Paul L. Caron
Dean


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Gig Academy

Adrianna Kezar (USC), Tom DePaola (USC) & Daniel Scott (USC), The Gig Academy: Mapping Labor in the Neoliberal University (Johns Hopkins University Press 2019):

Gig AcademyOver the past two decades, higher education employment has undergone a radical transformation with faculty becoming contingent, staff being outsourced, and postdocs and graduate students becoming a larger share of the workforce. For example, the faculty has shifted from one composed mostly of tenure-track, full-time employees to one made up of contingent, part-time teachers. Non-tenure-track instructors now make up 70 percent of college faculty. Their pay for teaching eight courses averages $22,400 a year—less than the annual salary of most fast-food workers.

In The Gig Academy, Adrianna Kezar, Tom DePaola, and Daniel T. Scott assess the impact of this disturbing workforce development. Providing an overarching framework that takes the concept of the gig economy and applies it to the university workforce, this book scrutinizes labor restructuring across both academic and nonacademic spheres. By synthesizing these employment trends, the book reveals the magnitude of the problem for individual workers across all institutional types and job categories while illustrating the damaging effects of these changes on student outcomes, campus community, and institutional effectiveness. A pointed critique of contemporary neoliberalism, the book also includes an analysis of the growing divide between employees and administrators.

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October 15, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Truth, And Equality On Campus

Ulrich Baer (Vice Provost, NYU), What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Truth, and Equality on Campus (Oxford University Press 2019):

What Snowflakes Get RightAngry debates about polarizing speakers have roiled college campuses. Conservatives accuse universities of muzzling unpopular opinions, betraying their values of open inquiry; students sympathetic to the left openly advocate against completely unregulated speech, asking for "safe spaces" and protection against visiting speakers and even curricula they feel disrespects them. Some even call these students "snowflakes"-too fragile to be exposed to opinions and ideas that challenge their worldviews. How might universities resolve these debates about free speech, which pit their students' welfare against the university's commitment to free inquiry and open debate?

Ulrich Baer here provides a new way of looking at this dilemma. He explains how the current dichotomy is false and is not really about the feelings of offended students, or protecting an open marketplace of ideas. Rather, what is really at stake is our democracy's commitment to equality, and the university's critical role as an arbiter of truth. He shows how and why free speech has become the rallying cry that forges an otherwise uneasy alliance of liberals and ultra-conservatives, and why this First Amendment absolutism is untenable in law and society in general. He draws on law, philosophy, and his extensive experience as a university administrator to show that the lens of equality can resolve this impasse, and can allow the university to serve as a model for democracy that upholds both truth and equality as its founding principles.

New York Times op-ed:  What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech, by Ulrich Baer (Vice Provost, NYU)

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October 15, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Sad History Of American Business Schools

Steven Conn (Miami University), Nothing Succeeds Like Failure: The Sad History of American Business Schools (Cornell University Press 2019):

NothingDo business schools actually make good on their promises of "innovative," "outside-the-box" thinking to train business leaders who will put society ahead of money-making? Do they help society by making better business leaders? No, they don't, Steven Conn asserts, and what's more they never have.

In throwing down a gauntlet on the business of business schools, Conn's Nothing Succeeds Like Failure examines the frictions, conflicts, and contradictions at the heart of these enterprises and details the way business schools have failed to resolve them. Beginning with founding of the Wharton School in 1881, Conn measures these schools' aspirations against their actual accomplishments and tells the full and disappointing history of missed opportunities, unmet aspirations, and educational mistakes. Conn then poses a set of crucial questions about the role and function of American business schools. The results aren't pretty.

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October 10, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Reviews Of Basic Income: A Radical Proposal For A Free Society And A Sane Economy

Reviews of Philippe Van Parijs (University of Louvain) & Yannick Vanderborght (Université Saint-Louis, Brussels), Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy (Harvard University Press 2017):

Basic IncomeCaterina Calsamiglia (Institute for Political Economy and Governance) & Sabine Flamand (Universitat Rovira i Virgili), Book Review, 57 J. Econ. Lierature 644 (2019):

In order to clarify the potential impact of a basic income, we argue that any discussion on whether to adopt a basic income policy should be framed within the greater context of the transfer system as a whole. In particular, such discussion should consider separately the issues of (i) the desired income distribution to be achieved and (ii) the most efficient way of achieving it through a transfer system. Further, we stress the importance of the non-take-up phenomenon in current transfer systems and discuss the potential necessity of a basic income policy in the age of automation.

Juliana Bidadanure (Stanford), Income for All: The Idea of Universal Basic Income Is More Practical Than It Might Sound:

In times of economic austerity—when the welfare state is shrinking as an ideal and an institution; access to childcare, healthcare and education are increasingly contested as rights of all; and the paradigm of individual responsibility rules—it is easy for progressives to give up on big ideals. If we can’t even protect Planned Parenthood or affordable healthcare, pushing for anything more visionary seems based on mere wishful thinking. But for these same reasons, it may be more urgent than ever for progressives to propose radical utopias with the potential to federate otherwise divided societies. That’s the view that Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght take in their fantastically comprehensive book, Basic Income.

Marc Levinson (Wall Street Journal), Cash Handouts for Everyone:

“Basic Income,” by Belgian academics Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght, represents an attempt to lay out a systematic case for what would be a radical departure in public policy. This book, it must be said up front, it not an easy read. Messrs. Van Parijs and Vanderborght are ethicists, and their closely argued text has all the liveliness of a philosophical treatise. But “Basic Income” provides a rigorous analysis of the many arguments for and against a universal basic income, offering a road map for future researchers who wish to examine policy alternatives. ...

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September 26, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Brooks: The Meritocracy Is Ripping America Apart

New York Times:  The Meritocracy Is Ripping America Apart, by David Brooks:

MeritocracyThere are at least two kinds of meritocracy in America right now. Exclusive meritocracy exists at the super-elite universities and at the industries that draw the bulk of their employees from them — Wall Street, Big Law, medicine and tech. And then there is the more open meritocracy that exists almost everywhere else.

In the exclusive meritocracy, prestige is defined by how many people you can reject. The elite universities reject 85 to 95 percent of their applicants. Those accepted spend much of their lives living in neighborhoods and attending conferences where it is phenomenally expensive or hard to get in. Whether it’s the resort town you vacation in or the private school you send your kids to, exclusivity is the pervasive ethos. The more the exclusivity, the thicker will be the coating of P.C. progressivism to show that we’re all good people.

People in this caste work phenomenally hard to build their wealth. As Daniel Markovits notes in his powerful new book, The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite, between 1979 and 2006, the percentage of workers in the top quintile of earners who work more than 50 hours a week nearly doubled. ...

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September 19, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Joulfaian: The Federal Estate Tax: History, Law, and Economics

David Joulfaian (U.S. Treasury Department), The Federal Estate Tax: History, Law, and Economics (MIT Press 2019):

JoulifanA comprehensive and accessible account of the U.S. estate tax, examining its history and evolution, structure and inner workings, and economic consequences.

Governments have been levying some form of inheritance tax since the ancient Egyptians did so in the seventh century BC. In the United States, the federal government experimented with various forms of inheritance taxes, settling on an estate tax in 1916 and a gift tax in 1932. Despite this long history, there are few empirical studies of the federal estate tax. This book offers the first comprehensive look at U.S. estate and inheritance taxes, examining their history and evolution, structure and inner workings, and economic consequences. Written by David Joulfaian, a veteran economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the book provides accessible accounts of such topics as changes in tax laws, issues of equity, the fiscal contribution of the estate tax, and its behavioral effects.

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September 12, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 30, 2019

Harvard Law Review: Zelenak's Congress, Treasury, And The Design Of The Early Modern Income Tax

Recent Publications, 132 Harv. L. Rev. 2108 (2019):

Figuring Out the TaxFiguring Out the Tax: Congress, Treasury, and the Design of the Early Modern Income Tax. By Lawrence Zelenak. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press. 2018. Pp. ix, 306. $110.00. [Reviewed by Charlotte Crane (Northwestern) here]

How did the American income tax turn out the way it has, in its oft-criticized, much-maligned form? In this meticulously researched book, Professor Lawrence Zelenak examines the early development of the U.S. income tax system. He dives into the history behind several of the most consequential — and in some cases, most controversial — features (or, arguably, errors) of our income tax system: the step-up in basis at death, the charitable deduction for unrealized appreciation, the marriage penalty and bonus, and more. The fascinating narrative recounts the inception of each of these errors as well as efforts to fix them, showing that efforts to reform loopholes (or, some might say, features) of the tax system tend to fail “if the federal government can afford to leave the error in the Internal Revenue Code” (p. 6).

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August 30, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Florida Tax Review Publishes New Issue

The Florida Tax Review has published Vol. 22, No. 2:

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August 28, 2019 in Book Club, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Henderson Reviews American Law Firms In Transition: Trends, Threats, And Strategies

William Henderson (Indiana), Book Review (reviewing Randall Kiser, American Law Firms in Transition: Trends, Threats, and Strategies (ABA Aug. 9, 2019)):

KiserWhen it comes to empirical research on lawyers, we’re all lightweights compared to Randall Kiser. Over the last decade, Kiser has authored books on lawyer decision making in the context of litigation, Beyond Right and Wrong (2010), the mindset and work habits of trial lawyers who consistently outperform their peers, How Leading Lawyers Think (2011), and an empirically grounded analysis of the skills and behaviors needed to build a successful legal career, Soft Skills for the Effective Lawyer (2017).

Now comes Kiser’s treatment of U.S. law firms, American Law Firms In Transition: Trends, Threats, and Strategies (2019). I doubt any law firm leader could read this book and conclude that Kiser got it wrong.

The portion of the book that is primarily diagnostic (chapters 1-4) includes a detailed analysis of law firm demographics (we’re getting older), hiring practices (invalid, unreliable, underspecified), clients (they’re insourcing and innovating ahead of firms), strategy (preoccupation with firm size and lateral hiring rather than excellence; obsession with premium rates, which props open the door for new entrants), fragility (collapses are commonplace), and the normalization of all things short term (among other things, highly toxic to the next generation of lawyers).

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August 27, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

Haben Girma, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law (Aug. 6, 2019):

HabenThe incredible life story of Haben Girma, the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and her amazing journey from isolation to the world stage.

Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn't see, and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents' harrowing experiences during Eritrea's thirty-year war with Ethiopia. Their refugee story inspired her to embark on a quest for knowledge, traveling the world in search of the secret to belonging. She explored numerous fascinating places, including Mali, where she helped build a school under the scorching Saharan sun. Her many adventures over the years range from the hair-raising to the hilarious.

Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation. She learned non-visual techniques for everything from dancing salsa to handling an electric saw. She developed a text-to-braille communication system that created an exciting new way to connect with people. Haben pioneered her way through obstacles, graduated from Harvard Law, and now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities.

Haben takes readers through a thrilling game of blind hide-and-seek in Louisiana, a treacherous climb up an iceberg in Alaska, and a magical moment with President Obama at The White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating memoir is a testament to one woman's determination to find the keys to connection.

Wall Street Journal, Haben Girma Is a Trailblazer for the Deaf and Blind:

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August 12, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Wallace: Tax Policy And Our Democracy

Clint Wallace (South Carolina), Tax Policy and Our Democracy, 118 Mich. L. Rev. ___ (2019) (reviewing Camille Walsh (Washington), Racial Taxation: Schools, Segregation, and Taxpayer Citizenship, 1869–1973 (University of North Carolina Press 2018), and Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh), Our Selfish Tax Laws: Toward Tax Reform That Mirrors Our Better Selves (MIT Press 2018)):

Racial SelfishTwo new books explore the many ways in which U.S. tax policies and tax systems have promoted social injustices and continue to do so. In Racial Taxation, Camille Walsh provides a vivid depiction of the under-scrutinized fiscal history of elementary through secondary education in the United States, from the post-Reconstruction era until San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez. In Our Selfish Tax Laws, Anthony Infanti details how existing U.S. Federal tax policies manifest problematic power structures that exclude and disadvantage many if not most taxpayers. Together, these books dissect a variety of flawed tax structures and reveal that tax discrimination grounded in race, gender, heteronormativity, differences in physical ability, and, pervasively, power dynamics, are not a malignant tumor on an otherwise healthy body, but rather are a systemic, pathological affliction on the entire U.S. fiscal state. This essay reviews Walsh’s and Infanti’s work, and builds on the authors’ rich historical and analytical contributions to ask: how can tax policy be reformed so that, rather than betraying and undermining the foundations of American democracy, it works to strengthen democratic institutions and their connection with members of a democratic society?

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August 8, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Kronman: The Downside of Diversity: Assault On American Excellence

Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘Elite Schools Are National Treasures. Their Elitism Is What Makes Them Such.’:

KronmanSince stepping down from his 10-year tenure as dean of Yale Law School, Anthony T. Kronman has been thinking a lot about the larger purposes of a humanities education. He’s addressed the topic in two books, Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life (Yale, 2007) and Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan (Yale, 2016), this last a 1,000-page exploration of his personal theology that draws on thinkers from antiquity to Freud to Rawls. (Kronman earned a Ph.D. in philosophy and spent some time undergoing psychoanalysis.) As Joshua Rothman put it in The New Yorker, Kronman "suspects that he might have found the meaning of life."

His most recent book, The Assault on American Excellence, will be published by Free Press in August. It’s a crisply argued jeremiad about what Kronman sees as the wrong turn taken by elite universities in recent years. Under the guise of concerns for inclusion and a misplaced egalitarianism, Kronman argues, universities have abandoned what should be their core commitments to reasoned argumentation and, more controversially, to the development of an "aristocratic ethos."

I met with Kronman in his office at the Yale Law School to talk about democracy and aristocracy, campus debates over free speech, affirmative action, and what he calls "the conversational ideal." ...

Much of your argument depends on the tension between democratic and aristocratic values. Colleges — and you’re really talking about elite colleges, here — ought to preserve, you say, "an aristocratic ethos in an otherwise democratic culture."

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August 5, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Brooks Reviews Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions

Kim Brooks (Dalhousie), Will Feminist Judges Really Make a Difference? (JOTWELL) (reviewing Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) & Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh), Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions (Cambridge University Press 2017)):

Feminist JudgmentsFeminist judgments projects originate in Canada. ... The first volume of American re-writes focused on decisions of the US Supreme Court. Surprising only to people who do not teach tax, the next volume of American re-writes takes up tax opinions. Released on December 28, 2017, as an invitation to continue holiday festivities, a volume edited by Bridget Crawford and Anthony Infanti serves up a veritable buffet of delights. Eleven rewritten American tax opinions comprise the volume. Six are rewritten Supreme Court decisions, one if a rewritten federal circuit court opinion, and four are rewritten Tax Court opinions.

The end result is spectacular. I want to draw attention to two features in this short review. These features are not tied, given this more general audience, to the tax context of the decisions. That’s worth underlining: this is a volume that is worth reading for scholars in any area of law with an interest in feminist legal theory and practice and how feminists approach legal and factual questions.

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July 29, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Seven Leadership Secrets Of Great Team Captains

Wall Street Journal op-ed: The Seven Leadership Secrets of Great Team Captains, by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Captain ClassLet’s imagine that Dr. Frankenstein gave you the keys to his laboratory and that it was your mission to build the perfect captain for a sports team. Maybe you would start with the donor body of a freak talent—a superstar with transcendent skills and abundant charisma. You’d then probably want to inject qualities such as eloquence, diplomacy, institutional fealty and dedication to the highest principles of sportsmanship.

Conventional wisdom suggests that these are the key traits of a superior captain. But are they really?

Some years ago, I set out to identify the greatest teams in sports history across the world, from the National Basketball Association to international field hockey, and to see what, if anything, they had in common. In the end, only 16 unambiguously outstanding teams made the cut. The list included several teams that were familiar to me and some that weren’t.

They all had just one shared characteristic: Their long streaks of dominance either began or ended—and in many cases overlapped precisely—with the tenure of one player. And in every case, this player was, or eventually became, the captain.

The men and women who led these teams were surprisingly similar to one another, but their skills, personalities and leadership styles were not at all what I expected. The qualities they shared were not the ones I would have installed in Frankenstein’s laboratory. Some, in fact, were traits I would have rejected.

It occurred to me that in sports—and perhaps in other fields where teamwork matters, from business, politics and the military to science and the arts—we’ve been choosing the wrong people to lead us. The captains whom I identified had seven traits in common:

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July 26, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Teaching With Feminist Judgments: A Global Conversation

Bridget Crawford (Pace), Kathryn Stanchi (UNLV), Linda Berger (UNLV), Gabrielle Appleby (New South Wales), Susan Appleton (Washington University), Ross Astoria (Wisconsin), Sharon Cowan (Edinburgh), Rosalind Dixon (New South Wales), Troy Lavers (Leicester), Andrea McArdle (CUNY), Elisabeth McDonald (Canterbury), Teri McMurtry-Chubb (Mercer), Vanessa Munro & Pam Wilkins (Detroit Mercy), Teaching with Feminist Judgments: A Global Conversation, 38 Law & Ineq. ___ (2020):

Feminist JudgmentsThis conversational-style essay is an exchange among fourteen professors—representing thirteen universities across five countries—with experience teaching with feminist judgments. Feminist judgments are “shadow” court decisions rewritten from a feminist perspective, using only the precedent in effect and the facts known at the time of the original decision. Scholars in Canada, England, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, India and Mexico have published (or are currently producing) written collections of feminist judgments that demonstrate how feminist perspectives could have changed the legal reasoning or outcome (or both) in important legal cases.

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July 19, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Stanford Law Faculty Summer Reading List

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Krieger: The Hidden Stresses Of Law School And Law Practice

Lawrence S. Krieger (Florida State) has updated his wonderful booklet, The Hidden Stresses of Law School and Law Practice (2018) (ordering information) (thoughts about timing and use):

KriegerIt is time for the summer announcement of the student assistance booklets (now updated) that I’ve been doing for several years. Some of you may want to provide them to incoming or present classes at your school. Please note: We will be away from July 15-30, so if you need these little books for early August, please let me know. ... If you have questions, just email me directly, lkrieger@law.fsu.edu. If you wish to order, have any questions, or wish to view the entire contents before ordering, just email me directly.

Why This Book?

In the past few years there have been powerful scientific findings about lawyers and law students. They are so recent that few lawyers, students, or even law teachers are aware of them. These findings show clearly what makes us happy, and what happens in law school and then law practice that can undermine that happiness. This book explains this science and the largely hidden stresses of law school and law practice – how we first encounter them in school, why they continue to impact lawyers long after graduation, and why it doesn’t have to be that way. It offers practical, direct approaches to preserve and improve your well-being, based on these findings and decades of teaching, litigating, and working with law students and lawyers. The closing sections extend this knowledge specifically to career and job choices.

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July 10, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How Much Do Coaches (And Deans) Matter?

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  How Much Do Coaches Matter?, by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

BCAIIn 1979, Bill Campbell quit his job as head coach of Columbia University’s chronically dreadful football team. He moved to California to work for Apple and eventually became chief executive of Intuit.

The decision that made Mr. Campbell a Silicon Valley legend, however, involved a return to his roots. When he died in 2016, he was, according to a new biography, “the greatest executive coach the world has ever seen.”

Mr. Campbell, who shunned publicity, compiled a stunning roster of mentees that included Apple’s Steve Jobs, Google’s Larry Page and Facebook ’s Sheryl Sandberg. The book, Trillion Dollar Coach, was written by a trio of former pupils, including Google’s one-time CEO, Eric Schmidt.

To the authors, there’s no question Mr. Campbell deserves enormous credit for the success of the companies he worked with. “A trillion dollars understates the value he created,” they wrote. Without his “integral” guidance at Google, they argue, “the company would not be where it is today.”

After finishing this book, I met up in New York with another author who knows a thing or two about coaches: Andre Iguodala.

The 35-year-old Mr. Iguodala has played for four different NBA teams. As the primary captain of the Golden State Warriors, he’s made five straight trips to the NBA Finals since 2014, won three championships and set the league record for wins in a single season. Last Sunday, the Warriors, now in rebuilding mode, traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies, which would be team No. 5.

In his 15 seasons, Mr. Iguodala has earned a reputation as one of the NBA’s most thoughtful and outspoken players, and in his new memoir, The Sixth Man, he offers candid reviews of the coaches he’s played for. While Golden State’s Steve Kerr earns high marks, others don’t fare so well. ...

In [Mr. Iguodala's] view, a team’s ability to win depends less on the coach’s modus operandi than how well the players organize themselves around it—or in some cases, in opposition to it. ...

These two books present vastly different takes on coaching. Mr. Campbell’s acolytes seemed to crave his input and follow his advice with minimal skepticism. To Mr. Iguodala, every coach basically dumps out a different box of Legos and forces the team to build something.

They can’t both be right—or can they?

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July 9, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

A Kosher Fourth Of July

ProclaimWall Street Journal:  A Kosher Fourth of July, by William McGurn:

Two hundred forty-three years ago, a new nation was inspired by the Old Testament.

Since that fateful July 4 when the Second Continental Congress invoked the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to declare independence from King George III, an argument has raged over the Christian roots of the American Founding. Now a group of scholars suggest that if we are looking only to the Gospels to understand the new American nation, we may be arguing over the wrong testament.

“The American Republic,” they write, “was born to the music of the Hebrew Bible.”

The book is called Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land: The Hebrew Bible in the United States: A Sourcebook. The title comes from Leviticus and is inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The book comes courtesy of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University, where it was pulled together by Meir Soloveichik, Matthew Holbreich, Jonathan Silver and Stuart Halpern.

These men are not arguing that America was founded as a Jewish nation. Nor is their subject Jews in America, or the role of Jews in the American Founding. Their proposition is more supple and profound: that at key moments in the national story, Americans have looked to the ancient Israelites to understand themselves, their blessings and their challenges.

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July 4, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Solitude, Leadership, Lawyers, And Law Professors

Amul Thapar (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit) & Samuel Rudman (Choate, Hall & Stewart, Boston), Solitude, Leadership, and Lawyers, 117 Mich. L. Rev. 1277 (2019) (reviewing Michael Erwin (Character & Leadership Center) & Raymond Kethledge (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit), Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude (2017)): 

Lead Yourself FirstLead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude bears all the hallmarks of a well-crafted legal argument. That makes good sense, because it was coauthored by a great lawyer. Lawyers, however, do not play a large role in the book. We were curious to know whether the book’s core argument—that solitude is indispensable to leadership—applies to law.

To do so, we test the book’s argument on its own terms. The book develops its argument in two ways: by reviewing historical examples and by interviewing contemporary leaders from all walks of life. Following the book’s lead, we apply its hypothesis to a historical example with which we are familiar, and we discuss solitude with modern-day lawyers. We conclude that the book’s lessons about solitude and leadership apply just as squarely to lawyers as they do to other leaders. ...

[W]e came to this subject with a healthy dose of skepticism. Perhaps because we are both extroverts who enjoy team settings, we would not have expected solitude to play such an important role in leadership. Add our names to the ranks of the converted. By the end of the book, we were persuaded, and we expect others will be too: one of the historical examples or interviews will call to mind how the reader does his or her best thinking, and we are willing to bet that important parts of it are done alone.

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July 3, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Tax, Inequality, And Human Rights

Tax  Inequality & Human Rights 2Tax, Inequality, and Human Rights (Philip Alston (NYU) & Nikki Reisch (NYU) eds. Oxford University Press 2019):

In Tax, Inequality, and Human Rights, experts in human rights law and in tax law debate the linkages between the two fields and highlight how each can help to tackle rapidly growing inequality in the economic, social, and political realms. Against a backdrop of systemic corporate tax avoidance, widespread use of tax havens, persistent pressures to embrace austerity policies, and growing gaps between the rich and poor, this book encourages readers to understand fiscal policy as human rights policy, and thus as having profound consequences for the well-being of citizens around the world. Prominent scholars and practitioners examine how the foundational principles of tax law and human rights law intersect and diverge; discuss the cross-border nature and human rights impacts of abusive practices like tax avoidance and evasion; question the reluctance of states to bring transparency and accountability to tax policies and practices; highlight the responsibility of private sector actors for shaping and misshaping tax laws; and critically evaluate domestic tax rules through the lens of equality and nondiscrimination. The contributing authors also explore how international human rights obligations should influence the framework for both domestic and international tax reforms. They address what human rights law requires of state tax policies and how tax laws and loopholes affect the enjoyment of human rights by people outside a state's borders. Because tax and human rights both turn on the relationship between the individual and the state, neo-liberalism's erosion of the social contract threatens to undermine them both.

Part I: The Relevance of Human Rights to Tax Law, Policy, and Practice
1. Nikki Reisch (NYU), Taxation and Human Rights: Mapping the Landscape
2. Olivier De Schutter (University of Louvain (Belgium)), Taxing for the Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
3. Sandra Fredman (Oxford), Taxation as a Human Rights Issue: Gender and Substantive Equality
4. Mitchell Kane (NYU), Tax and Human Rights: The Moral Valence of Entitlements to Tax, Sovereignty, and Collectives
5. Allison Christians (McGill), The Search for Human Rights in Tax

Part II: Tax Abuse in Global Perspective: Cross-Border Dimensions and International Responses

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June 29, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, June 24, 2019

Alice Goffman’s First Book Made Her A Star. It Wasn’t Enough To Get Her Tenure At The University Of Wisconsin

WisconsinChronicle of Higher Education, Alice Goffman’s First Book Made Her a Star. It Wasn’t Enough to Get Her Tenure.:

Alice Goffman [Wikipedia] wrote one of the most widely read sociology books in recent memory. But On the Run, her account of young black men caught up in the criminal-justice system, became entangled in ethical controversies. Now her academic career appears to be foundering.

Goffman failed to achieve tenure at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, according to James Raymo, chair of the sociology department.

The details of how that decision unfolded, and why, are unclear. Raymo, citing confidentiality rules, would say only that the department did not recommend Goffman for promotion to associate professor with tenure. Goffman, he said, did not appeal. Professors in her situation can continue at the university for one year, and she remains at Wisconsin. ...

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June 24, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Untangling Fear In Lawyering

Untangling FearAlexander H. Schmidt, Beyond the Bravado: Some Lawyers Are Scared to Death (reviewing Heidi K. Brown (Brooklyn), Untangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy (2019)):

Great lawyering in the modern era frequently comes from a source far removed from the confident bravado of the lawyer stereotype portrayed in films and on TV. In her fourth book, The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered Advocacy (2017), Brooklyn Law School Prof. Heidi Brown revealed that, in a profession dominated by extroverted, self-assured and garrulous personalities, it is often quiet, withdrawn and even under-confident lawyers who shine at the heavy lifting of intellectual research, creative thinking and persuasive writing demanded at the highest levels of today’s competitive and challenging legal environment.

Introverted, shy and socially anxious law students and lawyers, we learned, are hidden gems that every law professor and law firm manager should seek and hone towards self-actualization to maximize their schools’ prestige and their firms’ profits. While dedicated to reassuring reticent lawyers that they are not alone and, given their inward-looking nature, that they can possess essential legal skills of insight, empathy and analytical attentiveness that more outgoing lawyers sometimes do not develop, her earlier book The Introverted Lawyer also served as a much-needed clarion inviting the legal profession to shake off its dusty bias favoring extroversion and embrace the talents and value introverts bring to the table.

Professor Brown’s most recent book, Untangling Fear In Lawyering, is likewise a must read for legal professionals. The book first reminds us that introverts not only belong but can thrive as lawyers—even high stakes litigators—advancing both the profession and the law itself. It then takes the next needed step by providing a wisdom-laden instruction manual that quiet and anxious students, lawyers and their mentors can use to unwind the misaligned thinking, loss of self-esteem and resulting despair that can accumulate in introverts once they are thrust into the arena and expected suddenly to excel at what for them are inherently discomforting tasks: public speaking, facing critical judges and handling hostile adversaries, difficult clients or abusive superiors. ...

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June 22, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

What 'Good' Dads Get Away With: Why Do Progressive Men Still Refuse To Do Their Share Of Household Work?

RageNew York Times op-ed:  What ‘Good’ Dads Get Away With, by Darcy Lockman (author, All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership (2019)):

When my husband and I became parents a decade ago, we were not prepared for the ways in which sexism was about to express itself in our relationship. Like me, he was enthralled by our daughters. Like him, I worked outside the home. And yet I was the one who found myself in charge of managing the details of our children’s lives.

Too often I’d spend frantic days looking for spring break child care only to hear him ask, “Oh, there’s no school tomorrow?” Or we’d arrive home late with two tired kids, and instead of spearheading their nighttime routine he’d disappear to brush his own teeth. Unless I pointed out these lapses (which he’ll tell you I often did, and I’ll tell you I often did not), he was unaware.

We’ve all heard this story before. Thinking about my own relationship, and watching the other couples I knew, I kept wondering: Why is this still happening?

The optimistic tale of the modern, involved dad has been greatly exaggerated. The amount of child care men performed rose throughout the 1980s and ’90s, but then began to level off without ever reaching parity. Mothers still shoulder 65 percent of child-care work. In academic journals, family researchers caution that the “culture of fatherhood” has changed more than fathers’ actual behavior.

Sociologists attribute the discrepancy between mothers’ expectations and reality to “a largely successful male resistance.” This resistance is not being led by socially conservative men, whose like-minded wives often explicitly agree to take the lead in the home. It is happening, instead, with relatively progressive couples, and it takes many women — who thought their partners had made a prenatal commitment to equal parenting — by surprise. Why are their partners failing to pitch in more?

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May 7, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Metric Society Has Exacerbated Competition, Comparisonitis, And Inequality On The Road To A 21st Century Dystopia

The Metric SocietySteffen Mau (Humboldt University (Berlin)), The Metric Society: On the Quantification of the Social (2019):

In today’s world, numbers are in the ascendancy. Societies dominated by star ratings, scores, likes, and lists are rapidly emerging, as data are collected on virtually every aspect of our lives. From annual university rankings, ratings agencies, and fitness tracking technologies to our credit score and health status, everything and everybody is measured and evaluated.

In this important new book, Steffen Mau offers a critical analysis of this increasingly pervasive phenomenon. While the original intention behind the drive to quantify may have been to build trust and transparency, Mau shows how metrics have in fact become a form of social conditioning. The ubiquitous language of ranking and scoring has changed profoundly our perception of value and status. What is more, through quantification, our capacity for competition and comparison has expanded significantly — we can now measure ourselves against others in practically every area. The rise of quantification has created and strengthened social hierarchies, transforming qualitative differences into quantitative inequalities that play a decisive role in shaping the life chances of individuals.

This timely analysis of the pernicious impact of quantification will appeal to students and scholars across the social sciences, as well as anyone concerned by the cult of numbers and its impact on our lives and societies today.

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April 25, 2019 in Book Club, Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

College Wouldn’t Cost So Much If Students And Faculty Worked Harder

VedderWall Street Journal op-ed:  College Wouldn’t Cost So Much If Students and Faculty Worked Harder, by Richard Vedder (Ohio University; author, Restoring the Promise: American Higher Education Today (2019)):

I assign far less reading, demand less writing, and give higher grades than I did two generations ago.

One reason college is so costly and so little real learning occurs is that collegiate resources are vastly underused. Students don’t study much, professors teach little, few people read most of the obscure papers the professors write, and even the buildings are empty most of the time.

The New York Federal Reserve says more than 40% of recent college graduates are “underemployed,” but many already are while in school. Surveys of student work habits find that the average amount of time spent in class and otherwise studying is about 27 hours a week. The typical student takes classes only 32 weeks a year, so he spends fewer than 900 hours annually on academics—less time than a typical eighth-grader, and perhaps half the time their parents work to help finance college.

It wasn’t always this way. As economists Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks have demonstrated, students in the middle of the 20th century spent nearly 50% more time—around 40 hours weekly—studying. They now lack incentives to work very hard, since the average grade today—a B or B-plus—is much higher than in 1960 when the average grade-point average of around 2.5 implied a typical grade of B-minus or C-plus.

I’m part of the problem: I’ve been teaching for 55 years, and I assign far less reading, demand less writing, and give higher grades than I did two generations ago. ...

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April 20, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Death Of An Adjunct ... And The University's Soul

AdjunctThe Atlantic, The Death of an Adjunct:

Thea Hunter was a promising, brilliant scholar. And then she got trapped in academia’s permanent underclass. ...

To be a perennial adjunct professor is to hear the constant tone of higher education’s death knell. The story is well known—the long hours, the heavy workload, the insufficient pay—as academia relies on adjunct professors, non-tenured faculty members, who are often paid pennies on the dollar to do the same work required of their tenured colleagues.

The position is often inaccurately described as akin to a form of slavery. Thea, a scholar of rights, slavery, and freedom, would have been the first to say that is not the case. It is more like the lowest rung in a caste system, the one that underrepresented minorities tend to call home.

“Just as the doors of academe have been opened more widely than heretofore to marginalized groups, the opportunity structure for academic careers has been turned on its head,” a 2016 report on faculty diversity from the TIAA Institute, a nonprofit research center focused in part on higher education, reads. From 1993 to 2013, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in non-tenure-track part-time faculty positions in higher education grew by 230 percent. By contrast, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in full-time tenure-track positions grew by just 30 percent.

Nearly 80 percent of faculty members were tenured or tenure-track in 1969. Now roughly three-quarters of faculty are nontenured. The jobs that are available—as an adjunct, or a visiting professor—rest on shaky foundations, as those who occupy them try to balance work and life, often without benefits. And Thea wobbled for years.

She was on the tenure track, and then she wasn’t. She had a promising job lead, and then it wasn’t so promising. She was on her way to publishing, and then that fizzled. Meanwhile, her hopes and setbacks were compounded by an underlying reality that many adjuncts face: a lack of health insurance. She was a black woman in academia, and she was flying against a current. Some professors soar; adjuncts flap and dive and flap again—until they can’t flap anymore. ...

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April 18, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Infanti: How U.S. Tax Laws Discriminate Against Women, Gays And People of Color

InfantiPBS News Hour op-ed:  How U.S. Tax Laws Discriminate Against Women, Gays and People of Color, by Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh):

What and how a country chooses to tax says a lot about its values.

A core value built into the DNA of America, for example, is equality. And in practice, Americans imagine their country to be more equal than it is and strive to treat every member of society that way.

But, as I learned in researching my book, Our Selfish Tax Laws: Toward Tax Reform That Mirrors Our Better Selves (MIT Press 2018), America’s tax laws paint a different picture.

Instead of reflecting a society constantly striving to better itself, U.S. tax laws are mired in the past. They reinforce the social and economic marginalization of women, racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants and people with disabilities.

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April 16, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Clausing: Fixing Our 'America Last' Tax Policy

OpenThe Hill op-ed:  Fixing Our 'America Last' Tax Policy, by Kimberly Clausing (Reed College):

On inauguration day, Trump promised the American people he would put “America first.” This rhetoric has provided verbal backing for new trade restrictions, immigration reductions and the withdrawal of the United States from prior international agreements and commitments.

As I argue in my new book, “Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital,” these new trade barriers and immigration restrictions are more likely to harm than help American workers.

Tariffs are regressive consumption taxes, and trade wars generate new disruptions that hurt American workers and industries, including soybean farmers with unsold crops as well as autoworkers facing plant shutdowns resulting in part from higher costs due to steel tariffs in the United States. 

Likewise, immigration restrictions harm American workers and our larger economy. We lose talent, innovation and entrepreneurship; we will have fewer Nobel prizes, fewer workers with desperately needed technological skills and fewer billion-dollar startups. Also, the budget pressures of our aging population weigh more heavily.

But policymakers looking for a better way to put “America first” might usefully start with the tax code. The 2017 tax legislation known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has many provisions that are in desperate need of improvement. ...

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April 14, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Clausing Presents The Progressive Case For Free Trade, Immigration, And Global Capital Today At Loyola-L.A.

OpenKimberly Clausing (Reed College) presents Open: he Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019) today at Loyola-L.A. as part of a panel discussion with Jeffrey Atik, Kathleen Kim, Katie Pratt, and Ted Seto:

With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

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April 11, 2019 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Commuter Faculty Spouses

Commuter SpousesInside Higher Ed, ‘Commuter Spouses’:

Many academics have partners who are academics, and "two-body issues" complicate many a job search. A new book looks at the impact of these situations on the couples and on society. While many of the couples examined in Commuter Spouses: New Families in a Changing World (Cornell University Press Mar. 15, 2019) are academics, the book explores the issues that arise for others as well.

Danielle Lindemann, assistant professor of sociology at Lehigh University, wrote the book based not only on her research but on her personal experience. She responded via email to questions about the book.

Q: Your author ID says of you, your husband and your "feisty preschooler" that "Currently they all live together." As you note in the acknowledgments, this is a subject you know from personal experience. What has your experience as a "commuter spouse" been like?

A: I lived apart from my husband (part of the time) from 2011 to 2013 while I was doing a postdoc at Vanderbilt in Nashville and he remained in New York. We’re actually not a great case study of commuter marriage, because in many ways we had an ideal setup. We knew we were doing it for a finite period, we were childless at the time, it was a research-oriented postdoc, so there was a lot I could do remotely, and we’re also incredibly privileged in a lot of ways. If you changed just one of those variables, it probably would have been a lot less tolerable. As it was, by the end of the two years, I was more than ready to be done with the commuting. In that last respect, I was similar to the people I interviewed for the book. Most people could find at least one thing they liked about the arrangement, but almost nobody was saying, “This my ideal setup and I want to do it forever.” Everyone I interviewed, except for one person, was either back living with their partners at the time I spoke with them, or planned on resuming cohabitation in the future.

Q: Many academic jobs are in small college towns. How does this influence the academic couple in a commuter relationship?

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March 31, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Gallup's 'Single Most Profound Finding In Its History': 70% Of An Organization's Success Depends On The Quality Of Its Managers

ManagerWall Street Journal op-ed:  One Fix For All That's Wrong: Better Managers, by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Five years ago, the Gallup organization embarked on one of the most ambitious deep dives it has ever conducted; an analysis of the future of work based on a decade of input from nearly 2 million employees and more than 300,000 business units. The results confirmed something Gallup had seen before: a company’s productivity depends, to a high degree, on the quality of its managers.

What no one saw coming, however, was the sheer size of that correlation—something Gallup calls “the single most profound, distinct and clarifying finding” in its 80-year history. The study showed that managers didn’t just influence the results their teams achieved, they explained a full 70% of the variance. In other words, if it’s a superior team you’re after, hiring the right manager is nearly three-fourths of the battle. ...

The study’s conclusions, laid out in Gallup’s forthcoming book, It’s the Manager, struck a particular chord with me. I, too, had exhaustively studied teams—although my subjects were the top dynasties in sports. I’d reached a similar conclusion: The overwhelming driver for sustained excellence in sports was another kind of middle manager, the team captain.

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March 27, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 25, 2019

Ellen Aprill Reviews Philip Hamburger’s Liberal Suppression: Section 501(c)(3) And The Taxation Of Speech

Liberal SuppressionFollowing up on my previous post:  Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A.), Liberal Suppression: Viewing Section 501(C)(3)’S Speech Restrictions In Their Tax Context (reviewing Philip Hamburger (Columbia), Liberal Suppression: Section 501(c)(3) and the Taxation of Speech (University of Chicago Press 2018)):

Philip Hamburger’s Liberal Suppression: Section 501(c)(3) and the Taxation of Speech opposes on constitutional grounds the limitation on lobbying and the prohibition of campaign intervention required of charities, including churches, exempt under the Internal Revenue Code. The book is erudite, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. I learned a great deal from it. I also share a number of the author’s concerns. As a tax professor, naturally enough, I see these issues primarily through a tax lens, and this context leads me to draw conclusions regarding section 501(c)(3) quite different from those Hamburger comes to as a constitutional scholar. Yet I also believe that establishing a common understanding of the provision’s place in the Internal Revenue Code is crucial to any critique of it.

Language from Regan v Taxation with Representation (TWR), the 1983 case to which the book often refers, helps frame the contrast between our points of view. Against constitutional challenge, the Supreme Court in TWR upheld the limitation on substantial lobbying for entities exempt under section 501(c)(3) against constitutional challenge. Professor Hamburger’s book, my earlier work, and that of others have extended its reasoning, in particular its reliance on the principle that Congress has no duty to subsidize political activity, to section 501(c)(3)’s prohibition on campaign intervention as well. ...

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March 25, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Clausing: Open — The Progressive Case For Free Trade, Immigration, And Global Capital

OpenKimberly Clausing (Reed College), The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019):

With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

A leading authority on corporate taxation and an advocate of a more equal economy, Clausing agrees that Americans, especially those with middle and lower incomes, face stark economic challenges. But these problems do not require us to retreat from the global economy. On the contrary, she shows, an open economy overwhelmingly helps. International trade makes countries richer, raises living standards, benefits consumers, and brings nations together. Global capital mobility helps both borrowers and lenders. International business improves efficiency and fosters innovation. And immigration remains one of America’s greatest strengths, as newcomers play an essential role in economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Closing the door to the benefits of an open economy would cause untold damage. Instead, Clausing outlines a progressive agenda to manage globalization more effectively, presenting strategies to equip workers for a modern economy, improve tax policy, and establish a better partnership between labor and the business community.

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March 5, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 25, 2019

Zelenak Presents Cordell Hull’s Legacy And Changes To The Federal Income Tax Over Time Today At Cumberland

Zelenak BookLawrence Zelenak (Duke) presents Figuring Out the Tax: Cordell Hull’s Legacy and Changes to the Federal Income Tax Over Time at Cumberland today at its 2019 Cordell Hull Speaker's Forum:

While many of you may be aware that Cumberland School of Law alumnus, Cordell Hull, is known as the Father of the United Nations, you may not know that he was also the “Father of the Federal Income Tax.” Attendees seeking one hour of CLE credit will enjoy access to the first chapter of Zelenak’s recently released book, Figuring Out the Tax: Congress, Treasury, and the Design of the Early Modern Income Tax (Cambridge University Press 2018) [reviewed by Charlotte Crane (Northwestern) here].

The publisher's description of Figuring Out the Tax:

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February 25, 2019 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Is Email Making Professors Stupid — 'Digital Torture For Serious Scholars'?

GmailChronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Is Email Making Professors Stupid?, by Cal Newport (Georgetown; author, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (2016)):

Email used to simplify crucial tasks. Now it’s strangling scholars’ ability to think.

Donald Knuth is one of the world’s most famous living computer scientists. He’s known for his pioneering efforts to bring rigorous mathematical analysis to the design of computer algorithms. An emeritus professor at Stanford University, he’s currently writing the fourth volume of his classic book series, The Art of Computer Programming, which he’s been working on since the early 1960s.

Given Knuth’s renown, many people seek him out. If you’re one of those people, however, you’ll end up disappointed. On arriving at Knuth’s homemade Stanford homepage, you’ll notice that no email address is provided. If you dig deeper, you’ll eventually find a page named email.html which opens with the following statement:

I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I’d used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime.

Knuth does provide his mailing address at Stanford, and he asks that people send an old-fashioned letter if they need to contact him. His administrative assistant gathers these letters and presents them to Knuth in batches, getting urgent correspondence to him quickly, and putting everything else into a “buffer” that he reviews, on average, “one day every three months.”

Knuth’s approach to email prioritizes the long-term value of uninterrupted concentration over the short-term convenience of accessibility. Objectively speaking, this tradeoff makes sense, but it’s so foreign to most tenured and tenure-track professors that it can seem ludicrous — more parody than pragmatism. This is because in the modern academic environment professors act more like middle managers than monastics. A major factor driving this reality is the digital communication Knuth so carefully avoids. Faculty life now means contending with an unending stream of electronic missives, many of which come with an expectation of rapid reply.

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February 16, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Resilience Of Religion In American Higher Education

ResilienceInside Higher Ed Book Review, The Resilience of Religion in American Higher Education (Baylor University Press 2018):

William F. Buckley Jr.'s 1951 book God and Man at Yale popularized a view of higher education as hostile to faith. A new book, however, The Resilience of Religion in American Higher Education (Baylor University Press), finds faith alive and well in American higher education. The authors find that resilience evident both at public and private institutions. And they find it at religious institutions with varying ideas about their missions. ...

The authors are John Schmalzbauer, a professor of religious studies at Missouri State University and the author of People of Faith: Religious Conviction in American Journalism and Higher Education, and Kathleen A. Mahoney, a senior staff member at the GHR Foundation and author of Catholic Higher Education in Protestant America: The Jesuits and Harvard in the Age of the University. They responded via email to questions about their new book.

Q: Many evangelical colleges have been criticized for their views on sexuality (in particular ideas about gay people) and science (a belief by some that the Bible is to be taken literally, challenging ideas about evolution and so forth). Do you see those views holding back these colleges?

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January 13, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Clausing: Open — The Progressive Case For Free Trade, Immigration, And Global Capital

OpenKimberly Clausing (Reed College), The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019):

With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

A leading authority on corporate taxation and an advocate of a more equal economy, Clausing agrees that Americans, especially those with middle and lower incomes, face stark economic challenges. But these problems do not require us to retreat from the global economy. On the contrary, she shows, an open economy overwhelmingly helps. International trade makes countries richer, raises living standards, benefits consumers, and brings nations together. Global capital mobility helps both borrowers and lenders. International business improves efficiency and fosters innovation. And immigration remains one of America’s greatest strengths, as newcomers play an essential role in economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Closing the door to the benefits of an open economy would cause untold damage. Instead, Clausing outlines a progressive agenda to manage globalization more effectively, presenting strategies to equip workers for a modern economy, improve tax policy, and establish a better partnership between labor and the business community.

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January 3, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy And How It Can Do Better

Just GivingWall Street Journal: Leslie Lenkowsky (Indiana University), Generosity, With Benefits (reviewing Rob Reich (Stanford), Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better (2018)):

Critics take aim at government policy when it fails, in their view, to sufficiently encourage donations to charity. In “Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better,” Rob Reich, a Stanford political-science professor, argues that a more fundamental question needs to be asked: Why should government policies encourage philanthropy at all?

Throughout history, Mr. Reich says, religious and ethical traditions have provided people from many backgrounds with powerful reasons for giving. If governments are to play a role, Mr. Reich argues, they need a different kind of justification: a political one. They need to be able to identify the ways in which charity achieves public purposes, and for him the greatest public purpose is that of promoting equality. A policy that fails in this regard, he believes, is shaky at best and perhaps unjustifiable.

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December 27, 2018 in Book Club, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

NY Times: Professor, Was Jesus Really Born To A Virgin?

CraigNew York Times op-ed:  Professor, Was Jesus Really Born to a Virgin?, by Nicholas Kristof:

I question William Lane Craig [author, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics] of Talbot School of Theology and Houston Baptist University about Christianity.

KristofMerry Christmas, Dr. Craig! I must confess that for all my admiration for Jesus, I’m skeptical about some of the narrative we’ve inherited. Are you actually confident that Jesus was born to a virgin?

Craig: Merry Christmas to you, too, Nick! I’m reasonably confident. When I was a non-Christian, I used to struggle with this, too. But then it occurred to me that for a God who could create the entire universe, making a woman pregnant wasn’t that big a deal! Given the existence of a Creator and Designer of the universe (for which we have good evidence), an occasional miracle is child’s play. Historically speaking, the story of Jesus’ virginal conception is independently attested by Matthew and Luke and is utterly unlike anything in pagan mythology or Judaism. So what’s the problem? ...

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December 25, 2018 in Book Club | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bar-Ilan University Hosts Book Event For Tsilly Dagan's International Tax Policy

Dagan BookBar-Ilan University (Israel) hosted a book event for Tsilly Dagan, International Tax Policy: Between Competition and Cooperation (Cambridge University Press 2018), with these discussants:

  • Ofer Groskopf (Israel Supreme Court)
  • Yiran Margalioth (Tel Aviv) 
  • Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  • Linda Sugin (Fordam)

Bringing a unique voice to international taxation, this book argues against the conventional support of multilateral co-operation in favour of structured competition as a way to promote both justice and efficiency in international tax policy. Tsilly Dagan analyses international taxation as a decentralised market, where governments have increasingly become strategic actors. While many of the challenges of the current international tax regime derive from this decentralised competitive structure, Dagan argues that curtailing competition through centralisation is not necessarily the answer.

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December 15, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 14, 2018

George Yin's Holiday Reading Picks

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stanford Law Faculty End-Of-Year Reading List

Monday, December 10, 2018

Mann & Roberts: Tax Law And The Environment

Tax Law and the EnvironmentTax Law and the Environment: A Multidisciplinary and Worldwide Perspective (Roberta F. Mann (Oregon) &  Tracey M. Roberts (Samford) eds. 2018):

Tax Law and the Environment: A Multidisciplinary and Worldwide Perspective takes a multidisciplinary approach to explore the ways how tax policy can is used solve environmental problems throughout the world, using a multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary approach. Environmental taxation involves using taxes to impose a cost on environmentally harmful activities or tax subsidies to provide preferred tax treatment to more sustainable alternatives to those harmful activities. This book provides a detailed analysis of environmental taxation, with examples from around the world. As the extraction, processing and use of energy use resources is has been a major cause of environmental harm, this book explores the taxation and subsidization of both fossil fuels and renewable energy. Its analysis of the past, present, and future potential of environmental taxation will help policymakers move economies toward sustainability, as well as and informing students, academics, and citizens about tax solutions for pressing environmental issues.

Reviews:

 

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December 10, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Crane Reviews Zelenak's Figuring Out The Tax

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Charlotte Crane (Northwestern), Learning From Our Mistakes (JOTWELL) (reviewing Lawrence Zelenak (Duke), Figuring Out the Tax: Congress, Treasury, and the Design of the Early Modern Income Tax (Cambridge University Press 2018)):

The income tax is a formidable institution in American political life. Understanding the many facets of its current form is a challenge, given the myriad forces that have interacted in its evolution. Larry Zelenak, in his book Figuring Out the Tax, published in January 2018 as part of the Cambridge Tax Law Series, offers the reader substantial insights into these forces through a close examination of the early history of the income tax in the United States.

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November 29, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How To Grow A Lawyer: A Guide For Law Schools, Law Professors, And Law Students

How To Grow A LawyerE. Scott Fruehwald, How to Grow A Lawyer: A Guide for Law Schools, Law Professors, and Law Students (2018):

We live in a world of accelerating change. Yet, legal education still relies mainly on a teaching approach developed in 1870. Is this any way to grow a lawyer?

Law schools need to radically transform legal education. They must base this transformation on research of education scholars both within and without legal education. They must reject everything from the past that does not grow effective lawyers.

This book shows how law schools and law professors can use the new scholarship to become better teachers and how they can help their students become better learners. In brief, legal education should involve active learning, teaching students metacognition, and formative assessment. This book contains exercises, particularly reflection exercises, at the end of each subsection to help the reader better absorb the new approaches to teaching and learning.

November 28, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bakija Presents Would A Bigger Government Hurt The Economy? Today At Pennsylvania

HowJon Bakija (Williams College) presents Would a Bigger Government Hurt the Economy?, in How Big Should Our Government Be? (University of California Press 2016) (with Lane Kenworthy (UC-San Diego), Peter Lindert (UC-Davis) & Jeff Madrick (Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative, Century Foundation)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

If the United States is going to meet the rising costs of promised government retirement benefits and health care for the elderly while doing more to promote economic security, equality of opportunity, and shared prosperity, it will eventually need to increase taxes. Is this the best solution, or should we scale back government and cut taxes, thereby improving incentives for productive economic activity? This is the fundamental political dilemma of our times. A thoughtful answer ought to depend on many different considerations, but one of the most critical is the long-run economic costs and benefits of larger government and the taxes that go with it. I begin by briefly reviewing some theory that helps to put the debate into perspective. Then I consider evidence on three key empirical questions:

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November 7, 2018 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

How Dan Markel's Murder Led Todd Henderson To Write His First Novel, Mental State

Mental StateM. Todd Henderson (Chicago), Mental State (2018):

When conservative law professor Alex Johnson is found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at his house in Chicago, everyone thinks it is suicide. Everyone except his brother, Royce, an FBI agent.

Without jurisdiction or leads, Agent Johnson leaves his cases and family to find out who killed his brother. There are many suspects: the ex-wife, an ambitious doctor with expensive tastes and reasons to hate her ex; academic rivals on a faculty divided along political lines; an African-American student who failed the professor’s course.

As Agent Johnson peels back layers of mystery in his rogue investigation, the brother he never really knew emerges. Clues lead from the ivy-covered elite university and the halls of power in Washington to the gritty streets of Chicago and Lahore, Pakistan. Ultimately, Agent Johnson must face the question of how far he is willing to go to catch his brother’s killer.

Mental State is about two brothers learning about each other in death, and about the things people will do when convinced they are in the right. 

Los Angeles Review of Books, DC State of Mind:

ANTHONY FRANZE: To call your novel timely is an understatement: a Supreme Court nominee navigating the confirmation process, child sex abuse, and shades of the real-life upcoming trial of murdered law professor Dan Markel. What inspired your story?

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October 30, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 26, 2018

LSE Hosts Book Launch Today For Tsilly Dagan's International Tax Policy

DaganThe London School of Economics and Political Science is hosting a book launch today for Tsilly Dagan (Bar-Ilan University, Israel), International Tax Policy: Between Competition and Cooperation (Cambridge University Press 2018):

Bringing a unique voice to international taxation, this book argues against the conventional support of multilateral co-operation in favour of structured competition as a way to promote both justice and efficiency in international tax policy. Tsilly Dagan analyzes international taxation as a decentralized market, where governments have increasingly become strategic actors. While many of the challenges of the current international tax regime derive from this decentralized competitive structure, Dagan argues that curtailing competition through centralization is not necessarily the answer.

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October 26, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 12, 2018

Liberal Suppression: Section 501(c)(3) And The Taxation of Speech

Liberal SuppressionMark Pulliam (Law & Liberty; Retired Partner, Latham & Watkins), Is Section 501(c)(3) a Form of Censorship?:

Columbia Law School Professor Philip Hamburger is a prodigious and iconoclastic legal scholar. ... Hamburger’s latest subject, in Liberal Suppression ([University of Chicago Press] 2018), is an inquiry into the legitimacy of restrictions on the political speech of non-profit organizations. [1] Section 501(c)(3) exempts religious, educational, and charitable organizations from federal income tax but denies them this exemption if they engage in campaign speech for or against any candidate for public office or devote a substantial part of their activities to propaganda or other attempts to influence legislation. Section 170(c) makes contributions to qualifying non-profits tax-deductible to the donor. According to Hamburger, these exemptions and deductions amount to “many billions of dollars annually.”

Most people’s knee-jerk reaction is that section 501(c)(3)’s restrictions are justified by the tax-exempt status such non-profit organizations applied for and received. Rejecting such preconceptions in his trademark fashion, Hamburger strongly disagrees. Although non-profits are free to express a wide range of opinions—even political opinions—outside of political contests, Hamburger views section 501(c)(3) as “an extraordinary abridgement of an essential freedom,” which ought to be considered unconstitutional. Inasmuch as the Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the lobbying restrictions in section 501(c)(3) [2], Liberal Suppressionis nothing if not ambitious, but is it persuasive? Realizing that his arguments may appear to be an “uphill struggle,” early on Hamburger asks readers to “hold their skepticism in abeyance.”

After reading the book, my skepticism remains stubbornly intact.

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October 12, 2018 in Book Club, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)