TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, April 13, 2017

ABA:  Are Record Low Multistate Bar Exam Scores The Result Of Declining Law School Admissions Standards?

MBEFollowing up on my previous post, Muller: February 2017 MBE Bar Scores Collapse To All-Time Record Low:  ABA Journal, Multistate Bar Exam Scores Drop to Lowest Point Ever; Is There a Link to Low-end LSAT Scores?:

The average score on the multistate bar exam in February 2017 dropped by another point, reaching the lowest level since the exam was first administered in 1972.

Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, confirms that the average score was 134.1, compared to an average score of 135 in February 2016.

The decline likely portends another drop in overall bar passage rates, according to the blog Excess of Democracy, which broke the news after finding the information in statistics released by the state of Pennsylvania. Above the Law and TaxProf Blog note the blog post. ...

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

64% Of Law Grads Want Law Schools To Raise Admissions Standards; 58% Say Their Debt Load Is 'Unmanageable'

KaplanKaplan Bar Review Survey, Law School Graduates Want Law Schools to Raise Their Admissions Standards:

Law schools might want to reconsider who they let in … according to their own alumni. A new Kaplan Bar Review survey of nearly 350 recent law school graduates shows that almost two-thirds (64 percent) think law schools should raise their academic standards — which would include higher LSAT scores and GPAs — when deciding who gets in.

These results come at a time of both introspection and infighting among law schools about who’s to blame for the low bar passage rates for some state bar-specific exams and the lowest Multistate Bar Examination scores in recorded history. In recent years, many law schools have begun to admit students with lower LSAT scores and GPAs than they previously had because of the multiyear slump in applications. In addition, to boost application numbers and diversify the pool of prospective students, a handful of law schools now allow applicants to submit scores from the GRE [more here] — the exam traditionally used for graduate schools and more recently business schools— instead of the LSAT, though the jury is still out on what the results may be. ...

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April 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tax March: How A Law Professor Sparked A Global Event To Demand Trump's Returns

TaubThe Guardian, Tax March: How a Law Professor Sparked a Global Event to Demand Trump's Returns:

Inspired by the Women’s March in January, law professor Jennifer Taub ‘impulsively’ called for action. Now people from New York to Tokyo are preparing to take to the streets.

Donald Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway accidentally inspired a law professor and a comedian to convince thousands of people to take to the streets this Saturday to demand that the president release his tax returns.

The day after attending January’s Women’s March in Boston, Jennifer Taub was proudly looking at photos and coverage online when a video of Conway popped up. Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager, declared that Trump was “not going to release his tax returns” and that voters didn’t care.

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

Adler:  Law School Faculties Need More Intellectual Diversity

Jonathan H. Adler (Case Western), Law School Faculties Need More Intellectual Diversity:

There is something about judicial nominations that brings out the worst in U.S. Senators. Judging from the academic debate over the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, it seems to bring out the worst in legal academics too.

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April 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Debate Over The Impact Of Different MBE Cut Scores In Different States

MBESuzanne Darrow Kleinhaus (Touro), UBE-Shopping: An Unintended Consequence of Portability? (Mar. 2016):

Getting our students ready for the UBE, may require more than just learning the law; it also means learning in which jurisdiction you should take it. While there is not much that is new about the UBE’s individual components — the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) — what is new is that where you take the UBE may make the difference between passing and failing. This is possible because of the convergence of bar exam test practices of “portability,” “relative grading,” and “scaling” of scores.

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April 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

University Of Wisconsin Faculty Survey Finds Widespread Bullying: Does Reward System Breed 'Academic Assholes'?


Inside Higher Ed, Madison Faculty Survey Finds Widespread Bullying:

Some 35 percent of faculty members who completed a survey on work-life issues at the University of Wisconsin at Madison reported having been bullied by colleagues within the last three years, The Cap Times reported. “The measure of incidence of hostile and intimidating behavior is rather surprising,” reads a new report on survey results prepared by the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute at Madison.

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April 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Amidst 71% Enrollment Decline, Florida Coastal Seeks To Avoid Fate Of Its Sister Law Schools Arizona Summit And Charlotte

Florida Coastal (2017)Jacksonville Daily Record, Florida Coastal School of Law Making Changes:

InfiLaw owns three for-profit law schools in the U.S.

Arizona Summit Law in Phoenix and Charlotte Law School in North Carolina were placed on probation in November by the American Bar Association, and Charlotte in December became the first law school in history to lose access to student loan programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

At issue are admission standards, quality of education and how relatively few of the schools’ graduates pass the Bar exam on their first attempt.

That leaves Florida Coastal School of Law, and the local legal education provider is taking steps to avoid sanction by the ABA.

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April 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Davis Polk Invites Back Women Lawyers Who Left Firm To Raise Children

Davis PolkDavis Polk Revisited:

We are strongly committed to our lawyers throughout their professional careers, including those who have had an extended break from the legal profession.

Davis Polk Revisited is a re-entry program that reintegrates former Davis Polk lawyers who wish to return to full-time legal careers. It provides Davis Polk alumni with the opportunity to return to the firm and receive the training, CLE and reintegration support they need to resume their careers. The program is open to alumni who have three or more years of Davis Polk experience and who have been away from the legal profession for at least two years.

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Davis Polk Welcomes Back Female Lawyers Who Took Break From Law:

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April 11, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Universal Clinical Legal Education: Necessary And Feasible

ClinicalRobert R. Kuehn (Washington University), Universal Clinical Legal Education: Necessary and Feasible, 53 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y ___ (2017):

Although bar officials and most legal educators agree that law students need to learn not just to “think like a lawyer” but also the professional skills needed to “do like a lawyer,” legal education lags far behind other professions in the clinical training it provides its graduates. The justification usually given for such lack of training is the claim that it is not financially feasible for law schools to ensure that every student graduate with a clinical experience.

This Essay challenges this mistaken justification.

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

Henderson:  U.S. News Eliminates The Rankings Advantage Of The GRE, But Harvard Has Started A 'Quant' Arms Race For Diverse Students Who Will Thrive In A Transformed, Tech-Driven, Disrupted Legal Profession

GRE.USNEWS.LSATThe Legal Whiteboard: The GRE and the Revised US News Ranking Methodology, by William Henderson (Indiana):

When I initially learned that Harvard Law would start accepting the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT, I viewed it through the prism of the US News & World Report ranking and concluded that it was a very good thing for Harvard and all of legal education. Aggressive rankings management has led to tremendous over-reliance on the LSAT. By using on the GRE, I reasoned, Harvard would have sufficient test score information to assess a candidate's intellectual capacity while also obtaining the freedom to use other admissions methods to explore the larger and more diverse universe of candidates who are destined to become great leaders and lawyers.  

My thinking is crudely sketched out in the diagram below.


If Harvard Law was trying to get around U.S. News rankings formula, the USN chief strategy officer, Bob Morse, saw it coming.  ...

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April 11, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Lipshaw:  Beyond Legal Reasoning — A Critique Of Pure Lawyering

LipshawJeffrey Lipshaw (Suffolk), Beyond Legal Reasoning: A Critique of Pure Lawyering (Routledge 2017):

The concept of learning to ‘think like a lawyer’ is one of the cornerstones of legal education in the United States and beyond. In this book, Jeffrey Lipshaw provides a critique of the traditional views of "thinking like a lawyer: or "pure lawyering" aimed at lawyers, law professors, and students who want to understand lawyering beyond the traditional warrior metaphor. Drawing on his extensive experience at the intersection of real world law and business issues, Professor Lipshaw presents a sophisticated philosophical argument that the "pure lawyering" of traditional legal education is agnostic to either truth or moral value of outcomes. He demonstrates pure lawyering’s potential both for illusions of certainty and cynical instrumentalism, and the consequences of both when lawyers are called on as dealmakers, policymakers, and counsellors.

This book offers an avenue for getting beyond (or unlearning) merely how to think like a lawyer. It combines legal theory, philosophy of knowledge, and doctrine with an appreciation of real-life judgment calls that multi-disciplinary lawyers are called upon to make. The book will be of great interest to scholars of legal education, legal language and reasoning as well as professors who teach both doctrine and thinking and writing skills in the first year law school curriculum; and for anyone who is interested in seeking a perspective on ‘thinking like a lawyer’ beyond the litigation arena.

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April 11, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

2017 Religious Law School Rankings

Cooley Law School Enrollments (68%), Revenues (49%) Fall, Tuition Rises 48% (To $50,790); 60% Of Faculty Terminated, Dean's Pay Cut 20% (To $537,000)

Thomas Cooley Logo (2014)Lansing State Journal, Where Did All the Cooley Students Go?:

Law school enrollment fell by 25% nationwide between 2010 and 2016. Cooley’s enrollment fell more than 60%, dropping from a peak of 3,931 students in 2010 to fewer than 1,300 last year, according to data Cooley submitted to the American Bar Association.


At its peak in 2010, Cooley brought in more than $123 million. By 2014, the most recent year for which tax records are available, revenue had plummeted to $63 million. ... Cooley responded by laying off more than half [60%] of its full-time faculty and closing its Ann Arbor campus.

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Muller:  February 2017 MBE Bar Scores Collapse To All-Time Record Low

MBEDerek Muller (Pepperdine), February 2017 MBE Bar Scores Collapse to All-Time Record Low in Test History:

On the heels of the February 2016 multistate bar exam (MBE) scores reaching a 33-year low, including a sharp drop in recent years, and a small improvement in the July 2016 test while scores remained near all-time lows, we now have the February 2017 statistics, courtesy of Pennsylvania (PDF). After a drop from 136.2 to 135 last year, scores dropped another full point to 134. It likely portends a drop in overall pass rates in most jurisdictions. This is the lowest February score in the history of aggregated MBE results.

Muller 2

April 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Pepperdine Law Review Symposium:  The Supreme Court, Politics And Reform


The United States Supreme Court has long been criticized for injecting politics into its decision-making instead of adhering to the rule of law. Yet the recent events surrounding President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Court, and the successful gamble of the Senate Republicans to refuse to hold confirmation hearings in hopes that the presidential election would allow their party to fill the seat, has cast this criticism into even starker relief.

But has the confirmation process become so dysfunctional and contentious because the Court itself has become unduly political? Or has the Court become unduly political because of external political pressures? Or has the Court remained faithful to the rule of law while political tempests attempt to threaten its independence as an institution of laws? And if for whatever reason the Court has become unduly political, what reforms can best address this problem? At this symposium, renowned legal scholars, and past and present judges, will explore these questions which remain critical to maintaining a proper separation of powers in our constitutional system.

We hope you can join us for this important and exciting debate that will feature lead presenters Akhil Amar (Yale), Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine), Michael McConnell (Stanford), Richard Posner (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit), and Mark Tushnet (Harvard). A LiveStream of the symposium is available here.

Opening Address (8:45 a.m. PST):  Michael McConnell (Stanford)

Presentation (9:45 a.m.):  Hon. Richard Posner (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit)
Respondents:  Jennifer Chacon (UC-Irvine), Deanell Tacha (Dean, Pepperdine)

Presentation (11:00 a.m.):  Mark Tushnet (Harvard)
Respondents:  Paul Finkelman (Pittsburgh), Robert Pushaw (Pepperdine)

Luncheon Address: (12:00 p.m.):  Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine)

Presentation  (1:45 p.m.):  Akhil Amar (Yale)
Respondents:  Rebecca Brown (USC), Douglas Kmiec (Pepperdine)

Break-Out Sessions (3:45 p.m.):

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

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April 7, 2017 in Legal Education, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

George Washington Law School Applications Jump 9%, Thanks To A 'Trump Bump'?


The GW Hatchet, Law School Application Numbers Rise With Waived Fees, ‘Trump Bump’:

Applications to the law school jumped up by 9 percent for this year’s admissions cycle as the school received the second largest number of applications nationwide, a law school spokeswoman said last week.

A 9-percent increase means more than 7,500 students applied to the law school this year – up from about 6,900 a year ago and the largest pool since 2011. Faculty and experts said the school’s decision to waive its application fee coupled with President Donald Trump’s administration sparking an increased interest in law, likely contributed to the increase. ...

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April 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

LSAT Test-Takers Rose 3.3% In Fall 2017 Admissions Cycle, But Law School Applicants Are Down 1.9%

The number of LSAT test-takers rose 3.3% in 2016-17, on the heels of last year's 4.1% increase, which followed five consecutive years of declines.  The 5.4% increase in February's final test of this year's cycle is the largest February increase since 2009.


Matt Leichter, LSAT Tea-Leaf Reading: February 2017 Edition:

Leichter 2

LSAC also has announced that "As of 3/31/17, there are 319,072 applications submitted by 47,916 applicants for the 2017–2018 academic year. Applicants are down 1.9% and applications are up 0.3% from 2016–2017. Last year at this time, we had 87% of the preliminary final applicant count."

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April 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Under Pressure From Feds, ABA Cracks Down On Four Law Schools (Arizona Summit, Ave Maria, Charlotte, Valparaiso)

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Inside Higher Ed, ABA Cracks Down on Low Performing Law School in Wake of Criticism from Feds:

During the last year, the American Bar Association has cracked down on four law schools [Arizona Summit, Ave Maria, Charlotte, Valparaiso] — two of which are for-profits.

A tightened job market for law school graduates has helped draw the ABA's attention to some of the lowest-performing institutions it accredits. Less academically prepared students, who are gaining easy access to these law schools, face large student debt loads and slim chances of finding employment, according to experts.

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April 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ex-Cincinnati Law Dean Challenges Her Removal: 'Faculty Unwilling To Put Student Needs Ahead Of Their Own' Is Not Adequate Ground. But Is There More To The Story?

UC BardAmerican Lawyer, Fired (And Lawyered) Up:

Two weeks ago, we told you about the former dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, who was removed from her position, she says, for doing exactly what she was brought on to do: cut spending. At the time, Jennifer Bard made that claim in the press herself, but now she's hired a lawyer, Marjorie Berman of New York firm Krantz & Berman, to do the talking. Berman said the university violated its own internal rules when it pushed Bard out of the dean job on March 22 and placed her on leave while it investigates her leadership of the law school. "The interim provost placed Dean Bard on administrative leave without the slightest factual basis for doing so,” said Marjorie Berman, an attorney with New York firm Krantz & Berman. “Administrative leave implies conduct requiring an immediate separation, that the university well knows does not exist here. Faculty unwilling to put the needs of the students and the law school ahead of their own does not constitute such conduct.” University spokesman Greg Vehr did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

National Law Journal, Ex-Cincinnati Law Dean Claims Her Removal Was Improper:

The former dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law says she was improperly removed from that position two weeks ago and placed on administrative leave after clashing with some faculty over proposed budget cuts.

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April 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Harrison:  Academic Freedom And The Scheduling Of Law School Classes

Florida Logo (GIF)Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), Those Bastards!!:

Yes, it's that time of year again — teaching schedules for the  next two semesters. And, as usual, when I filled in the form asking for my preferences, I gave the Deans all kinds of options. I am willing to teach Monday-Wednesday at 1-2 or Monday-Wednesday 1:05-2:05.  Mornings are out! I spend the morning reading the Times until my massage at 11. Lunch is at noon.  But what do they give me? Monday-Wednesday 2-3. These people do not know who I am. Do they have me mixed up with someone who went to a state school?

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April 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Helfand:  Making Faith-Based Institutions Inclusive — The Pepperdine Example

HelfandInside Higher Education op-ed:  Making Faith-Based Institutions Inclusive, by Michael A. Helfand (Pepperdine):

When people meet me for the first time, it doesn’t take long for them to realize that I am an Orthodox Jew. The most obvious giveaway is the yarmulke on my head. Of course, this isn’t by itself surprising — and being an Orthodox Jew doesn’t make me particularly unique. What does surprise people is when they learn I teach at Pepperdine University School of Law, part of a university that is affiliated with the Church of Christ.

This surprise frequently comes in the form of the following conversation, often at an academic conference. Someone will see my institutional affiliation on my name tag and ask me, “How are things at Pepperdine?” When I respond enthusiastically, my interlocutor will follow up by asking, “But how do they treat you" — or “But are you OK,” almost expecting me to unburden my soul with all the horrors of being a committed Orthodox Jew at a Christian university.

These repeated interactions frequently lead me to reflect on the extraordinary distance between these prevailing perceptions and my own lived reality. Put succinctly, I cannot imagine working in a more supportive and rewarding academic environment than what I have experienced at Pepperdine. To be sure, my comfort with faith-based higher education presumably also has a lot do with my own education; I spent many years at Yeshiva University, the largest Orthodox Jewish university in the United States. And my area of research is law and religion, which means my substantive work dovetails nicely with the intersection of faith and knowledge that lies at the heart of many faith-based universities. But these experiences and interests have also given me a window into how faith-based universities successfully promote religious diversity.

From my vantage point, the reason why Pepperdine has proven fertile ground for cultivating religious diversity among its faculty alongside its continued commitment to its core Christian mission is because it conveys to its entire faculty that we are valued because of and not despite the university’s faith-based mission. ...

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April 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wayne State Moves To Fire Five Tenured Faculty Who Have Not Published In Five Years

Wayne State University LogoFollowing up on last week's post, Wayne State Moves To Fire Five Underperforming Tenured Professors; President Seeks 'Accountability For Individuals And Excellence For The University': Chronicle of Higher Education, Wayne State’s Move to Strip 5 Professors of Tenure Sparks Unease About a Broader Threat:

As Wayne State University takes the highly unusual step of trying to strip tenure from five medical-school professors who its president says are "abusing the tenure system," some faculty members on the campus say they’re concerned that more tenure threats may not be far behind.

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April 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Facebook Demands That Its Outside Law Firms Meet 33% Diversity Target That Facebook Does Not Meet

FacebookNew York Times, Facebook Pushes Outside Law Firms to Become More Diverse:

Like other Silicon Valley giants, Facebook has faced criticism over whether its work force and board are too white and too male. Last year, the social media behemoth started a new push on diversity in hiring and retention.

Now, it is extending its efforts into another corner: the outside lawyers who represent the company in legal matters.

Facebook is requiring that women and ethnic minorities account for at least 33 percent of law firm teams working on its matters.

Numbers alone, however, are not enough, under a policy that went in effect on Saturday. Law firms must also show that they “actively identify and create clear and measurable leadership opportunities for women and minorities” when they represent the company in litigation and other legal matters. ...

For Facebook, the move on outside lawyers is happening even as the company’s efforts at improving diversity in its own work force have so far shown little progress.

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April 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

#ThanksForTyping: 'The Invisible Labor Of Women In The Textual Transmission Of Men’s Scholarship'

Bruce Holsinger (Virginia) posted images on Twitter showing male professors thanking their wives for typing their manuscripts:


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April 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, April 3, 2017

If It’s A New Law Dean, It’s Likely A Woman

National Law Journal, If It’s a New Law Dean, It’s Likely a Woman:

March has been a good month for women law deans. Six of the eight new law deans appointed this month are women, with a seventh taking on an interim dean role for the coming academic year. As of now, well over half of the new deans taking the reins starting this summer are women—an unusual development given the long-standing dominance of men in the top job on law campuses. ...

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April 3, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Political Economy Of Administrative Bloat In American Higher Education

Fall 2Todd J. Zywicki (George Mason) & Christopher Koopman (George Mason), The Changing of the Guard: The Political Economy of Administrative Bloat in American Higher Education:

The cost of higher education in the United States has risen dramatically in recent years. Numerous explanations have been provided to explain this increase. This paper focuses on one contributing factor: The dramatic growth in the size and expense of non-academic administrators and other university bureaucrats, which has outpaced the growth of expenditures on academic programs. Given that university faculty are typically viewed as the constituency that primarily controls universities, this growth of non-academic employees and expenses appears to be anomalous. Some theories are provided to explain this transition.

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

NY Times:  Student Loan Forgiveness Program Approval Letters May Be Invalid

Department of Education LogoNew York Times, Student Loan Forgiveness Program Approval Letters May Be Invalid, Education Dept. Says:

More than 550,000 people have signed up for a federal program that promises to repay their remaining student loans after they work 10 years in a public service job.

But now, some of those workers are left to wonder if the government will hold up its end of the bargain — or leave them stuck with thousands of dollars in debt that they thought would be eliminated.

In a legal filing submitted last week, the Education Department suggested that borrowers could not rely on the program’s administrator to say accurately whether they qualify for debt forgiveness. The thousands of approval letters that have been sent by the administrator, FedLoan Servicing, are not binding and can be rescinded at any time, the agency said.

The filing adds to questions and concerns about the program just as the first potential beneficiaries reach the end of their 10-year commitment — and the clocks start ticking on the remainder of their debts. ...

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Another Banner Year For Lawyers (Especially In California)

BLS (2015)Stephen Diamond (Santa Clara), Another Banner Year For Lawyers, BLS Reports:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is out with its annual employment report and the news is, once again, very positive for lawyers. Lawyers’ incomes and employment numbers have increased steadily over the last two decades (except for a decline in incomes in 2008 at the onset of the financial crisis).

The BLS reports that the total number of lawyers employed as of May 2016 was 619,530 compared with 609,930 the year before. Lawyers’ mean income was $118,160 compared to last year’s wage of $115,820.

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April 2, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Restoring the Soul of the University: Unifying Christian Higher Education In A Fragmented Age

SoulPerry L. Glanzer (Baylor), Nathan F. Alleman (Baylor) & Todd C. Ream (Taylor), Restoring the Soul of the University: Unifying Christian Higher Education in a Fragmented Age (InterVarsity Press March 2017):

Has the American university gained the whole world but lost its soul?
In terms of money, prestige, power, and freedom, American universities appear to have gained the academic world. But at what cost? We live in the age of the fragmented multiversity that has no unifying soul or mission. The multiversity in a post-Christian culture is characterized instead by curricular division, the professionalization of the disciplines, the expansion of administration, the loss of community, and the idolization of athletics.

The situation is not hopeless. According to Perry L. Glanzer, Nathan F. Alleman, and Todd C. Ream, Christian universities can recover their soul — but to do so will require reimagining excellence in a time of exile, placing the liberating arts before the liberal arts, and focusing on the worship, love, and knowledge of God as central to the university.

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April 2, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

WSJ:  100 Colleges Offer Loan Repayment Assistance To Graduates, As Do 100 Law Schools

Student LoansWall Street Journal, Some Colleges Step Up to Ease Students’ Debt Burden: About 100 Mostly Liberal Arts Colleges Offer Help With Loan Repayments to Graduates:

When Natalie Dunn was a senior in high school, she was torn between two colleges — but only one offered anything close to a money-back guarantee. So she picked Adrian College over the less-expensive Central Michigan University. The private liberal-arts school promised it would cover some or all of her student-loan payments, depending on how much she earned after graduation, up to $37,000 a year in salary. ... 

About 100 schools — mostly liberal-arts colleges — are now offering a variant of this guarantee through an Indiana company called LRAP [Loan Repayment Assistance Program] Association, The company sells programs similar to insurance policies to schools for an average of about $1,300 per student, said LRAP President Peter Samuelson.

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April 1, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 31, 2017

NY Times:  Cincinnati Law Dean Put On Leave After Trying To Close Multi-Million Dollar Deficit By Increasing Teaching Loads, Cutting Summer Research Stipends And Salary Supplements Of Chaired Professors

UC BardNew York Times DealBook: Cincinnati Law Dean Is Put on Leave After Proposing Ways to Cut Budget, by Elizabeth Olson:

When Jennifer S. Bard took the reins of the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2015, her chief mission was to overhaul the school’s troubled finances.

She proposed measures to cut costs, including expanding teaching loads, limiting travel expenses and curbing summer salary stipends for research. But faculty members pushed back.

After so much squabbling between the dean and the professors, the public university’s provost stepped in to mediate. Last week, Dr. Bard, who came from Texas Tech University’s law school, was stripped of her duties as dean and placed on leave — with no public explanation.

Internal faculty emails provide a window into why Cincinnati Law — and schools like it — have made few changes even as they face serious revenue shortfalls. Normally, such financial information never sees daylight, but a local newspaper, The Cincinnati Business Courier, published a string of emails after obtaining them through public records requests.

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March 31, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Using Google Scholar Citation Counts To Measure The Impact Of Law Faculty Scholarship

Google Scholar (2015)Gary Lucas, Jr. (Texas A&M), Measuring Scholarly Impact: A Guide for Law School Administrators and Legal Scholars:

Texas A&M University assesses its colleges and departments based partly on scholarly impact and using quantitative metrics. The law school’s dean has assigned me the task of identifying scholarly impact metrics for use in assessing the performance of our law faculty collectively and individually. This essay discusses the major issues that arise in measuring the impact of legal scholarship. It also explains important scholarly impact metrics, including the Leiter score and Google Scholar h-index, and the major sources of information regarding scholarly impact, including Google Scholar, Westlaw, Hein Online, SSRN, and bepress.

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March 31, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wayne State Moves To Fire Five Underperforming Tenured Professors; President Seeks 'Accountability For Individuals And Excellence For The University'

Wayne State TenureDetroit News, Wayne State: 5 Professors ‘Not Doing Anything,’ Should Lose Tenure:

In a move rarely seen in academia, Wayne State University is trying to fire multiple faculty members depicted as abusing their tenure by doing as little work as possible.

Hearings to revoke tenure start Wednesday for the first of five WSU medical school professors who allegedly are performing poorly in research, scholarship or teaching. Another five professors, including some outside the 996 faculty members in the medical school, also may face dismissal proceedings, university officials said.

Only two other times in WSU’s 149-year history has the university begun proceedings to take away a professor’s tenure, which is an indefinite appointment. In both cases, the faculty member prevailed.

But this is the first time the university is attempting to terminate several professors. They will lose their jobs if tenure is revoked. ...

Already, the university announced in August that 37 medical school faculty could lose their positions through retirement or termination for underperforming in their academic assignments — which has led to the departure of two dozen faculty.

WSU President M. Roy Wilson told The Detroit News that the dismissal hearings are aimed at accountability for individuals and excellence for the university. The professors facing the hearings are “grossly underperforming” and “not doing anything,” he said, making it difficult to move the university toward its mission as a premier urban research institution.

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March 30, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

David Han, Derek Muller, And Victoria Schwartz Are Awarded Tenure At Pepperdine


Congratulations to my good friends and colleagues David Han, Derek Muller, and Victoria Schwartz, who received official notification yesterday that they have been awarded tenure by the Pepperdine Board of Regents.   For links to their fantastic recent scholarship, see below the fold:

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March 30, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

New Lawyers 2010 to 2017: Lower LSATS, Lower Bar Passage … More DUIs

NCBEKeith Lee (Hamer Law Group, Birmingham, AL), New Lawyers 2010 to 2017: Lower LSATS, Lower Bar Passage…More DUIs??:

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) recently released a large data dump indicating a downward trend in a number of areas. The numbers are troubling if you’re concerned about the future of the profession.

What are the trends in LSAT scores at the 25th percentile?

  • Law Schools with increasing 25th percentile LSAT scores: 6
  • Law Schools with flat 25th percentile LSAT scores: 5
  • Law Schools with decreasing 25th percentile LSAT scores: 183 ...

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March 29, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Muller:  More Students Are Receiving More Scholarship Money To Attend Law School

Following up on Saturday's post, Average Inflation-Adjusted Student Debt Declined At 71% Of Law Schools Over Past Three Years:  Derek Muller (Pepperdine), The Percentage of Law School Enrollees Receiving Scholarships Continues to Climb:

While law schools have been raising their tuition, often quicker than inflation... , they may well be increasing scholarship awards at an even faster pace. ... The figures below include all schools from reporting years 2012 to 2016, which reference academic years 2011 to 2015.

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March 29, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

ABA Places Arizona Summit Law School On Probation Following 25% Bar Pass Rate

Arizona Summit Logo (2015)Following up on my previous post, ABA Places Charlotte Law School On Probation, Censures Valparaiso:  the ABA has placed Arizona Summit Law School on probation:

The Council determined that the Law School's admissions practices, academic program (including its academic standards and academic support), and outcomes (graduation and bar passage) have resulted in the Law School now being in a position where only immediate and substantial action can bring about sufficient change to put the Law School on a realistic path back to being in compliance within the time allowed by the Standards and Rules of Procedure.

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March 28, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Society Of American Law Teachers Opposes ABA Proposal To Allow Adjuncts To Teach More Law School Courses

SALT LogoFollowing up on last week's post, ABA Proposes To Eliminate Requirement That More Than 50% Of Law Teaching Be Performed By Full-Time Faculty:  National Law Journal, ABA May Open Door to More Adjunct-Taught Classes:

The American Bar Association is considering deep-sixing a rule requiring full-time faculty to teach at least half of every law school’s upper-level courses—a proposal likely to ruffle the feathers of professors who fear it would allow schools to essentially outsource the second and third year to adjuncts.

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March 28, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times Op-Ed:  How To Con Black Law Students

ASBCNew York Times op-ed: How to Con Black Law Students: A Case Study, by Elie Mystal (Above the Law):

This month, Bethune-Cookman, a historically black university in Daytona Beach, Fla., announced an “affiliation” deal with Arizona Summit Law School, a for-profit institution in Phoenix. A joint scholarship program will send Bethune-Cookman students and students from other historically black colleges to the law school. Other programs, including intensive LSAT prep classes, have been announced as part of the deal.

Bethune-Cookman doesn’t have a law school, so it makes sense that it would want to partner with an accredited institution. But there’s a problem: Arizona Summit, formerly known as the Phoenix School of Law, may be accredited, but only 25 percent of its graduates passed the Arizona bar exam on their first try last year.

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March 28, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Magbanua’s Attorneys Chide Prosecutors' Fishing Expedition To Determine Who Is Paying Her Attorneys' Fees In Markel Murder Case

MagnaubaTallahassee Democrat, Magbanua's Attorneys: State on a 'Fishing Expedition':

Katherine Magbanua’s attorneys say prosecutors are on a fishing expedition to figure out who is paying her legal fees.

Last month, Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman set out to figure out whether the former in-laws of slain Florida State University law professor Dan Markel were paying for two Miami lawyers defending Magbanua, who is suspected of being the conduit in the murder-for-hire plot.

Cappleman said the money trail leads to co-conspirators in the case. But in a Friday court filing, Magbanua’s attorneys Tara Kawass and Christopher DeCoste say prosecutors are doing so on the basis of “conjecture rather than proof.” They want Leon Circuit Court Judge James Hankinson to deny the request. A case management conference is scheduled for May 1. ...

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March 28, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, March 27, 2017

UC-Hastings Dean:  The California Bar Exam Flunks Too Many Law School Graduates

California Bar ExamLos Angeles Times op-ed: The California Bar Exam Flunks Too Many Law School Graduates, by David L. Faigman (Dean, UC-Hastings):

Graduates who fail face [the bar exam] losing jobs already started, not getting jobs that were promised, debt, embarrassment and more debt. Simply taking the exam again costs more than $700, and add to that the cost of further bar review classes, living expenses in the meantime and income lost. All told, thousands more dollars may be piled onto law school debt that is increasingly well above $100,000. ...

Given the stakes for the individual law graduate, as well as the state’s obligation to ensure that those given a license to practice law are qualified, one would think the state bar, which administers the test, would have sound reasons for how it sets the line — the “cut score” — between passing and failing. If you thought that about California, you would be mistaken.

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March 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 26, 2017

SUNY-Buffalo Law School Dean Finalist Charged With Embezzling $7 Million

SUNY 2Buffalo News, Candidate for Dean of UB Law School Charged in Embezzlement Scheme:

A finalist to become the next dean of the University at Buffalo Law School was indicted this week on federal fraud charges related to the alleged embezzlement of millions of dollars from investors in a company he helped run.

The U.S. Attorney's Office District of Minnesota charged Edward S. Adams, 64, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, with eight counts of mail fraud and six counts of wire fraud.

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March 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Princeton Seminary Revokes Award To Tim Keller Because Of His Traditional Theological Views

Princeton KellerWall Street Journal, A Seminary Snubs a Presbyterian Pastor: Princeton Rescinds an Honor to Tim Keller Over His Traditional Theological Views:

Princeton Theological Seminary announced earlier this month that it would award the Rev. Tim Keller its Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness. The seminary lauded Mr. Keller for his commitment to spreading Christianity in cities, his bestselling books on religion, and his work helping to launch hundreds of churches. But thanks to some of his conservative views, Mr. Keller’s warm welcome didn’t last long.

In 1989 Mr. Keller founded Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which is part of the Presbyterian Church in America. The church now has a weekly attendance of around 5,000, and it is particularly popular among young professionals. It also maintains orthodox positions: opposing the ordination of women and practicing LGBT individuals while supporting traditional marriage. This made theologically progressive students, alumni and faculty furious over the decision to honor Mr. Keller. They wrote letters, signed petitions and planned demonstrations to pressure the seminary to rescind the award.

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March 26, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)