TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, May 23, 2016

Peter Thiel's Advice To Graduates: 'My Ambition To Be A Lawyer Was Less A Plan For The Future Than An Alibi For The Present'

Peter Thiel (Co-founder, PayPal), Commencement Address at Hamilton College (May 22, 2016):

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

Thank you so much for the kind introduction. It’s a tremendous honor to be here.

Like most graduation speakers my main qualification would seem to be that I am one of the few people who are even more clueless about what is going on in your lives than your parents and your professors.

Most of you are about 21 or 22 years old, you’re about to begin working. I haven’t worked for anybody for 21 years. But if I try to give a reason for why it makes sense for me to speak here today I would say it’s because thinking about the future is what I do for a living. And this is a commencement. It’s a new beginning. As a technology investor, I invest in new beginnings. I believe in what hasn’t yet been seen or been done.

This is not what I set out to do when I began my career. When I was sitting where you are, back in 1989, I would’ve told you that I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t really know what lawyers do all day, but I knew they first had to go to law school, and school was familiar to me.

I had been competitively tracked from middle school to high school to college, and by going straight to law school I knew I would be competing at the same kinds of tests I’d been taking ever since I was a kid, but I could tell everyone that I was now doing it for the sake of becoming a professional adult.

I did well enough in law school to be hired by a big New York law firm, but it turned out to be a very strange place. From the outside, everybody wanted to get in; and from the inside, everybody wanted to get out.

When I left the firm, after seven months and three days, my coworkers were surprised. One of them told me that he hadn’t known it was possible to escape from Alcatraz. Now that might sound odd, because all you had to do to escape was walk through the front door and not come back. But people really did find it very hard to leave, because so much of their identity was wrapped up in having won the competitions to get there in the first place.

Continue reading

May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

2d Annual Mid-Career Tax Professors Workshop Kicks Off Today At UC-Davis

UC Davis Logo (2016)Panel #1:  Tax Administration

Susie Morse (Texas), Regulating by Example
Commentator: Emily Cauble (DePaul)

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), Picturing the Code
Commentator: David Gamage (Berkeley)

Will Foster (Arkansas), Uncoupling Competence
Commentator: Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

Panel #2:  International

Continue reading

May 23, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Simkovic Presents What Can We Learn from Credit Markets At ALI

ALI Logo (2015)American Law Institute 93rd Annual Meeting:

[On] the last day of the Annual Meeting ... Young Scholar Medal Recipient Michael Simkovic of Seton Hall University School of Law presented What Can We Learn from Credit Markets. He opened with a quote from, Oliver Wendell Holmes from his address entitled The Path of the Law: “For the rational study of the law, the blackletter man may be the man of the present, but the man of the future is the man of statistics and the master of economics”:

My research uses economic analysis to explore how laws affect financial markets and how courts and regulators can use financial information to make legal and policy decisions. ...

Continue reading

May 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of Iowa President Says Law School Enrollment Decline Has Stabilized At -30%

Iowa Logo (2016)Following up on my previous posts:

KCRG, University of Iowa President Weighs in Law School Enrollment:

Earlier this month, the University of Iowa College of Law graduated one of its smallest classes in recent memory, about 100 students.

That's nearly half of what it used to be more than four years ago. ...

Continue reading

May 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1110

IRS Logo 2USA Today op-ed:  When Leaders Cheat, Followers ... Follow, by Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee):

The trust that underlies a law-abiding society is rotting away thanks to double-dealing in Washington.

The state is “a gang of thieves writ large,” economist Murray Rothbard is said to have remarked. I’ve always viewed that sort of comment with a bit of skepticism. But now I’m beginning to wonder.

I wonder more when I read things like this report from the Washington Examiner: “The CIA's inspector general is claiming it inadvertently destroyed its only copy of a classified, three-volume Senate report on torture, prompting a leading senator to ask for reassurance that it was in fact ‘an accident.’”

Here’s a hint: It very likely wasn’t.

Is that unfair? I mean, it could have been an accident, right? Yeah it could have been. But it wasn’t. Accidents like that just don’t happen — or, when they do, they’re generally not accidents. And it’s right for people who have custody of evidence to know that any convenient “accidents” will give rise to the presumption that they had something pretty awful to hide, and that they hid it.

But, of course, the CIA’s “accident” was only the latest in a long rash of “accidental” losses of incriminating information in this administration. The IRS — whose Tea Party-targeting scandal is now over 1,100 days old without anyone being charged or sent to jail — seems to have a habit of ”accidentally” destroying hard drives containing potentially incriminating evidence. It has done so in spite of court orders, in spite of Congressional inquiries and in spite of pretty much everyone’s belief that these “accidents” were actually the deliberate, illegal destruction of incriminating evidence to protect the guilty.

Then there’s Hillary’s email scandal, in which emails kept on a private unsecure server — presumably to avoid Freedom of Information Act disclosures — were deleted. Now emails from Hillary’s IT guy, who is believed to have set up the server, have gone poof.

“Destroy the evidence, and you’ve got it made,” said an old frozen dinner commercial. But now that appears to be the motto of the United States government.

Continue reading

May 23, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Symposium:  Legal Education In A Time Of Change

UNLV Logo (2016)Symposium, Legal Education in a Time of Change: Challenges and Opportunities,  16 Nev. L.J. 143-274 (2015):

Continue reading

May 22, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new #1 paper new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [372 Downloads]  The Panama Papers and Tax Morality, by Usman W. Chohan (University of New South Wales)
  2. [327 Downloads]  Google's 'Alphabet Soup' in Delaware, by Bret Bogenschneider (Vienna) & Ruth Heilmeier (Cologne)
  3. [264 Downloads]  New Prominence Of Tax Basis In Estate Planning, by Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine) & Jay A. Soled (Rutgers)
  4. [161 Downloads]  How Income Taxes Should Change during Recessions, by Zachary D. Liscow (Yale) & William A. Woolston (Stanford)
  5. [151 Downloads]  The Missing Tax Benefit of Donor-Advised Funds, by John R. Brooks (Georgetown)

May 22, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Late To The Ball:  Finding My (Tennis) Bliss

LateWall Street Journal:  A Sport for Life, Learned Late,  by Jason Gay:

Gerry Marzorati, author of the new book Late to the Ball, is trying to prove an avid tennis fan can become a successful tennis player in his mid-50s and beyond.

I don’t want to give the impression that Late to the Ball is a hardcore tennis book. Well, it sort of is: If you love tennis, you will geek out at Marzorati’s travels to supercamps, stroke gurus, and the Jedi-sounding United States Tennis Congress. But at its heart, Late to the Ball is a soulful meditation on aging, companionship and the power of self-improvement. I know that sounds like the kind of cheesy thing people say on the cover of book jackets. But it’s really true.

“The book was an opportunity to ponder these questions,” said Marzorati, a well-regarded writer and editor who retired last year from the New York Times, an adorable community newspaper which I believe publishes several times a week. Immersing himself in tennis, he said, was a way to test if it was possible, later in life, to “really fall in love with something—something you didn’t think was going to happen again.”

This is a common life crossroads, the author believes. Marzorati gave an example: former President George W. Bush’s recent immersion in oil painting. “I completely understand what he’s doing,” Marzorati said. “I know what he’s thinking, how much pleasure it gives him, and that he really wants to get better at it.”

I, too, picked up tennis in my mid-50s when I left Cincinnati for Pepperdine.  But I have found my tennis bliss and can now compete with the best Pepperdine faculty players, but not from "tennis gurus" or "supercamps."   This 2-minute video harkens back to John Wooden's life lesson about the importance of properly tying your sneakers and changed my (tennis) life:

Continue reading

May 22, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1109

IRS Logo 2The Maddow Blog:  Republicans Get Serious About Impeachment, But Not Obama’s, by Steve Benen:

Quick quiz: when was the last time the U.S. Congress actually impeached an appointed executive branch official? It was 1876 – 140 years ago – when the House impeached Ulysses S. Grant’s War Secretary, William Belknap, over corruption allegations.

Nearly a century and a half later, House Republicans appear eager to give Belknap some company. The Washington Post reported yesterday:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced a resolution on Wednesday to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, raising the stakes in the GOP war against the tax collector days before a hearing on whether to impeach him.

The four-page resolution seeks Koskinen’s resignation or removal by President Obama and calls on the IRS chief to forfeit his federal pension.

Chaffetz, the far-right chairman of the House Oversight Committee, explained in a statement yesterday, “I view censure as a precursor to impeachment.” He added a few weeks ago, “My foremost goal is impeachment and I’m not letting go of it.”

No, of course not. That might be responsible.

By any sane metric, the idea of congressional impeachment against the IRS commissioner is bonkers. House Republicans are apparently still worked up about an IRS “scandal” that doesn’t exist, and though Koskinen wasn’t even at the agency at the time of the alleged wrongdoing, GOP lawmakers want to impeach him because they disapprove of his handling of the imaginary controversy. ...

[G]iven the fact that Koskinen hasn’t actually committed any impeachable offenses, it’s hard not to get the impression that many House Republicans want to impeach someone, anyone, just for the sake of being able to say they impeached someone. ...

I continue to believe much of this is borne of partisan frustration: Republican investigations into Benghazi and other manufactured “scandals,” including the IRS matter itself, have effectively evaporated into nothing. That’s deeply unsatisfying to GOP hardliners, who remain convinced there’s Obama administration wrongdoing lurking right around the corner, even if they can’t see it, find it, prove it, or substantiate it any way.

Unwilling to move on empty handed, impeaching the IRS chief will, if nothing else, make Republican lawmakers feel better about themselves.

But that doesn’t change the fact that this partisan tantrum is indefensible. Koskinen took on the job of improving the IRS out of a sense of duty – the president asked this veteran public official to tackle a thankless task, and Koskinen reluctantly agreed. For his trouble, Republicans want to impeach him, for reasons even they’ve struggled to explain.

It’s ridiculous, even by the low standards of this Congress.

Continue reading

May 22, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

The 10 Most-Cited Tax Faculty

Brian Leiter (Chicago) has updated his ranking of the Ten Most-Cited Tax Faculty to now cover the 2010-2014 period (2009-2013 data here):

Rank

Tax Prof

Citations

Age

1

David Weisbach (Chicago)

420

53

2

Michael Graetz (Columbia)

410

72

3

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)

360

59

4

Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

350

59

5

Lawrence Zelenak (Duke)

310

58

6

Leandra Lederman (Indiana)

300

50

7

Edward Zelinsky (Cardozo)

280

66

8

Victor Fleischer (San Diego)

270

45

9

Edward McCaffery (USC)

260

58

10

Joseph Bankman (Stanford)

230

61

Leiter also lists four highly-cited scholars who work partly in tax:

Rank

Tax Prof

Citations

Age

1

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1150

60

2

Brian Galle (Georgetown)

380

44

3

Kristin Hickman (Minnesota)

360

46

4

Mark Gergen (UC-Berkeley)

280

60

In our article, Ranking Law Schools: Using SSRN to Measure Scholarly Performance, 81 Ind. L.J. 83, 120-22 (2006), Bernie Black (Northwestern) and I examined the Top 25 tax faculty as measured by SSRN downloads, a practice I update monthly on TaxProf Blog.  Five of the most-cited tax faculty (Avi-Yonah, Fleischer, Kaplow, Shaviro, Weisbach) also are five of the most-downloaded tax faculty.

Continue reading

May 21, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Small Bar Prep Company Files $50 Million Antitrust Action Again BARBRI, 11 Law Schools

LogosWall Street Journal, Bar Prep Company Accused of Boxing Out Smaller Rival:

The nation’s largest bar exam-prep company is facing allegations that it elbowed a smaller rival out of the market, capitalizing on special relationships with law schools that it had nurtured with donations and gifts.

BARBRI and several [11] law schools [Cardozo, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Fordham, Georgetown, Harvard, NYU, St. John's, UC-Berkeley, USC] were named in a federal antitrust lawsuit brought by LLM Bar Exam, a company that prepares foreign lawyers to sit for the bar exam in the United States. The complaint, which was filed in Manhattan on Thursday, alleges an illegal monopoly and asks for $50 million in damages. ...

Continue reading

May 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1108

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  IRS Commissioner's Smidgen Of Impeachment, by Robert W. Wood:

The House Judiciary Committee meets May 24, 2016 to consider IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. As Don Corleone said to the Heads of the Five Families, “How did things ever get so far?“ President Obama was less than convincing with his famous “not even a smidgen of corruption” remark about the IRS to Fox News in 2014. There were just some folks down at the IRS who were “confused” about how to implement the law governing tax-exempt groups. “Confused” sounded better than the one about the rogue IRS employees in Cincinnati. 

Now, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced House Resolution 737 to censure IRS Commissioner Koskinen. The resolution offers Congressional condemnation and disapproval for what it claims is the IRS Commissioner’s pattern of conduct. It says that is inconsistent with the trust and confidence placed in him as an Officer of the United States. The resolution formally censures Mr. Koskinen, urges his resignation or removal, and even requires him to forfeit all rights to his government pension and other federal benefits. ...

This has been a long battle. Indeed, Chairman Chaffetz and 51 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama in July of 2015 calling for the IRS Commissioner’s removal. On October 27, 2015, Chairman Chaffetz introduced H.J. Res. 494  to begin proceedings to impeach Koskinen. Referred to the House Judiciary Committee, it currently has 69 co-sponsors. The Committee even released a video with a timeline of key events in the IRS targeting scandal.

House Republicans still want action. Some of the anti-IRS movement is arguably due to the seething animosity some Republicans still have over the targeting, and the way the IRS chief handled it. A raft of scandals involving the IRS, poor and even evasive responses to Congress, bungled approaches to security, and a seeming diffidence to the public and concerned legislators have not won the IRS any friends. For Republicans, the IRS Commissioner has been a lightning rod. ...

Despite all the hoopla, Commissioner Koskinen is still probably safe. In the meantime, Republicans have pushed to pass laws slashing IRS power. President Obama has said he will veto bills that cut back on IRS budgets or power. Supporters say that the goal of such laws is to help improve customer service, prevent fraud, and ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately.

Continue reading

May 21, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Congratulations, Pepperdine Law School Class of 2016!

Graduation

May 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly Tax Roundup

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

Continue reading

May 20, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Continue reading

May 20, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fordham Symposium:  We Are What We Tax

Fordham Law ReviewSymposium, We Are What We Tax, 84 Fordham L. Rev. 2413-2753 (2016):

Continue reading

May 20, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ten Ways To Tell You May Be Sitting Next To An Economist On An Airplane

PassengersThe Economist, Ten Ways to Tell You Might be Sitting Next to an Economist:

An academic economist was taken off a plane last week after a fellow passenger became suspicious. He was feverishly scribbling what she thought was "terrorist code" or foreign lettering into a notebook. It turned out that Guido Menzio, an Italian economist from the the University of Pennsylvania, was working on some differential equations for a model on menu costs and price dispersion. Thankfully, Mr Menzio was allowed back on his flight. But passengers can't be too careful. Here are ten ways to tell you might be sitting next to an economist; police have also released pictures of two prime suspects (see above). 

1. He refuses to listen to the safety announcement because "in the long run, we're all dead" ...

Continue reading

May 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

McGinnis:  The Case Against Disclosing Presidential Candidates’ Tax Returns

John O. McGinnis (Northwestern), The Case Against Disclosing Candidates’ Tax Returns:

I have previously expressed very substantial reservations about Donald Trump’s candidacy, but decline to join in the criticism about his refusal to release his tax returns. While a norm has developed suggesting that citizens have a right to see tax returns of presidential candidates and indeed candidates for some other offices, it is a bad norm. It invades privacy, discourages some people from entering politics, distracts from policy issues, and harms the prospects of those with complex financial affairs. ...

Continue reading

May 20, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Too Many Lawyers? Report Faults Firms For Resisting Layoffs

American Lawyer LogoAmerican Lawyer, Too Many Lawyers? Report Faults Firms for Resisting Layoffs:

Should law firm leaders be firing more lawyers? That seems to be the takeaway of a report released Wednesday by the legal consultancy Altman Weil.

Nearly 60 percent of the 356 law firm leaders surveyed for the report said that overcapacity is hurting their firm’s profitability. The problem is more pronounced among firms with 250 lawyers or more, with 75.6 percent of them citing overcapacity as a drag on profits, the report said.

Continue reading

May 20, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1107

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal:  The IRS’s Ugly Business as Usual: ‘How Much Has Really Changed?’ A Judge Asks. Answer: Not Much. The Scandal Goes On., by Kimberley A. Strassel:

Amid the drama that is today’s presidential race, serious subjects are getting short shrift. No one is happier about this than Barack Obama. And no agency within that president’s administration is more ecstatic than the Internal Revenue Service.

That tax authority’s targeting of conservative nonprofits ranks as one of the worst federal scandals in modern history. It is topped only by the outrage that no one has been held to account. Or perhaps by the news that the targeting continues to this day.

That detail became clear in an extraordinary recent court hearing, in front of a panel of judges for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The paired cases in the hearing were Linchpins of Liberty v. United States and True the Vote v. Internal Revenue Service. They involve several conservative nonprofits—there are 41 in Linchpin—that were, as they said, rounded up and “branded” by the IRS. The groups are still suffering harm, and they want justice.

A lower-court judge had blithely accepted the IRS’s claim that the targeting had stopped, that applications for nonprofit status had been approved, and that the matter was therefore moot.

The federal judges hearing the appeal, among them David B. Sentelle and Douglas H. Ginsburg, weren’t so easily rolled. In a series of probing questions the judges ascertained that at least two of the groups that are party to the lawsuit have still not received their nonprofit approvals. The judges determined that those two groups are 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups, which are subject to far less scrutiny than 501(c)(3) charities, yet are still being harassed by the IRS five years later. The judges were told that not only are the groups still on ice, but that their actions are still being “monitored” by the federal government.

As one lawyer for the plaintiffs noted, despite the IRS’s claim that it got rid of its infamous targeting lists, there is “absolutely no showing” that the agency has in fact stopped using the underlying “criteria” that originally “identified and targeted for mistreatment based on political views.”

The hearing also showed the degree to which the IRS has doubled down on its outrageous revisionist history, and its excuses. IRS lawyers again claimed that the whole targeting affair came down to bad “training” and bad “guidance.” They blew off a Government Accountability Office report that last year found the IRS still had procedures that would allow it to unfairly select organizations for examinations based on religious or political viewpoint. The lawyers’ argument: We wouldn’t do such a thing. Again. Trust us.

More incredibly, the IRS team claimed that the fault for some of the scandal rests with the conservative groups, for not pushing back hard enough during the targeting. In response to complaints that the groups had been forced to hand over confidential information (information the IRS now refuses to destroy), one agency lawyer retorted: “They didn’t have to give the information to the IRS if they thought it was inappropriate, they could have said so.” Really. ...

An IRS lawyer rolled out the defense used by former agency official Lois Lerner that the targeting was just the unfortunate use of “inappropriate” criteria, but Judge Sentelle reminded the lawyer of the IRS’s vindictiveness. He noted that on one occasion the IRS simply shelved the application of an organization that had sued it. The agency “came to Court not having done anything to eliminate” the problem, he said, so “It’s just hard to find the IRS to be an agency we can trust, isn’t it?”

Judge Sentelle said there is a “pretty good case” that “egregious violations of the Constitution” had been committed, and he dared an IRS lawyer to “stand there with a straight face” and say otherwise. Judge Ginsburg, who spent the hearing catching out the IRS’s conflicting statements, at one point simply asked: “How much has really changed?”

Answer: not much. It was good news, then, that the House Judiciary Committee recently announced it will hold two hearings to examine the conduct of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in this matter. Donald Trump, as the presumptive GOP nominee, could do worse than to use his megaphone to draw attention to the hearings. The IRS scandal needs to remain a story.Answer: not much. It was good news, then, that the House Judiciary Committee recently announced it will hold two hearings to examine the conduct of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in this matter. Donald Trump, as the presumptive GOP nominee, could do worse than to use his megaphone to draw attention to the hearings. The IRS scandal needs to remain a story.

Continue reading

May 20, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

LSAT Is Poor Predictor Of Law School Grades: 6 LSAT Points = 0.1 LGPA

LSAT (2015)Alexia Brunet Marks (Colorado) & Scott A. Moss (Colorado), What Predicts Law Student Success? A Longitudinal Study Correlating Law Student Applicant Data and Law School Outcomes, 13 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 205 (2016):

Despite the rise of "big data" empiricism, law school admission remains heavily impressionistic; admission decisions based on anecdotes about recent students, idiosyncratic preferences for certain majors or jobs, or mainly the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Yet no predictors are well-validated; studies of the LSAT or other factors fail to control for college quality, major, work experience, etc. The lack of evidence of what actually predicts law school success is especially surprising after the 2010s downturn left schools competing for fewer applicants and left potential students less sure of law school as a path to future success. We aim to fill this gap with a two-school, 1400-student, 2005-2012 longitudinal study. After coding non-digitized applicant data, we used multivariate regression analysis to predict law school grades ("LGPA") from many variables: LSAT; college grades ("UGPA"), quality, and major; UGPA trajectory; employment duration and type (legal, scientific, military, teaching, etc.); college leadership; prior graduate degree; criminal or discipline record; and variable interactions (e.g., high-LSAT/low-UGPA or vice-versa).

Continue reading

May 19, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Elkins:  The Merits Of Tax Competition In A Globalized Economy

David Elkins (Netanya), The Merits of Tax Competition in a Globalized Economy, 91 Ind. L.J. 905 (2016):

Since the turn of the current century, leading transnational organizations and academic scholarship have identified tax competition among countries as one of the scourges of the international tax regime. Both the EU and the OECD have warned that tax competition erodes the tax bases of Member States and impedes their ability to provide essential services. Commentators have argued that unrestrained competition is driving tax rates on mobile sources of income to (or close to) zero, a process that jeopardizes the very existence of the welfare state, exacerbates problems of global poverty, and deprives developing countries of funds that they desperately need in order to improve their physical infrastructure and human capital. Tax competition is also said to misallocate economic resources by driving investment to where the tax rate is lowest rather than to where the return on investment is highest.

Continue reading

May 19, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

49%National Association of College and University Business Officers, Tuition Discounts at Private Colleges Continue to Climb:

The gap between the sticker price on a private college education and the amount most students actually pay continues to widen, according to new data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

In the 2015 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study, 401 private, nonprofit colleges reported another year of record-breaking tuition discount rates for 2015-16, topping last year's previous highs. For academic year 2015-16, the average institutional discount rate—or the percentage of total gross tuition and fee revenue institutions give back to students as grant-based financial aid—was an estimated 48.6 percent for first-time, full-time freshmen and 42.5 percent for all undergraduates. In other words, these private colleges put about 42 cents on every dollar of tuition and fee revenue toward scholarships and grants.

NACUBO

For student recipients, those funds went further than ever before. About 88 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen and 77.6 percent of all undergraduates were awarded aid, which averaged roughly half the cost of tuition and fees for both cohorts.

 

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

Book:  Bureaucratic Oppression And The Tax System

ABA Tax LawyerLeslie Book (Villanova), Bureaucratic Oppression and the Tax System, 69 Tax Law. ___ (2016):

Observers of the Internal Revenue Service’s administration of the earned income tax credit (EITC) have leveled one main criticism, that the Service has been unable to reduce stubbornly high error rates. Congress has generally focused attention on this problem with many legislative initiatives, including unprecedented (for the tax system) penalties for improper claims, special due diligence rules for preparers submitting returns with EITC claims, and a lessening of pre-assessment right to judicial review of Service rejections of EITC claims.

In this Article I wish to shift attention to the Service’s poor service to EITC claimants. In particular, I wish to broaden the inquiry to reflect the insights of nontax scholars who have looked at the ways that administrative agencies interact with low-income individuals who rely on benefits that agencies administer.

Continue reading

May 19, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sugin:  Rhetoric And Reality In The Tax Law Of Charity

Linda Sugin (Fordham), Rhetoric and Reality in the Tax Law of Charity, 84 Fordham L. Rev. 2607 (2016):

The rhetoric of public purposes in charity law has created the mistaken impression that charity is public and fulfills public goals, when the reality is that charity is private and cannot be expected to solve the problems that governments can solve. The rhetoric arises from a combination of charity-law history and tax expenditure analysis. The reality follows the money and control of charitable organizations. On account of the mismatch of rhetoric and reality, the tax law of charity endorses an entitlement to pre-tax income and (ironically) creates a bias against taxation. This article reorients the project of defining public and private in the tax law by starting from a normative theory of government responsibility.

Continue reading

May 19, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TPC Study Fuels New Congressional Push To Integrate Corporate And Shareholder Taxes

Wall Street Journal, Fewer Shareholders Pay U.S. Taxes on Dividends: New Study Is Bolstering Drive to Shift Tax Burden From Corporations to Investors:

WSJ 2A new study showing that a shrinking fraction of shareholders of U.S. corporations pay taxes on dividends is bolstering a drive to revamp the corporate tax system. [Steven Rosenthal & Lydia Austin, The Dwindling Taxable Share of U.S. Corporate Stock, 151 Tax Notes 923 (May 16, 2016)]

The specter of double taxation, which animates complaints about today’s U.S. corporate tax code, is receding, according to a new study from the Tax Policy Center. Tax-exempt and tax-preferred entities—such as 401(k) plans and other retirement accounts—own more than 75% of U.S. corporate stock, nearly opposite the prevailing pattern from 50 years ago, the study said.

Continue reading

May 19, 2016 in Congressional News, Scholarship, Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rutgers Faculty Rebels Against Use Of Metrics To Assess Their Scholarly Performance

AAFollowing up on my previous post:  Inside Higher Ed, Refusing to Be Measured:

The faculty of the Graduate School at Rutgers University in New Brunswick took a stand against Academic Analytics on Tuesday, resolving that administrators shouldn’t use proprietary information about faculty productivity in decisions about divvying up resources among departments, or those affecting the makeup of the faculty, graduate teaching assignments, fellowships and grant writing. They also demanded to view their personal data profiles by Sept. 1. The vote was 114 to 2.

Continue reading

May 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Knoll & Mason:  Is The Philadelphia Wage Tax Unconstitutional?

Michael S. Knoll (Pennsylvania) & Ruth Mason (Virginia), Is the Philadelphia Wage Tax Unconstitutional? And If It Is, What Can and Should the City Do?, 164 U. Pa. L. Rev. Online 163 (2016):

Philadelphia has a complex and antiquated tax system that has long been criticized for driving employers and jobs away from Philadelphia by making it expensive to conduct business in the City. The centerpiece of the Philadelphia tax system is the Philadelphia wage tax, which raised more than $1.6 billion in 2014. That tax has been challenged as unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Wynne v. Comptroller of Maryland, which struck down a structurally similar Maryland tax.

Continue reading

May 19, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Emotionally Intelligent Law Professor: A Lesson From The Breakfast Club

Breakfast clubHeidi K. Brown (Brooklyn), The Emotionally Intelligent Law Professor: A Lesson From the Breakfast Club, 36 U. Ark. Little Rock  L. Rev. 273 (2016):

While some law review articles emphasize the importance of teaching Emotional Intelligence (EI) as part of the students' law school curriculum as a component of “professionalism,” fewer articles thus far have illuminated how professors can cultivate their own EI to become better educators. The present article aspires to provide law professors with a workable explanation of EI, and practical guidance to make EI accessible and useful in the classroom.

Continue reading

May 19, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1106

IRS Logo 2H. Res. 737, 114th Cong., 2d Sess.:

RESOLUTION Condemning and censuring John A. Koskinen, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. 

Whereas the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a subpoena to John A. Koskinen, Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service, on February 14, 2014, which compelled him to produce, among other things, ‘‘all communications sent or received by Lois Lerner, from January 1, 2009, to August 2, 2013.’’;

Whereas on March 4, 2014, Internal Revenue Service employees in Martinsburg, West Virginia, magnetically erased 422 backup tapes, destroying as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails responsive to the subpoena;

Whereas Commissioner Koskinen violated a congressional subpoena by failing to locate and preserve relevant records and by losing key pieces of evidence that were in the agency’s possession, and destroyed, on his watch;

Whereas Commissioner Koskinen betrayed the trust and confidence of the American people as an Officer of the United States;

Whereas Commissioner Koskinen failed to live up to the promise he made to the Senate Committee on Finance during his confirmation hearing to: ‘‘Be transparent about any problems we run into; and the public and certainly this committee will know about those problems as soon as we do.’’;

Whereas as early as February 2014, and no later than April 2014, Commissioner Koskinen was aware that a substantial portion of Lois Lerner’s emails were missing and could not be produced to Congress, but did not notify Congress of any problem until June 13, 2014, when he included the information on the fifth page of the third enclosure of a letter to the Senate Committee on Finance;

Whereas Commissioner Koskinen offered under oath a series of false and misleading statements utterly lacking in honesty and integrity;

Whereas on March 26, 2014, Commissioner Koskinen was asked during a hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, ‘‘Sir, are you or are you not going to provide this committee all of Lois Lerner’s emails?’’ and he falsely answered, ‘‘Yes, we will do that.’’;

Whereas on June 20, 2014, Commissioner Koskinen testified falsely that ‘‘since the start of this investigation, every email has been preserved. Nothing has been lost. Nothing has been destroyed.’’;

Whereas on June 20, 2014, Commissioner Koskinen testified falsely that the Internal Revenue Service had ‘‘confirmed that backup tapes from 2011 no longer existed because they have been recycled, pursuant to the Internal Revenue Service normal policy’’ and that ‘‘confirmed means that somebody went back and looked and made sure that in fact any backup tapes that had existed had been recycled.’’;

Whereas on June 20, 2014, Commissioner Koskinen testified that the Internal Revenue Service had ‘‘gone to great lengths’’ to retrieve all of Lois Lerner’s emails, but in fact failed to search disaster backup tapes, Lois Lerner’s Blackberry, the email server, backup tapes for the email server, and Lois Lerner’s temporary replacement laptop, which the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration subsequently found to contain more than 1,000 of Lerner’s emails;

Whereas Commissioner Koskinen’s false statements delayed and otherwise interfered with congressional investigations into the Internal Revenue Service targeting of Americans based on their political affiliation; and

Whereas the aforementioned conduct of Commissioner Koskinen caused the House of Representatives to lose confidence in his ability to administer and supervise the execution and application of the internal revenue laws: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That—  (1) the House of Representatives does hereby 3 censure and condemn John A. Koskinen for a pat-tern of conduct while Commissioner of Internal Revenue that is incompatible with his duties and inconsistent with the trust and confidence placed in him as an officer of the United States; and

(2) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that John A. Koskinen, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, should— (A) immediately resign from office, and if he does not so resign, the President should remove him from office; and (B) be required to forfeit all rights to any annuity for which he is eligible under chapter 83 or chapter 84 of title 5, United States Code.

Continue reading

May 19, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tax Court:  Accountant Cannot Deduct Law School Tuition

Tax Court Logo 2Santos v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-100 (May 17, 2016):

Santos earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting [from Indiana University (Bloomington)]. In 1990, he began working as a tax-return preparer. In 1995, he became an “enrolled agent”, a person authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS. In 1996, Santos earned a master’s degree in taxation [from San Francisco State University]. He began offering other services to his clients, including accounting and financial planning.

At some point Santos enrolled in law school [John F. Kennedy University College of Law]. He was attending law school in 2010. During that year, he paid tuition and fees of $20,275. He graduated from law school in 2011. In July 2011, he took the California bar examination. ... In December 2014, he was admitted to the State Bar of California and admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court.

In 2015, Santos started a law firm, Santos and Santos Law Offices, with his father. The firm performs multiple services including legal representation, tax planning, accounting, and financial planning. ...

Whether Santos is entitled to a deduction of $20,275 for his law school tuition and fees remains at issue. ...

Continue reading

May 18, 2016 in Legal Education, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

As Law School Enrollments Drop, Decline In Legal Jobs Keeps Law Grads Struggling To Find Work

American Lawyer LogoThe American Lawyer:  As Supply of Law Grads Drops, More Struggle To Find Work, by Matt Leichter:

What would it take to spark an employment recovery for law school graduates?

In simple economic terms, there are just two factors at play: the demand for new lawyers and the supply of graduates. The U.S. economy is still lagging, and the legal sector hasn't improved either, so it's understandable if law grads aren't finding more and better jobs amid slack demand.

That leaves the supply side. If the number of graduates falls, then those remaining should have an easier time finding jobs, leaving fewer graduates unemployed. And even if poor demand for new attorneys limits the positions available to graduates, those who don't find work as lawyers should be able to find it elsewhere. Like musical chairs, the fewer people who play, the fewer are left standing when the music stops. This is the glass-half-full prediction for law school graduates.

Unfortunately for graduates, the employment results for the class of 2015, which the American Bar Association officially released in May, tell a different story.

Excluding the three law schools in Puerto Rico, 3,772 fewer people graduated from ABA-accredited law schools in 2015, an 8.7 percent decline from 2014. Somewhat surprisingly, the number of graduates with jobs requiring a law degree fell by nearly 2,000, equivalent to more than half the difference in graduates between the two years. ...

Continue reading

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

Murphy Reviews Piketty's Capital In The Twenty-First Century

PikettyLiam Murphy (NYU), Why Does Inequality Matter?: Reflections on the Political Morality of Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, 68 Tax L. Rev. 613 (2015):

In the Conclusion to Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty issues a call for a political and historical economics. Like Marx and the political economists before him, Piketty is interested in how markets work because he is interested in the rights and wrongs of institutional, especially legal, design. His is book is guided by a clear sense that economic inequality, especially inequality of wealth, raises serious prima facie problems of social justice. This essay is a critical investigation into the political morality underlying Capital in the Twenty-First Century that unravels and evaluates the different ways in which economic inequality may or may not matter.

For my take, see Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, 64 Emory L.J. Online 2073 (2015).  Other reviews of Capital in the Twenty-First Century:

Continue reading

May 18, 2016 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Law Students' Work Drive Positively Correlates To Their 1L Grades

Jeffrey Minneti (Seattle), Work Drive Matters: An Assessment of the Relationship between Law Students' Work-Related Preferences and Academic Performance, 42 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev. 150 (2016):

This article explores the dimensions of law students' schoolwork-related preferences and discusses an empirical assessment of those preferences. The assessment revealed two findings: (1) a positive correlation between students' schoolwork-related preferences and their first-year law school cumulative grade point average (LGPA); and (2) students' schoolwork-related preferences significantly enhanced the predictive power of the traditional law school success predictors, law students' LSAT performance and their undergraduate cumulative grade point average (UGPA).

Continue reading

May 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Luke Reviews Kahng's Taxation Of Intellectual Capital

Charlene D. Luke (Florida), Illuminating the Dark Matter of Intellectual Capital, 66 Fla. L. Rev. F. 61 (2015):

Professor Lily Kahng’s article, The Taxation of Intellectual Capital, [66 Fla. L. Rev. 2229 (2014),] highlights the distortion contained in the current tax rules governing capitalization. Her article emphasizes that U.S tax law systematically fails to require capitalization for self-created, high-value intangible assets. Professor Kahng’s contribution is to situate the problem in a broader, interdisciplinary context and to use the knowledge gained from that context to suggest specific reforms. In the process, Professor Kahng explores the definitional boundaries of “intellectual capital” and considers potential objections to capitalization of the costs of intellectual capital. As a result, Professor Kahng’s article fosters a richer, contextualized conversation about a significant shortcoming of the tax system.

Continue reading

May 18, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

It's Official:  'Antonin Scalia Law School At George Mason University'

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through May 1, 2016) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

56,012

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

10,555

2

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

32,036

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

4479

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

31,056

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3702

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

26,620

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2461

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

25,850

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2366

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

22,306

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1892

7

James Hines (Michigan)

21,719

Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)

1850

8

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

21,052

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1776

9

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

20,965

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1759

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

19,768

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1747

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

18,807

Chris Hoyt (UMKC)

1688

12

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

17,814

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1683

13

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

16,933

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1670

14

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

16,913

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

1595

15

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

16,799

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1575

16

David Weisbach (Chicago)

16,768

Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)

1554

17

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

16,521

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

1545

18

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

16,385

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1482

19

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

16,016

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1428

20

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

15,862

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

1426

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

15,557

Yariv Brauner (Florida)

1387

22

David Walker (BU)

14,988

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1373

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

14,791

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1306

24

Steven Bank (UCLA)

13,314

Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)

1273

25

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

13,161

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1246

Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

Continue reading

May 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ:  Women In Elite Jobs Face Stubborn Pay Gap

WSJWall Street Journal, Women in Elite Jobs Face Stubborn Pay Gap:

On average, American women earn less than their male peers. Highly educated women fare worst of all.

A Wall Street Journal examination of pay in 446 major occupations found that women in many elite jobs earn well below men, with professions such as doctors, compensation managers and personal financial advisers among those showing the widest earnings gaps.

Male doctors working full time earned about $210,000 annually on average for the five years through 2014, the Journal’s analysis of Census Bureau data found. Female physicians made 64% of that, about $135,000 a year. Among personal financial advisers, men took in about $100,000 while women made about $62,000.

Many white-collar jobs give substantially larger financial rewards to those logging the longest hours and who job-hop often, phenomena that limit white-collar women who pull back for child-rearing. Researchers on the topic say ingrained workplace cultures also impede women’s earnings.

The gender pay gap has become a big issue in corporate boardrooms, state capitols and the 2016 presidential campaign. Executives and policy makers are weighing ways to bridge it, with ideas such as limiting employers from asking about salary histories and attempting to create “wage transparency” by requiring employers to report salary data.

Continue reading

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

Are We Ready To Raise Taxes On The Rich? History Says No.

Taxing the RichWashington Post op-ed:  Are We Ready to Raise Taxes on the Rich? History Says No., by Kenneth F. Scheve (Stanford) & David Stasavage (NYU):

Economic inequality is high and rising. At the same time, many governments are struggling to balance budgets while maintaining spending for popular programs.

That’s prompted some presidential candidates to argue it’s time to raise taxes on the rich. Bernie Sanders is leading the charge and would create a new top income tax rate of 54.2 percent, up from the current 39.6 percent. Hillary Clinton would institute the so-called “Buffett rule” to require individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $1 million to pay an effective rate of at least 30 percent, and she’d add a new 4 percent surcharge on anyone who pulls in $5 million or more.

As White House aspirants, other politicians and voters debate whether it’s time to once again soak the rich to spread their wealth around, it’s helpful to consider what prompted past governments — ours and others — to raise their taxes.

We investigated tax debates and policies in 20 countries from 1800 to the present for our new book, Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Fairness in the United States and Europe [Princeton University Press, 2016] [blogged here]. Our research shows that it is changes in beliefs about fairness — and not economic inequality or the need for revenue alone — that have driven the major variations in taxes on high incomes and wealth over the past two centuries.

Continue reading

May 18, 2016 in Book Club, Political News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NLJ:  Law Grad Employment Rates Up, But Class Size Is Smaller

National Law Journal (2016)National Law Journal, Law Grad Employment Rates Up, But Class Size Is Smaller:

The latest law school graduate employment data from the American Bar Association show mixed results for the class of 2015.

A slightly higher percentage of graduates landed in long-term, full-time jobs that require bar passage 10 months after graduation: 59.3 percent had such jobs, compared with 57.9 percent for the previous class. But the overall number of those gold-standard law jobs declined by nearly 1,700 year-over-year. In short, the employment rate went up because of the 9 percent decline in the number of new law graduates, not because of growth in the market for new lawyers.

Continue reading

May 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1105

IRS Logo 2Washington Post, Impeachment Hearings Are Latest Victory in Conservative War on IRS:

The House Judiciary Committee’s decision to hold hearings a week from today on whether to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is a victory for the chamber’s far-right caucus, still smarting over the agency’s treatment of conservative groups.

Over five years, House Republicans have slashed the IRS budget, passed bills banning employee bonuses and prohibiting employees fired for misconduct from getting rehired. The GOP has vowed to simplify the tax code, pounced on agency management failures and assailed customer service breakdowns caused by the budget cuts.

And last week, anti-IRS lawmakers persuaded previously hesitant House leaders to start the unusual process of removing the tax collector from office.

One of the biggest questions now is whether the 76-year-old tax commissioner will show up for the grilling. IRS officials said Monday they have made no decision on whether Koskinen will accept the Judiciary Committee’s invitation to appear May 24 and at a hearing in June.

Daily Kos, Republicans Move to Impeach Head of Government Agency for First Time Since 1876:

Suppose you hate taxes. And government. You could try to pass bills that cut taxes, scale back government … in short, do the things the extreme right Freedom Caucus says they want. Or you might simply make it impossible for the government to collect taxes by maneuvering to cripple the agency in charge, which is the approach conservatives radicals have actually taken.

The House Judiciary Committee’s decision to hold hearings a week from today on whether to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is a victory for the chamber’s far-right caucus, still smarting over the agency’s treatment of conservative groups.

The agency’s treatment of conservative groups. Which turned out to be pretty much the agency’s treatment of every sort of group. It was just that so many groups emerged from the tea party chaos, and so many of them blatantly did not know the difference between what was acceptable in a tax-exempt organization and what was not, that a high number of them became regulatory road kill.

But conservatives have never believed they have to play by the rules, and this scandal-that-wasn’t serves as sufficient pretext to carry on the teahad. ...

Oh, but do mark this down as a historic moment. It’s the first time anyone has tried to impeach the head of a government agency since the Grant administration. ... The real purpose of trying to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is to give the extremists in the GOP a distraction to talk about when they climb on the stage at rallies between now and November. The chances that they would actually remove Koskinen, who is set to leave in 2017 in any case, are somewhere between extremely slim and laughable. But he provides a demon to rail against. And his name isn’t Donald.

Continue reading

May 18, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BakerHostetler Hires Robot Lawyer 'Ross', Ushers In Legal Jobs Apocalypse

ROSS
Built on Top of Watson, IBM's Cognitive Computer

Sputnik News, Law School Scam? $200,000 in Student Debt, Replaced by Job-Killing Robot:

Law school, the default location for America’s brightest unemployed Liberal Arts graduates and the worst decision a 20-something can make in the modern era just became an even worse bargain, if that’s possible. ...

The world’s first "artificial-intelligence attorney," touted as the newest member of white-shoe law firm BakerHostetler, threatens to spark a job-killing trend in a vocation where career prospects already frighten a terrorized workforce.

Continue reading

May 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

Papers From The 2015 IRS-TPC Research Conference: Improving Tax Administration Through Research-Driven Efficiencies

TPCIRSThe IRS has released the papers from the 2015 IRS-TPC Research Conference: Improving Tax Administration Through Research-Driven Efficiencies:

2015 IRS Research Bulletin

Foreword

1. Innovative Methods for Improving Resource Allocation

Continue reading

May 17, 2016 in IRS News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gold:  Reducing The Cost Of Legal Education — We Either Hang Together Or Hang Separately

HangVictor James Gold (Former Dean, Loyola-L.A.), Reducing the Cost of Legal Education: The Profession Hangs Together or Hangs Separately, 66 Syracuse L. Rev. ___ (2016):

Is a legal education worth the cost? Until just a few years ago, there was little doubt that the answer was yes. The recession that began in 2007 changed everything. The job market for entry-level lawyers suddenly collapsed. With tuition high and job prospects low, many concluded that legal education was a bad investment. This essay documents the challenges confronting legal education and advises law schools to meet those challenges by reducing the cost of a JD degree. But forces within the legal profession itself make it unnecessarily difficult to follow this advice.

Continue reading

May 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Why Foreign Buyers Are Snapping Up U.S. Companies: Our Tax Code

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why Foreign Buyers Are Snapping Up U.S. Companies, by James Carter & Ernest Christian

No matter who is elected president in November, fixing America’s broken tax code should be a high priority. Laying the groundwork for tax reform, the House Ways and Means Committee recently held a hearing inviting “proposals for improvements to the U.S. tax system.” Here’s one that should head the list: Bring U.S. corporate taxes in line with the rest of the developed world.

Continue reading

May 17, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Elsevier Acquires SSRN

ESSRNPress Release, Elsevier Acquires the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), the Leading Social Science and Humanities Repository and Online Community:

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today the acquisition of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Founded in 1994, SSRN is a Rochester, NY-based scholarly research preprint repository and online community. SSRN will be further developed alongside Mendeley, a London-based free reference manager and scholarly collaboration network owned by Elsevier.

Continue reading

May 17, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)