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Friday, February 6, 2015

A University President’s Frank Look at Law Schools: An 18-Point Analysis

David Barnhizer (Cleveland State), A University President’s Frank Look at Law Schools:

Not too long ago I had an intriguing and frank conversation with a university president who had once served as a law school dean. He leads a university that is home to a middle-rung law school that is going through the same stresses and changes being experienced by most of the country’s institutions of legal education. We both agreed that law schools at the top of the pecking order had no real difficulties and that we hoped the institutions at the very bottom that are increasingly admitting applicants with qualifications indicating they are unlikely to become well-qualified lawyers simply disappeared. Our focus was on the numerous law schools—perhaps 80 to 100—that are subject to strong pressures from declining enrollments and reduced revenues, from information technologies that are altering and eliminating traditional “law jobs”, and from the variety of ways in which the legal profession and alternative mechanisms for delivering legal services and “law knowledge” were “morphing” into forms that altered the ways law schools need to educate to best serve the profession and society. ...

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February 6, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TIGTA: IRS Rehired Hundreds of Former Employees With Performance Issues, Including Failing to File Tax Returns

TIGTA The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration yesterday released  Additional Consideration of Prior Conduct and Performance Issues Is Needed When Hiring Former Employees (2015-10-006):

Between January 2010 and September 2013, IRS records show that the IRS hired more than 7,000 former employees (78 percent were temporary or seasonal positions). Most rehired employees do not have performance or conduct issues associated with prior IRS employment. However, TIGTA found that the IRS did hire hundreds of former employees with these types of issues. TIGTA reviewed a random sample from more than 300 employees with significant prior performance or conduct issues who were hired between January 2010 and July 2013 and determined that the IRS appropriately applied OPM suitability standards (e.g., determining whether applicants had prior criminal activity, material false statements, or illegal drug use).  

However, TIGTA identified hundreds of former employees who were hired with prior substantiated conduct or performance issues.  For example, 141 former employees with prior substantiated tax issues, including five who the IRS found had willfully failed to file their Federal tax returns, were hired.  Other substantiated issues from previous IRS employment included unauthorized access to taxpayer information, leave abuse, falsification of official forms, unacceptable performance, misuse of IRS property, and off-duty misconduct.

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February 6, 2015 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

The IRS Scandal, Day 638

IRS Logo 2The Blaze, GOP, Dems: Let’s Make It Easier to Fire IRS Officials:

Dozens of House members, including three Democrats, have put forward a new bill that would require the IRS to fire anyone who targets people or groups based on their political beliefs.

The Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act is a response to the scandal that broke last year in which IRS officials applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. That scandal forced President Barack Obama to fire IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller in 2013, but Congress has grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of further accountability at the IRS since then.

One big example of this frustration has been the loss of key emails from former IRS employee Lois Lerner, who played a key role in overseeing tax exempt applications. Republicans have said it’s too hard to believe that these emails were conveniently lost, when they might have shown more details about the effort to target conservative groups.

The bill from Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) would add political targeting to a list of reasons for immediately firing IRS workers. That list, created by a 1998 law, says IRS workers should be fired for reasons such as lying under oath and other actions against taxpayers.

Renacci’s bill would add a new reason to fire IRS workers: “performing, delaying, or failing to perform (or threatening to perform, delay, or fail to perform) any official action (including any audit) with respect to a taxpayer for purpose of extracting personal gain or benefit or for a political purpose.”

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February 6, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Raskolnikov Presents Rational Decisions Under Legal Uncertainty Today at Virginia

Raskolnikov (2015)Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia) presents Rational Decisions Under Legal Uncertainty at Virginia today as part of its Law & Economics Workshop Series:

Law is full of rules that are neither clear nor socially optimal. How do rational actors respond to these rules? What are the implications of these responses? These deceptively simple questions have no answers in law and economics. This paper offers a model of rational decisionmaking under legal uncertainty and explores its implications by combining formal economic analysis with a practical understanding of the market for legal advice. The model produces a number of intuitive, realistic results. It demonstrates why rational actors take uncertain positions even if these positions are highly likely to be detected. It suggests that most of these positions will have a better than a fifty-fifty chance of being sustained. And it allows us to investigate a popular but controversial view that greater legal certainty does not necessarily lead to greater compliance. The model’s analysis both refutes the obvious explanation for this view and offers an alternative one. When detection uncertainty is taken into account, the model confirms that the standard damages multiplier works when legal rules are ambiguous. At the same time, the model raises difficult questions about the meaning of compliance when rules are uncertain, the normative significance of various types of uncertainty, and the challenges of assessing private responses to legal uncertainty outside of the familiar confines of the optimal deterrence theory. ;

February 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Morse Presents Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks Today at UCLA

Morse (2015)Susan C. Morse (Texas) presents Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh and Alexander Wu:

Safe harbors and sure shipwrecks are rule-standard hybrids that appear throughout statutory, regulatory and case law. Safe harbors guarantee compliance, and also leave open the question of compliance for fact situations not described by the safe harbor. Sure shipwrecks provide a conclusive noncompliance result and also leave open the question of compliance outside the sure shipwreck. Safe harbors and sure shipwrecks produce asymmetric behavioral incentives for persons subject to them. Like bright-line rules, safe harbors encourage behavior to converge from both sides of the line drawn by the safe harbor. This is because of the advantage of a zero chance of liability within the safe harbor. Sure shipwrecks generally encourage convergence only from the noncompliant side of the line. Ex ante versus ex post policy making, overinclusion and underinclusion, interest group influence, and other factors also affect safe harbor and sure shipwreck policy making.

February 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stark Presents Tax Policy in the Super Zips Today at Northwestern

Stark (2014)Kirk Stark (UCLA) presents Tax Policy in the Super Zips at Northwestern today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

As the distribution of income and wealth has grown more skewed, households have increasingly sorted into income homogenous neighborhoods. The rise of income segregation entails increased fiscal segregation as well, as the operation of federal tax law becomes more differentiated across space. This paper concerns one dimension of the tax law’s disparate geographical impact—i.e., the operation of the federal income tax in the nation’s wealthiest communities, or “Super ZIPs.” Using IRS zip code level data for tax year 2012, the paper examines several key federal income tax characteristics for these zip codes (e.g., AGI, income composition, itemized deductions), comparing these figures to the same data for the nation as a whole as well as select neighboring zip codes on the opposite end of the income distribution. The resulting analysis reveals a stark perspective on income segregation in the United States through the lens of the federal tax system.

February 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marquette to Fire Tenured Professor for His Blogging

McAdamsFollowing up on my previous post, Marquette Suspends Tenured Professor for Blogging, Orders Him Off Campus:  Inside Higher Ed, Firing a Faculty Blogger:

A controversial professor on Wednesday revealed that Marquette University is trying to revoke his tenure and fire him for statements he made about a graduate instructor, with her name, on his blog.

The university says his behavior was unprofessional and that he misled the public about what happened in a dispute between the graduate instructor and an undergraduate student. The professor, John McAdams, says he is being punished for his free speech. He also maintains that Marquette shouldn't be attacking him, given that he is defending an undergraduate's views against gay marriage that are consistent with Roman Catholic teachings. (Marquette is a Jesuit university.) ...

In November, McAdams, an associate professor of political science, wrote a blog post accusing a teaching assistant in philosophy of shutting down a classroom conversation on gay marriage based on her own political beliefs. His account was based on a recording secretly made by a disgruntled student who wished that the instructor, Cheryl Abbate, had spent more time in class one day on the topic of gay marriage, which the student opposed. McAdams said Abbate, in not allowing a prolonged conversation about gay marriage, was “using a tactic typical among liberals,” in which opinions they disagree with “are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed ‘offensive’ and need to be shut up.” ...

McAdams on Wednesday posted a letter he received from his dean, Richard C. Holz, in which Holz told McAdams the university was starting the firing process.

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February 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Court: How to Deduct Expenses That Others Paid

Tax Court Logo 2Wall Street Journal, Strange but True: Deduct Expenses That Others Paid:

In a 2010 decision that is worth reviewing this tax season, the U.S. Tax Court concluded that a daughter could deduct medical expenses and real-estate taxes on her Form 1040 even though they were covered by gifts from her mother. The gifts were in the form of direct payments by the mother to the medical service providers and local government entities.

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February 5, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times Debate: Can Tax Policy Distinguish the Rich from the Middle Class?

NY Times Room for DebateNew York Times Room for Debate, Can Tax Policy Distinguish the Rich from the Middle Class?:

President Obama’s plan to eliminate the tax breaks for college savings accounts known as 529s, which primarily benefit the 5 percent of households earning more than $200,000, was swiftly shot down as an affront to the middle class. His new budget calls for increased taxes on the wealthy to explicitly address income inequality with benefits for lower- and middle-income families.

How can federal tax policy differentiate between “rich” and the “middle class”?

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February 5, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Princeton/UCLA Study: It Is Time to Ban Laptops in Law School Classrooms

Steven M. Eisenstat (Suffolk), A Game Changer: Assessing the Impact of the Princeton/UCLA Laptop Study on the Debate of Whether to Ban Law Student Use of Laptops During Class, 90 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. ___ (2015):

No LaptopIn this Article I discuss the impact on legal education of a recent study conducted at Princeton University and UCLA, which compared the levels of comprehension and retention of class lectures by those students who handwrote their class notes with those students who typed their notes onto their laptops. The study involved three separate experiments. In each test, the subjects using laptops had no access to the Internet, and were only permitted to use their laptops for taking class notes. Thus all possible laptop distractions were eliminated. In all three experiments, those students who handwrote their notes outperformed their counterparts who typed their notes on assessments administered between 30 minutes and one week after the lectures.

This study thus raises another chapter in the continuing debate regarding whether students should be permitted to use their laptops in class. Prior to the Princeton/UCLA study, the debate primarily centered around the distractive effects which laptops had on both laptop users who were engaged in activities unrelated to what was being discussed in class, and on their classmates who were sitting nearby and were distracted by the visuals and sounds emanating from the laptops. Such distractions included surfing the Internet, playing video games, and emailing others in the class.

This study reveals that even if these distractions are removed, students who use their laptops for note taking tend to simply type, verbatim, the words of their professor, without trying to understand the meaning of what their professor is actually saying. As a result, their comprehension and retention suffers.

In light of this study, I suggest in this Article that as legal educators, we need to reevaluate the prevalent policy of allowing students complete access to their laptops throughout every class. I explain why I believe attempts to monitor how students are using their laptops in class, such as professors walking up and down the class aisles to observe what their students are viewing on their computer screens, are ill advised and ineffective. I then suggest that student use of laptops should be permitted in class only if the professor is using them for a specific educational purpose for which the laptop is uniquely designed to serve. Otherwise, the use of laptops should be banned.

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February 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Tax Consequences of Tom Brady's Gift of His Super Bowl MVP Truck to Malcolm Butler

BradyForbes, IRS Is Coming After Tom Brady's Super Bowl MVP Truck, by Ryan Ellis:

The world champion New England Patriots will celebrate with the city of Boston today in the now customary duck boat parade downtown.  It would be fitting if an IRS agent was waiting for quarterback Tom Brady at the end of the route.

Specifically, he might want to talk about Brady’s new truck.  You know, the 2015 Chevy Colorado he won as Super Bowl MVP. The same truck Brady wants to hand over to Patriots rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler, who won the Super Bowl on a last second interception.

The truck is considered a taxable prize under the Internal Revenue Code, section 74.  It’s taxed at Tom Brady’s marginal income tax rate of 39.6 percent. ... Tom Brady will pay ($34,000 x 39.6 percent) in taxes, or $13,500 in income tax on this prize. ...

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February 5, 2015 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Faculty Status and Law School Effectiveness

Deborah A. Maranville (University of Washington), Ruth Anne Robbins (Rutgers-Camden) & Kristen Konrad Tiscione (Georgetown), Faculty Status and Institutional Effectiveness:

Legal education has expanded to incorporate practice-oriented topics and courses over the past several decades, and student academic support services have multiplied in response to changing student populations. As a consequence of these changes, law schools are overdue to address the issue of the status of the individuals they hire to fill the multiple and ever expanding needs and interests of students. Faculty status is a key dimension of enhancing the effectiveness of faculty and it matters for three primary reasons: to provide the protections of academic freedom, promote scholarship, and ensure full citizenship for all teachers. This section of the forthcoming book Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Lexis 2015) provides an overview of the issues involved in debates over faculty status.

February 5, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 637

IRS Logo 2Bloomberg, IRS Chief: I Don't Want to Be Seen As Influencing 2016:

Rules from the Internal Revenue Service that would limit nonprofit groups' involvement in politics may not be enforced before the 2016 election, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday.

The tax agency's first attempt at those rules—released in November 2013—flopped amid criticism from groups across the political spectrum, which complained that limits on pre-election ads and voter guides would constrain free speech. The IRS withdrew that plan in May 2014 and hasn't offered a new version.

"It's not clear when we're going to be able to get to it," Koskinen told reporters after testifying at the Senate Finance Committee. "My only focus on 2016 is to make sure that whatever we do, it doesn't look like we're trying to influence the 2016 election."

Watching closely are groups organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, such as Republican-leaning Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies. For now, those groups can get involved in politics as long as it isn't their primary activity—and they can do so without disclosing their donors and with relatively little threat of punitive action from the IRS.

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February 5, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blanchard Presents The Tax Significance of Legal Personality at NYU

BlanchardKimberly Blanchard (Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York) presented The Tax Significance of Legal Personality: A U.S. View at NYU yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Whereas the fiction of legal personality is often used outside the United States to distinguish partnerships from corporations, U.S. tax rules have never made the distinction on that basis. Although the factors employed by the now-withdrawn Kintner regulations to make that distinction were derived from the same legal tradition, those factors were applied only after it was determined that a legal entity, assumed to have legal personality, existed. The eventual abandonment of those factors and their replacement with the check-the-box regime finally eliminated any vestige of this legal fiction from relevance to the U.S. tax classification of entities.

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February 4, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Graetz Delivers Delivers Pugh Lecture Today at San Diego on Tax Reform Beyond the Headlines

Graetz (2015)Michael J. Graetz (Columbia) delivers the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego today on Tax Reform Beyond the Headlines:

The United States has traveled a unique tax policy path, avoiding value added taxes (VATs), which have now been adopted by every OECD country and 160 countries worldwide. Moreover, many U.S. consumption tax advocates have insisted on direct personalized taxes that are unlike taxes used anywhere in the world. This article details a tax reform plan that uses revenues from a VAT to substantially reduce and reform our nation’s tax system. The plan would (1) enact a destination-based VAT; (2) use the revenue produced by this VAT to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000 of family income and to lower income tax rates on income above that amount; (3) lower the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent; and (4) protect low and-moderate-income workers from a tax increase through payroll tax credits and expanded refundable child tax credits. This revenue and distributionally neutral plan would stimulate economic growth, free more than 150 million Americans from having to file income tax returns, solve the difficult problems of international income taxation, and remove the temptation for Congress to use tax benefits as if they are solutions to the nation’s pressing social and economic problems.

February 4, 2015 in Colloquia, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sanchirico Presents International Tax and Ownership Nationality Today at Penn

SanchiricoChris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania) presents As American as Apple Inc.: International Tax and Ownership Nationality, 68 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2014), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris William Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

The ownership nationality of large US multinational companies plays an implicit but important role in the current debate over how such companies should be taxed. This paper identifies that role and investigates what is actually known about where these companies’ shareholders reside.

February 4, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yackee: Law School Rankings, Not Skills Training, Drives J.D. Employment Outcomes

Jason W. Yackee (Wisconsin), Does Experiential Learning Improve JD Employment Outcomes?:

This short paper provides an empirical examination of the link between law school experiential (or "skills") learning opportunities and JD employment outcomes. The current "law school crisis" poses a number of serious challenges to the legal academy, and how law schools should respond is hotly debated. One common suggestion is that law schools should reform their curriculum to emphasize the development of practical skills through experiential learning, rather than emphasize what is described as the impractical, theory- and doctrine-heavy book learning of the traditional law school curriculum. Employers are said to be more likely to hire those with substantial skills training. This paper provides a simple empirical examination of that basic hypothesis. To summarize the paper's key finding: there is no statistical relationship between law school opportunities for skills training and JD employment outcomes. In contrast, employment outcomes do seem to be strongly related to law school prestige. 

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February 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

The Law School Transfer Market: 'The Contentious Underbelly of Legal Education'

TransferFollowing up on my previous posts:

Inside Higher Ed, Poaching Law Students:

Law schools across the country are fighting for transfer students in a testy cat and mouse game that involves some questionable practices.

In cities with multiple law schools -- like Jacksonville, Phoenix and Washington -- the transfer market has lately exposed the contentious underbelly of legal education. The transfer market has become particularly active in recent years as overall law school enrollment has fallen dramatically.

Critics say law schools farther up the rankings chain are enrolling students whose Law School Admission Test scores made them undesirable to enroll as first-year students. Law schools generally do not give transfer students the sort of competitive scholarship discounts they dangle in front of first-year students, making transfers a potentially lucrative source of revenue.

Schools that lose dozens of students each year to other law schools accuse their competitors of poaching to boost enrollment and get around college rankings.

Schools that pick up those same students say the schools’ students are obviously not satisfied, or else so many would not head for the exit.

Some transfer students even say they have to cut through a variety of questionable practices designed to make it harder for them to leave one school for another. ...

The Washington, Phoenix and Jacksonville area transfer markets are particularly hot, and deans on the losing end of the stick are beginning to get hot under the collar.

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February 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Fleischer: Obama’s Budget Seeks International Minimum Tax for Corporations

NY Times Dealbook (2013)New York Times Deal Book:  Obama’s Budget Seeks International Minimum Tax for Corporations, by Victor Fleischer (San Diego):

Sometimes, a tax increase saves jobs.

President Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget introduces a one-time 14 percent tax on approximately $2 trillion of so-called unrepatriated foreign earnings. The tax would raise about $248 billion over the next five years, which would be used to help pay for infrastructure projects and replenish the Highway Trust Fund.

The proposal would also impose a 19 percent tax on future foreign earnings (with an 85 percent credit for any foreign taxes paid), allowing such earnings to then be brought back to the United States with no additional tax due.

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February 4, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Crespi: Will the Income-Based Repayment Program Enable Law Schools to Continue to Provide 'Harvard-Style' Legal Education?

IBRGregory Scott Crespi (SMU), Will the Income-Based Repayment Program Enable Law Schools to Continue to Provide 'Harvard-Style' Legal Education?, 67 SMU L. Rev. 51 (2014):

Legal education provided in the prevailing “Harvard-style” now costs students on average between $160,000 and $250,000 for their three years of study, the precise amount depending on the law school attended, the alternative employment opportunities foregone, and the amount of scholarship assistance provided. However, the median starting salary for full-time, entry-level legal positions has declined in recent years to only $60,000/year, and upwards of 45% of recent law graduates are now unable to obtain full-time legal employment, and this dismal employment situation is unlikely to significantly improve over the next few years. While the attractive job opportunities still available to graduates of the elite law schools justify the large majority of those graduates incurring the high costs of legal education, even under unsubsidized federal student loan terms, the far more limited job prospects facing the majority of graduates of non-elite law schools do not justify their incurring those costs on those terms. However, the existence of the Income-Based Repayment (“IBR”) program as implemented by the Obama Administration’s new Pay As You Earn (“PAYE”) rules may significantly change this situation for those latter students.

In this article I conduct several different detailed analyses of the IBR program under the liberalized PAYE rules, and of the related and even more generous Public Service Loan Forgiveness (“PSLF”) program. My conclusion is that the IBR loan repayment and debt forgiveness provisions are sufficiently attractive so that Harvard-style legal education is now again a financially viable proposition for many law students, not only for those students attending the 10 most elite law schools but also for many students attending non-elite law schools, specifically those students who will graduate in the upper half of their class or better at the 40 or so upper- or mid-tier non-elite law schools, and also for those students who will graduate in the upper quarter of their class or better from one of the more than 150 lower-tier law schools. For most other law students, however, who in the current employment market have only a slim chance of obtaining a full-time entry-level legal position paying even $60,000/year, and who have virtually no chance of obtaining a qualifying public service legal position under the PSLF program, attending law school is no longer economically justified even with the IBR and PSLF loan repayment options.

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February 4, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

ABA Tax Section Publishes Winter 2015 Issue of News Quarterly

ABA News QuarterlyThe ABA Tax Section has published 34 News Quarterly No. 2 (Winter 2015):

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February 4, 2015 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Speakers: CALI Conference at Denver Law School

CALI (2015)CALI has issued a Call for Speakers to law faculty, librarians, and IT staff (April 3 deadline) for its 25th Annual CALI Conference for Law School Computing on  June 18-20, 2015 at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  The conference registration fee is reduced to $95 for speakers.

For the 25th Annual Conference for Law School Computing® (aka CALIcon), we wanted a theme that embraced the changes and opportunities in Legal Education. Yes, we are in a crisis, but we are also in the middle of one of the most innovative and experimental periods in legal education history. The freedom and encouragement to change our pedagogies and curricula has been given like never before. Flipped classrooms, experiential learning, incubators, formative assessment - the list goes on and on.

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February 4, 2015 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 636

IRS Logo 2Breitbart, IRS Cover-Up Expands to Justice Department:

In an interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News about a year ago, President Obama said that President Richard Nixon was actually more liberal in his policies than Obama is.

But, while comparing their policies, Obama conveniently left out one chilling similarity:  Both presidents used the virtually unbridled power and authority of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to target their political opponents. In fact, in many respects Obama’s IRS abuses actually have been much worse than Nixon’s. ...

If the Senate is to confirm Ms. Lynch (and that is a big “if” – see below), it should require the appointment of a special counsel that can begin, finally, to investigate seriously the worst abuse of the IRS by a president in memory.  This is the least the Senate should do because, as I noted with Nixon, a president has resigned for less.

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February 4, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cohen Presents 'Seg Academies,' Taxes, and Judge Ginsburg Today at Georgetown

Cohen (2015)Stephen Cohen (Georgetown) presents 'Seg Academies,' Taxes, and Judge Ginsburg at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series:

On the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg authored an opinion with profound implications not only for the law of taxation but also for the role of courts in ending racial discrimination in education. The case, Wright v. Regan, involved the intersection of the income tax law and equal protection obligations of federal authorities under the Constitution’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The issue was whether parents of black schoolchildren had standing to challenge the grant of federal tax-exempt status to racially segregated private schools. In affirming that standing existed, Judge Ginsburg opined that the tax benefits of exempt status constituted significant financial assistance and that the provision of such assistance to racially segregated private schools violated equal protection obligations of the Constitution. Although her decision was unfortunately reversed on appeal by a divided Supreme Court, she provided a persuasive defense of the right of victims of racial discrimination in education to seek redress in the courts and created a benchmark that future Supreme Courts may use to revise a Supreme Court majority decision that appears, at least to this observer, as fundamentally wrong and fundamentally flawed. [The paper is copyrighted by Cambridge University Press and is a chapter in The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jan. 26, 2015) (Scott Dodson, editor)].

February 3, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawyers, Law Professors Tilt to the Left; Judges Tilt to the Right

New York Times:  Why Judges Tilt to the Right, by Adam Liptak:

Lawyers on average are much more liberal than the general population, a new study has found. [Adam Bonica (Stanford) & Maya Sen (Harvard), The Politics of Selecting the Bench from the Bar: The Legal Profession and Partisan Incentives to Politicize the Judiciary] But judges are more conservative than the average lawyer, to say nothing of the graduates of top law schools.

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February 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

A Smarter Way to Tax Big Banks: Make Equity (Like Debt) Tax-Deductible

BanksWall Street Journal op-ed:   A Smarter Way to Tax Big Banks, by Mark J. Roe (Harvard) & Michael Tröge (École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris):

President Obama has reanimated the idea of taxing the debt of big banks to help stabilize the banking industry and prevent future financial crises. The administration argues that the new tax would discourage banks from taking on too much risk by making it “more costly for the biggest financial firms to finance their activities with excessive borrowing.”

The president’s bank tax is unlikely to gain traction in the new Congress, following the failure of similar proposals from the administration in 2010 and last year from former House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp. But even if it became law, it wouldn’t put a sizable dent in bank debt. The existing tax system strongly encourages debt finance and the proposed new tax will not fundamentally change this.

Today interest payments on debt are tax deductible, whereas dividends to stockholders have to be paid out of after-tax income. Corporate taxes therefore increase the cost to banks of equity but not the cost of debt. The tax effect of the existing deductibility of interest is up to 10 times stronger than the president’s new proposal. Not surprisingly, similar small taxes on debt in Europe have only modestly affected bank capital.

The issue should not be so much whether banks should be taxed more, but whether smarter taxes, yielding the same revenue, can make the financial system safer. ... To make tax reform work well would require making equity much more attractive to banks than it is now. ... [We should]  make the cost of equity tax-deductible in the same way that the cost of debt is deductible today. This system, used in Austria, Belgium, Brazil and Italy, seems to have discouraged overly aggressive debt financing. To make the change revenue-neutral, the deductibility of debt would be reduced or a tax on debt added. The key factor is to favor equity and disfavor debt; the current tax system does the opposite.

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February 3, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Does Your Law School Smell? Custom Scents and Law School Branding

AirWall Street Journal, Airlines Try Signature Fragrances, but Not Everyone Is On Board:

Beyoncé’s latest perfume is called Rise, “the scent of empowerment.” Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams and Jennifer Aniston have signature scents, too. So does Delta Air Lines.

Delta’s offering is Calm, an eau d’aeroport that it sprays in airplane cabins and infuses in the hot towels it gives out in premium classes. It has been spreading Calm for about two years, joining a handful of other carriers vying for olfactory distinction by developing their own individualized odors. The fragrant fliers include United Continental, Turkish Airlines and Air Canada’s low-cost rouge operation. Spain’s Iberia is close to launching its own aroma, and Alaska Airlines is working on one. 

The companies don’t plan to bottle their scents for retail, but they do see a commercial value in them. United marketing manager Mark Krolick says its new fragrance, provisionally called “Landing,” in concert with improvements like new lighting and redesigned gates, “will create a more relaxing environment. A good experience engenders brand preference, which probably will result in more booking,” he says. Airlines also say they aim for subtlety, so passengers who are sensitive to scents won’t recoil. ...

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February 3, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Structure of American Income Tax Policy Preferences

Cameron Ballard-Rosa (North Carolina), Lucy Martin (Yale) & Kenneth F. Scheve (Stanford), The Structure of American Income Tax Policy Preferences:

Modern income tax systems are multidimensional in that different rates can be applied to different income levels. Few contemporary studies of public preferences over the income tax or redistribution more generally measure policy preferences across the income distribution and none base those estimates on experimental evidence that accounts for revenue constraints. This paper implements an experimental conjoint survey design to measure income tax preferences across the income distribution. We find that policy opinions are generally progressive but that there is an important asymmetry in the elasticity of these preferences. Support for income tax plans is elastic with respect to policies for low income citizens with support decreasing significantly with higher rates on low incomes. In contrast, support for income tax plans increase -- although relatively inelastically -- with respect to higher taxes for high income citizens. Although individuals support tax plans with rates on high incomes that are higher than the low rates preferred for the poor, they are indifferent across a wide range of these high rates which yield very different degrees of progressivity. We also evaluate the correlates of these preferences to determine whether examining the multi-dimensionality of redistributive policy instruments provides new insights about political conflict over redistribution. We present evidence that income tax preferences are correlated with measures of self-interest, beliefs about the efficiency costs of taxes and the determinants of income, religiosity, and racial attitudes and find that political conflict over taxation is primarily over taxing high incomes.

February 3, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Provisions in President Obama's FY2016 Budget

Green BookPresident Obama yesterday released his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget. The Treasury Department released the 312-page Green Book (General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2016 Revenue Proposals) (revenue tables here).

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February 3, 2015 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Missouri-Kansas City Joins Rankings Hall Of Shame; Dean Ordered Staff To Raise Ranking "By All Means Necessary"

UMKCInside Higher Education, Fibbing for Rankings:

The University of Missouri at Kansas City gave the Princeton Review false information designed to inflate the rankings of its business school, which was under pressure from its major donor to keep the ratings up, according to an outside audit released Friday.

The audit -- by PricewaterhouseCoopers -- described the process by which business school officials came up with creative reasons to provide data that many at the school believed to be false, and that the audit found to be false. ...

UMKC issued a news release Friday that reads: "Independent review upholds No. 1 research ranking."

But the audit also confirmed many of the findings of an August article in The Kansas City Star that found "a pattern of exaggerations and misstatements" by the business school. At the time, the university disputed the Star's report, but Missouri governor Jay Nixon requested an investigation, and that request led to the report issued Friday. ...

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February 3, 2015 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

ABA Tax Section Midyear Meeting

ABA Tax Section Logo (2012)Tax Prof speakers at last week's ABA Tax Section Midyear Meeting in Houston (full program here):

  • Linda Beale (Wayne State), Standards of Tax Practice
  • Brad Borden (Brooklyn), Danshera Cords (Albany), Elaine Gagliardi (Montana), Michael Lang (Chapman), Charlene Luke (Florida), Roberta Mann (Oregon), Bruce McGovern (South Texas), Marty McMahon (Florida), Teaching Taxation 

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February 3, 2015 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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February 3, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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February 3, 2015 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 635

IRS Logo 2The Source, IRS Ignores Politicking Nonprofits:

Reporting by the Center for Public Integrity has shown that despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on elections, nonprofits--many considered "social welfare" groups--are regularly getting away with breaking election law and aren't being audited or investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

Since the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010, a deluge of campaign spending has been poured in by dark money groups. 

Slashed IRS resources, scandal, and unprecedented monies are all contributing to the problem.

What can be done to make sure nonprofits follow the law? Is it feasible to expect the IRS to handle the political football of campaign spending?

Guests:

  • Philip Hackney, associate professor of law at Louisiana State University. Former official in the chief counsel's office at the IRS
  • Marcus Owens, lawyer at Caplin & Davis law firm, former director for the IRS' exempt organization division

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February 3, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Graetz Presents The Tax Reform Road Not Taken -- Yet Today at Pepperdine

Graetz (2015)Michael J. Graetz (Columbia) presents The Tax Reform Road Not Taken -- Yet, 67 Nat'l Tax J. 419 (2014), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

The United States has traveled a unique tax policy path, avoiding value added taxes (VATs), which have now been adopted by every OECD country and 160 countries worldwide. Moreover, many U.S. consumption tax advocates have insisted on direct personalized taxes that are unlike taxes used anywhere in the world. This article details a tax reform plan that uses revenues from a VAT to substantially reduce and reform our nation’s tax system. The plan would (1) enact a destination-based VAT; (2) use the revenue produced by this VAT to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000 of family income and to lower income tax rates on income above that amount; (3) lower the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent; and (4) protect low and-moderate-income workers from a tax increase through payroll tax credits and expanded refundable child tax credits. This revenue and distributionally neutral plan would stimulate economic growth, free more than 150 million Americans from having to file income tax returns, solve the difficult problems of international income taxation, and remove the temptation for Congress to use tax benefits as if they are solutions to the nation’s pressing social and economic problems.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

IMG_1191

February 2, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Obama Proposes Highest Estate Tax Rate in the World

Investor's Business Daily op-ed:  Obama Proposes Highest Estate Tax Rate in the World, by Stephen Moore (Heritage Foundation):

Moore 2President Obama's proposed changes to inheritance and capital gains taxes could raise the estate tax rate in the U.S. to the highest in the industrialized world.

The plan, announced during the State of the Union address, would eliminate what is called "step-up basis at death" on capital gains taxation. And the top capital gains rate would jump to 28% from 20%.

Under current law, when a parent or grandparent dies, the increase in the valuation of his or her asset from when it was originally purchased is not taxed.

This is to offset the effects of the estate tax.

Obama's plan would tax estates and impose the regular capital gains tax on inherited assets — a business, property or stocks. This could bring the effective death tax rate to 57%, according to Dick Patten, chairman of the American Business Defense Council. Including state inheritance taxes, the rate would average 65% but could go as high as 68%.

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February 2, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Applying to Top Law Schools Disserved Many in 2014

American Lawyer LogoThe American Lawyer:  Applying to Top Law Schools Disserved Many in 2014, by Matt Leichter:

[A]lthough the number of full-time applications predictably declined again at most law schools (7.6 percent), they conspicuously rose at many law schools at the top of U.S. News and World Report's annual rankings. Specifically, of the schools that were ranked in the top 20 on average in the last two years, 14 received more applications than in 2013.

In other words, potential applicants seem to have heard a message telling them that top law schools were safe while the same couldn't be said of the less prestigious ones. The extent of the application bounce these 14 schools received is arguably quite substantial: nearly 8 percent among all of them taken together over last year.

U.S. NEWS RANK   (13-14)

LAW SCHOOL

 APPLICATIONS 2013

 APPLICATIONS 2014

CHANGE

1

Yale

2,637

2,859

8.4%

2

Harvard

5,485

5,943

8.4%

2.5

Stanford

3,795

4,482

18.1%

4

Chicago

4,271

4,430

3.7%

4

Columbia

5,797

6,188

6.7%

6

NYU

5,730

6,193

8.1%

7

Pennsylvania

5,283

5,828

10.3%

10.5

Duke

5,014

5,358

6.9%

12

Northwestern

3,952

4,036

2.1%

13.5

Georgetown

7,257

7,793

7.4%

15

Texas

4,188

4,387

4.8%

15.5

Vanderbilt

3,296

3,673

11.4%

18.5

Washington

4,251

4,649

9.4%

19

USC

4,338

4,578

5.5%

TOTAL

65,294

70,397

7.8%

MEAN

4,664

5,028

7.9%

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February 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death of Robert Anthoine

RobertNew York Times Obituary:

Robert Anthoine --  renowned tax and arts law expert and enthusiastic supporter of the arts, died on January 23, 2015 after a brief illness.  ... He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1949 and returned there to teach in 1952. In 1963, he joined Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts as the head of its tax department. He continued to teach as an adjunct at Columbia for another three decades, and as a visiting professor at law schools around the world through his seventies. ... A memorial celebrating his life will be held in March in NYC on a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Aperture Foundation.

Bob was married to Tax Prof Rebecca Rudnick at the time of her tragic death in a boating accident in Papua New Guinea in 2001. (Hat Tip: Myron Grauer, Bill Streng.)

February 2, 2015 in Obituaries, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (3)

Diamond: The Continuing Disconnect Between Law School Critics and Market Reality

Stephen F. Diamond (Santa Clara), The Continuing Disconnect Between Law School Critics and Market Reality:

S&MI just happened to notice that the law school critics continue to distort the findings of the Simkovic and McIntyre paper on the economic value of earning a JD. This paper sends a chill down the spines of the critics because it lays waste to their argument with straightforward data. This requires them to engage not just in mental gymnastics that lead to the kinds of absurd confusions about valuation found here and here but now to outright falsehoods posted to one of the most important law school blogs in the country.

One egregious example is found in the comments section at Paul Caron’s blog, TaxProf. There one finds another anonymous (and ubiquitous blog) commenter named “Unemployed Northeastern” (UNE) who thinks that he has a better grasp on the economics of legal education than that provided by the exhaustive research of S&M. ...

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February 2, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (28)

Caron: Thomas Piketty and Inequality -- Legal Causes and Tax Solutions

Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine), Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, 64 Emory L.J. Online 2073 (2015):

PikettyThomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-first Century has acted as an accelerant fueling the fiery public debate over increasing inequality in America and around the world. Piketty makes the provocative empirical claim that the rate of return to private capital inevitably exceeds the rate of economic growth (r > g) and thus leads to growing concentrations of wealth among the richest members of society. Piketty has spawned heated debates in newspapers, magazines, and blogs, which soon will continue in academic journals and law reviews. Shi-Ling Hsu is one of the first out of the gate with The Rise and Rise of the One Percent: Considering Legal Causes of Wealth Inequality, 64 Emory L.J. Online 2043 (2015).

Hsu focuses on the interesting question of how law and legal institutions foster inflated returns on capital (Piketty's r). He also makes the important point that lawmakers often conflate Piketty's r with g (public economic growth), resulting in laws that boost the former with little discernible impact on the latter. The bulk of Hsu's argument is devoted to explaining how four areas of American law contribute to "the legal enrichment of the one percent": financial regulation, oil and gas subsidies, transition relief, and electric utility regulation. He concludes with a plea for greater federal funding of education to spur greater economic growth and bridge the deepening inequality chasm in America.

Hsu's essay is a significant contribution to what is certain to be an energetic debate over the implications of Piketty's work. The need to examine the impact of legal rules and institutions on both private capital returns and public economic growth will be an enduring contribution to future scholarship on the extent, consequences, and reduction of income and wealth inequality. I offer here two modest reactions to Hsu's essay: (1) recent inequality research has shifted the focus of high-end wealth concentration from the Top 1% to the Top 0.1% (and even the Top 0.01%), with important implications for the work of both Piketty and Hsu, including (2) the inquiry into whether policymakers should intervene before the fact to re-shape the distribution of the benefits and burdens of economic activity (Hsu's approach) or instead redistribute wealth after the fact (Piketty's approach).

In a recent essay, Joseph Bankman and I argued that tax scholars need to focus more of our work on how policymakers should address the federal government's unprecedented (and growing) fiscal imbalance. California Dreamin’: Tax Scholarship in a Time of Fiscal Crisis, 48 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 405 (2014). In Piketty terms, s (spending) > r (revenues). We proposed that California's recent tax increases on the wealthy should provide a template for the nation to bring r more into alignment with s.

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February 2, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Obama Proposes 19% Global Minimum Corporate Tax, 14% Tax on Offshore Profits

Bloomberg, Obama Said to Seek 19% Global Minimum Tax to Aid Road Fund:

President Barack Obama will propose that U.S.-based companies pay a minimum 19 percent tax on their future foreign earnings, capturing profits that are now often beyond the government’s reach.

Obama will also seek a 14 percent mandatory tax on about $2 trillion in stockpiled offshore profits, said two people familiar with his budget proposals, declining to be named because the document won’t be made public until Feb. 2. Companies would pay that tax regardless of whether they bring the money back to the U.S., the two said, creating a revenue stream the president would use to pay for roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects. ...

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February 2, 2015 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Former SMU Law School Dean Arrested on Prostitution Charge

AttanasioDallas Morning News, Former SMU Law Dean Arrested on Prostitution Charge:

The former dean of the Southern Methodist Law school was arrested early Sunday on a prostitution charge, jail records show.

John Attanasio, 60, was booked into the Collin County jail Sunday. He was released later that day after posting $500 bond on the Class B misdemeanor. ...

Sgt. Lonny Haschel, a Texas DPS spokesman, said the arrest was part of an ongoing investigation. No further information was released.

Attanasio served as dean of the SMU Law School from 1988 until 2013, when officials declined to renew his contract with the university. The announcement produced significant backlash at the time from faculty, financial supporters, and the school’s executive committee.

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February 2, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The IRS Scandal, Day 634

IRS Logo 2New York Post, ABCs of IRS Mess: Justice Department Is Tainted, Too:

At her confirmation hearings Wednesday, Loretta Lynch said she’s only “generally aware” of the Justice Department’s investigation of IRS targeting of conservative groups.

As a service for our likely new attorney general, here’s a primer on why so many in Congress want a special counsel in the IRS case.

Under federal rules, the attorney general appoints a special counsel “when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter . . . would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances.”

In this case, there’s both. ...

[W]e still don’t know how far up the political food chain the malfeasance goes. Among other things, investigators are still pouring through tens of thousands of e-mails uncovered months after the IRS had insisted they were lost.

But we do know the Justice Department investigation has been compromised, not least by the president announcing its conclusions before the probe is complete.

Lynch should move fast to restore an aura of independence and impartiality to the investigation by turning it over to a special counsel.

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February 2, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Super Bowl and Tax

Super BowlForbes, Super Bowl XLIX Tax Tale Of The Tape: Who Ya' Got?, by Tony Nitti:

Do me a favor. Put down the Form 1040 you’re working on, take a good look in the mirror, and be brutally honest with yourself: are you a typical tax accountant?

Do you find yourself noticing the time of day, or the exit number on the highway, and thinking, “that’s a great Code section!”

Is your sense of humor limited to giggling uncontrollably at tax-themed double entendres like “hot assets” and “dynamic scoring?”

Did you name your sibling labradors Bitker and Eustice?

If so, that’s OK. You are what you are. ... [F]or 4-6 hours this weekend, you’re going to have to pretend that you’re not the introverted, odd person you clearly are. And that isn’t going to be easy.

But I can help.

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February 1, 2015 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Super Bowl and Law School

Super BowlWall Street Journal, Calling the Super Bowl Like Cris Collinsworth:

In the two weeks before the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks are combing through endless amounts of tape. They are memorizing until they have instant recall to make split-second decisions and they are highlighting the mismatches between the two teams. Cris Collinsworth is doing the same thing. 

The NBC analyst will be calling his third Super Bowl Sunday, along with Al Michaels, who will be calling his ninth. But it isn’t getting any easier. It’s Collinsworth’s job to explain football to the 110 million or so watching Sunday. ...

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February 1, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

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 and new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [248 Downloads]  Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation (2014), by Edward A. Morse (Creighton)
  2. [152 Downloads]  Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, by Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine)
  3. [127 Downloads]  Return on Political Investment in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, by Hui Chen (Zurich), Katherine Gunny (Colorado) & Karthik Ramanna (Harvard)
  4. [119 Downloads]  David Foster Wallace on Tax Policy, How to Be an Adult, and Other Mysteries of the Universe, by Arthur J. Cockfield (Queen's University)
  5. [114 Downloads]  The IRS's Misuse of Scarce Compliance Resources in the Exempt Organization Area, by George K. Yin (Virginia)

February 1, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 633

IRS Logo 2Washington Times, Senate GOP Demands Obama Turn Over All Communications with IRS:

Senate Republicans on Thursday asked President Obama to turn over all communications he and his aides have had with the IRS since 2010, hoping to find out whether the tax collection agency shared private taxpayer information with political operatives at the White House.

The request, made in a letter obtained by The Washington Times, is signed by Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch and all 13 other Republicans on the committee, and is addressed specifically to Mr. Obama, saying they want to see if his employees broke the law by acquiring or sharing private information.

“We have an obligation to conduct oversight of the federal government’s administration of our tax laws,” the lawmakers wrote. “As part of this oversight, we are seeking to determine the degree to and manner in which the Internal Revenue Service shares taxpayer information with the Executive Office of the President.”

The Republicans said they tried to get the information from the IRS, but it has been “unable to provide a full accounting of its employees’ communications with the White House.” The GOP senators gave the president a Feb. 20 deadline.

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February 1, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Betrayal of Socrates in Legal Education

SocraticDavid Barnhizer (Cleveland State), The Betrayal of Socrates:

My argument here is that there is a stark disjunction between the Socratic ideal and the reality found in the First Year of law school at nearly all institutions. The underlying assumption is simple—the initial foundational phase of an activity is the most important. It provides the basis for all that follows. As such, the most intense and sophisticated methods should be applied at the foundational level so that the more “advanced” learning rests on a deep intellectual base. ...

[I]n the midst of all the talk about producing “practice ready” law graduates I argue that the single most important “core”, “foundational” or “meta” skill we teach in law school is the heightened ability to think with analytical precision and integrative strategic skill aimed at problem solving and avoidance along with innovative opportunity creation. I would even go so far as to conclude that law teachers of several generations ago who stated that the goal was to teach law students to “think like lawyers” were absolutely correct in concept even if they (and we) didn’t know exactly what the concept meant, how to do it properly or what “substances” ought to make up the material on which the processes of thought were exercised to produce the desired results. ...

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January 31, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nine California Law Schools Bucked National Trend, Increased 1L Enrollment in 2014

National JuristNational Jurist, Enrollment Up at 9 California Law Schools:

Law school enrollment dropped by 7.2 percent this year, but 33 law schools bucked the trend and increased enrollment. Nine of those law schools hail from California — more than any other state.

“We aren’t in an arctic vortex,” joked Edward Tom, Dean of Admissions at University of California, Berkeley School of Law when asked why California schools fared better this year.  “Honestly, I have no idea.”

While the nine schools saw improvement this year, they are still down 13 percent from 2010. ... While nine California law schools were up, nine were also down. Total enrollment in the state was down 5.1 percent this year, and is more than 18 percent off from 2010. ...

California law schools that increased enrollment this year:

  1. Chapman 21.37%
  2. UC-Berkeley 4.2%
  3. La Verne 3.47%
  4. UC-Davis 2.81%
  5. UCLA 1.74%
  6. California Western 0.91%
  7. USC 0.66%
  8. Stanford 0.52%
  9. Pepperdine 0.5%

Of these nine schools, one increased the median LSAT of their larger entering class (Stanford +1, to 172); six maintained their median LSAT (UC-Berkeley & UCLA, 167; USC, 166; UC-Davis, 162; Pepperdine, 160; La Verne, 147); and two decreased their median LSAT (Chapman -2, to 156; California Western -1, to 150).

Nationally, six law schools increased enrollment by 5% or more:

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January 31, 2015 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)