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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

How A Christmas Carol Shaped My World

Christmas CarolBarry Sullivan (Loyola-Chicago), A Book that Shaped Your World: Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 50 Alberta L. Rev. 934 (2013):

To celebrate the Alberta Law Review's fiftieth volume, the book review editors invited friends and alumni to put aside for a moment their required reading, and reflect briefly on the books that have shaped their approaches to life and the law. Professor Sullivan chose to reflect upon the perennially popular A Christmas Carol, to thoughtful and poetic effect.

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

Law School Special Snowflake Trigger Warning: I’m A Jerk

SnowflakeAbove the Law:  Special Snowflake Syndrome Trigger Warning: I’m A Jerk, by Keith Lee (Hamer Law Group, Birmingham, AL):

So when did law students start acting like a bunch of wimps? Cause that’s the takeaway I’m getting after these past couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong, some pretty upsetting events have gone down recently. But that doesn’t translate into Harvard Law Students asking to delay their exams because “feelings.” It’s also bizarre to expect to go into a criminal law class and never discuss rape law. What happened? When did law students become so spineless?

There has been speculation around the web. Notably from Judge Kopf in his post Batshit crazy law students. ... And from Scott Greenfield, in The Environmental Cleanup of Toxic Academia.

It drives me crazy to think that there are law students out there with nothing better to do than wring their hands in desperation as they look at their Twitter feed and have their feelings hurt. ... You do realize you’re in law school to become a lawyer, right? Adversarial system, competition, zealous advocacy for your client, etc.? I’ve made the point before, but it bears repeating: lawyers are professional a**holes. Like, that is your job. More importantly, it’s going to be other people’s job to be an a**hole to you. ...

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December 24, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dean Optimistic About Thomas Jefferson Law School's Future; Predicts 50% Enrollment Cut Will Stabilize School by 2020

Thomas Jefferson Logo (2015)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  San Diego Union-Tribune, Dean Optimistic About Law School's Future:

Just months after missing a payment to creditors who financed construction of its new home, the nonprofit Thomas Jefferson School of Law is finalizing an agreement that its dean said will make it financially stable.

“It puts the school on a solid financial footing,” said Thomas Guernsey, who took over as president and dean of the school in July 2013.

The agreement will give bondholders possession of the school’s eight-story building at 1155 Island Ave. in downtown San Diego. The school will become a tenant, cutting its expenses in half and its debt by two-thirds.

Guernsey is optimistic that the restructured debt and other steps will usher in a new era at Thomas Jefferson. ... Enrollment at Thomas Jefferson was 1,000 at its peak, and its new home was meant to accommodate up to 1,050. By the time the Island Avenue building opened in 2011, enrollment at the school already was dropping. After a steady decline over the years, enrollment is 650 this semester. ...

Guernsey said he expects enrollment at Thomas Jefferson will level out at about 500 in about five years, and he believes the number of students in law school will equal the market demand for new attorneys at that time. So does Brian Leiter, a professor of jurisprudence at the University of Chicago Law School and director of its Center for Law, Philosophy and Human Values.

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December 23, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Economics of Guilds

Sheilagh Ogilvie (University of Cambridge), The Economics of Guilds, 28 J. Econ. Perspectives 169 (Fall 2014):

Occupational guilds in medieval and early modern Europe offered an effective institutional mechanism whereby two powerful groups, guild members and political elites, could collaborate in capturing a larger slice of the economic pie and redistributing it to themselves at the expense of the rest of the economy. Guilds provided an organizational mechanism for groups of businessmen to negotiate with political elites for exclusive legal privileges that allowed them to reap monopoly rents. Guild members then used their guilds to redirect a share of these rents to political elites in return for support and enforcement. In short, guilds enabled their members and political elites to negotiate a way of extracting rents in the manufacturing and commercial sectors, rents that neither party could have extracted on its own. First, I provide an overview of where and when European guilds arose, what occupations they encompassed, how large they were, and how they varied across time and space. I then examine how guild activities affected market competition, commercial security, contract enforcement, product quality, human capital, and technological innovation. The historical findings on guilds provide strong support for the view that institutions arise and survive for centuries not because they are efficient but because they serve the distributional interests of powerful groups.

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

More on the Law School Transfer Market

TransferFollowing up on my previous post, The Law Student Transfer Market: Arizona State, Florida State, George Washington, Georgetown & Utah Lead The Way:  The Legal Whiteboard:  Further Understanding the Transfer Market -- A Look at the 2014 Transfer Data, by Jerry Organ (St. Thomas):

Starting this fall, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar began collecting and requiring schools with more than five transfers in to report not only the number of students who have transferred in, but also the schools from which they came (indicating the number from each school) along with the 75%, 50% and 25% first-year, law school GPAs of the pool of students who transferred in to a given school (provided that at least twelve students transferred in to the school). This allows us to begin to explore the nature of the transfer market by looking at where students are coming from and are going and by looking at the first-year GPA profile of students transferring in to different law schools. ...

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December 23, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 22, 2014

D.C. Circuit Revives Law Prof's Discrimination Claim Over Tenure Denial

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Blog of the Legal Times, D.C. Circuit Revives Ex-UDC Law Prof’s Discrimination Case:

BrownA former professor at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law can proceed with a lawsuit accusing school officials of denying her tenure because of her race and gender, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled on Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit partially revived claims filed by Stephanie Brown, who was fired from the law school in May 2012 after she was denied tenure. Reversing the federal district judge who dismissed Brown’s case, a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel found Brown, who is black, presented enough of a nexus between her race and gender and her nonpromotion to survive at this stage of the litigation. [Brown v. Sessoms, No. 13-7027 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 19, 2014)]

Brown worked for more than two decades at the law school, according to court filings. In 2009, when she was an associate professor of law, she applied for tenure. Broderick expressed concerns that Brown hadn't produced enough legal scholarship, but ultimately approved the application after learning a law journal was about to publish one of Brown’s article. ...

Brown accused the school of discriminating against her based on her race and gender. She argued that the school granted tenure around the time she applied to a white male professor, William McClain, who had a similar scholarship record as she did. ...

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December 22, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Experiential Education and Our Divided Campuses

Margaret Reuter (Indiana) & Joanne M. Ingham (New York Law School), Experiential Education and Our Divided Campuses:

The Carnegie education masters, legal employers, and the ABA have appealed for more experiential teaching in law schools. The time is now; every school will soon have to provide at least 6 credits of clinic, field placement, and skills courses for each of their students according to the ABA’s most recent amendments to the Standards for Approval of Law Schools. Many educators and commentators proclaim the successes of the experiential courses to date, and assume that our current offerings just have to be expanded to accommodate the influx of students. However examination of the nature of the experiential coursework of 2,132 attorneys reveals that experiential courses have not been comparably pursued or valued by our former students as they have headed to careers in different settings and types of law practice. There are dramatic contrasts between public and private lawyers, litigators and transactional lawyers in the types of courses they took (or avoided) and in the lasting value they reaped. The Experiential Learning Opportunities and Benefits Survey and Study provides important insights and questions for deans, faculties, and curriculum committees to consider as they reorient their curricula to meet the new ABA requirements.

Chart 1

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December 22, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Law Schools Shouldn't Despair: If History Is Any Guide, the Legal Profession Will Be in Vogue Again Before Too Long'

Bloomberg View:  America's Chronic Surplus of Lawyers, by Stephen Mihm (University of Georgia, Department of History)

The legal profession has fallen on hard times in recent years. Big firms, such as Dewey & LeBoeuf in 2012, have gone under. Others, including Thacher Proffitt & Wood, have been downsized and absorbed by stronger competitors.

Now the law schools themselves are having trouble. Enrollment for 2014 was the lowest since 1973, according to figures released last week by the American Bar Association. The number of full- and part-time students, at 37,924, was down 28 percent from 2010, the all-time peak.

We shouldn’t be too surprised. The idea that law was a surefire, recession-proof path to success and financial security may have been a misconception all along: The U.S. has regularly had a surplus of lawyers. ...

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December 22, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

July 2014 Illinois Bar Results: Chicago #1, Northwestern #2, Illinois #6

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 21, 2014

One Nice Thing About Working on the Sunday Before Christmas ...

My choice of spaces in the law school parking lot:


December 21, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Last Time So Few People Were Starting Law School, It Was 1973 (When There Were 53 Fewer Law Schools)

Slate:  The Last Time So Few People Were Starting Law School, It Was 1973, by Jordan Weissmann:

[F]irst-year law school enrollment is down to its lowest levels since 1973, according to the American Bar Association's new annual report. Just 37,924 new J.D. candidates enrolled this fall, 28 percent fewer than when the number of new students peaked in 2010. Since then, the ABA has also approved four new law schools, bringing the grand total to 204 (in 1973, there were just 151 schools). So there are more seats to fill, and fewer bodies to fill them.


Which brings us to our next delightful stat. There are 186 first-year students per law school this year, down from 262 in 2010. You have to go all the way back to 1968 to find a number that low.

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December 21, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Low Can You Go, InfiLaw?

InfiLaw (2014)David Frakt (Barry), How Low Can You Go, InfiLaw?:

When I visited Florida Coastal last spring for my Dean interview, my prescription to turn the school around was drastic. I told them they should immediately rescind offers of admission and refund deposits and application fees for all students with an LSAT of 144 and below, and refuse to admit any more students at 144 and below.

As readers of this blog well know, the response of the school’s president was to eject me from the campus. [Florida Coastal Law School Asks Dean Candidate to Leave Midway Through Lunch Presentation for Raising Concerns About Plummeting Student Credentials and Job Placement]

With the release of the 2014 Standard 509 Information reports, it is now clear that my hope that InfiLaw might be willing to consider reversing their dramatic and utterly irresponsible downward admissions trajectory was a fantasy, because just when you thought they couldn’t possibly sink any lower, they have. As I have noted in previous posts, FCSL had gone from an acceptable 153/150/147 in 2008 and 2009 all the way to an appallingly low 148/144/141 in 2013. This year, they have dropped across the board and are now down to an abysmal 147/143/140 for the 424 students who matriculated in 2014. In five years, what used to be their 25th percentile (147) is now their 75th percentile. And for those who think a 7 point drop (from 147 to 140) doesn’t sound all that significant, trust me, it is. A 147 is in the 33rd percentile, whereas a 140 is in the 13th percentile, a 20 percent drop. And just in case you might be thinking that FCSL is taking people with low LSAT’s but high grades, they aren’t. The GPAs are also very low, with a median of 2.93. For reference, in 2006, the average college GPA was 3.11 and that number has likely continued to rise.

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December 21, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

ABA Seeks Comments on Reporting of Law School Funded Jobs

ABA Logo 2The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar on Thursday released Possible Revisions to the 2015 Employment Questionnaire Relating to Law School Funded Positions by Stetson Dean (and Tax Prof) Christopher Petruszkiewicz and Scott Norberg:

At its January 16-17, 2015 meeting, the Data Policy and Collection Committee will consider possible revisions to the 2015 Employment Questionnaire (EQ) relating to the reporting of law school/ university funded positions. The concern is about transparency in the reporting of some of these positions as long-term under the current reporting requirements. ...

The number of graduates reported as holding long-term, full-time Bar Passage Required positions that are law school/university funded positions has increased markedly over the past several years.


Full-Time, Long-Term

Full-Time, Short-Term

Part-Time, Long-Term

Part-Time, Short-Term


Class of 2012






Class of 2013







The Committee will consider a range of possible changes, including the following:

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

Judge Edwards on Rodell's Goodbye to Law Reviews

Harry T. Edwards (Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit), Another Look at Professor Rodell's Goodbye to Law Reviews, 100 Va. L. Rev. 1483 (2014):

I am not advocating a return to the narrow-minded, provincial doctrinal scholarship that Professor Rodell singled out for criticism. My hope is that law schools will lead the way in valuing the work of all good scholars, those who write articles focused on professional practice, procedure, doctrine, legislation, and regulation, as well those who focus on theory, philosophy, and empirical studies. The law schools and law reviews should consider seriously Professor Rodell’s view that “law is supposed to be a device to serve society, a civilized way of helping the wheels go round without too much friction.” If the status quo remains, our profession may find itself criticized for merely “diddling while Rome burned.” Professor Rodell’s memorable phrase is as apt today as it was when he wrote it in 1936. 

Michael Dorf (Cornell), Judge Harry Edwards Is Still Unimpressed With Legal Scholarship:

In 1992, Judge Edwards took to the pages of the Michigan Law Review to decry what he called The Growing Disjunction Between Legal Education and the Legal Profession. Although Judge Edwards was careful to qualify his criticisms by acknowledging the existence of good scholarship, his basic attitude was nostalgia for a then-rapidly-fading era when legal scholarship was written almost exclusively by first-rate lawyers-turned-academics who were interested in the same sorts of questions as courts (and perhaps legislatures), rather than by the new generation of "ivory tower dilettantes, pursuing whatever subjects pique their interest, whether or not the subject merits scholarship, and whether or not they have the scholarly skills to master it." (Emphasis in original.) ...

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December 20, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Iowa Reassigns Legal Writing Prof to Library Pending Retrial of Discrimination Claim Based on Her Conservative Views

Wagner 2Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Des Moines Register, Second Woman Makes Retaliation Claim Against University of Iowa:

The University of Iowa has reassigned another female employee involved in a pending legal matter against the school — an action called retaliatory and illegal in a new court document.

Teresa Wagner, a conservative Republican who is suing the university, was reassigned Nov. 17 to an hourly position that doesn't use her legal degree and requires her to sort boxes of old books, booklets or pamphlets, her motion says. Wagner, previously the associate director of the Writer Center at the Iowa College of Law, has said the school repeatedly denied her promotion because of her political leanings.

Wagner's reassignment occurred after she said she caught her supervisor, Nancy Jones, going through her backpack on Nov. 5. UI's human resources department said Nov. 10 that it could not conclude a university policy had been broken. Three days later, Wagner was notified that she was no longer in the position she'd held for eight years, Wagner alleges in a court motion. ...

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December 19, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

NCBE Responds to Law Deans' Complaints About Low Bar Passage Rates

NCBEFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Erica Moeser, President of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, has responded in a letter and column to complaints from dozens of law school deans about this year's sharp fall in bar passage rates.  Vikram Amar, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at UC-Davis Law School,shares his preliminary thoughts with TaxProf Blog readers:

Her letter is noteworthy in a few respects, not the least of which is her steadfast refusal to turn over specifics about the adequacy of NCBE’s “equating” process (used to ensure that difficulty remains constant across test administrations) because such information is proprietary.  The tone of her letter also makes clear she feels attacked by law deans (which may understandable on her part).

[Her column] provides additional context for this controversy.  The column covers a lot of ground, but here are a few reactions:  (1) The suggestion that recent MPRE score declines can be seen as precursors to the 2014 MBE decline is interesting, and may tend to support her conclusion that the MBE was properly equated and scored -- assuming the MPRE has been properly equated and scored. (It also may tend to predict further erosion in MBE and bar pass rates in 2015); (2) The mention of LSAC’s change from using the average LSAT score to the highest LSAT score (of each taker) seems odd to me, since that change seems to have predated (by a number of years) the class entering fall of 2011 (that suffered the 2014 MBE decline); (3) The existence of larger transfer classes at some law schools in recent years (which she mentions) wouldn’t appear to say much about aggregate MBE performance (unless some kind of Sanderesque “mismatch” effect is occurring when people transfer to schools for which they are not suited); (4) All of the changes in law school curriculum and grading she discusses have been gradual, and thus wouldn’t easily explain an abrupt one-year change in bar performance.

All of this brings us to her point about the how the “tail of the [incoming credentials] curve” – the folks in the bottom quartile of entering law school class LSAT (and/or) UGPA profiles – is invisible.  To be sure, this may be a group that often struggles with bar passage, and a steeper-than-before drop-off within this group in the class that entered law school in 2011 could explain some decline in 2014 MBE performance.  I leave it to the true gearheads to tell us whether we have the data we need to make that tail more visible on a national level and, if so, what such a close-up view would tell us.  Maybe some of the commentary a month ago already did that, but Ms. Moeser’s response letter and accompanying column seem, at least, to have framed some of the issues more tightly.

Update:  Derek Muller (Pepperdine), NCBE Has Data to Prove Class of 2014 Was Worst in a Decade, and It's Likely Going to Get Worse

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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

Law Schools Have Shed 986 Full-Time Faculty (11%) Since 2010

Matt Leichter has published the 2014 edition of Which Law Schools Are Shedding Full-Time Faculty?  The nation's law schools have shed 986 full-time faculty (11%) since 2010, and 719 full-time faculty (8%) since 2013.

134 law schools have shed full-time faculty since 2010, with 10 law schools shedding 20 or more full-time faculty:

Full-Time Faculty (Fall)
RankSchool’10’13’14'13 v '14'10 v '14
1. WMU Cooley 101 115 49 -66 -52
2. G. Washington 106 93 72 -21 -34
3. Florida Coastal 69 51 36 -15 -33
4. Vermont 55 33 26 -7 -29
5. McGeorge 63 43 36 -7 -27
6. Texas 103 80 80 0 -23
7. Seton Hall 59 47 38 -9 -21
8. Hamline 34 24 14 -10 -20
8. Albany 46 36 26 -10 -20
8. Villanova 49 38 29 -9 -20

45 law schools have added full-time faculty since 2010, with 11 law schools adding 10 or more full-time faculty:

Full-Time Faculty (Fall)
RankSchool’10’13’14'13 v '14'10 v '14
1. Columbia 107 154 167 13 60
2. UC-Irvine 0 27 32 5 32
3. Charlotte 35 66 64 -2 29
4. Stanford 68 81 90 9 22
5. UMass 0 15 17 2 17
6. Belmont 0 17 14 -3 14
7. UCLA 86 99 98 -1 12
8. Denver 62 84 73 -11 11
9. Ohio State 42 53 52 -1 10
9. N. Carolina 42 51 52 1 10
9. Wm & Mary 39 53 49 -4 10

Update:  Chapman has subsequently filed a corrected Form 509 with the ABA, so I have updated this post to remove references to data in Chapman's original Form 509 filed with the ABA.  Matt Leichter has also updated his post with the corrected Chapman data.

December 19, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (13)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

News Worsens for Law Schools: Fall 2015 Applicants Are Down 9.1%; 'J.D. R.I.P.'?

LSAC, Three-Year ABA Volume Comparison:

As of 12/12/14, there are 88,926 fall 2015 applications submitted by 13,816 applicants. Applicants are down 9.1% [8.5% two weeks ago] and applications are down 10.5% [9.5% two weeks ago] from 2014.

Gainesville Scene, Thinking About Law School? Think Again:

Enrollment to law schools around the country has dwindled by more than 37 percent since 2010. The decline steadied this year at 8 percent, the first single-digit figure in four years, but this is not sign of an upward swing, according to Alfred Brophy, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Via: Quartz

“In the median term, I don’t think (the number of applicants) will increase because I think the structural reasons why people aren’t going to law school aren’t going to change,” he said. “Who knows? Maybe Ebola will wipe us out.” ...

George Dawson, interim dean of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, mused that the legal field “may have lost its luster.” Brophy points to various factors when speculating what could be causing the decline: Tuition costs are skyrocketing ahead of inflation, jobs are scarce and, ironically, the legal field just isn’t that lucrative.

In 1985, the average attorney brought home about $90,000 per year, which, adjusted for inflation, equals almost $200,000. But a six-digit paycheck is now an elusive reality for law-school grads. These days, the average U.S. attorney is paid a yearly salary of less than $62,000. ...

“Thirty years ago if you were looking to get on the escalator to upward mobility, you went to business or law school,” said William D. Henderson, a professor of law at Indiana University, in a 2013 New York Times article. “Today, the law school escalator is broken.”

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December 18, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Marquette Suspends Tenured Professor for Blogging, Orders Him Off Campus

McAdamsInside Higher Ed, Suspended for Blogging:

Marquette University has suspended with pay and barred from campus the tenured professor who criticized a graduate student instructor in a personal blog, pending an investigation into his conduct.

John McAdams, an associate professor of political science at Marquette, last month wrote a controversial blog post accusing a teaching assistant in philosophy of shutting down a classroom conversation on gay marriage based on her own political beliefs. He based the post on a recording secretly made by a disgruntled student who wished that the instructor, Cheryl Abbate, had spent more time on the topic of gay marriage, which the student opposed. McAdams said Abbate, in not allowing a prolonged conversation about gay marriage, was “using a tactic typical among liberals,” in which opinions they disagree with “are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed ‘offensive’ and need to be shut up.”

The story was picked up by various other blogs, and the second-year graduate student soon received critical messages via email, regular mail and online comment boards – some of which included lewd or profane remarks or threats. She also received support from academics across the country, many of whom accused McAdams of violating his ethical and pedagogical responsibilities towards all Marquette students, even teaching assistants.

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December 18, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

SMU Law Prof's Comments Prompt Sexual Harassment Policy Review

National Law Journal, SMU Law Prof's Comments Prompt Harassment Policy Review:

SMU LogoA complaint by a student at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law that her professor in 2010 referred to her as a “bitch” and “hired bimbo” spurred a federal investigation into the university’s handling of complaints involving sexual harassment, sexual violence and other Title IX violations.

In a report released Dec. 11, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights found that SMU lacked adequate procedures to respond to complaints and did not always do so in a timely manner. The university has voluntarily agreed to review its Title IX complaint procedures, to better publicize its policies and do more to report and track complaints, among other things.

The Education Department began its investigation in 2011 after the female law student raised concerns about the university’s handling of her harassment claims. Her complaint, which government investigators said they had substantiated, was one of three detailed in the report. ...

The law student, referred to in the report at “Complainant 1,” alleged that her professor, also unnamed, called her “just one of those girls who thinks she’s so pretty.” She added that the professor said that not paying attention in class was “like looking at a beautiful woman only she’s wearing dirty panties.”

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December 18, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ABA 509 Enrollment Data on All Ranked Law Schools, 2011-2014

Keith Lee has mined the ABA 509 Information Reports for all ABA-accredited law schools for 2011-2014 in There Will Be Blood: ABA 509 Matriculant Data On All Ranked Schools.  126 of the 146 ranked schools experienced enrollment declines from 2011 to 2014; only 18 law schools increased enrollment:

  1. Wyoming (129 in U.S. News):   23.2%
  2. George Washington (20):   13.7%
  3. Pepperdine (54):   12.4%
  4. Baylor (51):  11.3%
  5. Washington University (18):  11.1%
  6. Notre Dame (26):  9.3%
  7. UC-Berkeley (9):  7.9%
  8. Chapman (140):  5.6%
  9. Duke (10):  4.7%
  10. Florida (49):  4.1%
  11. Hawaii (100):  3.5%
  12. Penn State (51):  3.2%
  13. Oklahoma (58):  2.6%
  14. Brooklyn (83):  2.3%
  15. Colorado (43):  1.8%
  16. Harvard (2):  0.7%
  17. NYU (6):  0.4%
  18. Georgetown (13):  0.2%

Check out the many great charts. Here are the Top 51 law schools:

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December 17, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Harvard Law Prof: Are Today's Students Too Sensitive to Study Rape Law?

The New Yorker:  The Trouble With Teaching Rape Law, by Jeanne Suk (Harvard):

I New Yorkermagine a medical student who is training to be a surgeon but who fears that he’ll become distressed if he sees or handles blood. What should his instructors do? Criminal-law teachers face a similar question with law students who are afraid to study rape law.

Thirty years ago, their reluctance would not have posed a problem. Until the mid-nineteen-eighties, rape law was not taught in law schools, because it wasn’t considered important or suited to the rational pedagogy of law-school classrooms. The victims of rape, most often women, were seen as emotionally involved witnesses, making it difficult to ascertain what really happened in a private encounter. This skepticism toward the victim was reflected in the traditional law of rape, which required a woman to “resist to the utmost” the physical force used to make her have intercourse. Trials often included inquiries into a woman’s sexual history, because of the notion that a woman who wasn’t virginal must have been complicit in any sex that occurred. Hard-fought feminist reforms attacked the sexism in rape law, and eventually the topic became a major part of most law schools’ mandatory criminal-law course. Today, nobody doubts its importance to law and society.

But my experience at Harvard over the past couple of years tells me that the environment for teaching rape law and other subjects involving gender and violence is changing. Students seem more anxious about classroom discussion, and about approaching the law of sexual violence in particular, than they have ever been in my eight years as a law professor. Student organizations representing women’s interests now routinely advise students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence, and which might therefore be traumatic. These organizations also ask criminal-law teachers to warn their classes that the rape-law unit might “trigger” traumatic memories. Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well. One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word “violate” in class—as in “Does this conduct violate the law?”—because the word was triggering. Some students have even suggested that rape law should not be taught because of its potential to cause distress. ...

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December 17, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Seto: More on the 2016 New Lawyer Job Projections

Seto (2014)TaxProf Blog op-ed:  More on the 2016 New Lawyer Job Projections, by Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.):

On Dec. 10, Matt Leichter published a response to my TaxProf Blog op-ed of Nov. 19 analyzing new Bureau of Labor Statistics projections of the likely demand for lawyers over the next several years. While I am flattered that anyone would spend an entire article responding to my rather pedestrian analysis, I am bemused to be accused of “optimism” and “exuberance.” If I am guilty of these faults, it is entirely unintentional. My goal is to be as ploddingly fact-based as possible.

In particular, Mr. Leichter quotes me as claiming that “by 2016, the number of law graduates [will] exceed the new projected annual job growth rate, creating ‘a significant excess of demand over supply.’” What I actually wrote was: “Based on 2012 and 2013 matriculation rates and historical drop-out rates, we should expect 40,082 ABA-accredited law school graduates in 2015 and 35,954 in 2016. If the new BLS projections are accurate, we should see demand and supply in relative equilibrium in 2015 and a significant excess of demand over supply beginning in 2016. (These estimates only take into account JD-required jobs. Demand from JD-advantage employers is not included.)”

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December 17, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1L Enrollment Shrank 4.5% in 2014, to the Lowest Level Since 1974 (When There Were 53 Fewer Law Schools)

ABA Journal, 1L Enrollment Drops Nearly 30 Percent From 2010 High:

First-year enrollment at ABA-approved law schools dropped this year to the lowest point since 1974, when there were 53 fewer accredited law schools.

The 204 ABA-accredited law schools enrolled 37,924 full- and part-time first-year students in the fall of 2014, a drop of 4.4 percent from 2013 and a drop of 27.7 percent from the historic high of 52,488 in 2010, according to an ABA press release.

Sixty-four schools reported a drop in first-year enrollment of 10 percent or more since last year. Thirty-three law schools bucked the trend, however, reporting an increase in 1L enrollment this year of 10 percent or more.

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December 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Firms Profits Projected to Grow 5% in 2015

Citi Private Bank & Hildebrandt Consulting, 2015 Client Advisory:

Based on our review of financial data, our discussions with law firm leaders, and other economic data available to us, we project that 2015 revenue for the law firm industry will likely rise in the six percent range, and PPEP in the five percent range. ... We believe transactional work will continue to drive growth, and litigation demand is likely to remain flat, placing continued pressure on firms with a strong dependence on litigation. ...

Just as the uptick in transactional activity is likely to drive demand growth in 2015, we expect to see continued pressure on firms who rely more heavily on litigation. While litigation traditionally drove firm revenue in downward economic cycles, over the past few years, with some exceptions, like intellectual property prosecution or investigations, it has either been flat or declining, as seen in Chart 3. 

Chart 3

December 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Many Of Your Colleagues Are Hungover Today? 1.6%.

FiveThirtyEight, How Many Of Your Co-Workers Are Hungover?:

I’ve thought about this relatively often, because my career path — from the restaurant business to journalism — has been dominated by occupations where some people roll into work with shades and water bottles. There’s a bit of data on this. ...


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December 16, 2014 in About This Blog, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Local Government Rejects InfiLaw, Backs Nonprofit Takeover of Charleston Law School

Charleston Post and Courier, Charleston County Legislative Delegation Supports Nonprofit Organization, not InfiLaw, Taking the Reins at Charleston School of Law:

ICThe Charleston County Legislative Delegation Monday voted to support a plan for a nonprofit organization to take over the Charleston School of Law instead of the for-profit InfiLaw System.

Thirteen of the 22 delegation members attended a meeting at McClellanville Town Hall, where the vote was taken. Ten voted in favor of supporting the nonprofit launched by Ed Westbrook, one of the school's three owners. [Three] abstained. ...

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December 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dean, Unemployed Young Lawyer Living With Parents Differ on Value of Law School

Vegas Seven, Now’s the Time to Break into Law:

Daniel Hamilton, the dean of UNLV’s Boyd School of Law:  ... “This is the best time to apply and go to law school in a generation,” he says. “The competition is fierce, and the ability to negotiate tuition is widespread.” Negotiate tuition? Yep. Nowadays, applicants can—and should—leverage multiple offers to get the best deal, Hamilton says. “A student applies to law school at UNLV or anywhere else, and calls you up and says, ‘I’ve got this offer at school A and this offer at school B. Let’s talk.’” ...

Anyone pursuing a law degree today is likely in it for the right reasons, which is to say they’re wholeheartedly devoted to pursuing a legal career. “I think it’s fair to say that in decades prior you could apply to law school as a kind of holding pattern,” Hamilton says. “[These changes] in legal education have done away with law school as a default option.”

Cedar Rapids Gazette op-ed:  Law School Is Broken, by Steve Waechter ("a 2009 [Drake] law graduate who lives at home and works in a factory to pay down student loans"):

American law schools take bright, ambitious young people and leave them broke, humiliated, deeply indebted and disaffected. They do this by squeezing them for student loan money for three years and then hurling them into an economy that can barely employ half of them. ...

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December 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harvard 3L: Delaying Exams Is Not a Request from 'Coddled Millennials'

Following up on last week's post, Columbia Law School Lets Students Postpone Exams Due to Grand Jury Decisions; Harvard, Georgetown Students Demand Similar Treatment:

HarvardNational Law Journal op-ed:  Delaying Exams Is Not a Request from 'Coddled Millennials', by William Desmond (Harvard 3L):

Over the last week, much has been said about law students’ petitioning for exam extensions in light of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police officers. Students at Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, Georgetown University Law Center and several other schools requested that their administrations allow extensions on final exams for students who have been confronting the aftermath of the recent failed grand jury indictments of the officers who killed the unarmed black men.

In response, opponents of exam extensions have declared that to grant these requests would be a disservice to the students. Law students, they argue, must learn how to engage critically with the law in the face of intense adversity. Drawing comparisons to events surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and other times of intense turmoil, these opponents portray today’s law students as coddled millennials using traumatic events as an excuse for their inability to focus on a three-hour exam. In essence, law students are being told to grow up and learn how to focus amidst stress and anxiety—like “real” lawyers must do.

Speaking as one of those law students, I can say that this response is misguided: Our request for exam extensions is not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness.

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December 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Faculty Fathers: Toward a New Ideal in the Research University

Faculty FathersMargaret W. Sallee (SUNY-Buffalo), Faculty Fathers: Toward a New Ideal in the Research University (SUNY Press, 2014):

For the past two decades, colleges and universities have focused significant attention on helping female faculty balance work and family by implementing a series of family-friendly policies. Although most policies were targeted at men and women alike, women were intended as the primary targets and recipients. This groundbreaking book makes clear that including faculty fathers in institutional efforts is necessary for campuses to attain gender equity. Based on interviews with seventy faculty fathers at four research universities around the United States, this book explores the challenges faculty fathers—from assistant professors to endowed chairs—face in finding a work/life balance. Margaret W. Sallee shows how universities frequently punish men who want to be involved fathers and suggests that cultural change is necessary—not only to help men who wish to take a greater role with their children, but also to help women and spouses who are expected to do the same.

(Hat Tip: Inside Higher Ed.)

December 16, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Artisanal Attorney

Artisinal 2John Frank Weaver, I Am An Artisanal Attorney:

Are you tired of large corporate law firms making the same cookie cutter litigation? Do you fondly remember a time when quality mattered in law suits, when there was art and craftsmanship in every court motion filed, when company records were drafted using the traditional methods and tools? If you have become dissatisfied with mass-produced legal representation, stop by my scriveners shop; for I am an artisanal attorney.

Not long ago, while attending a small-batch honey wine tasting at a meadery with friends, I realized that we bought only organic produce at the local farmers market, ate only free range meat prepared by our traditional neighborhood butcher, and filled our apartments with only free trade, hand crafted furniture. We—and many others like us—insist on authenticity in everything in our lives. We don’t want to eat. We want the fullness that only comes from a meal created by the human experience. We don’t want to drink. We want the buzz that is produced by the draught of a person’s skill. It occurred to me that people who demand realness in their food and homes should also demand it in their legal representation. That was when I became an artisanal attorney.

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

InfiLaw Ramps Up Lobbying For Approval of Acquisition of Charleston Law School

Charleston Post and Courier, InfiLaw Making Case to Lawmakers for Charleston School of Law Sale:

ICThe for-profit InfiLaw System has ramped up its behind-the-scenes efforts as a decision on whether the company will be allowed to own and operate the Charleston School of Law bounces back to the state.

That decision has become a political hot potato after the American Bar Association earlier this month deferred its decision on whether to allow the controversial sale of the private school to go through, and lobbed the matter back to the state's Commission on Higher Education. The company, which owns three law schools, must get a license from the state's Commission on Higher Education and the sale must be approved by the American Bar Association, but it remains unclear when either will be considered.

Kathy Heldman, a spokeswoman for InfiLaw, said the company recently has ramped up efforts to get its message out to state lawmakers and others, but it isn't doing anything extreme. The company's efforts "are consistent with what many other companies do in situations like this," she said.

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

Ph.D.s Rising, Jobs Falling

Inside Higher Ed, Doctorates Up, Career Prospects Not:

Universities are awarding doctoral degrees at an accelerating pace, despite the fact that the career prospects of those who receive their Ph.D.s appear to be worsening. ...

American universities awarded 52,760 doctorates in 2013, up 3.5 percent from nearly 50,977 in 2012 and nearly 8 percent from 48,903 in 2011. Those large increases followed several years of much smaller increases and one decline (in 2010) since the onset of the economic downturn in 2008, as seen in the chart below.

The numbers suggest that more people are seeking terminal degrees and that universities are welcoming them with open arms -- but the data on what the Ph.D. holders do with their new degrees raise questions about whether the credentials will pay off for the individuals themselves, at least in the short term.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 14, 2014

College For Grown-Ups

Remaking College 2NY Times: op-ed:  College For Grown-Ups, by Mitchell L. Stevens (Stanford):

A Ccruel paradox of higher education in America is that its most coveted seats are reserved for young people. Four-year residential colleges with selective admissions are a privileged elite in the academic world, but their undergraduate programs effectively discriminate on the basis of age. Admissions officers typically prefer that the best and brightest be children.

Yet leaving home at a young age to live on a campus full-time is not without serious financial, psychological and even physical risk. People make major investment decisions when they are choosing colleges, but with minimal information about quality and fit. Meanwhile flagship public universities, which rely on tuition to offset diminished public subsidies, condone Greek systems that appeal to many affluent families but also incubate cultures of dangerous play. The so-called party pathway through college is an all-encompassing lifestyle characterized by virtually nonstop socializing, often on the male-controlled turf of fraternity houses. Substance abuse and sexual assault are common consequences.

Even at the schools where the party pathway is carefully policed, life on a residential campus can be a psychological strain. A substantial body of research demonstrates that first-generation college students, those from low-income families and racial minorities are particularly at risk for feelings of exclusion, loneliness and academic alienation. The costs of leaving college can be large for everyone: lost tuition, loan debt and a subtle but consequential diminishment of self-esteem.

The source of these problems is baked into the current organization of residential higher education. Virtually all selective schools arrange their undergraduate programs on the presumption that teenagers are the primary clients. Administrators plan dormitory architecture, academic calendars and marketing campaigns to appeal to high school juniors and seniors. Again the cruel paradox: In the ever-growing number of administrators and service people catering to those who pay tuition, there are grown-ups all over campus, but they are largely peripheral to undergraduate culture.

If we were starting from zero, we probably wouldn’t design colleges as age-segregated playgrounds in which teenagers and very young adults are given free rein to spend their time more or less as they choose. Yet this is the reality.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

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

Witte: From Critical Legal Studies to Christian Legal Studies

Law Bible 4John Witte Jr. (Emory), Foreword: From Critical Legal Studies to Christian Legal Studies, in Law and the Bible: Justice, Mercy and Legal Institutions (Robert Cochran & David VanDrunen, eds.  2013):

This text reflects briefly on the precocious rise of Christian legal studies in North American and European law schools, and the past, present, and potential role of Scripture and the Christian tradition in shaping modern understandings of public, private, penal, and procedural law.

December 14, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Four Charts That Explain Why America Has Too Many Law Schools

Bloomberg Businessweek, Four Charts That Explain Why America Has Too Many Law Schools:

It is probably the worst time in decades to be a law school. The four charts below show why we don't need to be minting any new ones. 

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

Life and Death in the Federal Income Tax Class

TedTheodore Eisenberg, Henry Allen Mark Professor of Law at Cornell, died suddenly of a heart attack on February 23, 2014 at the age of 66 (remembrance here).  I was a student of Ted's in his bankruptcy class, and I later convinced him to participate in our law school rankings symposium at Indiana.  Although Ted was primarily known for his empirical research in bankruptcy, civil rights, and the death penalty, he also taught federal income tax.  Here is an excerpt from a student evaluation in Ted's federal income tax class as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School from In Memoriam: Theodore Eisenberg [1947-2014], 100 Cornell L. Rev. 1, 3 (2014):

Thank you, Professor Eisenberg, for making a course I feared taking since day one of HLS enjoyable. Really enjoyable. There were days when I thought, My god, it can’t be, I like tax. Prof. Eisenberg is the best teacher I’ve had at HLS. An unpretentious, patient, searching attitude and a brilliant teaching style. I can’t say enough in favor of this unique, witty, and motivating professor. Profs at HLS should be required to take lessons from Eisenberg on how to teach a law school class. Made a class of 150 seem like a class of 15. A great communicator. I’m not afraid of tax anymore. EISENBERG IS A GOD. HLS does not deserve him. But HLS stu- dents do. 

TyreUNLV, Q&A: New Grad Tyre Graym:

You've had significant health issues during your studies. Did that influence the direction you wanted to take with your degree?
I suffered from focal segmental glumerulosclerosis, which is a chronic kidney disease. On Sept. 11, 2012, while sitting in Professor (Francine) Lipman’s federal income tax course, I received the call I had been waiting to get for about three years: A kidney was available and I needed to rush to the hospital. At 4 a.m. on the next day, I received a kidney transplant. ...

My long-term goals include establishing a nonprofit that will provide legal advice to people who are candidates for transplant and major medical procedures. I believe that I can and will be able to raise awareness about kidney disease and organ donation.  I am here today because of the selfless act of another. If through my efforts, I can do the same for one other person, my time on this earth will have been well spent.

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

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pepperdine Survived Today's Rain

The view from the law school atrium (via Al Sturgeon):

Rainbow Law School

The view from the pool (via Marcelo Ferreira):


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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Study Gauges the Stress of Waiting for Bar Exam Results

BarNational Law Journal, Study Gauges the Stress of Waiting for Bar Exam Results:

Any lawyer can tell you that awaiting the results of the bar examination is stressful. Now there is a study to prove it.

A pair of psychologists at the University of California, Riverside, tracked the emotional states of 50 law graduates who sat for the California bar exam in 2011. Their goal was to better understand how people cope with the uncertainty while awaiting important news.

They found a general pattern: Stress and anxiety peaked immediately after the three-day exam, and then dropped significantly during the monthslong wait for the results. However, anxiety shot up again in the weeks before the results were released.

“Our research suggests that you’re really stressed out in the beginning and the end, but you relax a little bit in the middle,” said psychology professor Kate Sweeny, who wrote the article with graduate student Sara Andrews.

“It’s tough in the beginning, when that exam is fresh in your mind. My guess is that people are focusing on the questions they missed. And in the solid month before they get the results, the rumination and stress ramps up.”

The article, Mapping Individual Differences in the Experiences of a WaitingPeriod, appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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December 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dumpster Diving Into the ABA’s 509 Information Reports

Associate's Mind, Dumpster Diving Into the ABA’s 509 Information Reports (Statistics + Graphs):

So I noticed on the TaxProf Blog that the newest crop of ABA 509 Information Reports on accredited law schools came out recently. It’s good that the ABA has begun to release this data. It can help students look at trends at schools over time. Unfortunately, there are only reports from 2011 to date available. Whenever some official body like the ABA or the LSAC dumps of numbers, I like to dig around for a bit and see what I can find. For the past couple of years I’ve done it with LSAC data that indicated that top university students are avoiding law schools, and schools where there have been increases in law schools applicants (2013, 2014). The general theme was that “the best and brightest students” from top schools have been shying away from going to law school. And that lower ranked schools were increasingly sending more students to law school.

For a lark (and because I’m stuck at home sick with the flu), I decided to go through some of the 509 reports and pull data. I picked the Top Ten schools as listed in Above The Law’s Top 50 Law School Rankings (represent) to see if any particular trends were visible. I also choose the ten lowest ranked schools according to US News & World Report’s Best Law School Rankings (note, I choose the bottom ranked schools, not those listed as “unranked”). I pulled out three sets of data to compare. GPA percentiles, LSAT percentiles, and matriculant percentage change from 2011 to 2014.


[Click on chart to enlarge.]

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December 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Prof Sues UDC Law School For Discrimination After Tenure Denial

Legal Times, Former UDC Law Professor Sues School for Discrimination:

MawakanaA former law professor at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law is accusing the school of discriminating against African-American faculty. Kemit Mawakana filed a lawsuit against the university claiming he was denied tenure and a promotion because of his race. ...

Mawakana joined the law school faculty in 2006 as an assistant professor, according to his complaint. He was promoted to associate professor in 2010. Mawakana applied for tenure in 2011 and maintains in his lawsuit that he “met or exceeded all of the criteria” in the school’s faculty handbook and tenure guidelines.

The school denied him tenure, according to the suit, citing his failure to meet scholarship standards—a finding that Mawakana said was false and rooted in racial discrimination.

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December 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Barnhizer: Traditionalism and Faculty as Legacy Costs

David Barnhizer (Cleveland State), ‘We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us’: Traditionalism and Faculty as Legacy Costs:

[I]n 1950 there were 114 law schools and about 950 law teachers in those schools. ...Today there are 205 ABA approved law schools with more than 8400 faculty members, a 900 percent growth in the law professoriate relative to 1950. ...

[L]aw school faculties and deans need to understand a fundamental truth directly linked to their ability to fashion new strategies that strengthen their institutions and increase the chances of survival. We are the primary obstacle to designing and implementing effective and innovative solutions. It is our excessive traditionalism, our self interest, our resistance to change, our ego gratification and our carefully constructed blindness to the need for transformation that erects the greatest obstacles to solutions that are more than minimalist “tinkering” on the edge of the institution of legal education. ...

Numerous law schools are burdened by costs that are unsustainable in terms of their ability to operate the educational business model that has existed until the past several years. There are very limited options available to those law schools as they seek to figure out how and when to shift to a different business model. One challenge, or “albatross”, in all this is that the single most significant set of costs for a law school involves expenditures for tenured and tenure track faculty. For a substantial number of law schools, unless they can rid themselves of the “troublesome” burden of expensive faculty, they will lose out in the competitive “game of thrones” in which American legal education is now engaged.

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December 12, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Law Student Transfer Market: Arizona State, Florida State, George Washington, Georgetown & Utah Lead The Way

The Legal Whiteboard:  Better Understanding the Transfer Market, by Jerry Organ (St. Thomas): 

TransferUp until this year, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar only asked law schools to report the number of transfer students “in” and the number of transfer students “out.”  This allowed us to understand roughly how many students are transferring and gave us some idea of where they are going, and where they are coming from, but not with any direct “matching” of exit and entrance.

Has the number and percentage of transfer students changed in recent years? ...

Using data published in the law school Standard 509 reports, the number of transfers in 2011, 2012 and 2013 has increased only marginally, from 2427 to 2438 to 2501, but, given the declining number of law students, it has increased as a percentage of the preceding year’s first-year “class,” from 4.6% to 5.6%.  ...

The following two charts list the top 20 transfer schools in Summer 2011 (fall 2010 entering class), Summer 2012 (fall 2011 entering class) and Summer 2013 (fall 2012 entering class) – with one chart based on “numbers” of transfers and the other chart based on the number of transfer students as a percentage of the prior year’s first year class. ... [T]hree of the top four schools with the highest number of transfers were the same all three years, with Georgetown welcoming 71 in the summer of 2011, 85 in the summer of 2012, and 122 in the summer of 2013, George Washington, welcoming 104 in the summer of 2011, 63 in the summer of 2012, and 93 in the summer of 2013, and Florida State welcoming 57 in the summer of 2011, 89 in the summer of 2012 and 90 in the summer of 2013.  (Notably, Georgetown and Florida State were the two top schools for transfers in 2006, with 100 and 59 transfers in respectively.) Similarly, three of the top four schools with the highest “percentage of transfers” were the same all three years, with Utah at 19.7% in 2011, 17.5% in 2012 and 34.7% in 2013, Arizona State at 17.8% in 2011, 24.6% in 2012 and 48% in 2013, and Florida State at 28.6% in 2011, 44.5% in 2012 and 48.1% in 2013. More specifically, there are several schools that have really “played” the transfer game in the last two years – increasing their engagement by a significant percentage.  These eight schools [Texas, Arizona, Emory, Arizona State, Georgetown, Flodia State, USC, Minnesota] had 10.2% of the transfer market in 2011, but garnered 22.2% of the transfer market in 2013. ...

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December 11, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Ten Best States For Paying Back Your Law School Debt

Huffington Post:  10 Best States for Paying Back Your Law School Debt, by Stephen Dash (CEO, Credible):

Average law school debt at graduation exceeds a staggering $100,000. Everyday at Credible, we see young lawyers trying to deal with their student debt, whether by refinancing their student loans, finding an appropriate federal or state forgiveness program, or even relocating for a better job.

Having helped over 1,000 lawyers with their student debt in the last three weeks alone, we have perspective on which states are most attractive destinations for young lawyers trying to repay their law school debt.

We have found that the most important factors are the ability for young lawyers to get a job, their ability to save once they have a job (which is a product of salary and cost of living), and the breadth and magnitude of each state's loan forgiveness programs.

With those factors in mind, we have created a list of the Best States for Paying Back your Law School Debt. Bear in mind that this list uses aggregated data -- so for lawyers not taking advantage of forgiveness programs, whichever state they can get a stable high-paying job is likely the best for them.

That said, we looked at the numbers and identified the top 10 states for young lawyers to reduce their loan repayment timeline, and detailed some determining metrics [employment ratio, mean salary, cost of living] below:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Georgia
  3. Texas
  4. California
  5. Virginia
  6. Arizona
  7. Colorado
  8. Utah
  9. Illinois
  10. Delaware

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December 11, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Over/Under On The Number Of Law Schools Closing By 2020: Less Than Five (Probably Zero)

ClosedPeter Nemerovski (Miami), Reality Check: Law School Closures Are Unlikely:

For several years now, law professors and journalists who cover the legal profession have been predicting that multiple U.S. law schools will be forced to close in the very near future. In 2010, Bernard Burk and David McGowan wrote that “contraction in the number of schools seems probable.”

Brian Leiter predicted in 2012 that up to ten law schools would close “during the next decade.” In October of this year, Jerry Organ wrote that it is possible that as many as ten percent of law schools will be forced to close. Not to be outdone, David Barnhizer recently opined that eighty law schools are “at some degree of risk” of closure.

Earlier this week, Slate’s Jordan Weissmann got into the act with a piece headlined “Get Ready for Some Law Schools to Close.” Weissmann quickly followed up with another piece describing a bet he made with Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon of Berkeley Law that at least one ABA-accredited law school will close or merge by the end of 2018. While I applaud Weissmann for putting his money — two dollars of it, anyway  —where his mouth is, I’m afraid he’s going to lose his bet.

Unfortunately for Weissmann, the reality is that new law schools open all the time, and existing law schools almost never close. I had to go all the way back to 1955 to find the last ABA-accredited law school that closed for good. That’s when Lincoln University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri, shut its doors. ...

Of course, just because something hasn’t happened, or hasn’t happened recently, doesn’t mean it won’t. Weissmann’s argument is that law schools have experienced an unprecedented decline in enrollment — 24 percent between 2010 and 2013 — and that the end result of that decline in demand for law degrees will be a decrease in the “supply” of schools offering them.

I have two responses to this. First, Weissmann is comparing 2013 enrollment to a year — 2010 — in which first-year enrollment reached an all-time high of 52,488. So 2013 enrollment was not 24 percent lower than normal; it was 24 percent lower than it was the year more people went to law school than ever before or since.

Wake me up when the decline hits 50 percent.

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December 11, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

2016 Law Grads Shouldn't Take Comfort in New Lawyer Jobs Projection

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer:  2016 Grads Shouldn't Take Comfort in New Jobs Projection Approach, by Matt Leichter:

[I]t took only two days after I first reported on the proposed change for a law professor, Theodore P. Seto of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, to declare to "commentators who believe the end of the world is near for legal education" that by 2016, the number of law graduates would exceed the new projected annual job growth rate, creating "a significant excess of demand over supply."

Seto's optimism is misplaced, and other law school stakeholders hoping to benefit from the new methodology should be very careful not to make similar statements if they do not wish to mislead students about their future careers.

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