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Monday, June 29, 2015

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tax Prof Baby Shower

My wife was delighted to host a baby shower yesterday for our dear friend and Pepperdine tax colleague Khrista Johnson:


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June 28, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Winn: Law Students Can Disrupt The Market For High-Priced Textbooks By 'Naming And Shaming' Faculty Who Refuse To Use Free Open Access Books

NameJane K. Winn (University of Washington), Can Law Students Disrupt the Market for High-Priced Textbooks?, 10 Wash. J. L. Tech. & Arts ___ (2015):

The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance legal education through technological innovation and collaboration. With its eLangdell Press project, CALI publishes American law school textbooks in open access, royalty-free form, offering faculty authors compensation equivalent to what most law school textbook authors would earn in royalties from a traditional full-price publisher. I am writing a new sales textbook and “agreements supplement” based on contemporary business practice that I will publish in open access form with CALI’s eLangdell Press. Relatively few other American legal academics publish in open access form, however, suggesting that the market for textbooks may be “locked-in” to a principal-agent conflict between students and faculty members. If American law students organized a website showing the textbook costs of all law faculty members at all law schools, they might be able to use a “naming and shaming” strategy to overcome faculty “lock-in” to high-priced textbooks and increase the adoption of open access textbooks.

Geier 4Deborah H. Geier (Cleveland State) has published a free eLangdell textbook, U.S. Federal Income Taxation of Individuals (CALI 2015):

As one, lone law professor, I have little direct ability to reduce tuition costs for my students. When writing this textbook, however, I decided to decline expressions of interest from the legacy legal publishers in favor of making this textbook available as a free download over the internet (in ePub format for iPads, Mobi format for Kindles, and pdf format for laptops), with an at-cost, print-on-demand alternative for those who like a hard copy. Fortunately, eLangdell (a division of CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) has been an ideal partner in this regard.

In addition to eliminating (or lowering) student cost, this mode of publication will permit me to quickly and fully update the book each December, incorporating expiring provisions, inflation adjustments for the coming calendar year, new Treasury Regulations, etc., in time for use in the spring semester, an approach that avoids cumbersome new editions or annual supplements. This publication method also makes the textbook suitable for use as a free study aid for students whose professors adopt another textbook, as this textbook walks the student through the law with many more fact patterns and examples than do many other textbooks. While this practice adds length, I believe that it also makes the book more helpful to students in confronting what can be daunting material. Finally, having the textbook easily accessible to foreign students enrolled in a course examining the U.S. Federal income taxation of individuals is important to me, and having the textbook available as a free internet download succeeds well in that regard.

A Teacher’s Manual is available for professors who adopt the book (or parts of it) for use in their course.

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June 26, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Second Best Legal Job: Law Professor

2Lawyer & Statesman, The 10 Best Legal Jobs:

Salary and prestige only go so far when it comes to making lawyers happy. We look at the jobs that combine good compensation with work that is meaningful and less stressful. ...

1. Judge or magistrate. ...
2. Law professor. While not everyone is cut out for academic life, it is without questions a comfortable job. Law professors have significant autonomy, low workloads and minimal time demands. (Workloads can be more significant for professors who publish on a regular basis, but deadlines do not compare with private practice deadlines.

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June 25, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Cardozo Program Lets Firms Hire Law Grads For $38k/Year

Cardozo (2015)Above the Law, This Is How One Law School Is Trying To Game Its Job Statistics:

While the ABA first began requiring law schools to separate out their employment data by specific job type and duration several years ago, U.S. News & World Report, the magazine that ranks law schools, only recently started assigning different weights to different subsets of attorney employment placements. In the most recent rankings, for example, U.S. News assigned greater weight to employment placements not funded by law schools that were full-time, long-term (lasting at least a year), and for which bar passage was required or a J.D. was considered an advantage.

Keeping those facts in mind, one law school is attempting to get traction for its latest graduate employment program — a program that will fulfill all of the U.S. News requirements for a greater employment-placement weight come rankings time. ...

Cardozo Law ...  is rolling out a brand-new jobs program for its unemployed 2015 graduates, and it’s targeting small to mid-size firms in the process. Here’s the school’s email pitch from a career services officer, with a subject line that reads “$38k — Hire a Junior Attorney”:

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June 25, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Northwestern JD/MBA Racks Up $350k In Student Loan Debt


Fortune, How This MBA Racked Up an Incredible $350,000 in Student Debt:

For Kellogg MBA Cacky Calderon, far more is at stake than money when it comes to paying off her staggering student debt. And staggering it is: Calderon earned an MBA and a law degree simultaneously from Northwestern University. Both the Kellogg School of Management and law school are among the most highly selective schools in the nation.

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June 24, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

WSJ: Too Busy For A Vacation This Summer? Try A 'Workcation'

WorkWall Street Journal, This Summer, How About a Workcation?:

Rare is the modern professional who can fully disconnect from the office during time off, so a small but growing number of workers are instead petitioning the boss to combine work and vacation: time away from the office that includes a few days working from an exotic locale.

Workers often pay for lodging and travel, but may take conference calls or write project updates from a resort or rental home, spending off-hours sightseeing or being with family, without having the time counted against their vacation days.

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

I Am An Adjunct Law Professor Who Teaches Five Classes. I Earn Less Than A Pet-Sitter

Hall 2The Guardian:  I Am an Adjunct Professor Who Teaches Five Classes. I Earn Less Than a Pet-Sitter, by Lee Hall (Adjunct Professor, Widener)

Like most university teachers today, I am a low-paid contract worker. Now and then, a friend will ask: “Have you tried dog-walking on the side?” I have. Pet care, I can reveal, takes massive attention, energy and driving time. I’m friends with a full-time, professionally employed pet-sitter who’s done it for years, never topping $26,000 annually and never receiving health or other benefits.

The reason I field such questions is that, as an adjunct professor, whether teaching undergraduate or law-school courses, I make much less than a pet-sitter earns. This year I’m teaching five classes (15 credit hours, roughly comparable to the teaching loads of some tenure-track law or business school instructors). At $3,000 per course, I’ll pull in $15,000 for the year. I work year-round, 20 to 30 hours weekly – teaching, developing courses and drafting syllabi, offering academic advice, recommendation letters and course extensions for students who need them. As I write, in late June, my students are wrapping up their final week of the first summer term, and the second summer term will begin next week.

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June 24, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Darryll Jones Named Interim Dean Of Florida A&M Law School

Darryll-JonesPress Release, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Names Associate Dean Darryll K. Jones as Interim Dean of College of Law:

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Provost Marcella David today announced that associate dean for Academic Affairs Darryll K. Jones, J.D., LL.M., has been appointed to serve as the interim dean of the FAMU College of Law in Orlando, Fla. He replaces former Dean LeRoy Pernell, J.D., who stepped down, effective June 30, 2015, to return to the faculty.

Jones joined the College of Law in July 2009 as associate dean for Research and Faculty Development.  In that role, he helped successfully guide the College through its first post-accreditation review. Prior to becoming a full-time tax law scholar, he served as general counsel at Columbia College Chicago and associate general counsel at the University of Florida. From 1993 to 2006, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he earned tenure and also served as associate dean for Academic Affairs from 2003 until 2006. From 2006 to 2009, Jones was professor of law at Stetson University College of Law.  He also served for five years in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corp.

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June 24, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Concordia Law School Launches Media Campaign To Attract Students

ConcordiaIdaho Statesman, Concordia Law School Launches Media Campaign to Attract Students, Inform Community:

Boise’s Concordia University School of Law is raising its profile just weeks after the American Bar Association gave it provisional approval, which means graduates are eligible to take the bar exam.

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Disgruntled Charlotte Law School Grad Spreads Tale Of Debt Woes Via Hundreds Of Windshield Flyers

Above the Law reports that a Charlotte Law School grad placed this flyer on hundreds of cars in a residential neighborhood in Charlotte:


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June 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Michael Lewis: A 'Moneyball' Approach To Harvard Admissions

MoneyballNew York Times Sunday Review:  Harvard Admissions Needs ‘Moneyball for Life’, by Michael Lewis:

To: Harvard Management Company

From: Harvard Admissions

It’s been several painful weeks since Steve Schwarzman revealed that we denied him admission to the Harvard Class of 1969. As we now all know, the private equity billionaire (net worth: $13 billion and climbing) appeared on the Bloomberg channel and said that the dean of admissions at Harvard wrote to him a few years ago and said, “I guess we got that one wrong.” He also announced his $150 million gift to Yale, to erect a monument to our idiocy.

We in admissions have finished your requested review of the circumstances that led to our catastrophic error. We conclude a) we must improve our attempts at self-abasement and b) Harvard’s admissions process must be overhauled. It has proved imperfectly designed to identify and smile upon those children most likely to become extremely rich.

Projecting the future dollar value of a 17-year-old high school student is not a simple matter. We now all agree that the problem cannot be left to unaided human judgment. We in admissions have followed the Harvard Management Company’s suggestion, read the book about statistics that you kindly sent over, and created an algorithm. Tested retroactively on a generation of college graduates, it has proved far more efficient in identifying “high yield targets” than any other known college selection process.

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

J.D. Advantage Jobs Paint Rosy Picture For Law School Graduates

JDHuffington Post op-ed:  The Hidden Truth About Law School Employment Stats, by Tamesha Keel (Assistant Dean for Career Services, Penn State-Dickinson):

The perception of law graduates is that they are standing solemn holding a law degree, resumes, and a heavy burden of loan debt they can't pay off. However, this isn't the case for all graduates. Many are becoming savvier and using their versatile J.D. beyond the traditional practice of law.

With an increase of nontraditional legal careers and the industry shift to utilize more outside resources, there has been a surge in what employers deems as "J.D. advantage" positions. And while the largest percentage of jobs secured are those where bar passage is required, this growth has helped to ease the swell of unemployed graduates. ...

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June 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Second Trial Begins In Unsuccessful Conservative Faculty Candidate's Discrimination Suit Against University of Iowa Law School

WagnerFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Dubuque News, 2nd Trial Begins in Conservative's Bias Case Against U. Iowa:

After years of arguing that liberal Iowa law professors illegally derailed her career, a conservative lawyer will get a second chance to prove her claim to a jury.

Selection of jurors began Monday in federal court in Davenport in a lawsuit filed by anti-abortion activist Teresa Manning, who contends that the University of Iowa College of Law refused to hire her for teaching jobs because of her beliefs and associations.

Jurors will decide whether Manning, who recently changed her last name from Wagner, faced discrimination and if so, how much she deserves in damages. Opening statements are expected Tuesday.

The long-running lawsuit has been closely watched in higher education. Manning has reached a deal with a publisher to write a book about her experience, and has said the retrial provides a "historic moment" for social conservatives to expose what they claim is political discrimination against them in higher education.

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June 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sokol: Teaching Compliance

Compliance 2D. Daniel Sokol (Florida), Teaching Compliance, 84 U. Cin. L. Rev. ___ (2015):

Compliance is a growing field of practice across multiple areas of law. Increasingly companies put compliance risk among the most important corporate governance issues facing them. Moreover, as “JD plus” jobs proliferate, the demand for hiring both at the entry level and for former students currently in practice who are experienced in the compliance field will continue to grow. The growth in compliance jobs comes at a time in shifting demand for legal jobs for law school graduates. Traditional law firm entry level jobs at large law firms, which were the staple of on campus recruiting before 2007, have not returned to pre-2007 levels even with the end of the recession. Technological changes, greater in-house hiring, and better creation of efficiencies have reduced demand for large law firms, which were the traditional training ground for in-depth legal skills and soft skills.

Law schools have responded to the demand shift in entry level hiring with a supply side response - classes in compliance. In some cases, law schools have set up compliance certificates or degrees in areas such as health care and business law. There is now even a casebook devoted to compliance. Yet, with all of these efforts at creating opportunities for careers in compliance, many programs and classes in compliance are nothing other than dressed up versions of classes in white collar crime or regulation or lectures on latest case developments that one might find in a continuing legal education program. These courses do not focus on the substantive areas needs practice with the highest demand for compliance (in-house legal and JD plus jobs) and do not teach the analytical skills necessary to succeed in such jobs. Nor do they focus on the special context within which compliance operates – ideally independent of the “business” but always a part of it. Essentially, law schools have misdiagnosed the demand side - it is not merely the particular type of class (compliance) but also the substance of such classes with the type of quality offering necessary to maximize student short term (entry level hiring) and long term (preparation for ever-shifting analytically complex practice challenges).

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June 23, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

After Provisional Accreditation Denial, Indiana Tech Law School To Reapply Despite Strong Headwinds

Indiana Tech (2014)Following up on last week's post, Indiana Tech Law School Denied Provisional ABA Accreditation:  Indiana Lawyer, Indiana Tech to Reapply for Accreditation:

The official ruling from the ABA may not have been unexpected, but it still landed a blow to Indiana Tech Law School. Just four days after meeting with law school officials and hearing their presentation about their approach to legal education, the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar denied granting provisional accreditation to the Fort Wayne school.

Although the denial can be appealed, the Fort Wayne school is bypassing that option and focusing instead on the reapplication process. Dean Charles Cercone said with the support of the local bar and the university, he is very confident the law school will be accredited. ...

Legal education experts say Indiana Tech is going to have to work hard on multiple fronts to overcome this setback. The denial of provisional accreditation is not a death blow, but the school will have to enrich its course offerings, maintain good financial health and show that its graduates can pass the bar exam. All of that hinges on the law school being able to keep the students currently enrolled and recruit more to attend. ...

Indiana Tech Law School’s curriculum is likely not a problem since the ABA in general is pushing for schools to teach more practical skills to its students, said Paul Caron, professor at Pepperdine University School of Law and writer of the popular TaxProf Blog, which covers a range of legal topics including education. Still, adding to the course offerings and improving academic support cost money, which puts the young institution in a tough place.

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June 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 22, 2015

The 'Second Wave' Of The Law School Crisis

Second WaveDavid Barnhizer (Cleveland State), Law Schools, Law Jobs and the “Second Wave” of Applicant Decline:

There is widespread speculation about how low enrollments in US law schools will drop. A recent report indicated another 5% decline in applications and another indicated 2.5% causing commentators to voice hope that the bottom had been reached. Along with the gross numbers there is an added and very troubling issue of the quality of the applicant pool and admissions as data suggest that many of the most intellectually talented applicant types are now shunning law school and pursuing other career tracks. In any event, the problem with analyses focusing primarily on gross applicant and enrollment numbers is that what has been happening to this point is only the crude “first wave” in the transformation of legal education, the legal profession and how law-related services are delivered. ...

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June 22, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Harrison: The State Of Florida Only Needs One Law School

Florida 2Gainesville Sun op-ed:  The State of Florida Only Needs One Law School, by Jeffrey L. Harrison (Florida):

The state of Florida operates four law schools. Last year, the schools sent out a total of 2,577 letters of acceptance to applicants and 701, or about 31 percent, accepted the invitation. ...

Florida’s publicly supported law schools operate expensive programs to compete against each other for the very same students. Does it sound like football? Sure, but football is a product that generates revenue, especially when the state’s schools compete against each other. ...

What we have is different departments of the state that do the same thing, competing with each other on the dime of people who get nothing back. If you were a business, would you open a store across the street from the other store you own in order to lure your own customers away? Let’s hope not.

It’s time for the irrational way that Florida delivers legal education to change. There can be four campuses but one set of admissions guidelines, one acceptance letter per applicant, one admissions office, one PR department and one diploma that does not distinguish among campuses.

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June 22, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

How To Cut Law School Tuition By 35%: Cap Overhead Tax At 15%, Cut Faculty Salaries By 20%, Eliminate Sabbaticals And Summer Stipends, Increase Teaching Loads to 3/3

Jay Sterling Silver (St. Thomas), Responsible Solutions: Reply to Tamanaha and Campos, 2 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 215 (2014):

The following five measures will help curb the forces that drive up law school tuition annually, substantially reduce tuition, and limit the number of newly minted attorneys cast into a contracting legal job market. At the same time, the measures will help preserve the considerable private, pedagogical good in the present model as well as the public good of competent legal representation and the independent critique of law and the legal system. ...

The first measure would tighten, rather than loosen, the ABA accreditation standards to prevent university administrations, through an inflated “overhead” formula, from subsidizing university shortfalls or other poor performing programs. Presently, ABA Standard 202 governing law school resources requires only that a university give an accounting of the law school revenues it diverts to other programs; take all you want, just tell us what you took. Standard 202 should be supplanted by language clearly limiting the central university's take to actual overhead expenses, and requiring an independent accounting to ensure accuracy. Doing so would lower tuition and disincentivize universities with law schools from raising tuition as high as possible each year, and those without law schools from opening new ones up as revenue centers.

The second measure would tighten the ABA Standards to require start-up law schools to show, prior to a grant of provisional accreditation, that their graduates will serve an underserved population and will not exacerbate lawyer unemployment. ...

The third is to cut the salaries of full-time faculty and deans by twenty percent and do away with sabbaticals and research stipends. ...

The fourth measure is to increase teaching loads by one course per semester-- meaning the vast majority of law professors will teach three courses per semester, rather than the two that represents the current course load at most law schools. ...

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June 22, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

30% Of Law School Deans (And 40% Of New Deans) Are Women

NLJNational Law Journal, Rise in Number of Women Deans at U.S. Law Schools:

Since 1989, women who run law schools have dined together during an annual American Bar Association workshop for leaders in legal education. Tradition dictates that each attendee talk about her greatest success and failure during the year. They share support and ideas.

When Katherine Broderick assumed the deanship of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law in 1998, the 14 female law deans could fit at a relatively small table. Today, 59 women run American Bar Association-accredited law schools, comprising 30 percent of all law deans. That's up from under 21 percent in 2008, according to a survey of law faculty by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Bittersweet Father's Day


My father died nearly eight years ago, and I find myself thinking of him more and more with each passing year.   My eulogy at his funeral did not fully capture the towering presence he was in my life, and he remains so in death.  Al Sturgeon (Pepperdine) captures my thoughts this Father's Day, including this wonderful song from Chet Atkins:


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June 21, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Forgiveness In Charleston (And Beyond)

Incredible stories of forgiveness arising out of the horrific Charleston church shooting

It brought to mind my previous post on the powerful song by Matthew West (click on YouTube button on bottom right to view video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate):

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

Saturday, June 20, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

ABA Task Force On The Financing Of Legal Education Issues Final Report

ABA Logo 2The ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education yesterday released its final 62-page report with three recommendations:

  1. Help students take full advantage of the current federal loan programs by mandating enhanced financial counseling and "plain English" disclosures of loan repayment programs;
  2. Serve transparency, accountability, and better planning by mandating that the ABA collect detailed data for each law school on expenditures, revenue, and financial aid (including discounting information and proportions of need vs. merit-based aid) and make all of the data publicly available; and
  3. Develop new ways of balancing responsible curricula and pedagogies, cost-effectiveness, and alternative revenue streams by strongly encouraging and supporting experimentation and innovation among law schools.

The ABA House of Delegates will vote on the adoption of the task force's recommendations at its Aug. 3-4 meeting in Chicago.

National Law Journal, ABA Task Force: Bring Law School Costs Down:

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

Law School Financial Aid Rankings

Business Insider, The 25 US Law Schools That Offer the Best Financial Aid:

The online graduate school guide polled over 10,000 former and current law school students to find out which US schools offer the best financial aid packages and the smoothest application processes.

They rated their schools on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the strongest. The scores were then averaged and ranked to determine the top law schools for financial aid.


Pepperdine is #21, with a 7.40 financial aid score.


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June 20, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

WSJ: 'Mindfulness' Movement Sweeps Through Law Schools, Legal Practice — 'I Love Me'

MindfulnessFront page article in the Wall Street Journal:  Lawyers Go Zen, With Few Objections:

Soft winds of change are rustling through the legal profession. ... It has swept through University of Miami School of Law, whose students this year completed a homework project by deliberately losing an argument.

And this spring it breezed past a verdant bluff above the Hudson River, where dozens of law professors, litigators and judges spent three days meditating and pacing trails under a blanket of silence and the tutelage of a Buddhist priest.

It wasn’t too long ago when attorneys were caricatured as Rambo types who scorched civility and professionalism to win at all costs.

But that was before the “mindfulness” movement.

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June 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Should Law Students Get A Lower Student Loan Interest Rate?

Student LoansBloomberg, Is the Government Charging Some People Too Much for Student Loans?:

For young people with good jobs, repaying student loans has probably never been easier. In the past four years a growing number of companies have begun offering to refinance people’s federal loans, which generally means buying the debt and then collecting payments from borrowers at a much lower interest rate than the government was charging.

The companies—which include startups and traditional banks alike—say this is an attractive business opportunity because certain graduates are bound to pay back their loans on time. Buying their debt now and collecting small, but virtually guaranteed, payments over time can be a profitable enterprise.

For the people whom these companies target—often graduate school alums—the deal has few drawbacks. Those who refinance public loans through a private company like Social Finance or CommonBond pay less interest over the long haul. They also give up the right to enter into government repayment plans, but it’s unlikely these particular folks would need to rely on such programs, which are aimed at struggling grads.

Sounds like a win-win scenario for all players, except for two: the U.S. government and, by extension, the taxpayer. As Bloomberg reported last week, the boom in student debt refinancing for a few could be bad for the masses. Taking the least risky borrowers—the ones with good jobs and high incomes—out of the pool of those who are repaying student loans makes that pool more risky overall.

Imagine a doomsday scenario (which is unlikely to occur, but still interesting) where private lenders manage to pluck every solvent borrower out of the group of students and graduates indebted to the government. That would leave the rest of us, who finance the loan program and perhaps count on college loans for ourselves or our children, dependent on a set of (theoretically) unreliable people to replenish the government’s coffers. Not fun.

So should the government get in on the refinancing game? Some say yes. The U.S. Department of Education, says Michael Simkovic, a law professor at Seton Hall University, is overcharging certain borrowers, given how unlikely they are to stop paying the debt back. He says it would make more sense to give lower interest rates to people who major in lucrative fields, or those who go to graduate school for certain professional degrees.

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June 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Crespi: The 'Tax Bomb' Facing Lawyers Who Enroll In Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans Is Even Bigger

IBRFollowing on last week's post, The 'Tax Bomb' Facing Lawyers Who Enroll In Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans:  Greg Crespi (SMU) reports that he has

substantially revised and greatly improved my IBR “tax bomb” draft paper that I sent to you on June 7, in response to a lot of very helpful feedback from other scholars and practitioners, and I have replaced my prior SSRN posting with this new draft (attached) .  This new draft has a much more accurate assessment of the actually quite limited significance of the DOE’s new REPAYE Plan (more limited than I had previously realized), and now includes significantly larger and probably much more accurate projections of the size of the problem.  I now project that by 2038 approximately 20,000+ lawyers will be impacted each year by this IBR or PAYE debt forgiveness tax liability (see p. 80-81), with an annual aggregate tax bill imposed upon these lawyers of approximately $800 million to $900 million (see p. 82-83).  According to SSRN many of your readers have downloaded my draft, and you may want to give them a heads-up as to this new and improved  draft with its more dramatic predictions as to the 2032 and later tax implications for high-debt law school graduates of the IBR program.

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

NY Times: Put Lawyers Where They’re Needed

Liberated LawyeringNew York Times op-ed:  Put Lawyers Where They’re Needed, by Theresa Amato: (author, Liberated Lawyering: How Lawyers Can Change the World (forthcoming 2016)):

Millions of Americans lack crucial legal services. Yet enormous numbers of lawyers are unemployed. Why can’t the supply of lawyers match the demand? ...

To create the entire sector of sustainable, affordable legal service providers that the legal profession needs will take much more entrepreneurship. There’s no shortage of lawyers to bridge the justice gap. For the last four years, less than 60 percent of law-school graduates have found full-time jobs requiring a bar qualification.

The problem is twofold. First, school fees have consistently outpaced inflation over the last 30 years, and on average, 86 percent of law students graduate with six-figure debt. Without help, the drag of this debt makes it near-impossible for willing graduates to take lower-paying legal services jobs.

Second, even for those graduates who are able to serve those who lack affordable legal representation, the jobs are few and much fought-for — despite the often less than chic locales. Recent graduates rarely have the training or resources to create jobs for themselves. ...

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June 18, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Two Computer Monitors Just Don't Cut It Anymore

Monitor 2PC World, How to Create an Insane Multiple Monitor Setup With Three, Four, or More Displays:

Studies have shown that dual monitors can increase productivity [sometimes], but the jury’s still out on whether adding even more monitors means even more productivity. That aside, having multiple monitors (and I’m talking three, four, five, or even six) is just…awesome, and something you totally need in your life.

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June 18, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

William Byrnes Leaves Thomas Jefferson For Texas A&M

ByrnesWilliam H. Byrnes, IV, Associate Dean for Graduate and Distance Education Programs in International Tax and Financial Services at Thomas Jefferson Law School (and co-editor of our International Financial Law Prof Blog), has accepted a position as Executive Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Special Projects at Texas A&M Law School:

William Byrnes is a leading tax and financial crimes expert who has published numerous books and articles. Professor Byrnes pioneered online legal education twenty years ago and created the first online LL.M. offered by an ABA accredited law school. He is formerly an Associate Dean at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on International Legal Exchange. As a tax attorney, he was a Senior Manager, then Associate Director of international tax for Coopers and Lybrand. He brings a unique set of qualifications, having successfully run distance education programs and built an international network that supports them.

June 18, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fennell: Do Not Cite Or Circulate

DNCCLee Anne Fennell (Chicago), Do Not Cite or Circulate, 18 Green Bag 2d 151 (2015):

This short essay ponders why legal scholars attach formulations such as "Do Not Cite or Circulate" to draft works. It argues against the practice in most circumstances, particularly for work posted on the internet.

June 18, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

North Carolina Senate Cuts $3 Million From UNC Law School Budget: 'The Gene Nichol Transfer Amendment'

North Carolina LogoWRAL News, Senate GOP Docks UNC Law $3M:

A last-minute amendment by Senate leaders Wednesday docked the UNC Chapel Hill School of Law budget by $3 million. Democrats say it's political payback for the school's employment of legislative critic Gene Nichol. ...

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June 18, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Simkovic: Understanding Student Loans

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Understanding Student Loans (1 of 2):

A shorthand approach sometimes used to compare the cost and benefits of higher education—comparing student loan balances at graduation to first year earnings—can be seriously misleading.  The implication of this approach is that student loans have to be repaid in full shortly after graduation, and that graduates’ low initial earnings will persist for the rest of their lives.  

This is an apples to oranges comparison.  An investment in education pays dividends throughout one’s life. First-year earnings are one small, unrepresentative, slice of lifetime earnings. Comparing a lifetime investment to one year of expected returns on it feeds ignorance about how student loans and lifetime earnings actually work.  It thus risks misleading prospective students into making financially disastrous decisions to underinvest in education. ...

Because the benefits of education accrue over the course of a career—perhaps 40 years or more—and earnings typically do not peak until middle age, the costs of education should ideally also be spread over a similar time frame. 


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June 18, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

2014-15 SALT Survey Of Law Professor Salaries

SALTThe Society of American Law Teachers has released its 2014-15 Law Professor Salary Survey (June 2015).  82 law schools responded to the survey with data on median base salaries for three faculty ranks (assistant professor, pre-tenure associate professor, and tenured professor (both associate and full)) and median summer stipends.  Here are the data for the 11 Top 60 law schools that responded to the survey:

School (Rank)


Pre-Tenure Assoc

Tenured (Assoc/Full)


Iowa (22)




Georgia (31)





Ohio State (34)




Florida (47)





Wake Forest (47)





Pepperdine (52)




Tennessee (52)




Nebraska (56)





Case Western (59)





Missouri (59)




UC-Hastings (59)





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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Pasquale: The New York Times’ Curious War On Traditional Higher Education

Frank Pasquale (Maryland), The New York Times’ Curious War on Traditional Higher Education:

It’s a strange position for America’s “paper of record” to take. Despite its largely traditionally-college-educated readership, the New York Times is constantly publishing articles attacking the value of university degrees. Tom Friedman dismisses them as expensive merit “badges” oft-unrelated to the exact qualifications needed for jobs. The ubiquitous Tyler Cowen blasts ed sector costs and inefficiencies, despite international acclaim for US universities. The author of The End of College has had a high-profile platform at the Times‘s Upshot blog.

All three men tend to characterize traditional college degrees as mere signals, barely (if at all) related to the actual skills, habits, and qualities of mind and character that lead to successful, fulfilling lives. I’ve never seen them grapple with the extensive empirical literature on why education increases earnings. Nor do they tend to respond much to the hard data that their colleague David Leonhardt provides on the costs and benefits of college.

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Kentucky Law Prof Retires After 50 Years: 'Shame On Us' For Explosion In Law School Tuition

LawsonLexington Herald-Leader, After 50 Years at UK, Professor Who Wrote Much of Kentucky Law and Investigated UK Athletics Is Retiring:

Robert Gene Lawson, who is retiring July 1, wrote much of Kentucky law and taught thousands of the people who practice it.

Lawson spent 50 years as a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law, and he was dean twice. Among his students were U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. Reps. Andy Barr and Ed Whitfield, and most of the Kentucky Supreme Court. ...

The son of a coal miner, Lawson was born in 1938 in a tiny Logan County, W.Va., community almost entirely owned by Island Creek Coal Co. His father urged him to escape the coal camp through an education. He worked his way through tuition-free Berea College and then earned a law degree at UK in 1963.

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

University Of California Bans Microagressions By Faculty (Support For Color Blindness, Meritocracy; Denial of Racism/Sexism/Heterosexism)

University of California (2015)Eugene Volokh (UCLA), UC Teaching Faculty Members Not to Criticize Race-based Affirmative Action, Call America ‘Melting Pot,’ and More:

One of the latest things in universities, including at University of California (where I teach) is condemning “microaggressions,” supposed “brief, subtle verbal or non-verbal exchanges that send denigrating messages to the recipient because of his or her group membership (such as race, gender, age or socio-economic status).” Such microaggressions, the argument goes, can lead to a “hostile learning environment,” which UC — and the federal government — views as legally actionable. This is stuff you could get disciplined or fired for, especially if you aren’t a tenured faculty member.

But of course this concept is now being used to suppress not just, say, personal insults or discrimination in hiring or grading, but also ideas that the UC wants to exclude from university classrooms. Here, from the UC Office of the President, Academic and Personnel Programs department’s site (promoted, for instance, here, here, and here), are some of what the UC wants to see stamped out, in classrooms and presumably elsewhere as well: ...

Tool: Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send

[Theme:] Color Blindness[:] Statements that indicate that a White person does not want to or need to acknowledge race.

[Microaggression Examples:] “There is only one race, the human race.”
“America is a melting pot.”
“I don’t believe in race.” …

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

New Mexico Appoints Two Internal Candidates To Lead Law School As Co-Deans

PhotoPress Release, Mathewson, Pareja Appointed Co-deans at UNM School of Law:

After a rigorous internal search, University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah announced today the appointment of co-deans at the UNM School of Law. Alfred Mathewson and [Tax Prof] Sergio Pareja, both professors at the UNM School of Law, begin as co-deans Aug. 1, 2015.

“The more I learned about the needs of the UNM School of Law, the more my conviction grew that no one person can address the full spectrum of challenges of this period,” Abdallah said. “The combination of Professors Mathewson and Pareja in this role will provide the best possible combination of skills and support to assure success of this critically important and prestigious part of UNM.” ...

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Hiring Partners Reveal New Attorney Readiness For Real World Practice

Sponsored by LexisNexis

LexisNexisLaw Schools and individual faculty are in the process of revising their curriculum and classes to address the demand for more practice-ready graduates. But what are the most desired research, writing and transactional skills and how can law schools develop these skills most effectively? An independent survey was conducted by 5 Square Research, Inc. and funded by LexisNexis®, to answer these questions and more. 

The result is a new white paper, Hiring Partners Reveal New Attorney Readiness for Real World Practice, which shares the responses of 300 hiring partners and associates from small to large law firms practicing in litigation and transactional law. 

Key findings include:

  • 96% believe that newly graduated law students lack practical skills related to litigation and transactional practice.
  • 66% deem writing and drafting skills highly important with emphasis on motions, briefs and pleadings
  • Newer attorneys spend 40% – 60% of their time conducting legal research
  • 88% of hiring partners think proficiency using “paid for” research services is highly important
  • Students lack advanced legal research skills in the areas of statutory law, regulations, legislation and more…
  • The most important transactional skills include business and financial concepts, due diligence, drafting contracts and more…
  • A law firm spends approximately $19,000 per year, on average, to train a new associate

This study reveals the most important and most lacking practical skills desired by legal employers and will help inform law schools of the specific content and tasks they can integrate into applicable classes and experiential learning programs pursuant to employer demand and the new ABA standards.

Read the full article with charts, Hiring Partners Reveal New Attorney Readiness for Real World Practice, or view this Executive Overview Prezi*.  

*Chrome or Firefox is best for viewing Prezi

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June 17, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Law Student's Guide To Meaningful Employment

RoadmapNeil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas), Roadmap: The Law Student's Guide to Preparing and Implementing a Successful Plan for Meaningful Employment (2015):

Professor Neil Hamilton, former interim dean of St. Thomas University School of Law, has developed a ground-breaking template for law students to use throughout all three years of law school in order to be fully prepared to find employment upon graduation. Hamilton established the core competencies desired by law firms, corporate legal departments, and governmental law departments, to demonstrate what competencies each student should be developing. Through a combination of one-to-one mentoring and student-driven growth plans, each student identifies specific competencies and career goals then demonstrates progress over the final five semesters before graduation. Hamilton’s method is already in use at several law schools, with spectacular results―both increased employment rates and elevated student understanding of the student’s role and path in obtaining employment.

This is the book for law students who want to take control of their law school education, and ensure a positive outcome upon graduation.

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June 16, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition

IFA Logo (2015)The International Fiscal Association is sponsoring the IFA USA Branch 2015 Writing Competition (rules here):

  • Subject:  Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
  • Open to:  All full or part-time students during the 2014-15 academic year pursuing a graduate degree.
  • Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2015.
  • Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting on February 25-26, 2016 in Miami.

Here are the recent winners:

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June 16, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)


SketchyLaw, Law School Review:

Our video library of narrated lectures present legal concepts in more memorable spaces, allowing you to create your own visual memory palace with each scene. 

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June 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jeff Harrison's Restyled Legal Education Blog

Student Loan News

June 15, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bentley University Seeks To Hire A Tenure-Track Tax Prof

Bentley 2Bentley University, located in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, is seeking to hire a full-time tenure-track Assistant Professor of Law and Taxation to start July 2016:

The chosen candidate will teach both undergraduate and graduate law courses with a business focus, and on occasion, as needed, graduate tax courses. The standard teaching load for the tenure-track years is 2-2 (two courses per semester). The chosen candidate will be expected to publish high quality and impactful scholarship in respected academic and/or practitioner journals. ...

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June 15, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)