TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Feldman: Don't Baby Law School Applicants

Bloomberg View:  Don't Baby Law School Applicants, by Noah Feldman (Harvard):

Should law schools admit students who are statistically uncertain to pass the bar on the basis of their standardized test scores? A growing conventional wisdom says no. The worry is that such students will build up large amounts of debt that they won't be able to pay back if they don't become lawyers.

This view assumes that it's up to the law schools to make the threshold decision paternalistically, “saving” naive college graduates from pursuing the dream of becoming lawyers when there’s no guarantee that they'll succeed. It treats standardized test scores as destiny and correlation-based studies as gospel.

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October 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

New York Bar Exam Pass Rate Hits Historic Low

I Love New YorkWall Street Journal, New York Bar Exam Pass Rate Hits Historic Low:

New York just released the results of the July state bar exam, and they’re not pretty.

The passage rate for graduates of ABA-accredited schools who took the test for the first time was 79%, the lowest figure since at least 2004 [2004-2015 data]. That’s four percentage points below the July 2014 rate, and it’s more than an 11 percentage-point drop-off from 2008 when 90.5% of candidates in that grouping passed the exam.

The results out of New York, the state with the largest population of lawyers, follow an emerging national pattern and are certain to fuel debate in the legal and academic communities about whether law schools are setting admissions standards too low.

New York’s overall passage rate, including foreign-educated graduates, was 61%, according to the New York State Board of Law Examiners, which released the data Tuesday. That figure is the lowest recorded in the state in at least 35 years, according to the board.

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October 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Dean Yellen Responds To New York Times Editorial On The Law School Crisis

Law Deans on Legal Education Blog:  New York Times Attacks Legal Education ..... Again, by David Yellen (Dean, Loyola-Chicago):

I'm sure all of you have seen the NYT's dreadful editorial about legal education over the weekend. Of course there were truths in it, but it was remarkably sloppy. It ignores the many reforms taking place in legal education since the crisis began. It also ignores that because of scholarship competition for students, the actual net price of legal education is declining (just ask the budget manager at almost any law school). Whether or not law schools deserve any credit for these changes, the Times shows willful blindness towards these critical factors. In addition the Times strangely suggests that the federal government could "redirect" federal student loan dollars to the worthy cause of improving funding for legal services organization. This completely ignores the fact that lending money to law students is a profitable activity for the government. Even with income based repayment and a somewhat growing number of defaults, the federal government is not "investing" in legal education, it is generating revenue from it.

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October 28, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Computer vs. Lawyer? Many Law Firm Leaders Expect Computers To Win

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer:  Computer vs. Lawyer? Many Law Firm Leaders Expect Computers To Win:

Junior lawyers are used to feeling like cogs in a machine. According to a new report, a surprising number of law firm leaders expect to be able to replace them with actual machines—and soon.

In a large-scale survey released this month, 35 percent of law firm leaders said they could envision replacing first-year associates with law-focused computer intelligence within the next five to 10 years. That's up from less than a quarter of respondents who gave the same answer in 2011.

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October 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

NY Times: 1/3 Of Law Schools Admit Entering Classes With 25% Or More Students At Risk For Failing The Bar Exam

NY Times Logo (2015)Following up on yesterday's post, 2015 State of Legal Education: An In-Depth Look Into Law School Admissions Choices:  New York Times, Study Cites Lower Standards in Law School Admissions, by Elizabeth Olson:

As law schools across the country try to keep their classrooms full, many are admitting students with lesser qualifications, including those with a lower admissions test score — considered an important predictor of whether a graduate will earn the credentials to practice law.

About a third of the 204 accredited law schools had entering classes last year with at least 25 percent of the class consisting of “at risk” students, or those with law school admissions test scores of below 150, according to a new study by Law School Transparency, a nonprofit advocacy organization.

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October 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Obama Administration Accelerates College Financial Aid Planning To Sophomore Year Of High School

FAFSAWall Street Journal, College Aid Planning To Start One Year Earlier:

Attention, parents of high-school sophomores: There are financial steps you may want to take before year-end to help your child get more financial aid for the freshman year of college.

A recent executive order signed by President Barack Obama will change the rules for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid beginning with aid for the 2017-18 school year. Families will complete the form based on their “prior prior year” income instead of prior-year income as they do now.

