Paul L. Caron

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Colleges: Financial Toll Of Coronavirus Is Worse Than Expected

Inside Higher Ed, Colleges: Financial Toll of Coronavirus Worse Than Anticipated:

CoronavirusThe coronavirus pandemic has taken an even deeper financial toll on colleges and universities than expected, said associations representing two- and four-year institutions. In a letter to House of Representatives leaders, the groups nearly tripled the amount of help they say is needed from Congress in another aid package, to at least $120 billion.

The letter sent by the American Council on Education and 45 other higher education groups to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy comes as House Democrats are planning to vote, possibly this week, on another bid to try to dislodge the stalemate over additional aid.

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October 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Protecting Privacy And Security In Online Instruction: A Guide For Students And Faculty

Mary Anne Franks (Miami), Protecting Privacy and Security in Online Instruction: A Guide for Students and Faculty:

COVID-19 forced educational institutions all over the globe to shift abruptly to online instruction. Online instruction presents many challenges to both faculty and students accustomed to in-person learning. Among those challenges are serious equity concerns, including wide variation among students and faculty in terms of technological literacy, access to reliable Internet service and related “digital divide” issues, time zones, caretaking responsibilities, and personal situations that may make remote learning difficult or impossible (e.g. unsafe home conditions). Another serious category of concern are privacy and security issues, which are the subject of this memo.

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September 19, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

WSJ: MBA Hiring Is Down 60% This Year

Wall Street Journal, M.B.A.s Are Usually Swimming in Job Offers by Now. Not This Year.:

WSJBusiness school students are bracing for an uncertain job market this coming school year as many traditional corporate recruiters shelve their usual fall hiring plans.

At a time of year when many business school students are polishing their networking skills and getting their business haircuts, a number of big companies, including consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers, say there will be no jobs on offer to second-year M.B.A. candidates, beyond those who interned this summer, looking to lock down a position before they graduate.

The murky job market has both students and schools worried. M.B.A. students can pay $200,000 or more to attend some of the most elite programs, once two years of living costs are factored in, for the promise of an accelerated career and higher salary. Schools market strong job-placement rates to prospective students; those rates ranged between 80% to 90% for many highly ranked programs before the pandemic hit.

PwC said it has no plans to hire up to 100 second-year M.B.A. students as it usually does each fall. ...

Other companies [Bain and EY] say they are taking a wait-and-see approach. ... Kevin Stacia, an M.B.A. career coach and corporate-relations manager at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, said students and employers are stuck in limbo for now. “Nobody is making commitments yet,” he said. ...

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September 16, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Location In Red Or Blue States Influences Whether Colleges Are Teaching On-Ground (Red) Or Online (Blue) This Fall


Inside Higher Ed, Political Influence on Fall Plans:

Colleges and universities looked at several factors when determining whether to reopen their campuses to students for the fall, including local COVID-19 case numbers, campuses' ability to physically distance students and what students said they wanted in surveys.

But another factor seems to have played a major role in the decision-making process, one that is not being touted in news releases or letters to the community: colleges' decisions appear to be closely tied to whether the state they are in is red or blue.

Data from the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College was able to predict the likelihood of whether an institution planned to be in-person or predominantly in-person for the fall term based on the political leanings of the state.

"In an ideal world, perhaps it shouldn’t matter whether there’s a D or an R after your governor’s name," said John Barnshaw, vice president of research and data at Ad Astra, which provides scheduling software and consulting services to institutions of higher education. The company also partnered with Davidson College for its data project by sending out surveys to its members. "But it seems to matter, for better or for worse." ...

If the state was carried by President Trump in the 2016 election, colleges in that state are significantly more likely to have planned more in-person instruction in the fall. This is also true for states with Republican governors and Republican control of legislatures. Colleges in states with a trifecta of a governor, state senate and house all under control of the Republican Party are even more likely to be in person.

The inverse also is true — colleges in states with Democratic governors or legislative control are more likely to offer remote instruction. ...

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September 15, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, September 11, 2020

Law School Exams During A Pandemic: One Law School’s Experience

Beth Parker (Nova), Law School Exams During a Pandemic — One Law School’s Experience:

CoronavirusIn 2020, toward the end of the Winter semester, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted life across the globe. Institutions, including law schools, felt the widespread effects of this public health crisis. Law schools were forced to move entire curriculums online in record time and consider how they were going to administer final exams. There is no precedent or manual for how to do this successfully. The pressure of the high stakes law school final exam that the law student’s entire grade and ranking rest upon is stressful, to say the least. Law students are on edge during final exams during normal times, but as the United States became overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, universities sent students, faculty, and staff home to finish the semester online and were left with a myriad of issues to address. One issue that arose was how to deliver final exams in a completely online format while maintaining the integrity of the law school exam. This article discusses the pivot to flexibility that one law school had to make, under emergency conditions, and with limited resources.

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September 11, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Blame Pollyanna Presidents When Covid-19 Plans Fail

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Blame Pollyanna Presidents When Covid-19 Plans Fail, by Gregg Gonsalves (Assistant Professor of Epidemiology & Co-director of Global Health Justice Partnership, Yale):

CoronavirusAs the pandemic rages in many states, some college presidents are engaging in wishful thinking and hubris, believing they can keep the coronavirus at bay by relying on piecemeal responses. Sadly, we’re already experiencing outbreaks on campuses and retreats to remote learning: the University of Notre Dame, Michigan State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are the first major institutions that have seen the virus outwit their best plans. There will be many more over the coming weeks. ...

As we see more and more outbreaks on campuses, university presidents and trustees will run for cover, and these kinds of rationalizations for what they did and did not do are going to come in a torrent. They’ll blame students first and foremost for breaking campus codes of conduct, and bring the hammer down on them. ...

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September 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Northeastern’s $50 Million COVID-19 Bet

Chronicle of Higher Education, Northeastern’s $50-Million Bet:

Northeastern UniversityThe university went big on its reopening gamble. Can it beat Covid-19? ...

Northeastern has spent more than $50 million planning for a safe re-entry, an investment that will be put to the test this weekend, when approximately 8,000 of the university’s undergraduates begin moving in to campus residence halls. The university has built its own labs for frequent testing with fast turnarounds, continually sanitizes buildings, and created a flexible-learning system that allows students to move back and forth between virtual and in-person classes in a richer, more interactive way than in a typical Zoom class.

Northeastern has booked nearly 1,500 hotel and apartment rooms to ensure that no more than two students share a room, and has leased a wing of Boston Symphony Hall for student dining and meal distribution.

What’s noteworthy about Northeastern’s reopening plans, said Christopher R. Marsicano, an assistant professor of the practice of higher education at Davidson College, is “the scale at which they’re doing it and the fact that they’re trying to pull off, in a major city, what the University of North Carolina couldn’t do in a suburb.”

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September 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Are Universities (And Law Schools) Legally Obligated To Exempt High-Risk Faculty From In-Person Teaching During COVID-19?

Mark L. Jones (Mercer), Cathren Koehlert-Page (Barry), Suzianne D. Painter-Thorne (Mercer) & Gary J. Simson (Mercer), It’s Alright, Ma, It’s Life and Life Only: Are Colleges and Universities Legally Obligated during the Coronavirus Pandemic to Exempt High-Risk Faculty from In-Person Teaching Requirements?:

CoronavirusAfter hurriedly transitioning to online learning when the coronavirus pandemic burst onto the scene during spring semester 2020, colleges and universities across the U.S. spent much of the spring and summer deciding how to proceed in the fall. Should all courses continue to be taught entirely online? Should all return to in person? Is the best answer instead some sort of hybrid curriculum? Because the pandemic has defied prediction at every turn, colleges and universities not going entirely online can’t help but know that at any point during the semester they may suddenly be forced to revisit and revise their decision. Furthermore, after a summer in which the virus continued to infect U.S. residents at an alarming rate, colleges and universities are surely on notice that the pandemic should figure front and center in their planning as they think about in-person vs. online instruction for spring semester 2021.

We believe that, for the duration of this pandemic, a college or university planning to offer any in-person classes has a moral obligation not to require any faculty members to teach in person who, out of concern for their own physical or emotional well-being or for that of another member of their household, ask to teach online instead. For now, however, we leave it to others to discuss more fully colleges’ and universities’ moral obligations. Our topic is colleges’ and universities’ legal obligations to allow faculty to opt for online, rather than in-person, teaching during this pandemic, and within that topic, we limit our focus to the group of faculty whom we believe colleges and universities have the clearest legal obligation to protect — those who, according to the criteria identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appear to be most vulnerable to getting seriously ill or even dying if they contract the coronavirus. In the language of the CDC, our focus is faculty members “at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19” — a group that we call “CDC high-risk faculty.” According to the CDC, anyone is high risk who has reached age 65 or who has one of various specific medical conditions, including cancer, chronic kidney disease, pregnancy, hypertension, and more.

We outline various arguments that colleges and universities are legally obligated during this pandemic to exempt CDC high-risk faculty from any in-person teaching requirement.

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September 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Florida Is Seventeenth State To Reject Emergency Diploma Privilege For Law School Graduates During COVID-19

In re: Petition to Amend the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar and the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, No. 20-1236 (Fla. Sept. 3, 2020):

Florida Supreme Court COVID 19On August 20, 2020, Petitioners, who total more than 50 members of The Florida Bar in good standing, petitioned this Court, pursuant to Rule Regulating the Florida Bar 1-12.1(f), to adopt emergency rules to provide for admission to The Florida Bar without examination, followed by a supervised practice requirement to aid registrants for the July 2020 Florida General Bar Examination who have been severely impacted by the delays in administering the examination. ... For the reasons explained below, the Court declines to authorize such a pathway to Bar membership.

Bloomberg Law, Law School Grads Can’t Skip Florida Bar Exam, Court Says

The National Conference of Bar Examiners reports that Florida is the seventeenth state to deny requests for an emergency diploma privilege during COVID-19:

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September 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 7, 2020

Allowing Law School Graduates To Practice Law Without Taking A Bar Exam Through A Diploma Privilege Does Not Put The Public At Greater Risk Of Attorney Misconduct

William Patton (USC Law & UCLA Medicine), Admitting Law Graduates By Bar Examination Versus By a Diploma Privilege: A Comparison of Consumer Protection:

State bar associations for decades have justified increasing the rigorousness of their bar examinations as a necessary measure for assuring consumer protection. However, no state has provided data based empirical evidence that increasing the difficulty of a bar examination has a direct correlation with increasing consumer protection (decreasing attorney discipline based upon incompetency and/or ethical violations). This study of the Wisconsin State Bar disciplinary system demonstrates that there is little difference in the protection of the public between admitting law students to the practice of law by a diploma privilege versus requiring passage of a bar examination.


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September 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Two Professors Sue Florida Coastal Law School For Breach Of Contract Over Pay Cut

News4Jax, Professors Sue Florida Coastal School of Law Over ‘Breach of Contract’:

Florida Coastal (2017)Two law professors are suing Florida Coastal School of Law in a complaint that accuses the for-profit school’s owners of putting their own interests ahead of the school’s.

The four-count lawsuit was filed July 17 in Duval County by the law firm of Morgan & Morgan on behalf of law professors Benjamin Priester and Jennifer Reiber. The professors, who have taught at the school for over a decade each, are seeking more than $30,000 in damages and a jury trial.

Among other things, the suit accuses Florida Coastal School of Law and its ownership of breach of contract by unilaterally cutting employees’ agreed upon salaries to offset budget shortfalls. It says the professors, who would not have kept working for the school if their pay wasn’t misrepresented, are owed unpaid wages.

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September 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Will Covid-19 Revive Faculty Power?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Will Covid-19 Revive Faculty Power?:

Across the country, faculty members are campaigning to be meaningfully heard by the powers that be at their institutions — big and small, elite and open access. They’re laying the bricks of new structures of faculty and staff governance after decades of erosion. In some ways, the pandemic has become this “great leveler,” says Jennifer Fredette, an associate professor of political science at Ohio University. Tenured professors are feeling the insecurity that contingent faculty members have long experienced. A raw deal has reached their doorstep, she says, and they’re now saying, “Nobody deserves this.”

Fredette finds this renewed interest in faculty organizing — especially that it’s happening across the country — energizing. But, she’s quick to add, it’s difficult work.

The pandemic, with the financial pummeling that accompanies it, is a mighty force, perhaps impossible to combat. By the beginning of July, more than 51,000 higher-education employees had already been furloughed, laid off, or had their contracts not renewed, according to Chronicle reporting. Some boards and presidents have acted unilaterally, with little incentive not to. Decades of adjunctification have already thinned the ranks of full-time college instructors and weakened the collective power of the teaching staff — perhaps past a point of no return.

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September 4, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, September 3, 2020

University Of Iowa Condemns Faculty Sickout Protesting Campus Reopening Plan

Inside Higher Ed, University of Iowa Students and Faculty Stage Sickout Protesting Campus Reopening Plan:

Iowa Logo (2019)Faculty, staff and students at the University of Iowa staged a “sickout” Wednesday, the latest in a series of escalating calls to end face-to-face instruction during the pandemic. ...

Megan Knight, associate professor of instruction in rhetoric, participated in the sickout, including via this email autoreply:

I am away from my desk in recognition of today's “sick-out” event. This event is intended to communicate to the UI administration the urgent need for all classes to be moved to an online format immediately, to avoid furthering the public health crisis currently unfolding in Iowa City.

Knight said in an interview that there is “really a lack of leadership here and real confusion on my part as to, ‘OK, who’s in charge here? Who’s going to make decisions based on science and what we know about public health?’ It really feels like we’re at sea.”

The university publishes only self-reported positive COVID-19 tests from faculty, staff and students three times per week. On Monday, the most recent day for which numbers were available, there were 220 new student cases, for a total of 1,142 since the beginning of the semester on Aug. 18. There were three new employee cases, bringing the total to 16 this term.

As of Wednesday, Iowa City -- where the university is located -- was the fourth-worst U.S. metro hot spot for new coronavirus cases, relative to population, over the last two weeks, according to this New York Times database. (Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University, was the second hottest spot.)

Unlike many states, Iowa did not issue a stay-at-home order during the pandemic and has not issued a mask mandate. 

Iowa Gazette, University of Iowa leadership Condemns Faculty Planned Sickout:

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September 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Applicants Sitting For Online Georgia Bar Exam Must Sign Liability Waiver Releasing Any Potential Claims Against ExamSoft And Bar

Following up on my previous posts:

Applicants planning to sit for the October 5-6 online Georgia bar exam must sign a liability waiver releasing any claims they may have against ExamSoft, the Georgia bar, and the state of Georgia. The applicants also must certify that they have the "experience and expertise" necessary to take the exam.

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September 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Few, The Proud, The July 2020 Multistate Bar Exam Survivors: Average Score Hits All-Time High, 88% Fewer Takers


NCBE, July 2020 MBE Mean Score Increases:

The national Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) mean scaled score for July 2020 was 146.1, an increase of about 5 points from the July 2019 mean of 141.1. In July 2020 5,678 examinees in 23 jurisdictions sat for the MBE. The small number of examinees and jurisdictions in July 2020 (compared to the 45,334 examinees in 54 jurisdictions who tested in July 2019) was a result of the use of alternative test dates in many jurisdictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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September 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

California Bar Posts Draft Rules For Provisional Licensing Program

The Recorder, State Bar Posts Draft Rules for Provisional Licensing Program:

California Bar ExamCalifornia’s state bar is asking for public comments on a proposed provisional licensing program that will allow recent law school graduates to practice law temporarily without taking the bar exam.

A six-page draft rule of court spells out what the program will require.

>> Anyone who became eligible, or will become eligible, to sit for a bar exam between Dec. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2020, can apply for provisional licensing.

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September 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Women's Journal Submissions Fall During COVID-19

Following up on my previous post, COVID-19 Is Disproportionately Impacting Research By Women Faculty:  Inside Higher Ed, Women's Journal Submissions Continue to Fall During COVID-19:

Female academics’ research productivity dropped off at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, which many experts have attributed to women’s outsize role in caregiving even before the pandemic. Some also blame women’s disproportionate service roles and take-up of emotional labor.

Months later, journal submission rates for women have improved in some cases. But the general outlook for women remains poor, with K-12 schools still closed in many communities, childcare options and other services still greatly reduced, and a bumpy teaching semester ahead.

“We are seeing some recent improvements, though I worry that those will drop precipitously as the semester begins,” Cassidy Sugimoto, professor of informatics at Indiana University at Bloomington and a co-author of an ongoing study of article submissions to preprint databases, said as her own two daughters did their remote schoolwork in the next room. “Issues such as disproportionate teaching and service obligations, coupled with the move to online schooling for children, are likely to take a toll on women in the upcoming year.”

Sugimoto and her co-authors published their initial COVID-19-era preprint analysis in Nature Index in May.

Table 1

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September 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Florida's Laura Rosenbury Is Fourth Law School Dean ($100,000), Neil Buchanan Is Second Tax Prof ($25,001) To Make Major Gifts To Students During COVID-19

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  UF Law Students Receive Nearly $1 Million in Financial Support During Pandemic:

RBMore than 280 University of Florida Levin College of Law students received financial support from the law school this summer, totaling nearly $1 million. ...

UF Law applied for funding from AccessLex, which generously provided a $25,000 grant to the law school for emergency student support.  UF Law Dean Laura Rosenbury immediately contributed an additional $25,000 from her personal funds, and UF Law Tax Professor Neil Buchanan followed Dean Rosenbury’s contribution with a gift of $25,001.  Several alumni also contributed to the emergency fund to help reach the $100,000 goal.

“The pandemic created additional financial stress for many of our students, as they traveled to care for sick loved ones, lost part-time jobs, or assisted family members who had lost their jobs,” Dean Rosenbury said. “I am glad we were able to provide some relief for students incurring these unexpected expenses.”

Dean Rosenbury has also contributed an additional $75,000 to support student scholarships at UF Law.  Her most recent gift of $25,000 supported the HBCU Pathway to Law Endowed Scholarship Fund, which provides full-tuition scholarships to graduates of HBCUs seeking to enroll at UF Law.

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September 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Allard: Act Now, Avert More Bar Exam Chaos Later

Jurist op-ed:  Act Now, Avert More Bar Exam Chaos Later, by Nicolas W. Allard (Former Dean, Brooklyn):

Now is the time for many state authorities to act decisively to avert more pandemic driven bar exam chaos. Without prompt action more testing failures, disruption, and delays are almost certain.

The evidence is in. The case is open and shut. Conventional in-person bar exams cannot and need not be held, at least so long as the COVID-19 pandemic makes them impractical and unsafe. Many states canceled scheduled in-person exams. Then at its August annual meeting, the American Bar Association passed a resolution that going forward this was the responsible thing to do given the scope and persistence of the global health emergency. Now what?

Overwhelming and mounting evidence indicates that simply expecting all candidates to take a remote online test is not yet technically feasible. It is also clear that postponements of licensing and requiring candidates to take the exam at home impose unfair burdens on many aspiring new lawyers, especially those with student debt and no jobs. Hardest hit are the underprivileged and disabled whose communities are underrepresented despite years of effort to make the profession more diverse. Anticipating these problems some states like New York acknowledged that the numerous challenges posed by remote exams administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners must be addressed. ...

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September 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Notre Dame To Resume In-Person Classes Tomorrow

Following up on my previous posts:

Roger P. Alford (Law), Susan D. Collins (Political Science), Kirk Doran (Economics), Francesca Murphy (Theology) & Jeffrey A. Pojanowski (Law), Recalculating the Risks:

Notre Dame (2020)As professors at Notre Dame, we have closely watched the debates over whether the University should send students home for the semester. A new danger stalks the world, and it is not clear when we will have it under control. Nevertheless, we think the right decision is to have students learn and live together in person. We recognize there are some risks, especially to faculty and staff, but we do not think they are high enough to deprive students of the opportunities we were fortunate enough to enjoy at their age. Our society has already made young people sacrifice so much during the pandemic. Based on our understanding of the risks and present situation, we think shuttering the campus indefinitely and banishing students to isolated online learning would be unjust. ...

Assessing the proper response to this new pandemic is not easy, but we think our society’s approach has unfairly discounted the costs we are imposing on the young and those who do not have the luxury of working from home. In that respect, Notre Dame’s decision to reopen with sensible precautions was admirable, courageous and reflects a reasonable balancing of the risks. As of now, we have no reason to believe that decision was wrong and until we do, we encourage the University administration to honor its commitment to the students. As long as we can, we will be there — in person — because we love being here and we believe we owe it to our students and the University community.

Press Release, Notre Dame to Begin Gradual Resumption Of In-Person Classes Sept. 2:

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September 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, August 31, 2020

The Bar Exam Debacle: A Crisis Revealed By COVID-19

Young Lawyers Advisory Board, The Bar Exam Debacle: A Crisis Revealed By COVID:

CoronavirusCOVID-19 has wreaked havoc in many areas of life and continues to expose our weaknesses and prompt insightful debate whether it be when and how to re-open businesses, virtual or in-person schooling, or determining if a worker is essential or non-essential. The legal profession is no exception to COVID-19’s effect, and the debate surrounding a virtual bar exam versus recognizing the diploma privilege for the class of 2020 was heated and impactful among graduates and practitioners alike.

The Supreme Court ordered that the bar exam proceed virtually in October, and graduates can practice temporarily under supervision of a licensed attorney in accordance with Rule 1:21-3. The debate leading up to this decision weighed whether diploma privilege could be a viable alternative, and brought to the forefront the hardships on new graduates, which include delaying employment by several months, struggling to find a place to take the exam with reliable internet access, taking a virtual exam that has never been administered before, and increasing financial hardship. It is evident that under the current conditions, there is no “perfect” solution. ...

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August 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Florida Bar Exam Rescheduled For Oct. 13, With New Subjects To Be Tested And New Tech Provider; Applicants Say Prior Tech Company's Software Led To Russian Hacking Of Their Computers

Following up on Tuesday's post, After Cancelling Online Bar Exam Due To Tech Failure, Florida Supreme Court Establishes Supervised Practice Program For Bar Applicants:  Florida Supreme Court, Florida Bar Exam rescheduled for October 13:

Florida Supreme Court COVID 19The Florida Board of Bar Examiners has rescheduled the next Florida Bar exam for October 13, with testing potentially continuing October 14 for any candidates who receive test accommodations. The exam will be administered using an online format provided by ExamSoft, a company with more than 20 years’ experience with delivery of online exams. Use of this platform will require that each applicant sitting for the October 2020 Bar Examination have access to a computer that has installed the necessary ExamSoft software.

The exam will consist of 100 multiple choice questions and three essay questions. All multiple-choice questions will be based on Florida law, and will test the following seven subjects:  Florida Rules of Civil Procedure; Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure; Torts; Business Entities; Evidence; Wills; and Trusts. The three essay questions will test Federal Constitutional Law and the following six subjects (all based on Florida law):  Torts; Real Property; Florida Constitutional Law; Ethics; Contracts; and UCC Article 3.

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August 29, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 28, 2020

California Legislature Holds Hearing On Retroactive Application Of Lower Bar Exam Cut Score

Above the Law, California Holds Hearing On Retroactive Bar Exam Score Resolution:

California Bar ExamCalifornia Assembly member Mark Stone, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, took the podium on Wednesday to advocate for HR 103, the resolution imploring the California Supreme Court to reconsider its bizarre decision side-stepping the petitions before it to close off any retroactive application of the new cut score.

Stone outlines the longstanding diversity issues with the California bar and the access to justice problem that an influx of highly talented attorneys — they would still have to have an absurdly high 1390 to be admitted under this plan — could address.

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August 28, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, August 27, 2020

New York Tries To Reassure Test Takers About Online Bar Exam

Bloomberg Law, New York Tries to Reassure Test Takers About Online Bar Exam:

NYSBA (2017)The New York Board of Law Examiners is trying to allay concerns that the many strict rules surrounding the state’s online bar exam in early October are navigable, and won’t result in false allegations of cheating.

A frequently asked questions list released by the agency Tuesday also mandates that test takers sit for at least two mock exams before the actual test on Oct. 5-6, to make sure they understand the technology. Test takers also will need to learn how to use virtual “notes” instead of regular scrap paper, and meet strict deadlines to register their computers with the exam provider.

Concerns have been growing about the October tests being given in New York and 17 other states. In several other states, including Michigan, Florida, and Indiana, exam takers recently encountered significant problems with the software they used, or planned to use, through tech vendors ExamSoft or ILG Technologies. New York is using ExamSoft, which encountered issues in Michigan in late July, when test takers there were unable to log into a portion of the test because of an apparent cyberattack.

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August 27, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Dean Generosity: Who Will Be Next?

Karen Sloan (, More Dean Generosity:

A week ago, I wrote about the law deans at Penn State Dickinson and Pepperdine reaching into their own pockets to give back to their schools. Pepperdine’s Paul Caron told me he hoped to spark a movement, and maybe he has. Last week, Florida International University law dean Antony Page joined in with a $200,000 pledge that will establish a scholarship for law students who are the first in their families to go to college.

“I was drawn to FIU because of its mission as a public school. It is a transformational place. The FIU College of Law is majority first-generation, majority-minority, and we’re a law school that successfully delivers an outstanding legal education,” Page said in an announcement of the gift.

So that makes three. Who will be next?

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August 27, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Inspired By Penn State Dickinson Dean, Faculty And Staff Give $27,000 For Law Students

Penn State News, Dickinson Law Establishes Educational Equity Scholarship:

Penn State Dickinson Logo (2020)When Penn State Dickinson Law Associate Dean for Academic and Student Services Jeffrey A. Dodge heard about the generous gift made to the Dickinson Law Future Fund and Penn State Student Care and Advocacy Emergency Fund by Dickinson Law Dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law Danielle Conway, he was moved. Then he felt inspired to give back as well.

In just a two-week span, Dodge mobilized a group of Dickinson Law faculty and staff to make their own gift in honor of Dean Conway, one that Penn State will match through its $10 million commitment to create the Educational Equity Matching Program.

Faculty and staff raised nearly $27,000 to establish the Dickinson Law Faculty and Staff Educational Equity Scholarship, focused on increasing student diversity and providing for those with financial need. The amount will be matched 1:1 by Penn State’s Educational Equity Matching Program, which was announced in June and gives donors the opportunity to double or triple their support for new scholarship endowments to benefit undergraduate or graduate students whose gender, race, ethnic, cultural, and/or national background contribute to the diversity of the student body.

“We learned about Dean Conway’s $125,000 gift during a faculty meeting. It was the largest gift I’d ever heard of a dean making, and I’ve worked at three different law schools with at least ten deans,” said Dodge. “It was quite inspiring to me how selfless her gift was.”

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August 26, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

After Cancelling Online Bar Exam Due To Tech Failure, Florida Supreme Court Establishes Supervised Practice Program For Bar Applicants

Following up on my previous post, Florida Postpones Bar Exam Three Days Before Online Test Due To Technology Failure, Announces Supervised Practice Program:  Florida Supreme Court, Florida Supreme Court Issues Pandemic Order Establishing Supervised Practice Program for Bar Applicants:

Florida Supreme Court COVID 19The Florida Supreme Court has issued an order establishing a supervised practice program that will let some applicants for the August 2020 Bar exam work in the law during the pandemic under supervision of licensed attorneys. The program will last until 30 days after the results of the February 2021 Bar exams are released. It creates a way for applicants to work despite delays caused by pandemic conditions and online testing failures.

Under the order, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners will establish the supervised practice program by the end of August. The court order outlines the application procedure and provides that each applicant’s supervising attorney assumes professional responsibility for all services provided.

The Florida Supreme Court ordered the creation of this temporary program after an online testing system developed due to COVID-19 pandemic conditions failed, causing the current delay. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners currently is working on details of a rescheduled exam to be administered in October. 

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August 25, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Day In The Life Of A Law School Dean During COVID-19: Song Richardson (UC-Irvine)

Karen Sloan (, Law in the Time of COVID: How UC Irvine Law's Dean Is Making It Work (From Home):

Song 2Mon, July 12, 2020
4:30 a.m.-5:30 a.m.:  Hit snooze a couple of times. Finally, get up after one of my cats (Crouton) licks my face over and over again with her sandpaper-like tongue. Go downstairs, feed both cats (Scratch and Crouton), give them their medication, and then make coffee. Drink two cups of coffee while reading and responding to emails that came in overnight.
5:30 a.m.–6:30 a.m.: Think about exercising and meditating, but do neither. Get ready for the day, keeping in mind I have a media appearance and other “public” events later in the day. ...
9 p.m.-11 p.m.: Prep for tomorrow. Watch one of my guilty pleasure shows with my husband. Respond to texts and emails. Go to bed and try to sleep.
11:15 p.m.: Receive a text and decide to respond. Then check my email. Attempt to go to sleep again. Remember to check that my alarm is set. Attempt to go to sleep again.

Lessons Learned

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August 25, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, August 24, 2020

One Of Three Vendors Pulls Out Of Online Bar Exams, Fears Tech Failure

ABA Journal, Software Provider Pulls Out of Remotely Proctored Bar Exams Because of Technology Concerns:

NCBE (2020)The National Conference of Bar Examiners has a remote proctoring requirement for states using its testing materials in October online bar exams. However, according to one of three bar exam software providers that recently pulled out of the online exam, the mandate may not be possible to carry out.

Greg Sarab, the founder and chief executive officer of Extegrity, says his primary concerns about a bar exam with remote proctoring include reliable internet connections being required for live remote proctored exams, and that the requirement of simultaneous start times comes with significant technological and procedural burdens. He also says there hasn’t been sufficient development time or product testing for the technology.

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August 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

North Carolina, Notre Dame Are Just The Beginning: COVID-19 Decimates Fall On-Campus Plans As South Bend Student Newspaper Pleads, 'Don't Make Us Write Obituaries'

Following Up On Wednesday's post, North Carolina, Notre Dame Bail On In-Person Classes:

CoronavirusChronicle of Higher Education, Chapel Hill and Notre Dame Are Just the Beginning:

[L]earning in person this fall may be harder to pull off than some college leaders anticipated. Should other colleges take the experiences of UNC and Notre Dame, which started their semesters relatively early, as a warning?

Public-health experts interviewed by The Chronicle responded with a resounding “yes.”

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Student Blaming Has Begun: Is It Fair to Fault College Students For COVID-19 Outbreaks?:

[I]n a week that saw a growing number of colleges reverse course in the wake of Covid-19 outbreaks and move classes online, colleges fearing they might be next scolded students for unsafe socializing. Student-conduct codes were hurriedly revamped to include suspension and expulsion for the most egregious cases.

The message was clear: It was students’ behavior that was jeopardizing universities’ painstaking plans to offer a safe, in-person semester. ...

At the same time that blame and responsibility were piling on, critics were questioning whether it was fair to fault college students for doing what students naturally do, especially when they’ve been cooped up with their parents for months, away from their friends and eager for a “real” college experience.

And should college administrators shoulder much of the blame for bringing students back in the midst of a pandemic and expecting radical changes in their behavior? ...

Administrators who defend the decision to crack down on unsafe socializing suggest that critics might be selling students short, assuming they aren’t capable of behaving responsibly.

Wall Street Journal, Colleges Worried About Covid-19 Cases Tell Students to Stop Partying:

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August 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Christian Colleges Ask: Would God Want Us To Reopen?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Christian Colleges Ask: Would God Want Us to Reopen?:

America’s Christian colleges promise students not just an education but moral and spiritual enlightenment. The coming fall semester presents a new moral quandary: Can a reopening that poses serious health risks be justified in the eyes of God? Does the decision to hold in-person classes represent a brave step forward — or a reckless turn away from honoring the sanctity of life? ...

At one Christian institution after another, though, leaders are citing their spiritual mission to explain decisions to bring at least some students back to campus. Most are planning to reopen under a hybrid model that pairs online instruction with in-person lectures, according to the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, which counts 140 American colleges among its members. ...

At Wheaton College in Illinois, often described as the Harvard of Christian institutions, the president, Philip Graham Ryken, said administrators were taking many steps to make the campus safer: canceling intramural sports, requiring students to submit a negative Covid-19 test result before attending class, and making face masks mandatory for students and employees.

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August 23, 2020 in Coronavirus, Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 22, 2020

126 Public Interest Organizations Back Diploma Privilege For Law Grads

Karen Sloan (, Public Interest Organizations Back Diploma Privilege for Law Grads:

The postponement of bar exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic is creating attorney licensing delays that will hit low-income clients the hardest.

That’s according to a coalition of more than 125 public interest law organizations that recently joined the bar exam fray. The groups sent a letter to the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the 30 jurisdictions that are planning either for in-person bar exams next month or online October exams, asking them to adopt an emergency diploma privilege that would enable law graduates to be licensed without taking the bar exam. Their letter argues that disrupting the flow of new attorneys into the profession will have the deepest impact on government employers, direct legal service providers and public interest organizations, which will in turn exacerbate the nation’s access to justice problem at a time when the legal needs of low and middle-income Americans are higher than ever.

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August 22, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Boston University Uses F-Bomb In Marketing Slogan To Get Students To Follow COVID-19 Guidelines On Campus

Boston Magazine, BU’s COVID-Era Message to Students This Year: “F*ck It Won’t Cut It”:

BUUnless things change in the next few short weeks, thousands of potentially COVID-infected undergrads are headed to Boston this fall. You can plan all you want for that reality—and the city’s colleges have tried, setting up rigorous testing plans, dramatically scaling back in-person instruction, and building isolation chambers in mobile homes just in case. But ultimately a lot of the responsibility for stopping the spread of the virus will fall on the college students themselves. And the very last thing we want at a time like this is for any of those students to have a blasé attitude about it.

So a new student-led campaign at Boston University, which has the support of higher-ups at the school, aims to banish an all-too-common phrase from fun-loving students’ vocabulary: “f*ck it.”

This semester, students will be bombarded with PSAs declaring, in atypically vulgar fashion: “F*ck It Won’t Cut It.”

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August 22, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, August 21, 2020

ABA Relaxes Audit Of Employment Outcome Reported By Law Schools, Forms Committee To Examine Reporting Of Bar Exam Pass Rates During COVID-19

ABA Journal, ABA Legal Ed Council Addresses Reporting Requirements Amid Law Schools’ COVID-19 Concerns:

ABA Logo (2016)Going forward, the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will review fewer law school files with individual student information for purposes of employment outcomes reporting.

Additionally, given that some jurisdictions have postponed admissions in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the section has established a committee to address reporting bar exam pass rates. The changes were discussed Friday at a remote meeting of the council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

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August 21, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

FIU's Antony Page Is Third Law School Dean To Make Major Gift To Students During COVID-19

Following up on Tuesday's post, Deans Double As Donors:  FIU News, Law Dean Creates Scholarship For First-Generation Students:

FIUAntony Page, dean of the FIU College of Law, recently made a $200,000 planned gift to the university to establish a scholarship for law students who are among the first generation in their families to attend college.

“I was drawn to FIU because of its mission as a public school. It is a transformational place. The FIU College of Law is majority first-generation, majority-minority, and we’re a law school that successfully delivers an outstanding legal education,” Page said of his motivation to give.

Howard Lipman, CEO of the FIU Foundation, said Page’s gift “symbolizes his commitment to FIU and its students, both in and out of the classroom. “Dean Page is helping our dedicated first-generation students pursue their dreams, continue to break the cycle and attain graduate-level degrees,” Lipman said.

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August 21, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

University Of Florida Law Students Fight Denial Of Professor's Request To Teach Racial Justice Online

Gainesville Sun, UF Law Students Fight Denial of Professor's Request to Teach Racial Justice Online:

JacobsUniversity of Florida law students are demanding college officials grant a professor's appeal to teach her racial justice courses online this semester, a request that was denied by the school, effectively canceling the classes.

Early this week, UF Levin College of Law students were informed that two classes offered this fall — Critical Race Theory and Criminal Procedure: Police and Police Practices — taught by longtime UF law professor Michelle Jacobs, had been canceled. The courses were set to begin next Monday.

Jacobs, a criminal law expert, emailed her students that the law school had denied her request to teach online, which resulted in the cancellation.

More than 150 students, some enrolled in either class, are now demanding for Jacobs’ ability to teach remotely, and for the courses to continue as planned. “We are writing because we have learned that the College of Law has refused, despite the ongoing public health crisis, to allow Professor Michelle Jacobs to teach remotely for the fall 2020 semester,” a letter penned by the students, addressed to UF law school Dean Laura Rosenbury, begins. “It is hard to imagine a time in recent history when the topics of race and policing were more important to study and understand than they are now.”

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August 21, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Record 12,000 Registrations For California's Online October Bar Exam, Perhaps Drawn By Lower Cut Score

The Recorder, Record Registrations for California's Online October Bar Exam:

California Bar ExamA record 12,000 would-be lawyers have registered to take California’s October bar exam, even as uncertainty continues to swirl around the novel online test.

A state bar spokeswoman confirmed the five-figure registration figure Wednesday while cautioning that the number is sure to drop by the time the two-day test starts on Oct. 5. Applicants have until Sept. 8 to withdraw from the exam and receive fee refunds.

The number of applicants who actually complete the entire test typically drops off in any given year, too. While more than 10,000 law school graduates registered to take the July 2017 exam, for example, just 8,545 actually completed the test, the first to be held over three days instead of two.

Still, the enormous interest in taking the upcoming exam suggests that the new lower passing score of 139 may have attracted more test-takers than the online format has scared away, at least for now. ...

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August 20, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

First They Came For Adjuncts, Now They'll Come For Tenure

Chronicle of Higher Education, First They Came For Adjuncts, Now They'll Come For Tenure:

I have an uncomfortable question for you: If, by their own accord or by caving to outside political pressures, university administrators take the current crisis as an opportunity to eliminate tenure once and for all, who’s going to stop them?

Put another way: Are there enough academic workers with a stake in the tenure system left to defend it? Sure, the tenured and tenure-track faculty who currently make up less than 30 percent of the college teaching force would be pissed, but could they count on the great nontenured masses of university workers — contingent faculty, grad students, staff members, etc. — to come to their defense? Why would they? Seriously, I’m asking: Why would they? If you’re a tenured or tenure-track faculty member, what concrete reasons have you given your university colleagues to fight with (and for) you to defend what you have and they don’t?

If tenure is going to have a future, tenured professors need to do something that academia rarely encourages them to do: see themselves not as separate or elite, but first and foremost as labor. As go the adjuncts and the nonacademic staff today, so go the tenured faculty tomorrow. You know the quote, “First they came for. … ” This is a crisis from which no one will be exempted in time. ...

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August 20, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Legal Education Faces Its Waterloo As Wile E. Coyote

Mark A. Cohen (CEO, Legal Mosaic), Post-Pandemic Legal Education:

Higher education is confronting an existential crisis, and law schools are its poster child. Even before Covid-19, the law school business model, pedagogy, culture, faculty composition, marketplace detachment,  poor student outcomes, and ever-escalating cost/massive student debt have drawn withering criticism. The pandemic has elevated law schools’ challenges and accelerated their reckoning.

Law schools have staunchly resisted online learning until Covid-19 rendered it a necessity. The tech-enabled, crisis-created shift from classroom to online learning occurred with astonishing speed, pervasiveness, and seamlessness. The transition exposed technology’s latent potential to support new models for delivering and consuming legal education and training. Distance learning is just the start.

What will post-pandemic legal education look like?

The Art Of The Possible: Legal Education Reimagined
The tools, resources, and market appetite exist to reimagine legal education and to create models that better serve students, customers, and society. In the new paradigm, legal education will morph from a place to a process; appointed time to on-time and in real-time learning; and an artisanal delivery model to a tech-enabled, scalable one. Legal education will be more affordable, data-enhanced, results-driven, and accountable. ...

Traditional legal education’s Waterloo may come as a surprise to many in academia, but not for business where pan-industry disruption of dominant provider models has become routine. ...

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August 20, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

New York Enters Reciprocity Agreements With 8 States And D.C. For October Online Bar Exam

New York State Board of Law Examiners, Reciprocity For the Transfer of Scores Earned on the Remote Bar Admission Examination on October 5-6, 2020:

NYSBA (2017)The New York State Board of Law Examiners is making arrangements to allow candidates to transfer scores earned on the remote bar admission examination to be administered on October 5-6, 2020. At present, the Board has entered into reciprocity agreements with the following jurisdictions: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and Vermont. The Board will continue its efforts to secure reciprocity with other UBE jurisdictions administering the remote exam, and will provide updates as additional information becomes available.

The following candidates will be eligible to transfer a score earned on the remote exam in a reciprocal jurisdiction:

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August 20, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Will Not Furlough/Lay Off Any Employees Through Dec. 31, Thanks To Reductions In Executive Compensation

Jim Gash (President, Pepperdine University), Starting Off Strong:

Pepperdine Campus Helicopter (040219) (Brighter)As the school year starts, and as we are learning more about the enrollments at each of our five schools, the Steering Team has been addressing our projected COVID-induced deficit. Last week, I outlined for you a number of steps we have already implemented to backfill this deficit, and I am enormously grateful to our community for instituting the expense optimization measures we have developed. This University-wide effort has made a tremendous contribution to the FY20 budget cycle (which ended on July 31), as well as the FY21 budget.

In addition to the continuation of the general expense optimization measures, we announced last week several specific steps we have taken to help address our deficit. These included deferring certain strategic allocations made in the annual budgeting process, deferring certain capital maintenance and improvement projects, and realigning the telecom allowance. Also included was a one-year suspension of the University's retirement matching program for all employees. This decision, which was approved by the University Benefits Committee, leaves in place the four percent contribution the University makes to employee 403(b) retirement accounts, but suspends the University's match of up to an additional six percent of what employees contribute to their own retirement accounts.

Because this projected deficit is so significant, however, and because personnel costs make up more than 60 percent of our total annual budget, I informed the community at last week's President's Briefing that we would need to go through a due diligence exercise to determine whether furloughs and layoffs would be needed to fulfill our commitment to balance the University's budget.

Furloughs and Layoffs Decision
As Pepperdine's leadership deliberated on this decision, two of the values referenced above came into sharp focus for us, making this a very difficult decision. Those competing values are 1) taking care of our people, our greatest asset, and 2) being good stewards of the resources God has provided for us to fulfill our mission.

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August 20, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Alexa, Do I Have To Unplug You So I Don't Violate The Attorney-Client Privilege When I Work From Home?

Bloomberg Law, Lawyers Practicing at Home Should Remember Alexa Is Listening:

AlexaAmong the ethical dilemmas posed by attorneys working from home full time due to Covid-19: what to do with Alexa or other voice activated devices that could impinge upon attorney-client confidentiality?

Devices like Alexa or Google Home present “low-level” risks for confidentiality breaches, said speakers at an online ethics panel Saturday at the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers’ annual meeting.

It’s a concern because they’re always listening to know when you say something to prompt it, said Brian S. Faughnan, a lawyer with Lewis Thomason in Memphis.

To be safe, fellow panelist Joseph A. Corsmeier, a solo practitioner in Palm Harbor, Fla. recommended unplugging voice-prompted smart devices when they’re not being used.

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August 19, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

WMU-Cooley Shutters A Second Campus In As Many Years, Cooley Law School to Shutter a Second Campus in as Many Years:

Thomas Cooley Logo (2017)Western Michigan University Cooley Law School is shrinking … again.

The law school—once the largest in the country by both enrollment and number of campuses—announced this week that it will shutter its Grand Rapids location at the end of the academic year, leaving a single location in both Michigan and Florida. That decision comes a year after Cooley unveiled the closure of its campus in Auburn Hills, outside of Detroit. Cooley Dean James McGrath said enrollment has fallen dramatically at Grand Rapids, prompting the closure.

“Auburn Hills and Grand Rapids were both undersubscribed,” he said. “There was not really enough students to make it work. Each campus operates almost like its own law school, so the expenses are the same, whether it’s 100 students or 500 students. We were hoping the Auburn Hills closure would be enough. With COVID—even though applications to law school are up slightly—the applications to us in the range of students we’re trying to attract is way down.”

Cooley is trying to admit stronger incoming students in light of the American Bar Association’s 2019 decision to tighten its bar passage standard, McGrath added.

The Cooley law school of today is far different than it was a decade ago. In 2010, the school had 4,000 students across four Michigan campuses and was two years from opening a new branch campus in Tampa Bay. This year, the school expects to have about 900 students spread across its main campus in Lansing, and the campuses in Grand Rapids and Tampa Bay, McGrath said.

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August 19, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Deans Double As Donors

Karen Sloan (, Spotlight on Law Deans:

This week, I’ve got lots of news about law deans—those hard-working folks who are keeping their campuses moving forward despite the myriad challenges 2020 is throwing at them. ... Finally, I’m checking in with deans at Penn State Dickinson and Pepperdine who are opening their wallets to help students.  ...

Deans Double As Donors
... I’m checking in with Paul Caron, dean of the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law. He and his wife Courtney have donated $125,000 to the law school’s Student Emergency Fund, which is helping students pay for their emergency needs during the COVID-19 crisis. The fund, which was started several years ago by a pair of law students, has since helped more than 100 buy food and supplies, find emergency shelter, and travel home. (The Carons also donated $50,000 to the school’s scholarship fund in November.)

Caron’s not the only law dean reaching into his own pockets to help out. A few weeks ago in this very column, I wrote about Penn State Dickinson law dean Danielle Conway donating $125,000 to her law school’s emergency fund. Caron told me that he was inspired by Conway’s generosity and would like to see a movement of deans offering funds to help their students get through these tough times.

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August 18, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Prof Hiring Is Down 50% This Year

AALS (2018)Brian Leiter (Chicago) notes that only 32 law schools (including Pepperdine) have listed open tenure-track/tenured faculty positions in the initial AALS Faculty Appointments Register, down over 50% from last year.

August 18, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 17, 2020

Florida Postpones Bar Exam Three Days Before Online Test Due To Technology Failure, Announces Supervised Practice Program

Following up on Saturday's post, Florida's Aug. 19 Online Bar Exam In Jeopardy As Software Crashes; Deans, Legislators Demand Plan B:  Florida Board of Bar Examiners, Florida Board of Bar Examiners Announces Postponesent of August 2020 Bar Examination and Creation of Supervised Practice Program:

Florida BarThe Florida Board of Bar Examiners, with the approval of the Supreme Court of Florida, announces that the bar examination that was scheduled for Wednesday, August 19, will not go forward. Despite the board’s best efforts to offer a licensure opportunity in August, it was determined that administering a secure and reliable remote bar examination in August was not technically feasible. In addition, the live trial of the examination software scheduled for Monday, August 17 is also canceled.

The board remains committed to offering an examination to applicants in 2020 and will reschedule the examination for a date to be determined in October. The October examination will have the same content as the examination that had been scheduled for August. The board will announce the date and other information for the October examination in the coming weeks. When this information is announced, August 2020 applicants will have the opportunity to take the October examination or to postpone to the February 2021 examination.

In addition, the board, with the Court’s approval, announces that it is creating a supervised practice program, along the lines of the already existing Certified Legal Intern program, that will allow for practice with supervision by a member of The Florida Bar.

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August 17, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Florida's Aug. 19 Online Bar Exam In Jeopardy As Software Crashes; Deans, Legislators Demand Plan B

Friday, August 14, 2020

Law Professors Ask ABA To Shelve Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement During Pandemic

Karen Sloan (, Law Professors Ask ABA to Shelve Bar Passage Rule During Pandemic:

SALT (2020)A law professor group has renewed calls for the American Bar Association to suspend enforcement of its bar passage standard for law schools, arguing that the bar exam is in disarray amid COVID-19 and that schools should not be held to the same measures during the pandemic.

The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), in a letter to the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, argues that the current bar passage standard is unworkable at a time when states are taking divergent approaches to attorney licensing. Some have adopted emergency diploma privileges that allow law graduates to skip the test, others are administering abbreviated online tests, and some are sticking with a traditional two-day, in person exam. ...

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August 14, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

NCBE President To Bar Exam Test-Takers: 'I Understand Your Anxiety And Anger'

Karen Sloan (, 'I Understand the Anxiety and the Anger,' Says Top Bar Exam Official:

NCBE (2021)To say that tensions are running high over the bar exam would be an understatement.

Thousands of recent law graduates are aggressively lobbying jurisdictions across the country to adopt emergency diploma privileges that would allow them to get licensed without taking the bar exam—arguing that in-person tests are unsafe and online ones are riddled with technical and ethical problems. Hundreds more showed up for in-person exams last month, donning masks and trying—sometimes with limited success—to socially distance. At least one examinee in Colorado tested positive for COVID-19, learning of the result mere hours after finishing the in-person exam. And many candidates say they are frustrated by ongoing changes in plans surrounding the exam, with some tests postponed or altered mere days ahead of time.

Perhaps no one has taken more flak over the exam’s rocky pandemic rollout than Judith Gundersen, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which designs the exam used by nearly every jurisdiction. ... caught up with Gundersen this week to get her assessment of the current bar exam cycle, if she thinks online exams are feasible, and what she meant by that character and fitness comment. He answers have been edited for length and clarity. ...

There are a lot of people who feel very angry and who feel like this process has been mismanaged. Do you understand where that response is coming from?

I absolutely get it. You’ve gone to law school for three years. You think you are going to take the bar exam—which is stressful enough—then you think you can look for a job. And now it’s all been thrown into question. I understand it. But I guess I would say to them that the states and the courts are doing the best job they can and are trying to react to a situation that is very dynamic. I certainly understand the anxiety and the anger.

I think a lot of people are looking back to that April white paper the NCBE put out, which basically argued that a diploma privilege puts the public at risk. ...
Does the NCBE have a conflict of interest on the diploma privilege issue given that the whole purpose of the organization is to create and perpetuate the bar exam? ...
People have seized on the fact that you didn’t take the bar exam. You were licensed through Wisconsin’s longstanding diploma privilege program, which lets graduates of the state’s two law schools bypass the bar exam. And they have called you a hypocrite because of it. What’s your response to that?

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August 14, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law School Deans Push For Diploma Privilege In Washington, D.C.