Paul L. Caron

Monday, March 4, 2024

Legal Ed News Roundup

80% Through Fall 2024 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Up +5.1%, With Smallest Increase In White Males

We are now 80% of the way through Fall 2024 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is up 5.1% compared to last year at this time:

LSAC 1-6

107 of the 196 law schools are experiencing an increase in applications. Applications are up -10% or more at 59 law schools:

LSAC 2-6

Applicants are up the most in Other (+17.1%), Mountain West (+9.7%), and Far West (+4.1%); and are down in the Northeast (-.01%), Midwest (-0.6%), and New England (-.07%): 

LSAC 3-6

Applicants' LSAT scores are down -2.7% in the 170-180 band, up +4.2% in the 160-169 band, up + 3.5% in the 150-159 band, and up 1.0% in the 120-149 band:

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March 4, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Dorothy Brown And Steven Dean Question Biden Administration's Commitment To Addressing Systemic Racial Bias In The Tax Code

Tax Notes, Treasury Accused of Stonewalling Equity Agenda:

Treasury Department (2019)Dorothy Brown of the Georgetown University Law Center, a proponent of Treasury collecting race statistics to address tax code inequalities, feels seen but not heard as a member of the department's Advisory Committee on Racial Equity.

Brown, author of The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans — And How We Can Fix It, was one of 24 individuals chosen as part of Treasury’s newly created group, known as TACRE, and was named co-chair of its Data and Equity Research Subcommittee.

“The structure actually made sense. Having four, five members in each subcommittee allowed us to get a lot done,” Brown said, adding that her subcommittee made two recommendations: for Treasury to address racial equity in its annual green book and for Treasury and the IRS to send data to the U.S. Census Bureau to publish a comprehensive report on tax and race.

While both proposals were approved by the overall committee in March 2023 and sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for consideration, there has yet to be a response.

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March 4, 2024 in IRS News, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News | Permalink

Pro Se Ex-Law Student Schooled At Disability Discrimination Trial Over Exam Accommodation

Law360, 'This Isn't A Game': Pro Se Ex-Law Student Schooled At Trial:

A California federal judge overseeing a disability discrimination trial brought by a former student at John F. Kennedy College of Law scolded the pro se litigant Monday after he protested not being able to cross-examine witnesses in writing, saying court rules had to be followed and "this isn't a game."

Monday marked the first day of the five-day bench trial over plaintiff Navjeet Singh Banga's disability discrimination and breach of contract claims against the now-shuttered law school campus and several of its former administrators. ...

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March 4, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, March 3, 2024

California Bar Takers Fear They Will Fail The Exam Due To Cold Conditions In Cow Palace: 'I Could See My Breath'

ABA Journal, Some Taking California Bar Exam Say Cow Palace Venue Was So Cold It May Have Affected Their Test Results:

California Bar (2021)The State Bar of California’s decision to consolidate some bar exam locations at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California, didn’t work out well for test-takers who say the place was so cold Tuesday that it affected their ability to function.

“I was so cold in the morning I almost couldn’t type my fingers were so freezing,” wrote one test-taker on Reddit.

Reuters, Bar Exam Takers in California Literally Left in the Cold, They Say:

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March 3, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Harvard Law School Dean John Manning Named Interim Provost; Professor John Goldberg Named Interim Dean

Harvard Gazette, Harvard Law School Dean John Manning Named Interim Provost:

Harvard 1Interim President Alan M. Garber ’76 announced today that John F. Manning ’82, J.D. ’85, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (HLS), will serve as interim provost beginning March 14. John C.P. Goldberg, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, will serve as interim dean of HLS.

As Harvard’s chief academic officer, Manning, who is taking a leave from his role as dean, will have oversight of University-wide academic priorities and activities, and will also lead several key initiatives, including exploring the considerations around institutional neutrality and continuing the University’s focus on fostering academic freedom and civil discourse. Garber, who served as provost since September 2011, was appointed interim president on Jan. 2 after Claudine Gay, 30th president of Harvard University, stepped down. ...

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March 2, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, February 29, 2024

FBI Investigates Texts Sent To Women Law Professors, FBI Investigates Texts Sent to Women Law Professors:

Haneman XVictoria Haneman, the Frank J. Kellegher Professor of Trusts & Estates at Creighton University School of Law, posted to X on Sunday a screenshot of a text where the person first asks if it’s her and proceeds to say, “Law school isn’t fair for us men anymore, women always outperform us nowadays.”

Haneman asked the person for their identity, but the texter proceeded to say, “I admit you women have clearly won the battle of the sexes, us men are the losers,” and “it’s not fair.” Lastly, they asked whether they would “get in trouble” if they identified themselves.

Michael Reiner, assistant vice president of Public Safety at Creighton University, told in an email Monday afternoon that the school is working with the FBI to investigate the texts.

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February 29, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Attorneys Who Argue At Supreme Court Skew Male, Ivy League

Bloomberg Law Op-Ed:  Attorneys Who Argue at Supreme Court Skew Male, Ivy League, by Adam Feldman (Empirical SCOTUS):

Very few attorneys have a chance to argue before the US Supreme Court. In part, this is because the justices only take about 1% of the petitions filed with the court, but it’s also because the same attorneys argue before the court again and again. ... 

To dive into an analysis of common characteristics of top attorneys before the Supreme Court, I used a list of the 55 attorneys who argued there the most between October 2016 and December 2023.

There is significant homogeneity among this group, with the most common profile a male who graduated with a law degree from Harvard, Yale, or Stanford. ...

Bloomberg SCOTUS

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February 28, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

More Criticism Of The Sanctions Imposed On Penn Law Prof Amy Wax

Following up on last week's post, Amy Wax Appeals Sanctions Imposed By Penn Faculty Senate (1-Year Suspension At 50% Pay, Loss Of Chair):  Brian Leiter (Chicago), Penn Faculty Hearing Board Recommended Sanctions for Amy Wax Last Summer; She Is Appealing:

Wax (2023)Here is the letter from the "Hearing Board" to former President Magill regarding Professor Wax.  The only portion that isn't obviously outrageous is the section on violations of student privacy (although Professor Wax's attorney also disputes that in the appeal.)  The rest of the letter was written by someone with no knowledge of the law of academic freedom.   Almost all the evidence of "unprofessional" conduct involves extramural speech, which is not covered by the standards applicable in professional scholarship or pedagogy:   this is just a breathtaking confusion about core AAUP academic freedom principles, which vitiates almost the entire letter.

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February 27, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: The Crisis In Teaching Constitutional Law

New York Times Op-Ed:  The Crisis in Teaching Constitutional Law, by Jesse Wegman (New York Times Editorial Board):

Supreme Court (2024)If you attended law school at any time over the past half-century, your course in constitutional law likely followed a well-worn path.

First you learned the basics: the Supreme Court’s power to say what the Constitution means. Then you read and discussed cases that set precedents for different parts of the Constitution — the commerce clause, presidential powers, due process, equal protection and so on. Finally you studied how the court balances individual liberties against the government’s need to act in the public interest.

It was all based on an underlying premise that has long bound together everyone involved in the project of training the next generation of lawyers: The Supreme Court is a legitimate institution of governance, and the nine justices, whatever their political backgrounds, care about getting the law right. They are more interested in upholding fundamental democratic principles and, perhaps most important, preserving the court’s integrity than in imposing a partisan agenda.

The premise no longer holds today.

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February 27, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, February 26, 2024

Legal Ed News Roundup

ABA May Revise Diversity Accreditation Standard To Increase 'Identity Characteristics' From Three (Gender, Race & Ethnicity) To 14, ABA Weighing Diversity Standard Revisions in Light of SCOTUS Ruling:

ABA Legal Ed (2023)Under a current proposal, the focus of Standard 206 would shift away from "diversity and inclusion" and toward access for "all persons," expanding number of "identity characteristics" from three—gender, race and ethnicity—to 14.

The American Bar Association has decided to continue mulling over potential revisions to Standard 206, which governs diversity and inclusion within law schools, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action.

Under the proposal recommended by the Standards 205/206 Working Group, amendments to Standard 206 from the ABA Standards Committee on Wednesday, the Council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted during its Thursday meeting in Louisiana to further consider the revisions at this time.

Under the proposal recommended by the Standards 205/206 Working Group, amendments to Standard 206 would include changing the standard title from “Diversity and Inclusion” to “Access to Legal Education and the Profession,” and shifting the overall focus of the verbiage away from underrepresented groups and more toward providing access to “all persons.”

Proposed “identity characteristics” would include—replacing “gender, race, and ethnicity”—“race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, military status, Native American tribal citizenship, or socioeconomic background.”

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February 26, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Appalachian Law School Deanship Remains Open After Deputy AG Declines Position; Faculty Bristles At Selection Without Their Input As Required By ABA

Richmond Times Dispatch, The Little Law School That Could:

Appalachian Law School (2024)As Chuck Slemp apparently saw it, you can go home again.

The chief deputy to Attorney General Jason Miyares, Slemp — a Southwest Virginia native from a storied Republican family who’s been a local prosecutor, a general practitioner and an adjunct professor — was recently offered the deanship of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy. The struggling, 26-year-old private institution produces lawyers for a remote, mountainous region that has long been short on educational and economic opportunity.

But the faculty of the tiny school — it has about 120 students, about a third of ASL’s enrollment when it opened in 1997 — bristled over Slemp’s selection.

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February 26, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Donna Adelson Feuded With Murder Victim Dan Markel Over Kosher Meals For Her Grandchildren

New York Sun, Wealthy Grandmother Charged in Law Professor’s Murder Was ‘Conductor’ of Dentist Family, Feuded With Murder Victim Over Kosher Meals for Grandkids:

Adelson (Donna Mug Shot 2)Donna Adelson, now in jail awaiting trial for the contract murder of Dan Markel, would feed Markel’s children McDonald’s cheeseburgers, in defiance of Jewish dietary laws, according to Markel’s mother.

Donna Adelson is not one to sit idly by. That’s according to the grieving mother of the late Dan Markel. And it’s likely prosecutors will try to convince a jury of that same narrative when 73-year-old Donna, now sitting in a Florida county jail, heads to trial in September for Dan’s contract killing. ...

Donna is in the hot seat after being charged, almost ten years later, of conspiring with Charlie and others to kill Dan. ... When it’s her time to stand trial on September 30, prosecutors will aim to convince a jury that Donna was motivated to seek Dan’s demise because of her desire for control over her family and animosity towards Dan.

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February 24, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, February 23, 2024

ABA Says JD-Next Is Not Yet A 'Valid And Reliable' Predictor Of Grades; Law Schools Need A Variance To Use It

Reuters, ABA Says Law Schools Still Need Approval for Alternative Admissions Program:

ABA Legal Ed (2023)The American Bar Association on Thursday declined to grant full approval to JD-Next, rejecting a proposal to put the alternative law school admissions program on par with the LSAT and the GRE.

The ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar instead approved a recommendation from its standards committee that the JD-Next program should not yet be deemed a "valid and reliable" predictor of an applicant's law school grades.

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February 23, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Rodriguez: Reform And Reckoning In 2024 Legal Education

Dan Rodriguez (Northwestern; Google Scholar), Passing the Batons: Reform and Reckoning in 2024 Legal Education:

To say we are experiencing "a moment" risks cliche.  But as to the potential for reform in the legal education space, there may in fact be a moment, for two colliding reasons:  First, the problems that have long plagued legal education are not fundamentally abating, and, indeed, some are worsening. ... Problems need to be solved for the betterment of our enterprise, of our profession.  Second, it just so happens that there is a very large turnover in leadership at the organizations that have long been the primary regulators and engines of influence.  To name names, Bill Adams will step down as ABA Legal Ed Section managing director at the end of this academic year, and will be replaced by Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea.  Kellye Testy will leave LSAC to become the next executive director of the AALS.  Kellye will be replaced, although I have no idea at all about the identity of her replacement.  One other interesting fact along these same lines:  The incoming chair of the ABA Legal Ed council is a well-known maverick and fearless innovator, Bridget McCormack, the former chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.  And so we are at one of those rare moments where new leadership might steer this big, bulky legal ed ship in a new direction.

I intend this as not merely a gesture of hope, but one of urgency and imperative.  Among the issues that call for close attention and action from these able new leaders:

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February 22, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

U.S. Tax Court's Tax Trailblazers: Alice Thomas

U.S. Tax Court's Diversity & Inclusion Series, Tax Trailblazers: Mentoring the Next Generation (registration):

Alice thomasPlease join the United States Tax Court as its Tax Trailblazers series continues with Howard Law Professor Alice Thomas, today at 7:00 - 8:15 PM EST (register here). 

Professor Alice Martin Thomas is a tenured associate professor of law at Howard University School of Law where she heads the tax program and teaches federal tax, contracts, and commercial law subjects. She is an inaugural member of the Loretta Argrett ABA Tax Fellowship. She also is a Carnegie Scholar with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and the former Interim Director of the Howard University Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.

Professor Thomas attended Washington University in St. Louis, earning a Double Major in Psychology and Black Studies, and a Minor in Biology.

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February 22, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News | Permalink

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Amy Wax Appeals Sanctions Imposed By Penn Faculty Senate (1-Year Suspension At 50% Pay, Loss Of Chair)

UpdateRobert George (Princeton): "Why would Penn continue to prosecute law professor Amy Wax for speech crimes after the congressional hearings revealed the University's hypocrisy and double standards when it comes to freedom of speech on campus?"

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Philadelphia Inquirer, Penn Hearing Board Recommended Sanctions Against Amy Wax in June, but Her Appeal Means the Process Isn’t Over:

Wax (2023)The case against controversial University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax — who has called into question the academic ability of Black students and said the country would be better off with fewer Asians and less Asian immigration — has gone on for over two years with no public outcome.

But sources close to the investigation confirmed a university hearing board made up of tenured faculty recommended in June that Wax should face sanctions, including a one-year suspension at half pay with benefits intact, but stopped short of calling for her to be fired and stripped of tenure.

The hearing board also recommended: a public reprimand issued by university leadership, the loss of her named chair and summer pay, and a requirement to note in her public appearances that she is not speaking for or as a member of the Penn Carey Law school or Penn, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the matter. ...

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February 21, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ABA Council To Vote On Including JD-Next With LSAT And GRE As Approved Tests For Law School Admissions

Following up on my previous post, ABA Consultant: JD-Next Is Reliable Predictor Of Law School Performance And Can Be Used In Lieu Of LSAT/GRE:  Reuters, Law School Admissions Program JD-Next Seeks ABA's Blessing:

Aspen-jd-nextAlternative law school admissions program JD-Next could soon join the LSAT and the GRE in gaining the American Bar Association’s stamp of approval.

The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is slated Thursday to consider a request by JD-Next’s operator to deem the program a “valid and reliable” predictor of an applicant’s law school grades—a designation that would enable law school admissions offices to use it without special ABA permission, as they do with both the LSAT and GRE.

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February 21, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Students And Alumni Association Sue Golden Gate For Closing Its JD Program

Courthouse News Service, Golden Gate University Sued Over Cancelled JD Program:

Golden Gate Logo (2023)A group of Golden Gate University law students and the university's alumni association filed a lawsuit accusing the university and its president of unlawful business practices that have resulted in the planned discontinuation of Golden Gate's Juris Doctor program.

The students said in a complaint filed Wednesday in California Superior Court in San Francisco that Golden Gate President David Fike caused the closure of the program by taking out $60 million in loans in 2019, committing to what they said were untested online law degree programs while offering free tuitions to all incoming law students in 2022.

Fike, they claim, "knew or should have known that if the university and the law school began operating two new, untested degree programs, at the same time as making these other changes, there was no likelihood that the university would be solvent enough to pay back the loans." ...

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February 20, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, February 19, 2024

Legal Ed News Roundup

Colorado Settles Discrimination And Retaliation Lawsuit By Paying Senior Tenured Law Prof $60,000 Plus $100,000 Attorney's Fees

Update:  Brian Leiter, Paul Campos, University of Colorado Settle Lawsuit

Following up on my previous post, Senior Tenured Law Prof Sues University Of Colorado Alleging Pay Discrimination And Retaliation:  Inside Higher Ed, U of Colorado Settles Professor’s Retaliation Suit:

Colorado Logo (2021)The University of Colorado at Boulder has settled a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit that one of its law professors filed against it.

In June, Paul Campos sued the university and Lolita Buckner Inniss, the law school’s dean, in federal court. Campos alleged he was paid less than his white colleagues because he’s Latino, that he received a low rating from his department in 2021 for taking paternity leave and that the university retaliated against him for complaining. ...

A Boulder spokeswoman provided a settlement agreement, signed by Campos Saturday and the university Monday, in which the university denies wrongdoing. It says the university will pay $160,000. Of that, $60,000 will go to Campos and $100,000 to the law firm that represented him.

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February 19, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Toledo Law Students File ABA Complaint Over 4-Week Delay In Disclosing Misgrading Of 85% Of Legal Ethics Exam Grades

Toledo Blade, UT Law School Admits Large-Scale Grade Error for Ethics Class:

Toledo LogoUniversity of Toledo College of Law students have filed a complaint with the American Bar Association after they were informed of a grading mistake that made some students believe they had failed a class they actually passed.

Approximately 80 percent of the students in the fall 2023 legal ethics class received the wrong grade, students were told in an email from the interim dean about four weeks after grades were initially posted.

The error and a long delay in correcting it, as well as the lack of transparency on what happened, have upset the students who feel the university has failed to be candid with students, some of whom had already started retaking the class.

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February 19, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, February 18, 2024

New ABA Accreditation Standard Is A Step Forward For Free Speech At Law Schools

David Lat (Bloomberg Law), New ABA Rule Is a Step Forward for Free Speech at Law Schools:

ABA (2023)When it comes to free speech and intellectual diversity, US law schools continue to face challenges. On Jan. 23, the Law School Student Senate at Columbia Law School voted to deny official recognition to Law Students Against Antisemitism, or LSAA, a student group seeking to “raise awareness and educate about both historical and contemporary antisemitism.”

Nine organizations requested official recognition from the Senate this year, and Law Students Against Antisemitism was the first to get rejected. Why? According to a letter from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, or FIRE, to the Student Senate president, the rejection appeared to rest on objections to LSAA’s definition of antisemitism, which some pro-Palestine students opposed. It therefore was, in the words of professor Steven Lubet of Northwestern Law, “a blatant case of viewpoint discrimination.”

Columbia Law’s Student Senate later reversed itself and recognized LSAA. But the fact the reversal was even necessary—and didn’t happen until after the decision was widely criticized and FIRE intervened—reflects an ongoing free-speech problem in US law schools. (According to the Columbia Law School Senate Executive Board, the initial rejection of LSAA was based primarily on a problematic provision in the LSAA constitution pertaining to the removal of board members, not the constitution’s definition of antisemitism—and once this issue was addressed, LSAA was approved.)

This free-speech problem attracted notice of the American Bar Association, the leading accreditation body for law schools—and the ABA took action. On Feb. 5, the ABA House of Delegates passed a resolution adopting Standard 208, “Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression.”

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February 18, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Former Penn President Shatters Record For Highest-Paid College President: $22,866,127

Chronicle  of Higher Education, 2021’s Top-Paid Private-College President Received a Record Payout:

The former president of the University of Pennsylvania was the highest-paid leader of a private college in 2021, according to The Chronicle’s annual analysis of executive compensation at private nonprofit institutions. It is the highest payout documented since 2008, when The Chronicle began collecting data on such compensation.

Private College President Salaries

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

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Impact Of Department Of Education's Delayed Processing Of FAFSA Forms On Law Schools And Applicants

LSAC, FAFSA Delay Update:

Department of Education LogoThe Department of Education has announced a delay in processing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It plans to send schools FAFSA data for individual students beginning in mid-March. This extraordinary delay is approximately five months behind a typical year’s schedule, so it will impact both students and schools.

What This Means for Law Schools

  • Schools require the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This includes Federal Direct Loans and Federal Grad PLUS Loans.
  • This nationwide challenge is affecting all undergraduate and graduate programs, so the financial aid offices will be balancing their efforts across student populations, including law.
  • School computer systems require updates and testing before they are ready to issue financial aid offers. Once the first batches of FAFSA data are received, it will likely be several weeks before the first financial aid offers are provided to students.

What This Means for Law School Applicants

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February 15, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Generative AI Already Is Making An Impact On Legal Research And Writing

ABA Journal, Generative AI Already Is Making an Impact on Legal Research and Writing:

Open AI ChatGPTLawyers who expect generative artificial intelligence to significantly impact the practice of law see some of the greatest potential in legal research and writing.

In August, a LexisNexis Legal & Professional study of nearly 8,000 lawyers, law students and consumers in the United States and three other countries found 65% of these professionals believe generative AI tools could assist them in researching matters. Meanwhile, 56% believe the tools could help them draft documents.

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February 14, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education | Permalink

After Three Years As Colorado College President, L. Song Richardson Will Return To UC-Irvine Law School In June

Colorado College, Message from the President and Board of Trustees about College Leadership:

L. Song Richardson (2024)Dear CC Community,
I write today to share a decision I have made about my future with the college. Following careful contemplation and with the deepest respect for this extraordinary place and its future, I have decided to return to my role as a professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and to launch an Institute focused on equity, opportunity, and leadership.

Words cannot express how difficult it is to choose to leave this beautiful and vital college community. My legal and academic career has focused on the pursuit of equity and fairness. As our national dialogue about these topics continues to intensify, I find myself increasingly torn between my desire to pursue that work as an academic with the freedom to fully engage in these debates, express my personal views, and challenge the status quo, and my responsibilities to CC as president. I have concluded that I must follow the moral obligation I feel to engage in these deeply challenging conversations as a law professor, scholar, and director of an Institute. I have informed Board Chair Jeff Keller and the Board of Trustees of my decision to step down effective June 30, 2024, and return to my faculty appointment at UC Irvine. I am grateful to the board for their understanding.

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Judge Sets September 30th Trial Date For Donna Adelson; Prosecutors: No Plea Deal

Tallahassee Democrat, Judge Sets Trial Date for Donna Adelson in 2014 Murder of Dan Markel:

Adelson (Donna Mug Shot 2)A trial date has been set for Donna Adelson, who’s accused of first-degree murder in the 2014 killing of her former son-in-law, Dan Markel.

On Monday, Leon Circuit Judge Stephen Everett set a start date of Sept. 30 for the high-profile murder trial. Jury selection will kick off that day, with opening arguments likely later in the week. ...

Everett set a status hearing on Donna Adelson’s trial for the week of July 22. She is represented by Dan Rashbaum, a Miami lawyer who defended her son at trial, and Tallahassee lawyer Alex Morris, both of whom attended Monday’s proceeding in person.

Court TV, Prosecutors: No Plea Deal for Donna Adelson

At a court hearing setting Donna Adelson‘s upcoming trial date, prosecutors told a judge that they had no plans to offer her any kind of plea agreement.

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February 13, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

These Four Law School Graduates Had Their Student Loan Balances Forgiven Under The Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

ABA Journal, These Public Service Loan Forgiveness Applicants Have Seen Their Student Debt Erased:

ABA JournalRenting apartments for years. Going without reliable transportation. Wanting to save for your child’s college education, but having to confront the reality that doing so was financially out of the question because your law school debt payment was more than a car note—or sometimes a mortgage bill.

Many public service attorneys, not unlike millions of Americans who attended college in pursuit of economic mobility, have been in that situation. They graduated and began paying down six-figure loans, but in some cases they were unable to pay daily expenses without going into forbearance. Often, they had an overwhelming feeling that massive student loan debt would travel through life with them.

But many of those attorneys got relief in the past year, thanks to recent changes to the federal government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. ... President Joe Biden’s administration made some changes to the program on the heels of a pandemic-related federal student loan payment pause that ended in September 2023. The plan included temporary and permanent changes that extended PSLF to more borrowers. Here are some of their stories.

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February 13, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Calabresi: What Conservative Law Professors Have In Common With Donald Trump

Steven Calabresi (Northwestern), Donald Trump is the Victim of Selective Prosecution:

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that "A selective prosecution claim is not a defense on the merits to the criminal charge itself, but an independent assertion that the prosecutor has brought the charge for reasons forbidden by the Constitution." United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456 (1996). The defendant must prove that "the *** prosecution policy 'had a discriminatory effect and that it was motivated by a discriminatory purpose.'" Tyler v. Boles, 368 U.S. 448 (1962).

Among the discriminatory purposes, which are barred by the selective prosecution doctrine are discrimination involving the Equal Protection Clause and on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, or political alignment. I think Donald Trump is absolutely right on the merits in the four criminal cases which have been brought against him and in the New York State civil fraud case. But, I also think that all five of these legal actions against Trump are nothing less than a political witch hunt that is motivated by political ambition in the two cases brought respectively by New York State Attorney General Letitia James and by District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump's First Amendment rights are being stripped away by discriminatory legal actions brought against him because of his political views in flagrant violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. ...

In my 34 years as a law professor, I have repeatedly seen the rules in legal academia bent dramatically to favor liberals over conservatives. I thus identify with what Trump is going through in terms of selective prosecution.

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February 13, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, February 12, 2024

Legal Ed News Roundup

Two-Thirds Through Fall 2024 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Up +4.3%, With Smallest Increase In White Males

We are now 67% of the way through Fall 2024 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is up 4.2% compared to last year at this time:

LSAC 1-5

90 of the 196 law schools are experiencing a decrease in applications. Applications are down -10% or more at 45 law schools:

LSAC 2-5

Applicants are up the most in Other (+16.9%), Mountain West (+12.0%), and Far West (+4.5%); and are down only in the Midwest (-0.8%): 

LSAC 3-5

Applicants' LSAT scores are down -2.3% in the 170-180 band, up +3.4% in the 160-169 band, up + 3.9% in the 150-159 band, and up 3.9% in the 120-149 band:

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

The Only Higher Ed Employee To Give $1,000 Or More To Trump's 2024 Campaign: A Tax Professor

The Center Square, Of All The Professors in the Country, One Guy in South Dakota Stood Up for Trump:

EischenErich Eischen is unique.

According to Federal Election Commission data, he is the only person who lists his employer as a college or university in the United States who made a contribution of $1,000 or more to Donald Trump's presidential campaign so far in the 2024 election cycle.

Such donors are a dime a dozen for President Joe Biden. There are 289, in fact, according to the FEC, Biden has more higher ed support at the University of California alone, than Trump has in the whole country. And Biden's support comes from schools that will tell you they are the most prestigious—Cornell, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, Penn, NYU, Georgetown and on and on.

Where does Trump's single big dollar contribution come from? A Dakota State University tax and accounting instructor. According to the school's website, he teaches introductory tax and accounting classes as well as more advanced courses. ...

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

Vermont Law Professor Dies After Suffering Medical Event While Teaching Class

White River Valley Herald, Vermont Law and Graduate School Professor Remembered Fondly

Jones Vermont 3A professor at Vermont Law and Graduate School in South Royalton is being remembered for his dedication to his work in the energy and environment fields as well as to his students.

Kevin Jones, who joined VLGS in 2010 and was the director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment at the college, suffered a medical event while teaching a class and died.

Rod Smolla (President, Vermont), Honoring Dr. Kevin B. Jones:

With deep sadness, I share the tragic news that Dr. Kevin B. Jones, beloved professor and director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment, passed away unexpectedly earlier this week.

Seeking solutions to Vermont's, America's, and the world's energy and environmental policy challenges was the focus of Kevin's career. Before joining VLGS in 2010, he was at the center of the electric power industry transformation in the Northeast as the director of power market policy for the Long Island Power Authority and as the director of energy policy for the City of New York.

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February 12, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries | Permalink

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Catholic Law Prof Blog Mirror Of Justice Celebrates Its 20-Year Anniversary

Mirror of Justice, a Catholic legal thought blog run by Rick Garnett (Notre Dame) and 21 (!) co-editors, celebrated its 20-year anniversary earlier this month. From the inaugural post:

Mirror of JusticeWelcome to Mirror of Justice, a group blog created by a group of Catholic law professors interested in discovering how our Catholic perspective can inform our understanding of the law. Indeed, we ask whether the great wealth of the Catholic intellectual and moral tradition offers a basis for creating a distinctive Catholic legal theory- one distinct from both secular and other religious legal theories. Can Catholic moral theology, Catholic Social Thought and the Catholic natural law tradition offer insights that are both critical and constructive, and which can contribute to the dialogue within both the legal academy and the broader polity? In particular, we ask whether the profoundly counter-cultural elements in Catholicism offer a basis for rethinking the nature of law in our society. The phrase "Mirror of Justice" is one of the traditional appellations of Our Lady, and thus a fitting inspiration for this effort.

A few things about this blog and us:

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February 11, 2024 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

WSJ: You Don’t Have To Be A Jerk To Succeed In Law And Life

Following up on my previous post, A No-Jerks Rule Can Make Your Business (And Law School) Thrive:  Wall Street Journal Saturday Essay, You Don’t Have to Be a Jerk to Succeed, by Yascha Mounk (Johns Hopkins; Google Scholar; Author, The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time (2023)):

The JerkThe message sent by popular culture is clear: If you want to get ahead, you’d better be a jerk.

Take one of the most celebrated shows of the moment: “Succession,” which just won the Emmy for best television drama for the third year in a row. In the series, everyone is a jerk to everyone else all of the time. ...

Everyone who has ever worked in an office knows the type: The go-getter who is desperate to rise through the ranks and is perfectly willing to act like a complete jerk to do so. He—and, yes, it usually is a he—constantly talks up his own accomplishments. He belittles his colleagues. Perhaps he even refuses certain tasks that are assigned to him because he considers them to be below his true level of talent or seniority or qualification.

The office jerk’s core assumption—whether conscious or unconscious—is very simple: A lot of powerful people are jerks. I want to be powerful. So I should act like a jerk. But is the assumption that being a jerk will make you successful actually true? ...

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February 11, 2024 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, February 10, 2024

White Student's Discrimination Case Against Howard Law School Survives

Reuters, White Student's Discrimination Case Against Howard Law School Survives:

Howard Logo (2022)A white law student who was expelled from Howard University School of Law — a historically Black institution — may pursue his discrimination lawsuit against the school, albeit on narrow grounds, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Judge Trevor McFadden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the bulk of plaintiff Michael Newman’s claims against Howard Law and various administrators but allowed limited claims of defamation, breach of contract and race discrimination related to his scholarship to move forward.

Newman, who is representing himself, sued the law school in January 2023, alleging that he was subjected to racist abuse and wrongfully expelled from the school in 2022 after clashing repeatedly with classmates and administrators — often over his comments they deemed inflammatory or offensive.

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

Tax Panel At Today's ClassCrits XIV Conference At Southwestern

Tax panel at today's ClassCrits XIV Conference at Southwestern on Demanding Justice in the Face of Retrenchment: Finding Common Ground and Building Coalition Across Borders (program): 

Demanding Justice in the Face of Retrenchment GraphicTax Law and Policy and Its Implications

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February 10, 2024 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, February 9, 2024

Yale And Stanford Law Schools Move 2L Virtual Job Interviews To June, Yale and Stanford Law Schools Move Virtual Interviews to June:

Yale StanfordYale and Stanford Law Schools have moved up virtual recruiting to June this year, ahead of the formal on-campus interviews (OCI) that are held in late summer, to better align the hiring timeline.

SLS announced in late January that this year’s 2L Virtual OCI program will take place June 27-28 and July 1-2, according to the school’s announcement. The school says the decision was made following discussions with stakeholders, partners and students.

One reason the school provided is that the amount of hiring firms were doing in late June through mid-July was increasingly more significant, and that in anticipation of even more early recruiting in 2024, there were no guarantees that they would still have spots available by late July/early August.

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February 9, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Judge Tosses $1.7 Billion Lawsuit Challenging Removal Of Hastings’ Name From S.F. Law School

San Francisco Chronicle, Judge Tosses Potential $1.7B Lawsuit Challenging Removal of Hastings’ Name From S.F. Law School:

UC Law SF (2024)A judge found that an 1878 California law saying the state’s law school in San Francisco “shall forever be known” as Hastings College of the Law was not a binding contract, but simply an ordinary statute that future lawmakers were free to amend or repeal.

That means the state did not violate a binding promise to Serranus Hastings by changing the school’s name last year to the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco, Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer said Tuesday. The change was based on evidence that Hastings had ordered troops to slaughter thousands of Native Americans in the 1860s. The suit by Hastings’ descendants sought $1.7 billion in damages and interest.

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February 8, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Law Prof Presses Male Sex-Bias Allegations In New Suit After Federal Judge Tosses His Title IX Claim

Following up on my previous post, District Court Rejects White Male Law Prof's Gender Bias Suit Against University Of Denver:  ABA Journal, Law Prof Presses Male Sex-Bias Allegations in New Suit After Federal Judge Tosses His Title IX Claim:

SchottA professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law has filed a new lawsuit against the school stemming from a former associate dean’s alleged comments in 2016 that she didn’t want to see white men teaching anymore in the trial advocacy program that he headed.

Law professor David Schott alleges in his Feb. 2 suit that he notified the law school dean of the alleged comments by Viva Moffat, the associate dean of academic affairs. In the years that followed, he was subjected to a “steady barrage of adverse actions and false statements,” the suit contends.

The adverse actions culminated with the law school’s failure to renew Schott’s seven-year contract, which should have taken effect in the 2020-2021 school year. As a result, the suit says, Schott was relegated “to the status of an at-will employee and [deprived] of the procedural protections to which he would be entitled as a member of DU’s long-term contract faculty.”

Schott alleges breach of contract, defamation, gross negligence, violations of Colorado wage law and sex-based wage discrimination under the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.

Schott filed the suit in state court in Denver less than a month after a federal judge tossed his prior suit alleging that his teaching contract was not renewed because he is a man.

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February 8, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

FAMU Law Dean, Who Resigned Suddenly, Calls University's Behavior 'Abusive'

Following up on Monday's post, FAMU Law School Dean Resigns As Bar Exam Pass Rates Keep Falling:, FAMU Law Dean, Who Resigned Suddenly, Calls School's Behavior 'Abusive':

KellerDeidré A. Keller, who suddenly resigned from her deanship at Florida A&M University College of Law on Jan. 31, said the vision for the law school no longer resonated with her vision for sustained success and that “steadily escalating unreasonable demands” made doing her work “impossible.”

“At this juncture, it is clear that the University’s vision for the College of Law no longer resonates with my vision for sustained success at the College,” Keller wrote in her resignation letter she emailed to Allyson Leggett Watson, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, which the Tallahassee Democrat released on Tuesday. “My efforts to strengthen the College’s student body, its relationship with the bar, bench, surrounding community, its alumni and the University have recently been met with behavior on the part of the University that can only be properly characterized as abusive.”

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February 7, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Columbia Law Student Senate Denies Approval Of Students Against Antisemitism Group; Yale Law Students Protest IDF Soldier On Campus

Columbia Spectator, Law School Student Senate Denies Approval of Law Students Against Antisemitism Group:

The Law School Student Senate voted to deny official recognition of the proposed Law Students Against Antisemitism group on Jan. 23 in an anonymous vote of approximately 33 senators. Law School students proposed the group to “raise awareness and educate about both historical and contemporary antisemitism,” according to its constitution.

“It is rare that a club doesn’t gain approval, and I am disappointed by the signal that this sends to many in our Jewish community,” Student Senate President Justin Onwenu, Law ’24, wrote in a statement to Spectator. “I am hoping that the club will resubmit and consensus can be reached because combatting hate, including antisemitism, is one of the most pressing issues of our time.”

Nine organizations have requested recognition this year, and Law Students Against Antisemitism is the only group that has not been approved, according to a senator who spoke to Spectator on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of professional repercussions.

Washington Free Beacon, Yale Law School Students Protest Presence of IDF Soldier on Campus:

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February 7, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

ABA Approves Several Accreditation Standards Changes

ABA Journal, Free Speech and Academic Freedom Standards Will Now Be Part of ABA Accreditation Process:

ABA (2023)[T]he House [yesterday adopted] three other resolutions from the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar as part of the consent calendar:

  • Resolution 301, which eliminates the minimum and maximum time frames to complete a JD degree and codifies a limited priority enrollment policy giving JD students priority enrollment over non-JD students in certain essential courses.
  • Resolution 302, which nixes the requirement for law libraries to have a physical collection and specifies that the law library director’s law faculty appointment has security of position “reasonably similar” to tenure.
  • Resolution 303, which aligns ABA standards with U.S. Department of Education guidance and regulations regarding additional locations, institutional mergers and distance education.

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February 6, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ABA Gives Final Approval To Law School Free Speech Accreditation Standard

Following up on my previous post, ABA Council Unanimously Votes To Send Law School Free Speech Accreditation Standard To House Of Delegates For Final Approval In February (Nov. 20, 2023):  ABA Journal, Free Speech and Academic Freedom Standards Will Now Be Part of ABA Accreditation Process:

ABA (2023)Law schools will now be asked to explicitly protect free speech rights for faculty, students and staff as part of the ABA accreditation process. ... The ABA House of Delegates on Monday voted [Resolution 300] in favor of the creation of the law school standards regarding academic freedom and freedom of expression at its midyear meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. ...

The proposal follows protests that disrupted conservative speakers at Stanford Law School and Yale Law School and continuing tensions on campuses since Hamas attacked Israel last fall. Standard 208, however, forbids disruptive activities that hinder free expression or impede law school activities.

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February 6, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Kerr: Why Fewer SCOTUS Clerks Become Law Professors

Orin Kerr (UC-Berkeley; Google Scholar), Thoughts on the Declining Numbers of SCOTUS Clerks Becoming Law Professors:

From 1940 to 1990, about one third of Supreme Court law clerks became law professors.  But in recent years, Brian Leiter and Jeff Gordon note, that percentage has dropped considerably.  Sarah Lawsky has some numbers of clerks entering legal academia in the last decade or so that Brian recently posted:

Lawsky 2

Even if Sarah is missing some former clerks in her numbers, that's a noticeable drop. What explains the trend?  Over in the comments to Brian's post, Professor Dan Epps has a suggestion that I think explains a lot: The increasing separateness of the law clerk and law professor track. ...

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February 6, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, February 5, 2024

Legal Ed News Roundup

Harvard Is Fourth Law School To Go Tuition-Free For Students In Need, Joining Yale, Stanford, And WashU

Harvard Law News, Harvard Law School Announces New Opportunity Fund — a Tuition-Free Initiative For Highest Need Students:

Harvard Law School Logo (2021)Harvard Law School today announced the launch of the Opportunity Fund, a new financial aid initiative that will enable some of our J.D. students with the highest financial need to attend tuition-free for all three years.

“Harvard Law School has long worked to make legal education more accessible and to enable our students to pursue the career paths that are most meaningful to them, whether that’s in the public or private sector,” said Harvard Law Dean John F. Manning ’85. “Opportunity Fund scholarships for our students with the highest levels of need will continue to advance that commitment. We are grateful to our generous alumni and friends whose support enables us to launch this important new program.”

The new program will expand the school’s robust financial aid program even further, enabling its highest need students to receive additional support and for some to attend tuition-free. Harvard Law’s Student Financial Services Office will determine program eligibility based on a comprehensive review of a student’s circumstances including factors such as the family’s income and their assets, and the student’s income and assets. Though this approach seeks to identify students from the least advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds by looking beyond merely family taxable income, it is expected that many who qualify will come from families who have income at or below two times the federal poverty line. The new financial aid initiative will begin with the current incoming J.D. class, the Class of 2027.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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February 5, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

FAMU Law School Dean Resigns As Bar Exam Pass Rates Keep Falling

Tallahassee Democrat, FAMU Law School Dean Resigns as Bar Exam Passage Rates Keep Trending Downward:

FAMU Law School (2024)Deidré Keller, dean of Florida A&M University’s College of Law, has resigned amid the school’s long trend of worsening bar exam passage rates.

Until an interim dean is appointed, the College of Law’s Associate Provost for Academic Programs Cecil Howard — who just stepped into that role a few weeks ago — will “assume the reins of leadership,” according to the university.

“The FAMU College of Law remains committed to its historical legacy of excellence and looks forward to making a lasting impact on the legal society both now and in the future,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Allyson Watson said in a prepared statement. “The success of our students, faculty and staff remains our highest priority.”

Keller stepped down Wednesday after serving as dean for nearly four years. She will remain on the law school's faculty. ...

Historically Black college and university law schools are enduring a multi-year trend of decreasing bar exam passage rates. At the FAMU College of Law, 25 of 60 test-takers passed last July (41.7%), making the school the lowest-performing law school in Florida on the bar exam. ...

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February 5, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink