TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, August 29, 2016

Online Courses Fuel Growth Of 'The Cheating Economy': Colleges Prioritize Boosting Enrollment Over Catching Cheaters

WeChronicle of Higher Education:  The New Cheating Economy, by Brad Wolverton:

The Chronicle spoke with people who run cheating companies and those who do the cheating. The demand has been around for decades. But the industry is in rapid transition.

Just as higher education is changing, embracing a revolution in online learning, the cheating business is transforming as well, finding new and more insidious ways to undermine academic integrity.

A decade ago, cheating consisted largely of students’ buying papers off the internet. That’s still where much of the money is. But in recent years, a new underground economy has emerged, offering any academic service a student could want. Now it’s not just a paper or one-off assignment. It’s the quiz next week, the assignment after that, the answers served up on the final. Increasingly, it’s the whole class. And if students are paying someone to take one course, what’s stopping them from buying their entire degree?

The whole-class market is maturing fast. More than a dozen websites now specialize in taking entire online courses, including,, and One of them,, advertises that it has completed courses for more than 11,000 students at such colleges as Duke, Michigan State, even Harvard.

As cheating companies expand their reach, colleges have little incentive to slow their growth. There’s no money in catching the cheaters. But there’s a lot of money in upping enrollment. ...

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August 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

University Of Houston:  Like KFC And Pittsburgh Paints, We Own City Law School Moniker

LogosFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Houston Chronicle, Courtroom Showdown: Houston Law Schools Battle Over Name:

One day after the University of Houston gleefully announced its basketball arena would get a new sponsor and name, the Cougars brought out their clutch players Friday for a federal hearing challenging the new name taken by a rival law school across town.

The university chancellor and president and the law school dean attended the jam-packed hearing in the downtown federal courthouse, where their lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison to grant a temporary injunction barring Houston College of Law, formerly South Texas College of Law, from using its new name until the matter can be resolved.

UH also wants the private law school to stop using the colors red and white in conjunction with the words "Houston" and "College of Law," fearing the similarities between the two brands might confuse potential applicants, students, and alumni and cause irreparable harm by confusing voters who determine national rankings.

UH's Law Center tied for 50th in the nation in the 2016 U.S. News rankings, along with Temple, Tulane, University of California Hastings and Florida State. The Houston College of Law, the official colors of which are crimson and gold, did not make the list, which goes up to 150.

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August 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Advice To Harvard 1Ls

HarvardHarvard Law Record, Class of 2019: Welcome to HLS!:

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August 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rocky Mountain High:  The Secret Ingredient In Colorado Law School's 'Remarkable Recent Popularity'?

Colorado 2Following up on yesterday's post, Colorado Law School Enjoys All-Time High: Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform: Does Marijuana Legalization at Least Partially Account for the Remarkable Recent Popularity of Colorado Law?, by Douglas Berman (Ohio State):

I am disinclined to assert that hundreds (and perhaps even thousands) of prospective law students are now applying to the University of Colorado Law School just so they can legally relax with cannabis as well as with Coors after a tough week of classes.  But  marijuana reform has surely contributed to the recent success of the Colorado economy and this success surely produces unique benefits and opportunities for law students and junior lawyers.

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

FBI Interview With Ex-Girlfriend Of Dan Markel's Ex-Brother-in-Law/Mother Of Hit Man's Children

Adelson GarciaDavid Lat (Above the Law), The Dan Markel Case: A Notable New Document:

Earlier this week, we reported on prosecution efforts to find out who paid for the 2014 breast augmentation of Katherine Magbanua [more here]. If you’ve been following the investigation into the 2014 murder of law professor Dan Markel, you’ll recall that Magbanua is a key figure in the case. She is the mother of two children with Sigfredo Garcia, one of the two alleged hit men, and she is the ex-girlfriend of Charlie Adelson, the former brother-in-law of Dan Markel. At the time of his death, Dan was litigating against Charlie’s sister, Wendi Adelson, regarding various matters arising out of their divorce. ...

