TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, January 22, 2017

President Obama's Lack Of Scholarly Chops Prevents Him From Being Hired As Law Prof At Columbia, Kansas; But 'Professor Of Practice' Is A Possibility


Chronicle of Higher Education, Prof. Barack Obama Needs a New Job, So We Sent Around His Academic Résumé:

It can be tough out there for an academic who’s been out of the game for so long, and Mr. Obama probably hasn’t updated his curriculum vitae in a while. So we did it for him.

We’ve noticed the former senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School padding his academic résumé in the waning days of his presidency. Mr. Obama went on a bit of a spree in the final weeks, publishing articles in Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and his old grad-school haunt, the Harvard Law Review.

Mr. Obama is no fool. He remembers that publication is the coin of the realm. Since he didn’t put his name to any scholarly articles during his earlier academic career — minding his political ambitions, he played his cards close to the vest back then — he needed to make up for lost time.

But we didn’t just update Mr. Obama’s résumé for him. We also sent it around to a handful of law professors who have served on appointment committees, and asked them to provide feedback. Set aside the specific benefits of having a former president on the faculty, we said, and focus on the his merits as a once and future academic. ...

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January 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Deans Boise & Morriss:  Why We Still Support The ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement

Boise Morriss PhotoTaxProf Blog op-ed:  Why We Still Support The ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement, by Craig M. Boise (Dean, Syracuse) & Andrew P. Morriss (Dean, Texas A&M):

Indiana Law Dean Austen Parrish recently responded to our TaxProf Blog response to his column on the ABA’s proposed 75% bar passage rule. While we don’t want to suggest deans spend their days writing op-eds, we do think a bit of further comment is merited.

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January 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Lawyer Presidential Campaign Contributions: 97% To Clinton, 3% To Trump

TrumpAmerican Lawyer, For Many Big Law Trump Donors, 'Stigma' Kept Support Below the Radar:

It was no secret during the presidential race that Donald Trump trailed Hillary Clinton in financial donations from the legal industry. Lawyers and firms gave Clinton and affiliated groups more than $39.3 million, while they gave Trump and his groups $1.4 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But many partners at the nation's largest law firms did back the president-elect—even if they opted to keep their support unusually private.

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January 20, 2017 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Charlotte Law School Fires Two-Thirds Of Faculty And Staff, Abandons Teach-Out Plan As Negotiations With Department Of Education Collapse; Classes Begin Jan. 23

Shu-Yi Oei Leaves Tulane For Boston College

OeiShu-Yi Oei, Hoffman F. Fuller Professor of Tax Law at Tulane, has accepted a lateral offer from Boston College, beginning Fall 2017. Here are Shu-Yi's recent publications:

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January 19, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

Number Of LSAT Test-Takers Rises 7.6% In Latest Administration, 2.8% For The 2016-17 Cycle Thus Far

LSAT (2015)After registering the first increase in LSAT test-takers in six years in the 2015-16 cycle, LSAC reports that the number of test-takers was up 7.6% in the third test administration (December) of the 2016-17 cycle.  This is the largest year-over-year test administration growth since December 2009.  Total test-takers in 2016-17 are up 2.8% over the comparable period in 2015-16.


ABA Journal, Number of LSAT Tests Administered Jumps Nearly 8 percent; Is Optimism Or Scheduling the Reason?:

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January 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

94 Law School Deans Ask ABA To Postpone Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement

AALS (2018)AALS Deans Steering Committee 2017:

We write as a group of deans of ABA-accredited law schools to urge the Council of the ABA Section on Legal Education & Admissions to the Bar to withdraw for the time being the proposed change to ABA Standard 316, the standard proposing a stronger and simpler requirement for bar passage to maintain accreditation. Failing that, we urge the ABA House of Delegates at its February meeting in Miami to recommit this proposal to the Council for further scrutiny. More specifically, we urge postponement for one year for additional consideration and study. This issue is simply too important to be rushed unnecessarily.

We believe this Council action requires further consideration and scrutiny in light of significant issues raised by member deans and by legal education organizations, and, more recently, by the results of the July 2016 administration of the California bar examination.  [19 of the 21 ABA-approved California law school deans signed the letter.  The two who did not sign the letter are deans of schools that fell below the 75% threshold on the July 2016 California bar exam (UC-Davis 72%; Chapman 57%).]

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January 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Charlotte Law School To File Teach-Out Plan With ABA To Protect Students As School Shuts Down

Charlotte Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA Journal, Teach-Out Plan for Charlotte School of Law in the Works:

Charlotte School of Law will file a teach-out plan, which the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will review, managing director Barry A. Currier told the ABA Journal on Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Education website for federal loans describes teach-out plans as “a written course of action a school that is closing will take to ensure its students are treated fairly with regard to finishing their programs of study.”

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January 18, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Law Schools Have Shed 1,460 Full-Time Faculty (16.1%) Since 2010

Matt Leichter has published the 2016 edition of his Which Law Schools Are Shedding Full-Time Faculty?  Law schools have shed 1,460 full-time faculty (16.1%) since 2010, and 261 full-time faculty (3.3%) since last year.

149 law schools have shed full-time faculty since 2010, with 20 law schools shedding 20 or more full-time faculty:

1. WMU Cooley 101 44 41 -3 -60
2. American 104 91 52 -39 -52
3. John Marshall (Chicago) 75 45 27 -18 -48
4. Florida Coastal 69 37 24 -13 -45
5. George Washington 106 70 69 -1 -37
6. St. Louis 65 45 34 -11 -31
7. Catholic 56 32 27 -5 -29
8. Seton Hall 59 37 32 -5 -27
8. Vermont 55 27 28 +1 -27
8. Seattle 66 47 39 -8 -27
11. Widener (Delaware) 50 31 24 -7 -26
11. New York Law School 71 48 45 -3 -26
13. McGeorge 63 34 39 +5 -24
14. Pace 47 30 25 -5 -22
14. Cleveland State 39 19 17 -2 -22
16. Santa Clara 65 45 44 -1 -21
16. DePaul 56 32 35 +3 -21
16. Hofstra 60 34 39 +5 -21
19. Nova 60 48 40 -8 -20
19. New England 40 26 20 -6 -20

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January 18, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Law Profs Who Signed Letter Opposing Jeff Sessions For Attorney General Receive Open Records Act Requests For Their Emails

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

Andrea A. Curcio (Georgia State), Public Opposition to Jeff Sessions Results in an Open Records Request:

Along with 1,400 other law professors, I signed a letter opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General of the United States. As a law professor, I signed this letter because of my concerns about maintaining the integrity of the legal system.

Shortly after the law professors’ letter was published, my university counsel’s office got an Open Records Act request seeking my emails.

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January 18, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (22)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Former UC-Hastings Dean:  Legal Education Is 'Delusional About Our Prospects'—With Plummeting Return On Investment, Is Law School A 'Long Con'?

National Law Journal op-ed:  For Legal Education, Adaption is the Only Option for a Better Future, by Frank H. Wu (Former Dean, UC-Hastings):

In legal education, we have become delusional about our prospects. We are paralyzed by a combination of denial and confidence — denial about the nature of the problems and confidence in our own ability to compete.

The public is smarter than professors would prefer to give them credit for. People are avoiding law school. The fact is that the pool of applicants has decreased at an unprecedented rate. Prospective students who would have been rejected outright prior to the recession are being offered scholarships now. Law schools have cut their enrollment, but not enough: at many institutions, the average credentials of those who matriculate are not equivalent to their predecessors.

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January 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)


BLMABA Journal, #BlackLawyersMatter Inspires Movement to Increase Representation in Law:

When third-year law student Micah Green came across the hashtag #BlackLawyersMatter in an online article, he quickly realized it was more than just a catchy phrase.

Green decided to create a website and put the hashtag on T-shirts and other apparel, which he sells to raise money for scholarships at his school, the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Law in Orlando.

But Green’s website isn’t just a retail store: Beyond the T-shirts, he’s hawking enlightenment about the cause. “It’s more so information,” Green says. “We are spreading information.”

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January 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The 25 Most Influential People In Legal Education (2016)

Top 25 (2016)Most Influential People in Legal Education (2016), The National Jurist (Jan. 2017):

This year's list of the Most Influential People in Legal Education recognizes leaders who are shaping the future of law schools. ... As in years past, we sought nominations from U.S. law schools, narrowed the list to 46 names and then asked the law dean and one randomly selected faculty member from each school to rate the influence of the nominees.

