Paul L. Caron

Friday, December 8, 2023

Sixteen Law Reviews Join NYU's Call For Compensation For Student Editors

Following up on my previous post, NYU Law Students Demand Compensation For Work On Law Journals:  CUNY Law Review, Demand for Compensation and Call for Solidarity:

The editors of this journal have come together with the editors of journals across the country to demand compensation for the work we do to publish legal scholarship. Our demand rests on one fundamental principle: Uncompensated labor is wrong. In the below, Journal Work Essay, we expand on this argument and present other important supporting principles.

We are all students at institutions that purport to educate in the furtherance of justice. Our journals believe compensated labor is a core tenet of justice, and we hope our schools share this belief. Despite the American Bar Association’s urging for journal members to receive credit or compensation, and despite a growing list of schools who have done so in recent years, many of our institutions remain woefully behind.

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December 8, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Hayashi Presents The Federal Architecture of Income Inequality Today At Columbia

Andrew Hayashi (Virginia; Google Scholar) presents The Federal Architecture of Income Inequality at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Michael Love:

Andrew hayashiIncome inequality is a national preoccupation, and the public’s imagination is captured by the astronomical incomes of Valley tech billionaires and Greenwich fund managers. But most people do not live in California or Connecticut, and many of the adverse effects of income inequality are local. Our preoccupation with national income inequality comes at the expense of attending to localized inequality and our national focus has potentially pernicious effects as policies that reduce national income inequality can paradoxically increase local income inequality. Using income tax return data, I show how recent proposals for student loan forgiveness and interest payment pauses have this effect.

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December 7, 2023 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

St. Louis Symposium: Teaching Immigration Law

Symposium, Teaching Immigration Law, St. Louis U. L.J. 473- 570 (2023): 

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December 7, 2023 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Appleby: Taxing Tokens

Andrew D. Appleby (Stetson; Google Scholar), Taxing Tokens, 91 Tenn. L. Rev. __ (2024):

Tennessee Law ReviewTokenization began a fundamental transformation of our laws of ownership, but this transformation is curbed by a lag in the laws of taxation. This Article provides the theory and doctrinal tools to mend this disconnect. Tokenization provides a method to prove and transfer ownership of valuable assets such as art, real property, and equity interests in all types of entities. The tokenization process creates a nominal token that represents the legal ownership rights in the underlying asset. The token, and thus the ownership of the underlying asset, can then be verified and transferred in a process that may be more efficient than doing so with the underlying asset directly.

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December 7, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

NY Times: Nearly Everyone Gets A’s at Yale. Does That Cheapen the Grade?

New York Times, Nearly Everyone Gets A’s at Yale. Does That Cheapen the Grade?:

Nearly 80 percent of all grades given to undergraduates at Yale last academic year were A’s or A minuses, part of a sharp increase that began during the coronavirus pandemic and appears to have stuck, according to a new report.

The mean grade point average was 3.7 out of 4.0, also an increase over pre-pandemic years.

Yale 1 Chart

The findings have frustrated some students, alumni and professors. What does excellence mean at Yale, they wonder, if most students get the equivalent of “excellent” in almost every class?

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December 7, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Hemel & Hamilton: Coordination, Conflict, And The Laws Of Time

Daniel J. Hemel (NYU; Google Scholar) & Matthew Hamilton (Ph.D. Candidate, UC-Berkeley), Coordination, Conflict, and the Laws of Time, in Research Handbook of Law and Time (Frank Fagan & Saul Levmore, eds. 2024): 

The laws of time—the rules and conventions that determine how we organize our calendars and set our clocks—play a central but often underappreciated role in structuring our daily rhythms and social interactions. This chapter explores the evolution of the laws of time across countries and across centuries. Drawing from the game-theoretic literature on coordination, we present three models—a pure coordination game, an assurance game, and a “Battle of the Sexes” or “Bach/Stravinsky game”—that capture different aspects of time-related lawmaking. We then apply these models to five case studies that evince both coordination and conflict over the laws of time: the transition from the Julian to Gregorian calendar in early modern Europe, the emergence of standard railway time in the 19th century United States, the global adoption of Greenwich Mean Time, the century-long struggle over daylight saving time, and the ongoing controversy over “leap seconds.” These case studies both elaborate and complicate the game-theoretic models, demonstrating the utility and limits of game theory as a framework for understanding complex social phenomena.

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December 7, 2023 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

California Bar Pass Rates By Law School Profile: 67% (ABA-Accredited), 21% (CA-Accredited), 9% (Unaccredited)

Reuters, California Law Schools Lacking ABA Approval Show 21% Bar Pass Rate — State Report:

Students at California law schools not accredited by the American Bar Association have low odds of passing the bar and strong chances of dropping out after their first year, according to a new report from the State Bar of California.

Graduates of the 18 California-accredited schools had a pass rate of just 21% on the July 2022 bar exam, compared with 67% among graduates of ABA law schools, according to the state bar’s first-ever comprehensive Law School Profile, released on Friday.

CA Bar 1

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December 7, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Lederman: Avoiding Scandals Through Tax Rulings Transparency

Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Maurer; Google Scholar), Avoiding Scandals through Tax Rulings Transparency, 50 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 219 (2023):

Florida State Law ReviewIn 2014, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists broke the “LuxLeaks” scandal, revealing numerous tax rulings that the press termed “sweetheart deals” granted to multinational companies. Many countries offer tax rulings because they provide certainty to taxpayers and the government on the tax consequences of a planned transaction. Yet, secrecy that is followed by leaks and criticism is a recurring aspect of these rulings, both in the United States and Europe.

LuxLeaks, which revealed secret rulings from the small European country of Luxembourg, was international headline news. It helped trigger widespread reforms. Tax authorities, including those of European countries and the United States, now automatically share information about cross-border advance rulings with other countries’ tax authorities. But Luxembourg’s tax rulings otherwise remain confidential. The United States treats a type of tax ruling, the Advance Pricing Agreement (APA), similarly: it exchanges information about APAs with other countries but does not otherwise disclose them.

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December 6, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Howard Law School, Race, And Peer Rankings: The Increasing Correlation Between Racial Salience And Preferential Rankings

Michael Conklin (Angelo State; Google Scholar), Howard Law School, Race, and Peer Rankings: The Increasing Correlation Between Racial Salience and Preferential Rankings, 59 Willamette L. Rev. 189 (2023):

US News (2023)In 2020, novel research was conducted to measure disparities between the U.S. News & World Report overall rankings and the peer rankings of law schools. The research uncovered a stark outlier in Howard University School of Law, whose peer rank was consistently twenty to forty spots higher than its overall rank. This Article updates the research, adding the most recent 2022 and 2023 rankings data. The updated results show that this disparity has not only persisted but has increased in severity. This pronounced result strengthens one of the potential explanations posited in the original research regarding the role of race in the peer rankings, namely, as racial salience increases in society, so does the unique treatment of Howard, the only ranked HBCU law school. This Article analyzes other potential explanations such as an exceptional law review, effective use of promotional materials, law school location, political ideology preference, notable alumni, professor quality, and unwillingness to game the system, which may contribute to the disparity but fall far short of being able to explain its magnitude.

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December 6, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Bearer-Friend: Paying For Reparations—How To Capitalize A Multi-Trillion Reparations Fund

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington; Google Scholar), Paying for Reparations: How to Capitalize a Multi-Trillion Reparations Fund, 67 How. L.J. __ (2024):

Howard Law Journal 2This Article proposes a novel approach to capitalizing a reparations fund worth trillions of dollars. Under the proposal, publicly-traded firms on U.S. exchanges would be required to remit shares of corporate equity to a reparations trust fund in lieu of cash tax payments. Under the terms of this proposal, our federal government could successfully capitalize a multi-trillion reparations fund in less than a year.

The primary contribution of this Article is to offer a unique financing structure for reparations—a national effort expected by all estimates to require trillions of dollars. The Article describes the features of the in-kind tax proposal, the myriad design choices that would be necessary to ensure effective implementation, and its analogs in the private sector for capitalizing a fund. The Article also evaluates the limitations of an in-kind tax proposal, ultimately concluding that in-kind remittance remains preferable to other tax policy options.

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December 6, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

WaPo: Behind The Scenes Of The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott

Washington Post, Law Schools Love to Hate U.S. News Rankings. But Some Can’t Let Go.:

US News (2023)The decision late last year by Yale Law School to stop cooperating with U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings drew giddy applause from some deans, who cheered the prospect of a larger uprising. After years of misgivings about the rankings’ influence, school leaders hoped that a public stand by Yale – the publication’s perennial No. 1 law program – might finally loosen U.S. News’s grip.

“The revolution has begun!!” Richard Moberly, dean of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln law school, wrote in an email shortly after the announcement to his then-counterpart at the University of Minnesota. “I have been wanting to do this for years but my guess is that people will follow Yale more than they would have followed Nebraska …” (At the time, Nebraska was No. 78.)

Law school deans have long complained that the U.S. News metrics value students with high test scores at the expense of those with other worthy attributes. On the other hand, many deans say that even small bumps in the rankings can help them raise money and recruit stronger students and faculty.

Interviews with administrators and internal communications obtained by The Washington Post through public records requests provide new detail about how Yale’s announcement on Nov. 16, 2022 – and, on the same day, Harvard’s – reverberated across higher education. Behind the scenes, administrators debated whether taking a moral stand against U.S. News was worth the risk of either plummeting in the rankings or, as some initially believed might happen, not being ranked at all. Across the country, the moment created a pressing quandary for legal educators, who weighed their concerns about the rankings against the reality of U.S. News’s importance in shaping a school’s national reputation. ...

A year later, the full effect of the revolt remains tricky to parse. U.S. News defended its rankings but made changes in the wake of the boycott. The publication placed greater emphasis on student outcomes, including bar-passage rates, rather than applicants’ grades and test scores. It now relies mostly on public data, lessening its dependence on law schools to provide information.

But a thorny relationship between U.S. News and the schools it ranks persists, fueling a broader debate about who gets to define quality in education. ...

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December 6, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Hot Takes On Yesterday's Moore v. United States Supreme Court Oral Argument

Harvard Law Review Spikes Commissioned Article On Genocide In Gaza

The Intercept, Harvard Law Review Editors Vote to Kill Article About Genocide in Gaza:

HarvardThe article on the Gaza war and the Nakba was commissioned, edited, fact-checked, and prepared for publication — but was then blocked amid a climate of fear.

A week after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, by which time Israel’s all-out assault on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had killed thousands of civilians, the online editors of the prestigious Harvard Law Review reached out to Rabea Eghbariah.

The two online chairs, as they are called, had decided to solicit an essay from a Palestinian scholar for the journal’s website. Eghbariah was an obvious choice: A Palestinian doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School and human rights lawyer, he has tried landmark Palestinian civil rights cases before the Israeli Supreme Court.

Eghbariah submitted a draft of a 2,000-word essay by early November. He argued that Israel’s assault on Gaza should be evaluated within and beyond the “legal framework” of “genocide.”

In line with the Law Review’s standard procedures, the piece was solicited, commissioned, contracted, submitted, edited, fact checked, copy edited, and approved by the relevant editors. Yet it will never be published with the Harvard Law Review.

Following an intervention to delay the publication of Eghbariah’s article by the Harvard Law Review president, the piece went through several committee processes before it was finally killed by an emergency meeting of editors. The essay, “The Ongoing Nakba,” would have been the first from a Palestinian scholar published by the journal. ...

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December 6, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Christians & Magalhães: The Case For Taxing Away Unsustainable Profits

Allison Christians (McGill; Google Scholar) & Tarcísio Diniz Magalhães (Antwerp; Google Scholar), The Case for Taxing Away Unsustainable Profits, 91 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 697 (2023): 

George Washington Law ReviewWhen businesses offload environmental and social costs on the public, the resulting profits are windfalls extracted from current and future taxpayers. Prevailing regulatory and tax remedies have not only failed to eliminate such profiteering, but they have in fact incentivized it. To prevent some from receiving windfalls while everyone else bears the costs, profits can be distinguished between sustainable profits, when costs are internalized, and unsustainable profits, when costs are externalized. While the former would remain subject to the traditional corporate income tax, the latter should be completely taxed away with a surtax. A viable way to achieve this is to combine advanced mechanisms for measuring environmental and social damage across supply chains with classic and emerging legal techniques for differentiating categories of income for tax purposes. 

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December 5, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Pepperdine Caruso Law At The Supreme Court

Supreme Court Bar Swearing In (120423)

I had the honor yesterday morning of moving the admission of eleven Pepperdine Caruso Law alumni and friends into the U.S. Supreme Court Bar:

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December 5, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Combining Businesses And Their Ownership: The Case For Uniform Nonrecognition Under The Internal Revenue Code

Anthony P. Polito (Suffolk), Combining Businesses and Their Ownership: The Case for Uniform Nonrecognition under the Internal Revenue Code:

If a juridical entity that conducts a bona fide business is absorbed entirely into another juridical entity that also conducts a bona fide business, and the equity holders of the absorbed business receive nothing but equity in the absorbing entity in the transaction, and the equity holders of the absorbing entity retain in form exactly the same legal entitlements as before the transaction, no tax consequences should be triggered with respect to the gain or loss accrued with respect to either the business assets or the equity interests involved.

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December 5, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

McGinnis: Addressing The Rot In Our Universities

John O. McGinnis (Northwestern), Addressing the Rot in Our Universities:

Law & LibertyThe reactions at universities to Hamas’ October 7 massacre have finally awakened many alumni, forcing them to recognize the woke takeover of their alma maters. Many university presidents who had issued statements deploring racial incidents in the United States and events around the world were initially silent about the greatest mass slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust. Others issued vague platitudes of concern about violence. Some elite university students, who during the George Floyd riots cried out that silence was violence, welcomed actual violence, celebrating the massacre as part of Palestinian resistance.

Not surprisingly, there was a backlash from many donors who suggested they would withhold their gifts. As a result of the threat to their bottom line, the universities then put out some more muscular statements condemning Hamas. They created task forces against antisemitism on campus. Some expressed concern about student slogans that favored a Free Palestine spanning from the Red Sea to the Jordan River, leaving no space for Israel and the Jews who lived there. 

Unfortunately, these actions treat the symptoms rather than the causes of the ideological miasma that has enveloped our universities. Indeed, by buying into the paradigm of the politically active university and further empowering it, political statements by universities and their appointment of task forces based on identity will make things worse in the long run. ...

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December 5, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Listen To Moore v. United States Supreme Court Oral Argument Today At 10:00 AM ET

BLT: Can Large Language Models Handle Basic Legal Text?

Andrew Blair-Stanek (Maryland; Google Scholar), Nils Holzenberger (Institut Polytechnique de Paris) & Benjamin Van Durme (Johns Hopkins; Google Scholar), BLT: Can Large Language Models Handle Basic Legal Text?:

We find that the best publicly available LLMs like GPT-4 and PaLM 2 currently perform poorly at basic text handling required of lawyers or paralegals, such as looking up the text at a line of a witness deposition or at a subsection of a contract. We introduce a benchmark to quantify this poor performance, which casts into doubt LLMs' current reliability as-is for legal practice. Finetuning for these tasks brings an older LLM to near-perfect performance on our test set and also raises performance on a related legal task. This stark result highlights the need for more domain expertise in LLM training.

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December 5, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Monday, December 4, 2023

Blank & Osofsky: Democratic Accountability And Tax Enforcement

Joshua D. Blank (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar) & Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina; Google Scholar), Democratic Accountability and Tax Enforcement, 61 Harv. J. on Legis. ​__ ( 2024): 

Harvard J. on Legis.One of the most powerful charges that can be leveled against the IRS is that it is targeting taxpayers. Charges of political targeting have dogged the IRS for over a century, including in major controversies such as the so-called Tea Party auditing scandal in 2013. Commentators and scholars have long-critiqued the IRS for focusing audit resources on some of the lowest-income Americans. And, most recently, a group of researchers estimated that the IRS audits Black taxpayers at a 2.9 to 4.7 times greater rate, as compared to non-Black taxpayers. 

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December 4, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup

Joondeph: Remote Work And State Taxation Of Nonresident Employees

Bradley W. Joondeph (Santa Clara), Remote Work and the State Taxation of Nonresident Employees, 2023 Wis. L. Rev. 873:

Wisconsin Law ReviewThe onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caused millions of Americans to telecommute across state lines. In response, several states deemed the salaries of employees who had previously worked at workplaces in the state to be “sourced” temporarily to that state. Some rival states contended this was unconstitutionally extraterritorial and sought to file an original complaint at the Supreme Court. Ultimately, the justices declined to hear New Hampshire v. Massachusetts, leaving the issue to be litigated by individual taxpayers.

This article explains why such sourcing rules are constitutional.

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December 4, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

NY Times: Why Tax Prof Neil Buchanan And Other Liberal Tenured Professors Are Leaving Florida's Public Universities

New York Times, In Florida’s Hot Political Climate, Some Faculty Have Had Enough:

BuchananLiberal-leaning professors are leaving coveted jobs with tenure. And there are signs that recruiting scholars has become harder.

Gov. Ron DeSantis had just taken office in 2019 when the University of Florida lured Neil H. Buchanan, a prominent economist and tax law scholar, from George Washington University.

Now, just four years after he started at the university, Dr. Buchanan has given up his tenured job and headed north to teach in Toronto. In a recent column on a legal commentary website, he accused Florida of “open hostility to professors and to higher education more generally.”

He is not the only liberal-leaning professor to leave one of Florida’s highly regarded public universities. Many are giving up coveted tenured positions and blaming their departures on Governor DeSantis and his effort to reshape the higher education system to fit his conservative principles.

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December 4, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

Lesson From The Tax Court Repost: Ipse Dixit Cannot Fix It

Camp (2021)[Author's Note: I am preparing exams and so take a break this week from writing a new Lesson.  I offer a reposting of a Lesson from 2019 that I really liked, but one that did not get a lot of views when originally posted.  I hope you enjoy it!]

Mitchel Skolnick and Leslie Skolnick, et al. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2019-64 (June 3, 2019) (Judge Lauber), teaches an important lesson about the proper use of expert witnesses.  In Skolnick, the Tax Court rejected the taxpayer’s expert witness valuation of of 153 horses at two points in time 7 years apart because the expert did not adequately disclose the facts and methodology used to value each horse.  Judge Lauber held that the taxpayer could not fix the value of the horses through expert’s ipse dixit.

The form of the lesson is also instructive.  The opinion merely grants an interstitial motion, called a motion in limine, to exclude the expert’s report from the evidentiary record at trial, held in April 2019.  The 68-page final decision was issued in December 2019 (you can read it here) and the taxpayers lost, as you might expect. They then took an appeal to the Third Circuit...and lost again. Skolnick v. Commissioner, 62 F.4th 95 (3rd Cir. 2023).

One might ask why the Court would take the time to issue an opinion on just one aspect of a case after the bother of a trial.  Why did not the Court just issue an opinion on the merits of the dispute?  After all, if the expert’s opinion is worthless enough to exclude from evidence, it is unlikely to really be helpful in deciding the merits of the case. 

I give my thoughts on both lessons below the fold, although I won’t blame you if you prefer to just watch this classic Monty Python sketch “The Argument Clinic.” Ipse Dixit is the form of argument that predominates in the sketch and is part of what makes it funny.  In real life, however, taxpayer representatives who do not heed today’s lesson will not be laughing.

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December 4, 2023 in Bryan Camp, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Practice And Procedure | Permalink | Comments (1)

Foley & Lardner Is Third Law Firm To Rescind Offer To Incoming Associate Due To Anti-Israel Comments

Law360, Foley & Lardner Axes Associate Job Offer Over Israel Remarks:

Chehade 2Foley & Lardner has rescinded a job offer to a former summer associate and recent Georgetown University Law Center graduate over her public comments about Hamas' attack on Israel, the law firm said Thursday.

Foley & Lardner pulled back its job offer to recent Georgetown Law graduate Jinan Chehade, who was slated to start in October, after it learned she had made public statements about Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel "that were inconsistent with our core values," the firm told Law360.

"In the face of rising anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and acts of hatred towards Israelis and Palestinians, Foley & Lardner's foremost commitment is — and has been — to our people," a firm spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. "Led by our core values, there is no room for anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism or any other form of violence, hatred or bigotry at the firm. ...

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December 4, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Liberal Arts: Truth U, Social Justice U, Or Jesus U?

Christianity Today Op-Ed: The Christian Liberal Arts Tradition Can Appeal to Christians and Non-Christians Alike, by Joseph Claire (Dean, College of Humanities, George Fox University) (adapted from his chapter in The Liberating Arts: Why We Need Liberal Arts Education (2023)):

The Liberating ArtsCollege and university professors in the liberal arts (humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences) are almost entirely left-leaning, liberal, or progressive, and this is especially true among faculty in the humanities and social sciences. The trend is even more pronounced in certain selective schools.

Students who attend liberal arts colleges or universities often adopt more liberal or progressive points of view as a result of their education. ...

Is this phenomenon accidentally related to the demography of the professoriate or somehow intrinsically related to the craft and content of the liberal arts themselves and the culture and atmosphere of the campus? ­

The terms “liberal” and “progressive” represent different political traditions in the West, and, when applied to the liberal arts, represent different approaches to education.

“Liberal” liberal arts education represents a modern vision of an Enlightenment-style view of objective truth pursued by rational and empirical methods. The “progressive” model, on the other hand, is often associated with postmodern visions of education, ones suspicious of privileged categories such as knowledge, truth, and understanding. It aims at dismantling systems of illegitimate power, ensuring equal outcomes, and achieving other goals connected to the mission of social justice.

New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues that these visions of the liberal arts are ultimately incompatible and that universities should choose between the aims of objective truth and social justice. He calls the “liberal” approach “Truth U” and the progressive approach “Social Justice U.” He notes that most major liberal arts institutions in America today have become Social Justice Us by default, owing simply to the makeup of their faculties.

Haidt notes that some religious colleges present themselves as pursuing an entirely different telos, or guiding purpose. As an example, he points to the evangelical Wheaton College, whose mission statement mentions “serv[ing] Jesus Christ and advanc[ing] His Kingdom.” Haidt calls this exceptional case “Jesus U,” but he doesn’t seem to take it seriously, given his commitment to an Enlightenment-style vision of the liberal arts.

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December 3, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: Conservative Church Critics Of Pope Francis Get Fired, While Progressive Critics Get Sternly Worded Letters

New York Times Op-Ed:  Pope Francis Tries to Settle Accounts, by Ross Douthat:

Pope Francis 2For years now, Pope Francis’ governance of the Roman Catholic Church has been seemingly designed to drive the church’s conservative and liberal wings ever further apart. Thus the persistent question hanging over his pontificate: How will he hold this thing together?

By opening debate on a wide array of hot-button subjects without delivering explicit changes, he has encouraged the church’s progressives to push the envelope as far as possible, even toward real doctrinal rebellion, in the hopes of dragging him along. At the same time, by favoring the progressives in his personnel decisions and making institutional war on the legacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, he has pushed conservatives toward crisis, paranoia and revolt.

On both fronts it’s unclear whether the papacy’s weakening authority can pull either group of rebels back. But in the last few weeks we’ve seen a clear attempt to use that authority, a real test of the pope’s ability to keep the church together.

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December 3, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

BYU, Catholic, Cumberland, Liberty, Notre Dame, And Pepperdine Deans Support ABA's Proposed Free Speech Accreditation Standard, But Object To Extra Burden Placed On Faith-Based Law Schools

Following up on my previous post, ABA Council Unanimously Votes To Send Law School Free Speech Accreditation Standard To House Of Delegates For Final Approval In February:, ABA Council Sends 'Academic Freedom' Proposal to Hpuse of Delegates:

ABA Legal Ed (2023)The Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted to send Standard 208 to the ABA House of Delegates for concurrence at the ABA Midyear Meeting in February 2024:


(a) A law school shall adopt, publish, and adhere to written policies that protect academic freedom. A law school’s academic freedom policies shall:
(1) Apply to all full and part-time faculty, as well as to all others teaching law school courses;
(2) Apply to conducting research, publishing scholarship, engaging in law school governance, participating in law related public service activities, and exercising teaching responsibilities, including those related to client representation in clinical programs; and
(3) Afford due process, such as notice, hearing, and appeal rights, to assess any claim of a violation of the academic freedom policies.

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December 3, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Case For And Against Keeping Donna Adelson In Jail Before Her Trial In Dan Markel's Murder

Tallahassee Democrat Op-Ed:  Former Florida Lawmaker Makes Case That Donna Adelson Should Be Released From Jail, by Benjamin Graber, M.D. ("Editor's Note: — The author of this op-ed is a 40-year friend of Donna Adelson."):

Adelson (Donna Mug Shot 2)Charlie Adelson, Katherine Magbanua, and Sigfredo Garcia: A toxic love triangle. ... The love triangle where Katherine is the love focus of two competing macho men where she controls the information to both because they do not talk to each other. She plays one against the other using jealousy and competition to get what she needs. From Sigfredo, she wants love and devotion for herself and children. From Charlie, she wants love and devotion, security and gifts, and possibly marriage or a way out of her predicament in life. This is common in toxic love triangles. ...

Dan Markel murder: An alternative theory of the case. ... Katherine was eventually convicted as the organizer and Charlie as the plotter. But would Charlie, an educated, meticulous person who dots every I, staple his money together, make such an absurd and clumsy plan to kill someone then tell them he would pay them later? I don’t think so. ...

Charlie may be a risk taker, but he is not a killer or criminal at all and never has been. The evening of Dan Markel’s killing Katherine went to his house. He was afraid for his own safety, even carrying an open pistol for protection. Sigfredo, on the other hand, is a natural born killer. Katherine is a manipulative woman with motives for these actions in a toxic love triangle that motivates her behavior. And Rivera has a criminal history and societal complexities.

Donna Adelson is neither a sociopath nor vindictive. Donna Adelson is a 73-year-old grandmother who raised her children to be model citizens, students, humanitarians and respectful. I’ve known Donna for 40 years.

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December 3, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #4. The #1 paper is #1,257 among 17,872 tax papers in all-time downloads.

  1. SSRN Logo (2018)[612 Downloads]  Efficiency vs. Welfare in Benefit-Cost Analysis: The Case of Government Funding, by Zachary Liscow (Yale; Google Scholar) & Cass Sunstein (Harvard; Google Scholar)
  2. [587 Downloads]  Common Sense Recommendations for the Application of Tax Law to Digital Assets, by Linda Beale (Wayne State) et al.
  3. [400 Downloads]  Loss Harvesting or Gain Deferral? A Surprising Source of Tax Benefits of Tax-Aware Long-Short Strategies, by Stanley Krasner & Nathan Sosner (AQR Capital Management)
  4. [300 Downloads]  Complying with BEPS Substance Requirements Through Remote Personnel: Business Profit Allocation, the PPT and ATAD 3, by Aitor Navarro (Max Planck; Google Scholar)
  5. [261 Downloads]  Moore, The 16th Amendment, And The Underpinnings Of The TCJA’s Deemed Repatriation Provision, by Christopher Hanna (SMU)

December 3, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, December 2, 2023

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Top Ten 2Legal Education:

  1. New York Law Journal, Fall Out From Antisemitism At NYU And UC-Berkeley Law Schools
  2. CBC, Former Law School Dean Faces Disbarment For Allegedly Misspending $500,000 From Endowment Intended For Students
  3. David Brooks (New York Times Op-Ed), Universities (And Law Schools) Are Failing At Inclusion
  4. Reuters, Straight White Male NYU 1L May Proceed Anonymously In Law Review Discrimination Case
  5. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), BigLaw Associate Compensation Soars To $240k for 1st Years, $550k For 8th Years 1300
  6. The Messenger, 25 Year Old Law Student, Presumed To Be A Hostage Since October 7, Found Dead Under Ambulance
  7. Golden Gate University Newsroom, Law School Will Terminate Its JD Program In May 2024; 1Ls And 2Ls Can Complete Their Degrees At Other Law Schools
  8. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), One-Third Through Fall 2024 Law School Admissions Season: Black (+3%), Hispanic (+2%) & Asian (+1%) Applicants Are Up; White (-3%) & 170-180 LSAT (-8%) Applicants Are Down
  9. Scott Rempell (South Texas), A Blueprint to Reclaim Legal Education from U.S. News
  10., 58% Of Prospective Law Students Want To Attend A School With Classmates Of The Same Political Views


  1. Wall Street Journal, Does The IRS Have Authority To Circumvent Congressional Tax Policy With Tax Cuts By Administrative Fiat?
  2. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: Taxpayers Cannot Invoke The 'Augusta Rule' With Unplayable Lie
  3. The Messenger, Jeff Bezos Will Save Billions In Taxes By Moving To Miami
  4. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Kristin Hickman Will Not Join The Texas Faculty In January 2024 And Will Remain At Minnesota
  5. Edward Fox (Michigan), Presentation Of Who Benefits From Corporate Tax Cuts?: Evidence From Banks And Credit Unions Around The TCJA At Columbia And NYU
  6. Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Two New International Tax Papers On SSRN
  7. Ariel Jurow Kleiman (Loyola-L.A.), Shayak Sarkar (UC-Davis) & Emily Satterthwaite (Georgetown), Presentation Of Towards an Understanding of Nannies' Tax Experiences and Preferences At Loyola-L.A.
  8. SSRN, Tax Professor Rankings
  9. Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Cardozo), Review Of The Mirage Of Mobile Capital, By Wei Cui (British Columbia)
  10. SSRN, The Top Five New Tax Papers


  1. Anne Lamott (Washington Post Op-Ed), At 33, I Knew Everything. At 69, I Know Something Much More Important.
  2. Russell Moore (Editor in Chief, Christianity Today), What Does It Profit A Christian To Protect An Institution But Lose Their Soul?
  3. Washington Post, Why Thomas Jefferson Hated Thanksgiving
  4. Robert Tracy McKenzie (Wheaton College), Was Abraham Lincoln A Christian?
  5. John Inazu (Washington University), The Lack Of Clarity And Courage In Higher Education On Hamas And Israel

December 2, 2023 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Weekly Top 10 TaxProf Blog Posts | Permalink

ABA Rejects Golden Gate Law School's Plan To Terminate Its JD Program

Following up on yesterday's post, Golden Gate Will Terminate Its JD Program In May 2024; 1Ls And 2Ls Can Complete Their Degrees At Other Law Schools:  Council and Executive Committee Decision (ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar), Golden Gate University School of Law Teach-Out Plan (Nov. 2023):

Golden Gate Logo (2023)At a meeting on November 16-17, 2023, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (the “Council”) considered the Teach-Out Plan submitted by Golden Gate University School of Law (the “Law School”).

After careful review of the Law School’s submission, the Council rejected the Teach-Out Plan as filed because the plan did not include sufficient detail relating to the operation of a teach-out.

As provided by Rule 29(k)(2), the Executive Committee of the Council directed the Law School to revise and resubmit the Teach-Out Plan on or before January 12, 2024. The revised Teach-Out Plan will be considered by the Executive Committee of the Council at a date to be determined.

ABA Journal, ABA Legal Ed Council Rejects Golden Gate University's Plan to End its JD Program:

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December 2, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

STEAM: Should Accounting Be Added To STEM To Reinvigorate And Diversify The Profession?

Bloomberg, Official STEM Designation Would Strengthen Accounting Profession:

STEMTechnology has reshaped accountants’ day-to-day responsibilities so much so that not only are they learning and leveraging cutting-edge tools, but they’re also developing and innovating mechanisms to help clients make informed decisions and improve services.

But ask a typical high school student what accountants do, and it’s clear there’s a gap between perception and reality. Most younger people aren’t aware that digital technology tools are automating and improving many old accounting tasks, opening up avenues for more creative work such as data analysis, advising on business decisions, and hunting down fraud.

That perception problem is contributing to a decline of accounting graduates as well as the lack of diversity in the pipeline.

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December 2, 2023 in Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News | Permalink

Charlie Adelson Spent 35 Hours On Prison Phone With His Mother Donna In The Week Between His Conviction And Her Arrest In Dan Markel's Murder

Tallahassee Democrat, Dan Markel Murder: Charlie Adelson Spent 35 Hours on Phone With Mom in Week of Her Arrest:

Adelson (Charlie & Donna)A locked-up Charlie Adelson spent an astonishing amount of time on the phone with his mom — and perhaps others using her cell — in the roughly week-long span between his conviction and her arrest in the murder of their former in-law, Dan Markel.

Adelson, a Fort Lauderdale periodontist, was found guilty Nov. 6 after an eight-day trial in Leon Circuit Court for first-degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation in Markel's 2014 death. His mom, Donna Adelson, was arrested Nov. 13 on the same charges after she and her husband tried to board a flight out of Miami with one-way tickets to Vietnam, which has no extradition treaty with the United States.

Charlie Adelson’s call log from the Leon County Detention Facility, obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat through a public records request, shows he racked up 2,118 minutes — more than 35 hours — in jail calls during that fateful week. He made a total of 86 phone calls, though some were not completed, all to the same phone number, which according to court records belongs to Donna Adelson.

The sheer volume of calls — which are monitored and recorded and fair game for prosecutors to use against defendants — was breathtaking for a case with so much evidence involving wire taps and incriminating conversations between members of the Adelson family and others.

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December 2, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, December 1, 2023

BigLaw Associate Compensation Soars To $240k for 1st Years, $550k For 8th Years

Here is the latest associate compensation at Cravath and at least 27 other law firms:

Year Salary Bonus Total
1st 225,000 15,000 240,000
2nd 235,000 20,000 255,000
3rd 260,000 30,000 290,000
4th 310,000 57,500 367,500
5th 365,000 75,000 440,000
6th 390,000 90,000 480,000
7th 420,000 105,000 525,000
8th 435,000 115,000 550,000

According to and Above the Law, Akin Gump, Baker Botts, Baker McKenzie, Cleary Gottlieb, Covington & Burling, Davis Polk, Debevoise, Dechert, Fried Frank, Gibson Dunn, Hogan Lovells, Holwell Shuster, Kirkland, Mayer Brown, McDermott, Will & Emery, Norton Rose Fulbright, O’Melveny, Paul Hastings, Paul Weiss, Proskauer, Simpson Thacher, Skadden, Sidley Austin, Wachtell, Vinson & Elkins, Willkie Farr, and Yetter Coleman have matched Cravath.

Bloomberg Law, Cravath Salary Raises Pressure Rivals Who Can’t Afford Match:

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December 1, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Kim Reviews Cui’s The Mirage Of Mobile Capital

This week, Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Cardozo; Google Scholar) reviews Wei Cui (British Columbia; Google Scholar), The Mirage of Mobile Capital (May 7, 2023).

Kim (2023)

Over two years have passed since more than 140 countries signed the OECD's global tax deal, consisting of two Pillars, in October 2021. Pillar One is focused on expanding source country taxing rights on the income of large multinational enterprises (MNEs). It targets digital companies such as Facebook or Google that can extract profits from a source jurisdiction without a physical presence. The implementation of Pillar One remains uncertain. Nonetheless, the global minimum tax in Pillar Two is expected to be implemented globally soon. A popular narrative about Pillar Two endorsed by many scholars, including myself here, is as follows: Pillar Two and its global minimum tax embrace the ideal of corporate tax harmonization to combat the tax competition that has dominated international taxation since the advent of globalization in the 1980s. 

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December 1, 2023 in Christine Kim, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

Next Week’s Tax Workshop

Thursday, December 7: Andrew Hayashi (Virginia; Google Scholar) will present The Federal Architecture of Income Inequality as part of the Columbia Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium. If you would like to attend, please contact Michael Love.

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December 1, 2023 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Golden Gate Will Terminate Its JD Program In May 2024; 1Ls And 2Ls Can Complete Their Degrees At Other Law Schools

Update: ABA Rejects Golden Gate Law School's Plan To Terminate Its JD Program

Golden Gate University Newsroom, Update on Golden Gate University JD Program:

Golden Gate Logo (2023)After months of discussions with numerous stakeholders and a thorough review of data, the Golden Gate University Board of Trustees voted to discontinue the University’s American Bar Association-accredited Juris Doctor degree and offer a teach-out option to current JD students. We will not admit additional students to the JD program.

To be clear, this decision applies to one program in the Law School. While the JD program will sunset, the Law School will continue serving students with standout legal education, as it has since its founding in 1901. GGU Law will continue to offer degrees at the graduate [Master of Law Studies (MLS), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (LLM), Master of Laws in Estate Planning (LLM), Master of Laws in Intellectual Property Law (LLM), Master of Laws in International Legal Studies (LLM), Master of Laws in Taxation Law (LLM), Master of Laws in US Legal Studies (LLM), SJD in International Legal Studies (LLM)] and undergraduate [BA in Law] levels.

The University is committed to ensuring that our current GGU Law students in the JD program will be able to complete their ABA-accredited degrees through arrangements with partnering institutions. Current JD students who choose to continue their education with these partnering institutions will earn an ABA-accredited degree from GGU and will pay the same tuition rate they currently pay. ...

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December 1, 2023 in Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Osofsky Reviews The Inflation Reduction Act's Impact On Tax Compliance—And Fiscal Sustainability, By Sarin & Mazur

Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina; Google Scholar), Estimating the Return on Investment in the IRS (JOTWELL) (reviewing Natasha Sarin (Yale; Google Scholar; Former Counselor on Tax Policy, U.S. Treasury Department) & Mark Mazur (Former Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, U.S. Treasury Department), The Inflation Reduction Act's Impact on Tax Compliance—and Fiscal Sustainability (2023):

Jotwell (2023)In the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress made a monumental investment in the IRS, reversing a decades-long trend of inadequate funding. A critical question is: how much was this investment worth? Government scorekeepers came up with a number of about $200 billion (yielding a $120 billion net amount, after taking into account the cost of the increased funding). But, in a new paper, The Inflation Reduction Act’s Impact on Tax Compliance—and Fiscal Sustainability, Natasha Sarin and Mark Mazur argue that these official estimates significantly understate the return on investment in the IRS. They estimate that the funding would enable the IRS to raise at least $560 billion ($480 billion, net) over the next ten years, and that, depending on taxpayers’ behavioral response, it is possible the return may actually be closer to $1 trillion.

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November 30, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

A Blueprint To Reclaim Legal Education From U.S. News

Scott Rempell (South Texas), A Blueprint to Reclaim Legal Education from U.S. News:

US News (2023)The U.S. News & World Report (“U.S. News”) law school rankings impact the perceptions and behaviors of everyone in the rankings ecosystem, from law school administrators and law professors to prospective students and legal employers. Despite decades of near universal condemnation, these ordinal rankings continue to significantly influence the legal education market, often in highly detrimental ways.

This Article presents a blueprint for how the law school community can reclaim legal education from U.S. News. The blueprint concerns the features of an alternative product that would deliver substantial value in an efficient manner. Regulators like the ABA would have to play a role because they can mandate the types and forms of data that law schools produce. The alternative product should include data categories that consumers would find helpful based on the reasons why various constituencies assess information about law schools to begin with. A comprehensive set of relevant data points is necessary, but not sufficient. The relevant information must be presented through an easy-to-navigate interface that allows consumers to efficiently acquire, arrange, and internalize the data to meet their objectives.

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November 30, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Changes In The Distribution Of Black And White Wealth Since The Civil War

Ellora Derenoncourt (Princeton University), Chi Hyun Kim (University of Bonn), Moritz Kuhn (University of Mannheim) & Moritz Schularick (Sciences Po Paris), Changes in the Distribution of Black and White Wealth since the US Civil War, 37 J. Econ. Persp. 71 (2023):

The difference in the average wealth of Black and white Americans narrowed in the first century after the Civil War, but remained large and even widened again after 1980. Given high levels of wealth concentration both historically and today, dynamics at the average may not capture important heterogeneity in racial wealth gaps across the distribution.

This paper looks into the historical evolution of the Black and white wealth distributions since Emancipation. The picture that emerges is an even starker one than racial wealth inequality at the mean. Tracing, for the first time, the evolution of wealth of the median Black household and the gap between the typical Black and white household over time, we estimate that the majority of Black households only began to dispose of measurable wealth around World War II. While the civil rights era brought substantial wealth gains for the median Black household, the gap between Black and white wealth at the median has not changed much since the 1970s. The top and the bottom of the wealth distribution show even greater persistence, with Black households consistently over-represented in the bottom half of the wealth distribution and under-represented in the top-10 percent over the past seven decades.

Black Figure 2

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November 30, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN has updated its monthly ranking of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through November 1, 2023) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

    All-Time     Recent
1 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)  226,070 1 Jonathan Choi (USC) 23,226
2 Daniel Hemel (NYU) 131,630 2 Kristin Hickman (Minnesota) 14,591
3 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 127,622 3 Amy Monahan (Minnesota) 13,483
4 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 127,324 4 Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) 11,588
5 David Gamage (Indiana-Maurer) 126,793 5 David Gamage (Indiana-Maurer) 4,336
6 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 118,839 6 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 4,225
7 David Kamin (NYU) 114,326 7 Daniel Hemel (NYU) 4,021
8 Cliff Fleming (BYU)    108,470 8 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 3,777
9 Manoj Viswanathan (UC-SF) 104,876 9 Kyle Rozema (Northwestern) 3,765
10 Ari Glogower (Northwestern) 104,363 10 D. Dharmapala (UC-Berkeley) 3,470
11 Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) 103,932 11 Steve Black (Texas Tech) 3,435
12 D. Dharmapala (UC-Berkeley) 51,828 12 Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 3,307
13 Michael Simkovic (USC) 48,652 13 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 3,305
14 Louis Kaplow (Harvard) 41,632 14 Kim Clausing (UCLA)     3,263
15 Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 41,584 15 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 3,085
16 Richard Ainsworth (Boston University) 38,832 16 Zachary Liscow (Yale) 2,987
17 Bridget Crawford (Pace) 37,867 17 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 2,907
18 Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) 33,292 18 Richard Ainsworth (Boston University) 2,873
19 Brad Borden (Brooklyn) 31,702 19 Brian Galle (Georgetown) 2,490
20 Ruth Mason (Virginia) 30,891 20 Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Cardozo) 2,446
21 Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine) 30,312 21 Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A.) 2,361
22 Ed Kleinbard (USC) 29,821 22 Dan Shaviro (NYU) 2,280
23 Jim Hines (Michigan) 28,559 23 Lily Batchelder (NYU) 2,134
24 Kim Clausing (UCLA) 27,939 24 John R. Brooks (Fordham) 2,094
25 Richard Kaplan (Illinois) 27,476 25 David Weisbach (Chicago) 2,071

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November 30, 2023 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink

ABA Selects DePaul Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea As New Managing Director Of Legal Education

Press Release, ABA Selects DePaul Law Dean as New Managing Director of Legal Education:

Rosato PereaJennifer Rosato Perea, who has served as dean of DePaul University College of Law since 2015, will be the new managing director of accreditation and legal education for the American Bar Association effective June 1, 2024.

Rosato Perea, a nationally recognized leader in legal education, is in her second term at DePaul and 16th year as a law dean. A longtime advocate of student engagement and professionalism, Rosato Perea is one of only a small number of Latina law school deans in the nation, and she would become the first Latina to serve as head of ABA legal education, which includes the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, its governing council and an ABA program that approves paralegal programs.

She will replace Bill Adams, who has served as managing director for accreditation and legal education since spring 2020 and who managed through the pandemic, which forced most law schools to adopt online coursework among other changes.

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November 30, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Satterthwaite Reviews Bearer-Friend's Colorblind Tax Enforcement

Emily Satterthwaite (Georgetown; Google Scholar), Beyond Audits: Investigating the Role of Race in Various Tax Enforcement Settings (JOTWELL) (reviewing Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington; Google Scholar), Colorblind Tax Enforcement, 97 NYU L. Rev. 1 (2022)):

Jotwell (2023)Following the January release of a groundbreaking study by Hadi Elzayn, Robin Fisher, Jacob Goldin, Thomas Hertz, Daniel E. Ho, Arun Ramesh, and Evelyn Smith and the resulting mediaCongressional, and IRS attention, it is now well-known that Black taxpayers are audited at rates three to five times the rates of non-Black taxpayers. The audit study is a landmark both for its results (which contradict past IRS statements) and also for its novel methodology, which uses individually-estimated taxpayer race probabilities to obtain informative bounds on the racial audit rate disparity. In addition to illuminating problematic patterns in current IRS audit selection procedures, the study’s methodology offers promise for the future in investigating other race-based patterns in tax enforcement.

In what non-audit enforcement areas might such patterns arise? Here is where the prescient work of Jeremy Bearer-Friend (as cited in the audit study, P. 41) comes in, building on the work of other scholars working at the intersection of race and tax. In “Colorblind Tax Enforcement,” Bearer-Friend refutes on first principles the now-debunked claim that because the IRS does not collect race data, it cannot discriminate by race when enforcing tax laws. He points out that, for IRS agents, making inferences about the race of a taxpayer on the basis of the information provided on the return (names of taxpayer, spouse, and children, address including zip code, family structure, and occupation) is plausible and probable: “[e]ach of these datapoints can lead to inferences of racial identity in the mind of the relevant IRS personnel, with the combination of data points creating a stronger likelihood of inference” (P. 19). Moreover, at many points in the enforcement process there are telephonic or in-person conferences that allow for further racial inferences. ...

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November 29, 2023 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Kristin Hickman Will Not Join The Texas Faculty In January 2024 And Will Remain At Minnesota

Following up on my previous post, Kristin Hickman Leaves Minnesota For Texas (Effective January 2024):  Brian Leiter (Chicago) reports that Kristin Hickman will not be leaving Minnesota for Texas in January 2024, as previously announced by Texas. Kristin is #9 in the 2023 Google Scholar Tax Prof Rankings (H-Index Since 2018)  and #16 in the 2023 Google Scholar Tax Prof Rankings (H-Index All.

November 29, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Law Just Doesn’t Pay Like It Used To

Steven Chung (Tax Attorney, Los Angeles), Potential Client Wants To Pay A Tax Lawyer $50 To Answer Unlimited Questions For 6 Weeks:

Last night, as I was scrolling through Twitter/X looking for the post that would change my life, a colleague shared a post from someone seeking a tax attorney with intermediate experience.

Most people responded to the potential client’s post with ridicule. But I wonder how many of them did the same thing. How many of them called their professional friends to ask a simple question which turned into a 20-minute conversation?

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November 29, 2023 in Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News | Permalink

58% Of Prospective Law Students Want To Attend A School With Classmates Of The Same Political Views, Prospective Law Students Want to Attend School With 'Like-Minded Individuals,' Study Finds:

A majority of pre-law students reported that they would prefer attending a law school where classmates hold similar political views, according to a recent survey.

Kaplan recently reported that 58% of pre-law students say that “it’s important for them to attend a law school where their fellow students generally hold the same political/social views as they do.” ...

The last time Kaplan released a survey on this issue in January 2020, only 46% said this issue was important.

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November 29, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink