TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Anderson:  Deans, Denial, And The California Bar Exam

California (2016)Following up on yesterday's TaxProf Blog op-ed by Deans Boise and Morriss, The Shameful Truth Is That Many Law Schools Have Admitted Students With Low LSAT Scores To Prop Up Tuition Revenue And Now Seek To Avoid Accountability For The Ensuing Poor Bar Passage Results:  Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), Deans, Denial, and the California Bar Exam:

On Thursday a number of California law deans wrote pieces in the Daily Journal criticizing the State Bar of California over the abysmally low bar passage rates some of their schools achieved on the July 2016 exam. Many of the deans' perspectives displayed a profound lack of understanding of how the bar exam works and even ventured into conspiracy theories, leading them to place the blame where it doesn't belong. Sadly, not of them pointed the finger where the blame actually belongs, which is with the deans and their faculties themselves. This is an illustration of the psychological defense mechanism called denial.

The reason that the 2016 pass rate declined so much is that deans, faculties, and to some extent parent universities are not willing to downsize faculty and class size adequately to meet the current lower demand for the JD degree, as I wrote previously. The deans didn't mention a word about this in their blame shifting exercise. I could spend days knocking down all the incorrect information disseminated by these deans, so I had to pick a few of the most egregiously uninformed comments to discuss. ...

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December 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

The ABA’s Proposed 75% Bar Passage Rule And The Coming Legal Job Destruction Caused By Artificial Intelligence

ROSSDavid Barnhizer (Cleveland State), The ABA’s New 75% Bar Passage Rule:

The issue of ABA law school accreditation and the passage rates achieved by law schools is obviously quite volatile. The arguments pro and con the proposed ABA rule on accreditation and the need for law schools to achieve a 75% bar passage rate over a two year period contain hidden agendas that involve preset political positions and the self interest of a variety of groups, including the ABA, HBCU’s and law teachers who are already threatened by sharply falling enrollments.

I have tried to stay away from this issue for several reasons, one of which is that I am working away on a book on Artificial Intelligence/robotics (AI/robotics), job destruction and the resulting harm to the remnants of our “democracy” caused by having a very large number of chronically unemployed people who must somehow be supported in a system that has massive and growing governmental debt issues. As I write that book it has become increasingly apparent that job loss on all levels, including law, promises to be considerably more significant and rapid than we might think.

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December 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 19, 2016

It Begins . . . Department Of Education Cuts Off Federal Student Loans For Charlotte Law School, Effective Dec. 31

FCFollowing up on my previous post, ABA Places Charlotte Law School On Probation, Censures Valparaiso: U.S. Department of Education, Charlotte School of Law Denied Continued Access to Federal Student Aid Dollars:

The U.S. Department of Education today announced that on Dec. 31, 2016, it will end access to federal student financial aid for Charlotte School of Law (CSL), a for-profit member institution in the InfiLaw System. This action furthers the Department’s commitment to vigorously protect students, safeguard taxpayer dollars, and increase institutional accountability among postsecondary institutions.

Following a review of the relevant information, the Department concluded that CSL’s non-compliance with the fundamental standards set by its accreditor, the American Bar Association (ABA), resulted in its violation of the Higher Education Act, the Department’s regulations, and CSL’s Program Participation Agreement with the Department. Additionally, the Department concluded that CSL made substantial misrepresentations to current and prospective students regarding the nature and extent of its accreditation and the likelihood that its graduates would pass the bar exam. Both findings merit denial of the school’s request for continued participation in the federal student aid programs.

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December 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Boise & Morriss:  The Shameful Truth Is That Many Law Schools Have Admitted Students With Low LSAT Scores To Prop Up Tuition Revenue And Now Seek To Avoid Accountability For The Ensuing Poor Bar Passage Results

BMTaxProf Blog op-ed:  Preparing Graduates to Pass the Bar Exam Should Be a Central Obligation of All ABA-Accredited Law Schools, by Craig M. Boise (Dean, Syracuse) & Andrew P. Morriss (Dean, Texas A&M):

We write in response to Indiana University law dean Austen Parrish's recent op-ed in the Indiana Lawyer criticizing the new, higher bar passage standard approved last month by the ABA's Council on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. See Indiana Dean: The ABA’s Troubling Focus on The Bar Exam, TaxProf Blog (Nov. 17, 2016).

Dean Parrish opposes the higher bar passage standard principally because he believes that the bar exams administered by virtually every state are not good measures of competence to practice law, and law schools therefore should not be held accountable for their students' performance on them. Unfortunately, Dean Parrish's conclusion does not follow from his premise and this mistake taints his analysis. No matter whether bar exams test practice skills or not, passing the bar exam is a hurdle that law graduates must clear to practice law. Preparing graduates to pass the bar exam has thus long been a centerpiece of legal education and represents a focus that is neither "emerging" nor "troubling." It is, in fact, a central obligation of all ABA-accredited law schools.

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December 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Women Receive Lower Grades Than Men In Large Law School Classes

Daniel E. Ho (Stanford) & Mark G. Kelman (Stanford), Does Class Size Affect the Gender Gap? A Natural Experiment in Law, 43 J. Legal Stud. 291 (2014):

We study a unique natural experiment in which Stanford Law School randomly assigned first year students to small or large sections of mandatory courses from 2001 to 2011. We provide evidence that assignment to small sections closed a slight (but substantively and highly statistically significant) gender gap existing in large sections from 2001 to 2008; that reforms in 2008 that modified the grading system and instituted small graded writing and simulationintensive courses eliminated the gap entirely; and that women, if anything, outperformed men in small simulation-based courses. Our evidence suggests that pedagogical policy—particularly small class sizes—can reduce, and even reverse, achievement gaps in postgraduate education.

Figure 1

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December 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 18, 2016

For The First Time, Women Outnumber Men In American Law Schools (But Not At Elite Schools)

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Following up on my previous post, More Law Degrees For Women, But Fewer Good Jobs:  according to the just-released ABA law school data, for the first time in history, there are more women (55,766, 50.32%) than men (55,059, 49.68%) enrolled in American law schools. Women 1Ls (19,032, 51.4%) outnumber male 1Ls (18,058, 48.6%). Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), A Milestone for Legal Education:

After crunching the latest disclosures, there remains a strong (and statistically significant) correlation between a law school’s US News rank and its percentage of female students: On average, the better ranked schools enroll a significantly smaller percentage of women students.

Eight of the Top 10, 20 of the Top 24, and 28 of the Top 36 law schools enroll more men than women.

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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

'The Prosecution Does Not Believe That Wendi Ordered The Hit' On Dan Markel

AdelsonFollowing up on Wednesday's post, Does The Prosecution Believe (And Can It Prove) That Wendi Adelson (And Not Charlie Or Donna) Hired Katherine Magbanua And Sigfredo Garcia To Kill Dan Markel?:  David Lat (Above the Law), The Dan Markel Case: Slow Your Roll On Wendi Adelson:

[I]s Wendi a murderess? I have defended her against speculation that she knew about or was involved in Danny’s killing, but I know that many readers hold different opinions. ...

[A] number of readers have excitedly shared with me this account of last Friday’s bail hearing for Katherine Magbanua, posted over at Websleuths by “reallybusy,” who attended in person. The juiciest part:

The prosecution made it a point to say in closing arguments “Wendi Adelson” hired KM and SG to commit the murder. No mention of Donna or Charlie. This was important because of all the speculation prior that Wendi was unaware and this murderous act was carried out on her behalf without her knowledge. The prosecution made a crystal clear point that Wendi ordered the hit.

This claim has been picked up by writers and commenters on several other widely read blogs, including TaxProf Blog (Paul Caron) and Jonathan Turley (in the comments). But is it an accurate representation of what the prosecution claimed at the hearing?

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December 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

California Law School Deans Blast State Bar's Historically Low Pass Rate On July 2016 Exam

California (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the July 2016 California bar exam carnage: several California law school deans have written op-eds criticizing the California State Bar for the historically low pass rate (43% overall, 62% for graduates of California's 21 ABA-approved law schools):

  • Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine), Does the Bar Even Measure the Right Skills?: "An even more important question than why the results were so low this year is whether the bar exam is even measuring the skills that show a person is likely to be a competent attorney."
  • David L. Faigman (Acting Dean, UC-Hastings), It's Not the State Bar's Responsibility to Control Lawyer Supply: "The issue of whether there are too many lawyers is a fair one to ask, but it is not the California Bar's job to control that supply. Such a protectionist motive, if that is the bar's intent, presents substantial policy and, possibly, legal concerns."

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December 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Muller:  The Complete Collapse Of Bar Passage Rates In California

California (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the July 2016 California Bar Exam carnage: Derek Muller (Pepperdine), The Collapse of Bar Passage Rates in California:

My colleague Paul Caron has helpfully displayed the data of the performance of California law schools in the July 2016 California bar exam. It's worth noting that the results aren't simply bad for many law schools; they represent a complete collapse of scores in the last three years.

The chart here shows the performance of first-time California bar test-takers who graduated from California's 22 ABA-accredited law schools in the July 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 administrations of the exam.

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December 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Death Of Tim Edgar (Osgoode Hall)

EdgarRemembering Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Tim Edgar:

The York University community mourns the loss of Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Tim Edgar (LLM '88) who died Dec. 9 after a long illness. A small family memorial service in London, Ontario will be held later this month.

“Tim was an exceptional tax scholar, a wonderful colleague, and a dedicated teacher,” said Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin. “Colleagues will remember Tim as a careful, thoughtful, and engaged person and for his many contributions during his time at the law school.”

Edgar joined the Osgoode faculty in 2011 after a long career at Western Law School where he taught tax law and policy for 21 years. He published articles on taxation in the Canadian Tax Journal, New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy, Virginia Tax Review, SMU Law Review and other periodicals.

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December 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

165 Law Schools Have Reduced The Size Of Their 1L Classes Since 2011, 53 By 33% Or More

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Following up on my last post, ABA Releases 2016 Standard 509 Information Reports For All 204 Law Schools: J.D. Enrollment Fell 2.6%, Non-J.D. Enrollment Increased 4.5%: Keith Lee mines the 2011-2016 1L matriculant data and includes great charts, sorted alphabetically and by percentage changes in 2016 from 2011 and 2015.

165 schools decreased the size of their 1L classes from 2011 to 2016, including 53 by 33% or more. 12 law schools had decreases of at least 50%:

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December 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

ABA Releases 2016 Standard 509 Information Reports For All 204 Law Schools: J.D. Enrollment Fell 2.6%, Non-J.D. Enrollment Increased 4.5%

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar today released Standard 509 Information Reports for all 204 law schools, along with this data overview:

ABA-approved law schools are required to post their Standard 509 Information Reports on their websites under their ABA Required Disclosures, annually by December 15. The 2016 reports should now be available on each school’s website. The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar website provides access to that information for all law schools, including downloadable spreadsheets of aggregate data that the law schools report. The Section is also providing spreadsheets on a school-by-school basis that report applicant data and LSAT and UGPA information for each school’s 1L matriculants, changes in the 1L classes on a school-by-school basis, and a report on 1L enrollment by gender and race/ethnicity (to come). Over the next several months, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar intends to produce and publish additional reports about this data.

ABA 1

ABA 2

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December 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Citi:  Demand For Law Firm Services Grew 0.3% In 2016 And Will Remain Tepid In 2017

CHAmerican Lawyer, Citi Report Claims Growth Will Remain Slow in 2017:

The legal industry can expect to see low single-digit growth in revenue and profitability next year, just as it did in 2016, according to a report released Tuesday by Citi Private Bank’s law firm group and Hildebrandt Consulting. ... The report, which is released annually, noted that demand for law firm services grew by 0.3 percent in the first three quarters of this year, while expenses grew by 3.4 percent during the same time period, thanks in part to the rise in associate pay. Still, firms were able to raise revenue by 3.7 percent, largely because lawyer rates grew by 3.2 percent. ...

We expect that, similar to 2010-16 performance levels, 2017 will see low single-digit growth in industry revenue and profitability.

Citi Private Bank & Hildebrandt Consulting, 2017 Client Advisory:

Chart 2

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December 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Anderson:  The Top Ten Myths About the Bar Exam

Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), Top Ten Myths About the Bar Exam:

Myth #1. Bar exam difficulty is similar across all jurisdictions.
The fact is that the difficulty of passing the bar varies greatly from state to state. A person could pass the bar with a significant margin to spare in one state and still fail by a significant margin in another. The difficulty of most state bars is scaled to a passing score based on the Multistate Bar Exam. California and Delaware have the highest required scores to pass, and most other states have much lower scores. To give an illustration, in the California July 2016 bar only 43% passed. If they had taken the bar in New York, 70% would have passed.

Myth #2. The New York bar exam is a very difficult exam compared to other states.

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December 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Is Malcolm Gladwell Right: Do 50% Of Harvard Law Students Take Drugs To Enhance Their Academic Performance?

MHLSBloomberg Law, Is ‘More Than 50%’ of Harvard Law School on Drugs?:

Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Blink, The Tipping Point, and Outliers, was a guest [on Lance Armstrong's podcast] in October. Armstrong and Gladwell’s conversation turned to performance enhancing drugs and therapeutic use exemptions. Gladwell commented on how debates about high performance in sports parallel debates about high performance in society. By way of example, he pointed to extraordinarily high uses of drugs like Adderall among students at elite universities. From there, Gladwell went on to speculate about students at Harvard Law School…

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December 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

What Law Prof Learned In Suing His Law School For Admissions Data

Arkansas Little RockFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): Robert Steinbuch (Arkansas-Little Rock), The Value of Data and Litigation:

I recently sued my law school (the UALR-Bowen School of Law) to get access to admissions and bar-passage data. I wasn’t planning on doing that, but it became necessary after the administration refused my Freedom of Information Act request about these matters. After I filed suit, the school gave me the data I wanted. When I examined that data, I discovered a set of uncomfortable facts that was difficult to reconcile with the narrative that my law school had presented.

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December 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Does The Prosecution Believe (And Can It Prove) That Wendi Adelson (And Not Charlie Or Donna) Hired Katherine Magbanua And Sigfredo Garcia To Kill Dan Markel?

AdelsonFollowing up on Sunday's post, Judge Denies Bond For Katherine Magbanua, Charged With First Degree Murder In Killing Of Dan Markel:  commenters to several websites claim that the prosecution at the bond hearing said in "closing arguments [that] 'Wendi Adelson' hired [Katherine Magbanua] and [Sigfredo Garcia] to commit the murder. No mention of Donna or Charlie [Adelson]. This was important because of all the speculation prior that Wendi was unaware and this murderous act was carried out on her behalf without her knowledge. The prosecution made a crystal clear point that Wendi ordered the hit."

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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December 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Former Tenured Prof Sues Atlanta's John Marshall Law School For Racial Discrimination

FulcherFollowing up on my previous posts (links below): National Law Journal, Another Racial Bias Suit Filed Against Atlanta's John Marshall Law School:

For the second time in four years, a female African-American former professor at Atlanta's John Marshall Law School has sued the institution for racial discrimination.

In a suit filed Dec. 8 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, plaintiff Patrice Fulcher claims she was continually denied promotions and pay raises by several of the school's deans during her eight years teaching there. She alleges that women, and African-American women in particular, are routinely relegated to teaching legal skills courses instead of doctrinal courses despite being qualified and are paid less than similarly situated white male professors.

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December 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 2016 California Bar Exam Results:  Nine Law Schools (Including UC-Hastings) Are At Risk Of Failing ABA's Proposed New Bar Passage Accreditation Standard

California State BarThe California State Bar has released school by school data on the July 2016 California Bar Exam.  Here are the results for first time test takers for the 21 California ABA-approved law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (California and overall):

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)

 

School

US News Rank

CA (Overall)

1 (91%)

Stanford

1 (2)

2 (88%)

USC

4 (19)

3 (84%)

UC-Berkeley

2 (8)

4 (82%)

UCLA

3 (17)

5 (81%)

UC-Irvine

5 (28)

6 (72%)

UC-Davis

6 (30)

6 (72%)

Loyola-L.A.

8 (65)

8 (71%)

San Diego

10 (74)

9 (70%)

Pepperdine

8 (65)

10 (66%)

Santa Clara

11 (129)

62%

Statewide Ave. (CA ABA-Approved)

11 (61%)

McGeorge

13 (144)

11 (61%)

Cal-Western

Tier 2

13 (57%)

Chapman

12 (136)

14 (51%)

UC-Hastings

7 (50)

15 (42%)

Western State

Tier 2

16 (38%)

Southwestern

Tier 2

17 (36%)

San Francisco

Tier 2

18 (31%)

Golden Gate

Tier 2

18 (31%)

La Verne

Tier 2

18 (31%)

T. Jefferson

Tier 2

21 (22%)

Whittier

Tier 2

The Recorder, By the Numbers: How California Law Schools Fared on the Bar Exam:

Just five of 21 California law schools accredited by the American Bar Association had at least 75 percent of their graduates pass the July bar exam, a proposed new benchmark rate that in coming years could spell trouble for some institutions.

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December 13, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

The Dangers Of Echo Chambers On Campus: 'We Liberals Preach Inclusion Of People Who Don’t Look Like Us — So Long As They Think Like Us'

New York Times:  The Dangers of Echo Chambers on Campus, by Nicholas Kristof:

After Donald Trump’s election, some universities echoed with primal howls. Faculty members canceled classes for weeping, terrified students who asked: How could this possibly be happening?

I share apprehensions about President-elect Trump, but I also fear the reaction was evidence of how insular universities have become. When students inhabit liberal bubbles, they’re not learning much about their own country. To be fully educated, students should encounter not only Plato, but also Republicans.

