Paul L. Caron

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Louisiana Joins Indiana In Giving Open Book Bar Exam By Email

Following up on my previous post, Indiana To Give OPEN BOOK BAR EXAM VIA EMAIL:  New Orleans Times-Picayune, Louisiana Bar Exam to Become Open-Book Email Test For Those Still Required to Take It:

Lousiana GmailThe unlucky group of people left taking Louisiana’s bar exam in August and October can call off the cramming.

The Louisiana Supreme Court announced Wednesday that those registered for the August and October exams will have an open-book test that they can submit via email. After abruptly canceling the July bar exam amid coronavirus concerns, the high court agreed a few weeks ago to license hundreds of recent law school graduates as attorneys without making them pass the grueling bar exam.

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August 13, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NALP: Law School Class Of 2019 Attains Highest Employment Rate (90.3%) In 12 Years As Uncertainty Looms For Class Of 2020

NALP, Class of 2019 Attains Highest Employment Rate in 12 Years as Uncertainty Looms for Class of 2020:

NALP 2The National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) today released its Employment for the Class of 2019 — Selected Findings, a synopsis of key findings from the upcoming annual Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law School Graduates. The release of the full Jobs & JDs report is anticipated in October 2020. This year’s Selected Findings show that the Class of 2019 experienced the highest employment rate in the dozen years since the start of the Great Recession, as the overall employment rate for the Class of 2019 was up 0.9 percentage points to 90.3% of graduates for whom employment status was known, compared to 89.4% for the Class of 2018. This marks the highest employment rate recorded since the 91.9% rate for the Class of 2007.

“The good news is that employment outcomes and salary findings for members of the Class of 2019 are among the strongest ever measured and set several new highwater marks,” noted James G. Leipold, NALP’s Executive Director. “The bad news is that they are not likely to be predictive of the employment outcomes for the next several classes, as the recession and other changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to provide a much more challenging job market for some years to come.”

Selected Findings — Other Highlights:

• The percentage of graduates taking jobs for which bar passage is required or anticipated grew by 3.4 percentage points, increasing from 72.8% in 2018 to 76.2% in 2019, following a one percentage point increase in the previous year.

• 74.3% of graduates with known employment status were employed in a full-time, long-term bar passage required job.

• Well over half (55.2%) of employed graduates obtained a job in private practice, a slight increase of 0.4 percentage points over the previous year and the closest the percentage has come to the 55.9% figure for 2009 since then.

• 96.3% of jobs were full-time positions. The percentage of jobs reported as part-time has declined for eight years in row, and now accounts for just 3.7% of jobs, compared with 4.5% for 2018. Less than two percent (1.5%) of jobs were both temporary (defined as lasting less than a year) and part-time, compared with 1.9% for 2018.

• 30.2% of law firm jobs were in firms of more than 500 lawyers.


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August 13, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Blackman: Should Colleges (And Law Schools) Force Students To Turn Their Cameras On In Online Classes?

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Should Colleges Force Students To Turn Their Cameras On?:

Zoom 49 (2)Zoom University will soon be in session. I suspect many faculties are wrangling with an issue: should students be forced to turn their cameras on during class?

I can see several arguments in favor of requiring students to turn on their cameras. First, if students know they are being watched, they are more likely to stay in one place and pay attention. ... Second, a professor is better able to gauge a student's understanding by looking at his or her face. ... Third, the camera helps to ensure integrity of attendance rules. ...

There are several arguments against requiring students to turn on their cameras. First, and foremost, is privacy. ... Second, students may not wish to have their backgrounds visible to others. ... Third, there is a technological problem. ...

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August 12, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Grant: What I Learned About Teaching Online After A Summer Of Virtual Conferences, Classes, And Meeting

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  What I Learned After a Summer of Online Conferences, Classes, and Meetings, by Emily Grant (Washburn):

GrantWhen I first started teaching at Washburn University School of Law, I spent a semester sitting in on class sessions taught by as many other professors in the building as possible.  It was such an illuminating experience to watch my colleagues teach and to learn some of their tricks and strategies for classroom management.  But it was also incredible to be reminded what it feels like to sit in the audience of a law school class.  (<shameless plug> You can read about that adventure here:  At the [Other Side of the] Lectern, 64 J. of Legal Educ. 103 (2014).)

I had a very similar (and at the same time drastically different) experience this summer.  One upshot of the global pandemic is that I took advantage of far more professional opportunities this summer than I normally do—legal education conferences, undergrad pedagogy conferences, happy hours with people from around the country, trainings offered by my school, trainings offered by other schools.  My travel budget just had to cover my Diet Coke consumption, so I was excited about the many events to attend.

And attend I did.  I learned a ridiculous amount from brilliant educators and technology gurus.

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August 11, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three Tenured Professors Request New Mexico Law School To Delay Tomorrow's Start Of On-Ground Classes Due To COVID-19 And Cyber Attack

Daily Lobo, UNM Law Professors Request Delayed Fall Semester After Two Test Positive for COVID-19:

New Mexico Logo (2015)A group of tenure track School of Law professors at the University of New Mexico have formally requested a delay in the start of the fall semester.

According to a letter obtained by the Daily Lobo, law school faculty members Christine Zuni Cruz, Barbara Creel and Marc-Tizoc González sent a letter to UNM School of Law Dean Sergio Pareja on Aug. 5 urging him to push back the start of the semester until Sept. 8.

The letter referenced that the law school has reported two positive cases of COVID-19 in the past few weeks. ...

According to the employee, policies were not in place prior to the first positive case, and multiple employees have expressed concern over the lack of COVID-19 protections for faculty, staff and students with the pending school year.

In addition to the coronavirus disruption, the letter also referenced that on July 27 an “illegal intrusion into the IT environment” had occurred. The letter referenced it as a possible “ransomware attack” which had “rendered the law school network server completely inaccessible.” The letter stated that “the hack resulted in the deletion of information and data preventing faculty from preparing for the semester.”

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August 11, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Caruso Dean Follows Lead Of Penn State Dickinson Dean In Giving $125,000 To Help Law Students With Emergency Needs

Last week, I read about and blogged Penn State Dickinson Law Dean Danielle Conway's $125,000 gift to provide relief to her students in financial need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My wife Courtney and I were so inspired and challenged by Danielle's gift that we decided to follow her lead at Pepperdine Caruso Law:

Caruso School of Law Dean Paul L. Caron Makes Gift to Provide Relief for Students in Need:

CaronsPaul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, and his wife, Courtney, have made a $125,000 gift to help endow the Student Emergency Fund at Caruso Law.

“Courtney and I have been moved by the difficulties faced by so many of our students during the pandemic. We were inspired by the recent news of Danielle Conway, dean of Penn State Dickinson Law, who made a $125,000 gift to her student emergency fund,” said Dean Caron. “We are enormously grateful for the opportunity to serve in these roles at Pepperdine and believe it is only right for us to try to live out the University's commitment to Matthew 10:8, ‘Freely ye have received, freely give.’ We are especially pleased that our gift will help endow the Student Emergency Fund started by Alex Caruso (JD ’17) and Caelan Rottman (JD ’18) when they were students.”

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August 11, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, August 10, 2020

California Bar Exam News

Law School Deans, Recent Graduates Urge Maryland To Be Fifth State To Adopt Diploma Privilege During COVID-19

Baltimore Sun, Maryland Law School Deans, Recent Graduates Urge State to Temporarily Waive Bar Exam:

Maryland BarMaryland law school deans and recent graduates are calling on the state’s highest court to waive the bar exam for new lawyers, citing concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants to the Maryland Bar, who are scheduled to sit for the Oct. 5-6 bar exam, took the unusual step of filing a petition July 31 with the Maryland Court of Appeals requesting the waiver.

Deans Donald Tobin of the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law and Ronald Weich of the University of Baltimore School of Law also delivered a letter Wednesday in support of the petition to Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. ...

Prior to the pandemic, Wisconsin was the only state that allowed graduates from its two accredited law schools to secure a law license without taking the bar exam — a practice known as “diploma privilege,” Weich said.

As the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardizes states’ ability to safely proctor the two-day exam, Washington, Oregon, Utah and Louisiana have temporarily adopted “diploma privilege.”

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August 10, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Software That Monitors Students During Tests Perpetuates Inequality And Violates Their Privacy

MIT Technology Review:  Software That Monitors Students During Tests Perpetuates Inequality and Violates Their Privacy, by Shea Swauger (University of Colorado Denver):

MIT Technology ReviewThe coronavirus pandemic created a surge in demand for exam proctoring tools. Here’s why universities should stop using them.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a boon for the test proctoring industry. About half a dozen companies in the US claim their software can accurately detect and prevent cheating in online tests. Examity, HonorLock, Proctorio, ProctorURespondus and others have rapidly grown since colleges and universities switched to remote classes.

While there’s no official tally, it’s reasonable to say that millions of algorithmically proctored tests are happening every month around the world. Proctorio told the New York Times in May that business had increased by 900% during the first few months of the pandemic, to the point where the company proctored 2.5 million tests worldwide in April alone.

I'm a university librarian and I've seen the impacts of these systems up close. My own employer, the University of Colorado Denver, has a contract with Proctorio.

It’s become clear to me that algorithmic proctoring is a modern surveillance technology that reinforces white supremacy, sexism, ableism, and transphobia. The use of these tools is an invasion of students’ privacy and, often, a civil rights violation. ...

Technology didn’t invent the conditions for cheating and it won’t be what stops it. The best thing we in higher education can do is to start with the radical idea of trusting students. Let’s choose compassion over surveillance.

August 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Why Do Liberal Universities Eschew Progressive Budget Cuts That Would Take More From Highly Paid Administrators And Faculty?

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  The Biggest Cuts Need To Come From The Top, by Silke-Maria Weineck (Michigan):

It is true that academics vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. This has led conservative enemies of higher education to claim that universities are left-wing institutions. They are not. They are quintessentially bourgeois institutions — liberal, sure, but not on the left in any meaningful sense. Their prime function is the reproduction of civil society and the managerial class. ...

Universities are facing terrifying budget shortfalls as a result of the Covid-19pandemic, and they need to do one or a combination of three things. (1) They can spend their endowments — but most colleges either don’t have the amounts they would need, or, like my home institution, they do have the money but, for a mixture of good and bad reasons, do not want to dip into it too deeply. (2) They could take steps to increase revenue — but the very circumstances that have led to the crunch make that nearly impossible, certainly to the extent necessary. (3) They can cut expenses — meaning cut staff and salaries, which are by far the biggest budget item.

A left-wing or even a left-liberal institution would make sure those cuts come from the top and are structured like a progressive income tax, with those earning more forking over not only more of their salary but a higher percentage of their salary. Progressive taxation is the bedrock revenue principle of liberal democracies, including the United States. It’s impossible to imagine leftists, left liberals, or even centrist Democrats advocating for a flat tax.

And yet, all over the country, this is what universities are doing. If they are not firing faculty and staff members, shuttering entire departments, or cutting salaries directly, they are pausing retirement contributions. ...

This is a flat cut. The staff member who makes $30,000 a year is giving up the exact same percentage of her salary as the business-school professor raking in $300,000. 

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August 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, August 7, 2020

Nevada Pushes Forward With Online Bar Exam Next Week, Despite Petition For Diploma Privilege Amid Pandemic

Nevada Independent, Supreme Court Rules To Keep Plans For Remote Bar Exam in Place, Despite Petition For Diploma Privilege Amid Pandemic:

Nevada BarAfter more than 170 comments bombarded the Supreme Court over the last three days, the court’s seven justices denied a petition to allow law school graduates to temporarily practice without passing the bar in an order issued late Wednesday.

The decision marks the end of a months-long debate over just how to handle the administration of the bar exam in the middle of a pandemic and paves the way for a remote essay-based test on Aug. 11 and 12. ...

Wednesday’s decision follows reports late Monday that another beta test of the software being used to administer the remote exam had experienced yet more technological hiccups. ...

The issue of the exam’s timing has also become a mounting frustration for many recent law school graduates, who cannot work before becoming barred and are left both with thousands in outstanding debts and no timeline for a new possible income stream.

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August 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: The U.S. Is Pursuing The Worst Possible COVID-19 Education Policy, Forcing Young Children Online While Risking On-Ground Classes For College Students

New York Times:  The United States Is Reopening Many of the Wrong Schools, by Susan Dynarski (Michigan):

When it is safe enough to return to school, young children would benefit the most. Yet financial pressures are pushing colleges to reopen most rapidly, an economist says.

With coronavirus cases spiking in dozens of states, the prospect of anything resembling a normal school year is fading fast.

Schools can’t safely reopen if infections are exploding in the communities they serve.

But in regions where the pandemic appears to be under control, it is most important to get the youngest children back into school buildings, to stop the alarming slide in their learning. Older students, especially those in college, are better equipped to cope with the difficulties of online education.

That is the broad consensus among experts on back-to-school priorities. But, as things stand now, much of the United States is preparing to do exactly the opposite.

In many towns, college students are more likely than kindergartners to return to school for in-person instruction. An example is my home of Ann Arbor, Mich., where schoolchildren will be learning completely online and university students will be attending at least some classes in person. ...

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August 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Teaching Law Online: A Guide For Faculty

Nina A. Kohn (Syracuse), Teaching Law Online: A Guide for Faculty, 69 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2020):

As law school classes move online, it is imperative that law faculty understand not only how to teach online, but how to teach well online. This article therefore is designed to help law faculty do their best teaching online. It walks faculty through key choices they must make when designing online courses, and concrete ways that they can prepare themselves and their students to succeed. The article explains why live online teaching should be the default option for most faculty, but also shows how faculty can enhance student learning by incorporating asynchronous lessons into their online classes. It then shows how faculty can set up their virtual teaching space and employ diverse teaching techniques to foster an engaging and rigorous online learning environment. The article concludes by discussing how the move to online education in response to COVID-19 could improve the overall quality of law school teaching.

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August 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Penn State Dickinson Law Dean Danielle Conway Makes $125,000 Gift For Student Aid During COVID-19

Penn State News, Conway Makes Gift to Provide Financial Relief to Students:

Conway 2Dickinson Law Dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law Danielle Conway knows the unsettling feeling of having bills you aren’t sure you can pay. And she has made a $125,000 gift to the Dickinson Law Future Fund and Penn State Student Care and Advocacy Emergency Fund to help students navigate those financial difficulties.

“Although Danielle has only been at the helm of Dickinson Law for one year, she has demonstrated exceptional leadership during these tumultuous times,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “This gift is just one inspiring example of her commitment to the Dickinson Law community, especially the students who need our support. We are very grateful for her vision and investment in the future.”

Conway received a full scholarship to attend Howard University School of Law, but it didn’t cover her living expenses right away. She relied on emergency loans from the law school to pay her bills until her financial aid came through and she could repay what she borrowed. “Those emergency loans were the difference between showing up for class ready to work and being anxious about not being able to pay my bills,” said Conway.

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August 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Votes 64%-36% To Urge States To Ditch In-Person Bar Exams During COVID-19

ABA Press Release, ABA House Concludes Historic Meeting After Adopting Robust List of New Policies:

ABA Logo (2016)The American Bar Association House of Delegates adopted nearly 60 new policies at its two-day meeting that ended today, including a resolution that urges state lawyer-licensing authorities to make public health issues paramount for upcoming bar exams and provide options for recent graduates who cannot take the bar.

The HOD, as the 597-member group of state, local and specialty bar associations is known, met virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic to conclude the 2020 Virtual ABA Annual Meeting, which began July 29. ...

The bar exam resolution, 10G, was adopted by a 256-146 vote. It asks the highest court or bar admission authority in each state or other licensing jurisdiction to cancel or not administer in person the examination during the COVID-19 crisis unless cleared by public health authorities. The resolution offers several alternative approaches to the bar exam, including a diploma privilege during the crisis. It does not favor any specific option.

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August 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Common Mistakes In Online Teaching

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indianapolis), Common Mistakes in Online Teaching:

This article explains five common mistakes in online teaching and how to fix them. To do so, this article draws on student comments coming from mid-semester surveys in an Online Trusts & Estates course, as well as focus groups on online law courses.

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August 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

COVID-19 Update For Fall 2020 Semester

Penn State Law Prof: Faculty Should Put Aside Their Scholarship And Devote 100% Of Their Time To Teaching This Fall

Karen Sloan (, Should Faculty Ditch Scholarship Next Semester?:

SharbaughHere’s something I’ve never heard before in my decade or so of covering legal education: A law professor arguing that teaching loads should be higher. So when I caught wind that a professor from Pennsylvania State University Law School was making the case that law faculty ought to put aside their scholarship next semester in order to concentrate fully on teaching, I had to hear more. I hopped on the phone with Tom Sharbaugh, the director of the school’s Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic, last week to get the pitch.

But first, some caveats: Sharbaugh isn’t your typical tenured law professor. He’s a “professor of practice” who spent 35 years in the law firm world. For 15 of those years, he was the managing partner of operations at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. ...

[L]aw schools are facing unprecedented challenges in the fall semester with most if not all classes happening online. Instead of teaching just one or two courses during the fall while working on their scholarship, he said law professors should put their scholarly endeavors aside temporarily and take on more teaching responsibilities so that law students have more classes to choose from and can learn in smaller sections.

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August 4, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

October Online Bar Exams Spark Technology, Privacy Concerns

Bloomberg Law, October Online Bar Exams Spark Technology, Privacy Concerns:

As about 30,000 would-be lawyers prepare to take online bar exams in New York, California, and 16 other states in early October, many have said they’re grateful to avoid the health risks that come with taking an in-person test alongside hundreds of others during a pandemic.

Yet the online tests also present a range of significant issues, adding another layer of uncertainty for those preparing for the biggest test of their professional lives.

There are fears over the security and effectiveness of facial recognition technologies and artificial intelligence-driven camera watchers, or “remote proctors,” meant to combat cheating. There are also concerns about whether certain test takers, including pregnant women and those with disabilities or medical conditions will get a fair shake.


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August 4, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: More Than 6,600 COVID-19 Cases Have Been Linked To U.S. Colleges

New York Times, More Than 6,600 Coronavirus Cases Have Been Linked to U.S. Colleges:

As college students and professors decide whether to head back to class, and as universities weigh how and whether to reopen, the coronavirus is already on campus.

A New York Times survey of every public four-year college in the country, as well as every private institution that competes in Division I sports or is a member of an elite group of research universities, revealed at least 6,600 cases tied to about 270 colleges over the course of the pandemic. And the new academic year has not even begun at most schools.

NY Times Map

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

Monday, August 3, 2020

Acquiescent No More: Tenured And Tenure-Track Are Finally Fighting Back

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Acquiescent No More: Tenured and Tenure-Track Are Finally Fighting Back, by Rebecca Kolins Givan (Rutgers):

Too often, complacency is the assumed natural state of the tenured professor. Solidarity, on the other hand, is an elusive and foreign concept. Even before higher education was plunged into a full-blown public health and economic crisis, the “widespread inaction” of tenured faculty has been, for some, an embarrassing and persistent reality. Even as universities risked becoming pared-down sites of work-force preparedness, resting on exploited, contingent academic labor and funded by exorbitant costs pushed onto students, many in the secure professoriate sat idly on the sidelines. Entrenched acquiescence, coupled with a lack of institutionalized bargaining rights, has helped to normalize a lack of direct political engagement from the most comfortable and well-protected academic workers.

As opportunities to land a tenure-track job have evaporated, those who have risen to the few remaining secure positions in the profession have by and large refused to use their professional privileges to speak out, whether on behalf of their contingent colleagues or to push for broader investment in public higher education, accepting instead that “the system is horrible, unethical, but it works for them.” While some tenured professors simply feel too overworked to participate in political activities, labor struggles, etc., others don’t see any reason why they should in the first place, choosing to identify “as thinkers rather than as workers.” But, as Jennifer Fredette forcefully argues in a group faculty interview for The Chronicle Review, “To have tenure and to stay in your lane is to be complicit with the injustices of the system in which you have secured this privilege.” While addressing the need to defend the most precarious workers on campuses, Naomi Klein put it even more succinctly: “Got your tenure? Make some trouble!” ...

Draconian cuts, disproportionately hitting the most vulnerable in campus communities, coupled with unsafe plans for a return to face-to-face instruction have moved faculty, especially tenured and tenure-track faculty, from acquiescence to action.

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August 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

University Of North Carolina Faculty Tell Students It Is Not Safe To Return To Campus, Prepare Class Action Lawsuit To Prevent Planned August 10 Reopening

Newsweek, UNC Tenured Faculty Tell Students to Stay Home Amid COVID Concerns: 'It Is Not Safe for You to Come to Campus':

UNCTenured faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) told undergraduate students in an open letter not to return to campus this fall because of coronavirus concerns, the latest move in the debate over reopening schools.

Spectrum News 1, UNC Faculty, Staff Prepare Lawsuit to Delay In-Person Classes:

Faculty and staff, concerned about reopening North Carolina’s public universities, are preparing a class-action lawsuit. A lawyer for the UNC employees says there is no way the universities can guarantee they’ll be safe when students return to campus.

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

Allard: ABA, NY Must Respond To The Bar Exam Chaos

Nicholas Allard (Former Dean, Brooklyn), ABA Must Seize Opportunity To Respond To Bar Exam Chaos:

The American Bar Association was established in 1878 to improve legal education, to set requirements for gaining admittance to practice, and to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information among members of the profession.

As the ABA's first-ever virtual annual meeting continues through Tuesday, it will soon consider and vote on a new resolution that goes to the heart of its worthy founding purposes. This proposal could prove to be one of the most important measures ever to be before the ABA for many reasons.

Resolution 10G will be considered by the ABA House of Delegates, the organization's policymaking body. In brief, the resolution urges the highest court and bar admissions authority in each of the 50 states, the five territories, the District of Columbia, and Native American tribes to take emergency actions with respect to the admission to the bar and licensure of new attorneys that best fit the local circumstances of each jurisdiction.

The resolution is accompanied by a detailed report that explains the pressing need for additional adjustments to the steps already taken, but are now demonstrably inadequate, in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The report explains why local authorities should anticipate problems and accommodate and mitigate the hardships of needed new approaches that predictably will hit the less advantaged and disabled especially hard.

What is apparent is that no less than the future of the profession is at stake. It is not someone else's responsibility. Each and every one of us should become informed, engaged, and be open to ways to pitch in and help make the novel approaches work.

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

Sunday, August 2, 2020

COVID-19 Should Prompt Us To Get Rid Of New York’s Racist Bar Exam Forever

Johanna Miller (Director of the Education Policy Center, NYCLU), COVID Should Prompt Us To Get Rid Of New York’s Bar Exam Forever:

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped reveal just how outdated and discriminatory the New York bar exam is, and why we should strongly consider doing away with it. New York must take this opportunity to permit diploma privilege for law grads, not just for the class of 2020, but into the future.

Over several weeks, in response to the pandemic, the New York Board of Law Examiners (BOLE) announced a series of restrictions to the 2020 bar exam. These culminated in the ultimate decision to cancel the in-person exam in favor of an online-only version, and the issuance of an emergency rule allowing graduates to work in supervised environments until they can take the exam.

But the Board’s attempts to preserve the in-person bar exam are dramatically misaligned with the reality that law grads are living. It is not humane to ask people to invest the time, focus, and money required to prepare for the bar in this time of global trauma and social upheaval. It is not safe, secure, or equitable to require an online-only test. It is not realistic to tell people they can work temporarily under supervision — assuming employers will hire them — but will still have to find the time to study for a future exam.

It is not worth saving the bar exam.

Like other high-stakes standardized tests, the bar exam has its roots in racism and has a discriminatory impact today.

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

Friday, July 31, 2020

Phillips: Which Law Schools Will Thrive (46), Survive (65), Struggle (23), Or Perish (18) In The Age Of COVID-19?

Following up on my previous post, Which Of The 436 Universities Ranked BY U.S. News Will Thrive, Survive, Struggle, Or Perish In The Age Of COVID-19?:

James C. Phillips (Chapman), Will My Law School Perish?:

Based on Professor Galloway’s predictions, 18 law schools will perish in the near future (because their university will perish). That is 1 school in the top 50, 5 in the 51-100, 5 in the 101-147, and 7 in the unranked law schools. I have listed them below in order of ranking:






Seton Hall






















New England




Detroit Mercy





Here are the projections for the U.S. News Top 50 

US News Ranking

Law School

Galloway Categorization


















































Washington U.









Boston University






Notre Dame



George Washington



Arizona State


















North Carolina



Boston College












Washington & Lee



William & Mary









Ohio State









George Mason



U. Washington



Wake Forest





















Florida State





Here are the totals:

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July 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Movement Builds For Diploma Privilege In California, Connecticut, D.C., Pennsylvania

An Open Letter on the 2020 Bar Exam from Law Deans:

The disruption faced by the law school class of 2020 was significant and will be long lasting. These newest members of the legal profession endured a truncated final semester, a laser fast shift to remote learning, changed grading policies, abrupt moves out of campus housing, and canceled in-person graduation ceremonies. The luckiest among this group had resources, financial, familial, and otherwise to weather this massive disruption and move into the summer prepared to study for the bar exam and start their careers in earnest. Others, however, have dealt with and are still dealing with housing and food insecurity; inadequate access to technology; lost income; anxiety and strain over how to pay their bills; sickness or the threat of serious illness due to underlying health issues (themselves or loved ones) and even the death of loved ones in some cases; and a mounting lack of clarity about whether and when a bar exam would be available for them to take.

Now, those we are welcoming into our profession are dealing with an increasingly absurd set of decisions about the bar exam. Despite surges in COVID-19 cases in several parts of the country, about 20 states currently plan to hold in person bar exams, creating potential public health calamities for bar takers, proctors, and the friends, family, and strangers that all of these people will come into contact with when the bar ends. A small number of states have already indicated that they will give a remote bar exam in October, a choice replete with its own significant drawbacks and complications, while others remain silent on how things will proceed.

In the midst of all of this uncertainty, thousands of law school graduates who hope to soon become lawyers are trying to make plans, care for families, pay their rent, and study for a bar exam to be offered on some future date perhaps under conditions that could result in contracting a deadly virus. As is always the case, it is the most vulnerable among our recent grads who bear the worst of this uncertainty — those who carefully budgeted to be able to study for the bar exam in July are now scrambling to find an income source to tide them over until October or later. Often, this same group, many first-generation college or law school grads from lower income or poor backgrounds, took out enormous debt hoping that a legal education would alter their life circumstances. For them, a “mere” two month-delay, not to mention any period longer than that, could lead to financial ruin. The caregivers whose ability to study was hampered by their school-aged children who were not in school or camp for months and may remain out of school through the fall. Those with unstable wi-fi signals who planned to take live bar classes and found all of those classes moved online. Those whose job offers hinged on the ability to take an exam in July and/or becoming licensed to practice law in the fall.

The bar exam is touted as a necessary measure to protect the public from lawyers who would provide incompetent representation to members of the public, thereby harming their interests. But the success that Wisconsin has had with diploma privilege provides reliable, longitudinal data that demonstrates that legal education without high stakes examination can protect the public from harm. Members of the public in Wisconsin do not suffer harm from lawyer incompetence at a rate higher than jurisdictions that administer a bar examination.

Far too often, the bar exam measures privilege and opportunity, rather than competency to practice law. This privilege includes being able to study for months without the necessity to work; being able to pay thousands of dollars for a commercial bar preparation course; and being able to have a safe and comfortable place to study day-after-day without the disruption of caregiving responsibilities. The conditions under which graduates are now trying to persevere guarantees that existing inequalities — built in large part on race, class, disability status, and gender — will be exacerbated.

Add to that storm an environment that even those of us who are Black law school deans, placing us among the most privileged of our racial group in terms of education and income, are struggling to focus and concentrate on the countless tasks and demands in front of us in our jobs. Of course, racial discrimination, police brutality and violence, and the devaluation of Black life are not news to us, or to many Black students, but the constant visual reminder of how little our lives are valued in this society and how much the law enables our lives to be devalued by deadly as well as non-lethal violence, layered on top of a pandemic that has devastated many Black families, take a huge toll on the body and the spirit. Couple that with the sudden awakenings of our non-Black colleagues, peers, and acquaintances to the reality of the racism in our lives, which in itself is painful, and it is not hard to understand why any Black law graduate would be particularly disadvantaged with bar preparation this summer and fall of 2020.

Furthermore, the history of bar exams is one replete with examples of discrimination and anti-Black racism. The use of bar exams to exclude people from the practice of law coincided with periods of heightened immigration and with the success of Black people joining the legal profession. Even today, the bar exam disproportionately excludes people of color from the legal profession. As members of this profession, we are disturbed by the history of the bar exam and the current work of racial exclusion that it performs in the best of times. We write this letter to call to the attention of the high Courts that govern the profession in each jurisdiction, the possible outcome that strict adherence to the bar exam will achieve. It will likely frustrate the entry of people of color and impoverished people from every demographic from the legal profession. Propping up a tool born from a racist past will not only impose a predictably disparate impact on people of color and impoverished people; it also seems both unnecessary and cruel.

When the dust has settled on this incredibly difficult season, we hope that the conversations about better ways to license attorneys that have been taking place for many years will be had with greater urgency. But, in the meantime, some form of diploma privilege that allows new lawyers to have a sense of certainty and a solid ground to stand on is the most compassionate choice for high Courts and bar examiners to make. This is especially so because the results of any exam given this year cannot help but be wildly skewed and unreliable given race, class, and gender-based inequalities in the ability to prepare for and take the test. To be clear, diploma privilege can and should still require a character and fitness review and might also include enhanced CLE requirements, supervision requirements, and other measures to support our new colleagues and the public we all serve.

As deans leading law schools through this global pandemic and into a new future for legal education, we are committed to reimagining a legal profession that more closely resembles the diversity of our country. The path to that future does not end with diploma privilege for the class of 2020, but such an equitable privilege for all is a good start.


Kerry Abrams, James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean, Duke University School of Law

S. James Anaya, Dean and University Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado Law School

Horace Anderson, Dean and Professor of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

Luke Bierman, Dean and Professor of Law, Elon University School of Law

Mary Lu Bilek, Dean and Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law

Michael T. Cahill, President, Joseph Crea Dean & Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

Paul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean & Professor of Law, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law

Annette E. Clark, M.D., J.D., Dean and Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law

Danielle Conway, Dean & Donald J. Farage Professor of Law, Penn State Dickinson Law*

Phyllis L Crocker, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

Brian, Gallini, Dean & Professor of Law, Willamette University College of Law

Danielle Holley-Walker, Dean & Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law*

Melanie B. Jacobs, Interim Dean & Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law

William P. Johnson, Dean and Professor of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law

Melanie Leslie, Dean and Samuel Belkin Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

David Lopez, Co-dean and Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School

James McGrath, Professor of Law, President & Dean, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Jennifer L. Mnookin, Dean and Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Professor of Law, UCLA Law

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July 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Bar Exam Taker Tests Positive For COVID-19

Karen Sloan (, Colorado Bar Exam Taker Tests Positive for COVID-19, Prompting Warnings:

CoronavirusA person who sat for Colorado’s in-person bar exam this week has tested positive for COVID-19, and officials are urging those who took the test in the same room to closely monitor themselves for coronavirus symptoms.

There were 20 other people taking the exam with the infected candidate in the room at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, said Jessica Yates, attorney regulation counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court on Thursday. ...

Colorado is among the 23 jurisdictions that administered in-person bar exams July 28 and 29. The state’s supreme court earlier this month rejected a petition to adopt an emergency diploma privilege that would allow law graduates to be licensed without taking the bar exam. Diploma privilege advocates across the country have argued that it’s too dangerous to hold in-person exams when COVID-19 cases are rising in many states.

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July 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 30, 2020


Indiana Supreme Court, Remote Bar Exam To Be Held With Adjustments:

IndianaThe Indiana Supreme Court unanimously ordered adjustments to the August 4 remote bar exam. The adjustments come amid pandemic social distancing and unforeseen technical complications with the exam software. The exam will be held next week with an open book format and without the exam software. ...

In May, Indiana announced it would conduct a one-day remote bar exam in July for more than 500 applicants. Recently, practice test sessions revealed software complications and the test was postponed. The software testing company, ILG Technologies, was unsuccessful in correcting the problems which prevented some users from logging onto the test and created typing delays for other applicants.

Today, the Court announced the exam will be held remotely with an open book format, with no live monitoring or proctoring. Applicants will receive the exam questions by email and submit responses by email to the Indiana Board of Law Examiners. The adjustments allow the exam to be administered with fairness and without the hurdle of the unpredictable exam software.

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July 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Plexiglass Won’t Save Us: Colleges (And Law Schools) Must Go Online In Fall 2020

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Plexiglass Won’t Save Us, by Jeffrey J. Selingo (Arizona State):

Colleges have frittered the summer away on audacious and absurd reopening plans. It’s time to embrace remote learning instead. ...

This spring we saw something that few people could have ever predicted — colleges across the country abruptly shifting, almost overnight, to digital education. But the pivot in response to the coronavirus pandemic was largely haphazard and make-do, with faculty members and institutions duct taping together learning-management systems and Zoom in order to finish out the semester.

Not surprisingly, students and faculty members didn’t love the experience. In a survey of over 3,000 students in the U.S. and Canada by Top Hat, an education-technology company, nearly 80 percent of respondents said their online courses lacked the engagement of in-person classes. Half said online was worse than face-to-face instruction; 16 percent said it was a lot worse.

So you might expect, since there is still so much uncertainty about the pandemic, that colleges this summer would be putting most of their efforts toward creating better digital courses for the fall. But that hasn’t been the case. Instead, the prevailing strategy at most institutions is to do almost anything possible to get back to in-person classes. That’s why we’ve seen a preponderance of “return to campus” or “reopening campus” task forces.

Their plans teeter between the audacious and the absurd. Tiny Colby College aims to administer 85,000 Covid-19 tests in the fall semester at a cost of $10 million. The Community College of Baltimore County proposes to prop open all interior doors to minimize the touching of door handles. Purdue University is fundraising for plexiglass and lab masks. The clear message is that it’s easier for colleges to purchase plexiglass than redesign pedagogy.

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July 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Recommendations For Online Teaching

Renee Allen, Jennifer Baum, Catherine Duryea, Robert Ruescher, Courtney Selby, Eric Shannon, Jeff Sovern & Rachel Smith (St. John's), Recommendations for Online Teaching:

This is a collection of recommendations drawn from a variety of sources, including our colleagues, students, webinars, books, articles, podcasts, and our own experimentation. It is not our expectation that any individual professor would adopt all of these suggestions and indeed no one of us intends to. Instead, we hope that some of these are helpful to you. Some suggestions deal with the nuts and bolts of teaching online while others with how to accomplish broader goals.

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July 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Both On-Ground And Online Courses Are Preferable To Hybrids

Chronicle of Higher Education, Colleges Say Hybrid Courses Will Make the Fall a Success. But Will Students Get the Worst of Both Worlds?:

John Nolan likes running an active classroom. A lecturer in the college of business at the University of Nevada at Reno, he favors the Socratic method as he walks among his 150 or so business-law students.

So when the university announced that it will offer courses under a hybrid model known as HyFlex, in which professors teach simultaneously to students in the classroom and others beaming in remotely, Nolan wondered how that could possibly work. If he walks away from the podium, he moves out of sight of the camera. If a student in the back of class asks a question, those tuning in on their laptops might not hear. And how can he foster lively discussions, let alone group work, when half his students are masked, sitting six feet apart because of Covid-19 restrictions, and the others are virtual?

“HyFlex doesn’t really do anybody any good,” he says. “It’s basically, you take the worst parts of in person and online teaching and mix it together.”

Nolan’s skepticism is shared by a growing number of faculty members, as more colleges choose the HyFlex model for the fall. It also reflects a rift between administrators and professors, who are raising alarms over the health risks of teaching in person, and about the logistical, technical, and pedagogical complications of the model itself. Search HyFlex on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll come across comments like this one: “Whoever the hell thought of this is a bean counter, not an educator, and an idiot.”

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

Nation's First Online Bar Exam In Michigan Crashes; ExamSoft Blames Cyberattack

Bloomberg Law, Cyber Attack Locks Michigan Bar Exam Takers Out of Online Test:

Michigan Bar (2020)The Michigan bar exam was the subject of a cyber attack that caused a temporary glitch for test takers, according to the software company administering the online exam.

Test takers were briefly locked out of the exam Tuesday because of a “sophisticated attack specifically aimed at the login process for the ExamSoft Portal,” Nici Sandberg, a representative for ExamSoft, told Bloomberg Law. ...

At 10 a.m., many anxiously refreshed the exam website to no avail after having been locked out. They then flooded ExamSoft’s phone help line. The glitch “left me feeling pretty rattled,” said Kerry Martin, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. “I felt much less in the zone.”

Michigan law school graduates became the first cohort in the country to try out a remote bar exam Tuesday.

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July 29, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law Schools Expect 1L Enrollment To Remain Steady Despite Shift To Online Due To COVID-19

Kaplan Survey, Majority of Law Schools Predict Their Entering 2020 Class Sizes Will be the Same Size as Last Year, Despite the COVID-19 Crisis:

KaplanDespite COVID-19’s role as the ultimate disrupter across the entire U.S. education sector, a new Kaplan survey of law schools nationwide finds stability on the admissions landscape*. More than half (52 percent) of admissions officers surveyed say they believe their entering class size for fall 2020 will be about the same as their fall 2019 entering class size; 26 percent say it will be larger; and 22 percent say it will be smaller. ...

But a small increase in applications, the introduction of LSAT-Flex and the struggling economy aren’t the only factors that have convinced law schools that they will see a solid class size for 2020, the survey suggests. Two thirds (67 percent) of survey respondents say they have made their admissions requirements more flexible, which could entice fence-sitters. According to the admissions officers who answered the survey, this includes everything from extending application deadlines, to relaxing deposit requirements, to allowing prospective students to apply using their unofficial LSAT scores. But one area where law schools remain rigid, according to the survey: the standardized test requirement. All but one school surveyed say they are unlikely to allow applicants to waive submitting LSAT or GRE® scores.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Colleges Face Historic Summer Admissions Melt Of 25% Or More, With Higher Rates For Students Of Color

Chronicle of Higher Education, This May Be The Worst Season Of Summer Melt In Memory. Here's How Some Colleges Are Fighting It.:

[T]thousands of students [are] reconsidering their college plans, in what many enrollment officials fear will be the worst season of “summer melt” in memory. Some are finding that they can no longer afford their first choice; others are questioning whether an online or hybrid education is worth the price of an in-person one. Some are staying home out of concerns for their health, or the health of family members.

In a national survey conducted this spring, one in six high-school seniors who before the pandemic expected to attend a four-year college full time said that they will choose a different path this fall. A majority expected either to take a gap year or enroll part time in a bachelor’s program (35 percent each), while smaller percentages planned to work or attend a community college.

In Florida, where the outbreak decimated the hospitality and retail sectors, one in four parents of high-school juniors and seniors reported that their child had changed their plans, a separate survey found.

As with many effects of this pandemic, the phenomenon is hitting people of color the hardest. More than 40 percent of minority high-school seniors have said it’s very likely they won’t go to college in the fall, or that it’s too soon to say, compared with 24 percent of white seniors. ...

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July 28, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Pandemic Is Proving The Bar Exam Is Unjust And Unnecessary

Slate:  The Pandemic Is Proving the Bar Exam Is Unjust and Unnecessary, by Pilar Margarite Hernandez Escontrias (J.D. 2020, UC-Irvine; Co-Founder, United For Diploma Privilege):

Twice a year, recent law school graduates nationwide prepare for the bar examination, the biggest test of would-be attorneys’ lives. “Bar prep,” the shorthand for the two months of exhausting 12-hour days of study, costs upward of $3,000 and culminates in thousands of applicants filing into convention and conference centers in major cities for two days.

The spread of COVID-19 has made this traditional arrangement unsafe and, frankly, unethical. Nonetheless, 23 states are still opting for in-person bar exams [this] week, placing applicants at risk for contracting COVID-19 while mandating that applicants sign liability waivers releasing state bars of all legal culpability should the applicant become ill as a result of an in-person exam. The sad reality is that many will need to risk their lives to take an exam that some have called “an unpredictable and unacceptable impediment for accessibility to the legal profession” that does nothing to protect the public.

Recognizing the impossible situation in which many bar applicants find themselves, I co-founded United for Diploma Privilege, a grassroots coalition of recent law graduates, lawyers, law professors, and legislators pushing for attorney licensure reform that would do away with the bar exam, instead granting automatic licensure upon graduation from law school and completion of moral character and fitness applications. This path to licensure is called diploma privilege. What began in California in March quickly spread, and we are now a nationwide movement with advocacy teams in almost 40 states. ...

Original data gathered by our organization and submitted in a report to the Supreme Court of California show that anything less than diploma privilege will result in even greater inequities that our profession will not soon recover from. In our survey of nearly 1,500 bar applicants, 35.5 percent of our respondents said they were experiencing housing insecurity (that number grows to approximately 39.1 percent for Latinx graduates, 40 percent for Black graduates, and 71.4 percent for Alaska Native or American Indian graduates). And 12.4 percent of respondents are experiencing food insecurity (17.4 percent for Latinx graduates, 25.3 percent for Black graduates, and 25.4 percent of Alaska Native or American Indian graduates). These disparities will not ease anytime soon. Even if the exam is delayed or canceled, graduates will simply remain in limbo. ...

None of these workarounds does anything to safeguard professional standards; they exist only to prop up the supremacy of the exam itself. As jurisdictions now consider alternatives to a traditional bar exam, it is time to expose and confront the profession’s racialized past. Inequities past and present should force us to consider what kind of profession we will tolerate and what kind of lawyers we want to be.

Law360:  Pandemic Lays Bare The Inequities Inherent In The Bar Exam, by Naomi Shatz (Partner, Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein, Boston) & Katherine Dullea (J.D. 2020, Northeastern):

The outrage over the life-altering consequences of decisions being made around the bar exam and COVID-19 has highlighted the long-standing inequities built into the bar exam.

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

Fall LL.M. Enrollment Expected To Plummet, Bruising Law School Finances

Reuters, Fall LL.M. Enrollment Expected to Plummet, Bruising Law School Finances:

LLM 2As law schools grapple with campus reopenings, bar exam delays and faltering job prospects for graduates, many are expecting another blow from the coronavirus pandemic: a dropoff in Master of Laws student enrollment this fall that will leave the schools with fewer tuition dollars to tide them over through 2020.

At least seven top U.S. law schools, including Harvard Law School and University of Virginia School of Law, are planning for fewer LL.M. students than usual this fall because of health risks and visa issues, representatives told Reuters. Most are giving students the option to defer and start in January 2021, or next summer.

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July 28, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 27, 2020

Online Legal Education Is The Only Way To Put Health, Safety And Equity First During COVID-19

Catherine Sandoval, Patricia Cain, Jean Love, Stephen Diamond, Stephen Smith & Allen Hammond (Santa Clara), Legal Education in the Era of COVID-19: Putting Health, Safety and Equity First:

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the traditional academic model of gathering people into physical classes into a high-risk activity. Legal education is a Critical Infrastructure sector that supports democratic access to the legal system and trains students to become ethical members of the legal profession and society. Debates about whether legal education should be delivered in person, online, or through a hybrid model highlight the safety culture gap in American legal education. This Article proposes an ethical framework that values safety, recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every human being, and centers diversity and inclusion as the foundation for effective educational dialogue, to recommend online legal education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Article’s interdisciplinary team analyzes scientific studies on COVID-19 available to date, the virus’s mutation which promotes infection, and the limits of mitigation measures in indoor classrooms where people gather for more than an hour at a time to discuss educational material and develop legal skills. It examines the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinx Americans, older Americans, and those with certain underlying health conditions that would foreseeably lead members of those groups to participate in class online. Those participating in person in a hybrid educational model are likely to be younger and less diverse. The hybrid classroom model cleaves students and faculty by race, ethnicity, tribe, age, and health, undermining commitments to diversity and inclusion that support educational dialogue and first amendment values. In person classes may drive viral mutation and endanger health and safety as people under 45, the largest age cohort for American law students, lead the surge in COVID-19 infection. The Internet’s development creates the opportunity to deliver effective, synchronous, inclusive, ethical legal education. This Article concludes that legal education should be conducted online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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July 27, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Epic Fail: How Bar Examiners Screwed The Law School Class 2020

Marsha Griggs (Washburn), An Epic Fail, 64 Howard L.J. ___ (2020):

All at once, the U.S. found itself embattled with the threat of COVID-19, the new normal of social distancing, and the perennial scourge of racial injustice. While simultaneously battling those ills, the class of 2020 law graduates found themselves also contending with inflexible bar licensing policies that placed at risk their health, safety, and careers. During a global health pandemic, bar licensing authorities made the bar exam a moving target riddled with uncertainty and last-minute cancellations. This costly and unsettling uncertainty surrounding the bar exam administration was unnecessary because multiple alternatives were available to safely license new attorneys. A ball was dropped, and bar examiners at the state and national levels failed epically at an opportunity to be adaptive, decisive, and transparent, to the detriment of a class new lawyers and the public they will serve. The dogged insistence on status quo that led to the bar exam chaos of 2020, has placed the method and purpose of bar examination under national scrutiny. This Article offers a critical analysis of the systemic failure of bar licensure authorities to respond adaptively to crisis; explores alternative processes to measure minimal competency; and offers insight about the institutional mindset that has dominated our perception of the bar exam. An entire class of bar takers was held captive to conventional thinking at a time that called for compassion and innovation. Any failures on this bar exam are ours, not theirs.

The aim of this Article has been to analyze the reactive handling of the pandemic crisis as it relates to bar exam administration and to discuss the institutional influence that may have contributed to such resistance to short-term change. And while this is not intended as a critique of any particular jurisdiction, court, or body of examiners, the outcome and devastating impact on the class of 2020 bar takers shows that the measures taken, were largely ineffective, and in some cases more detrimental than helpful. While viable solutions were and remain available, decision makers were dogmatic and resolute in their refusal to break ties, even temporarily, with the established method of testing. The 2020 bar takers will be indelibly traumatized by the circumstances surrounding their quest for licensure.

We will expect our future lawyers to champion justice as they join the fight to compassionately protect the rights of those impacted by COVID and/or those taking a stand against racial injustice. The newest members of our profession will not soon forget the perceived insensitivity and spared justice they received in response to their plight. Our profession has entrusted law examiners with an important responsibility and in 2020 many failed, epically, to maintain that trust.

Taking and passing a bar exam is the end goal, or finish line, of journey that is three years or more in the making. The limited and emergency situation, wrought by the pandemic and civil unrest, provided an opportunity to simply move up the finish line by a few yards. Whether the exam alternative takes the form of diploma privilege or supervised practice should be a matter left entirely to the states to decide. But, deciding against any reasonable alternative should not have been on the table for discussion. In a country with Constitutional protections that would embrace the risk of letting a guilty party go unpunished before wrongly punishing an innocent party, we must ask why we are willing to keep the 90% of bar takers who would pass a bar exam from practice, to keep out the 10% that might not. Duquesne School of Law Professor Ashley London best summed up our obligation to the class of 2020 and beyond: “We owe the newest members of our profession the most protection, not the least. Our privilege and protectionism [are] showing and it is not a good look.”

July 26, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Dedication Of The Jim McGoldrick Faculty Office At Pepperdine Caruso Law

Dedication of the James M. McGoldrick, Jr. Office:

McGoldrick OffceEarlier this summer, our law community mourned the loss of our beloved professor Jim McGoldrick. In the wake of his passing, members of the Pepperdine Caruso Law family joined together to honor his legacy of almost 50 years of service to the school. As a result, the Jim McGoldrick Memorial Law Scholarship was created and will be used to provide scholarship support to students in need.

Additionally, those who were closest to Professor McGoldrick sought to honor their departed friend by organizing an effort to permanently name his office at the school the James M. McGoldrick, Jr. Office. Amongst the organizers were Professors Harry Caldwell, Colleen Graffy, Anthony Miller, Ed Larson, and Steve Schultz. Together, they raised over $30,000 to support the office naming in just under 5 hours. "We are deeply moved by the efforts of the Pepperdine Caruso Law community coming together to honor Jim in such a significant way," said Harry Caldwell, professor of law and longtime friend of Professor McGoldrick. "He will be dearly missed and remembered always."

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July 26, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Indiana, Nevada Delay Online Bar Exam Due To Technology Snafu FOUR DAYS BEFORE EXAM

Indiana Supreme Court, Indiana Remote Bar Exam Postponed to August (July 24, 2020):

The Indiana July bar exam, originally scheduled for July 28, will be postponed until August 4. The postponement is taking place due to unforeseen complications following an update to the test software by the vendor, ILG Technologies. The Executive Director of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Office of Admissions and Continuing Education Brad Skolnik explained, “Earlier this week applicants started to experience delays when typing during practice tests. We know this added unnecessary anxiety to the applicants and impacted their ability to study in this critical week.” To allow for the software update and additional study time for the applicants, the test is now rescheduled.

The Court will post updates on the ACE website on July 29 and 31 as the vendor continues working to resolve these unexpected technical issues. Applicants who cannot take the exam on the rescheduled date, or for whom taking the exam on the rescheduled date would constitute a hardship, should contact the Office of Admission and Continuing Education for guidance or a refund of the application fee. Those applicants will be eligible to sit for the next exam.

Nevada Supreme Court, Order Postponing July 2020 Bar Examination (July 24, 2020):

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

Friday, July 24, 2020

University Of North Carolina Faces 50% Budget Cut Due To COVID-19

NC Policy Watch, UNC System Exploring Worst-Case Scenario Budget Cuts Of Up To 50%:

UNCThe UNC System is preparing for possible budget cuts of up to 50% at its 17 campuses, according to an email obtained by Policy Watch this week.

The email, from UNC Board of Governors Chairman Randy Ramsey to the system’s chancellors, cites the potential impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that campuses may again close after reopening next month.

In the email Ramsey asks the chancellors for several documents:

*A report from each chancellor on the financial impact of closing their campus and reducing tuition and room and board fees.

*A plan from each chancellor to reduce their budgets by between 25% and 50%, to account for the reduced revenue resulting from reduced enrollment under various degrees of closure.

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

Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Ohio Shift To Online Bar Exam

Connecticut Law Tribune, Connecticut Reschedules Bar Exam Again—Now Online Only:

Following a four-hour Zoom meeting Thursday, the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee announced it would once again reschedule the 2020 bar exam.

The committee announced during the meeting, with about 85 people attending, that the bar examination slated for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 in Hartford would be pushed back to an online-only format on Oct. 5-6.

Georgia Supreme Court Office of Bar Admissions, Online Test Will Replace In-Person Georgia Bar Exam:

The Supreme Court of Georgia canceled the in-person Georgia bar examination that was scheduled for September 9-10, 2020 at the Georgia International Convention Center. Due to public health concerns during the pandemic, an online exam will be administered October 5-6, 2020 in its place. At that time, applicants will have the opportunity to take the test for licensure to practice law in Georgia.  Details about the registration for the October online licensure exam will be made available on Monday, July 27, 2020 on our website.  

Illinois Bar Admissions, Illinois Bar Exam to be Held Remotely Oct. 5- 6; In-Person Exam Set For Sept. 9-10 Cancelled:

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that due to continuing public health concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois in-person bar examination scheduled for September 9-10, 2020, has been cancelled. In its place, the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar will offer a remote version of the exam on October 5-6, 2020, using questions prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. This exam will satisfy the requirements of Illinois Supreme Court Rules 701 and 704.

New York Court of Appeals, Bar Examination Update (July 23, 2020):

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

California Deans Ask Supreme Court To Retroactively Apply Lower 139 Cut Score To February 2020 Exam-Takers

Following up on my previous post, California To Give Online Bar Exam On Oct. 5-6, Permanently Lower Cut Score, Provide Provisional Licensure For Class Of 2020 Grads:

California State Bar (2014)Letter From California Deans  to California Supreme Court (July 23, 2020):

Re: Retroactive Application of 139 Cut Score

Dear Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Associate Justices of the California Supreme Court:

As deans of California law schools, the undersigned very much appreciate this Court’s letter of July 16, 2020. We applaud your choice to forego the in-person exam in the midst of a pandemic, to create provisional licenses, and to lower the bar pass score from 144 to 139. We believe this helps meet the Court’s dual goals of fair and equal treatment of law school graduates and the protection of members of the public that utilize the services of practicing lawyers.

We write now to respectfully request that the Court allow bar admission to, at a minimum, those February 2020 exam-takers who scored between 139 and 144 on that exam. There are several reasons, both logical and practical, for this request.

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July 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Graduate Level Distance Learning: Enhanced Student Experience, Significant Scalability Challenges

Karen Thornton, Steven L. Schooner & Markus Speidel (all of George Washington), Graduate Level Distance Learning: Enhanced Student Experience, Significant Scalability Challenges: A Multiyear Case Study, 69 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2020):

This article describes our experiences and "lessons learned" providing degree-based distance (online) education to graduate students (studying business, law, and policy related to government contracts or public procurement). Temporal note: our pilot, and the five years of experience described in this case study, predate the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic emergency distance teaching transition.

Among other things, we discuss our experiences with regard to fundamentally rethinking our pedagogical approach, "flipping the classroom," chunking, and scaffolded learning. We extol the benefits of working with, and being open to, advice from experienced instructional designers.

We conclude that embracing distance education, at least in a hybrid form, offers exciting opportunities for more effective teaching and student learning.

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July 23, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Portability Of The UBE: Where Is It When You Need It?

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Portability Of The UBE: Where Is It When You Need It? (full manuscript), by Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus (Touro):

49Nothing is going right for this year’s law school graduates and all others planning to take the bar exam this summer. Living with COVID-19 is stressful. Preparing for the bar exam is stressful. Now put the two together and add the uncertainty that no one really knows when, where, or even if, there will be a bar exam to take.  Still, there is another factor adding to the anxiety for Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) [1] candidates: just when “portability” was needed so they could sit for the bar exam in one UBE jurisdiction and transport that UBE score to their home jurisdiction for licensure, the door slammed shut.

Although far from a New York problem, probably no candidates have been more deeply affected than those in New York. This is because New York tests more candidates than any other state with over 14,000 bar candidates annually and over 10,000 for the July bar exam alone. In 2019, a total of 14,200 candidates sat for the bar exam in New York: 10,071 candidates sat for the July bar exam and 6,536 sat for the February bar exam.[2]  New York’s inclusive policies attract candidates from other jurisdictions, including a large number of foreign educated and L.L.M. applicants. In 2019, a total of 5445 foreign educated candidates sat for the bar exam in New York.[3] This number far exceeds any other jurisdiction.

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

Diploma Privilege Approved In Louisiana, Rejected In Tennessee; Flurry Of Bar Exam Changes In Other States

Louisiana Supreme Court, Announcement Regarding 2020 Bar Examination (July 22, 2020):

Today the Louisiana Supreme Court issued an Order permitting certain “Qualified Candidates” for admission to the Louisiana State Bar to be admitted to practice without the requirement of sitting for and passing the bar examination in 2020, provided all other usual requirements for admission are met.  In addition, Qualified Candidates must complete 25 hours of continuing legal education and the Louisiana State Bar Association’s “Transition Into Practice” mentoring program by December 31, 2021.

Dissenting from the Court’s Order were Justice Jefferson D. Hughes IIIJustice James T. Genovese, and Justice William J. Crain.

The additional educational and mentoring requirements enacted in today’s Order for those Qualified Candidates who elect the emergency admissions option will serve as guardrails to ensure the competency and integrity of the newly-admitted attorneys during their first year of practice. 

Registered applicants who do not meet the definition of “Qualified Candidate” will still have two opportunities to take the bar examination in a one-day, remote format in 2020:  August 24, 2020 and October 10, 2020. 

Tennessee Supreme Court, In re: Petition For Emergency Rule Waiver (July 21, 2020):

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Reopening Plans At UC-Berkeley, Other California Campuses Fall Apart Amid Coronavirus Surge

Los Angeles Times, Reopening Plans at UC Berkeley, Other Campuses Fall Apart Amid Coronavirus Surge:

UC Berkeley Primary Logo Berkeley BlueHopes that college life might begin a slow return to normal this fall were deflated Tuesday, when two University of California campuses announced they would begin the semester with fully remote instruction amid a pandemic surge.

UC Berkeley and UC Merced had hoped to open Aug. 26 with a mix of online, in-person and hybrid classes. But they reversed those plans as COVID-19 infections began their record-shattering increases throughout California, with cases now topping more than 400,000 and deaths, 7,800. In Los Angeles County, half of new COVID-19 cases were among those ages 18 to 40.

The UC reversals follow other decisions to do likewise by several California campuses, including USC, Pomona College and Occidental College

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

Georgetown Gives 10% Tuition Discount To Undergraduates Taking Online Classes, But Not Law Students

Washington Post, Georgetown University to Offer Tuition Breaks For Many Undergraduates This Fall:

GeorgetownGeorgetown University announced Tuesday that it will offer tuition discounts to many undergraduate students starting ­classes in August.

Students who are not invited to live on campus, which includes most upperclassmen, will receive a 10 percent cut in tuition totaling about $2,800, officials said. They said undergraduates who return to the campus in Northwest Washington will have access to services that will be unavailable to students living away from the school.

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

Do Professors Have An 'Obligation' To Teach In Person In The Fall?

Following up on last week's post on the Wall Street Journal op-ed by John Hasnas (Georgetown), Why I’ll Be Teaching On Campus This Fall:  Steven Lubet (Northwestern), Do Professors Have an "Obligation" to Teach In Person When Classes Begin?:

Like many other universities, including Northwestern, Georgetown has given faculty the choice of teaching either remotely or in-person for the coming Fall semester. I appreciate Hasna’s position; he has evaluated the risk and has chosen to accept it. ... [But y]our entire essay reads as implicit criticism of those who choose to teach remotely. You refer three times to “obligation,” while invoking the sacrifices of young people who are employed as essential workers. You do not want to “hide” from the novel coronavirus. It would be “ungenerous” if you were to teach remotely. It is your “responsibility” to be in the classroom, which is “the least I can do.” How is one to read this other than as a call to duty by the professoriate?

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July 22, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Caruso Law Hosts Webinar Today On Federal Courts In The Age Of COVID-19

COVID-19 In The Federal Courts

Pepperdine Caruso Law hosts a webinar today on Federal Courts In The Age Of COVID-19 with our three alumni U.S. District Court judges (Hon. Andre Birotte ('91), Central District of California; Hon. Charles Eskridge ('91), Southern District of Texas; and Hon. Jennifer Dorsey ('97), District of Nevada) at 3:00 p.m. ET/noon PT (free registration here).

UpdatePepperdine Caruso Law Federal Judge Alumni Discuss Courts in the Age of COVID:

Judge OCconnellDean Caron began the conversation with a tribute to the Honorable Beverly Reid O'Connell (JD '90), formerly of the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California. Judge O'Connell was Pepperdine Caruso Law's first alumna to serve as a federal judge. Prior to her death in October of 2017, Judge O'Connell was a friend and mentor to the judges on the panel and a stalwart supporter of Pepperdine Caruso Law. Judge O'Connell had accepted a position as co-chair of the law school's new Board of Advisors, but unexpectedly passed away before she could preside over the board's first meeting. Pepperdine Caruso Law is grateful for all she did for the students and alumni of the law school.

The three judges on the panel began the discussion by describing their experiences on the federal bench during the COVID era. Judge Dorsey spoke of the Nevada federal courts, which began to close in mid-March. Criminal and civil proceedings continued via video and teleconferencing, which was authorized by the CARES Act. In June, some matters were resumed in the courthouse, with social distancing and a court-wide mask mandate. Most proceedings, however, are still taking place remotely.

Judge Birotte remarked that the Los Angeles courts, which were completely closed to the public beginning on March 13, are now opening in phases. Phase I of the reopening began three weeks ago with some staff returning to the courts. There have been no in-person hearings and all criminal cases have been handled by video conferencing.

Judge Eskridge commented that the Houston courts closed in late March, which was less than four months after he was confirmed to the bench. A soft reopening of the Houston courts occurred in June for filings only. It was initially decided that no trials would begin that require empaneled juries until August, but that timeline has been rescheduled to after Labor Day.

Judge Eskridge noted, with Judges Dorsey and Birotte agreeing, that lawyers are to be commended during this time for their spirited cooperation and empathetic collaboration. The judges acknowledged that the current unprecedented situation has brought out the best in the legal profession.

Judges Dorsey, Birotte, and Eskridge then turned to answering questions that included their advice to incoming law clerks, how to be effective advocates, the handling of sensitive information, and changes in cases settling, in-person depositions, and the number of COVID-related lawsuits. The three judges do not foresee any changes in externship and law clerk hiring, and Judge Dorsey offered helpful tips for students regarding job candidate interviews over zoom. They also stated that future law clerks should plan to be nimble and comfortable with circumstances changing constantly. The judges noted that the biggest issue they see moving forward will be empaneling a jury.

The three judges agreed that the biggest opportunity right now for the judiciary is the abandonment of the "That's how we've always done it" philosophy. Judge Dorsey conveyed that the embrace of technology has advantages such as allowing criminal defense attorneys to better communicate with the people they represent. Judge Birotte indicated that video and telephonic hearings are not only an efficient way to deal with matters, but are also a savings for the client and government. Judge Eskridge related that zoom and video conferencing have become the new normal, which is a technological advancement that his friend and classmate Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell advocated 10 years ago and would be pleased to see in practice today.

Pepperdine Caruso Law thanks our distinguished alumni judges for their invaluable insight.

A full recording of the event will be available soon on the Pepperdine Caruso Law channel here.

July 22, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)