TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, May 5, 2016

148 Deans Demand LSAC Rescind Threat To Expel University Of Arizona Over Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions

GREFollowing up on Sunday's post, The Empire Strikes Back: LSAC Threatens To Expel University Of Arizona Over Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions: Letter, From 148 Law School Deans to LSAC President Dan Bernstine (May 3, 2016):

We write as law school deans to express our great concern over LSAC’s threat to expel the University of Arizona Law School because it experimented with using the GRE as a small part of its admissions process. Experimentation benefits all of us. We all expect to learn from the University of Arizona’s experiment and it should not be punished by LSAC.

Most importantly, we strongly urge that the Board of Trustees allow the University of Arizona to remain a member of the Council. Expelling it for this is unwarranted under the existing rules and sends a terrible message to law schools about experimentation in the admissions process. Also, as deans at ABA accredited law schools and members of the LSAC Council, we urge the LSAC Board of Trustees to modify the provision of LSAC Bylaws Article I, Section 1, which “requires that substantially all of its applicants for admission” take the LSAT. The rule should be changed to allow experimentation with alternative tests.

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May 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Educating Lawyers And Engineers

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Law and Engineering Should Share Curriculum, by Julio M. Ottino (Dean, Northwestern Engineering) & Daniel B. Rodriguez (Dean, Northwestern Law):

A crashing Google car. An encrypted iPhone. These are more than recent technological controversies — they represent how technology collides with law, security, and public policy, with multiple trade-offs. They are just two examples of what will be an endless list of legal issues stemming from relentless innovation.

It’s said about innovation — considered a key advantage for the United States over global competitors — that engineers drive it, entrepreneurs profit from it, and lawyers impede it. But that’s off-base: Engineering and law should work together to advance the future. And because lawyers and engineers acquired their skills at a university somewhere, the logical entry point for change is education.

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May 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Corporate Tax Papers:  ClassCrits IX

Class Crits 2ClassCrits IX Call for Papers and Participation: The New Corporatocracy and Election 2016:

We invite panel proposals, roundtable discussion proposals, and paper presentations that speak to this year’s theme, as well as to general ClassCrits themes.  Proposal due: May 16, 2016.

As the U.S. presidential election approaches, our 2016 conference will explore the role of corporate power in a political and economic system challenged by inequality and distrust as well as by new energy for transformative reform.

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May 5, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tulsa Votes To Strip Founder's Name Off Law School Building Due To KKK Ties

TulsaFollowing up on yesterday's post, Tulsa To Vote Today On Whether To Strip Founder's Name Off Law School Building Due To KKK Ties:  Tulsa World, TU Trustees Vote to Remove Name with KKK Ties From College of Law Building:

Completing a process one insider described as "challenging for all of us," University of Tulsa trustees on Wednesday voted to remove the name of one of its most steadfast supporters from the College of Law building.

John Rogers, a prominent attorney who died in 1977, was a TU trustee for 40 years and the law school's founding dean, but belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and another vigilante organization in the 1920s.

TU President Steadman Upham said those associations, although apparently brief, led to the decision to remove Rogers' name from the campus building erected in his honor in the 1970s.

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May 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Law School Rankings:  Federal Judicial Clerkships

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Visualizing Law School Federal Judicial Clerkship Placement, 2013-2015:

The release of the latest ABA employment data offers an opportunity to update the three-year federal judicial clerkship placement rates. Here is the clerkship placement rate for the Classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015.

The Top 10 are:

  1. Yale (31.3%)
  2. Stanford (28.6%)
  3. Harvard (16.8%)
  4. Virginia (14.6%)
  5. UC-Irvine (13.6%)
  6. Chicago (13.5%)
  7. UC-Berkeley (11.0%)
  8. Duke (10.2%)
  9. Vanderbilt (10.1%)
  10. Michigan (9.4%)

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May 4, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Value Of Corporate Externships For Law Students

Tulsa To Vote Today On Whether To Strip Founder's Name Off Law School Building Due To KKK Ties

TulsaTulsa World, KKK Ties: TU Could Change Name on College of Law Building:

The University of Tulsa may soon remove the name of a key figure in the school’s development from a campus building because of a brief involvement with the Ku Klux Klan, the Tulsa World has confirmed.

TU trustees are expected to decide Wednesday whether to take down the name of John Rogers from the university’s College of Law, which Rogers helped found in 1943.

Rogers was also the attorney for J.A. and Leta Chapman, whose estate saved the university from almost certain bankruptcy in the 1960s and became the foundation for what is now a $1 billion endowment. ...

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May 4, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Law Student Turns 2-Year Suspension For Stealing Laptop Into 20-Year Prison Sentence By Tampering With Larceny Conviction Record

Sufolk Law SchoolNational Law Journal, Law Student Convicted of Laptop Larceny Loses Appeal Amid Tampering Charges:

A former Suffolk University law student charged with tampering a courthouse file related to his conviction for stealing a laptop from a campus locker has lost an appeal in Massachusetts.

A three-judge panel of the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed David Scher’s 2014 conviction of larceny in a April 27 decision, issued less than a month after Scher pleaded not guilty to separate charges of perjury and tampering.

Prosecutors allege Scher, 33, removed the document showing his conviction from the physical case file at the clerk’s office and replaced it with a fake version that said he was found not guilty. Scher then used the forged verdict slip to attempt to have his conviction erased with Massachusetts’ Department of Criminal Justice Information Services, which oversees arrest and conviction records, in a bid to obtain his law diploma from Suffolk, prosecutors contend.

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May 3, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Green Bay Fan Meets Wife At Wisconsin Law School 10-Year Reunion, Plans To Take Her Last Name: Packer

Packers 2Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Green and Gold Nuptials: Fan to Marry Into Packer Name:

As a fervent and lifelong fan of the green and gold, Ryan Holtan-Murphy finally found a way to become a Packer himself.

He's marrying into the name.

Ryan met this woman at his University of Wisconsin Law School 10-year reunion in 2014. Her name, she said, is Marie Packer.

"I thought she was messing with me," he said.

"This beautiful girl. We completely hit it off. She's fun, she's interesting, she's smart, she's hilarious. All of this. And her last name — it was like a thunderbolt for me," he said. "Her last name was just the flashing neon sign saying, 'This is the one!'"

Long story short, they're getting married next year, and Ryan is taking Marie's last name.

"He was like gimme, gimme, gimme, I want it," Marie said. "I didn't know the extent of the Packer fandom. I just knew he was really excited about my last name." ...

Ryan, 40, is a 1994 graduate of Wauwatosa East High School who went on to college and law school in Madison. He left Wisconsin to practice financial law in New York for five years, then London for five, then back to New York where he lives now. He still has family in Wauwatosa. ...

Marie, 37, grew up in Ann Arbor and went to medical school at Michigan State. Her residency took her to Chicago, where she now lives and commutes to St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, Ind. She is an emergency room doctor. ...

Marie was Lombardi's wife's name, adding to his Marie's perfection in Ryan's eyes. "For me, the Packers have always been more than a team. They're almost an embodiment of Wisconsin, a symbol of home. I proudly take my Packer flag everywhere I travel, from Antarctica to Moscow," he said. ...

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

After U.S. News Stopped Giving Full Weight To Law School-Funded Jobs, 52% Of Those Jobs Disappeared

2017 U.S. News LogoDerek Muller (Pepperdine), Law School-Funded Positions Dry Up With U.S. News Methodology Change:

[Previously, U.S. News & World Report made] no distinction between positions funded by law schools and those that weren't. Last year, for the first time, U.S. News & World Report announced a change to the methodology. The rankings now "discounted the value of these types of jobs." This year, the first full year of reporting after the change went into effect, law schools dramatically cut back on such positions. There were 520 law school-funded bar passage-required positions for the Class of 2012, up to 777 for the Class of 2013 and 833 for the Class of 2014. This year, however, the number plunged to 397. ...

Jerry Organ has more thoughts here. He attributes some of the decline to changes in reporting requirements and definitions from the ABA.

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May 3, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

WSJ:  Latest ABA Data Show Declining Job Prospects For Law School Graduates

ABA Logo 2Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Law School Graduate Employment Data Shows Decline in Legal Jobs:

In recent months, we’ve seen signs of an emerging recovery in the legal education market. Newly released employment statistics for the Class 2015, however, won’t help build the case for optimism, according to a professor’s analysis.

At first blush, the latest numbers released by the American Bar Association on Monday suggest a positive trend: A larger percentage of new graduates of ABA-accredited schools are landing legal jobs as compared to last year’s figures. But that outcome is overshadowed by a more dispiriting national trend, according to legal education numbers guru Jerry Organ of the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

Over at Legal Whiteboard blog, Mr. Organ crunches the numbers and finds a sharp decline in the number of full-time legal jobs occupied by the Class of 2015. He writes:

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

Grit And Legal Education:  Female Students Are Grittier Than Male Students

True GritEmily Zimmerman (Drexel) & Leah Brogan (Drexel), Grit and Legal Education, 36 Pace L. Rev. 114 (2015):

Although research indicates that grit predicts successful performance in a variety of contexts, grit is underexplored in the context of legal education. We investigated the relationship between grit and law school grade point average (GPA) among recent law school graduates. Contrary to expectations, a statistically significant correlation did not emerge between grit and law school GPA. However, average grit scores of women and men did significantly differ, with women reporting higher overall grit scores than men. Female and male participants’ law school GPAs did not significantly differ. This article discusses our research project and the questions regarding legal education that our findings raise. We also identify areas for further research regarding grit, legal education, and law practice.

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May 3, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Princeton Prof Releases 'CV Of Failures'

PrincetonJohannes Haushofer, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, has an impressive CV.  But his  CV of Failures has attracted even more attention, listing all the rejections he has endured in his short academic career.  He lists as his meta-failure: "This darn CV of Failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work."

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

More Evidence Of The White Bias In Legal Education

Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), More Evidence of the White Bias in Legal Education:

Alexia Brunet Marks and Scott Moss have just published an article that analyzes empirical data to determine which admissions characteristics best predict law student grades. Their study, based on four recent classes matriculating at their law school (the University of Colorado) or Case Western’s School of Law, is careful and thoughtful. Educators will find many useful insights. 

A new study, authored by Daniel Schwarcz and Dion Farganis, documents the same effect among students at the University of Minnesota Law School. Schwarcz and Farganis’s primary research interest focuses on the educational impact of individualized feedback given to first-year law students. Paul Caron, Michael Simkovic, and Lawrence Solum have already discussed those parts of the paper; I hope to add some of my thoughts soon.

While analyzing the impact of feedback, however, Schwarcz and Farganis produced even more striking results related to race.

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May 2, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

USC Cancels America's Premier Game Design Program Because Lineup Of Industry Leaders Was All-Male

USC 2Heat Street, USC Cancels ‘Legends of the Games Industry’ Event for Not Including Women:

America’s premier game-design program canceled an all-star industry panel last week for the sole reason that the lineup was all-male.

The University of Southern California was able to attract some of the biggest talent in the industry to their April 20 event: head game designer at Blizzard, Jeffrey Kaplan; CEO of Riot Games, Brandon Beck; and head of Infinity Ward, David Stohl — among others.

As reported by the Daily Trojan, not only would students have been able to hear from these titans of the game industry, they could have showcased their games to the panelists as well. ...

What a cool, possibly life-changing event for the students at USC. It would be a shame if people’s feelings got in the way….

Well, just four hours prior to the event, the whole thing was cancelled. And the reason given was it had to be shut down because of the all-male panel — as explained on the Facebook page of the University of Southern California Interactive Media & Games Division. ...

The student went on to say that it was Professor Anthony Borquez who organized the event, but was told that he must get a female panelist to use event space at the games department. Borquez obliged, but due to a scheduling conflict, the female panelist backed out.

Despite the good faith effort, the student explained, Director of USC Games Tracy Fullerton cancelled the event at the last minute. ...

“There was no perfect choice here,” Director of USC Games Tracy Fullerton said. “There was only the choice to stand for one set of values or another. So, I chose the path I believe in. You all are free to disagree, but I think it is the right side of history.”

The Daily Trojan ran a student point/counterpoint debate on the appropriateness of cancelling the event when the sole female panelist backed out due to a scheduling conflict:

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

There's No Crying In The Law Library ... Even During Finals

Above the Law reports that this picture (via @danielschwartz) is in the Hofstra Law Library during finals:

Hofstra

As Tom Hanks would say, "there's no crying in the law library":

May 2, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Walker:  Junior Law Prawfs FAQs Series On How To Become A Voice In One's Field

Chris Walker (Ohio State) has produced an indispensable 13-part Junior Law Prawfs FAQs Series on how to become a voice in one's field (or, as I put it on an AALS panel nearly ten years ago, Building and Marketing Your Scholarly "Brand"):

  1. How Do I Become a Voice in My Field? (See Also: D Merritt, Going Meta on the Jr. Law Prawfs FAQ Series)
  2. How Does My Research Fit Within the Types of Legal Scholarship?
  3. Should I Say Write a Response to a Law Review Article (or Allow the Law Review to Solicit Responses to Mine)?
  4. Is Publishing a Book Review in a Law Review Still a Worthwhile Pretenure Endeavor? (See Also: P Horwitz, Yes (With Caveats), Publishing a Book Review is Still a Worthwhile Endeavor for Untenured Law Professors)
  5. How Do I Make Sense of Online Law Reviews?
  6. How Do I Increase the Chance My Scholarship Will Be Read?
  7. How Should I Respond to Requests to Read Draft Articles in My Field?
  8. How Can I Increase In-Person Scholarly Interaction with Limited Resources?
  9. Is Blogging Worth It? (See Also: M Froomkin, The Plural of Anecdote is "Blog"; O Kerr, Legal Academic Blogging and Influence vs. Credit)
  10. Is There Any Reason Not To Be on Twitter?
  11. What About Podcasts? What About Media Consultations? (See Also: C Turner, Podcasts; C Walker, Rethinking Law Review Podcasts)
  12. Should I Join Law Prof Amicus Briefs, Write White Papers, Or Do Other Advocacy Work?
  13. Am I Asking the Right Questions? (See Also: M Rich, Hard Prawf Choices)

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May 2, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

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May 2, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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May 2, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Empire Strikes Back:  LSAC Threatens To Expel University Of Arizona Over Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions

LSACFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Wall Street Journal, Arizona Law Faces Fight Over LSAT Policy:

A top-tier law school’s decision to make the Law School Admission Test optional has put it on a collision course with the powerful national nonprofit group that administers the exam and controls much of the law-school application process nationwide.

University of Arizona College of Law has started allowing applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination test in lieu of the LSAT, a move the school hopes will expand and diversify the pool of students considering enrolling.

Since 2010, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the number of students applying to law schools has shrunk considerably and is only now starting to stabilize. Allowing the GRE, the thinking goes, could give a boost to applications; at least five times as many people took the GRE in the latest admissions cycle as the LSAT.

At least two other schools—University of Hawaii School of Law and Wake Forest University School of Law—have recently explored similar moves.

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May 1, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

University Of Minnesota Study:  Enhanced Individualized Feedback In One Core 1L Class Improves Student Performance In All Of Their Other Classes

Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota) & Dion Farganis (Minnesota), The Impact of Individualized Feedback on Law Student Performance:

For well over a century, first-year law students have typically not received any individualized feedback in their core "doctrinal" classes other than their final exam grades. Although this pedagogical model has long been assailed by critics, remarkably limited empirical evidence exists regarding the extent to which enhanced feedback improves law students' outcomes. This Article helps fill this gap by focusing on a natural experiment at the University of Minnesota Law School.

The natural experiment arises from the random assignment of first-year law students to sections that take a common slate of classes, only some of which provide individualized feedback. Meanwhile, students in two different sections are occasionally grouped together into a "double section" first-year class. In these double section classes, students in sections that have previously or concurrently had a class providing individualized feedback consistently outperform students in sections that have not received any such feedback. The effect is both statistically significant and hardly trivial in magnitude, approaching about 1/3 of a grade increment even after controlling for students’ LSAT scores, undergraduate GPA, gender, race, and country of birth. The positive impact of feedback also appears to be stronger among lower-performing students.

These findings substantially advance the literature on law school pedagogy, demonstrating that individualized feedback in a single class during the first-year of law school can improve law students' performance in all of their other classes. Against the background of the broader literature on the importance of formative feedback in effective teaching, these findings also have a clear normative implication: law schools should systematically provide first-year law students with individualized feedback in at least one “core” doctrinal first-year class.

Note that the authors (at p.12) "defined individualized feedback to include assigning grades to individual students’ work products, providing individualized written comments to students, or providing individualized or small-group oral feedback to students. By contrast, we did not consider individualized feedback to include instances in which instructors provided students with only a model answer, grading rubric, or generalized oral comments regarding common mistakes."

Larry Solum (Georgetown):

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April 30, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dr. Jayne Caron: My Baby Girl Is Going To Be A Doctor!

Jayne

My beloved, brilliant, and beautiful daughter Jayne has decided to go to NYU Medical School in the fall.  We are so, so proud of Jayne, albeit a bit sad that she will not be going to med school closer to us in California (I blame Lin-Manuel Miranda.)  I am going to cherish these next few days in Madison helping her move out of her apartment after two years working at Epic Systems before she departs on a 2-month backpacking adventure in Europe on Wednesday.  For more on my journey with my amazing daughter, see:

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April 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tulane Is Seeking To Hire A Tax Visitor

Tulane (2015)Tulane Law School is seeking to hire a visiting tax professor for either Fall 2016 or the entire 2016-17 Academic Year:

Visitors would be expected to teach basic Income Tax and other tax related courses. Applicants at any career stage are encouraged. To apply, please submit a CV along with a statement of interest and any supporting documentation. Applications and questions may be directed to Vice Dean Ronald J. Scalise Jr.

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April 29, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

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 April 1, 2016) 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):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

55,096

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich)

10,291

2

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

31,513

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

4590

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

30,679

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3936

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

26,229

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2316

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

25,639

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2218

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

22,198

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1892

7

James Hines (Michigan)

21,571

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1863

8

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

20,893

Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)

1737

9

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

20,843

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1737

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

19,617

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1635

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

18,629

Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)

1622

12

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

17,517

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

1608

13

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

16,821

Chris Hoyt (UMKC)

1605

14

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

16,772

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1586

15

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

16,688

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1580

16

David Weisbach (Chicago)

16,656

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1549

17

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

16,399

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1496

18

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

16,270

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1405

19

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

15,925

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1384

20

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

15,720

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

1377

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

15,399

Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)

1344

22

David Walker (BU)

14,917

Yariv Brauner (Florida)

1331

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

14,568

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1297

24

Steven Bank (UCLA)

13,194

William Byrnes  (Texas A&M)

1236

25

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

13,131

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1209

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.

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April 29, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Prof's Email To 1Ls Who Skipped Class:  Con Law Is Way More Important Than Legal Writing Paper; 'Get Your Asses In Gear'

Con Law DummiesAbove the Law, Con Law Professor Has Meltdown In Email Blast To Students:

Look, being a law professor is rough. Especially if one finds himself teaching a gaggle of Younglings who don’t quite yet “Think Like A Lawyer". ... [W]e understand why Professor Steven Winter lost it on his students at Wayne State Law. We may not wholly agree, but it’s easy to see where he’s coming from.

There were way too many people — about 30% of the class — absent today. This is unacceptable.

A handful had valid excuses (although pinkeye isn't really one of them). For the rest of you, missing class because you have a legal writing paper is neither a valid excuse nor an exercise of good judgment.

It is not just that Con Law is way more important (to your education, not to mention your GPA) than legal writing. As I told those who were there the single best predictor of bar passage is your grade in Con Law. And standing usually is one third of the exam. So all of you who were out today are already significantly behind the eight ball.

So get your asses in gear.

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April 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:  Florida, Texas

Following up on my previous posts on Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:

Derek Muller (Pepperdine) blogs legal employment outcomes among Florida's 11 law schools and Texas's 9 law schools:

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April 28, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

George Mason Faculty Senate Votes 21-13 To Oppose Naming Law School For Justice Scalia

Scalia 2George Mason's Faculty Senate voted 21-13 yesterday to condemn naming the law school in Justice Scalia's honor.

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April 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The U.S. News Law School Rankings:  Engines Of Anxiety

EnginesWendy Nelson Espeland (Northwestern) & Michael Sauder (Iowa), Engines of Anxiety: Academic Rankings, Reputation, and Accountability (Russell Sage Foundation 2016):

Students and the public routinely consult various published college rankings to assess the quality of colleges and universities and easily compare different schools. However, many institutions have responded to the rankings in ways that benefit neither the schools nor their students. In Engines of Anxiety, sociologists Wendy Espeland and Michael Sauder delve deep into the mechanisms of law school rankings, which have become a top priority within legal education. Based on a wealth of observational data and over 200 in-depth interviews with law students, university deans, and other administrators, they show how the scramble for high rankings has affected the missions and practices of many law schools.

Engines of Anxiety tracks how rankings, such as those published annually by the U.S. News & World Report, permeate every aspect of legal education, beginning with the admissions process. The authors find that prospective law students not only rely heavily on such rankings to evaluate school quality, but also internalize rankings as expressions of their own abilities and flaws. For example, they often view rejections from “first-tier” schools as a sign of personal failure. The rankings also affect the decisions of admissions officers, who try to balance admitting diverse classes with preserving the school’s ranking, which is dependent on factors such as the median LSAT score of the entering class. Espeland and Sauder find that law schools face pressure to admit applicants with high test scores over lower-scoring candidates who possess other favorable credentials.

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April 28, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Law School LL.M.s:  'Encouraging International Cultural Diversity Or Cynical Method Of Revenue Generation'?

LLM 2Steven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern; author, The Lawyer Bubble), Warm Bodies:

Colleges have entered a game that law schools have been playing for years. According to a recent New York Times front page headline, “Colleges Seek Warm Bodies From Overseas.” The title of the online version was equally pointed: “Recruiting Students Overseas to Fill Seats, Not to Meet Standards."

For years, law schools have been dropping standards to fill classrooms. Marginal schools have been the worst offenders, and the profession is now paying the price in declining bar passage rates. But even among top schools, a more subtle and profitable technique has pervaded law school business plans for years: expanding LLM programs.

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April 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Organ:  Fall 2016 Law School Enrollment Projections

Jerry Organ (St. Thomas), Projections for Law School Enrollment for Fall 2016:

In this blog posting I am doing two things. First, I provide a detailed analysis to estimate the likely total applicant pool we can expect at the end of the current cycle based on trends from March through the end of the cycle in 2013 and 2014 and 2015. Second, given the increase in the strength of the applicant pool, I suggest that law schools in the top 60 or 70 of USNEWS ranking will see more enrollment growth and profile stability in comparison with law schools further down the rankings continuum. ...

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April 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Video Of Tom Bost's Last Class At Pepperdine

Following up on yesterday's post, Tom Bost's Last Class At Pepperdine:

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

Foundation Press Publishes Election Law Stories (36th Book in the Law Stories Series)

Election LawFoundation Press has published Election Law Stories (2016), by Joshua A. Douglas (Kentucky) & Eugene D. Mazo (Rutgers):

One of the most dynamic fields in the legal academy now has its own Stories book. This title offers a rich and detailed account of the most significant cases in election law, including the landmark decisions of Reynolds v. Sims, Bush v. Gore, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and Shelby County v. Holder. The book relies on a unique encapsulated approach to storytelling, as each of its authors surveys an important doctrinal area in the field through the telling of his or her story. The volume’s thirteen cases concern the right to vote, redistricting and gerrymandering, campaign finance, and election administration. The book is suited for courses in the law of democracy at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

The table of contents is here.  Other titles in the Law Stories Series (for which I serve as Series Editor) are:

April 27, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pew:  54% Of Adults With Post-Graduate Education Are Liberal, 24% Are Conservative

Pew Research Center, A Wider Ideological Gap Between More and Less Educated Adults:

Two years ago, Pew Research Center found that Republicans and Democrats were more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the previous two decades. But growing ideological distance is not confined to partisanship. There are also growing ideological divisions along educational and generational lines.

Highly educated adults – particularly those who have attended graduate school – are far more likely than those with less education to take predominantly liberal positions across a range of political values. And these differences have increased over the past two decades.

Pew 3

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April 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tom Bost's Last Class At Pepperdine

Today was a day of transitions at Pepperdine, as legendary Tax Prof Tom Bost retired after 16 years on the faculty, following an illustrious 31 year career as a tax associate and then partner at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles.  Tom served for many years as member and chair of Pepperdine's Board of Regent and was Interim Dean when Pepperdine hired me (the only black mark on his otherwise distinguished career).  Like everyone at Pepperdine, I have enormous respect and affection for Tom, and will miss his daily presence in our lives.

We shamelessly stole the idea from Michigan and organized a moving "clap-off" send-off for Tom's last class today, as the faculty and staff joined with Tom's students in sending him out of a Pepperdine classroom for the last time to thunderous applause (and not a few tears). Pepperdine will forever more be a profoundly different place because of this extraordinary man.

Tom 4

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

Pepperdine Dean Deanell Tacha To Retire On Dec. 31, 2016

Tacha (2015)Pepperdine President Andy Benton and Provost Rick Marrs today announced that our wonderful Dean Deanell Tacha is extending her five-year term to continue serving through our ABA Re-Accreditation visit in Fall 2016 and will retire on December 31, 2016:

Deanell Reece Tacha, who has served as dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law since 2011, will retire on December 31, 2016. Deanell will continue her tenure at the School of Law during the American Bar Association accreditation process through fall 2016.

The first female dean of the School of Law, Deanell came to Pepperdine prepared to confront the challenges facing legal education, including a crippling debt crisis and an often unreliable job market. In her five years at the school, Deanell tirelessly raised money for student scholarships to assist with rising tuition costs, traveled cross-country to advocate for post-graduation job placements for Pepperdine Law students, and built relationships with leading legal scholars and thought leaders to develop a more robust faculty. She also led the effort to fully remodel the school to dramatically improve the 40-year-old facility.

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

Michael Rich (Elon) On His Metastatic Kidney Cancer Diagnosis

ElonMichael Rich (Elon), Hard Prawf Choices:

A little less than three years ago, I was diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer, a disease that does not lend itself to optimistic prognoses. I have been fortunate to be able to continue prawfing since then, but it has changed the way I understand my job and interact with my students and the prawf community.

One of my first challenges was deciding how much of my situation to share with my students. I pride myself on treating my students as much like adults as possible. So, the first semester after my diagnosis, knowing that treatment would interfere with their class schedule, I shared with them the general diagnosis (cancer) and let them know that it would require flexibility on their part. I also reconfirmed my commitment to them to do my best and to be available when I could. That semester was challenging, but the students were incredibly generous and forgiving. Since then, however, I've tended to share less and less with my students. I don't tell them I have cancer. I simply explain cancellations by pointing vaguely to medical necessity. The change didn't came about because I trust these students any less than the others, but because the process of disclosure was hard and I don't want to add my problems to the preexisting stress of law school. Moreover, my current set of treatments are not as disruptive to class schedules as the first ones were. I wonder sometimes if this is right decision -- if I value setting boundaries between myself and my students too much -- but fortunately my students have continued to be flexible and generous.

Another challenge has been whether to disclose my disease broadly. ...

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nearly One-Fourth Of Texas Law School Grads Are Unemployed Or Underemployed

Texas  (JPEG)Dallas Morning News, Nearly One-Fourth of Texas Law Grads Are Unemployed or Underemployed:

Just a decade ago, earning a law degree was the sure fire way to a guaranteed job and a six-figure income. Not so much anymore.

Despite paying as much as $200,000 for their legal education, nearly one-fourth of the 2,072 Texas law school graduates of 2015 are unemployed or underemployed, according to new data compiled by The Texas Lawbook.

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April 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:  Ohio

Following up on my previous posts on Law School Rankings By Employment Outcomes:

Derek Muller (Pepperdine) blogs legal employment outcomes among Ohio's 9 law schools:

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April 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law School Rankings:  Graduates Who Made Partner In AmLaw 100 In 2015

Go ToFollowing up on my previous post,   NLJ: Law School Rankings By Graduates In BigLaw Jobs:  National Law Journal, Chart: The Go-To Law Schools' Associates to Partner

The law schools that saw the most alumni promoted to partner in the nation's 100 largest law firms during 2015:

1 (2 in U.S. News) Harvard (34 new partners)
2 (14) Georgetown (32)
3 (8) Michigan (24)
3 (8) Virginia (24)
5 (6) NYU (18)
6 (7) Penn (17)
6 (25) George Washington (17)
8 (12) Northwestern (16)
8 (8) UC-Berkeley (16)
10 (30) Boston College (15)
10 (37) Fordham (15)
12 (4) Columbia (14)
12 (74) Villanova (14)
14 (15) Texas (12)
15 (2) Stanford (11)
15 (17) UCLA (11)
15 (16) Vanderbilt (11)
15 (92) Rutgers (11)
19 (20) Boston University (10)
19 (72) Loyola-Chicago (10)
19 (50) Temple (10)
19 (50) Houston (10)
23 (97) Brooklyn (9)
23 (11) Duke (9)
23 (50) UC-Hastings (9)
23 (4) Chicago (9)
23 (48) Florida (9)
23 (40) Illinois (9)
23 (1) Yale (9)
30 (57) Case (8)
30 (22) Notre Dame (8)

American Lawyer, Law Schools that Feed Big Law Partnerships:

First, what's not a surprise: Harvard, NYU and Georgetown being top generators of partners. This make sense, because they are highly ranked schools with big graduating classes (Harvard had 590 grads, NYU 485 and Georgetown 676). Virtually all the top eight schools for new partners are T-14 schools, with the exception of GW, which ranked 22nd place in last year's U.S. News & World Report. (GW, however, has a big class—461 grads in 2015.)

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April 25, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Did Student Activists Enlist FBI And Harvard Law School To Investigate Conservative Student Blog?

Harvard Law School (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  The College Fix, Claim: Harvard Law School Protesters Sought FBI Investigation of Their Conservative Critics:

According to those behind the blog Royall Asses — which was set up to expose “the misfits behind the ‘hate crime’ hoax at Harvard Law School” (the blog’s byline, pertaining to the notorious “black tape” incident) — some of the targets of their commentary “press[ed] for the FBI and Harvard administrators to use extralegal means to investigate” them. ...

Powerline’s John Hindraker says of the Royall Asses blog’s allegations, “If true, this is seriously troubling. The Royall Asses authors committed no offense, except to the dignity of far-left campus movements.”

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

More Law Revue Videos: Northwestern Law Professors Read Mean Course Evaluations

Following up on last week's post on, the six finalists in Above the Law's Law Revue Video Contest:  Above the Law also has released five honorable mention student videos from George Washington, Northwestern, NYU, Syracuse, Virginia.  My favorite video riffing on Jimmy Kimmel's Celebrities Read Mean Tweets did not make the cut:  Northwestern Law Professors Read Mean Course Evaluations:

My favorite honorable mention video is Northwestern's riff on Jay Leno's Jaywalking "man on the street interviews," Law Firm Or Not A Law Firm:

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Anderson:  Law Schools Should Deliver More 'Practical Education', Not 'Experiential Education'

Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), Clinical Legal Education Survey Results:

The law school world is currently enthralled with the idea of "experiential education." The push for experiential education comes from bar associations, accrediting agencies, and especially from lobbying groups of a certain segment of the law professoriat.

I am a big supporter of what I call "practical education" in law schools, which I consider to be education that will prepare law students to be effective early in their careers in their chosen areas of practice. My idea of "practical education" overlaps with, but is not the same as experiential education. A student can have an "experiential" bonanza in The Clinic for the Protection of Left-Handed Ferrets and emerge with no practical skills at all. Indeed, much of what passes for experiential education is not oriented toward imparting practical skills, because it focuses on narrow ideological areas of interest to faculty but not to students who need to get a real job when they graduate.

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April 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Accreditation Battle Over Canada's First Christian Law School

Trinity WesternFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Richard Moon (University of Windsor), The Accreditation of Trinity Western University's Law Program:

There is a debate at the moment about whether the law societies (which regulate the legal profession in the various provinces) must accredit a law program to be offered by Trinity Western University [TWU], a private Evangelical Christian college. The Law Society of Upper Canada [LSUC], along with the law societies of British Columbia and Nova Scotia, refused to the accredit the proposed program because of the school’s discriminatory admissions policy and in particular the covenant that all students are required to sign, in which they agree, among other things, not to engage in sex outside of marriage and sex with a same-sex partner. The issue in the TWU accreditation case is whether the covenant is simply an internal matter (a rule that applies simply to the internal operations of a voluntary religious association) or whether it impacts outsiders to the religious community or the public interest, more generally. As I understand it, the law societies are not claiming that the members of a religious community need to be protected from oppressive or discriminatory internal rules. There are two ways in which it may be argued that the TWU program (and the covenant in particular) will have an impact on the public interest.

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April 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Barton:  Syracuse's Hybrid Online J.D. Program Is Not The Reboot Legal Education Needs

RebootFollowing up on Thursday's post, Syracuse Law School Seeks Approval For Nation's Second Hybrid Online J.D. Program:  Bloomberg BNA:  Nothing Exciting Yet about the (Mostly) Online J.D. from Syracuse, by Ben Barton (Tennessee):

Everyone knows that hidebound law schools have been too slow to respond to changes in the market and technology. ... [M]aybe the program at Syracuse and a similar one at Mitchell Hamline Law School are good news? Is any change good change?

Keep the champagne corked for now. First and foremost, both programs cost the same as attending in person. And yet they will be radically cheaper for the law school to operate, especially once the first round of technical bugs are worked out. Law school’s most glaring weakness is its cost. Law school tuition has outpaced inflation since the 1980s, and has continued its staggering rise even since the market for lawyers and law school attendance have cratered since 2008. According to the non-profit advocacy Law School Transparency, there are fourteen different law schools where the total cost of attendance tops out at over $300,000! Syracuse’s tuition for 2016-17 is $46,460 and Mitchell Hamline’s is $40,570. It will likely be cheaper for students to live at home and work during law school, but until online law schools start passing on their savings to the students I will remain skeptical.

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April 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Simkovic: Law School Attendance, Happiness, And Success

GuidePaula Franzese (Seton Hall), A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student (2014):

A Short & Happy Guide to Being a Law Student is a must-read whenever worry or doubt creep in. In this volume you will find essential wisdom for the study of law and life. Learn from the unprecedented ten-time recipient of the Professor of the Year award how to be your best in and out of class, how to prepare for exams, how to succeed on exams, how to put your best foot forward in a job interview, how to find teachers to inspire you, what to do in classes that leave you uninspired, how to cope with stress and how to create value in everything you do.

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Book Encouraging Law Students to be Happy Is Latest Target for Scambloggers:

Paula’s well-intentioned book has rather bizarrely been attacked by scambloggers as “dehumanizing”, “vain”, “untrustworthy” and “insidious.” The scambloggers are not happy people, and reacted as if burned by Paula’s sunshine. They worry that Paula’s thesis implies that “their failure must be due to their unwillingness to think happy and thankful thoughts.”

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April 23, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (27)