.  Case Western, Notre Dame
27.  Illinois, Emory
29.  Cardozo, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio State
33.  North Carolina, Brooklyn
35.  Indiana, Utah, Fordham, San Diego
39.  Florida State, Arizona State, USC, St. Thomas, Iowa
44.  UC-Hastings, William & Mary, Maryland
47.  BYU, Hofstra, Washington & Lee
50.  UNLV, Pittsburgh
52.  Temple, Wake Forest, Florida, Chicago-Kent, Alabama
57.  Georgia, Houston, Loyola-L.A., American, Boston College
62.  Missouri, Toledo
64.  DePaul, Rutgers-Camden, Kansas, Tulane, Hawaii, San Francisco

Here are the 17 Tax Profs among the 10-most cited faculty at the Top 69 law schools:

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June 1, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

Villanova Law School Graduate:  One Degree, 2+ Sugar Daddies, Zero Debt

Sugar BabyPhilly Voice, Villanova Law Graduate: One Degree, 2+ Sugar Daddies, Zero Debt:

Candice Kashani graduated from law school debt-free this spring, thanks to a modern twist on an age-old arrangement.

During her first year, she faced tuition and expenses that ran nearly $50,000, even after a scholarship. So she decided to check out a dating website that connected women looking for financial help with men willing to provide it, in exchange for companionship and sex — a "sugar daddy" relationship as they are known.

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June 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Morrissey:  Saving Legal Education

Daniel J. Morrissey (Former Dean, Gonzaga), Saving Legal Education, 56 J. Legal Educ. 25 (2006):

This piece describes the difficult situation that legal education finds itself in. While law schools offer programs that are more enriching than ever, they do so at much higher costs than in previous decades. The resulting tuition increases have causes graduating students to become burdened with large debts. At the same time, their employment, particular for those at non-elite law schools, have become more problematic. The article provides ample statistics and examples to support these disturbing trends.

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Students Protest Elimination Of 'Covered' Freshman Year Grades At Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins 2Baltimore Sun, Grading Policy Change Draws Protests at Johns Hopkins:

Plans to end a decades-old policy of concealing the first-semester grades of freshman at the Johns Hopkins University from graduate school admissions officers and future employers are drawing outrage from students.

Hopkins has been one of the few schools nationwide that "cover" the grades of their newest students, shielding them on transcripts and keeping them out of grade-point averages as the freshmen make the transition to college.

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

Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death

The Perils Of Writing A Provocative Email At Yale

Yale University LogoThe Atlantic, The Perils of Writing a Provocative Email at Yale:

Last fall, student protesters at Yale University demanded that Professor Nicholas Christakis, an academic star who has successfully mentored Ivy League undergraduates for years, step down from his position as faculty-in-residence at Silliman College, along with his wife, Erika Christakis, who shared in the job’s duties.

The protesters had taken offense at an email sent by Erika Christakis.

Dogged by the controversy for months, the couple finally resigned their posts Wednesday. Because the student protests against them were prompted by intellectual speech bearing directly on Erika Christakis’s area of academic expertise, the outcome will prompt other educators at Yale to reflect on their own positions and what they might do or say to trigger or avoid calls for their own resignations. If they feel less inclined toward intellectual engagement at Yale, I wouldn’t blame them.

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May 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, May 30, 2016

Former Assistant Dean For Bar Prep/Academic Success Sues Law School For Gender Discrimination, Says 'All-Female Management Team' Made Him Fall Guy For Poor Bar Results Caused By Systemic Problems At School

MoueryOrlando Sentinel, Ex-Law School Official Alleges Discrimination After He Was Fired From Job:

A man who was fired from his job at an Orlando law school accused the university of discrimination because he was a man in senior leadership when students struggled to pass the bar exam, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

David Mouery, the former assistant dean for bar preparation and academic success, said Barry University singled him out and disciplined him after the test results were released last year, court documents said.

He sued Barry University for gender discrimination and retaliation in Orange County Circuit Court. ...

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May 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Talking The Talk Or Walking The Walk Of Legal Education Reform

Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers (2016)Keith R. Lee (Hamer Law Group, Birmingham, AL), Ten Years of IAALS: Walking the Walk with Legal Education Reform:

There is lots of talk about making changes in legal education at law schools. That's no surprise, law professors love to talk. If they loved practicing law, they'd be lawyers. Instead, ensconced in the ivory tower, safe from the perils of the real world, they leisurely debate what should happen to those poor souls (law students) who must leave the hallowed halls of law school, and actually go out in the world to practice law.

If you can't tell, I'm not particularly sympathetic or supportive.

Since we're talking about legal education, here's a hypothetical:

A 10-mile bicycle race is going to take place one year hence. There are two competitors, Adam and Barbara.

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May 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Report:  Harvard Law Prof Hid Far Left Views To Chair Hiring Committee And 'Heavily Influence Hiring Critical Race Theorists'

Harvard Law School (2016)Daily Caller, Leaked Document Shows Harvard Students, Profs Planning To Make School Even More Liberal:

Leaked notes from an alleged meeting between Harvard Law School (HLS) professors and student activists shows them planning how to coordinate their efforts in order to take the school in a more institutionally left-wing direction.

The notes also suggest that at least one professor at Harvard may be concealing the full extent of his liberal views in order to be appointed to positions where he can shape the university’s politics more decisively.

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May 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend In Our Pepperdine Neighborhood (And On CBS News)


Amazingly, no one was hurt when a car flew into our neighborhood pool at 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Update #1:  I finally made it on CBS News — not as a tax expert, but as a photographer:

Update #2:

May 28, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Missouri Law School Dean Resigns Day After Lawsuit Filed Seeking Public Records Of Law Prof Running For Attorney General

MyersABC17 News, MU Law School Dean Says Decision to Step Down Not Linked to Lawsuit:

The dean of the University of Missouri Law School [Gary Myers, right] says his decision to step down is not related to the lawsuit filed this week related to the state's Sunshine Law.

This comes after a former state representative [Kevin Elmer] filed a lawsuit against Josh Hawley over an apparent unfulfilled open records request. Hawley is an MU law professor who running for Missouri Attorney General. Myers was also named in the suit.

Dean Myers apparently raised concerns to the university nearly three weeks after Elmer requested the records. Myers thought a request for Hawley's tenure application would threaten "the integrity of the University's tenure procedures," and hoped the system would keep in mind "these important institutional considerations" when sorting through the documents. ...

The lawsuit claims the university allowed Hawley to first review his emails before letting the UM System's custodian of records, Paula Barrett, begin processing Elmer's request. While some email correspondences may be exempt from public record, such as personal student information, the lawsuit claims the university broke the law by allowing Hawley that review.

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May 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Penn State Law Faculty 'Discontent' Amidst Failed Dean Search, Two Year 'Downward Descent (From #51) Into Rankings Oblivion (#86)'

Penn State Logo (2016)Kimberly Krawiec (Duke), Rumblings of Discontent at Penn State Law:

Penn State Law’s dean search has been unsuccessful (announced to the faculty by the provost) and that at least some faculty have been unhappy with the search process and a perceived lack of faculty input. ... [T]he complaints apparently include search committee composition, a lack of openness and communication during the search process, the way in which candidates were vetted, and whether (or the extent to which?) faculty are polled on their views of candidates. Some of the discontent may also stem from the law school’s recent rankings drop. As Above the Law reported in March:

Penn State, fresh off separating its campuses into two separate law schools, continues its downward descent into oblivion by losing another 15 spots in the rankings, following up on a 20-spot drop just last year. To think, Penn State was once so close to being ranked as a Top 50 school.

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May 27, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Oyez Supreme Court Media Project Leaves Chicago-Kent For Cornell, Justia

OyezNational Law Journal, 'Oyez Project' New Home Will Keep Supreme Court Audio Free to Public:

After months of uncertainty about its future, the Oyez Project, a free repository of more than 10,000 hours of U.S. Supreme Court oral-argument audio and other court resources, has found a new home.

The project’s founder, Jerry Goldman, who is retiring soon, told The National Law Journal on Tuesday that a newly minted arrangement with Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute and Justia, the online publisher of legal information, will keep Oyez alive. ...

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May 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Curve: Life At Manhattan Law School

Curve 2Jeremy Blachman (J.D. 2005, Harvard; author, Anonymous Lawyer) & Cameron Stracher (J.D. 1987, Harvard; Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, New York), The Curve (2016):

The students at Manhattan Law School, a decrepit institution on the edge of the toxic Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, are geographically-challenged and mad as hell – in debt up to their eyeballs and fighting over the few legal jobs left for those who are far outside the Ivy League. Our hero, Adam Wright, is a newly minted professor with high hopes and low expectations. But nothing has prepared him for a classroom of digitally distracted students, a rebellion of grade grubbers, a Law Journal staff at the helm of a school-wide scam, and a corrupt administration that runs the school as if it were a personal ATM. Adam regrets leaving his lucrative corporate law firm for the wilds of academia, until he finds an ally in the brilliant and fetching Laura Stapleton, a colleague with her own troubling secrets.

Now the two professors may just have to save legal education ... or join their students in the unemployment line … or worse.

With its colorful cast of eccentrics and law school misfits, a satirical plot that – without too much of a stretch – could be ripped from the headlines, and a proven author duo who know this world and have six previous books between them, The Curve continues Ankerwycke’s trend of publishing high quality/highly readable legal fiction with an edge.

The Curve is a hugely entertaining and deeply felt novel that satirizes the current state of higher education and reads like a cross between Dangerous Minds and The Paper Chase.

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May 26, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Oberlin Students Demand Abolition Of Midterms, Grades Lower Than C

OberlinThe Week, Oberlin Students Want to Abolish Midterms and Any Grades Below C:

Students at Oberlin College are asking the school to put academics on the back burner so they can better turn their attention to activism. More than 1,300 students at the Midwestern liberal arts college have now signed a petition asking that the college get rid of any grade below a C for the semester, and some students are requesting alternatives to the standard written midterm examination, such as a conversation with a professor in lieu of an essay.

The students say that between their activism work and their heavy course load, finding success within the usual grading parameters is increasingly difficult.

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May 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Dan Markel Killing Investigated As Murder for Hire, 5-6 More Arrests Expected

GarciaFollowing up on this morning's post, Man Arrested In Murder Of Dan Markel:  Tallahassee Democrat, Markel Killing Investigated as Murder for Hire, More Arrests Expected:

Law enforcement officials are investigating Florida State University law professor Dan Markel’s death as a murder for hire, according to two sources close to the investigation.

The sources add that more arrests are expected.

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May 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Man Arrested In Murder Of Dan Markel

GarciaUpdateDan Markel Killing Investigated As Murder for Hire, 5-6 More Arrests Expected

Tallahassee Democrat, Man Faces Murder Charge in Dan Markel's Death:

A man has been arrested in connection with the July 2014 shooting death of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

Sigfredo Garcia [right], 34, was arrested in Broward County Wednesday, according to the Tallahassee Police Department.

Garcia is charged with first-degree murder and possession of cocaine. The State Attorney's Office In Tallahassee approved an arrest warrant for him Wednesday.

He is being held in the Broward County Jail after being arrested by the Hallandale Beach Police Department.

Garcia has a criminal history, according to Miami-Dade County records, that includes strong arm robbery, burglary, drugs and concealed weapons violations.

TPD, which provided information about the arrest in a 12:11 a.m. email, is holding a press conference at 11:30 a.m. today to provide details.

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May 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chicago Is #1 In Law Grad Employment; Five California Law Schools Are In The Bottom Ten

National Law Journal (2016)National Law Journal, Chicago Law School Jumps to No. 1 in Full-Time Jobs After Graduation; California Schools Show High Percentage of Underemployed J.D.s.:

The University of Chicago Law School had a strong year on the employment front. It sent a higher percentage of 2015 graduates into full-time legal jobs than any other law school—nearly 91 percent according to The National Law Journal’s analysis of the latest employment data from the ABA. ...

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May 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More On Canaries In The Law School Coal Mine

CanaryFollowing up on my previous posts on canaries in the law school coal mine:

Jeremy R. Paul (Dean, Northeastern), Saving the Canary, 66 Syracuse L. Rev. ___ (2016):

It’s hard not to admire Rick’s turn of phrase observing that law schools resemble the canary in the coal mine because downward pressure on tuition increases, with potentially harmful consequences, is hitting law schools just a few years ahead of when it will batter our partners around campus [Richard A. Matasar, The Canary in the Coal Mine: What the University Can Learn from Legal Education, 45 McGeorge L. Rev. 161 (2013)]. Yet faculty members throughout the country wonder why things seem suddenly out of control. ...

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May 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Above The Law Top 50 Law School Rankings

ATLAbove the Law, 2016 Top 50 Law School Rankings:

We welcome you to the fourth annual installment of the Above the Law Top 50 Law School Rankings. These are the only rankings to incorporate the latest ABA employment data concerning the class of 2015. The premise underlying our approach to ranking schools remains the same: that given the steep cost of law school and the new normal of the legal job market, potential students should prioritize their future employment prospects over all other factors in deciding whether and where to attend law school. The relative quality of schools is a function of how they deliver on the promise of gainful legal employment. 

The Top 10:

  1. Yale
  2. Stanford
  3. Chicago
  4. Penn
  5. Harvard
  6. Virginia
  7. Duke
  8. Northwestern
  9. Cornell
  10. UC-Berkeley


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May 24, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Merritt:  Job Prospects For Doctors And Lawyers

Law and MedicineDeborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Doctors and Lawyers:

Medicine and law are highly regarded professions; talented students used to eagerly seek entry to both of these fields. But now applications to law schools are falling while those to medical schools are rising. What’s behind that phenomenon? Let’s take a look at employment trends in these two professions over the last forty years. ...

The Bureau estimates that the economy will generate 99,300 new jobs for doctors between 2014 and 2024, but just 43,800 for lawyers. The medical profession will add even more new jobs each year (9,930) than it did in the 1980’s (8,800). The number of new lawyering jobs, in contrast, will sink to just 4,380 positions per year. That’s less than a quarter of the positions added annually during the 1980’s and not much higher than the average number of jobs added between 2008 and 2014.

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May 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fast-Talking Dean Speeds Up Graduation Ceremony By Hitting 15 NPM (Names Per Minute)

Inside Higher Ed, When You Need a Fast-Talking Dean:

These days, many colleges and universities graduate so many people at a single commencement that the tradition of reading graduates' names is long gone. For smaller colleges, the tradition lives on. But many in the audience care only about the name of their child or loved one and lose patience waiting for those with names at the end of the alphabet.

Hamilton College may have found the perfect solution. Its dean of the faculty, Pat Reynolds, has been timed, and he reads the names of the nearly 500 graduates faster than any of his predecessors in the last 25 years. Hamilton knows this because an emeritus professor of biology, Ernest Williams, has been timing the reading of names for that long. And he certifies that Reynolds -- who some years gets in about 15 names a minute -- is far speedier than any of the five other deans Williams timed.

Dean Reynolds is good, but after sitting through my first Pepperdine outdoor graduation ceremony under the Southern California sun last Friday, I think John Moschitta has a real future as a commencement speaker:

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pomona College Adds Diversity As A Tenure Requirement

PomonaInside Higher Ed, Diversity as a Tenure Requirement:

Pomona College's faculty has voted to change the criteria for tenure to specifically require candidates to be "attentive to diversity in the student body."

While many colleges and universities encourage faculty members to support diversity efforts, and a few have encouraged tenure candidates to reference such work, Pomona's requirement may go farther in that it applies to all who come up for tenure. The faculty voted overwhelmingly this month to approve the change. At Pomona, the faculty controls the tenure criteria, so the vote is final, although there is a grandfather clause exempting those already in the tenure-review process.

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Peter Thiel's Advice To Graduates: 'My Ambition To Be A Lawyer Was Less A Plan For The Future Than An Alibi For The Present'

Peter Thiel (Co-founder, PayPal), Commencement Address at Hamilton College (May 22, 2016):

(Click on YouTube button on bottom right to view video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.)

Thank you so much for the kind introduction. It’s a tremendous honor to be here.

Like most graduation speakers my main qualification would seem to be that I am one of the few people who are even more clueless about what is going on in your lives than your parents and your professors.

Most of you are about 21 or 22 years old, you’re about to begin working. I haven’t worked for anybody for 21 years. But if I try to give a reason for why it makes sense for me to speak here today I would say it’s because thinking about the future is what I do for a living. And this is a commencement. It’s a new beginning. As a technology investor, I invest in new beginnings. I believe in what hasn’t yet been seen or been done.

This is not what I set out to do when I began my career. When I was sitting where you are, back in 1989, I would’ve told you that I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t really know what lawyers do all day, but I knew they first had to go to law school, and school was familiar to me.

I had been competitively tracked from middle school to high school to college, and by going straight to law school I knew I would be competing at the same kinds of tests I’d been taking ever since I was a kid, but I could tell everyone that I was now doing it for the sake of becoming a professional adult.

I did well enough in law school to be hired by a big New York law firm, but it turned out to be a very strange place. From the outside, everybody wanted to get in; and from the inside, everybody wanted to get out.

When I left the firm, after seven months and three days, my coworkers were surprised. One of them told me that he hadn’t known it was possible to escape from Alcatraz. Now that might sound odd, because all you had to do to escape was walk through the front door and not come back. But people really did find it very hard to leave, because so much of their identity was wrapped up in having won the competitions to get there in the first place.

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Simkovic Presents What Can We Learn from Credit Markets At ALI

ALI Logo (2015)American Law Institute 93rd Annual Meeting:

[On] the last day of the Annual Meeting ... Young Scholar Medal Recipient Michael Simkovic of Seton Hall University School of Law presented What Can We Learn from Credit Markets. He opened with a quote from, Oliver Wendell Holmes from his address entitled The Path of the Law: “For the rational study of the law, the blackletter man may be the man of the present, but the man of the future is the man of statistics and the master of economics”:

My research uses economic analysis to explore how laws affect financial markets and how courts and regulators can use financial information to make legal and policy decisions. ...

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of Iowa President Says Law School Enrollment Decline Has Stabilized At -30%

Iowa Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts:

KCRG, University of Iowa President Weighs in Law School Enrollment:

Earlier this month, the University of Iowa College of Law graduated one of its smallest classes in recent memory, about 100 students.

That's nearly half of what it used to be more than four years ago. ...

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May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)