Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Pepperdine Caruso Law Hosts Webinar Today On Federal Courts In The Age Of COVID-19

COVID-19 In The Federal Courts

Pepperdine Caruso Law hosts a webinar today on Federal Courts In The Age Of COVID-19 with our three alumni U.S. District Court judges (Hon. Andre Birotte ('91), Central District of California; Hon. Charles Eskridge ('91), Southern District of Texas; and Hon. Jennifer Dorsey ('97), District of Nevada) at 3:00 p.m. ET/noon PT (free registration here).

UpdatePepperdine Caruso Law Federal Judge Alumni Discuss Courts in the Age of COVID:

Judge OCconnellDean Caron began the conversation with a tribute to the Honorable Beverly Reid O'Connell (JD '90), formerly of the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California. Judge O'Connell was Pepperdine Caruso Law's first alumna to serve as a federal judge. Prior to her death in October of 2017, Judge O'Connell was a friend and mentor to the judges on the panel and a stalwart supporter of Pepperdine Caruso Law. Judge O'Connell had accepted a position as co-chair of the law school's new Board of Advisors, but unexpectedly passed away before she could preside over the board's first meeting. Pepperdine Caruso Law is grateful for all she did for the students and alumni of the law school.

The three judges on the panel began the discussion by describing their experiences on the federal bench during the COVID era. Judge Dorsey spoke of the Nevada federal courts, which began to close in mid-March. Criminal and civil proceedings continued via video and teleconferencing, which was authorized by the CARES Act. In June, some matters were resumed in the courthouse, with social distancing and a court-wide mask mandate. Most proceedings, however, are still taking place remotely.

Judge Birotte remarked that the Los Angeles courts, which were completely closed to the public beginning on March 13, are now opening in phases. Phase I of the reopening began three weeks ago with some staff returning to the courts. There have been no in-person hearings and all criminal cases have been handled by video conferencing.

Judge Eskridge commented that the Houston courts closed in late March, which was less than four months after he was confirmed to the bench. A soft reopening of the Houston courts occurred in June for filings only. It was initially decided that no trials would begin that require empaneled juries until August, but that timeline has been rescheduled to after Labor Day.

Judge Eskridge noted, with Judges Dorsey and Birotte agreeing, that lawyers are to be commended during this time for their spirited cooperation and empathetic collaboration. The judges acknowledged that the current unprecedented situation has brought out the best in the legal profession.

Judges Dorsey, Birotte, and Eskridge then turned to answering questions that included their advice to incoming law clerks, how to be effective advocates, the handling of sensitive information, and changes in cases settling, in-person depositions, and the number of COVID-related lawsuits. The three judges do not foresee any changes in externship and law clerk hiring, and Judge Dorsey offered helpful tips for students regarding job candidate interviews over zoom. They also stated that future law clerks should plan to be nimble and comfortable with circumstances changing constantly. The judges noted that the biggest issue they see moving forward will be empaneling a jury.

The three judges agreed that the biggest opportunity right now for the judiciary is the abandonment of the "That's how we've always done it" philosophy. Judge Dorsey conveyed that the embrace of technology has advantages such as allowing criminal defense attorneys to better communicate with the people they represent. Judge Birotte indicated that video and telephonic hearings are not only an efficient way to deal with matters, but are also a savings for the client and government. Judge Eskridge related that zoom and video conferencing have become the new normal, which is a technological advancement that his friend and classmate Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell advocated 10 years ago and would be pleased to see in practice today.

Pepperdine Caruso Law thanks our distinguished alumni judges for their invaluable insight.

A full recording of the event will be available soon on the Pepperdine Caruso Law channel here.

July 22, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

College Plans For On-Campus Teaching In Fall 2020 Are Crumbling

Chronicle of Higher Education, Colleges Hoped for an In-Person Fall. Now the Dream Is Crumbling.:

Several prominent campuses on Monday announced reversals of prior fall reopening plans as Covid-19 case counts surge across the country. Coming after months of expressed optimism about the possibility of in-person operations, the announcements signal a retreat from those projections that may grow to a wave.

The University of California at Berkeley’s chancellor, Carol A. Christ, announced at a Chronicle event on Monday that Berkeley — which had planned to have some students on campus and to hold some classes in-person — will begin its fall semester online. The news came alongside Monday actions by Morehouse, Grinnell, and Spelman Colleges, in addition to Clark Atlanta University. ...

Such announcements have been widely predicted, even as some presidents declared that they planned to bring students back for fall classes. In planning to reopen, colleges have cited the benefits to in-person learning, the disparities in technology access off campus, and detailed safety plans. There is also a clear financial incentive to bring students back; fees for housing and dining are significant portions of operating budgets.

But in the face of rising cases nationally, and as faculty and students raise safety concerns, colleges have said they can’t pull it off. ...

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July 21, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Aligning Law School Curriculum With Law Firm Needs

Neil W. Hamilton (University of St. Thomas), The Competency Continuum on Teamwork and Team Leadership: Aligning Law School Curriculum with Law Firm Needs:

Law firms and legal departments include teamwork and team leadership skills in their competency models and 30% of law schools have included teamwork in their learning outcomes, but there has been no effort to create a continuum that aligns law student development of teamwork skills with the competency models of law firms. This article provides a model for this continuum for law schools and law firms.

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July 21, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

State Bar Releases First Annual Report Card On The Diversity Of California’s Legal Profession

State Bar of California, Report Card on the Diversity of California’s Legal Profession:

CA BarThe state’s attorney population does not reflect its diversity.
Between 5,000 and 6,000 attorneys are admitted to the State Bar of California annually. The number of active licensed attorneys has nearly doubled since 1980, reaching over 190,000 as of December 2019.

White attorneys account for nearly 70 percent of California’s active licensed attorney population, while people of color constitute 60 percent of the state’s population. Latinos, in particular, are underrepresented among California attorneys in comparison to their representation statewide: this group comprises 36 percent of the state’s population yet accounts for a mere 7 percent of all of California’s licensed active attorneys.

Women comprise half of California’s adult population, but they account for only 42 percent of California attorneys. Slightly less than one percent of the attorney population identifies with more than one gender category. Comparable data for the statewide population is not available although a 2016 study found that .76 percent of adults in California identify as transgender. ...

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July 21, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Colleges Face A No-Win Dilemma: To Cut Or Not To Cut Tuition?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Colleges Face a No-Win Dilemma: To Cut or Not to Cut Tuition?:

Amid all the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic for higher education, two things are becoming clear. Most students yearn to come back to campus in the fall, in spite of the risks. And if, instead, students wind up receiving online instruction come September, they don’t want to pay full tuition.

These two factors are driving the decision-making of millions of students and their families. In response, many institutions are frantically making elaborate and expensive plans to open up classrooms and dorms, in part because they feel like they have to. Surveys show that an overwhelming majority of students don’t want to pay full cost for another semester of Zoom meetings, and that some incoming freshmen who have been admitted to colleges that choose to extend online learning into the fall might defect to colleges that decide to open their campuses. Substantially fewer students equals plunging tuition revenue, which equals financial disaster at a time when many colleges are already at the fiscal brink.

Colleges that are going with online instruction are playing it safe with the virus, but running the risk of losing enrollment — and tuition revenue — to institutions that promise a semester with dorms and classmates and maybe even a little fun.

All of which presents a no-win dilemma to colleges planning to offer mostly or wholly online instruction. They can discount tuition in hopes of keeping students happy, despite the hit to their bottom line. Or they can stick with full tuition for the fall, and still brace for the possible hit to their bottom line.

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July 21, 2020 in Legal Ed News | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, July 20, 2020

Blackman: What Happens When A Professor Is Unable To Finish Teaching A Class Due To COVID-19?

Josh Blackman (South Texas), What Happens When a Professor Is Unable to Finish Teaching a Class Due to COVID-19?:

As the saying goes, all professors are mortal. From time to time, faculties will deal with tragedy. Due to various health situations, a professor may be unable to finish a class as planned. Perhaps the situation will last a short time. For example, a professor needs a few weeks to recover from surgery. In such cases, colleagues can cover a few classes. Or, perhaps, the professor can pre-record lectures which the students can watch. Or, in more recent times, the professor can teach a class remotely from home. (Yes, Zoom existed before March 2020). Other situations are permanent. Professors may suddenly be forced to retire. Or Professors may pass away in the middle of a semester, perhaps with little advance notice. In such cases, colleagues will have to teach the remainder of the class–that includes preparing an exam, and grading it.

Over my career, these sorts of tragedies have been quite rare. But going forward, these occurrences may become more common. And these concerns are not limited to universities with in-person or hybrid classes. Even professors who are teaching strictly online classes may still be affected by COVID-19. Colleges need to recognize these eventualities, and establish continuity of operations plans in advance. Administrations should try to ensure minimal disruption in teaching and grading. This post will highlight four factors to consider. ...

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July 20, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Remote Bar Exams Are A Terrible And Dangerous Idea

Amanda Pescovitz (J.D. 2020, George Washington), Remote Bar Exams For Aspiring Attorneys Are a Terrible and Dangerous Idea:

Due to the ongoing pandemic, many jurisdictions—except those plunging ahead with superspreader events—are opting to hold a remote bar examination. Passing the bar exam is currently required for a law school graduate to practice law in most cases. But it is extremely unlikely that jurisdictions have the ability to build out the infrastructure to securely administer a remote bar exam, especially on only a few months’ notice. ...

Beyond just the possibility of hacking, some remote exams are proctored using facial recognition software, raising serious concerns about the privacy of examinees biometric information, algorithmic bias, and misidentification. ...

Remotely proctored bar exams are not the solution to the current crisis. Rather, jurisdictions should adopt an emergency diploma privilege allowing at least all 2020 graduates of ABA-accredited law schools to become licensed. This country is facing a massive access to justice crisis, and preventing new law school graduates from serving their communities unless they have exposed themselves and their data to danger is unjustifiable.

The Hill, Law School Graduates Worried About Security, Privacy of Online Bar Exam:

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July 20, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Rodriguez: Law Schools Are Still In Denial About Fall 2020

Following up on Saturday's post:  Dan Rodriguez (Northwestern), Law Schools Still in Denial:

I predicted several weeks ago that law schools committed to some jury-rigged hybrid schemes would retreat from that as the summer continued, and as more evidence accumulated both of the folly of pursuing in-residence learning and also as faculty became more adept at remote/online learning modalities.  It appears I was wrong.  Through some combination of hubris and predicament (and maybe the lack of autonomy in bureaucratic university structures), most law schools are plowing ahead with these ventures. 

July 20, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Over A Dozen States Push Ahead With In-Person July Bar Exam Despite COVID-19

National Conference of Bar Examiners, July 2020 Bar Exam Status by Jurisdiction (as of July 17, 2020):


Wall Street Journal, Coronavirus Pandemic Creates Bar Exam Chaos:

The bar exam, an annual rite of passage for law graduates starting their careers, has been thrown into turmoil by the coronavirus pandemic.

As some states prepare to hold in-person exams this month, and others plan for delayed or online tests, a groundswell of support is building to abolish this year’s test altogether.

“Any other option is truly unworkable,” said L. Song Richardson, the dean at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. She said she has heard from recent graduates about “the pain, the suffering, the anxiety, the housing insecurity…and the inability to make a living,” caused by the pandemic and testing uncertainty. ...

Florida, Texas, Louisiana and other states recently scrapped plans to hold in-person exams this month. More than a dozen others, including Colorado, Oklahoma and North Carolina, are still planning for live testing July 28.

As states continually shift the date and format of bar exams, graduates have struggled to adjust study schedules.

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July 19, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

BYU Black Students Want To Remove The Names From Every Building on Campus

Salt Lake Tribune, BYU’s Black Student Union Wants to Remove the Names From Every Building on Campus:

BYU (2015)The library at Brigham Young University is named after a man who said if his granddaughter got “engaged to a colored boy” while she was at the school, he would hold administrators accountable. The law school there got its name from a different man who strongly advocated for blood banks to segregate donations from Black and white people so they wouldn’t be “mixed.” ...

Those are just a few of the spaces that Black students at the Provo school say are hard to enter today without thinking about that history, and feeling not only unwelcome but also hurt that those people continue to be revered. ...

"We are living in the shadow of that,” said Déborah Aléxis, the president of the Black Student Union on campus. “And it’s painful. We are honoring these people and creating this narrative that they’re perfect and untouchable. They’re not, though. They caused harm to people like me.”

Under her leadership, the BYU Black Student Union is now calling on the private school and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to address the issue. In a July 6 letter to President Russell M. Nelson, who oversees both the faith and the university’s board of trustees, Aléxis and other members of the group ask for the names of all individuals to be removed from every building on campus.

The hope is to stop honoring those who were racist without singling out or “de-faming” any one specific person, Aléxis said. ...

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July 19, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Florida Congressional Candidate Sues Law School Claiming She Was Expelled For Supporting President Trump

Washington Times, Florida Woman Sues Law School, Education Department Claiming Expulsion For Being a Trump Supporter:

Christy CongressA former Florida beauty queen sued a law school and the Department of Education for $25 million claiming the university expelled her because she supports President Trump.

Christina McLaughlin launched the 114-page legal complaint Thursday against Florida International University School of Law and the Department of Education. She never failed a class, yet she was dismissed for failing to meet academic standards, she said. ...

“This complaint is to help protect other students who have had their voice silenced by liberal universities and colleges,” said Ms. McLaughlin, 24, who also is running as a GOP candidate for a House seat in South Florida. ...

In Ms. McLaughlin’s case, she said professors learned about her Republican affiliation from social media photographs after she attended a Trump victory party. She said instructors immediately began treating her differently — including not answering questions she would pose to them after class.

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July 19, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Which Of The 436 Universities Ranked BY U.S. News Will Thrive, Survive, Struggle, Or Perish In The Age Of COVID-19?

Scott Galloway (NYU), USS University:

Our fumbling, incompetent response to the pandemic continues. In six weeks, a key component of our society is in line to become the next vector of contagion: higher education. Right now half of colleges and universities plan to offer in-person classes, something resembling a normal college experience, this fall. This cannot happen. In-person classes should be minimal, ideally none. ...

There is a dangerous conflation of the discussion about K-12 and university reopenings. The two are starkly different. There are strong reasons to reopen K-12, and there are stronger reasons to keep universities shuttered. University leadership needs to evolve from denial (“It’s business as usual”) past bargaining (“We’ll have a hybrid model with some classes in person”) to citizenship (“We are the warriors against this virus, not its enablers”).

Think about this. Next month, as currently envisioned, 2,800+ cruise ships retrofitted with white boards and a younger cohort will set sail in the midst of a raging pandemic. The density and socialization on these cruise ships could render college towns across America the next virus hot spots.

Why are administrators putting the lives of faculty, staff, students, and our broader populace at risk? ...

Who Thrives, Survives, Struggles, or Perishes?
Over the last month, we assembled a worksheet that looks at the immunities and comorbidities of 436 universities included in US News and World Report’s Top National College Rankings. This dataset compiles numbers from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) maintained by the US Department of Education, US News & World Report, Google Keyword Planner,'s Student Life Scores, and the Center on Education & the Workforce. This dataset should not be taken as peer-reviewed or final. It’s a working document that seeks to analyze and understand the US college and university landscape and to help universities craft solutions.

We plotted each university across two axes (four quadrants):

  • Value: (Credential * Experience * Education) / Tuition.
  • Vulnerability: (Endowment / Student and % International Students). Low endowment and dependence on full-tuition international students make a university vulnerable to Covid shock, as they may decide to sit this semester/year out. Consumers generally don’t like to pay the rack rate at a hotel whose general manager harasses them and is a bigot. But I digress.


  • Thrive: The elite schools and those that offer strong value have an opportunity to emerge stronger as they consolidate the market, double down on exclusivity, and/or embrace big and small tech to increase the value via a decrease in cost per student.
  • Survive: Schools that will see demand destruction and lower revenue, but will be fine, as they have the brand equity, credential-to-cost ratio, and/or endowments to weather the storm.
  • Struggle: Tier-2 schools with one or more comorbidities, such as high admit rates (anemic waiting lists), high tuition, or scant endowments.
  • Perish: Sodium pentathol cocktail of high admit rates, high tuition, low endowments, dependence on international students, and weak brand equity.


The worksheet is here. Our aim is to catalyze a conversation about how universities can adjust their value proposition.

Scott Galloway (NYU), Higher Ed: Enough Already:

US university presidents and chancellors, enough already.

It’s time to end the consensual hallucination between university leadership, parents, and students that in-person classes will resume in the fall. The bold statements from presidents and provosts are symptomatic of the viruses that also plague American leadership and business: exceptionalism that has morphed into arrogance and an idolatry of money that supplants regard for the commonwealth. ...

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July 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Virtual Tour Of L.A. Law Schools

Friday, July 17, 2020

Blackman: Law Professors Should Not Waste Their Time Creating Online Class Content

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Caution for Law Professors Who Plan To Generate Their Own Content:

In March, schools around the globe went online in a manner of days. Professors, who had never used distance learning, were suddenly forced to take a crash-course in Zoom and other similar tools. Students, for the most part, were understanding. But I think everyone would agree that the pedagogy from the Spring 2020 semester was not ideal.

The Fall 2020 semester will be better. Professors will have now had a full semester of Zooming under their belts. And, they can spend the summer adapting their classes to an online environment–either synchronous or asynchronous. Some professors may decide to generate their own content.

I define the word content very broadly. That word can refer to videos, where the professor is on the screen. It can refer to "narrated" powerpoints, where the professor narrates slides. It can refer to a recorded podcast, where there is only audio, and the professor is speaking. In my mind,"content" refers to anything more than the printed word: either spoken audio or recorded video.

Professors should be very cautious before developing their own content. And I offer this advice after having spent nearly two years and $100,000 on developing my own content for constitutional law. Developing high-quality content is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. No content may be better for students than weak content. And professors would better spend their time preparing assessments (both summative and formative), and scheduling one-on-one visits with students, than generating content.

Let me explain.

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July 17, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

California To Give Online Bar Exam On Oct. 5-6, Permanently Lower Cut Score, Provide Provisional Licensure For Class Of 2020 Grads

California Supreme Court:

California State Bar (2014)The California Supreme Court on Thursday announced it will permanently lower the passing score for the California Bar Exam and released plans for an October test administered online.

The court’s letter to State Bar of California trustees includes the following measures for exam takers and 2020 law school graduates:

  • The California Bar Exam will be administered online on October 5-6
  • The court directed the State Bar to extend registration for the October exam through July 24; 
  • The court permanently lowered the passing score from 1440 [2d highest in country, after DE] to 1390 [4th highest, after DE, OR, NV, VA]; 
  • The court directed the State Bar to expedite creation of a provisional licensure program under supervision to 2020 law school graduates—effective until they can take and pass a California bar exam, and expiring no later than June 1, 2022.

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July 17, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

New York Cancels September Bar Exam, Provides Provisional Licensure For All First-Time Takers

New York Court of Appeals, Bar Examination & Temporary Practice Order Update (July 16, 2020):

NYSBA (2017)On July 16, 2020, the Board of Law Examiners made the difficult decision to cancel the September 9-10 administration of the bar examination in New York. The Board arrived at this decision after careful consideration of current conditions and with a singular focus on the health and safety of all participants. Unfortunately, the global pandemic presents a persisting threat in a growing number of states and therefore, at this juncture, an in-person exam is not yet a safe or practical option in New York.

The Court of Appeals commends the members of Board of Law Examiners, ably lead by Diane Bosse, for their tireless efforts to administer the bar exam under these difficult circumstances and for their considered decision to suspend the September exam. The Court is also appreciative of the input and cooperation of the Deans of New York’s fifteen law schools, who generously offered their facilities in order to make possible the Board’s redesigned exam administration.

Because suspension of the September exam has always been a real possibility, the Court has proceeded on dual tracks: working towards a safe administration of the exam while simultaneously developing contingencies to ameliorate the effects of further postponement. As previously announced, the Chief Judge has approved a program designed to provide temporary authorization for qualified law graduates to engage in the supervised practice of law. To formally implement the program, the Court has amended its rules, effective July 22. As provided in the Court’s amended rules, the temporary authorization program is available to all first-time takers of the bar examination employed in New York, including both J.D. and LL.M. candidates, irrespective of their graduation year. Once authorized, eligible candidates will be permitted to work under a qualified supervising attorney prior to their admission to the bar and to perform, subject to supervision, many of the functions of admitted attorneys across the State. Candidates may remain in the program through their formal admission to the bar, so long as candidates pass their first bar examination no later than 2021 and promptly seek admission to the bar following the release of exam results. The Court's order can be accessed here

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July 17, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

COVID-19, Racial Justice Challenge New Cedars-Sinai Residents

Cedars-Sinai, Meet Our New Residents:

Three of Cedars-Sinai's new residents, from left to right, Shruthi Nammalwar, MD, Jayne Caron, MD, and Maurice Turner, MD. Photo by Cedars-Sinai.

[T]hese are far from normal times. The COVID-19 pandemic first disrupted the final months of many of the new residents’ medical school educations, and now is altering their experiences at the medical center. ...

COVID-19 ... isn’t the only big issue on the minds of the new arrivals. Residents are keenly aware that we are living through a possible inflection point in American history. Even as the nation struggles with the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected minority patients and raised the issue of health equity, Americans are reckoning with calls for social justice from protestors outraged by police killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“These protests are inseparable from the start of my career,” said Jayne Caron, MD, a new resident in obstetrics and gynecology who attended medical school at New York University.

In fact, social justice concerns helped Caron choose to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. Along with working at a free medical clinic serving many low-income and undocumented immigrant patients during medical school, Caron also participated in research on gender-based violence.

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July 17, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Budget 'Bloodbath' As University Of Akron Lays Off 23% Of Full-Time (Including Tenured) Faculty Due To COVID-19

Chronicle of Higher Education, With Latest Layoffs, U. of Akron Has Lost Almost a Quarter of Its Faculty Since Pandemic Began:

AkronThe University of Akron plans to cut 10 percent of its total staff, including nearly 100 full-time faculty members — the latest sign that the Covid-19 pandemic is set to take a severe toll on the higher-education work force.

The university’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Wednesday to eliminate 178 positions, including 96 unionized faculty members and 82 staff and contract professionals through layoffs. Taking into account previous layoffs and voluntary retirements, the university has eliminated about 23 percent of its unionized full-time faculty since the pandemic began. The university says the reductions in personnel have saved it $16.4 million — 5 percent of its budget for the 2020 fiscal year. ...

Akron is the latest university to lay off faculty members after Covid-19 disrupted the spring semester and decimated university budgets across the country.

Inside Higher Ed, Budget ‘Bloodbath’ at University of Akron:

Cuts were made by department chairs and deans — many of them interim and acting, due to the recent reorganization — at the university's request that they trim their programs by up to 25 percent. The union says names were selected regardless of rank or tenure status. ...

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July 16, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

The Diploma Privilege Manifesto

JURIST editorial, The Diploma Privilege Manifesto:

A spectre is haunting the American legal profession – the spectre of diploma privilege.

Facing the psychological and physical trauma of COVID-19, and buoyed by growing calls for diversity and equity in the wake of centuries of racial and social injustice blithely and sometimes viciously perpetuated by lawyers in positions of power, a new generation of would-be American attorneys is calling for the bar examination to be eliminated as a barrier to professional entry. Instead, they argue, bar admission should depend on graduation from an accredited law school. Some exponents of diploma privilege are content with presenting it as an administrative convenience that would allow law graduates to work and serve their communities sooner rather than later during the current pandemic and its attendant economic downturn. Others dare to suggest that it is an appropriate long-term strategy for the making of a better bar. ...

If substantive change in bar admission procedure is going to come, it will not come from above. It will not come from bar associations or boards of bar examiners fully invested in a longstanding professional gatekeeping system specifically designed to protect, empower, and enrich established lawyers in good times and bad. Neither will it come from law schools hell-bent on gaining rankings distinction by pumping up their bar passage percentages, although change could ultimately be to their advantage. Instead, if change comes, it will come from below.

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July 16, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Pandemic Clobbers Job Starts For Law School Class Of 2020 Graduates

NALP, Law Schools Report Rescinded Employment Offers, Law Firms Report Uncertainty About Associate Start Dates in Second Series of NALP Pulse Surveys:

NALP New LogoThe National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) has released key findings from a second round of “pulse” surveys of NALP members about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. legal employers, law schools, and JD students. In May 2020, NALP began conducting a series of short “pulse” surveys, releasing the first round of results in early June. The surveys are designed to quantify the rapidly evolving changes occurring in the industry.

Key findings from the second round of surveys, conducted from June 18-30, 2020, are included in the report. In total, 356 offices completed the legal employers survey, of which 264 held summer programs in 2020, and 167 schools completed the law schools survey. A third set of surveys will go out in late July.

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July 16, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Louisiana, New Jersey Shift Gears On Bar Exam; Montana Stays The Course

NCBE, July 2020 Bar Exam Update:

On July 15, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a press release announcing the cancellation of the one-day July 27 in-person and remote exams. ...

On July 15, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a press release and order canceling the September 9-10 exam and announcing that it would administer a remote exam on October 5-6. As of the July 15 announcement, New Jersey has entered a reciprocity agreement with Massachusetts related to the transfer of scores earned on the remote exam. 

Missoulian, Montana Supreme Court Denies Law School Grads' Bar Exam Exemption Request:

The Montana Supreme Court has denied a petition to grant law school graduates a special exemption from the Montana Bar Exam, saying such a move would put the public at risk by admitting to practice students who might not otherwise pass the bar.

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July 16, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Why I’ll Be Teaching On Campus At Georgetown This Fall

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why I’ll Be on Campus This Fall, by John Hasnas (Georgetown):

GeorgetownGeorgetown University has given all its faculty, including me, the option to teach in the classroom or remotely via computer during the fall semester. Even though my age places me in the high-risk category, I’ve elected to teach in person. I feel I have an obligation to do so.

Covid-19 is a fact of life. There is no alternative to learning to live with the risk of infection as generations before us lived with similar dangers. ...

For the past four months, I have watched people younger than myself risk infection for my benefit. People who are often the age of my students have kept grocery stores open for me, cooked and delivered food to my home, worked in warehouses, loaded and driven trucks to deliver packages to me, worked in meat-processing plants and other links in the supply chain to ensure that I have what I need for a comfortable life, and worked in hospitals so that I can get treatment if I get sick. I would feel ungenerous if I were unwilling to run some risk of infection myself to provide my services to them. ...

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July 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trump Administration Rescinds Plan To Strip Visas From International Students In Online Classes, But New International Student Enrollment Is Projected To Fall Up To 98%

New York Times, U.S. Rescinds Plan to Strip Visas From International Students in Online Classes:

In a rare and swift immigration policy reversal, the Trump administration on Tuesday bowed to snowballing opposition from universities, Silicon Valley and 20 states and abandoned a plan to strip international college students of their visas if they did not attend at least some classes in person.

The policy, which would have subjected foreign students to deportation if they did not show up for class on campus, had thrown the higher education world into turmoil at a time when universities are grappling with whether to reopen campuses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The loss of international students could have cost universities millions of dollars in tuition and jeopardized the ability of U.S. companies to hire the highly skilled workers who often start their careers with an American education.

Washington Post, Even With the Administration’s About-Face on International Student Visas, Enrollment Is Still Set to Plummet:

Enrollment of new international students at U.S. universities in the fall semester of the 2020-2021 academic year is projected to decline 63 to 98 percent from 2018-2019 levels, according to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis. That wide range of estimates reflects uncertainty about how other immigration measures will be implemented over the coming weeks.

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July 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pepperdine Caruso Law Hosts A Virtual Conversation On Race Today

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

BOA DC Conversation on Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

On 6th Anniversary Of Dan Markel's Murder, Petition Demands That Florida State Attorney Charge Charlie And Donna Adelson

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

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

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

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

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July 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Predictive Test Scores And Diploma Privilege

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 14, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 14, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

2020-22 ABA Tax Section Public Service Fellows

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

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

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

Monday, July 13, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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July 13, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 12, 2020

NY Times And National Tax Association Tributes To Ed Kleinbard

Following up on my previous posts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 11, 2020

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

Vermont Law School Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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July 11, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (10)

Proposed Bill Would Grant Emergency Diploma Privilege In New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 10, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remembering Professor Michael Lang

September 17, 1951 - June 28, 2020


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 9, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNH Law School Faculty Votes To Drop Franklin Pierce Name

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 9, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Law Grads Call On California To Scrap Bar Exam

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

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

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

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

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

Stanford Daily, Uncertainty and Delays Plague California Bar Examination:

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