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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)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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, 2011.

 For prior years' winners, see:

November 23, 2010 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NY Times Endorses Clickers in the Classroom

Clickers Long-time readers of this blog know that I am an enthusiastic advocate of the use of clickers (Taking Back the Law School Classroom: Using Technology to Foster Active Student Learning, 54 J. Legal Educ. 311 (2004)).  The New York Times agrees: More Professors Give Out Hand-Held Devices to Monitor Students and Engage Them:

[T]he greatest impact of [clickers] — which more than a half-million students are using this fall on several thousand college campuses — may be cultural: they have altered, perhaps irrevocably, the nap schedules of anyone who might have hoped to catch a few winks in the back row, and made it harder for them to respond to text messages, e-mail and other distractions.

In Professor White’s 90-minute class, as in similar classes at Harvard, the University of Arizona and Vanderbilt, barely 15 minutes pass without his asking students to “grab your clickers” to provide feedback

Though some Northwestern students say they resent the potential Big Brother aspect of all this, Jasmine Morris, a senior majoring in industrial engineering, is not one of them. “I actually kind of like it,” Ms. Morris said after a class last week. “It does make you read. It makes you pay attention. It reinforces what you’re supposed to be doing as a student.” ...

Though the technology is relatively new, preliminary studies at Harvard and Ohio State, among other institutions, suggest that engaging students in class through a device as familiar to them as a cellphone — there are even applications that convert iPads and BlackBerrys into class-ready clickers — increases their understanding of material that may otherwise be conveyed in traditional lectures.

(Hat Tip: Tim Armstrong.)

November 17, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Using Twitter in the Classroom

Twitter Logo Twitter Increases Student Engagement:

Communicating in 140-character segments may seem to contradict the goals of generally long-winded academia, but a new study [The Effect of Twitter on College Student Engagement and Grades, 26 J. Comp. Assisted Learning ___ (2010)] has found that the two are less opposed than one might think. Students in the study who were asked to contribute to class discussions and complete assignments using Twitter increased their engagement over a semester more than twice as much as a control group.

The study used a 19-question survey based on the National Survey of Student Engagement to measure student engagement at the beginning and end of a seminar course for first year students. ...

(Hat Tip: Annie Mathews.)

November 11, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Scholarship, Teaching, and Theories of Play

Bryan L. Adamson, Marilyn BergerLisa Ellen Brodoff, Anne M. EnquistPaula Lustbader & John Mitchell (all of Seattle) have posted Can the Professor Come Out and Play? -- Scholarship, Teaching, and Theories of Play, 58 J. Legal Educ. 481 (2008), on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In January 2008, the authors presented an Open Source program at the National AALS Conference in which they explored the applicability of cognitive/developmental theories of play to our work as scholars and teachers. The authors sang, lectured on theories of play, and involved over 100 law professors in an exercise in which participant groups employed either visual art or music to explain the tort concept of "lost chance."

In this article, we build upon that program and present an extensive analysis of the literature on childhood play, focusing on those aspects of the type of "play" which enhances development of creative problem-solving and innovation. We then explore the adult manifestation of this childhood cognitive activity, what John Dewey called a "playful attitude," assessing its implications for our scholarship and teaching. As it turns out, these implications are significant, as we detail in the last two sections of the article where we focus on the nexus between play theory and our work as professors of law.

November 3, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Submission of Law Student Articles for Publication

Nancy LevitLawrence Duncan MacLachlan & Allen Rostron (all of UMKC) have posted Submission of Law Student Articles for Publication on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Each year law students collectively write a large number of papers that could become law review articles but that are never published. Most law schools require students at some point during their time in law school to research and write an academic paper of publishable quality or seminar paper. Some of these are law review notes and comments that are not selected for publication. Others of these are papers written for specific substantive classes or to fulfill research and writing requirements.

Most of these student papers - even very worthy ones - will never be published or posted online. The publishing route for law students who want to publish in a venue other than their home law journal is not clearly marked. And many law reviews simply will not accept submissions from students outside their own school. Often, the publishing opportunities for non-law review members in their home school’s law review are also not well known.

The purposes of this essay are twofold. First, it offers a number of suggestions for law students (and implicitly for students in other graduate programs) who want to publish their research papers. Second, this essay presents a chart of the policies of 194 law reviews with respect to whether they will publish comments submitted by non-law review members who are students at their home school or notes, comments or articles submitted by law students from other schools.

October 2, 2010 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How a Prof's Race and Gender Affect the 1L Curriculum

Meera E. Deoa (Thomas Jefferson), Maria Woodruff (UCLA) & Rican Vuedd (UCLA) have published Paint by Number? How the Race and Gender of Law School Faculty Affect the First-Year Curriculum, 29 Chicana/o-Latina/o L. Rev. 1 (2010). Here is the abstract:

While there is a relatively standard first-year curriculum at all ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S., no two classrooms are identical. This article examines how the race and gender of law school faculty affect both what is taught in the first year and how that material is taught. Using focus group data from a national, longitudinal, multi-method study of American law schools, this article reveals that faculty of color and female faculty are more likely to engage in “diversity discussions” -- discussions involving race and gender -- than their white male counterparts. While many students appreciate these discussions and mention numerous ways in which these conversations enhance their legal education, some prefer their exclusion. Additionally, a few professors are so insensitive to diversity issues that they may be creating a hostile learning environment for some students. The Conclusion offers implications and policy suggestions to improve learning outcomes for students, retention rates for both students and faculty, and faculty diversity generally.

September 28, 2010 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Endorsement of Clickers in the Classroom

I previously have extolled the advantages of teaching with clickers (Taking Back the Law School Classroom: Using Technology to Foster Active Student Learning, 54 J. Legal Educ. 551 (2004)).  The Philadelphia Inquirier agrees in High-Tech Gadget Transforming College Teaching -- And Learning:

The trendy, high-tech learning tool, used to take attendance, poll student opinion, and administer quizzes, is taking hold on campuses across the country, with an estimated two million college students now using them, transforming teaching - and learning.

"I think they are the greatest educational innovation since chalk," said Neil Sheflin, an associate professor of economics at Rutgers University.

The use of clickers, which can cost $35 to $45 apiece, is shifting education away from the age-old practice of putting a professor at the front of a room to lecture to a passive audience. Instead, it forces participation from all students and encourages peer learning. It is, as one pair of professors titled a journal article, like "waking the dead."

(Hat Tip: Jim Maule.)

September 14, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

UNH Hosts Intellectual Property Tax Challenge

UNH The University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly the Franklin Pierce Law Center) is hosting its first Intellectual Property Tax Challenge:

The tax challenges associated with intellectual property have become increasingly complex as intellectual property has become more important to business worldwide. The University of New Hampshire School of Law’s Intellectual Property Tax Challenge (IP-TAC) for J.D. and LL.M. students addresses the unique challenge of taxation of intellectual property. IP-TAC consists of 3 parts: a client letter, memorandum to senior partner and presentation to panel.

  • Registration: Aug. 15 - Sept. 30
  • Problem Released: Oct. 1
  • Client Letter and Memo to Partner Due: Oct. 30
  • 2010 Tax Challenge Competition: Nov. 11-13

September 2, 2010 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Garnett: 'Preaching What They Don't Practice'

Following up on Monday's post, Newton: How Law Profs' Preoccupation with 'Impractical Scholarship' Obstructs Legal Education Reform (Aug. 23, 2010):  Rick Garnett (Notre Dame), "Preaching What They Don't Practice" (PrawfsBlawg):

Critiques like this are nothing new, of course, and (just as "of course") have some bite.  But, they can be (and I worry that Newton's might be) overstated.  Sure, we all remember (or know!) legal scholars and law teachers who seem way-disconnected from the practice of law and who we cannot imagine actually advising a client, putting together a deal, or arguing a case.  But, the suggestion that -- even at those awful, top-tier theoretician-factories that Newton has in his sights -- faculty members who are hired not only to teach skills and doctrine but also to investigate and reflect on the history, animating principles, normative failings, etc., of our craft and tradition (our learned profession) "lack the skill set necessary to teach students how to become competent, ethical practitioners" seems too sweeping.  The suggestion reflects, I suspect, a narrower-than-mine view of what it means to be a "competent, ethical practitioner" -- a real lawyer.

August 27, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

ABA Releases Law Student Tax Challenge Problem

Law Student Tax Challenge (2010) The ABA Tax Section has released the problem (J.D.; LL.M.) and updated rules (J.D.;LL.M.) for the 10th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

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.

J.D.: This year's J.D. problem focuses on the personal income tax effects of a famous athlete's divorce from his wife, as well as his subsequent attempts to repair his marriage and his professional sports career. The problem asks participants to evaluate alternate property settlement proposals from his wife's lawyer and analyze the deductibility of certain expenses incurred by the client.

LL.M: This year's LL.M problem focuses on a wealthy energy tycoon's attempt to reorganize his existing investments and acquire an interest in the burgeoning electric car business. The problem asks participants to recommend the best structure for: the tycoon's purchase of the oil rig business owned and operated by one of his current investments, the reorganization of his investments into an S corporation, and his new investment in the electric car business.

Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to the client explaining the result. Based on this written work product, 6 teams from the J.D. Division and 4 teams from the LL.M. Division will receive a free trip (including airfare and accommodations for two nights) for the Section's 2011 Midyear Meeting, January 20-22 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, FL, where they will defend their submissions before a panel of some of the country's top tax lawyers.

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 40 teams compete in the J.D. Division and more than 20 teams compete in the LL.M. Division.

At several institutions, the competition is used as a learning tool. The competition offers motivated students a tremendous opportunity to learn more about tax law, interact with professionals in the world of tax, and earn credit while doing so.

Upcoming Deadlines:

  • Nov. 5, 2010:  Written Submissions Due
  • Dec. 6, 2010:  Semi-Finalists and Finalists Notified
  • Jan. 21, 2011: Semifinal and Final Oral Rounds at Section of Taxation Midyear Meeting

For the results, problems, winning answers, judges, and entrants for the prior competitions (2001-2009), see here. For TaxProf Blog coverage of prior winners, see 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.

August 26, 2010 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Maule: Structuring the Introduction to Taxation of Business Entities Course

YodaJim Maule (Villanova) has a well-deserved reputation as the Yodaof tax teachers, as he generously shares his insights with both tax faculty (via email discussion groups, exam banks, and PowerPoint banks) and tax students (via CALI exercises).  He previously shared on his wonderful tax blog:

Jim's latest contribution is a series of twenty posts on structuring the Introduction to Taxation of Business Entities course.  From his opening post (July 2, 2010):

Because only so much can be cut, and students need to be prepared to walk into the practice world with substantive tax exposure, analytical skills, and problem-solving abilities that match their counterparts graduating from law schools with two 3-credit courses, a good argument can be made, and has been made, that this 3-credit course is actually a 4-credit course. It is. It also has the reputation of being the most difficult course in the J.D. curriculum. It very well may be. But this area of taxation may very well be one of the most difficult areas of law practice. Despite some griping at the outset, by the end of the semester, almost all of the students – who are self-selected tax and business types and thus a very different group from those who are in the basic tax courses “because it’s on the bar exam” – conclude that despite the requisite diligence, they have learned far more than they expected and have acquired a good sense of what awaits them when they reach the practice world.

From his concluding post (Aug. 16, 2010):

When students leave the course, assuming they have been diligent and have learned what I intend for them to learn, they are capable not only of doing simple corporate and partnership tax returns but also of understanding basic planning questions, figuring out how to find answers to more advanced questions, and taking with them a solid foundation for more tax courses. It’s a difficult area of taxation, thanks to the Congress, it’s essential that students get a firm grip on the material, and it has always been my principal goal to put them in a position to succeed in practice even though that requires demanding assignments, intense concentration, and voluminous coverage.

August 25, 2010 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 23, 2010

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 posted 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. ___ (2010), on SSRN.  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).

August 23, 2010 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (1)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Moran: The MacCrate and Carnegie Reports Fail to Integrate Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class in Curriculum Reform

Tax Prof Beverly Moran (Vanderbilt) has posted Disappearing Act: The Lack of Values Training in Legal Education -- A Case for Cultural Competency, 37 S.U. L. Rev. ___ (2010), on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

A renewed movement of curriculum reform is growing within United States law schools. This new curriculum reform movement is based on two important reports – one from the ABA commonly known as the MacCrate Report, issued in 1992, and the second from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching known as Educating Lawyers, issued in 2007. Both the MacCrate Report and Educating Lawyers condemn modern legal education and offer blueprints for improving the law school curriculum. Each report recommends training law students in such values as nondiscrimination and inclusiveness based on gender, race, ethnicity, and class.

The MacCrate Report’s and Educating Lawyers’ recommendations regarding gender, race, ethnicity, and class are not based on charity or social justice. Instead, both reports see cultural competency as a key part of the professional compact to serve society in exchange for a monopoly on the practice of law. Yet, despite the two reports’ emphasis on gender, race, ethnicity, and class in the law school curriculum, the new curriculum reform movement either sidesteps issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and class, or treats discussions of these topics as “add-ons” for interested students only.

By failing to integrate gender, race, ethnicity, and class into the fabric of the first-year law school classroom curriculum, this new curriculum reform movement fails both law students and the communities that practicing lawyers serve. Why law school faculties might fail to respond to the MacCrate Report’s and Educating Lawyers’ concerns, and how to broaden what takes place in the first year curriculum are two subjects this article addresses.

After reviewing the history of legal education and the case method that is the target of both the MacCrate Report and Educating Lawyers, the article goes on to critique six reason why law schools might not respond to a call for integrating values training into the standard first year curriculum. Two of these reasons are in direct response to objections to all values training and four are based in less direct assaults on teaching values. After showing that these six objections taken together are not strong enough to support leaving the curriculum devoid of all reference to gender, race, ethnicity, and class, the article concludes with suggestions on how to make the law school curriculum more responsive to the concerns raised in the MacCrate Report and Educating Lawyers.

August 19, 2010 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Brown: Teaching Civil Rights through the Basic Tax Course

Dorothy A. Brown (Emory) has published Teaching Civil Rights through the Basic Tax Course, 54 St. Louis U. L.J. 809 (2010). Here is part of the Introduction:

Writing about race and tax has also been difficult for one additional reason: tax academics, inevitably white men (because so many tax academics are white men), have either ignored scholarship in the race and tax area or been downright hostile to the work. Someone concerned with not offending her tax peers would have quit long ago. But the difference between me now and the little girl standing on the street corner helplessly watching a handcuffed man getting beat by the cops is that, although I may be intimidated by police officers with guns, I am not intimidated by academics in khaki pants! Therefore, I encourage you to explore race (and class) in whatever subject matter you teach. After all, if I can do it in tax, you can do it anywhere. ... The balance of this Essay will discuss how to incorporate race and class into the basic tax course. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but a first step. The Essay will not debate the merits of one tax rule over another, but will merely describe the existing state of the world.

July 19, 2010 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NY Times Forum: The College Cheating 'Epidemic'

Following up on last week's post, NY Times: Colleges Deploy Tech Tools to Combat 61% of Students Who Cheat: the New York Times has a Room for Debate forum on When Did Cheating Become an Epidemic?:

For as long as exams and term papers have existed, cheating has been a temptation. But with Web technology, it's never been easier. College professors and high school teachers are engaged in an escalating war with students over cutting and pasting articles from the Internet, sharing answers on homework assignments and even texting answers during exams. The arms race is now joined between Web sites offering free papers to download and sophisticated software that can detect plagiarism instantly.

Is this apparent increase in cheating a matter of shifting morals in this new generation or something else? Are students defining cheating differently than in past decades?

July 13, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NY Times: Student Evaluations, Part Two

Following up on last week's post, NY Times Debate on Student Evaluations:  New York Times, Student Evaluations, Part Two, by Stanley Fish:

The deleterious effects of student evaluations extend beyond the personal injuries these comments rehearse; they infect the entire system of higher education. Teachers who fear (correctly) that student evaluations will determine their fate become stand-up comedians — wave your arms around, praise students excessively and “dress sharp,” advises Dr. Bob — and alter their grading policy in an effort to be liked. Since “student evaluations are driven almost entirely by the perception of grades” (Troglomorphic), grade inflation — “an insidious weed choking out real education” (vince) — “is inevitable.” Once it gets going, grade inflation feeds on itself and initiates a race to the bottom, for “just as teachers in public schools will lessen their effectiveness by teaching to the test, college teachers can lessen their effectiveness by teaching to the evaluation” (Roger Bullard). ...

There are, of course, dissenters, and they raise two points: (1) that I display a profound lack of respect for students, and (2) that I offer no alternative to student evaluations and thus seem to leave students, parents and society without protection against bad and unprofessional teaching. (This is a concern expressed by fellow columnist Ross Douthat.)

Continue reading

June 29, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 25, 2010

NY Times Debate on Student Evaluations

New York Times, Deep in the Heart of Texas, by Stanley Fish:

If a waiter asks me, “Was everything to your taste, sir?”, I am in a position to answer him authoritatively (if I choose to). When I pick up my shirt from the dry cleaner, I immediately know whether the offending spot has been removed. But when, as a student, I exit from a class or even from an entire course, it may be years before I know whether I got my money’s worth, and that goes both ways. A course I absolutely loved may turn out be worthless because the instructor substituted wit and showmanship for an explanation of basic concepts. And a course that left me feeling confused and convinced I had learned very little might turn out to have planted seeds that later grew into mighty trees of understanding.

“Deferred judgment” or “judgment in the fullness of time” seems to be appropriate to the evaluation of teaching. And that is why student evaluations (against which I have inveighed since I first saw them in the ’60s) are all wrong as a way of assessing teaching performance: they measure present satisfaction in relation to a set of expectations that may have little to do with the deep efficacy of learning. Students tend to like everything neatly laid out; they want to know exactly where they are; they don’t welcome the introduction of multiple perspectives, especially when no master perspective reconciles them; they want the answers.

New York Times, In Defense of Student Evaluations, by Ross Douthat:

Allow me to respectfully dissent. Yes, in an ideal world, a student’s impression of his teacher’s abilities would be allowed to ripen, over years and decades, before anyone asked for an assessment of said teacher’s pedagogy. But I still think that more often than not, a good teacher will be recognized as such by his students while he’s teaching them, and a bad one will be accurately-pegged as well. (A decade removed from my own classroom education, I’ve revised my opinions of some of my teachers, but not that radically …) Such evaluations will always be necessarily imperfect measures of a teacher’s real quality. But in the context of a higher education system that has radically undervalued teaching skills in favor of a “publish or perish” model of professorial advancement, I think there’s a strong case for placing more emphasis on how students react to their classroom experience, however provisional those reactions may be.

June 25, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Younger Profs Teach Better in Introductory Courses, Older Profs Teach Better in Advanced Courses

Scott E. Carrell (University of California-Davis, Department of Economics) & James E. West (U.S. Air Force Academy) have published Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors, 118 J. Pol. Econ. 407 (June 2010):

We find that less experienced and less qualified professors produce students who perform significantly better in the contemporaneous course being taught, whereas more experienced and highly qualified professors produce students who perform better in the follow‐on related curriculum. ... [W]e can only speculate as to the mechanism by which these effects may operate. ...

One potential explanation for our results is that the less experienced professors may adhere more strictly to the regimented curriculum being tested, whereas the more experienced professors broaden the curriculum and produce students with a deeper understanding of the material. This deeper understanding results in better achievement in the follow‐on courses.

Another potential mechanism is that students may learn (good or bad) study habits depending on the manner in which their introductory course is taught. For example, introductory professors who “teach to the test” may induce students to exert less study effort in follow‐on related courses. This may occur because of a false signal of one’s own ability or an erroneous expectation of how follow‐on courses will be taught by other professors.

A final, more cynical, explanation could also relate to student effort. Students of low‐value‐added professors in the introductory course may increase effort in follow‐on courses to help “erase” their lower than expected grade in the introductory course.

Regardless of how these effects may operate, our results show that student evaluations reward professors who increase achievement in the contemporaneous course being taught, not those who increase deep learning. Using our various measures of teacher quality to rank‐order teachers leads to profoundly different results. Since many U.S. colleges and universities use student evaluations as a measurement of teaching quality for academic promotion and tenure decisions, this finding draws into question the value and accuracy of this practice.

(Hat Tip: Greg Mankiw.)

June 14, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Caron, Kowal, Pratt & Seto: Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree -- Where?

Jennifer M. Kowal (Loyola-L.A.), Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.), Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.) and I have posted Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where? on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This Article and a related article, Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Why and When?, provide information and advice about Tax LLM programs to American law students and JD graduates who are thinking about pursuing a Tax LLM degree. In addition to discussing factors that can help prospective Tax LLM students determine which Tax LLM programs would be a good fit for them, this Article compiles information about the following thirteen highly ranked Tax LLM programs: (1) NYU; (2) Florida; (3) Georgetown; (4) Northwestern; (5) Miami; (6) Boston University; (7) San Diego; (8) Loyola-L.A./LMU; (9) SMU; (10) Denver; (11) University of Washington; (12) Villanova; and (13) Chapman. The topics on which information is reported in this Article include: (1) tuition; (2) scholarships; (3) the full-time tax professors who teach in each program and the tax courses they teach; (4) the number of full-time and part-time students enrolled in each program; (5) general information about adjunct professors teaching in each program; (6) required courses; (7) elective courses, specialty certificates, and concentrations; (8) opportunities to develop tax practice skills by taking experiential learning courses and simulated practice courses; (9) extracurricular tax activities; (10) opportunities to graduate with honors or receive academic prizes; and (11) career planning and placement services offered to students in each program. This Article also includes supplemental information provided by the directors of these Tax LLM programs, in response to our invitation to provide information of interest to prospective students.

April 29, 2010 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

2010 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

For students writing tax seminar papers this semester:  the Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2010 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:  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.

April 29, 2010 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Issue of The Law Teacher

The Law Teacher The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning has published the Spring 2010 issue of The Law Teacher with these articles:
  • Team-Based Learning — An Overview, by Sophie Sparrow (Franklin Pierce), p.1
  • The “Other Minority,” by Sabah Carrim (KDU College, Malaysia), p.3
  • The Socratic Method Outline, by Kelly A. Moore (Toledo), p.4
  • Student Self-Assessment Book (SAB): Reflective Thinking and Journaling in Law School, by Mary Dolores Guerra (Phoenix), p.6
  • Teaching State Criminal Law to 1Ls, by Chad Flanders (Saint Louis), p.10
  • Looking at the Initial Client Meeting through an Interdisciplinary Lens: Applying Lessons from the Medical Profession to Law Teaching and Practice, by Lisa Radtke Bliss (Georgia State), p.12
  • Bringing Lawyers Back on Campus: A “Modest Proposal” for Change, by Steven C. Bennett (Jones Day, New York), p.14

April 27, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How to Boost Your Student Evaluations

Chronicle of Higher Education: Tricks for Boosting Student Evaluations, by Gene C. Fant Jr.:

I often chuckle at how faculty members will sometimes wheedle and cajole their students to give higher marks. Local doughnut shops tend to see sales rise that week as professors buy treats for their classes. Extra-credit assignments seem to pop up like mushrooms after a nice long spring shower. Pep talks about how much the students make life worth living are heard resounding in the hallways.

What is the most interesting "trick" you have seen faculty members use to bargain for better student evaluations? ...

  • An instructor up for tenure projected a picture of his wife and child on a large screen while the evaluations were being written.
  • A colleague who taught a large-lecture format (250 students) introductory logic course always had donuts delivered to the lecture hall the day of class evaluations.
  • Let's see: 1) announcing that the final exam will be given before exam week, giving students (and, not incidentally, faculty) exam week off, 2) announcing a curve favorable to grade inflation, 3) carrying the evaluations around for the final two weeks of classes, awaiting a favorable attendance pattern to administer the forms, 4) shifting the final exam to a take-home format, 5) agreeing to drop the lowest exam or quiz grade.
  • Taking the entire class out for lunch and distributing the evaluations with dessert.
  • Chocolate
  • Chicago-Kent law professor Richard Conviser's ratings were so low that he got the rating service, ratemyprofs.com, to remove his ratings all together!
    See http://www.lawschool.com/beforeandafter.htm

April 14, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tax Teachers of the Year

The AALS has announced that the following Tax Profs have been selected as the Teachers of the Year for 2008-09 at their respective law schools:

April 7, 2010 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 29, 2010

IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition

IFA The International Fiscal Association is sponsoring the 2010 International Tax Student 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 2009-10 academic year pursuing a graduate degree with a tax specialty.
  • Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2010.
  • Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Atlanta in February 2011.

Here are the recent winners:

  • 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, 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).

March 29, 2010 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Caron, Kowal & Pratt: Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree -- Why and When?

Jennifer M. Kowal (Loyola-L.A.), Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) and I have posted Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Why and When? on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This Article and a related article, Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where?, provide information and advice about Tax LLM programs to American law students and JD graduates who are thinking about pursuing a Tax LLM degree. This Article (1) discusses the costs and benefits of pursuing a Tax LLM degree, (2) explains the circumstances in which prospective Tax LLM students may be able to expand their employment options by pursuing a Tax LLM degree, and (3) compiles information and advice that tax law professors typically provide to prospective Tax LLM students in individual counseling sessions. This information includes a primer on tax practice employment opportunities, which vary based on (1) the nature of the work (i.e., transactional work or controversy work) (2) the type of tax subspecialty that is the focus of the tax practice and (3) the type of tax practice employer. The primer includes descriptions of various tax subspecialty areas, including business tax, international tax, estate planning, employee benefits, tax-exempt organizations, and tax controversies. This Article also offers advice to prospective Tax LLM students who are searching for tax positions with various types of employers, including (1) law firms (large, elite law firms, medium-size law firms, or smaller law firms), (2) accounting firms (Big Four accounting firms or smaller accounting firms), (3) the IRS, Treasury Department, or Department of Justice, (4) state taxing authorities, (5) corporations or other organizations, or (6) the U.S. Tax Court. For prospective Tax LLM students who hope to become full-time law professors, this Article also discusses the value of a Tax LLM degree in making the transition from tax practice to academia. In addition, this Article provides information regarding aspects of Tax LLM programs about which prospective Tax LLM students frequently inquire and addresses some common misconceptions about Tax LLM programs.

March 25, 2010 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rapoport: Where Have All the (Legal) Stories Gone?

Nancy B. Rapoport (UNLV) has posted Where Have All the (Legal) Stories Gone?  (My answer: here.) Here is the abstract:

This essay examines whether law schools are doing a good job of teaching the art of storytelling to law students.

From the article:

Every lawyer who wants to explain to the IRS why a particular tax reduction strategy is legitimate is engaging in storytelling.[Fn.12]

Fn.12: And I’m using “storytelling” here, as in the rest of this essay, in its literal sense—as telling a story, not as “lying.” That second meaning is not something that I’d encourage a lawyer to do.

March 16, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mugel National Tax Moot Court Competition Results

Mugel 

Here are the results in the 2010 Albert R. Mugel National Tax Moot Court Competition held at SUNY-Buffalo:

First Place  Gonzaga (Ryan Armentrout & Tyson Dobbs)
Second Place:  Gonzaga ( F. Colin Willenbrock & Kristal McCollum)
Semifinalists

Gonzaga (Laura Miller & Jason Gray)

Quinnipiac (Katherine A. McColgan & Brandon F. Yost)

Best Brief Gonzaga (Ryan Armentrout & Tyson Dobbs)
Best Oralist:  Gonzaga (F. Colin Willenbrock)

March 3, 2010 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Florida Bar Association National Tax Moot Court Competition Results

NE Here are the results of the 2010 National Tax Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Florida Bar Association Tax Section in St. Petersburg, Florida:

First Place:  New England (right, John Keeney, Rachel Portnoy & Tax Prof Kent Schenkel)

Second Place:  Florida

Third Place:  Charleston

Fourth Place:  Ohio Northern

Best Brief:  Brooklyn

March 3, 2010 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mugel Tax Moot Begins Today at SUNY-Buffalo

Mugel 

The 2010 Albert R. Mugel National Tax Moot Court Competition (announcement) kicks off today at SUNY-Buffalo:

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.

February 25, 2010 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ms. JD 2L Fellowship Program

Ms. J.D. Ms. JD:

Ms. JD is pleased to announce the Ms. JD Fellowship program, which will select 20 of the most promising second-year law students in the country and provide them with one-on-one career mentorship from an accomplished female attorney.

Who Are The Mentors?

Fellowship mentors will be assigned to the Fellows from among the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession's alumnae of commissioners and Margaret Brent Award Winners. The list includes U.S. Circuit Court judges and state Supreme Court justices, general counsels from the Fortune 500, managing partners from the nation's largest law firms, and leading professors and practitioners from around the country. 

Mentoring pairs will be made based on geographic location and shared professional interests. We aim to identify the most promising students in a variety of fields and practice areas and pair them with the most successful woman in that field. 

The application deadline is April 1, 2010.  (Hat Tip: Feminist Law Professors.)

February 16, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tony Infanti Wins Chancellor’s Teaching Award

Tony Tax Prof Anthony Infanti has reveived a 2010 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Pittsburgh:

In making the award, the selection committee noted his innovation in developing teaching methods appropriate to different course contexts and aligned with the professional goals of his students, as well as his significant work with students on moot court competitions and the Pittsburgh Tax Review.

(Hat Tip: Bridget Crawford.)

February 11, 2010 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dennis Rodman and the Basic Tax Class

Yesterday in the basic tax class here at Cincinnati, I taught §104(a)(2) (and the wonders of the Murphy case). This film clip of former Piston bad boy Dennis Rodman kicking a courtside photographer sparked a good discussion of the tax treatment of the photographer's damage recovery in Amos v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2003-329 (excluding $120,000 of $200,000 as damages received under §104(a)(2)):

For further discussion of the tax consequences of the Rodman incident, see

February 9, 2010 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lawdibles: $100 for 10-Minute Tax Recordings

Lawdibles_Page_1 The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is offering $100 for 10-minute recordings on all areas of the law school curriculum, including tax:

Lawdibles are simple recordings of law professors speaking straightforwardly about an area of law for less than ten minutes — like answering a question during office hours.

We’ll give you a $100 stipend for each ten minute recording you create for the project. And don’t worry about the editing, we can take care of that. More details...

  • You must be a law professor at a U.S. CALI member law school to record a Lawdible.
  • You must get our explicit approval to record a Lawdible for CALI — email us informal proposals.
  • You simply record not more than ten minutes of material as if you’ve just been asked a specific question during office hours (we suggest you create a script).
  • We add the extras like intro, outro, and theme music; and we’ll edit out any problems if you stumble while you’re recording.
(Disclosure: I am Vice-President of the CALI Board of Directors.)

February 2, 2010 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Call for Presentations: Teaching Law Practice Across the Curriculum

Institute The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning has issued a Call for Presentations for its annual summer conference, Teaching Law Practice Across the Currulicum:

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops on techniques for teaching law practice across the law school curriculum. The Institute's summer conference provides a forum for dedicated teachers to share with colleagues innovative ideas and effective methods for modern legal education.

The Institute invites proposals for 75-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme, Teaching Law Practice Across the Curriculum. The workshops can address teaching and learning in first-year courses, upper-level courses, clinical courses, writing courses, and academic support. The workshops can deal with innovative materials, alternative teaching methods, ways to enhance student learning, formative feedback to students, evaluation of student performance, etc. Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and when they return to their campuses. Presenters should not read papers, but should model effective teaching methods by actively engaging the participants. The co-directors would be glad to work with anyone who would like advice in designing their presentations to be interactive.

To be considered for the conference, proposals must be limited to one page, single-spaced, and include the following:

  • The title of the workshop;
  • The name, address, phone number, and email address of the presenter(s); and
  • A summary of the contents of the workshop, including its goals and methods.

The Institute must receive proposals by February 12, 2010.

Submit proposals via e-mail to Professor Michael Hunter Schwartz, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning.

The conference will be June 16-18, 2010, at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas.

January 30, 2010 in Conferences, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

WNEC, UMKC Win 2009 ABA Law Student Tax Challenge

LSTC The ABA Tax Section yesterday released the winners of the 2009 Law Student Tax Challenge:

The LSTC is a national tax planning and client-counseling competition designed to more closely reflect everyday tax practice than traditional moot court competitions. The semi-final and final rounds of the 2009 LSTC took place in January of 2010 in San Antonio, Texas during the Section of Taxation Midyear Meeting. ...

“We were pleased this year to have more teams than ever before competing,” said Stuart M. Lewis, chair of the ABA Tax Section. “Forty-three J.D. teams and 26 LL.M. teams submitted their solutions to a challenging, complex tax planning problem that involved individual and business entity issues,” he said.

J.D. Division:

  • 1st Place:  Western New England -- Brendan Sponheimer & James Murtha (Frederick Royal, faculty coach)
  • 2nd Place:  Temple -- Sara Steinberger & Travis Wheeler (Kathy Mandelbaum, faculty coach)
  • 3rd Place:  Hamline -- Kaitlyn Wahlsten & Jonathan Heinonen (Morgan Holcomb, faculty coach)
  • Best Written Submission:  Western New England -- Neill O’Brien & Casey Nunez (Frederick Royal, faculty coach)
  • Runner-Up Best Written Submission:  Denver -- Bryan Jensen & Scott Valent (Alicia Buckingham, faculty coach)
  • Semi-finalist #1:  Memphis -- Joe Aaron Mullis & Kevin Henson (William Kratzke, faculty coach)
  • Semi-finalist #2:  Denver -- Bryan Jensen & Scott Valent (Alicia Buckingham, faculty coach)
  • Semi-finalist #3:  Western New England -- Neill O’Brien & Casey Nunez (Frederick Royal, coach)

LL.M. 1st Place LL.M. Division:

  • 1st Place:  Missouri-Kansas-City -- Nicole Forsythe & Ryan White (right) (Judith Wiseman, faculty coach)
  • 2nd Place:  San Diego -- Henry Chen & Irina Goldberg (Richard Shaw, faculty coach)
  • Best Written Submission:  Missouri-Kansas City -- Nicole Forsythe & Ryan White (Judith Wiseman, faculty coach)
  • Finalist #1:  Georgetown -- Hiram Powers & Joshua Erlich (Martin Ginsburg, faculty coach)
  • Finalist #2:  Temple -- Nina Garonski & James Vandermark (Kathy Mandelbaum, faculty coach)

Participating Schools:

  • Alabama
  • Baltimore
  • Boston College
  • Chapman
  • Chicago
  • Columbia
  • Denver
  • Florida
  • Florida Coastal
  • Golden Gate
  • Georgetown
  • Hamline
  • Indiana-Bloomington
  • LaVerne
  • Lewis & Clark
  • Maryland
  • Miami
  • Michigan State
  • Missouri-Kenas City
  • New England
  • New York University
  • Northwestern
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pittsburgh
  • Quinnipiac 
  • Rutgers-Newark
  • San Diego
  • St. Louis
  • Temple
  • Tulane 
  • UC-Davis
  • Western New England
  • Villanova

More pictures below the fold:

Continue reading

January 28, 2010 in ABA Tax Section, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tax Prof Course Outlines

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 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 2010 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 26, 2010 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Brown Presents Teaching with Clickers Today at William & Mary

Dorothy Brown Dorothy A. Brown (Emory) presents If They Haven't Learned ... Have You Really Taught: The Value of Teaching with Classroom Response Systems at William & Mary today as part of its Herbert V. Kelly, Sr. Teaching Program:

The 2009-10 Kelly Teaching Program was designed by Professor Jayne W. Barnard, the James Goold Cutler Professor of Law and the 2009-10 Kelly Professor for Teaching Excellence. It features three master teachers who will lead workshops on new tools for interacting with today's tech-savvy students, techniques to stimulate self-directed learning outside the classroom, and ways in which curricular reform can enrich the student experience. Dean Davison M. Douglas, himself a master teacher, will lead a discussion with students and faculty about teaching as a core value at William & Mary Law School.

For my take on the subject, see Taking Back the Law School Classroom: Using Technology to Foster Active Student Learning, 54 J. Legal Educ. 551 (2004).

January 22, 2010 in Colloquia, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wanted: Tax Casebook Authors (For $20k-$25k)

ELangdell_Page_1 CALI (Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) has launched the eLangdell Electronic Casebook Stimulus Project to create an open repository of high-quality ebooks for teaching in various areas of law, including tax.  CALI will pay law faculty a $500 stipend per chapter for contributions to its repository.  The materials will be made available free of charge to faculty, students, and the general public under a Creative Commons license.

  • You must be tenured or tenure track faculty at a U.S. CALI member law school.
  • You must submit a one-page outline of each chapter for review and approval by an editorial committee.
  • Your $500 stipend is paid upon completion of each chapter.
  • All chapters will be reviewed by the CALI Editorial Board prior to publication.
  • CALI will publish all chapters under a Creative Commons Attribution license to allow other faculty, students, and even the public to use your materials in their learning and teaching.
  • There are limited funds available – CALI may limit the number of chapters we commission.
  • It is acceptable and even welcomed for faculty to donate chapters for inclusion and publication in the Legal Education Commons.

This is a pilot project to explore new methods of educational delivery. For this project, a “chapter” is defined as the amount of material that a student is expected to read in preparation for one hour of class. Submissions for publication must include teaching notes and end-of-chapter comments and questions to assist other faculty in the adoption of your material for their courses.

I think this is a wonderful project, empowering faculty to assemble various chapters contributed to the repository into a customized book for their courses.  The allure of free course materials for students is particularly compelling in light of skyrocketing law school tuition and uncertain job prospects for law grads.  And the $500 per chapter is quite generous for authors -- for the average casebook with 40-50 chapters, that translates to $20,000 - $25,000, which is more than many tax casebooks generate for their authors in royalties.  (Disclosure: I am Vice-President of the CALI Board of Directors.)

January 14, 2010 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Albany, Chicago & Villanova Ban Laptops in the Classroom

Details at Above the Law:

You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d say that Villanova, Albany, and Chicago have lost sight of the fact that students are [paying] to be in those classrooms. This isn’t high school. Students spending class time playing Warcraft aren’t truants — instead, they are bored out of their minds, and deserve a better, more interesting class experience than their professors are providing. It’s like when baseball people bitch that they are losing the youth market to football and basketball. Raise your game or STFU. Of course kids would rather watch LeBron drunk on somebody’s head instead of watching Andy Pettitte scratch his balls for five minutes while Ryan Howard plays hopscotch with the batter’s box.

For my take on the issue, see Taking Back the Law School Classroom: Using Technology to Foster Active Student Learning, 54 J. Legal Educ. 551 (2004).

January 12, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Technology in the Law School Classroom

AALS The AALS Section on Teaching Methods has published its December 2009 Newsletter with these articles on the use of technology in law school teaching:

  • Small Picture Approach, by William Slomason (Thomas Jefferson)
  • PowerPoint Lectures, by Jiri Toman (Santa Clara)
  • Course Management Websites, by Joan MacCleod Heminway (Tennessee)
  • Use of Clickers in a Research Review Class, by Carrie Teitcher (Brooklyn)
  • Using a Wiki for a Short Legal Analysis Assignment, by Pamela Keller (Kansas)
  • Using Multiple-Choice Quizzes to Assess Academic Progress, by Norman Otto Stockmeyer (Thomas Cooley)
  • Beyond Black Ink, by Paul R. Baier (LSU)
  • The WebCT Online Classroom, by Joseph Harbaugh (Nova)
  • Using Skype and Other Technologies, by Arnold Cohen (Villanova)
  • “Lecture Capture:” Is There a Reason Not to Use It?, by James Levy (Nova)
  • YouTube, Google Maps & Editable Mini-Outlines in Class, by Michael Lewyn (Florida Coastal)
  • Using Multiple Technologies in the Classroom, by Andrew Beckerman-Rodau (Suffolk)
  • Via Video: Making Instructions Memorable, by Sue Liemer (Southern Illinois)

January 8, 2010 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

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, 2010.

James Lynch, a partner at the law firm of Winston & Strawn, has graciously endowed the competition to honor Paul Faherty, former director of the Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits.  For prior years' winners, see:

December 24, 2009 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tax in the Trusts & Estates Course

From the AALS Section on Trusts and Estates Fall 2009 Newsletter (pp. 7-8):

Thomas P. Gallanis, the N. William Hines Professor of Law at the University of Iowa College of Law and a past chair of the Section on Trusts and Estates, set out to compile answers to that question by asking Trusts and Estates professors across the country to respond to a survey administered through the Survey Monkey website. Forty-five professors completed the survey. This is what the survey revealed about what they typically cover in the basic Trusts and Estates course:

Taxation:

  • Federal Estate Tax:  42.5%
  • Federal Gift Tax:  35.0%
  • Federal Generation-Skipping Tax:  12.5%
  • State Wealth Transfer Taxes:  10.0% 

December 22, 2009 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Business Law Student Writing Competition

Spoon Writing Competition Flyer 2010 The Michigan State Journal of Business and Securities Law is now accepting submissions for its annual Elliott A. Spoon Business Law Writing Competition

Submit a journal style article on any current topic concerning business or securities law. The Elliot A. Spoon Business Law Writing Competition is designed to encourage business law scholarship by upper-level law students nationwide. The selected winner will receive a check in the amount of $500.00 by mail, contingent on receipt of a signed publication contract. The winner will be notified by April 7, 2010 via email.

The deadline is March 5.

December 21, 2009 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ACTEC Sponsors 2010 Student Writing Competition

The Legal Education Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is sponsoring the 2010 Law Student Writing Competition:

Purpose:  This competition was created by ACTEC’s Legal Education Committee, which consists of law school professors who teach in the area of trusts and estates and practitioners who teach as adjuncts in the trusts and estates field. The competition honors the late Mary Moers Wenig, a member of ACTEC’s Legal Education Committee, who was a law school professor for over 30 years.

Consistent with ACTEC’s purposes, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition was created to encourage and reward scholarly works in the area of trusts and estates. ACTEC’s purposes are to maintain an association of lawyers, international in scope, skilled and experienced in the preparation of wills and trusts; estate planning; probate procedure and administration of trusts and estates of decedents, minors and incompetents; to improve and reform probate, trust and tax laws, procedures, and professional responsibility, to bring together qualified lawyers whose character and ability will contribute to the achievement of the purposes of the College; and to cooperate with bar associations and other organizations with similar purposes.

Eligibility:  This competition is open to any law student in good standing (full-time or part-time) who is currently enrolled as a J.D. or LL.M. candidate in an ABA-accredited law school within the United States or its possessions.

Subjects: The paper must relate to the area of trusts and estates, broadly defined to include:

  • Business Planning
  • Charitable Planning
  • Elder Law
  • Employee Benefits
  • Fiduciary Administration
  • Fiduciary Income Taxation
  • Fiduciary Litigation
  • Estate Planning and Drafting
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Substantive Laws for the Gratuitous Transmission of Property
  • Wealth Transfer Taxation (Estate, Gift and GST Tax)

Prizes:

  • 1st Prize: $5,000 and publication in the ACTEC Journal
  • 2d Prize:  $3,000 and online publication on ACTEC’s website
  • 3d Prize:  $1,000 and online publication on ACTEC’s website

Deadline:  June 1, 2010

For more information:

December 16, 2009 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Results

Results in the 2009 Tannenwald Writing Competition, sponsored by the Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and the American College of Tax Counsel:

The U.S. healthcare system of needs immediate fundamental reform. However, the current taxation of healthcare exacerbates this need—especially the taxation of employersponsored insurance, which excludes from an employee’s taxable income any health insurance premiums paid by an employer. While many of the current proposals for healthcare reform look to the tax code as merely a source of revenue, the tax system should be used as a means to facilitate fundamental healthcare reform. In this Article, David Warner suggests that the taxation of employer-sponsored insurance should be based on a “fixed-benefits cap.” This fixed-benefits cap could be used as a first step in fundamental reform—that is, once Congress has set the level of tax-preferred healthcare benefits, this same level could be imported into any system of fundamental healthcare reform to establish the baseline level of healthcare that each American should receive. Warner also discusses how a fixed-benefits cap could be developed, looking at previous healthcare reform proposals. Warner concludes that while tax reform could be used as a first step, further healthcare reform is necessary before the U.S. system of healthcare can provide access to quality healthcare at a price all can afford.

  • Second Prize ($2,500):  Grace E. Jeon (Northwestern), Loss Recognition Allowed: Target Shareholders Can Now Enjoy Selective Non-Recognition in Reorganization Exchanges.  Faculty Sponsor: Charlotte Crane
  • Third Prize ($1,500):  Michael J. Blinn (Indiana-Bloomington), The Behavioral Case for a Value-Added Tax.  Faculty Sponsor: Ajay Mehrotra

December 14, 2009 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)