Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

NY Times: One Final Step For 52 Medical Students, Eager To Join The Fight Against COVID-19


My daughter Jayne (pictured in the lower right box above) is one of the 52 students featured in this New York Times article, One Final Step for 52 Medical Students, Eager to Join the Fight:

In a stirring, ragged ritual, the students took their oaths as new doctors early, volunteering in the war against Covid-19.

From dorm rooms and apartments, 52 medical students watched video of themselves roll across their screens. Miles away, their proud families followed online. Gazing into webcams, the students pledged the Hippocratic oath in frayed unison, dozens of different starts and voices, all coming to the same point.

They could get on with doctoring.

On Friday, a virtual graduation was held over video chat for nearly half the 2020 class at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine. They were two months ahead of schedule. That moment will be repeated in some form at other medical schools in the coming days.

The more ragged the ritual, the more soul-stirring its core: Young people were stepping up to join others already serving at an hour of crisis, little different than soldiers being deployed in war. ...

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April 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2021 U.S. News Omnibus Specialty Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2021 U.S. News Specialty Rankings include the rankings for 13 specialty programs at 194 law schools. Here are the Top 100 law schools, determined by giving equal weight to each of the 13 separate specialty rankings:

  1. Business/Corporate Law
  2. Clinical Law
  3. Constitutional Law
  4. Contracts/Commercial Law
  5. Criminal Law
  6. Dispute Resolution 
  7. Environmental Law
  8. Health Care Law
  9. Intellectual Property Law
  10. International Law
  11. Legal Writing
  12. Tax Law
  13. Trial Advocacy

  School 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Avg.
1 Georgetown 8 1 9 13 5 25 10 7 13 3 12 2 12 9.2
2 NYU 3 2 5 3 1 16 6 48 3 1 76 1 31 15.1
3 Stanford 5 8 3 6 1 18 10 5 2 9 92 7 44 16.2
4 Michigan 12 8 13 8 10 37 37 19 13 7 12 11 59 18.9
5 Northwestern 12 6 13 13 16 6 49 48 21 21 24 3 19 19.3
6 UC-Berkeley 4 8 7 3 3 32 1 29 1 11 127 23 15 20.3
7 Texas 17 32 11 8 17 16 26 19 18 14 44 15 36 21.0
8 Harvard 1 22 2 3 3 1 10 9 18 2 167 7 36 21.6
9 UCLA 8 27 13 11 10 25 4 32 25 17 101 5 23 23.2
10 Duke 12 54 9 15 10 25 19 25 12 9 44 18 78 25.4
11 UC-Irvine 37 8 19 29 17 22 33 40 25 25 11 11 65 26.3
12 Penn 6 27 11 6 6 32 41 22 8 14 101 15 78 28.2
13 George Washington 30 22 25 34 22 44 15 32 5 8 44 42 50 28.7
14 Washington Univ. 26 14 19 21 26 25 73 29 45 17 51 23 12 29.3
15 Virginia 8 82 7 11 6 18 26 46 31 11 76 5 78 31.2
16 Columbia 1 20 5 1 6 37 6 46 13 4 154 10 105 31.4
17 Yale 8 5 1 8 6 37 20 16 62 4 167 11 65 31.5
18 American 68 2 44 51 26 48 37 11 10 4 51 55 4 31.6
19 Fordham 17 17 25 23 17 13 63 93 21 21 101 32 9 34.8
20 Boston University 19 32 19 18 30 56 55 5 10 32 51 21 105 34.8
21 North Carolina 26 44 25 18 22 48 37 22 55 46 7 26 78 34.9
22 Ohio State 37 69 28 23 15 2 55 29 40 43 38 32 44 35.0
23 UC-Hastings 37 27 44 46 33 13 20 13 45 28 114 23 20 35.6
24 Cornell 16 44 13 15 17 22 41 71 40 13 70 42 65 36.1
25 Minnesota 19 32 19 21 22 78 20 19 40 25 76 26 78 36.5
26 Vanderbilt 12 61 17 17 10 32 17 25 25 14 136 48 65 36.8
27 Arizona State 52 61 38 51 33 10 20 22 51 25 7 37 78 37.3
28 Emory 26 69 28 23 33 56 49 40 36 40 44 48 23 39.6
29 Boston College 26 27 31 29 43 48 33 48 31 40 38 18 105 39.8
30 UC-Davis 23 54 19 23 22 25 20 54 36 32 136 26 50 40.0
31 Chicago 7 22 4 1 10 48 63 71 40 17 154 7 78 40.2
32 Indiana (Maurer) 23 82 44 23 43 56 31 40 21 28 51 20 78 41.5
33 Maryland 61 6 44 46 57 13 10 7 79 69 63 63 31 42.2
34 William & Mary 37 61 19 29 17 18 41 48 45 32 101 63 44 42.7
35 Temple 52 86 59 59 53 25 85 17 71 17 12 37 2 44.2
36 Notre Dame 37 44 18 34 43 56 55 102 25 28 76 45 25 45.2
37 Wisconsin 48 44 38 29 33 37 41 40 79 32 51 55 78 46.5
38 Loyola-L.A. 48 69 54 63 33 67 85 48 31 57 44 11 5 47.3
39 Florida 37 82 67 39 33 37 20 61 71 69 76 3 25 47.7
40 Denver 68 8 59 63 43 56 26 93 79 52 7 63 9 48.2
41 Washington 61 44 59 39 43 99 31 32 18 43 51 42 65 48.2
42 Arizona 59 61 38 46 57 86 33 32 55 36 24 68 50 49.6
42 Colorado 30 96 44 51 30 72 10 71 25 52 51 63 50 49.6
42 Georgia 23 32 31 39 33 99 85 40 71 21 101 45 25 49.6
45 Houston 59 69 71 34 64 99 26 3 5 46 101 26 44 49.8
46 Wake Forest 37 86 54 39 29 99 41 17 95 69 6 55 25 50.2
47 Brooklyn 30 32 35 34 26 72 106 90 62 46 32 48 59 51.7
48 Tulane 37 39 54 34 53 37 17 61 62 28 148 63 44 52.1
49 USC 22 82 31 18 33 32 96 48 55 46 114 15 96 52.9
50 Case Western 61 44 59 51 64 67 55 9 40 24 92 98 50 54.9
51 Georgia State 52 27 44 86 57 56 85 2 62 98 92 55 25 57.0
52 Miami 52 32 59 46 53 78 55 93 55 36 101 26 59 57.3
53 UNLV 78 39 69 51 68 6 85 32 62 106 1 48 105 57.7
54 Chicago-Kent 52 86 54 72 74 86 85 54 13 75 32 75 5 58.7
55 Loyola-Chicago 75 54 59 72 82 56 126 3 45 69 76 48 12 59.8
55 Washington & Lee 52 69 44 51 43 44 79 40 90 36 101 32 96 59.8
57 Cardozo 52 61 38 59 30 5 106 114 13 75 114 48 65 60.0
58 Rutgers 83 22 59 81 57 83 63 54 85 52 18 80 59 61.2
59 Florida State 48 96 44 39 53 99 15 54 79 62 136 37 36 61.4
60 Utah 30 106 44 39 33 99 9 32 71 62 136 55 121 64.4
61 Texas A&M 68 54 111 69 119 6 37 102 8 62 29 75 105 65.0
62 Pepperdine 61 39 44 59 91 3 96 114 100 46 114 37 50 65.7
63 Iowa 30 86 38 46 43 99 106 78 62 57 51 68 105 66.8
64 Northeastern 113 22 71 107 57 48 106 11 21 62 38 110 105 67.0
65 Villanova 78 69 83 86 74 90 79 61 45 91 29 37 50 67.1
66 Alabama 61 61 31 29 43 99 63 102 100 98 127 32 31 67.5
67 Illinois 30 117 35 23 33 93 79 90 51 83 101 45 105 68.1
68 SMU 68 61 71 69 43 72 96 61 55 46 136 48 65 68.5
69 San Diego 30 121 28 72 57 99 79 71 31 62 166 21 59 68.9
70 BYU 19 136 54 39 68 67 55 144 55 75 76 32 96 70.5
71 Pittsburgh 75 121 69 69 57 99 85 32 51 43 76 26 131 71.8
72 Seattle 83 20 71 107 91 99 79 78 62 91 3 80 78 72.5
73 Seton Hall 83 69 71 81 82 67 116 13 71 57 92 68 78 72.9
74 Oregon 61 121 71 63 74 10 6 144 100 98 2 68 131 73.0
75 Suffolk 95 14 136 116 111 22 96 61 45 106 5 132 20 73.8
76 Richmond 37 121 35 63 43 99 63 144 25 69 101 55 105 73.8
77 Santa Clara 75 121 93 98 91 44 55 102 4 40 44 68 131 74.3
78 Tennessee 37 17 83 63 74 99 106 78 123 118 32 75 65 74.6
79 Lewis & Clark 95 86 71 107 91 48 1 122 55 69 18 92 121 75.1
80 South Carolina 83 39 93 86 74 99 63 61 114 106 70 55 36 75.3
81 Kansas 78 86 83 51 68 25 63 122 100 91 51 80 121 78.4
82 St. John's 68 117 71 72 74 37 152 102 71 57 32 132 36 78.5
83 Connecticut 61 96 59 59 82 72 63 61 108 57 76 68 160 78.6
84 Drexel 78 54 71 98 100 83 130 32 108 103 18 132 15 78.6
85 Hofstra 92 69 83 90 68 93 130 61 95 62 76 89 36 80.3
86 Indiana (McKinney) 95 86 83 81 111 99 85 15 85 83 24 98 121 82.0
87 Howard 92 44 71 72 64 67 143 122 62 106 63 120 59 83.5
88 Michigan State 68 86 83 63 91 93 96 114 71 75 101 98 65 84.9
89 New Mexico 113 17 111 81 100 99 33 78 137 106 70 92 78 85.8
90 Syracuse 95 96 111 98 100 99 73 78 85 83 76 110 15 86.1
91 Stetson 95 96 111 72 100 72 106 122 137 106 3 110 1 87.0
92 DePaul 95 106 93 98 82 97 152 25 36 91 92 92 78 87.5
93 George Mason 48 155 38 51 74 99 136 114 31 75 148 80 105 88.8
94 Pacific 106 136 146 98 125 56 73 102 114 36 32 126 9 89.2
95 Missouri (Columbia) 88 127 83 72 82 3 136 90 90 91 136 98 65 89.3
96 Baltimore 123 14 93 120 100 78 116 122 95 75 38 75 149 92.2
97 UIC-John Marshall 135 69 136 148 111 90 152 122 36 75 7 98 36 93.5
98 New York Law School 95 54 93 156 100 78 136 78 62 83 38 98 145 93.5
99 St. Louis 88 86 71 90 100 99 159 1 90 98 127 80 131 93.8
100 Marquette 88 127 93 90 91 10 126 144 79 118 12 126 121 94.2

If anyone at a law school outside the Top 100 would like the data for their school's rank, email me.

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April 7, 2020 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Jersey Is Fifth State To Postpone July Bar Exam, First To Offer 2020 Law Grads Temporary License To Practice

NJ Supreme Court Allows 2020 Law School Graduates to Temporarily Practice Law Despite Postponement of Bar Exam:

NJBANew Jersey’s July 2020 bar exam will be postponed until the fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but law school graduates will have an opportunity to temporarily practice law under the supervision of experienced attorneys, under an order signed today by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner on behalf of the state Supreme Court.

The order relaxes court rules so that 2020 law school graduates who have not yet taken the bar exam can temporarily practice law under the supervision of attorneys in good standing who have been licensed for a minimum of three years. Graduates must apply to take the first exam scheduled after graduation, or qualify for a single extension, and earn certification from the Supreme Court Committee on Character before they can practice law.

The Court issued the order after consultation with the deans of New Jersey’s law schools: Kimberly Mutcherson, Co-Dean of Rutgers Law School; David Lopez, Co-Dean of Rutgers Law School; and Kathleen M. Boozang, Dean of Seton Hall Law School. ...

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April 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

All Of The Top 20 Law Schools Are Now Giving Mandatory Pass/Fail Grades This Semester After Reversals By Chicago, Georgetown, And Michigan

Karen Sloan (, Remaining 'T-14' Law Schools Yield to Mandatory Pass/Fail Pressure:

CoronavirusEvery law school in the so-called T-14 has now adopted mandatory pass/fail grading, as the handful of holdout schools announced revisions to their policies over the last three days.

The University of Chicago Law School on Monday informed students of the change—which comes less than three weeks after dean Thomas Miles angered many by announcing that the school would stick to its traditional grading system. ...

Both the University of Michigan Law School and Georgetown University Law Center initially told students that they would have the option to have their grades converted to pass/fail at the end of the semester, but each in recent days has made pass/fail grades mandatory.

“There’s always a temptation to stick with a decision in the interest of finality, but sometimes that would mean foregoing the best option in the face of new facts,” Michigan law dean Mark West wrote in an email to students Friday night about the new grading policy.

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April 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Over 200 Law Profs Petition For Diploma Privilege For 2020 Grads

Petition of Law Professors in support of the Diploma Privilege for 2020 (sign here):

CoronavirusThe undersigned law professors urge state supreme courts and bar licensing bodies to adopt a “diploma privilege” for admitting new law graduates to the bar this year: bypass the bar exam and automatically admit to the state bar anyone who graduates from an accredited law school in 2020.

The global Covid-19 pandemic is truly devastating, and requires bold action to protect our society, our communities, and our law students.

The likelihood of safely holding the bar exam anytime soon is low. State bar exams are typically held over a two- to three-day period during which all takers gather in the same large facility. Even if some shelter-in-place and stay-at-home measures can be relaxed over the summer, this type of larger gathering is still the type experts predict should be prohibited for some time to come.

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April 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 6, 2020

Universal Basic Income And The Value Of Work Beyond Incentives

Jonathan Grossberg (Robert Morris), Something for Nothing: Universal Basic Income and the Value of Work Beyond Incentives, 26 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 1 (2019):

Proponents and opponents of a universal basic income all acknowledge that the most significant political challenge to its adoption in the United States is that a universal basic income would not have a work requirement attached. Often, this is characterized as a problem involving incentives—the availability of a universal basic income would cause many people to stop working (or significantly curtail the number of hours that they work) and simply live off the universal basic income. This Article makes three contributions to the literature related to a universal basic income: first, it provides a typology for understanding the many reasons for valuing work; second, it argues that the United States is unlikely to implement a universal basic income because a universal basic income does not account for several aspects of the value of work; and, third, it argues that advocates of a universal basic income should instead focus on the more modest goal of redefining the activities that constitute work and broadening the social safety net by expanding existing policies through the use of a broader definition of work.

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April 6, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amy Monahan Named Distinguished University Professor At Minnesota

Professor Monahan Named a Distinguished McKnight University Professor:

Monahan (2020)Amy Monahan, Melvin Steen & Corporate Donors Professor and associate dean for research & planning at the Law School, has been named a Distinguished McKnight University Professor. 

The Distinguished McKnight University Professorship program honors the University’s “most distinguished and highest-achieving mid-career faculty who have …. made significant advances in their careers at the University of Minnesota, whose work and reputation are identified with the University, and whose accomplishments have brought great renown and prestige to Minnesota.”

Monahan joined the Law School faculty in Fall 2009. She teaches and writes in the areas of federal taxation and employee benefits law. Her scholarship focuses primarily on health and retirement plan regulation, and she has been actively involved in state and national efforts to improve the law in both areas. She has served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Determination of Essential Health Benefits, the independent committee charged with developing guidelines and principles for the Department of Health & Human Services to use in defining which medical treatments and services health insurance plans must cover as part of Affordable Care Act insurance reforms, and she has also advised various states regarding health care reform and implementation.

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April 6, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Best Leaders Are Often Reluctant Leaders

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  The Eisenhower Code: Happy to Serve, Reluctant to Lead, by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Captain ClassSometimes, the best leaders are those who don’t covet the top job.

As president, [Dwight Eisenhower] fortified NATO, ended the Korean War, reshaped the Supreme Court with five appointments, oversaw a growing economy and threw the full weight of the federal government behind the civil-rights movement. He left office with a 65% average approval rating—the highest for any two-term president.

It’s hard to imagine any modern leader unifying the nation to this extent. In 2015, 86% of people surveyed by the World Economic Forum believed that we’re suffering from a global leadership crisis.

Eisenhower’s story also suggests one reason we’re in this predicament. We’ve failed to appreciate one of the key leadership traits that made him so effective: his genuine reluctance to take the job.

Any historical list of famously reticent leaders starts with Moses, who didn’t believe he was a worthy messenger for God’s commandments. Long before Eisenhower, George Washington had to be dragooned into leading the young republic he’d just forcibly liberated. ...

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April 6, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Students In The Age Of Coronavirus

K.G. Molina (Oklahoma 2L) & Lawprofblawg (Anonymous Professor, Top 100 Law School), Law Students In The Age Of Coronavirus:

CoronavirusLaw students are facing a new and precarious danger: Coronavirus has not only quieted streets and shut down restaurants, it has thrust the economy into a deep recession, perhaps even depression. During the chaos and disquieting calm since we all retreated into quarantines, law students and law professors are faced with the situation of trying to carry on as normal to finish the semester, all the while knowing it isn’t normal at all.

Some schools have recognized the new normal, allowing students to finish pass/fail. Some have opted for an ignorance is bliss approach, preferring to continue with grades as if the world of law students hasn’t changed. Others, in a particularly callous effort, have requested that students write essays justifying pass/fail, as if COVID-19 were not justification enough. ...

Suddenly, class, grades, and rank feel less important — I’m not certain what the world will look and who will be there after the pandemic passes. Then again, even getting a job after law school seems unlikely. Let’s not forget that there’s also a recession. Law students from lower-ranked state schools cannot compete with the top-tier law schools whose graduates will be scrambling for anything they can find this and next year.

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April 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Deans, Law Students Weigh In On California Bar Exam

CoronavirusLetter From Deans of 20 California Law Schools to California Supreme Court and State Bar:

We write now to make three requests.

(1)  We recognize the importance of thinking carefully and seriously about how to proceed. As deans of California’s ABA accredited law schools, who train a significant majority of the state’s lawyers, we offer our assistance in the discussion of options and the review of the implications of each option for our students, our community of lawyers, and the communities of citizens who need the services of lawyers. The decisions that must be made about the July bar exam will have enormous implications for all those constituencies. We believe that our input can help the Committee of Bar Examiners and the Court resolve the difficult issues that surround this decision.

(2)  We further recommend that California not rush to make a definitive decision about how to proceed, and especially not move to cancel or postpone July’s exam without planning for an alternative pathway for licensing new attorneys. We know that a closed Emergency CBE meeting has been called for tomorrow, March 29th, to discuss the bar exam. We commend the CBE for beginning this process when there is still time for discussion and deliberation, and we hope that no action will be taken without a process of consultation with us and others, including legal employers in the private and public sectors as well as public interest lawyers.

(3)  As the Court and the CBE work to address this critical situation, we hope that you will be open to considering a variety of alternatives. We recognize the need for ensuring minimum competency, but equally for creative thinking and ingenuity. We are also well aware that we potentially face an extended period of some degree of disruption. We are concerned that New York’s decision to postpone its bar exam until some undeclared date in the fall will cause as many new problems as it will solve. For example, there is no assurance that large convention halls will be safe then, either—and what then? We are concerned that the backlog of bar exams and results, as well as the licensing of attorneys, could be deferred for an indefinite period of time, to the detriment not only of our students but of employers, clients and access to justice.

Students Letter To California State Bar:

We are a collective of law students who have recently graduated law school or will graduate in May 2020 and who plan on practicing law in California, as well as professors of California law schools and practitioners in California. We urge the California State Bar Admissions Board to adapt to the current crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by revising the state licensing system in California to ensure that the legal needs of our communities are met during this uncertain time. Specifically, we respectfully request that the Admissions Board enact a diploma privilege for all recent graduates and 2020 graduates who plan on taking the July 2020 Bar Exam and practicing law in California. ...

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April 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lesson From The Tax Court: The Long And Short Of CDP

Tax Court (2017)I call it Collection Delay Process for a reason.  Two recent cases are bookend lessons on the speed of CDP.  These two cases suggest that the fastest CDP resolution one can reasonably expect is 2 years, but one can push that to 7-8 years depending on the complexity of the case and persistence of the taxpayer. 

First, Do S. Wong v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2020-32 (March 5, 2020) (Judge Lauber) is one of the shorter CDP timelines I’ve seen, with a correspondingly short opinion of 12 pages.  There, the taxpayer was able to stop active collection for about 2 years.

Second, Ronald M. Goldberg v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2020-38 (April 2, 2020) (Judge Morrison) is one of the longer CDP timelines I’ve seen, with a correspondingly long opinion of 163 pages.  There, the taxpayer was able to stop active collection for 7.5 years.

What each of these taxpayers gained in delay, however, is somewhat offset by the simultaneous extension of the collection limitations period.  As a result Mr. Wong's 2013 liability and Mr. Goldberg's much older 2004 liability are both now likely collectible through 2029.  The IRS may continue with enforced collection for both but one taxpayer will owe more in penalties and interest because of the longer delay.  Next week we will consider a lesson that Goldberg teaches on interest (unless a more interesting lesson comes up).  Today, however, I just present these cases to illustrate what practitioners might expect in the CDP process.

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April 6, 2020 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hamilton (Social Distancing Performance)

View video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.

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April 6, 2020 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 5, 2020

NCBE Sets Two Dates For Fall Bar Exams As Alternatives To July: Sept. 9-10, Sept. 30-Oct. 1

National Conference of Bar Examiners, COVID-19 Updates:

NCBE (2020)At NCBE, we understand the anxiety and frustrations that law students and graduates have regarding the uncertainty surrounding administration of the July bar exam. The bar admissions process, like everything else, is being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NCBE’s mission is to promote fairness, integrity, and best practices in admission to the legal profession for the benefit and protection of the public. That mission is more important than ever at a time when there is such great need for a competent and ethical legal profession to serve the public. It is with that aim in mind that we are seeking to ensure that the bar exam can be administered to as many candidates as possible in 2020.

To provide needed flexibility for jurisdictions and candidates, in addition to preparing materials for a July bar exam, NCBE will make bar exam materials available for two fall administrations in 2020: September 9-10 and September 30-October 1. Each jurisdiction will determine whether to offer the exam in July, in early September, or in late September. 

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April 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Law School Class Of 2020 Should Not Be Subjected To A Prolonged 'Professional Coma'

National Law Journal op-ed:  An 'Immodest Proposal': Bar Exam Requires Innovative Accommodations Amid Pandemic, by Judith Welch Wegner (North Carolina; co-author, The Bar Exam and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need for Immediate Action):

CoronavirusAs bar leaders and examiners across the nation collectively face the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, I write with an “immodest proposal.”

In his 1729 essay “A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift ironically proposed that poor Irish toddlers be fattened and sold as food for the wealthy, to control overpopulation and unemployment and improve the economy. In writing, he hoped to shock the policymakers of his time to move beyond simplistic and ineffectual responses to the Irish plight. However, I fear that Swift’s description is all too accurate in describing how bar licensing authorities and senior bar leaders are approaching the COVID-19 pandemic as it affects graduating law students.

In using this analogy my point is to remind decision-makers of the stark realities facing graduating students and desperate citizens if recent law graduates are placed into a prolonged professional coma with crippling adverse effects. Let’s look those realities in the eye.

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April 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pepperdine Caruso Law School Dinner (Social Distancing Edition)

Dinner Invitation

Last night was supposed to be our annual law school dinner celebrating our 50th anniversary, $50 million naming gift from Rick and Tina Caruso, and rise into the Top 50 in the latest U.S. News law school rankings. My first law school dinners as dean have been memorable, highlighted by keynote speakers Gary Haugen (Founder and CEO of International Justice Mission) in 2018 and Justice Clarence Thomas in 2019. And this year's speaker would have been our biggest "get" ever.

We are very much looking forward to the rescheduled dinner in October. In the meantime, we improvised in this social-distancing time with a Law School Dinner Zoom Happy Hour last night:

Happy Hour 4

I was a tad overdressed (on top):

Happy Hour 2

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April 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Deans, Law Students, Task Force Weigh In On New York Bar Exam

Saturday, April 4, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Covid-19 Was A Leadership Test. It Came Back Negative.

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Covid-19 was a Leadership Test. It Came Back Negative., by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Captain ClassOne lesson from the coronavirus is that we need leaders who prevent crises more than we need managers who scramble to handle them.

On some glorious day in the future, when the Covid-19 pandemic has been controlled and contained, it will be time to hand out trophies.

The recipients may include scores of medical professionals, business executives, school administrators, shopkeepers and yoga instructors all over the world who acted decisively to prevent the virus from spreading; often at considerable personal cost and well before the people they protected thought it was necessary.

I look forward to that. Dark stories need heroes, too. But if the worst disease outbreak in modern history only teaches us one lesson, let it be this: The global response to this pandemic will never be anything more than a case study in crisis management. It has already failed the fundamental tests of leadership.

Leadership is what prevents a pandemic.

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April 4, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

During COVID-19 Pandemic, Harvard Law School's 46 Clinics Continue To Virtually Serve Clients

Harvard Crimson, During COVID-19 Pandemic, Harvard Law School Continues Clinics Virtually:

CoronavirusDespite leaving campus in mid-March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard Law School students will continue to serve Boston residents in need of free legal services online.

Students in the Law School’s clinical programs gain practical experience by working as pro bono attorneys for clients in the Boston area. The Law School offers 46 clinics and student practice organizations covering a wide range of legal specialties, including health, taxes, immigration, and BGLTQ advocacy.

The clinics offer students the opportunity to interview clients, take depositions, and try cases in court — activities that typically occur in-person rather than thousands of miles away.

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April 4, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lipman: State Tax Takeaways And Child Tax Credits

Francine J. Lipman (UNLV), State Tax Takeaways, in Holes in the Safety Net: Federalism and Poverty (Ezra Rosser (American) ed. Cambridge University Press 2020):

HolesWhile the aggregate tax system is mildly progressive, state and local tax systems are notably regressive. The lowest 95 percent of all income earners pay on average a higher percent of their income in state and local taxes than their share of aggregate income. By comparison, the top 5 percent of all income earners pay a lower percent of their income in state and local taxes than their aggregate share of household income. As a result, the lowest quartile of income earners pays a higher effective tax rate than the highest 1 percent of all income earners. The ratio of effective state and local tax rates for lowest income to highest income taxpayers is as high as 7 times in Wyoming, Washington and Florida. None of these states has an income tax so they rely heavily on regressive consumption tax revenues. For state and local governments this is a no-win race to the bottom because as income becomes increasingly concentrated among the wealthy, consumption and state and local tax revenues decrease.

This chapter reviews the basic components of state and local tax systems focusing on their many regressive attributes and make suggestions on how states might improve them. American has fifty state tax laboratories plus the District of Columbia that offer a myriad of dynamic time-tested tax structures. Nearly every state currently taxes lower-income families at a higher effective tax rate than higher income families. On average, the lowest income families are paying state and local taxes at an effective rate that is twice as high as the rate that the top 1 percent of income households enjoy. “Identifying state tax trends serves a dual purpose: first, as a leading indicator providing a sense of what we can expect in the coming months and years, and second, as a set of case studies, placing ideas into greater circulation and allowing empirical consideration of what has and has not worked.” As state and local governments continue to confront tax reform in these resource challenging times this chapter serves as a guide for front line progressive tax innovations, justice, and equity for all.

Francine J. Lipman (UNLV) & James E. Williamson (San Diego State), Child Tax Credit Redux, 165 Tax Notes 1303 (Nov. 25, 2019):

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April 4, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 3, 2020

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Holderness Reviews Mason's What The CJEU’s Hungarian Cases Mean For Digital Taxes

This week, Hayes Holderness (Richmond) reviews Ruth Mason (Virginia), What the CJEU’s Hungarian Cases Mean for Digital Taxes:

Holderness (2017)Long before the current crisis ramped up fiscal pressure on nations and states, governments have sought to tax the foreigner rather than those at home. Coordination between nations and states has sought to limit the ability of governments to engage in such protectionist or discriminatory taxation; the European Union’s protection of fundamental freedoms and the United States’ Commerce Clause (at least in its dormant capacity) serve as examples. As governments begin considering and adopting digital taxes, such as France’s Digital Services Tax, these coordinated efforts may prevent those governments from utilizing those taxes in protectionist ways by discriminating against out-of-state taxpayers. Indeed, France’s Digital Services Tax has been challenged for exactly that reason because the tax appears to target United States companies while failing to capture most French companies.

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April 3, 2020 in Hayes Holderness, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Lead story: Another important study of legal education appeared last month: Law School Transparency's 2025 Vision.  Excerpt: "When law schools price potential contributors out of the profession, they jeopardize the pipeline of students who want and can afford to protect the rule of law, deliver quality legal services, and narrow the justice gap. Myriad factors stand between good intentions and meaningful reform, but more accessible, affordable, and innovative law schools can become the new normal if we devote additional energy to changing the structural barriers that hold schools back."

Other legal education news:

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April 3, 2020 in Legal Education, Scott Fruehwald, Weekly Legal Ed Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Avi-Yonah Presents Tax Expenditures Online Today At British Columbia

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan) and Nir Fishbien (S.J.D. 2020, Michigan) present Tax Expenditures and Horizontal Equity: A Lost Lesson from Stanley Surrey online at University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series (poster) hosted by Wei Cui:

Avi-Yonah 2Tax expenditures are “revenue losses attributable to provisions of the Federal tax laws which allow a special exclusion, exemption, or deduction from gross income or which provide a special credit, a preferential rate of tax, or a deferral of tax liability.’’ The concept of tax expenditures was coined by the first Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Stanley S. Surrey, in the late 1960s. The concept relies on the Haig-Simons definition of income (with certain adjustments) as the baseline, a deviation from which is considered a tax expenditure.

There are two basic problems with attempts to define tax expenditures against a Haig-Simons baseline. First, it is not clear why the Haig-Simons, and not other definitions of income, should be used as a baseline. Second, it is not clear why such deviations are normatively problematic. That, presumably, is why the literature now accepts the view we should just learn to live with the tax expenditures. Surrey would have disagreed, and this article represents an attempt to recapture his original view of tax expenditures and assess its present-day implications.

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April 3, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

My Daughter, My Hero

Jayne NYUAlmost four years ago, my beloved, brilliant, and beautiful daughter Jayne began her medical education at NYU. Her mother and I had planned to be at her graduation in seven weeks, but instead she and her classmates are graduating today in a virtual ceremony due to the coronavirus. We are thrilled that Jayne will be doing her residency near us at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a mere 25 miles from Malibu. Yet instead of taking a well-deserved vacation after a grueling four years of medical school, Jayne has volunteered to work at the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic at NYU's hospital beginning on Monday. 

My late mother would have turned 93 tomorrow. Jayne is named after my sister, who died shortly after birth. My mother was a secretary at a nursing school and absolutely loved the medical profession. Shortly before my mother died in 1992, my pregnant wife and I told her we were going to name our daughter Jayne. My mother would be bursting with pride and gratitude today, tinged with fear for Jayne's safety, just as Jayne's parents and brother are.

Last week, Jayne wrote about her desire to serve in On Being An Almost Doctor During A Pandemic:

Today I found out that I matched to become an obstetrician/gynecologist. On Friday I will discover where I matched. For those in the medical community, “Match Day” is a huge celebration with family, friends, peers and mentors coming to celebrate your accomplishments. You all get together, open your envelopes (sometimes on stage in front of everyone) and cry either happy or sad tears with all of your closest friends and family and the people with whom you have survived four years of medical school. Instead, this year, I will get an e-mail at noon in my apartment alone. I will FaceTime my brother in Madison, WI and my parents in Los Angeles, CA who could no longer come in person to celebrate with me. My brother’s fiancé is on immunosuppressive medications for IBD and has a father going through chemotherapy right now. My parents are over the age of sixty. We all agreed the risk was far too great to be together in person. Quite frankly, I don’t know when I’ll see them again. 

In two and a half months I will graduate and become a fully-fledged physician. I don’t know right now if this timeline will be sped up as NYC is depleted of physicians who are not sick themselves or under quarantine and as more and more patients present for care. Part of me yearns to graduate early, to be able to do something instead of stay at home, aimlessly refreshing my phone for virus news, hoping for a glimpse into what is going on inside the halls of the hospitals that have become my home over these past four years, hospitals that I am now no longer allowed to visit because I am not “essential personnel.” I answer texts and questions from family and friends and send along the emails and graphics from my medical institution, calming panic, urging social distancing, trying to stay positive for the other people in my life. And yet, I think, lying in bed, put me in coach, wishing my medical school would send the promised email this morning about what we as medical students could do to help.

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April 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

'Nobody Is Recruiting Over The Summer': OCI Season Postponed, 'Nobody Is Recruiting Over the Summer': OCI Season Postponed:

CoronavirusLaw firms won’t be recruiting summer associates in late July and early August this year.

All but one of the so-called T-14 law schools by Thursday had announced postponements to their on-campus interview programs due to the coronavirus pandemic, and a growing number in the top 50 of the U.S. News & World Report rankings have followed suit.

Columbia Law School, which sends a higher number of graduates into associate jobs at large firms than any other school, became the first to postpone OCI on March 23. But the movement picked up steam this week when Harvard Law School, New York University School of Law and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School joined the list of campuses delaying summer associate recruiting. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is the one T-14 school that hasn’t yet announced a delay.

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April 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Internships In The Administrative State During The Covid-19 Summer Of 2020

Christopher J. Walker (Ohio State), Legal Internships in the Administrative State During the Summer of 2020:

CoronavirusFor a half dozen years or so, I’ve had the privilege of directing my law school’s Washington, DC, summer program. Each summer we place about twenty students (mostly rising 2Ls) in our DC summer program—usually in unpaid internships and most often at federal agencies, on the Hill, and at non-profits. As part of the summer program, I teach a professional responsibility class a couple evenings each week, and the students write a final term paper based on a topic from their internship. More details about the program are here.

In these unprecedented and uncertain times, I have spent dozens of hours more than usual communicating with potential host organizations in DC to brainstorm how to navigate through all of the uncertainty. I been so impressed with the flexibility and creativity that many federal agencies, congressional committees and member offices, and nonprofits have embraced for their internship programs this summer.

I thought I’d highlight in an anonymous fashion some of what we are learning and discussing, with the hope that these ideas will help state and federal administrative agencies, legislative staffs, and nonprofits structure their internship programs this summer. I’m focusing on legal internships that intersect with administrative law and regulatory practice, but all of these ideas have broader applicability to summer internships more generally.

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April 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Lawyers Can Fight The Coronavirus Crisis With The Internal Revenue Code

Bob Rubin (Boutin Jones, Sacramento), Tax Lawyers Can Fight the Coronavirus Crisis with the Internal Revenue Code:

CoronavirusUnder section 139, gross income does not include any amount received by an individual as a qualified disaster relief payment. A qualified disaster relief payment is one of four types of payments made to, or for the benefit of, an individual, but only to the extent any expense compensated by the payment is not otherwise compensated for by insurance or otherwise. The first and most relevant type of payment is any amount paid to reimburse or pay reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, or funeral expenses incurred as a result of a qualified disaster. President Trump’s Stafford Act Declaration for New York, California and Washington made section 139 applicable.

The section 139 grants are not income to the employee/grantees, are not subject to employment taxes, are deductible by the employer/grantor and are not subject to information reporting under section 6041. The section 139 plan cannot discriminate based upon length of service or position. The grant cannot be in the nature of income replacement.

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April 3, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Osofsky Presents Automated Legal Guidance Online Today At Duke

Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina) presents Automated Legal Guidance, 106 Cornell L. Rev. __ (2020) (with Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine)) online at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Richard Schmalbeck and Lawrence Zelenak:

Osofsky (2019)Through online tools, virtual assistants and other technology, governments increasingly rely on artificial intelligence to help the public understand and apply the law. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, encourages taxpayers to seek answers regarding various tax credits and deductions through its online “Interactive Tax Assistant.” The U.S. Army directs individuals with questions about enlistment to its virtual guide, “Sgt. Star.” And the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suggests that potential green card holders and citizens speak with its interactive chatbot, “Emma.” Through such automated legal guidance, the government seeks to provide advice to the public at a fraction of the cost of employing human beings to perform these same tasks.

This Article offers one of the first critiques of these new systems of artificial intelligence. It shows that automated legal guidance currently relies upon the concept of “simplexity,” whereby complex law is presented as though it is simple, without actually engaging in simplification of the underlying law. While this approach offers potential gains in terms of efficiency and ease of use, it also causes the government to present the law as simpler than it is, leading to less precise advice, and potentially inaccurate legal positions. 

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April 2, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avi-Yonah: Using The Corporate Tax Rather Than Antitrust To Curb The Power Of Big Tech

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Antitrust and the Corporate Tax: A Missed Opportunity?:

Big Tech have clearly become for early 21st century America what Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, and the railroads were to early 20th century America: The embodiment of corporate power that enjoys a near monopoly on an important segment of economic activity. In response, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has proposed to treat the Big Tech as common carriers (forbidding them from selling their own goods and services on their platforms) and force them to dispose of their recent anti-competitive acquisitions. There may, however, be another way of reining in the power of the Big Techs that is less drastic than breaking them up, and may be a helpful complement to antitrust enforcement. This way derives from the other early 20th century innovation that was intended in 1909 to curb the power of the monopolies: The corporate tax.

The corporate tax can limit corporate power in three ways. First, even a low rate corporate tax requires corporations to provide the government with detailed information about their activities that is hard to obtain without a corporate tax (e.g., it forces them to calculate profits per taxing jurisdiction, which they may not otherwise do). Second, potentially the corporate tax, like any tax, involves the power to destroy if the rate is high enough. The knowledge that this could happen may limit the aggressiveness of corporate management (i.e., in the case of the Big Techs, their founders). Third and most important, the corporate tax can be used as a regulatory device, with the effective rate being raised or lowered either for specific desirable or undesirable activities (e.g., maintaining or compromising privacy) or in response to an overall corporate social responsibility score.

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April 2, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Provides Covid-19 Legal Resources For Those In Need

CoronavirusIn response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pepperdine Caruso Law School's Community Justice Clinic has assembled resources to help (1) nonprofits, churches, and other organizations navigate federal loan, grant, and tax programs under the new CARES Act, and (2) employees who lose their jobs during this crisis, including this memorandum.

Kudos to Assistant Dean of Clinical Education and Global Programs and Associate Clinical Professor of Law Jeff Baker and his team for once again using their legal talents to help those in need during difficult times.

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April 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

‘A Decidedly Suboptimal Set of Circumstances’: Harvard Law Profs Evaluate Online Instruction

Harvard Crimson, ‘A Decidedly Suboptimal Set of Circumstances’: Harvard Law Professors Evaluate Online Instruction:

CoronavirusHarvard Law School’s transition to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic has garnered mixed reactions from professors — while some report no significant difficulties in teaching online, others say they struggle to facilitate class participation. ...

Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen, who teaches the course “Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment,” wrote in an email that her class was able to transition smoothly to the video conference platform Zoom because of its discussion-based format.

“The Socratic method that I use involves cold-calling students and engaging in questioning and dialogue,” she wrote. “It translates well to an online format: I call on a specific student, they unmute themselves, and we do the same thing that we would be doing in person.” ...

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April 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

2021 U.S. News Trial Advocacy Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2021 U.S. News Trial Advocacy Rankings include the trial advocacy programs at 188 law schools (the faculty survey had a 52% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.1 Stetson
2 4.0 Baylor
2 4.0 Temple
4 3.9 American
5 3.8 Chicago-Kent
5 3.8 Loyola-L.A.
7 3.6 Samford
7 3.6 South Texas
9 3.5 Fordham
9 3.5 Denver
9 3.5 Pacific
12 3.4 Georgetown
12 3.4 Loyola-Chicago
12 3.4 Washington University
15 3.3 Campbell
15 3.3 Drexel
15 3.3 Syracuse
15 3.3 UC-Berkeley
19 3.2 Northwestern
20 3.1 St. Mary's 
20 3.1 Suffolk
20 3.1 UC-Hastings
23 3.0 Emory
23 3.0 UCLA
25 2.9 Georgia State
25 2.9 Akron
25 2.9 Florida
25 2.9 Georgia
25 2.9 Notre Dame
25 2.9 Wake Forest
31 2.8 Faulkner
31 2.8 NYU
31 2.8 Texas Tech
31 2.8 Alabama
31 2.8 Maryland
36 2.7 Florida State
36 2.7 Harvard
36 2.7 Hofstra
36 2.7 St. John's
36 2.7 UIC-John Marshall
36 2.7 Missouri (Kansas City)
36 2.7 South Carolina
36 2.7 Texas
44 2.6 Ohio State
44 2.6 Pace
44 2.6 Stanford
44 2.6 Tulane
44 2.6 Houston
44 2.6 William & Mary
50 2.5 Case Western
50 2.5 George Washington
50 2.5 Loyola-New Orleans
50 2.5 Nova
50 2.5 Pepperdine
50 2.5 Arizona
50 2.5 UC-Davis
50 2.5 Colorado
50 2.5 Villanova

2021 U.S. News Specialty Rankings:

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April 2, 2020 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Primer On How To Navigate The Recovery Rebate This Time

Two new posts from the eminent Carl Smith explain how the current rebate refund provisions differ from two past versions, and highlight what issues to anticipate with IRS administration of the provisions. 

"So, How Will the "Recovery Rebate" Refunds Work This Time? Part I:"

Section 6428 operates as a refundable credit – just like the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit.  Section 6428(b).  ... Because it has been awhile since this recovery rebate credit has been in the law (and because I litigated on behalf of taxpayers the only district court and appellate court opinions addressing the 2008 version of section 6428; see Sarmiento v. United States, 812 F. Supp. 2d 137 (E.D.N.Y. 2011), aff’d in part and rev’d in part, 678 F.3d 147 (2d Cir. 2012), and Maniolos v. United States, 741 F. Supp. 2d 555 (S.D.N.Y. 2010), aff’d per order, 469 Fed. Appx. 56(2d Cir. 2012)), I thought it would be useful for me to give a practical primer on how the new recovery rebate is written, how it was administered last time, and how I think it will be administered this time – because I anticipate the IRS will make administrative choices in 2020 similar to those that the IRS made in 2008....

"So, How will the "Recovery Rebate" Refunds Work This Time? Part II:"

This post is to discuss two issues under the prior versions of section 6428 that led to litigation and how those issues have or have not been addressed by the current legislation.  The two issues are:

  1. Whether the IRS may apply the recovery rebate credits (including stimulus checks) under section 6402 to reduce certain outstanding debts; and
  2. Which taxable year is the stimulus check “for” for purposes of bankruptcy?

The answer to the first question is decidedly “no”, with one exception.

The answer to the second question is still open – at least outside the Second Circuit.

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April 2, 2020 in Bryan Camp, Tax, Tax News, Tax Practice And Procedure | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hawaii Is Fourth State To Postpone July Bar Exam

In the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii, In the Matter of the July 2020 Hawaii Bar Examination for Admission to the Bar of the State of Hawaii:

CoronavirusUpon consideration of the public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and upon consultation with the Hawaii Board of Bar Examiners,
1. The July 2020 Hawaii bar examination presently scheduled to take place on July 28, 2020 and July 29, 2020 will not be administered on those dates. The examination will be rescheduled to the Fall of 2020, on dates to be determined.
2. The deadline to submit the application for this examination is extended from April 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

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April 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wealth Taxes And Capital Markets

John D. Stowe (Ohio University), Wealth Taxes and Capital Markets:

Wealth taxes have been adopted or considered as an adjunct to existing tax systems such as income taxes, property taxes, and consumption taxes. Discussions about a wealth tax are usually a mixture of political, social, and economic issues, with many of the published papers designed to serve an author’s agenda. The purpose of this note is to leave many of these issues behind and to focus on the effects of a wealth tax on capital markets.


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April 2, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Miller & Maine: Wealth Transfer Tax Planning After The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

John A. Miller (Idaho) & Jeffrey A. Maine (Maine), Wealth Transfer Tax Planning after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 2020 BYU L. Rev. ___:

On December 17, 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Among its many impacts, the TCJA increased the inflation adjusted estate tax basic exclusion amount to $10,000,000 on a temporary basis. This has dramatic implications for many existing and future estate plans, including a major crossover impact on income tax planning. In this article we explain the operation of the federal wealth transfer taxes (the estate tax, the gift tax and the generation skipping transfer tax) in the wake of the TCJA and of the newly issued regulations interpreting the TCJA changes. We also explain the basic tax planning techniques for wealth transmission. The overall design of this article is to bring the reader into the current wealth transfer tax planning picture while providing references to more detailed treatments of particular topics within this broad field.

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April 1, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ: Pelosi May Tie Future Coronavirus Relief To Retroactive Repeal Of Limitation On State & Local Tax Deduction

Wall Street Journal editorial, Pelosi Pitches a Blue-State Bailout:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held up last week’s coronavirus relief bill with demands related to corporate diversity, carbon emissions and election reform. But Democrats are far from finished using the crisis to try to force through partisan priorities they couldn’t pass in normal times. Mrs. Pelosi is now hinting the price for further economic relief may include expanding a regressive tax deduction for high-earners in states run by Democrats.

On Monday Mrs. Pelosi told the New York Times she wanted Congress to “retroactively undo SALT.” In the 2017 tax reform, Republicans limited the state and local tax deduction to $10,000. That raised federal tax revenue mostly from high-tax parts of states like California, New York and New Jersey and helped pay for the rate cuts on corporate, small business and individual incomes. According to the Tax Foundation, the cap raised almost $33 billion in 2018 from those earning more than $1 million per year and had little impact for those earning less than $100,000.

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April 1, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law School Transparency's 2025 Vision

Law School Transparency's 2025 Vision:

LST CoverLST's 2025 Vision: A Guide To Our Way Forward:
The challenges facing legal education in 2020 run deep and, in some cases, will take several decades to address. Our vision for lower tuition, lessfinancially stressed graduates, and a more diverse profession requires that we change the environment in which law schools operate. Over the next five years, we believe it is possible to create the conditions necessary to achieve both rapid and long-term positive change.

Our plans and proposals are intricate and thorough, making this report lengthy and dense. The next few pages will serve as a guide to the report’s two main parts. The first part of the report looks at how LST plans to remake law school incentives. This part begins with a section on the U.S. News law school rankings methodology and how the rankings negatively impact students, schools, our profession, and more. The next section estimates the cost to buy or license the rankings—a thought experiment that demonstrates the absurd power U.S. News has over law schools. The next section examines two projects from LST aimed at fostering competition with U.S. News as part of an effort to mitigate its influence on law school operations. The last section describes a change to the rankings methodology that LST is encouraging U.S. News to adopt.

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April 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Faculty Can Cure Law Student And Lawyer Distress

Susan Wawrose (Dayton), A More Human Place: Using Core Counseling Skills to Transform Law School Relationships, 55 Willamette L. Rev. 133 (2018):

The problem of law student and lawyer distress is longstanding, severe, and remarkably resilient in the face of efforts to address it.

In this article, I propose increased attention by law faculty to relationship building during law school as a way to begin to reverse the downward spiral that draws in so many of our students and holds them captive, sometimes until long after they graduate from law school. Research shows that supportive social connections are the single most important factor in protecting against stress, increasing resilience, and contributing to greater feelings of happiness. Moreover, if the goal of improving student wellbeing is not, in itself, sufficient motivation for addressing law student distress, there is the strong likelihood that taking steps to improve students’ wellbeing will also improve their academic performance. Numerous studies show that happier people are more successful and resilient than their distressed and unhappy counterparts.


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April 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

With Pass/Fail Now The Norm, Outlier Law Schools Face Student Backlash

Karen Sloan (, With Pass/Fail Now the Norm, Outlier Law Schools Face Student Backlash:

CoronavirusLaw students at Arizona State, University of Georgia and Georgia State are among those pushing campus administrators to adopt mandatory pass/fail grading.

Arizona State University law dean Douglas Sylvester is well aware that he’s not the most popular guy on his (virtual) campus at the moment.

The school’s Student Bar Association on Monday issued an open letter denouncing the school’s handling of spring semester grading, saying students feel “betrayed” by the announced policy, which requires them to go through a formal accommodation process to request that their grades be reported as pass/fail. Students may choose to go that route immediately, or they may make that request after grades have been issued if their spring semester grade point average is lower than their cumulative GPA. Students have vented their frustrations on legal blogs and online forums such as Reddit, calling the scheme “heartless” and a “prisoner’s dilemma.”

Sylvester is among a number of law deans and university administrators receiving backlash from students who are unhappy over the grading policies their schools have rolled out amid the coronavirus pandemic. The University of Georgia School of Law, the University of Michigan Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, and Georgia State University College of Law also have seen pushback over grading, as have numerous other schools. Though students harbor an array of opinions over what grading system is best, the most vocal and organized among them are pushing for mandatory pass/fail grading.

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April 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

2021 U.S. News Legal Writing Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2021 U.S. News Legal Writing Rankings include the legal writing programs at 179 law schools (the faculty survey had a 54% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.3 UNLV
2 4.2 Oregon
3 4.1 Seattle
3 4.1 Stetson
5 4.0 Suffolk
6 3.9 Wake Forest
7 3.8 Arizona State
7 3.8 Denver
7 3.8 UIC-John Marshall
7 3.8 North Carolina
11 3.7 UC-Irvine
12 3.6 Drake
12 3.6 Georgetown
12 3.6 Marquette
12 3.6 Temple
12 3.6 Texas Tech
12 3.6 Michigan
18 3.5 Drexel
18 3.5 Lewis & Clark
18 3.5 Mercer
18 3.5 Nova
18 3.5 Rutgers
18 3.5 Washburn
24 3.4 Indiana (McKinney)
24 3.4 Northwestern
24 3.4 Arizona
24 3.4 Arkansas (Little Rock)
24 3.4 Missouri (Kansas City)
29 3.3 Duquesne
29 3.3 Texas A&M
29 3.3 Villanova
32 3.2 Brooklyn
32 3.2 Chicago-Kent
32 3.2 St. John's
32 3.2 Arkansas (Fayetteville)
32 3.2 Tennessee
32 3.2 Pacific
38 3.1 Boston College
38 3.1 New York Law School
38 3.1 Northeastern
38 3.1 Ohio State
38 3.1 Baltimore
38 3.1 Memphis
44 3.0 Duke
44 3.0 Elon
44 3.0 Emory
44 3.0 George Washington
44 3.0 Loyola-L.A.
44 3.0 Santa Clara
44 3.0 Texas

2021 U.S. News Specialty Rankings:

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April 1, 2020 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

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April 1, 2020 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avi-Yonah, Saez & Zucman: Taxes In The Time Of Coronavirus — It Is Time To Revive The Excess Profits Tax

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Taxes in the Time of Coronavirus: Is it Time to Revive the Excess Profits Tax?:

At a time when most American citizens and businesses are suffering catastrophic economic damage from the Coronavirus recession, some corporations—such as Amazon, 3M, Gilead, and Zoom—are seeing their profits rise dramatically because of the pandemic.

Given that most corporations are losing money, but some are now earning enormous profits due to the crisis, it is time to revive the wartime excess profits taxes that the US deployed in World War I and World War II to prevent corporate winners from achieving this form of opportunistic unjust enrichment.

The most recent US excess profits tax was enacted shortly before the US entered World War II. It was first adopted in 1940, amended in 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1945, and repealed in 1950. ...

Given the diversity of the corporations that are likely to profit from the pandemic and the fact that most of them are not engaged in capital intensive activities, the tax should use the average earnings method based on 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The rest of the World War II methodology can be applied unchanged. Thus, to use Amazon as an example, one would start with Amazon’s 2020 net income, subtract a credit for average 2016-2019 earnings plus 8% of R&D (the principal capital investment), and apply a 95% tax rate to the excess profits. The resulting tax can be reduced by credits for wages of additional employees hired in 2020 to encourage the winners to hire and pay well during the recession.

It is unconscionable that some corporations would profit from the current crisis while everyone else suffers. Moreover, the federal government will be spending trillions to save the economy, and much of this spending will benefit the winners since it will be spent on their services. There is no reason not to use this opportunity to revive the excess profit tax and apply it to profits that derive entirely from the pandemic.

New York Times op-ed:  Jobs Aren’t Being Destroyed This Fast Elsewhere. Why Is That?, by Emmanuel Saez (UC-Berkeley) & Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley):

Some businesses, more broadly, will disproportionately benefit from the pandemic. While tens of thousands of brick-and-mortar stores are closed, Amazon sales rise. The Seattle-based company is one of the few S&P 500 firms whose stock price is higher today than at the beginning of the year. Cloud computing is exploding. Facebook traffic is booming.

But these windfall profits have a fair, comprehensive and transparent solution: The government should impose excess profits taxes, as it has done several times in the past during periods of crisis.

In 1918, all profits made by corporations above and beyond an 8 percent rate of return on their capital were deemed abnormal, and abnormal profits were taxed at progressive rates of up to 80 percent. Similar taxes on excessive profits were applied during World War II and the Korean War. These taxes all had one goal — making sure that no one could benefit outrageously from a situation in which the masses suffered.

To help make this happen, the next bill needs an excess profits tax. If Congress fails to act, the pandemic could well reinforce two of the defining trends of the pre-coronavirus American economy: the rise of business concentration and the upsurge of inequality.

Some will say that the solutions we’ve outlined show excessive faith in government. They will correctly point out that some of these policies are undesirable in normal times. But these are not normal times. The big battles — be they wars or pandemics — are fought and won collectively. In this period of national crisis, hatred of the government is the surest path to self-destruction.

April 1, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

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April 1, 2020 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools' Pass/Fail Decision Doesn't Ace All Tests

Washington Times, Law Schools' Pass/Fail Decision Doesn't Ace All Tests:

CoronavirusLaw schools, like colleges and universities, increasingly are assigning pass/fail grades to facilitate remote learning amid travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. But the grading scheme doesn’t level the playing field, professors say.

“For those [students] who are in the middle of class, this was a god-send. For students who were already very high in their class, this is good news because they can’t go down,” said Josh Blackman, who teaches constitutional law at the South Texas College of Law in Houston. “But for students who want to move up in the class row and are set to graduate, this is definitely a setback.”

Law school grades play an outsized role in graduates landing clerkships and entry-level professions, meaning that third-year students now eyeing graduation, the state bar exam and future employment face greater uncertainty than ever before.

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April 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Satterthwaite Presents Tax Status As A Signal Online Today At Georgetown

Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto) presents Tax Status as a Signal online at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Brian Galle:

Satterthwaite (2019)Can an entrepreneur’s choice of tax status act as a signal that conveys valuable private information about her firm in a real-world marketplace?There have been hints that this happens, but exactly how such signaling would work and whether it is normatively desirable has received little scholarly attention. Building on recent survey evidence that small-firm entrepreneurs may view voluntary value-added tax (“VAT”) registration as a way to secure reputational advantages, this paper applies the costly signaling model of Spence (1973) to propose a novel informational account of firms’tax status choices in the context of a VAT. It explores whether an entrepreneur’s choice to voluntarily VAT-register her small firm might function as a signal of the firm’s quality in much the same way that a job applicant’s investment in education can function as a signal of the applicant’s productivity.

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March 31, 2020 in Colloquia, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Tax Maven Podcast Episode 3: Do Your Taxes Like Nobody's Watching (Jeff Hoopes)

Episode 3, Do Your Taxes Like Nobody's Watching — Because Honestly, They Probably Aren't (Jeff Hoopes (University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School)):

Tax MavenEpisode Summary:  A typical consumer spends exactly zero hours a day thinking about corporate tax compliance. Jeff Hoopes, a Tax Maven who devotes approximately 100% of his time to thinking about tax as the research director of the UNC Tax Center, explains why that disconnect matters. In this Episode, he explains the power and the limits of sophisticated enforcement tools such FIN 48 and the Schedule UTP and the humble credit card. He explores whether firms that donated to a particular political party respond differently to tax breaks such as those delivered by the 2017 tax law changes. Hoopes also shows why data from corporate tax returns challenge the conventional wisdom that private companies engage in more aggressive tax planning. His Pencil Question comes from an article by Edward J. Mccaffery in the Wisconsin Law Review.

Episode Notes: Jeff Hoopes is an associate professor and the Harold Q. Langenderfer Scholar of Accounting at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. Hoopes focuses on understanding how taxpayers respond to tax laws and changes in tax enforcement and uses his expertise to explain why. His work emphasizes the intersection of tax law, accounting, public economics, and finance.

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March 31, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

AccessLex Donates $25,000 To Student Emergency Funds At All 200 Law Schools

AccessLex Institute Donates $5 Million to Establish Law Student Emergency Relief Fund:

AccessLex (2020)The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has sparked fear, disruption and uncertainty across the country, and law students have not been spared. In response, AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping aspiring lawyers find their path to professional success, has created a $5 million Law Student Emergency Relief Fund to provide direct resources to law students during this unique time. Beyond the concerns around adapting to online learning, completion of hands-on legal clinics, and the potential for delays in the bar exam, this crisis has exacerbated financial pressures on law students—in many cases, to a level that can jeopardize the continuation of their studies.

Through this $5 million fund, AccessLex will make $25,000 available to every nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-approved law school in the nation, with monies going directly to each school's designated student emergency fund. Law schools will then administer the funds in a manner consistent with the established criteria for emergency relief on their campuses.

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March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)