TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, August 3, 2015

ABA Rejects Paid Externships, Tightens Reporting Of Law School-Funded Jobs, Repeals Rule Allowing 10% LSAT-Free Classes

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal, Legal Ed Council Votes to Keep Ban on Academic Credit for Paid Externships:

For the second time in little more than a year, the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has rejected a proposal to lift the ban in the law school accreditation standards on students receiving academic credit for paid externships. ...

The Law Student Division had lobbied hard for the proposed change, arguing that the current rule imposes a financial hardship on students. Many clinicians, however, opposed the lifting of the ban, contending that it would undermine the academic purposes of the placement. ...

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August 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 2, 2015

ABA Task Force Punts On Law Student Debt Reform

American Lawyer LogoFollowing up on last week's post, Harper Calls On ABA To Reject Task Force Report On The Financing of Legal Education:  American Lawyer:  ABA Task Force Report Dodges Student Debt Reform, by Matt Leichter:

In early 2014, the ABA's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education issued a forceful warning: "The current system for financing law school education harms both students and society."

Law schools, the group explained, use federal student loans from students paying full tuition to wastefully subsidize incoming students with higher LSAT scores and undergraduate grade point averages regardless of their financial need. Concluding that the public's confidence in the legal education system was in peril, the task force recommended changing that financing system—a project best overseen by a succeeding task force. Thus was born the ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education, which rapidly got to work (to its credit) and issued its own final report and recommendations in June.

The backstory of the two entities is important because casual readers of the new ABA report might not notice its silent repudiation of the earlier task force's stark statements. Rather than discuss reforming law school financing as expected, it punted, claiming that it lacked the resources to explore whether reforming the Federal Direct Loan Program would do any good. ...

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

Saturday, August 1, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

WSJ: Law Schools Fight ABA Over How Graduates’ Jobs Are Counted

Wall Street Journal, Law Schools Fight Bar Association Over How Graduates’ Jobs Are Counted:

As law schools slowly recover from the worst legal job market in decades, they are fighting with their main overseer over what exactly counts as a job.

Some schools have been paying to place graduates at nonprofit and government organizations until they find permanent jobs. The positions help improve schools’ standings in the job-placement metrics that figure heavily in a widely watched national ranking, but they may not be as meaningful to students hoping to put their degrees to work.


Now, the American Bar Association’s accrediting arm is further tightening the rules on how such jobs are counted. After telling schools this spring they will have to report the fellowships separately from positions found on the open market, it is going further by proposing that these jobs not fully count unless they are expected to last a year and pay an annual salary of at least $40,000. Otherwise, they get tallied in a short-term category.

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July 31, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Law Grad Employment, Salaries Inch Up

NALP, Employment Rate of New Law Graduates Up for the First Time Since 2007:

The overall employment rate for the Class of 2014 was 86.7% of graduates for whom employment statuswas known, the first year that the rate has increased since 2007. Despite the increase of more than 2 percentage points compared to the prior year, and an increase in the rate of employment in jobs requiring bar passage for the first time since 2007, these positive indicators are tempered by several factors. First, the number of jobs found by graduates was down by about 1,200 compared with 2013. Second, the number of graduates declined after reaching a record high in 2013, and was down by almost 3,000 according to the ABA. Thus the employment rate could increase even as the number of jobs declined. Third, the report timing was changed from February 15 to March 15 (from nine months to ten months following the typical May graduation).


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July 30, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Simkovic: The Student Loan Marriage Penalty

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Student Loan Marriage Penalty:

How should marriage affect legal determinations of ability to pay, and therefore obligation to pay?  These are questions that tax scholars have long debated.  Similar issues are now being debated in higher education circles because of the growth of income-based student loan repayment plans. ...

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July 30, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lucre For Ex-Chancellor, Dean at California, Texas

UCBTSacramento Bee, UC Paid Former President Mark Yudof $546,000 in the Year After He Resigned:

University of California paid former president Mark Yudof $546,000 in 2014 – the year after he stepped down from his post, according to salary data released by the UC system this week. ...

At UC Berkeley, Yudof co-instructed one class for one semester in 2014, according to a faculty profile page on the university’s website. The class met once a week for three hours.

Yudof benefited from a UC policy that allows high-ranking administrators to receive a year of pay if they are preparing to teach again. He took that pay and taught for two semesters, co-instructing another class in spring 2015. He retired from teaching in June, officials said, and no longer draws a salary from UC Berkeley. Berkeley Law’s website lists Yudof as a professor emeritus.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said in an email that “when UC presidents leave to teach at a UC campus, they customarily receive a year of sabbatical pay under regents’ policy. Yudof’s sabbatical pay lasted from Sept. 2013 to Sept. 2014.” Yudof’s sabbatical pay came directly from state funds, she said.

Yudof reaffirmed that information in an email, saying, “for 2013-14, I was receiving my (president’s office) compensation for a leave to prepare to re-enter teaching. This is the typical arrangement for presidents and chancellors who leave administration and prepare to begin teaching again.” Yudof said he also received pay for his teaching at UC Berkeley in the 2014-15 academic year., Powers to Get Top Salary at UT Law:

Bill Powers, the disgraced former president of the University of Texas, will be the highest paid faculty member at the School of Law this year, according to the terms of his contract.

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July 30, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Right, Left Agree: Ivy League Stiffs Conservative Supreme Court Justices

Ivy League (2014)National Law Journal, Professor Says Ivy League Stiffs Conservative Justices:

Are the nation’s Ivy League schools giving short shrift to conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices when they confer honorary degrees? A survey by one law professor suggests the answer is yes, and that the reason is ideology.

Of the 14 honorary degrees bestowed by Ivy League institutions to living justices, 12 went to those on the high court’s left side, said conservative legal scholar John McGinnis of Northwestern University School of Law. The two exceptions, from Brown and Yale, went to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a moderate conservative, he said.

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July 29, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Why All Attorneys Should Learn About Entrepreneurship In Law School

EntJ. Mark Phillips (Belmont), Entrepreneurial Esquires in the New Economy: Why All Attorneys Should Learn About Entrepreneurship in Law School, 8 J. Bus. Entrepreneurship & L. 59 (2014):

As the legal industry continues to recover from the shock of the recent recession, it finds itself in a fundamentally different place than it was ten years ago, with even more tumultuous change on the horizon. Economic pressure coupled with continued technological innovation has increased attorney unemployment levels, shifted law firm business models, and changed the expectations of legal clientele. Yet, despite this radically shifting market place, legal education has remained fundamentally unchanged. This article examines the current state of the legal industry through an entrepreneurial lens and juxtaposes it with the current state of legal education. In doing so, this article sets forth three key claims:

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July 29, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (7)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Boston College Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Boston College Law School Logo (2014)Boston College Law School:

BOSTON COLLEGE LAW SCHOOL expects to make two faculty appointments in fields that might include constitutional law and/or taxation. Hiring rank would be dependent on the background and experience of the applicant. Applicants must possess a J.D. or equivalent degree and outstanding academic credentials. Relevant experience in private practice, government service, or a judicial clerkship is strongly preferred.

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July 28, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

2nd National Symposium On Experiential Education In Law

ElonSecond National Symposium on Experiential Education In Law, 7 Elon L. Rev. 1-430 (2015)

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July 28, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Baltimore, Boston Launch Legal Practice Incubators For Recent Law School Graduates

IncubatorThree Boston (Boston College, Boston University, and Northeastern) and two Baltimore (Baltimore, Maryland) law schools have launched legal practice incubators, bringing the total number of law schools participating in such programs to over 30.

Baltimore:  "In Baltimore, each school will contribute three graduates who have passed the Maryland bar exam for the inaugural cohort. The participants will spend 12 to 18 months getting their practices off the ground. Tobin said the schools would look for graduates who aspire to solo or small-firm practices and have an entrepreneurial bent. The law schools will provide office space, telephones and equipment, as well as malpractice insurance and bar dues. The graduates will get access to Westlaw, which provides free services to legal incubators."

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July 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 27, 2015

L.A. Times: 90% Of Students Drop Out Of Unaccredited Law Schools In California

Los Angeles Times, Nearly 9 in 10 Students Drop Out of Unaccredited Law Schools in California:

Nearly 9 out of 10 students at California's unaccredited law schools dropped out, according to a Times investigation based on recent state bar data. ...

LA Times

California is one of a handful of states in the nation that allow students from unaccredited institutions to take the bar exam. The 22 schools offer four-year programs and are required to register with the state bar, but they are held to few academic standards. Most of the schools are operated by small companies or individuals. ...

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July 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tax Prof Summer Camp

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, July 26, 2015

WSJ: Advice For Parents With Children Living At Home After College

BasementWall Street Journal, They’re Back! How to Cope With Returned College Grads, by Rob LaZebnik (Writer, The Simpsons):

Congratulations. Two months ago, your kid graduated from college, bravely finishing his degree rather than dropping out to make millions on his idea for a dating app for people who throw up during Cross Fit training. If he’s like a great many of his peers, he’s moved back home, where he’s figuring out how to become an adult in the same room that still has his orthodontic headgear strapped to an Iron Man helmet.

Now we’re deep into summer, and the logistical challenges of your grad really being home are sinking in. You’re constantly juggling cars, cleaning more dishes and dealing with your daughter’s boyfriend, who not only slept over but also drank your last can of Pure Protein Frosty Chocolate shake.

But the real challenge here is a problem of your own making. You see, these children are members of the Most-Loved Generation: They’ve grown up with their lives stage-managed by us, their college-acceptance-obsessed parents. Remember when Eva, at age 7, was obsessed with gymnastics…for exactly 10 months, which is why the TV in your guest room sits on top of a $2,500 pommel horse?

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July 26, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (21)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

College President Becomes Uber Driver 'To Experience How Americans Work'

UberHuffington Post:  A College President Goes Uber, by Lawrence M. Schall (President, Oglethorpe University):

Back in the early 1970's, John Coleman was the President of Haverford College, a close neighbor of my alma mater, Swarthmore College. During his vacations, President Coleman often worked as a laborer, short order cook, or dishwasher. My favorite stories were about his service as a garbageman. [Blue-Collar Journal: A College President's Sabbatical (1974)]  This college CEO and President of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank fancied himself a pretty fair collector of garbage. Of course I didn't imagine he would give up his day job for one of these part time gigs, but I admired him for being open to experiencing a different side of working life.

Whether being an Uber driver today is the equivalent of a garbageman in the 70's is a point I won't argue, but from my first ride with Uber six months ago, the urge to try this out from the driver's seat appealed to me. It seemed like an opportunity to experience how a growing number of Americans experience work.

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Harper Calls On ABA To Reject Task Force Report On The Financing of Legal Education

ABA Logo 2American Lawyer: ABA Should Just Say No to Student Debt Report, by Steven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern; author, The Lawyer Bubble):

For years, America’s dysfunctional system of financing legal education has produced too many lawyers for too few jobs — and too many law graduates with too much educational debt. A year ago, the ABA created yet another Task Force to consider the problem. The June 17, 2015 Final Report on the Financing of Legal Education embodies the failure of that Task Force’s mission. It now goes to the House of Delegates for approval.

If the Delegates are interested in rehabilitating the ABA’s credibility and restoring public confidence in the profession on an issue of critical importance to the country, they could take this simple step: reject the Task Force Report. That’s right. Rather than giving the typical rubber stamp of approval amid flowery speeches thanking Task Force members for their time and effort in generating a hollow ABA statement summarizing the obvious, the House of Delegates could just say no. ...

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July 24, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Trigger Warnings And The Law School Crisis

Trigger Warning 2Kim Chanbonpin (John Marshall), Crisis and Trigger Warnings: Reflections on Legal Education and the Social Value of the Law, 90 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 615 (2015):

This Essay begins by understanding the law school crisis through the framework of disaster capitalism. This framing uncovers the ways in which reformers are taking advantage of the current crisis to restructure legal education. Under the circumstances, faculty may reasonably read the contemporaneous student-led movement to require trigger warnings in the classroom as an assault on academic freedom. This reading, however, clouds the water. Part II attempts to clear the confusion by decoupling the trigger-warning movement from the broader phenomenon of law school corporatization. Trigger-warning demands might alternatively be read as a student critique of traditional law school pedagogy. Especially in the first year, the role of faculty is to indoctrinate students in a system of dispassionate analysis where subjective experiences and emotional reactions have no place. In this light, the trigger warning debate offers an opportunity to fundamentally alter the learning process by inviting students to become partners in the production of knowledge by allowing them to reclaim power in the classroom. Attending to student concerns facilitates robust discussions where the assigned materials are thoroughly dissected and debated, a result that ultimately benefits everyone in the classroom. Part III proposes that law school is still a good option for those students who are interested in both rigorous intellectual exercise and developing the practical skills necessary for the effective representation of clients. This discussion lays the foundation for a reflection on a broader question—the role of law in a democracy. Although the U.S. legal system falls short of perfect justice and equality, lawyers ought to be vigilant when confronted with market demands that would force law and society to cede ground to powers that represent solely private interests.

July 24, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Henderson: What You Learn Is More Important Than Rank Of Law School Attended (Part 2)

Following up on Monday's post, What You Learn Is More Important Than Rank Of Law School Attended:   The Legal Whiteboard:   What is More Important for Lawyers: Where You Go to Law School or What You Learned? (Part II), by William Henderson (Indiana):

If you're trying to maximize the financial value of an undergraduate degree, it is better to bet on course of study than college prestige.  Indeed, prestige is largely irrelevant to those who major in engineering, computer science, or math.  In contrast, prestige does matter for art & humanities grads, albeit the financial returns are significantly lower than their tech counterparts.  

These are some of the takeaways from Part I of this blog post. Part I also presented data showing that law is a mix of both: financial returns have been high (cf. "red" tech majors) and prestige matters (cf. "blue" arts & humanities crowd).  

The goal of Part II is to address the question of whether the pattern of high earnings/prestige sensitivity will change in the future. I think the answer to this question is yes, albeit most readers would agree that if law will change is a less interesting and important question than how it will change.  Speed of change is also relevant because, as humans, we want to know if the change is going to affect us or just the next generation of lawyers. ...

I am confident that the future of law is going to be a lot different than its past. But I want to make sure I break these changes into more discrete, digestible parts because (a) multiple stakeholders are affected, and (b) the drivers of change are coming from multiple directions.

Dimension 1: basic supply and demand for legal education

To unpack my point regarding multiple dimensions, let's start with legal education. Some of the challenges facing law schools today are entirely within the four corners of our own house.  Yet, legal education also has challenges (and opportunities) that arise from our connection to the broader legal industry.  This can be illustrated by looking at the relationship between the cost of legal education (which law schools control, although we may blame US News or the ABA) and entry level salaries (which are driven largely by the vagaries of a client-driven market).  

The chart below looks at these factors.  My proxy for cost is average student debt (public and private law schools) supplied by the ABA.  My income variables are median entry level salaries from NALP for law firm jobs and all entry level jobs.  2002 is the first year where I have all the requisite data.  But here is my twist:  I plot debt against entry-level salary based on percentage change since 2002.  


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

North Carolina Retains 64% Of Faculty Who Receive Lateral Offers; Lawsuit Challenges Alleged Agreement With Duke To Forswear Lateral Hiring Of Each Other's Faculty

UNCDurham Herald-Sun, UNC Having Success in Faculty-retention Fight:

Figures from 2013-14 suggest that fewer UNC faculty sought outside job offers, “a good thing” for a university that wants to keep its best professors, Provost Jim Dean told campus trustees Wednesday.

Over the year, 56 faculty members received outside offers. In 64 percent of those cases, UNC wound up keeping the professor in question.

The number of outside offers was down sharply from the recession-years peak of 110 university officials heard about in 2010-11. ...

The retention percentage varies from year to year, depending in part on the willingness and ability of campus administrators to match the outside offers. But the 64 percent retention rate reported for 2013-14 was roughly in line with that for three of the preceding four years. ...

UNC administrators need an OK from trustees to match or top outside offers to faculty. The full board is scheduled to ratify two such moves today. One will give nearly a 17-percent, $22,150-a-year raise to a law school professor who’s gotten an offer from Seattle University [an increase from roughly $130,000 to $152,000]..

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July 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

George Washington Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

George Washington Law Logo (2016)GW Jobs:

The George Washington University Law School may make one full-time junior faculty appointment in the Tax area. 

Applications for lateral positions are being accepted on an ongoing basis until the position is filled.

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July 23, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana Tech Law School Gives 100% Scholarships To Every Student In Effort To Retain 57 2Ls/3Ls, Recruit 20 1Ls In Wake Of Accreditation Denial

Indiana Tech Law SchoolKPC News, Law School Skips Appeal, Reapplies to ABA:

The Indiana Tech Law School did not appeal a June decision by the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education denying it accreditation — but only because the university’s leaders decided reapplying for the ABA’s endorsement would be the quicker, more effective approach. ...

The school’s enrollment the first two years did not live up to expectations. It had hoped for 100 the first year, and enrolled 25. The second year was a little better, but the school ended the year with just 57 first- and second-year students.

Because of the uncertainty over the accreditation status, some of those students may well transfer elsewhere, Cercone acknowledged. It also has put a damper on recruitment.

“Obviously, in the posture we’re in this year, I don’t expect that to improve,” he said. “We would like to have 20 students in the incoming class, and that’s what we’re shooting for.”

As an added enticement, the university is giving 100-percent scholarships to every single student enrolled there next year.

“It shows the university’s and the board of trustees’ support for the law school and their belief in the law school, and we hope that’s going to incentivize students to stay,” Cercone said.

As Oprah Winfrey might say: "You get free tuition! You get free tuition! Everybody gets free tuition!


July 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Purdue Makes Student Mentoring Atop Research In Tenure Standard

PurdueInside Higher Education, Mentoring as Tenure Criterion:

Purdue University, like most colleges and universities, evaluates faculty members up for tenure on their accomplishments in research, teaching and service. And as is the case at most research universities, research has tended to be prominent.

But university administrators told the Purdue board last week of plans to make significant changes in those criteria. On top of them all in the policy -- coming first in the policy to signal overarching importance -- will be an expectation that faculty members are active mentors to undergraduates, especially to at-risk students. And teaching evaluations will feature two new measures: commitment to involving undergraduates in research and to pedagogical innovation.

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Anderson: Law Students Should Speak Up For Paid Externships

ABA Logo 2Following up on Monday's post, Law Profs, Law Grads Debate Changing Accreditation Standards To Permit Paid Externships:  Rob Anderson (Pepperdine), Law Students: Speak Up!:

The American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has published a series of proposed changes to the rules for law schools. One of them is a change to "Interpretation 305-2" (current 305-3), a change that would repeal the current ban on law schools giving academic credit for field placements (i.e., externships) for which law students are paid. The current Interpretation prohibits your law school from giving you credit for paid work experience, no matter how practical the experience gained or how closely related to your proposed area of practice. The proposed change would lift this prohibition to allow law schools to decide whether to offer such credit.

I don't think I need to remind you that law school is expensive and that most students graduate with debt, often substantial debt. One of the best things a law student can do during law school is to work at a law firm to gain practical experience and defray some of the costs of tuition and living expenses. ...

Unfortunately, a small but organized minority of law professors don't want you to be able to be paid for work and receive academic credit at the same time, and they are the ones being heard by the ABA.

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July 22, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Fall 2015 Law Review Article Submission Guide

Nancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC) have updated their incredibly useful document, which contains two charts for the Fall 2015 submission season covering 204 law reviews.

The first chart (pp. 1-52) contains information gathered from the journals’ websites on:

  • Methods for submitting an article (such as by e-mail, ExpressO, regular mail, Scholastica, or Twitter)
  • Any special formatting requirements
  • How to request an expedited review
  • How to withdraw an article after it has been accepted for publication elsewhere

The second chart (pp. 53-60) contains the ranking of the law reviews and their schools under six measures:

  • U.S. News: Overall Rank
  • U.S. News: Peer Reputation Rating
  • U.S. News: Judge/Lawyer Reputation Rating
  • Washington & Lee Citation Ranking
  • Washington & Lee Impact Factor
  • Washington & Lee Combined Rating

They also have posted a list of links to the submissions information on each law journal’s website. Nancy notes:

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July 22, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Diana Leyden Leaves UConn To Be NYC Taxpayer Advocate

LeydenFrom the Hartford Courant:

Thumbs up to Diana Leyden, founder and director of the UConn School of Law tax clinic. Since 1999, she has run the free legal service that helps low-income earners with their tax problems. She is leaving for a newly created position, taxpayer advocate for the New York City Finance Department. In Connecticut, she has trained and supervised many law students (as well as volunteer attorneys) to represent clients in audits and at tax court, and she has helped set up free tax-preparation sites around Hartford so families can claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. She even wrote the book on the topic: Advocating for Low Income Taxpayers: A Clinical Studies Casebook.

July 21, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Henderson: What You Learn Is More Important Than Rank Of Law School Attended

The Legal Whiteboard:  What Is More Important for Lawyers: Where You Go to Law School or What You Learned? (Part I), by William Henderson (Indiana):

The Economist reports a very interesting analysis from Payscale.  The questions being asked are pretty simple: If you want to generate earnings that justify the time and cost of an undergraduate education, what should you study and where should you enroll?

Lots of people have strong opinions on this set of questions, but Payscale has the data to answer them empirically. It turns out that at the undergraduates level, course of study is much more important than the prestige of the college or university you attend.  The hard evidence is shown below.


For those working in law or thinking about attending law school, a natural question to ask is whether the legal industry is closer to the blue dot (art & humanities) or red dot pattern (engineering/CS/math).  A second, related question whether the future of law is more blue or more red.

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July 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weiser: Innovation In Law Firm Hiring (And Law School Training): Grades, School Rank Are Out; Resilience, Teamwork, Empathy & Leadership Are In

Legal RebelsABA Journal Legal Rebels, The New Normal: How Law Firms Are Innovating When It Comes to Hiring, by Phil Weiser (Dean Colorado):

The legacy model of law firm hiring, which has prevailed over the last several decades, involves screening applicants purely on grades and what schools they attended. The second screen, often conducted without regard to identified competencies that matter for clients or success, is “would I enjoy going out to lunch with this person?” For many applicants, the test is therefore “can I put on a good face at lunch?”

For most industries, such hiring processes are truly yesterday’s practices. For starters, many have observed how unstructured and subjective standards can allow implicit biases to hold sway in hiring decisions. Such approaches also generate poorer results. At Google, for example, even the first screen used by law firms is now out, with Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google, revealing to the New York Times that “our data crunching” tells us that GPA is “worthless as a criteria for hiring.” By contrast, a major law firm partner told me recently that the firm might not hire a very successful lawyer, even if that lawyer had a significant book of business, if that lawyer had not been in the top 10 percent of his or her law school class. Just another concrete example that change is hard, particularly for our tradition-bound profession.

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July 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

2015 Legal Education Data Deck

AccessAccess Group, 2015 Legal Education Data Deck: Key Trends on Access, Affordability, and Value:

On February 20, 2015, Access Group released the 2015 Legal Education Data Deck (Data Deck). It is comprised of a set of data points showing trends organized around the three driving principles of Access Group’s research agenda — access, affordability and the value of legal education. The Data Deck was developed for the legal education community, policymakers, and others interested in legal education, to provide them with key pieces of data about national trends in legal education.

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July 21, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, July 20, 2015

'Going To Law School Is Becoming A Thing Again'

Following up on my previous post, Light At The End Of The Law School Tunnel?:  Matt Leichter, LSAT Tea-Leaf Reading: June 2015 Edition:


In other surprising news, the number of law school applicants is … about the same as last year.

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July 20, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

2014-15 College Faculty Salaries

Inside High Ed, Faculty Salaries:

Top Private Universities for Faculty Salaries for Full Professors, 2014-15


Average Salary

1. Stanford University


2. Columbia University


3. University of Chicago


4. Princeton University


5. Harvard University 


6. Yale University


7. University of Pennsylvania


8. New York University


9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology


10. Duke University


Top Public Universities for Faculty Salaries for Full Professors, 2014-15


Average Salary

1. University of California at Los Angeles


2. New Jersey Institute of Technology


3. University of California at Berkeley


4. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor


5. University of Maryland at Baltimore


6. University of Virginia


7. University of Maryland at College Park


8. University of California at San Diego


9. University of California at Santa Barbara


10. University of California at Irvine


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July 20, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Police Release New Details In Dan Markel's Murder

Following up on Saturday's post, Dan Markel Deserves Justice:  Tallahassee Police Department, Investigation into Markel Murder Continues:

The Tallahassee Police Department Violent Crimes Unit, with assistance from the FBI, have been actively investigating the murder of Florida State University Law Professor Daniel Markel since his death on July 18, 2014. TPD is releasing two updates to the case, one focusing on the vehicle specifics and the other focuses on a new reward amount.

Please see the attached images of the suspect car, determined to be a 2006-2009 Toyota Prius. The color is named 'Silver Pine Mica' by Toyota and appears metallic to light green, depending on lighting. The windows of the car are dark tinted.


The vehicle has three (3) distinctive characteristics:

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July 20, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Law Profs, Law Grads Debate Changing Accreditation Standards To Permit Paid Externships

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal, Educators and Young Lawyer Take Opposing Sides at Hearing Over Academic Credit for Paid Externships:

The governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved six proposed changes to the law school accreditation standards for notice and comment.

But only one—a proposal to eliminate the current ban on students receiving academic credit for paid externships—drew any testimony at a public hearing Thursday.

Representatives from two legal education groups—the Society of American Law Teachers and the Clinical Legal Education Association—spoke out against the proposed change.

But Mathew Kerbis, immediate-past chair of the ABA Law Student Division, argued in favor of it.

Under the current standard, law students are barred from receiving both pay and credit for an externship or field placement. Under the proposed change, a law school could decide for itself whether a student should receive credit, but only if the school can demonstrate that it has maintained sufficient control over the experience to ensure that the requirements of the standards are being met.

In order to ensure that those requirements are being met, a law school granting credit where compensation is provided would also have to maintain separate records of the placement so accreditors can periodically evaluate the quality of the program. ...

The council has received nearly four dozen written comments (PDF) on its six proposed changes in the standards, mostly about the credit-for-paid-externships proposal and most of them in opposition to any change in the current prohibition, section officials say.

The proposed changes will come back to the council for final consideration July 31. If approved, they will be reviewed by the House of Delegates at the ABA’s Annual Meeting in early August. The House can either concur with a change in the standards or refer it back to the council for reconsideration. But the council has the final word.

Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), More on Paid Clinical Externships:

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July 20, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Turmoil Continues At SUNY-Buffalo Law School

SUNY 2Following up on my previous posts:

Buffalo News:  UB Law School Faculty Must Be Held Accountable, by Andrew Remley (J.D. 2017, SUNY-Buffalo):

The University at Buffalo Law School leaves much to be desired. Last fall, as reported by The News, Dean Makau Mutua was forced to step down following allegations that he perjured himself in a gender-based wrongful termination lawsuit in Federal Court.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, July 19, 2015

NY Times: Judges Rebuke Limits On Wiping Out Student Loan Debt

Student LoansNew York Times, Judges Rebuke Limits on Wiping Out Student Loan Debt:

[A judicial ruling has] ruling captured the attention of other judges and legal scholars because of a judge’s bluntly worded written opinion that rebuked the widely adopted hardship standard used to determine whether a [student loan] debtor is worthy of a discharge.

The judge, Jim D. Pappas, in his concurring opinion for the bankruptcy appellate panel decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, said the analysis used “to determine the existence of an undue hardship is too narrow, no longer reflects reality and should be revised.”

He added: “It would seem that in this new, different environment, in determining whether repayment of a student loan constitutes an undue hardship, a bankruptcy court should be afforded flexibility to consider all relevant facts about the debtor and the subject loans.” But the current standard, he wrote, “does not allow it.”

Judge Pappas isn’t the only critic. Although plenty of cases still hew closely to a strict interpretation of the test, some judges and courts have signaled in recent years that they believe the rigid standard — known as the Brunner test — should be reconsidered, even if they are still bound to it now.

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

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dan Markel Deserves Justice

MarkelTallahassee Democrat editorial, Dan Markel Deserves Justice:

On Friday morning, July 18, 2014, an assailant, some speculate that it could have been a professional hit man, shot Florida State law professor Dan Markel as he sat in his car in his garage.

Markel’s murder represents a diminishment of our community on so many levels: as a father, educator, scholar, neighbor, congregant and human being. The loss is compounded by the frustration over the lack of progress in bringing his killer or killers to justice. All lives matter, but the need for justice in this case seems more urgent than ever. If this can happen to Dan Markel, then we are all vulnerable.

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July 18, 2015 in Legal Education, Obituaries | Permalink | Comments (7)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tax Prof Wedding: Allen Madison

Congratulations to Tax Prof Allen Madison and DaVida Russell, who were married yesterday in Stonington, Connecticut:


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July 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Weddings, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (3)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

University of Chicago Law School Study: Better Scholars Are Better Teachers

Tom Ginsburg (Chicago) & Thomas J. Miles (Chicago), The Teaching/Research Tradeoff in Law: Data from the Right Tail, 39 Evaluation Rev. 46 (2015):

Background: There is a long scholarly debate on the trade-off between research and teaching in various fields, but relatively little study of the phenomenon in law. This analysis examines the relationship between the two core academic activities at one particular school, the University of Chicago Law School, which is considered one of the most productive in legal academia. Method: We measure of scholarly productivity with the total number of publications by each professor for each year, and we approximate performance in teaching with course loads and average scores in student evaluations for each course. In OLS regressions, we estimate scholarly output as a function of teaching loads, faculty characteristics, and other controls. We also estimate teaching evaluation scores as a function of scholarly productivity, fixed effects for years and course subject, and faculty characteristics. Result: Net of other factors, we find that, under some specifications, research and teaching are positively correlated. In particular, we find that students’ perceptions of teaching quality rises, but at a decreasing rate, with the total amount of scholarship. We also find that certain personal characteristics correlate with productivity. Conclusion: There recent debate on the mission of American law schools has hinged on the assumption that a trade-off exists between teaching and research, and this article’s analysis, although limited in various ways, casts some doubt on that assumption.

Chicago Chart

Orin Kerr (George Washington), Is There a Teaching/Scholarship Trade-off in Law Schools?:

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July 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Taylor: Law School Scholarships Foist Surtax On The Neediest Students

National Law Journal op-ed:  Law School Scholarships Foist Surtax On Neediest, by Aaron Taylor (St. Louis):

Students with less-educated parents and lower LSAT scores accrue the most debt.

The ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education recently released its report identifying factors driving the high costs of legal education. One factor cited by the task force was law school scholarship policies based on high Law School Admis­sion Test scores, instead of financial need. These policies contribute in large part to high levels of law student debt, particularly among first-generation students. Worse yet, they result in the neediest students paying a tuition premium — a "merit surtax," if you will — that subsidizes the attendance of their wealthier peers.

An analysis of data from the 2014 administration of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement charts how this phenomenon unfolds. The purpose of the analysis was to identify trends relating to the law school experience that were attributable to socioeconomic factors. ... We found that average LSAT scores increased as parental education increased. 

These numbers suggest that respondents with more highly educated parents tended to have an advantage in the admissions process. This is where the merit surtax comes into play. The neediest applicants are doubly disadvantaged. They are least likely to gain admission and, even if admitted, they are least likely to be awarded the most generous scholarships. Student loan debt trends from Law School Survey of Student Engagement support this supposition. Respondents whose parents had lower levels of education were more likely to have law school debt and more likely to have higher levels of that debt. 

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

NYC Firm Refuses To Hire Ivy League Law Grads: Top Students From Lower Ranked Schools Are Hungrier, More Ambitious

Ivy LeagueHuffington Post op-ed:  Why We Do Not Hire Law School Graduates from the Ivy League Schools, by Adam Leitman Bailey:

In order to strive to become one of New York's best real estate law firms we do not hire law school graduates from Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia or any of the other traditional highest tier schools.

Our hires come from the top of the classes of the second, third or fourth tier law schools. We find these men and women we take under our wing to be more ambitious and more hungry to excel in the legal profession. They are hard-working and usually grew up with a middle or lower class upbringing. We do not hire our clients' sons and daughters unless they demonstrate the same merits as any stranger to our family. The candidates we recruit are those who have been battle tested in one manner or another. They have been forced to compete against their peers to rank at the top of their law school and college classes.

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July 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (18)

NPR: Medicine, Law, Business: Which Grad Students Borrow The Most?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Impact Of The Obama Administration’s New 'REPAYE' Plan On Law Students

Gregory Scott Crespi (SMU), The Obama Administration's New 'Repaye' Plan for Student Loan Borrowers: Not Much Help for Law School Graduates:

In response to President Obama’s 2014 directive the DOE has proposed a new student loan repayment option, labeled the Repaye As You Earn Plan (“REPAYE Plan”), which will be open for enrollment in early 2016 to up to five million student loan borrowers who are not eligible for enrollment in the generous Pay As You Earn Plan (“PAYE Plan”) because of pre-October 1, 2007 student loan debts. I estimate that approximately 60,000 of those five million persons are law graduates. However, I also estimate that approximately three-quarters of those 60,000 law graduates have already enrolled in either the Income-Based Repayment Plan (“old IBR Plan”) or the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (“ICR Plan”). Most of those persons among the remaining group of about 15,000 PAYE Plan-ineligible law graduates who have not already enrolled in a loan repayment Plan, if they later do decide to enroll, will enroll in the old IBR Plan rather than the new REPAYE Plan because of the REPAYE Plan’s spousal income inclusion rules.

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July 15, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)