TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, August 1, 2016

ABA Tax Section Accepting Nominations For 2017-2019 Public Service Fellowships

ABA Tax Section Logo (2012)The ABA Tax Section is accepting applications for Public Service Fellowships for 2017-2019:

The American Bar Association Section of Taxation is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship program class of 2017-2019. ...

The Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowships provide funding for the Fellows’ salaries and benefits, as well as law school debt assistance, by means of charitable contributions to the Fellow's Sponsoring Organization. ... The Section plans to award up to two fellowships each year.

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August 1, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Changes To TaxProf Blog

Over the past two weeks, I have received several emails like the following:

Thank you so much for your TaxProf blog. I've been a reader for at least a dozen years. Your blog has the most informative tax information available.

The last two weeks, however, you've interrupted my long-time late Friday night routine! You see, with the cares of my week behind me, and with at least one day of respite ahead of me, each Friday I look forward to reading your blog's four weekly "roundups." To my dismay, though, today is the second Friday in a row that no roundup has appeared. And no explanation has been given for the absence of this rewarding end-of-week treat.

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August 1, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Harrison, Alum Debate State Of Florida Grad Tax Program: Is 80% Acceptance Rate A Sign Of Trouble, 45% Yield A Sign Of Strength?

Florida Logo (GIF)Following up on Thursday's post, Harrison: Florida Is 'Modernizing,' Not 'Dismantling,' Its Graduate Tax Program, which has generated 18 comments (thus far):  Jeff Harrison (Florida), So Many Questions:

Here is what I believe to be a reasonable comment over on the tax prof blog about the tax (non) "issues" at UF and my responses [in italics].  Two comments:

First, I think I have never seen any instances in which people who claim to have the best interests of a program at heart have done so much to communicate that it is declining. What are they thinking?

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August 1, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

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August 1, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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August 1, 2016 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Hunger Games: Valparaiso Law School Edition

Hunger Games ValpoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  David Frakt (Law Office of David Frakt, Orlando, FL), The Hunger Games—Valpo Edition:

According to the New York Times article, the school has now dramatically shrunk its entering class, and drastically cut its faculty and staff.  One might assume from these facts that Valpo has significantly tightened its admission standards.  Indeed, current Dean Andrea Lyon is quoted in the story as saying,  “I don’t think it’s moral to take someone’s money who can’t make it,”. . .  “It’s just wrong.”  While I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment, there is little evidence that Valpo is now operating on the moral high ground. As the article notes, Valpo is still "taking risks on a lot of students."  Summing up Valpo's situation succinctly, the article states:: "Schools like Valparaiso essentially face the following choice: Admit a large number of marginal students, or shut down."

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July 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Are Big Law Firms Wrecking Capitalism?

ReichThe American Lawyer: Are Big Law Firms Wrecking Capitalism?:

Robert Reich's contribution to the inequality debate [Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few (2016)] is to show how clients of large law firms use their power 
to shape the "free market" that we unthinkingly accept as a state of nature. In Reich's universe, rules define the market, and states create the rules. More precisely, elite lawyers create the rules. They also game them.

Attorneys are ever on the march in "Saving Capitalism," and usually in military formation. "Battalions of high-priced law firms" and "a squadron of high-priced legal talent" obstruct prosecution. Competition is stifled by "armies," "fleets," a "phalanx" and (where's the thesaurus?) "armies" of lawyers. Reich's table of contents reads a bit like a first-year law school transcript. The ways to rig the free market fall under the headings of Property, Monopoly, Contract, Bankruptcy and 

For a reader who knows where the bodies are buried, Reich's catalog of legal games may be taken as a between-the-lines indictment of The Am Law 100. ...

As a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Reich envisions a future where robots displace most workers (including symbolic analysts). But with wise policy, a basic minimum income will allow us to devote our lives to art or ennobling hobbies—or to a job that expresses a deep personal commitment. Reich writes acidly that he's yet to meet bankers who see their job as a calling. He'd probably say the same for the lawyers who shuffle the bankers' papers. ...

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July 31, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Tennessee Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinician

Tennessee LogoThe University of Tennessee College of Law invites applications from both entry-level and lateral candidates for two full-time, tenure-track faculty positions to commence in the 2017 Fall Semester:

Candidates should have a particular interest in either business law teaching, including business associations and contracts, or transactional clinical teaching in business, taxation, intellectual property, community economic development, or health care that offers students transferable legal skills.

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July 30, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Are Older Women Leaving Big Law?

National Law Journal, Why Are Older Women Leaving Big Law?:

You hear this so often that you probably take it as holy gospel: Women bail out of Big Law because of the impossibility of balancing the demands of work and home. Being a big firm lawyer, as every Manhattan third-grader knows, is an unforgiving, pressured job; and women, no matter their professional status, bear the lion’s share of responsibilities at home. When push comes to shove, so goes the theory, women drop out to take care of the homefront.

Although I’ve written countless articles on the difficulties of work/life balance for women, I’ve never completely bought that explanation. I always found it too pat, as if women, no matter how accomplished and ambitious, will inevitably pick motherhood above everything else. Besides, it’s not as if all those childless women have such an easy time rising to the top, either.

Recent research by ALM Intelligence seems to confirm my hunch. Besides the usual dreadful news about how women make up only 18 percent of equity partners and only 8 percent of lawyers earning more than $500,000 (yes, that’s not a typo), the research shows that women are steadily leaving firms, including those who are past their child-bearing years. As Nicholas Bruch, senior analyst at ALM Legal Intelligence, writes:

“What is known is that women do not leave the law disproportionately at a specific time in their lives or careers. The analysis of ALM’s Rival Edge database below reveals that women trickle out of Big Law by a few percentage points per year of age. The analysis shows that among 30-year-old lawyers at Big Law firms, women comprise 45 percent. Among lawyers who are 40 years old, however, women only comprise 41 percent, a decrease of 4 percentage points. By age 50, women only make up 27 percent of the lawyers, a change of 14 percentage points.”


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July 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Average Full-Time College Student Spends 2.76 Hours Per Day On Education-Related Activity

Heritage Foundation, Big Debt, Little Study: What Taxpayers Should Know About College Students’ Time Use:

Full-Time College Is Typically a Part-Time Endeavor
Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s American Time Use Survey from 2003–2014, during the academic year, the average full-time college student spent only 2.76 hours per day on all education-related activities, including 1.18 hours in class and 1.53 hours of research and homework, for a total of 19.3 hours per week.

Full-time high school students, in comparison, spent 4.32 hours per day on all education-related activities, including 3.42 hours in class and 0.80 hours of research and homework, for a total of 30.2 hours per week. Thus, full-time college students spend 10.9 fewer hours per week on educational activities than full-time high school students. ...


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July 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Law Schools' Tech-Training Conundrum: If We Teach Them, Will They Get Jobs?

Law LabNational Law Journal, Law Schools' Tech-Training Conundrum: If We Teach Them, Will They Get Jobs?:

A growing number of law schools are offering students a curriculum or training around project management, automation and analytics, hoping to create a pipeline of talent that would quicken innovations that could challenge the current Big Law model. 

The Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law became the latest school with such a program. .... It joins legal technology certificate programs at Suffolk University Law School, a multischool program called Law Without Walls and Michigan State University College of Law, where the professor running Chicago-Kent’s new The Law Lab, Dan Katz, started a similar program [LegalRnD).

About a dozen other schools, including Columbia Law School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, offer legal-tech clinics or seminars, professors in the area said. And Cornell Law School will welcome its first students in September for an LLM class in Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

But even as one slow gear in the legal market begins to turn, forward-thinking law professors still face a dilemma related to the pace of change among those around them. Namely, is the industry evolving fast enough to create demand for these tech-savvy graduates?

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July 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Akron Law School Dean Matthew Wilson Named Interim President; Sarah Cravens And Ryan Vacca Named Interim Law School Co-Deans

AkronAkron Law School Press Release, Dean Wilson Named Interim President, Two Interim Co-Deans Named:

Akron Law Dean, Matthew J. Wilson, has been selected by our Board of Trustees to serve as Interim President of The University of Akron for the next 18 months [after the resignation of controversial President Scott L. Scarborough]. ...

As we continue moving Akron Law forward on our current path of success, Akron Law Professors Sarah Cravens and Ryan Vacca [right] have been appointed as Interim Co-Deans.

Deans Cravens and Vacca are both already skilled leaders with experience in many different aspects of the law school, and they appreciate the challenges we face and the opportunities that exist for us to become even stronger.

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

Law Professor Finds Bat In Her Office

My Pepperdine friend and colleague Carol Chase had an unwelcome visitor in her office:

July 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Harrison:  Florida Is 'Modernizing,' Not 'Dismantling,' Its Graduate Tax Program

Florida Logo (GIF)Jeff Harrison (Florida), Please Don't Dismantle Tax!!:

In my previous post (more here) I praised the new Dean at UF. Someone, perhaps disingenuously, perhaps sincerely, wrote a comment (anonymously) asking me to list what her accomplishments are. ...  I responded with a list. ...

[O]ne of my answers was "modernize the LLM in tax."  To that I got this — yes, anonymous —  comment: "By modernizing the LLM program, do you mean by dismantling it and not hiring outstanding faculty to replace those that are retiring?"

This particular  phrasing has been used repeatedly by people who are being manipulated, in my opinion, to fight self-interested battles of those  terrified of changing a 50s style LLM program into a 21st Century LLM program to the benefit of all. Some of this has occurred evidently in a mass mailing. In fact, I expect to see  T shirts that say "Don't dismantle tax." The ANONYMOUS commentator is parroting a rumor possibly spread, encouraged, and, hatched by people at UF who are afraid of moving forward. ... Riling up students and alums to advance personal ends is pretty desperate.

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July 28, 2016 in Grad Tax Faculty Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (18)

Law Firm Partner Sentenced To Jail For Pretending To Be A Tax Lawyer Also Claimed To Be A Columbia Tax Prof

KitchenForbes: Woman Sentenced To Jail For Pretending To Be A Tax Attorney, by Kelly Phillips Erb:

Kimberly Kitchen ... worked as an attorney in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, for ten years. There was just one problem: Kitchen was never actually licensed to practice law.

Kitchen lied about her background, claiming to have received a law degree, first in her class, from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She claimed to have passed the bar exam and received her attorney license. She even claimed to have taught trust and taxation law at the Columbia University School of Law. Kitchen had documents to back her claims up – only all of those documents were fake. Kitchen never went to law school, never passed the bar exam, and was never a licensed attorney. There is no evidence that she ever taught trust and taxation law at law school.

Nonetheless, Kitchen was able to trick her employers, as well as her colleagues, for years. At the BMZ Law Firm, she made partner. She was even appointed president of the Huntingdon County Bar Association.

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July 28, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Future For Law Students, Law Schools, And The Legal Profession

FoundationsAlli Gerkman (Director, Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers), Foundations for Practice: The Future for Law Students, Law Schools, and the Profession:

According to BARBRI’s 2015 State of the Legal Field Survey, just 23% of practitioners believe new lawyers have sufficient skills to practice. Across the country, legal employers’ and bar organizations’ concerns about the readiness of new lawyers have crescendoed. But while the problem—that new lawyers are lacking in preparation—seemed clear, it has been less clear just what that meant. What are new lawyers lacking?

Our Foundations for Practice survey set out to define that. After working with state bar organizations to distribute the survey across the country, we are sitting on more than 24,000 responses from lawyers in all 50 states. Today, we are releasing two exciting outcomes from the survey:

  1. Our first two reports in a series of reports that will result from the data! First, Survey Overview and Methodological Approach describes the Foundations for Practice survey and methodology used for the foundations and describes the demographics and practice-specific characteristics of the respondents. Second, The Whole Lawyer and the Character Quotient, our lead report, shows that new lawyers are successful when they have a much broader blend of legal skills, professional competencies, and, most importantly, characteristics that comprise the “whole lawyer.”
  2. A data visualization tool that allows you to explore the results on your own terms.

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July 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

State Outlines Evidence, Witnesses In Markel Murder Case

Markel & AdelsonTallahassee Democrat, State Outlines Evidence, Witnesses in Markel Case:

The State Attorney's Office has compiled an exhaustive list of possible witnesses and nearly 100 pieces of evidence in its cases against the two men accused of killing Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

Most of the 175 possible witnesses are TPD officers and residents of the Betton Hills neighborhood, particularly people living on Randolph Circle and Trescott Drive. The list includes Markel’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson, her brother Charlie and parents Harvey and Donna. Others include a self-proclaimed anti-Semite and convicted killer, a woman Markel was romantically linked to and an FSU professor who was dating Wendi Adelson. ...

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July 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How Grads Would Fix Law School: More Experiential Learning And Diversity, Reformed Grading Policies

Fix ItFortune, Here's How Law School Grads Would Fix Law School:

Law grads want more experiential learning, more diversity, and reformed grading policies.

As part of its survey of this year’s “Best & Brightest” 3Ls, Tipping The Scales asked nominees to share how they would change law school. From experiential learning to grading practices and diversity, the 2016 Class didn’t hold back. ...

Unsurprisingly, their complaints start with experiential learning opportunities (or the lack thereof). ...

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July 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Are The Google Law Review Rankings 'Worthless'?

Google Scholar (2015)Following up on yesterday's post, 2016 Google Law Review Rankings:

Brian Leiter (Chicago), Annals of "Bullshit" Rankings:

The problem (we've encountered it in philosophy in the past, but now everyone there knows Google  Scholar is worthless for measuring journal impact) is that there is no control for the volume of publishing by each journal, so any journal that publishes more pages and articles per year will do better than a peer journal with the same actual impact that publishes fewer articles and pages.

Rob Anderson (Pepperdine), Google Scholar Releases 2016 Journal Rankings, Controversy Ensues:

Leiter's arguments are (mostly) incorrect. And as my previous posts about Google Scholar were used as part of the ranking, I felt the need to respond. ...

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July 27, 2016 in Law Review Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

AALS Call For Participation: Discussion Group On The Future Of Tax Administration And Enforcement

AALS (2018)AALS, Call for Participation in a Discussion Group on The Future of Tax Administration and Enforcement:

The Annual Meeting Program Committee introduced a new program format, Discussion Groups, at the 2016 Annual Meeting to facilitate scholarly discussion and engagement. Discussion Groups provide a small group of faculty an opportunity to engage in a sustained conversation about a topic of interest. The objective is to facilitate a lively and engaging real-time discussion among participants. Discussion Group participants will typically be expected to write and share a short presentation summary (3-5 pages) as part of their participation. The Discussion Group sessions, however, will not feature formal presentations. Instead, the written summaries are intended to facilitate a lively and engaging real-time discussion among the participants. Participants in this Discussion Group will consist of a mix of the people identified in the original proposal along with additional individuals selected on the basis of this call for participation. There will be limited audience seating for those not selected in advance to be discussion participants.

The following is a Call for Participation in a Discussion Group on The Future of Tax Administration and Enforcement, to be held at the AALS Annual Meeting, Saturday, January 7, 2017 from 8:30–10:15 am, in San Francisco.

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July 27, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Business Insider:  The 50 Best Law Schools In America

Business InsiderBusiness Insider, The 50 Best Law Schools in America:


  • 32% — Percentage of graduates securing a highly coveted position [BigLaw & federal clerkships]
  • 20% — Percentage of graduates securing full-time, long-term positions requiring bar passage
  • 20% — Percentage of graduates still seeking employment (negatively weighted)
  • 12% — Percentage of graduates who pass the bar on their first try 
  • 8% —  Cost of tuition for full-time, non-resident students
  • 8%—  Median LSAT score for admitted students

Here are the Top 10:

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July 27, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Conservative Backlash Against Vic Fleischer's Appointment As Co-Chief Tax Counsel For Senate Finance Committee Democrats

Fleischer (2016)Following up on my recent posts:

Politico, Morning Tax: Backlash Begins:

It took a little while, but prominent conservatives in the tax field are starting to question Sen. Ron Wyden’s decision to bring on Victor Fleischer as co-chief tax counsel for Finance Committee Democrats. Fleischer, a University of San Diego law professor, helped jump-start the movement to end the preferential tax treatment of carried interest, which has become something of a cause celebre among Democrats.

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July 26, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Johnson:  How And Why We Built A Majority-Minority Faculty At UC-Davis Law School

UC Davis Logo (2017)Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed: How and Why We Built a Majority-Minority Faculty, by Kevin R. Johnson (Dean, UC-Davis):

In the summer of 1989, the law school at the University of California at Davis added three new faculty members: two Latino men and an African-American woman. I was one of the Latinos, and I didn’t know until I read it in the local paper that the new arrivals were the only people of color on a previously all-white faculty.

I wasn’t surprised. At that time, the faculty at every top-tier American law school was overwhelmingly white and predominantly male. There was nothing unusual about the situation on my new campus, nor about the law school’s apparent intention to diversify.

What has proved unusual is that we succeeded. Today I am dean of the law school, and our faculty diversity is broad: gay and straight, white, Latino, African-American, and Asian. On a faculty of 36 tenured and tenure-track scholars, we have Filipino-, Iranian-, Indian-, and Algerian-Americans, as well as Korean-, Japanese-, and Chinese-Americans. With our most recent hires, we now have a faculty that is 47 percent female and 56 percent minority.

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

2016 Google Law Review Rankings

Google Scholar (2015)PrawfsBlawg: Google Scholar Law Review Rankings — 2016, by Bryce C. Newell (Tilburg University):

Includes only flagship/general law reviews at ABA accredited schools (I think I've captured (almost) all of these, but let me know if I've missed any). Rankings are calculated based on the average of Google's two scores (h5-index and h5-median), as proposed here by Robert Anderson. The final column shows how much a journal's rank has changed in 2016 versus last year's ranking (0 indicates no change, a positive number indicates the ranking has gone up in 2016, while a negative number indicates a drop in ranking in 2016).

Bryce lists 194 flagship law reviews. Here are the Top 25:

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July 26, 2016 in Law Review Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Vermont Law School Seeks $15 Million Federal Loan To Restructure Its Debts Via Sale-Leaseback With Related LLC

Vermont Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the financial difficulties at Vermont Law School: VT Digger, Vermont Law School Seeking Federal Loan to Ease Debt Costs:

Vermont Law School is hoping to borrow $15 million from the federal government to help restructure its debts and take advantage of lower interest rates.

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July 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, July 25, 2016

U.S. News:  Law Schools With The Lowest Debt, Highest Rank—BYU, Georgia State, Nebraska, Tennessee

2017 U.S. News LogoU.S. News & World Report, 10 Law Schools Where Alumni Have the Least Debt:

With tuition and fees often running at $30,000 per year or more, many students take out loans. Among the 183 ranked law schools that submitted debt data to U.S. News, the average debt for 2015 graduates who borrowed was $112,748. ... Of the 10 schools where graduates borrowed the least, the average debt was $62,735. ...

Below are the 10 schools where 2015 graduates who borrowed for law school had the least debt. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School Average Debt U.S. News Rank
Hawaii $54,988 92 (tie)
South Dakota $57,170 143
North Carolina Central $57,924 RNP*
Nebraska $58,744 57 (tie)
BYU $62,423 38 (tie)
Arkansas (Fayetteville) $64,901 86 (tie)
Georgia State $66,637 57 (tie)
Tennessee $66,939 65 (tie)
Liberty $68,667 RNP
Arkansas (Little Rock) $68,960 136 (tie)

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July 25, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Department Of Education's New Fraud Defense To Loan Repayment Will Spur Spurious Lawsuits

Department of Education LogoFollowing up on my previous posts:

Law360 op-ed: No Good Reason For New Student Loan Forgiveness Rules, by Anthony T. Caso (Chapman):

You may have read news reports over the past few years that new lawyers are having more and more trouble finding a job. The recession that hit in 2008 seems to linger on, especially in the legal market. The U.S. Department of Education has a solution. It has proposed new regulations that will spawn a new industry of spurious lawsuits against colleges and universities. Everybody will have to hire lawyers — and lawyers will be the only clear winners in the battles to come.

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July 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Fall 2016 Law Review Article Submission Guide

SubmissionsNancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC) have updated their incredibly useful document, which contains two charts for the Fall 2016 submission season covering 204 law reviews.

The first chart (pp. 1-51) contains information gathered from the journals’ websites on:

  • Methods for submitting an article (such as by e-mail, ExpressO, regular mail, Scholastica, or Twitter)
  • Any special formatting requirements
  • How to request an expedited review
  • How to withdraw an article after it has been accepted for publication elsewhere

The second chart (pp. 52-58) contains the ranking of the law reviews and their schools under six measures:

  • U.S. News: Overall Rank
  • U.S. News: Peer Reputation Rating
  • U.S. News: Judge/Lawyer Reputation Rating
  • Washington & Lee Citation Ranking
  • Washington & Lee Impact Factor
  • Washington & Lee Combined Rating

They also have posted a list of links to the submissions information on each law journal’s website. Nancy notes two highlights in this updated document:

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July 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Social Media For Academics

Social Media for AcademicsMark Carrigan (University of Warwick), Social Media for Academics (Sage 2016):

Social media is an increasingly important part of academic life that can be a fantastic medium for promoting your work, networking with colleagues and for demonstrating impact. However, alongside the opportunities it also poses challenging questions about how to engage online, and how to represent yourself professionally.

This practical book provides clear guidance on effectively and intelligently using social media for academic purposes across disciplines, from publicising your work and building networks to engaging the public with your research.  It is supported by real life examples and underpinned by principles of good practice to ensure you have the skills to make the most of this exciting medium.

You’ll find advice on:

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July 25, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, July 24, 2016

If Black Lives Matter At Whittier, Shouldn't Law School Address Graduates' Abysmal Bar Passage And Employment Rates?

LBLMFollowing up on my previous posts (here and here):  The College Fix, Law Professor Who Wore Black Lives Matter Shirt to Class Has a Long Trail of Student Grievances, by Samantha Figueroa:

When a law professor wore a Black Lives Matter shirt to class earlier this year, she saw it as a teaching tool and exercise in academic freedom.

Some of her “concerned students” saw the gesture as an attempt to push her “personal beliefs” on them, but also a threat to their ability to become practicing lawyers – and told her so in a much-derided memo.

The incident was revived this month after Inside Higher Ed confirmed the institution was southern California’s Whittier Law School, whose student body is majority-minority, and the professor was Patricia Leary.

Though Leary’s public critique of the anonymous memo has drawn most of the attention, the students’ deeper anxieties have been overshadowed: Whittier’s bar passage rate is plummeting.

And if new accreditation standards under review at the American Bar Association are implemented, the value of students’ degrees from the $46,000-a-year institution may be imperiled. ...

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July 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Senate Bill Would Exempt Student Loans Discharged For Any Reason From Being Taxed As Income

Student Loans CautionSenators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced the Student Loan Tax Relief Act:

The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exempt student loans discharged for any reason from being taxed as income, including through participation in the federal income-based repayment (IBR) and income-contingent repayment (ICR) loan forgiveness programs; through death or disability of the recipient; or due to fraud by an institution of higher education, known as "borrower defense to repayment."

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July 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Amazon Enters Student Loan Business

Amazon logoWall Street Journal, Amazon Tiptoes Into Banking Business Through Student Loans:

Amazon is stepping into the student-loan marketplace.

The online retailer has entered into a partnership with San Francisco lender Wells Fargo in which the bank’s student-lending arm will offer interest-rate discounts to select Amazon shoppers. ...

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July 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Could Your Social Media Posts Prevent You From Becoming A Lawyer?

Social MediaKeith Lee, Could Your Social Media Posts Prevent You From Becoming A Lawyer?:

The July bar exam is coming up next week and is on the minds of many law school graduates. ... But after law school, and before the bar exam, there is one other hurdle law school graduates must clear on their path to becoming a licensed attorney – they must pass a Character and Fitness Evaluation (CFE). ...

[Otion] Gjini was denied admission to Bar of Maryland. [He is not] a sympathetic applicant. Gjini was mostly denied because he had frequent DUIs and did not disclose that he was facing a charge of violating his probation until the charge was found by the Maryland Character Committee (MCC) and brought up during his hearing.

But also at issue when Gjini appeared before the MCC, were his online postings. During law school, Gjini, like almost every law school student, frequently commented on various social media services. During his examination, the MCC came across Gjini’s public accounts and found the following comments:

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

ABA Question Of The Week: Did You Like Law School?

ABA Logo (2016)ABA Journal Question of the Week:  Did You Like Law School?:

In the last week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence—who graduated from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1986—was named Donald Trump’s running mate on the Republican presidential ticket. In a 1994 news story unearthed in response to Pence’s nomination, Pence said he didn’t like law school.

“No one I know likes law school,” he told the Indianapolis Business Journal at the time. “It was a bad experience. I wouldn’t wish it on a dog I didn’t like.”

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July 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Amidst Financial Free Fall, Nine Thomas Jefferson Faculty Retire

Thomas Jefferson Logo (2015)Amidst a very challenging budgetary environment caused by an ill-fated building project and a 38% enrollment decline since 2011 (links below), nine Thomas Jefferson Law School faculty have retired:

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July 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

'A Talent For Teaching Simply Does Not Factor Into Tenure Decisions At Dartmouth'

DartmouthDartBlog, Tenure/Teaching: The Pendulum Swings:

A member of the faculty writes in:

Faculty hired 5-7 years ago were told explicitly that a couple of peer-reviewed articles and a book contract with a well-respected academic press was sufficient for tenure. I often used the word “humane” to describe the requirements for tenure, in that they rewarded both scholarship of a high caliber and teaching prowess. ...

Professors hired at that time are now coming up for tenure. ... Recent tenure decisions have many members of my cohort scrambling for the exits—going on the market and taking on visiting appointments elsewhere—now that they understand that they were given a false impression of how different aspects of their trajectories would be evaluated.

I hate to say this, but many younger colleagues express regret at having agonized over their lesson plans and expended so much effort on honing their skills as classroom instructors, when a talent for teaching simply does not factor into tenure decisions. Phil Hanlon’s recent remarks on education only confirm what we already know, that Dartmouth is moving toward a corporate state university model wherein professors are retained for their “productivity”—quantity of publication over quality—and ability to bring in large grants, while underpaid adjuncts teach undergraduates. ...

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July 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Should After-Hours Work-Related Email Be Illegal?

GmailFast Company, What Sending After-Hours Emails Does To Your Productivity:

In a new report called "Exhausted But Unable to Disconnect," professors from Lehigh University, Virginia Tech, and Colorado State University found that an "always on" culture may prevent employees from fully disengaging from work, causing stress.

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July 21, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Georgetown 3L:  Law School Is A Terrible Idea For Most People

Boston Globe: Put Down That Law School Application Before It’s Too Late, by Isvari Mohan (J.D. 2016, Georgetown ("among the 1 percent of students who love law school"):

I’m going to bet that many of you have considered going to law school. Whether you’re a scientist, a doctor, an engineer, a businesswoman, or a stereotypical liberal arts grad, you might have thought that law school would help you with something. Most of the time, it won’t. Here’s why law school is a terrible idea for most people:

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July 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (18)

David Cole Named National Legal Director Of ACLU

Cole 3Press Release, ACLU Taps Constitutional Expert David Cole as National Legal Director:

The American Civil Liberties Union has tapped David Cole, a leading constitutional law expert and litigator, to become its National Legal Director, leading its Supreme Court practice and overseeing the work of the organization’s nearly 300 lawyers, Executive Director Anthony D. Romero announced today. The ACLU has participated in nearly every landmark case involving political expression, freedom of the press, speech on the internet, and separation of church and state in the U.S. Supreme Court during the last 96 years. Cole will replace Steven R. Shapiro, who has served as National Legal Director for a quarter century. ...

In his role as National Legal Director, Cole will direct a program that includes approximately 1,400 state and federal lawsuits on a broad range of civil liberties issues. He will directly manage 100 ACLU staff attorneys in New York headquarters, oversee the organization’s U.S. Supreme Court docket, and provide leadership to more than 200 staff attorneys who work in ACLU affiliate offices in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Another 1,700 volunteer cooperating attorneys throughout the country are engaged in ACLU litigation. With an annual headquarters budget of $140 million, and 1.3 million supporters, the ACLU is the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization. ...

Cole is currently the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law, national security, and criminal justice. ...

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July 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Houston College Of Law Seeks To Hire Staff Attorney In Its Low Income Taxpayer Clinic

Houston College 2Houston College of Law seeks to hire a Staff Attorney in its Low Income Taxpayer Clinic:

Job Description

SUMMARY  Houston College of Law, located in downtown Houston, recently received approval from the IRS to receive a grant to operate a LITC. Beginning with the fall 2016 semester, the LITC will provide direct representation in federal tax controversies to low income taxpayers. Clients assisted by the LITC might need a variety of types of assistance in resolving their federal tax issues with the IRS, including entering into installment agreements, submitting offers in compromise, negotiating with IRS Appeals, requesting Collection Due Process Hearings, and filing petitions and litigating in the United States Tax Court. Funding for this position through the IRS grant currently is available only for the fall 2016 semester. Houston College of Law has applied for grant funds for calendar year 2017 and intends to apply for grant funds for future years. Employment as a Staff Attorney in the LITC following the fall 2016 semester is contingent on grant funding and the law school’s requirements.

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July 21, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School App Tracks Students’ Professional Skills

UNNational Law Journal, Law School App Tracks Students’ Professional Skills:

Want to graduate from law school as a well-rounded attorney?

There’s an app for that.

Next month, the University of Nebraska College of Law will roll out an app designed to help students develop 27 distinct professional skills by tracking their activities and coursework. Administrators say that the app, built by students in the university’s computer science school over the past year with input from law faculty and students, is the first of its kind at a law school.

“The goal is to help students focus on the broad range of skills they will need as lawyers,” said Interim Law Dean Richard Moberly. “In some ways, I want students to use this to take ownership over their educational opportunities.”

The Build Your Character app aims to encourage students to look beyond reading, writing and “thinking like a lawyer” to hone abilities including networking, listening, organizing and problem solving—skills that students tend to overlook.

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Law School 2.0: How Legal Tech Disrupted Traditional Legal Education

LHLegal Tech News, Law School 2.0: How Legal Tech Disrupted Traditional Legal Education:

Data-driven law school decisions and more hands-on technology courses are upending conventional legal education.

Providing attorneys with the economic mobility and technical acumen to survive in today's competitive marketplace should seem like the goal of any modern legal education. But oftentimes, it is an area where law schools fall short.

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

Grads Of Mid- And Low-Tier Law Schools Hang Out Their Shingles To Survive In Brutal Job Market

AttyNational Law Journal, In Tight Job Market, New Law Grads Boldly Hang a Shingle:

Let’s face it, the Big Law life isn’t for everyone. Some 4.4 percent of law school graduates—or about 1,900 each year—launch their own firms, according to the National Association for Law Placement, which last ran the numbers in 2014.

In talking to young lawyers who went into business for themselves during the past few years, found that some had no choice: They couldn’t find a place at a law firm, where hiring from top-tier schools has improved since the recession but generally not from lower-ranked schools. Some of the recent graduates we talked to did find a law firm job; they didn’t like it. Others were realizing ambitions—they preferred the flexibility and autonomy of running their own practices, plus the close interaction with clients.

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July 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (28)

North Carolina Central Law School Seeks To Hire A Tax Clinic Director

NCC LogoNorth Carolina Central University School of Law invites applications from entry-level and lateral candidates for the position of Director/Supervisor of its Low Income Taxpayer Clinic:

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July 20, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Malcolm Gladwell-Bowdoin College Food Fight Over Student Amenities v. Financial Aid To Low-Income Students

GBInside Higher Ed, Food Fight:

Why do some seemingly similar colleges admit more low-income students than others?

Malcolm Gladwell, the popular writer (The Tipping Point, among other books), has an answer for that question. Elite colleges that spend to have quality food and other amenities for students are making choices he finds immoral. Letting students make do with mediocre food would enable these colleges to admit more low-income students and provide them with the aid and support they need to succeed, he maintains.

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July 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Vassar Faculty Propose Reducing Teaching Load To 2-2, Freeing Up Time For Research, Student Mentoring

Vassar 3Inside Higher Ed, The Price of Cutting Course Loads:

Faculty members at Vassar College generally agree that teaching five classes per year makes it hard to keep up with research and the one-on-one interaction that students expect. Many professors also worry that students are taking on too many courses at one time. So a new proposal to address the issue -- shrinking the teaching load to four classes per year while adding a new student supervisory component, and cutting the number of units students need to graduate -- has attracted significant faculty support.

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