Paul L. Caron

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Stark Presents Retrofitting Prop 13 Through The Personal Income Tax Today At Duke

Kirk J. Stark (UCLA) presents Retrofitting Prop 13 Through the Personal Income Tax at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Seminar hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Kirk-starkUnder constitutional limitations on California’s local property tax introduced via Proposition 13 in June 1978, homeowners are generally taxed not on the fair market value of their homes but rather the property’s historic cost. As home prices rise over time, this “acquisition value” feature has two predictable effects: (1) it results in significant property tax disparities, favoring longtime homeowners relative to more recent purchasers, and (2) it discourages homeowners from moving because of the increased property tax burdens associated with purchasing a new home. Less widely recognized is the offsetting effect of a longstanding feature of California’s income tax: the deduction for local property taxes. By directing a larger subsidy to those with higher property taxes, this provision favors recent homebuyers facing market-value property taxes relative to longtime owners with constitutionally limited assessed valuations. It also mitigates to some degree Prop 13’s lock-in effect by reducing the effective property tax rate for those who purchase new homes.

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March 23, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Dean Martinez's 10-Page Letter To The Stanford Community About The Disruption Of Judge Duncan's Speech

Dean Jenny Martinez sent a 10-page letter to the Stanford community yesterday:

Stanford Law (2022)As my message to you last week indicated, I had hoped to wait until after final exams concluded at the end of this week to offer any further comments on the disruption of Judge Kyle Duncan’s speech at a student Federalist Society event on March 9, 2023, and the school’s response to that disruption. However, continuing outside attention to these events, as well as the volume of hateful and even threatening messages directed at members of our community, have led me to conclude that a more immediate statement is necessary.

As we consider the role of respectful treatment of members of our community, I want to be clear that the hate mail and appalling invective that have been directed at some of our students and law school administrators in the wake of March 9 are of great concern to me. All actionable threats that come to our attention will be investigated and addressed as the law permits.

In the message below, I respond below to many of the questions I continue to receive about why I apologized to Judge Duncan, why I stand by that apology, and why the protest violated the university’s policy on disruption. I articulate how I believe our commitment to diversity and inclusion means that we must protect the expression of all views. And, I outline some of the steps the school will be taking in the wake of this incident, including the adoption of clearer protocols for managing disruptions and educational programming on free speech and norms of the legal profession.

This message is unusually lengthy; because we are a law school and these issues are core to our educational mission, I explain some of my reasoning in quite a bit more detail than I would for a general audience. I also recognize that what I share below will not please everyone. While some of you may disagree with my views, I look forward to continuing the conversation about how we can create a learning environment that both respects freedom of speech and ensures that we support all of our diverse community members on their path to becoming lawyers.

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March 23, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Mayer: Nonprofits, Taxes, And Speech

Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer (Notre Dame; Google Scholar), Nonprofits, Taxes, and Speech, 56 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. __ (2023):

Loyola LA Law Review LogoFederal tax law is of two minds when it comes to speech by nonprofits. The tax benefits provided to nonprofits are justified in significant part because they provide nonprofits great discretion in choosing the specific ends and means to pursue, thereby promoting diversity and pluralism. But current law withholds some of these tax benefits if a nonprofit engages in certain types of political speech. Legislators have also repeatedly, if unsuccessfully, sought to expand these political speech restrictions in various ways. And some commentators have proposed denying tax benefits to groups engaged in other types of disfavored speech, including hate speech and fake news. These latter proposals have recently become more prominent as additional facts come to light about the role of nonprofits in supporting white supremacy and in disseminating misleading information about COVID-19 treatments.

This Article explores the existing and proposed limitations on speech by tax-exempt nonprofits given the constitutional restrictions on such limitations and the policy justifications for existing nonprofit tax benefits.

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March 23, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Law School Deans See Through The U.S. News Rankings Bluster

William M. Treanor (Dean, Georgetown), U.S. News and World Report Has a New, Aggressive Defense of Its Rankings. Law School Deans Like Me See It for What It Is.:

US News (2023)Since 1987, U.S. News & World Report has been ranking law schools. While the law school rankings have been criticized for decades, this year more than 40 law schools have announced they will not participate, and earlier this month, representatives of more than 100 law schools attended a conference to discuss a solution, hosted by Harvard and Yale law schools (the first schools to pull out), and featuring Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

In anticipation of the Harvard-Yale conference, U.S. News, which had been relatively quiet in the face of past criticism, responded ferociously, running a full-page ad in the Boston Globe and a Wall Street Journal op-ed defending the ranking system. In the op-ed, U.S. News’ executive chairman and CEO Eric J. Gertler suggested that law schools were withdrawing from U.S. News because, in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s possible invalidation of affirmative action in admissions, they want to be able to ignore grades and standardized test scores in admitting students, without suffering a drop in their U.S. News ranking.

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March 23, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Taxing Nudity: State 'Pole Taxes' Violate The First Amendment

Alexander Volokh (Emory; Google Scholar), Taxing Nudity: Discriminatory Taxes, Secondary Effects, and Tiers of Scrutiny:

In recent years, states have passed “pole taxes,” i.e., taxes targeting nude dancing at adult entertainment establishments. Such taxes generally target establishments where alcohol is consumed, and the proceeds generally fund programs that benefit victims of sex crimes (or similar). Some of these taxes are “erotic-expression taxes” that specifically target sexual dance or other expressive conduct, while others are more general “nudity taxes” that are not defined by reference to expressive conduct.

State governments have defended such taxes against First Amendment attack on the theory that (1) such taxes combat negative secondary effects and (under Renton v. Playtime Theaters) should be analyzed under intermediate scrutiny as though they were content-neutral, and (2) such taxes survive intermediate scrutiny given sufficient evidence of the linkage between the establishments and the secondary effects.

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March 23, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The Top 20 Law Schools Produce Fossil Fuel Lawyers 3X The Rate Of The Average Law School

Law Students For Climate Accountability, Fueling the Climate Crisis: Measuring T-20 participation in the Fossil Fuel Lawyer Pipeline:

Fossil Top 10On November 16, 2022, the Dean of Yale Law School Heather Gerken made a shocking announcement: Yale Law School would be leaving the US News & World Report law school rankings. Many law schools shared her frustrations with the rankings that Gerken called "profoundly flawed," and more than 40 law schools have followed Yale's decision to exit the rankings.

With the dominant framework for law school rankings in decline, the question arises of how we can better evaluate law schools. One important metric is the impact that graduates are having on the greatest justice issues the world faces, including, most significantly, the climate crisis.

On this metric, the law schools that have typically been ranked highest are not performing the best-in fact, they tend to perform the worst. We find that T-20 law schools-the top 20-ranked schools in the US News rankings ­have produced fossil fuel lawyers at over three times the rate of the average US law school. T-20 schools have produced nearly half of all US fossil fuel lawyers in our dataset.

Our findings emphasize that prestige in the legal field, including the view promoted by the US News rankings, is far too often accorded to actors advancing injustice. The same law schools that sit at the top of the US News rankings serve as linchpins in the production of lawyers who help climate polluters avoid accountability, write the contracts for climate-destroying fossil fuel projects, and lobby against environmental regulations.

In this respect, the current rethinking of the law school ranking system could provide an opening for law schools, as it may reduce pressures to promote careers at fossil fuel-friendly corporate law firms. We hope they will take it.

The climate crisis threatens-and has already begun-to produce immense harms, with its harshest impacts falling on the Global South and, within the US, BIPOC and low-income communities. Lawyers can play a vital role in addressing the climate crisis, but many use their legal skills to advance extraction of and dependency on the primary cause of the climate crisis: fossil fuels. As LSCA's annual Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard shows, elite law firms conduct far more work to exacerbate the climate crisis than to address it.

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March 23, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Lawsky Presents Coding The Code: Catala And Computationally Accessible Tax Law Today At Toronto

Sarah B. Lawsky (Northwestern; Google Scholar) presents Coding the Code: Catala and Computationally Accessible Tax Law, 75 S.M.U. L. Rev. 535 (2022), at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Benjamin Alarie:

Sarah lawskyThis Article describes a new programming language, Catala, created by a team of computer scientists and lawyers. Catala provides a tractable and functional approach to coding U.S. tax law that offers a more transparent formalization and could potentially hold the government more accountable than the current patchwork of forms, worksheets, and secret programs.

While this Article describes a particular programming language, key characteristics of this particular language could generalize to other programming languages that formalize the law. First, Catala is a domain-specific programming language designed specifically for formalizing tax law. In particular, Catala is structured using default logic, a nonstandard logic that represents the underlying structure of the U.S. tax code more accurately than does standard logic. This structure makes the computer code easier to read, easier to create, and easier to modify when the law changes. Second, computer code is created in Catala using a well-known approach in the field of computer science (though rarely mentioned in legal literature) called “pair programming,” which, in this implementation, takes advantage of the knowledge of both lawyers and computer coders. 

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March 22, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

'Academic Freedom Has To Protect The Amy Waxes So It Can Be There To Protect The Galileos'

Following up on last week's post, New York Times, UPenn Accuses A Law Professor Of Racist Statements. Should She Be Fired?:  Chicago Sun-Times Op-Ed:  When a Professor Makes Obnoxious Remarks on Race and Culture, Is It a Matter of Academic Freedom?, by Mona Charen:

Amy WaxUniversity of Pennsylvania professor Amy Wax has no patience for victimhood complaints. Asked whether she considers mid-20th century British politician Enoch Powell (whose writing she assigned and who gained fame for his “rivers of blood” anti-immigration speech) was a racist, Wax was indignant.

“Can you define racism for me? Is so-and-so a racist? Where are we getting with that? Define racist. I have no idea what you mean. It is a bludgeon that is a promiscuous term. You define what a racist is, and I will spend two seconds addressing that question because it is sterile.”

And yet, Wax herself is competing for victim status by upping the ante on obnoxious public remarks and almost daring the law school at which she teaches to punish her. ...

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March 22, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ChatGPT Thinks I Am Way More Interesting Than I Am

Open AI ChatGPTWrite a bio of Pepperdine Caruso Law School Dean Paul Caron

Paul Caron is an American legal scholar and academic administrator who currently serves as the Dean of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. He was born in the United States and grew up in the Chicago area.

Caron graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. He then went on to earn a law degree from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

After law school, Caron worked as an attorney in the tax department of the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City. He later joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he taught courses in tax law and served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

In 2003, Caron joined the faculty of the University of San Diego School of Law, where he held the rank of Professor of Law and served as the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. During his time at USD, Caron became well-known for his scholarship in tax law and his popular TaxProf Blog, which he founded in 2004.

In 2017, Caron was appointed as the 7th Dean of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. In this role, he has overseen significant changes at the law school, including the construction of a new campus in downtown Los Angeles and the creation of new programs in areas such as dispute resolution and entertainment, media, and sports law.

Throughout his career, Caron has been a prolific scholar and writer, with more than 50 published articles and book chapters to his credit. He is widely regarded as one of the leading experts in the field of tax law, and has been frequently cited in the national media on issues related to tax policy and reform.

Caron has also been active in the legal community, serving on the board of directors of the American Tax Policy Institute and as a member of the executive committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association. He has received numerous awards and honors for his scholarship and teaching, including the University of Cincinnati College of Law's Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching and the American Bar Association's Section of Taxation Distinguished Service Award.

In addition to his academic and professional accomplishments, Caron is also an accomplished musician and photographer. He has released several albums of original music and his photographs have been featured in exhibitions and publications around the world.

Can you guess the number of factual errors?

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March 22, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Paul Caron, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

WSJ: The Unraveling Of The U.S. News Rankings

Wall Street Journal, The Unraveling of the U.S. News College Rankings:

U.S. News Generic (2020)Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken floated the idea past a small circle of colleagues. She had a sleepless night and queasy morning. And then, on Nov. 16, she started the revolt.

“The U.S. News rankings are profoundly flawed,” Ms. Gerken said in a letter that day. And with that, Yale Law pulled out.

Within three months, more than 40 law schools—about 20% of the programs that U.S. News ranks—said they would also end their cooperation and no longer share data with the publication, including 12 of the top 14. A wave of medical schools, led by No. 1 Harvard Medical School, followed. At the undergraduate level, the Rhode Island School of Design (No. 3 among regional universities in the North) and Colorado College (No. 27 in the latest measure of national liberal-arts colleges) withdrew last month.

The rebellion, which has thrown into tumult the most famous source of college rankings for generations of would-be students, was decades in the making.

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March 22, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Curtis & Avi-Yonah: Microsoft’s Cost-Sharing Arrangement — Frankenstein Strikes Again

Stephen L. Curtis (Cross Border Analytics) & Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar), Microsoft’s Cost-Sharing Arrangement: Frankenstein Strikes Again, 178 Tax Notes Fed. 1433 (Mar. 6, 2023):

Tax Notes Federal (2022)In this report, Curtis and Avi-Yonah break down Microsoft’s cost-sharing arrangement and explain how corporate taxpayers have been able to improperly exploit the cost-sharing regulations to shift hundreds of billions or even trillions in U.S. profits offshore with little or no IRS detection or enforcement.

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March 22, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

How Law Schools With Bar Pass Issues Can Get Their Rates Above 75%

ABA Journal, How Can Law Schools With History of Bar Pass Issues Get Their Rates Above 75%?:

The University of Dayton School of Law has an accomplishment many see as important—both its two-year and first-time bar pass rates are now above 75%. The law school’s two-year pass rate fell below 75% once, for the class of 2018This year, the two-year pass rate (based on the class of 2020) is 97.06%, and the first-time pass rate is 75.58%. ...

Of the 19 existing law schools that at some point since 2020 had two-year bar pass rates below 75%, Dayton is one of six that has not received public notice of noncompliance. A chart with the data can be seen below. ...


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March 22, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Wallace Presents Taxing Luxury Emissions Today At UC-San Francisco

Clinton G. Wallace (South Carolina; Google Scholar) presents Taxing Luxury Emissions, 106 Cornell L. Rev. __ (2023) (with Shelley Welton (Penn)) (reviewed by Tracey Roberts (Cumberland; Google Scholar) here) at UC-San Francisco today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Manoj Viswanathan:

Clinton wallaceA host of recent economic and sociological studies have documented the rising challenge of carbon inequality — that is, extreme class disparities in carbon emissions both within the United States and globally. These studies show an alarming divide, with the top 10% of emitters producing half of all emissions and the top 1% alone producing 17% of emissions, while the bottom 50% of the world produces only 10%. These disparities are driven by “luxury emissions” produced by the carbon-intensive lifestyles of the rich, which too often include private jets, mega-SUVs, yachts, and multiple mansions.

Climate change law has been slow to react to the reality of carbon emissions inequality — even as public and media outrage has mounted. Perhaps discouraged by decades of slow progress on both wealth redistribution and carbon consumption policy, policymakers and legal scholars have yet to put forward any serious proposals for how the law might, or should, account for class-based emissions disparities.

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March 21, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings

U.S. News & World Report has announced that the new 2024 law school rankings will be publicly released on Tuesday, April 18 (law schools will receive an embargoed copy on Tuesday, April 11). Here is my coverage of the current 2023 law school rankings:

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March 21, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Taite Presents Welfare v Wealthfare: The Illusion Of Equity In Tax Policy Today At Georgetown

Phyllis Taite (Oklahoma City) presents Welfare v Wealthfare: The Illusion of Equity in Tax Policy at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop hosted by Emily Satterthwaite and Dayanand Manoli: 

Phyllis taiteTax laws and policies may be perceived as race-neutral because race data is not used to determine tax liability. Similarly, the rate structure may be perceived as progressive because tax rates increase as income increases. Nonetheless, history has demonstrated that tax laws and policies are biased against race and class and the tax system is not effectively progressive. This article explores a few ways that perceptions of tax policy do not match the reality of tax laws and policy. 

This article will discuss how transfer taxes were implemented permanently to raise revenue and combat wealth concentration. Instead, the federal transfer tax system is no longer effective for either purpose, though both are essential to effectively addressing vast economic inequalities. Through various tax acts, tax policy has subsidized the wealthy, people who need no financial assistance, rather than combat wealth concentration.

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March 21, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

When Old Habits Die Hard: A Comment On Sander And Steinbuch's 'Mismatch And Bar Passage'

Following up on Friday's post, Richard Sander (UCLA), Law-School “Mismatch” Is Worse Than We Thought:  Sherod Thaxton (UCLA), When Old Habits Die Hard: A Comment on Sander and Steinbuch's “Mismatch and Bar Passage”:

Mismatch theory—which posits that race-conscious admissions policies harm racial minorities by admitting students into challenging schools where they cannot succeed—has figured prominently in the debate over affirmative action during the last half century. The recent challenges to Harvard University’s and the University of North Carolina’s consideration of race as a factor in admissions decisions have argued, inter alia, that universities “can eliminate this harmful mismatch and allow students to excel at schools for which they are most prepared by eliminating the use of racial preferences.” The persistence of the idea of mismatch in both policy discussions and litigation is puzzling given that the empirical evidence in favor of mismatch is not only sparse, but has been deemed unreliable by the vast majority of analysts who have rigorously investigated the matter. In an effort to preserve the legal and political relevance of mismatch in light of these mounting critiques by many of the most prominent statisticians and social scientists in academia, proponents of mismatch posit that the limitations of available data hamper the precise measurement of key variables and that better data would reveal stronger support for mismatch.

Richard Sander and Robert Steinbuch’s “Mismatch and Bar Passage: A School-Specific Analysis” presents a statistical analysis of the “law school mismatch hypothesis” in an effort to explain racial differences in the likelihood of passing the bar examination on the first attempt.

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March 21, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Blue J Predicts With 90% Confidence That Taxpayer In Podlucky Would Not Win Innocent Spouse Claim

Benjamin Alarie (Osler Chair in Business Law, University of Toronto; CEO, Blue J Legal),  Susan Massey (Director, Blue J Legal) & Christopher Yan (Senior Legal Research Associate, Blue J Legal), Relief of Innocent Spouses — Not So Podlucky, 178 Tax Notes Fed. 1339 (Feb. 27, 2023):

Tax Notes Federal (2022)In this article, the authors use the Blue J machine-learning algorithm to examine Podlucky, an innocent spouse relief case recently decided by the Tax Court, demonstrating how useful artificial intelligence tools can be in calibrating the strengths and weaknesses of clients’ circumstances and predicting likely outcomes in similar cases.

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March 21, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Mitchell Hamline Law School Dean To Step Down After Four Years To 'Focus On His Own Well-Being'

Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Dean of Mitchell Hamline Law School to Step Down in 2024:

NiedwieckiThe dean of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law plans to step down when his contract expires in June 2024.

Anthony Niedwiecki, who has helmed the St. Paul law school since July 2020, said in a note to alumni on Monday that his decision was driven by the need to focus on his own well-being.

“My husband Waymon and I took stock recently when we celebrated our 20th anniversary, looking at the health issues we’ve both had in recent years as well as our quality of life,” Niedwiecki wrote. “I realized I love serving as president and dean but feel like the all-consuming focus it demands is no longer what’s best for my family and me.”

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March 21, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, March 20, 2023

Schizer Presents How Energy Policy Can Protect Both National Security And The Environment Today At San Diego

David M. Schizer (Columbia) presents Red White and Blue – and also Green: How Energy Policy Can Protect Both National Security and the Environment at San Diego today as part of its Tax Law Speaker Series.

David schizerToo often, energy policy protects the environment while neglecting national security, or vice versa. Since each goal is critical, this Article shows to how to advance both at the same time.

For national security, the key is to avoid depending on the wrong suppliers. If they are vulnerable to attack (like some Middle Eastern producers), they need to be defended. Or if they are themselves geopolitical threats (like Russia and Iran), their energy exports fund harmful conduct. This Article breaks new ground in showing why suppliers tend to be insecure or menacing: authoritarian regimes have a comparative advantage in producing oil and gas, since they are less responsive to opposition from environmentalists, local residents, and other groups.

To avoid depending on the wrong suppliers, the U.S. and its allies should pursue two strategies. First, they should cut demand for fossil fuel. Along with making it easier to stop buying from the wrong suppliers, slashing demand also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

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March 20, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup

Avi-Yonah: The 1923 Report And The International Tax Revolution

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar), The 1923 Report and the International Tax Revolution:

The centennial of the four economists’ Report on Double Taxation (1923) provides a good opportunity to reflect on the extent the international tax regime (ITR) that was founded on the Report has changed in the past decade. While on the surface the changes brought about by the BEPS project seem radical enough to consider them an “international tax revolution”, this article will argue that the principles developed in the Report are still influential a hundred years later.

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March 20, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

ABA Gives Golden Gate Law School 3-Year Extension To Meet 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Standard

Following up on my previous post, ABA Finds Golden Gate Law School Out Of Compliance With 75% Bar Passage Within Two Years Accreditation Standard:  ABA Journal, Law School Gets Extension to Meet Standard 316:

ABA Legal Ed (2022)The Golden Gate University School of Law, which has not had a two-year bar pass rate at or above 75% since its class of 2017, has received a 3-year extension to come into compliance with Standard 316, which requires a bar passage rate of at least 75% within a two-year time period.

After its Class of 2017 achieved a 75% two-year bar pass rate, Golden State has fallen below 75% in each of the last three years:

Five additional law schools fell short of the 75% accreditation threshold for the Class of 2020:

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March 20, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court: Another Reason To Keep Good Records

Camp (2017)Last week’s Lesson looked at the inherent unreliability of third-party information returns.  Taxpayers need to keep good records to refute those errors.  This week’s Lesson continues that theme: keeping good records can help avoid a bank deposits analysis.  When the IRS is forced to reconstruct income using the bank deposits method, it puts taxpayers in the hard place of having to prove why every bank deposit should not be counted as gross income for that year.

A pair of opinions issued by Judge Buch on the same day gives us a lesson on the unhappy consequences to taxpayers when their poor record-keeping leads the IRS to use a bank deposits method to reconstruct income.  In both Kevin B. Cheam and Julie Lim v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2023-23 (Feb. 27, 2023), and Lundy Nath and Tanya Nath, T.C. Memo. 2023-22 (Feb. 27, 2023), the taxpayers’ failure to keep adequate books and records forced the IRS to conduct a bank deposits analysis, thus putting the burden on the taxpayers to show which bank deposits represented something other than gross income.  In neither case could the taxpayers show the Court nontaxable sources of income for the deposits the IRS asserted were unreported income.  And their record-keeping failures also hurt them in the usual way on the deduction side as well.  Details below the fold.

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March 20, 2023 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trial Of Charlie Adelson In Dan Markel's Murder To Begin On October 23

Following up on my previous post, Does Judge's Delay Of Charlie Adelson's Trial In Dan Markel Murder And Refusal To Unseal Katie Magbanua's Proffer Mean State May Be Closing In On Donna, Harvey & Wendi?:  Tallahassee Democrat, Trial Date Set for Charlie Adelson in Dan Markel Murder Case:

Charlie Adelson 3Jury selection and testimony is slated to begin in October in the trial of Charlie Adelson, who is accused of orchestrating the 2014 professional hit on Florida State law professor Dan Markel.

Circuit Judge Robert Wheeler, in a Wednesday order, set jury selection for Monday, Oct. 23, with testimony beginning on or before Monday, Oct. 30.

The court expects the trial to conclude by Thursday, Nov. 9, Wheeler said in his order.

Last month, Wheeler granted a request by Adelson’s defense attorneys for a continuance in the trial, which had been set for April 24. Daniel Rashbaum, a Miami attorney representing Adelson, said the defense was still going through hundreds of wiretaps and volumes of phone calls, emails, texts and other records.

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March 20, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 19, 2023

NY Times Op-Ed: The Real Problem With The ‘He Gets Us’ Ads

Following up on my previous posts:

New York Times Op-Ed:  by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3About a year ago, I noticed a “He Gets Us” ad on a billboard. I gathered that the “he” in “He Gets Us” referred to Jesus, but beyond that I didn’t pay it a lot of attention.

Since then, I’ve distantly followed the ad campaign, which features television commercials, online ads and billboards, and which Christianity Today described in 2022 as targeting “millennials and Gen Z with a carefully crafted, exhaustively researched, and market-tested message about Jesus Christ.” In the ads, Jesus is portrayed as an impoverished refugee, an immigrant and a radical revolutionary committed to justice and love.

“He Gets Us” commercials ran during the broadcasts of several high visibility events in the past several months: the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament, the Grammys and, of course, the Super Bowl. The Times described the campaign’s videos as connecting “Jesus to contemporary issues like immigration, artificial intelligence and activism.” Jason Vanderground, the president of Haven, the agency behind the ads, hopes that the campaign increases “the relevance of Jesus in American culture.” The billboards and commercials invite viewers to visit the “He Gets Us” website to learn more.

As a Christian and a pastor, I care deeply about religious discourse in America, but to be honest, it’s hard for me to care much about the “He Gets Us” ads, not primarily because of any problem I have with their content (though I may quibble here and there), but because, by their very nature as commercials and billboards, they tend toward the trivial.

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March 19, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: Pope Francis’ Decade Of Division

New York Times Op-Ed:  Pope Francis’ Decade of Division, by Ross Douthat:

Pope FrancisLent is with us, and so is the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis’ ascent to the papal throne — an appropriate conjunction, since these are days of tribulation for his papacy.

There is the two-front war that Rome finds itself fighting on doctrine and liturgy, trying to squash the church’s Latin Mass traditionalists while more gently restraining the liberal German bishops from forcing a schism on Catholicism’s leftward flank.

And then there are the grim numbers for the Francis-era church, like the accelerating drop in the number of men studying for the priesthood worldwide, which peaked around the beginning of Francis’ pontificate and has been declining ever since. Or the unhappy financial picture, now bad enough that the Vatican is charging higher rents to cardinals to compensate for years of deficits.

In the secular press the narrative of Francis as a great reformer was established early on, and as contrary evidence has emerged, the response has often been a decorous silence. It’s been mostly left to his conservative critics to compile the lists of clerics accused of abuse who have been given favorable treatment by this pontiff; or to harp on the failures of financial reform and the absence of any obvious renewal in the pews; or to point out that a pontificate that once promised to make the church less self-referential, less inward-focused, has instead produced a decade of bitter internal arguments and widening theological divisions — while Catholicism’s official verbiage is received with conspicuous indifference by the wider world. ...

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March 19, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Brunson & Hackney: A More Capacious Concept Of Church

Samuel D. Brunson (Loyola-Chicago; Google Scholar) & Philip Hackney (Pittsburgh; Google Scholar), A More Capacious Concept of Church, 56 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. __ (2023):

Loyola LA Law Review LogoUnited States tax law provides churches with extra benefits and robust protection from IRS enforcement actions. Churches and religious organizations are automatically exempt from the income tax without needing to apply to be so recognized and without needing to file a tax return. Beyond that, churches are protected from audit by stringent procedures. There are good reasons to consider providing a distance between church and state, including the state tax authority. In many instances, Congress granted churches preferential tax treatment to try to avoid excess entanglement between church and state, though that preferential treatment often just shifts the locus of entanglement. But those benefits and protections come with cost both to individual churches (by making these organizations susceptible to tax shelters and political activity shelters) and to our democratic order (by granting churches to a higher status than other organizations).

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March 19, 2023 in Faith, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | 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 #3 and #5. The #1 paper is #745 among 17,547 tax papers in all-time downloads:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [805 Downloads]  The Declining Appeal of Inherited Retirement Accounts, by Richard L. Kaplan (Illinois; Google Scholar)
  2. [650 Downloads]  Pillar 2, Fiat, and the EU Unanimity Rule on Tax Matters, by Rita de la Feria (Leeds)
  3. [436 Downloads]  Why Corporate Giants Don't Pay Enough Tax, by Tarcísio Diniz Magalhães (Antwerp; Google Scholar) & Allison Christians (McGill; Google Scholar)
  4. [196 Downloads]  21st Century Churches and Federal Tax Law, by Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A.; Google Scholar) & Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer (Notre Dame; Google Scholar)
  5. [189 Downloads]  The Rise of the Robotic Tax Analyst, by Benjamin Alarie (Toronto; Google Scholar; CEO, Blue J Legal)

March 19, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, March 18, 2023

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Top Ten 2Legal Education:

  1. Inside Higher Ed, A Law School’s ‘Denaming’ Evokes Donor Family’s Ire
  2. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Preview Of The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings: Employment
  3. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Preview Of The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings: First-Time Bar Passage
  4. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Preview Of The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings: Ultimate Bar Passage
  5. Paul Caron (Dean Pepperdine), Preview Of The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings: Admissions
  6. Bryce Clayton Newell (Oregon), 2022 Meta-Ranking Of Flagship U.S. Law Reviews
  7. Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Notice of Finding of Significant Noncompliance With Standard 206, University of Oregon School of Law
  8. Stanford President And Law Dean, Apology To Fifth Circuit Judge For Disruption Of His Speech
  9. Richard Sander (UCLA), Law-School “Mismatch” Is Worse Than We Thought
  10. Theodore Seto (Loyola-L.A.), First-Time Bar Pass Performance of California Law Schools, Controlling For 25th Percentile LSATs


  1. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Inherent Unreliability Of Third-Party Reporting
  2. U.S. Treasury Department, Greenbook On Tax Proposals In Biden's FY24 Budget
  3. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Unforeseen Circumstances Rule For §121 Home Sale Exclusions
  4. Bloomberg, ChatGPT's Tax Advice Was Wrong 100% Of The Time
  5. Cato Institute, The Federal Tax System Is Highly Progressive
  6. James Alm (Tulane), Jay Soled (Rutgers) & Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina), Multibillion-Dollar Tax Questions
  7. ABA, The Tax Lawyer Publishes New Issue
  8. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Tax Policy in the Biden Administration
  9. SSRN, The Top Five New Tax Papers
  10. Tracey Roberts (Cumberland), Review Of Taxing Luxury Emissions By Clint Wallace (South Carolina) & Shelley Welton (Penn)


  1. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Religious Liberty Clinics At Notre Dame, Pepperdine, Texas, And Yale File Supreme Court Amicus Briefs: Post Office Must Accommodate Employee's Sabbath Observance

March 18, 2023 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

More Commentary On The Disruption Of A Federal Judge's Speech At Stanford Law School (Part 2)

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  My Struggle Session at Stanford Law School, by Stuart Kyle Duncan (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit):

Stanford Law School’s website touts its “collegial culture” in which “collaboration and the open exchange of ideas are essential to life and learning.” Then there’s the culture I experienced when I visited Stanford last week. I had been invited by the student chapter of the Federalist Society to discuss the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, on which I’ve served since 2018. I’ve spoken at law schools across the country, and I was glad to accept this invitation. One of my first clerks graduated from Stanford. I have friends on the faculty. I gave a talk there a few years ago and found it a warm and engaging place, but not this time.

When I arrived, the walls were festooned with posters denouncing me for crimes against women, gays, blacks and “trans people.” Plastered everywhere were photos of the students who had invited me and fliers declaring “You should be ASHAMED,” with the last word in large red capital letters and a horror-movie font. This didn’t seem “collegial.” 


Walking to the building where I would deliver my talk, I could hear loud chanting a good 50 yards away, reminiscent of a tent revival in its intensity. Some 100 students were massed outside the classroom as I entered, faces painted every color of the rainbow, waving signs and banners, jeering and stamping and howling. As I entered the classroom, one protester screamed: “We hope your daughters get raped!” ...

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March 18, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ProPublica IRS Files: Wealthy Executives Make Millions Trading Competitors’ Stock With Remarkable Timing

ProPublica, The IRS Files: Wealthy Executives Make Millions Trading Competitors’ Stock With Remarkable Timing:

ProPublica (2023)Never-before-seen IRS records show that CEOs are sometimes making multimillion-dollar bets on the stocks of direct competitors and partners — and doing so with exquisite timing.

On Feb. 21, 2018, August Troendle, an Ohio billionaire, made a remarkably well-timed stock trade. He sold $1.1 million worth of shares of Syneos Health the day before a management shake-up caused the company’s stock to plunge 16%. It was the largest one-day drop that year for Syneos’ share price.

The company was one Troendle knew well. He is the CEO of Medpace, one of Syneos’ chief competitors in a niche industry. Both Syneos and Medpace handle clinical trials for biopharma companies, and that year they had jointly launched a trade association for companies in the field.

The day after selling the Syneos shares in February 2018, Troendle bought again — at least $3.9 million worth. The value of his Syneos stake then rose 75% in the year that followed.

In February 2019, Troendle sold much of that position, netting $2.3 million in profit. Two days later, Syneos disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating its accounting practices. The news sent the company’s shares tumbling. Troendle’s sale avoided a 25% loss, the stock’s largest decline in such a short period during either that or the previous year. (Troendle declined to comment.)

The Medpace executive is among dozens of top executives who have traded shares of either competitors or other companies with close connections to their own. A Gulf of Mexico oil executive invested in one partner company the day before it announced good news about some of its wells. A paper-industry executive made a 37% return in less than a week by buying shares of a competitor just before it was acquired by another company. And a toy magnate traded hundreds of millions of dollars in stock and options of his main rival, conducting transactions on at least 295 days. He made an 11% return over a recent five-year period, even as the rival’s shares fell by 57%.

These transactions are captured in a vast IRS dataset of stock trades made by the country’s wealthiest people, part of a trove of tax data leaked to ProPublica. ProPublica analyzed millions of those trades, isolated those by corporate executives trading in companies related to their own, then identified transactions that were anomalous — either because of the size of the bets or because individuals were trading a particular stock for the first time or using high-risk, high-return options for the first time.

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March 18, 2023 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Big Law's Immigration Advocates

Jayanth K. Krishnan (Indiana; Google Scholar), Megan Riley (Indiana) & Vitor M. Dias (Butler), Big Law's Immigration Advocates, 2024 U. Ill. L. Rev. __ :

Illinois Law Review (2022)This study examines lawyers working in the federal appellate courts who represent immigrants seeking relief from deportation. By analyzing over 23,000 appellate cases during the Trump and Obama Administrations, the research here uncovers crucial findings. To begin, there was a statistically significant difference in the win rates of lawyers working pro bono and coming from the largest and most profitable, corporate “Big Law” firms compared to lawyers based in other, typically more specialized immigration practice settings. 

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March 18, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, March 17, 2023

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Roberts Reviews Taxing Luxury Emissions By Wallace & Welton

This week, Tracey Roberts (Cumberland; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by Clinton G. Wallace (South Carolina; Google Scholar) and Shelley Welton (Penn), Taxing Luxury Emissions, 106 Cornell L. Rev. __ (2023).

Roberts (2020)

One of the greatest challenges to global coordinated action on climate change is climate justice. The vast majority who will suffer the most from climate change have contributed very little to the aggregate stock of carbon emissions during their lifetimes and enjoy few of the legacy benefits that industrialization has yielded over the past 100 years. Most of the discussions about matching responsibility for climate change to its benefits have approached the issue at a nation-state level. Underdeveloped countries, including most of the Global South, argue that the countries who developed using financially cheap, if globally harmful, fossil fuels should be subject to regulation or taxation, since they caused the bulk of the problem. They also argue that, until they reach the basic standard of living enjoyed throughout Europe and the United States, they should be exempt from such taxation or regulations. 

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March 17, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tracey Roberts, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Next Week’s Tax Workshops

Next Week's Tax Workshops - linkedinMonday, March 20: David M. Schizer (Columbia) will present Red White and Blue – and also Green: How Energy Policy Can Protect Both National Security and the Environment as part of the San Diego Tax Law Speaker Series

Tuesday, March 21: Clinton G. Wallace (South Carolina; Google Scholar) will present Taxing Luxury Emissions (with Shelley Welton (Penn)) as part of the UC-San Francisco Law Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Manoj Viswanathan

Tuesday, March 21: Phyllis Taite (Oklahoma City) will present Welfare v Wealthfare: The Illusion of Equity in Tax Policy as part of the Georgetown Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop. If you would like to attend, please contact Emily Satterthwaite and Dayanand Manoli.

Wednesday, March 22: Sarah B. Lawsky (Northwestern; Google Scholar) will present Coding the Code: Catala and Computationally Accessible Tax Law, 75 S.M.U. L. Rev. 535 (2022) as part of the Toronto James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Benjamin Alarie.

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March 17, 2023 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

GPT-4 Beats 90% Of Aspiring Lawyers On The Bar Exam

Daniel Martin Katz (Chicago Kent), Michael James Bommarito (Michigan State), Shang Gao (Casetext) & Pablo Arredondo (Casetext), GPT-4 Passes the Bar Exam:

In this paper, we experimentally evaluate the zero-shot performance of a preliminary version of GPT-4 against prior generations of GPT on the entire Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), including not only the multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), but also the open-ended Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) and Multistate Performance Test (MPT) components. On the MBE, GPT-4 significantly outperforms both human test-takers and prior models, demonstrating a 26% increase over ChatGPT and beating humans in five of seven subject areas. On the MEE and MPT, which have not previously been evaluated by scholars, GPT-4 scores an average of 4.2/6.0 as compared to much lower scores for ChatGPT. Graded across the UBE components, in the manner in which a human tast-taker would be, GPT-4 scores approximately 297 points, significantly in excess of the passing threshold for all UBE jurisdictions. These findings document not just the rapid and remarkable advance of large language model performance generally, but also the potential for such models to support the delivery of legal services in society.

GPT-4 1

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March 17, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Sander: Law-School 'Mismatch' Is Worse Than We Thought

Richard Sander (UCLA), Law-School “Mismatch” Is Worse Than We Thought:

With the Supreme Court poised to rule on affirmative-action in admissions, the time to spread the word is now.

Eighteen years ago, I published an article in the Stanford Law Review which documented for the first time the enormous breadth and scale of race-based admissions preferences in law schools [A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools, 57 Stan. L. Rev. 367 (2004)]. At most law schools, the undergraduate grades (UGPA) and median LSAT scores of enrolled Black students were two standard deviations below those of white students at the same school. Outside of a handful of “Historically Black” institutions (where racial preferences were minimal), Blacks in law school were not faring well. They were failing out of school at more than twice the white rate; half of those who did graduate had grades in the bottom 10th of their class; and Blacks were six times as likely as whites to take the bar exam multiple times but never pass. ...

Robert Steinbuch (a colleague at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock) and I eventually secured the public release of data from 12 cohorts of law students at four law schools, covering about 6,500 students in all. And after a multi-year review process, the Journal of Legal Education—the official organ of the Association of American Law Schools—has now agreed to publish the first set of our results in its next issue.

Our findings are even stronger than we expected. A student’s degree of mismatch in law school is by far the strongest predictor of whether he or she will pass a bar exam on a first attempt. ...

Most of our results are in regression analyses that can be hard for those without a technical background to interpret. But one of our tables, reproduced below, makes the basic pattern clear. It shows first-time bar-passage rates for several thousand law graduates, grouped by their LSAT score and whether they attended an elite, somewhat-elite, or non-elite law school. Unsurprisingly, students with high LSAT scores had high bar-passage rates at all schools and did particularly well at the elite school in question. But students at the elite school with LSAT scores 12 to 14 points below the median of their fellow students (i.e., LSAT scores of 150-152) had only a 22 percent first-time bar-passage rate, while students with the same LSAT score at the non-elite school in question had a 79 percent first-time bar-passage rate. In other words, lower mismatch translates into dramatically better performance.


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March 17, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Kleiman Presents Subjective Costs Of Tax Compliance Today At The OMG Transatlantic Tax Talks

Ariel Jurow Kleiman (Loyola-L.A.; Google Scholar) presents Subjective Costs of Tax Compliance (with Jonathan Choi (Minnesota; Google Scholar)) today as part of the OMG Transatlantic Tax Talks Series (OMG = Oxford-Michigan-MIT-Munich-Georgetown):

Kleiman (2022)This Article introduces and estimates “subjective costs” of tax compliance, which are costs of tax compliance that people experience directly and individually. To measure these costs, we conducted a survey experiment assessing how much taxpayers would pay to reduce the unpleasantness associated with filing a tax return. The experiment revealed that taxpayers are more concerned about inadvertent mistakes in their tax filings than by the time spent on compliance. Respondents also only ascribed meaningful value to eliminating all tax compliance work; they ascribed essentially no value to marginal time savings. Additionally, eliminating tax compliance time for high-income taxpayers and taxpayers with complex returns is not worth much more than eliminating tax compliance time for low-income taxpayers with simple returns. These findings have important implications for theory and policy. From a theoretical perspective, these survey results call into question the nearly universal practice of using market wages to monetize the time that people spend on tax compliance work. Indeed, our results suggest that people value their tax compliance time at a rate much lower than their hourly wage. 

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March 16, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

ABA Finds Oregon, With 17.3% Adjunct Faculty Of Color, Out Of Compliance With Law School Accreditation Standard On Faculty Diversity

ABA Legal Ed (2022) Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Notice of Finding of Significant Noncompliance With Standard 206, University of Oregon School of Law:

At its February 16-17, 2023, meeting, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (the “Council”) considered the status of the University of Oregon School of Law of Law (the “Law School”) and concluded that the Law School is not in compliance with Standard 206(b), with respect to part-time or adjunct faculty.

ABA Journal, ABA Legal Ed Council Posts Additional Notice on Faculty Diversity:

According to the law school’s Standard 509 Information Report, it has 52 non-full-time faculty; 23 [44.2%] are men, 29 [55.8%] are women, and nine [17.3%] are people of color. Marcilynn A. Burke, the law school’s dean, did not immediately respond to an ABA Journal interview request

At the same February meeting, the Council found Hofstra back in compliance with Standard 206's faculty diversity standard with 77 non-full-time faculty; 50 (64.9%) are men, 27 (35.1%) are women, and five (6.5%) are people of color.

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March 16, 2023 | Permalink

Mason Presents Bounded Extraterritoriality Today At UCLA

Ruth Mason (Virginia; Google Scholar) presents Bounded Extraterritoriality (with Michael Knoll (Penn)) at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Kirk Stark and Jason Oh:

Ruth masonPolitics in the United States is ever more divided, stymying federal legislation. States have responded to this political polarization and congressional gridlock by seeking to impose their policies outside their own borders. Prominent examples include recent California regulation of the composition of corporate boards, including of companies incorporated in Delaware, as well as regulation of the size of cages that confine hogs located in other states. The Supreme Court’s withdrawal of the federal right to abortion likewise has inspired legislative proposals in abortion-restrictive states meant to hamper or forbid residents from seeking abortion services not only at home, but also in abortion-permitting states. The twenty-first century has inspired a new mode of interstate “rivalries and reprisals” consisting not of the tariffs that plagued the Founding, but rather of substantive regulation that state legislatures deliberately target outward, to behavior taking place in other states.

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March 16, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Preview Of The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings: Ultimate Bar Passage

US News (2023)Following up on my previous posts:

The current 2023 methodology year does not include 2018 ultimate 2-year bar passage results. On several occasions, U.S. News has said it would likely add ultimate 2-year bar passage data to its law school rankings, but has not said whether they will include 2019 ultimate 2-year bar passage results in the forthcoming spring 2023 rankings. 

Below are two 2019 ultimate 2-year bar passage rankings. The first is a simple ranking using the pass rate. The second uses Z-scores to better approximate the U.S. News methodology.


Law School

Pass Rate Pass Rate (Including Diploma Privilege)
1 Belmont 100.00% 100.00%
1 Marquette 100.00% 100.00%
3 UC-Berkeley 99.69% 99.69%
4 Duke 99.54% 99.54%
5 Chicago 99.49% 99.49%
6 George Mason 99.36% 99.36%
7 Virginia 99.30% 99.30%
8 Baylor 99.29% 99.29%
9 Harvard 99.29% 99.29%
10 Alabama 99.21% 99.21%
11 Yale 99.04% 99.04%
12 Stanford 98.88% 98.88%
13 Minnesota 98.69% 98.69%
13 Northwestern 98.69% 98.69%
15 Michigan 98.34% 98.34%
16 Campbell 98.13% 98.13%
17 NYU 98.11% 98.11%
18 UCLA 98.08% 98.09%
19 Liberty 98.04% 98.04%
20 Penn 97.97% 97.97%
21 Cornell 97.93% 97.93%
22 Ohio Northern 97.87% 97.87%
23 UC-Irvine 97.86% 97.86%
24 Georgia State 97.85% 97.85%
25 Florida 97.83% 97.83%
26 Boston Univ. 97.61% 97.61%
27 Notre Dame 97.37% 97.37%
28 Washington Univ. 97.30% 97.30%
29 Texas 97.29% 97.29%
30 Boston College 97.20% 97.20%
30 Washington & Lee 97.20% 97.20%
32 Florida Int'l 97.16% 97.16%
33 Oklahoma 97.09% 97.09%
34 Vanderbilt 97.06% 97.06%
35 Illinois 96.72% 96.72%
36 Fordham 96.71% 96.71%
37 Texas A&M 96.69% 96.69%
38 Georgia 96.67% 96.69%
39 Georgetown 96.43% 96.43%
40 New Mexico 96.30% 96.30%
41 Utah 96.20% 96.20%
42 Cardozo 96.04% 96.04%
43 Colorado 95.95% 96.05%
44 Florida State 95.88% 95.88%
45 William & Mary 95.81% 95.81%
46 Kansas 95.74% 95.74%
47 Montana 95.65% 95.65%
48 Samford 95.59% 95.59%
49 Columbia 95.58% 95.58%
50 George Washington 95.46% 95.46%

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March 16, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

The Tax Lawyer Publishes New Issue

More Commentary On The Disruption Of A Federal Judge's Speech At Stanford Law School (Part 1)

UpdateMore Commentary On The Disruption Of A Federal Judge's Speech At Stanford Law School (Part 2)

National Review Op-Ed:  Stop the Chaos: Law Schools Need to Crack Down on Student Disrupters Now, by James C. Ho (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit) & Elizabeth L. Branch (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit):

Law schools like to say that they’re training the next generation of leaders. But too many institutions of legal education have become laboratories of divisiveness, not leadership. A series of recent videos from law schools, including Yale and Stanford, captures screaming students insulting and disrupting accomplished litigators, legal scholars, even federal judges. Evidence is rapidly accumulating that law schools across America are failing in their basic mission to teach students how to become good citizens — let alone good lawyers. ...

Administrators who promote intolerance don’t belong in legal education. And students who practice intolerance don’t belong in the legal profession.

Law schools know what their options are. They know they can suspend or expel students for engaging in disruptive tactics, or threaten to report negatively on a student’s character and fitness to state bar examiners. They know this because schools have done it.

And if schools are unwilling to impose consequences themselves, at a minimum they should identify the disrupters so that future employers know who they are hiring.

Schools issue grades and graduation honors to help employers separate wheat from chaff. Likewise, schools should inform employers if they’re injecting potentially disruptive forces into their organizations.

Otherwise, more and more employers may start to reach the same conclusion that we did last fall — that we have no choice but to stop hiring from these schools in the future. At the end of the day, that may be the only way to send a message that will resonate with law schools — judges and other employers imposing consequences on law schools who refuse to impose consequences on their own. No one is required to hire students who aren’t taught to live under the rule of law.

Washington Post Op-Ed:  Expensively Credentialed, Negligibly Educated Stanford Brats Threw a Tantrum, by George Will:

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March 16, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Newton Presents Closing the Opportunity Gap Today At Toronto

Deanna Newton (Pepperdine) presents Closing the Opportunity Gap at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Benjamin Alarie:

NewtonResearchers have found little to no evidence that Opportunity Zones positively impact zone residents’ lives. Scholars agree that the majority of benefits from Opportunity Zone legislation go to wealthy investors and should be reformed to better benefit community members. This Article argues that current reform efforts and related scholarship do not give adequate weight to active and direct participation by community members and investors. This Article proposes two novel policy reforms for the Opportunity Zone program, which fills a growing gap in Opportunity Zone literature. First, investors should be required to buy into the community financially or personally. Buy-in would entail a one-time lump sum payment to a community fund or a community service pledge to ensure actualized commitment to community development. Second, a percentage of each Opportunity Zone should be reserved for current community members to invest in. Investors are currently not required to finance projects geared toward the needs of local communities, and are instead funding developments they would have already invested in, whether located in an Opportunity Zone or not.

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March 15, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

NY Times: UPenn Accuses A Law Professor Of Racist Statements. Should She Be Fired?

New York Times, UPenn Accuses a Law Professor of Racist Statements. Should She Be Fired?:

Amy Wax and free speech groups say the university is trampling on her academic freedom. Students ask whether her speech deserves to be protected.

Amy Wax, a law professor, has said publicly that “on average, Blacks have lower cognitive ability than whites,” that the country is “better off with fewer Asians” as long as they tend to vote for Democrats, and that non-Western people feel a “tremendous amount of resentment and shame.”

At the University of Pennsylvania, where she has tenure, she invited a white nationalist to speak to her class. And a Black law student who had attended UPenn and Yale said that the professor told her she “had only become a double Ivy ‘because of affirmative action,’” according to the administration.

Professor Wax has denied saying anything belittling or racist to students, and her supporters see her as a truth teller about affirmative action, immigration and race. They agree with her argument that she is the target of censorship and “wokeism” because of her conservative views.

All of which poses a conundrum for the University of Pennsylvania: Should it fire Amy Wax?

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March 15, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Simkovic Presents Pigouvian Contracts Today At Northwestern

Michael Simkovic (USC; Google Scholar) presents Pigouvian Contracts (with Meirav Furth-Matzkin (UCLA)) at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Colloquium hosted by Gregg Polsky:

Michael-simkovic-2020Pigouvian taxes are often used to limit environmental externalities such as pollution. We argue that consumer contracts generate externalities by overwhelming consumers’ attention. Depleting each consumer’s attention harms consumers collectively because lower comprehension levels enable sellers to adopt less efficient and more one-sided terms. We propose to tax sellers in proportion to the costs that comprehending their contracts would impose on consumers. This would force sellers to internalize these costs and incentivize them to invest in contract simplification and forego strategic obfuscation. As a result, the costs to consumers of comprehending would decrease, and comprehension rates would rise. To further penalize inefficient contracts while reducing the tax burden on efficient contracts, we propose subsidizing consumer comprehension and information sharing efforts. Inefficient contracts would thereby be strongly disincentivized.

Many legal scholars, regulators, elected officials, and consumer advocates have noted consumers’ limited ability to comprehend standard form contracts. Some have suggested ways of reducing comprehension costs to consumers. However, to the best of our knowledge, we are the first to propose and formally model Pigouvian taxation of contracts and subsidization of consumer comprehension.

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March 15, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Preview Of The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings: First-Time Bar Passage

US News (2023)Following up on my previous posts:

The current 2023 methodology for the 2020 calendar year is:

Bar passage rate (0.03, previously 0.0225): U.S. News revamped its treatment of bar passage rates to incorporate all graduates who took the bar for the first time. Computations were further modified to de-emphasize the impact of geography on law schools' relative performance.

Specifically, the bar passage rate indicator scored schools on their 2020 first-time test takers' weighted bar passage rates among all jurisdictions (states), then added or subtracted the percentage point difference between those rates and the weighted state average among ABA accredited schools' first-time test takers in the corresponding jurisdictions in 2020. This meant schools that performed best on this ranking factor graduated students whose bar passage rates were both higher than most schools overall, and higher compared with what was typical among graduates who took the bar in corresponding jurisdictions.

For example, if a law school graduated 100 students who first took the bar exam — and 88 took the Florida exam, 10 the Georgia exam and two the South Carolina exam — the school's weighted average rate would use pass rate results that were weighted 88% Florida, 10% Georgia and 2% South Carolina. This computation would then be compared with an index of these jurisdictions' average pass rates — also weighted 88-10-2. (For privacy, school profiles on only display bar passage data for jurisdictions with at least 10 test-takers.) Both weighted averages included any graduates who passed the bar with diploma privilege. Diploma privilege is a method for J.D. graduates to be admitted to a state bar and allowed to practice law in that state without taking that state's actual bar examination. Diploma privilege is generally based on attending and graduating from a law school in that state with the diploma privilege.

In previous editions, U.S. News divided each school's first-time bar passage rate in its single jurisdiction with the most test-takers by the average for that lone jurisdiction. This approach effectively excluded many law schools' graduates who took the bar. Dividing by the state average also meant the location of a law school impacted its quotient as much as its graduates' bar passage rate itself. The new arithmetic accounts for average passage rates across all applicable jurisdictions as proxy for each exam's difficulty and reflects that passing the bar is a critical outcome measure in itself.

Below are two first time bar passage rankings. The first is a ranking by the school pass rate for the 2021 calendar year plus the total difference between the school pass rate and the average state pass rate as reported by the ABA. The second uses Z-scores to better approximate the U.S. News methodology.



School Pass Rate Average State Pass Rate Total Difference School Pass Rate Plus Total Difference Pass Rate Including Diploma Privilege
1 UC-San Francisco* 81.72% 77.05% 81.72% 163.44% 81.72%
2 Missouri-Kansas City* 74.78% 81.76% 74.78% 149.56% 74.78%
3 Montana 100.00% 79.94% 20.06% 120.06% 80.60%
4 Harvard 99.44% 82.04% 17.40% 116.84% 99.44%
5 Chicago 97.75% 79.05% 18.70% 116.45% 90.99%
6 Yale 98.14% 80.69% 17.45% 115.59% 98.14%
7 Michigan 97.18% 79.79% 17.39% 114.57% 97.18%
8 Stanford 97.08% 79.73% 17.35% 114.43% 97.66%
9 Duke 97.21% 80.67% 16.54% 113.75% 97.21%
10 NYU 98.70% 84.24% 14.46% 113.16% 98.70%
11 Kansas 95.92% 78.83% 17.09% 113.01% 95.92%
12 USC 95.00% 77.59% 17.41% 112.41% 95.80%
13 Vanderbilt 95.15% 78.02% 17.13% 112.28% 95.15%
14 Minnesota 95.67% 79.40% 16.27% 111.94% 95.67%
15 UC-Berkeley 94.95% 78.14% 16.81% 111.76% 95.25%
16 Penn 96.46% 81.50% 14.96% 111.42% 96.46%
17 Texas 94.61% 77.95% 16.66% 111.27% 83.88%
18 Northwestern 95.05% 79.00% 16.05% 111.10% 95.05%
19 BYU 96.15% 82.50% 13.65% 109.80% 96.15%
20 Virginia 94.82% 79.90% 14.92% 109.74% 94.82%
21 Georgia 93.75% 77.79% 15.96% 109.71% 93.75%
22 UCLA 93.84% 78.01% 15.83% 109.67% 93.84%
23 William & Mary 93.82% 78.66% 15.16% 108.98% 93.82%
24 Columbia 96.52% 84.22% 12.30% 108.82% 96.52%
25 Texas A&M 92.98% 77.57% 15.41% 108.39% 92.98%
26 Ohio State 93.71% 79.18% 14.53% 108.24% 93.71%
27 Boston College 94.06% 80.65% 13.41% 107.47% 94.06%
28 Seton Hall 89.60% 71.89% 17.71% 107.31% 89.60%
29 Wake Forest* 94.27% 78.63% 12.64% 106.91% 94.27%
30 Boston Univ. 93.53% 80.29% 13.24% 106.77% 93.53%
31 George Washington 93.46% 80.50% 12.96% 106.42% 93.46%
32 Georgetown 93.23% 80.62% 12.61% 105.84% 93.23%
33 Notre Dame 91.67% 77.82% 13.85% 105.52% 91.67%
34 Oklahoma 91.72% 78.13% 13.59% 105.31% 91.72%
35 Belmont 88.54% 71.87% 16.67% 105.21% 88.54%
36 Tennessee 88.50% 72.57% 15.93% 104.43% 88.50%
37 Emory 91.79% 79.37% 12.42% 104.21% 92.16%
38 Washington Univ. 91.63% 79.26% 12.37% 104.00% 91.63%
39 Florida Int'l 86.72% 69.91% 16.81% 103.53% 86.71%
40 George Mason 90.62% 78.54% 12.08% 102.70% 90.63%
41 Wisconsin 90.00% 77.46% 12.54% 102.54% 99.61%
42 Univ. of Washington 92.21% 82.05% 10.16% 102.37% 90.97%
43 Fordham 93.74% 85.33% 8.41% 102.15% 93.73%
44 Penn State-Univ. Park 89.74% 77.68% 12.06% 101.80% 89.74%
45 Villanova 88.24% 74.74% 13.50% 101.74% 88.24%
46 Indiana (Maurer) 89.61% 77.73% 11.88% 101.49% 89.61%
47 Cornell 92.23% 83.03% 9.20% 101.43% 92.23%
48 Texas Tech 88.96% 77.39% 11.57% 100.53% 88.97%
49 Liberty 88.33% 76.60% 11.73% 100.06% 93.81%
50 UC-Irvine 88.72% 77.39% 11.33% 100.05% 88.73%

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March 15, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Structural Inequality And The New Markets Tax Credit

Michelle D. Layser (San Diego; Google Scholar) & Andrew Greenlee (Illinois; Google Scholar), Structural Inequality and the New Markets Tax Credit, 73 Duke L.J. __ (2023):

Duke-law-journalThe New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) is a federal tax incentive used to promote investment in low-income neighborhoods. Many of these neighborhoods are home to historically marginalized communities. However, very few minority-led institutions participate in the NMTC program. This Article provides the first theoretical and empirical exploration of the underrepresentation of minority-led institutions in the NMTC program. Based on original interviews with representatives of Community Development Entities (CDEs), investors, borrowers, and consultants who participate in the NMTC program, this Article describes the “NMTC ecosystem,” a complex, relationship-driven network of NMTC program participants who influence decision making and create opportunities for success within the NMTC program. 

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March 15, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink