Paul L. Caron

Monday, June 17, 2024

Cauble: Administering Facts-And-Circumstances-Based Tax Tests

Emily Cauble (Wisconsin; Google Scholar), Administering Facts-And-Circumstances-Based Tax Tests, 76 Baylor L. Rev. __ (2024):

Baylor Law Review (2024)Oftentimes, the appropriate tax treatment of a transaction or event depends on a holistic analysis of relevant facts and circumstances. Facts-and-circumstances-based tests are challenging to administer because they are challenging to enforce and because they address challenging topics on which to provide useful administrative guidance. When a taxpayer claims tax treatment that depends on application of such a test, the IRS cannot determine whether the taxpayer's claimed position is correct without knowing the relevant facts and circumstances. Yet, often, taxpayers are not required to disclose the relevant facts and circumstances when filing a tax return, making enforcement difficult. Likewise, providing administrative guidance on facts-and-circumstances-based tests is daunting. If the IRS provides concrete examples of the application of such a test, there is a risk the concrete examples will mislead taxpayers. Taxpayers may come away with the impression that the concrete examples illustrate universal rules, which is not the case given the facts-and-circumstances-based nature of the test. If the IRS steers away from offering concrete examples, however, taxpayers will face uncertainty when attempting to determine their tax treatment.

This Article proposes a new, two-fold approach to administering facts-and-circumstances-based tests.

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June 17, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup

Todd: While Tax World Waits For Moore, Supreme Court Decides Important Connelly Estate Tax Case

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  While Tax World Waits For Moore, Supreme Court Decides Important Connelly Estate Tax Case, by Timothy M. Todd (Interim Dean, Liberty; Google Scholar):

ToddAlthough the eyes of the tax world have been focused on the pending decision in Moore v. United States—a case that challenges the one-time “mandatory repatriation tax,” and depending on the contours of the decision could upend (or cement, depending on whom you ask) critical tax norms—the Supreme Court issued another tax decision this term that has important and weighty practical implications for countless closely held businesses and those who advise them.

In Connelly v. United States, the Supreme Court was called upon to resolve a circuit split that had arisen concerning the estate tax valuation of a closely held business that used an extremely common planning structure: the use of life-insurance proceeds to redeem the shares of a shareholder upon his or her death. Tax and business lawyers undoubtedly agree with Benjamin Franklin’s sentiment that “in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes,” and prudent lawyers plan for both these certainties.

The circuit split concerned the interaction between the receipt of the life-insurance proceeds, which increases the value of the business, and the redemption obligation, which some have argued reduces the value of the business.

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June 17, 2024 in New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

The NextGen Bar Exam And Contract Drafting

Karen Sneddon (Dean, Mercer) & Susan Chesler (Arizona State; Google Scholar), Raising the Bar: The NextGen Bar Exam and Contract Drafting:

NextGen Bar ExamSet to debut in July 2026, the NextGen Bar Exam will test a broad range of foundational lawyering skills needed in today’s practice of law, including contract interpretation, drafting, and revising. According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), this exam is designed to balance the skills and knowledge needed in litigation and transactional legal practice. More specifically, the foundational skills that will be tested include drafting and revising contract provisions consistent with the facts, the law, and the client’s objectives, interests, and constraints. The NCBE has indicated that the examinees’ knowledge of the doctrinal subject matter topics, like Contracts, will be tested using these, and other, foundational skills. Bar takers will therefore be required to perform these lawyering skills as a way of proving their knowledge on topics such as contract formation, contract modification, interpretation, breach, and remedies. For the first time, in order to succeed on the bar exam, every law student will need to know how to draft and revise contract provisions.

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June 17, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Baez: The Medical Expense Deduction—Physicians, Medicine Men, And Spirituality

Beau Baez (Ohio Northern; Google Scholar), The Medical Expense Deduction: Physicians, Medicine Men, and Spirituality:

Expenses for buckskins, baskets, and Navajo healing ceremonies were allowed as medical deductions in Tso v. Commissioner of Revenue (“Tso”).  This case led to an expansion of the medical expense tax deduction to other non-traditional treatments, including energy healers that “connect spiritually through the universe.” While there are many alternative medical treatments of questionable efficacy, at least from an empirical perspective, courts after Tso appear more willing to allow the medical expense tax deduction for what might better be classified as spiritual experiences. In the four decades since Tso, every case and administrative ruling citing Tso has done so in a manner approving alternative healing. ...

As people seek new and exotic alternative medical treatments, a decision needs to be made whether to continue funding them through the medical expense income tax deduction.

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June 17, 2024 in Faith, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

2024 Summer Associates Survey

Law360, The 2024 Summer Associates Survey:

Law360 CoverOn-campus interview week is one of the most stressful experiences law students can undergo, as they bid for and meet the firms that could launch and shape their futures. Law360 Pulse's survey takes the measure of where they are at this moment in time

Firms were exceptionally selective in 2024, with many rolling back their summer associate programs amid a cool down in the market for junior hires. Many were also looking to land the brightest talent at the earliest possible point — in some instances, ahead of OCI.

We found a lot of anxiety among this year's cohort as to whether they'd be offered a job at the end, above and beyond any worries about whether they'd be up to the work itself. But students seemed to want to hit the ground running, with comparatively few showing an interest in fully remote work, and practice area and location remaining top draws.

Law360, These Law Firms Are Where Summers Want To Work:

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June 17, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Dr. Jayne Caron: 8 Years Down, 2 Years To Go

My beloved, brilliant, and beautiful daughter Jayne has completed her 4-year OB-GYN  residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, capped off by a wonderful graduation ceremony on Friday. Next up is a 2-year complex family planning fellowship at Stanford.

Jayne NYU Cedars

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

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June 17, 2024 in Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 16, 2024

An Essay In Defense Of Christianity

Rupert Shortt (Cambridge; Author, The Eclipse of Christianity and Why It Matters (2025)), An Essay in Defence of Christianity:

Eclipse 2Any bid to commend the claims of Christianity in writing should include a critical caveat. This essay defends a way of life, not a scientific theory such as evolution, or an abstract term like liberty. Whatever view you take of my theme, it cannot be divorced from the personal commitment that gives it its meaning. Like some of the ancient philosophical schools, religion is a path of understanding which can say little to those who have not set out on the journey. Disengaged study misses the point: it is like analysing a poem in terms of the chemistry of the ink on the page.

This thought leads to my main coordinates. You don’t think your way into a new way of living, but live your way into a new way of thinking. Being a Christian should not entail assenting to six impossible propositions before breakfast, but doing things that change you. The practical witness of believers may be their most eloquent statement of faith. G. K. Chesterton got right to the point when he described his creed as ‘less of a theory and more of a love affair’. Now consider the contrast between all this and much English-language philosophy, which tends to neglect the big picture. I would rather follow the lights of earlier thinkers including Cicero — especially his belief that the only fulfilling model for life rests on altruistic endeavour — and later figures who Christianised some of the noblest strands in pagan thought by adding the key precepts on love of God and neighbour. 

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June 16, 2024 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Discovery Of Oldest Account Of Jesus As A Boy Provides Added Context To New Testament

Washington Post, An Account of Jesus as a Boy is Decoded From an Ancient Papyrus Scrap:

For decades, a clumsily written document sat unnoticed at a university library in Germany, believed to be nothing more than a very old, everyday note, such as a private letter or a shopping list. Now, more than a millennium and a half after it was written, researchers believe the papyrus fragment is no ordinary memo, but the oldest surviving written copy of a gospel detailing Jesus’ childhood.

Lajos Berkes from Humboldt University of Berlin and Gabriel Nocchi Macedo from the University of Liège in Belgium, two papyrologists, date it to the 4th or 5th century, according to a news release.

They deciphered the fragment and identified it as a passage from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, a work that is apocryphal — or outside the accepted canon of scripture — and is believed to have been originally written in the 2nd century A.D. That makes it the oldest extant copy of that particular gospel.

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June 16, 2024 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Inazu: Encouraging And Equipping Christian Faculty At Non-Christian Universities

John Inazu (Washington University; Google Scholar), Encouraging and Equipping Christian Faculty at Non-Christian Universities:

InazuIn an earlier post, I described the Newbigin Fellows, a partnership between Interfaith America (where I serve as a Senior Fellow) and The Carver Project (an organization I founded five years ago). The Newbigin Fellows convenes cohorts of Christian faculty working at non-Christian colleges and universities. These cohorts meet monthly over Zoom and then gather in person with the goal of cultivating relationships with one another, reflecting on the theory and practice of interfaith engagement, and developing interfaith activities on their respective campuses. I co-lead the group with Interfaith America’s founder and president, Eboo Patel.

Last week, our second Newbigin cohort gathered in St. Louis. ... Our time together included substantive conversations about the state of politics and religion in our country, the recent campus protests, and the challenges and opportunities of being a Christian faculty member on campuses like ours.

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June 16, 2024 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Kirkland & Ellis Litigation Partner And Father Of 11 Mike Williams' Parenting Secret: Boundaries, Not Balance


David Lat, A Top Trial Lawyer And Father Of 11: Michael Williams:

A longtime Kirkland partner and parent to children ages 24 to 7, Mike Williams talks about how he and his wife Julin make it all work.

I’ve been honored to have some of the nation’s leading litigators on this podcast. But I have not had a guest who’s both a renowned courtroom advocate and parent of 11 children—until today.

Meet Michael Williams. After graduating from Georgetown Law, summa cum laude and first in his class, he clerked for then-Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the D.C. Circuit and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court. Mike then joined the D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis, where he is a share aka equity partner. He has won numerous honors and accolades over the years, recognized by Chambers and Partners, the Legal 500, and The American Lawyer, among others.

Despite his dazzling legal career, Mike is most proud of being a dad. He had his first child while still in law school, two children during his clerkships, and eight children during his time at K&E. In our conversation, we talked about his contrasting clerkship experiences; what it’s like being a litigator at Kirkland, including how the firm has evolved over the years; why at heart he’s more of a trial rather than an appellate lawyer; and most importantly, how he balances his busy practice with the demands of parenthood (although note that he’s not a fan of the term “work-life balance”). ...

I thought he’d be the perfect guest to join me for an episode scheduled to air shortly before Father’s Day—and he didn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for advice and insight on how to juggle work and family—a ton of work, and a ton of family—this episode is for you. Without further ado, here’s my conversation with Mike Williams. ...

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June 16, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top Five New Tax Papers

There is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #1 and #2.

  1. SSRN Logo (2018) [639 Downloads]  Does the Federal Budget Trump Constitutional Rights?, by Laura Snyder (Association of Americans Resident Overseas)
  2. [600 Downloads]  The Invisibility of the American Emigrant, by Laura Snyder (Association of Americans Resident Overseas)
  3. [595 Downloads]  FATCA is Not the Answer, by Karen Alpert (, John Richardson ( & Laura Snyder (Association of Americans Resident Overseas)
  4. [190 Downloads]  The Global Tax Deal And The New International Economic Governance, by Rebecca Kysar (Fordham; Google Scholar)
  5. [169 Downloads]  Fiscal Citizenship and Taxpayer Privacy, by Alex Zhang (Emory; Google Scholar)

June 16, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink

Saturday, June 15, 2024

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Top 10 Taxprof Blog Posts - LinkedinLegal Education: 

  1. Wall Street Journal, Three-Part Series On Former George Mason Law Prof Joshua Wright
  2. David Bernstein (George Mason), Paul Horwitz (Alabama) & Steve Lubet (Northwestern), Reflections On The Columbia Law Review Imbroglio
  3. MLex, Court Allows Former George Mason Law Prof Joshua Wright's $108 Million Defamation Suit Against Former Students He Dated To Proceed
  4. New York Times, McKinsey, Other Top Firms Eschew Elite Degrees For Merit In Hiring
  5. Legal Tech News, Updated Stanford Report Finds High Hallucination Rates On Westlaw AI
  6. Tagline Guru, Branding Experts Rank The Top 100 College And University Mottos
  7. Reuters, 57 Law Schools Now Accept JD-Next For Admission In Lieu Of LSAT Or GRE
  8. The Vanderbilt Hustler, Vanderbilt Is Third University With Top 20 Law School To Offer Undergraduate Degree In Law
  9. Ashli Tomisich (Wyoming), Learning the Rural Practice of Law
  10. Toronto Star, Toronto Law Students’ Pro-Palestinian Letter Was ‘Greatly Flawed’ But Didn’t Breach School’s Code Of Conduct


  1. Law & Society Association Annual Meeting, Law, Society, And Taxation Panels 
  2. U.S. Supreme Court, Connelly v. United States: Unanimous Decision Affirms IRS's Position On Life Insurance Proceeds Used To Fund A Stock Redemption
  3. J. Clifton Fleming (BYU), Robert Peroni (Texas) & Stephen Shay (Boston College), What's The Problem That Prompted Pillar 2 And Is There A Better Solution?
  4. SSRN, The Top Five New Tax Papers
  5. Jonathan Choi (USC), Review Of The Original Meaning Of The Sixteenth Amendment By Brooks & Gamage
  6. Donald Tobin (Maryland) & Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A.), Historical Insights On The Meaning Of “Income” May Preserve The Income Tax
  7. Virginia Tax Review, New Issue
  8. Hans Gribnau (Tilburg) & Jane Frecknall Hughes (Nottingham), Tax After The American War Of Independence
  9. Sloan Speck (Colorado), Review Of The TCJA: Sweeping Changes And An Uncertain Legacy By Gale, Hoopes & Pomerleau
  10. David Elkins (Netanya), Review Of Reis's The Gift Tax Treatment Of Loan Guarantees


  1. Washington Post Op-Ed (Anne Lamott), The Dressing Room Encounter That Made Me Get Real About Aging
  2. Christianity Today Book Review (Darrin W. Snyder Belousek), The Bible And Same-Sex Marriage
  3. Liberty University, Morse Tan Steps Down As Liberty Law School Dean After 2 1/2 Years; Tax Prof Tim Todd Named Interim Dean
  4. Washington Post Op-Ed (Anne Lamott), Invisible And Exposed — But Adaptable, As Only The Old Can Be
  5. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), One Year Later . . .

June 15, 2024 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Weekly Top 10 TaxProf Blog Posts | Permalink

How Legal Gen AI Is Better Preparing Law Students For Practice

Legal Tech News, How Legal Gen AI Is Better Preparing Law Students for the Real World:

ChatGPT (2023)Law firm summer associate programs are crucial for law school students looking for a promise of a permanent job offer. And with fewer offers on the table, a shot at a full-time position hinges on their ability to thrive under pressure and demonstrate legal knowledge, research abilities, writing skills and more—often with limited practical experience. Fortunately, the proliferation of AI technology is bolstering students’ preparedness for the real world like never before, enabling them to have a chance at a coveted position.

While legal technology tools that use AI have been around for years—contract drafting, legal research, case management systems, e-discovery, document automation, and legal analytics—law students now have another tool at their disposal—generative AI—that is offering them the opportunity to be even more prepared than previous generations of their peers. And why shouldn’t they? In a recent study, 70% of Gen Z—which include today’s current law school students—report using the technology.

And especially with many law schools in the U.S. providing students free access to legal Gen AI tools, and law firms offering AI training courses, law students are better equipped with skills that make them more efficient, confident, and practice-ready on day one of their summer associateship. ...

6 Ways Legal Gen AI Tools Are Revolutionizing Law Student Preparedness ...

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June 15, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education | Permalink

Escajeda: Songwriters, Poets, And Tax Policy

Hilary G. Escajeda (Mississippi College School of Law; Google Scholar), Bad Tax Policy Breeds Bad Blood Between Songwriters and Poets, 183 Tax Notes Fed. 1625 (May 27, 2024):

Tax Notes Federal (2022)Taylor Swift’s songs inspire generations of fans to sing and dance about love and to shake off heartbreak. Swift’s hard-earned reputation for being a savvy music mogul inspires other creative spirits to be fearless in their artistic endeavors. However, unless these artists are songwriters or musicians, they should keep their eyes open when selling their works, as they may see red when they discover their tax rates.

For music listeners who are not English undergraduate majors turned tax law professors, there is no reason to know — or even care — that financially living one’s wildest dreams may depend on the taxpayer’s artistic medium. Provoked by Swift’s February proclamation, “All’s fair in love and poetry,” and the recent release of her album, The Tortured Poets Department, it has become my nerdy tax mission to highlight and amplify a curious dysfunction in U.S. tax law that distinguishes between songwriters and poets. 

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June 15, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, June 14, 2024

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Elkins Reviews Reis's The Gift Tax Treatment Of Loan Guarantees

This week, David Elkins (Netanya, Google Scholar) reviews Eric Reis (North Texas), Guaranteed Wealth? A New Way of Thinking About the Gift Tax Treatment of Loan Guarantees, 27 Fla. Tax Rev. _ (2024):

Elkins (2018)

In this week’s feature article, Professor Eric Reis examines the gift tax consequences of gratuitous loan guarantees. A prototypical example is one in which a parent provides a guarantee for a loan to a child, where the child does not have enough assets or income to qualify for a loan on her own. As the author describes it, wealth is effectively transferred from the parent to the child because the child will benefit from the upside (if the asset appreciates more than the interest on the loan, the child will pocket the difference) but will have little to no exposure to the downside (if the asset depreciates in value, the parent will likely cover the difference). The author goes on to describe a number of similar structures involving children who are shareholders in corporations or beneficiaries of trusts and a parental guarantee of loans to the corporation or the trust.

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June 14, 2024 in David Elkins, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Biden Administration

57 Law Schools Now Accept JD-Next For Admission In Lieu Of LSAT Or GRE

Reuters, LSAT Alternative Gains Popularity as More Law Schools Sign On:

JD-Next (2025)The American Bar Association has granted five law schools permission to use the alternative admissions program JD-Next, pushing the number of campuses that allow applicants to bypass the Law School Admission Test or GRE to 57.

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June 14, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

A Progressive Case For A Federal SALT Deduction

Patrick Driessen, A Progressive Case for a Federal SALT Deduction, 183 Tax Notes Fed. 1591 (May 27, 2024):

Tax Notes Federal (2022)Much of the debate about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s cap on federal deductibility of state and local taxes has been reduced to income distribution tables that show cap repeal as very regressive. These federal-tax-centered tables are narrowly framed: State and local taxes and most outlays themselves aren’t distributed, and states are assumed not to respond to federal tax changes.

This article relaxes these distributional assumptions in a stylized example that controls for pretax income distribution as well as state and local outlays.

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June 14, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Learning The Rural Practice of Law

Ashli Tomisich (Wyoming; Google Scholar), Learning the Rural Practice of Law, 24 Wyo. L. Rev. __ (2024):

Wyoming law reviewThis Article explores how law schools can better educate students about the possibilities and opportunities presented by rural practice and prepare them with the skills to succeed. An aging population and dwindling availability of jobs increases the need for practitioners in rural areas. While new graduates may be willing to pursue rural law practice, employers and graduates frequently note graduates are not prepared for the skill-based practice of law. Many students reflect that law school remains too theoretical to be pragmatically helpful in their first jobs, particularly given the unique nuances and challenges of rural law practice. Recent graduates report practical skills training had the strongest positive impact in preparing them for the practice of law. 

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June 14, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Common Ownership Tax Strategy

Danielle A. Chaim (Bar-Ilan University; Google Scholar), The Common Ownership Tax Strategy, 101 Wash. U. L. Rev. 501 (2023):

Washington university law reviewThe recent mass shift by American retail investors into index funds has given rise to a modern form of common ownership. Significant stakes in most public companies are now held by a core group of large, diversified institutional investors. In parallel, this rise in common ownership has been accompanied by unprecedented levels of corporate tax avoidance. Recent evidence suggests that under the domination of these powerful shareholders, public companies can reduce their tax liability more aggressively, shirking U.S. tax obligations worth billions of dollars.

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June 13, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Preparing Law Students For Real-World Practice

John Lande (Missouri-Columbia; Google Scholar), Preparing Law Students for Real-World Practice:

This article summarizes a program entitled Pracademically Speaking: Incorporating Real-World Legal Practice Into the Curriculum at the annual conference of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution. It describes problems with legal curricula, pressures to improve because of the NextGen bar exam and some states’ plans to use alternative mechanisms for licensing, and successful techniques for improving the realism in law school courses. It includes links to numerous resources to help faculty make their instruction more realistic.

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June 13, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Mann: United States EV Tax Policy

Roberta F. Mann (Oregon), Driving Transformation: Tax Strategies for Electrifying Light Duty Transportation, 53 Env’t L. Rep. 10298 (2023):

Environmental law reporterThis article focuses on the evolving U.S. tax policy for EVs. Taxation is a necessary component of strategies to increase adoption of EV technology. In the U.S., taxation has supported the US energy policy of increased uptake of electric vehicles. Recent tax changes will continue that support, but the switch to EVs still faces challenges. The article will first set out why light-duty transportation in the U.S. must be transformed to accomplish climate goals.

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June 13, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

An Old-Fashioned Bluebook Burning

Paul A. Gowder (Northwestern; Google Scholar), An Old-Fashioned Bluebook Burning, 1 Nw. L.J. des Refusés __ (2024):

Bluebook 2020

As the faculty advisor for the newly-minted Journal des Refusés, the duty has fallen to me to identify the most eminently refusal-worthy aspect of the enterprise of legal publishing. I speak, of course, of The Bluebook: bane of generations of authors and journal editors, the source of painfully detailed rules about every aspect of legal citation, complete with signals, thousands of abbreviations, cross-references that send readers merrily scurrying across hundreds of pages of law review articles to find a source, and typography rules seen in no other citation style.  ...

This essay argues for an end to law's infamously Byzantine and bloated citation manual. ... The very features that make the Bluebook distinctive when compared to citation systems in other academic fields are also those that inflict vast amounts of unnecessary if not downright harmful labor on its users.

The root of the problem is its obsolescence: the Bluebook was designed for a system in which legal scholarship was primarily consumed in print and for material where the doctrinal epistemology of authority predominated.

Today, legal scholarship is primarily consumed electronically, and it largely shares an epistemology of credence with other scholarly disciplines. (Nor are its hundreds of pages of rules particularly useful for practicing lawyers and judges, who sensibly disregard most of it anyway.)

At a minimum, the signals, typographical rules, abbreviations, and cross-references need to be put out of their misery; when those are gone what is left would be practically indistinguishable from the sensible citation systems of other fields, as it should be. Also, we should automate as much as possible---and that turns out to be quite a lot.

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June 13, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Women in Tax Forum Zoom Tea: Silya Shaw

ABA Section on Taxation, Women in Tax Forum Zoom Tea: Silya Shaw (registration):

Silya-shawYou're invited to join the next Women in Tax Forum Zoom Tea on Thursday, June 13 at 3:00 pm ET. Grab your favorite cup of tea or coffee and take a 45-minute break as we chat with Silya. We will talk with Silya about her journey as a tax law professional, the aspects of her career that bring her joy, and advice she has for other women in tax.

Silya Shaw is currently the Deputy Executive Director at Legal Aid of Western Missouri, where she works on projects related to client access and business process improvement. She joined Legal Aid in 2014 as the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic Director, and in the last ten years has represented hundreds of taxpayers in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service and state departments of revenue. She also handles real estate and probate matters for low-income Missourians. Silya holds a B.A. in Legal Studies (Park University), a M.A. in International Relations (American University), and a J.D. (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law). Silya spends every spare moment working on her most important visionary projects, her three young children.

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June 13, 2024 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily | Permalink

Branding Experts Rank The Top 100 College And University Mottos

Tagline Guru, U.S. College & University Motto Survey:

More than 400 nominated U.S. college and university mottos from a universe of around 1,500 were sent to approximately 250 advertising, marketing, and branding professionals on both the client and agency side. ...

Respondents were asked to rank their top 10 mottos based on the following branding criteria:

  • Attributes: Does the motto embody a school’s character, style, or personality?
  • Message:  Does it tell a story in a compelling and memorable way?
  • Differentiation: Is it original in its attitude, point of view, or creative expression?
  • Ambassadorship:  Does it inspire you to want to go there, learn more, or donate more? ...

Top 100 U.S. College & University Mottos . . .

Oberlin1. Think one person can change the world? So do we.
Oberlin College • Oberlin, OH • 1833 • Private

The top-ranked motto was created in the 1980s by either Al Moran, the then VP for Communications at Oberlin; or Anne Paine, who was publications director at the time. It also might have been a group effort that included Moran, Paine, and others. The motto was dropped in 2006 and replaced with We are Oberlin: Fearless. Negative student and alumni reaction to the new motto finally compelled the university, through the efforts of Ben Jones, VP for Communications, to bring back “Think one person...” in 2013. Enjoying widespread acceptance, the motto is regarded as timeless because it serves as an empowering call to action and recognizes the individual as a self-determining force in society. By the way, the official motto of Oberlin is Learning and labor, which harkens back to the school’s founding in 1833. Prior to the 1980s, the school’s motto was the lackluster phrase A place to thrive.

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June 13, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Law, Society, And Taxation Panels

Law, Society, and Taxation panels at last week's 2024 Law & Society Association Annual Meeting in Denver:

Law & Society 2024Thursday:  

Tax, Ethics, and Charity (Neil Buchanan (Florida; Google Scholar), Chair/Discussant):

While tax law often seems to operate in something like a vacuum, occasionally front page news stories draw attention to questions about the law, its enforcement, and the effects of the law on taxpayers. When the affected taxpayers are notable public figures like Supreme Court Justices or the beneficiaries of tax exemptions like public charities, then the response is often more outraged. The papers on this panel explore some of the questions around the ethical bounds of tax law, with a particular focus on charitable entities and their expectations.

Richard Schmalbeck (Duke), Defining Charity: Declaratory Judgments of Exempt Status:

Until 1976, it was very difficult for an organization whose application for recognition of exempt status had been denied (or revoked) by the IRS to obtain judicial review of that determination. In most cases, such organizations would have no net income, and hence no income tax liability. Without such liability, they could not generate a case or controversy that would be ripe for adjudication. In addition, the anti-injunction act generally precluded an action for a declaratory judgment to the effect that the organization was entitled to exempt status. The only means routinely available would be to have a donor make a donation, and seek to deduct it. The validity of the deduction would depend on the exempt status of the recipient organization, which would then become an issue ripe for adjudication. But that route was usually unattractive. The IRS might not audit the donor's return. If it did audit the return, every issue that might be raised by that return would be on the table, and few donors would welcome that sort of scrutiny.


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June 12, 2024 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Erin Scharff Named Distinguished Research Scholar At Arizona State

Erin Scharff (Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development, Arizona State) has been named Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar

Scharff (2024)Erin Adele Scharff joined the ASU College of Law faculty in 2014.  Previously, she was a visiting assistant professor of tax law at New York University School of Law, where she served as an editor of the Tax Law Review.  

Professor Scharff’s scholarship focuses on fiscal federalism, including the allocation of revenue authority between state and local governments, local government law, and state tax law. Her publications have appeared in Stanford Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, New York University Law Review, and the Tax Law Review, among other journals. As an expert on local fiscal authority, Scharff has written several amicus briefs on the legal authority of local governments to raise revenue under state constitutions.

Professor Scharff is the coauthor of casebooks in both taxation and local government law: Cases and Materials on State and Local Government Law (9th ed, 2022) and Federal Income Taxation (19th ed., forthcoming 2023). She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a past chair of the AALS Tax Section.

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June 12, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News, Tax Profs | Permalink

What's The Problem That Prompted Pillar 2 And Is There A Better Solution?

J. Clifton Fleming (BYU; Google Scholar), Robert J. Peroni (Texas) & Stephen E. Shay (Boston College; Google Scholar), What's the Problem That Prompted Pillar 2 and Is There a Better Solution?:

This paper explains the origin of tax competition, notes the hostility of developed countries towards tax competition, traces the long-running efforts to limit tax competition, explains how Pillar 2 attacks tax competition, and argues that although Pillar 2 is a step in the right direction, the better approach would be for countries that host MNEs to adopt worldwide taxation, without deferral, at their respective regular corporate rates.

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June 12, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Updated Stanford Report Finds High Hallucination Rates On Westlaw AI

Legal Tech News, Updated Stanford Report Finds High Hallucination Rates on Westlaw AI:

After pushback following Stanford’s research study “Hallucination-Free? Assessing the Reliability of Leading AI Legal Research Tools,” for what many saw as comparing apples to oranges—between Thomson Reuters’ (TR) Ask Practical Law and LexisNexis’ Lexis+ AI+ —the researchers released an updated study on May 30.

This time, they included results from AI-Assisted Research on Westlaw Precision, TR’s flagship, generative AI-powered legal research solution that is more comparable to Lexis+ AI than Ask Practical Law.

Unexpected to many, the new results were less flattering to TR than the first time around.

Stanford’s researchers found that Westlaw’s AI-Assisted Research tool hallucinated nearly twice as often as Lexis+ AI—with Lexis+ AI hallucinating 17% of the time, and Westlaw hallucinating 33% of the time, according to the paper. Additionally, findings showed that Lexis+ AI provided accurate answers 65% of the time, whereas Westlaw’s AI-Assisted Research provided accurate answers 42% of the time.

Lexis Westllaw Pract Law GPT-4 (2024)

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June 12, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education | Permalink

Historical Insights On The Meaning Of “Income” May Preserve The Income Tax

Donald Tobin (Maryland; Google Scholar) & Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A.; Google Scholar), The Taxing Question of Income: Historical Insights on the The Taxing Question of Income: Historical Insights on the Meaning of “Income” May Preserve the Income Tax Meaning of “Income” May Preserve the Income Tax, 84 Md. L. Rev. Online 1 (2024):

Maryland Law Review (2024)Economists, accountants, and lawyers in the early Twentieth Century all defined income in broad terms, embracing the definition of income as more than money income and including unrealized gain. The legislators who passed the Sixteenth Amendment also envisioned a broad definition of income and clearly understood the word income to include unrealized income. Those legislators were familiar with the income tax statutes that existed before and directly after ratification that taxed unrealized gain. During the period of time near the enactment of the Sixteenth Amendment, prominent critiques of a particular tax act or statutory provision, including the extent to which a tax act did or should tax unrealized gain, were arguments about legislative policy decisions, not the reach of the power granted to Congress in the Sixteenth Amendment.

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June 12, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

NY Times: McKinsey, Other Top Firms Eschew Elite Degrees For Merit In Hiring

New York Times, Don’t Say ‘Elite’: Corporate Firms’ New Pitch Is Meritocracy:

McKinseyIf you ask a graduating M.B.A. student, a prep school guidance counselor or the internet how to be hired at the global consulting firm McKinsey, you’re likely to find a list of prestigious “target schools” where it has consistently aimed its recruiting efforts. You know the ones — Harvard, Yale, Stanford.

But these days, McKinsey would prefer a different answer. “Exceptional can come from anywhere,” its career website says. And then, in case that wasn’t clear enough, “We hire people, not degrees,” and also, “We believe in your potential, regardless of your pedigree.” Katy George, Mckinsey’s chief people officer, told Fortune last year that the firm had increased the number of schools that its new hires came from to 1,500 from about 700, part of its process of “pivoting from pedigree to potential.”

Many companies are working toward a similar makeover.

“Elite” has never sat well with many American institutions, but the word has taken a particular beating in recent years. On the 2016 campaign trail, Donald J. Trump used the label practically as an insult; the Black Lives Matter movement drew attention to racial disparities along the path to people becoming rich and powerful; and debates over free speech and safe spaces on college campuses transformed into hot-button issues, leading to opinion essays with headlines like “Elite Universities Are Out of Touch” and “Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates.”

The legitimacy of traditional markers of brilliance, like an Ivy League diploma, are being questioned. And so, companies have had to come up with other ways to convey to recruits, investors and customers that they’re not just ticking boxes that may be outdated — their talent is truly the most talented. Broadening the recruiting net fits the bill, but may come with some of the same shortcomings as previous strategies. ...

The pitch is basically meritocracy. And it’s everywhere.

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June 12, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Wallace: A Democratic Perspective On Tax Law

Clint Wallace (South Carolina; Google Scholar), A Democratic Perspective on Tax Law, 98 Wash. L. Rev. 947 (2023) (reviewed by Blaine Saito (Ohio State; Google Scholar) here): 

Washington law reviewAs democracies around the world have faltered, legal scholars in fields as diverse as election law, labor law, and administrative law have turned to tax law to repair and support democratic governments. Taxation offers a toolset well equipped to address concerns raised by democratic theorists focused on the conditions that shape a democratic community and help it to flourish. Tax laws can rectify social dynamics characterized by economic inequality and can help establish and strengthen civic institutions, among many possible interventions. But legal scholars evaluating and designing tax policies generally focus on the standard normative criteria of efficiency, equity, and administrability, with little specific regard for democratic concerns. This separation from democratic theory has left tax law scholars ill-equipped to respond to calls for help from more democracy-focused fields of law. Thus, tax scholarship mostly has not engaged with the increasingly important project of strengthening democratic governance.

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June 11, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Sarah Lawsky Receives 2024 Northwestern University Award For Research Excellence

Northwestern University, Sarah B. Lawsky Receives 2024 Walder Award

Sarah lawskySarah B. Lawsky, Stanford Clinton Sr. and Zylpha Kilbride and Clinton Research Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, has received the 2024 Martin E. and Gertrude G. Walder Award for Research Excellence.

The award recognizes Lawsky’s international impact at the intersection of law, artificial intelligence and real-world policy questions of government revenue and equity. Lawsky’s research focuses on tax law and on the application of formal logic and artificial intelligence to the law. She has taught courses related to federal income tax, corporate tax, partnership tax, tax policy, tax deals and contracts.

"I am very grateful for this recognition,” Lawsky said. “Working at the intersection of law, computer science and philosophy right now is incredibly fun and exciting, especially collaborating with other researchers and seeing my theoretical work have practical payoff in the real world."

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June 11, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News, Tax Profs | Permalink

May's Tax Reflections With Reuven Avi-Yonah

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar):

Avi-YonahThe Case for Targeted Location Incentives, 183 Tax Notes Fed. 1225 (May 13, 2024):

Avi-Yonah examines the use of tax incentives to encourage location-specific investment and offers a new approach that he says will be more successful.

Littlejohn’s Unjust Tax Sentence, 183 Tax Notes Fed. 1441 (May 20, 2024):

Avi-Yonah argues that former IRS contractor Charles Littlejohn received too harsh a sentence for leaking high-profile tax returns.

Should U.S. Tax Law Be Constitutionalized?, 183 Tax Notes Fed. 1599 (May 27, 2024):

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June 11, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Toronto Law Students’ Pro-Palestinian Letter Was ‘Greatly Flawed’ But Didn’t Breach School’s Code Of Conduct

Following up on my previous post, Law School Founded On DEI Pillar Is Now 'Riven With Betrayal And Fear' Over October 7th And Israel-Hamas War:  Toronto Star, TMU Law Students’ Pro-Palestinian Letter ‘Greatly Flawed’ But Didn’t Breach School’s Code of Conduct, External Review Finds:

Toronto Metropolitan University Law School Logo (2023)Law students at Toronto Metropolitan University who last fall signed a letter of “unequivocal support” for Palestine and “all forms of Palestinian resistance,” triggering a massive backlash including calls for their expulsion, did not breach the school’s code of conduct, according to the findings of an external review.

“While the letter was understandably troubling and offensive to many, the students’ participation in the letter, when placed in its appropriate context, was nonetheless a valid exercise of student expression and therefore protected under the university’s statement on freedom of speech,” retired Chief Justice of Nova Scotia J. Michael MacDonald concluded in his 200-page report released Friday.

The report noted that free speech must be highly protected and is fundamental in a university setting where students must be given a wide latitude to have critical discussions, to learn, to express dissenting views and make mistakes. ...

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June 11, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

So Near And Yet So Far: Charitable Life After Death

Joanna L. Grossman (SMU; Google Scholar) & Lawrence M. Friedman (Stanford), So Near and Yet So Far: Charitable Life After Death:

Verdict (2024)Margaret Young was an artist and an art lover. She died in Orlando, Florida, in 2005. She left money in trust for one daughter, Kit Knotts, for life; and she left money in another trust for a second daughter, Dee Miller, also for life. After the death of each daughter, the money left in each trust was to go to the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA). But the gift to the museum was specific; the money was to go into the museum’s “Permanent Collection Fund, and used to add to their permanent collection.”

Knotts has now died, and her trust fund is worth $1,800,000. (Miller is still alive, and the current value of her trust is comparable.) OMA will accept this gift, of course, but they would like to use it for general operating expenses rather than solely to acquire new art for the permanent collection.

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June 11, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Vanderbilt Is Third University With Top 20 Law School To Offer Undergraduate Degree In Law

Following up on my previous post, USC Is Sixth School To Offer Undergraduate Degree In Law:  The Vanderbilt Hustler, Vanderbilt Law School to Offer Undergraduate Introduction to Legal Studies Minor Beginning Fall 2024

Vanderbilt Law School Logo (2023)Beginning in Fall 2024, Vanderbilt Law School will offer a 15-credit-hour undergraduate introduction to legal studies minor, joining a small group of law schools to host undergraduate academic programs.  ...

VLS Dean Chris Guthrie did not directly respond to The Hustler’s request for an interview about the minor, instead expressing excitement about the new minor in an email.

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June 11, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, June 10, 2024

Choi Reviews The Original Meaning Of The Sixteenth Amendment By Brooks & Gamage

Jonathan H. Choi (USC; Google Scholar), An Original Take on the Original Meaning of the Sixteenth Amendment (JOTWELL) (reviewing John R. Brooks (Fordham; Google Scholar) & David Gamage (Missouri-Columbia; Google Scholar), The Original Meaning of the Sixteenth Amendment, 102 Wash. U. L. Rev. ___ (2024)):

Jotwell Tax (2023)The Sixteenth Amendment is one of the most thoroughly studied texts in U.S. federal tax law—economists, historians, and luminaries of constitutional law and taxation have all sliced and diced its meaning for more than a century. Making an original discovery about the historical meaning of the Amendment has consequently taken on the dimensions of a mythic quest, like discovering an Eleventh Commandment or the secret dryer compartment containing all those lost socks.

Remarkably, this is exactly what John R. Brooks and David Gamage accomplish in their timely forthcoming article, The Original Meaning of the Sixteenth Amendment.

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June 10, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Legal Ed News Roundup

Tax After The American War Of Independence

Hans Gribnau (Tilburg) & Jane Frecknall Hughes (Nottingham; Google Scholar), Tax after the American War of Independence: A Consideration of The Federalist and The Anti-Federalist Papers in Studies in the History of Tax Law, Vol. 11 (Peter Harris (Cambridge) & Dominic de Cogan (Cambridge) eds.  2023):

Studies in the History of Tax Law Volume 11The American War of Independence ended formally with the Versailles peace treaty of 1783 —– leaving 13 independent states needing a constitution. Tax played a key role in the lead-up to and during the War and in subsequent years, notably in the debate about the newly-developed Constitution. That debate is captured in The Federalist Papers and The Anti-Federalist Papers.

The Federalist Papers comprise articles written by Founding Fathers James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, aimed at promoting acceptance of the new Constitution, and explaining and justifying the political principles it embodied. Key — and highly controversial — issues were the separation of powers between the judiciary, the legislature and the executive, and the concept of federalism. Numbers 30–36 of The Federalist Papers, written by Hamilton, concern taxation. Although not opposed to individual state taxation, Hamilton aimed to persuade readers that federal taxation was required to provide public necessities. Particularly contentious was the relationship between state tax law and any federal imposition and their respective standing.

The views of the Federalists were countered by The Anti-Federalist Papers. The Anti-Federalists opposed ratification of the Constitution, though they too favoured federalism: they wanted a ‘small republic’ (a weak central government), as opposed to a ‘big republic’, fearing that a national government would be too powerful and threaten individual liberties and state government. The Anti-Federalist Papers are liberally peppered with detailed arguments about taxation, with numbers 30–36 being devoted entirely to tax. Of concern was the federal power to tax, which they wanted limited to taxing overseas imports.

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June 10, 2024 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Reflections On The Columbia Law Review Imbroglio

Following up on my previous posts (links below):

Columbia Law ReviewWashington Free Beacon, Columbia Law Review Board Buckles to Student Editors and Publishes Controversial Article:

The Columbia Law Review's board of directors buckled to a group of student editors Thursday, restoring the Law Review's website and publishing a controversial article without so much as an editor's note indicating it did not go through the journal's standard editing process. ...

[I]n a Tuesday letter to student editors obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, the Review's board demanded an editor's note be added to the piece outlining the lapses in the "usual processes of review and editing." One day later, a group of 25 student editors voted against adding the editor's note. By Thursday afternoon, the board reinstated the Review's website with no note added to the piece—instead, a statement from the board is linked to the bottom of the site's homepage that "memorializes" the board's "concerns with the process."

A Columbia faculty member expressed disappointment in the board's decision to forgo the editor's note. "There are major governance problems at Columbia that need to be resolved for the long-term health of the institution," the professor told the Free Beacon. ...

Sohum Pal, one of the Review editors who rejected the board’s deal, told the Intercept that "this last semester, has been about students recognizing, stepping into their power," adding that he was "very glad that the law students at the law review are doing the same." Pal is also a Ph.D. student in the Department of History.

David Bernstein (George Mason), The Real Story Behind Columbia’s Controversial Law Review Article—And Why It Matters:

According to various media outlets, the law review’s board of directors, composed of faculty and alumni, tried to censor an article critical of Israel. Except that’s not what happened at all. The true story involves a faction of the law review secretly breaking all procedural rules and customs to publish a piece of ideologically driven claptrap.

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June 10, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

McLaughlin: Enforcing Conservation Easements

Nancy A. McLaughlin (Utah; Google Scholar), Enforcing Conservation Easements: The Through Line, 34 Geo. Envtl. L. Rev. 167 (2022):

Georgetown Environmental Law ReviewIn enforcement cases, courts tend to treat conservation easements as if they were traditional servitudes. This poses a major risk to the effectiveness of conservation easements as land protection tools. If, for example, courts extinguish conservation easements via merger, or bar holders from enforcing them on laches or estoppel grounds, or interpret them in favor of free use of property, many of the conservation gains made in the United States over the last three decades could end up being ephemeral.

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June 10, 2024 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Court Allows Former George Mason Law Prof Joshua Wright's $108 Million Defamation Suit Against Former Students He Dated To Proceed

Following up on Saturday's post, WSJ Three-Part Series On Former George Mason Law Prof Joshua Wright:

MLex, Former FTC Commissioner Wright’s Defamation Suit Against Former Students He Dated Can Proceed, Virginia Judge Says

Kirkland & Ellis Partner Elyse Dorsey, one of the defendants in Joshua Wright's $108 million defamation suit:

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June 10, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

WSJ Three-Part Series On Former George Mason Law Prof Joshua Wright

Wall Street Journal 3-part series on former George Mason law professor Joshua Wright:

WrightPart One: The Hidden Life of Google’s Secret Weapon:

Joshua Wright cleared a path to domination for the world’s biggest tech companies, keeping regulators at bay while juggling inappropriate relationships and skirting conflict-of-interest standards at every turn.

Joshua Wright, the tech industry’s indispensable fixer, was summoned to his boss’s office in late 2019 and asked a question that set the course for his fall.

Was he having an affair with a young associate?

The answer had consequences for more than just Wright. The law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, based in Silicon Valley, had long defended Google, Qualcomm and other corporate giants from unwanted regulation. Wright was the firm’s secret weapon.

He was a law professor who became one of the most influential yet little-known figures of the tech era, leveraging positions in academia and government to shield deep-pocket clients. For more than a decade, Wright kept antitrust regulators at bay while America’s top technology companies amassed economic power not seen since Standard Oil, AT&T and other behemoths dominated their industries in the 20th century. 

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June 10, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily | Permalink

Sunday, June 9, 2024

A New Book Of Job Movie: ‘If God Loves You, Why Does He Let Me Hurt You?’

Christianity Today Movie Review:  ‘Have You Considered My Servant Kevin?’, by Rebecca Cusey (Blankingship & Keith, Fairfax, VA):

A new film, “The Shift” [available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, and YouTube], is an entertaining, thoughtful, and cinematically competent retelling of Job.

Movies created for a Christian audience by Christian production houses are historically a mixed bag. Some are decent. Some are embarrassing. Few are truly great. But a new film, The Shift, ... is a promising step for the genre.

The movie presents itself as a retelling of the biblical Book of Job. Although it covers some of the same philosophical ground, you won’t find burnt offerings or camels here. The setting is modern-day—the plot akin to The Matrix meets It’s a Wonderful Life—and the script is a meditation on love and joy as much as inexplicable loss in a chaotic world.

At the center of the story is Kevin (Kristoffer Polaha), a man pulled away from the life he loves into another dimension by a malignant entity called “The Benefactor” (Neal McDonough). Kevin fights to return to his wife, Molly (Elizabeth Tabish), and in the process weighs ideas about suffering, loss, evil, and the God who allows it all. ...

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June 9, 2024 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

WaPo Op-Ed: Invisible And Exposed — But Adaptable, As Only The Old Can Be

Washington Post Op-Ed:  Invisible and Exposed — But Adaptable, As Only the Old Can Be, by Anne Lamott (Author, Somehow: Thoughts on Love (2024)):

Somehow 2

Anyone who survived eighth-grade gym class believes that the worst is over, that it will all be downhill from that peak of vulnerability and mortification.

And then you get old.

For decades, the focused attention on raising families and/or yourself, all that competitive hustle, strive and fixation with appearances, provides a kind of carapace. You were always as vulnerable as kittens, but you could ignore it in your big-girl-in-charge years. Then, one day, you wake up and find yourself simultaneously invisible and exposed again. Maybe you’re not standing there in the locker room in your underpants, but you’re equally revealed to the world’s harsh, arrogant eyes.

Eyes? Did someone mention eyes? I had made peace with the decline of my eyes — the weakening vision, the saggy eyelids’ hostile takeover of the eyeball, the eight remaining lashes — until two years ago, when dry eye appeared. Dry eye in my case has meant symptoms too repulsive to go into here. ...

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June 9, 2024 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink