Paul L. Caron

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Dean Martinez's 10-Page Letter To The Stanford Community About The Disruption Of Judge Duncan's Speech

Dean Jenny Martinez sent a 10-page letter to the Stanford community yesterday:

Stanford Law (2022)As my message to you last week indicated, I had hoped to wait until after final exams concluded at the end of this week to offer any further comments on the disruption of Judge Kyle Duncan’s speech at a student Federalist Society event on March 9, 2023, and the school’s response to that disruption. However, continuing outside attention to these events, as well as the volume of hateful and even threatening messages directed at members of our community, have led me to conclude that a more immediate statement is necessary.

As we consider the role of respectful treatment of members of our community, I want to be clear that the hate mail and appalling invective that have been directed at some of our students and law school administrators in the wake of March 9 are of great concern to me. All actionable threats that come to our attention will be investigated and addressed as the law permits.

In the message below, I respond below to many of the questions I continue to receive about why I apologized to Judge Duncan, why I stand by that apology, and why the protest violated the university’s policy on disruption. I articulate how I believe our commitment to diversity and inclusion means that we must protect the expression of all views. And, I outline some of the steps the school will be taking in the wake of this incident, including the adoption of clearer protocols for managing disruptions and educational programming on free speech and norms of the legal profession.

This message is unusually lengthy; because we are a law school and these issues are core to our educational mission, I explain some of my reasoning in quite a bit more detail than I would for a general audience. I also recognize that what I share below will not please everyone. While some of you may disagree with my views, I look forward to continuing the conversation about how we can create a learning environment that both respects freedom of speech and ensures that we support all of our diverse community members on their path to becoming lawyers.

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March 23, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Law School Deans See Through The U.S. News Rankings Bluster

William M. Treanor (Dean, Georgetown), U.S. News and World Report Has a New, Aggressive Defense of Its Rankings. Law School Deans Like Me See It for What It Is.:

US News (2023)Since 1987, U.S. News & World Report has been ranking law schools. While the law school rankings have been criticized for decades, this year more than 40 law schools have announced they will not participate, and earlier this month, representatives of more than 100 law schools attended a conference to discuss a solution, hosted by Harvard and Yale law schools (the first schools to pull out), and featuring Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

In anticipation of the Harvard-Yale conference, U.S. News, which had been relatively quiet in the face of past criticism, responded ferociously, running a full-page ad in the Boston Globe and a Wall Street Journal op-ed defending the ranking system. In the op-ed, U.S. News’ executive chairman and CEO Eric J. Gertler suggested that law schools were withdrawing from U.S. News because, in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s possible invalidation of affirmative action in admissions, they want to be able to ignore grades and standardized test scores in admitting students, without suffering a drop in their U.S. News ranking.

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March 23, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

The Top 20 Law Schools Produce Fossil Fuel Lawyers 3X The Rate Of The Average Law School

Law Students For Climate Accountability, Fueling the Climate Crisis: Measuring T-20 participation in the Fossil Fuel Lawyer Pipeline:

Fossil Top 10On November 16, 2022, the Dean of Yale Law School Heather Gerken made a shocking announcement: Yale Law School would be leaving the US News & World Report law school rankings. Many law schools shared her frustrations with the rankings that Gerken called "profoundly flawed," and more than 40 law schools have followed Yale's decision to exit the rankings.

With the dominant framework for law school rankings in decline, the question arises of how we can better evaluate law schools. One important metric is the impact that graduates are having on the greatest justice issues the world faces, including, most significantly, the climate crisis.

On this metric, the law schools that have typically been ranked highest are not performing the best-in fact, they tend to perform the worst. We find that T-20 law schools-the top 20-ranked schools in the US News rankings ­have produced fossil fuel lawyers at over three times the rate of the average US law school. T-20 schools have produced nearly half of all US fossil fuel lawyers in our dataset.

Our findings emphasize that prestige in the legal field, including the view promoted by the US News rankings, is far too often accorded to actors advancing injustice. The same law schools that sit at the top of the US News rankings serve as linchpins in the production of lawyers who help climate polluters avoid accountability, write the contracts for climate-destroying fossil fuel projects, and lobby against environmental regulations.

In this respect, the current rethinking of the law school ranking system could provide an opening for law schools, as it may reduce pressures to promote careers at fossil fuel-friendly corporate law firms. We hope they will take it.

The climate crisis threatens-and has already begun-to produce immense harms, with its harshest impacts falling on the Global South and, within the US, BIPOC and low-income communities. Lawyers can play a vital role in addressing the climate crisis, but many use their legal skills to advance extraction of and dependency on the primary cause of the climate crisis: fossil fuels. As LSCA's annual Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard shows, elite law firms conduct far more work to exacerbate the climate crisis than to address it.

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March 23, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

'Academic Freedom Has To Protect The Amy Waxes So It Can Be There To Protect The Galileos'

Following up on last week's post, New York Times, UPenn Accuses A Law Professor Of Racist Statements. Should She Be Fired?:  Chicago Sun-Times Op-Ed:  When a Professor Makes Obnoxious Remarks on Race and Culture, Is It a Matter of Academic Freedom?, by Mona Charen:

Amy WaxUniversity of Pennsylvania professor Amy Wax has no patience for victimhood complaints. Asked whether she considers mid-20th century British politician Enoch Powell (whose writing she assigned and who gained fame for his “rivers of blood” anti-immigration speech) was a racist, Wax was indignant.

“Can you define racism for me? Is so-and-so a racist? Where are we getting with that? Define racist. I have no idea what you mean. It is a bludgeon that is a promiscuous term. You define what a racist is, and I will spend two seconds addressing that question because it is sterile.”

And yet, Wax herself is competing for victim status by upping the ante on obnoxious public remarks and almost daring the law school at which she teaches to punish her. ...

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March 22, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ChatGPT Thinks I Am Way More Interesting Than I Am

Open AI ChatGPTWrite a bio of Pepperdine Caruso Law School Dean Paul Caron

Paul Caron is an American legal scholar and academic administrator who currently serves as the Dean of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. He was born in the United States and grew up in the Chicago area.

Caron graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. He then went on to earn a law degree from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

After law school, Caron worked as an attorney in the tax department of the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City. He later joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he taught courses in tax law and served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

In 2003, Caron joined the faculty of the University of San Diego School of Law, where he held the rank of Professor of Law and served as the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. During his time at USD, Caron became well-known for his scholarship in tax law and his popular TaxProf Blog, which he founded in 2004.

In 2017, Caron was appointed as the 7th Dean of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. In this role, he has overseen significant changes at the law school, including the construction of a new campus in downtown Los Angeles and the creation of new programs in areas such as dispute resolution and entertainment, media, and sports law.

Throughout his career, Caron has been a prolific scholar and writer, with more than 50 published articles and book chapters to his credit. He is widely regarded as one of the leading experts in the field of tax law, and has been frequently cited in the national media on issues related to tax policy and reform.

Caron has also been active in the legal community, serving on the board of directors of the American Tax Policy Institute and as a member of the executive committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association. He has received numerous awards and honors for his scholarship and teaching, including the University of Cincinnati College of Law's Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching and the American Bar Association's Section of Taxation Distinguished Service Award.

In addition to his academic and professional accomplishments, Caron is also an accomplished musician and photographer. He has released several albums of original music and his photographs have been featured in exhibitions and publications around the world.

Can you guess the number of factual errors?

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March 22, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Paul Caron, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

WSJ: The Unraveling Of The U.S. News Rankings

Wall Street Journal, The Unraveling of the U.S. News College Rankings:

U.S. News Generic (2020)Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken floated the idea past a small circle of colleagues. She had a sleepless night and queasy morning. And then, on Nov. 16, she started the revolt.

“The U.S. News rankings are profoundly flawed,” Ms. Gerken said in a letter that day. And with that, Yale Law pulled out.

Within three months, more than 40 law schools—about 20% of the programs that U.S. News ranks—said they would also end their cooperation and no longer share data with the publication, including 12 of the top 14. A wave of medical schools, led by No. 1 Harvard Medical School, followed. At the undergraduate level, the Rhode Island School of Design (No. 3 among regional universities in the North) and Colorado College (No. 27 in the latest measure of national liberal-arts colleges) withdrew last month.

The rebellion, which has thrown into tumult the most famous source of college rankings for generations of would-be students, was decades in the making.

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March 22, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

How Law Schools With Bar Pass Issues Can Get Their Rates Above 75%

ABA Journal, How Can Law Schools With History of Bar Pass Issues Get Their Rates Above 75%?:

The University of Dayton School of Law has an accomplishment many see as important—both its two-year and first-time bar pass rates are now above 75%. The law school’s two-year pass rate fell below 75% once, for the class of 2018This year, the two-year pass rate (based on the class of 2020) is 97.06%, and the first-time pass rate is 75.58%. ...

Of the 19 existing law schools that at some point since 2020 had two-year bar pass rates below 75%, Dayton is one of six that has not received public notice of noncompliance. A chart with the data can be seen below. ...


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March 22, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings

U.S. News & World Report has announced that the new 2024 law school rankings will be publicly released on Tuesday, April 18 (law schools will receive an embargoed copy on Tuesday, April 11). Here is my coverage of the current 2023 law school rankings:

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March 21, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Mitchell Hamline Law School Dean To Step Down After Four Years To 'Focus On His Own Well-Being'

Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Dean of Mitchell Hamline Law School to Step Down in 2024:

NiedwieckiThe dean of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law plans to step down when his contract expires in June 2024.

Anthony Niedwiecki, who has helmed the St. Paul law school since July 2020, said in a note to alumni on Monday that his decision was driven by the need to focus on his own well-being.

“My husband Waymon and I took stock recently when we celebrated our 20th anniversary, looking at the health issues we’ve both had in recent years as well as our quality of life,” Niedwiecki wrote. “I realized I love serving as president and dean but feel like the all-consuming focus it demands is no longer what’s best for my family and me.”

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March 21, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, March 20, 2023

Legal Ed News Roundup

ABA Gives Golden Gate Law School 3-Year Extension To Meet 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Standard

Following up on my previous post, ABA Finds Golden Gate Law School Out Of Compliance With 75% Bar Passage Within Two Years Accreditation Standard:  ABA Journal, Law School Gets Extension to Meet Standard 316:

ABA Legal Ed (2022)The Golden Gate University School of Law, which has not had a two-year bar pass rate at or above 75% since its class of 2017, has received a 3-year extension to come into compliance with Standard 316, which requires a bar passage rate of at least 75% within a two-year time period.

After its Class of 2017 achieved a 75% two-year bar pass rate, Golden State has fallen below 75% in each of the last three years:

Five additional law schools fell short of the 75% accreditation threshold for the Class of 2020:

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March 20, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Trial Of Charlie Adelson In Dan Markel's Murder To Begin On October 23

Following up on my previous post, Does Judge's Delay Of Charlie Adelson's Trial In Dan Markel Murder And Refusal To Unseal Katie Magbanua's Proffer Mean State May Be Closing In On Donna, Harvey & Wendi?:  Tallahassee Democrat, Trial Date Set for Charlie Adelson in Dan Markel Murder Case:

Charlie Adelson 3Jury selection and testimony is slated to begin in October in the trial of Charlie Adelson, who is accused of orchestrating the 2014 professional hit on Florida State law professor Dan Markel.

Circuit Judge Robert Wheeler, in a Wednesday order, set jury selection for Monday, Oct. 23, with testimony beginning on or before Monday, Oct. 30.

The court expects the trial to conclude by Thursday, Nov. 9, Wheeler said in his order.

Last month, Wheeler granted a request by Adelson’s defense attorneys for a continuance in the trial, which had been set for April 24. Daniel Rashbaum, a Miami attorney representing Adelson, said the defense was still going through hundreds of wiretaps and volumes of phone calls, emails, texts and other records.

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March 20, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, March 18, 2023

More Commentary On The Disruption Of A Federal Judge's Speech At Stanford Law School (Part 2)

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  My Struggle Session at Stanford Law School, by Stuart Kyle Duncan (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit):

Stanford Law School’s website touts its “collegial culture” in which “collaboration and the open exchange of ideas are essential to life and learning.” Then there’s the culture I experienced when I visited Stanford last week. I had been invited by the student chapter of the Federalist Society to discuss the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, on which I’ve served since 2018. I’ve spoken at law schools across the country, and I was glad to accept this invitation. One of my first clerks graduated from Stanford. I have friends on the faculty. I gave a talk there a few years ago and found it a warm and engaging place, but not this time.

When I arrived, the walls were festooned with posters denouncing me for crimes against women, gays, blacks and “trans people.” Plastered everywhere were photos of the students who had invited me and fliers declaring “You should be ASHAMED,” with the last word in large red capital letters and a horror-movie font. This didn’t seem “collegial.” 


Walking to the building where I would deliver my talk, I could hear loud chanting a good 50 yards away, reminiscent of a tent revival in its intensity. Some 100 students were massed outside the classroom as I entered, faces painted every color of the rainbow, waving signs and banners, jeering and stamping and howling. As I entered the classroom, one protester screamed: “We hope your daughters get raped!” ...

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March 18, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, March 17, 2023

GPT-4 Beats 90% Of Aspiring Lawyers On The Bar Exam

Daniel Martin Katz (Chicago Kent), Michael James Bommarito (Michigan State), Shang Gao (Casetext) & Pablo Arredondo (Casetext), GPT-4 Passes the Bar Exam:

In this paper, we experimentally evaluate the zero-shot performance of a preliminary version of GPT-4 against prior generations of GPT on the entire Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), including not only the multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), but also the open-ended Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) and Multistate Performance Test (MPT) components. On the MBE, GPT-4 significantly outperforms both human test-takers and prior models, demonstrating a 26% increase over ChatGPT and beating humans in five of seven subject areas. On the MEE and MPT, which have not previously been evaluated by scholars, GPT-4 scores an average of 4.2/6.0 as compared to much lower scores for ChatGPT. Graded across the UBE components, in the manner in which a human tast-taker would be, GPT-4 scores approximately 297 points, significantly in excess of the passing threshold for all UBE jurisdictions. These findings document not just the rapid and remarkable advance of large language model performance generally, but also the potential for such models to support the delivery of legal services in society.

GPT-4 1

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March 17, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Sander: Law-School 'Mismatch' Is Worse Than We Thought

Richard Sander (UCLA), Law-School “Mismatch” Is Worse Than We Thought:

With the Supreme Court poised to rule on affirmative-action in admissions, the time to spread the word is now.

Eighteen years ago, I published an article in the Stanford Law Review which documented for the first time the enormous breadth and scale of race-based admissions preferences in law schools [A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools, 57 Stan. L. Rev. 367 (2004)]. At most law schools, the undergraduate grades (UGPA) and median LSAT scores of enrolled Black students were two standard deviations below those of white students at the same school. Outside of a handful of “Historically Black” institutions (where racial preferences were minimal), Blacks in law school were not faring well. They were failing out of school at more than twice the white rate; half of those who did graduate had grades in the bottom 10th of their class; and Blacks were six times as likely as whites to take the bar exam multiple times but never pass. ...

Robert Steinbuch (a colleague at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock) and I eventually secured the public release of data from 12 cohorts of law students at four law schools, covering about 6,500 students in all. And after a multi-year review process, the Journal of Legal Education—the official organ of the Association of American Law Schools—has now agreed to publish the first set of our results in its next issue.

Our findings are even stronger than we expected. A student’s degree of mismatch in law school is by far the strongest predictor of whether he or she will pass a bar exam on a first attempt. ...

Most of our results are in regression analyses that can be hard for those without a technical background to interpret. But one of our tables, reproduced below, makes the basic pattern clear. It shows first-time bar-passage rates for several thousand law graduates, grouped by their LSAT score and whether they attended an elite, somewhat-elite, or non-elite law school. Unsurprisingly, students with high LSAT scores had high bar-passage rates at all schools and did particularly well at the elite school in question. But students at the elite school with LSAT scores 12 to 14 points below the median of their fellow students (i.e., LSAT scores of 150-152) had only a 22 percent first-time bar-passage rate, while students with the same LSAT score at the non-elite school in question had a 79 percent first-time bar-passage rate. In other words, lower mismatch translates into dramatically better performance.


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March 17, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, March 16, 2023

More Commentary On The Disruption Of A Federal Judge's Speech At Stanford Law School (Part 1)

UpdateMore Commentary On The Disruption Of A Federal Judge's Speech At Stanford Law School (Part 2)

National Review Op-Ed:  Stop the Chaos: Law Schools Need to Crack Down on Student Disrupters Now, by James C. Ho (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit) & Elizabeth L. Branch (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit):

Law schools like to say that they’re training the next generation of leaders. But too many institutions of legal education have become laboratories of divisiveness, not leadership. A series of recent videos from law schools, including Yale and Stanford, captures screaming students insulting and disrupting accomplished litigators, legal scholars, even federal judges. Evidence is rapidly accumulating that law schools across America are failing in their basic mission to teach students how to become good citizens — let alone good lawyers. ...

Administrators who promote intolerance don’t belong in legal education. And students who practice intolerance don’t belong in the legal profession.

Law schools know what their options are. They know they can suspend or expel students for engaging in disruptive tactics, or threaten to report negatively on a student’s character and fitness to state bar examiners. They know this because schools have done it.

And if schools are unwilling to impose consequences themselves, at a minimum they should identify the disrupters so that future employers know who they are hiring.

Schools issue grades and graduation honors to help employers separate wheat from chaff. Likewise, schools should inform employers if they’re injecting potentially disruptive forces into their organizations.

Otherwise, more and more employers may start to reach the same conclusion that we did last fall — that we have no choice but to stop hiring from these schools in the future. At the end of the day, that may be the only way to send a message that will resonate with law schools — judges and other employers imposing consequences on law schools who refuse to impose consequences on their own. No one is required to hire students who aren’t taught to live under the rule of law.

Washington Post Op-Ed:  Expensively Credentialed, Negligibly Educated Stanford Brats Threw a Tantrum, by George Will:

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March 16, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

NY Times: UPenn Accuses A Law Professor Of Racist Statements. Should She Be Fired?

New York Times, UPenn Accuses a Law Professor of Racist Statements. Should She Be Fired?:

Amy Wax and free speech groups say the university is trampling on her academic freedom. Students ask whether her speech deserves to be protected.

Amy Wax, a law professor, has said publicly that “on average, Blacks have lower cognitive ability than whites,” that the country is “better off with fewer Asians” as long as they tend to vote for Democrats, and that non-Western people feel a “tremendous amount of resentment and shame.”

At the University of Pennsylvania, where she has tenure, she invited a white nationalist to speak to her class. And a Black law student who had attended UPenn and Yale said that the professor told her she “had only become a double Ivy ‘because of affirmative action,’” according to the administration.

Professor Wax has denied saying anything belittling or racist to students, and her supporters see her as a truth teller about affirmative action, immigration and race. They agree with her argument that she is the target of censorship and “wokeism” because of her conservative views.

All of which poses a conundrum for the University of Pennsylvania: Should it fire Amy Wax?

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March 15, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Students Target Stanford Law School Dean In Revolt Over Her Apology To Federal Judge FedSoc Speaker


Following up on Monday's post, Stanford President And Law Dean Apologize To Fifth Circuit Judge For Disruption Of His Speech:  Aaron Sibarium (Washington Free Beacon), Student Activists Target Stanford Law School Dean in Revolt Over Her Apology:

Stanford Law (2022)Hundreds of Stanford student activists on Monday lined the hallways to protest the law school’s dean, Jenny Martinez, for apologizing to Fifth Circuit appellate judge Kyle Duncan, whom the activists shouted down last week.

The embattled dean arrived to the classroom where she teaches constitutional law to find a whiteboard covered inch to inch in fliers attacking Duncan and defending those who disrupted him, according to photos of the room and multiple eyewitness accounts. The fliers parroted the argument, made by student activists, that the heckler’s veto is a form of free speech. ...

When Martinez’s class adjourned on Monday, the protesters, dressed in black and wearing face masks that read "counter-speech is free speech," stared silently at Martinez as she exited her first-year constitutional law class at 11:00 a.m., according to five students who witnessed the episode. The student protesters, who formed a human corridor from Martinez’s classroom to the building’s exit, comprised nearly a third of the law school, the students told the Washington Free Beacon

The majority of Martinez’s class—approximately 50 students out of the 60 enrolled—participated in the protest themselves, two students in the class said. The few who didn’t join the protesters received the same stare down as their professor as they hurried through the makeshift walk of shame. ...

This protest was even larger than the one that disrupted Duncan’s talk, and came on the heels of statements from at least three student groups rebuking Martinez’s apology. ... The groups argued that the students who disrupted Duncan, in violation of Stanford’s free speech policies, were merely exercising their own free speech rights. 

David Lat (Original Jurisdiction), 7 Updates On Judge Kyle Duncan And Stanford Law:

Here's a curated yet comprehensive collection of news updates, original documents, and online commentary.

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March 15, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

NYU Law Students Demand Compensation For Work On Law Journals

Washington Square News, NYU Law Students Demand Compensation For Academic Journal Work:

NYU Law ReviewStudents at NYU’s School of Law are demanding compensation for their work on student-run journals — scholarly publications affiliated with the law school that focus on legal issues. The students created a petition with over 250 signatures in support of the cause, and eight on-campus publications signed a letter to law school administrators this past Monday.

In the letter, students asked that all contributors to the journals be able to choose whether to receive compensation in hourly wages or credit hours. Currently, only third-year students are eligible for compensation through credit hours, and no students receive hourly pay.

“We love our work, but prestige is not adequate compensation for the value we provide,” the letter reads. “Our journals have been cited in courts throughout the country, up to the Supreme Court. NYU reaps the benefits of robust journal publication in admissions and institutional prestige.”

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March 14, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, March 13, 2023

Legal Ed News Roundup

Stanford President And Law Dean Apologize To Fifth Circuit Judge For Disruption Of His Speech


Letter of Apology from Marc Tessier-Lavigne (President, Stanford) & Jenny Martinez (Dean, Stanford Law School) to Judge Kyle Duncan (U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit) (Mar. 11, 2023)

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March 13, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Seto: 2022 First-Time Bar Pass Performance Of California Law Schools, Controlling For 25th Percentile LSATs

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  First-Time Bar Pass Performance of California Law Schools, Controlling For 25th Percentile LSATs, by Theodore Seto (Loyola-L.A.; Google Scholar):

SetoIn a recent TaxProf blog post, Paul Caron ranked all law schools by their 2022 first-time bar passage rates, based on ABA data. Based on that same 2022 data, I then explored the extent to which California law schools over- or under-performed in first-time bar passage after controlling for the median LSATs of their students. After posting my analysis, Paul asked me to replicate that analysis using law schools’ 25th percentile LSATs — in effect, to measure the extent to which California law schools add value to their students most at risk, the bottom quarter of their classes by LSAT.

Because U.S. News uses median LSATs in ranking law schools, schools have the flexibility to take other criteria into account in admitting the bottom half of their classes (by LSAT) without directly affecting their U.S. News ranking (e.g., admitting diverse or first-generation students). To the extent LSATs are predictive of bar passage, however, doing so may negatively affect bar passage rates. Schools can manage this problem in at least two ways: (1) by keeping their 25th percentile LSATs as high as possible, or (2) admitting lower-LSAT students (typically diverse or first-generation students) and devoting resources to maximizing the likelihood that they too will pass the bar. This follow-up analysis therefore looks at the extent to which California law schools are successful in preparing the bottom of their classes for the bar — that is, the value they add to their students most at risk.

Here are the relevant raw data from 2022. The first column is 25th percentile LSATs, the second is distance of the school’s bar passage rate above or below the state average. Schools are listed in the order of 25th percentile, high to low:

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March 13, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Religious Liberty Clinics At Notre Dame, Pepperdine, Texas, And Yale File Supreme Court Amicus Briefs: Post Office Must Accommodate Employee's Sabbath Observance

Supreme CourtFollowing up on my previous post, Two Perspectives On How Far Employers Must Go In Providing Religious Accommodations To Employees: four law school religious liberty clinics have filed amicus briefs arguing that the post office must accommodate an employee's observance of the Sabbath in Groff v. DeJoy, No. 21-1900:

  • Notre Dame (representing eight religious liberty and employment law scholars (including Bob Cochran (Pepperdine) and Rick Garnett (Notre Dame))
  • Pepperdine (representing the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America)
  • Texas (representing religious liberty scholars Asma Uddin (Visiting Assistant Professor, Catholic) and Steven Collis (Director, Texas Law & Religion Clinic))
  • Yale (representing the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada, Atlantic Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, and National Council of Young Israel)

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March 12, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, March 11, 2023

A Law School’s ‘Denaming’ Evokes Donor Family’s Ire

Richmond T.C. Williams

Following up on my previous post, After Richmond Law School Removed Slave-Owner Benefactor From Its Name, Family Demands Return Of His Donations ($3.6 Billion With 132 Years Of Interest):  Inside Higher Ed, A Law School’s ‘Denaming’ Evokes Donor Family’s Ire:

When the University of Richmond’s Board of Trustees voted last fall to remove the name of alumnus and donor T. C. Williams from its law school, Williams’s descendants were irate. The board was following a new set of principles adopted earlier that year to ensure the namesakes of buildings, colleges and professorships lived up to the university’s values; the trustees decided that Williams, a wealthy tobacco farmer and slave owner, did not.

Richmond president Kevin Hallock broke the news to Robert Smith, Williams’s great-great-grandson and a graduate of the law school, over the phone. Smith responded with a letter denouncing the decision and accusing the university of hypocrisy and ingratitude.

“It is stunning to me that the University’s position is that there is just one acceptable monolithic narrative, and all those that don’t agree, even people born over 200 years ago, must be cancelled,” he wrote. “History and posterity will judge the University and the Board.” ...

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March 11, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Harvard Law School Faculty: 'Why I Changed My Mind'

The Global Herald, HLS Beyond Presents: Why I Changed My Mind:

Back by popular demand, a second iteration of the faculty panel "Why I Changed My Mind" features three Harvard Law School faculty members’ stories of professional moments of reckoning when ideas they had previously thought settled in their worldview changed.

Featured Harvard Law School faculty:

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March 11, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, March 10, 2023

More Commentary On The U.S. News Law School Rankings Op-Ed

Mike Spivey (Spivey Consulting), Some Commentary on the U.S. News Op-Ed:

US News (2023)U.S. News & World Report is not sitting idle while its rankings come under fire. The CEO published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal offering his views on the rankings boycott. ...

We have been paid money over the years to help law schools understand their U.S. News rankings. It's against our interests as a firm, from a revenue standpoint, for schools to boycott the rankings, and for applicants to stop paying attention to them. But we're telling you that is the best outcome for everyone.

U.S. News has no expertise in law or legal education. They have no expertise in education in general. Imagine if a bunch of lawyers got together and decided to rank the best immunology programs. That's the absurdity of what U.S. News does. At least when Above the Law publishes its rankings they come from actual lawyers and law school graduates.

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March 10, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, March 9, 2023

3 Years After $20 Million Naming Gift, University Of Kentucky Is Out Of Compliance With Accreditation Standard That Law Schools Have Sufficient Financial Resources

ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Council Decision, Notice of Finding Significant Noncompliance With Standard 202 (University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law) (Feb. 2023):

Kentucky Law (2021)At its February 16-17, 2023, meeting, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (the “Council”) considered the status of the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law (the “Law School”) and concluded that the Law School is not in compliance with Standard 202(a).

Accreditation Standard 202 Resources For Program
(a) The current and anticipated financial resources available to the law school shall be sufficient for it to operate in compliance with the Standards and to carry out its program of legal education.

ABA Journal, Finance-Related Notice for Kentucky Law School Posted by ABA Legal Ed:

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March 9, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Colleges (And Law Schools) Are Rushing To Respond To ChatGPT

Chronicle of Higher Education, ChatGPT Is Everywhere:

Open AI ChatGPTIt’s hard to believe that ChatGPT appeared on the scene just three months ago, promising to transform how we write. The chatbot, easy to use and trained on vast amounts of digital text, is now pervasive. Higher education, rarely quick about anything, is still trying to comprehend the scope of its likely impact on teaching — and how it should respond.

ChatGPT, which can produce essays, poems, prompts, contracts, lecture notes, and computer code, among other things, has stunned people with its fluidity, although not always its accuracy or creativity. To do this work it runs on a “large language model,” a word predictor that has been trained on enormous amounts of data. Similar generative artificial-intelligence systems allow users to create music and make art.

Many academics see these tools as a danger to authentic learning, fearing that students will take shortcuts to avoid the difficulty of coming up with original ideas, organizing their thoughts, or demonstrating their knowledge. Ask ChatGPT to write a few paragraphs, for example, on how Jean Piaget’s theories on childhood development apply to our age of anxiety and it can do that.

Other professors are enthusiastic, or at least intrigued, by the possibility of incorporating generative AI into academic life. Those same tools can help students — and professors — brainstorm, kick-start an essay, explain a confusing idea, and smooth out awkward first drafts. Equally important, these faculty members argue, is their responsibility to prepare students for a world in which these technologies will be incorporated into everyday life, helping to produce everything from a professional email to a legal contract.

But skeptics and fans alike still have to wrestle with the same set of complicated questions. Should instructors be redesigning their assignments and tests to reduce the likelihood that students will present the work of AI as their own? What guidance should students receive about this technology, given that one professor might ban AI tools and another encourage their use? Do academic-integrity policies need to be rewritten? Is it OK to use AI detectors? Should new coursework on AI be added and, if so, what form should it take?

For many, this is a head-spinning moment.

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March 9, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Does ChatGPT Produce Fishy Briefs?

ABA Journal, Does ChatGPT Produce Fishy Briefs?:

Open AI ChatGPTLawyers are abuzz about the possible uses of ChatGPT. Could the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot write a persuasive legal brief worthy of judicial consideration? Given its limitations, we believe that’s unlikely. ChatGPT, a large language model developed by the San Francisco company OpenAI that launched in November, can draw only on sources available on the web; it cannot crawl appellate records or access subscription-based services such as Westlaw. Still, the ABA Journal decided to put the technology to the test just for kicks. ...

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March 8, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ABA Finds 4 Law Schools Back In Compliance With Accreditation Standards: Hofstra (Faculty Diversity), Ave Maria, UDC & Vermont (2-Year Bar Passage)

ABA Legal Ed (2022)In November, the ABA found Hofstra out of compliance with Accreditation Standard 206, which requires a faculty that is diverse with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity. From its 2021 509 report:

  • 47 full-time faculty: 51.1% female, 10.6% people of color
  • 81 non full-time faculty: 29.6% female, 8.6% people of color
  • 128 total faculty: 37.5% female, 9.38% people of color

Last month, the ABA found Hofstra back in compliance. From its 2022 509 report:

  • 50 full-time faculty: 54.0% female, 14.0% people of color
  • 77 non full-time faculty: 35.1% female, 6.5% people of color
  • 127 total faculty: 42.5% female, 9.45% people of color

In December, the ABA found three law schools out of out of compliance with Accreditation Standard 316, which requires a 75% two-year bar passage rate, for their Class of 2019:

Last month, the ABA found the three schools back in compliance with Standard 316 for their Class of 2020:

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March 8, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

NALP: Larger Law School Class Of 2024 Faces Tightening Job Market Following Dip In Summer Associate Hiring

NALP, Entry-Level Law Firm Recruiting Activity Holds Steady, With More Offers Made Prior to OCI:

NALP today released its Perspectives on 2022 Law Student Recruiting report, available at Industry data indicate that the 2022 law firm recruiting season was an interesting one, being both robust and competitive, albeit possibly tinged by the threat of an economic recession. At a high level, the data indicates that an overwhelming majority of U.S. law firms either maintained or increased their recruiting activities compared with last year, a fact that is made notable as the 2021 recruiting cycle was itself particularly strong compared to prior years. However, despite sustaining a heightened level of activity for a second year in a row, fewer offers were made for students to join summer 2023 programs, with the number of offers decreasing by nearly 2% compared with those made for the 2022 program. In most years, a 2% decrease would not be overly remarkable, but recall that summer 2023 2Ls are in the Class of 2024, which had an entering class size that was almost 12% larger than the Class of 2023.


“What is clear is that the entry-level job market in the private sector is currently not growing fast enough to absorb the additional students in the Class of 2024 and that unless there is a strong 3L hiring market this year — which seems unlikely given recent trends — a greater percentage of these students may need to look at other market segments for employment after graduation,” writes NALP Executive Director Nikia L. Gray in the report.

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March 8, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

NY Times: Political Views Of College Faculty

New York Times, Fox News for Universities:

Conservatives denounced left-wing bias among the news media and elite thinkers for decades before acting to alter the landscape. By founding Fox News and think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, they expanded the reach of conservative voices in America — and counterbalanced what was once a liberal tilt.

Now, some conservatives are following a similar playbook to change higher education. Hillsdale College, the small, conservative Christian school in southern Michigan, has expanded its Washington, D.C., campus to try to reach more students. Conservatives have also claimed victories over more established institutions: After the College Board altered its Advanced Placement course in African American studies this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested his administration had driven the changes.

But DeSantis has aimed broader than the College Board. He recently announced proposals to transform Florida’s public universities. He has called for an end to diversity programs and for weaker tenure protections for professors. And he installed conservatives as leaders of New College of Florida, a small public school in Sarasota. ...

Today’s newsletter will look at what DeSantis is doing — and why he may have a hard time succeeding.

Higher education faculty is predominantly liberal. On this point, there is not much debate among experts. About 60 percent of undergraduate teaching faculty identify as liberal or far left, compared with about 12 percent who identify as conservative or far right. The gap has grown over the past few decades.

NY Times

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March 7, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Seto: 2022 First-Time Bar Pass Performance Of California Law Schools, Controlling For Median LSATs

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  First-Time Bar Pass Performance of California Law Schools, Controlling For Median LSATs, by Theodore Seto (Loyola-L.A.; Google Scholar):

SetoIn a recent TaxProf Blog post, Paul Caron ranked all law schools by their 2022 first-time bar passage rates, based on ABA data.

Based on that same 2022 data, I here examine the extent to which California law schools over- or under-performed in first-time bar passage after controlling for the median LSATs of their students. After all, we would expect Stanford students to do well on the bar regardless of the preparation they receive at Stanford. And we would expect students at Southwestern to do worse than Stanford students on the bar, again regardless of the quality of the education they receive at Southwestern. This is because we believe LSATs to be predictive of something—not sure of what—but of something.

What we really should be interested in is not bar pass rates – which are largely a function of the innate academic abilities of schools’ incoming students – but rather the extent to which their students over- or under-perform on the bar exam after controlling for incoming LSATs. In other words, we should be looking at schools’ value added.

Here are the relevant raw data from 2022. The first column is median LSATs, the second is distance of the school’s bar passage rate above or below the state average. Schools are listed in the order of median LSATs, high to low:

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March 7, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Does Judge's Delay Of Charlie Adelson's Trial In Dan Markel Murder And Refusal To Unseal Katie Magbanua's Proffer Mean State May Be Closing In On Donna, Harvey & Wendi?

Florida Politics, Trial Delayed; Proffer Stays Sealed: Paradoxical Evidence That Justice Is Afoot in Dan Markel Murder Case:

Adelson FamilyJudge Robert Wheeler made two rulings this morning that on the surface may frustrate the growing universe of people who wait for resolution in the murder of Dan Markel.

But it could, in fact, indicate more progress is being made than meets the eye. ...

Wheeler was presented with two big decisions, and his rulings are telling.

First, a continuance

Charlie’s trial, previously scheduled for April, will be continued until this Summer or Fall.

This comes after Charlie’s lawyer, Daniel Rashbaum, argued the massive amount of evidence before them can’t be thoroughly processed or investigated by April. ... In his February 2023 motion to continue, Rashbaum wrote that in the 10 months since joining Charlie’s defense, the state provided his team “more than 70 depositions, dozens of government interviews and reports, over a thousand telephonic conversations captured on wires (many in Spanish), video recordings of several in-person encounters, and voluminous data files comprised of call detail records, emails, text messages, WhatsApp chats, social media postings, bank records and other financial documents.”

This carefully worded statement raised questions among case watchers. For example, some cautiously speculate the mention of WhatsApp means conversations between conspirators, previously unrecoverable, have been brought to light. ...

In this case, proffers stay sealed

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March 7, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, March 6, 2023

Legal Ed News Roundup

Saturday, March 4, 2023

NY Times: Defending Its Rankings, U.S. News Takes Aim At Top Law Schools

New York Times, Defending Its Rankings, U.S. News Takes Aim at Top Law Schools:

US News (2023)U.S. News & World Report said little last fall as Yale, Harvard and other elite law schools announced that they would no longer submit data to the publication’s rankings, charging that the influential list was an engine of inequality.

But in the last few days, U.S. News has fired back. In a public-relations campaign, the publication has accused the schools of trying to avoid accountability on admissions and outcomes for students, and it connected the boycott to a looming Supreme Court decision that could end affirmative action.

“Some law deans are already exploring ways to sidestep any restrictive ruling by reducing their emphasis on test scores and grades — criteria used in our rankings,” Eric J. Gertler, the executive chairman and chief executive of U.S. News, wrote in an opinion essay on Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal.

The conflict is a sign that U.S. News will not shy away from vigorously defending the rankings, which are criticized by many universities but are popular with families — making them potentially another flash point in the country’s divisive debate over education issues.

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March 4, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, March 3, 2023

ABA Finds Baylor Out Of Compliance With Law School Accreditation Standard On Adjunct Faculty Diversity

Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Public Notice of Specific Remedial Action Baylor University School of Law:

Baylor Law School (2023)At its February 17-19, 2022, meeting, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (the “Council”) considered the status of Baylor University School of Law (the “Law School”). The Council concluded, in accordance with Rule 11(a)(4), that the Law School was not in compliance with Standard 206(b), with respect to part-time faculty. The Law School was asked to submit a report by September 30, 2022, and to appear before the Council at its February 2023 meeting.

At its February 16-17, 2023, meeting, the Council conducted a hearing pursuant to Rules 2, 13, 15-17, 19, and 20 with respect to the compliance of the Law School with Standard 206(b). Following the hearing and based on the record, the Council found that the Law School remains not in compliance with Standard 206(b), with respect to part-time faculty. The Council further directed the Law School to take the following specific remedial actions.

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March 3, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, March 2, 2023

U.S. News, Department Of Education, And Law Schools Take The Gloves Off In Rankings Battle

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  Why Elite Law and Medical Schools Can’t Stand U.S. News, by Eric J. Gertler (Chairman & CEO, U.S. News):

US News Grad Schools (2022)The decision by some elite law and medical schools to opt out of the U.S. News & World Report ranking surveys has ignited a national debate on meritocracy and equity. But lost in this discussion is the reason U.S. News ranks academic institutions and why our rankings are so important to aspiring students. ...

Our rankings don’t capture every nuance. Academic institutions aren’t monolithic or static; comparing them across a common data set can be challenging. But we reject our critics’ paternalistic view that students are somehow incapable of discerning for themselves from this information which school is the best fit.

Moreover, the perspective of elite schools doesn’t fit with that of the broader law- and medical-school community. Our editors held meetings with 110 law deans following the outcry over our rankings. Excepting the top 14 law schools, almost 75% of the schools that submitted surveys in 2022 did so in 2023. For medical schools, the engagement level was higher.

While we know that our rankings are important to students, we’re incredulous that our critics blame our rankings for just about every issue academia confronts. ... [E]lite schools object to our use of a common data set for all schools because our rankings are something they can’t control and they don’t want to be held accountable by an independent third party. ...

By refusing to participate, elite schools are opting out of an important discussion about what constitutes the best education for students, while implying that excellence and important goals like diversity are mutually exclusive.

Is it tolerable to leave schools unaccountable for the education they deliver to students? We think not.

Reuters, U.S. News Rankings Come Under Fire at Yale, Harvard Conference:

The U.S. Secretary of Education on Wednesday criticized annual higher education rankings published by U.S. News and World Report, saying they have "created an unhealthy obsession with selectivity."

Secretary Miguel Cardona was speaking at a conference organized by the law schools at Harvard and Yale universities, amid a backlash over the magazine's influential law school rankings.

“We need a culture change," Cardona said, asserting that U.S. News' emphasis on selectivity and exclusivity has helped steer underserved students to lower-tier institutions. "It’s time to stop worshipping at the false altar of U.S. News & World Report.”

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March 2, 2023 in Law Review Rankings, Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

75% Through The Fall 2023 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Down -3%, With Biggest Decline (-7%) In The 165-169 LSAT Band

We are now 75% of the way through Fall 2023 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is down -3.0% compared to last year at this time:


123 of the 198 law schools are experiencing a decrease in applications. Applications are down -10% or more at 10 law schools 42 law schools:


Applicants are down the most in the Mountain West (-9.1%), New England (-8.6%), and Northwest (-8.2%); and are up in Other (+19.3%):


Applicants' LSAT scores are down -1.5% in the 170-180 band, -6.2% in the 160-169 band, and -6.4% in the 150-159 band; and -2.2% in the 120-149 band:

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March 1, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Choosiest Law Schools: Wash U Is Top 5, Yale Is No. 1 (Mostly)

ABA Journal, Which Law Schools Are Choosiest? Washington University Is In Top Five, While Yale Is Mostly No. 1:

Yale Law School is No. 1 based on ABA admissions data showing that it is the choosiest law school in terms of acceptance rate and median LSAT scores for fall 2022.

But Yale Law falls to No. 2 in a tie with two other law schools based on the median undergraduate grade-point average of its fall 2022 admittees, according to Paul L. Caron, dean of the Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law who published his findings at the TaxProf Blog hereherehere and here. ...

Top 5

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March 1, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

New AI Detector Is 97% Effective In Catching Students Cheating With ChatGPT

University Business, Plagiarism Catcher Turnitin Announces ‘State-of-the-Art’ AI Writing Detector:

Open AI ChatGPTDoes artificial intelligence have a place in the classroom? That’s yet to be decided as generative AI tools, namely ChatGPT, continue to rock the higher education sphere. What we do know is that efforts to curb cheating have steadily increased since its inception.

OpenAI, the chatbot’s creator, launched its own AI-writing detector several weeks ago, yet it’s not 100% accurate, according to the company. They recommend that the classified not be the sole indicator of plagiarism, but instead “as a complement to other methods of determining the source of a piece of text.”

Most recently, the well-known plagiarism catcher Turnitin announced that it has successfully developed a generative AI detector that is capable of identifying 97% of text written by ChatGPT with a less than 1% false positive rate. It is expected to be available as early as April 2023.

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February 28, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, February 27, 2023

Legal Ed News Roundup

2022 Bar Pass Rate Fell 2 Percentage Points Due To Fewer 1L Academic Dismissals After Spring 2020 Covid Semester

Press Release, ABA Section of Legal Education Releases Comprehensive Report on Bar Passage Data:

ABA Legal Ed (2022)The managing director’s office of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar released today a comprehensive set of data on bar passage outcomes for American Bar Association-approved law schools. Spreadsheets are available on the section’s webpage under Legal Education Statistics, which report these outcomes under ABA Required Disclosures on a school-by-school basis and in more detail.

The new data shows that in the aggregate, 91.44% of 2020 law graduates who sat for a bar exam passed it within two years of graduation (91.87% with Diploma Privilege). The two-year “ultimate” aggregate success rate is slightly better than the 91.27% comparable figure for 2019 graduates. The 2020 ultimate bar pass data also reveals that 92.58% of all graduates sat for a bar exam within two years of graduation, and that schools were able to obtain bar passage information from 98.56% of 2020 graduates.

First-time takers in 2022 achieved an aggregate 73.87% pass rate (78.33% with diploma privilege), which is approximately a 2-percentage point decrease over the comparable 80.28% pass rate (with diploma privilege) for 2021. Consistent with last year, those admitted to the practice of law solely based on their graduation status are considered bar passers. ...

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February 27, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

WSJ: Boycotting Medical Schools, Diversity, And Merit

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  Medical Schools Are Wrong to Think Diversity and Merit Are in Conflict, by Fritz François (NYU Medical School) & Gbenga Ogedegbe (NYU Medical School):

U.S. News (2023) (Medical Schools)A growing number of medical schools have announced that they will no longer share data with U.S. News & World Report. These schools claim that the magazine’s annual rankings hinder their ability to increase diversity.

Such claims aren’t supported by evidence. The ranking methodology, as currently constructed, includes consideration of students’ Medical College Admission Test scores and undergraduate grade-point averages, as well as other criteria. But medical schools have always been free to admit anyone they choose, regardless of their rankings. It’s true that diversity isn’t a criterion in the U.S. News methodology, but why should that stop schools from recruiting minority applicants or establishing a campus culture that encourages and values diversity? There is nothing in a thoughtful admissions process that explicitly prevents medical schools from assembling a student body based on anything other than academic performance, holistic reviews and interviews of candidates. ...

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February 27, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Inazu: Kicking Off The Legal Vocation Fellowship For Early-Career Christian Attorneys

Following up on my previous post, Pepperdine Caruso Law Partners With Legal Vocation Fellowship For Early-Career Attorneys:  John Inazu (Washington University; Google Scholar), Kicking off the Legal Vocation Fellowship:

LVFThis past Thursday, we launched the Legal Vocation Fellowship (LVF). I mentioned LVF in an earlier post discussing the challenges of burnout and mental health in contemporary legal practice. ...

LVF is designed for early-career attorneys seeking to integrate their Christian faith into the practice of law. In a pluralistic society where the sources and values of law and legal practice are contested and contestable, we want to anchor a distinctive community of Christians who desire to love God and love neighbor through their knowledge, understanding, and practice of law.

This practically-oriented 15-month program is led by Christian law faculty and senior practitioners. Our inaugural cohort of 18 mentors and 20 fellows is drawn from five cities: Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Our core faculty include Rick Garnett of Notre Dame Law School, Ruth Okediji of Harvard Law School, Elizabeth Schiltz of University of St. Thomas Law School, David Skeel of University of Pennsylvania School of Law, and me. In a news story from Notre Dame, Professor Garnett expressed his desire “to help Christian lawyers flourish.” And in Pepperdine’s coverage of LVF—Pepperdine is an LVF sponsor and Pepperdine law professor Jennifer Koh is one of our speakers—Pepperdine’s dean Paul Caron added his shared “commitment to transforming the legal profession for the benefit of all.” ...

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February 26, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, February 25, 2023

It’s Not Just Our Students: ChatGPT Is Coming For Faculty Scholarship

Chronicle of Higher Ed Op-Ed:  It’s Not Just Our Students — ChatGPT Is Coming for Faculty Writing, by Ben Chrisinger (Oxford; Google Scholar):

Open AI ChatGPTAlmost immediately after OpenAI released ChatGPT in late November, people began wondering what it would mean for teaching and learning. A widely read piece in The Atlantic that provided one of the first looks at the tool’s ability to put together high-quality writing concluded that it would kill the student essay. Since then, academics everywhere have done their own experimenting with the technology — and weighed in on what to do about it. Some have banned students from using it, while others have offered tips on how to create essay assignments that are AI-proof. Many have suggested that we embrace the technology and incorporate it into the classroom.

While we’ve been busy worrying about what ChatGPT could mean for students, we haven’t devoted nearly as much attention to what it could mean for academics themselves. And it could mean a lot. Critically, academics disagree on exactly how AI can and should be used. And with the rapidly improving technology at our doorstep, we have little time to deliberate.

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February 25, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Bilek & Merritt: ChatGPT Almost Passed The Bar, But Competent Lawyers Do Much More

Bloomberg Law Op-Ed:  ChatGPT Almost Passed the Bar, But Competent Lawyers Do Much More, by Mary Lu Bilek (CUNY) & Deborah Merritt (Ohio State):

Open AI ChatGPTChatGPT, OpenAI’s provocative artificial intelligence program, has come close to passing the multiple-choice portion of the bar exam. The bot has also earned passing grades on law school essays that resemble ones written for the exam. ...

Yet, even in a bill-by-the-hour world, clients who can afford it will still seek out human lawyers. Why? Because humans are far better than bots at eliciting facts and goals from clients, identifying new avenues of research, and solving multi-dimensional problems. Human experts will supplement those advantages by knowing when to consult AI, how to assess AI responses, and how to integrate AI knowledge with the human dimensions of a client problem. ...

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February 23, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

NY Times: In Vermont, A Law School And Artist Fight Over Murals of Slavery

Vermont Mural

Following up on my previous post, 2nd Circuit To Decide Whether Vermont Law School Can Cover Underground Railroad Murals Against Artist's Wishes:  New York Times, In Vermont, a School and Artist Fight Over Murals of Slavery:

Created to depict the brutality of enslavement, the works are seen by some as offensive. The school wants them permanently covered. The artist says they are historically important.

For years, when students at Vermont Law and Graduate School came to Shirley Jefferson with objections to the murals in the student center, and their depictions of Black people that struck some as racist caricatures, the longtime Black administrator urged those protesting to move on.

Ms. Jefferson, 69, is no stranger to racism, nor to protest. Born in segregated Selma, Ala., in 1953, she helped integrate her high school, marched for civil rights and graduated from Vermont Law in 1986, later returning to work in admissions and alumni affairs. Still, hoping to avoid division, she advised the students to focus on their studies.

“I told them, ‘You all did not come here to fight over a mural, you came to get educated,’” Ms. Jefferson recalled one recent afternoon, her Southern accent still evident after more than two decades in northern New England.

Then came the summer of 2020, and for Ms. Jefferson and many others, a renewed commitment to confront embedded racism and insensitivity, even where it might be unintended. “When George Floyd was killed, all of a sudden I said to myself, ‘That mural has got to go,’” she said. “I called the dean, and he said OK.’’

That might have been that, if not for one complication: The artist who painted the murals 30 years ago as a condemnation of slavery, Sam Kerson — who is white — fought back against the plan to erase his work.

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February 22, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

U.S. Tax Court's Tax Trailblazers: Larry D. Bailey

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

Larry D. BaileyPlease join the United States Tax Court as its Tax Trailblazers Series continues for a Black History Month interview with Larry D. Bailey today at 7:00 - 8:15 PM EST (register here).

Larry D. Bailey is an accounting and tax professional with over 40 years of experience. Notably, he was one of the first African American partners at major accounting firm.

A certified public accountant, he holds a degree in accounting from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and an MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Graduate School of Business. 

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February 22, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, February 20, 2023

Legal Ed News Roundup