Paul L. Caron
Dean




Monday, January 25, 2021

Push For Greater Diversity At Law School With Only Four Black Students And One Black Professor

Vancouver Sun, Black Law Students Push For Increased Diversity at UBC Law School:

Allard (2017)Rebecca Barclay Nguinambaye always had a keen interest in social justice — and she was lucky enough to have the family support and mentorship that made a career in law seem possible.

“It’s not the reality for many students,” Nguinambaye said at UBC’s Peter A. Allard School of Law.

Nguinambaye, one of a handful of Black law scholars among approximately 600 students in Allard’s program, wants to ensure other Black students have access, opportunity and support to pursue careers in law.

The 27-year-old is the co-president (with Dinah Holliday) of the Black Law Students’ Association at Allard, and this year the duo — who make up half of Allard’s four Black law undergrads — is organizing the first Black Pre-Law Conference to invite Black undergraduate students to consider law school.

The BLSA, a national organization founded in 1991, provides community, networking opportunities and advocacy. ...

Allard has one Black tenure-track faculty member, said Nguinambaye.

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January 25, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Halfway Through The Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Cycle: Applicants Are Up 22%, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands

We are now 50% of the way through Fall 2021 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is up 21.8% compared to last year at this time (a 9.3 percentage point drop since December 31, 2020 and a 16.4 percentage point drop since December 20, 2020).

LSAC 1

Applicants are up the most in New England (31.5%), Midwest (29.2%), and Far West (24.5%); and up the least in the Great Lakes (17.5%), Northwest (18.0%), and Midsouth (20.2%):

LSAC 2

Applicants' LSAT scores are up 59.6% in the 170-180 band, 23.2% in the 160-169 band, 10.6% in the 150-159 band, and 8.2% in the 120-149 band:

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January 25, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Lin Wood Wants His $1 Million Donation Back If Mercer Law School Removes His Name From Courtroom

Mercer and Lin Wood

Mercer and Lin Wood 2

Lin Wood Makes $1 Million Commitment To Mercer University School of Law (Feb. 5, 2016):

Mercer University School of Law Dean Daisy Hurst Floyd today announced a $1 million commitment from L. Lin Wood, ’74 CLA and ’77 LAW, which will result in the creation of the L. Lin Wood Fund for the Enhancement of Mercer Law School.

“Lin Wood is a loyal alum who never forgot the role Mercer played in helping him lay a foundation for his future success as a lawyer,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “I am grateful for his investment in the Law School and in the students who will benefit from a Mercer legal education.”

The L. Lin Wood Fund will support and enhance the programs and activities of the Law School. The Law School’s trial courtroom will be named in honor of Wood at a ceremony on Friday, Feb. 26, at 10 a.m.

“Lin has used his legal talent and skills to make a meaningful difference in the lives of his clients and to seek justice, representing the best of the legal profession. His commitment recognizes the importance of a Mercer Law School education and our mission to prepare our students for lives of service and fulfillment as lawyers,” said Floyd.

See William A. Drennan (Southern Illinois), Charitable Naming Rights Transactions: Gifts or Contracts?, 2016 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1267

January 25, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Ted Lasso, Law School Deaning, And The Power Of Forgiveness

During the pandemic, my wife Courtney and I have been watching some feel-good, positive comedies like The Good Place, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Schitt's Creek, and The Unicorn. Our latest is Ted Lasso, which has gotten rave reviews (including Rotten Tomatoes, The New York Times, and The Ringer). 

Jason Sudeikis plays the title character, who after coaching the Wichita State football team to the Division II NCAA championship is hired to manage AFC Richmond, an English Premier League soccer team. Ted knows absolutely nothing about soccer; unbeknownst to Ted, the owner is trying to ruin the team as an act of vengeance against her estranged husband (who left her for a younger woman).

Ted's calling cards are his cheerfulness, honesty, kindness, optimism, sincerity, and compassion for everyone he meets. Unlike Schitt's Creek and similar shows, where mean people move in among nice people and are changed by the experience, Ted Lasso changes the skeptical and downright hostile fans, players, media, and team management through the power of his simple goodness.

When I was a faculty member with zero interest in becoming a dean, I wrote about why then-Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (of Moneyball fame) would make a great law school dean (What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Texas L. Rev. 1483 (2004) (with Rafael Gely (Missouri)). Now, after a unorthodox journey led me to become dean of Pepperdine Caruso Law School nearly four years ago, I think Lasso's relational approach is more important to deaning than Beane's analytics-fueled Moneyball approach. Indeed, at my first AALS dean's conference, Mark Horstman (Co-Founder, Manager Tools) gave the keynote address and emphasized  that of the three sources of a leader's power  — authority, expertise, and relationships — the importance of building relationships is more important than authority and expertise combined.

There is a burgeoning genre of leadership lessons from Ted Lasso (see links at the end of this post). Here are ten lessons for law school deans from Ted Lasso:

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January 24, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Snow In Malibu!

Snow 1

Los Angeles Times, Rare Snowfall in Malibu Results in Flurry of Excitement:

A rare dusting of snow in Malibu on Saturday surprised locals, with some drivers so delighted they pulled over to frolic in the foreign whiteness.

Officer Stephan Brandt of the California Highway Patrol said shortly after 5 p.m. his department received a report of multiple drivers stopping and parking near the Malibu Canyon Tunnel.

“They were playing in the snow,” said Brandt, who advised such activities were “dangerous” and unwise.

On social media, the CHP’s West Valley Division posted messages urging motorists to “stop driving like it’s not raining,” while a later post showed snow along Malibu Canyon Road.

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January 24, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, January 23, 2021

David Kamin (NYU), Other Law Profs Answer President Biden's Call To Public Service

Karen Sloan (Law.com), From Campus to DC: These Law Profs Are Answering Biden's Call:

Kamin (2021)The Biden administration is still in its infancy, but a number of law professors have already joined the new team in Washington, D.C., with more likely on the way. ... Here are some of the professors who have been appointed to posts within the Biden Administration: ...

David Kamin, New York University School of Law—Kamin is taking a public service leave from NYU’s law faculty to become deputy director of the National Economic Council in the White House. Kamin is an expert budget and tax policy and worked in the Obama administration before joining the law school in 2012.

January 23, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, January 22, 2021

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Monday, January 25:  Jonathan Choi (Minnesota) will present Beyond Purposivism in Tax Law virtually in California as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series. If you would like to attend, please contact San Diego Law Events.

Wednesday, January 27: Ari Glogower (Ohio State) will present Taxes By Omission virtually at Toronto as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Angeliki Zacharakis.

Friday, January 29:  David Gamage (Indiana) will present On The Why And How Of Wealth Tax And Accrual Income Tax Reforms virtually at Minnesota today as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Kristin Hickman.

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January 22, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Morgan Lewis Seeks To Cut Tax Ties With Trump

Daily Report, Morgan Lewis Seeking to Cut Ties With Trump:

Morgan LewisWhile a growing number of law firms and businesses have cut ties with former President Donald Trump’s businesses in the wake of the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, the experience of other firms—most notably Morgan, Lewis & Bockius—suggests that attorney-client relationships cannot be undone with the snap of a finger.

A spokesperson for Morgan Lewis indicated Tuesday that it is working to wrap up its long-running tax work for the former president and his companies. ...

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January 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

How Deans Can Find Fulfillment Back On The Faculty After Getting Fired By Their Provost

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  After Administration: The Search for a Professional Niche, by George Justice (Former Dean of Humanities, Arizona State):

The resentment I felt three years ago [What It Felt Like to Lose My Deanship] has morphed, at least somewhat, to bemusement. And what I’ve discovered in the past couple of years — what I want to emphasize to faculty members who have returned (willingly or not) from administrative offices to faculty departments — is that my greatest professional pleasure, and my usefulness, has come from looking in the nooks and crannies of academic life rather than in the major areas of my institution. Taking initiative in my career at Arizona State, on campus and off, has required relinquishing aspiration to formal leadership roles. ...

My advice for others out there making the often-awkward adjustment [Can You Really Restart Your Research After Years in Administration?] to postadministrative [Back to the Classroom After 11 Years in Administration] life: Find particular places — outside of the administrative track you were on — where your previous work experience is relevant and can make a difference. In my own career, I may not be on the university’s Graduate Council, but I can still share my knowledge with graduate students as a guest lecturer in the Graduate College’s “Preparing Future Faculty” course. ...

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January 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Are Colleges Superspreaders?

Inside Higher Ed, Are Colleges Superspreaders?:

Since colleges and universities announced last summer that they would be opening their doors to students, critics have argued that doing so was irresponsible and would lead to infections and deaths in nearby communities.

New peer-reviewed analysis released today in Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering [Are College Campuses Superspreaders? A Data-Driven Modeling Study] suggests that, for some colleges, the link was indeed present.

Superspreader

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January 21, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Death Of David Shakow (Penn) From COVID-19

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Remembering Emeritus Professor of Law David Shakow:

ShakowThe University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School is mourning the death of Emeritus Professor David Shakow, who passed away last weekend.

Shakow joined the Law School faculty in 1982 and took emeritus status in 2000; he taught tax law and related subjects. Shakow collaborated with Alvin L. Snowiss Professor of Law Reed Shuldiner on his most research and scholarship, which examines the viability and effects of the federal estate tax.

“David was an integral part of our faculty for many years,” said Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law Theodore Ruger. “We mourn his passing, and our thoughts go out to his loved ones.”

Shakow was a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, and he received an LLM in taxation from NYU. He served as a clerk to the Honorable William B. Hastie of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, after which he joined the New York law firm of Davis Polk and Wardwell.

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January 21, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

These Law Profs Backed Trump—And Some Got Burned

Karen Sloan (Law.com), These Law Profs Backed Trump—and Some Got Burned:

It’s fair to say that the legal academy as a whole didn’t have many good things to say about Donald Trump’s presidency. Law professors spent the past four years denouncing Trump’s immigration policies, highlighting his ethical lapses, and making the case that he eroded democratic norms. Legal academics were even front and center during Trump’s first impeachment trial, testifying that he had violated the law.

Yet there were a handful of law professors who took a different tack, either publicly backing the former president, offering more quiet support behind the scenes or from their social media accounts, or questioning the legitimacy of the election results.

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January 21, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Is This Law Professor Really A Homicidal Threat?

Following up on my previous post, Controversy At UIC John Marshall Law School Over Use Of 'N_____ And B_____ (Profane Expressions For African Americans And Women)' On Fall Civ Pro Exam:  Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Is This Law Professor Really a Homicidal Threat?, by Andrew Koppelman (Northwestern):

UIC John Marshall (2021)You would expect, given the sanctions that the University of Illinois at Chicago’s John Marshall Law School piled onto Professor Jason Kilborn, that he had done something horribly disgraceful. Disgrace there is in abundance, but it belongs to the school’s administration. Indeed, in this story, Kilborn is the only one who looks good. ...

[See here for a full description of the facts, including (1) Kilborn's use of the phrase “'n____' and 'b____' (profane expressions for African Americans and women)” on his fall Civil Procedure II exam and the uproar it caused among some students; and (2) Kilborn being placed on administrative leave and barred from campus following a determination by the university's threat assessment team and law school dean that he was a "homicidal threat" based on a comment he made in a 4 hour Zoom meeting with a BLSA member.]

Policies of mandatory investigation are warranted when students report threats. But there needs to be an available mechanism of summary dismissal when such reports turn out to be frivolous. John Marshall Law School has two such mechanisms: First, the Behavioral Threat Assessment Teams are charged with determining whether threats are genuine, and, second, the dean has discretion to accept or reject their recommendations. It is hard to believe that Dean Dickerson would have reacted the same way if Kilborn’s exam had not already provoked controversy. The complaints about the exam were apparently not sufficient to trigger the sanctions that might mollify the complaining students. The purported threat, however, offered that opportunity.

Given that this whole incident was occasioned by a “Civil Procedure” exam, it is hard not to remark upon the denial of due process. Kilborn has been given no opportunity to defend himself. When students make unreasonable demands, a school has an obligation to protect its faculty. The law school’s behavior is reminiscent of indiscriminate blacklisting during the McCarthy era.

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January 20, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Harvard Law Students Petition Administration To Denounce Professor Adrian Vermeule's 'Highly Offensive Online Rhetoric'

Following upon my previous post, Four Student Groups Demand That Harvard Discipline Law Prof Adrian Vermeule For Tweets Mocking Leftists:  Harvard Crimson, Harvard Law School Organizations Petition to Denounce Professor Adrian Vermeule’s ‘Highly Offensive’ Online Rhetoric:

Vermeule (2020)Eleven Harvard Law School student organizations have signed a statement calling for administrators to denounce what they characterize as “highly offensive, discriminatory, and violent statements in online posts” by Law School professor Adrian C. Vermeule ’90.

Addressed to five Law School deans, the statement — signed by organizations including the Harvard Parity Project, the Equal Democracy Project, and the Black Law Students Association, among others — describes Vermeule’s digital rhetoric as “harmful to democracy” and “unbelievably divisive,” with a particular emphasis on his recent allegations of election fraud. ...

Nicole M. Rubin, who co-wrote the statement, said she felt motivated to take action after realizing several students felt uncomfortable with what Vermeule posted online. She said many students documented Vermeule’s rhetoric by taking screenshots of his tweets.

From the statement:

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January 20, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

NAACP Receives $40 Million Gift To Pay Tuition For 50 Law Students Who Agree To Do Civil Rights Work In The South For 8 Years After Graduation

Karen Sloan (Law.com), NAACP Legal Defense Fund Will Spend $40 Million to Put Racial Justice-Minded Attorneys Through Law School:

A new scholarship program from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund aims to help establish the next generation of civil rights attorneys by covering the entire cost of law school for 50 law students over the next decade.

Under the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program, announced Monday, recipients will have their full law school tuition covered along with funds for room and board and incidentals. They will also complete summer internships with civil rights lawyers and do a two-year fellowship at a regional or national civil rights organization in the South upon graduation. In return, recipients will commit to spending at least eight years practicing civil rights and racial justice law in the South. The Legal Defense Fund will select up to 10 recipients a year for the next five years, at an estimated cost of $40 million. An anonymous donor has committed to funding the program, according to Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel for the LDF.

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January 19, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

One-Third Of Law Schools Now Accept The GRE For Admissions

Monday, January 18, 2021

MLK's Legacy: Push Past Tweetable Quotes To True Christlike Love

Christianity Today op-ed:  It’s Not Enough to Preach Racial Justice. We Have to Champion Policy Change., by Esau McCaulley (Wheaton; author, Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope (2020)):

Reading While Black 3The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us to push past tweetable quotes and big talk to true Christlike love.

For a black boy growing up in Alabama trying to make sense of himself in a hostile world, Martin Luther King Jr. was my hero. Alongside a startingly pale Jesus, a picture of Martin hung beside photographs of my family. I knew Martin by sight. I could recognize the tenor of his voice.

The mental architecture of my young black imagination was formed by grainy videos of mass church meetings and marches and by the hymns and spirituals that threatened to shake the United States to its foundations. I knew about Selma, Birmingham, and Montgomery before I could find them on a map of my state. I do not remember not remembering Martin.

By contrast, the King that I see online on Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a stranger to me. This beloved figure is in part the construction of a society that never fully loved him or the cause he represented. King died an unpopular man. In 1968, the year of his death, 75 percent of Americans disapproved of his views and activities. That was up from 50 percent in 1963.

Today, his approval rating nears 90 percent. Some might suggest that with hindsight, Americans have come to appreciate King in a way that was impossible during the racist era in which he lived. But things are not that simple. If social media is any indication, a large portion of America still hasn’t wrestled with the King of 1968. ...

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January 18, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Donor Who Made $40 Million Naming Gift Loses Court Battle To Force Law School To Include His Name On All Degrees

Following up on my previous post:  CBC News, Major Donor Loses Fight to Have His Name on All UBC Law School Degrees:

Allard (2017)One of the most prominent donors to the University of British Columbia has lost a lengthy legal fight to have his name printed on every degree given to students who graduate from the law school that's named after him.

Peter A. Allard, a successful lawyer who has been fighting his alma mater on the issue for years, lost his B.C. Supreme Court battle against the university on Thursday. ...

The dispute began shortly after Allard made a historic $30-million donation to UBC in 2014 [in addition to an earlier $10 million gift] on a number of conditions. One of those conditions said degree certificates granted by the Faculty of Law would have Allard's name printed somewhere on the parchment.

But not all degrees from the Peter A. Allard School of Law are granted by the Faculty of Law. Higher level graduate degrees come from a different division: the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. ...

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January 17, 2021 in Legal Ed News | Permalink

Notre Dame Dean Marcus Cole's Statement On The U.S. Capitol Attack

Marcus Cole (Dean, Notre Dame), Statement on the U.S. Capitol Attack:

Cole (2021)Yesterday, I watched in horror as a mob made a terrorist assault on the United States Capitol. As the images unfolded, my son asked me whether I had ever seen anything like this before. I immediately recalled that twenty years ago, 37 Americans on United flight 93 gave their lives to protect that very building — the United States Capitol — from a terrorist attack. I never imagined that the President of the United States would incite a mob to accomplish what those hijackers could not.

In general, I do not think it appropriate for the Dean of a law school to comment on political events. But what happened yesterday was not political; it was a shameful crime. A mob was incited to attack the very thing to which we in this community have devoted our lives, namely, the rule of law. I have resisted commenting on the President’s posture over the last two months, since I fully trusted in our institutions and the rule of law. In the end, I believed, as I still do, that the will of the American people — expressed at the ballot box last November 3rd — will prevail.

I still believe in our American institutions. I still believe in the rule of law. But more than either, I believe in God, and our need for His divine guidance at this moment. Toward that end, I would like to ask each of us to join in prayer. I would like each of us to call upon God in the words of Saint Francis of Assisi:

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January 17, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Controversy At UIC John Marshall Law School Over Use Of 'N_____ And B_____ (Profane Expressions For African Americans And Women)' On Fall Civ Pro Exam

Following up on my previous post, AALS President Darby Dickerson: It's Time To Eliminate Legal Education's Caste System:  Brian Leiter (Chicago), Violation of Academic Freedom at UIC John Marshall Law School:


JMLS 4IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW: PROFESSOR KILBORN WAS NOT SUSPENDED BECAUSE OF THE EXAM QUESTION

Last month, we noted UIC John Marshall Dean Darby Dickerson's suggestion "that law schools should be 'transformed' into 'anti-racist institutions' [as distinct from being non-racist ones that comply with equal opportunity laws]," observing that it "would portend a massive violation of the academic freedom of all faculty (for example)."   Alas, this proved more prophetic than we realized.

Professor Jason Kilborn gave a civil procedure exam last month involving an employment discrimination hypothetical, in which one worker used racist and sexist epithets.   As the petition denouncing Professor Kilborn reports:

The question at-issue contained a racial pejorative summarized as follows: “‘n____’and ‘b____’ (profane expressions for African Americans and women).” The fact pattern involved an employment discrimination case where the call of the question was whether or not the information found was work product.

Just to be clear:   the exam neither used nor mentioned the actual offending words, just the first letters of those words followed by the underline, as quoted above.  Professor Kilborn has actually used variations on this hypothetical, with the n- and b-words (as above), for a decade without any incident! ...

UPDATE (1/15/21):   Professor Kilborn has written to me a bit before 4:30 pm CST as follows:

I’ve just learned my suspension has been a huge failure of communication from the university to me.  While the battle over the exam language continues, it turns out I was actively misled into believing my suspension was related to that language.

On Thursday, January 7, I voluntarily agreed to talk to one of the Black Law Students Association members who had advanced this petition against me.  Around hour 1 or 1.5 of a 4-hour Zoom call that I endured from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm with this young man, he asked me to speculate as to why the dean had not sent me BLSA’s attack letter, and I flippantly responded, “I suspect she’s afraid if I saw the horrible things said about me in that letter I would become homicidal.”  Conversation continued without a hitch for 2.5 or 3 more hours, and we concluded amicably with a promise to talk more later.

He apparently turned around and reported that I was a homicidal threat.  Our university’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Team convened, with no evidence of who I am at all, and recommended to my dean that I be placed on administrative leave and barred from campus.

Kathryn Rubino (Above the Law), Law School N-Word Controversy Is More Complicated Than It Appears At First Glance:

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January 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, January 15, 2021

Biggest Issues Facing College Presidents Due To COVID-19: Student, Staff, And Faculty Mental Health Trumps Enrollment/Financial Concerns

American Council on Education, College and University Presidents Respond to COVID-19: 2020 Fall Term Survey, Part 2 (Part 1 here):

In September 2020, ACE surveyed college and university presidents in order to capture how they are responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19, as well as to better understand both the immediate and long-term effects of the pandemic on higher education more broadly. In this second survey of the fall 2020 term, 268 presidents responded to share their most pressing concerns, how the pandemic has affected their fall enrollment and financial health, plans for the spring 2021 term, efforts to support student, faculty, and staff mental health, and strategies for internationalization. The survey also captures college and university efforts to promote civic engagement and student voting in the last election, as well as presidents’ thoughts on the level of priority the incoming Biden administration should place on some key higher education-related policy topics. What follows is a summary of our key findings.

Presidents


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January 15, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Death Of Rennard Strickland, Native American Law Pioneer And Dean Of Four Law Schools

University of Virginia School of Law Press Release, In Memoriam: Native American Law Pioneer Rennard Strickland:

StricklandRennard Strickland, a pioneer in the movement for Native rights and a legal historian who received two law degrees from the University of Virginia School of Law, died Jan. 5 at the age of 80.

Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Strickland was of Osage and Cherokee heritage. In a career that spanned teaching and leading numerous law schools, he served as dean of four: the University of Tulsa, Southern Illinois University, Oklahoma City University and the University of Oregon. He was most recently senior scholar in residence at the University of Oklahoma Law Center, where he helped introduce Indian Law into the University’s legal curriculum. The author, editor or co-editor of 47 books and 208 essays, book chapters and articles, he was frequently cited by courts and scholars for his work as revision editor-in-chief of “Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law,” considered the authoritative text on the subject.

Obituary: Rennard Strickland (September 16, 1940 - January 5, 2021)

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January 15, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries | Permalink

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Big Law Firms Use AI To Combat Bias In Recruiting Lawyers

American Lawyer, Big Law Firms to Test New Recruiting Tool, Using Tech to Combat Bias:

SuitedSuited, an artificial intelligence-powered recruiting platform with the promise of expanding recruiting pools and eliminating unconscious bias in law firm hiring practices, is set to begin a pilot program that includes Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton; Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders; Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

“We are building a network of top law firms that utilize a single, common assessment tool, providing candidates an efficient way to access this highly competitive industry and show their true potential,” Matt Spencer, Suited co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “We could not be more proud to partner with such an incredible group of firms and to be part of their continued commitments to diversity hiring and efforts to create a positive candidate experience.” ...

In addition to saving time and increasing the number of schools to recruit from, Suited looks to address another element that has stymied law firms for some time: bias in recruiting.

It’s not that law firms actively seek to deliberately limit the diversity of their workforce. But going back to the same schools each year with the same criteria in mind leads to what most firms deal with now: a homogeneity of mostly white males.

 

January 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

97% Of Students Rated In-Person Fall Semester Classes Good To Excellent, As Did 94% Of Students In Online Classes

Inside Higher Ed, Fall Semester Was Not a Wash For All:

Students who learned entirely online during the fall semester said they received a slightly poorer quality of education than those who had in-person instruction, according to a new poll released Tuesday by Gallup, the polling company, and the Lumina Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for equity in postsecondary education.

The poll found that about three-quarters of students over all rated the quality of their education “excellent” or “very good” amid the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic this fall, but this largely positive outcome dropped off somewhat when surveyed students were separated by learning modality. Eighty-five percent of students whose curriculum was “completely” in person said their education quality was “excellent” or “very good,” while 71 percent of those learning “completely” online said the same, a report about the findings said.

IHE

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January 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Law Prof John Eastman Retires From Chapman 'Effective Immediately' Amidst Uproar Over Speaking At Trump Rally Last Wednesday

Los Angeles Times, Chapman Professor Will Retire After Uproar Over His Speaking at Trump Rally:

EastmanCapping days of growing uproar, Chapman University announced Wednesday that a professor who participated in the pro-Trump rally the same day that a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol would retire immediately.

John Eastman, an endowed professor and constitutional law scholar at Chapman, spoke alongside Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani at the “Save America” rally Jan. 6, making the unsubstantiated claim that “secret folders” inside ballot-counting machines skewed both the presidential and Georgia Senate race results in Democrats’ favor.

Chapman President Daniele Struppa said in a statement that the university and Eastman had reached an agreement and Eastman would retire immediately. Both parties agreed not to take any kind of legal action, including over claims of defamation, which Eastman had alleged.

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January 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Is A Pandemic The Right Time To Make Bold Faculty Hiring Moves — At Yale And Elsewhere?

Inside Higher Education, Carpe Diem on Faculty Hiring?:

Yale University LogoYale University says it is doing more hiring this academic year than it planned during the pandemic. But that falls short of the hiring activity that faculty members want to see: in a months-long campaign, they’ve argued that hiring freezes during COVID-19 are not just damaging to Yale but also unnecessary.

Indeed, Yale’s budget has fared relatively well since the university announced a yearlong hiring freeze at the pandemic’s onset. In a financial update this fall, Scott Strobel, provost, and Jack Callahan, a senior vice president, said that results for the fiscal year that ended in June were “better than expected, thanks to the work of faculty and staff across campus who restrained spending” and other factors.

How much better than expected? The pandemic cost Yale more than $250 million in lost revenue and other expenses. Yet the university still ended the fiscal year with an operating budget surplus of $125 million. Yale’s endowment, which contributes to the annual budget, also saw a 6.8 percent investment return.

Universities continue to be loath to tap into their endowments for extra pandemic relief. But a $125 million budget surplus is significant.

Strobel and Callahan said that 89 percent of the surplus is tied up in reserve balances in individual campus accounts, and anything remaining is a “buffer” for the rest of this year. Still, they announced that Yale was “partially lifting” the freeze on faculty recruitment, to the tune of at least 60 new and continuing faculty searches across the professional schools and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

This was good news to many faculty members who vocally opposed any freeze on hiring. Even so, it wasn’t enough: Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate wants the university to be bold, not so cautious.

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January 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Polarizing Election Work, Discrimination Suits May Dent Jones Day's Appeal To Young Lawyers

American Lawyer, Polarizing Election Work, Discrimination Suits May Dent Jones Day's Appeal to Young Lawyers:

Jones DayJones Day’s links to Donald Trump’s presidency had been clear well before the firm was enlisted in the weeks prior to the November election in a fight over the fate of mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day.

After a backlash emerged over willingness to take the litigation, the firm was quick to clarify that its engagement was not with the Trump campaign nor the Republican National Committee, but rather the Pennsylvania Republican Party. It also argued that its work was not an effort to contest the results of the general election, and contended that its legal efforts did not touch on the question of voter fraud. ...

Jones Day’s controversial election work has bubbled up after several years during which the firm’s personnel policies have been the subject of attention thanks to three high-profile lawsuits alleging multiple instances of gender bias at the firm. Jones Day has largely succeeded in the courts—the first accuser dropped her case after the firm returned her capital contributions, and the second set of plaintiffs just abandoned ambitious class action claims Monday—but the reputational impact of the salacious details revealed in litigation documents could be lingering.

Th effect of the election work and lawsuits against the firm may be particularly pronounced with younger lawyers, as they make choices about where to build their careers. Partners may be a different story. ...

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January 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

John Marshall (Atlanta) Law School Converts To 501(c)(3) Status

Following up on my previous post, ABA Takes John Marshall (Atlanta) Off Probation After 70% Enrollment Reduction Increases LSAT Scores Of 1L Class; School To Convert From For-Profit To Non-Profit Status:  Press Release, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Enters 2021 as a 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Law School:

John Marshall (Atlanta) (2016)Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is delighted to start the New Year as a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Law School following its conversion effective January 1, 2021.

The Law School was founded as a nonprofit in 1933, and its recent conversion is a welcome new beginning and homecoming to its original roots. The change in status will not impact its students and will be a seamless transition for its employees. “The process of converting to 501(c)(3) status has been a long time in the making and we see nothing but positive outcomes as a result of our new status. I am extremely excited for the future of the Law School and the enormous potential benefits to our students under the new status change,” said AJMLS’s Dean Jace C. Gatewood.

The Law School will now be operated by Atlanta Law Center, Inc., a Georgia nonprofit corporation doing business as Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

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January 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Anonymous Professor Makes Largest Gift In Rutgers Law School History: $3.5 Million For Public Interest Scholars Named For Former Dean

Press Release, Faculty Member's Gift Will Help High-Achieving Students Attend Law School:

Rutgers (2021)A $3.5 million gift — the largest ever received by Rutgers University–Camden — is launching a new program to attract students to Rutgers Law School in Camden who have distinguished themselves academically and demonstrated a commitment to public service.

The donor of this significant gift is a Rutgers–Camden faculty member who otherwise wishes to remain anonymous. At the donor’s request, the gift creates the Rayman L. Solomon Scholars program at the Camden location of Rutgers Law School in honor of the school’s former dean.

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January 12, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

157 Law Deans Publish Rare Joint Statement On The 2020 Election And Events At The Capitol

I was proud to join 156 of my fellow deans in a rare joint statement. From the press release:

Today, 157 Law School Deans from schools across the country published a statement addressing the 2020 election and the events that took place in the United States Capitol last week. The statement marks a rare occasion. It is unusual for such a diverse group of law deans to come together to speak as one on an issue that falls outside the ambit of legal education.

“The violent attack on the Capitol was an assault on our democracy and the rule of law,” reads the statement. “The effort to disrupt the certification of a free and fair election was a betrayal of the core values that undergird our Constitution. Lives were lost, the seat of our democracy was desecrated, and our country was shamed.”

The joint statement goes on to reflect upon the roles that lawyers played in recent events and affirm the deans’ commitment to working together to repair the damage to democratic institutions and rebuild faith in the rule of law.

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January 12, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

University Of Texas Law School Seeks To Dismiss Sex Discrimination Complaint, Says Linda Mullenix Has 'Bruised Ego'

Following up on my previous post, Linda Mullenix Files Federal Lawsuit Against University Of Texas Law School Alleging Sex Discrimination, Retaliation, And Violation Of Equal Pay Act:  Texas Lawyer, UT Austin Argues for Dismissal, Saying Female Law Professor Has 'Bruised Ego':

MullenixThe University of Texas at Austin argues that law professor Linda Mullenix, who sued for pay discrimination, has a “higher opinion of her work than her colleagues do” and does not have enough evidence the law school retaliated against her.

Much of Mullenix’s retaliation allegations “fall into the category of bruised ego” rather than actionable retaliation, the university claimed. The school argued that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin should, for a second time, dismiss a retaliation claim in the law professor’s sex discrimination lawsuit.

Mullenix has alleged that she’s a distinguished law professor but she was paid more than $134,000 less from 2017 to 2019 than a male law professor with similar teacher evaluations ratings but nearly a decade less experience, fewer publications and fewer honors. She claimed that because she opposed unequal pay practices, the school retaliated by giving her low raises, putting her on insignificant committees and marginalizing her. ...

The university argued in a motion to dismiss that Mullenix has gotten raises consistently and her current salary is more than $337,000.

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January 12, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, January 11, 2021

Appeals Court Explains Decision To Deny Bail For Katherine Magbanua As She Awaits Trial In Dan Markel's Murder

Tallahassee Democrat, Appeals Court Judges Explain Bail Denial For Dan Markel Murder Suspect Katherine Magbanua:

Magnauba (2021)Appeals court judges in Tallahassee on Thursday explained their denial of a request by accused Dan Markel murder suspect Katherine Magbanua to be released on bail.

In a 9-page opinion, 1st District Court of Appeal judges Lori Rowe, Joseph Lewis and Ross Bilbrey bolstered their December decision for Magbanua to continue to be held in the Leon County Detention Facility until trial.

Magbanua has sought several times to be released but her attorneys have been rebuffed by two different circuit judges who say there is enough evidence to hold her until trial. She was already on trial once in Markel's death, but the jury deadlocked. ...

Magbanua, 36, is the only one of three suspects in Markel's July 2014 killing whose case has not been disposed.

WCTV, Katherine Magbanua to Remain Behind Bars, Appeals Court Says:

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January 11, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Thirty Wealthy Colleges And Universities Are Targeted In Covid Relief Act

Inside Higher Ed, Wealthier Colleges and Universities Are Targeted In Covid Relief Bill:

After President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized giving private colleges and universities with large endowments help in the CARES Act, wealthier institutions like Harvard, Yale and Stanford Universities had their share of the money in the latest coronavirus relief package cut in half.

Under a little-noticed provision in the bill passed two weeks ago [The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021], private higher education institutions that were required by a 2017 law to pay a 1.4 percent excise tax on net investment income not only had their aid slashed, they were barred from using the money they will get to defray their financial losses from the pandemic. The relief bill allows them only to use the aid on emergency grants to students or to pay for personal protective equipment and other health and safety costs associated with the coronavirus. Higher education received about $23 billion in the legislation.

The provision affects about 30 private colleges and universities who have to pay the tax because they have at least 500 tuition-paying students and assets of at least $500,000 per student, said Steven Bloom, the American Council on Education’s government relations director. However, that number is constantly changing, particularly during the economic fallout of the pandemic, as the value of the endowments fluctuates over and under the threshold.

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January 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Will Paper Bar Exams Become A Thing Of The Past?

ABA Journal, Will Paper Bar Exams Become a Thing of the Past?:

While there’s significant disagreement on how the bar exam should change, many believe it will, and there’s a wide range of ideas about what should happen.

So far, suggestions for change include breaking the test into smaller segments and administering part of it in law school; replacing essay questions with performance tests; and doing away with the licensing exam entirely. ...

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January 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Dozens Of Kind Deeds Follow Harvard 2L's Suicide On New Year's Eve

Following up on my previous post, Statement Of Congressman Raskin And His Wife On Their Son Tommy, A Harvard 2L, Who Took His Own Life On New Year's Eve:  Washington Post, ‘One Small Act of Compassion in Tommy’s Honor’: Kind Deeds Follow the Death of Rep. Raskin’s Son:

Raskin 3When Thomas “Tommy” Raskin died at 25 years old on New Year’s Eve, he left a farewell message for his family, including his parents, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and his wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin:

“Please forgive me. My illness won today,” Tommy wrote, according to a poignant tribute written by his parents. “Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.”

Although Tommy’s note was intended for his family, the broader community is now heeding his words.

More than 175 people from the D.C. area and beyond have signed up so far to fulfill Tommy’s final wish by doing good deeds, large and small, in his name. People are adding the deeds to a Google document, along with their names and where they live.

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January 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, January 9, 2021

California Bar Exam Pass Rate Is Highest In 12 Years, Due To Lower Cut Score; Supreme Court May Grant Licenses To 2,000 Applicants Who Failed Exams Since July 2015 And Scored 1390 Or Higher

California State Bar (2019)The California State Bar has released the results from the October 2020 online bar exam. The overall pass rate was 60.7%, up 10.6 percentage points from last year's July exam. For California ABA-accredited law schools, the pass rate for first time test-takers was 84%, up 12.7 percentage points from 2019. The was the first exam graded under the new cut score of 1390, reduced from 1440 by the California Supreme Court on July 16, 2020.

State Bar of California Releases Results of October 2020 Bar Exam:

Today the State Bar released results of the October 2020 California Bar Exam and announced that 5,292 people (60.7 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam. If those who passed satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California. The October 2020 General Bar Exam pass rate is the highest in more than a decade, since July 2008.

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January 9, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, January 8, 2021

Students Of Color Are Driving A Spike In Law School Applications

Reuters, Students of Color Are Driving a Spike in Law School Applications:

For many in the U.S., and especially students of color, one answer to the calamities of 2020 has been to apply to law school. Law schools in the U.S. are reporting an unprecedented surge in applicants, with a 33% increase for the fall 2021 cycle compared with the previous year, according to recent figures. The trend among Black applicants is even stronger, with applications up 39%.

There were 31,486 law school applicants in the United States in the year ending Dec. 22, compared with 23,614 the year before, according to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and compiles data on the application and admissions process. LSAC publishes updated applicant data on its web site every day. "I've never seen anything like this," said Andrew Cornblatt, dean of admissions at Georgetown Law School, where applications were up about 60% year-over-year as of December.

Paul Caron, the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law dean and a regular analyst of law school application data, said last week that Pepperdine has seen a 54% increase in applicants for fall 2021, following a record set the previous year. The number of Black applicants has doubled over the previous year, he said.

Cornblatt, Caron and other experts attribute the overall increases and the spike in applications by minority students to several forces, including the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy, the killings by police of George Floyd and other black men in the U.S., the 2020 presidential election, and social media. ...

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January 8, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Muller: Law School-Specific Debt Disparities Between Men And Women

Following up on my previous post, Law Schools With The Best And Worst Debt-To-Income Ratios Among Recent Graduates:  Derek Muller (Iowa), Some Data on Law School-Specific Debt Load Disparities Between Men and Women:

The ever-valuable LSSSE data recently noted that women tend to graduate from law school with higher debt loads than men. The ABA has tracked this, too. On the heels of recent Department of Education data disclosures, however, we can drill down on law school-specific figures. ...

I looked at mean debt data for males and non-males. (That’s how the DOE codes the data—I assume the vast majority of non-males are females, but it could include non-binary individuals, and I’ll formally use the DOE coding.) Unsurprisingly (given the aggregate figures from LSSSE & ABA, among others), there are more schools where the mean debt loads for non-males are greater than the mean debt loads for males. At about half the schools, the debt ratios are close to parity—of the 208 schools in my data set, about 100 have a mean debt load of less than a $5000 difference between the sexes.

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January 8, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Over 1,000 New Lawyers Get Licenses Without Taking Bar Exam

Bloomberg, Over 1,000 New Lawyers Get Licenses Without Taking Bar Exam:

More than 1,000 recent law school graduates so far have opted to become licensed to practice without taking a bar exam, through emergency programs enacted in four states and Washington, D.C., state data shows. Indifference to the test from at least some firms like Davis Wright Tremaine, their insurers, and other employers could help the push to make temporary diploma privilege programs permanent.

Advocates say programs in Utah, Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C. set an important precedent, even though the programs are designed to phase out in 2021.

Bloomberg

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

'Business as Usual Doesn’t Work': Inside Big Law’s Reckoning on Race

Law.com, 'Business as Usual Doesn’t Work': Inside Big Law’s Reckoning on Race:

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black men and women in 2020 sparked new conversations about race and inequity across the legal profession.

This Legal Speak podcast examines whether the renewed commitments from major law firms to improve diversity and inclusion are gaining traction and leading to meaningful change.

To explore the issue, Legal Speak co-host Vanessa Blum checks in with diversity leaders at three Am Law 200 law firms. They describe the past few months as a reckoning that has led to challenging conversations about race within their organizations and that has created a new urgency around their work.

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Legal Ed Has Risen To Meet COVID Challenges, Says Incoming AALS President

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Legal Ed Has Risen to Meet COVID Challenges, Says Incoming AALS President:

RougeauThe Association of American Law Schools’ annual meeting is taking place this week, but thousands of law professors aren’t roaming the halls of the Hilton San Francisco as planned.

Like so many aspects of legal education during the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest annual law school gathering has gone virtual with a five-day slate of online programs. It’s the first time the annual meeting hasn’t taken place in-person, but there’s a silver lining to the upheaval. About 4,500 people have registered for the event—an attendance record.

Law.com caught up with incoming AALS President and Boston College Law Dean Vincent Rougeau to discuss the new format for the virtual meeting; how legal education is meeting the challenges posed by the pandemic, and what changes are likely to remain after COVID-19 subsides. His answers have been edited for length.

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January 6, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Historians' Statement On Congressional Certification Of The 2020 Presidential Election

Ed Larson, Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law and University Professor of History at Pepperdine, joined with over twenty other noted historians in this Historians' Statement on Congressional Certification of the 2020 Presidential Election:

As historians and constitutional scholars as well as citizens, we deplore the effort to disrupt Congressional certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Never before in our history has a president who lost re-election tried to stay in office by subverting the democratic process set down by the Constitution. That is what President Trump has been doing since November 3, when a strong electoral majority of Americans chose Joseph R. Biden to be the 46th President of the United States.

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January 6, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top 10 Legal Education Posts Of 2020

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Kuehn: The Disparate Treatment Of Clinical Law Faculty

Kuehn (2019)TaxProf Blog op-ed:  The Disparate Treatment of Clinical Law Faculty, by Robert Kuehn (Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Washington University):

In her recent presidential message, Abolish the Academic Caste System, the president of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) called on law schools to address the caste system within law faculties by providing parity in security of positon and salary to non-tenure/tenure track faculty, such as the overwhelming majority of law clinic and externship instructors.[1] Data from the just completed Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE) 2019-20 Survey of Applied Legal Education of  95% of law schools and 1,300 law clinic and externship instructors show widespread disparate treatment of clinical instructors (i.e., law clinic and externship instructors) and a lack of progress in providing parity between those who teach in law clinics and externships and those teaching doctrinal courses.[2]

In 1998, 46% of clinical teachers were in tenure or tenure-track positions.[3] Yet as the chart below indicates, the percentage of clinical faculty in tenure/tenure track positions, even when including lesser status clinical/programmatic tenure positions, has declined to just 29%, and decreased by more than 30% over just the last 12 years (temporary appointment clinical fellows excluded from all tables).

Kuehn 1

Though there have been notable exceptions at a few schools, law clinic and externship hiring has disproportionately been for contract positions since the 2010 downturn in law school applications and accompanying financial challenges.

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January 5, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

NCBE: The Next Generation Of The Bar Exam

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Bar Exam Overhaul Plans Go Public. So Long, MBE:

The bar exam as we know it looks to be on the way out.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners on Monday unveiled preliminary recommendations for a revamped test that would replace the existing three components—the Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Essay Exam and the Multistate Performance Test—with a more integrated approach that emphasizes legal skills over an expansive knowledge of the law.

National Conference of Bar Examiners Testing Task Force, Overview of Preliminary Recommendations for the Next Generation of the Bar Examination:

NCBE 1Best practices for high-stakes licensure examinations include periodic review of exam content and design. Consistent with that standard, the Testing Task Force undertook a three-year, comprehensive, empirical study to ensure that the bar examination continues to assess the minimum competencies required of newly licensed lawyers in an evolving legal profession, and to determine how those competencies should be assessed. This overview sets out the Task Force’s preliminary recommendations for the next generation of the bar examination; the overview is brief by design and intended to help facilitate discussion with stakeholders at webinars scheduled in early January. After the webinars, the Task Force will finalize the recommendations for submission to NCBE’s Board of Trustees. Upon approval by the Board, we will issue a final report detailing the decisions reached and providing a general timeframe and process for implementation. A tremendous amount of work will be required to implement the recommendations and transition to administration of the new examination. At the end of this overview, we list some of the steps involved in implementation, a process that is anticipated to take up to four to five years.

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January 5, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Statement Of Congressman Raskin And His Wife On Their Son Tommy, A Harvard 2L, Who Took His Own Life On New Year's Eve

Statement of Congressman Jamie Raskin and Sarah Bloom Raskin on the Remarkable Life of Tommy Raskin:

TommyWe have barely been able to scratch the surface here, but you have a sense of our son. Tommy Raskin had a perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling radiant mind. He began to be tortured later in his 20s by a blindingly painful and merciless ‘disease called depression,’ as Tabitha put it on Facebook over the weekend, a kind of relentless torture in the brain for him, and despite very fine doctors and a loving family and friendship network of hundreds who adored him beyond words and whom he adored too, the pain became overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable at last for our dear boy, this young man of surpassing promise to our broken world.

On the last hellish brutal day of that godawful miserable year of 2020, when hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of people all over the world died alone in bed in the darkness from an invisible killer disease ravaging their bodies and minds, we also lost our dear, dear, beloved son, Hannah and Tabitha’s beloved irreplaceable brother, a radiant light in this broken world.

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January 5, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, January 4, 2021

Colleges Have Shed 550,000 Employees Since The Pandemic Began

Following up on my previous post, Colleges Have Shed 10% Of Their Employees Since The Pandemic BeganDan Bauman (Chronicle of Higher Education):

Colleges Shed Employees

January 4, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

90% Of Suspected Cheaters On October Exam Are Cleared By California Bar; Applicants Under Review Can Register For February Exam

Following up on my previous post, California Bar Flags Over 3,000 Applicants For Video Review Of Their October Online Exams; Deans Request That Applicants Be Permitted To Sit For February Exam As They Await Resolution:

Bloomberg Law, Ninety Percent of Suspected Cheaters Cleared by California Bar:

California State Bar (2019)The list of test takers suspected of cheating on California’s first-ever online bar exam has been narrowed to a fraction of the more than 3,000 initially flagged by video technology that monitored them during the test. ...

The additional notifications mean nearly 90% of the 3,190 applicants initially flagged for possible cheating on the October exam — about one-third of all those who sat for it — have now been cleared. The dramatic drop comes as states are finishing plans for administering the next round of bar exams, slated for late February. It also follows criticisms of the tests, which a number of states moved online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, over allegations of cheating as well as glitches in facial recognition software and other technology.

The threat of being branded a cheater, even if they’re ultimately cleared, adds to the burdens faced by test takers who were forced to prepare for the exam in the middle of the pandemic. ...

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January 4, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Reading The Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Tea Leaves: 10%-30% Applicant Increase, Higher LSAT-Flex Exam Scores

Following up on my previous post, 40% Through the Fall 2021 Admissions Season: Applicants Are Up 31%, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands And Applicants Of Color: Mike Spivey, 2020/2021 Law School Applicant Data Look:

LSAT ApplicantsOn three out of every four days this year LSAT applicants have outpaced where they were last year; at no point this cycle has LSAT applicant volume dipped below last. It's ranged from as "low" as a 27% increase to as high as a 41% increase.

The last couple weeks have seen a decline in the relative increase — going from an almost 40% increase in mid-December to the current 29% increase. That was to be expected given LSAT score release timing. ... 

[W]e don't have an especially large increase in LSAT takers this year to fuel the increase in applicants. So far there are 56,151 first time test takers this cycle, compared to 55,163 at this time last cycle — a measly thousand-person increase. That presents us with two questions: what's fueling the increase in total applicants, and what's fueling the disproportionate increase in high-scoring applicants? ...

A likelier explanation is that we're just yielding more applicants from the test-taker pool. That makes sense in the current environment, i.e. the economy. It's normal for people to try to ride out a challenging labor market in graduate school (applications to business and medical school are also up significantly). People taking the LSAT this year are likely more serious about attending law school — if only because they lack better options.

175+The other issue is that the highest scoring applicants are disproportionately up beyond any explanation related to how early they might apply. Fortunately, we do have something of an explanation now: LSAC has confirmed that individuals taking the LSAT-Flex exam are receiving higher scores than LSAT-takers were last year (and for what it's worth, test-takers last year were doing noticeably better than the years before it — so we're getting inflated scores on top of already inflated scores). That means we have a much larger pool of higher scoring applicants to draw from, which is being reflected in the absurd increases in those applicants. ...

LSAC recently shifted their language from predicting a 10% increase to a 10-20% increase, which we think is more realistic — and if applicants apply in the same pattern they did last year, that increase could be 25-30%. ...

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January 4, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink