TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, February 24, 2017

Minnesota Law Prof Francesco Parisi Accused Of Rape; His Lawyer Says Charges Are Frivolous

ParisiBrian Leiter (Chicago) has blogged the rape allegations against Minnesota law professor Francesco Parisi, whose lawyer calls the charges "frivolous":

Minneapolis Star Tribune, U Law School Prof Charged With Sex Assault, Stalking; Lawyer Said the 55-Year-Old Woman Has "Zero Evidence" of Her Accusations:

A University of Minnesota law professor engaged in years of protracted legal battles over real estate with the woman he is charged with sexually assaulting and stalking, according to court documents.

Francesco Parisi, 54, of Minneapolis, made his first appearance in Hennepin County District Court Wednesday on charges of first degree criminal sexual conduct and stalking. His bail was set at $350,000.

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February 24, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stanford Provost:  Academia Is Its Own Worst Enemy

Stanford (2016)John Etchemendy (Provost (2000-2017), Stanford), The Threat From Within:

Universities are under attack, both from outside and from within. ... But I’m actually more worried about the threat from within.

Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country — not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines — there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves.

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February 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Atticus Finch Effect: Has Donald Trump Made Attorneys (And Law Schools) Popular Again?


Following up on my previous posts (links below):  My Northwest, The Atticus Effect: Has Trump Made Attorneys Popular Again?:

Kellye Testy knew perceptions had shifted when, purely by accident, she bumped into a couple of her former students while having dinner in Seattle.

Testy, dean of the University of Washington School Of Law, said the two men — now attorneys — had just arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Excited, they gushed to her that they had engineered the legal proceedings which grounded an aircraft and stopped U.S. immigration authorities from deporting legal immigrants in the hours following President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban. Then, as they loudly gabbed about the evening’s events, a surprising thing happened: The other diners broke out in applause.

“The whole restaurant was, ‘Woo hoo!’ and applauding these guys,” she recalled. “It was an amazing scene.” ...

The wave of pro-lawyer sentiment in the wake President Donald Trump’s election and subsequent executive orders and cabinet appointments has caught even the most thick-skinned, skeptical attorneys a little off-guard. ...

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February 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Iowa, North Carolina Bills Would Require 'Partisan Balance' In Faculty Hiring

Chronicle of Higher Education, Iowa Bill Would Force Universities to Consider Political Affiliation in Faculty Hiring:

Iowa’s public universities would have to base faculty-hiring decisions on applicants’ political-party affiliations under a bill pending before the State Senate’s Education Committee.

The measure, SF 288, would require the state’s three public universities to gather voter-registration data on prospective instructors and not make any hire that would cause either Democrats or Republicans on an institution’s faculty to outnumber each other by more than 10 percent. ...

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February 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

Lawyers For Adelsons, Magbanua Attack Prosecution's Case Against Their Clients In Dan Markel Murder

Markel SuspectsOrlando Sun Sentinel, 'That's What We Went to Go Kill That Man For': New Details Emerge in FSU Professor's Killing:

No one in the Adelson family has been arrested or charged in the case. The family, through its attorneys, has denied any involvement in Markel's death. "There is a reason that the police have not arrested any of the Adelsons — they weren't involved in Dan's death,” according to a statement released in August 2016 by attorneys representing the family.

David Oscar Markus, Charlie Adelson’s attorney, said Friday: “Even though Charlie wasn't involved, the prosecution has run a smear campaign against him and his family by using alternative facts created by people with quite a bit of time on their hands.” ...

Christopher DeCoste, one of Magbanua’s attorneys, said his client has done nothing wrong. "The prosecution created a theory fit for a soap opera, built a case around that preposterous plot using the wholly unreliable word of a thug as mortar, and peddled it through the media without mentioning any of the massive inconsistencies,” DeCoste said in a statement. “Before they turned Luis Rivera, a lifelong gangster, into their snitch, the threadbare circumstantial evidence wasn't even enough to arrest Katie.” ...

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February 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Racism In The Legal Academy: A Tale Of Two Law Professors

Racism In Academia (Not A Breaking Story), by LawProfBlawg (Anonymous Professor, Top 100 Law School):

This is a story of a traditional law school. It is a story I have heard many times at law professor gatherings around the country. It’s a story, which, while not true as a whole, is an amalgam of true experiences people have had being a person of color in academia. ...

As with many tragic tales, this story starts with a Dean. The Dean makes a genuine effort to promote diversity in a predominantly white faculty. The faculty’s new hire is a person of color. People of color now represent 5 percent of this school’s faculty. ...Let’s call the new hire Professor X. ...

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February 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2018 U.S. News Law School Rankings

US News 2018Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News & World Report) announced today that the new 2018 law school rankings will be released online on Tuesday, March 14 and in hard copy on Tuesday, April 11. Here is my coverage of the current 2017 law school rankings:

February 21, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will Trump Make Legal Infrastructure Great Again?

Rules for a Flat WorldPaul Lippe (ABA Legal Rebels), Will Trump Make Legal Infrastructure ‘Great Again’? (reviewing Gillian Hadfield (USC), Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy (Oxford University Press, 2016)):

President Donald Trump says he wants to ‘make America great again,” in part by investing in upgrading our “obsolete” infrastructure. University of Southern California law professor Gillian Hadfield has a proposal that may not be on the top of the president’s list. ...

To the extent that law schools concern themselves primarily with legal theory, they tend to operate in a self-contained echo chamber, with less influence over the profession and society and less opportunity to test those theories against reality to make them more powerful. Medicine and other fields have moved much more strongly to an evidence-based model, with faster learning, less hierarchy and faster practice improvement.

Hadfield is one of the most consequential legal scholars doing evidence-based work. Her recent book ... is a must-read for lawyers trying to see the whole landscape of the legal New Normal.

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February 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Syracuse's Secret Sauce For Its Outperformance On NY Bar: Tougher 1L Curve And Readmit Policy, Mandatory Bar Courses

Syracuse Logo (2016)I previously have blogged Syracuse's over-performance on the New York State Bar Exam: although Syracuse is the seventh highest ranked of fifteen New York law schools, it ranked fourth (89.5%) in bar passage on the July 2016 bar exam, behind only Columbia, Cornell, and NYU (and above Fordham, Cardozo, St. John's, and Brooklyn); fifth (83.3%) in 2015; and fourth (87.0%) in 2014.    Brian Leiter reprints a note from Syracuse professor Christian Day,  who attributes the impressive results to the faculty's decision after much study to:

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February 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

2017 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2017 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.


  • 1st Place:   $5,000, and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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February 21, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Creighton Dean Lifts Law Prof's Suspension After Faculty Threaten Vote Of No Confidence

MelilliOmaha World-Herald, Creighton University Law Professor Reinstated After Brief Suspension:

A professor at Creighton University has agreed to return to the law school today after he was temporarily suspended by the school’s dean.

Kenneth Melilli [right], who won the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement at Creighton last year, was suspended by the dean of law Wednesday evening, evidently after an argument this month with a senior associate dean of law.

Letters obtained by The World-Herald show Melilli had support from numerous faculty members who intimated they would push for a vote of no confidence against Paul McGreal, dean of law, and Nicholas Mirkay, associate dean of law [and tax professor]. ...

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February 20, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (6)

Hawaii Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Hawaii LogoThe University of Hawaii Law School invites applications from entry level and lateral candidates for a tenure-track or tenured tax position beginning in the 2017-18 academic year:

We are seeking applicants with the ability and interest to teach in the area of federal taxation and preferably also trusts and estates. ...

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February 20, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Names Fred Murray Professor Of Tax Practice

Muray (2018)Dean Laura Rosenbury has announced that Fred Murray will join the faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law as a full-time Professor of Tax Practice:

Since 2007, Professor Murray has been at Grant Thornton LLP, where he serves as a Managing Director, International Tax Services. In addition, he has taught International Tax as an adjunct Professor of Law in the LL.M. program at the Georgetown University Law Center since 2005. Professor Murray started his career as a tax lawyer at Chamberlain, Hrdlicka in Houston, Texas, where he was a partner, before he left to serve as Special Counsel (Legislation) to the Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service from 1992 to 1996. Professor Murray also has served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, as General Counsel and Director of Tax Affairs of the Tax Executives Institute, and as Vice President for Tax Policy at the National Foreign Trade Council.

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February 20, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 19, 2017

University Of Washington Delays Launch Of New Law School In Tacoma Until At Least 2021 In Face Of Projected Annual $5.5 Million Deficits

UWT2Following up on my previous posts (links below): News Tribune, UW Tacoma Law School Vision Remains Years Away:

If you share the years-old vision of adding a law school to the growing University of Washington Tacoma campus, prepare to wait a few more years.

A newly released study has found trends in law school applications and available jobs that persuaded officials to wait a few years longer than they hoped to try to restore postgraduate legal education to the South Sound.

Because a UW Tacoma law school — like most public universities’ graduate-school programs, including the UW law school in Seattle — wouldn’t pay for itself, backers of the plan said they want to be sure the school will be sustainable enough to justify investing an estimated $62 million over a decade to get the school started, stabilized and accredited.

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February 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Did Florida State President Violate Lobby Ban In Special $1 Million Annual Appropriation For Law School?

Florida State logoTallahassee Democrat, Did FSU President John Thrasher Violate Lobby Ban?:

Florida State University President John Thrasher’s push for a special law school appropriation includes a 2015 form with Thrasher named as the requester and dated before the former senator’s ban on lobbying expired, records show.

Thrasher denies he unlawfully lobbied the Legislature for the $1 million a year, and said he’s been careful to follow the rules as FSU president. ...

The $1 million, tucked away in this year’s $82.3 billion state budget, is among the special lawmaker requests that have surfaced in a battle between House and Senate leaders over how to write the spending plan. ... 

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February 19, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Anderson:  Law School Scholarship Policies — Markets Or Social Engineering?

Robert A. Anderson (Pepperdine), Law School Scholarship Policies: Markets or Social Engineering?:

Quite a few law school commentators have been talking about the 2016 annual report of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE). The report provocatively calls law school merit scholarship policies "engines of inequity." In his Foreword, Frank Wu says that law school scholarships cause a "'reverse Robin Hood' revenue model in which the poorest students are being forced to subsidize their wealthier peers." Aaron Taylor parrots virtually the same line word-for-word in his "Director's Message." It's unclear who copied whom. The basic gist of the report is that law school scholarship policies favor students with higher LSATs who tend to have higher socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. The authors see this as a scandalous outcome.

It is true that many students come out of law school hopelessly indebted with poor prospects for financial independence. However, very few students are being "forced" to subsidize anyone, because of some basic facts that the report doesn't mention. The report makes it sound as if a student with a high LSAT will receive scholarships everywhere and a student with a low LSATs will not receive scholarships anywhere. In reality, however, most applicants with a given LSAT will receive a generous scholarship from some schools and will receive no scholarship (or not even be admitted) to other schools. It is the student's choice of whether to attend the higher-ranked school with no scholarship or the lower-ranked school with a scholarship that will determine whether he or she graduates with high debt. Of course, the more prestigious school is enticing, but there's a price to pay for attending it. ...

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February 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Syracuse Law School Offers $20,000 Scholarships To New York Residents

Syracuse Logo (2016)Syracuse Post-Standard, New Law School Grant Will Make Syracuse University NY's Cheapest Private Option:

Syracuse University's College of Law will offer new tuition grants to New York state residents starting with the upcoming school year.

The Empire State Scholars Grant will offer $20,000 of tuition assistance to all admitted state residents. Qualified students in good standing will receive the grant for all three years of their program. The College of Law's tuition cost is $46,460 this year, and the grant will make tuition comparable to law schools in the SUNY system for residents. Currently, tuition at the law school at SUNY Buffalo is $26,997 for in-state residents.

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February 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Is Donald Trump Making Law School Great Again?

TrumpFollowing up on my previous post, Will Donald Trump Solve The Law School Crisis?:  Quartz, Trump’s Disregard for the Judicial System Has Accidentally Made Law School Cool Again:

When US president Donald Trump signed his immigration ban on Jan. 27, law enforcement, customs officials, and airports were thrown into disarray. The executive order, which temporarily barred people from seven predominantly Muslim nations, as well as Syrian refugees, from entering the country, left people stranded in airports in the US and abroad. Families waited frantically for news of loved ones detained or were otherwise unaccounted for.

In this crucial time, lawyers from across the country stepped up to help. Many were immigration lawyers who work regularly on political asylum cases, but many others were not. Lawyers arrived at airports in drove over the weekend, carrying signs offering free legal assistance. They stayed there until the ACLU, representing plaintiffs affected by the order, won an emergency stay blocking parts of the executive order.

Suddenly, in the face of US president Trump’s bold—albeit hastily planned—agenda, lawyers seem heroic. And for the first time in what feels like the better part of a decade, the legal profession is being talked about as something other than a soul-and-money sucking dead-end.

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February 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

ADR And International Law Curriculum Rankings (Pepperdine Earns A+, A- Grades)

ADRADR Curricular Leaders, 20 preLaw 48 (Winter 2017):

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialty programs aren't easy to come by, but the 86 schools that do offer the specialty provide a wide range of options. We graded all schools on curricular offerings, and three earned an A+ — Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University; University of Missouri School of Law; and Pepperdine University School of Law.  Their offerings include workplace conflict resolution training for the Los Angeles Police Department, participating in a dispute resolution journal and dispute resolution skills competitions. ...

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February 16, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WSJ:  Universities, Facing Budget Cuts, Target Tenure

Wall Street Journal, Universities, Facing Budget Cuts, Target Tenure:

For decades, tenured professors held some of the most prestigious and secure jobs in the U.S. Now, their status is under attack at public and private colleges alike.

In states facing budget pressures such as Missouri, North Dakota and Iowa, Republican lawmakers have introduced bills for the current legislative sessions to eliminate tenure, cut back its protections or create added hoops that tenured faculty at public colleges must jump through to keep their jobs. University administrators, struggling to shave their costs, are trying to limit the ranks of tenured professors or make it easier to fire them. ...

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

California Law Deans Take Bar Exam Complaints To Lawmakers; State Bar Director Admits There Is 'No Good Answer' For High MBE Pass Score

California (2016)Following up on my previous coverage (links below):  The Recorder, Frustrated Law Deans Take Bar-Exam Complaints to Lawmakers:

The head of California’s state bar told lawmakers on Tuesday “there’s no good answer” for why the state requires the second-highest bar exam passing score in the nation.

“For many years it was seen as a point of pride that it was such a rigorous exam but perhaps it’s time now to look again,” Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker said at an Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing. “Is it doing what we want? Is it a fair exam? Is the pass score effectively set where it is? When you ask why is [the multistate bar exam cut score] set at 144, I’m embarrassed to tell you there’s no good answer.”

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Proposed ABA Accreditation Rule Sets Process To Determine Validity Of GRE, Other LSAT Alternatives In Law School Admissions

GRELSACFollowing up on my previous coverage (links below):  ABA Journal, Any LSAT Alternatives Must be Validated Through New Process, According to Proposed Rule Revision:

There’s still no official green light for ABA-accredited law schools to rely on entrance exams other than the Law School Admissions Test, but a recently proposed standards revision suggests how a validation process for LSAT alternatives should be developed.

Under the proposed revision to Standard 503, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar would establish a process to determine the reliability and validity of other tests. That’s a change from the current version, which directs law schools using alternate admissions tests to demonstrate that the exams are valid and reliable.

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Jones Day Is #1 U.S. Law Firm Brand, Supplanting Skadden

Jones DayAmerican Lawyer, Big Law Brand Survey Shows Client-Led Shakeup:

In a sign of a legal market where competition for work is stiffer than ever, a survey of legal buyers’ preferred Big Law brands has a new No. 1 for the first time in its six-year history.

Jones Day topped the Acritas U.S. Law Firm Brand Index, released Monday, after finishing in second place for the previous five years to the same firm: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. This year, Skadden ranked second and the top five was rounded out, in order, by the newly re-branded Baker McKenzie, Latham & Watkins and DLA Piper.

The survey, which had 765 in-house respondents at the senior level, tracks six metrics, such as consideration for top-level deals and litigation, aimed at ranking the firms viewed most favorably and hired most often by large company legal services purchasers.

Here are the Top 10 (the full Top 20 are here):

Jones Day 2

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Two Prison Inmates Provide Link To Adelsons In Dan Markel's Murder

Adelson FamilyForward, Accused Hitman Points Finger At Dan Markel In-Law In Jailhouse Confession:

Two prison inmates may have provided a long-awaited break in the mysterious slaying of Jewish law professor Dan Markel.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the alleged hit man charged with killing Markel confessed to a fellow inmate that Markel’s ex-mother-in-law had ordered the murder.

The inmate told police that Sigfredo Garcia, claimed that his girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua, told him that “a mother-in-law or grandmother” wanted Markel killed to gain custody of their two children.

Garcia, who is awaiting trial in connection with Markel’s killing, reportedly referred to the woman as “Don Adelson.”

Markel’s ex-wife’s mother is named Donna Adleson. She and her son, Charlie Adelson, remain suspects in the murder, the paper said. They deny any involvement and have not been charged.

Magbanua is also awaiting trial. Garcia’s alleged accomplice, who has pled guilty to second-degree murder, implicated Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, in the murder plot.

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Dean Michael Schwartz On Legal Education 2.0

Legal Tech News, How to Teach Tech: Dean Michael Schwartz on Law Education 2.0:

Preparing future generations of attorneys for what's to come in the evolution of law is no easy task. As technology continues to stretch the boundaries of legal reasoning and what is doable at law offices across the world, so too must legal education adapt to changing times.

Few have witnessed this adaptation as intimately as Michael Hunter Schwartz, who recently started the next chapter of his long legal career as dean of University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. A California native, Schwartz is returning to his home state after serving as dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas since 2013. ...

Q: What is your No. 1 pet peeve about legal education today?

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February 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Siri For Tax Lawyers, Accountants, And Students

AiliraAustralian Business Review, Tax Agents’ Future Questioned as AI Finds Answers in Seconds:

It’s Siri for lawyers and accountants. Ask “Ailira” a question about Australian tax law and she will scan through millions of uploaded documents and use her artificial intelligence nous to deliver an answer.

Ailira, or “Artificially Intelligent Legal Information Resource Assistant” is so clever at tax that her creator believes she could help prompt the end of human tax agents. And within two months, she will answer questions in other areas of Australian law.

Ailira is the brainchild of Adelaide-based tax lawyer Adrian Cartland. The story goes that with no professional tax background, his girlfriend Sarah, a speech pathology student, scored 73 per cent on a first-year university tax exam with just 30 minutes’ training and Ailira at her side.

“Your tax agents will probably be gone within five years,” said a confident Mr Cartland, who added that their demise was ­already happening with the Australian Taxation Office pushing to automate tax returns, technology issues not withstanding.

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February 14, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Great Shame Of Higher Education

AdjunctChronicle of Higher Education op-ed: 'The Great Shame of Our Profession', by Kevin Birmingham (Instructor, Harvard College Writing Program):

[T]o talk about adjuncts is to talk about the centerpiece of higher education. Tenured faculty represent only 17 percent of college instructors. Part-time adjuncts are now the majority of the professoriate and its fastest-growing segment. From 1975 to 2011, the number of part-time adjuncts quadrupled. And the so-called part-time designation is misleading because most of them are piecing together teaching jobs at multiple institutions simultaneously. A 2014 congressional report suggests that 89 percent of adjuncts work at more than one institution; 13 percent work at four or more. The need for several appointments becomes obvious when we realize how little any one of them pays. In 2013, The Chronicle began collecting data on salary and benefits from adjuncts across the country. An English-department adjunct at Berkeley, for example, received $6,500 to teach a full-semester course. It’s easy to lose sight of all the people struggling beneath the data points. $7,000 at Duke. $6,000 at Columbia. $5,950 at the University of Iowa.

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February 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Law School Lateral Hiring Network

Ryan Whalen (Dalhousie), Law School Lateral Hiring:

Lateral Hiring

The network contains data on 245 schools, with 912 directed, weighted hiring links between them. The top 10 schools by laterals hired are:

Harvard 25
NYU 25
UC-Irvine 23
Northwestern 20
Florida State 18
Drexel 17
Minnesota 17
Virginia 17
Alabama 16
UC-Berkeley 16

Similarly, the top 10 schools who have their faculty hired by other schools are:

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February 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times:  Haunted By Student Debt Past Age 50

New York Times editorial, Haunted by Student Debt Past Age 50:

The experience of being crushed by student debt is no longer limited to the young. New federal data shows millions of Americans who are retired or nearing retirement face this burden, as well as the possibility of having their Social Security benefits garnished to make payments.

Americans age 60 and older are the fastest-growing age group of student loan debtors. Older debtors, many of whom live hand-to-mouth on fixed incomes, are more likely to default. When that occurs with federal loans, as happens with nearly 40 percent of such borrowers who are 65 and over, the government can seize a portion of their Social Security payments — even if it pushes them into poverty. About 20,000 Americans over the age of 50 in 2015 had their Social Security checks cut below the poverty line because of student loans, with poverty-level benefits falling even further for 50,000 others, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office.

A report issued last month by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows that the number of Americans aged 60 and older with student loan debt has grown fourfold over the last decade, to 2.8 million in 2015 from about 700,000 in 2005 [Snapshot of Older Consumers and Student Loan Debt]. ...

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February 14, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (13)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Call For Tax Papers:  First Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum

Richmond (2017)Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum: Call for Papers:

The University of Richmond School of Law invites submissions for the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum. This workshop will be held on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia.

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February 13, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 12, 2017

After Declines Of 40% In Enrollment And 10 Points In 25th LSAT Percentile, Does Hofstra's 100% Application Surge Signal Better Times Ahead For Law Schools?

Law School Transparency, Hofstra Key Facts:


David Lat (Above the Law), Are Law School Applications Bottoming Out? One School Sees A Remarkable Rise:

I reached out for comment to Judge Gail Prudenti, former Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts of New York State, who took over as Hofstra’s interim dean after the departure of Dean Eric Lane. I asked Judge Prudenti: are reports of major growth in applications at Hofstra Law accurate? And if so, how did Hofstra get applications to increase so bigly?

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February 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Naming Rights Settlement Falls Apart, As University Of Houston, South Texas Head To Mediation

Houston South TexasFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  

Houston Chronicle, Law School Naming Feud Heads to Mediation:

A preliminary deal over naming rights between Houston's battling law schools formally fell apart Wednesday, with lawyers asking a federal judge to send them into mediation.

The dissolution of the talks comes as Houston Community College joins the trademark fray over the question of who has the right to use "Houston" in educational materials.

Talks stalled between the University of Houston System and the newly renamed South Texas College of Law Houston before final details could be hammered out to resolve a federal trademark lawsuit filed by UH.

The university contended that the private law school had encroached on the school's trademarked University of Houston Law Center by initially changing its name to Houston College of Law. After a federal judge warned the private school that it was likely to lose the lawsuit, the school changed to the latest name — a move that UH indicated was acceptable. ...

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February 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Merritt:  Law School Rankings Drive Inequitable Merit Scholarship Awards

Merit ScholarshipBloomberg Law op-ed: Law School Rankings Still Drive Scholarship Awards, by Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State):

It’s an open secret in legal education: Law schools substantially discount tuition for selected students. Classmates sitting side by side pay very different amounts for the same seminars and lectures. Some pay full tuition; some pay a reduced amount; a lucky few pay nothing at all.

The Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), a highly regarded research team, has just focused a spotlight on this practice. The researchers pull no punches: They title their report Law School Scholarship Policies: Engines of Inequity. Aaron Taylor, the group’s director, notes that law schools’ scholarship policies have created a system “in which the most disadvantaged students subsidize the attendance of their peers.” This “reverse Robin Hood” pattern arises from two factors.

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

Syracuse Law Dean, Raised By Adoptive White Parents, Had To Learn To Be Black; He Foresaw Legal Ed Crisis 'Long Before Other Deans Knew What Hit Them'

BoiseFollowing up on my previous post, Syracuse Dean (And Tax Prof) Craig Boise: 'The Only Harley-Riding, Piano-Playing, Calf-Roping Law Dean In The Country':

Syracuse Post-Standard, SU Law School Dean Craig Boise: Ex-Cop, Classical Pianist Who Had to Learn to be Black:

Craig Boise was a rookie Kansas City police officer in 1986, working in the predominantly black inner city.

He learned how to be black. He had to talk differently. The food and music were new. He was introduced to a new way of shaking hands — grabbing the thumbs, hands at an angle, then kind of snapping each other's fingers as you pull away. He started peppering his conversations with "brother" and "sister."

The fact that Boise actually was black didn't help. Up till then, he didn't know it. At birth, he was adopted by white parents who thought he was Native American. ...

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February 11, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

North Dakota Law School Eliminates Its Only Clinic In Face Of Possible 15% Budget Cut; Faculty, Staff Offer Voluntary Pay Cuts To Stem 11% Tuition Increase

UND 3Grand Forks Herald, UND School of Law Looks at Tuition Increase, Puts Pro Bono Clinic on Hiatus:

The UND School of Law will put its student law clinic on hiatus for at least two years and is beginning to discuss tuition increases because of higher education budget cuts proposed by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

In a meeting with about 80 law students Thursday afternoon, UND School of Law Dean Kathryn Rand told students the program would need to begin making hard cuts. Those cuts will include no longer operating the law clinic, which provides pro bono legal service primarily in immigration and employment law fields. The clinic allows law students to get some of the hands-on credits they need to earn their juris doctorates.

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February 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Indiana University Law Profs Targeted By White Supremacist Group

Indiana (2016)ABA Journal, Indiana University Law Profs Are Among Those Targeted by White Supremacist Group:

Professors at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law were among academics targeted by a white supremacist group on that campus and as many as 30 universities across the country.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 20 Moot Court Programs (2010-2016)

Best Schools for Mott Court, National Jurist (Winter 2017):

Every year, the [University of Houston Law Center's Blakely Advocacy Institute] identifies the top schools using a scoring method that assesses the quality of the competition a school participated in, the size of the competitions, and the school's performance in those competitions. The institute then invites the top 16 from the prior year to participate in what it calls "the best of the best" — the Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship. Last year, Georgetown University Law Center won the competition.

National Jurist 2

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February 9, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Names Mindy Herzfeld Professor Of Tax Practice And International Tax Program Director

FMDean Laura Rosenbury has announced that Mindy Herzfeld (right) will join the faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law as a Professor of Tax Practice and Director of the LL.M. in International Tax Program:

Since 2014, Professor Herzfeld has been a Contributing Editor for Tax Analysts, authoring weekly columns on international tax policy developments and cross-border transactions in Tax Notes International. Prior to that, Professor Herzfeld worked as an international tax advisor for Deloitte Tax LLP, based in its Washington D.C. and New York offices. She began her career at Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York City and has also worked as tax counsel at Ford Motor Company. Professor Herzfeld received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. She has published over 100 articles in Tax Notes International and Tax Notes, many of which have been cited in law review articles by the leading international tax scholars, in Congressional Research Service Reports and in Treasury Department studies.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSSSE:  Law School Merit Scholarship Policies — Engines Of Inequity


Law School Survey of Student Engagement, Law School Scholarship Policies: Engines of Inequity
Frank H. Wu (Former Dean, UC-Hastings), Foreword:

Figure 1The scholarship policies described in this Report ought to be exposed for what they are: sales gimmicks in the form of tuition discounts. Despite their name, “merit scholarships” are neither based on actual merit nor true scholarships. Law schools could reduce the price of attendance across-the-board for the benefit of students, with the same aggregate budgetary effect on institutions. But they have not done so. The reason is that consumers respond to sales; they want deals. Law students are no different; their enrollment decisions often depend on which school offers the biggest “merit scholarship.” 

As this Report highlights convincingly, these selective tuition breaks flow most generously to privileged students. These trends betray our shared ideals of ensuring access to higher education – the engine of the American Dream.

Everyone is on the side of merit. There are no advocates for mediocrity. But socalled merit scholarships are less about students’ merit than they are about our own sense of elitism. The formulas for allocating the scholarships usually blend LSAT and UGPA. Responsible decisionmakers, including those who design standardized tests, warn that these instruments are merely predictors of performance. They should not be confused with merit itself.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

ABA's Rejection Of Stricter Bar-Pass Rule Draws Support, Criticism

ABA Logo (2016)National Law Journal, ABA's Rejection of Stricter Bar-Pass Rule Draws Support, Criticism:

The American Bar Association's rejection Monday of a stricter bar pass standard for law schools is a win for diversity in the legal profession, or it's a missed opportunity to protect vulnerable law students.

It depends on whom you ask.

The legal academy reacted swiftly to news that the ABA's House of Delegates voted down a controversial, long-debated proposal to give law schools two years to ensure at least 75 percent of recent graduates pass the bar exam, instead of the current five years. The proposal also would have eliminated a provision under which law schools can retain their accreditation as long as their bar pass rates are no lower than 15 percent of the statewide average in their particular jurisdiction.

Many law deans applauded the proposal's failure, citing a need for further study on the rule's impact at a time of falling bar pass rates. But consumer advocates said it will further enable law schools to admit unqualified students.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Alumni Demand Resignation of Charlotte Law School Dean, President

Charlotte Observer, Fed up Charlotte School of Law Alumni Target Top Leaders:

The alumni of Charlotte School of Law has become the latest group to call for a change of leadership to save the foundering uptown school.

In a letter sent Tuesday morning, the graduates have demanded that President Chidi Ogene and Dean Jay Conison immediately resign.

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February 9, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Impact Of The Possible Repeal Of The Charitable Deduction On Law School Deans

Law Deans on Legal Education Blog: How Would Nuking the Charitable Tax Deduction Affect Higher Ed (and Law Deaning)?, by Rick Bales (Former Dean, Ohio Northern):

According to Forbes (Ashlea Ebeling, This May Be The Last Year You Get A Charitable Tax Deduction), via Dean Dad, the tax deduction for charitable contributions may be history.  This could be devastating for higher education. ... 

The Forbes article suggests that charitable giving would plummet absent the deduction. What would this mean for the typical law school dean? Ten years ago, fundraising was the coin of the decanal realm. Today, fundraising is still important, but developing donors is a long-term commitment (it can take 3-5 years to establish the kind of relationship/trust that results in major gifts, and even then bequests may not "mature" for decades). Fundraising is critical to a school's long-term future; many struggling schools are surviving thanks to endowments created by decanal fundraising decades ago. However, short-term enrollment crises pose existential threats at many law schools, and immediate existential threats always trump long-term investments, so my guess is that fundraising already is getting less decanal attention than it did several years ago. Moreover, donors give to opportunities, not need, so fundraising is almost never a solution to current budget challenges.

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February 8, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times:  The Crisis At Charlotte Law School

Charlotte Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below): New York Times, For-Profit Law School Faces Crisis After Losing Federal Loans:

[Charlotte Law School], with hundreds of students, remains in business, even without the lifeline of federal student aid. It is counting on the Education Department under the Trump administration to reopen the loan spigot that the agency turned off last month after the American Bar Association, the law school accreditor, found that the school did not satisfy its admissions and curriculum standards. ...

Charlotte Law’s struggles and its dispute with the government highlight the questions being raised over for-profit law schools and the sky-high amounts that students are borrowing for their education. Law school debt alone, when counting interest, has risen to about $175,000 per student, said J. Jerome Hartzell, a lawyer in Raleigh, N.C., who has studied the debt issue.

“It would require an income of over $122,000 to be able to afford just the interest on a student loan of that size,” Mr. Hartzell said. “Most North Carolina lawyers don’t earn that much.”

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February 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

For-Profit Online University

View video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Like Obama, Gorsuch Supports Two-Year Law School, But Scalia Dissents

Gorsuch 2National Law Journal, Gorsuch Supports Two-Year Law School, but Scalia Dissents:

Judge Neil Gorsuch and President Barack Obama agree at least on one thing: A third-year of law school should be optional.

Gorsuch, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and is President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, questioned the need for three years of law school in a September 2015 paper he presented at the United Kingdom-United States Legal Exchange in London. Gorsuch noted that “President Obama, himself a Harvard-trained lawyer has promoted this concept” of an optional third year. ...

One of Gorsuch's legal heroes—the late Justice Antonin Scalia—vigorously objected to the notion of two-year law school, as did Scalia’s best friend on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. ...

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February 7, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)