Paul L. Caron
Dean


Friday, December 6, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Are 'Transformative' Law School Naming Gifts Really Transformative?

Brian Leiter (Chicago), Are "Transformative Gifts" Really Transformative?:

Law.com has a list of naming gifts to law schools over the last few decades, with the majority coming in the last two decades.  Here are the biggest gifts, by year:

    1998:    $115 million to the University of Arizona
    2001:    $30 million to Ohio State University
    2008:    $35 million to Indiana University, Bloomington
    2011:    $30 million to the University of Maryland
    2013:    $50 million to Chapman University
    2014:    $50 million to Drexel University
    2015:    $100 million to Northwestern University
    2016:    $30 million to George Mason University
    2019:    $50 million to Pepperdine University
    2019:    $125 million to the University of Pennsylvania ...

It remains to be seen whether any of these gifts will really change the strength and status of any of these schools. In ten years, we'll probably have a clearer idea of the impact given how recent many of the largest gifts are. 

Robert Anderson (Pepperdine):

Today, @BrianLeiter asks whether "transformative" law school gifts are really transformative, with examples. My guess is the reason they're not is (1) much of the money isn't "real" (2) deans [spend] it on pet programs (3) Univ admin "steals" it through overhead.

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), What Makes a Donation to a Law School a "Transformative" Gift? One Idea Might Be Free Tuition For All Students:

[T]he single most dramatic thing a school could attempt to do? Make it free.

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December 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawsky's Free Income Tax Problem Generator

Sarah Lawksy (Northwestern) has created a great free website that generates multiple-choice federal individual income tax practice problems in a variety of subject areas.  From the FAQ page:

Lawsky (2017)Q: What does this website do?
A: It generates multiple-choice federal individual income tax practice problems. The problems are a random selection of facts, names, and randomly (but thoughtfully) generated numbers about a range of basic tax topics. You can pick a particular topic, or you can have the website to pick both a topic and problem at random.

Q: Are the answers also random?
A: Mostly, no. The multiple-choice answers are based on mistakes people commonly make (though one random answer is usually thrown in there).

Q: What happens once I pick an answer?
A: If you pick a wrong answer, the website usually provides a substantive hint about what you did wrong. A right answer usually returns a full explanation. In many of the explanations of answers both right and wrong, there is a link to the relevant code section.

Q: Do the questions repeat?
A: Eventually--there are not an infinite number of problems--but there are a lot of different problems. Setting aside the numbers' changing, which doesn't necessarily provide conceptually different questions, different types of problems toggle a bunch of different facts and relationships between the numbers, all of which change the problem conceptually. For example, for like-kind exchanges, there are five different facts than can toggle (asset is personal use or business use, whether there is debt relief and whom that debt relief favors (someone who provides boot or not), etc.) and four different questions. For installment sales there are even more toggles; for unrestricted property as compensation, many fewer.

Q: What is this for?
A: Whatever you want. A professor can use to generate problems for teaching or to give students direct access to it; a student can use it to practice for tax class--whatever works for you. The website is free and is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license, which means, roughly, that you can share this or use it for any purpose, just so long as you give appropriate credit, distribute the material so other people can use it under the same terms, and don't create any additional restrictions.

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December 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number Of College Students Seeking Mental Health Services Has Soared 35% In Five Years

Register-Guard, As Stigma Ebbs, College Students Seek Mental Health Help:

More college students are turning to their schools for help with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, and many must wait weeks for treatment or find help elsewhere as campus clinics struggle to meet demand, an Associated Press review of more than three dozen public universities found.

On some campuses, the number of students seeking treatment has nearly doubled over the last five years while overall enrollment has remained relatively flat. The increase has been tied to reduced stigma around mental health, along with rising rates of depression and other disorders. Universities have expanded their mental health clinics, but the growth is often slow, and demand keeps surging.

Long waits have provoked protests at schools from Maryland to California, in some cases following student suicides. Meanwhile, campus counseling centers grapple with low morale and high burnout as staff members face increasingly heavy workloads. ...

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December 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Levy: Why I Resigned In Protest From Penn Law's Board When A Conservative Professor Was Punished

Following up on my previous post, Wall Street Journal op-ed, University of Pennsylvania Trustee and Penn Law Overseer Resigns Over Treatment Of Amy Wax:  The Daily Signal op-ed:  Why I Resigned in Protest When a Conservative Professor Was Punished, by Paul Levy:

Penn Law (2020)In 2018, I resigned as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and an overseer of its law school to protest the shameful treatment of law professor Amy Wax.

Her sin, in the eyes of her detractors, was to question the wisdom of racial preference policies that brought to the law school, in her estimation, black students who did not rise to the top half of the class.

Her challenge to campus orthodoxy led to a firestorm. ...

In 1967, the University of Chicago’s widely respected Kalven Committee—which was assembled to explore the university’s role in political action—warned:

There is no mechanism by which [the university] can reach a collective position without inhibiting that full freedom of dissent on which it thrives. … The neutrality of the university … arises out of respect for free inquiry and the obligation to cherish a diversity of viewpoints. ...

I now look upon a once-beloved campus and see oppression the likes of which I did not think possible.

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December 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tax Prof Mildred Robinson, UVA's First Black Female Faculty Member, To Retire

Robinson

Professor Mildred Robinson Set To Retire:

Professor Mildred Robinson, a groundbreaking tax law instructor whose scholarship and community service have emphasized equity, will teach her last class at the University of Virginia School of Law at the end of this semester. She will retire this spring after almost 35 years on the faculty.

Robinson was UVA Law’s first African American female tenured professor. She was hired with tenure in 1985 from Florida State University.

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December 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2L In Harvard Tax Clinic Argues Case In U.S. Court Of Appeals For The 7th Circuit

Harvard Law Today, Clinic Stories: Prepping for the U.S. Court of Appeals:

HarvardThrough Harvard Law School’s Federal Tax Clinic, students have the unique opportunity represent low-income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS, both before the IRS and in federal court. Working individually and in teams, they represent taxpayers involving examinations, administrative appeals collection matters, and cases before the United States Tax Court and federal district courts.

In this video, we follow Adeyemi “Yemi” Adediran ’21, a second year student in the Clinic, as he prepares to argue an appeal on behalf of a military veteran with PTSD in the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago. The veteran’s appeal to the Seventh Circuit centered on his eligibility for innocent spouse relief under the Internal Revenue Code. Over a three year period, the veteran’s wife embezzled $500K from the Appleton, Wisconsin Blood Bank—where she worked as a bookkeeper. She was arrested and sentenced to jail, but because the couple filed taxes jointly and embezzled money is taxable, they were both legally responsible for back taxes on the money.

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December 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: Hidden Costs Of Medical School Pose Barrier For Diverse Students

New York Times, ‘I Have a Ph.D. in Not Having Money’:

American medical schools are the training grounds for a white-collar, high-income industry, but they select their students from predominantly high-income, and typically white, households. Ten years ago, a national study found that over 75 percent of medical school students came from the top 40 percent of family income in the United States, representing an annual income above $75,000. A study last year from the Association of American Medical Colleges re-examined medical school demographics and found that the numbers had barely budged. Between 1988 and 2017, more than three-quarters of American medical school students came from affluent households.

Students from low-income families who choose to apply to medical school find the path lined with financial obstacles. The application phase entails MCAT registration ($315) and preparation, application fees ($170 for the first school and $40 for each additional one), travel and attire for interviews (on average more than $200 per school). After enrollment, students are expected to purchase equipment and study aids. Each year brings new certification tests, with registration fees running upward of $600.

Aspiring doctors know that tuition is costly; the median educational debt held by medical school graduates in 2018 was $200,000, up 4 percent from the previous year. But less advertised are all the hidden costs of a medical education. ...

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December 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Outlook For Legal Education In 2020

Martin Pritikin (Dean, Concord), Legal Education: The Outlook for 2020:

They say hindsight is 20/20. As we look ahead to the year 2020, we can make some educated guesses about the “weather” in store for law schools.

Admissions Outlook: Partly Sunny
The nationwide declines in law school applications have leveled out in the last few years, with a number of schools even seeing increases. This modestly positive trend is likely to continue. ... On the whole, expect law school applications nationwide to increase by 3 to 7 percent next year.

Law School Closures: Scattered Showers
The most highly-ranked law schools are seeing some of the biggest rebounds in applications (not surprisingly, given that applications among those with the highest LSAT scores fell by the greatest share from 2010-2016). Some schools whose graduates struggle with bar passage and employment, however, will continue to face an existential threat.

In the last few years, nearly a dozen law schools have closed, lost their accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA), or been put on probation by the ABA. ...

[I]t is reasonable to expect that between one and three law schools will lose their accreditation, be placed on probation, or announce closure within the coming year.

GRE: Abundant Sunshine
You don’t need to be Nostradamus to foresee that at least a dozen more law schools will adopt the GRE as an alternative admissions test to the LSAT in 2020. ...

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December 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Is Transferring To Another Law School Worth It?

Following up on my previous post, 2018 ABA Data Show Continued Decline In Number And Percentage Of Transfers:  Is Transferring Worth It?, Nat'l Jurist, Vol. 29, No. 2, Fall 2019, at 11:

Switching schools can have its upsides, but it requires careful planning. And adapting to a new environment is not for the faint of heart. ...

Georgetown receives the highest number of transfer students in the nation, averaging between 100 and 110 each year. “That’s actually about the same size as our first-year sections, so we see a value in having that community,” Wack said. “There’s a very active transfer student association, and it is a group of students that come in sharing not the same experience that first-year cohorts might have had, but that transfer students experience.” 

Transfers

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December 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Latest Developments In The Dan Markel Case: Garcia Appeals His First Degree Murder Conviction; 'What Do You Have To Do To Get A Death Sentence Around Here?'

Markel SuspectsWTXL, Sigfredo Garcia Appealing First Degree Murder Conviction:

About a month after sentencing, Sigfredo Garcia is appealing his first degree murder conviction.

Garcia was sentenced to life for killing Dan Markel last month. Right now, Garcia doesn't have an attorney for the appeal process.

Tallahassee Democrat, It's Time to Re-examine Capital Punishment:

What do you have to do to get a death sentence around here?

That’s not asked derisively, or with sarcastic disrespect for the dignity of our court process or the solemnity of imposing the ultimate penalty. The extreme difficulty of getting a jury to unanimously agree on execution, to cite just one major flaw, should make legislators finally abolish the death penalty when they convene next January. ...

Tallahassee recently had two ghastly murder cases which underscore the odds against getting juries to agree on death.

Sigfredo Garcia and his accomplice drove eight hours from Miami — twice! — to kill Dan Markel, an FSU law professor they’d never met and who had caused them no harm.

Testimony in Garcia’s trial indicated it was a contract killing, one of the aggravating factors in a capital case.

Yet the jury that convicted Garcia didn’t recommend his execution. He got life without parole eligibility.

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December 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 2, 2019

New Enrollments Of International Students Fall 6.6% At American Universities

Inside Higher Ed, New International Enrollments Decline Again:

New enrollments of international students fell by 6.6 percent at American universities in academic year 2017-18 compared to the year before, marking the second straight year in declines in new enrollments, according to new data from the annual Open Doors survey.

New enrollments fell 6.3 percent at the undergraduate level, 5.5 percent at the graduate level and 9.7 percent at the nondegree level from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

A separate survey of institutions found that the decline in new international enrollments is continuing this fall, though the drop was less severe than that reported last year. ...

Among the top 10 states hosting international students, there were increases in the total number of international students (including OPT participants) in No. 1 destination California (+3.2 percent), No. 2 New York (+2.4 percent), No. 4 Massachusetts (+8.4 percent), No. 5 Illinois (+2.2 percent), No. 6 Pennsylvania (+1.3 percent) and No. 7 Florida (+1.7 percent), and declines in No. 3 Texas (-0.9 percent), No. 8 Ohio (-2.8 percent), No. 9 Michigan (-0.7 percent) and No. 10 Indiana (-2 percent).  ...

Percent Change in Total International Enrollments from 2016-17 to 2017-18
From Top 15 Countries of Origin by Academic Level

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December 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

40-Year Returns On Investment At 4,500 Colleges

Chronicle of Higher Education, A New Study Calculates Return on Investment — 40 Years After Enrollment. Here’s What We Learned.:

College is expensive, and prospective students, their parents, and policy makers want to know: What kind of return can I expect on my investment?

Until now, those seeking answers have been able to evaluate the payoff of a degree as measured by official data on earnings, either one year after graduating or a decade after enrolling. A new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce provides an answer on an even longer scale: 40 years.

A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges [press release] ranks 4,500 two- and four-year colleges that primarily offer bachelor’s or associate degrees or certificates by their return on investment 10 and 40 years after enrollment. To measure ROI, the study uses net present value, which estimates how future earnings are valued in the present. The measure, calculated using data from the College Scorecard, essentially weighs the cost of paying for college against what students could potentially earn down the line.

Top 10

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December 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

WSJ: New Lawyers Are Swimming in Debt

Following up on my previous post, Is Your Law School Worth It? Law School Debt-to-Income Ratios:  Wall Street Journal, New Lawyers Are Swimming in Debt:

WSJ 5The vast majority of law-school graduates carry debt loads that exceed their initial earnings, new federal data shows, the latest sign a law degree isn’t a sure path to immediate financial success.

Median earnings a year after graduation topped the federal-loan figure for graduates from just 11 of about 200 law schools for which the U.S. Department of Education released data. The favorable ratios were largely for elite private institutions—including Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Northwestern University and Stanford University—that send many graduates into high-paying law firms. The list also included one public school, the University of Iowa.

For the rest of the law schools, graduates’ debt loads surpass earnings, in some cases by many multiples. ... Graduates of the six schools at the bottom of the ranking carried debt that was more than five times earnings. ...

The debt level exceeded $100,000 for graduates of more than half of the law schools on the Education Department list, with three dozen mostly private schools topping $150,000. Three schools had graduates with debt below $60,000. Annual tuition for three-year programs at the most selective law schools is nearing $70,000, not including living expenses. ...

Some law schools whose numbers look unfavorable say they view themselves as places of opportunity for first-generation law students and minorities who may have to rely more heavily on loans compared with better-off classmates “We borrow our asses off, there’s just really no other way,” said Hillary Kane, the chief communications and marketing officer at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, where she earned a degree.

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December 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

LRW Professor's Lawsuit Alleges Discrimination In Non-Renewal Of Contract After Teaching At Wake Forest Law School For 19 Years

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Professor's Suit Against Wake Forest Highlights Status Rift in Law Schools:

Lentz 3A longtime Wake Forest University legal writing professor has sued the university, claiming she was discriminated against and subjected to harassment due to her age, gender and medical condition when her teaching contract was not renewed in September.

Plaintiff Barbara Lentz had taught at the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, law school since 2000, but her complaint alleges an eroding relationship with law school administrators in her final years at the school centered on her salary and employment status. ...

The 21-page complaint highlights many of the same tensions that exist on law faculties across the country: Namely the lower status of legal writing faculty as compared with doctrinal faculty. Legal writing instructors are generally paid less than faculty who teach traditional podium courses, and on many law campuses they work off short-term, renewable contracts.

Lentz filed suit against Wake Forest in state court in late October, and on Nov. 22 the suit was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Lentz alleges that she taught 15 different courses during her time at the law school, including the required first-year contracts and an experiential clinic in Nicaragua. But she claims that she was repeatedly rebuffed by administrators when she sought an explanation for why she was paid less than other faculty in light of her heavy teaching load and willingness to teach courses outside the sphere for legal writing. ...

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December 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

California's Disappearing ABA Law Schools

Karen Sloan (Law.com), CA's Disappearing ABA Law Schools:

California Law SchoolsCalifornia is losing not one but two (La Verne and Thomas Jefferson) ABA-accredited law schools. (Well, three (Whittier) if you take a more expansive view of the issue.) ...

The number of law schools in the Golden State was pretty evenly split between ABA-accredited and California-accredited for a long time. (I’m not going to delve into the state’s unaccredited law schools, which is a whole different can of worms.) But with these upcoming changes, the number of law schools approved by the ABA will drop to 18 while the number of state-accredited schools will climb to 23. ...

I think this move away from ABA law schools in California is the result of a number of factors. The most obvious is that there aren’t as many people going to law schools these days and the model isn’t a money generator the way it was 10 years ago. ...

So the big question, to me, is whether other ABA law schools that are further down the California food chain will follow suit and ditch their ABA status. Are Thomas Jefferson and La Verne the ice breakers that will make it more palatable for other campuses to go that route?

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December 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Questions To Ask Before Choosing An Online LL.M

Questions To Ask Before Choosing an Online LL.M., Nat'l Jurist, Vol. 29, No. 2, Fall 2019, at 15:

2U Pepperdine 2You want to advance your legal career with an online LL.M. But with so many options, narrowing your search can be difficult. You need to consider not only which specialty you’d like to pursue but also which online program is the best fit. ... Here are the most important questions you need to ask before choosing an online LL.M. program.

  1. Are classes in real time or recorded?
  2. Who is teaching?
  3. How much interaction will you have with the professors?
  4. How much interaction will you have with fellow students?
  5. How will you be supported?
  6. What do you do about technical problems?
  7. What services can you access after graduation?
  8. Can you become a residential student if you decide online isn’t right for you?
  9. Can you try out a course before enrolling?

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December 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday Morning In Malibu

Rejoice

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118

December 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, November 30, 2019

WSJ: The Impact Of The SAT Adversity Index On Median SATs — A School-By-School Analysis

Following up on my previous posts:

Wall Street Journal, What Happens If SAT Scores Consider Adversity? Find Your School:

What if SAT scores could take into account whether a student went to an elite boarding school in New England or a struggling public school in Chicago’s poorest neighborhood?

The College Board, which administers the SAT, asked this question and developed an adversity score for every U.S. high school, measuring about 15 factors such as income level and crime rate in a school’s neighborhood.

It abandoned the single-number measurement over the summer after a public outcry from educators and parents. Instead, it plans to give colleges a range of socioeconomic data on high schools and their neighborhoods.

The Wall Street Journal obtained the College Board school-adversity scores, which ranked schools from 1 to 100 in degree of adversity. It then asked a Georgetown University data scientist to use those scores to adjust the average SAT results of 10,353 high schools where at least 30 students took the SAT.

Adversity

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November 30, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (13)

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Law School Traditions, Old And New

Caruso Logo (Two Lines) (Tight JPEG)I think a lot about what the state of Pepperdine Caruso School of Law will be when I hand the keys over to the next dean. I have made a conscious effort to continue and strengthen the many wonderful traditions begun by my predecessors that give life to the founding principles of the school:  excellence, faith, and community. Among the many such traditions:

Another long-standing tradition is to invite students who cannot go home for Thanksgiving to join faculty for dinner, as Courtney and I did today:

Thanksgiving Home 2019

Over the past thirty months, I have also tried to establish new traditions that I hope will continue after I am gone:

On Monday, we instituted what I hope will be an annual tradition by gathering together as a community for lunch to give thanks for all of God's blessings. Pepperdine University Chaplain Sara Barton shared a wonderful Thanksgiving message, augmented by prayers from faculty and students:

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November 28, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lawyer (And Law Student) Mental Health: 'Thanksgiving' Isn't Just A Holiday

Law.com, Attorney Mental Health: 'Thanksgiving' Isn't Just a Holiday:

Lawyers are hardwired to notice the negative in every situation.

But then Thanksgiving comes around, with its tradition of reflecting on the year and expressing gratitude for the good things in life.

And experts ask: What if the Thanksgiving feeling lasted all year?

They say the season creates positive emotions and can increase connections to loved ones. It’s a welcomed reprieve from the high-stress, adversarial profession that has created a lawyer population suffering from depression, anxiety and substance use disorders at rates higher than the general population.

“Lawyers, more so than others, need to be more intentional about cultivating positive emotions,” said Anne Brafford, a former equity partner in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, who’s transformed herself into a positive psychology Ph.D. student and lawyer-wellness aficionado.

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November 28, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Turn Off Your Phone For Thanksgiving

New York Times op-ed:  Turn Off Your Phone for Thanksgiving, by David Leonhardt:

Power OffThis week, Americans will endure flight delays, traffic jams and other logistical miseries to spend time with family and friends. And when the holiday weekend is ending, many will lament that they don’t get to spend enough time with those relatives and friends.

But during the weekend itself, these same lamenters will spend a lot of time ignoring the people around them and distractedly staring into their phones. They will get a notification and disappear down a digital rabbit hole of Facebook posts, text messages and fantasy-football updates. They will monitor the comments on the photos they just posted, instead of engaging with the human beings in those photos.

Many of us have a complicated relationship with our phones. We enjoy them in the moment. Yet when we reflect on all the time we spend looking at a tiny screen, we feel lousy about it. We pine for a less addictive relationship with the online world.

So let me make a suggestion for this Thanksgiving weekend: Turn off your phone, and keep it off for a full 24 hours. I predict you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll like it.

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November 28, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Data-Visualization And Student Evaluations: Male Profs Are Brilliant And Funny; Female Profs Are Mean And Rude

Chronicle of Higher Education, What a Data-Visualization Tool Tells Us About How Students See Their Professors:

Student evaluations of teaching are both widely used and, as a host of studies have shown, deeply flawed. They don’t measure teaching quality particularly well. They also reflect students’ bias, in that women and minorities tend to receive more critical evaluations. The problem is significant enough that 18 scholarly associations signed onto a statement in September asking colleges to not rely on them heavily in determining teaching effectiveness.

Thanks to Ben Schmidt, a clinical associate professor of history and director of digital humanities at New York University, we also have an interesting way to visualize the differences in the ways that students evaluate male and female professors. And we can see how different disciplines are described.

A few years ago, Schmidt mined 14 million reviews on RateMyProfessors to create an interactive tool, Gendered Language in Teacher Reviews. Plug a term into the chart and you can see how many times per million words of text it is used, broken down by gender and discipline. It’s a fascinating — and highly addictive — look at the way in which students perceive their professors. 

Brilliant

Mean

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November 27, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (10)

Why Are So Many Women Leaving Big Law?

American Lawyer, 'Death by a Thousand Cuts': Why Are Women Leaving Big Law?:

Walking Out The DoorMany experienced women attorneys in Big Law love what they do, but often they leave firms because they’re dissatisfied with how their firm operates and treats them, according to a report by ALM Intelligence and the American Bar Association.

Walking Out the Door: The Facts, Figures and Future of Experienced Women Lawyers in Private Practice, is the result of a study by the ABA and ALM Intelligence, the research arm of ALM, that surveyed nearly 1,300 attorneys in the 500 largest firms in the United States. They found that more than 90% of men and women reported satisfaction in the substantive aspects of their practice such as intellectual challenge and level of responsibility. But it found large gender gaps when respondents were asked about their firm’s operational policies, including opportunities for advancement and workplace diversity.

The study found that only 50% of women are satisfied with the recognition of their work as opposed to 70% of men. About 45% of women surveyed said they’re satisfied with their opportunities for advancement, while 69% of men reported satisfaction.

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November 27, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law Schools Are The Latest Battleground For Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Following up on my previous post, Students Petition To De-Gender All Seattle Law School Bathrooms:  Law.com, Law Schools Are the Latest Battleground for Gender-Neutral Bathrooms:

GenderAt Seattle University School of Law, students who want to use one of the school’s two fully accessible gender-neutral bathrooms must travel up to the third floor of the law library via a specific stairwell or elevator.

At the University of Minnesota Law School, students seeking one of the school’s two gender-neutral bathrooms must go to the library’s fourth floor—a trip that can take up to 10 minutes.

Students on both campuses are lobbying administrators to add gender-neutral restrooms, following in the footsteps of Yale law students who successfully pushed to add the school’s first multi-stall gender-neutral restrooms earlier this year. Yale in February dedicated two new such restrooms, which required a legal challenge to a Connecticut building code that mandated a certain number of restrooms for men and women in every building.

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November 27, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

In Defense Of American Excellence

Jasper L. Tran (Minnesota), In Defense of Excellence, 73 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc ___ (2020) (reviewing Anthony T. Kronman, The Assault on American Excellence (2019)):

KronmanWhile Anthony Kronman’s The Assault on American Excellence certainly has many rich veins to mine, this Review aims to tap only those central to his observations on how academic excellence has gradually lost its reign in colleges and universities. Part I situates the Book among his earlier scholarship and other scholars’ work. To better understand his vantage point, Part II contextualizes the Book with Kronman’s intellectual journey and the historical-to-current views on diversity. Part III discusses the Book in detail, beginning with Kronman’s argument for the pursuit of excellence followed by his identification of the three anti-excellence movements, and critically engages the Book with arguments/counterarguments that it could have, should have, but did not cover. Part IV briefly concludes with an ex ante view on the future of excellence. ...

Conclusion.  While this short Review does not do enough justice to the Book, which is excellent and worth reading in its entirety, I venture to leave some brief thoughts. “‘The true question to ask respecting a book is, Has it helped any human Soul?’” Kronman’s Book certainly has eased mine and possibly the souls of those who still believe in intellectual diversity and the pursuit of excellence. It may even help save the lost souls who are still perplexed about the increasingly aggressive intrusion of politics to higher education to better understand and formulate their stands on this issue.

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November 26, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Indiana University Professor’s Views Are Loathsome, Stupid, And Ignorant, The Provost Said. But He Won’t Be Fired.

Lauren Robel (Executive Vice President and Provost, Indiana University), On the First Amendment:

Professor Eric Rasmusen has, for many years, used his private social media accounts to disseminate his racist, sexist, and homophobic views. When I label his views in this way, let me note that the labels are not a close call, nor do his posts require careful parsing to reach these conclusions. He has posted, among many other things, the following pernicious and false stereotypes:

  • That he believes that women do not belong in the workplace, particularly not in academia, and that he believes most women would prefer to have a boss than be one; he has used slurs in his posts about women;
  • That gay men should not be permitted in academia either, because he believes they are promiscuous and unable to avoid abusing students;
  • That he believes that black students are generally unqualified for attendance at elite institutions, and are generally inferior academically to white students.

Ordinarily, I would not dignify these bigoted statements with repetition, but we need to confront exactly what we are dealing with in Professor Rasmusen’s posts. His expressed views are stunningly ignorant, more consistent with someone who lived in the 18th century than the 21st. Sometimes Professor Rasmusen explains his views as animated by his Christian faith, although Christ was neither a bigot nor did he use slurs; indeed, he counseled avoiding judgments. Rhetorically speaking, Professor Rasmusen has demonstrated no difficulty in casting the first, or the lethal, stone.

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November 26, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, November 25, 2019

U.S. News Pulls Five College From Rankings For Misreporting Data

Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News) & Eric Brooks (Senior Data Strategist, U.S. News), U.S. News Withdraws Five Schools' 2019 Best Online Rankings:

US News Online 3Five Institutions notified U.S. News they misreported data used to calculate their rankings for the 2019 edition of Best Online Programs. They are Western Colorado University (one program unranked), Missouri University of Science & Technology (one program), Auburn University (two programs), Ohio University (three programs) and the University of Dallas (one program). [See details here.]

The misreporting by each program resulted in their numerical ranks being higher than they otherwise would have been. Because of the discrepancies, U.S. News now lists these programs as "Unranked," meaning they no longer have numerical ranks. Each school's profile page has been updated with the Unranked status, and U.S. News deleted the incorrect data on their profiles. All rankings of other schools are unchanged.

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November 25, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Move Toward Greater Diversity In Deanships

Chronicle of Higher Education, A Move Toward Greater Diversity in Deanships:

In 2016, law schools were behind where education schools stood on gender equity in 1996, with only 30 percent of law deans being women.

At the University of Utah, Elizabeth Kronk Warner became the first woman and first Native American dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law this year. ... [S]he did not go into the job knowing that she was breaking new ground. When the news releases came out, she realized what her appointment meant. Knowing that she was the first did not change her approach to her new job, but it made her more aware.

"Anytime you’re the first of anything, there’s a little bit more responsibility because, in my experience, people will ascribe lack of success to gender or race if you don’t do well," says Warner.

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November 25, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Forbes: Is Your Law School Worth It?

Forbes, Is Your Law School Worth It?:

It’s no secret going to law school is a big investment in both time and money. But does that investment always pay off? Of course, lawyers often enjoy high salaries, rewarding careers, and more. But where you go to law school can mean a lot in how that investment pays off. New data released from the Department of Education this week gives us a peak into the debt and earnings for law schools across the country. These data show how much the median student borrows for law school (undergraduate debt is excluded) and how much the median student earns one year after earning a law degree. ...

In the chart below, you can see how schools compare. The schools are color coded by the sector of the school. Click here for interactive data.

Forbes

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November 25, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

As Recession Looms, Even Harvard Is Uncertain About What That Means For Higher Ed

Chronicle of Higher Education, A Recession Is Looming. Even Harvard Is Uncertain About What That Means for Higher Ed.:

Harvard 1Harvard is an outlier when it comes to most issues in higher education, with its $40-billion endowment, buffer from state budget politics, and end-of-year operating surplus nearing $300 million. But in preparing for a brewing economic recession, the university is no exception: It faces a lot of uncertainty.

That’s partly because so much has changed since the Great Recession. The university has new revenue streams. Officials are in the process of restructuring the endowment-management company. And an American culture of greater skepticism toward higher education means that universities may bear the brunt of any downturn on many fronts.

“Some economists have suggested that student debt could be a precipitating factor in the next recession, which would place higher education in the awkward position of being vulnerable to and potentially blamed for the financial crisis,” reads one document of several posted to Harvard’s website on the university’s financial planning. The university’s office of financial strategy and planning wrote that higher education may face greater regulatory control and additional tax obligations because of the changed sentiment. ...

“We’re 123 months into the longest expansion maybe in U.S. history, and we see indications that we’re toward the end of the cycle,” said Thomas J. Hollister, chief financial officer, in a Harvard publication. “All of our schools and units are doing scenario planning, thinking through what they can or should be doing now to prepare for a variety of economic pressures.” ...

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November 24, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wharton: Getting Law Firms To Use Analytics

Knowledge@Wharton, The Next Legal Challenge: Getting Law Firms to Use Analytics:

WhartonDave Walton is among the rarest of lawyers, one who is dedicated to expanding the use of big data and predictive analytics in the legal field. It’s a tough challenge because the sector is inherently risk-averse. But Walton, chair of Cyber Solutions & Data Strategies at Philadelphia-based Cozen O’Connor, is determined to effect change in the sector.

Wharton marketing professor Raghuram Iyengar, who is faculty director of Wharton Customer Analytics, recently joined Walton for an interview with Knowledge@Wharton about the challenges of getting lawyers to embrace analytics, and the benefits they stand to gain. Iyengar also teaches an executive education program titled, Customer Analytics for Growth Using Machine Learning, AI, and Big Data.

Knowledge@Wharton: The legal field layers on top of just about anything we can imagine, which creates a lot of analytics challenges. What are some of those challenges?

Dave Walton: I think the legal field is still in its infancy on analytics and big data…. We’re still trying to figure it out, and there’s still a lot of consternation in some corners about what is analytics? What does it mean to be a lawyer? Lawyers have this idea that, “Well, my brain was trained. My judgment is everything. My personal experience is everything. There is no way a computer could ever do my job.” That’s what they mistake analytics and AI for. A lot of lawyers don’t understand it’s using data to supplement your judgment, your experience and your decision-making process, and perhaps seeing things that you wouldn’t otherwise see because you have access to data analytics and data expertise. ...

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November 24, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

A Dozen Suggestions For Harvard Law School's New Shield

Following up on my previous post, Harvard Law School Ditches Its Seal Modeled On Family Crest Of 18th Century Slaveholder After Student Protest:  Harvard Law Record, A Few Humble Suggestions for Harvard Law School’s New Shield:

Harvard Law School is in the midst of a search for a new shield, having retired the previous one in 2016 due to the Royall family’s involvement with slavery. While Dean Manning has assured Student Government that the working group tasked with selecting the new shield is making steady progress, its operations have generally been opaque. To remind the school that the search for a new shield is indeed underway and to inject some much-needed life into the discussion of what symbol we ought to pick to represent ourselves, I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting a few designs that seem fitting.

HLSYLS

At first glance this [left] might appear to be nothing more than a shameless rip-off of the YLS shield [right]. But that is far from true. Because merely ripping off our rival’s shield would be the kind of pettiness that the noble students of HLS are supposed to be above. It would be unoriginal. It would be sophomoric. It would be precisely the kind of conduct that one would expect of a YLS student.

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November 23, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, November 22, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Thomas Jefferson Loses ABA Accreditation, To Continue As California-Accredited Law School

ABA, Appeals Panel Decision Notice to Affirm the Council Decision to Withdraw Approval Thomas Jefferson School of Law:

Thomas Jefferson Logo (2018)The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (the “Council”), at its meeting on May 16-18, 2019, considered the status of Thomas Jefferson School of Law (the “Law School”) and determined to withdraw the approval of the Law School, located at 701 B Street, San Diego, California. The Council’s May 2019 determination follows its finding of continuing noncompliance with Standards 202(a) and (d), 301(a), and 501(b) and Interpretations 501-1 and 501-2.

The Law School appealed the Council’s May 2019 decision and an Appeals Panel (the “Panel”) appointed by the Managing Director’s Office, pursuant to Rules 30-36 of the ABA Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, reviewed the Council’s May 2019 decision. Following consideration of the record in the matter and the Law School’s and Council’s appearance at a hearing, the Panel reported to the Council and the Law School on November 21, 2019, that it affirmed the Council’s decision to withdraw approval.

Public notification of the decision of the Panel is being made pursuant to Rule 48. There is no further appeal or review of the Council’s decision within the accreditation process. Rule 44 applies and all matters related to this proceeding, other than this announcement, are confidential.

The Panel’s decision reinstates the Council’s prior decision to withdraw approval. That removal is effective on December 17, 2019, the day following the end of the fall semester’s final exam period.

As provided by Rule 29, the Law School must submit a teach-out plan for review by the Council. Preparing a plan that addresses the concerns outlined in Rule 29 and that appropriately considers the interests of the students will take some time. The details of that plan are not public. The Council expects and the Law School has stated its intention to communicate, as necessary and appropriate, with the Law School’s students throughout the period of developing the teach-out plan.  

Voice of San Diego, It’s Official: Thomas Jefferson Law School Will Lose Its National Accreditation:

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November 22, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

La Verne Foregoes ABA Accreditation, To Continue As California-Accredited Law School

The Recorder, LA-Area Law School to Remain Open, but Parts Ways With the ABA:

Laverne (2017)The University of La Verne will keep its law school open, but as a California-accredited campus instead of one blessed by the American Bar Association.

The university’s board of trustees Monday voted to convert the law school from ABA accreditation to accreditation by the State Bar of California—a move that will make it easier for the Ontario, California, campus to meet program standards. But it will also mean that graduates are only eligible to take the bar exam in California, at least initially. About 240 students are enrolled at the school.

Under the new plan, La Verne would become the first law school to drop its ABA accreditation in the wake of that body adopting tougher bar exam standards. The ABA in 2018 changed that standard, giving law schools two years instead of five years to ensure that at least 75% of their graduates pass the licensing exam.

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November 22, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

NY Times: The Big Business Of Unconscious Bias

New York Times, The Big Business of Unconscious Bias:

Companies want to avoid racism, sexism and misgendering. Consultants are standing by.

Recently, a story circulated within the diversity, equity and inclusion industry (D.E.I.), one that somehow didn’t go viral on social media: At an unnamed company, co-workers were taking their seats before a sensitivity training workshop began, when some white male employees entered as a group with targets pinned to their shirts — a sartorial statement about their anticipated persecution.

Apocryphal or not, “the story is powerful for two reasons,” said Laura Bowser, the board chair and former C.E.O. of TMI Consulting Inc., a D.E.I. strategy company in Richmond, Va., named for its two founders, but also the abbreviation meaning “too much information.” “One, it shows that there is still an utter lack of empathy and understanding about privilege and power dynamics. Second, it demonstrates how many diversity and inclusion trainings in the past have failed.”

Of late, the D.E.I. (also known as D & I) industry is booming, creating new career paths and roles. Institutions and businesses are trying to correct power imbalances, which means a growing need for experts who can help address and define issues like unconscious bias. ...

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November 21, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

W&L Law Students Demand Right To Strip George Washington And Robert E. Lee From Their Diplomas

W&L 5

Law.com, Robert E. Lee on Your Diploma? Some Law Students Say 'No Thanks':

Should graduates of Washington and Lee University be able to opt out of having the visages of the university’s namesakes appear on their diplomas?

Several hundred current law students and alumni think so. They’ve circulated a petition asking the university to let students request that George Washington and Robert E. Lee’s portraits be kept off their degrees. In the current diploma design, pictures of the two men flank the university name at the top of the document.

According to the petition, the ability to receive a degree without those pictures will create a more “inclusive” atmosphere, but it stops short of detailing why some graduates may feel uncomfortable with the men appearing on their diplomas. (George Washington was a slave owner and Lee led the Confederate Army before serving as president of the Lexington, Virginia, university after the Civil War.) The goal, according to the petition, is to have diplomas that graduates are “proud” to display in their homes and offices.

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November 21, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Law Students, Comedians, And Mental Health

Last night, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law hosted the first public screening of Laughing Matters, a documentary about comedians and mental health by Soul Pancake, the production company of actor/comedian Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute on NBC's The Office). In light of the shocking statistics on the mental health of college students (pages 13-16) and graduate and professional students (pages 13-16), Pepperdine President Jim Gash has made student mental health and well-being one of his three top priorities, beginning with the Resilience-Informed Skills Education (RISE) Program.  The law school has similarly made student mental health and well-being a top priority.  Last night's screening and discussion was jointly sponsored by the law school, the RISE Program, and University Chaplain Sara Barton.  After the screening, panel discussion, and Q&A, we made counselors and staff available to speak to any interested students.

Soul 1A

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November 21, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Today Is Tampon Tax Day At Two Dozen Law Schools

Law.com, Tampon Tax Sparks Law Student Protests:

Tax FreeLaw students across the country are taking on the so-called tampon tax on Nov. 20.

Aspiring attorneys from two dozen law schools in states that tax menstrual products plan to purchase those items and send in tax refund claims to their respective state taxation agencies as both a form of protest and a bid to raise awareness about what they view as the unfairness of such taxes.

Wednesday’s coordinated efforts are spearheaded by the Tax Free. Period project, a collaboration between the nonprofit advocacy group Period Equity and menstrual products maker Lola. Fordham University School of Law’s Legislative and Policy Advocacy Clinic took the lead in organizing law student participation in the action, which also includes writing to state lawmakers and state departments of revenue about the unconstitutional nature of tampon taxes.

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November 20, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

Harvard Law Prof Who Was Ousted From Deanship For Representing Harvey Weinstein Failed To File Tax Returns For Nearly A Decade

Following up on my previous posts:

Sullivan v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2019-153 (Nov. 19, 2019):

Petitioner is a clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and the faculty director of the Harvard Trial Advocacy Workshop and the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute. He did not file a Federal income tax return for 2012 or 2013; IRS records indicate that he likewise failed to file returns for 2005-2011. ...

[P]etitioner’s aggregate outstanding liability for 2012 and 2013 was $1,231,775. The bulk of this assessed liability, for 2013, appears to be attributable to petitioner’s sale during 2013, for $1,865,000, of his former residence at the Newton address.

Petitioner timely filed Form 12153, Request for a Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing, listing his address as the Winthrop House address. He checked the box captioned “I cannot pay balance.” Referring to the 2013 liability in particular he stated: “I did not (nor have I ever made) enough money to justify a $1.2M tax.”

On July 3, 2017, the IRS sent petitioner a letter, addressed to his Winthrop House address, acknowledging receipt of his hearing request. The letter advised him that, to be eligible for a collection alternative, he would need to file Federal income tax returns for 2012-2015 and supply a completed Form 433-A, Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals. He did not respond to this letter and did not supply any of the requested documents. ...

Finding no abuse of discretion in any respect, we will grant summary judgment for respondent and sustain the proposed collection action.

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November 20, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Longest-Serving Female Prof Sues Nebraska Law School Demanding Equal Pay With Her Male Counterparts Earning $257k-$274K

Omaha World-Herald, Longtime NU Law Professor Josephine Potuto Sues Over Unequal Pay For Women:

PotutoThe longest-serving female professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has sued the university, alleging she has received unequal pay because of her gender.

Josephine Potuto has been a law professor for 45 years and is the longest continuously serving professor in the NU College of Law, male or female.

The suit was filed Tuesday in Lancaster County District Court by her Lincoln-based attorneys, Vincent Powers and Kathleen Neary. The defendant officially is the governing board of the NU system, the Board of Regents. ...

The suit says pay discrimination has been cited for several years by the UNL Commission on the Status of Women. Further, the suit says, NU Law Dean Richard Moberly has called Potuto's situation a compelling example of gender pay disparity in the law school. ...

The NU system lists Potuto's salary as $229,460, compared with long-serving law colleagues Robert Denicola's $273,653 and Martin Gardner's $256,755. Neary said Potuto has no problem with her male colleagues' compensation, but she wants equal pay.

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November 20, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Law School As Hunger Games: Why Are Stress Levels Rising Among Law Students?

The Guardian, Legally Drained: Why Are Stress Levels Rising Among Law Students?:

Hunger Games 2Law students tend to be workaholics with very little free time, but finding the right life-work balance can be a tough task.

“One of my lecturers describes law school as being like the Hunger Games,” says law student Erin May Conely. “It can be quite cut-throat with everyone fighting for the same jobs at top law firms.”

For the 22-year-old, who is studying law at the University of Birmingham, the competitive atmosphere has led to so much stress that she has decided not to enter the profession once she graduates. She wants to go into teaching instead.

Conely’s experience is not unique. The Junior Lawyers Division’s 2019 resilience and wellbeing survey found that 93% of respondents – students, graduates, trainee solicitors and solicitors up to five years’ qualified – felt stressed. Almost half said that they had experienced poor mental health, which is a 10% increase from the year before.

It’s no secret that the legal profession can often be a high-pressure working environment; lawyers are the second most stressed professionals in the country. Some universities are therefore taking steps to help students better cope with academic pressures and the transition from legal education to a career as a lawyer.

The BPP University Law School has announced that it will introduce lessons on mindfulness, meditation, relaxation and resilience as part of their courses. Students will learn topics including “balancing work and life”, “self-care” and “getting a good night’s sleep”. ...

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November 19, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

'Penn Law' Keeps Its Name Until 2022, When It Will Become 'Penn Carey Law'

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  A Message From Dean Ted Ruger to Law School Students and Alumni:

Penn Law (2019-2022)November 18, 2019
Dear Law School students and alumni,

Just over a week ago we announced a historic and transformative $125 million gift from the W. P. Carey Foundation, the largest ever in legal education. In addition to its many ties to and longstanding support of the University of Pennsylvania, the Carey Foundation is a leading philanthropic supporter of education. 

I am writing to you in response to feedback the Law School and University have received regarding the gift and the renaming of the Law School to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and the short-form name of Carey Law, in particular. Some reactions have been very positive, some very critical, and others wonder what the future of legal education at Penn will look like thanks to these tremendous resources. All of your responses are heartening in demonstrating how deeply you care about this institution and the abiding affinity you have for it.

Much of the conversation has centered on concerns over the short-form name, instead of a focus on how the Carey Foundation gift will be used. We have heard you. Like all of you, my colleagues and I care deeply about the Law School’s history, tradition, and reputation in the academy, profession, and across the globe. Therefore, consistent with the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, which is our official name, the Law School will continue to use Penn Law as our short-form name until the start of the 2022-23 academic year, after which we will use Penn Carey Law, thereby embracing both tradition and transformation.

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November 19, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Alice Abreu Named Inaugural Director Of Temple Center For Tax Law And Public Policy

Temple

The tax faculty at Temple University Beasley School of Law is delighted to announce the launch of Temple’s Center for Tax Law and Public Policy, with Professor Alice Abreu as the inaugural director. Temple’s Tax Center not only serves as a hub for the many tax-related activities at Temple, it affirms Temple’s commitment to leadership in tax education and scholarship.

Temple Tax Faculty

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November 19, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Florida Wants $2 Million Research Prize Won By Professors

Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘It Felt Like a Betrayal’: Researchers Won a $2-Million Prize. The University Wants to Take It.:

Florida (2020)October 24 should have been a great day for John M. Shea and Tan F. Wong, professors of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida.

The day before, after three years, their team — which includes three Ph.D. students and an undergraduate — won the $2-million grand prize in an artificial-intelligence competition, beating out more than 100 teams from around the world.

The message that day from the administration, however, was far from congratulatory.

“Please understand that if Shea and Wong convert university funds to personal funds,” stated the email from a university lawyer to a lawyer representing the university’s faculty union, “they will be subject to personnel action and possibly other more serious consequences.”

The battle for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contest was over. But the team had another fight, this one with its own university. Who gets to keep the prize money?

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November 19, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, November 18, 2019

‘Yale or Harvard Would Never Do This’: Grads Upset Penn Law Changed Name After $125 Million Gift

Following up on my previous posts:

Philadelphia Inquirer, ‘Yale or Harvard Would Never Do This’: Grads Upset Penn Law Changed Name After $125 Million Gift:

Penn Law (2020)Did you graduate from Penn Law? Better buy your sweatshirt and other swag soon.

The University of Pennsylvania law school's name has changed to Carey Law, after a $125 million donation that included the naming rights to one of America's oldest law colleges.

Grads, faculty and students are alternately happy or furious the naming rights belong to the W.P. Carey family's foundation.

"We've received alum responses who are outraged about the change. They feel a strong attachment to the brand, as I do." said Michael Frieda, currently a third-year student at the law school. "We're just asking to maintain the Penn Law branding." ...

According to an online petition against the name change, signed by CEOs and partners from top Philly law firms, not all Penn Law alums are thrilled either. As of Wednesday, 2,200 alums and current students had signed the petition.

M. Kelly Tillery was one of the first to sign. The 1979 graduate of Penn Law is now a partner at Pepper Hamilton in Center City.

"It's an awesome, generous donation. But Yale or Harvard would never do this," Tillery said in an interview.

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November 18, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Chasing Rankings Is Starting To Strain Some Elite Universities

Chronicle of Higher Education, How Chasing Prestige Is Starting to Strain Some Elite Institutions:

The pressure to maintain elite status is starting to be reflected in the finances of some of the nation’s pre-eminent private research institutions.

Last month Northwestern University became the latest such institution to have its bond rating lowered by Moody’s Investors Service, the financial-information company. Moody’s cut the university’s rating of nearly $2.2 billion in debt, from its top grade of Aaa to Aa1, its second-highest score.

As Moody’s noted, the “pressure to invest to sustain competitiveness with other elite universities will be challenging.” ...

Northwestern is generating smaller gains from its operations than it did in previous years, Moody’s found. While tuition revenue has remained stable, Northwestern’s expenses across nearly every category have grown significantly. Of particular concern to the analysts was the university’s debt load. It tripled between the 2011 and 2018 fiscal years, from $775 million to $2.555 billion. For every dollar Northwestern earned from operations in 2014, the institution was liable for $2.60 in debt. Four years later, that ratio had ballooned to $18.10 in debt for every $1, according to Moody’s calculations.

Northwestern

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November 18, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The 23 Law School Naming Gifts ($3 Million - $125 Million)

Law.com 3
Top Row L-R University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. Bottom Row L-R Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law and University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law.

Law.com, What's In a Name for Law Schools? Money. Lots of It.:

In the past month alone, the University of Pennsylvania’s law school received a record-breaking $125 million from the W.P. Carey Foundation to become the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, or “Carey Law;” Pepperdine University got $50 million from real estate developer Richard Caruso and is now home to the Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law; and the University of Kentucky plans to rebrand its law school as the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law in honor of the new namesake’s $20 million gift. ...

[H]ow much would it take to get your name on Harvard Law School? An informal poll of 10 law deans and legal education experts this week yielded estimates ranging from $150 million to $1 billion, though most predictions fell in the range of $200 to $500 million. A few said the famed Cambridge school likely would never rebrand.

Law.com, Law School Naming Rights 60 Years in the Making:

[W]e’ve compiled data on the 23 donations that led law schools to rebrand in honor of their patrons. Our list kicks off in the 1960s with the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, but the action really picks up in the 2000s. And although there are some outliers, most of the recent naming donations fall between $20 and $50 million.

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November 17, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)