Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Pepperdine Caruso Law Hosts 'A Conversation On Race' Today

Pepperdine Caruso Law hosts A Conversation on Race today with Black members of our Board of Advisors and Dean's Council at 3:00 p.m. ET/noon PT:

BOA DC Conversation on Race

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July 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

L.A. Times Editorial: California Supreme Court And Bar Should Grant Diploma Privilege To 9,000 Recent Law School Graduates

Los Angeles Times editorial, Coronavirus Has Made It Unsafe to Take the California bar. So Put New Lawyers to Work Without It:

California State Bar (2014)The state Supreme Court, the State Bar of California and about 9,000 recent law school graduates find themselves in a jam. It is almost the traditional time for the July bar exam, the annual hazing ritual that determines whether students have wasted three years of their lives or, instead, will be licensed and begin their legal careers.

But we’re in the midst of a pandemic. There’s no way those thousands of prospective attorneys are going to be jammed into convention centers and hotel ballrooms around the state for two days of test-taking in close quarters, with face masks or without. The exam has been scrapped, so what now? Every option would heap additional headaches on the legal and testing industries and additional hardships on law graduates.

Delayed exams mean additional months in which trained lawyers can’t practice their profession, can’t earn their living and can’t begin paying back the student loans that many have amassed. Online exams pose a host of technical problems and, depending on how and when they are administered, call into question the validity of the results. October exams mean scoring won’t be completed until mid-January — too late for unsuccessful applicants to study effectively for the February do-over.

The best of the bad options is to grant provisional licenses to members of the class of 2020 right away, without tests, and allow them to practice their new profession and earn their living under the supervision of lawyers who were licensed in the old-fashioned way. Their licenses would be valid until they could take an online bar exam in October or the traditional in-person exam next year, or whenever it can next be safely administered. ...

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July 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Petition Demands That Florida State Attorney Charge Charlie And Donna Adelson In Dan Markel's Murder

Tallahassee Democrat, Petition Urges State Attorney to Charge Adelsons in Dan Markel Murder:

AdelsonsA petition urging State Attorney Jack Campbell to bring murder charges against the former in-laws of slain Florida State Law professor Dan Markel quickly gathered signatures when it was released Monday.

By [this] morning, more than [700] people had lent their signatures to the petition from Justice for Dan, a group advocating justice for Markel started by his friend, attorney and former law professor Jason Solomon.

The petition calls for charges to be brought against the family members of Markel’s ex-wife who prosecutors contend are the masterminds behind his July 2014 murder-for-hire. ...

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July 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Predictive Test Scores And Diploma Privilege

Michael Abramowicz (George Washington), Predictive Test Scores and Diploma Privilege:

The International Baccalaureate program, which credentials high-school students who take college-level classes, canceled exams this year because of COVID-19. But that did not stop the program from granting exam grades. Exam grades were given based on a predictive algorithm. According to Wired, "The system used signals including a student's grades on assignments and grades from past grads at their school to predict what they would have scored had the pandemic not prevented in-person tests."

Unsurprisingly, this is controversial. And without the precise formula or algorithm that the program used to calculate grades, it is difficult to assess. But the core idea makes a lot of sense: Measure students with a system of decentralized grades, then normalize the grades from different schools or teachers based on how predictive those grades have been of some other performance measure. At least, this seems like a reasonable approach if it is impossible to give the test and we still need to distinguish students. Use the best information available, including historical data.

Indeed, it would be an improvement over current practice if U.S. News and World Report normalized students' grades in this way. How would this work? In effect, a predicted LSAT score would be calculated based on one's GPA, given the GPA distribution and LSAT distribution at one's undergraduate school. So, if one received a 75th percentile GPA, that would be translated into a 75th percentile LSAT score for the same school. With enough data, the prediction might be based on GPA across majors, to account for tougher grading in some departments than others. A student would receive an actual LSAT score too, but this approach would make comparisons of GPAs across schools much more meaningful. ...

If such a system can be used to normalize high school grades and college grades, such a system could also be used for law school grades to determine whether students can be admitted to the bar.

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July 14, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why This Pandemic Is A Good Time To Stop Forcing Prospective Lawyers To Take Bar Exams

Washington Post op-ed:  Why This Pandemic Is a Good Time to Stop Forcing Prospective Lawyers to Take Bar Exams, by Donna Saadati-Soto (J.D. 2020, Harvard), Pilar Margarita Hernández Escontrías (J.D. 2020, UC-Irvine), Alyssa Leader (J.D. 2020, North Carolina) & Emily Croucher (UC-Irvine):

Twice a year, in July and February, thousands of hopeful lawyers-to-be file into crowded convention centers across the country. After three years of law school and two months of grueling, devoted preparation, we face what we’ve been anticipating since the beginning of our legal education: the bar exam.

The exam is equal parts a standardized test and hazing ritual. We are told the exam exists to weed out potential lawyers who are unfit for practice. Despite little to no empirical evidence that the exam accomplishes this goal, we are told that the exam protects the public. But this summer, in the midst of a global pandemic, that claim feels more dubious than ever.

Across the country, state Supreme Courts and boards of bar examiners have been reluctant to make changes to the legal licensing process to accommodate the challenges of covid-19. In some states, students will still be expected to crowd together by the thousands, sitting for two days of exams with only the protection of a mask and a few feet of distance. Other states have delayed exams, forcing some graduates to put off the jobs they relied upon to begin paying off their student loans. Others have moved exams online, making scores non-transferrable for those who wish to practice in another state.

Recognizing that covid-19 is expected to increase the need for high-quality, scrappy attorneys ready to serve, we have a different solution: Do away with the bar exam altogether. ...

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July 14, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tennessee Switches From On-Ground To Online Bar Exam, Supreme Court Orders Cancellation of The Fall 2020 Bar Examination And Approves Administration Of Online Examination (July 13, 2020):

Tennessee Bar AssociationThe Tennessee Supreme Court today ordered the cancellation of the Uniform Bar Examination in Tennessee scheduled for September 30-October 1, 2020, citing the current trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although stringent public health and safety protocols were planned for the administration of the examination, the Court decided that the in-person Fall Examination could not be safely administered with reasonable certainty. To mitigate delay and uncertainty,the Court ordered the Board of Law Examiners to administer an online, remotely-proctored alternative Admissions Assessment on October 5-6, 2020, that will be comprised of questions prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”). The Admissions Assessment will be comprised of a Multistate Performance Test item, three Multistate Essay Examination questions, and 100 Multistate Bar Examination questions. ...

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July 14, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Law Of Law School: The Essential Guide For First-Year Law Students

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson (University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law) & Jonathan Yusef Newton (J.D. 2019, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law), The Law of Law School: The Essential Guide for First-Year Law Students (NYU Press 2020):

The Law of Law School“Dear Law Student: Here’s the truth. You belong here.”

Law professor Andrew Ferguson and former student Jonathan Yusef Newton open with this statement of reassurance in The Law of Law School. As all former law students and current lawyers can attest, law school is disorienting, overwhelming, and difficult. Unlike other educational institutions, law school is not set up simply to teach a subject. Instead, the first year of law school is set up to teach a skill set and way of thinking, which you then apply to do the work of lawyering. What most first-year students don’t realize is that law school has a code, an unwritten rulebook of decisions and traditions that must be understood in order to succeed.

The Law of Law School endeavors to distill this common wisdom into one hundred easily digestible rules. From self-care tips such as “Remove the Drama,” to studying tricks like “Prepare for Class like an Appellate Argument,” topics on exams, classroom expectations, outlining, case briefing, professors, and mental health are all broken down into the rules that form the hidden law of law school. If you don’t have a network of lawyers in your family and are unsure of what to expect, Ferguson and Newton offer a forthright guide to navigating the expectations, challenges, and secrets to first-year success. Jonathan Newton was himself such a non-traditional student and now shares his story as a pathway to a meaningful and positive law school experience. This book is perfect for the soon-to-be law school student or the current 1L and speaks to the growing number of first-generation law students in America.

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July 14, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2020-22 ABA Tax Section Public Service Fellows

The 2020-2022 Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship Class:

  • ABA Tax Section (2017)Shailana Dunn-Wall, a graduate of University of Nebraska College of Law, will work with Legal Aid of Nebraska to educate residents throughout Nebraska on the benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit in an effort to increase the percentage of eligible taxpayers who claim the credit by filing a tax return.
  • Terri Morris, a graduate of University of Richmond School of Law, will work with the Community Tax Law Project of Richmond, Virginia, on their Fight Against Financial Abuse project. Through this initiative, Terri will advocate, educate and engage local domestic violence survivors on tax issues surrounding financial abuse.

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July 14, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 13, 2020

Black Students Demand ‘Institutional Change’ At George Washington Law School

GW Hatchet, Black Law Students Launch Petition For ‘Institutional Change’ at Law School:

George Washington Law Logo (2020)The Black Law Students Association launched a petition Tuesday calling for “institutional change” related to diversity, equality and inclusion at GW Law.

The petition includes demands to make changes to the curriculum, increase diversity in academic journals, law clinics, faculty and students and make Juneteenth a holiday on the school’s academic calendar. The petition, which is encouraging all law students at GW to sign in favor of “immediate” change, has garnered more than 800 signatures as of Monday.

The petition calls for officials to update parts of the curriculum by increasing the number of courses offered on the role that race plays in the law. It also requests that officials create a percentage of slots reserved for Black students in a class taught by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, which is typically filled by lottery.

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July 13, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

This Will Be One Of The Worst Months In The History Of Higher Education

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  This Will Be One of the Worst Months in the History of Higher Education, by Robert Kelchen (Seton Hall):

Layoffs, declarations of financial exigency, and closures are imminent. Here’s who’s most at risk.

Summer is usually a period of relative calm for most of American higher education, but this one is different. Faculty members are increasingly indignant about the prospect of being forced back on campus in the fall; administrators are quietly scrambling behind the scenes to do contingency planning. These disruptions are just the beginning. Whether colleges are willing to admit it or not, chaos will be greeting many of them in the coming weeks, and wishful thinking will not be enough to avoid it. ...

Colleges primarily rely on four revenue sources to balance their budgets: tuition, state funding, auxiliary sources such as housing and dining, and endowment and donations. Each of these sources will be affected by a primarily online fall. Colleges that get a large share of their revenue from room and board are at highest risk of facing a budget calamity that could lead to closure.  ...

My plea to college presidents and boards is to announce the inevitable decision to hold most of the fall semester online immediately rather than trying to wait out competitors. This is the right thing to do for everyone in higher education.

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

Law School Applicants Are Up 0.1%, With Biggest Increases Among Southeast, 165-180 LSATs, And Those Who Declined To Reveal Their Ethnicity

We are 99% through the Fall 2020 admissions cycle. The number of law school applicants are up 0.1%%, and the number of LSAT scores are down 1.5%.

Applicants are down the most in the Midwest (-7.1%), Great Lakes (-2.8%), and Midsouth (-1.8%), and up the most in the Southeast (+1.7%) and Northwest (+1.2%):


Applicants' LSAT scores in the 140-164 band are down 3.5% and are up 8.1% in the 165-180 band:


White applicants are down 1.2%; Black/African-American applicants are flat; Hispanic/Latino applicants are up 1.9%; Asian applicants are up 4.0%; Puerto Rican applicants are up 4.5%; applicants who did not reveal their ethnicity are up 5.1%:

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

Several States Push Ahead With In-Person July Bar Exams, Despite COVID-19 Health Risks

ABA Journal, Some States Are Devoted To In-Person July Bar Exams, Despite Health Risks From COVID-19:

CoronavirusAs various states cancel in-person July bar exams because of COVID-19 concerns, others appear undecided or even committed to keeping things as is—even in places experiencing significant infection increases.

Rather than opt for an online exam or temporary diploma privilege, those states are giving test-takers the choice of postponing the exam to protect their health or assuming the risk and taking the exam [e.g., Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina]. ...

However at this point, a remote bar exam can’t offer a portable Uniform Bar Exam score, which is one reason some states hope to keep July in-person exams. The National Conference of Bar Examiners develops and produces the UBE. It will be offering an online exam in October, but it’s not comparable to the UBE and won’t offer a portable score, according to the group’s website.

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

Sunday, July 12, 2020

NY Times And National Tax Association Tributes To Ed Kleinbard

Following up on my previous posts:

New York Times (Jesse Drucker), Edward Kleinbard, Tax Lawyer Turned Reformer, Dies at 68:

Edward Kleinbard, a prominent tax lawyer who helped global corporations find creative ways to cut their taxes before he moved to academia and shined a light on the practices of the types of companies he had once advised, died on June 28 in Los Angeles. He was 68. ...

Mr. Kleinbard’s career cut an unusual arc. He spent more than 30 years as a corporate tax lawyer, helping companies and financial institutions on Wall Street and elsewhere cut their tax bills. He then devoted the last decade to the cause of raising taxes, as a means of combating inequality and poverty. As a member of the law school faculty at the University of Southern California, he used his insider’s expertise to show in particular how multinational companies avoid taxes.

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July 12, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tenured Black Law Professor Alleges More Mistreatment In Amended Title VII Complaint

Following up on my previous post, Tenured Professor Files Gender, Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Idaho Law School, Former Dean:  ABA Journal, University of Idaho Law Prof Alleges More Mistreatment in an Amended Title VII Complaint:

SandersA year after suing the University of Idaho for civil rights violations, Shaakirrah Sanders, the law school’s first Black full professor, filed an amended complaint earlier this week with some new allegations.

For instance, she stated that the dean had recorded a culture and climate campus forum she moderated without anyone’s consent, and after she complained about it, the school gave her a poor yearly evaluation. ...

When the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho lawsuit was first filed in June 2019, it alleged Sanders was twice passed over for associate dean positions, required to teach more than the standard 12 credit hours per semester and removed from the courses in her area of academic research, including constitutional law.

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July 12, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Vermont Law School To Paint Over Mural Celebrating State's Role In The Underground Railroad And Abolitionist Movement Because Depiction Of Blacks 'Made Some People Uncomfortable'

Vermont Law School Art

Valley News, Vermont Law School Mural Viewed As Racist Will Be Painted Over:

Vermont Law School plans to paint over a mural in its student center that highlights Vermont’s role in the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement after members of the law school community objected to its depictions of African Americans and said it made some people uncomfortable.

VLS President and Dean Thomas McHenry said in a schoolwide email this week that students and alumni had raised concerns about the mural in the Chase Community Center, which was painted by Vermont-based artist Sam Kerson in 1993 with the school’s blessing, even winning recognition from The Christian Science Monitor at the time.

“More than twenty-five years ago, the mural was offered to and accepted by the School with the intention of honoring African Americans and abolitionists involved in the Underground Railroad,” McHenry said in his email. “However, the depictions of the African-Americans on the mural are offensive to many in our community and, upon reflection and consultation, we have determined that the mural is not consistent with our School’s commitment to fairness, inclusion, diversity, and social justice. Accordingly, we have decided to paint over the mural.”

The brightly colored mural — “The Underground Railroad, Vermont and the Fugitive Slave” — comprises two 8-by-24-foot panels, with four scenes in each panel, and “celebrates the efforts of black and white Americans in Vermont and throughout the United States to achieve freedom and justice,” Kerson’s website says. ...

Kerson said ... he had not been told of McHenry’s decision, and likened it to the “thuggery” of the destruction of a statue of Douglass last week in Rochester, N.Y. “This is a monument to abolition in Vermont and a description of the people who struggled against slavery, and it is important to our culture,” he said of the mural.

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July 11, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

After Harvard And MIT Sue To Block International Student Visas For Online Courses, Trump Tweet Threatens Tax Exempt Status Of Colleges

New York Times, As Universities Seek to Block Visa Rules, Trump Threatens Tax Status:

Harvard and M.I.T. want a court to protect foreign students taking online classes. After a hearing, President Trump said he was ordering a review of universities’ tax-exempt status.


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July 11, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (7)

Proposed Bill Would Grant Emergency Diploma Privilege In New York

Karen Sloan (, Proposed Bill Would Grant Emergency Diploma Privilege in New York:

NYSBA (2017)An in-person bar exam is scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10 in New York, but new legislation would give candidates the option to bypass the test amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Law graduates who have mobilized to push for an emergency diploma privilege in New York got a boost Monday with the introduction of a bill that would allow them to be licensed to practice without taking the bar exam.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and represents a large swath of downtown Manhattan, introduced the legislation that would create a temporary diploma privilege.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, public health always has to come first. Hosting an in-person bar exam, a massive indoor gathering, poses a significant public health risk,” Hoylman said Tuesday. “Administering the bar exam online puts low-income law students at a disadvantage. And further delaying the bar exam will hurt anyone who simply can’t afford another few months of full-time studying.”

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

Friday, July 10, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

ABA Tax Section Hosts Free CLE Webinar Today On Race And The Internal Revenue Code

The ABA Tax Section hosts a free CLE webinar on Race and the Internal Revenue Code today at 1:00 pm to 2:35 pm ET:

ABA Race And The Tax CoceAs the nation focuses on the many racial inequities that permeate society, this free webinar will explore how the federal tax code, state and local taxes and international taxation impact racial inequality.

The panel will feature a demonstration of a recently released interactive feature that traces IRS Form 1040 line by line to examine the impact of the federal tax code on racial and economic inequality. The panel will further explore the impact of colorblind tax data on social policy. Panelists will also discuss the racial inequities perpetuated through taxable treatment of employment discrimination damages and how race intersects with international tax law and policy.

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July 10, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kentucky Is Fifth State To Recently Switch From On-Ground To Online Bar Exam

Supreme Court Cancels In-Person Bar Exams In 2020 As Precaution During Pandemic, Aannounces Remote Bar Exam Oct. 5-6:

Kentucky Bar AssociationThe Supreme Court of Kentucky has entered amended order 2020-50 canceling the July 28-29 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1 bar examinations due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect the health and safety of bar applicants, employees and volunteers, the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions will administer a remote bar examination offered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners on Oct. 5-6. ...

The Supreme Court also entered amended order 2020-51 revising its temporary rule regarding Supervised Practice of Law Pending Admission. Under the revised order, individuals who applied for the July or September 2020 bar examination and who are now registered for the October remote examination may apply for temporary admission to the Kentucky Bar Association. The temporary admission would be subject to certain conditions, including supervision by a licensed attorney.

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

Virtual Memorial Service Today Celebrating The Life Of Michael Lang (Chapman)

Following up on my previous post, Death Of Mike Lang (Chapman):

Remembering Professor Michael Lang

September 17, 1951 - June 28, 2020


It is with great sadness that we report Chapman University Fowler School of Law Professor Michael Lang passed away on June 28 due to complications from a recent stroke. A faculty member since 2002, Professor Lang was the founding director of the law school’s Tax LL.M. program and taught such courses as Federal Income Taxation, Ethics in Tax Practice, and Corporate Taxation.

Prior to joining Chapman, he taught at nine different law schools over the course of his career, including 19 years at the University of Maine School of Law, where he also served for a time as associate dean for academic affairs. Before entering the legal academy, Professor Lang practiced law at the global law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. He received his B.A. from Harvard University and his JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif.

A virtual memorial service for Professor Lang, hosted by the Fowler School of Law, will be held via Zoom on Friday, July 10 at 10:30 a.m. PDT. We hope you can join us to celebrate his life and career. [You can join me at the virtual memorial service here.]

Update:  Dean Matt Parlow announced at the service that Chapman Law School will honor Mike by awarding each year the Michael Lang Excellence in Scholarship Award.

July 10, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Pennsylvania Is Fourth State To Recently Switch From On-Ground To Online Bar Exam

Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners (July 8, 2020):

PA BarAs you know, we moved the in-person bar exam from the end of this month to the beginning of September with hopes that the course of the COVID-19 pandemic would allow us to administer an in-person exam safely at that later time. The best information from health authorities now compels us to conclude that it is unlikely we could do so. Accordingly, there will be no second in-person Pennsylvania bar exam in 2020. Instead, the Board will administer a remote bar exam on October 5-7, 2020. We know there will be many questions and, in the coming weeks, the Board will post on its website ( details about how the exam will be administered. We can share now certain general information:

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

Law Schools Scramble To Retain Foreign Students Amid ICE Online Education Ban

Karen Sloan (, Law Schools Scramble to Retain Foreign Students Amid ICE Online Education Ban:

Government regulations announced this week will shut out foreign law students who are taking classes online this fall—a move experts say is intended to pressure colleges and universities to return to campus. ...

Virtually every corner of higher education has been roiled in recent days by the unexpected changes to ICE’s Student Exchange Visitor Program, and law school administrators are similarly grappling with how best to accommodate their international students. They are also concerned that the new regulations will further depress the number of foreign students who want to enroll at a U.S. law school in the fall. ...

ICE regulations limit the number of online credits that those here on international student visas may take, but the agency lifted that limit for the spring and summer semesters due to the COVID-19 pandemic—when virtually every college and university moved to online classes. Under the changes announced Monday, international students in fully online programs will have to leave the country or transfer to schools offering in-person or hybrid classes. Moreover, if schools offering a hybrid of online and in-person classes this fall are forced to move fully online due to changing public health conditions, international law students would have to return to their home countries mid-semester. ...

Some international students who intended to take all their fall classes online for health reasons will now be forced to take at least one class in person in order to remain in the country. ... Some international students who intended to take all their fall classes online for health reasons will now be forced to take at least one class in person in order to remain in the country.

New York Times, Trump Visa Rules Seen as Way to Pressure Colleges on Reopening:

International students will be required to take at least one in-person class to keep their visas, at a time when many universities are prioritizing online instruction.

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July 9, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

UNH Law School Faculty Votes To Drop Franklin Pierce Name

Following up on my previous post, UNH Franklin Pierce Law School May Drop Name Of 14th U.S. President (1853-57) Because He Did Not End Slavery:  Concord Monitor, Law Faculty Vote For Removal of Pierce Name:

UNH FP (2020)The faculty of the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law have voted to support the removal of “Franklin Pierce” from the law school’s name.

This comes less than a month after UNH announced it would evaluate the name, in light of concerns raised by students about racism at the school and Franklin Pierce’s ties to slavery.

On Monday, faculty members released a statement saying President Pierce’s reputation as a pro-slavery Northerner was counter to the school’s commitment to racial justice.

“While he may have been a product of his time, he is not a historical figure worthy of the honor of having New Hampshire’s only law school, part of the state’s flagship public university, named after him,” the statement reads.

Not all faculty are in agreement. Dean Megan Carpenter says that of 25 full-time law school faculty, twelve supported the resolution, six voted against it, one abstained, and six didn’t vote.

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July 9, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

USC Law School Shifts From In-Person/Hybrid To Predominantly Online Teaching In Fall 2020

Letter From USC Dean Andrew Guzman To Students (July 8, 2020):

USC LogoFirst and foremost, I hope that you and your loved ones continue to be safe and well. As we all grapple with the challenges of the novel coronavirus pandemic, I hope that you are finding ways to stay positive and spend time with those you care about. I am writing today to share with you the news that, after careful consideration and broad consultation, the law school will be moving to an online teaching model for the fall semester. In nearly all cases, students will take their classes in an online format with the key exception being considerations for international students, who may be affected by new visa requirements.

For more than two months, numerous departments across the law school have been working to develop a fall 2020 schedule that would balance the critical public health needs presented by the global pandemic and the strong preference students expressed for in-person instruction. Our work has been guided by several central principles. These include: providing a high-quality legal education while taking seriously the public health guidance from experts; ensuring that any student who wants a fully online experience can have that option; and permitting faculty who express health and safety concerns with in-person instruction to teach remotely.

At every point in the process, we have been attentive to the fact that as the circumstances and conditions around us change, we have to adapt appropriately. From the start, we were aware that a multi-modal teaching approach carried with it the risk that it may prove impermissible or impractical. Despite the tremendous progress that we made in crafting an approach that incorporates in-person, online, and hybrid modalities, the time has come for us to change course and move toward online instruction.

In the short time since my last message on July 2, several important factors have changed. Cases of COVID-19 in California and in Los Angeles continue to increase at alarming rates, as reported widely in the news. In reaction to these serious public health developments, additional faculty members have concluded that they do not feel comfortable teaching in person and have requested to do all their teaching remotely. We have seen a similar reaction from students, with a growing number of students informing us that they plan to take all of their courses online.

Over the last few days, the risks of in-person and hybrid formats have all grown, while the benefits have shrunk. These growing risks and stressors include:

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

NY Times: Colleges Plan To Reopen Campuses, But For Just Some Students At A Time

New York Times, Colleges Plan to Reopen Campuses, but for Just Some Students at a Time:

With the coronavirus still raging and the fall semester approaching, colleges and universities are telling large segments of their student populations to stay home. Those who are allowed on campus, they say, will be living in a world where parties are banned, where everyone is frequently tested for the coronavirus and — perhaps most draconian of all — where students attend many if not all their courses remotely, from their dorm rooms.

In order to achieve social distancing, many colleges are saying they will allow only 40 to 60 percent of their students to return to campus and live in the college residence halls at any one time, often divided by class year.

Stanford has said freshmen and sophomores will be on campus when classes start in the fall, while juniors and seniors study remotely from home. Harvard announced on Monday that it will mainly be first-year students and some students in special circumstances who will be there in the fall; in the spring, freshmen will leave and it will be seniors’ turn.

At the same time, very few colleges are offering tuition discounts, even for those students being forced to take classes from home.

Professors, students and parents all seem to be conflicted over how these plans will work out. ...

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

Recent Law Grads Call On California To Scrap Bar Exam

Following up on Sunday's post, California Law School Deans Report On July 2 Meeting With State Supreme Court And Bar:  Bloomberg Law, Recent Law Grads Call On California Trustees to Scrap Bar Exam:

California State Bar (2014)Those signed up to take the California bar exam are growing increasingly concerned about state officials’ indecisiveness regarding when and if the bar exam should be administered in 2020, given the public health concerns over Covid-19.

California officials are weighing a variety of possible scenarios, including a possible online exam to be given in September instead of the originally scheduled dates later this month. They’re also considering other options that could allow recent law school graduates the ability to practice law without taking an exam, either provisionally or permanently.

Dozens of recent law school grads addressed the California Bar’s Board of Trustees during a three-hour Zoom meeting July 7, during which many expressed strong feelings about what they considered to be an overly costly bar exam preparation process that discriminates against poorer students and, disproportionately, puts test takers of color at a disadvantage.

Some callers grew emotional as they talked about the stresses of having to pay for exam prep courses while waiting for their delayed careers to begin.

Stanford Daily, Uncertainty and Delays Plague California Bar Examination:

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

Journal Of Legal Education Publishes New Issue

Journal of Legal Education (2018)The Journal of Legal Education has published Vol. 68, No. 3 (Spring 2019):

From The Editors

  • Jeremy Paul (Northeastern), Margaret Y.K. Woo (Northeastern) & Hemanth Gundavaram (Northeastern), From the Editors, 68 J. Legal Educ. 505 (2019)


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July 8, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (7)

A Dozen Legal Ed Entities Snagged PPP Loans, Including AALS And LSAC

Karen Sloan (, A Dozen Legal Education Entities Snagged PPP Loans, Including LSAT Maker:

Several major legal education organizations and 10 stand-alone law schools received forgivable emergency loans of $150,000 or more from the Small Business Administration, newly released data show.

The Law School Admission Council received the largest loan among legal education entities, listed between $5 million and $10 million. ... Council president Kellye Testy said Tuesday that it had received a $5.3 million loan. . ... The Association of American Law Schools, of which nearly every American Bar Association-accredited law school is a member, also received a loan of $350,000 to $1 million, according to the data. Association spokesman James Greif said Tuesday that actual loan amount was $400,000.

The bulk of the PPP loans went to stand-alone law schools. ...

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July 8, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

ABA Clears Way For Syracuse Law School's Expansion Of Its Online JDinteractive Program

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA Clears the Way for Syracuse University College of Law’s Expansion of its Online JDinteractive Program:

Syracuse 3The American Bar Association has granted Syracuse University College of Law permission to expand its innovative online law degree program. JDinteractive (JDi) is a fully interactive program that combines live online class sessions with self-paced class sessions, residential courses, and applied learning experiences. ...

In February 2018, the ABA granted a variance to the College of Law to allow JDi enrollment of up to 65 students per academic year. 

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

International Students Banned From Online-Only Instruction

Inside Higher Ed, International Students Banned From Online-Only Instruction:

New guidance for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has stoked anger and confusion from studentsfaculty and immigration advocates.

The new temporary final rule, issued Monday afternoon, prohibits international students from returning to or remaining in the United States this fall if the colleges they attend adopt online-only instruction models amid the pandemic.

A growing number of colleges — including Harvard University — have announced that they will reopen their campuses in the fall but conduct classes online. Even with campuses open, international students will be prohibited from studying in the United States under the rule.

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July 7, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Pepperdine Caruso Law Receives $1 Million Gift For Dispute Resolution, The Seventh $1 Million+ Gift Over The Past Three Years Totaling Over $75 Million

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law Announces $1 Million Gift From the Honorable Daniel Weinstein (Ret.):

Weinstein Gift 2The Honorable Daniel Weinstein (Ret.) has made a generous $1 million gift to the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law. The gift will be used to strengthen the academic program and global reputation of the Straus Institute, which has been ranked as the #1 dispute resolution program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 13 of the past 16 years.

The gift will endow the managing director position at the Straus Institute, previously held by professor of law Peter Robinson (2005–17) and held since 2017 by associate professor of law and practice Sukhsimranjit Singh. As the inaugural Judge Danny Weinstein Managing Director, Professor Singh will continue his leadership of the Straus Institute in the training of arbitrators, mediators, negotiators, problem solvers, and peacemakers whose skills have never been more needed in our conflict-ridden country and world.

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

79% Of Faculty Vote To Strip Robert E. Lee's Name From Washington & Lee University

Following up on my earlier posts:

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington and Lee Faculty Vote to Change the University's Name:

Washington & Lee (2020)Washington and Lee University faculty passed a motion to remove Robert E. Lee from the name of the small liberal arts college in Lexington.

The motion — the first time for W&L faculty to make such a recommendation — will be sent to the board of trustees.

W&L President Will Dudley called a special meeting to discuss the motion at the request of the faculty affairs committee. More than 260 faculty members attended the virtual meeting late Monday afternoon and 79% of them voted for the motion.

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July 7, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Florida A&M Law School Reverses Plan For Hybrid Fall Semester, Shifts To 100% Online, FAMU College of Law Reverses Reopening Plans, Stays Remote For Fall:

FAMU Logo (2020)Students will attend classes remotely at the Florida A&M University College of Law during the fall, a change Monday from its original plan.

The law school had planned to follow a hybrid model with some classes taught in the classroom and others taught online. But with a recent recommendation made to College of Law Dean Deidré Keller by the College of Law Reopening Task Force, classes will stay remote when students return Aug. 10.

“While we recognize that this is a shift in direction, we have made this decision because we believe it is in the best interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Keller, who began her tenure as dean and law professor on July 1.

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

Monday, July 6, 2020

NY Times: Colleges Face Rising Revolt By Professors Over Teaching On Campus In The Fall

New York Times, Colleges Face Rising Revolt by Professors:

College students across the country have been warned that campus life will look drastically different in the fall, with temperature checks at academic buildings, masks in half-empty lecture halls and maybe no football games.

What they might not expect: a lack of professors in the classroom.

Thousands of instructors at American colleges and universities have told administrators in recent days that they are unwilling to resume in-person classes because of the pandemic. ...

Faculty members at institutions including Penn State, the University of Illinois, Notre Dame and the State University of New York have signed petitions complaining that they are not being consulted and are being pushed back into classrooms too fast. ...

Many professors are calling for a sweeping no-questions-asked policy for those who want to teach remotely, saying that anything less is a violation of their privacy and their family’s privacy. But many universities are turning to their human resources departments to make decisions case by case.

New York Times Economic View:  College Is Worth It, but Campus Isn’t, by Susan Dynarski (Michigan):

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July 6, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Texas Is Third State In A Week To Switch From On-Ground To Online Bar Exam

Following up on last week's posts:

Texas Supreme Court Order (July 3, 2020):

The Supreme Court of Texas has issued an order to:

  • Cancel the July 2020 in-person Texas Bar Exam.
  • Administer an in-person Texas Bar Exam as scheduled for September 9-10, 2020, subject to guidance from public health authorities.
  • Administer an on-line Texas Bar Exam on October 5-6, 2020.

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

Pepperdine Caruso Law Names Inaugural Assistant Dean Of Student Life, Diversity, And Belonging

Pepperdine Caruso Law Announces Appointment of Chalak Richards (JD '12) as Assistant Dean of Student Life, Diversity, and Belonging:

Pepperdine Caruso Law is proud to announce changes to its leadership team effective today, July 1. 

ChalakChalak Richards, who served as Assistant Dean of Career Development from 2018–2020, has been named as the first Assistant Dean of Student Life, Diversity, and Belonging. Established in early 2020, the office of the assistant dean of student life, diversity, and belonging has three overarching goals: to create a community where all are welcomed and recognize they belong, to care for the well-being of each individual student, and to oversee the full student life experience. In her new role, Richards will develop programs to create a community that values and celebrates diversity and work on strategic initiatives and policies that strengthen diversity at all levels - student, faculty, and staff.

Richards will also lead initiatives to care for each student by coordinating faculty, peer, and alumni mentorship and by providing mental health and spiritual life support. She will also oversee student life events and student clubs to ensure that students have rich and meaningful community experiences.

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July 6, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Sunday, July 5, 2020

July 2020 Bar Exam Chaos: 50 States, 14 Different Approaches

National Conference of Bar Examiners, July 2020 Bar Exam Status by Jurisdiction (as of July 2, 2020):


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

California Law School Deans Report On July 2 Meeting With State Supreme Court And Bar

Letter Deans Chemerinsky (UC-Berkeley), Faigman (UC-Hastings), Jennifer Mnookin (UCLA) & Song Richardson (UC Irvine) to the Class of 2020:

California State Bar (2014)We know that many of you are interested in the Zoom meeting that the California law school deans had this morning with members of the California Supreme Court and representatives from the California State Bar. Here is a brief high-level summary of that meeting.  We thought it made sense to share this jointly, as we were the four deans who represented the ABA deans on the call.

Three members of the Court joined the call, Justices Cuellar, Groban and Liu. The Chief Justice’s senior attorney was also in attendance.  An assortment of senior leaders from the State Bar and its consultants also joined the conversation.

The call began with Bar representatives outlining the exam choices they were confronting and their experience with the on-line version of the “Baby Bar,” administered last week. That bar was taken by around 280 candidates and the experience, it appears, was indeterminate.

Much of the early discussion from the State Bar folks focused on the choice between a September and October exam, with the decided recognition that a September in-person exam was almost certainly impossible.  The strong sense of the early part of the meeting was that the State Bar was fairly set on the October date, though latter parts of the meeting seemed to belie that conclusion. Moreover, it was strongly intimated that a no-exam pathway was not being seriously contemplated by the Bar. But, again, this sentiment may not have been shared by the Justices, who later said that they were keeping open minds about the best path forward.

As many of you know, the deans of all of the ABA law schools coordinated our message to the Court and Bar, and four of us acted as spokespersons for the group. 

As a number of you have asked for further detail, the four of us are compiling our remarks in a single document and should be able to send that to you later today.

In short, the four of us, on behalf of all of our ABA colleagues, advocated strongly for an emergency diploma privilege for 2020 candidates for the California Bar. The current unprecedented times demand unprecedented and courageous solutions. COVID-19 has created a climate involving multiple crises, including physical health, mental health, and financial health. Multiplying the anxiety and despair of these crises, the nation is confronting and must find solutions to the systemic racism and deep inequalities endemic in our society. At this unparalleled moment in history, even using the traditional bar exam as a point of departure feels like an affront.

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July 5, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Illinois Provides Temporary Practice License For New Law School Graduates

Illinois Supreme Court, Supreme Court Temporarily Amends Rule to Allow New Law School Graduates To Work at Private Firms:

Illimois Bar AssociationChief Justice Anne M. Burke and the Illinois Supreme Court announced today the amendment of Rule 711(g), which will temporarily expand the class of employers eligible to supervise new law school graduates to include private law firms and other for-profit entities.

The Illinois Supreme Court order temporarily amending Rule 711 to add paragraph (g) can be found here and the Application for Authorization to Perform Legal Services under Illinois Supreme Court Rules 711(g) is available here.

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

Saturday, July 4, 2020

July 4th And Hamilton

Hamilton FlagFollowing up on yesterday's post, Hamilton At Pepperdine And On Disney+: my wife and I watched the film version of Hamilton last night. Although we have seen the play several times, we found the film absolutely mesmerizing. The intimacy provides a close-up perspective on the actors and the choreography that is unavailable from even the best seats in a theater.

I was also struck by the film's propitious release the day before the July 4th holiday. As COVID-19 and the killing of George Floyd tear at the fabric of our country, Hamilton provides a timely challenge to all of us to think anew about the "American experiment" (Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)).

The Los Angeles Times review, From Broadway to Disney+, Hamilton Speaks Brilliantly to a Time of Fear and Protest, wonderfully captures this sentiment:

Disney, which acquired the film earlier this year, had originally planned an October 2021 theatrical release. But when theaters closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it decided to make “Hamilton” available for streaming on Disney+ more than a year early — just in time for a July 4 holiday under quarantine and, less expectedly, for our latest convulsive nationwide referendum on systemic racism and authoritarian violence. It’s hard to imagine a more receptive backdrop for a drama that ingeniously recasts the Founding Fathers as people of color, placing America’s oft-repeated “nation of immigrants” rhetoric into the most literal terms imaginable. Nor can I think of a better moment for a musical that reminds us anew that the language of hip-hop is a language of protest.

None of which is meant to suggest that this is “the film we need right now” or to burden “Hamilton” with messianic claims that the show — a celebration of a once-unsung hero and a pointed reminder of the limitations of heroism — would never make for itself. Reviewing the touring production at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in 2017, my Times colleague Charles McNulty noted that “its embodiment of pluralism and diversity will touch anyone who longs to see America live up to its ideals,” and the same holds true of this filmed version. Miranda’s rap-sodic historical epic may not save the soul of a battered republic, but its consolations are real, its pleasures revivifying, its emotional force galvanic. Arriving at a moment of intensifying darkness, it shines a light that is both warm and persistent.

Members of our Pepperdine Caruso Law community tease me (good-naturedly, I think) about how I mention Hamilton and quote or play a clip in most speeches I give. I do so in part because, like Michelle Obama, I think Hamilton is the single greatest work of art in any form that I have seen in my life. But more than that, I think Hamilton is transcendent, brilliantly challenging us to seriously think about our human endeavor, both as individuals and as citizens.

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July 4, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (3)

Who Gets To Teach Remotely? Who Decides?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Who Gets to Teach Remotely? The Decisions Are Getting Personal:

CoronavirusFaculty input is one thing. Individual exemptions are another.

Early promises made by administrators to listen to faculty input are now making way for actual rulings on faculty requests. And like everything else during the coronavirus pandemic, the process is complicated and the results vary from institution to institution.

Federal agencies have issued some guidance on how employment protections apply during the pandemic, including for people who don’t have high-risk health conditions but are in regular contact with those who do.

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

Friday, July 3, 2020

Hamilton At Pepperdine And On Disney+

Hamilton 2

To celebrate today's release of Hamilton on Disney+, Pepperdine Caruso Law hosted a zoom webinar with Federal District Judge Charles Eskridge ('90) on the historical context of all 46 songs in the musical. Charles previously gave the talk to a full house in 2018 at Pepperdine Caruso Law, and over 75 alums and students joined us online for the reprise on Wednesday.

The movie version of Hamilton looks spectacular:

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

Thursday, July 2, 2020

It Is Safer For Cornell And Other Schools To Reopen Than To Go Online

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why Cornell Will Reopen in the Fall, by Michael Kotlikoff (Provost, Cornell) & Martha Pollack (President, Cornell):

CornellColleges and universities in the U.S. face a difficult choice in the coming weeks. Some have decided that closing their campuses and offering online classes is the safest option. For others, the safer and more responsible alternative may be to allow students to return while putting in place a comprehensive virus-screening program that minimizes the risk of transmission. Contingent on New York state’s approval, we will be opening Cornell for residential instruction this fall.

Consider two scenarios. University A decides to reopen. For the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, it institutes a screening program to identify asymptomatic students infected with the novel coronavirus and prevent them from spreading it by repeated testing and isolation. The school also monitors symptoms daily, restricts group sizes, modifies classrooms and dorms, secures extensive quarantine capacity, restricts travel, and imposes requirements for masks and social distancing.

University B decides that this is too risky and chooses to play it safe. The school doesn’t reopen for residential instruction this fall and opts instead to teach all courses online. It takes cautious steps to open for selected professional or graduate programs and research efforts, but doesn’t implement the complex process of screening thousands of undergraduates and modifying the learning environment for social distancing.

Surprisingly, epidemiological modeling done by a group led by Cornell Prof. Peter Frazier [COVID-19 Mathematical Modeling for Cornell’s Fall Semester] suggests that despite playing it safe, sometime during the fall University B may well experience markedly worse health outcomes in its community, while University A will have more effectively safeguarded public health.

For many universities, closing the campus to undergraduates is probably not the safest option—notwithstanding concerns that college students may not adhere to public-health guidelines. That’s because at many colleges, students will gather on and around campuses whether classes are held in person or online. ...

As universities like Cornell make difficult decisions about the fall semester, it’s important to consider the risks of not reopening alongside the risks of opening. Epidemiological modeling suggests, perhaps counterintuitively, that if a university is prepared to put in place a comprehensive virus screening program followed up with supportive quarantine and isolation—in addition to other effective public health measures—reopening may be the more responsible option.

COVID-19 Mathematical Modeling for Cornell’s Fall Semester:

Initial modeling results suggest that a combination of contact tracing, asymptomatic surveillance, and low initial prevalence (supported through testing students prior to, and upon, returning to campus) can achieve meaningful control over outbreaks on Cornell’s Ithaca campus in the fall semester if  symptomatic surveillance is sufficiently frequent and if we have sufficient quarantine capacity. This would dovetail with a complementary effort at Cornell to reduce transmissions through housing policy, class organization, and regulations on social gatherings.

Cornell 1

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

Rodriguez: On-Ground/Hybrid Approaches Are Doomed To Fail; Law Schools Should Go Entirely Online In Fall 2020

Karen Sloan (, Online or In Person? Law Schools Diverge in Fall Semester Plans:

At least five law schools have unveiled plans for fully online classes in the fall, even though the majority of schools are hoping to offer a mix of in-person and online coursework amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following up on my previous post, How To Teach A Hybrid Law School Class:  Dan Rodriguez (Northwestern), Nonsense and Sensibility: Hybrid Is Not the Answer:

Debbie Merritt is one of our most thoughtful, rigorous legal educators, and someone who always puts students first in her thinking about legal education and its (dis)contents.  Here is what she had to say on Facebook about this predicament from the vantage point of her own law school:

I listened today to a presentation on how our university will hold on-campus classes this fall. The on-campus venture is beginning to sound like the Ptolemaic model of the universe, with eccentricities and epicycles continuously added to address all the problems. First we decide to hold classes in super-sized rooms so that students can sit 6 feet apart. Then we require everyone to wear masks. Then we reduce the number of people in the building each day by having some classes alternate between in-person and online. Then we tell everyone to leave the building asap after class--no socializing in the hallways or other public spaces. I think it's time to realize that on-campus classes will not be the center of our universe this fall. We need to embrace a model in which online classes are at the center, with careful prep by professors over the next two months. Let students use their in-person time to be with friends and family, meet in study groups (1Ls), hold part-time jobs or externships (UL), and carry on their lives. What do they really gain from sitting masked in a classroom, separated from other students, and listening to a professor whose voice is muffled by a mask?

And also this in a follow-up comment:

Students, of course, are asking for tuition discounts given the compromised nature of this on-campus education. Universities, naturally, are rejecting that. Ironically, I think we would be in a better position tuition-wise if we said, "We are moving most of our fall classes online and the dean has directed faculty to spend the rest of the summer preparing first-rate online classes rather than conducting research. You can be confident that all of your tuition money is going towards maintaining a first-class legal education. We are also adding additional resources to externships and career services because we know those experiences and prospects are vital to students.

This is an honest reflection on a difficult issue, and I endorse it entirely. Prof. Merritt speaks simultaneously to the dilemma (and, potentially, the disaster) of reopening live and also the understandable angst of students who wonder "why exactly are we expected to pay 100% tuition for this experience?"

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July 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Florida And Massachusetts Switch From On-Ground To Online Bar Exams

NCBE, Bar Update (July 1, 2020):

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners, with the approval of the Supreme Court of Florida, announced in a July 1 press release that the in-person July administration of the exam is canceled. The Board will instead administer an online exam on August 18 consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions and three essay questions. For the August exam only, applicants will not be required to take the MBE.

On July 1, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners announced that a remotely administered exam for admission to the Massachusetts bar will be offered in lieu of the UBE on October 5-6.

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

UC-Hastings Law School Goes 100% Online In Fall 2020

David Faigman (Dean, UC-Hastings), Classes Remain Online for Fall 2020:

UC-Hastings Logo 3I hope this message finds you well. As I am sure you are aware, the trajectory of the pandemic is of increasing concern, statewide and nationally. And I know that you, like many across the globe, are feeling the impacts in your personal and professional lives. In light of this, I write to share important news about the coming fall semester.

In order to protect the health and safety of all community members and to allow students, staff, and faculty to plan in the face of uncertainty, I have made two decisions:

  1. We will move all classes online in the Fall 2020 (“F20”) term; and
  2. We will have an on-campus presence this fall, with socially-distanced in-person engagements including community events, social activities, faculty office hours, and study opportunities, as soon as San Francisco Department of Public Health (“Public Health”) guidelines permit.

Fall 2020 Online Classes
In May, I asked Academic Dean Morris Ratner to work with faculty to create a hybrid curriculum for our incoming 1L students and to schedule a mix of online, in-person, and hybrid options for upper-division, MSL, and LLM students. Our faculty and staff have committed an enormous amount of time and energy since the start of the pandemic to creating hybrid instructional models, and we stand ready to pivot to that modality when we can. My decision not to do so for F20 did not hinge on our readiness or capability to offer hybrid options. Rather, we simply do not have enough information at this time to be confident that we can provide a safe in-person or hybrid course experience when classes resume in August. Furthermore, I believe it is likely that Public Health guidance will require us to be online for all or part of the semester. By making our decision now, before course registration starts, students, staff, and faculty will be better able to plan for the fall. Under this model, all classes will be equally available to students regardless of their ability to come to campus.

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

The Only Question For Law School Reopenings: How Do You Ask a Person To Be The Last Person To Die For A Mistake?

William H. Widen (Miami), The Only Question for Law School Re-Openings: How Do You Ask a Person To Be the Last Person to Die For a Mistake?:

CoronavirusThat is the question American law school deans and their supervisors must consider as the fall term approaches. I pose this question to advocate for law schools to teach fully online in fall 2020 because a law school might take a conservative approach in the short term without serious jeopardy to their academic mission. ...

Administrators should strategically reduce overall campus population density by teaching law online because law adapts well to distance learning. ...

Law school management must prepare to answer this question if they open classes in-person, despite reservations about safety, or the efficacy of social distancing measures. Harvard Law School and UC Berkeley Law School led with decisions to cancel in-person instruction for fall 2020. Other schools have taken notice and are in various stages of deciding the way forward, including hybrid learning approaches that mix in-person and online instruction, also designed to minimize risk, as an alternative to the risk mitigation strategy advocated for here. UC Irvine just announced a hybrid approach—all online for upper-division, with a choice given to incoming 1L students.

For 1L courses, a large classroom with active discussion is common—but not strictly necessary. Conventional wisdom suggests that a failure to hold in-person classes will result in a dramatic decline in first-year law school enrollment and, thus, tuition revenue. Financial ruin follows because law students will only pay for the in-person Socratic experience. Economics drives the decision to take the risk to open with in-person classes. The brunt of the risk is borne not only by students but also by faculty and staff—groups situated below the pay grade of the administrators sending them into harm’s way.

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July 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

L.A. Times Farewell To Ed Kleinbard (USC)

Following up on Monday's post, Death Of Ed Kleinbard (USC):  Los Angeles Times (Michael Hiltzik), Farewell to USC’s Ed Kleinbard, 68, a Peerless Champion of the Public Interest

Kleinbard (2015)A couple of things set Ed Kleinbard apart from the army of tax experts who spend their hours delving into the minutiae of tax law.

For one thing, he was smarter than most of the others. But more important, having developed his store of knowledge at an elite corporate law firm and then as a top congressional advisor, he chose to deploy it in the public interest — as a professor of law at USC, as a widely-read commentator on tax policy and as the author of an indispensable book on how to make fiscal policy function for the betterment of American life.

Kleinbard died Monday at 68, following a long battle with cancer. He had been my guide through the thickets of tax policy since I first profiled him in 2014 and a source for dozens of columns since then. He was always gracious, lucid and amusing when I pestered him for his insights, even during his bouts with illness toward the end. His passing will be profoundly felt by his family, his colleagues, my readers and a world that is immeasurably poorer for the loss.

Let’s learn why.

We can begin with his career trajectory. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1976, he moved into corporate law, rising to a partnership at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. In 2007 he jumped to the public sector as chief of staff to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, then joined USC’s Gould School of Law in 2009.

“Only people who are practicing law at a very high level know exactly how corporations do things like move income around to minimize taxes and the other tax games major corporations play,” says Kleinbard’s friend, cycling companion and USC Law colleague Gregory Keating. “And most of the people who have that kind of knowledge are working with the companies. Ed had that expertise and was committed to coming up with solutions as an academic and a policy person that were public-spirited and public-minded.”

Coupled with that was an engaging persona that his colleagues remembered as “funny, loyal, passionate, and acerbic,” as Daniel N. Shaviro of NYU Law School put it in a valedictory on the TaxProf blog.

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July 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)