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Pepperdine University School of Law

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Baradaran: Teaching While Woman

MehrsaMehrsa Baradaran (Georgia), Teaching While Woman:

I was fairly naïve my first few semesters teaching and thought that I would just be myself in the classroom and I would earn the class’s respect (or "R-S-P-E-C-T"). I’m naturally averse to hierarchy and formality and wanted to run a democratic classroom. I didn’t want to impose draconian rules or shame my students into submission—I worked hard to know the materials and offer it in a way that they would learn it—without having to force them to pay attention by forbidding laptops or cold-calling. The result: my first few semesters were disasters. It turns out that they didn’t automatically see me as an authority and a few loud talkers began to dominate my “democratic” classroom. There was also rampant disrespect and eye rolling. I called on a student once who wouldn’t take the lollipop out of his mouth to answer my questions, which he did in a very dismissive way. (I should mention that my 1L classes were predominantly male at BYU).

Continue reading

March 11, 2014 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, February 24, 2014

University of Chicago Law School Study: Better Scholars Are Better Teachers

Tom Ginsburg (Chicago) & Thomas J. Miles (Chicago), The Teaching/Research Tradeoff in Law: Data from the Right Tail:

There is a long scholarly debate on the tradeoff between research and teaching in various fields, but relatively little study of the phenomenon in law. This analysis examines the relationship between the two core academic activities at one particular school, the University of Chicago Law School, which is considered one of the most productive in legal academia. We use standard measures of scholarly productivity and teaching performance. For research, we measure the total number of publications for each professor for each year, while for teaching, we look at the average teaching rating. Net of other factors, we find that, under some specifications, research and teaching are positively correlated. In particular, we find that students’ perceptions of teaching quality rises, but at a decreasing rate, with the total amount of scholarship. We also find that certain personal characteristics correlate with productivity. The recent debate on the mission of American law schools has hinged on the assumption that a tradeoff exists between teaching and research, and this article’s analysis, although limited in various ways, casts some doubt on that assumption.

Chicago Chart

February 24, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 2, 2013

2013 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Results

TannenwaldHere are the  results in the 2013 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition, sponsored by The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and the American College of Tax Counsel:

  • First Prize (tie) ($3,750):  Kate B. Deal (Georgetown), Incentivizing Conservation: Capping Land Trusts’ Acceptance of Tax-Preferred Easements to Maximize Overall Conversation Value,  101 Geo. L.J. 1587 (2013) (Faculty Sponsor:  Ronald A. Pearlman)
  • First Prize (tie) ($3,750):  Franziska Hertel (Columbia), Qui Tam for Tax? Lessons from the States, 113 Colum. L. Rev. 1897 (2013)  (Faculty Sponsor:  Alex Raskolnikov)
  • Third Prize ($1,500):  Beomjune Kim (NYU), Reconciling Transfer Pricing with Customs Valuation: How to Bridge the Gap?  (Faculty Sponsor:  H. David Rosenbloom)
  • Honorable Mention:  William G. Cochran (Stanford), Searching for Diamond in the Two-And-Twenty Rough: The Taxation of Carried Interests  (Faculty Sponsor:  Joseph Bankman)
  • Honorable Mention:  Alex Goodenough (Georgetown), Commensurate With Income and the Arm’s Length Standard: The Problem of Pricing Intangibles  (Faculty Sponsor:  David Ernick)

December 2, 2013 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sovern: Student Laptop Use During Law School Classes

Macbook-proJeff Sovern (St. John's), Law Student Laptop Use During Class for Non-Class Purposes: Temptation v. Incentives, 51 U. Louisville L. Rev. 483 (2013):

This article reports on how law students use laptops, based on observations of 1072 laptop users (though there was considerable overlap among those users from one class to another) during 60 sessions of six law school courses. Some findings:

  • More than half the upper-year students seen using laptops employed them for non-class purposes more than half the time, raising serious questions about how much they learned from class. By contrast, first-semester Civil Procedure students used laptops for non-class purposes far less: only 4% used laptops for non-class purposes more than half the time while 44% were never distracted by laptops.
  • Students in exam courses were more likely to tune out when classmates asked and professors responded to questions and less likely to tune out when a rule was discussed or textual material read in class
  • For first-semester students, policy discussions generated the highest level of distraction while displaying a PowerPoint slide which was not later posted on the web elicited the lowest level
  • With some exceptions, what was happening in the class did not affect whether upper-year students tuned out or paid attention.
  • The format used to convey information -- lecture, calling on students, or class discussion -- seemed to make little difference to the level of attention.
  • Student attentiveness to the facts of cases is comparable to their overall attention levels.

Update:  National Law Journal, Laptops Found More Likely to Distract 2Ls and 3Ls in Class

September 4, 2013 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Teaching Federal Income Tax

TeachingThe Institute for Law Teaching and Learning has made available for free on its website Teaching the Law School Curriculum (Steven Friedland & Gerald F. Hess, eds.) (Carolina Academic Press, 2004):

Teaching the Law School Curriculum draws upon the wisdom of hundreds of legal educators to provide ideas, materials, and alternatives for teaching a variety of law school courses. The book offers guidance for new and experienced law teachers to plan and deliver effective courses. ...

Chapter 10: Federal Income Tax

Approach

  • Teaching Tax through Stories – Paul L. Caron
  • Goals, Philosophy, and Coverage – Nancy Shurtz
  • Statutory Interpretation and the Development of a Civic Perspective – Kim Brooks
  • Problems, Previews, Participation, and Preparation – Leandra Lederman
  • Providing a Framework for Learning – Mary L. Heen
  • Statutory Analysis, Not Arithmetic – Eric Lustig
  • TaxProf: A Virtual Tax Community – Paul L. Caron

Material

  • Tax Case Limericks – Leandra Lederman
  • Tax Stories: An In-Depth Look at Ten Leading Federal Income Tax Cases – Paul L. Caron
  • Tax Returns, Casebooks, and Slides – Eric Lustig
  • Text and Handouts – Nancy Shurtz
  • General Outline of Federal Income Tax (Handout) – Leandra Lederman
  • Computing Taxable Gain (Handout) – Leandra Lederman
  • Introduction to Deductions Problems (Handout) – Leandra Lederman

Exercises

  • Introducing Statutory Interpretation with Song Lyrics – Kim Brooks

Brief Gems

  • Role-Playing – Nancy Shurtz
  • "Boot" – Leandra Lederman
  • Cartoons – Nancy Shurtz
  • IRC 212 Area Code – Leandra Lederman
  • Getting the Class Started and the Power of Bruce – Kim Brooks
  • "How Would the IRS Ever Know . . ." – Leandra Lederman

Feedback and Evaluation

  • Designing Writing Assignments and Exams Based on Course Objectives – Kim Brooks
  • The TaxProf Exam Bank: Practical Help for the Tax Professor – Paul L. Caron
  • Research Paper, Midterm, and Final Exam – Nancy Shurtz

April 17, 2013 in Book Club, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

2013 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald Writing Competition_Page_1

For students who wrote tax seminar papers this semester:  the Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2013 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000, free trip to the 2014 ABA Tax Section Mid-Year Meeting and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

Deadline:  July 1, 2013. Mail papers to: Tannenwald Foundation, Ste. 200, 1275 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004, Attn: Melnie Moore.

For more information, contact Nancy Abramowitz.

For a list of participating law schools, see here. For a list of winners from prior years, and their tax faculty sponsors, see here.

April 11, 2013 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 National Tax Moot Court Competition Results

CTAX_Page_1Here are the results of the 2013 National Tax Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Florida Bar Tax Section:

  1. Charleston
  2. LSU
  3. Suffolk
  4. Ohio Northern

Best Brief: George Mason (runner-up: Loyola-Chicago)

Best Oralist: Lane Jeffries (Charleston)

February 13, 2013 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Faherty Student Tax Writing Competition -- $3,000 First Prize

Faherty_Competition_Flyer_2009

The Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits at The John Marshall Law School Chicago sponsors the Paul Faherty Tax Law Writing Competition:

Scope:  The scope of permissible topics for the writing competition is broad -- any aspect of Tax Law is acceptable: ... a paper on a public policy issue, a critique of a leading case or doctrine, a comment on a statute, or the need for statutory modification, or a comment on a common law doctrine.

Eligibility:  Any currently enrolled law school student attending an ABA-accredited law school.

Prizes:  A grand prize of $3,000 plus two honorable mentions of $1,000 will be awarded. The winner's paper will also be posted on the program's website.

Rules:  See here.

Deadline for Submissions:  March 31, 2013.

 Prior years' winners:

February 4, 2013 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Northeastern Seeks to Hire Lead Tax Faculty

NortheasternThe Northeastern University Masters of Science in Taxation Program is inviting applications for three Lead Faculty Positions:

  • Tax Accounting for Income Taxes
  • Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates
  • Planning for Estate Tax Issues

As the Lead Faculty, your primary role is to coordinate and guide the section instructors, who have primary responsibility for day-to-day interaction with the students and maintaining the course through periodic updates or redesigns. In some cases you may be asked to create, with assistance from EmbanetCompass, additional materials such as voiceovers for electronic slide presentations or short video-clips. You are not expected to create Web pages or work directly with the course delivery technology.

Successful candidates must have a Terminal degree (PhD, JD, LLM or Masters Degree with the Professional designation of CPA). They must also be a Subject Matter Expert and have taught for similar taxation courses (preferably at the Graduate level). Candidates must be Academically Qualified; have at least 2 publications in either an academic or professional journal within the past 5 years, as well as 5+ years of professional work experience in taxation preferred.

Compensation for the Lead Faculty position with Northeastern University’s MST program is $10,000 for Course Management.

Interested applicants must submit their CV (indicating their Terminal Degree), at least 2 copies of your academic/professional articles/publications, Copies/synopsis of your student evaluations of teaching, and a detailed description of both your related teaching and professional working experience to: educationspecialist@embanetcompass.com.

January 29, 2013 in Tax, Tax Prof Jobs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 11, 2013

IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition

IFA The International Fiscal Association is sponsoring the 2013 International Tax Student Writing Competition (rules here):

  • Subject:  Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
  • Open to:  All students during the 2012-13 academic year pursuing a graduate degree with a tax specialty.
  • Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2013.
  • Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting

Here are the recent winners:

Entires may be emailed to Allison Christians (McGill), Brigitte W. Muehlmann (Suffolk), Brainard Patton (Boston University), Philip Postlewaite (Northwestern), and William Streng (Houston).

January 11, 2013 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Northeastern Seeks to Hire Tax Teaching Assistants

Northeastern University's College of Business Administration, Northeasternin partnership with Embanet ULC, is seeking to hire assistants to help Lead Faculty teach two tax courses in Spring 2013 in its online Masters of Science in Taxation Program:

  • Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates
  • Tax Research, Practice, Ethics

These are 5 week long courses. Main duties include: responding back to student inquiries, grading all student submissions, managing discussion and announcement boards, and holding weekly online office hours. Payment is $2,100 per section (each with 15-20 students). Interested applicants should send their resume to: educationspecialist@embanetcompass.com.

January 10, 2013 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Today is Deadline for FBA Tax Law Student Writing Competition

FBA Today is the deadline for the Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation's 2013 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition:

Any original paper concerning federal taxation between 20-50 double spaced pages is welcome. Seminar papers and articles submitted (but not yet selected for publication) to law reviews, journals, or other competitions are eligible.

Winning authors receive $2000 (first place) or $1000 (second place) and a trip to the FBA’s Annual Tax Law Conference in Washington, D.C. The winning entries may be published in the Tax Section newsletter the Report or in The Federal Lawyer. 

The deadline is January 7, 2013. Entries may be submitted by email to Sherwin Valerio.

January 7, 2013 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 15, 2012

2012 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald Writing Competition_Page_1

For students who wrote tax seminar papers last semester:  the Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2012 Tannenwald Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000, free trip to the 2013 ABA Tax Section Mid-Year Meeting in Orlando, and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

Deadline:  9:00 p.m. EST, July 3, 2012. Mail papers to: Tannenwald Foundation, Ste. 200, 1275 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004, Attn: Melnie Moore.

For more information, contact Nancy Abramowitz.

For a list of participating law schools, see here. For a list of winners from prior years, and their tax faculty sponsors, see here.

June 15, 2012 in ABA Tax Section, Law School Rankings, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lederman Wins Indiana Teaching Award

LedermanTax Prof Leandra Lederman has received the Leon H. Wallace Teaching Award at Indiana-Bloomington:

Named for the school's former dean, it is the highest teaching honor given to IU Maurer School of Law faculty. She was praised for her patience and diligence in the classroom and described as approachable and kind to her students, creating a welcoming and effective learning environment while emphasizing both the practical and theoretical aspects of tax law.

Leandra teaches Introduction to Income Tax, Corporate Taxation, Seminar in Tax Procedure, and Tax Policy Colloquium.

April 12, 2012 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

2012 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald Writing Competition_Page_1

For students writing tax seminar papers this semester (or having completed a tax paper last semester):  the Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2012 Tannenwald Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000, free trip to the 2013 ABA Tax Section Mid-Year Meeting in Orlando, and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

Deadline:  9:00 p.m. EST, July 3, 2012. Mail papers to: Tannenwald Foundation, Ste. 200, 1275 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004, Attn: Melnie Moore.

For more information, contact Nancy Abramowitz.

For a list of participating law schools, see here. For a list of winners from prior years, and their tax faculty sponsors, see here.

March 20, 2012 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 19, 2012

IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition

IFA The International Fiscal Association is sponsoring the 2012 International Tax Student Writing Competition (rules here):

  • Subject:  Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
  • Open to:  All students during the 2011-12 academic year pursuing a graduate degree with a tax specialty.
  • Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2012.
  • Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting

Here are the recent winners:

Entires may be emailed to Allison Christians (Wisconsin), Brigitte W. Muehlmann (Suffolk), Brainard Patton (Boston University), and William Streng (Houston).

March 19, 2012 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Clearinghouse for Law School Summer Teaching Positions

Friday, January 6, 2012

Faherty Student Tax Writing Competition -- $3,000 First Prize

Faherty_Competition_Flyer_2009

The Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits at The John Marshall Law School Chicago sponsors the Paul Faherty Tax Law Writing Competition:

Scope:  The scope of permissible topics for the writing competition is broad -- any aspect of Tax Law is acceptable: ... a paper on a public policy issue, a critique of a leading case or doctrine, a comment on a statute, or the need for statutory modification, or a comment on a common law doctrine.

Eligibility:  Any currently enrolled law school student attending an ABA-accredited law school.

Prizes:  A grand prize of $3,000 plus two honorable mentions of $1,000 will be awarded. The winner's paper will also be posted on the program's website.

Rules:  See here.

Deadline for Submissions:  April 15, 2012.

 Prior years' winners:

January 6, 2012 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Results

Tannenwald Writing Competition_Page_1

Here are the results in the 2011 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition, sponsored by the Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and the American College of Tax Counsel:

  • First Prize ($5,000):  Michael Behrens (UCLA), Citizens United, Tax Policy, and Corporate Governance  (Faculty Sponsor: Steven Bank)
  • Second Prize (tie) ($2,000):  Jacob Dean (Cincinnati), “Do You Have That New Church App for Your iPhone?” Making the Case for a Clearer and Broader Definition of Church Under the Internal Revenue Code  (Faculty Sponsor:  Stephanie Hunter McMahon)
  • Second Prize (tie) ($2,000):  Stas Getmanenko (SMU), Consequences of Carried Interest Reform for the Private Investment Industry  (Faculty Sponsor: Christopher Hanna)
  • Honorable Mention:  Tessa Davis (Florida State), Reproducing Value  (Faculty Sponsor: Curtis Bridgeman)
  • Honorable Mention:  Jacob Goldin (Yale), Libertarian Paternalist Meets Tax Policy: Designing Commodity Taxes for Inattentive Consumers  (Faculty Sponsor: Yair Listokin)

December 21, 2011 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 16, 2011

NY Times Debate: Should Law Schools Use the Socratic Method?

Room for Debate New York Times, Room for Debate: Rethinking How the Law Is Taught:

A recent Times editorial called for changes to legal education. It argued for “apprentice-style learning” and “more courses that train students” for roles as “advocates and counselors, negotiators and deal-shapers, and problem-solvers” instead of a curriculum where professors grill “students about appellate cases.”

Does the Socratic method still have a role in law school?

December 16, 2011 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cohen: Five Teaching Tips After Five Years on the Harvard Law School Faculty

Glenn Cohen (Harvard), 5 Lessons From 5 Years in the Legal Academy (With Credit Where It Is Due):

I thought I'd take the opportunity to reflect on a few lessons I have learned that might be useful to others starting out, and to give credit to those who taught them to me:

  1. Office location matters: Especially in a big school where all the faculty are not together, where you locate your office matters. ... Think about what you need and want because there may only be a limited number of people with whom you can have a “water cooler talk” type of relationship.

  2. The optimal level of tenure anxiety is what you should aim for, neither the maximal nor the minimal. I worry about not getting tenure. I think this is just a fact of life in my home institution, and is true of all the juniors to some extent. What I did not immediately recognize is that this is a good thing…to a point… I would not push myself nearly as hard or be as entrepreneurial if I did not feel the need to distinguish myself in my field in order to maintain my job.

  3. Not everything you communicate has to be communicated verbally to your students. There are many things that your students need to learn, for which in-class time (be it lecture or socratic) is a total waste because it is just not suited for that format. ...

  4. Monitor your food intake. At least at Harvard, there is very often food provided at various meetings and times of the day. It is easy to get fat. At the same time, I have come to realize that I need some caffeine and sugar flowing into my system while teaching. ...

  5. Learning names matters to students. In my 1L contracts class, Christine Jolls (who taught me) memorized all 140 of our names by day one of the class. This stuck with me all these years, so I undertook to do the same... I combine it with a trick I picked up from Peter Hutt to get them to submit one page information sheets on themselves and then call them for particular cases or hypos based on things they had done. ...I had thought this would be a good parlor trick of sorts, that it would make the students believe I was watching out for them and also that I took teaching seriously (both of which I do!) What I never anticipated was how much of a difference it made to them. They routinely tell me in person and on evaluations that it made them feel as though someone in the law school really knew and cared about them. So even though it is a pain every year to do it, I have kept doing it and recommend it to anyone.

December 14, 2011 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holm: A Journey of Faith, Love, and Teaching

Thomas Holm (UCLA), A Journey of Faith, Love, and Teaching, 58 UCLA L. Rev. Disc. 215 (2011):

But yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for students are with me. They are my rod, my staff. They comfort me. My job is to work closely and consistently with smart, talented, well-meaning individuals. And in turn I receive small and large acts of kindness, as well as endless amusement. Students make all the work worthwhile. It’s a daily delight and a yearly joy.

December 9, 2011 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seating Chart Cake

Jack Bogdanski (Lewis & Clark) celebrated the coming end of the semester with his Income Tax class with this  "delectable, but not deductible" seating chart cake on the night he covered § 274(n):

Seatingchartcake

For another creative use of a seating chart, see here.

November 17, 2011 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Elon Law Review Symposium: Engaged Learning in the Law

Elon Law Review LogoElon Law Review Symposium, Engaged Learning in the Law. 3 Elon L. Rev. 1-131 (2011):

November 2, 2011 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Do Attractive Professors Get Better Student Evaluations?

Our sister Legal Skills Prof Blog asks [d]o attractive teachers get better student teaching evals?:

This article studied the effect of teacher attractiveness, dressing well and possessing a "likeable" personality on student teaching evaluations. Looking Good, Teaching Well? Linking Liking, Looks, and Learning, 34 Teaching of Psychology 5 (2007).

October 24, 2011 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tax Clickers in Portugal

João Gama of the Law School of Catholic University of Portugal (Católica) in Lisbon came to Cincinnati last year to observe one of my tax classes.  He reports that he is using clickers in his tax class this year (the first time they have been used in a law school course in Portugal):

Catolica Law School - Lisbon - Tax Law Class - Use of Clicker OCT2011 - Joao Gama

October 21, 2011 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

LexisNexis Publishes Estate & Gift Taxation

GTSOn behalf of LexisNexis and the Graduate Tax Series Board of Editors (Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A.), Elliott Manning (Miami), Philip Postlewaite (Northwestern) & David Richardson (Florida)), I am delighted to announce the publication of Estate and Gift Taxation (2011), by Robert Danforth (Washington & Lee) & Brant Hellwig (South Carolina).

The Graduate Tax Series is the first and only series of course materials designed for use in tax LL.M. programs. Like all books in the Series, Estate and Gift Taxation was designed from the ground-up with the needs of graduate tax faculty and students in mind:

  • More focus on Internal Revenue Code and regulations, less on case law
  • Analysis of complex, practice-oriented problems of increasing sophistication
  • Teacher’s manual with solutions to problems and other guidance
  • On-line access to the comprehensive and current Code and regulations, designed to complement the book

Ten other books in the Series also are available for adoption:

  • Civil Tax Procedure (2d ed. 2007) & 2011 Supp.), by David Richardson (Florida), Jerome Borison (Denver) & Steve Johnson (Florida State)
  • Employee Benefits Law: Qualification Rules and ERISA Requirements (2d ed. 2011), by Kathryn Kennedy (John Marshall) & Paul Shultz (Director, IRS Employee Plans Rulings & Agreement
  • Federal Corporate Income Taxation (2011), by Charlotte Crane (Northwestern) & Linda Beale (Wayne State)
  • Federal Tax Accounting, by Michael Lang (Chapman), Elliott Manning (Miami) & Mona Hymel (Arizona)
  • Federal Taxation of Property Transactions (2011), by Elliott Manning (Miami) & David Cameron (Northwestern)
  • Partnership Taxation (2d ed. 2008), by Richard Lipton (Baker & McKenzie, Chicago), Paul Carman (Chapman & Cutler, Chicago), Charles Fassler (Greenebaum, Doll & McDonald, Louisville) & Walter Schwidetzky (Baltimore)
  • Regulation of Tax Practice (2010), by Linda Galler (Hofstra) & Michael Lang (Chapman)
  • Tax Crimes (2008), by Steve Johnson (Florida State), Scott Schumacher (Washington), Larry Campagna (Adjunct Professor, Houston) & John Townsend (Adjunct Professor, Houston)
  • Taxation and Business Planning for Real Estate Transactions, by Bradley Borden (Brooklyn)
  • United States International Taxation (2d ed. 2011), by Allison Christians (Wisconsin), Samuel Donaldson (Washington) &  Philip Postlewaite (Northwestern)

Other information:

October 20, 2011 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jack Bogdanski's New Blog Provides Rich Details for Income Tax Course

Jack Bogdanski (Lewis & Clark) has started a fantastic blog for anyone teaching the federal income tax course, And Another Thing.  (The subtitle of the blog is "stuff I would have said in my income tax class, if only there had been more time.").  Jack describes what this blog is about:

Years ago, my colleague, the late, great Ed Belsheim, took me aside and revealed to me some of the secrets of his success as a law professor.  One of them was this: "We're here to teach the basics.  In class, by the time you say anything that's interesting to you, you've said too much." ...

As the years pass, I appreciate Ed's wisdom more and more.  I call it the Belsheim Rule.  There are so many interesting (at least to me) things that I'd like to say in the courses I teach -- the basic Income Tax class in particular -- but there isn't time for all of them.  And succumbing to the temptation to include too many can worsen the constant problem of trying to boil the entire income tax law into 52 hours.

This blog is an attempt to avoid that pitfall.  When I get out of a class session in which I've resisted the impulse to tell a good story, I'm going to reward myself by writing it down here.  I'll let the students know that this site exists, but I'll make their looking at it completely optional.  I hope I'll feel as though I satisfied my duty to share what I know, without gumming up the march through the syllabus with too many detours.

In many ways, I view Jack's new blog as an extension of the idea behind our Tax Stories book (Foundation Press, 2d ed. 2009).  Several reviewers observed that the book provides useful nuggets for professors to incorporate into their teaching (even if they do not adopt the book for classroom use).  As Jay Soled (Rutgers) noted in Tax Stories Adds Anecdotal Interest to Tax Cases, 100 Tax Notes 727 (2003):

If you share my bent toward the use of anecdotes in the classroom, reading Tax Stories should be a very rewarding experience. Indeed, after reading Tax Stories, don't be surprised if you deliver your lectures with renewed vigor, punctuated with healthy offerings of the anecdotal delights found in this book.

Jack's early posts promise that the blog will be priceless for anyone teaching the income tax course:

October 10, 2011 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cunningham: Digital Evolution in Law School Course Books

Lawrence A. Cunningham (George Washington) has posted Digital Evolution in Law School Course Books: Trade-Offs, Opportunities, and Vigilance, in The Digital Path of the Law (Edward Rubin, ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2012), on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

As we all migrate to the digital world, imagine the future of the law school course book by reflecting on its history, purposes, and promulgation over the seven generations since C.C. Langdell initiated our current mode of legal education in 1870. Some see the future of digital course books as a radical shift, akin to the original revolution of Langdell’s Contracts casebook. Others dismiss it as a simple marketing maneuver, the way post-Langdell addition of notes, questions or problems might be regarded. This look back at casebook history suggests that digital course books are more likely to be something in between, an incremental but meaningful evolution.

This essay, a chapter in a new book on the subject, engages with great innovations in law school course books over the past century-plus, highlighting historic contributions from the likes of Samuel Williston, Arthur Corbin, Lon Fuller, Grant Gilmore; and drawing on more recent contributions to Contracts from the likes of Allan Farnsworth, Charles Knapp, Karl Klare, Ian Macneil, Stewart Macaulay, Lenora Ledwon, Amy Kastely, Deborah Waire Post, Nancy Ota, Douglas Leslie, Robert Summers, Robert Hillman, and Randy Barnett; and on law books and legal education generally, from such figures as Paul Caron, Michael Kelly, Matthew Bodie, Bruce Kimball, Kellye Testy, Edward Rubin, and Steven Bradford.

Section A's brief excursion through the evolution of the course book for Contracts is a sober reminder of the plodding pace of change in American legal education. It prepares readers to appreciate trade-offs, opportunities, and risks associated with migration from print to digital books. These are elaborated in three ensuing Sections, all animated by the historical perspective and illuminating trade-offs, opportunities, and risks, though each stressing a different one of those three implications of the migration from print to digital law books.

Section B stresses trade-offs, especially concerning course books’ purposes and scope; Section C stresses opportunities the digital format offers, highlighting the appeal of digital methods to produce supplements, maintain a work’s currency, and facilitate skills training; and Section D discusses matters of presentation that creators of print and digital materials alike must address to promote usefulness – and calls for vigilance against associated risks. Section E synthesizes, concluding that digital course books are important and valuable, but not revolutionary.

June 20, 2011 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Walker Receives Boston University's Highest Teaching Honor

Walker BU Today, Metcalf Award Winner David Walker:

A student compared one of this year’s Metcalf Award winners to Chuck Norris—and it was a pedagogical compliment.

“Long live Walker, Taxes Ranger!” proclaimed the grateful pupil of David Walker, a School of Law professor and Maurice Poch Faculty Research Scholar. Walker is an expert on the federal tax code, and the student’s written exclamation was praise for his mentor’s ability to make that incomprehensible topic, well, comprehensible.

The Metcalf Cup and Prize and the Metcalf Awards for Excellence in Teaching are the University’s highest teaching honors. “Classes such as Federal Income Taxation and Corporations, often dreaded by students, become enlightening and career-changing experiences,” Walker’s Metcalf citation reads. “His innovative course in Deals gives students valuable experience to compete in a difficult job market.” (The course probes the economics behind commercial transactions.) “In other courses, he trains them to think like contract lawyers and challenges his students to analyze actual transactions presented by alumni practitioners.” ...

Walker is something of a Renaissance man. His undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt is in chemical engineering, and he worked in the oil industry as a crude oil trader, chemical engineer, and assistant to the president of British Petroleum’s U.S. arm before deciding on a career change. He chose the law out of both passion and pragmatism.

“I decided while I was at BP that I wanted to teach at the college or professional school level,” he says, both to learn new things himself and to instruct young minds. “I had always been interested in legal matters while in industry, and the great thing about pursuing a JD was that if the teaching idea didn’t work out, I could always earn a decent living as a lawyer.” ...

The Metcalf awards date to 1973 and are funded by a gift from the late BU professor and Board of Trustees chairman emeritus Arthur G. B. Metcalf (SED’35, Hon.’74). The Metcalf Cup and Prize winner receives $10,000, the Metcalf Award winners $5,000 each. A University committee selects winners based on nominees’ statements of teaching philosophy, supporting letters from colleagues and students, and classroom observations of the teachers. The Metcalf honors are presented at Commencement.

June 17, 2011 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Best Practices for Clicker Use in the Classroom

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Murray: Debunking Myths About Laptops in the Classroom

Macbook Kristen E. Murray (Temple) has published Let Them Use Laptops: Debunking the Assumptions Underlying the Debate Over Laptops in the Classroom, 36 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 185 (2011). Here is the abstract:

Law professors have struggled with the issue of laptops in the classroom since students started bringing laptops to class almost fifteen years ago. Some believe they are a powerful educational tool while others believe that they inhibit learning. Many balance these competing thoughts when deciding how to handle the issue; some decide to ban laptops altogether.

What has troubled me about this debate is that both sides make arguments based on untested assumptions about student laptop use and without taking account of existing knowledge about today’s law student learners. Thus, I decided to survey law students about how they use their laptops to support their learning. The results, when combined with knowledge about how today’s law students learn, show that many of our assumptions are incorrect and that laptops provide a tremendous opportunity to enhance student learning in an age of changing classroom dynamics.

Thus, I conclude that law professors should allow students to use laptops in lecture courses. In the article, I analyze five assumptions that arise in the laptop debate — what I call “laptop myths.” I first set forth the arguments commonly made in the laptop debate. I then provide background on generational research, including the modern law student’s relationship with technology. I then summarize my survey and use the survey data and learning theory to challenge some of the assumptions that underlie the laptop debate. Ultimately, I conclude that students’ self-directed learning makes good use of laptops and therefore laptops should not be completely banned from law school classrooms. Finally, I offer some thoughts and examples of alternatives to all-out laptop bans.

June 9, 2011 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

$100m Rule Against Perpetuities Bequest: Lives-in-Being + 21 Years = 92 Years

Wellington Burt, a lumber baron who was once the eighth wealthiest man in America, died in 1919 with a $40-$90 million estate.  He died estranged from his family, and his will left only modest bequests to his children and staff ($30,000 per year to a "favorite son," $1,000 to $5,000 per year to other children and domestic staff). The bulk of the estate was subject to a "spite clause":  to avenge a family feud, the will deferred the distribution of his fortune to the maximum period permitted by the rule against perpetuities: 21 years after the death of his last then-living child or grandchild.  Burt's last grandchild died in 1989, and the current $100-$110 million estate will be distributed to Burt's 12 great-, great-great- and great-great-great-grandchildren (ranging in age from 19 to 94 years old) by the end of the month.

 

May 15, 2011 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 6, 2011

IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition

IFA The International Fiscal Association is sponsoring the 2011 International Tax Student Writing Writing Competition:
  • Subject:  Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
  • Open to:  All students during the 2010-11 academic year pursuing a graduate degree with a tax specialty.
  • Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2011.
  • Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on March 1-2 2012.

Here are the recent winners:

  • 2010:  Kevin L. Preslan (J.D. 2011, Cleveland State), Turnabout is Fair Play: The U.S. Response to Mexico’s Request for Bank Account Information, 1 Global Bus. L. Rev. ___ (2011)
  • 2009:  Samuel J. Lee (LL.M. 2009, Boston University), A Recommendation, in Light of the Current Economy, for Revising the Way § 304 Applies to International Transactions, 38 Tax Mgmt. Int'l J. 500 (Aug. 2009) (IFA press release)
  • 2008:  Jason Sullivan (LL.M. 2008, Florida), Debt-Equity Hybrid Instruments in a Cross-Border Setting: A Focus on the U.S. Foreign Tax Credit, 53 Tax Notes Int'l 817 (Mar. 2, 2009)
  • 2007:  David Pozen, Tax Expenditures as Foreign Aid, 116 Yale L.J. 869 (2007)

Entires may be emailed to Allison Christians (Wisconsin), Brigitte W. Muehlmann (Suffolk), Brainard Patton (Boston University), and William Streng (Houston).

May 6, 2011 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sovern: Student Laptop Use During Class

Jeff Sovern (St. John's) has posted Law Student Laptop Use During Class for Non-Class Purposes: Temptation v. Incentives on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article reports on how law students use laptops, based on observations of 1072 laptop users (though there was considerable overlap among those users from one class to another) during 60 sessions of six law school courses. Some findings

  • More than half the upper-year students seen using laptops employed them for non-class purposes more than half the time, raising serious questions about how much they learned from class. By contrast, first-semester Civil Procedure students used laptops for non-class purposes far less: only 4% used laptops for non-class purposes more than half the time while 44% were never distracted by laptops.
  • Students in exam courses were more likely to tune out when classmates asked and professors responded to questions and less likely to tune out when a rule was discussed or textual material read in class
  • For first-semester students, policy discussions generated the highest level of distraction while displaying a PowerPoint slide which was not later posted on the web elicited the lowest level
  • With some exceptions, what was happening in the class did not affect whether upper-year students tuned out or paid attention.
  • The format used to convey information -- lecture, calling on students, or class discussion -- seemed to make little difference to the level of attention.
  • Student attentiveness to the facts of cases is comparable to their overall attention levels.

The article speculates that student decisions on whether to pay attention are responses to the tension between incentives and temptation. While the temptation to tune out probably remains constant, ebbs and flows in incentives may cause students to resist or yield to that temptation. Because first-semester grades have more of an impact on job prospects, first-semester students have a greater incentive than upper-year students to attend to classes. Similarly, because students probably anticipate that rules are more likely to be tested on exams, students perceive that they have more of an incentive to pay attention when rules are discussed. Conversely, students may suspect that matters asked about by classmates are less likely to be tested on and so their grades are unlikely to be affected if they miss the question and answer, reducing the incentive to pay attention.

April 21, 2011 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Subotnik: Why All Students in the Basic Tax Course Should Prepare a Return

Dan Subotnik (Touro College), The Forest and the Trees−An Argument for Training Students in Tax Return Preparation, The Law Teacher, Spring 2011, at 10:

Many years back, I got a phone call from the mother of a student. Right at the outset, she began scolding me because her daughter, after taking my income tax course, was unable to prepare the family’s income tax return. Mom saw no reason why senior family members should have to use a tax preparation service; the family was, she insisted, of only modest means, particularly after paying the daughter’s tuition. What was it that I was doing in class, she wanted to know. The only defense that came to mind was that I had higher ambitions for my class than tax return preparation and that “teaching to the forms” was (and is) not common practice in tax law teaching. Quickly realizing the spuriousness of my response— long before the MacCrate Report was emphasizing the importance of skills training—and determined to avoid tensions with future students’ mothers, I have made it a practice ever since to require completion of an income tax return.

I believe I know why tax teachers have ignored the tax return in legal education. A tax return is required of all Americans, not just lawyers. It seems that many law professors, moreover, think that we are a breed above our business school brethren (in which class I must also count myself, having taught in both law and business schools). They are the number crunchers, we are the theoreticians. Tax returns are just not within our jurisdiction. ...

The distinction between the training of tax lawyers and tax accountants, however, is, in an important respect, an unrealistic one. Whatever accountants need to know for successful practice, lawyers must be able to see the forest, the big picture, even if only rarely do we prepare income tax returns, our own included. Tax law students simply cannot have a holistic view of the system if they learn by taking one tree at a time as we do now: what is income?; when can you deduct an outlay?; how do you combine capital gains and losses, short term and long term?; and so on. They need to see how all the pieces of the system fit together.

April 20, 2011 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Bucket List: The Tax Prof to Take Before You Die

Bucket 

The Bucket List: 23 Law Profs to Take Before You Die, The National Jurist (March 2011):

What if you could bring together the most intereesting law profs from around the nation? Not necessarily the professors who would teach you the best. But the faculty that would entertain, inspire and intrique you. ... [T]hese are the profs you have to take before you die. ...

Pareja2 Tax Law. Sergio Pareja (New Mexico)
Sergio Parja works his students hard, occasional pop quizzes and a mid-term and a final, but he works as hard as the students do, say his peers. The students love him for it. And part of what they enjoy is that he occasonally breaks into song in class.

Pareja joined the UNM law faculty in 2005 after nearly nine years in private practice in Colorado and Indiana. Most recently, Pareja was a partner in the tax department at a large Denver law firm. While in private practice, Pareja specialized in Federal individual and corporate income tax planning, state and local tax matters, and estate and gift tax planning.

March 17, 2011 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Murray: Debunking Myths About Laptops in the Classroom

Macbook Kristen E. Murray (Temple) has posted Let Them Use Laptops: Debunking the Assumptions Underlying the Debate Over Laptops in the Classroom, 36 Okla. City U. L. Rev. ___ (2011), on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Law professors have struggled with the issue of laptops in the classroom since students started bringing laptops to class almost fifteen years ago. Some believe they are a powerful educational tool while others believe that they inhibit learning. Many balance these competing thoughts when deciding how to handle the issue; some decide to ban laptops altogether.

What has troubled me about this debate is that both sides make arguments based on untested assumptions about student laptop use and without taking account of existing knowledge about today’s law student learners. Thus, I decided to survey law students about how they use their laptops to support their learning. The results, when combined with knowledge about how today’s law students learn, show that many of our assumptions are incorrect and that laptops provide a tremendous opportunity to enhance student learning in an age of changing classroom dynamics.

Thus, I conclude that law professors should allow students to use laptops in lecture courses. In the article, I analyze five assumptions that arise in the laptop debate — what I call “laptop myths.” I first set forth the arguments commonly made in the laptop debate. I then provide background on generational research, including the modern law student’s relationship with technology. I then summarize my survey and use the survey data and learning theory to challenge some of the assumptions that underlie the laptop debate. Ultimately, I conclude that students’ self-directed learning makes good use of laptops and therefore laptops should not be completely banned from law school classrooms. Finally, I offer some thoughts and examples of alternatives to all-out laptop bans.

March 4, 2011 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Professor Kingsfield as Teacher and Scholar

Paper Chase Chicago Faculty Blog, Co-authorship, Empiricism and Changes in Legal Scholarship, by Tom Ginsburg & Tom Miles:

In the 1973 movie The Paper Chase, there is a well-known scene in which the protagonist law student Hart goes with trepidation to the office of the stern Professor Kingsfield.  Hart’s entrance disturbs Professor Kingsfield from his work – reading and writing about the latest developments in contracts law. 

When viewed in 2011, so much of the movie seems dated.  Legal education – and our image of it – have in many ways changed a great deal since then.  Instructors and students no longer accept routine humiliation as an effective pedagogic technique.   In an age of laptops, i-pads, and electronic casebooks, the very notion of a paper chase seems anachronistic. 

While our image of legal teaching has kept up with the times, our image of legal scholarship has remained relatively fixed. Most of us imagine that today’s law professor still works like Professor Kingsfield.  Alone in the office, the law professor reads cases and statutes, thinks about them, and then writes about them.  We imagine that legal scholarship remains an inherently solitary and essentially literary endeavor.

In a recent co-authored paper, we found that this image of legal scholarship has for some law professors become just as anachronistic as the paper chase.  Some law professors now work in teams to produce scholarship; more and more scholars utilize statistical methods and other social science techniques rather than purely conceptual analysis in their scholarship. 

We examined patterns of collaboration and methodology in top law reviews and two faculty-edited law journals.  We found that the fraction of articles in the top fifteen law reviews that were co-authored trended upwards between 2000 and 2010.  What explains this increase in collaborations?  An increase in empirical articles accounted for a substantial share of the growth in co-authored articles, and the correlation between co-authorship and empiricism persisted after controlling for numerous other influences.  ...

It is no secret that today’s law professors do not conduct their classrooms in the same manner that Professor Kingsfield ran his.  It is also becoming apparent that the scholarship that some of today’s law professors produce and the manner in which they produce it also bear little resemblance to Professor Kingsfield’s approach.

(Hat Tip: Empirical Legal Studies.)

March 2, 2011 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 28, 2011

IFA International Tax Colloquium and Tax Writing Competition

IFA Logo The inaugural International Tax Colloquium of the U.S. branch of the International Fiscal Association took place last Friday at the 2011 Annual Conference in Atlanta.  The chair of the sessions was Brigitte W. Muehlmann (Suffolk), and here were the presenters and their papers:

In addition, Kevin L. Preslan (J.D. 2011, Cleveland State) won the 2010 IFA USA Branch Writing Prize for his paper, Turnabout is Fair Play: The U.S. Response to Mexico’s Request for Bank Account Information:

The paper provides a comprehensive analysis of a dispute related to a 2009 request by the Mexico Ministry of Finance for information concerning interest paid by U.S. banks to residents of Mexico, discussed alternatives, and proposes a compromise that is similar to the one recently agreed between the U.S. and Switzerland.

Mr. Preslan’s faculty sponsor was Deborah A. Geier.

February 28, 2011 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Exam Bluebooks as Love Letters

Bluebook Ruthann Robson (CUNY), The Zen of Grading, 36 Akron L. Rev. 303, 317 (2003):

"Love" may seem like a strange emotion to consider in the context of bluebooks, but each exam can present itself as a love letter of sorts. It's a personal communication from the student to me (only in rare cases will someone else read this exam) which the writer has a chance to display amazing revelations, if not of heart and soul, then of mind. This is the student's opportunity to express utmost attention, such as some fragment of a class discussion that reverberates on the page with lyrical intensity.

(Hat Tip: Institute for Law Teaching and Learning.)

February 22, 2011 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Crawford: Estate, Gift & GST Charts

Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) has posted Overview of Statutory Framework for Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

These three charts provide a visual overview of the statutory frameworks for the gift, estate and generation-skipping transfers taxes. These charts are designed for students, professionals and experienced scholars alike -- anyone who needs a quick reference sheet will find them helpful. Particularly at the beginning or end of a course in taxation, students may appreciate a one-page representation of the statutory structure (there is one page for each of the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax). Instructors are welcome to photocopy or otherwise make these pages available to their students for educational purposes.

Here is the estate tax chart:

Crawford_Page_1 

February 11, 2011 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Newton: How Law Profs' Preoccupation with 'Impractical Scholarship' Obstructs Legal Education Reform

Brent E. Newton (Adjunct Professor, Georgetown; Deputy Staff Director, U.S. Sentencing Commission) has published Preaching What They Don't Practice: Why Law Faculties' Preoccupation with Impractical Scholarship and Devaluation of Practical Competencies Obstruct Reform in the Legal Academy, 62 S.C. L. Rev. 105 (2010).  Here is the abstract:

In response to decades of complaints that American law schools have failed to prepare students to practice law, several prominent and respected authorities on legal education, including the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, recently have proposed significant curricular and pedagogical changes in order to bring American legal education into the twenty-first century. It will not be possible to implement such proposed curricular and pedagogical reforms if law schools continue their trend of primarily hiring and promoting tenure-track faculty members whose primary mission is to produce theoretical, increasingly interdisciplinary scholarship for law reviews rather than prepare students to practice law. Such impractical scholars, because they have little or no experience in the legal profession and further because they have been hired primarily to write law review articles rather than primarily to teach, lack the skill set necessary to teach students how to become competent, ethical practitioners. The recent economic recession, which did not spare the legal profession, has made the complaints about American law schools’ failure to prepare law students to enter the legal profession even more compelling; law firms no longer can afford to hire entry-level attorneys who lack the basic skills required to practice law effectively. This essay proposes significant changes in both faculty composition and law reviews aimed at enabling law schools to achieve the worthy goals of reformists such as the Carnegie Foundation.

Mr. Newton has some harsh words for law professors:

Especially at law schools in the upper echelons of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, the core of the faculties seem indifferent or even hostile to the concept of law school as a professional school with the primary mission of producing competent practitioners. ... Regardless whether they possess a Ph.D., a vastly disproportionate number of new law professors graduated from so-called “elite” law schools, which not coincidentally employ the largest percentage of impractical faculty. “Law professors are a self-perpetuating elite, chosen in overwhelming part for a single skill: the ability to do well consistently on law school examinations, primarily those taken as 1L‟s, and preferably ones taken at elite „national‟ law schools.” Some critics contend this homogeneity in law school faculties has resulted in an ethos of perceived intellectual superiority and classism and has made full-time professors, at least those with tenure, jealous of their privileged positions. Other critics contend that many law professors are so absorbed in their scholarly pursuits that they are largely unconcerned with students‟ needs – academic or otherwise. ...

Could [a typical law school] professor whose primary scholarly interest is criminal law and procedure effectively prosecute or represent a criminal defendant at a felony trial? Could such a professor who writes law review articles about the First Amendment effectively represent a client in a civil rights litigation? Could such a professor whose expertise is securities regulation effectively represent a client or the government in an S.E.C. enforcement action? Imagine such professors being first-chair counsel in a complex civil or criminal litigation who must interview potential witnesses, take depositions and engage in electronic discovery, file and respond to summary judgment motions, conduct voir dire, present the testimony of an expert witness, cross-examine (and impeach) hostile witnesses, and make closing arguments to a jury. There are some full-time non-clinical law professors capable of competently representing clients in real cases, but they are the exception, not the rule, particularly among professors hired in recent years at highly-ranked law schools.

How can we expect law students to become competent practitioners if the core of full-time law faculties, notwithstanding their scholarly prowess, do not themselves possess even the basic skills required to practice the type of law about which they teach and write? How can we expect law students to become competent and ethical practitioners when the faculty members best suited to teach them the necessary practical skills and ethical lessons from real-world cases – clinicians, LRW professors, and adjuncts – are marginalized and even openly held in disdain by some members of the “main” faculty?

For a detailed discussion of the article, see Why Can't Johnny Research Practice Law? Or, Would You Hire a Law Prof to Represent You? (Law Librarian Blog).

February 9, 2011 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The First Open-Source Tax eCasebook: The Ethics of Tax Lawyering

CALI-eLangdellI previously blogged eLangdell, the open-access casebook project developed by CALI (the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction). The first tax (and first ethics) entry is The Ethics of Tax Lawyering, by Michael Hatfield (Texas Tech):

This chapter’s objective is to raise interesting tax ethics issues in practical contexts. There are 43 notes and questions to prompt and guide discussions, and primary source materials to inform the discussions (e.g., cases, IRC provisions, and Circular 230 excerpts). These Teaching Notes flesh out the notes and questions, summarize the cases, and provide additional information and suggestions for readings. Of course, the ultimate test for casebook materials lies in student interaction based on the materials, so I assigned the materials to my students, and, taking their reaction into account, I have made suggestions below as to materials to eliminate or emphasize in customizing for your own class. (Faculty: please note that a version of this chapter with teaching notes is available. Please login with your CALI account to download the teacher's notes version.)

February 2, 2011 in Book Club, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Samford, Northwestern Win 2010 ABA Law Student Tax Challenge

LSTC The ABA Tax Section has released the list of winners of the 2010 Law Student Tax Challenge:

The contest features J.D. and LL.M. divisions, both of which compete in two person teams that research the tax issues involved, and then submit technical memoranda and client letters with their solutions. The teams’ written submissions are judged by tax practitioners from across the country; the teams with the best written submissions are chosen to present their tax planning strategies before the competition judges at the section’s Midyear Meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.

“We were pleased this year to have a record number of entries,” said Charles H. Egerton, chair, ABA Section of Taxation. “Ninety-five J.D. teams and 31 LL.M. teams, from 55 law schools, submitted their solutions to a challenging, complex tax planning problem that involved individual and business entity issues.”  

J.D. Division:

  • 1st Place:  Samford -- Wes Hill & Sims Rhyne III (Brannon Denning, faculty coach)
  • 2nd Place:  Cleveland State -- Caryn Gross & Michael Tangry (Deborah Geier, faculty coach)
  • 3rd Place:  William & Mary -- Peter Farrell & Jonathan Puvak (William Richardson, faculty coach)
  • Best Written Submission:  William & Mary -- Peter Farrell & Jonathan Puvak (William Richardson, faculty coach)
  • Runner-Up Best Written Submission:  Cleveland State -- Caryn Gross & Michael Tangry (Deborah Geier, faculty coach)
  • Semi-finalist #1: Kentucky -- Leah Chalkley & Patrick Kern (Jennifer Bird-Pollan, faculty coach)
  • Semi-finalist #2:  Florida -- Ben Friedman & Christopher Mikes (Charlene Luke, faculty coach)
  • Semi-finalist #3:  Liberty -- Tim Todd & Melissa Ogden (Philip Manns, faculty coach)

LL.M. Division:

  • 1st Place:  Northwestern -- Judson Bryant & John Goodell (Robert Wootton, faculty coach)
  • 2nd Place:  Temple -- Travis Wheeler & Jeanmarie Dunn-Kane (Andrea Monroe, faculty coach) 
  • Best Written Submission:  Missouri-K.C. -- Nicholas Bracco & Samuel Burnett (Judith Wiseman, faculty coach)
  • Finalist #1:  Missouri-K.C. -- Nicholas Bracco & Samuel Burnett (Judith Wiseman, faculty coach)
  • Finalist #2:  Denver -- Jennifer Jewkes & Matthew Wiseman (Alicia Buckingham, faculty coach)

January 31, 2011 in ABA Tax Section, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

For students writing tax seminar papers this semester (or having completed a tax paper last semester):  the Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2011 Tannenwald Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Cash Prizes:  $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 for the top three papers.

Deadline:  9:00 p.m. EST, July 1, 2010. Mail papers to: Tannenwald Foundation, Ste. 200, 1275 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004, attn: Melnie Moore.

For more information, contact Nancy Abramowitz.

For a list of participating law schools, see here. For a list of winners from prior years, and their tax faculty sponsors, see here.

January 18, 2011 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

American College of Employee Benefits Counsel Student Writing Competition

The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel is sponsoring its seventh annual Employee Benefits Writing Competition on any topic in the field of employee benefits law. The competition is open to any J.D. and graduate (L.L.M. or S.J.D) law students enrolled at any time between August 15, 2010 and August 15, 2011. Two $1,500 prizes will be awarded. The submission deadline is June 1, 2011.

January 12, 2011 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Assessment in Tax Teaching

Audrey Sharp (University of Auckland) & Kalmen H. Datt (University of New South Wales) have posted Proposals for Assessment in Tax Teaching on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article compares the assessment methods used by Atax, a school in the Faculty of Law, UNSW (Atax), and the Commercial Law Department in the Faculty of Business at the University of Auckland (University of Auckland) for undergraduate students. It utilises the main attributes of the methodologies used in each program to offer improved methods of assessment. This proposal is reviewed against the backdrop of the literature to ensure it meets best practice.

The article expresses a view that assessment methods used in the teaching of taxation law need to achieve two goals: student abilities to think critically, solve problems and to be technically competent must be evaluated; and the methods implemented must meet the needs of educators who may themselves be balancing both research and teaching in a subject area that is constantly changing.

January 2, 2011 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

MugelAnnouncement11 
The 2011 Albert R. Mugel National Tax Moot Court Competition sponsored by SUNY-Buffalo:
  • Registration Deadline: Dec. 30, 2010
  • Problem Released: Jan. 7, 2011
  • Briefs Due: Feb. 11, 2011
  • Oral Arguments: Mar. 3-5, 2011

The Mugel Competition is the oldest national tax moot court competition in the United States. Each year, the competition gives law students from across the nation an opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in oral advocacy and brief writing on a cutting edge issue of federal tax law and policy. The competition is open to J.D. students at all ABA-accredited law schools. Each school may enter one or two teams, consisting of two students.

December 2, 2010 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Should Profs Walk Out If Students Text or Use Facebook in Class?

Inside Higher Ed, Should Profs Leave Unruly Classes?:

Professors routinely complain about students who spend class time on Facebook or texting their friends or otherwise making it clear that their attention is elsewhere. But is it acceptable for a faculty member to deal with these disruptions by walking out of class?

Two years ago, a Syracuse University professor set off a debate with his simple policy: If he spots a student texting, he will walk out of class for the day.

Now two faculty members at Ryerson University, in Toronto, sparked discussion at their institution with a similar (if somewhat more lenient) policy -- and their university's administrators and faculty union have both urged them to back down, which they apparently have.

The Ryerson professors' policy was first reported last week in The Eyeopener (the student newspaper) .... Two professors who teach an introductory engineering course in chemistry jointly adopted a policy by posting it on the courses' Blackboard sites. ... [T]he professors said that after three warnings about disruptions such as cell phone discussions and movies playing on laptops, the professors would walk out of class -- and students would have to learn the rest of that day's material themselves.  ...

The student newspaper described a chaotic environment in the class where the faculty members made the threat to walk out, with loud chatting among students and even paper airplanes being shot around the room. ...

Janet Mowat, a spokeswoman for Ryerson, issued a statement on behalf of the university that rejected the approach used by the professors. "Ryerson University does not endorse faculty members threatening to abandon their class if the class is unruly nor does the university endorse arbitrarily raising the bar for tests in the middle of the semester."

While Ryerson appears committed to dealing with these issues without professorial walkouts, Laurence Thomas, a professor of philosophy at Syracuse University, said that he's sticking with his ultimatum about students who text, although he sometimes gives a warning for the first offense he spots. He said that since Inside Higher Ed covered his policy, he shows students that article on the first day of class.

Update:  ProfessorBainbridge.com, How to Handle Classroom Chaos?

November 29, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)