Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Muller: Non-JD Enrollment Continues To Climb

Derek Muller (Iowa), Law School 1L JD Enrollment Holds Steady For 7th Straight Year as Non-JD Enrollment Climbs to All-Time Highs:

The 2020 law school enrollment figures have been released. They show a slightly worse first-year JD enrollment and continued growth in non-JD enrollment. Almost 16% of law school enrollees, nearly 1 in 6, are not enrolled in a JD program. ... 21,292 were enrolled in non-JD programs, a 1,400-student jump over last year. It’s now about 16% of all law school enrollment. ...

Here I also highlight a handful of schools with the highest non-JD enrollment as a percentage of total law school enrollment. There are a few heavy-hitters that are driving a lot of the non-JD enrollment.

NonJD 2020

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December 23, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

California Bar To Release Results Of October Bar Exam On January 8

State Bar of California, California Bar Examination:

California State Bar (2019)What happens after I take the exam?
Results from the February bar exam will be released on May 7, 2021. The results for the October bar exam will be released at 6:00 p.m. on January 8, 2021. The State Bar is actively working on shortening the grading timeline so that applicants receive their results on an expedited schedule.

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December 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Organ: Attrition Analysis For 2018, 2019, 2020 — With A Focus On Ethnicity

My last blog posting on attrition trends was in January 2018 covering attrition data through the 2016-17 academic year (data reported in December 2017).  I am writing now to summarize recent trends covering the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years.

This blog posting focuses on the 193 fully-accredited ABA law schools outside of Puerto Rico that had first-year attrition data for all three academic years.

I have calculated average attrition rates for the class as a whole and then broken out average attrition rates by law schools in different median LSAT categories — 160+, 155-159, 150-154 and <150. Because attrition data was reported with ethnicity information starting in 2017, this blog also looks at the intersection of ethnicity and attrition for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years.

In calculating attrition rates, I wanted to capture those students who are no longer in law school anywhere. Thus, for these purposes, “attrition” is the sum of “academic attrition” and “other attrition.”  It excludes transfer attrition.  “Academic attrition” occurs when a law school asks someone to leave because of inadequate academic performance.  “Other attrition” occurs when someone leaves law school for non-academic reasons (and has not transferred to another law school).

1. Overall First-Year Attrition has Declined for Three Years

My January 2018 blog noted that overall first-year attrition (“academic attrition” combined with “other attrition”) increased each year from 2010-11 through the 2015-16 academic year, going from 5.81% to 7.33%, before sliding back to 6.46% in 2016-17.  (In this analysis, with a few schools in the process of closing or discontinuing ABA accreditation removed from the database, the overall attrition for 2016-17 decreased to 6.21%.)  That downward trend in overall attrition has continued with overall attrition dropping to 6.11% in the 2017-2018 academic year and then to 5.77% in the 2018-19 academic year and finally to 3.41 in the 2019-20 academic year.

Table 1 — Overall First-Year Attrition for Classes Entering in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019


Beg. Enrollment

Academic Attrition

% Academic

Other Attrition

% Other

Total Attrition

% Attrition






























The simplest explanation for the increase in overall attrition rates over the period from 2010-11 to 2015-16 and then the decrease in overall attrition rates in 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 is the LSAT composition of the entering class.  As the percentage of students in the entering class with a high LSAT score of less than 150 increased, the attrition rates increased.  Once the percentage of students in the entering class with a high LSAT score of less than 150 began to decrease, the attrition rates decreased.  This is explained more clearly in the following discussion.

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December 22, 2020 in Jerry Organ, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 21, 2020

Organ: 2020 Legal Ed Data Show Rebound In Transfer Market

This blog posting updates my blog postings over the last several years — 2015, 2016, 2017,  2018, 2019,  regarding what we know about the transfer market. With the ABA’s posting of the 2020 Standard 509 Reports, we now have seven years (2014-2020) of more detailed transfer data from which to glean insights about the transfer market among law schools.


As shown in Table 1 below, the number of transfers in 2020 increased to 1612 (4.2%).  For the last several years, the transfer market had been shrinking, having declined from 5.5% in 2014, to 4.7% in 2016, to 4.0% in 2018, and down to 3.4% in 2019.  Aside from a slight bump in 2017, this is the first meaningful increase in transfers in many years, although the level is still less than in 2015-2017 when there were more than 1700 transfers.

Table 1 – Number of Transfers and Percentage of Transfers from 2014-2020









Number of Transfers








Previous Year First Year Enrollment








%   of Previous First-Year Total








Some of this increase is attributable to the students transferring from Concordia to Idaho.  Idaho doesn't normally show up on the transfer list, but this year it has 105 transfers as a result of Concordia announcing its closure.  But that only explains part of the increase of more than 300 transfers between 2019 and 2020.  I believe the most likely additional explanation for this bump in transfers was the financial uncertainty for law schools associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly uncertainty regarding the number of first-year students who would show up at law schools that had announced during the summer a shift to online instruction for the fall semester.  With uncertainty regarding first-year enrollment and revenue, some law schools may have hedged by looking for more transfers.  For example, Harvard took 65 transfer students — the largest class of transfers it has taken in a number of years.  Its entering class this year was only 501 — when it has consistently welcomed 560 students almost every year for the last several years.  Knowing it might be welcoming a smaller entering class, I suspect Harvard made a conscious decision to welcome more transfers to counterbalance the loss of revenue from a smaller first-year class.  Other law schools on the list that showed an increase between 2019 and 2020 included George Washington (up 22), Berkeley (up 19) and Florida (up 11).  Relatedly, some students might have considered transferring because online learning might have made it possible for them to attend another law school without having to move, such that the transaction costs of transferring might have seemed smaller than in prior years.  And if students were going to be taking online courses anyway at the law school at which they started, why not transfer and take online courses at a law school that is more highly ranked.


Table 2 lists the top 15 law schools participating in the transfer market in descending order in Summer 2017 (fall 2016 entering class), Summer 2018 (fall 2017 entering class), Summer 2019 (fall 2018 entering class), and Summer 2020 (fall 2019 entering class).  The nine law schools on the list all four years include Cal. Berkeley, Columbia, Florida, Georgetown, George Washington, Harvard, Loyola Marymount, NYU, UCLA.  Arizona State and Northwestern have been on the list three of the four years.

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December 21, 2020 in Jerry Organ, Law School, Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 20, 2020

LSAC: The Fall 2020 Law School Class ... And An Early Look At The Incoming Fall 2021 Class

Kellye Y. Testy (President & CEO, LSAC), Starting Law School Amid a Pandemic: The Incoming Class of 2020 (the following is excerpted from a longer post on LSAC’s Law:Fully blog):

Not only did a class of law students graduate in 2020 amid the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new class also just began their studies during this “one-of-a-kind” year. What do we know about this intrepid group? Each fall, LSAC works closely with the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and law schools across the United States to compile enrollment data for the incoming class of law students. This aggregated “Standard 509” data provides a snapshot of the size and make-up of the incoming class, including number of students, full- and part-time status, racial, ethnic, and gender information, as well as LSAT score and undergraduate GPA by quartiles for each law school. This data also provides an opportunity to look at areas of progress and emerging trends that could affect the future of legal education and our justice system more broadly. ...

When using maximum reporting, LSAC’s preferred reporting method because it captures all the racial and ethnic categories in which a candidate self-identifies, Black/African American students comprise 9.7% of 2020 matriculants, compared to 9.5% in 2019 and 9.7% in 2018. Hispanic/Latinx students make up 12.4% of this year’s incoming class, up from 11.8% in 2019 and 11.5% in 2018. ...

It is still early in the 2021 application cycle, but according to LSAC data, we are seeing very significant growth in terms of the overall number of applicants and applications, with strong growth across all demographic groups.

As of today, the total number of JD applicants is up 38.2% compared to this time last year.


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December 20, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

More On The Controversy Over 'Dr.' Jill Biden

LawProfBlawg (Anonymous Professor, Top 100 Law School), Dr. Biden And That Op-Ed: Funny How the 'Dr.' Thing and the 'Hierarchy' Thing Are Related:

Dear Law Professors:

It started with yet another “Let’s not call her Dr.” hit piece. The kind that has been written before, many times. No, I’m not going to link to it.

Then came the style guides, which showed that only those with an M.D. should be called doctor. As if to say that makes it perfectly okay to publish the hit piece. I’m missing the part of the style guide where newspapers call Ph.D.s “kiddo.” Maybe you can help me find it. ...

Oh, just as an aside: I see law professors be dismissive of Ph.D.s every f**king day. I mean, unless they want to hire someone with a Ph.D./J.D. Then it’s OMG GUSH so IMPRESSIVE. Want to guess who that usually benefits? Want to guess where their J.D.s usually come from? ...

You see, this isn’t just about Dr. Biden. It is about the microaggressions that women face every day. The slights to their expertise. The fact that you’ll find any f**king excuse not to call her Dr. just because it offends you. But thanks for the nice discussion of disparate impact with your “I only call M.D.s doctors” standards. Want to look at THAT data? 

It’s about how when the hierarchy is challenged by minorities and women making inroads, it means somehow that the achievements mean less somehow because it isn’t the coveted prize of only white men.

Eugene Volokh (UCLA), Who Should Be Called Dr.? Probably Not Jill Biden, Just as Lawyers Like Me Aren't:

I didn't much care for the Wall Street Journal op-ed that said Jill Biden shouldn't be referred to using the title "Dr." Certainly calling a grown stranger (and especially the soon-to-be First Lady) "kiddo," even as a joke, seems disrespectful; nor is her using the "Dr." title "fraudulent" or "comic."

Nonetheless, the view that Jill Biden should be called "Dr." because she earned her Ed.D. strikes me as unsound, too.

Steven Lubet (Northwestern) & Andrew Koppelman (Northwestern), That Op-Ed About Jill Biden Is Awful. Northwestern’s Response Might Be Worse.:

Last week the essayist Joseph Epstein provoked an uproar by writing a silly Wall Street Journal piece saying that Jill Biden, who has a doctorate in education — formally, an Ed.D. — should stop using the honorific “Dr.” The essay was rude and condescending to the next first lady, referring to her as “kiddo” and calling her dissertation “unpromising.”

But what happened next is also “unpromising.” Northwestern University’s English department’s website published a poorly composed denunciation, obviously intended to retaliate for Epstein’s loutish opinion. A spokesman for the university saw fit to announce that “while we firmly support academic freedom and freedom of expression, we do not agree with Mr. Epstein’s opinion.” Most alarmingly, Epstein’s name abruptly disappeared from the department’s website. Epstein was a visiting lecturer at Northwestern from 1974 to 2002, and as late as last week he was listed on the department website as an “emeritus lecturer.”

As current law-school faculty members at Northwestern, specializing in constitutional law (Koppelman) and professional responsibility (Lubet), we believe that it is a serious violation of academic freedom to penalize a faculty member, including an emeritus one, for expressing unpopular views. ...

Almost every American university has distressing incidents in its history, such as the exploitation of enslaved labor and construction on stolen land. An honest accounting requires reckoning with history, not erasing it, and that includes even the trivial recognition of those who have held teaching positions. Northwestern’s own motto begins “Quaecumque sunt vera,” meaning “Whatsoever things are true.” It may be uncomfortable, but it is nonetheless true that Joseph Epstein is an emeritus lecturer in English at Northwestern University.

Chronicle of Higher Education, That Op-Ed About Jill Biden Was Sexist. But the Real Problem Lies Deeper.:

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December 20, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Fall 2020 Law School Enrollment Increased 2.4% (+1.5% JD, +7.4% Non-JD); 1L Enrollment Fell 0.2%

ABA Website Updates Data on Law School Admissions, Tuition and Other Matters:

ABA Logo (2016)Information about fall 2020 admissions and other matters reported by American Bar Association-approved law schools to the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is now publicly available. The information is required to be made public under Standard 509 of the Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools.

The spreadsheets, explanatory information and the ABA's database of Standard 509 reports, as they are known, are available at Some of this information has been collected and summarized on the section's website in its Statistics section under 2020 Standard 509 Data Overview. It shows that total J.D. enrollment for 2020 was up by 1.5% from the previous year. First-year enrollment was essentially flat, declining by 81 students.

2020 Standard 509 Information Report Data Overview (posted 12/18/2020):

ABA-approved law schools are required to post their Standard 509 Information Reports on their websites as part of their ABA Required Disclosures, annually by December 15. The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar website provides access to that information for all law schools, including downloadable spreadsheets of aggregate data that the law schools report. The Section is also providing spreadsheets on a school-by-school basis that report applicant data and LSAT and UGPA information for each school’s 1L matriculants, changes in the 1L classes on a school-by-school basis, and other information. These data come from the annual questionnaires that ABA-approved law schools file with the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar’s Managing Director’s Office.

As the chart below summarizes, 197 law schools that are approved by the ABA to confer the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree reported total J.D. enrollment of 114,520 for the Fall 2020 term. This is an increase of 1,638 students (1.5 percent) from 2019. An additional 21,292 students were enrolled in other than J.D. degree programs (LL.M., masters and certificate programs). This is an increase of 1,473 (7.4 percent) from 2019. This brings the total law school enrollment for Fall 2020 to 135,812, an increase of 3,128 (2.4 percent).

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

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

ABA Journal, Thousands of California Bar Exam Takers Have Video Files Flagged For Review:

California Bar ExamMore than 3,000 people who sat for the State Bar of California’s remote October exam had their proctoring videos flagged for review, and dozens report receiving violation notices from the agency’s office of admissions.

Applicants say the issues flagged are largely technological, and many claim they had no indication of a problem until they received violation notices. ...

During a Dec. 4 meeting of the California Committee of Bar Examiners, Tammy Campbell, a program manager with the bar, reported that 8,920 applicants took the exam online. Of that group, she said, 3,190—nearly 36%—of the test-takers had their videos flagged for review. ...

Megan Zavieh, an ethics lawyer who defends clients against State Bar of California charges, says she had signed on 19 clients who received Chapter 6 notices and fielded phone calls from many other prospective clients in the same situation as of late Thursday. ...

Several law school deans on Thursday sent a letter to the state bar, urging it to allow people to sit for the February 2021 bar while they are challenging the notices.

Above the Law, California Bar Exam Flagged A THIRD Of Applicants As Cheating

State Bar of California, Post Bar Exam FAQs

Letter to Donna S. Hershkowitz, Interim Executive Director, State Bar of California (Dec. 17, 2020):

Two issues relating to the Chapter 6 Notice of Violation of Examination Rules or Policies process, which was outlined at the December 10, 2020, Annual Law School Assembly meeting, have come to our attention. As discussed more fully below, we respectfully urge the State Bar to allow persons challenging notices of violation to sit for the February Bar Exam, and to allow such persons to view videos of alleged violations when responding to notices.

During the December 10th meeting, the State Bar notified attendees that its staff is in the process of reviewing 3,190 flagged proctoring videos from the October administration of the California Bar Examination—i.e., more than one-third of all test-takers were flagged for possible violations. The State Bar gave no indication of what standards it would impose to assess whether the flagged conduct warrants a Chapter 6 notice and we have no information as regards the number of candidates that have (or can be expected) to receive a Chapter 6 notice.

At the meeting, State Bar staff explained that upon receipt of a Chapter 6 notice, an applicant has ten days to respond in writing. After the State Bar receives the response, staff look into the matter further and decide whether the applicant should be sanctioned. If an applicant receives a sanction for a disputable violation, the applicant may request an appeal. According to Admissions and Educational Standards Rule 4.71(B), “An examination score may be held in abeyance pending resolution of the matter.” However, during the meeting, the State Bar staff stated that if an applicant requests an appeal, the applicant’s bar exam score will be held in abeyance. This means that the applicant will not know their score and the applicant will not be allowed to timely register for the February 2021 bar examination before the matter is resolved.

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December 19, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, December 18, 2020

Purdue Announces 10th Straight Year Of Flat Tuition

Purdue Announces 10th Straight Year of Flat Tuition:

Purdue“Unprecedented” has been used often in 2020. Purdue University is using it yet again – as the university announces it will keep its West Lafayette campus tuition frozen — at 2012-13 levels — through at least 2022-23, marking 10 straight years of no tuition increase — unprecedented at Purdue and in higher education during modern times.

President Mitch Daniels first announced that the university would not increase tuition in spring 2013, shortly after he became the 12th president of Purdue University. Before that, Purdue tuition had increased every year since 1976, and it rose an average of nearly 6% per year from 2002 through 2012.

Since 2013, Purdue students and their families have seen tuition remain flat and room and board rates drop from second highest in the Big Ten to the most affordable. Today, they pay less for total cost of attendance than they did in 2012.

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December 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

California Deans Ask That Students Who Passed California Bar Be Admitted To D.C. Bar

CA DC Bar (2020)

Letter to Shela Shanks, Director, Committee on Admissions and the Unauthorized Practice of Law, District of Columbia Courts (Dec. 17, 2020):

Dear Director Shanks,
We write in the hopes that you might reconsider this year’s rule prohibiting those who sat for and passed the California Bar Exam in October 2020 from obtaining licensure in the District of Columbia without sitting for the D.C. exam. We understand that the California Bar Examiners have not pursued reciprocity with the District, and that this may have influenced your decision.  We also understand that this year’s online exam format in many states, without a normal full MBE, may have factored into the recent rule change.

Given the unprecedented effects that the ongoing global pandemic is having on the careers of recent law graduates, we urge you to consider the burden this new rule places on individuals who took the most recent California Bar Exam.  Many students sat for the California bar expecting that, as in previous years, they would be able to waive into the District of Columbia using their MBE scores, and did not learn of the rule change until after registration deadlines had passed.  Compared to their peers who either passed the exam in another jurisdiction with which D.C. practices reciprocity, or who did not take an exam at all and are allowed to practice under supervision, those who are awaiting results from the October California exam must now devote additional time and money preparing for the next D.C. exam after just beginning jobs delayed by the pandemic.  While under normal circumstances we could appreciate your interest in allowing waivers only between D.C. and those states which practice reciprocity, or based on a normal transferable MBE score, these are not ordinary circumstances.  It also seems puzzling to allow supervised practice for those who have not taken and passed any bar exam, but to prohibit it for those who passed the California bar, notably one of the hardest bars to pass.  We would be very grateful were you to reconsider in order to avoid the inconsistencies and burdens that the current situation presents.


Paul L. Caron
Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law
Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law

Erwin Chemerinsky
Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley School of Law

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December 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Case For Removing John Marshall's Name From Cleveland State Law School

Following up on my previous post, Law Schools In Chicago And Cleveland Consider Removing Chief Justice John Marshall From Their Names:  Cleveland Scene op-ed:  The Case for Changing the Name of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, by Taru Taylor:

Cleveland Marshall Logo (2020)The City of Cleveland finds itself in the middle of our world reckoning over race. Ever since the death of George Floyd on May 25th, the right and wrong sides of history have come into focus. More Confederate monuments have fallen stateside, of course. But how about those images of British protesters throwing the statue of Edward Colston, a seventeenth-century slave trader, into the River Thames? ...

Paul Dolan, owner of the Cleveland Indians, just announced on Monday that: “[Indians is] a name that had its time, but this is not the time now, and certainly going forward, the name is no longer acceptable in our world.” He probably took note of the Washington Football Team, formerly known as the “Redskins.” ...

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law faces a similar reckoning. It is named for John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the Supreme Court, (1801 – 1835). Early in his tenure he authored the majority opinion in Marbury v. Madison (1803), which established judicial review. By giving the Court power to declare legislative acts and executive actions unconstitutional, he became a veritable unnamed co-author of all subsequent landmark decisions. Without Marbury, there could be no Dred Scott nor Brown. It's hard to overstate his influence.

But the Virginian slave lord owned 200 slaves and at one point auctioned off some of them to pay off his son’s debts. He heard roughly 50 cases involving slavery during his 34-year tenure as chief justice. His jurisprudence was always pro-slavery, even when stare decisis, the rule that judges should abide by decided cases and apply their rules, favored the Black litigant. Nor did public policy, insofar as it supported Black freedom, ever persuade Marshall to rule for the Negro. ...

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

Law Schools That Overperform On The Bar Exam

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  National Jurist, Bar Exam Standouts: A New Study Identifies Law Schools Whose Graduates Overperform On That Crucial Test:

National JuristThe bar exam is the price of admittance for those who want to practice law, and passing the dreaded exam, particularly on the first try, is far from a given.

In 2019, statistics show, 79.6% of first-time test-takers passed the bar in their states. That means more than 20% of law grads failed, and that’s a big number given how much time and money they had invested.

When Paul Caron became dean of Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in Malibu, Calif., in 2017, improving the school’s bar passage rate was a top priority.

“Historically our students had done much better on the California bar exam than their incoming LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs would have predicted,” Caron said. “But around 2015, we had begun to see a slump.”

In an effort to turn things around, Caron hired a new director of academic excellence to expand the school’s bar prep efforts and provide additional support and mentorship to students.

And it worked. The school’s bar passage rate went from 87.2% within two years of graduation in 2015 to 91.4% within one year of graduation in 2018.

“While it helps to have entering 1Ls with top LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs, there is also a definite correlation between how well a school prepares its students and the school’s bar passage rate,” Caron said.

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

White Privilege, Fatal Flaws And A Plot Twist: A Dispatch From The American Dream

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  White Privilege, Fatal Flaws And A Plot Twist: A Dispatch From The American Dream, by Jeffrey R. Baker (Pepperdine) (reprinted with permission from the Mississippi Free Press):

BakerMy dad and his twin brother were born in a sharecropper’s shack in the summer of 1948. Nobody knew they’d be twins; if the family didn’t have indoor plumbing they for sure didn’t have prenatal care. They were the last two of four living children born to Frank and Etta Lee. Frank had a fourth-grade education, which was more than Etta Lee had. They would be the last of a long line of poor white farmers in the Arkansas Delta.

In 1951, my grandparents heard about better work from some migrant cousins, packed up and moved to Indianapolis for a job in a brass-pipe factory, the move that would change trajectories for generations. Grandpa joined a union, went to work inside and qualified for a FHA loan.

He and Etta Lee bought a house, 900 square feet with an indoor toilet for the first time in their lives. The kids didn’t have to chop cotton again. They all graduated from high school and stepped up some big rungs on the American Dream ladder. They owned diners, managed factory floors and became a sheriff’s deputy. Their kids, my cousins, built on those foundations as a Marine, Airman, nurse, educator, firefighter, manager and more.

My dad joined the Army, learned to fly helicopters, went to Vietnam, and came home with two purple hearts. He made his way back to the Delta and learned to fly crop-dusters, then joined his uncle dusting cotton fields over north Alabama. My mom met him while she was working at a department store when she was in college.

This is where it gets good for me. They got married, and I was born in a hospital, not in a cotton field.

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

NALP: 2020 Summer Associate Programs Shrank, But 97% Offer Rate Near All-Time High

NALP Finds Offer and Acceptance Rates Remain High, Despite Virtual, Shorter Summer Programs:

New findings from the National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) show that despite the shift at law firms to virtual and shortened summer programs in 2020, offer and acceptance rates remained near or at historical highs, but summer program class sizes continued to shrink.

[T]he Report on the Survey of Legal Employers on Summer 2020 Outcomes and First-Year Associate Plans. ... includes analyses on summer programs and first-year associate plans from a survey administered in fall 2020, and a separate survey focused on recruiting outcomes and lateral hiring will take place in spring 2021. Below are
some key takeaways from the 2020 report.

Summer 2020 Programs: Format and Outcomes

  • Over 86% of summer 2020 programs were entirely virtual, 8% were a hybrid model of some in-person and some virtual programming, and 6% were entirely in-person programs.
  • The average summer program length in 2020 was 5.6 weeks, compared to 9.7 weeks for these same offices in 2019.
  • The aggregate offer rate coming out of summer 2020 programs (inclusive of both summer programs that were held and those that were canceled) was nearly 97%, just below last year’s historic high of nearly 98%. Offer rates for summer programs that were held (97.0%) were somewhat higher compared to those that were canceled (93.3%).
  • The overall acceptance rate on these offers reached an historic high of 87.8%, up slightly from 87.5% in 2018 and 2019, and remained significantly higher than the pre-Great Recession norms of 73% to 77%. Acceptance rates for summer programs that were held (88.0%) were slightly higher compared to those that were canceled (85.6%).


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

Western State College Of Law Locks Down New Owner, Averting Closure

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Karen Sloan (, Western State College of Law Locks Down New Owner, Averting Closure:

Western State Logo (2019)Back in the spring of 2019, it looked like Western State College of Law was toast.

The owner of the Orange County, California, law school—Argosy University—was placed under a federal receivership and the campus lost its eligibility for federal student loans. Western State looked to be on the path to closure, joining six other law schools that had shuttered since 2017.

But nearly two years later, Western State is still operating and is celebrating a milestone: the completion of its acquisition by Westcliff University. The for-profit Westcliff, based in Irvine, threw the battered law school a lifeline in May 2019 when it agreed to purchase Western State for $1. A federal judge overseeing the receivership signed off on the deal, but the transfer still required the blessing of accreditors. The American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved the school’s transfer to Westcliff University in November 2019.

Now, the future of Western State—now called Western State College of Law at Westcliff University—appears secure with the completion of that transfer. ...

The now-averted closure of Western State would have been yet another blow for Southern California’s legal education market. Whittier Law School closed in July, while both the University of LaVerne College of Law and Thomas Jefferson School of Law opted to drop their ABA accreditation and instead become California-accredited schools. That conversion means that graduates can only sit for the bar exam in California.

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

Where Academic Freedom Ends

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Where Academic Freedom Ends, by Julie A. Reuben (Harvard):

In 1915, when the American Association of University Professors issued its seminal “Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure,” it identified three areas in which faculty members should enjoy the protection of academic freedom: their scholarship, their teaching, and their actions as citizens. In the century since, almost all analyses of academic freedom have focused on the last category — what the report called “extramural utterances.” We have heard a lot about our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and almost nothing about our rights and responsibilities as experts.

That balance should be reversed. We have fought hard for our speech rights as citizens, but we have assumed, thoughtlessly, that those rights apply when we speak as professionals. We are left without an articulated ethical guide for our actions — and that leaves us vulnerable to academics exploiting their credentials under the guise of academic freedom.

The authors of the 1915 report acknowledged limitations on professors’ freedom in all three areas, which they implicitly viewed as a hierarchy, with research deserving the greatest protection and speech on public matters requiring the greatest care. Since intellectual progress requires open inquiry, they thought faculty members’ research should be unfettered by social convention and received opinion, so long as it conforms to the best methods of scholarship. Teaching should be largely free, although professors had to teach all sides of disputed issues fairly, and sometimes censor themselves in deference to students’ immaturity. Faculty members should have the freedom to engage in public affairs as citizens, but they needed to clearly disassociate their personal views from those of the university where they taught, and to speak in a manner consistent with the character of their profession. ...

Academic freedom should ensure that faculty members can conduct their research free from restrictions and influences that might limit the questions they ask and distort their findings. But this does not mean that academics are free to say anything they please in professional contexts. ...

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December 16, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Ex-Partner's Bias Suit Alleges He Was Told Black Lawyers Left Because They Can't Handle BigLaw

ABA Journal, Ex-partner's Bias Suit Alleges He Was Told Black Lawyers Left Because They Can't Handle BigLaw:

K&L GatesA former Black partner at K&L Gates alleges in a lawsuit that he was terminated for his complaints about discrimination and then harassed by private investigators hired by the law firm.

Willie Dennis is representing himself in the lawsuit, filed Monday in Manhattan federal court. His suit says he was “the victim of systemic racism and discriminatory barriers to equal treatment” at the law firm.

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

Conservative Miami Law Prof Fights The Campus Cancel Culture

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Miami Herald op-ed:  As a Conservative UM Professor, I’m Fighting the Campus Cancel Culture, by Daniel B. Ravicher (Miami):

Miami Law (2020)I’m a rare breed, a law professor that is an unashamed conservative. Over my 15 years of teaching, countless students of all genders, races, and religions, have confided in me as one of — if not the — only faculty member at the with whom they could speak freely about political and social issues.

This is because too many professors are intolerant of conservative ideas and students are rightfully afraid of being punished.

My conservative students feel pressure to adopt their professors’ left-wing political views by answering in class and on exams that criminal laws are racist, limits on immigration are dehumanizing and defending the unborn is violence to women. These students mock the intolerant left sermonizing from behind podiums, but also lament not being able to express their conservative views without fear of reprisal.

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

UCLA Dean Jennifer Mnookin Donates Kidney To Her Father

One of the joys of my current role has been getting to know the amazing cohort of law school deans around the country, especially my fellow California deans and in particular the SoCal deans. Almost two weeks ago, I saw on Facebook that UCLA Law Dean Jennifer Mnookin underwent surgery in Los Angeles to remove one of her kidneys, which was flown on a red-eye to Boston for her father who had end-stage kidney disease. As it happens, Jennifer's father is also a law professor: Bob Mnookin, who teaches on the Harvard faculty.

Mnookin 1

After some cajoling, Jennifer agreed to allow me to share her incredible story. I am happy to report that both Jennifer and her father are doing well post-surgery:

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December 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, December 14, 2020

Four Student Groups Demand That Harvard Discipline Law Prof Adrian Vermeule For Tweets Mocking Leftists

William A. Jacobson (Cornell), Student Cancel Mob Comes For Harvard Law Prof. Adrian Vermeule Over Tweets Mocking Leftists:

VERMEULE 2This story of cancel culture would be laughable were it not for the fact that it is so serious. It involves an attempt by four Harvard Law School student groups to interfere in the employment of, and damage the career of, Professor Adrian Vermeule. ...

It’s not easy to pigeonhole Prof. Vermeule in the current political context. I’d classify him, based on what I’ve read, as a political and intellectual iconoclast. A lot of people would probably call him a conservative, though I don’t know if that’s what he’d call himself. ... I follow Prof. Vermeule on Twitter, where his account is entertaining, irreverent, and sarcastic. ...

[F]aux outrage, inability to detect sarcasm, and ability to turn standard Twitter fare into outrage !!! has led to a much more serious attack on Prof. Vermeule in a letter sent to HLS administrators demanding punitive actions (more below), as reported by Chrissy Clark at The Washington Free Beacon:

It was authored by People’s Parity Project, a group of law students and new attorneys who aim to “unf*ck the law” by ending “how the legal profession—and the law itself—enables harassment, discrimination, and other injustices.” …

I obtained a copy of the letter. It is issued on behalf of four student groups:

The Harvard Parity Project
Alliance for Reproductive Justice
La Alianza
Progressive Jewish Alliance

The letter is three-pages single spaced, with an additional 42 pages of screenshots of tweets and excerpts from articles. It’s clear from the letter that someone or some group spent a lot of time trying to build a case against Prof. Vermeule, scouring his record to present a twisted version of reality. Prof. Vermeule was targeted, this didn’t just happen. ...

While they don’t call for Prof. Vermeule to be fired, they want him publicly shamed by the law school and humiliated by stripping him of key teaching assignments, including banning him from teaching first year law students:

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December 14, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Five Jurisdictions With COVID-19-Related Diploma Privilege Are Shifting Back To Bar Exams In February

ABA Journal, Jurisdictions With COVID-19-Related Diploma Privilege Are Going Back to Bar Exam Admissions:

As of Dec. 3, the five jurisdictions with emergency diploma privilege precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic had announced plans for a remote bar exam in February 2021.

Louisiana scheduled a remote open-book bar in February, according to a Nov. 25 state supreme court order. The other four jurisdictions—Washington, D.C.; Utah; Oregon; and Washington—have announced remote Uniform Bar Exams, which are offered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

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

WSJ: Hit By Covid-19, Colleges Do The Unthinkable And Cut Tenure

Wall Street Journal, Hit by Covid-19, Colleges Do the Unthinkable and Cut Tenure:

WSHWhen Kenneth Macur became president at Medaille College in 2015, the small, private school in Buffalo, N.Y., was “surviving paycheck to paycheck,” he said. Enrollment was declining and the small endowment was flat.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic. The campus shut down and revenue plummeted 15%. Dr. Macur saw what he considered an opportunity: With the approval of the board of trustees, he suspended the faculty handbook by invoking an “act of God” clause embedded in it. He laid off several professors, cut the homeland security and health information management programs, rescinded the lifelong job security of tenure and rewrote the faculty handbook, rules that had governed the school for decades.

“I believe that this is an opportunity to do more than just tinker around the edges. We need to be bold and decisive,” he wrote in a letter to faculty on April 15. “A new model is the future of higher education.”

Dr. Macur and presidents of struggling colleges around the country are reacting to the pandemic by unilaterally cutting programs, firing professors and gutting tenure, all once-unthinkable changes. Schools employed about 150,000 fewer workers in September than they did a year earlier, before the pandemic, according to the Labor Department. That is a decline of nearly 10%. Along the way, they are changing the centuries-old higher education power structure.

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December 14, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

AALS President Darby Dickerson: It's Time To Eliminate Legal Education's Caste System

AALS President’s Message, Abolish the Academic Caste System, by Darby Dickerson (Dean, UIC John Marshall Law School):

AALS (2018)The theme for my presidential year is “The Power of Words.” During my January 2020 presidential address, I emphasized three words—“caste,” “candor,” and “change”—and for each word, I posed a challenge to the legal academy. This final column addresses “caste” and calls on the academy to abolish the caste system present in most law schools.

In 2002, then-Dean Kent Syverud published “The Caste System and Best Practices in Legal Education.” Syverud explained that most American law schools include seven castes, listed from highest to lowest:

  • Tenured and tenure-track faculty
  • Deans
  • Clinical faculty
  • Legal Writing Faculty
  • Law librarians
  • Adjunct faculty
  • Staff

He observed that because some of the best practices were identified with some of the lower castes, those in higher castes were reluctant to adopt them. He also observed that those in the lower castes often suffer from lower salaries, lack of security of position, and lack of respect.

Any caste system is insidious. But most, if not all, law schools have them. In many schools, the caste system means that many individuals are not recognized appropriately or compensated fairly for their contributions. At some schools, non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty carry a disproportionate share of the teaching and service loads so that others can focus on research. ...

 We need to eliminate the caste system—a system meant to divide—from legal education. We need to recognize the similarities in and value of the work we all perform and appreciate, not denigrate, the differences. Raising some up does not diminish the work of others. Instead, it improves the whole of legal education. Because I’ve worked at three schools that have made significant progress in improving status for legal writing professionals, clinicians, academic support specialists, librarians, and staff, I know that abolishing the caste system is both a realistic call for action and one that will benefit our students and the legal profession.

Below are three concrete ideas for law schools and two pieces of advice for those in NTT positions about how we might take steps to abolish the caste system.

Brian Leiter (Chicago), It's a Good Thing the President of the AALS Doesn't Really Matter to Legal Education . . .:

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

Sunday, December 13, 2020

October 2020 Connecticut Bar Exam Results: Yale #1 With 100% Pass Rate For Third Year In A Row

Here are the results of the October 2020 Connecticut Bar Exam for first-time test-takers by law school, along with each school's U.S. News ranking:

Connecticut Bar

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)


School (Number of Takers)

US News Rank

CT (Overall)

1 (100.0%)

Yale (15)

1 (1)

2 (86.5%)

Connecticut (96)

2 (50)


Statewide Average


3 (74.0%)

Quinnipiac (100)

3 (122)

First-time pass rates for graduates in neighboring states with 5 or more test-takers:

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

ROSS Intelligence To Shut Down Due To 'Spurious Lawsuit' By Thomson Reuters And Westlaw


ROSS Intelligence, Announcement By The Founders:

We have made the difficult decision to shut down operations at ROSS Intelligence. As of Monday of this week, we have no longer been accepting new customers. As of January 31, 2021, the ROSS platform will no longer be available. Between now and then, our priority is to help our current customers transition to other services.

What happened
Six years ago, we set out to make legal services more accessible by innovating legal research. We felt then, as we do today, that legal research could be more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible.

Since then, we’ve created a product that legal researchers love. We’ve worked with amazing partners to make legal research tasks more efficient and delightful. At every turn, we’ve been grateful to receive lawyers’ and other legal researchers’ feedback to shape ROSS’s development. We’ve been honored to serve legal researchers in many contexts across the U.S.: lawyers in large firms and small firms; solo practitioners; students; pro se litigants; academics; librarians; and more.

In the spring of this year, Thomson Reuters and Westlaw brought a spurious lawsuit against ROSS. When the news broke, we were grateful to receive so much community support. However, just as Westlaw devised it to be, this ongoing suit has been heavy for ROSS to bear. Litigation is expensive — no matter how speculative the claims against you nor how worthy your position. With our company ensnared by this legal battle, we have been unable to raise another round of funding to fuel our development and marketing efforts. Our bank account is running out, and we must cease operations in the New Year.

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

‘Happy Holidays’ Is Pro-Christmas

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  ‘Happy Holidays’ Is Pro-Christmas, by Stephen Ford:

Happy Holidays (2020)The season of good tidings often brings an awkward moment. It has happened in the checkout line, on a phone call, during a quick conversation with a neighbor. I’ll say, “Merry Christmas.” The other person will respond, “Happy holidays.” Tranquility turns to tension. A simple exchange of well wishes ends uncomfortably.

But this year will be different. I’m going to say “happy holidays”—not only in response to others but as my default December greeting. Far from being an effort to avoid religious language, I’ve come to understand that the phrase is inherently religious and respectful.

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

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Marquette To Cut 225 Faculty And Staff As Part Of 25% Reduction In Academic Spending; $12 Million Budget Surplus To Be Used For Strategic Priorities

Following up on my previous posts:

Wisconsin Public Radio, Marquette University To Cut 225 Faculty And Staff Positions By July 2022:

Marquette University will cut 225 faculty and staff positions by the end of June 2022, according to a recently approved campus budget. Employees say cuts of that level may impact the quality of education at the Milwaukee-based institution and goes against its Jesuit mission.

Talks of budget cuts aren't new at Marquette University. Assistant Professor of Theology Kate Ward said they've been hearing for the past year that 25 percent of the university's academic expenses need to be cut. ...

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December 12, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Red-Hot Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Up 38%, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  we are now 33% of the way through Fall 2021 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants are up 37.7%.

Mike Spivey projects that applicants will be up 28% for the full admissions season, but Jeff Thomas cautions that the increase in applicants may be an illusion because first-time LSAT test-takers are down 3% thus far.

Applicants are up the most in New England (54.0%), Far West (43.7%), and Midwest (43.7%); and up the least in the Great Lakes (27.9%), South Central (29.9%), Northwest (34.6%).


Applicants' LSAT scores are up 70.0% in the 170-180 band, 39.0% in the 160-169 band, 29.8% in the 150-159 band, and 19.4% in the 120-149 band:

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

21.7% Fewer High School Graduates Enrolled In College This Fall Due To COVID-19

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, National College Progression Rates:

Despite steady high school graduate numbers, students going to college immediately after high school this fall fell steeply by 21.7 percent, nearly eight times the pre-pandemic loss rate (-2.8%). The degree of impacts tracks closely high schools’ income, poverty, and minority levels, as well as urbanicity (Figure 1)—a 29.2 percent drop in college enrollment among graduates of low-income high schools versus a 16.9 percent drop at higher-income high schools; -26.4 percent for high-minority versus -18.0 percent for low-minority high schools; -32.6 percent for high-poverty versus -16.4 percent for low-poverty high schools; and -25.1 percent for urban high schools versus -19.8 percent for suburban and -18.1 percent for rural high schools. This fall’s declines are far larger than those of the previous year (pre-pandemic).


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December 11, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Changing Landscape Of Legal Education: A 15-Year LSSSE Retrospective

Law School Survey of Student Engagement, New Research Provides Insight into Trends in Legal Education over the Past 15 Years:

LSSEE CoverNewly-released data by the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) provides a compelling look at changes and trends in legal education from 2004 to 2019. Data from this Report, The Changing Landscape of Legal Education: A 15-Year LSSSE Retrospectivedraw from the responses of 72,692 law students at 248 law schools that participated in LSSSE in four survey years: 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019.

“It is an honor to share this longitudinal analysis of LSSSE data, highlighting fifteen years of partnerships with law schools focused on improving legal education,” said Meera E. Deo, Director of LSSSE. “To that end, we see consistent employment expectations, increases in student learning outcomes, and high levels of overall satisfaction with the law school experience. While there is still work ahead, especially with regard to debt, I am confident that LSSSE will continue to help schools reach their goals.”

Noteworthy findings from the report include:

Shifting Demographics

  • Today, there are higher percentages of students of color than in 2004, and a commensurate decrease in the percentage of white students.
  • White men have consistently comprised the largest share of law students of any raceXgender group though that dropped from 86% in 2004 to 74% in 2019. The percentage of Black male law students doubled from 3% to 6% in fifteen years; while Black women have not seen similar gains, they did report a slight spike in 2014.

Dramatic Debt Increases

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

Law School Debt Is Delaying Plans For Recent Grads

ABA Journal Cover Story (Dec. 2020), Law School Debt Is Delaying Plans For Recent Grads:

ABA DebtSome new attorneys delay buying a home or a new car. Others reluctantly postpone marriage and having children while altering the career plans they had going into law school.

These are among the personal and professional sacrifices young lawyers often make due to their sizable student loan debt, according to a survey conducted this spring by the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division and the ABA Media Relations and Strategic Communications Division [2020 Law School Student Loan Debt Survey Report]. Many survey respondents also provided open-ended comments indicating their student loans have contributed to mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.

The survey results were highlighted in the ABA’s second annual Profile of the Legal Profession—a data-driven deep dive into issues facing attorneys and the legal industry. The section on student debt was among the new additions, as was information about the country’s legal deserts. (See “2020 state of the profession report shows dearth of lawyers in rural areas, attorney debt struggles")

According to the YLD survey of 1,084 attorneys, whose median age was 32, the costs of legal education are skyrocketing. Participating attorneys reported carrying a median cumulative student debt of $160,000, with roughly 40% stating that their debt load is higher now than when they graduated from law school.

Additionally, U.S. Department of Education data referenced in the Profile of the Legal Profession indicates the average cumulative student debt for law school graduates rose from $82,400 in 2000 to $145,500 in 2016, the most recent year for which such federal data is available.

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December 10, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Appeals Court Denies Bail For Katherine Magbanua As She Awaits Trial In Dan Markel's Murder

Tallahassee Democrat, Court Denies Bail For Katherine Magbanua As She Awaits Trial In Dan Markel Killing:

MagnaubaAn appellate court in Tallahassee has denied a request from Katherine Magbanua, the final defendant awaiting trial in the murder of Florida State law professor Dan Markel, to be released from jail on bail. 

In denying the request, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal said a full "written opinion explaining this disposition will follow." They did not say when.

Magbanua has sought several times to be free on bail but her attorneys have been rebuffed by two circuit judges who say there is enough evidence to hold her until trial.

Her attorneys, Kristen Kawass and Chris DeCoste of Miami, cite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and her October 2019 mistrial. A jury could not agree on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder or solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

The lawyers pointed to inconsistent testimony by one of Magbanua’s codefendants and to her willingness to testify at trial. 

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Due To COVID-19, George Washington Abandons Plan To Reduce Enrollment By 20% To Increase Quality

Following up on my previous posts:

The GW Hatchet, Officials Say 20/30 Plan Is Likely ‘Obsolete’ Following Pandemic:

Officials say the now-suspended plan to reduce the undergraduate population by 20 percent while upping the share of STEM majors to 30 percent will likely not resume.

University President Thomas LeBlanc had made the 20/30 Plan one of his hallmark initiatives leading GW, but once the pandemic began affecting enrollment levels, officials placed the plan on hold in April. Officials said at the time that they may “revisit” the plan once the pandemic’s impact became clearer but now will likely need to craft a new plan as the pandemic has changed many of the 20/30’s assumptions regarding enrollment and the financial status of GW.

“The 20/30 Plan isn’t on hold as much as it is obsolete,” LeBlanc said at a Faculty Senate meeting this month. “We’re starting with a blank canvas here.”

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December 9, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tenured George Washington Law Professor Says He Was Suspended Without Cause

Inside Higher Ed, Law Professor Says He Was Suspended Without Cause:

Banzhaf 2John Banzhaf, an outspoken professor of law at George Washington University, says he was involuntarily put on leave for the fall and possibly the coming spring term. Banzhaf, who is 80, previously requested a sabbatical for the fall term but was denied. He is currently staying in Florida and is afraid to travel back to the Washington, D.C., area due to COVID-19. In conversations with his dean, he questioned his ability to teach online effectively due to unreliable Wi-Fi access and lack of course materials in his trailer accommodations. Banzhaf's comments about his teaching capacity apparently raised enough concerns within the law school that he was granted leave without pay. But Banzhaf says he never requested leave, and he repeatedly told the law school that he would be willing to teach remotely. The university’s actions essentially amount to a suspension without any due process, he says.

John Banzhaf (George Washington), GWU Slammed by AAUP For Violating Tenure During Pandemic:

The American Association of University Professors [AAUP] has slammed the George Washington University [GWU] for violating tenure during the pandemic by suspending without pay a tenured law professor without any "cause" (as required by its faculty code), and without any hearing to determine if there was any valid cause.

Public interest law professor John Banzhaf says that he may be a canary in a coal mine, and a harbinger of what GWU and other universities might try to do in order to slash costs or to rid themselves of outspoken professors.

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December 9, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

U.S. News: What To Weigh About 3+3 And 4+2 Accelerated B.A.-J.D. Programs

U.S. News & World Report, What to Weigh About Accelerated B.A.-J.D. Programs:

If you have your heart set on law school from an early age and want to save money and time, consider a 3+3 program. These accelerated programs, offered by select universities, allow high-performing students to earn both B.A. and J.D. degrees in six years total rather than seven.

Accelerated J.D. programs fall into three broad categories.

First, some law schools offer an accelerated path to students within the same university system. This is most common among state universities with an interest in training local lawyers, like the University of Georgia, the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas. However, several private universities offer this option as well, like DePaul University in Illinois and Willamette University in Oregon.

Second, a smaller number of law schools have accelerated J.D. partnerships with unaffiliated colleges. Typically, such partnerships tie together nearby schools, but not always. For example, the University of Central Florida has a 3+3 program with both the Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law at Barry University in Orlando, Florida, and the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center at Touro College in Central Islip, New York — not exactly across town!

Third, a small minority of law schools offer accelerated two-year J.D. programs, including the Rick J. Caruso School of Law at Pepperdine University in California [details here] and the University of Dayton School of Law in Ohio. So, even college students at schools that do not offer a 3+3 program can still take a shortcut to legal practice.

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Twitter Chat Today On The Future Of Legal Education, Join Us for a Twitter Chat on the Future of Legal Education:

Future of Legal EdThe COVID-19 pandemic has left no one unscathed and no sector unchanged. Legal education has certainly felt the brunt of those challenges, from administering the bar exam to licensing new attorneys. Whether the arrival of new vaccines will loosen up our current conception of the “new normal” remains to be seen, but as the year winds to a close the questions arise: What will legal education look like in 2021? Is distance learning here to stay? Will the bar exam even be necessary anymore?

We’ll be answering those questions and many more in our Future of Legal Ed Twitter chat on December 8 at 11 a.m. EST.

Joining ALM’s Karen Sloan will be AALS President Darby Dickerson, Northwestern University professor Dan Rodriguez, Ohio State University professor Deborah Merritt, Syracuse University professor Nina Kohn, and Washburn University professor Marsha Griggs. They’ll be answering a series of questions from our @lawdotcom Twitter account as well as questions from readers that are sent in as the conversation unfolds.

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December 8, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

University Of Colorado Dean: ‘Never Waste A Good Pandemic' — Replace 50 Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty With 25 Instructors Who Teach More And Earn Less

Inside Higher Ed, ‘Never Waste a Good Pandemic’:

Colorado (2020)The University of Colorado at Boulder’s College of Arts and Sciences dean said this week that he hopes to replace 50 tenured and tenure-track faculty members with 25 instructors who will teach more and earn less. His goal is to build more flexibility into the college’s post-COVID-19 budget.

The faculty positions are hypothetical and the numbers are just examples, James White, interim dean, said in an interview Thursday. About 60 professors are taking incentivized retirement as part of an effort to cut the college’s budget by 8 percent. No one is getting laid off. But going forward, White believes that employing relatively more non-tenure-track instructors means the college can provide midcareer and other support to the tenured professors it retains.

“Cutting is hard but growing back intelligently can be even harder,” White said. “Never waste a good pandemic.”

To many, White’s proposal read as an attack on tenure, shared governance and the notion of higher education as a public good.

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

Monday, December 7, 2020

Hastings Law School Balks At Name Change Despite Founder's Role in Genocide

Following up on my previous post, The Moral Case For Renaming UC-Hastings Law School Due To 'Indian Hunting' By Serranus Hastings In The 1850s:  SFGATE, Hastings Law Balks at Name Change Despite Founder's Role in Genocide:

UC Hastings LogoIf the judge for whom the University of California’s Hastings School of Law is named were alive today, he might well be the one facing justice in a courtroom instead of dispensing it.

There is no statute of limitations for murder in California.

The Wikipedia entry for Serranus Clinton Hastings, the law school’s namesake, tells a story of uncommon personal and professional success:

A young lawyer is elected to Congress, becomes chief justice to the Supreme Court of first Iowa and then California, and then parlays a small fortune into a post-Gold Rush real estate empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

What you won’t read is the story of how the mutton chop-bearded judge promoted and financed the killing of hundreds of Native Americans in Mendocino and surrounding counties and stole their land. Those who were not slain were imprisoned in labor camps ostensibly for their own "protection." There they were starved, sexually assaulted and brutalized.

In 1878, Hastings founded the law school, the oldest in the state, with a gift worth the equivalent of $190 million in current dollars. How much of that sum was derived from the extermination of native tribes and theft of their land will never be known.

Today some people — including alumni and faculty — are calling for Hastings to separate itself from the ugly legacy of its founder by renaming the school.

On Sept. 11, Hastings Chancellor and Dean David Faigman released to the school’s Board of Directors the findings of a three-year project examining Judge Hastings’ murderous past. While acknowledging Hastings' crimes, Faigman recommended that the school name not be changed. ...

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December 7, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Colleges Grapple With Grim Financial Realities: Net-Tuition Losses And Steep Discount Rates Augur A Precarious Spring

Chronicle of Higher Education, Colleges Grapple With Grim Financial Realities: Net-tuition Losses and Steep Discount Rates Augur a Precarious Spring:

A new survey conducted by The Chronicle and two other organizations sheds some light on the financial challenges that colleges face as they approach a spring semester that might be even tougher to pull off than the fall.

Many of the surveyed institutions — particularly small private colleges — offered high discount rates and saw significant declines in net-tuition revenue. Smaller institutions and those with lower graduation rates were also more likely to lose value on their endowments.

Larger institutions, meanwhile, were more likely to lose revenue on athletic events — particularly if they had an NCAA football program. (Colleges in Republican-controlled states were also more likely to lose money on athletics.) Among doctoral institutions that have NCAA football, 61 percent experienced a decline in athletics revenue, while only 36 percent of doctoral institutions that do not have football lost revenue. The athletics-revenue losses among doctoral institutions that have NCAA football was greater than those among master’s institutions with football, at 52 percent, and baccalaureate institutions with football, at 41 percent.

Also true among larger institutions in the survey — and those with higher graduation rates — was a correlation with losses on dining and residence operations and on spending more to retrofit the campus and test for Covid-19.

The Chronicle conducted the online survey from October 20 to November 11 in collaboration with the course-scheduling firm Ad Astra and Davidson College’s College Crisis Initiative. This analysis is based on responses from financial officers at 162 colleges across the United States, both public and private, from baccalaureate to doctoral. Two-year colleges were initially part of the survey but were ultimately dropped from the final results because the number participating did not constitute a representative sample.

On the whole, says John Barnshaw, vice president for research and data science at Ad Astra, the survey confirms some assumptions about the pressures colleges are facing and indicates that institutions with size, prestige, and higher graduation rates — qualities that provided “preservative effects” in the crisis — will pull away from smaller, poorer institutions.

“There was pre-existing inequality in society before you have a disaster, and in the intermediate to long-term aftermath, it tends to expand even further,” he says. “Some institutions might be OK with weathering the storm for a year. But as this continues to go on, the more long-term to intermediate concerns are not likely to improve in the future.”

December 7, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Andrew Hayashi Named Inaugural Director Of New University Of Virginia Center For Tax Law

UVA Tax Center

New Center To Emphasize UVA’s Contributions to Tax Law:

The Virginia Center for Tax Law has been established at the University of Virginia School of Law, with Professor Andrew Hayashi serving as the center’s first director.

The center will bring to the fore faculty scholarship in tax law — emphasizing the present conversation while building upon UVA Law’s historical strengths and storied past in tax.

“The center will sponsor events that advance scholarly research on tax law and foster the exchange of ideas and experience between academics, judges, practicing attorneys and government officials,” Hayashi said.

Hayashi is the Class of 1948 Professor of Scholarly Research in Law and an expert in tax law, tax policy and behavioral law and economics. Prior to joining the Law School, he was a fellow at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University, where his research focused on the effects of tax policy on real estate and housing markets. He practiced tax law earlier in his career as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell. He holds a doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

The center’s faculty include Michael DoranJoshua FischmanKevin A. KordanaRuth MasonPaul B. Stephan ’77 and Ethan Yale.

In addition to their scholarly endeavors, the faculty remain engaged with practice organizations such as the ABA Tax Section, the American Law Institute, Congress, the Treasury Department and the IRS.

“Tax is a wide-ranging area of law, and we are very fortunate to have a faculty that can cover so much of it,” Hayashi said. “My colleagues have diverse interests and topical and methodological expertise. Their scholarship reflects that, and it makes for an exciting intellectual culture.”

Recent papers by UVA Law faculty include “Identifying Illegal Subsidies,” by Mason, forthcoming in the American University Law Review; “Legislative Entrenchment and Federal Fiscal Policy,” by Doran, published in Law and Contemporary Problems; and “Property Taxes During the Pandemic,” co-authored by Hayashi and published in State Tax Notes. ...

The center will engage with other UVA faculty members producing related work on Grounds. They include Jeri K. Seidman of the McIntire School of Commerce, Mary Margaret Frank and Justin J. Hopkins of the Darden School of Business, and Leora Friedberg of the Department of Economics.

“These scholars do research on tax law and policy, they participate in events at the Law School, and they co-author with Law School faculty,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have such talented colleagues in other departments.”  

UVA’s strength in tax owes a considerable debt to the past, Hayashi said.

The late alumni Mortimer Caplin ’40, former IRS commissioner, and Edwin S. Cohen ’36, a former undersecretary of the Treasury, are among the Law School’s storied government servants who taught at the Law School. Professors Emeriti George YinMildred Robinson and Thomas R. White III have also been exemplars, Hayashi said. The trio have served in influential volunteer and public service roles. Yin served as chief of staff of the U.S. Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, one of the most influential tax positions in the country.

And, of course, countless alumni who weren’t academics have served in senior positions in government and private practice.

“These are people who are responsible for the distinguished history of tax scholarship and service at UVA,” Hayashi said.

Virginia offers one of the strongest tax law curricula in the country, including courses in corporate, partnership and international tax; tax policy; taxation of private equity; gratuitous transfers; nonprofits; and employee benefits, among many others. The Law School is home to the Virginia Tax Review, the nation’s leading student-edited tax journal. In addition to their work in the classroom and on the journal, students have won the International and European Tax Moot Court competition three times in a row, and fielded the first U.S. team to win the event.

Faculty, students and alumni also learn about cutting-edge issues in tax from the Virginia Tax Study Group, an annual tradition at the Law School that brings together alumni from private practice, government and academia. In the fall, the annual UVA Invitational Tax Conference brings leading tax academics to Grounds to discuss scholarly works in progress. Students are invited to attend both meetings. During the summer, the Law School hosts the Virginia Conference on Federal Taxation, an annual conference that marked its 70th anniversary in 2018.

December 7, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, December 6, 2020

October Online Bar Exam Results Are Mostly Up So Far

Karen Sloan (, October Online Bar Exam Pass Rates Are Rolling In and Trending Up, Mostly:

Ohio and Maryland have notched their highest bar exam pass rates since 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Both jurisdictions on Monday announced the results of their first-ever online bar exams, administered Oct. 5 and 6—making them the first outside of Idaho to unveil pass rates on that exam, which was given in 30 states. Ohio reported an overall pass rate of 77%, which is the highest since 2013, when the pass rate on the July test hit 82%. According to the Ohio Supreme Court, 958 people took the October online exam, which was rescheduled from July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 85% of first-time takers passed. In July 2019, 73% of bar exam takers passed.

In Maryland, the overall pass rate among the 805 October examinees was 70%, while first-time test takers had a pass rate of 79%. That’s an improvement over the July 2019 overall pass rate of 68% and is the highest since 2014, when 72% of takers passed the July exam. Illinois on Tuesday informed examinees of their results, but did not disclose the overall pass rate on it’s October online exam.

Ohio and Maryland’s strong pass rates are a good sign for examinees in the 28 other states that gave the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ October online exam, which includes New York, California and Illinois. ...

Several other jurisdictions have announced the results of their own state-specific online bar exams, with mixed results. The first-time pass rate on Florida’s one-day online bar exam, given Oct. 13, was 71.7%, which is down from the 73.9% first-time pass rate on the July 2019 exam. ...

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December 6, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Kentucky Apologizes For Mistakenly Telling 15 Law Grads They Passed The Bar Exam

Kentucky Herald Leader, Kentucky Bar Exam ‘Fiasco’ Left Aspiring Lawyers Thinking They Passed. They Didn’t:

Kentucky Bar AssociationThe joy of passing the bar exam was short-lived for 15 aspiring Kentucky lawyers, who found out just days later that they’d actually failed.

The Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions admitted Friday that a scoring error had caused problems with the October bar exam results. It affected 18 people’s scores, according to the bar admissions office. Three people passed when they were initially told they failed, and 15 people failed despite initially being told they passed.

“I want to apologize to every applicant affected by the incorrect Kentucky bar exam results that were issued by my office earlier this week,” said Valetta Brown, executive director of the bar admissions office. ”I know that no apology can undo the anguish and disappointment that these bar examinees and their families have endured.

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December 5, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 4, 2020

Artist Sues To Prevent Vermont Law School From Painting Over Underground Railroad Murals That Black Students Call Racist


Following up on my previous posts:  

Law360, Artist Sues Law School To Save Underground Railroad Murals:

A law school in Vermont won't be able to take down two allegedly offensive murals depicting the slaves in Underground Railroad without a legal fight, according to a lawsuit a painter lodged in federal court this week.

Samuel Kerson filed a Visual Artists Rights Act suit Wednesday against the nonprofit that runs the Vermont Law School because the school's Board of Trustees decided in July to paint over two murals following complaints from students that the work and the school's choice to endorse it propagated negative stereotypes about Black bodies. It gave Kerson 90 days to take the murals down from a community center at the school's campus.

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December 4, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Cornell Ends Cherished Ithaca Tradition: Snow Days Replaced By Zoom Classes

As a Cornell alum, this pains me:  Cornell Daily Sun, Snow Days No More: Students Not Warming to Cornell’s New Policy for the Coldest Days:

Snow Day 4The days of students waking up early and checking their windows to see if enough snow has fallen for the University to close campus are now a relic of the past: Cornell has effectively axed the possibility of snow days — a casualty of the adaptation to virtual learning.

Virtual classes — which includes all classes currently, since the transition after Thanksgiving break — are expected to continue as scheduled. Cornell’s new policy is in effect for both the fall and spring semesters for this academic year.

While the move to online instruction during inclement weather seems like a capability perfected as a result of the pandemic, it has the, perhaps unintentional, effect of making snow days obsolete.

But even before DeStafano announced the new policy, snow days at Cornell were already a rarity, despite past inclement weather. The University canceled classes due to snow for the first time since 1993 in March 2017. Cornell saw another snow day in March 2018 after forecasts predicted Ithaca would receive at least six inches of snow. Most recently, the University had two snow days during the 2019 to 2020 academic year. ...

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December 4, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Faculty Pandemic Stress Is Now Chronic

Inside Higher Ed, Faculty Pandemic Stress Is Now Chronic:

Inside Higher Ed 1The early days of the pandemic took a toll on faculty members, but for many, peak stress is now, according to a new study of faculty mental health from Course Hero. Researchers for the study website surveyed hundreds of faculty members on and off the tenure track, across institution types, this fall. The findings suggest that faculty worries about the pandemic have morphed into chronic stress — with serious implications for professors’ mental health, their students and the profession as COVID-19 drags on.

“I'm not surprised that stress is increasing,” said Karen Costa, a faculty developer specializing in online pedagogy and trauma awareness who viewed Course Hero’s results. “We went into spring with stores of well-being. Those have been spent. Our cars are out of gas and we're now pushing them uphill in a blizzard.”

Perhaps most significantly, more than 40 percent of survey respondents considered leaving their jobs as a result of COVID-19’s impact. Early-career faculty members were most likely to be considering leaving, at 48 percent. ...

Overwhelmingly, professors said the pandemic had made their jobs more difficult, with 54 percent strongly agreeing and 33 percent agreeing. ...

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December 3, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professors Fight Spring 2021 Face-To-Face Teaching Mandates

Inside Higher Ed, Professors Fight Spring 2021 Face-to-Face Teaching Mandates:

With coronavirus case counts rising in many parts of the country and no vaccine yet widely available, academe is still far from normal. Yet a number of campuses are pushing for more normalcy, in the form of more face-to-face courses for spring.

College and universities seeking more in-person instruction next term cite student demand for it, among other factors. Politics and institutional finances are also undoubtably at play. And so faculty members and graduate students are urging their institutions, by various means, to pump the brakes on face-to-face mandates and to widen exemption criteria for instructors seeking to stay remote.

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December 3, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Amid COVID-19, The Bar Exam Faces A Reckoning And A Revamp

Karen Sloan (, Amid COVID-19, the Bar Exam Faces a Reckoning and a Revamp:

Joan Howarth began researching attorney licensing and efficacy of the bar exam back in the 1990s, but for decades it was lonely work. A handful of fellow legal academics joined her in critiquing the long-standing and little-changed lawyer licensing test and offering ideas for reform over the years, but their proposals fell flat with the bar examiners and state supreme courts that control the attorney admission process.

Flash-forward to 2020, and suddenly Howarth, a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has plenty of company in scrutinizing the bar exam. The COVID-19 pandemic’s upheaval of the bar exam status quo has placed an unprecedented spotlight on the exam, prompting questions about both how it is given and what it actually tests. Moreover, the November completion of several multiyear reviews of the bar exam—one of which was conducted by the national organization that designs the test—offer road maps for a revised bar exam that better gauges the many skills new lawyers need to succeed in practice. Additionally, various influential states, most notably California and New York, recently formed committees to take a fresh look at their own bar exams. Some of these long-in-the-works bar exam studies were prompted by a dramatic decline in passage between 2011 and 2016, when the national first-time pass rate on the July test fell from 83% to 75%. ...

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December 3, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Yale Faculty Call $200,000 Retirement Incentive Offer 'Insulting'

Yale Daily News, Behind Closed Doors, University Creates Controversial Buyout Plan:

Yale University LogoIn August, University Provost Scott Strobel announced the retirement plan, which offers tenured faculty age 70 or older payment equal to $200,000 if their yearly salary is equal to or greater than $200,000. If their salary is less than $200,000, faculty members can receive a payment of 125 percent of this year’s salary up to $200,000. To receive the compensation, faculty have to retire by the end of June 2021. 177 faculty members are eligible for the compensation, provided they sign on by Feb. 28, 2021.

But in creating the plan, the administration did not consult any faculty members. The Inter-school Faculty Working Group’s response to the plan cited financial complications for the faculty that choose to retire under the plan as well as the implications of asking faculty to quickly make a clean break with their longtime place of work.

“I found the ‘offer’ insulting and cold-hearted, also very unattractive,” T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies Carlos Eire wrote in an email to the News. ...

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

James Comey To Teach 'Lawyers And Leaders' At Columbia Law School in Spring As Part Of 'Organizational Character And Leadership' Initiative

Following up on my previous post, James Comey's Five Principles Of Ethical Leadership For Law School Deans:  Columbia Law School,  Reuben Mark Initiative Announces Spring 2021 Leaders-in-Residence:

Columbia (2017)The Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership at Columbia Law School will welcome two experienced Leaders-in-Residence for the Spring 2021 semester. The Mark Initiative’s Leader-in-Residence Program hosts executives from multinational corporations, leading law firms, and key government agencies who have first-hand experience with the challenges of building organizational policies and practices premised on ethical values and optimal work environments. The Leaders-in-Residence teach classes, advise students, and participate in programming at Columbia.

Comey BooksJAMES B. COMEY—Beginning in January 2021, former director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation James B. Comey will be appointed senior research scholar at Columbia Law School and distinguished fellow of the Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership. He will teach a new seminar entitled “Lawyers and Leaders” and engage with students and faculty. A longtime federal prosecutor who led the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and served as deputy attorney general of the United States prior to becoming FBI director, Comey’s experience represents a broadening of the Mark Initiative’s focus to include leadership of major public institutions, complementing existing offerings relating to corporations and law firms. In addition to his government work, Comey led the in-house legal teams at major corporations, including Lockheed Martin Corp. and Bridgewater Associates, and previously held a senior research appointment with Columbia Law School’s National Security Law Program. His second book, Saving Justice: Truth, Transparency, and Trust, has a publication release date of January 12, 2021.

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

October 2020 Ohio Bar Exam Results: Case Western #1

Ohio Bar Exam Results Released:

Ohio State Bar LogoThe Ohio Supreme Court has released results from the October 2020 Ohio Bar Examination. The pass rate for the 958 applicants who sat for the exam was 77.4%, up 4.3 percentage points from last year. Out of 810 first-time test takers, 85% passed, up 3 percentage points from last year).

Here are the October 2020 Ohio Bar Exam results for first-time test-takers by law school:

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

OH (Overall)

1 (93.7%)

Case Western

2 (76)

2 (92.7%)

Ohio State

1 (38)

3 (88.0%)


8 (Tier 2)

4 (86.4%)

Ohio Northern

8 (Tier 2)

5 (85.16%)


3 (83)

6 (85.11%)


6 (141)

7 (84.4%)


5 (136)

8 (82.1%)

Cleveland State

4 (102)

9 (73.9%)


6 (141)

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December 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)