We liberals are adept at pointing out the hypocrisies of Trump, but we should also address our own hypocrisy in terrain we govern, such as most universities: Too often, we embrace diversity of all kinds except for ideological. Repeated studies have found that about 10 percent of professors in the social sciences or the humanities are Republicans.

We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us.

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December 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

This Is Your Brain on Law School

BrainAbigail A. Patthoff (Chapman), This is Your Brain on Law School: The Impact of Fear-Based Narratives on Law Students, 2015 Utah L. Rev. 391:

Law students regularly top the charts as among the most dissatisfied, demoralized, and depressed of graduate student populations. As their teachers, law professors cannot ignore the palpable presence of this stress in our classrooms – unchecked, it stifles learning, encourages counterproductive behavior, and promotes illness. Yet, in the name of persuasion, professors frequently, and perhaps unwittingly, introduce additional fear into the classroom as a pedagogical tool via a common fear-based narrative: the cautionary tale. By taking lessons from existing social science research about “fear appeals” – scare tactics designed to frighten the listener into adopting a particular behavior – this article suggests that we can actively manage one source of law student anxiety by more thoughtfully using cautionary tales.

December 13, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, December 12, 2016

University Of Wisconsin Gives Administrators Final Say Over Five-Year Post-Tenure Reviews; Underperforming Faculty Will Be Placed In Remediation Program, Leading To Termination If Performance Does Not Improve

WisconsinChronicle of Higher Education, Wisconsin Regents Approve Post-Tenure Policies Condemned by Faculty:

University of Wisconsin system regents on Thursday approved a new policy mandating that administrators conduct “independent, substantive reviews” of tenured faculty members every five years, The Journal Sentinel reports. While top administrators already have authority over post-tenure reviews, faculty critics have worried aloud that the change — which makes administrators’ duties in the area explicit — will make it easier for professors to be fired.

Wisconsin State Journal, Changes to UW Faculty Reviews Give Administrators Final Say on Performance:

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December 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement Ignores Key Problem: Failure To Tie Student Loans To Job Outcomes

American Lawyer LogoThe American Lawyer:  The ABA Raises the Wrong Bar, by Steven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern; author, The Lawyer Bubble):

[I]n October, ...  the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar recommended a rule change that it thought was monumental. It's actually far too little coming far too late. The new rule would require at least 75 percent of a law school's graduates to pass a state bar exam within two years of receiving their degrees. The current standard requires a 75 percent pass rate within five years. Since 2000, only four law schools have faced difficulty under the current standard, and all were restored to full accreditation.

Plummeting national bar passage rates coupled with growing student debt for degrees of dubious value are the culmination of a dysfunctional market in legal education. That dysfunction is taking a cruel toll on a generation vulnerable to exploitation by elders who know better. Sooner or later, we'll all pay the price.

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December 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (26)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Death Of Hope Lewis (Northeastern), Age 54

Hope LewisNortheastern Mourns Loss of Hope Lewis, Law Professor and Human Rights Scholar:

Pro­fessor Hope Lewis, a member of the School of Law’s fac­ulty since 1992, died Tuesday after a long ill­ness. She was 54.

Born on May 14, 1962, Lewis was a grad­uate of the Bronx High School of Sci­ence, Har­vard Col­lege, and Har­vard Law School. A pas­sionate cham­pion of the poor and dis­ad­van­taged, Lewis focused her teaching and schol­arly work on human rights and eco­nomic rights in the global economy. She co-​​founded the law school’s Pro­gram on Human Rights and the Global Economy and served as the fac­ulty director of the law school’s Global Legal Studies program.

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December 11, 2016 in Legal Education, Obituaries | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Denies Bond For Katherine Magbanua, Charged With First Degree Murder In Killing Of Dan Markel

MagnaubaTallahassee Democrat, Judge Denies Bond For Katherine Magbanua, One of Three Charged With FSU Law Professor Dan Markel's Murder:

Katherine Magbanua will remain in jail, for now.

At a day-long Friday bond hearing, prosecutors fought to keep the 31-year-old mother of two, believed to a key orchestrator in the shooting of Florida State law professor Dan Markel, in jail until her Feb. 27 trial.

Leon Circuit Judge James Hankinson sided with them, denying Magbanua’s motion for pretrial release.

The third person charged in Markel’s death, Magbanua sat quietly, whispering with her Miami attorneys, Christopher DeCoste and Tara Kawass, while her brother Erik Magbanua, who testified Friday, sat in the courtroom. ...

A mountain of evidence in the murder case was presented at the hearing.

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December 11, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Hamilton By Harvard Economics Students

Continuing my obsession with interest in Hamilton (links below):

(Click on Vimeo button on bottom right to view video directly on Vimeo to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.)

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December 10, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fall 2017 Law School Applicants Down 5.1%

LSACLSAC, Three-Year ABA Volume Comparison:

As of 12/02/16, there are 81,710 applications submitted by 14,892 applicants for the 2017–2018 academic year. Applicants are down 5.1% and applications are down 1.7% from 2016–2017. Last year at this time, we had 28% of the preliminary final applicant count.

ABA

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December 10, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Death Of Michael Rich (Elon), Age 41

RichFollowing up on my April 26 post, Michael Rich (Elon) On His Metastatic Kidney Cancer Diagnosis: Elon Law School Press Release, Death of Associate Professor Michael L. Rich:

One of Elon University School of Law’s most prolific teacher-scholar-mentors, beloved by students and colleagues alike, passed away Wednesday morning after a three-year battle with metastatic kidney cancer.

A memorial service will be held next week at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (2105 W. Market Street) in Greensboro. This announcement will be updated with more information once details are finalized.

"Let it suffice that Mike’s dedication, even against insurmountable odds, to Elon Law, his students, his work, and his colleagues should inspire and sustain us all,” said Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman. “We are better for knowing Mike but his passing leaves a profound void in our hearts and our community.”

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December 9, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Graduate Sues University For $1.2 Million, Says 'Appallingly Bad' Teaching Prevented Him From Being A Successful Lawyer

Oxford (2016)American Lawyer, Graduate Sues Oxford University For Preventing Him From Becoming A Lawyer:

An Oxford graduate is suing the prestigious university for 1 million pounds ($1.27 million), claiming that its “appallingly bad” teaching prevented him from having a successful career as a lawyer.

Faiz Siddiqui, who graduated with a degree in modern history 16 years ago, told the high court he believes he would have had a career as an international commercial lawyer if he had been awarded a first-class degree, rather than the upper second-class he actually achieved. (Instead of using a GPA system, U.K. degrees are graded in four categories: first class, upper second class, lower second class and third class.)

Siddiqui, who trained as a solicitor after leaving university, claims that he underachieved due to “negligent” teaching.

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December 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Anderson On The California Bar Exam Carnage: Law Schools Need To 'Cull The Herd Of Bloated Tenured Faculties'

TenureFollowing up on yesterday's post, Who Is To Blame For UC-Hastings 'Horrific' 51% Bar Pass Rate?: Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), The California Bar Exam Saga Continues:

The State Bar of California recently announced that the pass rate for the July 2016 California bar exam was 43%. This is a multi-decade low, and has affected virtually every law school in California. Even among ABA-accredited law schools' first time takers, the passage rate was only 62%. Particularly hard hit was UC Hastings, which apparently had a 51% passage rate.

Hastings Dean David Faigman reportedly took to email and wrote a letter to the UC Hastings Community in which he laid the blame on the State Bar. He expressed "incredulity" at the "shameful" and "unconscionable" conduct of the Bar. ... 

The primary reason that bar passage rates are declining is not because of the conduct of the State Bar, but because of the conduct of law schools. Law schools are admitting less and less qualified students in an effort to bolster their bottom lines. And why do their bottom lines need to be bolstered? Because they have too many faculty relative to student demand for the schools, and are either reluctant or unable to reduce the size of the faculty to "right size" the law school relative to present demand for the JD.

The blame for the current crisis lies squarely on the bloated tenured faculties of American law schools. In every institution, ineffective faculty members continue to collect a paycheck for decades after their "sell by" date has come and gone. Many faculty members at many institutions should have never been hired to teach law in the first place. But the instinctive response of most affinity groups is to circle the wagons when danger appears, and that is exactly what has happened in law schools.

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December 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (22)

Chicago Tribune:  Valparaiso Law School Faces Two Bleak Choices — 'Admit More Unprepared Students Or Face Reality And Close'

Valpo (2019)Following up on my previous posts (links below): Chicago Tribune, Valparaiso University's Law School Might Face Bleak Choices:

Two weeks ago in a nearly unprecedented backhand, the American Bar Association punished two law schools 723 miles apart for similar indiscretions. One was put on probation for two years. The other was censured. ... The ABA said both schools were not doing any of their central jobs well enough during the assessment period to guarantee continued accreditation. Fix it, or else.

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December 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Maryland Law School Offers 10% Tuition Discount To Federal Employees Pursuing MSL, LLM Degrees

Maryland (2016)Press Release, Office of Personnel Management, Maryland Carey Law form Federal Employee Education Alliance:

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law announced an agreement to offer a Federal Employee (FEDEM) grant equivalent to a 10% tuition discount to Federal employees and their spouses admitted to the Master of Science in Law (MSL) or the Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs.

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December 8, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

UMass Law School Gains Full ABA Accreditation, Needs To Double Enrollment (From 66 1Ls) To Be Financially Sustainable

UMass 2The ABA Section of Legal Education And Admissions to the Bar announced yesterday that it has granted the University of Massachusetts School of Law-Dartmouth full accreditation.  

Boston Globe, UMass Law School Gains Full Accreditation:

The school operates on about $9.3 million annually and is projected to run a $3.3 million deficit this year, down from $3.8 million last year. Since UMass took over the law school in 2010, the subsidy has totaled $15.3 million, according to UMass.

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December 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Katherine Magbanua Pleads Not Guilty To First Degree Murder In Killing Of Dan Markel, Trial Set For February; Prosecutors Still Hope She Will Implicate Adelsons

MagnaubaTallahassee Democrat, Katherine Magbanua Pleads Not Guilty in Markel Killing:

Katherine Magbanua is not working with investigators, instead pleading not guilty and requesting a February trial date on charges of first degree murder in the shooting of Dan Markel.

Magbanua, a prime suspect in orchestrating the murder-for-hire plot of the renowned Florida State law professor, is the third person charged in his 2014 killing.

Tuesday, she sat in the same Leon County courtroom as the suspected gunman and father of two of her children Sigfredo Garcia. The two did not make eye contact save for a quick glance after the 31-year-old Magbanua entered her plea alongside her two Miami attorneys. A trial date has been set for Feb. 27. She was indicted on first-degree murder charges last week. ...

Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said she would like to strike a deal with Magbanua similar to one made with former defendant Luis Rivera that led to her arrest.

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December 7, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Who Is To Blame For UC-Hastings 'Horrific' 51% Bar Pass Rate?

UC-Hastings Logo 3Above the Law, Who’s To Blame For School’s ‘Horrific’ Bar Results? Maybe The California Bar Examiners.:

The California Bar Examiners have sent letters to law schools informing them of their passage rates. For UC Hastings, acting Dean David Faigman was on the receiving end of “horrific” news. The July 2016 passage rate for first-time takers from Hastings was a mere 51 percent.

Holy hell.

Faigman certainly doesn’t sugarcoat it in a message sent to the Hastings community. He calls it unacceptable. He highlights that the school is 11 points below the state average. He outlines concrete efforts the school will make to help those who failed. He explains that he’s already taken steps designed to improve passage rates going forward. You can read his entire message and evaluate his proposals for yourself here. ...

Faigman makes one other subtle — but vitally important — point in his letter that he carefully notes isn’t an excuse, but that deserves attention nonetheless:

As an aside, let me express my utter incredulity with the conduct of the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. The pass-rate for first-time takers of ABA accredited California law schools was 62%. In comparison, New York’s bar-pass rate was 83%. The California Bar is effectively saying that 38% of graduates from ABA accredited law schools are not qualified to practice law. This is outrageous and constitutes unconscionable conduct on the part of a trade association that masquerades as a state agency.  [See also More On The California Bar Exam Carnage.]

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Illinois Dean Offers Qualified Support For ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Vikram Amar (Dean, Illinois), Thoughts On The ABA’s Proposed Tightening Of Bar Pass Standards:

A number of law deans have recently weighed in on proposed changes to the ABA’s standards for bar passage outcomes that law schools would (if the proposals are enacted) need to satisfy to remain accredited. The proposal requires at least 75% of the students from each law school’s graduating class who take a bar exam to pass within two years of the date of graduation. ...

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December 6, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mitchell Hamline Revamps Weekend J.D. Program To Require Students To Be On Campus Only 7 (Rather Than 13) Weekends Per Semester

Mitchell HamlineFollowing up on Sunday's post, Loyola-Chicago, Mitchell Hamline, And Seton Hall Offer Weekend J.D. Programs:  Mitchell Hamline announced yesterday that it has revamped its weekend J.D. program so that 

[students] only need to be present on campus seven weekends a semester instead of 13, which opens the program up to people who are working full-time and live in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, or anywhere that has direct flights to the Twin Cities.

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December 6, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Donald Trump:  'A Socratic Method Guy' — The 'Professor Kingsfield Of Presidents'?

CBS Face the Nation (Dec. 4, 2016):  Reince Priebus on Donald Trump:

He is a details guy. ...  I would say it’s he’s a Socratic method guy. It kind of reminds me of being back in law school. He asks a lot of questions, asks questions about questions. And he will keep going until he’s satisfied with the information that he’s getting.

Kingsfield Trump 2

December 6, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (0)

39 Private College Presidents Earned > $1 Million In 2014 (Up From 32 In 2013)

ChronicleChronicle of Higher Education, 39 Private-College Leaders Earn More Than $1 Million:

A total of 39 leaders of private colleges earned more than $1 million during the 2014 calendar year. The number of leaders with compensation above $1 million was up from 32 the year before. The average pay of private-college leaders, including those who served partial years, was $489,927 in 2014. Among presidents who served the whole year, average pay was $512,987. Leaders who served full years in both 2013 and 2014 saw a pay increase of 8.6 percent.

Here are the ten most highly compensated private college presidents:

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December 6, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Chronicle Of Higher Education Special Report:  Faculty Retirement Incentives

ChronicleChronicle of Higher Education Special Report, Retirement Incentives:

How to help faculty members view retirement as an opportunity, not a threat.

CHEGreasing the Retirement Wheel at UCLA:

Senior scholars, of course, can benefit a college with their deep knowledge and research. But colleges are under pressure to encourage turnover in their faculty ranks. Tighter budgets, especially at public universities, are made even tighter by the higher salaries and health-care expenses of older faculty members. And efforts to bring in a younger and more diverse faculty may depend on older professors’ leaving their jobs to create open positions.

To help encourage retirement, colleges have usually focused on money, offering buyouts and other financial packages. But at UCLA and many other colleges, there is an increasing recognition that administrators also need to deal with the psychological barriers to retirement — to help faculty members know that retiring isn’t necessarily the end of their relationship with the university, or of their own scholarly identity. Retirement, the administrators say, must not be seen as stepping off the edge of an academic cliff. ...

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December 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

More On The California Bar Exam Carnage

CaliforniaFollowing up on my previous post, July 2016 California Bar Exam Carnage: Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), Breaking Down the California Bar Exam:

First, the California bar exam is the second-toughest in the country, with only Delaware having a more difficult exam. There are actually large differences in the difficulty of passing the various state bars. Some bars are extremely easy, and a few are very difficult. Unfortunately California has one of the difficult ones. The "difficulty" of the exam is based on the passing Multistate Bar Exam "cut score," which is 144 in California. Most states have passing scores that are much lower.

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December 5, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Loyola-Chicago, Mitchell Hamline, And Seton Hall Offer Weekend J.D. Programs

LoyolaKathleen Boozang (Dean, Seton Hall), Seton Hall Law Offers New Weekend JD Program:

Seton Hall Law has always prided itself on making law school accessible to working professionals. Some of our most successful and prestigious alumni attended Seton Hall School part-time, after a full day of work. We are proud to continue this tradition of access with the launch of our weekend JD program. The weekend program is the only one of its kind in the East and one of only a few offered nationwide.  [Loyola-Chicago and Mitchell Hamline also offer weekend JD programs.]

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December 4, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times Op-Ed:  The Evangelicalism Of Old White Men Is Dead

Red LetterNew York Times op-ed:  The Evangelicalism of Old White Men Is Dead, by Tony Campolo & Shane Claiborne (co-authors, Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said?):

As the election retreats like a hurricane heading back out to sea, first responders are assessing the damage left in its wake. One casualty is the reputation of evangelicalism. ... As white male evangelists, we have no problem admitting that the future does not lie with us. It lies with groups like the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, led by Gabriel Salguero, or the Moral Monday movement, led by William Barber II, who has challenged the news media on its narrow portrayal of evangelicals. For decades, we have worked within evangelicalism to lift up the voices of these “other evangelicals.”

But we cannot continue to allow sisters and brothers who are leading God’s movement to be considered “other.” We are not confident that evangelicalism is a community in which younger, nonwhite voices can flourish. And we are not willing to let our faith be the collateral damage of evangelicalism.

We want to be clear: We are not suggesting a new kind of Christianity that simply backs the Democratic Party. Jesus is neither a Democrat nor a Republican — even if, as William Sloane Coffin Jr. once said, his heart leans left. Many faithful Christians did not vote for Hillary Clinton because of their commitment to a consistent pro-life agenda. True faith can never pledge allegiance to anything less than Jesus.

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December 4, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (12)