TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Looming Asteroid For Law Schools: Proposed $28,500 Annual Federal Loan Cap

Asteroid 2Cassandra Burke Robertson (Case Western), A Looming Asteroid for Law Schools:

My last post focused on proposed aggregate debt caps for federal loans. But as a recent article from Inside Higher Ed points out, a more immediate problem for educational institutions and their students may be the Prosper Act's proposed annual lending limits. The bill would limit federal loans for non-medical graduate and professional students to $28,500 per academic year.

Again, debt caps are not unprecedented — federal loans were capped until the GradPlus program was created in 2006. But so much has changed since 2006 that re-instituting federal lending caps would create chaos in law school finance. ...

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December 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Happy Hanukkah, Hamilton-Style

From The Maccabeats, an a cappella group at Yeshiva University:


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December 14, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Federal Court Chides Western Michigan-Thomas Cooley Law School For Seeking TRO To Block ABA's Release Of Letter On School's Noncompliance With Accreditation Standards

Thomas Cooley Logo (2014)Following up on last month's post, Western Michigan-Cooley Law School Seeks TRO To Prevent ABA From Releasing A Letter About Its Accreditation Status:  the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has denied the TRO in a blistering opinion (Thomas M. Cooley Law School v. American Bar Association, No. 17-13708 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 12, 2017):

This case concerns a law school’s attempt to prevent current and prospective students from having access to accurate information about its accreditation status. ...

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December 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kent Syverud And Dan Rodriguez On The GRE/LSAT Debate

GRELSATKent Syverud (Chancellor and President, Syracuse; former Dean, Vanderilt and Washington University):

I know many of you are being pitched from the Educational Testing Service about the Graduate Record Examination. I worked as a law school dean for sixteen years and was involved with LSAC for much of that time. I am acutely aware of the stress law deans are now under in connection with admissions, including the stress from central administrations of universities.

I write just to make three points as you consider the GRE and LSAT.

First, I have great confidence in LSAC’s new president, Kellye Testy, as someone who is heart and soul driven by the desire to serve the unique needs of law schools in this challenging environment. She is willing to talk with deans not to talk you out of any use of the GRE, but to help you make sure that if you do feel compelled to use the GRE that it is used in a way that is not ultimately going to hurt you and all of legal education in the process. I know she is determined to help each school and to broaden the pipeline of applicants into law schools. She was a leader is this effort as a law dean, and she is bringing that attitude to the Law School Admission Council.

Second, LSAC came into existence, I believe, in part because of the challenges of getting large testing organizations, driven by undergraduate admissions and Ph.D. programs, to pay sustained attention to the unique needs of law schools. Over many years, LSAC developed products and services for law schools that met these needs, and that remain the envy of many professional disciplines. These products and services were helpful to the autonomy of law schools, including during periodic efforts to centralize many activities.

Finally, I fear it is unlikely that LSAC will be able to continue to provide many of the services and support that are currently free to all schools – including data, software, and professional development services – if a significant number of schools deemphasize the LSAT. At least when I was a dean, the annual cost of those services and support to schools was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and would have been challenging for me to replace out of my budget.

I encourage you to discuss these issues with Kellye Testy directly before making any decisions.

Daniel B. Rodriguez (Dean, Northwestern):

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December 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Top Law Schools For Tax

TaxTop Law Schools for Tax, Business, Banking and Corporate Law, preLaw (Fall 2017):

Tax law touches nearly every aspect of the law and is critical to the practice of corporate law, estate planning, business planning and property law. For lawyers with specialized knowledge of tax law, the ubiquity of state and federal tax codes presents the opportunity for a challenging and rewarding career. 

Many law schools offer advanced law degrees, or LL.M. degrees, in tax law, which can be extremely valuable to employers. But law students do not need to wait until after earning their J.D.s to pursue this practice area. A number of law schools offer concentrations, certificates, clinics and externships designed to prepare students to enter the profession with a solid understanding of tax law.

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December 13, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Justice Thomas Ventures Beyond Elite Schools To Fill Clerkship Posts

SCOTUS-Hiring-1-383x1024National Law Journal, Justice Thomas Ventures Beyond Elite Schools to Fill Clerkship Posts:

Justice Clarence Thomas has earned a reputation as a frequent dissenter during his 26 years on the U.S. Supreme Court bench, and when it comes to the clerks he hires, he also strays from the pack.

In a system where justices pull heavily from their own alma maters and a handful of other top schools to fill the coveted slots, Thomas casts the widest net.

He has hired from 23 different law schools since 2005, with one-third of his clerks coming from schools outside the Top 10 on the U.S. News and World Report rankings. The approach, he has said, enables him to find excellence “from all over.” ...

By contrast, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Anthony Kennedy have hired 10 percent or fewer of their clerks from law schools outside the U.S. News Top 10 since 2005.  The late Antonin Scalia hired just a single graduate from those nonelite schools during that period. ...

Over the past decade, Harvard and Yale have increased their dominance with graduates of the two law schools accounting for half of all Supreme Court law clerks. ...

Pepperdine is proud that our own Brittney Lane is clerking for Justice Thomas this term:

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December 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Professional Identity And Professionalism

Benjamin V. Madison III (Regent), Professional Identity and Professionalism:

This article discusses the difference between the professional identity formation movement in legal education and the older professionalism movement. Discusses approaches at different schools to derive values, methods to cultivate such values, and potential to help new lawyers have a strong internal sense of their ethical code, how to make decisions in the gray area (not governed by Model Rules), and satisfaction that could result from practicing in a manner that is consistent with one's internal values.

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December 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud: Defensive Pessimism In Legal Education

Emily Zimmerman (Drexel) & Casey LaDuke (Virginia), Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud: Defensive Pessimism in Legal Education, 66 Cath. U.L. Rev. 823 (2017):

Defensive pessimism is a strategy that involves setting low expectations and reflecting extensively on what could go wrong in connection with a future event in order to manage anxiety and facilitate performance. Previous researchers have suggested that defensive pessimism may benefit law students academically. However, up until now, law students’ use of defensive pessimism has not been empirically studied. We investigated law students’ use of defensive pessimism and compared the use of defensive pessimism by law students, undergraduate students, and community members. Contrary to the suggestions of other scholars, we did not find statistically significant relationships between defensive pessimism and law school academic performance.

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

Congratulations To Pepperdine's Newly-Minted Lawyers

After having to cancel last week's bar swearing in ceremony due to the Southern California wildfires, we held the event last night at Smothers Theater on the Pepperdine campus.  I was honored to share the stage with our alumni director Jessie Fahy and three of our graduates who are judges:  Tricia Bigelow ('86), Second District Court of Appeal, Division Eight; Andre Birotte ('91), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California; and Julie Palafox ('83), Orange County Superior Court.

Bar 1

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

Purdue Prof: Academic Rigor Reinforces White Male Heterosexual Privilege And Should Be Replaced With 'Alternative Conceptualizations For Evaluating Knowledge'

Donna Riley (Purdue), Rigor/Us: Building Boundaries and Disciplining Diversity with Standards of Merit:

Rigor is the aspirational quality academics apply to disciplinary standards of quality. Rigor's particular role in engineering created conditions for its transfer and adaptation in the recently emergent discipline of engineering education research. ‘Rigorous engineering education research’ and the related ‘evidence-based’ research and practice movement in STEM education have resulted in a proliferation of boundary drawing exercises that mimic those in engineering disciplines, shaping the development of new knowledge and ‘improved’ practice in engineering education. Rigor accomplishes dirty deeds, however, serving three primary ends across engineering, engineering education, and engineering education research: disciplining, demarcating boundaries, and demonstrating white male heterosexual privilege.

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December 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Legal Scholars’ Ethical Responsibilities

Neil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas), Legal Scholars’ Ethical Responsibilities Concerning Neutrality and Objectivity, Candor and Exhaustiveness, 100 Marq. L. Rev. ___ (2017):

The specific topic of this essay is legal scholars’ ethical responsibilities concerning neutrality and objectivity, candor and exhaustiveness. These specific responsibilities are best understood in the context of ethical standards regarding scholarship for university faculty in general and then specifically for law faculty.

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

SCOTUS Law Clerks Are Still Mostly White And Male

National Law Journal, Shut Out: SCOTUS Law Clerks Still Mostly White and Male:

According to a National Law Journal study, the U.S. Supreme Court’s clerk ranks are less diverse than law school graduates or law firm associates—and the justices aren’t doing much to change that.

A year as a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk is a priceless ticket to the upper echelons of the legal profession. Former clerks have their pick of top-tier job offers and can command $350,000 hiring bonuses at law firms. ...

[A]mid the luster of being a law clerk, there’s an uncomfortable reality: It is an elite club still dominated by white men. While some variables are outside the court’s control, few justices seem to be going out of their way to boost diversity.

Research conducted by The National Law Journal found that since 2005—when the Roberts court began—85 percent of all law clerks have been white. Only 20 of the 487 clerks hired by justices were African-American, and eight were Hispanic. Twice as many men as women gain entry, even though as of last year, more than half of all law students are female.

The numbers show near-glacial progress since 1998, when USA Today and this reporter undertook the first-ever demographic study of Supreme Court clerks, revealing that fewer than 1.8 percent of the clerks hired by the then-members of the court were African-American (now it is 4 percent,) and 1 percent were Hispanic (now the figure hovers at roughly 1.5 percent). The percentage of clerks who are of Asian descent has doubled from 4.5 percent then to nearly 9 percent since 2005. Then, women comprised one-fourth of the clerks; now they make up roughly a third. ...

Low numbers span the court’s ideological spectrum. Only 12 percent of the clerks hired by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Clarence Thomas since 2005 were minorities. Ginsburg has hired only one African-American clerk since she joined the high court in 1993, and the same goes for Justice Samuel Alito Jr., who became a justice in 2006. ...


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December 11, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trailing Spouses Hurt Women Faculty Candidates' Job Prospects, Not Men

TwoLauren A. Rivera (Northwestern), When Two Bodies Are (Not) a Problem: Gender and Relationship Status Discrimination in Academic Hiring, 82 Am. Sociological Rev. 1111 (2017):

Junior faculty search committees serve as gatekeepers to the professoriate and play vital roles in shaping the demographic composition of academic departments and disciplines, but how committees select new hires has received minimal scholarly attention. In this article, I highlight one mechanism of gender inequalities in academic hiring: relationship status discrimination. Through a qualitative case study of junior faculty search committees at a large R1 university, I show that committees actively considered women’s—but not men’s—relationship status when selecting hires. Drawing from gendered scripts of career and family that present men’s careers as taking precedence over women’s, committee members assumed that heterosexual women whose partners held academic or high-status jobs were not “movable,” and excluded such women from offers when there were viable male or single female alternatives. Conversely, committees infrequently discussed male applicants’ relationship status and saw all female partners as movable. Consequently, I show that the “two-body problem” is a gendered phenomenon embedded in cultural stereotypes and organizational practices that can disadvantage women in academic hiring. I conclude by discussing the implications of such relationship status discrimination for sociological research on labor market inequalities and faculty diversity.

Inside Higher Ed, But Will Her Husband Move? Study Suggests Women With Male Partners Face Bias in Searches for Junior Faculty Members:

Lauren A. Rivera, associate professor of management and organizations and of sociology at Northwestern University, ... observed all meetings of three search committees for junior faculty members in different disciplines at an unnamed but prestigious research university.

She found that search committee members considered “relationship status” when evaluating female candidates but not male candidates. And the underlying assumptions of this consideration hurt the female candidates. Search committees assumed that those with boyfriends or husbands might turn down the offer — even though they were considering candidates who had already been through a substantial portion of a search.

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December 11, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 10, 2017

NY Times: Blinded By Her Husband, Muslim Woman Aces Law School And Finds Success At DLA Piper

New York Times, Blinded by Her Husband, She Fights for Justice (and Aces Law School):

During the summer break from her graduate studies in Canada, Rumana Monzur returned home to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, to tell her husband she wanted a divorce. He reacted with leaden silence.

But a few hours later, he strode into the room where she was working on her thesis, locked the door and pinned her down on the bed. Then he dug his fingers into her eyes, blinding her. He also bit off the tip of her nose, and tore flesh from her cheeks and her right arm.

“I won’t let you be someone else’s and I won’t let you study,” she recalled him saying as their terrified 5-year-old daughter tried to pull him off Ms. Monzur’s chest. “He told me in a hissing voice, ‘I wanted to kill you with acid, but good for you, I couldn’t find any.’”

In the days and weeks after, Ms. Monzur endured multiple surgeries and a smear campaign by her husband and his family, who tried to paint her as the aggressor in the attack. Refusing to stay silent, Ms. Monzur demanded justice from her hospital bed.

The savage assault and her outspoken defiance of female victimization made headlines in Bangladesh and Canada, galvanizing public support that prompted the Canadian government to allow Ms. Monzur to immigrate with her daughter and parents in 2011.

And here in Vancouver she again garnered attention in the news media, earning a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia in 2013. This year she graduated from the university’s law school. Today, she is studying for the bar exam while working at DLA Piper, a prominent law firm.

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December 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

George Washington Shrinks Incoming Class Size To Stop Rankings Slide

George Washington Law Logo (2016)George Washington Hatchet, Law School Shrinks Incoming Class Size to Stop Slide in Rankings:

The law school deliberately enrolled a smaller class this fall in an effort to keep the GPA and standardized test scores of its incoming class in the top-tier of law schools nationwide, the school’s dean told the Faculty Senate Friday.

Dean Blake Morant told faculty that the law school brought in about 9 percent fewer new students this fall as compared to years past. In total the school’s enrollment dropped by about 250 students compared to last fall, according to statistics from the Office of Institutional Research and Planning.

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December 9, 2017 in Conferences, Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Students From Elite Law Schools Vow to Combat Mental Health Suffering On Campuses, Students From Elite Law Schools Vow to Combat Mental Health Suffering on Campuses:

The student leaders from 13 of the nation’s top law schools have pledged to broaden mental health initiatives on their campuses and to fight the stigma of seeking treatment.

The pledge comes at a time that law schools nationwide have launched initiatives to address students’ mental health struggles, in the wake of several eye-popping studies showing the levels of anxiety, depression and substance abuse among both law students and practicing lawyers are far surpassing the general population. Read the pledge here.

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December 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Most Underrated Law Schools In America

2018 U.S. News Law 2Following up on my previous posts:

The Seven Most Underrated Law Schools:

Christopher Ryan of Vanderbilt University and Bryan Frye of the University of Kentucky conducted the analysis that will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Alabama Law Review.

Their premise is simple: Judge the quality of law schools based on where the most qualified students go. These candidates have the most at stake and gather a huge amount of information, so you can gauge school quality based on their choices.

Compared to their position in the U.S. News rankings, seven law schools made significant gains and placed in the Top 50 of the country's 204 law schools.

The Most Undervalued Law Schools

Law School


US News Rank

Spots Gained













William & Mary












George Mason




Rob Anderson asks whether a law school's LSAT and UGPA meadians are a leading indicator of its future U.S. News ranking:

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December 8, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Joe Bankman Co-Hosts Stanford Legal Radio Show On SiriusXM

BankmanPress Release, Stanford Legal To Launch on SiriusXM:

Stanford Law School announced today the launch of Stanford Legal, a new bi-weekly show that will get to the core of some of the legal issues making headlines today. Stanford Legal, part of SiriusXM’s programming arrangement with Stanford University, will premiere on SiriusXM Insight channel 121 starting Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 10:00 am ET.

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

Questions On California Bar Exam Line Up With Lawyer Jobs Data

California Bar ExamABA Journal, Questions on California Bar Exam Line Up With Lawyer Jobs Data, Study Finds:

The content of the California bar exam lines up with national surveys about skills expected for first-year lawyers, but a state-specific assessment would be helpful, according to a recent content validation study from the State Bar of California.

The report, sent to the California Supreme Court on Dec. 1, the report (PDF) follows earlier state bar cut score studiesand the court’s Oct. 18 announcement that the cut score would stay at 1440—for the time being—because it was not persuaded that changes should be made.

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

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Initial Fall 2018 Enrollment Projections Reflect Increases In Applicant Volume And Strength

Applicant Pool Projection – 61,000 to 63,000

With the first release of this admission cycle’s Current Volume Summary from the LSAC, we have the opportunity to compare the current applicant cycle data with that in prior years.