Here are the Top 10. The complete Top 25 list is here.

  1. Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine)
  2. Kellye Testy (Dean, University of Washington; 2016 AALS President)
  3. Paul Caron (Professor, Pepperdine)
  4. Bill Henderson (Professor, Indiana)
  5. Brian Leiter (Professor, Chicago)
  6. Blake Morant (Dean. George Washington; 2015 AALS President)
  7. Eugene Volokh (Professor, UCLA)
  8. Marc Miller (Dean, Arizona)
  9. Michael Hunter Schwartz (Incoming Dean, McGeorge)
  10. JoAnne Epps (Provost and Former Dean, Temple)

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January 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sturgeon:  Martin Luther King Jr. And The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life

MLKStarting to Look Up:  Be the Best of Whatever You Are, by Al Sturgeon (Dean of Graduate Programs, Pepperdine):

Fifty years ago, and just one year before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached a sermon at the New Covenant Baptist Church in Chicago titled, The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.  Dr. King’s 3D sermon emphasized the height dimension of life (God) along with the length (self) and breadth dimensions (others).  Some of his thoughts about breadth made the entire sermon known as “the street sweeper speech.”  Today, on the holiday that remembers Dr. King, I ask you to remember this:

When I was in Montgomery, I went to a shoe shop quite often, known as the Gordon Shoe Shop. And there was a fellow in there that used to shine my shoes, and it was just an experience to witness this fellow shining my shoes. He would get that rag, you know, and he could bring music out of it. And I said to myself, “This fellow has a Ph.D. in shoe shining.” What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends, even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

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January 16, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Demise Of Charlotte Law School Resurrects Talk Of New Law School At University Of North Carolina-Charlotte

UNC CharlotteCharlotte Observer, Charlotte School of Law Crisis Resurrects Talks of a Law School at UNCC:

Long-running problems that may close the Charlotte School of Law have resurrected talks of a public law school at UNC Charlotte.

Chancellor Phil Dubois told the Observer Thursday that “given the developments” at the law school, he will reopen discussions of a UNCC law program next month during the school’s board of trustees meeting.

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January 16, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Professional Degrees Yield Much Higher Salaries Compared To Other Graduate Degrees (And Undergraduate Degrees)

Who Cover

Sandy Baum (Urban Institute) & Patricia Steele (Higher Ed Insight), Who Goes to Graduate School and Who Succeeds? (Jan. 2017):

During the Great Recession, those with college degrees fared much better than those without degrees, but a number of college graduates struggled to find satisfactory employment, leading many to graduate study. The option of seeking an advanced degree has gained momentum in recent decades, and now some observers call the master’s degree the “new bachelor’s degree.”

This brief is the first in a series addressing questions about enrollment and success in graduate school, funding of graduate students, the conceptual differences between undergraduate and graduate students, and the data available to address these questions.

As participation in graduate programs rises, it is critical to ask who is enrolling, which programs they are choosing, whether they complete their degrees, and how their investment in education beyond the bachelor’s degree pays off. This brief reviews changes over time in educational attainment levels and the earnings premiums for advanced degrees, and then explores differences in enrollment and completion patterns across demographic groups.

Figure 2

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January 16, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Leef:  Feds Should Eliminate Student Loans For All Law Schools, Not Just Charlotte

FCForbes:  We Have Too Many Law Schools, But This Isn't The Way To Thin The Herd, by George Leef (Pope Center for Higher Education Policy):

It makes no more sense for the government to help a student with a 175 LSAT pay for Harvard than to help a student with a 145 LSAT pay for Charlotte.

On Dec. 19, the U.S. Department of Education announced that as of the end of the 2016, it would no longer allow students to use federal aid money at the Charlotte School of Law (CSL). The reason for this unprecedented move was the decision by the American Bar Association in November to place CSL on probation because of the low passage rate among its students on the most recent administration of the North Carolina bar exam.

Whether CSL will survive is not yet known, although it has announced that it will continue its scheduled spring semester. Whether it should survive is debatable. The question I want to explore is whether the Department’s decision to pull the plug on federal aid is a sensible one.

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January 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (18)

University Of Washington Delays Launch Of New Law School In Tacoma (35 Miles From Seattle)

TacomaFollowing up on my previous post, University of Washington (Seattle) To Open Separate Second Law School In Tacoma:  The News Tribune, UWT Delays Launch of New Law School:

Leaders at University of Washington Tacoma have postponed a proposal to create a law school on the growing campus, citing strong competition from existing schools for the region’s available law students.

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January 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (16)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Prof Sues Law School For Not Renewing His Chair, Reducing His Pay

SullivanThe Arkansas Project, More Lawlessness at the Bowen Law School:

A recent case before the state Claims Commission provides a window into yet another instance of taxpayer-supported lawlessness at the Bowen Law School.

In 2004, Professor Tom Sullivan was appointed the Howard Professor of Law at the UALR Bowen School of Law. At that time, the university also granted Sullivan a salary raise and the honorific “distinguished professor.” In 2009, then-Dean John DiPippa refused to renew Sullivan as the Howard Professor. In fact, he was the only named professor who wasn’t reappointed. To add insult to injury, the university subsequently lowered Sullivan’s salary and took away his imprimatur “distinguished professor.”

After giving the university some time to correct its mistake, Sullivan decided to sue in the Arkansas Claims Commission. Sullivan’s complaint aptly emphasized that it is illegal to reduce a tenured professor’s salary once granted.

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January 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Percentage Of Law Students Paying Full Tuition Falls To 28%, Down From 48% In 2011

Matt Leichter, 2015: Full-Time Law Students Paying Full Tuition Fell ~5 Percentage Points (Again):

As with 2014, the proportion of full-time law students paying full freight fell substantially at the average law school not in Puerto Rico. In 2015, the last year for which data are available, the average was 28.1 percent, down from 32.9 percent. In 2011, the average was 20 points higher.

Leichter 1

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January 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

NY Times:  Facing Fierce Competition For Clients, Elite Law Firms Take Unusual Steps To Bolster Their Brands

NY Times Dealbook (2013)New York Times Deal Book: With Competition Fierce, Even Elite Law Firms Resort to the Unusual, by Elizabeth Olson:

America’s law firms, even the most prominent, are mired in an era of noticeably modest growth and volatility in the industry, and 2017 promises to be no better.

Fierce competition is prompting firms to take unusual steps to bolster their profiles. Top firms are hiring groups of lawyers to expand specific practice areas, changing pay practices, jettisoning or demoting some partners and staff members and seeking ways to distinguish their brands to set them apart from competitors.

Beyond that, the top-drawer firms are increasingly jostling with one another to win lucrative legal work. It is getting tougher for firms to hang onto traditional portfolios of corporate business and avoid elbowing from rivals.

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January 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Reflections On The AALS

Charleston, Florida Coastal Law Schools Fail 'Gainful Employment' Test, Will Lose Federal Student Loans If They Fail Again Next Year; Three Other Law Schools In Danger Zone

CFNational Law Journal, Two Law Schools Get an ‘F’ for High Student Debt from Education Dept.:

Two law schools have landed on the U.S. Department of Education’s list of college programs with extremely high student loan debt compared with graduates’ earnings.

Florida Coastal School of Law and Charleston School of Law are identified as failing on the department’s “gainful employment list,” released Monday. Should those schools fail a second year in a row, they will lose access to federal student loans—a situation that is currently rocking the Charlotte School of Law as it struggles to remain open after losing federal loan access at the start of the year.

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January 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nurturing The Law Student’s Soul: Law Schools Struggle To Teach Professionalism In an Age of Consumerism

Elizabeth Adamo Usman (Belmont), Nurturing the Law Student’s Soul: Why Law Schools Are Still Struggling to Teach Professionalism and How to Do Better in an Age of Consumerism, 99 Marq. L. Rev. 1021 (2016):

The pronounced increase over the past few decades of the role of consumerism in higher education in general and in law schools specifically, in which schools and students view themselves, respectively, as consumers and sellers of an educational product, has only been accelerated in recent years with the competition over the declining number of potential entering law students. With no end to this trend in site, consumerism appears to have become a part of the reality of legal education.

This Article explores the intersection of consumerism and professionalism in the law school setting with a specific focus on the “Millennial” law student. This Article first explores the contours of what constitutes “professionalism,” concluding that at essence it involves aspirational values of the legal profession. The Article also delineates the unique characteristics of law students from the Millennial generation, focusing on Millennials’ penchant for service and desire for greater meaning through work.

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January 12, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

At The Universities Of Michigan And Virginia, Faculty Salaries Are Tied To Research Productivity, Not The Number Of Students Taught—And That's A Good Thing

Inside Higher Ed, Study Explores How Universities Deploy Faculty and Link Professor Pay:

A common criticism of the faculty reward system is that it tends to value research over teaching. A just-released working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research offers new evidence in support of that contention, suggesting that the number of students a professor teaches has relatively little to do with their compensation [Paul N. Courant (Michigan) & Sarah Turner (Virginia), Faculty Deployment in Research Universities].

Disciplines with bigger class sizes do tend to offer better pay. But the highest-paid faculty members within departments tend to teach fewer undergraduates and fewer undergraduate courses than their lower-paid colleagues. The paper also suggests that changes in faculty pay over time have more to do with discipline than number of students taught, and that universities adjust to various cost pressures by increasing class size and other means.

Yet the paper asserts that universities behave “rationally” in making such decisions, and suggests that prizing research output over teaching doesn’t necessarily affect educational quality. Over all, the paper seems to dispute assertions that higher education spending -- at least on instruction -- is wasteful or inefficient.

Figure 5A

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January 11, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Course Source: The Casebook Evolved

Stephen Johnson (Mercer), The Course Source: The Casebook Evolved, 44 Cap. U. L. Rev. 591 (2016)

Psychologist Abraham Maslow once noted that “it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” Law students are changing, law schools are criticized for failing to prepare practice-ready lawyers, and there is nearly universal consensus that legal education must transform. However, the principal tool that many faculty rely on to prepare their courses, the Langdellian casebook, is ill-suited for the transformation. The prototypical casebook that is still the standard for many courses today was designed for the Socratic dialogue and case method mode of instruction. While there is still a place for that method of instruction in legal education, other methods of instruction, the carriage bolts and lag screws of modern legal education, cannot be hammered down with the traditional casebook.

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January 11, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Is Doomsday Imminent For Charlotte Law School? Is The ABA Going To Do Anything About The Other 2 InfiLaw Schools?

Charlotte Logo (2016)National Law Journal, Is Doomsday Imminent for Charlotte Law School?:

After Charlotte School of Law officials announced Friday that it would open for its spring semester on Jan. 19, officials at the troubled school backtracked on Monday and delayed the start until Jan. 27 as it works to secure tuition financing after losing its federal loan eligibility.

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January 11, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

After 3 Years As Interim Dean, Rachel Janutis Named Dean Of Capital University Law School

Janutis 3Press Release, Capital University Names Rachel Janutis Dean of Law School:

Capital University announced today the appointment of Rachel Janutis as dean of Capital University Law School, effective immediately.

Serving in the position of interim dean for nearly three years, Dean Janutis has distinguished herself as a strategic thinker and innovator, a collaborator across multiple valued stakeholder groups, and a student-centered decision-maker. ...

Dean Janutis is a champion of extending the institution’s mission to multiple communities and articulating its value in a modern-day context. Under her leadership, the Law School has enhanced its support for student success; pioneered a career blueprint program to better position students for post-graduate success; and conducted an extensive analysis of bar passage data leading to the launch of several pilot projects aimed at early intervention for law students who struggle in their first year, and increased bar preparation. ...

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January 11, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

ABA Legal Ed Section Council, Law School Deans Voice Different Views On Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement

ABA JournalNot So Standard: Legal Ed Section's Council and Law Deans Voice Different Views on Proposal to Link Accreditation to Bar Passage Results, ABA Journal 64-65 (Jan. 2017):

No ABA-accredited law school has ever been out of compliance with a standard regarding bar passage percentages, and that may indicate that the standard is not working well. Although some law school officials support a plan to tighten the standard, others are concerned about what it would mean for diversity—both in schools and in the legal profession—if the proposal is implemented.

Under the proposal approved in late 2016 by the council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, being in compliance with Standard 316 of the section’s law school accreditation standards would require that at least 75 percent of an accredited school’s graduates pass a bar exam within a two-year time period. The ABA House of Delegates is expected to consider the proposal in February at the association’s 2017 midyear meeting in Miami.

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January 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Chemerinsky, Schill Debate First Amendment Implications Of University Of Oregon's Punishment Of Law Prof For Wearing Blackface To Halloween Party


Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine), Worries About Offensiveness Threaten Free Speech on Campuses:

Professor Shurtz exercised poor judgment in choosing her costume and not realizing that some would be very offended by it. But poor judgment and offending people cannot be a basis for a university punishing speech. In countless cases, the courts have been adamant that speech cannot be punished because it is offensive. The Nazi party had the right to march in Skokie, Ill., despite the offense to its largely Jewish population and the many Holocaust survivors who lived there. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church have the right to go funerals of those who died in military service and express a vile, anti-gay and anti-lesbian message. The government would have almost limitless power to censor speech if offensiveness is a sufficient ground for punishing expression.

Likewise, it cannot be that a university can punish a professor’s expression on the grounds that it offends students and thereby will make their learning more difficult. That is the primary justification for punishing Professor Shurtz. If that is enough to justify suspending or removing a professor, it would provide a basis for doing so any time a faculty member participates in activities that make a significant number of students uncomfortable. ...

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January 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Charlotte Dean Fires Associate Dean For Academics And Faculty Development Who 'Acted As Shield Between InfiLaw And Faculty And Students'

DavidsonFollowing up on yesterday's post, Charlotte Law School To Reopen Jan. 17, Despite Feds' Decision To Cut Off Student Loans:  Charlotte Observer, Top Academic Dean Forced to Resign as Turmoil at Charlotte School of Law Continues:

The turmoil at Charlotte School of Law appeared to continue Monday with the dean in charge of curriculum telling students she had been forced out of her job.

In an email, Camille Davidson said she was asked to resign as the school’s head of academics by Jay Conison, the head dean of the school. Davidson, a Georgetown University law graduate, said she would remain on the CSL faculty. The change comes less than a week before the beleaguered school is scheduled to reopen for classes.

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January 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Merritt:  What Happened To The Law School Class Of 2010?

Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), What Happened to the Class of 2010? Empirical Evidence of Structural Change in the Legal Profession, 2015 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1043:

Poor employment outcomes have plagued law school graduates for several years. Legal scholars have debated whether these outcomes stem from macroeconomic cycles or from fundamental changes in the market for legal services. This Article examines that question empirically, using a database of employment outcomes for more than 1,200 lawyers who received their JDs in 2010. The analysis offers strong evidence of structural shifts in the legal market. Job outcomes have improved only marginally for the Class of 2010, those outcomes contrast sharply with results for earlier classes, and law firm jobs have dropped markedly. In addition to discussing these results, the Article examines correlations between job outcomes and gender, law school prestige, and geography. In a concluding section, it offers four predictions about the future of the legal market and the economics of legal education.

Table 4A

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January 10, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Charlotte Law School To Reopen Jan. 17, Despite Feds' Decision To Cut Off Student Loans

Charlotte Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  National Law Journal, Troubled Charlotte Law School Will Open for Spring Semester:

The embattled Charlotte School of Law will remain open — for now. Administrators informed students in an email Friday evening that the school will hold classes this spring semester despite the U.S. Department of Education's decision in December to withhold access to federal student loans.

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January 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kaplan Test Prep Predicts Fall 2017 Law School Applicants Will Increase, Despite Early Declines, Due To Later LSAT Test-Taking

KaplanFollowing up on last month's post, Fall 2017 Law School Applicants Down 5.1%:  Jay Thomas, Executive Director of  Pre-Law Programs for Kaplan Test Prep, predicts that this early decline in law school applicants will reversed due to a shift toward later LSAT test-taking:

In 2015, the fall LSAT administration — the most popular administration each year — was October 3rd. This year's fall administration date was September 24th. Many students, particularly undergraduates, will ramp up their LSAT preparation after Labor Day when the semester is earnestly in swing. This year given the early administration date, we are finding many students shifting their desired test date to December, rather than the traditional fall.

While LSAC has not released test-taker numbers for the December exam date yet, we are anticipating a fairly sizable year-over-year increase (at least by recent standards). In fact, the 1% increase we saw for this fall's administration was probably 5-10 points "better" than we would've predicted, suggesting the December increase year-over-year could be 10 or even 15 points. As you know, an applicant's law school application is not complete until they have a reportable LSAT score. December LSAT scores will be returned in early January, at which point, I'd anticipate a sizable bounce/rebound in your trends — and ultimately, a likely increase in both applicants and applications.

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January 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law Prof Objects To Vilification Of Nancy Shurtz, But Concedes 'Her Social Skills May Need Work': Tax Faculty 'Tend To Be A Bit 'Different''


David Barnhizer (Cleveland State), The Vilification of Nancy [Shurtz]:

I don’t know Oregon law professor Nancy Shurtz. But I do know that no American law professor at this point in time would knowingly or intentionally use racist language or dress up in “blackface” as a demonstration of personal racial bias against Americans of African ancestry. I believe her when she says what she was doing was intended as the opposite of racial disparagement and that it represented her intention to bring out to colleagues at a social gathering the continuing discrimination and denial of opportunity that blacks in America still disproportionately suffer. Professor Shurtz’s attempted message about the continuing effects of racial discrimination obviously fell flat.

Perhaps, unlike most law professors, Shurtz’s social skills need work. After all, she teaches tax and we know that many tax faculty members tend to be a bit “different”. One thing I have no difficulty concluding, however, is that while her execution wasn’t the smartest thing to do, her intentions were good (and perhaps even noble). I also have no doubt that given the attacks on her professional and personal character by some extremely vocal and hyper-sensitive law students, by the “usual suspects” who feed on accusations of racial bias, and by “trusted colleagues” at the law school and in the University of Oregon’s administration bleating about “sensitivity”, “inclusiveness”, “offensiveness” and the like that Nancy Shurtz has been dehumanized and objectified to such a degree that she must feel she is traveling the “road to Hell” regardless of her intentions.

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January 9, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three Four Law Profs Criticize 'Smug Self-Delusion' Of 1,400 Law Prof Signatories To 'Scandalous' Letter By 'Partisan Hacks' Opposed To Jeff Sessions

DOJ Logo (2016)Following up on last week's post, Tax Profs Join Over 1,300 1,400 Law Profs In Opposing Jeff Sessions For Attorney General:

Stephen B. Presser (Northwestern), Sen. Sessions and the Smug Self-Satisfaction of the Law Professoriate (Chicago Tribune):

The first striking thing about the recent letter signed by 1,100 law professors urging the U.S. Senate not to confirm attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is its extraordinary arrogance and presumption. ...

The exaggerated self-importance of the teacher of law is buttressed by immersion in an ideology very different from what most senators and most Americans believe about the law in particular and the world in general. It is strongest in the elite bastions of the Ivy League and on the coasts, where most American law professors trained. Now, one can find it dispersed in most of our centers of legal education. ...

It is time for law professors to emerge from the smugness and self-delusion in which they have been mired for some time, and to recommit themselves to the noble task of teaching the law as a repository of timeless truths, as something above politics, and certainly above character assassination.

Michael I. Krauss (George Mason), The Law Professors' Scandalous Statement Against Jeff Sessions (Forbes):

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January 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (24)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Hari Osofsky (Minnesota) Named Dean At Penn State After Failed Search Last Year

HariFollowing up on my previous post, Penn State Law Faculty 'Discontent' Amidst Failed Dean Search, Two Year 'Downward Descent (From #51) Into Rankings Oblivion (#86)':  Press Release, New Dean Named for Penn State Law and School of International Affairs:

A leading scholar of and contributor to public policy work on energy transition and climate change has been named the new dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs (SIA) at University Park beginning July 1, pending approval of the Board of Trustees.

Hari M. Osofsky, the Robins Kaplan Professor of Law, faculty director of the Energy Transition Lab and director of the Joint Degree Program in Law, Science and Technology, all at the University of Minnesota Law School, was the successful candidate following a national search. ...

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January 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Students In College Bible Class Get Trigger Warning, Permission To Skip Studying Crucifixion Of Jesus Christ

TWCNational Review, If You Are Too Triggered by Lessons About the Crucifixion, You Cannot Be a Religious Scholar:

Students in a Bible course at the University of Glasgow are being given trigger warnings before being shown images of the crucifixion — and permission to skip those lessons altogether if they are worried they’ll feel too uncomfortable.

Predictably, much of the conversation surrounding this has been focused on the cultural implications of the policy, and how it contributes to creating a generation of weak little snowflakes. ... But the problems with this policy go far beyond the abstract cultural implications. It’s also objectively, indisputably wrong on a logical level — because receiving credits for a class signifies that you have learned enough about the subject matter to earn those credits, and no student in an introductory Bible course could meet that qualification without having learned about the crucifixion.

The crucifixion may be a traumatic Biblical event, but it is also arguably the most monumental one. The crucifixion and corresponding resurrection of Jesus Christ are the entire foundation of the Christian religion, and yet somehow we have an institution willing to give students credit for a class about that religion’s holy book without them having to learn anything about the book’s most consequential event?

I would have no problem with professors offering warnings before displaying graphic images — giving the squeamish ones time to cover their eyes — but giving students the opportunity to opt out of crucifixion-related lessons entirely? Sorry, but . . . nope. Giving a student who did not learn class material about the crucifixion credit for a Bible class is like giving a student who did not learn to do a cartwheel a spot on the gymnastics team, and Glasgow University should be ashamed of itself.

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January 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Op-Ed:  Critics Of University Of Oregon's Punishment Of Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz For Wearing Blackface To A Halloween Party In Her Home Need To "Move On' And 'Get Over It'


Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Register-Guard op-ed: UO Is Right to Insist Upon Cultural Competency, by Martha Moultry:

Get over it!”

“It’s no big deal!”

“You’re too sens­itive!”

“There are people with real problems in the world!”

“Let it go and move on with your life!”

As an African-American woman who grew up in the segregated South and has spent the past 30-plus years in liberal Eugene, I’ve heard these messages all of my life — and they are now being played in stereo in letters to the editor regarding the recent blackface incident at the University of Oregon.

Well, let me add my two cents’ worth.

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January 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Law Students Performed 2.2 Million Pro Bono Hours Worth $52 Million In 2016

Pro BonoNational Law Journal, Law Students Performed 2.2 Million Pro Bono Hours Last Year:

In between reading cases and studying for exams, law students found time in 2016 to take on volunteer legal work — a lot of it.

The law class of 2016 performed more than 2.2 million hours of pro bono work while on campus, which is valued at more than $52 million.

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January 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Rethinking Faculty Hiring At Fourth-Tier Law Schools

Meat MarketPhilip L. Merkel (Western State), Scholar or Practitioner? Rethinking Qualifications for Entry-Level Tenure-Track Professors at Fourth-Tier Law Schools, 44 Cap. U. L. Rev. 507 (2016):

[M]any fourth-tier law schools have lost their way. Rather than embracing their responsibility to educate practitioners, they are trying to look, act, and spend like elite schools. They operate as if they are research centers whose purpose is to produce academic scholarship, not places where future lawyers learn their trade. The research center model creates costs for fourth-tier law schools that ultimately fall on the students. Because most fourth-tier schools rely on tuition for operating expenses and capital budgets, students are paying more tuition and taking on more debt to support their professors’ scholarship. Students subsidize these activities but receive little benefit. They are further short-changed when they graduate and discover their professors taught them little about the actual practice of law.

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January 6, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (12)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 NALP Report On Diversity In U.S. Law Firms

NALPNALP, 2016 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms:

Women and Black/African-Americans made small gains in representation at major U.S. law firms in 2016 compared with 2015, according to the latest law firm demographic findings from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). However, representation of both these groups remains below 2009 levels. NALP’s recent analyses of the 2016-2017 NALP Directory of Legal Employers (NDLE) — the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP — shows that although women and minorities continue to make small gains in their representation among law firm partners in 2016, the overall percentage of women associates has decreased more often than not since 2009, and the percentage of Black/African-American associates has declined every year since 2009, except for the small increase in 2016.

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January 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)