We now have more information about the breast-implants issue — and it could be interpreted in a light favorable to Charlie Adelson. We have the FD-302 (aka FBI interview notes) for Yindra Velazquez Mascaro, the friend of Katherine Magbanua who apparently told law enforcement about Charlie covering half the cost of the procedure. ...

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August 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Police Video Released Of Wendi Adelson Being Told Of Dan Markel's Murder, Says Her Brother Joked About Hiring A Hit Man

ABC News, Police Video Shows Woman Hearing About Shooting Death of Her Ex, an FSU Law Professor:

When asked in her videotaped interview whether she thought someone would kill Markel for her benefit without asking her, Wendi Adelson said, “No.”

But she acknowledged being “scared someone maybe did this - not because they hate Danny but because they thought this was good somehow.”

Adelson then recalled an eyebrow-raising phone conversation with her brother Charlie earlier that day, as they were discussing what to do about a television he bought her that had broken down.

“And I was talking to him about whether it made sense to pay to fix it or I should get a new one,” she said. “And it was always his joke that, like, he knew that Danny treated me badly, and it was always his joke, he said, I looked into hiring a hit man but it was cheaper to get you this TV.”

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August 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Colorado Law School Enjoys All-Time High

Colorado Logo (2016)Colorado Law School press release:

With 170 individuals, the University of Colorado Law School’s incoming class of 2019 is the most selective and academically competitive in the school’s history. The 2016-17 admissions cycle set the school’s record for number of applications and highest median GPA of an incoming class.

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August 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Law Prof Loses Assault Suit Over Shoulder Grab By Dean: 'Decade-Long Struggle For Appreciation From His Colleagues, Administrators'

GerberFollowing up on my previous post, Federal Judge Allows Prof's Lawsuit Against Law School, Faculty Colleague For Bullying To Proceed:  ABA Journal, Law Prof Loses Assault Suit Over Alleged Shoulder Grab by Colleague:

An Ohio Northern University law professor who sued over an alleged “strong and tight” squeeze of his shoulder by a colleague has lost his case.

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary ruled against the professor, Scott Gerber [right], in a bench trial. “This is a case seemingly ripped from the pages of a first-year torts exam, with the added twist that the parties are, in real life, law school professors,” Zouhary wrote in the Aug. 24 opinion (PDF).

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August 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Faculty Rankings By Judicial Citations

Valerie Aggerbeck, Nick Farris, Megan McNevin & Gregory C. Sisk (all of St. Thomas-Minnesota), Judicial Impact of Law School Faculties:

This study is a follow-up to our scholarly impact study published in 2015, Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2015: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third. Looking at an expanded time period (2005-2014), we assessed the extent to which extensive citations in the legal literature translated into citations by courts. It is important to acknowledge that the judicial citation rates were very low, precluding extensive analysis and making it difficult to regard some of the results as reliable and robust. Our study indicates that a certain subset of scholars are both noticed and cited by the judiciary as well as their peers.

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August 26, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mike Pence, Law School Cartoonist

The IRS Scandal, Day 1205

IRS Logo 2Bloomberg, IRS Chief Faces Likely Impeachment Vote in U.S. House Next Month:

U.S. House conservatives are set to re-launch next month their effort to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, with or without Speaker Paul Ryan’s go-ahead.

Representative John Fleming says he and other conservatives are prepared to unilaterally force an impeachment vote within days after Congress returns to session on Sept. 6. “The only thing up in the air is whether it will be the first or second week we’re back,” the Louisiana Republican said in an interview.

Any action would be largely symbolic, because the effort would get blocked in the Senate if it passes the House. But Republicans remain angry at Koskinen, who they accuse of impeding an investigation into whether the tax agency improperly targeted conservative non-profits. Their allegations include failing to prevent the IRS from destroying evidence and providing false and misleading information to Congress.

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August 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Richmond Welcomes 112 1Ls, Down 36% From Last Year's 175

Richmond LogoRichmond Law School (ranked #55 in U.S. News) welcomed 112 1Ls this Fall, down 36% from last year's 175.  Their median LSAT and UGPA improved to 161 and 3.55 (from 160 and 3.51); their 75th percentile LSAT improved to 163 from 161 (although their 25% percentile LSAT declined to 154 from 155).  

Update:  Here is Richmond's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:


August 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

University Of Cincinnati Board Votes 5-4 To Reject Plan To Move Law School Downtown

Tha Banks 2Cincinnati Enquirer, UC Kills Plan to Move Law School Downtown:

The University of Cincinnati on Wednesday scrapped plans to move its law school to the Downtown riverfront, deciding to keep it on the main campus.

In a split vote during a special meeting, UC's board of trustees turned back an effort by top business leaders to build a new law school at The Banks. Business leaders were allowed to be part of the board's 2½-hour private session to make a last-ditch presentation, but it wasn't enough to convince Chairman Rob Richardson Jr., faculty and student leaders who believe the law school should remain on the Uptown campus. ...

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August 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

WSJ:  The Joy Of Working At 4:00 A.M.

4 amWall Street Journal, Why 4 A.M. Is the Most Productive Hour:

Most people who wake up at 4 a.m. do it because they have to—farmers, flight attendants, currency traders and postal workers. Others rise before dawn because they want to.

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August 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sturgeon:  Doing Law School (And Life) In Lane 8

Lane 8Starting to Look Up:  Life in the Outside Lane, by Al Sturgeon (Pepperdine):

Anyone with track and field experience knows that the 400 meters is a brutal, gut-wrenching, death sprint, and those same people know that the absolute worst draw is the outside lane, that lonely place where the only sounds one hears after the starter’s gunfire are screaming lungs and the invisible footsteps of your competitors—invisible until that terrible moment when they enter your peripheral vision stage left and you realize all is lost.

Which is why South African Wayde Van Niekirk’s world record in the Rio Olympics is so remarkable: his shocking destruction of the seventeen-year-old record occurred in lane eight.  Afterward, quoted the new world-record holder as saying, “I was running blind all the way . . . and it gave me motivation to keep on pushing.”

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August 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Should Larry Tribe Be Disbarred For His Trump Tweet?


Simple Justice, Disbar Laurence Tribe:

Tribe’s twit is an outrage and affront to legal ethics. He does not deserve to be part of a profession that exists to serve and protect clients. Disbar Laurence Tribe.

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Laurence Tribe Tweet About Trump Sparks Controversy:

Prof. Tribe has responded in an email to Law Blog:

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August 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (13)

Back To (Law) School: The Full Report

BackBack To (Law) School: The Full Report:

About 114,000 attorney-hopefuls are headed to law school this month. has it covered, with details about new courses and educators, and a look back at the school where it all began. In addition, one first-year student explains why he’s entering law school, fully aware of the tough job market. We’ve also queried big-name attorneys about their experiences in law school to prove that, yes, there is life on the other side. Take a look.

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August 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Marty McMahon Named Director Of Florida Graduate Tax Program; Florida To Hire Three New Tax Faculty

McMahonUniversity of Florida Levin College of Law Names Martin J. McMahon as Director of the Graduate Tax Program:

The University of Florida Levin College of Law has announced that Martin J. McMahon, the James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar in Taxation has been appointed to succeed Michael K. Friel as Director of the Graduate Tax Program. Professor Friel stepped down as Director of the Director of the Graduate Tax Program when he retired at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year after serving as the Director for more than 25 years. Emeritus Professor Friel will continue to teach in the Graduate Tax Program as an adjunct professor, as have Lawrence Lokken, Emeritus Hugh Culverhouse Eminent Scholar in Taxation and Emeritus Professors David Hudson and Patricia Dilley. Professor McMahon has been a member of the faculty of the UF Graduate Tax Program since 1997.

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August 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (3)

NY Times:   Report Accuses Mexico’s President Of Plagiarism In Law School Thesis

PlagiarismNew York Times, Report Accuses Mexico’s President of Plagiarism in Law School Thesis:

Already reeling from corruption scandals and a declining security situation, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico was accused on Sunday of plagiarizing nearly a third of his law school thesis, according to a report by an investigative journalist. ...

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

Judge In Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena To See If Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Implants For Mother Of Hit Man's Children

Adelson (Charlie)Following up on Saturday's post, Prosecutors Seek Records Showing Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Enhancement Surgery For Mother Of Hit Man's Children After Dan Markel's Murder:

ABA Journal, Judge in Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena for Breast Implant Payment Records:

A judge in Florida has approved a subpoena for medical records showing who paid for breast enhancement surgery for a woman whose name has surfaced as a possible witness in the murder-for-hire case against two men accused of killing Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

Forward, Does ‘Dr. Boobner’ Surgery Prove Missing Link in Dan Markel Murder Mystery?:

Prosecutors investigating the mysterious murder of Florida law professor Dan Markel believe a woman’s breast augmentation surgery — performed by a surgeon who markets himself as “Dr. Boobner” — provides a crucial tie between the man accused of killing him and his ex-wife’s family.

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August 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Minnesota (-33%), Oregon (-43%) Law Schools Welcome Much Smaller 1L Classes Compared to 2011

Monday, August 22, 2016

Women Ascend In Deanships As Law Schools Undergo Dramatic Change


ABA Perspectives: A Magazine For and About Women Lawyers, Vol. 24, No. 4, Summer 2016, at 8:

In September, [Lewis & Clark Dean Jennifer] Johnson will host the first Gathering of Women Law School Deans, a day-long event to facilitate conversations on topics of mutual interest. The challenges are especially acute now as the world of legal education undergoes a seismic shift. ...

[W]omen law deans and their male counterparts are restructuring, innovating, and charting essential decisions that will affect the future of legal education. "The qualities of a good dean are a willingness to consult broadly on the issues that you face, while not bothering the faculty on matters they don't want to be bothered with," says [former Georgetown Dean Judith] Areen, adding, "it takes judgment."

Rising Number of  Women Law Deans
As of July 31, 2016, 61 women—a solid 30 percent—hold the position of law dean in ABA-approved law schools, and the number is likely to increase by the start of the next academic year. Since 2006, the number of women law deans has doubled, and it has more than quadrupled since 1997 when only 14 women held the title of law dean. ... The percentage of women law deans still lags behind that of full-time women professors, who account for 41 percent of faculty, ... and even further behind that of women law students, who constituted 49.3 percent of the 1Ls in 2014-15.

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August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

13 Signs You’ve Gone To The Wrong Law School

Bitter Lawyer, 13 Signs You’ve Gone to the Wrong Law School:

[M]ost law schools are buzzing with new activity, with first-year students in the middle of orientation or about to head off to start their studies. But what if it’s all a big mistake? What if you’ve gone to the wrong law school? Here are thirteen important things to look for to determine if you’ve made the wrong decision. ...

2.  There is a tip jar at the front of each classroom. Professors manage to mention it at least twice during each lecture.
3.  The new career services director—the fourth one at the school in the last five months—is younger than you. You are 23. ...
8.  For internet access, law school administrators give out the Wifi password to the Holiday Inn’s wireless network next door. ...

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August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Law Prof Humility: Self-Promotion v. Self-Adulation

C.S. LewisLawProfBlawg, Humble Is The Path Of The Law Professor:

I remember back when I started in academia.  Then, giants roamed the earth.  Professors who were very humble, yet who had done great things.  They had argued before the Supreme Court, they had published in high-ranking journals, they had MADE law, published casebooks, and a whole host of other things.  The Supreme Court cited them. You never knew any of this unless you opened their CV, and often times, even some of those things remained hidden.  They were very keen on learning about you, touting the successes of their students, and they went out of their way to help you, with only one condition: Pay it forward.  They still roam the earth, but I fear they are becoming extinct.

Some might say these giants didn’t know how to market themselves, but I think the opposite is true.  They marketed themselves humbly.  They advocated for ideas, and any glory came from the ideas, not the person.  They advocated for others, and through helping others earned their reputation as giants.

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August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Prestige And Rankings Can Help Law Schools Avoid The Same Fate As The 12% Of Dental Schools That Closed In 1986-1997

DentalFollowing up on my previous posts:

Eric A. Chiappinelli (Texas Tech), Like Pulling Teeth: How Dental Education's Crisis Shows the Way Forward for Law Schools:

Nearly all observers of the current law school crisis treat legal education as a unique discipline. In their view, legal education as a whole, and individual law schools, have nothing to learn from outsiders that would be useful in reacting to, or thriving in the face of, the radical changes in legal education that have resulted from the collapse of the admissions market.

I take an entirely different approach. I believe legal education is not sui generis. In fact, another profession faced a similar crisis. Its schools’ admissions market collapsed because of a fundamental change in the profession itself. Twelve percent of those schools were closed. That profession was dentistry, and the lessons from its crisis are the way forward for legal education and for law schools.

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August 21, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

What 'Hamilton' Teaches Lawyers About Telling Our Story

HamiltonABA Journal: What 'Hamilton' Teaches Lawyers About Framing a Story, by Philip N. Meyer (Vermont):

Hamilton is a smash. We all know the story by now. Lin-Manuel Miranda recasts Ron Chernow’s life of Alexander Hamilton as a rap musical tipping the white elitist world of the founders upside down, reinventing the story with a freakishly compelling score and a superb cast of beautiful and talented multi-ethnic actors and actresses. We embrace Miranda’s adaptation because, despite the “tragic” ending, the story is basically an affirmative story wedded to a reimagined version of American history fitting our own time—a narrative that speaks to our best vision of ourselves. Miranda’s Hamilton is the outsider’s assimilationist story, a genius-immigrant’s heroic self-reinvention—as someone with the artistic ability to employ and transform words into the currency of ideas and ideals rising on the meritocratic intellectual and social landscape of the new America. Hamilton’s ascendency, like his hubristic downfall, occurs at the precise historical moment when the country was freeing itself and reinventing itself too.

Miranda’s own genius, and what lawyers can most learn from him, is in his fearless adaptations.

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August 21, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Prosecutors Seek Records Showing Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Enhancement Surgery For Mother Of Hit Man's Children After Dan Markel's Murder

Adelson (Charlie)Tallahassee Democrat, State Seeks Breast Enhancement Records in Markel Case:

Prosecutors are seeking medical records that show Dan Markel’s former brother-in-law paid half the cost of breast enhancement surgery for the girlfriend of one of the law professor’s accused killers.

In a Leon County court hearing Friday, Circuit Judge James Hankinson approved the subpoena for the medical records of Katherine Magbanua.

Magbanua is the suspected link between Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, who have been charged with first-degree murder in Markel’s shooting, and the family of the 41-year-old professor’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson.

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August 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

ABA Drops Probe Of Alleged Discrimination By BYU Law School Against LGTB, Ex-Mormon Students

BYU (2016)Following up on my previous posts:

ABA Journal, BYU Law School Says ABA Probe Is Closed; Group Had Alleged Religious Discrimination:

The ABA has dropped its probe of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, according to the school and a group that complained about alleged religious discrimination by the school.

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August 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, August 19, 2016

The 1-Year Masters Of Law: Valuable Degree For Working Professionals Or Revenue Lifeline For Law Schools?

Bloomberg: The Juris Masters Program: Natural Evolution or Stop-Gap for Struggling Law Schools?, by Blake Edwards (J.D. 2011, Pepperdine):

It’s not a secret anymore: an increasingly popular way for law schools to boost revenues amid falling JD application numbers is to get students in the door for a masters program.

But while the master of laws degree, or LLM, has long been popular for tax experts or foreign students, a more recent innovation — a single-year, non-JD degree frequently known as a “juris master” or “master’s of jurisprudence” is stirring up a controversy.

Law school leaders say these one-year programs, often aimed at mid-career professionals in red-tape heavy industries like finance and healthcare, are of value in an increasingly complex world. Critics say the schools have just invented a new overpriced degree. ...

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August 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Number Of Prospective Law Profs Drops 7% From 2015 (42% From 2010)

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), Number of FAR Forms in First Distribution Over Time — 2016:

The first distribution of the FAR AALS forms came out this week. Here are the number of FAR forms in the first distribution for each year since 2009.


Interesting reader comment about prospective tax profs:

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August 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Academic Clickbait Works: Articles With 'Phrasing Arousal' Titles Receive Higher Altmetrics Scholarly Impact Scores

AltmetricsFollowing up on my previous post on Using Altmetrics to Measure the Impact of Faculty Scholarship (more here)

Gwilym Lockwood (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics), Academic Clickbait: Articles With Positively-Framed Titles, Interesting Phrasing, and No Wordplay Get More Attention Online:

This article is about whether the factors which drive online sharing of non-scholarly content also apply to academic journal titles. It uses Altmetric scores as a measure of online attention to articles from Frontiers in Psychology published in 2013 and 2014. Article titles with result-oriented positive framing and more interesting phrasing receive higher Altmetric scores, i.e., get more online attention. Article titles with wordplay and longer article titles receive lower Altmetric scores. This suggests that the same factors that affect how widely non-scholarly content is shared extend to academia, which has implications for how academics can make their work more likely to have more impact., Academic Journal Articles With 'Clickbait-y' Characteristics Are Shared More Widely:

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August 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

UNT-Dallas:  A Brave Little Law School Or A School For Scoundrels?

UNT 2Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Dallas Observer, DCL Is Either a Brave Little Law School That Could or a School for Scoundrels:

Let’s back off 10 feet and look at both the nose and the tail of this rat now gnawing at the city’s new downtown law school. The University of North Texas Dallas College of Law (DCL), about to begin its third year of operation, is threatened with non-accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA). In the world of law schools, that would be the death penalty.

It's simple. It's bad. The Texas Board of Law Examiners will not allow a candidate to take the bar exam in Texas, a requirement for becoming a licensed lawyer, unless the candidate has completed the required coursework at an ABA-accredited law school.

The forward end of the problem is captured in the headline of a recent Dallas Morning News editorial urging the ABA to relent and insisting that the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law must be freed to pursue its “audacious, but absolutely vital, mission.”

And that is? Both the News and the dean of the 2-year-old institution tend to talk around the point with a lot of fussy euphemism, but clearly from its very start the school’s special mission has been to produce more law graduates of color and from modest origins than are turned out by the established law schools.

It’s hard to argue with that goal in Texas, where Bar Association members are 81 percent “Caucasian,” according to the ABA, while non-Hispanic whites make up only 43 percent of the population of the state. ...

But, wait. What about the tail-end of the problem? The ugly end. DCL is about to enroll its first class of third-year students, raising total enrollment to about 360. That’s 360 hard-working students who have been scraping up about $15,000 a year in tuition and costs, many if not most of them working at jobs and many with families, toiling in the earnest hope of becoming lawyers and making better lives for themselves and their loved ones.

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August 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

UC-Berkeley Chancellor Resigns Following Widespread Faculty Criticism; Latest Revelation: Amidst Widespread Budget Cuts University Paid $200,000 To Improve His Image

UC Berkeley Primary Logo Berkeley BlueFollowing up on my previous posts (links below) on the leadership turmoil at UC-Berkeley:

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August 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Arizona Summit Law School Announces Plan To Affiliate With 'Major University'

Arizona Summit Logo (2015)Press Release, Arizona Summit Announces Plan for University Relationship:

Arizona Summit Law School (Summit), one of the nation’s few independent law schools, intends to partner with a major university within the year.

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August 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Law Grad Class Of 2015 Secured Fewest Private Practice Jobs Since 1996

NALP New LogoNALP, Salaries for New Graduates Rise While Employment Rate Remains Unchanged, Number of Private Practice Jobs Tumbles:

New law school graduates from the Class of 2015 secured fewer private practice jobs than any class since 1996. Nevertheless, the percentage of graduates who found jobs in private practice increased slightly from the previous year, and private practice remains the single largest source of jobs for new law school graduates [data here and here]. ...

Despite a drop in the number of jobs and the graduating class size, this year’s Selected Findings describe a flat employment rate of 86.7%, the same as was measured for the Class of 2014.

After reaching a record high of 91.9% in 2007, the employment rate for law school graduates fell steadily for six years in a row following the recession. Reversing that trend, the employment rate for the Class of 2014 grew by more than two full percentage points, from 84.5% to 86.7%, and has remained at this slightly higher level for the second year in a row. ...

Despite the improved employment rate, the number of jobs obtained has fallen dramatically since 2013, following a period of modest job growth after the recession (see Figure 1). In fact, the number of jobs obtained by members of the Class of 2015 went down in every single job category except for the largest law firms of more than 500 lawyers. The number of entry-level jobs obtained at these large law firms has grown by more than 1,000 over the last four years, but even so, for the Class of 2015 there were still about 1,000 fewer of these positions obtained than there were by the Class of 2009, most of whom were hired before the recession began. 


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August 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Pepperdine's Small, Targeted 2-Year JD Is Model For Other Law Schools

Pepperdine Law School (2016)Daily Journal, Pepperdine's 2-Year JD Program Meets Modest Goals With Targeted Approach:

Several law schools nationwide started offering two-year law degree programs in recent years to try to combat declining enrollment by attracting students who wanted to enter the working world sooner.

While Pepperdine University School of Law's accelerated offering has only averaged five new enrollees per year in its first four years, school leaders say they are pleased with how the initiative has gone and have no plans to halt it like other institutions have done.

Legal education officials outside of California also expressed confidence Pepperdine could maintain its program and said that small, targeted, two-year J.D. programs may be the most likely to survive among the new ones that have launched. ...

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August 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Larson:  Developing Critical Thinking Skills And Practice-Ready Lawyers

Joni Larson (Indiana Tech), To Develop Critical Thinking Skills and Allow Students to Be Practice Ready, We Must Move Well Beyond the Lecture Format, 8 Elon L. Rev. 443 (2016):

Casebooks are constructed around the case method of teaching - reading appellate opinions to understand the law. However, when the case method approach is compared to what an attorney is expected to do in practice, there is a definite gap. If students are to emerge from law school with practice ready skills, they must be given the opportunity to learn and practice a variety of skills and develop the necessary qualities that will allow them to effectively and efficiently enter the practice of law.

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August 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Law School Grads Have It Worse Than Vet School Grads

DVM360, Law School Grads or Vet School Grads: Who's Got It Worse?:

[T]he number of law school graduates exceeds the number of available positions by a ratio of more than two to one. This ratio causes two notable issues: the average wage earned by new law school graduates is low, and the underemployment rate is high.

Of course, this got me thinking about the veterinary profession, as underemployment is one of its primary concerns. We’ve certainly battled with the perception of “too many” veterinarians in recent years, but yet: Do we know how many veterinarians would need to graduate in a single year to be truly “too many”?


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August 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (6)

ABA President-Elect Calls For Law Schools To Innovate

ABA Logo (2016)National Law Journal, ABA President-Elect Hilarie Bass Calls for Law Schools to Innovate:

As the ABA’s new president-elect, Hilarie Bass is inheriting some pointed questions about the ABA’s role in a changing legal landscape. The Greenberg Traurig co-president says her years as a litigator have prepared her to face them. ....

[T]here are a lot of things in the legal education system that aren’t working right now. One of Bass’ priorities for her term in office is to help law schools evaluate how to train lawyers for the future. She’s currently on a “listening tour,” talking to deans and education researchers.

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August 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

South Dakota Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinic Director

South Dakota Law School LogoThe University of South Dakota School of Law invites applications for the position of Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Director:

The position is non-tenure track and paid out of a federal grant beginning no later than January 2017. Continued employment is contingent on availability of grant funding.

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August 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The ABA's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

ABAAFollowing up on my previous post, Department Of Education Panel: 'The ABA Is Nero, Fiddling While Much Of Legal Education Burns Down' (more here and here):  The American Lawyer: The ABA's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Steven J. Harper (Northwestern):

It's a mere formality. Every five years, the U.S. Department of Education renews the American Bar Association's power to accredit law schools. The June 2016 session before the DOE's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) was supposed to be just another step in the rubber-stamping process. 

NACIQI staff had recommended approval. The committee's three-day session contemplated action on a dozen other accrediting bodies, ranging from the American Psychological Association to the American Theological Schools. Sandwiched between acupuncture and health education, the agenda set aside an hour for the ABA.

What could go wrong?

For starters, committee members grilled the ABA's representatives for an entire afternoon. ...

It's Worse Than They Thought

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August 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

3rd Circuit Rejects Class Action By Law Grads Alleging Placement Data Fraud By Widener Law School

Widener (2016)Wall Street Journal, Class Action Alleging Law School Fraud Shot Down by Appeals Court:

A federal appeals court has dealt the latest blow to a lawsuit alleging law school students were defrauded with misleading employment statistics.

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a lower-court’s ruling that Widener University School of Law graduates don’t have enough in common to sue the school through a class action [Harnish v. Widener University School of Law, No. 15-3888 (3d Cir. Aug. 16, 2016)].

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August 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

As J.D. Enrollment Shrivels, Widener, Other Law Schools Turn To Alternative Degrees To Fill Revenue Shortfall

Widener (2016)Marketplace, New Paper Chase: Law School for Non-Lawyers:

The law school business model used to be simple. You recruit a bunch of aspiring lawyers. Those aspiring lawyers pay a lot of money. Three years later — and after a few hundred nights in the law library — the aspiring lawyers graduate and become lawyers.

The model worked fine, until the recession hit U.S. law firms. With fewer jobs available, a lot of aspiring lawyers decided they should aspire to something else. So what does a law school do when there aren’t enough aspiring lawyers left to educate? They start to look for students in places you wouldn’t expect — places like hospitals.

Rod Smolla, dean at Delaware Law School, says close to a third of the school’s students are now in non-JD programs. “And I can easily imagine it going bigger,” said Smolla. “I can imagine it being half of what we do.”

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August 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Student Loan Derivatives:  Improving On Income-Based Approaches To Financing Law School

Benjamin M. Leff (American) & Heather Hughes (American), Student Loan Derivatives: Improving on Income-Based Approaches to Financing Law School, 61 Vill. L. Rev. 99 (2016):

Despite extensive public discussion of the high cost of legal education and student debt levels, too few critics show creativity in thinking about the optimal mechanism for funding a legal education. This Article proposes — and explores the legal and practical implications of — a new model of law-school financing called an income-based repayment swap (“IBR Swap”). The IBR Swap is a student loan derivative: a novel idea that improves upon existing income-share contracts. Under an IBR Swap, students still borrow money from a bank or the government to pay for their legal educations. But students then enter into contracts with a financial institution under which the institution agrees to make the students’ loan payments and the students agree to pay the institution a percentage of income. An IBR Swap is a student’s exchange of a fixed obligation to lenders for an income-based obligation to a financial institution. The parties exchange no money upfront, which distinguishes this form of transaction from existing income-share and “human capital” contracts that face barriers to enforcement.

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August 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)