The good news reported by LSAC and posted here on TaxProf Blog by Paul Caron yesterday is that applicant volume is 15,083, up over 14% compared to this point in the cycle last year. The Current Volume Summary states that at this point in the cycle last year, applicants represented roughly 24% of the final applicant pool. (In past years, the applicant volume in the first Current Volume Summary has averaged roughly one-quarter of the total applicant volume for the given admissions cycle.) This means that, at the moment, as shown in the chart below, we can anticipate a total applicant pool for the year in a range from 61,000 to perhaps 63,000, depending upon exactly how things unfold over the coming months. Given that this is only the first of several data points, there remains a large margin of error. By mid-January, after a few more current volume reports, and with a larger percentage of the applicants accounted for, one can have a little more confidence in the estimate for total applicant volume.

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December 7, 2017 in Jerry Organ, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Christina Rice Named Director Of BU Graduate Tax Program

Christina-RiceChristina Rice Appointed Director of BU Law’s Graduate Tax Program:

Christina Rice (JD’07, LLM’13) has been named the director of Boston University School of Law’s Graduate Tax Program. She has served as a teaching assistant and then as a member of the adjunct faculty teaching tax accounting courses in the Graduate Tax Program since completing her LLM in Taxation in 2013.

As a JD student at BU Law, Rice discovered her passion for tax law after taking Federal Income Tax with Professor David Walker and Trusts & Estates with Professor Fran Miller. After graduation, she began her legal career in the business law group at Foley Hoag LLP focusing on venture capital financing just as the venture capital markets began to collapse. She received her undergraduate degree in theater education from Emerson College with a minor in broadcast journalism.

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

Lawyering In The Nation's Capital

LNCNancy Hunt is the director of our unique Washington, D.C. externship program located at Pepperdine's property four blocks from The White House at 2011 Pennsylvania Avenue (more here):

The Washington, DC, Externship Semester offers students the practical experience of working full-time in a legal capacity for the government, non-profits, or other related entities, while completing coursework, networking for post-graduate employment, and experiencing the legal and cultural environment of our nation's vibrant and exciting capital. Classes take place and limited housing is available on the graduate floor of the University's Washington, DC, building, located in the heart of DC just four blocks from the White House.

Nancy has literally written the book on Lawyering in the Nation's Capital (West 2017):

Lawyering in the Nation’s Capital examines legislative process, congressional oversight, administrative law, executive power, statutory interpretation, judicial review of agency action, and the work and impact of Washington, D.C., attorneys working in government, lobbying, law firms, and nonprofits. In undertaking this survey, this text analyzes the sources of authority for those attorney functions and discusses the power struggle between the branches and, at times, between the offices within a single branch. This text further uncovers some of the more complex issues about how our federal government operates and asks thought-provoking questions about the outer limits of the power of each of the branches. It is ideal for companion courses for Washington, D.C., legal externship programs or for survey courses regarding government lawyers. The text is likewise a powerful reference book that clearly and succinctly explains complicated procedures, legal issues, and conflicts arising in and among the branches of government and within the private sector.

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December 7, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

How A Solo Tax Lawyer Paid Off $150,000 In Student Loans In 7 Years Without BigLaw

Above the Law, How A Solo Tax Lawyer Paid Off $150,000 In Student Loans In 7 Years Without Biglaw:

I want to share an interview I had with a solo tax attorney who was able to pay off his student loans from undergrad, law school, and a tax LL.M. degree within seven years even though he did not anticipate being a solo for long. This interview will be divided into two parts.

When did you finish school and how much did you owe then?

I finished school in 2008 and I think I owed about $150,000. My federal loans were consolidated at 2% while my private loans were on a variable interest rate which were between 4-7%.

Which schools did you attend?

I went to a relatively low-ranked law school. Then I got a Tax LL.M. at one of the schools on this list.

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December 7, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wildfires, The Bar Exam, And Pepperdine

Yet another reason why I love Pepperdine Law:  due to the raging SoCal wildfires [NY Times, California Fires Enter The Heart Of Los Angeles], we had to cancel last night's swearing in ceremony and reschedule it for Monday. But we gave our grads the option of getting sworn in if they had family in town for the ceremony or needed to be sworn in early for work-related reasons.

Bar Collage

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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fall 2018 Law School Admissions Season Opens With A Bang: Applicants Are Up 14.2%

From LSAC:

As of 11/24/17, there are 81,877 applications submitted by 15,083 applicants for the 2018–2019 academic year. Applicants are up 14.2% and applications are up 17.1% from 2017–2018. Last year at this time, we had 24% of the preliminary final applicant count.


This follows a surge in LSAT test-takers this cycle (19.8% in June and 10.7% in Sept/Oct).  Moreover, December LSAT registrants are up 26.4%.

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December 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

WSJ:  Law Schools Say: Please Come, No LSAT Required

LSATGREFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Wall Street Journal, Law Schools Say: Please Come, No LSAT Required:

This year, you can get into a top law school without taking the LSAT.

Some of the nation’s law schools — including at Harvard and Georgetown — are letting applicants take the Graduate Record Examination instead of the Law School Admission Test. The schools say they are changing in part to attract students from a wider variety of backgrounds, particularly with science, engineering and math experience.

Both tests, of course, are tough, but the LSAT holds a particular place as a grueling rite of passage. The GRE relies more on knowledge that can be memorized, as college-entrance tests do, than the skills-based LSAT that test-prep instructors say is like learning how to play a sport or instrument.

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December 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chemerinsky Backs Out Of Investment In L.A. Weekly

LACFollowing up on Monday's post, Chemerinsky To Buy Stake In L.A. Weekly:  OC Weekly, Erwin Chemerinsky Is No Longer Investing In Semanal Media Group, LA Weekly's New Owner:

UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky emailed the Weekly today at 4:54 pm saying he will no longer be investing in Semanal Media Group, the company which now owns LA Weekly.

After we unveiled the fact LA Weekly is now owned by mostly Republican donors, many people online were questioning why the hell Chemerinsky would be willing to invest. ...

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December 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

CBS To Air Comedy About SMU Law School Experience Of Dr. Phil's Son

SMU (2017), Dr. Phil and Son Developing TV Comedy Based on SMU Law School Experience:

CBS is developing a new law school comedy based on the experiences of Jay McGraw, Dr. Phil McGraw’s son, at SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas.

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December 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Black Female Lawyers Face The Double Jeopardy Of Racial And Gender Stereotyping

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer, Black Female Lawyers Face the Double Jeopardy of Racial and Gender Stereotyping:

As tough as it is for black lawyers to rise to the top in law firms, it’s even tougher for black female attorneys.

Though black women have outnumbered black men in law schools for about two decades, they constitute only a fraction of the already tiny number of black partners at major firms: Less than two percent of Big Law partners are black, and 0.56 percent are female and black. Black women are the minority within the minority.

Even the best-credentialed black female lawyers seem to fare poorly. According to a new Harvard Law School study of black alumni, male black alums were more likely to be partners than their female counterparts (of those in private practice, 47.4 percent men versus 28.6 women were partners), and far more likely to have leadership roles (92 percent of all black alums who’ve served as managing partners or department heads have been men).

If these high-credentialed women aren’t making it, what does it mean for African-American female lawyers overall?

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December 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Prof: Undoing The Dis-Education Of Millennials

New Boston Post op-ed:  Undoing the Dis-Education of Millennials, by Adam J. MacLeod (Faulkner):

I teach in a law school. For several years now my students have been mostly Millennials. Contrary to stereotype, I have found that the vast majority of them want to learn. But true to stereotype, I increasingly find that most of them cannot think, don’t know very much, and are enslaved to their appetites and feelings. Their minds are held hostage in a prison fashioned by elite culture and their undergraduate professors.

They cannot learn until their minds are freed from that prison. This year in my Foundations of Law course for first-year law students, I found my students especially impervious to the ancient wisdom of foundational texts, such as Plato’s Crito and the Code of Hammurabi. Many of them were quick to dismiss unfamiliar ideas as “classist” and “racist,” and thus unable to engage with those ideas on the merits. So, a couple of weeks into the semester, I decided to lay down some ground rules. I gave them these rules just before beginning our annual unit on legal reasoning.

Here is the speech I gave them.

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December 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Student Lives In A Van To Cut Costs Before Starting UVa Law School

Virginia LogoDaily Progress, Prospective UVa Law Student Sleeps in a Converted Van to Save Costs:

Jeremy Kemp was trying to think of ways to shave down his cost of living while saving up to hike the Pacific Coast Trail in 2018, so he stopped paying rent. Instead, he bought a cargo van for $5,000 and spent two weeks insulating it, building a bed and tacking patterned fabric to the ceiling. Now, he spends his nights in it and his days working in local restaurants and tutoring. ...

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December 5, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Pepperdine Co-Hosts Interactive Program Today On Measuring Employment Success With 130 Law Schools

Pepperdine was honored to be one of six regional law school sites (along with Cardozo, John Marshall (Chicago), New Mexico, Suffolk, and Villanova) participating today in a half-day interactive discussion on  Measuring Employment Success: ABA Reporting and the U.S. News Effect organized by Deans Laura Rosenbury (Florida) and Bo Rutledge (Georgia) and hosted at the University of Florida.  180 deans and career service professionals from 130 law schools took part (as did Barry Courier (ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar), Jim Leipold (NAALP), and Kyle McEntee (Law School Transprancy).  We had 18 participants at Pepperdine, including Deans Jennifer Mnookin (UCLA) and Andrew Guzman (USC) and careeer service professionals from Arizona, Barry, California Western, Concordia, Gonzaga, Loyola-L.A., San Diego, Southwestern, UC-Irvine, and USC.

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December 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

More On Charles Ogletree's Alzheimer’s Battle

Ogletree 2Following up on my previous posts:

Washington Post, Civil Rights Atorney Charles Ogletree’s Mind Is a Weapon. Now, It’s Fighting Him.:

In his decades-long career, Ogletree’s mind has been his weapon in legal cases that took him from D.C. Superior Court to the U.S. Supreme Court. He represented Anita Hill when she made her 1991 sexual harassment claims against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. And he was a longtime moderator of a 1990s PBS series on ethics, where he challenged some of the nation’s top business and political leaders in debate.

Now Ogletree’s mind is battling him. Four years ago, when he was 60, family and colleagues noticed he had begun stumbling over names and repeating stories. The following year, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a disease that usually ensnares victims 65 and older.

“We initially felt hopeless,” said Ogletree’s wife, Pam. “But we have faith and we believe in prayer.” ...

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December 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Our Six Month Anniversary

Friday (December 1) marked six months since I became Dean of Pepperdine Law School.  It has been a  great ride, with some notable successes as well as some challenges due in part to the changing legal education landscape.   I can honestly say that I have been filled with joy each day as I get to work with this amazing collection of students, faculty, and staff.  I correctly predicted on Day 1 that my first decision as Dean would prove to be my best as I convinced these friends and colleagues to join my leadership team:

6 Months

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December 4, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Chemerinsky To Buy Stake In L.A. Weekly

LACABA Journal, Chemerinsky Plans to Invest in Los Angeles Alternative Weekly Newspaper:

Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law and a columnist for the ABA Journal, has an additional title: media investor.

According to a blog post from LA Weekly, Chemerinsky plans to join a group of investors that bought the alternative newspaper serving Los Angeles, but who hadn’t been revealed before Friday.

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December 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument In Accreditation Battle Over Canada's First Christian Law School

Call for Papers: Michigan Young Scholars’ Conference

Young 2Michigan Law School has issued a  call for papers for its Third Annual Young Scholars' Conference:

The University of Michigan Law School invites junior scholars to attend the 4th Annual Junior Scholars’ Conference which will be held on April 13th–14th, 2018, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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December 3, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Harvard And Yale Should Stop Playing Football

Harvard YaleChicago Tribune, Harvard and Yale Should Stop Playing Football:

Harvard and Yale are among the premier educational institutions in the world. They have spent centuries at the task of strengthening and elevating young minds. But on Saturday, Nov. 18, they ... [joined] together in a ritual guaranteed to damage young brains: the Harvard-Yale football game.

The two universities have been meeting on the gridiron since 1875, in one of the oldest rivalries in college sports. The tradition even inspired an acclaimed documentary film about the 1968 game, Harvard Beats Yale 29-29.

Ivy League football is no longer a big deal on the intercollegiate sports scene, which is dominated by large public universities such as Ohio State and Alabama. But Harvard (my alma mater) and Yale continue to send out undergraduate students to represent them in varsity football, oblivious to growing evidence that it does grave and irreversible harm to mental functioning.

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December 2, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Law Schools Help Students Deal With Stress Of Finals: 'Puppies With The Dean,' 'Midnight Breakfast'

YesTexas Lawyer, As Law Students Enter Finals, Schools Find Ways to Help With the Stress:

As Texas law schools enter another final exam season in December, they know that students are stressed, and they’re trying to help. On the lighter side, they distract students with fun events—puppies on campus—or relax them with neck massages. On a serious note, schools present students with information about appropriate and inappropriate ways to cope with stress, and they provide free counseling services. ...

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December 1, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

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December 1, 2017 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

How A Dean Got Over Impostor Syndrome

Chronicle of Higher Education, How a Dean Got Over Impostor Syndrome — And Thinks You Can, Too:

Almost anyone would say that Valerie Sheares Ashby is in the midst of a successful academic career. After more than a decade on the chemistry faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and three years as chair, she became dean of Duke University’s college of arts and sciences in 2015. She’s won many accolades, including awards from the National Science Foundation and the companies 3M and DuPont, as well as several teaching prizes from UNC.

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December 1, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

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December 1, 2017 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Business School Alumni Perspectives On The Need For Legal Studies

Chase Jeremiah Edwards & Reece Theriot et al., Business School Alumni Perspectives on the Need for Legal Studies:

Law professors who teach in schools of business have continually been forced to serve as advocates for their own presence in the business academy. Despite increasing rates of white-collar crime, ethical misconduct, and bankers run amuck, accrediting bodies for elite colleges and schools of business and, more surprisingly, accounting programs have repeatedly considered scaling back or eliminating requirements for basic legal training. This article adds a third decade of linear data as reaffirming testimony to business students’ continued need for more knowledge of the law.

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November 30, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can The GRE Cure What Ails Law Schools?, Can the GRE Cure What Ails Law Schools?:

As more law schools accept a new admissions test from aspiring law students, debate about their motives and whether they’ll meet their goals of diversifying the applicant pool has swirled behind the scenes.

Law deans hope to recruit a new type of law student by accepting applications that use Graduate Record Examination scores, rather than the traditional Law School Admission Test. Law schools, eyeing the extremely large group of GRE test takers, have seen a potential to improve not only the gender, racial and ethnic mix of law students, but also broader metrics such as socioeconomic status, educational backgrounds and professional experience. Particularly, law schools, which have seen the number of applicants decline and LSAT scores fall, want students who have studied or had careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a cohort that statistically has been shown to perform well in legal education.

Meanwhile, critics of the GRE cast doubts about whether the test is capable of increasing diversity along racial and ethnic lines, and question whether schools are trying to fill seats while gaming the law school ranking system.

Because the trend of law schools accepting the GRE is new, the idea that it can diversify the pool of law students is just a promise—there’s no hard data to show it will come true. However, extensive information about the people who take the GRE is available, including their undergraduate majors and their racial, ethnic and gender attributes.

An analysis of the data provides a window into why law school deans are pinning their hopes on the GRE to boost diversity and the sheer number of applicants, at a time when the total number of people applying to American Bar Association-accredited law schools has plunged by about 61 percent in the last decade, according to the Law School Admission Council’s comparable data. ...

The lack of STEM diversity among current law school applicants taking the LSAT is profound, and the available data backs up law schools’ hopes that using the GRE can help them recruit more of those students.

STEM majors would do very well in law school, according to an analysis published this year by Pepperdine University School of Law professor Robert Anderson. He found that STEM students on average score 160 or higher on the LSAT.

That’s promising information considering that, overall, [applicants with] LSAT scores of more than 160 have dropped [45] percent since 2010, according to research by Pepperdine’s dean, Paul Caron. Meanwhile, the average score on the Multistate Bar Exam in February hit the lowest point since the exam was first administered in 1972.

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November 30, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)