Paul L. Caron

Sunday, August 25, 2019

A New Push To Solve The Mystery Of Low Numbers Of Minority Law Clerks

National Law Journal, A New Push to Solve the Mystery of Low Numbers of Minority Law Clerks:

A new effort is underway to find the answer to a quandary that has long vexed the federal judiciary: why so few minorities serve as law clerks.

California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has joined former judge and Federal Judicial Center director Jeremy Fogel, and the American Bar Foundation, to delve into the question and come up with positive solutions for judges, law students, professors and other players in the law clerk hiring process.

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August 25, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Dean's Bible Study Kicks Off At Pepperdine Law

The Dean's Bible Study kicked off last week at Pepperdine Law School (the study is student-led and hosted at a dean's home). I spoke about five influences on my faith journey: my kids (Jayne and Reed), Abraham, Isaac, Jim Gash, and Alexander Hamilton.


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August 25, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Tenured Emory Law Prof Suspended For Using N-Bomb Faces Firing By University Faculty Committee At Oct. 4 Hearing

National Law Journal, ‘Moral Delinquency and Incompetence:’ Interim Emory Law Dean Wanted Prof Fired Over Racial Slur:

Emory Law (2018)An Emory University law professor suspended last year for twice using a racial slur should be fired, according to a letter citing the law school’s dean.

James Hughes Jr., who stepped down as interim dean of Emory’s School of Law last month, has asked the university Faculty Hearing Committee to strip Paul Zwier of his tenure and terminate him, according to two letters the American Association of University Professors sent to university administrators. Hughes cited “moral delinquency and incompetence” as grounds for dismissing Zwier for using a racial epithet while teaching a first-year torts class last year. ...

Meanwhile, two organizations promoting academic freedom have written letters to the law school demanding that Zwier be reinstated. They warned that any attempt to fire him for using the epithet in a classroom context would violate principles of academic free speech.

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

Law Teaching And Academic Perfectionism

Nancy Ehrenreich (Denver), When Professors Get in Their Own Way: Law Teaching and Academic Perfectionism, 68 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2019):

This article recounts how the author recovered from disillusionment and decreasing effectiveness as a law professor by diagnosing and overcoming her academic perfectionism. Perfectionism is the self-defeating tendency to have unrealistic goals and expectations of oneself. For many, it can cause loss of confidence, frustration with others, and, eventually, worsening performance. In short, perfectionism can lead a law professor to get in her own way, taking things students say personally and failing to recognize the pedagogical (and emotional) needs of the class. Focusing on the author’s experience teaching large, 1L courses, the article describes how letting go of the desire to impress or entertain students can lead to a more confident, comfortable, and effective approach to teaching.

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August 24, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 23, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Jeremy Bearer-Friend Joins George Washington Tax Faculty

Jeremy Bearer-Friend, Associate Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School:

BearerFriendJeremy Bearer-Friend joined GW Law after serving as Acting Assistant Professor of Tax Law at NYU, where he taught courses on federal estate and gift tax, tax procedure, and tax policy. Prior to academia, Professor Bearer-Friend was Tax Counsel to Senator Elizabeth Warren, leading the Senator’s work on a wide range of tax matters, including tax filing simplification, international tax reform, and the tax treatment of student loan discharges. Professor Bearer-Friend was also an associate with DC tax boutique Ivins, Phillips & Barker, where he advised clients on federal income tax, estate and gift tax, and employee benefits issues.

Professor Jeremy Bearer-Friend's research views taxpaying as a civic act that shapes a citizen's relationship to government. His scholarship examines the omission of race and ethnicity from tax data collection and tax data analysis, the use of administrative discretion to shape the civic features of taxpaying, and the potential of elective in-kind contributions to government in lieu of, or in tandem with, cash payments. Professor Bearer-Friend also writes on the taxation of business entities. His work in this area examines the asymmetric design of federal tax remittance for wages relative to business income, M&A tax incentives that encourage monopolies, and the use of political indicators to measure the incidence of the corporate tax.

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August 23, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tallahassee Court Sends Summons To 750 Prospective Jurors For Sept. 23 Trial In Dan Markel Murder Case

WCTV TV, 750 Jury Summons Going Out For Dan Markel Murder Case:

Markel Suspects 2Jury summons are coming soon in the Dan Markel murder case.

Court administrators tell us they are summoning 750 potential jurors for the upcoming trial of Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua.

The two are accused in the July 2014 murder of FSU law professor Dan Markel. A third man has already entered a plea and plans to testify against them.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin September 23.

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

Thursday, August 22, 2019

NY Times: Want To Pay Off A Student’s Debt? At Morehouse, Donors Now Can

New York Times, Want to Pay Off a Student’s Debt? At Morehouse, Donors Now Can:

The surprise announcement elicited disbelief, then jubilation from the crowd of 396 graduates at Morehouse College’s commencement in May, and from onlookers like Xavier Antoine, a junior who was photographing the celebration.

“This is my class, 2019, and my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans,” Robert F. Smith, the richest black man in America and this year’s commencement speaker, told the crowd at Morehouse, a historically black men’s college in Atlanta.

The extraordinary and unexpected pledge also led other Morehouse men like Mr. Antoine, who has taken out several student loans, to ask the inevitable question: What about the Class of 2020?

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August 22, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Abstract 'Spin': Nearly Half Of All Scholars Exaggerate Their Papers' Findings

Inside Higher Ed, Abstract ‘Spin’:

We’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover. But we shouldn’t be judging academic studies by their abstracts, either, according to a new paper in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine [Evaluation of Spin in Abstracts of Papers in Psychiatry and Psychology Journals]. The study — which found exaggerated claims in more than half of paper abstracts analyzed — pertains to psychology and psychiatry research. It notes that “spin” is troublesome in those fields because it can impact clinical care decisions. But the authors say that this kind of exaggeration happens in other fields, too.

“Researchers are encouraged to conduct studies and report findings according to the highest ethical standards,” the paper says, meaning “reporting results completely, in accordance with a protocol that outlines primary and secondary endpoints and prespecified subgroups and statistical analyses.”

Yet authors are free to choose “how to report or interpret study results.” And in an abstract, in particular, they may include “only the results they want to highlight or the conclusions they wish to draw.” ...

How often did articles’ abstracts exaggerate the actual findings? More than half the time, or 56 percent. Spin happened in 2 percent of titles, 21 percent of abstract results sections and 49 percent of abstract conclusion sections. Fifteen percent of abstracts had spin in both their results and conclusion sections.

In a word: spin. ...

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

Is America Ready For a Professor President — Especially A Rich One?

The Cut (New York Magazine), Elizabeth Warren’s Classroom Strategy:

WarrenA lifelong teacher, she’s the most professorial presidential candidate ever. But does America want to be taught?

The story of Elizabeth Warren’s career in education — at least in legal education — begins with one word: assumpsit. It is literally the first word of the first case she had to read for the first class she ever took as a 24-year-old law student at Rutgers University in 1973. She has recalled, in vivid detail, the fear and confusion she’d felt as a young mother, former public-school teacher, and unlikely law student when her first law professor walked into the room and called on a student whose name began with A, asking her, “Ms. Aaronson, what is ‘assumpsit’?” Ms. Aaronson had not known, and neither had the next several students he called on after her. Ms. Warren also had not known what assumpsit meant, despite having done the reading for the day.

Since her last name was at the end of the alphabet, Warren was spared public humiliation, but she left her first law-school class badly shaken, with a degree of clarity about how she must move forward: “Read all the words and look up what you don’t know.”

In the following years, Warren became a law-school professor: first teaching night classes at Rutgers and eventually landing at Harvard, where she worked for 16 years before becoming a U.S. senator from Massachusetts in 2013.

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August 22, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Field: An Introduction To Tax Careers for JDs

Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings), An Introduction to Tax Careers for J.D.s, ABA Tax Times, Vol. 38, No. 3, p. 30 (Spring 2019):

To many people, the tax field seems like a very narrow niche. The tax profession does require specialized expertise, but tax professionals know that there is actually great diversity in the career paths available to law school graduates. Yet for law students and junior lawyers interested in the tax field, it can be difficult to appreciate the range of possible tax careers and to distinguish between what different tax practitioners do. Thus, to help aspiring tax professionals easily understand the range of tax careers they might pursue, this article offers a 3-pronged framework for describing tax careers available to J.D.s.

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August 22, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

'Law School Was Kind Of A Shock:' Students Take The Lead In Mental Health Initiatives, 'Law School Was Kind of a Shock:' Students Take the Lead in Mental Health Initiatives:

Luke Finn expected to find a robust network of mental health supports in place when he showed up at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 2017.

He assumed an American campus would be more attuned to wellness than schools in his native U.K., where stiff-upper-lip attitudes prevail. Instead, he was underwhelmed by what he found offered at the Chicago law school.

“As a 1L, it seemed obvious to me that people needed something they weren’t getting,” said Finn, who is open with classmates about his own struggles with depression. “There were people having anxiety attacks by October.”

Rather than complain about what he viewed as a lack of programming centered on mental health and wellness, Finn decided to do something about it. In his first semester he started the Students Mental Health Alliance—a student-run organization dedicated to wellness programming, education, counseling access and other supports. It began as informal peer counseling, but the 18-month-old group now produces a variety of events from mental health panels and sessions timed to especially stressful periods of the academic year—finals, for example—to a weekly email to all Northwestern law students listing wellness events and resources. The group even partnered with Illinois Lawyers Assistance Program to double the amount of on-campus counseling offered.

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August 22, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

NY Times: More Private Colleges Cut Tuition As Discount Rate Hits All-Time High Of 52%

Following up on my previous post, Private College Tuition Discount Rate Hits All-Time High Of 52%: New York Times, More Private Colleges Are Cutting Tuition, but Don’t Expect to Pay Less:

[A] small but rising number of mostly private liberal arts colleges ... are cutting their tuition prices. But what they’re actually doing is reducing their advertised rates, which only the wealthiest students usually pay. At the same time, the colleges are also reducing the heavy discounts they offer to everyone else. The result is a new sticker price that more closely reflects what students already pay.

Institutions are making the change out of economic necessity: As college costs have soared, expensive smaller schools risk being bypassed as applicants seek more affordable options.

NY Times

The colleges hope the truth in advertising will attract more applicants, including transfer students, and increase retention rates.

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August 21, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Impact Of The U.S. News Rankings On The Cost Of Law School

Following up on my previous post, Symposium: Uncomfortable Conversations About Legal Education — Student Debt, Diversity, And More:, Cracking the Case of Law School Cost:

2020 US News Law SchoolHere’s the million-dollar question on my mind today: How do you make a law degree more affordable?

That was the focus on a day-long session I attended last week on bringing down the cost of a legal education held at the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco. It was an interesting—and at times frustrating—discussion, so I’m going to devote this newsletter to parsing some of the ideas that emerged. ...

The U.S. News rankings loomed large in the day’s conversation, and Law School Transparency Executive Director Kyle McEntee tackled it head on with a talk about how the rankings can be improved and their influence curbed. He proposed a change to the rankings formula that would do away with the expenditure-per-student metric, which rewards schools for spending money. In its place, he proposed an alternative measure that would divide the total amount of J.D. revenue a school receives annually by the number of long-term, fulltime bar passage required or J.D. advantage jobs its graduates land. This would essentially reward schools for keeping tuition low while also sending graduates on to good legal jobs.

McEntee also made news when he announced that in 2020 Law School Transparency will launch its own law school certification system, which is intended to create some competition for U.S. News in terms of evaluating the quality of law schools. It will award badges to law schools that meet its criteria in different areas, such as affordability and diversity and inclusion. The badges will offer schools alternative benchmarks that don’t hinge solely on the U.S. News formula, McEntee said. Law schools can then use the LST badges in their marketing materials and websites as a signifier of quality, along the lines of LEED certification for energy efficient construction. He said law deans are hungry for alternatives to the U.S. News rankings because they feel very constrained by those rankings’ narrow definition of what makes a good law school and the perverse incentives they create, such as the need to devote funds to merit scholarships at the expense of need-based ones. ...

[Q]uite a few legal educators associate efforts to reduce student costs with also reducing the quality of legal education. That’s a pretty serious obstacle to overcome. The way I see it, faculty and the various stakeholders involved in legal education need to buy into the idea that law school can cost less while also serving as the gatekeeper into the profession if there is ever to be progress made.

August 21, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nonprofit AccessLex Institute Announces New Resources For Pre-Law Students

Nonprofit AccessLex Institute Announces New Suite of Resources for Pre-Law Students:

AccessLexAccessLex Institute, the largest charitable organization dedicated to legal education, has released a new online suite of resources created expressly for aspiring law students. Designed by a team of JDs, financial aid experts, law school admissions professionals and experienced pre-law advisors, MAX Pre-Law by AccessLex® offers interactive lessons, webinars, worksheets and checklists, as well as one-on-one financial strategy coaching from accredited financial counselors to answer student’s most pressing questions about law school – all free to anyone interested in pursuing a legal education.

MAX Pre-Law builds on the success of AccessLex Institute’s MAX by AccessLex® program, the comprehensive financial education program created to maximize the financial capability and capacity of law students. Launched in 2017, MAX is currently being used by over 15,000 students at more than 150 ABA-approved law schools across the country.

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August 21, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of Calgary Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Position Description:

Calgary (2019)The University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law is in the midst of a sustained period of growth and renewal. In its Strategic plan – Energy.Innovation.Impact. – UCalgary Law set itself the dual goals of enhancing its international eminence in the areas of energy, environmental and natural resources law and continuing its position of national leadership in the area of experiential learning. Since 2011, we have made twenty three new Faculty appointments, and we are looking to make further appointments to begin in 2019 and in years to follow.

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary invites applications for a tenure-track appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor in the area of tax law. The anticipated start date is July 1, 2020.

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August 21, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A New Growth Vision For Legal Education, Part III: The Path Forward — Being Both Human And Digital

Following up on my previous posts:

Hilary G. Escajeda (Denver), Legal Education: A New Growth Vision. Part III — The Path Forward: Being Both Human And Digital, 97 Neb. L. Rev. 1020 (2019):

In the decades ahead, innovative and status quo-breaking law schools will leverage and combine multidisciplinary, multigenerational human expertise with digital platform and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to create vibrant legal education ecosystems. These combinations will deliver market-valued knowledge and skill transfer and development services that are high-quality, cost-effective, omnichannel, pedagogically sound, data-validated, personalized, on-demand or just-in-time, and multi-format (e.g., hybrid, HyFlex, digitalfirst, digital-live, etc.).

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

Student Evaluations Are Unreliable And Biased Against Female Professors

London School of Economics and Public Policy, Student Evaluations of Teaching Are Not Only Unreliable, They Are Significantly Biased Against Female Instructors:

A series of studies across countries and disciplines in higher education confirm that student evaluations of teaching (SET) are significantly correlated with instructor gender, with students regularly rating female instructors lower than male peers. Anne Boring, Kellie Ottoboni and Philip B. Stark [Student Evaluations of Teaching (Mostly) Do Not Measure Teaching Effectiveness] argue the findings warrant serious attention in light of increasing pressure on universities to measure teaching effectiveness. Given the unreliability of the metric and the harmful impact these evaluations can have, universities should think carefully on the role of such evaluations in decision-making.


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August 20, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sons Of BOSS Rocks Out UC-Irvine

Sons of BossLast Friday, the UC-Irvine Graduate Tax Program hosted a welcome reception for its inaugural class of LL.M. students. The reception featured a special performance by “Sons of BOSS.” (Tax cognoscenti know that the Son of BOSS is a successor to BOSS (Bond and Option Sales Strategy) tax shelter.)

The leader of the band is Omri Marian (UC-Irvine). The other band members are: Frank Rork (Senior Director, Tax, Edwards Lifesciences), Michael Strasser (Senior Manger, Global Supply Chain Strategy, Edwards Lifesciences), Neil Richmond (International Tax Services, EY) and Joseph Cruz (EY). The band played numerous songs for UCI students and faculty, including, of course,  Taxman by the Beatles.

For video of the band's performance, see below the fold:

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

Monday, August 19, 2019

Law Degree Held Against Defendant In Tax Scam

Peter J. Reilly (Forbes), Law Degree Held Against Defendant In Tax Scam:

Anthony Charles Dwight Box was at what I consider the end of the line in tax litigation — appealing his sentence from prison — when he heard from the Eleventh Circuit last month. It was not good news. The Circuit Court approved the 36 month sentence handed down by Judge Federico Moreno of the Southern District of Florida.

Judge Moreno had made an upward adjustment from the 24 to 30-month sentence called for by the guidelines because Mr. Box's legal education should have made him know better, a conviction in 1989 and failure to make any restitution.

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August 19, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, New Cases, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weisbach: Graduation Remarks To The Class of 2019 — Democracy Needs Lawyers To Defend It

David Weisbach (Chicago), Graduation Remarks to the Class of 2019: Democracy Needs to be Defended, and Lawyers Are Key to Defending It:

WeisbachGraduation speeches are supposed to be nonpolitical yet inspirational, summarizing a life lesson in seven minutes. I wrote one, focusing on the career choices you will face over the next 30 to 40 years. It was nonpolitical and attempted to be inspirational. But I woke up this morning and I couldn’t do it. As important as career choices are, it isn’t what I want to talk about.

Instead, this morning I scribbled some notes about what I really want to say. And it is not nonpolitical, or inoffensive to all, so I apologize in advance. I can see Dean Miles shifting nervously in his seat.

This is what I want to say: the world needs you. It needs great lawyers like never before. I’m 55 years old. I’ve lived through the Cold War, the civil rights movement, Watergate, the Bork and Thomas confirmation hearings, Bush versus Gore, 9/11, the Great Recession. I’ve never felt as scared as I do now. Maybe it’s an illusion, that the current moment always seems worse than the past because we know we made it through the past but we don’t know about the future. But I don’t think that’s it. Today feels different. I wake up every day a little bit terrified.

Like no time in my life, the world needs people like you. I’ve never been more proud to be a law professor than today, because my job is to help create the young lawyers, you, that our country and the world need.

Why does the world need you? You’ll have your own list and mine is surely incomplete. And you’ll likely disagree with some of this.

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August 19, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

ABA Profile Of The Legal Profession

ABA Profile of the Legal Profession (2019) (98 pages):

No matter where we went to law school or when we graduated, lawyers across the country are aware of the extraordinary transformation of the legal profession. In this report, for the first time, the American Bar Association has compiled a comprehensive look at these changes and provided a vivid picture of the legal profession as it exists today.

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

The Ohio State University Seeks To Trademark 'The'

Chronicle of Higher Education, Its Eyes on New Merchandise, Ohio State Looks to Trademark a Single Word: ‘THE’:

Ohio StateAmerican universities boast a storied history of trademark claims — from threatening mom-and-pop bakeries to cashing in on Cinderella upsets — and the Ohio State University last week continued that tradition when it filed an application for a word central to Buckeye pride. It’s also one of the most common words in the English language:“THE.

”Discovered, and subsequently publicized, on Tuesday night by Josh Gerben, a trademark lawyer, the application claims use of the three-letter word “without claim to any particular font style, size, or color.” 

In response to questions from The Chronicle, a university spokesman wrote that the trademark “would apply for usage of ‘The’ in ways that clearly signify association with Ohio State and its brand, like for example a scarlet and gray T-shirt with ‘The’ on the front.” ...



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August 19, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Don't Give Up On Vermont Law School

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Connecticut Law Tribune editorial, Don't Give Up on Vermont Law School:

Vermont Law School Logo (2017)We in Connecticut have a special interest in Vermont Law School because so many alumni live and practice here, and the school has done a great job in educating a generation of committed environmental lawyers. Vermont Law School, an independent school and the only law school in Vermont, has been at the forefront of environmental law education and advocacy since its founding in 1972, and modest beginnings in an old schoolhouse in the sleepy little town of South Royalton.

But today, VLS is floundering, up to its neck in debt brought on by the sagging enrollment caused by the Great Recession and struggling to stay afloat with a totally inadequate endowment. Applications, admissions and enrollment are up, but the improvements are recent and follow too many years of financial losses. ...

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August 18, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, August 17, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Judge Tosses Another Whistleblower Suit Against For-Profit Law School Chain, Judge Tosses Another Whistleblower Suit Against For-Profit Law School Chain:

InfiLaw (2017)For-profit law school operator InfiLaw Corp. has dodged a third whistleblower lawsuit claiming it defrauded the federal government and deceived students.

A federal judge in Florida on Monday dismissed a qui tam suit brought by two former employees of the now-closed Arizona Summit Law School that claimed, among other things, that InfiLaw administrators conspired with bar preparation outfit BarBri to make sure that the Phoenix law school was in compliance with a rule that no more than 90% of it funds were derived from federal student loans.

In a 58-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard of the Middle District of Florida ruled that many of the plaintiffs’ claims of wrongdoing by InfiLaw and its three law schools were barred in court because they had already been disclosed in the media through articles and blog posts critical of the schools’ practices. Moreover, Howard found the allegations brought by Paula Lorona and Reid Potter to be too vague to overcome the defendants’ motions to dismiss. ...

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August 17, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Online Degrees Can Advance Worker Careers In A Shifting Economy

EdSurge, How Online Degrees Can Advance Worker Careers in a Shifting Economy:

If you’re wondering why online learning is booming, take a look at the latest U.S. Department of Labor data showing heightened demand for skilled workers. Those with an undergraduate or advanced degree now represent about 40 percent of the nation’s workforce, while those with just a high school diploma have slipped in the last 25 years from more than a third to about a quarter of American workers.


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August 17, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

How Trump Is Saving Law Schools And Hurting Business Schools

Bloomberg, Trump Is Driving Women Into Law School:

A few short years ago, law schools were falling out of favor with young Americans looking for a route to affluence, influence, or both. Business schools, on the other hand, were attracting more students than ever.

This year, the number of applicants to U.S. law schools is up an estimated 3.2%, after rising 8.1% last year. Graduate business schools in the U.S. saw a 6.6% decline in applications last year, and indications are that applications are down again this year as well.

What changed? Donald Trump became president, silly!

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August 16, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Jim Maule's Reflections On 40 Years Of Teaching Tax Law

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Overhaul The Bar Exam? Two Major Studies Focus On The Test's Future

National Law Journal, Overhaul the Bar Exam? Two Major Studies Focus on the Test's Future:

[T]he lawyer licensing exam could look much different in another 10 years. Two large-scale studies are underway to examine the knowledge and skills new lawyers need to succeed and how well—or not—the existing bar exam assesses those competencies. Those findings could prompt changes in not only what is tested, but the format of the exam as well.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners is midway through a three-year project examining every aspect of the test—an initiative dubbed the Testing Task Force. The task force recently concluded its first phase, which involved 30 listening sessions in which it gathered input from more than 400 people on the bar exam and its future. The second phase, looking at lawyer tasks and skills, gets underway in August.

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August 15, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dayton Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

DaytonThe University of Dayton School of Law invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position and a Full Professor with tenure position to begin in August 2020.

Applicants for the Assistant Professor position must have a J.D. or the equivalent international law degree. We welcome applications from candidates across all areas of law. Areas of particular interest include secured transactions, business organizations, constitutional law, family law, wills and trusts, tax, conflicts of law, contracts, and property. Applications must be received by January 1, 2020. Applications should include a cover letter and CV and must be submitted through the University of Dayton's electronic employment site.

Applicants for the Full Professor position must have tenure at a United States or International law school, a J.D. or the equivalent international law degree, a record of outstanding scholarship and publication in the fields of commercial or constitutional law, and excellent teaching evaluations. Applications must be received by September 12, 2019. Applications should include a cover letter, CV, and a sample of recent teaching evaluations. Applications must be submitted through the University of Dayton’s electronic employment site.

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August 15, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Revolt Of The Feminist Law Profs

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Revolt of the Feminist Law Profs:

In the fall of 2011, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued informal, non-binding guidance on how colleges should treat claims of sexual assault and harassment in a document now referred to as the Dear Colleague letter. It was accompanied by public claims of an ongoing crisis of sexual violence on universities made by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. In 2014, [Jeannie Suk] Gersen and three of her colleagues — Elizabeth Bartholet, Janet Halley, and Nancy Gertner — led a contingent of their peers in calling out the system of investigation and adjudication that emerged during the Obama years as “so unfair as to be truly shocking.” The four were joined by 24 of their Harvard Law colleagues in an open letter published in The Boston Globe decrying Obama’s Title IX recommendations as “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.”

In a statement called “Fairness for All Students Under Title IX,” jointly authored with Halley, Bartholet, and Gertner, Gersen noted that at many colleges, investigators are trained to start by believing the complainant. Many schools would “improperly house the functions of investigation and adjudication” in the same office, with “strong incentives” to keep the schools in the Office for Civil Rights’ “good graces.” “Some schools,” they wrote, “allow appeals only on very narrow grounds such as new evidence or procedural error, providing no meaningful check on the initial decisionmaker.” The evidentiary threshold required was the lowest one, the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, meaning anything greater than 50 percent certainty should yield a finding of wrongdoing. ...

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August 15, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

George Washington To Reduce Enrollment By 20% To Increase Quality

Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘Better, Not Bigger’: As Private Colleges Hunger for Students, One University Slims Down:

George Washington University LogoAs several private colleges have been trying to increase, or simply maintain, their enrollment amid a slackening in the number of traditional-age students in much of the country, George Washington University is doing just the opposite. In an announcement last week, its president, Thomas J. LeBlanc, declared a new mantra: “Better, not bigger.”

After a period of enrollment growth that LeBlanc said had “stretched our facilities, our services, our staff and our faculty,” George Washington will cut its undergraduate student body by 20 percent over the next five years. The move effectively reverses undergraduate growth of the past five years.

“Our intention is to continue to improve everything we do at GW by being even more focused on quality and less focused on quantity,” LeBlanc wrote last week, following an annual retreat with the Board of Trustees.

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August 14, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Cincinnati Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Cincinnati Logo (2019)The University of Cincinnati College of Law invites applications from entry-level candidates for the tenure-track position of Assistant Professor of Law. We welcome candidates across all areas of law, although subject areas of particular interest include business law, health law, intellectual property, property, and tax. Applicants must possess a J.D. or equivalent degree and outstanding academic credentials and have demonstrated potential for outstanding teaching and scholarship. Relevant experience in private practice, government service, or a judicial clerkship is strongly preferred. We welcome applications from persons who would add to the diversity of our academic community and engage with the broader community. Questions about the hiring process should be directed to Professor Felix Chang, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee. Candidates must also apply online via the UC recruitment system to be considered an applicant.

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August 14, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Do Faculty Have A 'Sweet Racket? Or Do They Work 60 Hours/Week For Less Pay Than They Could Get Elsewhere?

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Who’ll Take a Pay Cut for Free College?, by Joseph Epstein (Northwestern):

Democratic candidates for president, in their impressive expansiveness, are promising free college. ... If government is going to pay for college, at least it ought to try to bring down the cost. I taught at a university for 30 years and have a few suggestions. Start at the top: I would reduce the salaries of university presidents by, say, 90%. ...

Which brings us to the faculty.  Faculty jobs in American universities have risen well in excess of any visible improvement in the quality of university teachers: $200,000-a-year-or-more professorships are now not uncommon. When I began teaching in my mid-30s, an older friend, long resident at the same university, said to me, “Welcome to the racket.” What he meant is that I would be getting a full-time salary for what was essentially a six-month job, and without ever having to put in an eight-hour day. At the tonier universities, professors in the humanities and social sciences might teach as few as three or four courses a year, the remainder of their time supposedly devoted to research. Like the man said, a sweet racket.

Under free higher education, perhaps it would make sense to pay university teachers by the hour, with raises in the wage awarded by seniority. Surely they could not complain. After all, the two most common comments (some would say the two biggest lies) about university teaching are, “I learn so much from my students” and “It’s so inspiring, I’d do it for nothing.” A strict hourly wage for teachers, as free university education may require, would nicely test the validity of that second proposition.

Inside Higher Ed, ‘A Sweet Racket’? Yeah, Right:

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August 13, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

New Paper Makes Case For Paying More Attention To Pre-tenured Faculty Emotions

Inside Higher Ed, New Paper Makes Case For Paying More Attention To Pre-tenured Faculty Emotions:

Academics might be known for their intellect, but they have emotions, too -- and those emotions matter, according to a new paper on the pretenure faculty experience [The Emotions of Pretenure Faculty: Implications for Teaching and Research Success].

The mixed-method study, published in The Review of Higher Education, looked at assistant professors’ emotions regarding teaching and research, including their frequency, precursors and relationships with perceived success. It found that teaching was much more associated with positive emotions. Research, meanwhile, was associated with more negative feelings.

Why do faculty emotions matter? There’s a divide between qualitative research that consistently identifies certain factors — namely clear expectations for promotion and tenure, collegiality and balance between work and home — as important to faculty success, the paper says, and other quantitative research suggesting that those factors actually have limited influence.

Might understanding faculty members’ emotions help bridge that gap? Perhaps.

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August 13, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Grades Can Hinder Learning. What Should Professors Use Instead?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Grades Can Hinder Learning. What Should Professors Use Instead?:

Grades are among education’s most recognizable symbols, up there with chalkboards and graduation gowns. Plenty of instructors use them for years without ever wondering why.

But let’s take a moment and ask. Why grade? To give students feedback, a professor might say. To measure learning. To motivate. 

Here’s the problem: Decades of research undercuts these assumptions. ... [S]tudies have found that [grades] reduce students’ interest in what they’re learning. They make students more risk-averse, less curious, and more prone to focus on their performance instead of the task at hand. Grades tempt students to cut corners, including by cheating. They position students and professors as adversaries. They make it harder for students to think for themselves. ...

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August 12, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

Haben Girma, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law (Aug. 6, 2019):

HabenThe incredible life story of Haben Girma, the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and her amazing journey from isolation to the world stage.

Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn't see, and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents' harrowing experiences during Eritrea's thirty-year war with Ethiopia. Their refugee story inspired her to embark on a quest for knowledge, traveling the world in search of the secret to belonging. She explored numerous fascinating places, including Mali, where she helped build a school under the scorching Saharan sun. Her many adventures over the years range from the hair-raising to the hilarious.

Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation. She learned non-visual techniques for everything from dancing salsa to handling an electric saw. She developed a text-to-braille communication system that created an exciting new way to connect with people. Haben pioneered her way through obstacles, graduated from Harvard Law, and now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities.

Haben takes readers through a thrilling game of blind hide-and-seek in Louisiana, a treacherous climb up an iceberg in Alaska, and a magical moment with President Obama at The White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating memoir is a testament to one woman's determination to find the keys to connection.

Wall Street Journal, Haben Girma Is a Trailblazer for the Deaf and Blind:

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August 12, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Welcome, Pepperdine Law School Class Of 2022

Launch Week Class of 2022 (2)

Welcome to the members of the Pepperdine Law School Class of 2022 who begin their legal education today in a week-long introduction to law school and professional formation, as well as the over 300 students pursuing joint, LL.M., and masters degrees and certificates, including our LL.M. and certificate programs in Entertainment, Media, and Sports and our online masters in Legal Studies and Dispute Resolution and our new online LL.M. in Dispute Resolution.

This is my third year as Dean, and I am thrilled that you have decided to join our very special law school community. You will learn and study on our spectacularly beautiful campus in Malibu with easy access to Los Angeles, one of the world's most vibrant cities for young professionals. You will experience the faculty and staff's faith-fueled commitment to you and to your success that manifests itself in various ways, large and small, in daily life here. My fervent wish is that you will love your time at Pepperdine as I have since joining the faculty in 2013, and that you will leave here with a deep sense of your professional and personal calling in law and in life.

This is an especially exciting time at Pepperdine Law, as we are celebrating our 50th anniversary. In March, we rose to #51 in the U.S. News law school rankings, and we are well positioned to continue our ascent this year.  After 20 years on the Pepperdine Law faculty, Jim Gash became President of Pepperdine University 12 days ago. 

August 12, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Accusing Harvard Law Review Of Discrimination Against White Men

Following up on my previous posts:

Harvard Crimson, Lawsuit Alleging Harvard Law Review Discriminates Against White Men Dismissed:

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Thursday that was brought against the Harvard Law Review in October alleging the legal journal violates federal anti-discrimination laws in its member and article selection policies [Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences v. Harvard Law Review Ass'n, No. 18-12105 (D. MA Aug. 8, 2019)].

The suit — which was filed by the Texas-based anti-affirmative action group Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences — also implicated the University, Harvard Law School, and the United States Department of Education.

The Law Review staff selection process accepts 48 second and third-year law students each year in a three-pronged process. Twenty of the 48 students are chosen based solely on their performance in a writing competition, 10 are selected based jointly on the writing competition and HLS grades, and 18 are selected through “a holistic but anonymous review that takes into account all available information,” according to its website.

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August 12, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dad, Did You Achieve All Your Life Goals?

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Dad, Did You Achieve All Your Life Goals?, by Warren Kozak:

I don’t often get a question that stops me in my tracks. But on a recent vacation, my daughter and I had the rare opportunity to sit down and talk in a relaxed setting. We’re at very different stages in our lives. She is 21, going into her senior year of college with the whole world in front of her. I’m 68—most of my friends are retiring.

She turned to me at dinner and asked if I had met the goals I set for myself when I was her age. ...

After sleeping on it, I told her the next morning that I was surprised to find what I consider my greatest accomplishments today are not even remotely close to what I might have imagined back then.

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August 11, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Making Big Law Partner Is Like 'Winning A Pie-Eating Contest In Which The Prize Is More Pie'

Wall Street Journal, Being a Law Firm Partner Was Once a Job for Life. That Culture Is All but Dead.:

WSJ1Being named a partner once meant joining a band of lawyers who jointly tended to longtime clients and took home comfortable, and roughly equal, paychecks. Job security was virtually guaranteed and partners rarely jumped ship.

That model, and the culture that grew up around it, is all but dead. Law firms are now often partnerships in name only. Full-time chief executives, some without law degrees, have replaced the senior partner running human resources and accounting. Law firm names have trended toward the shorter and snappier, more befitting a tote bag than a law library.

Many firms have expanded rapidly to mirror the growth of their corporate clients, with hundreds of partners spread around the world. The largest, Dentons, recently hit 10,000 lawyers in 78 countries, around a third of them partners. ...

In the new paradigm, lawyers are expendable, and partners may jump to a competitor for the right amount of money, taking as many clients as possible with them on the way out.

WSJ2Junior lawyers always worked long hours for years before being promoted, but that meant a kind of lifetime tenure. Today, making partner can take more than a decade and still requires scraping for new business. Becoming a partner, the industry saying goes, is like winning a pie-eating contest only to find the prize is more pie.

“If you get partners in their private moments to talk about ambitions for their children, I would be very surprised if many would articulate partnership in a large law firm,” said Elliott Portnoy, Dentons’s global chief executive. ...

No firm embodies the changes more than Kirkland, which was founded in Chicago in 1909. ... Over the past decade, Kirkland has become known for making high-price offers to rising stars at competitors, for $10 million a year or more in some cases. It has embraced the two-tiered partner system, made up of a junior class paid a set salary and an inner circle of equity partners, who split the firm’s profits.

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August 11, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Federal Court Approves Sale Of Western State Law School To Westcliff University

Westcliff University Press Release, Approval—Acquisition of Western State College of Law:

Western State Logo (2019)A federal court in Ohio has approved acquisition of Western State College of Law by Westcliff University. Dr. Anthony Lee, President and CEO of Westcliff, said in response to the court’s approval, “We are delighted to welcome Western State into our family. We knew it would take a lot of work by many dedicated people, and today is the culmination of those efforts and a reason for celebration.”

The court order ends months of uncertainty and distress for the students, faculty, and staff of the 50-year-old Irvine-based law school. Western State was a campus of Argosy University, which was owned by Dream Center Education Holdings, LLC. Western State became the unfortunate victim of the financial problems of its parent, which entered receivership in January.

“The law school had been successful with very experienced management, faculty and staff,” said Lee, “We would not have become involved except for that. Westcliff is fully committed to helping Western State recover from its entanglement in the receivership and begin enrolling new students as soon as possible.”

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August 11, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 10, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Has College Gotten Too Easy?

The Atlantic, Has College Gotten Too Easy?:

AtlanticWhen Jeff Denning, an economist at Brigham Young University, started looking closely at the data on college-completion rates, he was a bit perplexed by what, exactly, was driving this uptick. He and some of his BYU colleagues noticed that a range of indicators from those two decades pointed in the direction of lower, not higher, graduation rates: More historically underrepresented groups of students (who tend to have lower graduation rates) were enrolling, students appeared to be studying less and spending more time working outside of school, and student-to-faculty ratios weren’t decreasing. “We started thinking, What could possibly explain this increase?” Denning told me. “Because we were stuck with not being able to explain anything.”

Stuck, that is, until they started looking at what was happening with students’ GPAs. Despite the aforementioned trends among the college-going population, students were, on average, earning higher grades in their first year of college. “[GPAs are] going up, and as best we can tell, there’s not a good reason that they’re going up, in terms of student behavior or preparation or anything like that,” Denning said.

If grades are improving but there’s no reason to think that students have become better students, an interesting possibility is raised: The unassuming, academic way Denning puts it in a recent paper (co-authored with his BYU colleague Eric Eide and Merrill Warnick, an incoming Stanford doctoral student) is that “standards for degree receipt” may have changed. A less measured way of saying what that implies: College may have gotten easier.

Jeffrey T. Denning, Eric R. Eide & Merrill Warnick (BYU), Why Have College Completion Rates Increased?:

College completion rates declined from the 1970s to the 1990s. We document that this trend has reversed—since the 1990s, college completion rates have increased.

Figure 2

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August 10, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, August 9, 2019

Conservative 3L Says Gonzaga Law School's Liberal Bias Infringes His First Amendment Rights

Following up on my previous posts:

ABA Journal:  Conservative Student Says Law School Biases Infringe on His Right to Free Speech, by Austin Phelps (3L, Gonzaga):

As a third-year law student, I have the concerns that any other 3L has: getting my reading assignments done before class starts, completing internship work, passing the bar exam and finding gainful employment. In addition, when I don my “Make America Great Again” hat, I add the concerns of ostracization among my peers and castigation from professors—the very people I have come to professionally admire.

Having had Jeffrey Omari as a professor, I have known his political leanings for almost one year. As a student in his class, I was present wearing conservative apparel, including a MAGA hat, Trump-Pence 2020 T-shirt and several related stickers on my laptop. After reading his article, I understand why I was not called on with the frequency that left-leaning students enjoyed. The article further creates a feeling of unwelcomeness from Omari toward students of different mindsets. ...

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August 9, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)