TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, June 5, 2015

The U.S. News Rankings And Law School Grading Curves

JD Supra, Law School Ranks and Law School Curves:

[A]n extensive list of law school GPA curves can be found at Wikipedia. That list contains target class median GPAs for roughly 100 law schools. The schools represented there are a fairly representative cross-section of all the law schools in the country; most important for our purposes, there is no difference between the mean U.S. News ranking for schools listed and those which do not appear (t = 1.27, p = 0.21).


Continue reading

June 5, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2014 Law Grad Job Placement Rankings By Region

ABA Logo 2Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System, Guess What Region’s Law Schools Had Best Employment Rates in 2014

Three years ago, we launched Law Jobs: By the Numbers, an interactive online tool that gives prospective law students the most transparent and complete law school employment rate information available.

With the release of the latest ABA employment data, we now have four years of data stored in the tool. ... In 2011, only 63% of graduates landed jobs that are considered full-time/long-term and require bar passage or view a JD as an advantage. That percentage increased to 65.7% in 2012, 67.1% in 2013, and 71.1% in 2014.

2014 full-time, long-term bar-passage required and J.D. advantage by region:

Continue reading

June 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

ABA To Consider Paid Externships, 10% LSAT-Free Classes

ABA Logo 2National Law Journal, Paid Law Student Externships Top ABA Council’s Agenda:

Should law schools grant students academic credit for externships that pay student participants? The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has debated that question for more than a year, and will take it up once again this week in Minneapolis.

Also on the agenda during a two-day meeting that begins Friday is reconsideration of an accreditation standard that allows some law schools to admit up to 10 percent of their classes from among high-performing undergraduates from their own university who have not taken the Law School Admission Test. Additionally, the council will take up proposals to broaden the ABA’s law school diversity rules.

Continue reading

June 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

We Don’t Need Fewer Lawyers. We Need Cheaper Ones.

Washington Post op-ed:  We Don’t Need Fewer Lawyers. We Need Cheaper Ones., by Martha Bergmark (Voices for Civil Justice):

In well over two thirds of critical cases in America’s civil courts, people appear without a lawyer, even though the stakes are often just as high as in criminal proceedings. Many people suffer crushing losses in court not because they’ve done something wrong, but simply because they don’t have legal help.

The future of the legal profession is unclear. Student loan debt for law graduates now averages $84,000 for public law schools and $122,000 for private law schools, reflecting the dramatic rise in the cost of attending law school in the past three decades. Despite the growing costs for students, long-term job prospects have become less certain. One study found that among 2010 law school graduates, 20 percent hold jobs that don’t require a law degree. Only 40 percent are employed by law firms, where the financial returns are highest.

Some say that the recent decline in law school enrollment simply marks a natural correction in the legal industry, because law schools are producing more lawyers than the country needs. But the latest studies, and J.’s story, show the opposite: Americans need legal help more than ever. ...

Continue reading

June 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

I'm A Liberal Professor, And My Liberal Students Terrify Me

VoxVox op-ed, I'm a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me, by Edward Schlosser:

I'm a professor at a midsize state school. I have been teaching college classes for nine years now. I have won (minor) teaching awards, studied pedagogy extensively, and almost always score highly on my student evaluations. I am not a world-class teacher by any means, but I am conscientious; I attempt to put teaching ahead of research, and I take a healthy emotional stake in the well-being and growth of my students.

Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones.

Continue reading

June 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Bloom Receives Albany Law School's Annual Faculty Scholarship Award

BloomIra Mark Bloom, Justice David Josiah Brewer Distinguished Professor of Law, received Albany Law School's annual faculty scholarship award:

Professor Ira Bloom received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship for producing a body of work that that is seen as influential and required reading in his field for New York state and the country. Professor Bloom is the author of numerous law review articles, co-author of nine law school casebooks on tax and trusts and estates, and principal author of the two-volume treatise Drafting New York Wills and Related Documents.

June 4, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Supreme Court Denies Cert. Petition Of Unsuccessful Baylor Law School Applicant; 55 Year Old CPA With 169 LSAT Demanded Inflation Adjustment To His 3.2 UGPA

KampsFollowing up on my previous posts (links below) on the age discrimination lawsuit filed by C. Michael Kamps, a 55 year old CPA who was denied admission to Baylor Law School despite his 169 LSAT. Mr. Kamps alleges that Baylor improperly failed to adjust his 3.2 GPA from Texas A&M (Class of 1979) for the effects of rampant grade inflation. The ABA Journal reports that after losing in the Fifth Circuit, Mr. Kamps' cert. petition was denied by the Supreme Court on Monday. Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

Continue reading

June 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Albany Law School to Affiliate With SUNY-Albany Amidst 34% Enrollment Decline, Faculty Buyouts

Albany logoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below) on the financial troubles at Albany Law School (including a 34% decline in the entering 1L class to 123 students in 2014, from 187 in 2013 (and a 52% decline from 255 in 2009)):  New York Law Journal, Albany Law, University Move Toward Partnership:

Albany Law School and the University at Albany announced they are finalizing an agreement to affiliate.

Alicia Ouellette, who becomes dean of Albany Law on July 1, and Robert Jones, president of the University at Albany, posted a joint letter [and FAQ] online stating that the two schools have signed a memorandum of intent and plan to complete an agreement by the end of October.

Continue reading

June 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Benefits Of Prayer In The Law School Classroom

PrayerDavid A. Grenardo (St. Mary's), Improving the Law School Classroom and Experience Through Prayer: An Empirical Study, 13 Ave Maria L. Rev. 68 (2015):

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” There are approximately 50 religiously affiliated law schools in the United States. As faith-based communities, these law schools can integrate their faiths into the education they provide by, among other things, incorporating in the classroom a central characteristic of most religions – prayer.

This article includes anonymous survey responses from students at four different Catholic law schools across the nation concerning whether the students liked the fact that their professors prayed at the beginning of class. The article, based on those responses, discusses the advantages of a professor praying in the classroom, including the following: (1) prayer creates a reverent, focused, and unified classroom environment; (2) prayer gives the students a chance to enjoy a few moments of peace, gain their composure, and prepare for class; (3) prayer creates community; (4) professors model positive behavior for the students by showing that one may stay true to one’s religion while still being a lawyer; (5) prayer reminds law students and professors of the world outside the law school, particularly when praying for others; (6) the power of prayer can result in positive results; (7) prayer fosters the faith-based communities that law schools promote as a plus to their students and recruits; and (8) professors can help mold law students to become better attorneys and better people. This article also discusses and responds to the real and perceived disadvantages of prayer in the classroom. Finally, the article includes recommendations for a professor who wants to incorporate prayer into the classroom.

Continue reading

June 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Furor Erupts Over Female Cal-Tech Science Prof's Advice To Post-Doc: 'Put Up With' Adviser Looking Down Her Shirt

Eyes 1Inside Higher Ed, Science, Not Sexism:

AAAS pulls advice column telling a female postdoc to ignore her adviser's attempts to look down her shirt, amid outcry from scientist.

“His attention on your chest may be unwelcome, but you need his attention on your science and his best advice.”

With those words, Alice S. Huang, a senior faculty associate in biology at California Institute of Technology known for her pioneering research in molecular animal virology, and a regular columnist for Science, launched a wave of criticism Monday that resulted in the disappearance and subsequent retraction of her advice piece. Questions about the journal’s editorial process also linger, along with commentary on what some have described as a “one step forward, two steps back” path to gender equity in the sciences. ...

Here’s how it started. Huang, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science who offers regular career advice to young scientists on AAAS’s Science Careers website, received the following query:

Dear Alice,

I just joined a new lab for my second postdoc. It’s a good lab. I’m happy with my project. I think it could really lead to some good results. My adviser is a good scientist, and he seems like a nice guy. Here’s the problem: whenever we meet in his office, I catch him trying to look down my shirt. Not that this matters, but he’s married. What should I do?

-- Bothered

Continue reading

June 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (21)

Metacognition And Law Students

MetaCheryl Preston (BYU), Penee Stewart (Weber State) & Louise Moulding (Weber State), Teaching 'Thinking Like a Lawyer': Metacognition and Law Students, 2015 BYU L. Rev. 1053:

With a study of 150 beginning law students in 2010 and 2013, this article provides the first empirical data on law student thinking skills. The results of this study challenge prevailing wisdom about the most critical reforms for legal education.

From an interdisciplinary perspective, this article considers legal education in light of learning theories. It explains the concept of “metacognition,” and its role in learning and expert-thinking theory. It then translates this critical component into law and illustrates how specific metacognitive skills relate to the intellectual demands of law school and, especially, of a career in law that will demand life-long learning.

Continue reading

June 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Muller: The Top 22 Law Reviews On Twitter

Twitter (2014)Derek Muller (Pepperdine), The Twenty-two Law Reviews You Should Follow on Twitter:

While you could follow a pretty sizeable list of law reviews I've maintained on Twitter, there are a handful of law reviews that rise above the rest.

Last year, I listed the sixteen law reviews to follow on Twitter. I've modified the criteria slightly and updated it. ...

Continue reading

June 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 1, 2015

NY Times: Beyond Publish Or Perish, Academic Papers Look To Make A Media Splash

SplashNew York Times, Beyond Publish or Perish, Academic Papers Look to Make a Splash:

Each July, many of the top economists in the world gather in Cambridge, Mass., at a conference hosted by the National Bureau of Economic Research. While the work they present comes in all shapes and sizes, from the highly technical to the trendy and provocative, the coveted first day of a key weeklong session is given over to research that will make a media splash.

“I choose the papers,” said David Card, a prominent labor economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “I choose papers that are going to be written up” in the mainstream press.

Professor Card explained that the elders of the field recognized the growing importance of media visibility, and he felt obliged to give it to them. “It’s what the people want,” he said.

Continue reading

June 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

RIP, Westlaw

WestlawRobert Ambrogi, Westlaw’s Days Are Numbered:

No, Thomson Reuters is not about to go out of business or shut down its Westlaw legal research service.

But it is about to shut down Westlaw Classic, as the original version has been called ever since the introduction of WestlawNext.

As of August 31, 2015, Westlaw Classic will go the way of New Coke, becoming only a haunting memory among aging associates of legal research past. In a recent email to Westlaw Classic subscribers, the company said access would be shut off as of Aug. 10. ...

Continue reading

June 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

American Lawyer Special Report: Big Law Is Failing Women

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer Special Report, Big Law Is Failing Women:

Why aren't there more women at the top of the nation's biggest firms? Consider that at the current growth rate of women equity partners, gender parity will be reached in the year 2181. Our investigation includes firm-by-firm data plus a look at innovative firms that are addressing problems in novel ways.

Continue reading

June 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ: Lawyer Sues Skadden For Overtime Pay — Is Document Review 'Practicing Law'?

Skadden LogoWall Street Journal, Lawyer Sues Skadden for Overtime:

A lawsuit against legal heavyweight Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is testing whether some purportedly professional work might in fact be eligible for overtime.

The case pits Skadden against a contract attorney hired by a legal staffing agency to review documents for $25 an hour on a Skadden case.

Under federal labor laws, licensed lawyers can’t earn overtime pay for work in excess of 40 hours a week if what they are doing is considered legal work. But the plaintiff, David Lola, says he deserves overtime pay because the tasks he did were so basic they shouldn’t qualify as practicing law.

Continue reading

June 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Subscribing to TaxProf Blog

SubscribeWe offer three ways to have TaxProf Blog content automatically delivered to your computer, tablet, or smart phone:

RSS Feeds:  You can subscribe to one of three different feeds to receive TaxProf Blog posts via your RSS reader:

Email:  You can subscribe to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email through one of three approaches:

  • FeedBlitz:  Enter your email address here to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email, delivered to you either daily, every 12 hours, every 8 hours, every 4 hours, or hourly (at your option).
  • TaxProf Blog Tax Email Service:  Email me to be added to my twice daily (during the week) and once daily (on the weekend) emails to the TaxProf Discussion Group with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on tax topics.
  • TaxProf Blog Legal Education Email Service:  Email me to be added to my email distribution list with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on legal education topics.

June 1, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feminist Northwestern Prof: My Title IX Inquisition

KipnisChronicle of Higher Education:  My Title IX Inquisition, by Laura Kipnis (Northwestern):

When I first heard that students at my university had staged a protest over an essay I’d written in The Chronicle Review about sexual politics on campus — and that they were carrying mattresses and pillows — I was a bit nonplussed. For one thing, mattresses had become a symbol of student-on-student sexual-assault allegations, and I’d been writing about the new consensual-relations codes governing professor-student dating. Also, I’d been writing as a feminist. And I hadn’t sexually assaulted anyone. The whole thing seemed symbolically incoherent.

According to our campus newspaper, the mattress-carriers were marching to the university president’s office with a petition demanding "a swift, official condemnation" of my article. One student said she’d had a "very visceral reaction" to the essay; another called it "terrifying." I’d argued that the new codes infantilized students while vastly increasing the power of university administrators over all our lives, and here were students demanding to be protected by university higher-ups from the affront of someone’s ideas, which seemed to prove my point.

The president announced that he’d consider the petition.

Still, I assumed that academic freedom would prevail. I also sensed the students weren’t going to come off well in the court of public opinion, which proved to be the case; mocking tweets were soon pouring in. Marching against a published article wasn’t a good optic — it smacked of book burning, something Americans generally oppose. Indeed, I was getting a lot of love on social media from all ends of the political spectrum, though one of the anti-PC brigade did suggest that, as a leftist, I should realize these students were my own evil spawn. (Yes, I was spending a lot more time online than I should have.)

Being protested had its gratifying side — I soon realized that my writer friends were jealous that I’d gotten marched on and they hadn’t. I found myself shamelessly dropping it into conversation whenever possible. "Oh, students are marching against this thing I wrote," I’d grimace, in response to anyone’s "How are you?" I briefly fantasized about running for the board of PEN, the international writers’ organization devoted to protecting free expression.

Things seemed less amusing when I received an email from my university’s Title IX coordinator informing me that two students had filed Title IX complaints against me on the basis of the essay and "subsequent public statements" (which turned out to be a tweet), and that the university would retain an outside investigator to handle the complaints.

Continue reading

June 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Saturday, May 30, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Friday, May 29, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Former Assistant Dean, Tenured Law Prof Sue Cleveland-Marshall Dean, Claim Retaliation For Formation Of Faculty Union

Cleveland StateFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland State University's Law School Dean Retaliated Against Associate Dean and Professor, Lawsuit Claims:

The former [assistant] dean and a professor at Cleveland State University's law school have sued Dean [and Tax Prof] Craig Boise and CSU, claiming Boise retaliated against them because the faculty formed a union [complaint].

Jean Lifter and Sheldon Gelman, who are married, contend in the lawsuit in U.S. District Court that they lost income and their constitutional rights were violated by Boise's actions following Gelman's union activities. ...

Lifter served as [assistant] dean, a non-faculty position, for 37 years at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law until she was terminated on June 30, 2014.

Gelman, a tenured professor from 1980 until his retirement in May, led the effort in 2012 that resulted in about 37 faculty members affiliating with the American Association of University Professors.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

May 29, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thomas Jefferson Law School Ditches Federal Loan Program, Forces Non-JD Students To Take Out Private Loans

Above the Law, Law School Ditches Federal Loan Program, Forces Students To Take Out Private Loans:

Thomas Jefferson Logo (2015)The vast majority of those who are in law school rely heavily on federal loans to finance their legal educations. When graduation rolls around and they still haven’t found a job, they’ll celebrate the grace period on those loans that will give them a few months to get their acts together. If and when they aren’t able to find a job, they’ll be thanking their lucky stars that they can enroll in Income-Based Repayment (IBR) or Pay as You Earn (PAYE), which will allow them to pay a fraction of the cost of what would have been their monthly payments on a regular plan — sometimes, the monthly payment will be $0. Thank God for the federal loans that are handed out to prospective lawyers like candy. Law school graduates may be drowning in federal debt, but at least they have options.

Private loans are an entirely different beast. They carry with them far greater risk and far fewer protections than federal loans. There’s no potential for forgiveness in the future, and there aren’t programs like IBR and PAYE to save borrowers if they’re unable to make payment. Private loans can be dangerous, and law school graduates are often left with little to no recourse when struggling with this kind of debt.

That’s why we were very surprised when a law school recently announced that it was abandoning federal loans… in the middle the academic quarter. Which school would do such a thing to its students? None other than Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a much-maligned institution that’s seen its share of trouble over the past few years.

Continue reading

May 29, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Legal Tech Firm UnitedLex Establishes Residency Programs With Emory, Miami, Ohio State & Vanderbilt

UnitedLexLegal technology services provider UnitedLex has established legal residency programs with Emory, Miami, Ohio State, and Vanderbilt law schools:

Recent law graduates who participate in the two-year UnitedLex residency program will learn to use cutting-edge legal technologies and processes to provide high-quality and efficient legal services to corporate legal departments and top law firms. Those selected for the residency program each year will receive rigorous classroom instruction provided by senior attorneys, will serve in a supervisory capacity, and will work directly with clients to deliver legal services in such practice areas as litigation management, e-discovery, cyber security, contract management, patent licensing, IP management and immigration law. At the end of the residency, some residents will continue on the UnitedLex legal staff, while others will join employers seeking experienced attorneys trained in the technologies and processes of 21st-century law practice. ...

The legal residency program is similar to a medical residency in that it provides both full-time employment and rigorous, hands-on training.

Continue reading

May 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Rhode: Law Is The Least Diverse Profession In The Nation. And Lawyers Aren’t Doing Enough To Change That.

Washington Post op-ed:  Law Is the Least Diverse Profession in the Nation. And Lawyers Aren’t Doing Enough to Change That., by Deborah L. Rhode (Stanford):

DiversityFrom the outside, the legal profession seems to be growing ever more diverse. Three women are now on the Supreme Court. Loretta Lynch is the second African American to hold the position of attorney general. The president and first lady are lawyers of color. Yet according to Bureau of Labor statistics, law is one of the least racially diverse professions in the nation. Eighty-eight percent of lawyers are white. Other careers do better — 81 percent of architects and engineers are white; 78 percent of accountants are white; and 72 percent of physicians and surgeons are white.

The legal profession supplies presidents, governors, lawmakers, judges, prosecutors, general counsels, and heads of corporate, government, nonprofit and legal organizations. Its membership needs to be as inclusive as the populations it serves.

Part of the problem is a lack of consensus that there is a significant problem. Many lawyers believe that barriers have come down, women and minorities have moved up, and any lingering inequality is a function of different capabilities, commitment and choices.

The facts suggest otherwise.

Continue reading

May 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Above The Law 2015 Top 50 Law School Rankings

ATL 2ATL 2015 Law School Rankings:

Out of respect for the 40,000 new law students who still, you know, exist, we welcome you to the third annual installment of the Above the Law Top 50 Law School Rankings. These are the only rankings to incorporate the latest ABA employment data concerning the class of 2014. The premise underlying our approach to ranking schools remains the same: that given the steep cost of law school and the new normal of the legal job market, potential students should prioritize their future employment prospects over all other factors in deciding whether and where to attend law school. The relative quality of schools is a function of how they deliver on the promise of gainful legal employment.

Our list is limited to 50 schools. We want to look at "national" schools, the ones with quality employment prospects both outside of their particular region and/or for graduates who don’t graduate at the top of the class.


  • Employment (30%)
  • Quality Jobs (30%)
  • Supreme Court Clerkships (7.5%)
  • Federal Court Clerkships (7.5%)
  • Education Cost (15%)
  • Alumni Rating (5%)
  • Debt Per Job (5%)

 The ATL Top 13 are the same as the U.S. News Top 13, in a different order:

  1. Harvard (2 in U.S. News)
  2. Stanford (2)
  3. Chicago (4)
  4. Penn (7)
  5. Yale (1)
  6. Virginia (8)
  7. Duke (8)
  8. Columbia (4)
  9. Cornell (13)
  10. NYU (6)
  11. UC-Berkeley (8)
  12. Michigan (11)
  13. Northwestern (12)

Here are the law schools that most underperform and overperform in the ATL Rankings compared to the U.S. News Rankings:

Continue reading

May 28, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Would Tenure Have Saved Blockbuster?

BlockbusterInside Higher Ed:  What If Blockbuster Had Had Tenure?, by Joshua Kim (Dartmouth):

The case of Blockbuster offers one of my favorite thought experiments for higher ed. In 2004 Blockbuster boasted 9,000 stores worldwide, 60,000 employees, and a market capitalization of $5 billion. Today, Blockbuster is gone. ...

We don’t want to be the next Blockbuster.

Did you know that Blockbuster had the opportunity to buy Netflix for $50 million? Netflix today is worth about $35 billion. In the early 2000s Netflix was having real challenges gaining enough scale to achieve economic viability, a financial situation that pushed its co-founder Reed Hastings to try to negotiate a sale to Blockbuster.  

The fact that Blockbuster said no to the purchase must rank as one of the dumbest business decisions of all time.

The story of Blockbuster and Netflix leads me to a question — a question that I think is relevant to our higher ed world.

What if some employees at Blockbuster had had tenure? ...

Continue reading

May 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

University President Does 'Parent Trap' Handshake With Son At Graduation

The U.S. News Rankings And Transfer Students: A Reform Proposal

TransferBruce M. Price (San Francisco) & Sara Star (J.D. 2014, San Francisco), The Elephant in the Admissions Office: The Influence of U.S. News & World Report on the Rise of Transfer Students in Law Schools and a Modest Proposal for Reform, 48 U.S.F. L. Rev. 621 (2014):

Students who perform well after the first year of law school are increasingly transferring to schools ranked higher by U.S. News to maximize their chances of getting a law firm job immediately following graduation. This phenomena raises two fundamental and understudied issues: how students make the decision to seek to transfer to a higher-ranked and higher-tier law school, and why such law schools are willing to admit transfer students into their second-year class who they were not willing to admit initially.

Continue reading

May 27, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through May 1, 2015) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)


Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



James Hines (Michigan)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Omri Marian (Florida)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


David Gamage (UC-Berkeley)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


William Byrnes (T. Jefferson)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Dick Harvey (Villanova)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Brad Borden (Brooklyn)


Francine Lipman (UNLV)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


James Hines (Michigan)



Bridget Crawford (Pace)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



David Walker (BU)


Chris Sanchirico (Penn)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)



Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)


Carter Bishop (Suffolk)



Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)


Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)


Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

Continue reading

May 27, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Memorable Law School Graduation Speeches

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How To Keep Control Of Your Classroom

ClassroomInside Higher Ed, How Not to Lose Control of a Class:

It might be every professor’s worst nightmare: losing control of a class with no hope of getting it back on track. That appears to be what happened this semester at Texas A&M University at Galveston, where a management instructor threatened to fail the entire class for poor behavior before the university intervened. The professor described a class full of students who wouldn't do the work, who weren't performing according to his expectations and who were consistently rude to him.

The specific case certainly appears to be an outlier, and questions remain about how and why the situation got so extreme. It nevertheless captured the attention of fellow faculty members, probably because many have struggled at one point or another with classroom management.

Continue reading

May 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Governor Brown Exempts University Of California Law Students From $1,500 Fee Increase Imposed On All Other Grad Students

University of California (2015)Los Angeles Times, UC Law Students Celebrate Exemption From Supplemental Fee Increases:

What was in effect a footnote in Gov. Jerry Brown's recent proposed budget for the University of California has turned into a cause for major celebration among UC law students.

Surprising many faculty, Brown and the UC regents have exempted the four law schools on UC campuses from the fee increases being imposed in the fall on about 50 other professional graduate school programs such as medicine, dentistry, business, public health and social work.

The increases in the so-called professional degree supplemental tuition originally were to be between $1,058 and $1,587 a year for in-state law students at UCLA, Berkeley, Davis and Irvine, according to a plan the UC regents had approved in November. That would have increased overall tuition and fees for a Californian at UCLA's law school, for example, to more than $46,000 a year, including the basic charges all UC students pay. (Non-Californians usually pay somewhat more.)

Continue reading

May 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law School Leadership In A Time Of Crisis

TED Talk:  Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe (click on YouTube button on bottom right to view video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate):

Simon 2Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action:

"It doesn't matter what you do, it matters Why you do it." With a little discipline, anyone can learn to inspire. Start With Why offers an unconventional perspective that explains the reasons some leaders and organizations are more innovative, more profitable, command greater loyalties from customers and employees alike and, most importantly, are able to repeat their success over and over. 

Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t:

Continue reading

May 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Inseparability Of Legal Theory, Practice And The Humanities

Harold Anthony Lloyd (Wake Forest), Exercising Common Sense, Exorcising Langdell: The Inseparability of Legal Theory, Practice and the Humanities, 49 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1213 (2014):

Maintaining that theory without practice is empty and practice without theory is blind, this article explores the impossibility of meaningfully separating legal theory from practice and the implications of this impossibility for legal education. Recognizing that no meaningful distinction can be made between legal theory and practice, this article maintains that there can be no meaningful distinction between “doctrinal” and “non-doctrinal” or “practical skills” courses and faculty. Accordingly, it explores the resulting implications for law school curricula and for faculty hiring standards.

Continue reading

May 25, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Atlantic: Why It Pays To Be A Jerk

The JerkThe Atlantic, Why It Pays to Be a Jerk: New Research Confirms What They Say About Nice Guys:

Smile at the customer. Bake cookies for your colleagues. Sing your subordinates’ praises. Share credit. Listen. Empathize. Don’t drive the last dollar out of a deal. Leave the last doughnut for someone else.

Sneer at the customer. Keep your colleagues on edge. Claim credit. Speak first. Put your feet on the table. Withhold approval. Instill fear. Interrupt. Ask for more. And by all means, take that last doughnut. You deserve it.

Follow one of those paths, the success literature tells us, and you’ll go far. Follow the other, and you’ll die powerless and broke. The only question is, which is which?

Of all the issues that preoccupy the modern mind—Nature or nurture? Is there life in outer space? Why can’t America field a decent soccer team?—it’s hard to think of one that has attracted so much water-cooler philosophizing yet so little scientific inquiry. Does it pay to be nice? Or is there an advantage to being a jerk?

We have some well-worn aphorisms to steer us one way or the other, courtesy of Machiavelli (“It is far better to be feared than loved”), Dale Carnegie (“Begin with praise and honest appreciation”), and Leo Durocher (who may or may not have actually said “Nice guys finish last”). More recently, books like The Power of Nice and The Upside of Your Dark Side have continued in the same vein: long on certainty, short on proof.

So it was a breath of fresh air when, in 2013, there appeared a book that brought data into the debate. The author, Adam Grant, is a 33-year-old Wharton professor, and his best-selling book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, offers evidence that “givers”—people who share their time, contacts, or know-how without expectation of payback—dominate the top of their fields. “This pattern holds up across the board,” Grant wrote—from engineers in California to salespeople in North Carolina to medical students in Belgium. Salted with anecdotes of selfless acts that, following a Horatio Alger plot, just happen to have been repaid with personal advancement, the book appears to have swung the tide of business opinion toward the happier, nice-guys-finish-first scenario.

And yet suspicions to the contrary remain—fueled, in part, by another book: Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. The average business reader, worried Tom McNichol in an online article for The Atlantic soon after the book’s publication, might come away thinking: “See! Steve Jobs was an asshole and he was one of the most successful businessmen on the planet. Maybe if I become an even bigger asshole I’ll be successful like Steve.”

McNichol is not alone. Since Steve Jobs was published in 2011, “I think I’ve had 10 conversations where CEOs have looked at me and said, ‘Don’t you think I should be more of an asshole?’ ” says Robert Sutton, a professor of management at Stanford, whose book, The No Asshole Rule, nonetheless includes a chapter titled “The Virtues of Assholes.” ...

Continue reading

May 24, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charleston Law School Lays Off Seven Additional Faculty, Announces Plans To Enroll Students For The Fall

Charleston LogoPost and Courier, Charleston School of Law to Enroll Students for the Fall:

The Charleston School of Law announced Friday that the school will accept new students in the fall for the 2015-16 academic year.

Students were taking final exams May 5 when George Kosko and Robert Carr, the remaining owners of the troubled law school, said they might not enroll a new class of students next year.

The school also laid off seven faculty Friday, one of a number of cost-cutting moves that is allowing the school to continue to enroll students, a news release said.

The seven faculty members join 24 staff members and four other faculty members bought out or laid off since May 1, 2014, according to the release:

Continue reading

May 24, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Robert De Niro to NYU Grads: ‘You’re F—ked'

De NiroNew York Post Page Six, Robert De Niro to NYU Grads: ‘You’re F—ked’:

Hollywood heavyweight Robert De Niro delivered a heavy dose of reality to graduates of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts — telling them, “You made it. And, you’re f–ked.”  ...

Other NYU grads had brighter prospects, he added.

“The school of medicine graduates, each will get a job,” he said. Law school grads will too, he said, adding that if they don’t, “Who cares? They’re lawyers!”

Continue reading

May 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Yelp Law School Rankings

YelpChicagoInno,  Yelp Launches First TV and Digital Ads, Pointing Out You Can Rate Law Schools:

Would you ever use Yelp to choose a law school?

Whether you would or not, Yelp wants you to know you can.

The San Francisco, Calif.-based reviews company has long been known for its star ratings and customer review features. Mostly it has been used as a tool to find quick info about a local business-- hours, location, BYOB-- and largely restaurant and bar focused. Now Yelp is launching its first round of TV and digital ads, which specifically point out the site can help you choose a university (as well as where to get the best margarita to celebrate your degree).

An ad currently playing on Pandora lays out this new push:

"Let's say you're hungry for justice, want to study to become a lawyer and don't mind paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loans," said a man in the ad. "We know just the place."

A search for "law schools" near "Chicago, IL" showed that all the major law schools in the area have Yelp pages and a handful of reviews. University of Chicago's Law School has a perfect 5 star rating (from three reviews) while John Marshall College of Law averages three stars (with a total of eight reviews).

A search for "law schools" near "Los Angeles, CA"  yields these result:

5Pepperdine (2 reviews), UCLA (6 reviews)


4.5UC-Irvine (3 reviews), USC (5 reviews)


4Loyola-L.A. (11 reviews)


3.5Western State (15 reviews), Whittier (15 reviews)


3Southwestern (22 reviews)

Continue reading

May 22, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

<4% Chance That Lawyer, Professor Jobs Will Be Replaced By Technology

NPR LogoNPR, Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine?:

Machines can do some surprising things. But what you really want to know is this: Will your job be around in the future?

We have the "definitive" guide.

Researchers took a shot at estimating how technology will affect the job market in 20 years. Find your job below to see what the data say about your future.


Continue reading

May 22, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Merritt: Compliance Jobs And Law School Reform

Compliance 2Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Campbell on Compliance:

Compliance is one of the 'hot" alternative jobs that law schools are promoting for their graduates. Much of this discussion, unfortunately, pays little heed to the nature of compliance jobs and whether legal education really prepares students to do this work well. The two seem to fit. After all, compliance is all about obeying the law, and JDs know a lot of law. The equation, though, isn’t that simple.

Ray Worthy Campbell explores these issues as one part of a rewarding new paper, The End of Law Schools. Although the title is provocative, and Campbell warns law schools of continued upheaval in the profession, the paper’s thesis is forward looking and upbeat. Campbell urges law schools to reinvent themselves as “schools of the legal professions.”

As part of that analysis, Campbell offers the best discussion I’ve seen of the difference between compliance and traditional law practice. His insights parallel those I’ve heard from contemporary general counsels, which is not surprising since Campbell has extensive practice experience. Educators who are contemplating the addition of compliance courses to the law school curriculum, or who just want to understand this area, should read Campbell’s exposition carefully.

Continue reading

May 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

New University Of Texas President Rejects 'Vulgar' Salary Slurped Up By His Counterparts At Other Colleges

Texas LogoNew York Times op-ed:  Platinum Pay in Ivory Towers, by Frank Bruni:

Gregory Fenves recently got a big promotion, from provost to president of the University of Texas at Austin. A raise came with it. Instead of his current base of about $425,000, he was offered $1 million.

And he rejected it — as too much. ... He suggested, and agreed to, $750,000.

That’s hardly chump change. But in the context of the shockingly lucrative deals that have become almost commonplace among college presidents, the sum — or, more precisely, the sentiment behind it — is worthy of note and praise.

Continue reading

May 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Five Law Schools Drop The LSAT For Top Applicants

LSATBloomberg, More Law Schools Drop the LSAT for Top Applicants:

The piecemeal retreat from the Law School Admission Test is gaining momentum.

The University of Hawaii said this month it would drop the LSAT for some applicants, joining a growing number of law schools around the country trying to make it simpler for high-achieving students to enroll. The schools are taking advantage of new rules issued in August by the ABA that let law schools fill 10 percent of their classes with people who have not taken the LSAT but have done very well in college and on other standardized tests, such as the SAT. ...

All five of the schools that have dropped the exam for some applicants [Drake, Hawaii, Iowa, SUNY-Buffalo, St. John's] have seen their enrollments plunge in recent years.


Continue reading

May 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Welcome To The Blogosphere: Al Sturgeon's Starting To Look Up — Inspiring Positive Change

AlAl Sturgeon, Dean of Students at Pepperdine and one of my favorite people in this business, has launched a new blog, Starting to Look Up — Inspiring Positive Change:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

I fully believe in the wise counsel of Holocaust survivor and Jewish psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, who taught us that nobody can steal our collective ability to choose an attitude in any set of circumstances. If you are skeptical, imagine trying his circumstances on for size.

The law students I serve have this dilemma in spades. They have the tremendous opportunity to study law in Malibu and pursue a most noble profession that offers power and influence. They also work like crazy with looming fears of failure, bar exams, debt, and difficult job prospects.

This blog is my attempt to help all of us, law students along with anyone else in the neighborhood, to work on the attitude choice in our given sets of circumstances.

Continue reading

May 20, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Entry-Level Faculty Hiring Down Only 4%

Sarah Lawsky (UC-Irvine), Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2015:


For a list of the entry level tax hires, see here.

May 20, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Professor Marks 100th Birthday At Brooklyn Law School

CreaSeattle Times, Professor Marks 100th Birthday at Brooklyn Law School:

Professor Joseph Crea ... marked a milestone — his 100th birthday — with a gathering of colleagues and friends Monday at the law school where he’s been a student, librarian and professor since 1944. Crea, whose birthday was last month, taught until September and still advises faculty members, sits on the admissions committee and attends faculty meetings. ...

Crea taught some 22 different classes over the years but came to focus on banking and corporations law. ... Another highlight, he told the school magazine, was teaching tax law in the 1950s to a class full of accountants and treasury agents. Professor and students learned from each other as they debated whether expenses were tax-deductible: “Deduct!” ”Disallow!” ...

Continue reading

May 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Denver Law School Blazes New Trail, Scores World's First Pot Professorship From Marijuana Law Firm

Marijuana (2015)Chronicle of Higher Education, U. of Denver Law School Scores a Marijuana Professorship:

The University of Denver’s law school is blazing a new trail in the professoriate.

Thanks to a $45,000 donation from Vicente Sederberg LLC, a self-described “full-service marijuana law firm” based in Denver, the Sturm College of Law has established what the firm says is the first professorship of marijuana law in the world.

The three-year professorship will be held first by Sam Kamin, a professor and director of the school’s Constitutional Rights and Remedies Program, the firm said in a news release.

Continue reading

May 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)