Paul L. Caron
Dean





Friday, April 16, 2021

Gilson Presents Value Creation By Business Lawyers: Legal Skills And Asset Pricing Virtually Today At Oxford-Virginia

Ronald J. Gilson (Columbia; Google Scholar) presents Value Creation by Business Lawyers: Legal Skills and Asset Pricing, 94 Yale L.J. 239 (1984), virtually at the Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs: Tax Meets Non-Tax Series today hosted by Tsilly Dagan and Ruth Mason:

Ronald_gilsonWhat do business lawyers really do? Embarrassingly enough, at a time when lawyers are criticized with increasing frequency as nonproductive actors in the economy, there seems to be no coherent answer. That is not, of course, to say that answers have not been offered; there are a number of familiar responses that we have all heard or, what is worse, that we have all offered at one time or another without really thinking very hard about them. The problem is that, for surprisingly similar reasons, none of them is very helpful. Clients have their own, often quite uncharitable, view of what business lawyers do. In an extreme version, business lawyers are perceived as evil sorcerers who use their special skills and professional magic to relieve clients of their possessions. Kurt Vonnegut makes the point in an amusing way. A law student is told by his favorite professor that, to get ahead in the practice of law, "a lawyer should be looking for situations where large amounts of money are about to change hands." Though this advice is hardly different from standard professional suggestions about how to build a practice, the reasons offered for the advice lay bare a quite different view of the business lawyer's function:

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April 16, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Lawsky Presents Teaching Algorithms And Algorithms For Teaching Virtually At Utah

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern; Google Scholar) presented Teaching Algorithms and Algorithms for Teaching, 24 Fla. Tax. Rev. __ (2021), virtually at Utah yesterday as part of its Faculty Workshop Series hosted by Young Ran (Christine) Kim:

Graphic-LawskySarahB_v2016-08-04This article focuses on what it calls the “algorithm method,” a common method used to teach tax classes that presents students with unambiguous problems that guide students through complex statutes and regulations. The article describes a novel teaching tool created by the author: a website that randomly generates tax problems with objectively correct answers; multiple choice answers that reflect common errors that students make; and explanations for each answer that either respond to the underlying error or give a full explanation of the correct answer. 

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April 16, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Report On ExamSoft’s ExamID Feature (And A Method To Bypass It)

Gabriel H. Teninbaum (Suffolk), Report on ExamSoft’s ExamID Feature (and a Method to Bypass It), 4 J. RAIL ___ (2021):

Exam SoftAs a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, many academic institutions have been forced to move their courses online. This has necessitated schools to implement new technologies to remotely administer examinations. One of the most prominent vendors offering software to allow for this is ExamSoft. Some institutions have implemented an additional authentication feature from ExamSoft called ExamID. To confirm students’ identities, ExamID uses a form of artificial intelligence — facial recognition technology — to match an image of a student in its database to an image the student takes immediately before an exam. In theory, ExamID then matches the stored image with a second image as a means to confirm that the correct person is taking the exam. Unfortunately, just as has been the case with other efforts to use facial recognition technology, ExamID has been alleged to be error-prone for students of color attempting to use it. ExamSoft contests these claims.

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April 16, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Richmond Hosts Virtual Panel Discussion Today On The Intersection Of Domestic Violence And Tax Controversies

Richmond hosts a panel discussion today on Financial Scars: The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Tax Controversies at (registration):

Financial ScarsThis panel will explore how tax law relates to domestic violence. The panelists will detail the types of abuse that victims of domestic violence face and uncover the difficult situations and choices that victims face as a result of the abuse. Financial abuse is a major element of domestic violence that affects how victims may choose to act. As a result, tax law can contribute as a tool of the abuser, particularly when returns are filed jointly or children and assets are shared between victim and abuser. Tax obligations can be used to exercise control over or impose distress on victims. Therefore, advocates must consider how to counter these tax abuses when working with victims of domestic violence, and the panelists will detail the mechanisms within the tax law that can provide for relief for victims and how to work with victims on these complicated tax matters.

April 16, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hemel Presents Law And The New Dynamic Public Finance Virtually Today At Duke

Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar) presents Law and the New Dynamic Public Finance virtually at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Richard Schmalbeck & Lawrence Zelenak:

Hemel_danielThe “new dynamic public finance” literature has generated important insights for the design of tax systems and social insurance programs in recent years. But with few exceptions, legal scholars in tax and related fields have yet to engage with the dynamic public finance literature. That lack of engagement is unfortunate, both because insights from dynamic public finance can enrich legal analysis and because lessons from law can inform dynamic public finance research. 

This essay explores the potential for cross-pollination between law and the new dynamic public finance. It addresses the design of age-dependent labor income taxes, capital taxation, the taxation of intergenerational wealth transfers, and constitutional aspects of tax law. Three themes emerge. First, the dynamic public finance literature highlights circumstances in which tax interventions and legal technologies can be complementary. In these cases, the dynamic public finance literature may motivate legal scholars to refocus attention on decades-old doctrinal challenges.

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April 15, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Christians Presents The Case For A Sustainable Excess Profits Tax Virtually Today At Indiana

Allison Christians (McGill; Google Scholar) presents The Case for a Sustainable Excess Profits Tax (with Tarcisio Diniz Magalhaes (Antwerp)) virtually at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Allison_christians_2019 (1)Taxes designed to counter unsustainable behaviours that lead to environmental destruction are usually styled as surtaxes on purchase prices. It makes more sense to locate the source of the profits derived from such behaviours and tax them in order to internalize the environmental costs that are currently externalized to current and future societies. Since profit extracted by externalizing environmental risks constitutes economic rent, it could be taxed at high rates without creating inefficiencies. We propose a method for doing so in the form of a “sustainable excess profits tax”—a SEP tax. The tax base of a SEP tax can be constructed by using life cycle analysis methods to identify the portion of corporate profit that is attributable to the externalized environmental costs of production and distribution at all stages of supply chains.

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April 15, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Blank Presents Presidential Tax Transparency Virtually Today At Stockholm University

Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar) presents Presidential Tax Transparency, 40 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. __ (2021), virtually at Stockholm University today hosted by Roger Persson Österman and Jérôme Monsenego:

Blank520Whether the public should have access to the tax returns of the President of the United States, and those who seek the office, is the focus of acute attention and debate. President Donald Trump’s refusal to disclose his tax returns throughout his campaigns and presidency has fueled multiple legislative public disclosure proposals. In March 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation as part of the For the People Act of 2021 that would require Presidents, Vice Presidents, and nominees to publicly disclose several years of their tax returns through the Federal Election Commission. Dozens of state legislatures have considered similar requirements for candidates who seek to appear on state primary and general election ballots. Proponents of these measures argue that public disclosure of tax returns could expose conflicts of interest, reveal the President’s and candidates’ annual tax liability and tax rates, and, most importantly, enable the public to observe whether the President or candidates have engaged in tax evasion, pursued tax shelters and other tax avoidance, and participated in audits or tax controversies with the IRS.

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April 15, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

 Building A Better Bar Exam: The Twelve Building Blocks Of Minimum Competence

Logan Cornett (Denver) & Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State; Google Scholar), Building a Better Bar: The Twelve Building Blocks of Minimum Competence:

The bar exam tries to distinguish minimally competent lawyers from incompetent ones: it exists to protect the public from the harms of incompetent legal representation. That protection is critical to maintaining the integrity of the profession, but the bar exam achieves that goal only if it effectively assesses minimum competence. Although the bar exam has existed for more than a century, there has never been an agreed-upon, evidence-based definition of minimum competence. Absent such a definition, it is impossible to know whether the bar exam is a valid measure of the minimum competence needed to practice law or an artificial barrier to entry. We designed this study to address these substantial gaps in our knowledge, build on the existing research, and develop an evidence-based definition of minimum competence. We conducted 50 focus groups using a protocol we developed to gather data about the knowledge and skills new lawyers need to practice competently. Of those focus groups, 41 were conducted with new lawyers, while the remaining nine were conducted with those who supervise new lawyers. The data from these focus groups suggest that minimum competence consists of 12 interlocking components — or “building blocks.”

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April 15, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Seventeen-Year Anniversary Of TaxProf Blog

TaxProf Blog Logo (2021)Today (April 15, of course) marks the 17-year anniversary of TaxProf Blog (and the 26-year anniversary of the TaxProf Email Discussion Group for law school tax professors). The blog's traffic continues to grow, with over 23.4 million page views over the past year.

The most popular posts over the past 17 years:

Legal EducationMedian LSAT Scores For The 2015 U.S. News Law School Rankings (2015) (619,023 page views)

TaxLesson From The Tax Court: S Corp Payments To Sole Shareholder Were Wages (2021) (245,574 page views)

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April 15, 2021 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Federal Judge Dismisses Santa Clara Law Students' COVID-19 Tuition Refund Class Action

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Santa Clara University Escapes Law Students' COVID Tuition Refund Class Action:

Santa Clara Law (2021)A federal judge in California has dismissed a class action brought by three Santa Clara University law students who sought a tuition refund after their classes moved online last spring due to COVID-19.

In her March 29 decision, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California wrote that references to on-campus classes and activities on the university’s website, course catalogues and bulletins do not constitute a specific promise to students that classes would be held in-person—as the plaintiffs argued. Statements made in those documents are too general to “impose contractual obligations” on the university, Koh found. ...

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April 15, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, New Cases | Permalink

Cravath Launches 'On Tax' Podcast

Cravath Launches “On Tax” Podcast (Apr. 14, 2021):

Cravath on TaxOn April 2021, Cravath launched its On Tax podcast, a program designed to highlight, through conversation, the people, connections and stories that make the tax space such a fascinating and dynamic area of practice.

On each episode of On Tax, partner and host Len Teti speaks to professionals in the Cravath network about their life and work in the world of tax. The first three episodes are now available:

Episode 1 – Steve Gordon of Cravath
Steve Gordon served as Head or Co‑Head of Cravath’s Tax Department from 2000 through 2020. In this episode of On Tax, he talks about the many different paths people take into tax law, how his interest in transactional work led him to the tax practice at Cravath, and the collaborative, trusting culture he worked to cultivate in his years leading the Firm’s Tax Department.

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April 15, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Stop Ignoring Microaggressions Against Your Staff

Chronicle of Higher Education, Stop Ignoring Microaggressions Against Your Staff:

Three ways that professors and administrators, intentionally or not, put staff ‘in their place.’

“You don’t behave enough like staff,” I was told derisively by the tenured professor who was then my supervisor. Despite my Ph.D., my years of experience at various levels of higher education, and my long list of successes as a faculty developer, this supervisor insisted on pointing out my place within the academic hierarchy. I sat there, in silence, swallowing my anger and shame. ...

Nowadays there’s a name for such slights — they’re called microaggressions. I’ve been dealing with them for my entire academic career — first as a graduate student and an instructor and then when I shifted from a faculty role to an academic-staff member. ...

But so far, little attention has been paid to the daily microaggressions directed at those of us who fall into the highly diverse yet nebulous category of staff members — that is, anyone who is not in the “prestige” ranks of faculty member or administrator. Outside of David M. Perry’s 2020 essay on “Title Policing and Other Ways Professors Bully the Academic Staff,” I’ve seen little commentary on the treatment of staff members. And there is an appetite for that discussion. When I asked on Twitter what one of my next topics should be in this series of essays on campus staff, the most common answer was microaggressions. ...

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April 15, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Avi-Yonah Reviews Rebellion, Rascals, And Revenue: Tax Follies And Wisdom Through The Ages

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue: Pleasingly Gaudy and Preposterous, 170 Tax Notes Fed. 1885 (Mar. 22, 2021) (reviewing Michael Keen (IMF) & Joel Slemrod (Michigan; Google Scholar), Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages (Princeton University Press 2021)):

RascalsMichael Keen and Joel Slemrod’s Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages (Princeton University Press 2021) is a wonderful book, which should be read by any student of taxation. To most tax policy makers and academics, tax history may seem a bit arcane, because they believe that the study of taxation and especially public finance economics is a story of progress and that we know better how to design good tax systems than our ancestors. To this attitude, Keen and Slemrod offer a decisive rejoinder: We do not necessarily understand taxation better than our predecessors, and in fact we can learn from their experience. Keen and Slemrod’s marvelous book is not an attempt to directly effectuate tax policy or to rewrite tax history. Instead, it is a very wise excursion by two highly experienced public finance economists into the past in order to both understand the present better by comparing it to what was different, and to improve the future by learning from both past wisdom and past follies.

April 14, 2021 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Dean & Waris: Ten Truths About Tax Havens — Inclusion And The ‘Liberia’ Problem

Steven Dean (Brooklyn Law School) & Attiya Waris (University of Nairobi), Ten Truths About Tax Havens: Inclusion and the ‘Liberia’ Problem, 70 Emory L.J. ___ (2021):

There has been a decades-long effort to repair an increasingly fragile international tax system. One reason it has foundered has been what we identify as the ‘Liberia problem.’ In 2000, the powerful Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development identified Liberia—but not Switzerland—as a tax haven and targeted it for sanctions. It did not go well. During the two decades since, everything has changed; yet seemingly from this lens of inclusion, nothing has changed at all. Awkwardly similar “blacklists” still target ‘Black’ and ‘Brown’ jurisdictions despite the fact that experts mean something quite different when they speak of the “scourge of tax havens” and secrecy jurisdictions. We think differently in important respects but believe that those real disagreements demonstrate the need for a less-insular global tax policymaking apparatus. And we share a conviction that a more inclusive and more level playing field in the international tax arena would benefit all states.

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April 14, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

NALP: Median First-Year Associate Salary Rises To $165,000, Despite Pandemic

NALP, First-Year Associate Salaries Show Modest Growth at Large Firms; 2020 Salary Reductions Put in Place Due to the Pandemic Don’t Have Lasting Impact:

The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) today released its 2021 Associate Salary Survey report, showing that the overall median first-year associate base salary as of Jan. 1, 2021 was $165,000, up $10,000 (6.5%) from 2019, the year of the last survey administration. Law firms of more than 250 lawyers accounted for about 78% of the 572 responses.

“Despite widespread media reports of austerity measures implemented by law firms during the pandemic, including delays in partner draws and in some cases temporary salary reductions for lawyers, the findings from NALP’s latest Associate Salary Survey show that associate compensation has continued to grow over the last two years, with first-year associate compensation of $190,000 now measured as the most common starting salary, reflecting the continued strength of the legal sector despite a difficult year,” said James G. Leipold, NALP’s Executive Director.

Salary increases were not universal across firm sizes. The greatest salary growth was observed in firms of 101-250 lawyers, where median first-year base salaries increased $15,000 from $115,000 in 2019 to $130,000 in 2021 (13.0% increase). First-year salaries in firms of 251-500 lawyers and more than 700 lawyers each grew by $10,000 as compared to 2019, rising to $170,000 and $190,000, respectively. Salaries in firms of 501-700 lawyers were down slightly, dropping from $160,000 in 2019 to $155,000 in 2021. This decrease is not indicative of firms of 501-700 lawyers lowering their first-year salaries since 2019, but it is because of differences in the composition of firms that fell into this firm size between the two years.

NALP

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April 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

'You Should Smile More,' Academic Catcalling, and Women-on-Women Crimes

Deborah L. Borman (Arkansas-Little Rock), 'You Should Smile More,' Academic Catcalling, and Women-on-Women Crimes, 65 Vill. L. Rev. 1065 (2020):

Within the legal academy women “catcall” other women in an attempt to control the emotions of colleagues. This aggression is played out as relational or “intrasexual competition between women and arises both covertly and overtly in the form of unwarranted professional criticism or competition, a failure to empathize, a failure to mentor, an effort to destroy or otherwise undermine another woman’s career, and by many other underhanded methods. I refer to the set of phenomena described above as “women-on-women crime.” These crimes act to enhance and protect the historic patriarchy in legal education; challenging patriarchy and successfully bringing a feminist perspective into the classroom is stymied when behind the classroom door female colleagues engage in the crimes of sabotaging, criticism, and undermining.

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April 14, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Federal Judge Allows Student Tuition Refund Class Action To Proceed Against Quinnipiac University Over COVID-19 Shift To Online Learning

Following up on my previous post, GWU And NYU Beat Student COVID-19 Tuition Refund Lawsuits:  Connecticut Law Tribune, Quinnipiac Must Face Some COVID-19 Claims Tied to Remote Education, Judge Rules:

Quinnipiac University Logo (2021)A federal judge in Connecticut issued a partial favorable ruling Thursday to four students suing Quinnipiac University in a class action after its in-person learning was disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judge Kari Dooley ruled the parents of the four students had no standing to sue, but did rule for the students on their breach-of-contract and unjust-enrichment claims. Dooley did dismiss their conversion claim. The plaintiffs are seeking millions of dollars on behalf of the class.

Hundreds of similar lawsuits have been filed against colleges and universities across the nation, drawing a mixed bag of rulings from judges.

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April 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Brunson, Johnson & Ryznar: Reforming The Home Office Deduction

Samuel D. Brunson (Loyola-Chicago) & Christian A. Johnson (Widener), An Employee Home Office Expense Deduction for the New Normal, 171 Tax Notes Fed. 41 (Apr. 5, 2021):

Brunson and Johnson argue for a limited above-the-line deduction to cover the costs of working from home and suggest that if Congress expands the deduction for unreimbursed home office expenses, it reconsider the requirements.

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-McKinney), The Design of a Home Office Deduction, 171 Tax Notes Fed. 49 (Apr. 5, 2021):

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April 14, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

If Biden Approves Loan Forgiveness, What Could It Mean For Law School Debt?

ABA Journal, If Biden Approves Loan Forgiveness, What Could It Mean For Law School Debt?:

People with law school loans could benefit if President Joe Biden authorizes a plan to forgive all or a portion of student debt, but it could exclude those who owe private lenders and impose limits based on income, experts say. ...

The issue of student loan debt forgiveness figured prominently in the 2020 presidential campaign. In April, the White House announced that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona had been asked to explore President Joe Biden’s authority to cancel student loans, USA Today reports.

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April 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Washington & Lee Hosts Virtual Book Event Today On Michelle Drumbl’s Refundable Tax Credits

Washington & Lee Law to Host Book Celebration and Discussion of Refundable Tax Credits:

Tax CreditsWashington & Lee law professor and Tax Clinic director Michelle Drumbl’s recent book, Tax Credits for the Working Poor: A Call for Reform (Cambridge University Press 2021), is the topic of an upcoming book celebration event and discussion.

The event will occur in a virtual format on Wednesday, April 14 beginning at 3:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Registration in advance is required at go.wlu.edu/taxcredit.

Drumbl’s book examines the pros and cons of Congress tasking the Internal Revenue Service with the delivery of social benefits. At the core of the book is an examination of the earned income tax credit (EITC), which was introduced in the U.S. in 1975. According to Drumbl, the EITC remains the most significant earnings-based refundable credit in the Internal Revenue Code.

The economic shocks related to the COVID-19 pandemic saw Congress once again turn to the IRS to deliver aid to those in need, as tens of millions of individuals and families received three rounds of Economic Impact Payments. Most recently, Congress enacted a temporary one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit that transforms the credit in size and scope: parents will receive a higher benefit per child, earned income is no longer a prerequisite to the credit, and part of the credit will be delivered in advance in monthly payments.

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April 14, 2021 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Dean: A Plea To President Biden To Stop Perpetuating Racist Tax Policy

Steven Dean (Brooklyn), A Plea to President Biden to Stop Perpetuating Racist Tax Policy:

Dear President Biden,
You have pledged to fight to rid our nation of systemic racism. I believe you mean that. But it seems that many in your administration do not. Or perhaps they simply underestimate your resolve.

When you announced your plan last week to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, you showed a way to pay much of the cost with tax increases on corporations. You did not dwell on the complex details, yet you did take time to single out the Cayman Islands and Bermuda to blame for the failures of our corporate income tax. For reasons that I understand all too well, you identified the wrong culprits.

In your remarks, you explained that corporations had hidden profits in the Caymans and Bermuda. That may be true, in a sense. But it also encapsulated the racism and xenophobia you promised to purge from our political discourse. ...

I blame your extraordinary team of tax specialists. When Paul Krugman joked that there were no tax experts that had not already joined your administration, I immediately thought of one whom they had not even had a conversation with until a few days ago.

With her acclaimed book The Whiteness of WealthDorothy Brown showed the world what we tax nerds long suspected.

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April 13, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Western New England Seeks To Hire Adjunct Faculty To Teach Online Tax Courses In Its LL.M. Estate Planning Program

Western New England University School of Law is seeking to hire adjuncts to teach these tax-related courses online for its LL.M. in its Elder Law and Estate Planning Program in either the 2021-22 or 2022-23 academic years:

  • Western New EnglandAdvanced Issues in Wealth Transfer Taxes — Marital Deduction Planning
  • Advanced Issues in Wealth Transfer Taxes — Generation Skipping Transfer Tax
  • Income Taxation of Pass Through Entities
  • Income Tax for Estate Planners
  • Federal Wealth Transfer Taxes
  • Federal Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates

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April 13, 2021 in Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink

BigLaw Associates Are Burned Out. Special $60,000+ Bonuses May Not Be Enough To Keep Them

Business Insider, Big Law Associates Are Burned Out After a Year Of Rapid-Fire Deals and Intense Hours. Special $60,000-Plus Bonuses May Not Be Enough to Keep Them:

From M&A deals to IPOs to bankruptcy proceedings, Big Law associates are busier than ever.

For some, their jobs advising financial firms and corporations just got a lot more lucrative. At least 25 Big Law firms are awarding special bonuses up to $64,000 to high-performing associates in 2021.

But many of these bonuses aren't just a straightforward reward for all the hard work that's already been done. Some are being announced months before they hit bank accounts, which is unusual by industry standards.

Recruiters and other industry experts say the payouts are an effort to keep burned-out associates from leaving after a grueling year of high-volume remote work. And some associates Insider spoke to said that, while the money is nice, what they'd really like is to see the workload lighten.

Long hours aren't new for the field. Big Law associates, who range from mid-20-year-olds fresh out of law school to senior associates in their 30s with years of practice under their belts, can expect to work 60-70 hours per week in normal times, including late nights and weekends. While more junior lawyers spend their time drafting documents and learning on the job, older associates are expected to find clients and take the lead on some engagements. After about a decade of hard work and meeting billable-hour requirements, some lucky associates succeed in their quest to make partner, which can mean sharing in the firm's profits.

Still, this year has been different for the notoriously old-fashioned industry, with lawyers tackling a wave of restructurings, an onslaught of SPAC work, and an uptick in work in other areas all while working from home. While firms are looking to make lateral hires to help relieve the pressure, they're also scrambling to hold onto talent they already have.

April 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

60% Of Colleges Cut Or Froze Faculty Salaries During The Pandemic; 30% Reduced Or Eliminated Fringe Benefits

AAUP, 2020-21 Faculty Compensation Survey Results:

Data collection for the AAUP’s 2020–21 Faculty Compensation Survey concluded in March, with 929 US colleges and universities providing employment data for nearly 380,000 full-time faculty members as well as senior administrators at nearly 600 institutions. ...

The survey found that real wages for full-time faculty decreased for the first time since the Great Recession, and average wage growth for all ranks of full-time faculty was the lowest since the AAUP began tracking annual wage growth in 1972. After adjusting for inflation, real wages decreased at over two-thirds of colleges and universities. The number of full-time faculty decreased at over half of institutions.

To understand the ways in which institutions responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAUP also asked participating institutions to identify how many faculty members–both tenure-line and non-tenure-track–were impacted by actions taken by institutions. US colleges and universities have taken a wide range of actions in response to financial difficulties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when many institutions were already struggling to balance their budgets, many lowered their expenditures by implementing hiring freezes, salary cuts, fringe benefit cuts, furloughs, and layoffs. The results of the AAUP’s 2020–21 Faculty Compensation Survey highlight the prevalence of such actions and how they have affected faculty members. ...

  • Average salaries increased 1.0 percent. This is the smallest increase on record since the AAUP began tracking this measure in 1972.
  • After adjusting for inflation, real average salaries decreased 0.4 percent. After adjusting for inflation (the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, increased 1.4 percent in 2020), real wages decreased for the first time since the 2011–12 academic year. ...
  • Nearly 60 percent implemented salary freezes or reductions.
  • About 30 percent eliminated or reduced some form of fringe benefits. ...
  • Almost 10 percent implemented furloughs for at least some faculty.

Inside Higher Ed, Faculty Salaries Dip This Year:

Top Salaries for Full Professors at Private Universities, 2020-21 (Average)

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April 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Only 2.9% Of Harvard Faculty Are Conservative

Harvard Crimson, ‘An Endangered Species’: The Scarcity of Harvard’s Conservative Faculty:

It is no surprise that Harvard’s faculty skews heavily toward the left side of the political aisle. Out of 236 members of the FAS who responded to a question on political leanings in The Crimson’s 2021 Faculty Survey, just seven — 3 percent — identified as “somewhat” or “very conservative,” compared to 183 who identified as “somewhat” or “very liberal.”

Harvard

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April 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

A New Feudalism: Selfish Genes, Great Wealth And The Rise Of The Dynastic Family Trust

Eric A. Kades (William & Mary; Google Scholar), A New Feudalism: Selfish Genes, Great Wealth and the Rise of the Dynastic Family Trust:

Today’s record levels of economic inequality are infecting our future as the top 0.01% bequest vast wealth to their descendants. With the death of the Rule Against Perpetuities (RAP), this inequality has the potential to harden social class lines not just for a generation or two but forever. Although it may sound implausible, interviews with estate lawyers serving very high net worth clients reveal that some of the wealthiest tier of testators are already exploiting the RAP’s elimination, along with a tax loophole, to establish dynasty trusts that will financially empower their bloodline as long as it continues. Evolutionary biologists will not be surprised by this finding. Recent work in their field shows a universal and powerful human drive for high status descendants — a drive for “quality” progeny so powerful that it appears to trump the usual desire to maximize quantity of offspring. Coupled with the long history of dynastic family wealth in England, this science suggests that today’s wealthiest testators will utilize powerful modern legal institutions (e.g. well-developed laws of contract and trust; deep and efficient capital markets) to forge a new sort of trust that I dub a Dynastic Family Trusts (DFT). These DFTs will be larded with innovative provisions leveraging a founder’s wealth to maximize descendants’ status for generation after generation.

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April 13, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Future Of Tenure

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Future of Tenure: Rethinking a Beleaguered Institution

Tenure in the American university system is a lot of things, and they are not always easy to reconcile. It is a form of job protection, one that differs fundamentally from the protections offered by unionization. It is a safeguard for the freedom of academic inquiry — related to but not identical with a larger and peculiarly American commitment to free speech. (At public universities, tenure is part of the armor protecting faculty members for controversial political speech, even when that speech is unconnected to their teaching or research.) And it is a professional prize, a badge of authority, in the university’s hyper-hierarchical symbolic economy.

It is also disappearing. In 1993-94, more than half, or 56.2 percent of faculty members at institutions with a tenure system had tenure. By 2018-19, that number had fallen to 45.1 percent. These declines are driven in part by declines in the percentage of full-time faculty across the university. In 1970-71, almost 80 percent of faculty members were full-time. By 2018-19, that number was under 55 percent.

To politicians, especially red-state politicians at a time when trust in universities among the public is very low, tenure is an easy target. “What other job in the U.S. has protections like that?” as State Sen. Rick Brattin, a Missouri Republican, put it. “If you looked around, you’d come up short.” Meanwhile, an evaporating academic job market and rising adjunctification have severely diminished the ranks of tenure’s potential stakeholders. As Ed Burmila asked last summer in these pages, “Are there enough academic workers with a stake in the tenure system left to defend it?”

With the help of Carolyn Dever, a professor of English and a former provost at Dartmouth College, and George Justice, a professor of English and former dean of the humanities at Arizona State University, we’ve gathered 12 scholars from across fields to address hard questions about the future of tenure. Besides these 12 new pieces, we’ve also included four previously published essays on tenure and its maladies. Our authors don’t always agree with one another — but no discussion of the future of tenure can afford to ignore them.

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April 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Congress — And Biden — Can Raise Taxes Retroactively

Washington Post op-ed:  Congress — and Biden — Can Raise Taxes Retroactively If They Want To, by David Herzig (E&Y):

Tax increases seem to appear on the horizon. Recently, the Biden administration proposed raising the corporate income tax to 28 percent, among other tax increases, to pay for a $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Depending on where the economy is in the fall, President Biden and the Democratic-controlled House and Senate may advance an agenda heavy on other policy initiatives, such as addressing climate change and reforming the Affordable Care Act. These plans are also likely to be paid for with increased taxes. In recent interviews, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Mark Mazur, a tax policy official, said that Treasury should be thinking broadly about revenue-raising policies to pay for Biden’s campaign proposals.

As lawmakers consider the magnitude of tax increases, taxpayers may wonder whether those increases will be retroactive not only to the date of the bill’s introduction, but to the beginning of 2021. This is an important and interesting question: Can tax legislative increases be retroactive?

Under conventional wisdom, the answer is no. Taxpayers should be able to rely on the existing rules; otherwise, the government’s pursuit of short-term revenue could create a sense of unfairness and animosity toward the system.

In reality, however, the answer is yes. Tax increases can be retroactive, and not just to the current year.

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April 13, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, April 12, 2021

Alstott Delivers Pugh Lecture Today At San Diego On Child Care Reform After The Pandemic

Anne Alstott (Yale) delivers the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego today on Child Care Reform After the Pandemic: Towards a Public Option:

Alstott_anne_ala23-2017

This lecture will build on the work that Ganesh Sitaraman (Vanderbilt) and I do in our book, The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality (Harvard University Press 2019), to make four points:

First, child care should not be understood as a private responsibility, one to be met by market purchases by individual parents. Instead, we should frame child care as an important public investment – as we do in the case of public education and public utilities.

Second, we should recognize that the economics of child care doom the market model to failure: by treating child care as a consumer product, like Doritos or air freshener, we guarantee the trifecta of high cost, low quality, and poor working conditions. And tax-based subsidies cannot effectively cure these defects.

Third, there are existing models for a public option in child care, and many states, localities, and nonprofits have begun to take measures that we could extend. A public option has been proved to provide affordable care, verifiable quality, and sound working conditions.

Fourth, a public option will help us weather a future pandemic or public emergency, for reasons of high quality and public accountability.

Previous Richard Crawford Pugh Lectures on Tax Law & Policy:

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April 12, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Halperin: No Basis Step-Up For Marketable Securities With No Tax At Death

Daniel I. Halperin (Harvard), No Basis Step-Up for Marketable Securities With No Tax at Death, 170 Tax Notes Fed. 1709 (Mar. 15, 2021):

Tax Notes Federal (2020)In this article, Halperin proposes an innovative way to achieve realization, without any added tax burden at gift, death, or sale: collecting an equivalent tax in present value during the period the asset is held.

The Biden administration has indicated that it would end the egregious step-up in basis at death under section 1014. The step-up, combined with lack of gain recognition on property transferred to charities, allows wealthy households to escape taxation on a substantial percentage of their income. Importantly, measuring effective tax rates, without adding unrealized gains to the denominator, significantly understates the actual effective tax burden on those who hold appreciated assets until death or transfer them to charity to avoid tax on gains. In fact, those who have great wealth may have little or no reason to sell appreciated property. Risk can be mitigated by a charitable gift, a like-kind exchange for real estate, or the creation of an offsetting position that falls short of triggering a constructive sale. It is long past time to eliminate this enormous tax loophole.

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April 12, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Loneliness In COVID-19, Life, And The Law

Olivia Ash (Indiana) & Peter H. Huang (Colorado), Loneliness in COVID-19, Life, and the Law (111 pages):

This Article analyzes loneliness in the COVID-19 pandemic, life, and the legal profession, especially in legal education. This Article examines: (1) loneliness: what it is, who is lonely, how loneliness affects an individual, and recent evidence about experiences of loneliness in the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) personal, organizational, and societal costs of loneliness; (3) current research about well-being and loneliness in the legal profession and legal education; (4) results from the first loneliness survey of law students; and (5) three evidence-based interventions to mitigate loneliness: mindfulness, talk therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy), and inclusion.

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April 12, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

The Lesson From Johns Hopkins' Reversed Suspension Of Employee Retirement Contributions During COVID-19: Faculty Should Use Forensic Audits To Expose Faux Austerity

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  The Era of Artificial Scarcity, by François Furstenberg (Johns Hopkins University):

Johns HopkinsAdministrators have rushed to embrace austerity measures. The faculty should call their bluff.

When does a $5,000 investment pay off with a $100-million return? No, this is not a tale of Wall Street chicanery or Reddit-inspired investing. Rather, it is a story of rank-and-file university employees mobilizing to defend their vision of university governance — and winning big.

Our story begins a year ago, just a month into the pandemic, when the Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniels announced a set of “decisive austerity measures” in the face of anticipated revenue declines. These included layoffs, salary freezes, and a suspension of employee retirement contributions.

In a global pandemic that has killed over half a million Americans and confronted untold numbers with economic catastrophe, the travails of one elite university may not seem of great concern. Indeed, given the hardship the pandemic has wreaked on the sector, the suspension of retirement benefits at Johns Hopkins might appear downright trivial.

But it’s precisely the wealth of Johns Hopkins that turns this story into a parable. When an institution with almost $2 billion in reserves slashes employees’ benefits in the face of economic uncertainty, one begins to wonder if a set of ideological assumptions might not be at work. ...

Rather than bowing to alleged economic necessity, employees mobilized, questioning the leadership’s dogma, demanding independent verification, and pushing back against dubious assertions. As it turned out, we had a powerful weapon at our disposal, as do faculty members nationwide: a forensic audit.

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April 12, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Paving The Way: The First American Women Law Professors

Herma Hill Kay, Paving the Way: The First American Women Law Professors (Patricia A. Cain (Santa Clara), ed. University of California Press 2021):

Paving the WayThe first wave of trailblazing female law professors and the stage they set for American democracy.

When it comes to breaking down barriers for women in the workplace, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s name speaks volumes for itself—but, as she clarifies in the foreword to this long-awaited book, there are too many trailblazing names we do not know. Herma Hill Kay, former Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law and Ginsburg’s closest professional colleague, wrote Paving the Way to tell the stories of the first fourteen female law professors at ABA- and AALS-accredited law schools in the United States. Kay, who became the fifteenth such professor, labored over the stories of these women in order to provide an essential history of their path for the more than 2,000 women working as law professors today and all of their feminist colleagues.

Because Herma Hill Kay, who died in 2017, was able to obtain so much first-hand information about the fourteen women who preceded her, Paving the Way is filled with details, quiet and loud, of each of their lives and careers from their own perspectives. Kay wraps each story in rich historical context, lest we forget the extraordinarily difficult times in which these women lived. Paving the Way is not just a collection of individual stories of remarkable women but also a well-crafted interweaving of law and society during a historical period when women’s voices were often not heard and sometimes actively muted. The final chapter connects these first fourteen women to the “second wave” of women law professors who achieved tenure-track appointments in the 1960s and 1970s, carrying on the torch and analogous challenges. This is a decidedly feminist project, one that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg advocated for tirelessly and admired publicly in the years before her death.

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April 12, 2021 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: The Incoherence Of §6751(b)

Camp (2017)Two recent Tax Court cases show us that while the §6751(b) supervisory approval requirement does apply to a tax penalty mechanically applied by a human employee it does not apply to the same penalty mechanically applied by a computer.  As a result, two similarly situated taxpayers get treated differently.  One gets penalized and the other does not.  It is an understandable result, but not a sensible one.  To me, it shows the incoherence of the statute.

In Andrew Mitchell Berry and Sara Berry v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo, 2021-42 (Apr. 7, 2021), Judge Marvell holds that a §6662(b)(2) understatement penalty is invalid without proper supervisory approval when proposed as a matter of routine in a 30-day letter issued by a Revenue Agent.  In contrast, Anna Elise Walton v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2021-40 (Mar. 30, 2021) (Judge Urda) explains why supervisory approval is not required for the very same penalty if it is first proposed in a computer-generated CP2000 notice, issued without any human involvement.  Both the 30-day letter and the CP2000 notice serve the same function, to encourage the taxpayer to engage with the IRS to ensure the accuracy of their returns.  Yet the penalty proposed in one requires 2 humans to approve and the penalty proposed in the other requires no human approval.

These cases are straightforward applications of the statute.  They are unremarkable in their conclusions that human-proposed penalties need human review but computer-proposed penalties do not.  That is what the statute indeed says.  However, what makes them worth your time is that they demonstrate the strange interaction of penalty statutes and tax administration.  Here we have two equally culpable (or innocent, take your pick!) taxpayers, but only one gets hit with the same mechanically-computed penalty and that solely because of the difference in how the penalties are first proposed.  The difference is between what is routine and what is automatic.  It’s a difference created by how the IRS operates, the language of the statute, and the Tax Court’s interpretation of that statute.  And it’s a difference that makes little sense, at least to me.   I think there is a better distinction to be made.

If you are already a tax penalty jock and know how incoherent the system is, you do not need this lesson.  Otherwise, I invite you to dive into the details below the fold. 

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April 12, 2021 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Multistate Bar Exam Is Not A Valid Measure Of Attorney Competence

Steven Foster (Oklahoma City), Does the Multistate Bar Exam Validly Measure Attorney Competence?, 82 Ohio St. L.J. ___ (2021):

2020 brought many challenges, which included administering the bar exam. States jumped through numerous obstacles to continue administering the current form of the exam. However, the current bar exam has never been proven to be a valid measure of attorney competence. This article offers evidence the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), is invalid. The exam, in other words, does not measure the knowledge and skills that lawyers use in practice. On the contrary, it is an artificial barrier to practice—one that harms the public by failing to screen for the knowledge and skills that clients need from their attorneys.

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April 12, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 11, 2021

8th Circuit: University Of Iowa Administrators Are Personally Liable For Deregistering Christian Student Group After It Denied Leadership Role To Gay Student

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Inside Higher Ed, Appeals Court Says Iowa Administrators Are Personally Liable in Lawsuit Brought by Christian Student Group:

Iowa Business Leaders in ChristA federal appeals court ruled Monday that University of Iowa administrators can be held personally liable and sued for damages due to their actions deregistering a Christian student group that denied a leadership position to a gay student. [Business Leaders in Christ v. University of Iowa, No. 19-1696 (8th Cir. Mar. 22, 2021)].

The case involves a student group called Business Leaders in Christ, whose members believe that same-sex relationships are “outside of God’s design.” After the group denied an executive leadership position to a gay student in 2017 on the stated grounds that the student “disagreed with, and would not agree to live by [BLinC’s] religious beliefs,” the university began a process that ultimately led to the revocation of the group’s status.

BLinC sued and, in a 2019 decision that alarmed advocates for LGBTQ+ students, a district court judge held that the university selectively enforced its Human Rights Policy and violated BLinC members’ constitutional rights to free speech, free association and free exercise of religion. The university did not appeal the judge's holding that it infringed on the BLinC members' First Amendment rights.

Rather, at issue in the appeal was whether the three individual Iowa administrators named as defendants could be personally liable and sued for damages, or whether they are shielded by qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that grants government officials immunity from civil lawsuits except in cases where their conduct violates “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”

In a decision that hinged on an assessment of whether the rights at issue were “clearly established,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit partially reversed the ruling of the district court, which had granted the administrators qualified immunity [Business Leaders in Christ v. University of Iowa, No. 19-1696 (8th Cir. Mar. 22, 2021)]. The appeals court held that the administrators can be held personally liable in relation to the students’ free expression and expressive association claims, but not in relation to claims related to free exercise of religion.

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April 11, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, New Cases | Permalink

David French: 'Legal Cannonball' Lawsuit By Dozens Of LGBTQ Christian College Students Has 'No Real Chance Of Success'

Washington Post, Dozens of LGBTQ Students at Christian Colleges Sue the U.S. Education Dept., Hoping to Pressure Equality Act Negotiations:

Elizabeth Hunter says she became suicidal after Bob Jones University administrators grilled the former student about her sexuality for tweeting “happy Pride” and writing a book with lesbian characters. She was fined, sent to anti-gay counseling and removed from her job at the campus TV station. Veronica Penales says she’s told officials at Baylor University, where she is a sophomore, that people leave anti-gay notes on her door, but they don’t investigate. Lucas Wilson said he graduated from Liberty University with “a profound sense of shame” after being encouraged to go to conversion therapy.

The three are among 33 current and past students at federally funded Christian colleges and universities cited in a federal lawsuit filed Monday against the U.S. Department of Education. The suit says the religious exemption the schools are given that allow them to have discriminatory policies is unconstitutional because they receive government funding. The class-action suit, filed by the nonprofit Religious Exemption Accountability Project, references 25 schools across the country.

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April 11, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

He's A Famous Evangelical Preacher, But His Kids Wish He’d Pipe Down

Joyner

New York Times op-ed:  He’s a Famous Evangelical Preacher, but His Kids Wish He’d Pipe Down, by Nicholas Kristof:

The Rev. Rick Joyner is a famous evangelical leader who has called on Christians to arm themselves for an inevitable civil war against liberals, whom he suggests are allies of the devil.

But this is the awkward part: His five children would be on the other side of that civil war, as he and his kids all acknowledge. Just as America is torn asunder by politics and polarization, so is the Joyner family. The Joyners love each other, are there for each other — and despair for each other.

“He talks about Democrats being evil, forgetting that all five of his kids vote Democratic,” said his eldest, Anna Jane Joyner, 36, a climate change activist and podcast host (her father has suggested that climate change is a Communist conspiracy). “Who is he asking his followers to take up arms against? Liberal activists? That’s me.”

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April 11, 2021 in Legal Education | 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 new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5. The #1 paper is #231 among 15,897 tax papers in all-time downloads:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [1,412 Downloads]  The Impact of Public Perceptions on General Consumption Taxes, by Rita de la Feria (University of Leeds; Google Scholar) & Michael Walpole (University of New South Wales; Google Scholar)
  2. [306 Downloads]  A Wealth of Sovereign Choices: Tax Implications of McGirt v. Oklahoma and the Promise of Tribal Economic Development, by Stacy Leeds (Arizona State; Google Scholar) & Lonnie Beard (Arkansas)
  3. [240 Downloads]  Coca-Cola: A Decisive IRS Transfer Pricing Victory, At Last, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar) & Gianluca Mazzoni (S.J.D. (International Tax) 2020, Michigan)
  4. [205 Downloads]  Redistribution For Realists, by Zachary Liscow (Yale; Google Scholar)
  5. [169 Downloads]  Tax Treaty Entitlement and Fiscally Transparent Entities: Improvements or Unnecessary Complications?, by Leopoldo Parada (University of Leeds; Google Scholar)

April 11, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, April 10, 2021

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Jones Day Nabs NINE U.S. Supreme Court Law Clerks From October Term 2019-20 With $400,000 Bonuses

Jones Day

Jones Day Adds Nine U.S. Supreme Court Clerks From October Term 2019:

The global law firm Jones Day has announced that nine former U.S. Supreme Court clerks from October Term 2019 have joined the Firm as associates in the Firm's Issues & Appeals Practice. Jones Day has recruited 64 U.S. Supreme Court clerks since October Term 2011.

"As we continue to be a leading destination for lawyers who want to work on important, cutting-edge legal issues from the earliest stages of litigation through appeal, we welcome this year's class of clerks, who join five different Jones Day offices," said Traci L. Lovitt, leader of Jones Day's Issues & Appeals Practice. "These talented lawyers have a terrific understanding of case law, and their analytical skills and deep insights into the latest legal developments will be of great value to clients."

The new arrivals, office locations, the Justices for whom they clerked, their law schools [Chicago (2), Duke, Harvard (3), Michigan, Notre Dame, Yale], and prior clerkships are as follows: ...

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April 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

7th Annual Parris Awards At Pepperdine Caruso Law

Congratulations to our student, staff, and faculty winners at Thursday's 7th Annual Parris Awards at Pepperdine Caruso Law:

Parris 1Student Awards

Evan T. Carthen 1L Award
Section A: Tyler Lisea
Section B: Tyra Jenkins
Section C: Susan Posluszny

Excellence in Service
Brynn Barton

Excellence in Professionalism
Gage Eller

Excellence in Peacemaking
Zino Osehobo

Excellence in Courage
Roxanne Swedelson
Sophie Sarchet

Excellence in Leadership
Zachary Carstens
Amy Jicha

Excellence in Character
Alexandra Boutelle

Pepperdine Award
Kelly Shea Delvac

Preceptor Award
Awards are also presented to alumni preceptors, who are paired with first-year students as mentors during their first year of law school

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April 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Dorothy Brown: College Exacerbates The Racial Wealth Gap

Washington Post op-ed:  College Isn’t the Solution for the Racial Wealth Gap. It’s Part of the Problem, by Dorothy Brown (Emory):

Higher education is supposedly the ticket to a better future, and it usually translates to a larger salary regardless of race, according to a 2011 study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. But college does not pay off for Black students the way it does for White students. At virtually every step — from taking out loans to facing a racist job market to dealing with repayment plans — Black students and their families have disadvantages. As a result, the Black-White wealth gap widens.

Black college graduates have higher debt loads, on average, than White college graduates. Black debt rises over time, White debt diminishes. Upon graduation, the average Black graduate owes $23,400 vs. the White graduate’s $16,000, according to the Brookings Institution. Four years later, the gap triples. Even at the top end of the income spec­trum, Black students have higher student loans ($4,643, on average) than White students ($3,835), and Black parents take out larger loans to help pay for college ($3,303 vs. $1,903).

What accounts for that difference? First, it’s the schools students attend. Wealthier colleges, which can afford to award financial aid and scholarships, disproportionately admit White students: White students are almost five times as likely to go to a selective university than Black students, even when controlling for income. Meanwhile, a higher share (12 percent) of Black students attend for-profit colleges than very selective universities (9 percent), because online and part-time features allow them to work while getting their degrees. These schools usually do not award any financial aid and are in effect extremely expensive, given their low graduation rates

Another factor is the wealth disparity between Black and White families. Black college students are less likely than their White peers to receive tax-free gifts from their parents and grandparents. ...

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April 10, 2021 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

U.S. Department Of Education Terminates Florida Coastal Law School's Eligibility For Federal Student Loans; ABA Demands Teach-Out Plan

Statement of William E. Adams, Jr., Managing Director, ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Regarding Florida Coastal School of Law:

Florida Coastal (2017)On April 2, 2021, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar was informed of the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to end access to federal student financial aid for Florida Coastal School of Law effective April 1, 2021. While the Department of Education's action could have a bearing on the law school's ability to operate in compliance with the ABA Standards, Florida Coastal School of Law remains an ABA-approved law school. Under the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, formal Council action is required to withdraw a law school’s approval. The process for the law school to qualify for and maintain its access to federal student financial aid is a U.S. Department of Education process.

In the wake of the Department of Education’s decision, the ABA has directed Florida Coastal School of Law to file a teach-out plan.

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April 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, April 9, 2021

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Eyal-Cohen Reviews Measuring And Valuing Wealth For Federal Wealth Tax Reform

This week, Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama; Google Scholar) reviews David Gamage (Indiana; Google Scholar), Ari Glogower (Ohio State; Google Scholar) and Kitty Richards (Independent), How to Measure and Value Wealth for a Federal Wealth Tax Reform, Roosevelt Inst. Issue Brief (2021):   

Mirit-Cohen (2018)

One of the most debated topic in the last decade is wealth inequality and the unequal distribution of assets among individuals in the U.S.. Wealth distribution becomes even more skewed when race and ethnicity are involved with (not surprisingly) a staggering racial wealth gap.

Recent proposals to reduce the wealth gap (such as those proposed by Senators Warren and Sanders) encountered the hurdle that fails to succeed any tax reform—overcoming valuation issues.  Our current income tax system is cash realization–based and thus mostly takes a deferral-based approach to valuation of wealth accumulation, which makes valuation of wealth rather challenging. If we truly want to make a progress on narrowing the income inequality gap and tax income and wealth of the highest income taxpayers in our society, we have to find efficient ways to overcome assessment difficulties, namely how to measure and value taxpayers’ wealth. This report—published under the auspices of the Roosevelt Institute, a think tank of experts on the American economy—is a practical attempt by Gamage, Glogower, and Richards to do just that.  

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April 9, 2021 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Monday, April 12: Anne Alstott (Yale) will deliver the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego on Child Care Reform After the Pandemic: Towards a Public Option. If you would like to attend, please contact San Diego Law Events.

Thursday, April 15: Allison Christians (McGill; Google Scholar) will present The Case for a Sustainable Excess Profits Tax (with Tarcisio Diniz Magalhaes (Antwerp)) virtually at Indiana as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman.

Thursday, April 15: Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar) will present Law and the New Dynamic Public Finance virtually at Duke as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact  Richard Schmalbeck or Lawrence Zelenak.

Friday, April 16: Ronald J. Gilson (Columbia; Google Scholar) will present Value Creation by Business Lawyers: Legal Skills and Asset Pricing (with Michael S. Knoll (Penn) commentating) virtually at the Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs: Tax Meets Non-Tax Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Tsilly Dagan or Ruth Mason.

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April 9, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

2022 U.S. News Omnibus Specialty Rankings v. Overall Rankings

Following up on yesterday's post, 2022 U.S. News Omnibus Specialty Rankings:

Here are the law schools whose U.S. News Omnibus Specialty Ranking most exceeds their overall U.S. News Ranking:

  School Specialty Rank Overall Rank Difference
1 American 22 81 +59
2 Suffolk 75 129 +54
2 UIC-John Marshall 93 147 +54
4 Seattle 74 126 +52
5 Rutgers 46 91 +45
6 Denver 34 78 +44
7 Pace 97 139 +42
8 Pacific 100 141 +41
8 Santa Clara 85 126 +41
10 Mitchell-Hamline 107 147 +40
11 Loyola-New Orleans 105 144 +39
12 Hofstra 81 119 +38
13 Baltimore 94 129 +35
14 Brooklyn 49 81 +32
14 UC-Hastings 18 50 +32
16 San Diego 57 86 +29
17 Loyola-Chicago 50 78 +28
18 Houston 33 60 +27
18 Loyola-L.A. 45 72 +27
20 Chicago-Kent 66 91 +25
20 Miami 47 72 +25
22 New York Law School 95 119 +24
22 San Francisco 123 147 +24
24 Georgia State 55 78 +23
24 Howard 68 91 +23
24 Indiana (McKinney) 88 111 +23
27 Syracuse 80 102 +22
28 DePaul 90 111 +21
28 Ohio State 19 40 +21
28 South Texas 126 147 +21
28 UC-Irvine 14 35 +21
32 Widener (DE) 127 147 +20
33 Stetson 92 111 +19
33 Tulane 41 60 +19
33 Vermont 128 147 +19
33 Univ. of Washington 26 45 +19
37 George Washington 9 27 +18
38 Temple 36 53 +17
39 Southwestern 131 147 +16
40 Case Western 58 72 +14
40 Fordham 21 35 +14
40 Georgetown 1 15 +14
40 South Carolina 82 96 +14
44 Willamette 135 147 +12
45 Golden Gate 136 147 +11
45 Gonzaga 118 129 +11
45 Maryland 39 50 +11
48 Quinnipiac 119 129 +10
49 Widener (PA) 138 147 +9
50 UNLV 52 60 +8

Here are the law schools whose U.S. News Omnibus Specialty Ranking most trails their overall U.S. News Ranking:

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April 9, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink