TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, August 19, 2016

Call For Participants In Tax Discussion Group: Summer 2017 SEALS Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)From Alyssa DiRusso (Cumberland);

I am in the process of proposing a discussion group for SEALS 2017 to discuss assessment and pedagogy in tax courses. Because this will be a discussion group and not a “panel,” participants are still permitted to join a panel presentation as well. Please let me know if you are tentatively interested in being part of the discussion group for purposes of the proposal. You do not need to be a member of SEALS to participate, so long as at least half of the group consists of members. The annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools will be held at The Boca Resort in Boca Raton, Florida, from July 30-August 6. Here is the draft of the discussion group proposal:

Discussion Group: Pedagogy and Assessments in Tax Courses

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August 19, 2016 in Conferences, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Larson:  Developing Critical Thinking Skills And Practice-Ready Lawyers

Joni Larson (Indiana Tech), To Develop Critical Thinking Skills and Allow Students to Be Practice Ready, We Must Move Well Beyond the Lecture Format, 8 Elon L. Rev. 443 (2016):

Casebooks are constructed around the case method of teaching - reading appellate opinions to understand the law. However, when the case method approach is compared to what an attorney is expected to do in practice, there is a definite gap. If students are to emerge from law school with practice ready skills, they must be given the opportunity to learn and practice a variety of skills and develop the necessary qualities that will allow them to effectively and efficiently enter the practice of law.

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August 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 12, 2016

13th International And European Tax Moot Court Competition

KI13th International and European Tax Moot Court Competition 2016-2017:

KU Leuven (Brussels) and IBFD will organize in academic year 2016-2017 the 13th edition of the International and European Tax Moot Court Competition. ... 

Students will work intensively on a case drafted by IBFD researchers specifically for purposes of this competition. They will draft memoranda and present their case to a panel of renowned judges selected from academia and private practice. The Academic Chairman of the IBFD, Professor Pasquale Pistone, will serve as Arbitrator.

The 13th edition contains two parts. A first, written, phase runs from October till December 2016. The second, oral, phase will be held in Leuven from 26 March till 1 April 2016. There is no pre-selection based on the written phase, hence, all participating teams will defend their case during the oral pleadings.

The 2016-2017 Competition is open to sixteen universities. Universities are invited to send in their application by the specific deadline depending on the start of the academic year:

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August 12, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

SEALS 2016 Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference continues today in Amelia Island, FL.  Among today's highlights:

Philosophies and Approaches to Law School Teaching
What are the philosophies of teaching held by experienced and effective law professors? How do these teachers approach the law school classroom? More specifically, how do the professors define their learning goals for their students? What are the things these teachers do that make them effective? This panel answers these and other questions about the art and science of teaching.

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August 6, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Brunson:  Is It Time To Ban Clickers In The Law School Classroom?

ClickersThe Surly Subgroup:  Teaching Tax — On Clickers and Laptops, by Sam Brunson (Loyola-Chicago):

I’ve used clickers in class ever since I started teaching. In fact, thanks to Paul Caron’s tireless advocacy, I’ve known I was going to use clickers since before I entered academia.

And, like Paul, both I and my students have found clickers tremendously helpful in the classroom. In my experience, they do three main things:

  • They force all students to actively engage with the class. It’s easy enough to sit back in class and passively absorb (or not) the content. Sure, whomever I call on has to actively engage, but I can only call on a small portion of my class on any given day. But clicker questions allow students to not only listen, but actually answer, at least a handful of questions.
  • They tell me how well the students grasp what I’m teaching. If most of the students get the right answer, I know my explanation and the discussion were helpful. If a significant portion get it wrong, I know that I need to go back and address it again (and, depending on the answers they choose, I may be able to figure out where I or they went wrong).
  • They tell my students how well they grasp what I’m teaching. If most of the students get the problem right, a student who gets it wrong knows that she may need to go back and review the topic. Or ask a question. Or do something else.

But I have a problem: ...

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June 10, 2016 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Making Better Use Of The First And Last Five Minutes Of Class

SmallJames Lang (Professor of English and Director of Center for Teaching Excellence, Assumption College; ), Small Changes in Teaching (March 2016):

The First Five Minutes of Class:

The opening five minutes offer us a rich opportunity to capture the attention of students and prepare them for learning. They walk into our classes trailing all of the distractions of their complex lives — the many wonders of their smartphones, the arguments with roommates, the question of what to have for lunch. Their bodies may be stuck in a room with us for the required time period, but their minds may be somewhere else entirely.

It seems clear, then, that we should start class with a deliberate effort to bring students’ focus to the subject at hand. Unfortunately, based on my many observations of faculty members in action, the first five minutes of a college class often get frittered away with logistical task. ...

I offer four quick suggestions for the first few minutes of class to focus the attention of students and prepare their brains for learning.

  1. Open with a question or two. ...
  2. What did we learn last time? ...
  3. Reactivate what they learned in previous courses. ...
  4. Write it down. ... Let a writing exercise help you bring focus and engagement to the opening of every class session. Build it into your routine. Class has begun: time to write, time to think.

In writing, as in learning, openings matter. Don’t fritter them away.

The Last Five Minutes of Class:

In my experience — having observed many dozens of college courses over the past two decades — most faculty members eye the final minutes of class as an opportunity to cram in eight more points before students exit, or to say three more things that just occurred to us about the day’s material, or to call out as many reminders as possible about upcoming deadlines, next week’s exam, or tomorrow’s homework.

At the same time, we complain when students start to pack their bags before class ends. But why should we be surprised by that reaction when our class slides messily to a conclusion? We’re still trying to teach while students’ minds — and sometimes their bodies — are headed out the door. We make little or no effort to put a clear stamp on the final minutes of class, which leads to students eyeing the clock and leaving according to the dictates of the minute hand rather than the logic of the class period. ... [L]et us turn to better ways we can make better use of the final five minutes in class.

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April 12, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Should Law Schools Give Summer Grants To Faculty For Teaching Projects As Well As For Research?

Summer GrantsMost law schools offer summer research grants.  The latest Society of American Law Teachers survey reports summer research grant awards at 82 law schools (41% of all law schools), ranging from $3,000 at Gonzaga (ranked #132 in U.S. News) to $27,500 at Georgia (#33).  Only one of the Top 25 law schools (Iowa) responded to the SALT survey, and anecdotal evidence suggests that summer research grants are much higher at those schools, often 2/9 of salary. The Best Practices for Legal Education blog "suggests that in addition to research grants, schools consider summer teaching innovation grants":

At Georgia State, like at many schools, our dean has encouraged us to integrate experiential learning throughout the curriculum.  And, he has put his money where his mouth is.

Faculty can compete for  summer teaching innovation grants which are funded at the same level as research grants. Both junior and senior faculty members have taken advantage of the summer grant  opportunities to either revamp existing courses or create new ones.

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April 11, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

AALS YouTube Channel On Law Teaching

Friday, March 4, 2016

2016 National Tax Moot Court Competition Results

Moot CourtHere are the results of the 2016 National Tax Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Florida Bar Tax Section:

  1. Charleston (photo below)
  2. Loyola-Chicago
  3. Alabama

Best Brief:  Oregon (runner up: Loyola-Chicago)

Best Oralist:  Anna Boning (Charleston)

Charleston Post and Courier, Charleston School of Law Wins National Tax Moot Court Championship:

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March 4, 2016 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Winners Of The 15th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge

15th LSTCABA Tax Section, Winners of the 15th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

The Section is pleased to announce the winners of the 15th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge, a contest designed to give students an opportunity to research, write about, and present their analyses of a real-life tax planning problem. The competition is open to both J.D. and LL.M. law students. The teams presented oral arguments before a panel of distinguished tax lawyers and tax court judges attending the Section of Taxation 2016 Midyear Meeting in Los Angeles, CA, with the winners honored at a reception during the meeting.

The awardees from this year's competition include:

J.D. Division

1st Place:
Scott Woody and Frank Cardoza
University of New Mexico School of Law
Coach: Mary Pareja

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March 1, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 17, 2015

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, 39 Evaluation Rev. 46 (2015):

Background: There is a long scholarly debate on the trade-off 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. Method: We measure of scholarly productivity with the total number of publications by each professor for each year, and we approximate performance in teaching with course loads and average scores in student evaluations for each course. In OLS regressions, we estimate scholarly output as a function of teaching loads, faculty characteristics, and other controls. We also estimate teaching evaluation scores as a function of scholarly productivity, fixed effects for years and course subject, and faculty characteristics. Result: 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. Conclusion: There recent debate on the mission of American law schools has hinged on the assumption that a trade-off exists between teaching and research, and this article’s analysis, although limited in various ways, casts some doubt on that assumption.

Chicago Chart

Orin Kerr (George Washington), Is There a Teaching/Scholarship Trade-off in Law Schools?:

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July 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Measuring Teaching Excellence: Shifting From Delivery Of Course Content To Impacting Student Lives

CTEInside Higher Ed, What Is Teaching Excellence?:

College and university faculty are expected to be excellent teachers. In public, college leaders emphasize to potential students and their parents that at their institution, teaching matters above all else. Colleges seem to unabashedly promote that the teaching done by their faculty is markedly better than at peer institutions -- or that the opportunities for close working relationships between students and faculty are unique to their campus. ...

There is no shortage of lip service from various academic ranks on the value of teaching excellence. ... But what exactly is teaching excellence? Institutional commitments, workshops, conferences and journals, all sharing the intent of improving teaching and content delivery, do not necessarily translate to a universal agreement on exactly what it is we are improving.

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April 23, 2015 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tax Teachers of the Year

AALS

The AALS has released the names of Teachers of the Year (2013-14) at their respective law schools. The Tax Prof Teachers of the Year are Joshua Blank (NYU), Jeffrey Maine (Maine), and Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane).

April 7, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

LegalED: Igniting Law Teaching -- A TEDx-Style Conference on the Future of Legal Education

March 20LegalED hosts its second conference today on Igniting Law Teaching: A TEDx Style Conference on the Future of Legal Education (webcast) at American:

The conference will feature talks by 30 law school academics and practitioners from the US, Canada and England in a TEDx-styled conference to share ideas on teaching methodologies.  LegalED’s Teaching Pedagogy video collection includes many of the talks from last year’s conference, which have been viewed collectively more than 5000 times. ...

The Igniting Law Teaching conference is unlike other gatherings of law professors.  Here, talks will be styled as TEDx Talks, with each speaker on stage alone, giving a well scripted and performed 8 minute talk about an aspect of law school pedagogy.

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March 20, 2015 in Conferences, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 6, 2015

L.A. Times: Classroom Technology Bans Improve Student Performance

GadgetLos Angeles Times, Classes That Go Off the Grid Help Students Focus:

USC professor Geoffrey Cowan is a scholar of free speech and communication. But Cowan, the former dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, insists that students sometimes should be cut off from the social media and websites that are so prevalent in their lives.

Cowan bans the use of laptops, cellphones and wireless devices during the freshman introductory class "The Changing World of Communication and Journalism" that he co-teaches in the fall with current Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III. Like a growing number of professors nationwide, the USC professors say that electronic equipment, even just for note taking, causes students to mentally disconnect from lectures and distracts them from class discussions.

The sneaky, or sometimes brazen, texting, Web surfing and Facebook browsing disrupts the teaching and learning environment, they say.

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2015 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, and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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February 17, 2015 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

American College of Employee Benefits Counsel Student Writing Competition

ACBThe American College of Employee Benefits Counsel is sponsoring its 11th 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 14, 2014 and August 15, 2015. Two $1,500 prizes will be awarded. The submission deadline is June 2, 2015.

January 17, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Geier Publishes Free Income Tax Textbook

CALIDeborah H. Geier (Cleveland State) has published a free eLangdell textbook, U.S. Federal Income Taxation of Individuals (CALI 2014):

As one, lone law professor, I have little direct ability to reduce tuition costs for my students. When writing this textbook, however, I decided to decline expressions of interest from the legacy legal publishers in favor of making this textbook available as a free download over the internet (in ePub format for iPads, Mobi format for Kindles, and pdf format for laptops), with an at-cost, print-on-demand alternative for those who like a hard copy. Fortunately, eLangdell (a division of CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) has been an ideal partner in this regard.

In addition to eliminating (or lowering) student cost, this mode of publication will permit me to quickly and fully update the book each December, incorporating expiring provisions, inflation adjustments for the coming calendar year, new Treasury Regulations, etc., in time for use in the spring semester, an approach that avoids cumbersome new editions or annual supplements. This publication method also makes the textbook suitable for use as a free study aid for students whose professors adopt another textbook, as this textbook walks the student through the law with many more fact patterns and examples than do many other textbooks. While this practice adds length, I believe that it also makes the book more helpful to students in confronting what can be daunting material. Finally, having the textbook easily accessible to foreign students enrolled in a course examining the U.S. Federal income taxation of individuals is important to me, and having the textbook available as a free internet download succeeds well in that regard.

A Teacher’s Manual is available for professors who adopt the book (or parts of it) for use in their course.

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December 11, 2014 in Book Club, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Results

TannenwaldHere are the results in the 2014 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) ($4,500):  Alex Levy (NYU), Believing in Life After Loving: IRS Regulation of Tax Preparers (Faculty Sponsor:  David Kamin)
  • First Prize (tie) ($4,500):  Mark C. Westenberger (Washington University), Tax-Exempt Hospitals and the Community Benefit Standard: A Flawed Standard and a Way Forward (Faculty Sponsor:  Cheryl Block)
  • Honorable Mention:  Nika Antonikova (San Diego), Real Taxes in Virtual Economies: What Does the IRS Say (Faculty Sponsor:  Brian Galle)
  • Honorable Mention:  Michael Daly (Georgetown University), Bound and Gagged: Making the Case for Congress Delegating Tax Policy to the Experts (Faculty Sponsor:  Tom Field)

December 2, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mnookin: A Dissent From the Practice-Ready Movement

Jennifer L. Mnookin (UCLA), Reflections on Law Teaching, 62 UCLA L. Rev. Disc. 126 (2014):

PracticeThere is one goal that is being bandied about now with some frequency that I think we, as teachers, should resist.  That’s the idea that one of our chief functions is to make our students, as we often hear it put, “practice ready on day one.”

I confess I don’t entirely know what it means for students to leave law school “practice ready on day one.”  Our students will be practicing in so many different ways, and in so many distinct areas, that what they need, in terms of grounded, concrete, practical knowledge, cannot possibly be reduced to a checklist.  There surely are not one-size-fits-all solutions, notwithstanding some of the unfortunate proposals gaining traction these days, like the potential—and in my view distressingly excessive—fifteen credits of experiential education requirement put forward by the California Bar.7   Perhaps every law student should indeed have some exposure to experiential or skills-based training while in law school, but to say that every lawyer is better off with a full  semester of such training fails to ask the “compared-to-what?” question.  

For some students fifteen credits of skills training may be a quite appropriate and valuable use of their time.  But, for others, it may mean many missed opportunities to pursue other options that would have been more personally and professionally valuable.  It should be the students, the law schools, and the marketplace that decide whether, for example, an externship is or is not more valuable for the future transactional lawyer than a variety of upper-level courses in corporate finance and other subjects that may have significant practical payoff without being explicitly defined as experiential; or whether the future would-be appellate litigator is better served by a skills class followed by a live-client clinic or, instead, selections from the many upper level doctrinal offerings.

There are, to be sure, major challenges facing law schools right now, but this  should, in my view, be a moment for curricular deregulation, not intensified gatekeeping by the bar of what law schools do.  I say this not because I believe that law schools should continue in their teaching as if it is business as usual, but rather as a corollary to what I said before: We should be encouraging experimentation and innovation, not stymying it, nor limiting it by channeling it in only in one predetermined direction.

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October 8, 2014 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Adam Chodorow: Teaching Tax Policy with Senator Kyl

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Teaching Tax Policy with Senator Kyl, by Adam Chodorow (Arizona State):

Chodorow KylePerhaps I’m a little biased, but after Basic Income Tax, I think Tax Policy is the best course in the law school curriculum. The course can be taught in a variety of ways, ranging from a traditional seminar, where students read and discuss academic articles and write a seminar paper or a series of reaction papers, or as a colloquium, where tax scholars present their works in progress to students, who are asked to engage with the works and provide feedback to the presenters. For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to teach tax policy with Senator Jon Kyl, who served on the Finance Committee for many years before he retired in 2012. Given his experience and interests, we decided to structure the class around current reform proposals and to combine the discussion of tax policy with some practical skills training. While I’m sure we’re not the first to hit upon this format, I offer up our experiences as food for thought for those looking to create or modify a tax policy course.

The basic idea is to alternate weeks between teaching and lobbying. In the first week, I assign readings on and teach the basic issues surrounding a particular reform under discussion, such as changes to the charitable deduction or switching from a global to territorial international tax regime. At the end of that class, I assign each student to an interest group and have them prepare a 3 page position paper. In week 2, Senator Kyl attends, pretending to be a senator on the finance committee (a real stretch on his part). We start each class with a discussion of the politics surrounding the proposals under discussion or some other aspect of the tax writing process, such as the scoring rules, after which the students lobby the senator. The class finishes with a broad discussion about the policy under consideration. At the end of the semester, the students must write a 5 page reflection piece on how their thoughts on tax policy had changed, or not, as a result of the semester’s journey.

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October 7, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Should Law Schools Adopt the Montessori Method?

Emily Grant (Washburn), The Pink Tower Meets the Ivory Tower: Adapting Montessori Teaching Methods for Law School, 66 Ark. L. Rev. ___ (2014):

MontessoriSome principles of teaching are timeless. Maria Montessori developed a methodology for teaching children over 100 years ago, nearly the same time Christopher Columbus Langdell was adapting the Socratic Method for teaching law students. Law school professors can incorporate Montessori’s ideas to foster a more robust educational environment for law students as they join a profession of life-long self-directed learners.

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September 29, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Scholars Critique Validity of Student Evaluations: 'Consumer Satisfaction' ≠ 'Product Value'

Chronicle of Higher Education, Scholars Take Aim at Student Evaluations’ ‘Air of Objectivity’:

Student EvaluationsStudent course evaluations are often misused statistically and shed little light on the quality of teaching, two scholars at the University of California at Berkeley argue in the draft of a new paper.

"We’re confusing consumer satisfaction with product value," Philip B. Stark, a professor of statistics at Berkeley, said in an interview.

An Evaluation of Course Evaluations, which he wrote with Richard Freishtat, senior consultant at Berkeley’s Center for Teaching and Learning, lays out a mathematical critique of the evaluations and describes an alternative vision for analyzing and improving teaching.

Even though evaluations have become ubiquitous in academe, they remain controversial because they often assume a high-stakes role in determining tenure and promotion. But they persist because they are easy to produce, administer, and tabulate, Mr. Stark said. And because they are based on Likert scales whose results can be added and averaged, he said, they offer the comfort of a number. But it is a false kind of security. "Averages of numerical student ratings have an air of objectivity," the authors write, "simply because they are numerical."

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September 22, 2014 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ABA Tax Section Releases 2014-15 Law Student Tax Challenge Problem

Lstc-14thThe ABA Tax Section has released the J.D. Problem (rules; entry form) and LL.M. Problem (rules; entry form) for the 14th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge (2014-2015):

An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL.M. Division receive a free trip (including airfare and accommodations for two nights) to the Section of Taxation 2015 Midyear Meeting, January 29-31 in Houston, TX, where each team will defend its submission before a panel of judges consisting of the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including tax court judges. The competition is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community. On average, more than 60 teams compete in the J.D. Division and more than 40 teams compete in the LL .M. Division. For examples of the "Best Written" winners from past competitions, please click here.

IMPORTANT DATES

  1. Submission Deadline: November 7, 2014
  2. Notification of Semifinalists and Finalists: December 19, 2014
  3. Semifinal and Final Oral Defense Rounds: January 30, 2015 in Houston, TX

September 10, 2014 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Analysts, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Using Humor in the Law School Classroom

Humor 3Wall Street Journal, Law School Should be Funnier, Says Professor:

Stephen F. Reed, a clinical law professor at Northwestern University School of Law, says professors shouldn’t underestimate the pedagogical power of laughter. “[H]umor can have value in creating a lively classroom environment in which students are ready to learn, and in its best forms can help faculty accomplish their pedagogical goals,” Mr. Reed writes. ...

He encourages professors to brush up on pop culture and jot down ideas before class. And he also cautions against going overboard with slapstick:  "I cannot emphasize this enough: do not be a clown in class; be a professor with a sense of humor."

Stephen F. Reed (Northwestern), The Lively Classroom: Finding the Humor in Business Associations, 59 St. Louis L.J. ___ (2015):

I have yet to meet a faculty member who does not, in at least some small way, use humor in the classroom. It almost seems to be part of human nature, and some of its value is obvious: it commands attention, it relaxes both the speaker and the audience, and it provides a release in stressful situations. It may even help us to better retain information.2 This article is not intended to justify humor in the classroom, which other authors have covered,3 but takes as a given that humor can have value in creating a lively classroom environment in which students are ready to learn, and in its best forms can help faculty accomplish their pedagogical goals.

My main project, then, is to give you ideas on how to introduce humor to your course no matter how “unfunny” you consider yourself to be. I understand that those of you who do not believe you can use humor effectively in the classroom may dismiss this piece immediately.4 Although I implore you to give the ideas below at least a pilot run next semester, I understand completely why you might think it futile. ... Too often, we ignore that much of what happens in the classroom depends on certain inherent physical and personality traits of the instructor. Many of us wonder - even fear - that maybe some faculty have just “got it” and we do not. Anyone can buy a dapper new outfit, but only Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie can wear it like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, while the rest of us middle-aged professors in the “prime” of our careers wear the same outfit like Buddy Hackett or Carol Channing.7See material on staying current with cultural references, infra.

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September 6, 2014 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Symposium: Teaching Trusts & Estates

T&ESymposium, Teaching Trusts and Estates, 58 St. Louis U. L.J. 643-846 (2014):

September 2, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

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).

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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)