TaxProf Blog

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

San Diego Dean: It Is Time To Rethink The California Bar Exam

California Bar ExamStephen Diamond (Santa Clara), Time to Rethink the California Bar Exam, San Diego Dean Stephen Ferruolo Testifies:

It was the testimony [before the Standing Committee on the Judiciary of the California State Assembly] of Stephen Ferruolo, the dean of the University of San Diego’s Law School, that really caught my attention. Dean Ferruolo shared his full statement to the committee with me and you can read it here. (The dean’s testimony begins at 57:54 on the video archive.)

The conclusion I drew from his testimony and the discussion that ensued with the legislators is that the current form of the California bar (including the new 2 day version that starts this summer) is, in essence, an outdated regulatory barrier to needed innovation in legal education. Because of the exceptionally large number of subjects tested as well as because of the bias towards multiple choice questions (now heightened with the 2 day bar) law school curriculum is being distorted in a way that creates a disconnect between what is taught in law schools and what it is new lawyers need to know to be successful.

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May 21, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Closing More Law Schools Won't Solve The Problem; Changing The Model And Delivery Of Legal Education Will

SorrySusan Cartier Liebel (Founder & CEO, Solo Practice University), If We Close Some Law Schools, Legal Education Will Be Saved! Wrong.:

[W]e do not have too many law schools.  ...  What we have is too many law schools operating under an antiquated model and that is why we are turning out too many under-educated lawyers who cannot qualify or compete in a changing market. This creates a glut of debt-ladened, disillusioned students, ill-equipped to fend for themselves.

Closing schools doesn’t solve the problem.

Closing schools just reduces the number of debt-ladened, disillusioned students still ill-equipped to fend for themselves. Changing the education model and method of delivery of this education will fix the problem. ...

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Should La Verne And Other Law Schools With Low First-Time Bar Passage Rates Follow Whittier's Lead And Close?

Laverne (2017)Bloomberg Law, Are Law Schools with Low Bar Pass Rates at Risk of Closing?:

The University of La Verne College of Law enrolls over 100 students each year, and if past history is any indication, only slightly more than half, 54 percent, will likely pass the bar on their first try after graduation.

Should that affect whether it stays open?

The disconnect between a school’s low bar passage rate, relative to other schools in the country, and its ability to draw applicants raises a question that’s been looming for legal education regulators: Is the bar passage rate the best way to measure whether a law school is adequately preparing its students to become lawyers?

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May 20, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Facing Competition From GRE, LSAC Allows Applicants To Take LSAT An Unlimited Number Of Times

LSAT (2015)In the face of growing competition from the GRE (which is now accepted by Arizona and Harvard), the LSAC today is permitting 1,000 applicants to take a digital version of the LSAT.  In additional, the LSAC is removing the limit on how many times students can take the LSAT (the former limit was three times in any two-year period).

The ABA and LSAC require law schools to report each applicant's highest LSAT score, which counts 12.5% in the U.S. News rankings.  The rule change thus gives wealthier students who can afford to take the LSAT multiple times an enormous advantage in law school admissions.

The rule change also will increase LSAC's revenues, which were $59.7 million in its most recent publicly available Form 990.  LSAC has $238 million of assets and paid its President $692,000.  Four other employees were paid over $300,000. 

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May 20, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Congratulations, Pepperdine Law School Class of 2017!

SOL Graduation 2017 (1)
Photo Credit: Jessie Fahy

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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trump Proposes To Dramatically Cut Law Student Loans

Washington Post, Trump and DeVos Plan to Reshape Higher Education Finance:

Budget documents obtained by The Washington Post show President Trump’s administration is proposing a raft of changes that could have significant impact on college students and graduates.

One of the most striking higher education proposals calls for replacing the five income-driven student loan repayment plans with a single plan to the benefit of undergraduate borrowers. As Trump promised last year on the campaign trail, the new plan would cap repayment to 12.5 percent of the borrower’s income and forgive the balance of the loan after 15 years. That would apply if the loans were taken out for an undergraduate degree. Anyone with graduate loans would expect to pay the same percentage of their income, but would only receive forgiveness after 30 years.

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May 18, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Debby Merritt Criticizes Doug Kahn’s 'Ignorance Of Clinical Education'

ClinicalFollowing up on Monday's post, The Downside of Requiring Additional Experiential Courses in Law School:  Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), What Do Students Do in Clinics?:

Douglas Kahn has posted an article criticizing the “proliferation of clinical and other experiential courses” in legal education. These courses, he argues, reduce the number of “doctrinal” courses that students take, leaving them “ill-prepared to practice law as soon after graduation as law firms would like.” The TaxProf Blog posted a summary of the article, and a baker’s dozen of readers have offered pro and con comments.

It’s an old debate, one that has bristled for more than 50 years. The discussion doesn’t surprise me, but Professor Kahn’s ignorance of clinical education does. His bold assertions about clinics reveal little familiarity with the actual operation of those courses. Let’s examine some of Kahn’s claims. ...

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May 18, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Law School Rankings By Federal Judicial Clerkships

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Visualizing Law School Federal Judicial Clerkship Placement, 2014-2016:

The release of the latest ABA employment data offers an opportunity to update the three-year federal judicial clerkship placement rates. Here is the clerkship placement rate for the Classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016. Methodology and observations below the interactive visualization. The "placement" is the three-year total placement; the "percentage" is the three-year placement divided by the three-year graduating class total.

Here are the California Law School rankings:

California Ranking

Here are the Top 10 law schools nationally:

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May 17, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Private College Tuition Discounts Hit All-Time High Of 49%

49%National Association of College and University Business Officers, Private College Tuition Discounts Hit Historic Highs Again:

Private colleges and universities are discounting their tuition revenue at the highest rates yet, a new report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) shows.

By offering grants, scholarships, and fellowships, the 411 private nonprofit institutions that participated in the 2016 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study averaged an estimated 49.1 percent institutional tuition discount rate for first-time, full-time students in 2016-17—the highest in the history of the survey. This means that for every dollar in gross tuition revenue from those freshmen, institutions used nearly half for grant-based financial aid. Among all undergraduates, the estimated institutional tuition discount rate was similarly record-setting at 44.2 percent.


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May 17, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Non-Elite B-Schools Urge 'Just Say No' Approach To Rankings

US NewsWall Street Journal, Business Schools Take a Stand Against Academic Rankings:

Business-school deans and research faculty at more than 20 universities are taking a stand against the academic rankings published by media outlets such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Nikkei Inc.’s Financial Times and the Economist Group.

Rather than “acquiesce to methods of comparison we know to be fundamentally misleading,” the administrators are urging their peers at other schools to stop participating in a process they say rates programs on an overly narrow set of criteria.

The plea, issued by deans and faculty from institutions including University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, comes in the form of a research paper to be published in the May edition of the Decision Sciences Journal [On Academic Rankings, Unacceptable Methods, and the Social Obligations of Business Schools].

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May 16, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Alice Abreu Receives Temple University's Great Teacher Award

Abreu (2017)Temple Law Professor Alice Abreu Honored with Great Teacher Award:

From the volume of letters offered in support of her nomination, it is clear that Temple Law Professor Alice Abreu has been a Great Teacher for a very long time. On April 25th, Temple University made that official by honoring her with the Great Teacher Award, the highest honor bestowed by Temple upon its faculty.

Temple Law Dean Gregory Mandel took the opportunity to heap praise upon Professor Abreu, tempered with light-hearted teasing for her “boundless and infectious passion for tax law.” “Yes, you heard me correctly,” he confirmed to laughter from the faculty in attendance. “I realize that phrase has never before been uttered.” Mandel went on to describe the “universal admiration of all who know Professor Abreu,” not only for her “zeal for tax law,” but also for her “passion for teaching… and her excitement for drawing colleagues into the intersection of tax law and their practice areas.”

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May 16, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chair Of Legal Ed Section Weighs In On ABA President's Attempt To Strip Non-Accreditation Activities From Section, 'Urban Legend' That Shift To MBE Has Caused Slippage In Bar Exam

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below):

Greg Murphy (Chair, ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar), The Section Lives, and a Few Words on Bar Admissions and Examiners:

To accomplish the proposed changes in our Section described above, amendments to the ABA Bylaws would have been required. However, the deadline for the submissions of proposals for changes to the ABA Bylaws in advance of the August 2017 annual meeting was March 10, 2017. I am informed that no proposals for amendments relating to our Section were submitted.  Therefore, the first section of the ABA, the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, lives on.

Speaking of bar admissions, and since “Admissions to the Bar” is in our Section’s name, many of the readers of Syllabus are already aware that the House of Delegates adopted a resolution urging the bar admitting jurisdictions to adopt expeditiously the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). The resolution enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division and Law Student Division, and passed the House overwhelmingly. Support of the UBE is now official ABA policy. ...

It bears noting that an urban legend seems to persist that recent disappointing bar passage results in some jurisdictions are somehow tied to jurisdictions adopting the UBE.  That is both a legend, and a myth.

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May 16, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Downside of Requiring Additional Experiential Courses in Law School

Douglas A. Kahn (Michigan), The Downside of Requiring Additional Experiential Courses in Law School:

In recent years, the bar has expressed dissatisfaction with what is considered by some to be inadequate preparation of law students to begin practicing law immediately after graduation. There are several reasons why this has become a matter of concern for the legal profession. The ABA, state bars and law schools have responded by adopting graduation requirements that force students to take a certain number of experiential courses.

The contention of this article is that the imposition of additional, required experiential courses will have a negative effect on the adequacy of a student's preparation to practice law because it contributes to a reduction in the student's exposure to a range of doctrinal courses (especially core courses) and to the skills that those courses develop.

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May 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (21)

Denver Law School Faces Federal Equal Pay Lawsuit From Eight Female Professors

Denver Logo (2015)Following up on my earlier posts:

Rocky Mountain PBS News, University of Denver Faces Federal Equal Pay Suit from Female Law Professors:

It was a memo from the Dean of the University of Denver law school that Professor Lucy Marsh will never forget. The University said it was paying all female full law professors thousands of dollars less than their male counterparts for doing the same work. “Something had to be done about that,” she said. “That's against the law.”

But when she went to the Dean to protest, asking what he was going to do about the pay disparity?  “He said ‘nothing”, and I thought man I'm not going to take that.”

Marsh and seven of her female colleagues are now cited as examples of violation of the Equal Pay act in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suit against the University.  Administration officials say the law professors’ compensation is based on a fair and unbiased evaluation of faculty and that every female full professor in the law school is entitled to less.  The university hired an outside consultant to examine their compensation system.

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

Muller:  The Incredible Shrinking Law School

Derek Muller (Pepperdine) has a typically thoughtful post on The Incredible Shrinking Law School, including this chart showing the 27% reduction in the median graduation class size from 2013 (206) to 2016 (161):

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May 15, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Vermont Law School Receives $17m Loan From U.S. Department Of Agriculture To Fund Online Education Program, Restructure Debt

Vermont Law School Logo (2017)ABA Journal, Vermont Law Receives $17 Million Loan From US Department of Agriculture:

Vermont Law School has received a $17 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture. The loan will be used to restructure debt and further develop an online education program and year-round classes that offer greater flexibility for students. ...

The law school laid off staff in 2013 following a [39%] enrollment decline and in 2014, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded revenue bonds [to junk status] that led to the law school “technically” defaulting on a loan agreement with TD Bank. ...

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May 14, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, Olympianism, And Christophobia

Michael V. Hernandez (Dean, Regent), In Defense of Pluralism: Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, Olympianism, and Christophobia, 48 U. Tol. L. Rev. 283 (2017):

Daniel Webster observed that “Christianity, general, tolerant, Christianity, Christianity independent of sects and parties” was the foundation of our liberties and legal system. In the spirit of this tradition, I have explained in my scholarship that the law must zealously guard religious liberty for all, while the substance of law should be based on principles of truth knowable by and accessible to all and not on principles unique to one faith. In other words, a Christian-based jurisprudence does not inherently involve the imposition of uniquely Christian principles and, thus, is not theocratic.

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May 14, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Law School Rankings By Full-Time, Long-Term Bar-Passage Required (Excluding School-Funded) Jobs (CORRECTED)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Department Of Education Throws Student Loan Lifeline To Teetering Charlotte Law School

Charlotte Logo (2016)Politico, Devos Reinstates Some Funding to Troubled For-Profit Law School:

The Trump administration has indicated that it plans to greenlight the flow of some federal student loans to the embattled for-profit law school whose funding the Obama administration cut off last year. Education Department officials last week told the Charlotte School of Law that they're "prepared" to disburse loans to students for the current semester, according to an email to students from school president Chidi J. Ogene that was obtained by POLITICO. Only students who previously received a federal loan in the fall will be eligible for the late spring disbursement, which Ogene said he expects by this Thursday.

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May 13, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Comparing Class Of 2016 Employment Outcomes With Class Of 2015 And Class of 2014

Following up on yesterday's post, ABA Releases Class of 2016 Employment Data: 7% Drop In Law Grads Lead To Placement Rate Increase, Numerical Decrease In Long-Term J.D.-Required/Advantage Jobs:

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar posted the Class of 2016 Employment Summary spreadsheet yesterday.

In this initial post, I provide a brief summary of the Class of 2016’s employment outcomes compared with the Class of 2015 and the Class of 2014.

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May 12, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Alum Donates $1.5m To University Of Florida To Fuel Law School's Rise In U.S. News Rankings From 48 To 35

UFUSNFollowing up on my previous posts:

Daily Business Review, Hugh Culverhouse Jr. Pledges $1.5M to UF Levin College of Law:

University of Florida Levin College of Law alumnus Hugh Culverhouse Jr. has pledged $1.5 million to be used by the school for incoming student scholarships if the law school's community raises an additional $1.5 million by Aug. 14, the first day of classes.

Culverhouse, a Coral Gables-based lawyer who graduated from the law school in 1974, said he was inspired to create the Culverhouse Challenge by the school's leap from 48 to 41 in the most recent U.S. News national rankings of law schools. It was the highest ranked law school in Florida, followed by the law schools at Florida State University (48), University of Miami (77), Stetson (96) and Florida International University (100). Six more Florida law schools were not ranked.

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May 12, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

ABA Releases Class of 2016 Employment Data: 7% Drop In Law Grads Lead To Placement Rate Increase, Numerical Decrease In Long-Term J.D.-Required/Advantage Jobs

Press Release, ABA Legal Education Section Releases Employment Data for Graduating Law Class of 2016:

Employment data for the graduating law class of 2016 as reported by American Bar Association-approved law schools to the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is now publicly available.

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has released aggregate national data on law graduate employment outcomes for the class of 2016. An online table provides select national outcomes and side-by-side comparisons between the classes of 2016 and 2015. Individual law school outcomes are available online.

ABA Table 2

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May 11, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Why Are Law Professors So Unhappy?

PublishLaw Prof Blawg, Why Do Law Professors Write Law Review Articles?:

Publish or perish, but is there a point to it?

Why do I write law review articles?  Other professors are starting to ask the same question of themselves.  Or more precisely, others are trying to measure who is making a “scholarly impact.”  ...

This whole quest started with another bad idea.  Publish or perish.  The whole game of academia is to publish articles so that one can get tenure, get promoted, and be on top of the world.  This means publication in student-run law reviews, preferably at the highest U.S. News and World Report ranks. ...

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May 11, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (8)

ABA Tax Section May Meeting

ABAThe ABA Tax Section May Meeting kicks off today in Washington, D.C. The full program is here. Tax Profs with speaking roles include:

  • Diversity: Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh),  Jacqueline Lainez (UDC), Francine Lipman (UNLV)
  • Employee Benefits:  Jon Forman (Oklahoma), Kathryn Kennedy (John Marshall)
  • Fiduciary Income Tax:  Jerome Hesch (Miami)
  • Financial Transactions:  Itai Grinberg (Georgetown)

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May 11, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Prof Beau Baez Launches Learn Law Better

BaezH. Beau Baez, a Georgetown Law and Tax LL.M. graduate, was a Tax Prof for seventeen years at three law schools before being fired by Charlotte Law School in its January purge of faculty.  Beau has dusted himself off and launched Learn Law Better, LLC, with a website and YouTube channel dedicated  to helping students thrive in law school and pass the bar exam:

Law school is difficult. Professors don’t tell you what they expect on an exam and when you get your grades back you don’t really know why you received that grade, let alone understand how to improve. But we can help you on your journey.

Most law schools do a poor job at providing students with the detailed help they need to get good grades and pass the bar exam.  Learn Law Better is here to be your guide so that you can follow the right path. It is hard work–as anything worth having is — but now you have someone to show you how to work smarter so that you can achieve your life goals.

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Merritt:  The Bar Exam Is Broken

AALSAALS Faculty Perspectives: Validity, Competence, and the Bar Exam, by Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State):

The bar exam is broken: it tests too much and too little. On the one hand, the exam forces applicants to memorize hundreds of black-letter rules that they will never use in practice. On the other hand, the exam licenses lawyers who don’t know how to interview a client, compose an engagement letter, or negotiate with an adversary.

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May 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

David Hasen Leaves Colorado For Florida

HasenDavid Hasen, Professor of Law at Colorado, has accepted a tenured lateral offer from Florida, beginning in Fall 2017.  Here are David's recent publications:

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May 10, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

What Law Schools Can Learn About Assessment From Medical Schools

Law MedicineNeil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas), Professional-Identity/Professional-Formation/Professionalism Learning Outcomes: What Can We Learn About Assessment From Medical Education?, 13 U. St. Thomas L.J. ___ (2017):

The accreditation changes requiring competency-based education are an exceptional opportunity for each law school to differentiate its education so that its students better meet the needs of clients, legal employers, and the legal system. While ultimately competency-based education will lead to a change in the model of how law faculty and staff, students, and legal employers understand legal education, this process of change is going to take a number of years. However, the law schools that most effectively lead this change are going to experience substantial differentiating gains in terms of both meaningful employment for graduates and legal employer and client appreciation for graduates’ competencies in meeting employer/client needs. This will be particularly true for those law schools that emphasize the foundational principle of competency-based learning that each student must grow toward later stages of self-directed learning — taking full responsibility as the active agent for the student’s experiences and assessment activities to achieve the faculty’s learning outcomes and the student’s ultimate goal of bar passage and meaningful employment.

Medical education has had fifteen more years of experience with competency-based education from which legal educators can learn. This article has focused on medical education’s “lessons learned” applicable to legal education regarding effective assessment of professional-identity learning outcomes. The principal lessons learned in Part III with respect to assessment are:

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May 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools Gone Innovating

Forbes:  Law Schools Gone Innovating, by Michael Horn:

Non-elite law schools are in crisis. If people didn’t believe that before, they should now after Whittier College’s announcement last month that it would close its law school.

But the legal education landscape is not uniform. Different regions have different contexts in which law schools educate students. There are good examples of innovation occurring.

In the aftermath of publishing Disrupting Law School: How Disruptive Innovation Will Revolutionize the Legal World, a white paper that Michele Pistone, a professor at Villanova’s law school, and I wrote about the existential threat facing non-elite legal education, I embarked on a listening tour and spoke with a handful of law school deans from around the country.

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May 10, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Kuehn:  Clinical Experience For All Students: It’s Not a Question of Cost

KuehnTax Prof Blog op-ed:  A Clinical Experience For All Students: It’s Not a Question of Cost, by Robert Kuehn (Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Washington University):

Unlike the education and licensing requirements for other professions, legal education and admission to the bar in the United States lack a mandated clinical experience in law school. American Bar Association Accreditation Standard 303(b) simply requires that a school provide “substantial opportunities” for its students to participate in law clinics or field placements (what are termed “clinical” courses) where they gain lawyering experiences from advising or representing clients. Under this permissive standard, only one quarter of schools ensure that each student can graduate with clinical training; five provide no opportunities to enroll in any law clinic; one provides positions in clinical courses for only 10% of its students.

Although lawyers agree that students need the training that comes from clinical courses, many legal educators and officials question the feasibility, particularly the cost, of ensuring that every student graduates with a clinical experience. However, the experiences of a growing number of schools and ABA data demonstrate that clinical education can be provided to all J.D. students without additional costs to students.

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May 9, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (7)

2017 Princeton Review's Best 381 Colleges

Princeton ReviewThe Princeton Review has released The Best 381 Colleges — 2017 Edition.  According to the press release, the book contains 62 rankings based on surveys completed by 143,000 students at the 381 schools (375 per school) (methodology here), including these categories:

  • Best (Sarah Lawrence) classroom experience
  • Best (Wellesley), worst (New Jersey Institute of Technology) professors
  • Most (U.S. Military Academy), least U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) accessible professors
  • Best (Virginia Tech) quality of life
  • Most (Rice), least (Montana Tech) happy students
  • Students love (Virginia Tech) their school
  • Most (Rhodes), least (University of Dallas) beautiful campus
  • Best (Elon), worst (Hanover) run school
  • Most liberal (Sarah Lawrence), most conservative (BYU) students
  • Most (Thomas Aquinas),  least (Reed) religious
  • Students study the most (U.S. Military Academy), least (Trinity College Dublin)
  • Most (Vassar), least (SUNY-Purchase) financial aid

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May 9, 2017 in Book Club, Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wanted For LL.M. Programs:  Tax Nerds

LLMLLM Guide, Wanted for LL.M. Programs: Tax Nerds:

Richard Ainsworth, director of Boston University's Graduate Tax Program, is looking for one trait in applicants to his program.

"We're looking for tax geeks," Ainsworth says. "You have to show us that you like numbers.”

Common wisdom holds that the tax LL.M. is one of the most valuable post-J.D. law degrees, and the numbers tend to back that up. The median salary for a lawyer is just over $80,000, according to PayScale, a site that tracks average salaries for various professions, while the median salary for a tax lawyer hovers around $100,000.

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May 9, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Purdue Is No Longer The Only Big Ten University Without A Law School

Purdue ConcordNational Law Journal, Purdue Buys Kaplan’s Online-Only JD Program in Education Milestone:

Concord Law School is poised to become the first fully online Juris Doctor program at a public university.

Purdue University, a public institution in Indiana, on April 27 announced plans to purchase Kaplan University — a national consortium of online and brick-and-mortar degree programs that includes Concord Law School, the nation’s oldest online law school. ...

The move is expected to add credibility to Concord’s program, especially should it be renamed to reflect Purdue’s ownership. It also could be a boost to the small industry of online law programs, which like traditional law schools, has suffered waning interest in recent years. ...

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May 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Jennifer Bard Resigns Cincinnati Law School Deanship, Receives Two Year Sabbatical ($300,000/Year) And Will Return To Tenured Faculty In 2019-20

UC BardFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  newsPRos press release:

May 8, 2017, CINCINNATI — A settlement agreement was reached over the weekend between Dr. Jennifer S. Bard and the University of Cincinnati. The agreement vacates the University’s decision to place Bard on administrative leave — the outcome she sought for the unjustified damage to her reputation.

Dean Bard agreed to withdraw her claims for the violation of her Constitutional rights and for breach of contract. In return the University is granting her two years of academic leave, at her full Dean’s salary, while she retains her tenured professor position in the UC College of Law, with a secondary appointment in the UC College of Medicine. Today Bard resigned her position as Dean because the University failed to support her when a small faction of the faculty resisted her efforts to establish responsible fiscal policies.  

Interim Provost Landgren had earlier told a gathering of faculty, staff, and students that, regarding the administrative leave,  “there were no skeletons”, she had done “nothing illegal”, there were “no financial” issues and there were no “ethical or moral issues regarding the Dean’s departure.”  He also stated that there was “no smoking gun” that led to the decision.

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May 8, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Pepperdine Launches Online Masters Of Legal Studies (MLS) Program, Beginning August 2017


Pepperdine University Opens Applications for New Online Master of Legal Studies:

Pepperdine University School of Law is now accepting applications for its new online Master of Legal Studies program. Designed for mid-career professionals, the program provides non-lawyers with a fundamental understanding of the U.S. legal system and equips them with the legal expertise and critical-thinking skills needed to meet complex legal, ethical, and regulatory challenges across industries.

The School of Law’s online Master of Legal Studies program offers a concentration in dispute resolution for students interested in attaining arbitration and mediation skills. The concentration incorporates the curriculum from Pepperdine’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, which is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 law school for dispute resolution.

The program’s online learning format will allow professionals working in an array of fields — such as health care, government, social work, education, and law enforcement — to receive a superior legal education without the need to relocate.

“We are thrilled to bring Pepperdine’s legacy of personal attention [#7 in Best Professors (The Princeton Review)] and experiential learning [#5 in Practical Training (The National Jurist)] to students across the United States. With the online Master of Legal Studies, our School of Law continues to provide a practical, values-centered legal education that helps ambitious students accomplish their personal and professional goals,” said Paul L. Caron, Dean Designate of the School of Law.

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Accreditation Battle Over Canada's First Christian Law School: Does Religious Freedom To Ban Student Sex Outside Of Heterosexual Marriage Trump LGBTQ Rights?

Trinity WesternFollowing up on my coverage of the accreditation battle over what would be Canada's first Christian law school (links below):

John Boersma (Ph.D. Candidate, LSU), The Accreditation of Religious Law Schools in Canada and the United States, 2016 BYU L. Rev. 1081:

Ongoing litigation in Canada suggests that the legal status of religiously affiliated law schools could be in jeopardy. In Canada, regulatory authorities have sought to deny accreditation status to a religiously affiliated law school (Trinity Western University) due to its commitment to a traditional Christian understanding of marriage. According to Canadian provincial authorities, this commitment has a discriminatory effect on LGBT students. Similar events could potentially occur in the United States. It is possible that American regulatory bodies could seek either to rescind or withhold accreditation from a religiously affiliated law school because of the discriminatory effects of its policies.

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May 7, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tax Prof Baby: Eva Rana-Gamage

Eva Rana-Gamage, daughter of David Gamage (Indiana) and Shruti Rana (Indiana), was born on April 28 and weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces:



May 7, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Financial Times:  Artificial Intelligence Closes In On The Work Of Junior Lawyers

ROSSFinancial Times, Artificial Intelligence Closes in on the Work of Junior Lawyers:

After more than five years at a leading City law firm, Daniel van Binsbergen quit his job as a solicitor to found Lexoo, a digital start-up for legal services in the fledgling “lawtech” sector.

Mr Van Binsbergen says he is one of many. “The number of lawyers who have been leaving to go to start-ups has skyrocketed compared to 15 years ago,” he estimates. Many are abandoning traditional firms to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities or join in-house teams, as the once-unthinkable idea of routine corporate legal work as an automated task becomes reality.

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May 6, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Why Faculty Workshops Should Not Be 'Safe Spaces': Law Profs Need To Be Adversarial (But Not Jerks) Because Of Law Reviews' Lack Of Rigor

The JerkFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  You’re Wrong’: The Case for Confrontation, by Joseph Heath (University of Toronto):

I’m starting to think that some of the strange behavior that has been gripping college students in the United States has begun seeping north into Canada, where I teach. For the first time the other day, I came across the suggestion — made by a graduate student — that a philosophical research talk should be a "safe space." The concern was not that department members were abusive, merely that we were sometimes insufficiently "supportive" of the speaker. Apparently we’re supposed to find nicer ways of telling people how wrong they are. ...

As people who are familiar with how philosophy works will know, it is one of several disciplines that has an adversarial culture. This manifests itself most clearly in the Q&A after a research talk. Basically, after people present their views, the audience tries to tear them apart. Every question is a variation on "Here’s why I think you’re wrong. …" The environment is not supportive; in fact, it is the opposite of supportive. Furthermore, because this is the disciplinary culture, philosophers tend not to preface their comments with ingratiating verbiage like, "First let me thank you for the rich and thought-provoking discussion." Philosophers go straight to the "Here’s why I think you’re wrong" part.

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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Florida A&M University Fires Four Deans, Including Law School Dean After Only Sixteen Months On Job

EppsOrlando Sentinel, FAMU Law School Dean Dismissed After 16 Months on Job:

Florida A&M University’s law school dean is out after 16 months on the job.

FAMU announced Angela Felecia Epps’ dismissal as leader of the downtown Orlando school this week.

She is the fourth dean to be removed in two days at the Tallahassee-based university that’s undergone major leadership changes. The deans of the education, pharmacy and journalism schools also were dismissed, according to a school statement this week. ...

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

Whittier: The Canary In The Law School Coal Mine

CanaryFollowing up on my previous posts:

EdSurge:  The Canary in the Law School Coal Mine, by Michael B. Horn:

Whittier College’s announcement ... that it will no longer admit students to its law program makes it the first fully accredited law school in the United States to shut down. There is a good chance it won’t be the last.

As Michele Pistone, a law professor at Villanova University, and I wrote in Disrupting Law School: How Disruptive Innovation Will Revolutionize the Legal World, although law schools have long enjoyed budget surpluses, the financial situation has reversed over the last few years.

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

Harvard's Junior Deferral Program Pushes Students To Gain At Least Two Years Of Work Experience Prior To Law School

After roiling legal education in March by beginning to admit 1Ls based on the GRE rather than the LSAT, Harvard Law School announced yesterday that it will allow college juniors to defer enrollment for at least two years to gain work experience before starting law school.

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May 4, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)