That means that current high-school sophomores who graduate in 2018 will use 2016, not 2017, as the base year in reporting family and student income on their first Fafsa form. The government form is used in determining the amount of grants, loans and other forms of financial aid.

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October 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Medical School Applicants, Enrollees Hit All-Time High

AAMCAssociation of American Medical Colleges, Medical School Applicants, Enrollees Reach New Highs:

The number of students enrolling in the nation’s medical schools has increased 25 percent since 2002, reaching an all-time high of 20,630 this year, according to data released today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).

In addition, the total number of applicants to medical school rose by 6.2 percent to 52,550, exactly double the percentage increase from the previous year. First-time applicants—an important indicator of interest in medicine—increased by 4.8 percent to 38,460. ...

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October 27, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Henderson Responds To New York Times Editorial On The Law School Crisis

NY Times Logo (2015)Following up on yesterday's post, NY Times: A Majority Of Law Schools Are Scamming Students And Taxpayers:  William Henderson (Indiana), Is There a Right Way to Respond to the "Law School Debt Crisis" Editorial?:

Amidst all the other newsworthy topics, the New York Times editorial board made law school debt the lead editorial for today's Sunday edition.  And the story line is not good.  ...

I don't think the typical member of the legal academy understands the precarious financial condition of legal education.  The precariousness exists on two levels:  (1) our financial fate is in the hands of the federal government rather than private markets; and (2) the Times editorial suggests that we have a serious appearance problem, which draws down the political capital needed to control our own destiny.  With the political winds so goes our budgets. 

I think it is important for the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) to take some decisive action in the very near future.  In this blog post, I explain where the money comes from to keep the law school doors open and why, as a consequence, we need to pay closer attention to the public image of legal education.  I then offer some unsolicited advice to the AALS leadership. 

(1) Who pays our bills?  

Over the last decade, the federal government has, as a practical matter, taken over the financing of higher ed, including legal education. ... The area in green is the volume of money that could disappear from law school budgets if the federal government imposed a hard limit on federally financed law school lending.


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October 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Pasquale Responds To New York Times Editorial On The Law School Crisis

NY Times Logo (2015)Following up on yesterday's post, NY Times: A Majority Of Law Schools Are Scamming Students And Taxpayers:  Frank Pasquale (Maryland), Bootleggers and Baptists in the Student Loan Debate:

The New York Times editorial board has intervened in the student loan debate, focusing on law schools. There are many problems with the piece, but three are fundamental. First, it inexplicably focuses on limiting federal loans to law schools, when the private loans likely to replace them feature harsher terms. Second, it conflates for-profit and non-profit law schools, saying the latter "increasingly" act like the former, while ignoring clear differences in governance and mission. Third, it provides surprisingly little data to back up its assumptions about defaults—assumptions that one of the Times's own contributors questioned last month.

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October 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

LST: 2015 State of Legal Education: An In-Depth Look Into Law School Admissions Choices

LST Following up on yesterday's post, NY Times: A Majority Of Law Schools Are Scamming Students And Taxpayers:  Law School Transparency, 2015 State of Legal Education: An In-Depth Look Into Law School Admissions Choices:

A problem for our profession and society

Law school enrollment is the lowest it's been since the 1960's. To remain financially viable, many law schools are admitting many people who face real risk of not completing school or of failing the bar. The bargain is clear: take larger, riskier classes now to survive and deal with the accreditation challenges, angry alumni, and bad press that follow later.


But at what cost, and to whom? And should we collectively enable this bargain?

We need lawyers. Yet too many schools hoping to produce the next generation of lawyers are failing the profession and society today—not to mention the students they're setting up to fail. To reinvigorate the law school pipeline, we must address the substantive issues that drive prospective law students away from the legal profession. We must ensure that law schools make responsible enrollment choices and become more affordable.

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October 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Inside Stanford Business School’s Spiraling Sex Scandal

Stanford (2015)Following up on my previous post, Stanford B-School Dean Resigns Amidst Lawsuit By Fired Prof Alleging Dean Had Affair With His Wife (Also A B-School Prof):  Vanity Fair, Inside Stanford Business School’s Spiraling Sex Scandal:

The prestigious school’s sexual-harassment policies proved to be no match for a litigious love triangle involving the dean and two married professors.

When, in November 2013, Stanford University held one of its seminars on sexual harassment, Professor James A. Phills, of the Graduate School of Business, heard a lawyer from the general counsel’s office describe a romance gone sour at a primate-research center. ...  By the time of the seminar, the dean of the business school, Garth Saloner, had been involved with Phills’s estranged wife, Deborah Gruenfeld, a social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior there, for more than a year. And while Saloner had ostensibly removed himself from all decisions involving either Phills or Gruenfeld, Phills believed Saloner had remained enmeshed in his affairs, penalizing him professionally and injecting himself into his divorce and custody battles, all to drive him out of Stanford.

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October 26, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 25, 2015

NY Times: A Majority Of Law Schools Are Scamming Students And Taxpayers

NY Times Logo (2015)New York Times Sunday Review editorial, The Law School Debt Crisis:

American law schools are increasingly charging outrageously high tuition and sticking taxpayers with the tab for loan defaults when students fail to become lawyers.

In 2013, the median LSAT score of students admitted to Florida Coastal School of Law was in the bottom quarter of all test-takers nationwide. According to the test’s administrators, students with scores this low are unlikely to ever pass the bar exam.

Despite this bleak outlook, Florida Coastal charges nearly $45,000 a year in tuition, which, with living expenses, can lead to crushing amounts of debt for its students. Ninety-three percent of the school’s 2014 graduating class of 484 had debts and the average was almost $163,000 — a higher average than all but three law schools in the country. In short, most of Florida Coastal’s students are leaving law school with a degree they can’t use, bought with a debt they can’t repay.

If this sounds like a scam, that’s because it is. Florida Coastal, in Jacksonville, is one of six for-profit law schools in the country that have been vacuuming up hordes of young people, charging them outrageously high tuition and, after many of the students fail to become lawyers, sticking taxpayers with the tab for their loan defaults.

Yet for-profit schools are not the only offenders. A majority of American law schools, which have nonprofit status, are increasingly engaging in such behavior, and in the process threatening the future of legal education.

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October 25, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Death Of Robert Araujo: 'Goodbye, My Friends! See You Soon!'

AraujoFather Robert Araujo, S.J. (profile), John Courtney Murray, S.J. University Professor at Loyola-Chicago Law School, died on October 21 (obituary) after a long battle with cancer.  Father Araujo's farewell less than two months ago on our sister Mirror of Justice blog, Au Revoir, Mes Amis, Au Revoir [Goodbye, My Friends, Goodbye], is especially poignant now:

About three weeks ago, I was informed that my then current chemotherapy had failed. This latest treatment joined its twelve predecessors in the minus rather than the plus column. Failure is not always easy to accept, but with the grace of God it can be. I knew this day would come sooner or later, so, as best I could, I tried to prepare for it with careful thought and sober prayer. With the thought and prayer in place, I concluded that the doctors and I had given it our best to try and control a disease that would eventually be uncontainable. Although my doctors aggressively pursue cancer cure, they know that they must also care for the patient in other ways, one of which is to respect the patient’s informed wishes. This sometimes means that the patient is saying he has had enough treatment that the best medical science can provide, and it is now time for nature and God to take their respective courses. This conclusion that I have made and accepted is not my disposition and vocation alone; they belong to everyone, especially the Christian and those who believe in and pray to God. Miracles can and do happen, but I do not ask for one. As a consequence of my discernment, I am now in palliative/hospice care. This means I receive bi-weekly phereses and blood transfusions at Dana Farber; in addition to these two items, I receive pain management care at my Jesuit infirmary.

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October 25, 2015 in Legal Education, Obituaries | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

William & Mary Law School Receives $22m Gift For Student Scholarships, Faculty Teaching Award & Annual Leadership Conference

William & Mary (2015)National Law Journal, $22M Anonymous Gift Made to William & Mary Law School:

The College of William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law has received a $22 million anonymous donation to go toward student scholarships and faculty awards, the University announced on Thursday.

The gift creates a $20 million endowment for scholarships to be given to students in the fall 2016 entering class. The remaining funds will be split evenly at $1 million each for an annual conference to bring distinguished speakers to campus and to fund a teaching award to be given for the first time at the law school's spring 2016 graduation ceremony. ...

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

Friday, October 23, 2015

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Charleston Law School Files Counterclaims Against Two Fired Tenured Professors

ZFollowing up on my earlier posts:

Charleston Regional Business Journal, Law School Files Counterclaims Against Professors:

The Charleston School of Law has responded and filed counterclaims against two fired professors who sued the school earlier this year.

Nancy Zisk and Allyson Haynes Stuart, tenured professors who were terminated from the school on May 22 along with five other faculty members, filed separate but similar suits against their former employer in June. They say they were fired as retaliation for opposing The InfiLaw System’s purchase of the school.

In response to the lawsuits, the defendants — Charleston School of Law and its owners, Robert Carr and George Kosko — filed answer-and-counterclaims documents on Monday (Zisk; Stuart).

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October 23, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Stephen Carter, Louis C.K., And Monkeys On Inequality

On InequalityStephen Carter (Yale), Inequality Debate Looks in Wrong Direction (reviewing  Harry Frankfurt (Princeton), On Inequality (Princeton University Press, 2015)):

Inequality is on everybody’s lips these days -- everybody on the left, anyway, and a lot of people in the center and on the right as well. But what if everybody’s wrong?

That’s the contention of On Inequality, a small, smart new volume by Princeton University philosopher Harry Frankfurt. At the very beginning, he states a simple but powerful thesis: “Our most fundamental challenge is not the fact that the incomes of Americans are widely unequal. It is, rather, the fact that too many of our people are poor.” Progressives, in other words, are shooting at the wrong target. The moral problem posed by the distribution of wealth isn’t inequality. It’s poverty.

These might seem like the same issue, but Frankfurt shows us with elan that they are not. Suppose, he says, there is a resource that will keep a person alive, but only if that person has five units of it. There are 10 people, and there are 40 units of the resource. If the resource is distributed equally, everybody gets four units -- and everybody dies. To insist on equality in that case, he argues, “would be morally grotesque.” ...

Frankfurt suggests that the instinct that leads many to complain about inequality isn’t about equality at all: “What I believe they find intuitively to be morally objectionable ... is not that some of the individuals in those circumstances have less money than others. Rather, it is the fact that those with less have too little.”

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October 22, 2015 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Northwestern Receives Largest Gift ($100 Million) Ever Made To An American Law School And Changes Its Name

Northwestern 2Press Release, Pritzker Family Makes Unprecedented Gift to Northwestern Law:

Northwestern University School of Law alumnus J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, have made a $100 million gift that will significantly advance the mission and vision of Pritzker’s alma mater, one of the nation’s leading law schools.

The 156-year-old school will be named the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

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October 22, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Heriot: Why Aren’t There More Black Scientists? Racial Preferences In University Admissions.

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why Aren’t There More Black Scientists?, by Gail Heriot (San Diego):

The evidence suggests that one reason is the perverse impact of university racial preferences.

Remember when Justice Sandra Day O’Connor predicted in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) that universities would no longer need race-preferential admissions policies in 25 years? By the end of this year, that period will be half over. Yet the level of preferential treatment given to minority students has, if anything, increased.

Meanwhile, numerous studies—as I explain in a recent report for the Heritage Foundation [A "Dubious Expediency": How Race-Preferential Admissions Policies on Campus Hurt Minority Students]—show that the supposed beneficiaries of affirmative action are less likely to go on to high-prestige careers than otherwise-identical students who attend schools where their entering academic credentials put them in the middle of the class or higher. In other words, encouraging black students to attend schools where their entering credentials place them near the bottom of the class has resulted in fewer black physicians, engineers, scientists, lawyers and professors than would otherwise be the case.

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October 22, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (17)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Simkovic, Sugin Elected To ALI

ALI Logo (2015)Two Tax Profs are among the 72 new members of the American Law Institute:

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

Pepperdine Is Ranked #1 In Alternative Dispute Resolution ... And Tax, Clinical Training, Intellectual Property, Etc.?

StrausThe crown jewel at Pepperdine Law School is our Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, which has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 dispute resolution program in American law schools for an unprecedented 11 consecutive years.

I received in the mail my ballot for the 2017 U.S. News Tax Rankings (2016 U.S. News tax rankings). As in prior years, the survey is intended "to identify the law schools having the top programs in tax law." The survey is sent "to a selection of faculty members involved in tax law programs. Law schools supplied the names of these faculty members to U.S. News in summer 2015."

The survey instructs voters to "[i]dentify up to fifteen (15) schools that have the highest-quality alternative dispute resolution courses or programs. ln making your choices consider all elements that contribute to a program's academic excellence, for example, the depth and breadth of the program, faculty research and publication record, etc."

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

Farber: Legal Scholarship In The Progressive Era And Today

Daniel A. Farber (UC-Berkeley), Back to the Future? Legal Scholarship in the Progressive Era and Today, 100 Minn. L. Rev. ___ (2015):

This article introduces volume 100 of the Minnesota Law Review. Like much of legal scholarship today, Issue 1 was deeply and unapologetically embedded in the concerns of its day, which was on the cusp between the Progressive Era and the outbreak of World War I. It is not uncommon to contrast modern legal scholarship with some past era in which scholarship was more doctrinal, less policy oriented, and more focused on issues relevant to practicing lawyers. Yet, of the four articles in Issue 1 of the law review (published in 1917), two are international or comparative, and three (including the comparative article) rely on policy arguments rather than limiting themselves to doctrinal analysis. The subjects include children’s rights and the juvenile justice system along with American neutrality in World War I. Indeed, even by the late nineteenth Century, there were complaints that law professors and law school education had departed too far from the realities of legal practice. The golden age in which practicing lawyers and law professors walked hand in hand into the sunset may be little more than myth, like so many other golden ages.

October 21, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Top Feeder Colleges For Law School Applicants

LSAC, Top 240 ABA Applicant Feeder Schools for Fall Applicants:

  1. UCLA:  649
  2. Florida:  614
  3. UC-Berkeley:  559
  4. Texas:  556
  5. Florida State:  523
  6. Central Florida:  491
  7. Florida International:  481
  8. Arizona State:  442
  9. Michigan:  417
  10. Penn State:  397
  11. Ohio State:  384
  12. Georgia:  359
  13. Washington:  347
  14. USC:  334
  15. Maryland:  329
  16. BYU:  319
  17. Indiana:  304
  18. UC-Irvine:  301
  19. Rutgers:  296
  20. South Florida:  295
  21. Texas A&M:  292
  22. North Carolina:  291
  23. Cornell:  289
  24. George Washington:  285
  25. LSU:  285
  26. Wisconsin:  285

October 20, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Next Wave Of Pepperdine Legal Scholars

Although it cannot match Texas A&M's U.S. News voter swag, Pepperdine sent out this nifty postcard highlighting our spectacular recently tenured faculty:


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

SUNY-Buffalo Law School Bars Fired Professor From Campus

Subotnik: Plain Talk About Testing and Race: A Law Review Publishing Drama

Law & InequalityDan Subotnik (Touro), Plain Talk About Testing and Race: A Reply to Professor Harvey Gilmore and a Law Review Publishing Drama:

The following is my response to an essay that was accepted in May 2015 by the University of Minnesota’s Law & Inequality for its winter issue.  The essay in question continues a disputation that I and a number of others have engaged in on the subject of testing and race. In brief, I favor continued use of testing for admission in law school, although with liberal allowance for alternative measures of readiness for law study. Professor Harvey Gilmore, the author of the essay, believes that tests such as the LSAT are virtually useless and that just about any college graduate who wants to go to law school should be able to do so.

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October 20, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (11)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Harrison: Valuing Faculty Via Publication Pages, Administrative Time, And Student Contact Hours

Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), Lorenz Curve, Gini Coefficient, Faculty, and Some Looney Ideas:

Not too long ago a law professor came to me with a table. He had taken the number of pages people on the faculty had published and divided it by their salaries. This gave him either what a page cost by faculty member or the number of pages per dollar. (I am not making this up.) This was his idea of how to measure productivity.

Actually when I saw that some people cost the school $10 a page and some $2 a page I longed to be in the $10 a page group because those must have been fantastic pages or really high salaries or both. I am pretty sure the faculty member felt cheap pages were an indication of high productivity and low salary. Of course, the idea of whether what was on the pages had any value was not of importance. ...

[S]uppose we plotted the amount of time administrators spend with the bottom 10% of faculty in terms of demanding their time whether it is whining about schedules, courses, salary, foreign programs, or giving unsolicited advice. My hunch is that the bottom 10% take up about 1% of the time and the top 10% take up about 40% of the time. ...

You could also use the gini coefficient to assess how many students people teach. Again, take the bottom 10 in terms of student contact hours generated and my guess is they generate about 1% of all the teaching that goes on. The top 20% of teachers in terms of student contact hours probably account for 40%. ...

Let's take salaries and divide them into the number of student credit hours (student credit hours/salary). Those with high numbers we will call good teachers and those with numbers will be the bad teachers. Or maybe it is the other way around. The ones with low numbers are really giving each student a higher quality experience.

October 19, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crossroads Cincinnati

CrossroadsI learned this week that Crossroads, our former church in Cincinnati, is now the fastest growing church and the ninth largest church in America. This is a special weekend at Crossroads, as they cast their vision for the future:

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

Saturday, October 17, 2015

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Friday, October 16, 2015

Number Of Law Schools Interviewing Faculty Candidates At Meat Market Is Up 10% Over Last Year (But Down 37% From 2012)

AALS (2017)Sarah Lawsky (UC-Irvine) reports that the number of schools interviewing faculty candidates at this week's AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference (89) is up 10% over last year, but down 37% from 2012 (142).

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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Big Red Is Really Big Blue: 96% Of Cornell Faculty Political Contributions Go To Democrats; Law Profs Give Most (26%) To Republicans

COrnell 2Cornell Daily Sun, Cornell Faculty Donations Flood Left, Filings Show:

Of the nearly $600,000 Cornell’s faculty donated to political candidates or parties in the past four years, over 96 percent has gone to fund Democratic campaigns, while only 15 of the 323 donors gave to conservative causes.

The Sun’s analysis of Federal Election Committee data reveals that from 2011 to 2014, Cornell’s faculty donated $573,659 to Democrats, $16,360 to Republicans and $2,950 to Independents. Each of Cornell’s 13 schools — both graduate and undergraduate — slanted heavily to the left. In the College of Arts and Sciences, 99 percent of the $183,644 donated went to liberal campaigns. The law school demonstrated the strongest conservative showing, with nearly 26 percent of its approximately $20,000 worth of donations going to Republicans.   

Almost one-third of donations made over the past four years went to 2012 presidential campaigns. More than 94 percent of the $200,000 Cornellians contributed to the presidential race went to the Obama Victory Fund, while the Romney Victory Fund received under four percent of these funds. ...

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October 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

WSJ: Courts Toss Out Lawsuits By Jobless Law Grads Who Sued Law Schools Over Misleading Placement Data

Wall Street Journal, Jobless Graduates Who Sued Law Schools Find Little Success in Court: Suits Accusing Schools of Deception Over Job Prospects Have Been Knocked Out:

Disgruntled law-school graduates who filed suits accusing their alma maters of deceiving them about their chances of landing a well-paying job haven’t had much success in court.

More than a dozen class actions were filed in 2011 and 2012, but courts across the country have knocked out the lawsuits one by one, including a recent dismissal in Florida. Only a few remain.

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October 16, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Harrison: Oldsters, Charity, And Scholarly Innovation

Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), Oldsters, Charity, and Innovation:

Two things I have seen on blogs lately seem to me to be related. One is this great post in the tax prof blog about the inverse relationship between innovation and the pressure to publish. It is about scientists and how the pressure to get something into print discourages risky and innovative work because it may not produce anything publishable. I have to think this goes triple for law professors who have the same pressure and have to write on topics and on a level that second and third year students do not think is too risky (especially if you teach at a mid ranked or lower law school). It helps explain why the vast majority of law review articles are irrelevant.

The other thing that pops up from time to time is the call for older law professors to step aside and give the younger folks a chance. I guess this is based on some notion of charity or the "right thing"  to do.  Actually, many law profs would not know the right thing to do if it bit them in the ass. Yes, the same folks asking the old folks to do the right thing are likely teaching two days a week, minimizing their course loads, confercating ten times a year,  running scams on foreign programs, and bragging about their influential articles that no one reads. "Do what is best for the community is a great idea when someone else is doing it"  is the rule they live by. Of course, I do not mean you personally.

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

Villanova Law School Is Still Paying A Steep U.S. News Rankings Price For Cooking Its Admissions Books

Villanova Logo (2015)Philadelphia Inquirer, Villanova Law School Paying a Price Despite Doing Right:

Honesty is the best policy, goes the childhood refrain.

But it can come with a price. Just ask Villanova University School of Law, which is finding that the truth still hurts years after it acknowledged a handful of administrators secretly manipulated admissions data of incoming first-year students.

Before disclosure in early 2011 of the admissions fraud, which was perpetrated to boost the school's ranking in the U.S. News & World Report annual survey, Villanova was comfortably positioned among the nation's top 100 law schools. ...

Villanova is still within the top 100, but its U.S. News ranking has plummeted 20 places since the disclosure to No. 87 in the newly released 2016 ranking. And it has had to spend lavishly to stay in the ratings game since it became known that the law school supplied falsified GPA and LSAT scores to both U.S. News and the American Bar Association for an unknown number of years before 2010.

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October 15, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Job Prospects, Student Debt Loads Continue To Worsen For Ohio Law School Grads

Jason M. Dolin, Law Schools: The Real Employment Numbers for the Law Class of 2014, Columbus Bar Lawyers Quarterly 12 (Fall 2015):

Although it took years too long during which tens of thousands of law students - encouraged by law schools to borrow, borrow, borrow - undertook suffocating law school debt, a new narrative has now taken hold with a vengeance: a law school education is overpriced and a risky return on investment, with employment opportunities for law grads limited into the foreseeable future. ...

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October 15, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Texas A&M Fires Back At Texas Wesleyan Alumni

Texas A&M Law Logo (2016)National Law Journal, Texas A&M Fires Back at Law Graduates' Suit:

Correction: A previous version of this story misattributed arguments made by Texas Wesleyan University and its president to Texas A&M School of Law.

Texas Wesleyan University, its president and Texas A&M University School of Law have asked a federal court to dismiss a proposed class action brought by Texas Wesleyan University School of Law graduates.

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October 14, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Product Placement At Law Firms

MBAmerican Lawyer,  Amid IRS Case, Microsoft Touts Bartlit Beck in Surface Ad

Talk about product placement.

When Microsoft Corp. wanted to show off its Surface tablet computer in a new online marketing campaign, the company looked no further than one of its own outside lawyers. It chose Chicago-based litigator Brian Prestes, a young Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott partner who just happens to be trial counsel for Microsoft in a bitter standoff with the Internal Revenue Service over a multibillion-dollar tax audit.

Microsoft unveiled the result on Oct. 2: A two-and-a-half-minute, sleekly produced advertisement that features Prestes as he travels around Chicago between his home and Bartlit Beck’s downtown offices. His real-life wife and daughters co-star in the video, as does his German shepherd.  

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October 14, 2015 in IRS News, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Prof Accuses Law School Of Censorship For Not Including Links To His Work On Website

Robert Steinbuch (Arkansas-Little Rock), When Law Schools Place Dollars Over Debate:

I recently published an article entitled Law Schools Should Stop Misleading Prospective Students in Pursuit of their Desperately Sought Tuition Dollars" in a journal at my law school. ... I discussed how law schools need to be brutally honest to potential students about their chances for success, even if doing so hurts the school's bottom line. In addition, I pointed out the obvious notion that schools should never affirmatively lie, as did the University of Illinois and Villanova Law School when they falsified admissions data to make themselves appear more selective — a quality metric used by law schools in recruiting.

Illinois and Villanova were transparently motivated to put above all other concerns, including the truth, soliciting students to attend their institutions. Even when not affirmatively lying, however, schools heavily engaged in marketing and advertising efforts in pursuit of tuition revenue, unfortunately, often are not fully candid. That creates problems. For example, schools might not adequately convey students' chances to graduate and pass the bar; or schools might try to prevent students from transferring, even when doing so is in the students' best interests.

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October 14, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

More Fiction From Tax Prof Mike Livingston

I previously blogged Rutgers Tax Prof Michael Livingston's initial foray as a fiction writer.  He has published two new short stories:

  • Tree of LifeA short story of havurah (Jewish prayer group) that has to deal with the death of a member--and a rather difficult one--for the first time.
  • Visiting Day A short story about my first summer at a Jewish camp, when the camp was concerned about Israel's victory in the Six Day War and I was concerned about ... my mother.

October 14, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Using Publication Metrics To Evaluate Faculty Stifles Innovative Scholarship

MetricsInside Higher Ed, The Costs of Publish or Perish:

Shortly after being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013, Peter Higgs, of Higgs boson fame, said he doubted he would have gotten a job, not to mention tenure, in today’s academic system. The professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh said he simply wouldn’t have been “productive” enough, with academe’s premium on publication metrics. Conversely, said Higgs, working in today’s academic system probably wouldn’t have afforded him the opportunity to identify how subatomic material requires mass.

“It's difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964,” he told The Guardian.

The statement resonated with many academic scientists running the funding-collaboration-publication treadmill. But while the negative consequences of the “publish or perish” paradigm, such as innovation costs and decreased attention to teaching and mentoring, are widely acknowledged, there’s been scant data to back them up. So a new study suggesting that publication pressures on scientists lead to more traditional, more likely to be published papers, at the expense of scientific breakthroughs, stands out [Tradition and Innovation in Scientists’ Research Strategies].

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October 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

UC-Berkeley's ‘Critical Mass’ Policy Results In Racial Divisions At Law School

UC Berkeley (2016)The Daily Californian, Berkeley Law’s ‘Critical Mass’ Policy Results in Racial Divisions:

In an effort to create a more positive experience for underrepresented-minority students, the UC Berkeley School of Law has implemented a new “critical mass” policy, which has resulted in some racial divisions in the first-year classes.

The policy was criticized earlier this month in an article published on the blog Above the Law Redline, which stated that students at the law school are being racially segregated.

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October 13, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (19)

Monday, October 12, 2015

NPR: 60% Of Faculty Plan To Work Past Age 70; 100% Of Hofstra Law School Faculty Refuse Offer Of Two Years Salary To Retire

NPR LogoNPR, On Campus, Older Faculty Keep On Keepin' On:

Protected by tenure that prevents them from being dismissed without cause, and with no mandatory retirement age, a significant proportion of university faculty isn't going anywhere. A third are 55 and older, compared with 20 percent of the rest of the workforce, according to the University of Iowa Center on Aging.

And while 36 percent of all workers plan to put off their retirements beyond the age of 65, the proportion of university and college faculty who intend to delay stepping down is more than double that, the financial services company TIAA-CREF reports. Another study found that 60 percent of faculty planned to work past 70, and 15 percent to stay until they're 80.

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October 12, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Korn Ferry Report: Women Faculty Face Bias At UCLA Business School

UCLA LogoLos Angeles Times, Women Faculty Face Bias at UCLA Business School, Study Says:

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management has a culture that hurts the hiring and promotion of women through both institutional and “unconscious bias,” according to a new report commissioned by the graduate business school.

The Korn Ferry consulting firm’s report ... urges changes in recruitment, promotion and leadership styles at the school, which is led by a woman, Dean Judy Olian, but has only 18 women on the 82-person faculty. Among other things, the study calls for more forceful action by Olian for “gender equity.”

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October 12, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Albany Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinician

Albany logoAlbany  Law School is seeking to fill an entry level position teaching in its Clinic and Justice Center:

We are especially interested in candidates with experience and expertise in tax, business transactions, or not-for-profit corporations, who could establish a pedagogically appropriate Tax or Transactions Clinic.

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October 12, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax: One Of The Five Hottest LL.M.s

National JuristNational Jurist, 5 Hottest LL.M. Specializations:

Tax law has been the cornerstone of the LL.M. degree from the get-go. In 1995, it was the most widely offered degree. In 2015, it still is.

As Paul Caron, a tax law professor at Pepperdine University School of Law has written, "Tax LL.M. classes are rigorous and demanding. For many employers, both J.D. grades and tax LL.M. grades are extremely important. A prospective tax LL.M. student who is not genuinely interested in tax is not likely to do well in tax LL.M. classes. In addition, the potential resume boost from successful completion of a tax LL.M. degree is greatest when applying for tax-specific positions."

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October 12, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup