Paul L. Caron
Dean




Wednesday, June 23, 2021

New Taxes For COVID-19 Measures And The Role Of Trust

Erick Lachapelle (Montreal; Google Scholar), Thomas Bergeron (Toronto & Montreal, Google Scholar), Richard Nadeau (Montreal; Google Scholar), Jean-François Daoust (Edinburgh; Google Scholar), Ruth Dassonneville (Montreal; Google Scholar), & Eric Belanger (McGill; Google Scholar), Citizens' Willingness to Support New Taxes for COVID-19 Measures and the Role of Trust:

The COVID-19 public health pandemic saw governments spend trillions of dollars to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus as well as to soften the economic blow from the shutting down of national economies. Subsequent budget shortfalls raise the question of how governments will pay for the direct and indirect costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we study the public’s willingness to contribute through paying a new tax. We find that both generalized social and political trust are associated with a greater willingness to support a COVID-related tax and that generalized social trust in particular attenuates the negative effect of an experimentally manipulated, specified level of tax burden on policy support. 

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June 23, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Racial Disparities Persist In Bar Exam Pass Rates: White: 88%, Asian: 80%, Hispanic: 76%, Black: 66%

Following up on my previous post:  Racial Disparities Persist In California Bar Exam Pass Rates: White: 72%, Asian: 66%, Hispanic: 61%, Black: 31%

Press Release, ABA Section of Legal Education Releases First-Time Report on Bar Passage Data:

The Managing Director’s Office of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar released today a new set of bar passage data outcomes for ABA-approved law schools that provides national “ultimate” and first-time pass rates based on race, ethnicity and gender. ...

Under 2019 revisions to the bar passage rule known as Standard 316, ABA-approved law schools must have 75% of their graduates who take the bar examination pass within two years of graduation or face the potential of being found out of compliance. The section maintains both percentage pass rates for first-time takers and the two-year aggregate figure, known as the “ultimate” pass rate.

“During discussions about the amendments to Standard 316, commenters expressed concern about the lack of national data on bar passage by members of different racial and ethnic groups,” said Bill Adams, ABA managing director of accreditation and legal education. “We promised to collect and publish such aggregate data and consider whether the requirements of the standard needed to be reconsidered in light of what we collected. This report is consistent with that promise and will be further evaluated in the months to come.”

ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, Summary Bar Pass Data: Race Ethnicity, and Gender (2020 and 2021 Bar Passage Questionnaire):

The following charts present the performance of the various racial and ethnic groups based on data submitted in the 2020 and 2021 Bar Passage Questionnaire (the “BPQ”). The left column reports the Ultimate Pass Rate for the graduating classes after two years. The middle column reports the Ultimate Pass Rate for the graduating classes in that year after one year. The right column reports the First Time Pass Rate for that year’s graduating classes. The reported information does not depict differences in bar passage rates based on any other background variables.

ABA 1

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June 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Pittsburgh Tax Review Publishes New Issue

The Pittsburgh Tax Review has published Vol. 18, No. 2 (2021):

Pittsburgh Tax Review (2021)

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June 22, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The All Events Tests In An Era Of Self-Regulation

Glenn Walberg (Vermont), The All Events Tests in an Era of Self-Regulation, 12 Wm. & Mary Bus. L. Rev. 329 (2021):

Accrual-method taxpayers must use the all events tests to account for rights and liabilities under contracts for sales of goods and services. These longstanding tests evolved from transactions that involved relatively straightforward exchanges of goods or services for payments, and the tests currently reflect an expectation that a taxpayer will usually make an accrual when a seller’s performance fixes the contracting parties’ respective right to and liability for payment. Business practices have changed such that many sales now occur in relationships where contracting parties assume, monitor, and enforce process-related obligations, including adoptions of codes of conduct by members of global supply chains.

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June 22, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Moving Toward A Competency-Based Model For Fostering Law Students' Relational Skills

Susan L. Brooks (Drexel), Marjorie A. Silver (Touro), Sarah Fishel (Drexel) & Kellie Wiltsie (Drexel), Moving Toward a Competency-Based Model for Fostering Law Students' Relational Skills, 28 Clinical L. Rev. __ (2022):

Legal education has long been criticized for failing to provide adequate professional training to prepare graduates for legal practice realities. Many sources have lamented the lack of sufficient attention to the range of competencies necessary for law graduates to be effective practitioners and develop a positive professional identity, including those that are intra-personal, such as self-awareness, critical self-reflection, and self-directedness; those that are interpersonal, such as deep and reflective listening, empathy, compassion, cross-cultural communication, and dialogue; and those that engage with the social/systemic dimension of lawyering, such as appreciating the role of multiple identities, implicit bias, privilege and power, and structural racism. For this article, we refer to this entire set of competencies as relational competencies. One notable exception to this sustained critique of legal education has been the field of clinical legal education, including law school clinics and externships.

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June 22, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Jordan Barry Leaves San Diego For USC

Jordan Barry (San Diego; Google Scholar) has accepted a lateral offer from USC. (Ariel Jurow Kleiman also is leaving San Diego for Loyola-L.A.). Jordan's recent publications include:

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June 22, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

NY Times: U.S. May Lift The Veil On Art Sales

Update:  New York Times, Quotation of the Day:

“The only ones who know are you, the art gallery and God.”
KHRISTA McCARDEN, a professor at Tulane Law School who specializes in the tax code, on the secretive finances of art sales.

New York Times, As Money Launderers Buy Dalís, U.S. Looks at Lifting the Veil on Art Sales:

Billions of dollars of art changes hands every year with little or no public scrutiny. Buyers typically have no idea where the work they are purchasing is coming from. Sellers are similarly in the dark about where a work is going. And none of the purchasing requires the filing of paperwork that would allow regulators to easily track art sales or profits, a distinct difference from the way the government can review the transfer of other substantial assets, like stocks or real estate. ...

In January, Congress extended federal anti-money laundering regulations, designed to govern the banking industry, to antiquities dealers. The legislation required the Department of the Treasury to join with other agencies to study whether the stricter regulations should be imposed on the wider art market as well. The U.S. effort follows laws recently adopted in Europe, where dealers and auction houses must now determine the identity of their clients and check the source of their wealth. ...

To art world veterans, who associate anonymity with discretion, tradition and class, not duplicity, this siege on secrecy is an overreaction that will damage the market. They worry about alienating customers with probing questions when they say there is scant evidence of abuse. ...

[T]here is no question the art market has exploded in value and scope from the sleepy days when its customs were created. Paintings routinely sell for $10 million, $20 million, often as much as the penthouses in which they hang. Though the profits from art sales are subject to the robust capital gains tax on luxury goods of 28 percent, the I.R.S.’s ability to track who is accurately reporting windfalls is something of a struggle. Even figuring out who sold what is a hurdle. Half the purchases are in private, not at public auction, so many prices never become public.

Recent studies have projected substantial tax evasion by the richest Americans, which led to President Biden’s plan to boost audits. While there is no evidence of widespread cheating involving art, experts say it’s clear the secrecy of the market creates vulnerabilities for an enforcement system that rarely conducts audits and relies heavily on the willingness of collectors to make plain their profits.

“The only ones who know,” said Khrista McCarden, a professor at Tulane Law School who specializes in the tax code, “are you, the art gallery and God.” ...

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June 22, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Wellness And Law: Reforming Legal Education To Support Student Wellness

Janet Thompson Jackson (Washburn), Wellness and Law: Reforming Legal Education to Support Student Wellness, 65 How. L. J. __ (2021):

No one goes to law school with the expectation that their mental health and overall well-being will be significantly compromised during those three years. But, for a substantial number of law students, it is. It does not have to be this way.

This is not a typical law review article. It cannot afford to be. Most law students begin law school as reasonably happy and well-adjusted people. We must ask, what is it about law school that contributes to the disproportionate decline in student wellness? The answer to that question is complex because many of the very factors that make good lawyers also contribute to their mental health challenges.

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June 22, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Inequality Of Wealth Ownership And The Problem Of Perpetuities Repeal

Kent D. Schenkel (New England), Inequality of Wealth Ownership and the Problem of Perpetuities Repeal: A Review of Eric Kades, of Piketty and Perpetuities: Dynastic Wealth in the Twenty-First Century (and Beyond), 60 B.C. L. Rev. 145 (2019):

Thanks in part to the French economist Thomas Piketty, it is no longer a secret that wealth ownership globally, and in the United States perhaps most strikingly, is highly skewed, with a very small number of persons owning the vast majority of capital. The findings set out by Piketty in his enormously popular book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, are of particular interest. In his blockbuster tome, Piketty pointed out that when the rate of return to capital exceeds the rate of economic growth, capital becomes dominant. Further predicting that rates of growth are very likely to be less than returns to capital going forward, Piketty concluded that inheritance, not work, will largely determine who gets what in the future. In light of Piketty’s findings and predictions, can we afford to be sanguine about jurisdictions eliminating their Rules Against Perpetuities?

Eric Kades, in his article entitled Of Piketty and Perpetuities: Dynastic Wealth in the Twenty-First Century (and Beyond), answers this question with a resounding “no.” Rather, writes Kades, “we should mourn the RAP’s death.”

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June 22, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Monday, June 21, 2021

Hasen Presents Forget (Arguing About) Redistribution Virtually Today At Florida

David Hasen (Florida; Google Scholar) presents Forget (Arguing About) Redistribution virtually at Florida today as part of its Summer Virtual Workshop Series:

David-hasenReformers often argue that the benefits of ameliorating inequality are worth the cost in reduced economic efficiency that supposedly results from redistributive social policy. This paper suggests that these arguments are mostly misplaced. Focusing solely on the marginal benefit of government- versus private-sector spending, there is ample reason to conclude that many governmental expenditures directed to reducing inequality are independently justifiable on the basis that they increase efficiency, even as they also reduce inequality. Because the efficiency argument directly addresses concerns that might otherwise counsel restraint in redistributive programs, treating the reduction of inequality as a worthwhile tradeoff against efficiency is mostly counterproductive from a social policy perspective. Reformers instead should engage proponents of economic efficiency on their own terms. In making this argument, the paper develops the concept of “budget policy endogeneity,” or the idea that the affordability or not of various programs must take into account the allocative and distributional effects of current spending on the future allocation of wealth, since revenue for current projects may be raised in the future.

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June 21, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Designing Nonrecognition Rules Under The Internal Revenue Code

Fred B. Brown (Baltimore), Designing Nonrecognition Rules Under the Internal Revenue Code, 24 Fla. Tax Rev __ (2021):

Florida Tax Review (2019)Nonrecognition rules are a prominent feature of the income tax laws and are a source of considerable complexity and tax planning. Included among the nonrecognition rules contained in the Internal Revenue Code are provisions applying to like kind exchanges, corporate formations, corporate reorganizations, parent-subsidiary liquidations, and partnership formations and distributions.

The policies that arguably support the nonrecognition rules include the familiar trio of tax policy concerns—efficiency, equity, and tax administration. None of these policies, however, provide a strong basis for most of the nonrecognition rules as currently formulated. The efficiency case generally lacks evidentiary support. The equity case is complicated by the fact that the rules operate in a second-best world where the tax base deviates from economic income. And the tax administration argument for the rules, while plausible in theory, is compromised because nonrecognition frequently occurs where there are no valuation and liquidity concerns as a result of the receipt of publicly traded property or the presence of related cash sales.

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June 21, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Unentitled: The Power Of Designation In The Legal Academy

Rachel Lopez (Drexel; Google Scholar), Unentitled: The Power of Designation in the Legal Academy, 73 Rutgers L. Rev. 101 (2021):

Last December, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed that questioned whether Dr. Jill Biden should more appropriately be addressed as Madame First Lady, Mrs. Biden, Jill, or even kiddo, characterizing her desire to be called doctor “fraudulent” and a “touch comic.” Many were understandably outraged by the lack of respect afforded to Dr. Biden, which had a distinctly gendered dimension. More recently, after a controversial decision by the University of North Carolina’s board of trustees to deny her tenure, Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur “genius grant” winner, was instead appointed as a “Professor of Practice” on a five year fixed term contract. These high-profile examples put in sharp focus what many women of color in the legal academy already know all too well: labels have an innate power to confer or diminish status. This Essay explores the role that titles play in the legal academy and, in particular, their often depreciative consequences for women of color. Drawing from my story, those relayed to me by others, and other empirical evidence, I will show how titles perpetuate stereotypes and entrench existing racial and gender hierarchies in the legal academy, although they appear race- and gender- neutral.

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June 21, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Using Exam Wrappers To Foster Self-Assessment Skills In Law Students

Sarah Schendel (Suffolk), What You Don't Know (Can Hurt You): Using Exam Wrappers to Foster Self-Assessment Skills in Law Students, 40 Pace L. Rev. 154 (2019):

“Where did I go wrong?”

When we fail it’s tempting to forget it and move on. However, reflecting on poor performance and figuring out how to proceed is critical to being a successful student and lawyer. Unfortunately, when students receive a disappointing grade they often lack the ability to understand what went wrong and how to change.

Creating self-regulated learners who can identify what they don't know and make a plan to improve is key to helping students succeed. In order to do so – and in order to produce ethical, productive lawyers – law schools should place a greater emphasis on fostering the skill of self-assessment among students.

I propose exam wrappers as an effective and adaptable tool to strengthen law students’ self-assessment skills.

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June 21, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: A Lesson Of Interest

We worked through Spring and Winter, through Summer and through Fall,
But the mortgage worked the hardest and the steadiest of us all.
It worked on nights and Sundays, it worked each holiday,
Settled down among us and it never went away.

-Ry Cooder, “The Taxes on The Farmer Feeds Us All,” Into The Purple Valley (1972)

Camp (2017)Today’s lesson is the taxpayer version of that famous Depression-era song: the accumulation of interest on tax liabilities is relentless, and difficult to reverse.  In Kannarkat P. Verghese et al. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2021-70 (June 7, 2021) (Judge Gustafson), the taxpayers were assessed a deficiency in 2014 for their tax years 1997 and 1998, as a result of over 13 years of audit and litigation between the IRS and three partnerships in which the taxpayers held an interest.  The taxpayers promptly asked for most of the accumulated interest to be abated per §6404.  They diligently pursued that request through 7 years of administrative and judicial proceedings.  Finally, last week, the Tax Court largely upheld the IRS’s refusal to abate the interest, teaching us our lesson.  The lesson cost these taxpayers over $80,000 in accrued interest (on liabilities of $54,000).  Not to mention attorneys fees.  But you can learn this lesson for free.  Just click on "continue reading..." 

Oh, and we also get a bonus lesson on §6603.  Apparently no one told these taxpayers they could suspend the running of interest by making a deposit in the nature of a cash bond.  Whoops.

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June 21, 2021 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The New Yorker: What Is Going On At Yale Law School?

Following up on my previous posts:

The New Yorker, What Is Going On at Yale Law School?:

New Yorker (2014)The prestigious institution has tied itself in knots over a dispute involving one of its most popular—and controversial—professors, Amy Chua.

A decade ago, back when we talked about things besides new coronavirus strains and vaccination rates, there was a weeks-long media frenzy over a parenting memoir called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In that book, Amy Chua, an American daughter of Chinese immigrants, described her efforts to raise her children the “Chinese” way. For her, that meant dispensing with squishy Western conventions like “child-led learning” and participation trophies, and ruthlessly driving her two young daughters to master their classical instruments and maintain perfect grades. The book provoked a fierce backlash, much of which centered on Chua’s tactics, which ranged from threatening to burn her older daughter’s stuffed animals to rejecting a hand-scrawled birthday card that demonstrated insufficient effort. Chua’s younger daughter “rebelled” at the age of thirteen, choosing competitive tennis over concert-level violin, but, for the most part, Chua’s system worked. Her daughters became musical prodigies and successful athletes, who attended Harvard and Yale. The phrase “tiger mom” entered the cultural lexicon and spawned a Singaporean TV show, “Tiger Mum,” and a show in Hong Kong, “Tiger Mom Blues.”

That was the last time many of us heard about Amy Chua—unless you’ve been following the news out of Yale Law School, where Chua is a professor. If so, you know that the discussion kept going. Over the past few months, Chua has been at the center of a campus-wide fracas that, nominally, concerns the question of whether she hosted drunken dinner parties at her home this past winter. The controversy began in April, when the Yale Daily News reported that the law-school administration was punishing Chua for the alleged offense by removing her from the list of professors leading a special first-year law class called a “small group.”

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June 21, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Lederman & Christians: An Overview Of U.S. Federal Tax Controversies

This video provides a general overview of the common paths of a U.S. federal tax controversy involving a tax deficiency or refund, from audit through potential litigation. It includes discussion of the administrative IRS Appeals process, the multiple trial-level courts available, where appeal lies, which precedent applies, and some factors that may arise in choosing a tax litigation forum. 

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June 21, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 20, 2021

How An Autistic Man With Cerebral Palsy Found His Faith

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  The Faith of an Autistic Man, by Jory Fleming (Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University; Author, How to Be Human: An Autistic Man’s Guide to Life (2021)):

How To Be HumanIt was an unlikely connection. A literal, logical person, challenged by basic verbal communication, and an unseen spirit, who communicates through the Word. Yet I reached out to God, and he reached out to me. We both answered the other’s call.

As an autistic person, I struggle to make connections. I did not communicate much as a young child and only barely as an adolescent. Even now, my thoughts exist independent of language. My mind undergoes a vast translation process, back and forth, to relate to the human world.

Yet the Christian faith spoke to me through one word: love. I often feel as if, by relying on only a single word, God designed this message for people like me. There is no complicated work to interpret that message. You are loved by your Creator. You are commanded to love others and also to love yourself.

It frequently surprises people that my faith is based entirely on logic and reason. It has no emotional base. Many may wonder how that squares with the message of love. But to me, it comes down to the principle of mutual recognition: If you believe in a Creator, then you believe that the Creator knows his own handiwork. You believe that each of us has a place, has equal value, and fully belongs in this world. There is not one correct path to life or to God. Mine may be unusual, but it can still be strong.

I first contemplated the Christian faith when I was in high school and began engaging more with the outside world. Beyond autism, I have a metabolic condition and cerebral palsy. The limits placed on me by my disabilities were a daily reminder of my own brokenness. The only part of my body that was not negatively impacted was my mind. And I used it to come to a fuller understanding of God. ...

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June 20, 2021 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink

IRS Denies Tax-Exempt Status To Organization That Encourages Christians To 'Pray, Vote, Engage' Because '[B]ible Teachings Are Typically Affiliated With The [Republican] Party'

Christians EngagedNewsweek, First Liberty Appeals Denial of Tax Exemption for Group Alleged to Have Republican Ties:

Christian legal organization First Liberty Institute is appealing the recent denial by the IRS to grant tax exemption status to a Texas Christian group that the federal agency alleges supports the Republican Party.

In May the IRS denied 501(c)(3) status to the Texas-based prayer group Christians Engaged because it encourages its members to vote for state and national leaders. The federal agency specifically noted in its rejection that the group supports Republican candidates.

In its letter, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Stephen A. Martin concluded the group does not qualify as an organization described in IRS Section 501(c)(3) because it is not operated exclusively for religious and educational purposes. Specifically Martin noted, "You are engaged in prohibited political campaign invention" and "You are also not operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes...because you operate for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interest of the 'D party.'" The "D party" is a reference to the Republican Party, according to a "legend" provided at the top of Martin's letter to the religious group.

Press Release, IRS Denies Religious Group Tax Exempt Status; States “Bible Teachings” Are “Affiliated With the Republican Party”:

Today, First Liberty Institute appealed an IRS determination denying tax exempt status to Christians Engaged, a nonprofit organization that exists to educate and empower Christians to pray for our nation and elected officials, vote, and be civically engaged. In a letter issued in May, the IRS argued that Christians Engaged was not eligible for 501(c)(3) status in part because “[B]ible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates.” ...

“The IRS states in an official letter that Biblical values are exclusively Republican.  That might be news to President Biden, who is often described as basing his political ideology on his religious beliefs,” said Lea Patterson, Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Only a politicized IRS could see Americans who pray for their nation, vote in every election, and work to engage others in the political process as a threat. The IRS violated its own regulations in denying tax exempt status because Christians Engaged teaches biblical values.”

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June 20, 2021 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Getting To Know 0Ls

My wife Courtney and I just completed hosting our fifth annual round of meetings with Pepperdine Caruso Law's incoming 1L students. Last year, due to the pandemic, we replaced our usual Dinner With The Dean in our home with a virtual Coffee With The Carons.  This year, as California emerges from the pandemic, we offered both formats and hosted eight outdoor dinners in our yard for vaccinated students and six virtual coffees for unvaccinated and out-of-state students. 

0L Dinner 8

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June 20, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

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

  1. SSRN Logo (2018)[490 Downloads]  International Effective Minimum Taxation — Analysis of GloBE (Pillar Two), by Joachim Englisch (University of Muenster)
  2. [304 Downloads]  International Tax Law and its Influence on National Tax Systems, by Craig Elliffe (University of Auckland; Google Scholar)
  3. [292 Downloads]  Can Blockchain Revolutionize Tax Administration?, by Orly Mazur (SMU; Google Scholar) (reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado; Google Scholar) here)
  4. [287 Downloads]  The Allocation of Taxing Rights under Pillar One of the OECD Proposal, by Aitor Navarro (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; Google Scholar)
  5. [256 Downloads]  Winners and Losers: U.S. Country and Industry Estimates of Pillar One Amount A, by Lorraine Eden (Texas A&M; Google Scholar)

June 20, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, June 19, 2021

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Deo: Investigating Pandemic Effects On Legal Academia

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law hosts a free online program on Pandemic Effects on Legal Academia: A Discussion With Law School Faculty on Wednesday. June 23 at noon - 3:00 P.M. MDT: 

The session will begin with a presentation by Meera E. Deo on her new national empirical study of law faculty, Pandemic Effects on Legal Academia (PELA) followed by a panel of deans responding with their own personal and institutional experiences. Participants will then have the opportunity to break out into working groups organized around specific topics to brainstorm challenges and potential solutions to the obstacles presented by the earlier presentations.

Preliminary analyses of the PELA study reveal troubling patterns of how the effects of COVID-19 exacerbate previously existing raceXgender barriers documented in Southwestern Law School Professor Meera Deo’s book, Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia. Challenges—which are felt most acutely by mothers and other caregivers, junior scholars, untenured faculty, and women of color—include a lack of time and bandwidth to produce scholarship, the blending of home life with work life, an inability to prioritize one’s own well-being, and significant negative mental health effects. This session provides an opportunity for faculty to learn from the data and brainstorm solutions.

Meera E. Deo (Southwestern), Investigating Pandemic Effects on Legal Academia, 89 Fordham L. Rev. 2467 (2021):

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June 19, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Monroe: Improvisation And Forgotten Taxpayers In Partnership Tax

Andrea Monroe (Temple), Making Tax Law Work: Improvisation and Forgotten Taxpayers in Partnership Tax, 54 U. Mich. J.L. Reform  ___ (2021):

The most troublesome provisions of partnership tax are also its most fundamental, namely the allocation rules that regulate how partners share a partnership’s taxable items.

Complexity is a universal problem faced by partnerships at all levels of wealth, status and sophistication, and the vast majority of taxpayers respond with improvisational tax compliance. In remarkably diverse contexts, improvisation has replaced technical compliance as the norm in partnership allocations. Wealthy partnerships make a strategic choice to improvise, using “target allocations,” while poorer partnerships improvise because they have no other choice, routinely following “intuitive” tax law and hoping for the best.

Reframing this complexity problem as a shared experience of all partnerships exposes the technical and cultural fractures of partnership tax in a new and different light.

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June 19, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Gender And Institutional Bias In The Publication Process

Fulya Y. Ersoy (Loyola Marymount) & Jennifer Pate (Loyola Marymount), Invisible Hurdles: Gender and Institutional Bias in the Publication Process in Economics:

Tenure decisions in economics are strongly tied to the quantity and quality of publications in peer-reviewed journals. We examine whether female economists and economists at lower- ranked institutions face discrimination in the publication process. To do so, we conduct an experiment with the editors of top 100 journals in economics. Editors were tasked with evaluating the quality of abstracts for various solo-authored papers. The papers vary along the dimensions of gender and institution rank of the author. The experimental variation is whether editors observe name and/or institution of the author. We find that there is positive institutional bias for economists in the top institutions. However, once the name of the author is visible in addition to the institution information, this positive institutional bias only applies to male authors. Hence, institution serves as a signal for quality of work for men, but not for women.

Inside Higher Ed, Gender, Institutions and Bias:

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June 19, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, June 18, 2021

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Layser Reviews Woodcock's Antimonopolism As A Symptom Of American Political Dysfunction

This week, Michelle Layser (Illinois; Google Scholar) reviews Ramsi A. Woodcock (Kentucky; Google Scholar), Antimonopolism as a Symptom of American Political Dysfunction.

Layser (2018)

One of the biggest news stories of the year has focused on antitrust cases and bills targeting tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Outside the academy, liberal progressives increasingly point to monopoly power held by BigTech as a source of growing income and wealth inequality (see here, here, and here).  Newly appointed chair of the Federal Trade Commission and Columbia Law Professor Lina Khan made a splash in 2016 with her Yale student note, which made a legal case for breaking up Amazon, inspiring a “‘hipster antitrust’ movement among young scholars who want to expand existing antitrust law to better target issues like corporate concentration and income inequality” (Vox).

But is antitrust law really a promising tool for redistributing income and wealth? Professor Ramsi A.Woodcock doesn’t think so.

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June 18, 2021 in Michelle Layser, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

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June 18, 2021 in Legal Education, Scott Fruehwald, Weekly Legal Ed Roundup | Permalink

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Monday, June 21: David Hasen (Florida; Google Scholar) will present Forget (Arguing About) Redistribution virtually at Florida as part of its Summer Virtual Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Charlene Luke.

Friday, June 18: Stefan Hammerl (Graz) & Lily Zechner (Graz) will present Taxing Profit and Consumption in Market Jurisdictions: Equity and Administrability in the Digital Era virtually as part of the Indiana|Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman or Leopoldo Parada.

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June 18, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Liscow Presents The Psychology Of Taxing Capital Income Today At The Indiana|Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Zachary Liscow (Yale; Google Scholar) presents The Psychology of Taxing Capital Income: Evidence from a Survey Experiment on the Realization Rule) (with Edward Fox (Michigan; Google Scholar)) (reviewed by David Elkins (Netanya) here) virtually today as part of the Indiana|Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

Indiana LeedsHow to tax capital income is a critical issue today. The realization rule—requiring that property usually must be sold before gains are taxed—is central to taxing capital income, but often decreases the efficiency, equity, and simplicity of the tax system. Estimates suggest that the realization rule costs the government over $2 trillion over 10 years. Given these problems, it is unclear why the rule exists for assets that are easy to value and sell. Scholars have long speculated about the role of the public’s views here, but little is known empirically about them. We conduct the first survey experiment to understand the psychology of the realization rule, which has broad implications for the taxation of capital income. We have three main findings.

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June 18, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

White Male Prof Sues Denver Law School For Gender Bias

Bloomberg Law, Male Law School Trial Advocacy Director Sues Alleging Bias:

SchottThe director of the Center for Advocacy at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law says in a new suit in federal court that, because of his gender, debunked allegations of sex discrimination were wrongly used against him to delay consideration of the renewal of his teaching contract.

David Schott says the sex discrimination ensued after Viva Moffat, the associate dean of Academic Affairs, told him in 2016 that she didn’t “want to see white men teaching anymore in the Center for Advocacy,” a comment he immediately reported to Bruce Smith, the dean of the law school.

Schott, who is White, says “he felt pressure not to hire white men to teach” at the center, even when they were the most qualified applicants.

He was also soon “the target of a steady barrage of adverse actions and false statements that have damaged his reputation and violated the terms of his employment contract” that were “largely orchestrated by Moffat, but with at least the tacit support of Smith,” the suit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado alleges.

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June 18, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

What I Learned About Teaching Law By Being An Art Student

Michael Thomas Colatrella Jr. (Pacific), What I Learned about Teaching Law by Being an Art Student:

This article relates lessons that I learned about teaching law from my time as an art student in an atelier system that are supported by science-based pedagogical best practices. 

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June 18, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Getting Down To Brass Tax: Why Courts Should Use Equitable Tolling To Help Taxpayer-Petitioners Impacted By COVID-19

Hannah Fisher (J.D. 2021, Chicago), Getting Down to Brass Tax: Why Courts Should Use Equitable Tolling to Help Taxpayer-Petitioners Impacted by COVID-19, 2021 U. Chi. Legal F. ___:

Chicago Legal ForumThe COVID-19 pandemic caused some of the sharpest rises in American unemployment and poverty seen in a generation. This left people with less money in their pockets, but also less time and access to resources to diligently pursue their legal rights and remedies. Congress responded by providing some financial aid via stimulus packages. But without accompanying procedural relief from various filing deadlines, many will face financial liabilities to the government they otherwise might not, particularly in the tax context. This Comment advocates for greater flexibility when taxpayer-petitioners miss filing deadlines due to COVID-19-related hardships.

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June 18, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hickman: Nondelegation As Constitutional Symbolism

Kristin E. Hickman (Minnesota; Google Scholar), Nondelegation As Constitutional Symbolism, 88 Geo Wash. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

The divided Supreme Court in Gundy v. United States and subsequent events have given rise to a general expectation that the Court will soon revitalize the nondelegation doctrine by replacing the intelligible principle standard. Some have greeted the prospect of this doctrinal shift with cheers of exaltation, others with cries of impending doom, anticipating the demise of the administrative state. This article contends that these predictions are overblown.

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June 17, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Grewal: Section 265 Disallowance And The PPP Expense Nightmare

Andy Grewal (Iowa), Section 265 Disallowance and the PPP Expense Nightmare, 75 Tax Law. ___ (2021):

ABA Tax Lawyer (2019)Through the CARES Act, Congress established a generous Paycheck Protection Program. Under that program, recipients would get loans which could easily qualify for tax-free forgiveness. As an added bonus, taxpayers would enjoy tax deductions when they spent the amounts they borrowed.

Or so it seemed. After the CARES Act passed, the IRS promptly issued a notice denying deductions for PPP expenses. Secretary Treasury Steven Mnuchin personally reviewed the matter and announced that the IRS’s position followed from “Tax 101.” Congress eventually stepped in and offered a narrow statutory clarification: PPP expenses would be deductible.

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June 17, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Academic Law Libraries And Legal Education: A Primer For Deans And Provosts

Academic Law Libraries Within the Changing Landscape of Legal Education: A Primer for Deans and Provosts (Joan S. Howland (Minnesota), Scott B. Pagel (George Washington) &  Michelle M. Wu (Georgetown) eds., 2020) (2021 Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award):

LibraryIn a world where technology advances appear daily, deans and provosts often have questions about law libraries, their purposes, and whether technological innovations should lead to changes in library spaces, collections, and/or services. This book seeks to answer those questions, which came straight from deans, examining the factors involved in an analysis of what a community needs from their library, and demonstrating why the answer to these questions might vary from library to library.

The commentaries by multiple directors will be useful to highlight different approaches in analysis as well as changing cultures in law libraries. This valuable title will be of help to newer and experienced law library directors, law school deans, and university provosts (where the university has a law school).

Contributors:

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June 17, 2021 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Affirmative Action And The Leadership Pipeline

Joni Hersch (Vanderbilt), Affirmative Action and the Leadership Pipeline, 96 Tul. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

Race-conscious affirmative action in higher education admissions is currently permitted in order for universities to meet their compelling interest in pursuing the educational benefits of a diverse student body. But the legality of affirmative action, which plays a prominent role in creating a diverse student body at elite educational institutions, is under attack. I develop and provide an empirical basis for an expanded understanding of the educational benefits provided by affirmative action: namely, of fostering a pipeline of future societal leaders and professionals. Using data on nearly 500,000 college graduates, I demonstrate that the likelihood of earning a professional or graduate degree—an outcome that is closely linked to employment in influential positions—drops off dramatically in the universities attended by the majority of college graduates, as compared with elite universities that use affirmative action. Further, race is a relatively unimportant predictor of professional or graduate degree attainment among graduates of similarly elite schools. Curtailing race-conscious affirmative action would thereby exclude many students from underrepresented minority groups who would successfully earn professional and graduate degrees—and later, enter into influential positions that shape society.

Bloomberg Law, Why Big Law Has a Stake in the Harvard Admissions Case:

Economist Joni Hersch ... [argues] that affirmative action is critical to achieving diversity in the professions and society at large. Her thesis is that elite undergraduate schools feed elite professional schools, and that considering race in admission to undergraduate institutions is vital to sustaining a diverse pipeline. ...

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June 17, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Assessing Affirmative Action's Diversity Rationale: Student-Run Law Reviews

Adam Chilton (Chicago; Google Scholar), Justin Driver (Yale), Jonathan S. Masur (Chicago; Google Scholar) & Kyle Rozema (Washington University; Google Scholar), Assessing Affirmative Action's Diversity Rationale, 122 Colum. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

Columbia Law ReviewEver since Justice Lewis Powell’s concurring opinion in Bakke made diversity in higher education a constitutionally acceptable rationale for affirmative action programs in 1978, the diversity rationale has received vehement criticism from across the ideological spectrum. Critics on the right have argued that efforts to attain diversity will necessarily lead to lower quality results, as “less meritorious” applicants are selected in place of people with ostensibly stronger qualifications. Critics on the left have charged that diversity is a “subterfuge” and an empty formulation. On the diversity rationale’s legitimacy, then, it would seem that there is precious little diversity of thought. In particular, prominent scholars and jurists have frequently cast doubt on the diversity rationale’s empirical foundations, claiming that it is a mere hypothesis, and an implausible, unsupported one at that. This critique has made its way into the pages of the United States Reports, and it threatens the foundations upon which affirmative action rests.

To assess the diversity rationale, we conduct an empirical study of student-run law reviews.

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June 17, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

The Robotic Revolution: A Tax Policy Collision Course

Kathryn Kisska-Schulze (Clemson; Google Scholar) & Rodney P. Mock (California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo), The Robotic Revolution: A Tax Policy Collision Course, 93 Temple L. Rev. 301 (2021):

Media projections depict that robotics, process automation, and artificial intelligence threaten human workforce sustainability. Two oft cited studies forecast that technological innovation could jeopardize more than one third of the U.S. workforce. Significant worker displacement would devastate federal funding that is heavily reliant on individual income tax revenue and payroll taxes. Concerns of mass joblessness have led Bill Gates and others to propose a robot tax, with some suggesting a complete reworking of the Internal Revenue Code to address looming predictions.

While these ideas are critical to the robot immersion dialogue, they are largely premised on fear and the proposition that human labor should be protected. As history supports, automation has always threatened the human workforce, which has demonstrated a great propensity for adaptation. As resisting the tractor for fear of replacing farmers’ grit would have been senseless, it is now imprudent to tax innovation for fear of automation substitution. From its inception, the U.S. Constitution has protected innovation and intellectual property. Similarly, the Internal Revenue Code serves to incentivize research and development. Taxing robots would disrupt our nation’s deeply rooted tax policies.

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June 17, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates, by R.R. Reno (First Things):

I’m not inclined to hire a graduate from one of America’s elite universities. That marks a change. A decade ago I relished the opportunity to employ talented graduates of Princeton, Yale, Harvard and the rest. Today? Not so much.

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June 17, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Tax Lawyer Transitions Editorial Leadership

ABA, The Tax Lawyer Transitions Editorial Leadership:

ABA Tax Lawyer (2019)Longtime member of The Tax Lawyer editorial team William H. Lyons ends his service as Associate Editor-in-Chief with the journal’s summer 2021 issue. As an editor for the journal since 2007, Lyons has reviewed submissions and edited articles accepted for publication other than the articles reviewed and edited by the journal’s State and Local Tax team. Lyons is the Richard H. Larson Professor of Tax Law Emeritus at the University of Nebraska College of Law. ...

The incoming Associate Editor-in-Chief is Gil Rothenberg, who currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law. Rothenberg was a long-time attorney in the Justice Department Tax Division’s Appellate Section. He served 15 years as Chief of the Appellate Section overseeing a staff of about 50 attorneys and support personnel. Rothenberg began his Tax Lawyer work in May. ...

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June 17, 2021 in ABA Tax Section, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Bearer-Friend, Glogower, Kleiman & Wallace: Taxation And Law And Political Economy

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington; Google Scholar), Ari D. Glogower (Ohio State; Google Scholar), Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego; Google Scholar) & Clint Wallace (South Carolina, Google Scholar), Taxation and Law and Political Economy, 83 Ohio St. L.J. ___ (2021):

The Law and Political Economy (LPE) project seeks to reorient legal thought by centering considerations of power, equality, and democracy. This reorientation would supplant approaches to legal thought that prioritize efficiency and neutrality, and that imagine a pre-political market “encased” from legal scrutiny or intervention.

This Article seeks to advance dialogue between LPE and tax scholarship. The Article first describes the areas of intersection between the two literatures and then offers general insights each can learn from the other as a basis for further engagement.

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June 16, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Tax Lawyer Publishes New Issue

The Tax Lawyer has published Vol. 74, No. 3 (Spring 2021):

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June 16, 2021 in ABA Tax Section, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

AccessLex & Gallup: Law School In A Pandemic — Student Perspectives On Distance Learning And Lessons For The Future

AccessLex & Gallup, Law School in a Pandemic: Student Perspectives on Distance Learning and Lessons for the Future:

In spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced law schools across the U.S. to shift their programs completely online. Prior to the pandemic, no American Bar Association-accredited law school offered a fully online degree program, and fewer than ten offered hybrid programs. As a result, even if their universities had the infrastructure to support the migration of their courses to an online platform, faculty may not have had the experience needed to make such a rapid transition. Moreover, few students had any exposure to — let alone a preference for — an online legal education.

To quantify the impact of these challenges on law students' education, AccessLex partnered with Gallup to produce Law School in a Pandemic: Student Perspectives on Distance Learning and Lessons for the Future, a nationally representative study of currently-enrolled U.S. law students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research finds that while law students report a strong preference for in-person education, there are several indications that this unprecedented period of emergency remote teaching may provide a useful foundation for future distance learning J.D. programs.

Less Than Half of Online J.D. Students Say Program Was Good or Excellent
The format of the courses had a noticeable impact on how students viewed the quality of their program. Just under half (48%) of students who learned mostly or completely online in spring 2021 rated their J.D. program as "good" or "excellent." In contrast, 73% of students who were learning mostly or completely in person said the same.

Access Lex Gallup 1

While students attending primarily in person were more positive than online students about the quality of their program, the data suggest the pre-pandemic experiences of 2L and 3L students may have influenced their perceptions of the overall quality of their program.

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June 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times: Law Schools Scramble To Get Incoming 1Ls To Defer; Columbia Offers $30k, Duke Offers $5K

New York Times, Law Schools Scramble for Deferrals:

In the most competitive year in recent memory, some schools are offering incentives to ease their over-enrolled classes. ...

Too many law students?
Law schools experienced a surge in applicants over the past year, driven by a mixture of factors, including the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Perhaps the biggest driver, however, was a spike in LSAT scores: Applicants took a shorter version of the admissions test, which was administered online, and had more time to study during pandemic lockdowns. ...

To ease the load, many schools have promised that scholarships will be in place for students if they choose to defer. A few are offering financial incentives. Duke promised $5,000 to students who accepted a “binding deferral” and promised to go next year.

Columbia University also dangled money in front of some students: $30,000 if they deferred. The school focused on recent graduates and also offered some career placement help, like two sessions with a career counselor and a list of open jobs. ...

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June 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Stanford Law Review Call For Tax Articles

Stanford Law ReviewDear Tax Law Scholars,
My name is Saraphin Dhanani, and I am the Senior Articles Editor for Volume 74 of the Stanford Law Review.

The Stanford Law Review will begin accepting submissions through Scholastica for the fall term on July 15, 2021. We currently have 6-7 slots to fill this volume, and we are particularly interested in publishing pieces that focus on tax law. We strongly encourage you to submit your manuscript for consideration through our Scholastica portal. You can find more details about our submission process on our website. As in 2020, you must follow the Scholastica links on our website to reach our submission portal.

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June 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Law Professor’s Desk Reference: A Handbook For Work And Life In The Legal Academy

Jon M. Garon (Nova), Law Professor’s Desk Reference: A Handbook for Work and Life in the Legal Academy (2021):

Law ProfLaw Professor's Desk Reference serves as a how-to guide for faculty members, addressing the everyday issues that shape legal education as well as the growing external social and economic pressures reconceptualizing the study of law. Law school faculty members are expected to be legal scholars, effective teachers, and engaged institutional partners, but the information essential to develop these fundamentals skills has not been published in one single source, until now.

The book provides a foundation to help faculty develop the best practices for student learning and engagement. It provides an important summary of learning outcomes, formative assessment, summative assessment, course design, and the operational mechanics needed to be an effective classroom and online teacher.

The book offers faculty members a roadmap to develop meaningful scholarship with practical advice on how best to create a sustainable scholarly agenda. It explores the role faculty play in shared governance for their institutions. It addresses academic freedom, hiring procedures, tenure, and status issues. It also covers accreditation and various regulations on accessibility, accommodation requirements, Title IX, employment laws, plagiarism, and much more.

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June 16, 2021 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

New York State Bar Association Calls For State To Withdraw From Uniform Bar Exam

New York State Bar Association Calls for State To Withdraw From the Uniform Bar Exam:

NYSBAThe (NYSBA) Task Force on the New York Bar Exam is recommending that the state withdraw from the Uniform Bar Exam and develop its own bar admissions test so that attorneys have a better understanding of state law before being admitted to practice.

The task force’s recommendations were approved June 12 at a meeting of the association’s governing body, the House of Delegates.

“This would ensure that New York’s legal system would continue to be a national leader,” said NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown. “The task force recommendations outline a smart and achievable strategy for how the bar exam can be transformed to make sure newly admitted lawyers have a comprehensive grounding in New York law.”

NYSBA is calling on the New York Court of Appeals to appoint a working group that would, in conjunction with the Board of Law Examiners, develop a New York Bar Examination that is fair and equitable and encourages the study of New York law.

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June 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Sharing The Wealth: The Effects Of TCJA Bonuses On Employee Pay Satisfaction

Michelle Hutchens (Illinois; Google Scholar), Dan Lynch (Wisconsin; Google Scholar), & Bridget Stomberg (Indiana, Google Scholar), Sharing the Wealth: The Effects of TCJA Bonuses on Employee Pay Satisfaction:

Approximately 60 public companies announced they would share cash windfalls from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) with rank-and-file employees through bonuses, higher wages, or increased benefits. We use employee survey data from Culture X to examine how the announcement of these TCJA bonuses affected employee pay satisfaction. Although employees are economically better off upon receiving these bonuses, prior literature suggests employee pay satisfaction could decrease if employees perceive the bonuses to be unfairly small. Using a difference-in-difference design, we find a greater decline in pay satisfaction among employees at firms announcing a TCJA bonus versus those that do not. Consistent with dissatisfaction about unfairly small bonuses, we document a larger decline in pay satisfaction at announcing firms with larger increases in CEO bonuses and larger share repurchases around the TCJA.

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June 16, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

16th Annual Junior Tax Scholars Workshop At San Diego

Junior Tax 2021

Ed Fox (Michigan) & Zachary Liscow (Yale) (presenting), A Mark-to-Market Tax on Businesses
Commentators: Daniel Schaffa (Richmond), Hillel Nadler (Program on International Financial Systems)

Hillel Nadler (Program on International Financial Systems), Taxing Zero
Commentators: Ed Fox (Michigan), Eleanor Wilking (Cornell)

Hayes Holderness (Richmond), Noncomparative Interstate Tax Discrimination
Commentators: Shelly Layser (Illinois), Andrew Appleby (Stetson)

Andrew Appleby (Stetson), Now You Can't Leave: State and Local Exit Taxes
Commentators: Christine Kim (Utah), Hayes Holderness (Richmond)

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June 15, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink