Paul L. Caron

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Despite What The WSJ Says, MBA Applications Are Up Again At Most Top Business Schools

Wall Street Journal, M.B.A. Applications at Some of the Country’s Best Colleges Fell This Year:

The pandemic-prompted surge of interest in the management degree in 2020 looks to be a passing fad.

Some of the best known M.B.A. programs in the U.S. registered precipitous drops or sluggish interest from prospective candidates this year, following a 2020 admissions cycle in which applications soared.

Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management reported a 20% drop in applications to its M.B.A. program for the incoming fall of 2021 class. Columbia Business School reported a 6% decline. ...

This year was expected to be a banner one for applications to top-tier M.B.A. programs. In 2020, application volumes surged for the first time in five years, thanks in part to loosened standardized testing requirements and extended admissions deadlines that let students seeking to ride out a shaky job market apply for many months beyond the normal admissions time frame. Instead, this year’s results are mixed and admissions experts say the pandemic-spurred interest in the degree could further evaporate by next year.

Poets & Quants, The Wall Street Journal Is Missing The Big Picture On MBA Applications:

The Wall Street Journal‘s story that ran on Monday, September 20 is misleading at best. That’s clear from the data. ...

Poets&Quants has reviewed the 2020-2021 application data by comparing peer schools with each and comparing historical data. At the 15 top-25 schools for which we have data, only Northwestern Kellogg School of Management (-20.3%) and Columbia Business School (-6.3%) saw declines. For the other 13 schools, apps were up — and in some cases, up big.

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September 23, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Lower The Bar For Legal Eagles Who Don’t Go To Law School

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Lower the Bar for Legal Eagles Who Don’t Go to Law School, by Clifford Winston (Brookings Institution; Co-Author, Trouble at the Bar: An Economics Perspective on the Legal Profession and the Case for Fundamental Reform (2021)):

Trouble at the BarCNN anchor Poppy Harlow recently took a leave of absence from the network to attend a one-year master’s degree program for nonlawyers at Yale Law School. By drawing attention to Yale’s M.S.L. program, Ms. Harlow helps shed light on the absurdity of the legal profession’s time-consuming and expensive requirements to be licensed as a lawyer, which primarily serve to raise lawyers’ earnings and limit access to justice.

If Ms. Harlow wanted to practice law after completing the M.S.L. program, she wouldn’t be able to do so. Instead, she would have to be accepted by a law school with a three-year program accredited by the American Bar Association, and pass a state bar exam. The ABA and state bar examiners maintain that these requirements establish a minimum standard of quality for lawyers and protect clients from incompetent representation.

However, their rationale doesn’t withstand scrutiny. Legal advice is what economists call a “credence good” because, like auto repairs and medical procedures, its quality is difficult for consumers to evaluate accurately, even after purchase. Thanks to technological advances, many industries have made strides toward reducing the cost of imperfect information associated with credence goods. Websites like Angie’s List (now Angi) and Yelp, as well as social media platforms, inform consumers about the quality, reputation, and performance of service providers, such as plumbers, electricians and landscapers. Similar websites, such as Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell, let consumers search for lawyers.

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September 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Does Tenure Impede Diversity?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Does Tenure Impede Diversity?:

Does tenure increase or decrease racial diversity in the faculty ranks? The question is imbued with fresh urgency on the heels of recent controversies involving Nikole Hannah-Jones and Cornel West.

Pose the question to some scholars, however, and they tend to bristle, but for starkly different reasons.

Peony Fhagen, senior associate dean of equity, inclusion, and faculty development at Colorado College, thinks it’s somewhat insidious to ask the question now, just as a critical mass of diverse academics are making professional progress. “You’re going to take this away when we come on board?” she asks.

In contrast, Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, cringes at the question because he doesn’t think it’s relevant. “Racial diversity should have no bearing on tenure decisions,” says Wood, a former tenured anthropologist, associate provost, and president’s chief of staff at Boston University. “Anyone who owes his or her tenure to such considerations has advanced in the academic world via racial discrimination and is rightly to be looked upon by colleagues as having vitiated academic standards.”

Some observers look to statistics for an answer.

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September 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Judge Delays Katherine Magbanua's Trial To February 14 — 2,768 Days After Florida State Law Prof Dan Markel's Murder

Tallahassee Democrat, Dan Markel Murder: Judge OKs Delay in Magbanua Trial Until February 2022:

Magbanua MarkelA judge on Monday postponed the next trial of Katherine Magbanua on charges she was involved in coordinating the murder of FSU law professor Dan Markel.

Circuit Judge Robert Wheeler cited a mountain of evidence and depositions her defense team needed to wade through as well as current COVID conditions in Tallahassee.

After a mistrial two years ago, the 36-year-old Magbanua now will face trial again on Feb. 14 on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder.

WCTV, Judge Delays Katherine Magbanua’s Trial

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September 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

July 2021 Florida Bar Exam Results: Florida International Is #1 For 7th Year In A Row

Florida Bar 2The July 2021 Florida bar passage rates by school are out. The overall pass rate for first-time takers is 71.6%, down 0.1 percentage point from last year. For the seventh year in a row, Florida International is #1. Here are the results for the 11 Florida law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (Florida and overall):

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

FL (Overall)

1 (88.8%)

Florida Int'l

4 (88)

2 (82.5%)


3 (72)

3 (81.3%)


1 (21)

4 (78.8%)


5 (111)

5 (73.9%)

Florida State

2 (48)

6 (67.6%)

Ave Maria

Tier 2

7 (66.7%)


Tier 2

8 (59.2%)


Tier 2

9 (56.8%)

Florida A&M

Tier 2

10 (53.3%)

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

11 (50.8%)

St. Thomas

Tier 2

Miami Herald, Want to Attend Law School in Florida? These Have the Highest Bar Passage Rates:

FIU, the largest public university in the South Florida, led the rankings of Florida’s 11 law schools with a whopping 88.8% passing rate. ... “I’m just so very proud and impressed by our Bar takers,” said FIU law dean Anthony Page. “They have shown an enormous amount of resilience and persistence and legal skill given all of the travails of the last year.” ... This marks the seventh consecutive year that FIU has come out on top in the larger fall administration of the exam. ...

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September 21, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, September 20, 2021

Five Ways To Make A Real Improvement In Hiring Black Professors

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  5 Ways to Make a Real Improvement in Hiring Black Professors, by J. Luke Wood (Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity, Chief Diversity Officer, and Distinguished Professor of Education, San Diego State):

At San Diego State University, we had 25 tenured and tenure-track Black faculty members in the fall of 2017. This fall, thanks to significant policy and process changes and cross-divisional partnerships, we have 42 — a 68-percent increase in a span of only four years. Since the summer of 2020, we’ve hired nine Black faculty members in academic departments. An additional three hires have faculty status but are in student-affairs offices (such as counseling and campus cultural centers).

In four short years, we have made important and noticeable improvements in the Black community on our campus. These faculty members are introducing new courses, overseeing student-retention and -success programs, and offering our students crucial and much-needed one-on-one connections. Certainly we have more to do, but we’ve laid the foundation to ensure that the number of Black faculty members at the university will continue to rise over time.

How did we do it? Here are some strategies we used and lessons learned along the way.

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September 20, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Katherine Magbanua's Attorneys Seek To Delay October 4 Dan Markel Murder Trial

Tallahassee Democrat, Judge Will Hear Arguments Over Evidence, COVID Safety in Request to Continue Katherine Magbanua Trial:

Magnauba (2021)A judge is set to weigh requests by Katherine Magabunua’s attorneys to disqualify prosecutors and continue her trial on charges she was involved in coordinating Dan Markel’s murder.

Her attorneys in the past week have leveled accusations prosecutors intentionally provided the jury misleading evidence and left out information that was exculpatory during her first trial in 2019.

They also have concerns about health safety after Magbanua, 36, unbeknownst to her attorneys Christopher DeCoste and Tara Kawass, both cancer survivors, was brought into court late last month with COVID-19.

Magbanua is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder in Markel's July 2014 shooting at his home on Trescott Drive.

The hearing in front of Circuit Judge Robert Wheeler is set for Monday morning in Tallahassee, with a trial in the high-profile case set for Oct. 4.

WCTV, ‘Unconstitutional, Unfair, Unsafe’: Attorneys for Katherine Magbanua Claim She Was COVID Positive Prior to August Court Hearing:

Katherine Magbanua’s attorneys are asking a judge to delay her October trial, saying they have “zero confidence that the court system can ensure safety during the retrial.” ...

The request to delay the trial comes just days after Magbanua’s defense team asked a judge to disqualify the State Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the case. It accuses prosecutors of “intentionally presenting misleading evidence” and “substantial misconduct.”

Magbanua is scheduled to be retried on Oct. 4 after her first trial ended in a hung jury. She’s accused of conspiracy and murder in the 2014 murder of FSU professor Dan Markel. Two other co-defendants — Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera — are already serving time in prison for the crime. ...

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September 20, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Why Are Some Law Teachers Called 'Instructor' Rather Than 'Professor'?

ABA Journal, At Some Law Schools, Why Are Those Who Teach Called 'Instructor' Rather Than 'Professor'?:

At Rutgers, everyone who teaches law is called a professor, but that is not true at many other institutions, where faculty who teach topics including legal writing, academic success and clinical work are often given titles including “instructor” or “director.” They are usually paid less than tenure-track professors and sometimes have little if any job security, according to academics interviewed by the ABA Journal.

According to 2019 article by Renee Nicole Allen, Alicia Jackson and DeShun Harris, men traditionally occupying faculty seats at law schools, while women work in skills positions, including libraries, legal writing, clinics, academic success. The article, titled “The ‘Pink Ghetto’ Pipeline: Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Legal Education,” states that women often enter legal education work through nontenured skills-based teaching jobs, which frequently are done on a contract basis and pay poorly, with heavy workloads.

Besides gender disparities, racial disparities exist, too, says says Rachel López, a professor at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University, who also directs its Andy and Gwen Stern Community Lawyering Clinic. “In the legal academy, so many who dispel racism and inequality in scholarship for some reason are blind to it at their own institution,” she adds.

López wrote an article, Unentitled: the Power of Designation in the Legal Academy, which is scheduled for publication in the Rutgers University Law Review. Law school titles can cement disparities for people who teach but are not given the professor title, according to the article.

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September 18, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Early Signs Point To Lower July 2021 Bar Exam Pass Rates

Karen Sloan (Reuters), Ominous Early Signs Emerge For July 2021 Bar Exam Pass Rates:

Data from the July 2021 bar exam is starting to roll in, and test-takers' performance isn't looking great.

The average score on the Multistate Bar Exam, the 200-question multiple-choice portion of the test, fell to 140.4. That's a decrease of 0.7 from July 2019, which is the last time a national cohort of examinees took the same test, the National Conference of Bar Examiners announced Wednesday.

But more alarmingly for test takers and legal educators, pass rates are down year-over-year in all but one of the nine states that have announced results, some by large margins.

NCBE Releases National Means for July MBE, August MPRE:

MBEThe national MBE mean scaled score for July 2021 was 140.4, a decrease of 0.7 points compared to the national mean of 141.1 in July 2019, the most recent previous July administration when a full national group was tested. 45,872 examinees from 53 jurisdictions took the MBE in July 2021, a slight increase over the 45,334 examinees from 54 jurisdictions who took the exam in July 2019. ...

Jurisdictions have begun reporting their July 2021 results; bar examination pass rates as reported by jurisdictions are available on the NCBE website. Many jurisdictions are still in the process of grading the written components of the bar exam; once this process is completed, bar exam scores will be calculated and passing decisions reported by those jurisdictions.

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September 18, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Christians & Lederman Launch Season 2 Of Break Into Tax

Allison Christians (McGill) and Leandra Lederman (Indiana) introduce Season 2 of their YouTube series, Break Into Tax (BiT):

Professors Leandra Lederman & Allison Christians summarize Season 1 & bring Break Into Tax into Season 2! Prof. Lederman will run Season 2, and it will feature some guest co-hosts. Prof. Christians will make some cameo appearances here and there!

Break Into Tax series is intended for anyone learning about tax, anywhere in the world. For more about our backgrounds, see the Season 1 Intro video

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September 18, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, September 17, 2021

The Data Is In: Trigger Warnings Don’t Work

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  The Data Is In — Trigger Warnings Don’t Work, by Amna Khalid (Carleton College) & Jeffrey Aaron Snyder (Carleton College):

The original proponents of trigger warnings on campus argued that they would empower students suffering from trauma to delve into difficult material. “The point is not to enable — let alone encourage — students to skip readings or our subsequent class discussion,” the philosopher Kate Manne wrote in The New York Times. “It’s about enabling everyone’s rational engagement.”

Now, about a decade after trigger warnings arrived on college campuses, it’s clear that an avoidance rationale is officially competing with the original lean-in logic.

A recent Inside Higher Ed piece by Michael Bugeja, an Iowa State journalism professor, is emblematic of this shift. In light of the tumultuous times (a “mental-health pandemic,” ongoing sexual violence and racism, the anxiety of returning to in-person instruction), Bugeja says that trigger warnings are needed now more than ever. All faculty members should follow his lead, he argues, and include detailed trigger warnings on their syllabi accompanied by the following note: “You don’t have to attend class if the content elicits an uncomfortable emotional response.”

Bugeja’s article prompted us to review the latest research on the efficacy of trigger warnings. We found no evidence that trigger warnings improve students’ mental health. What’s more, we are now convinced that they push students and faculty members alike to turn away from the study of vitally important topics that are seen as too “distressing.” ...

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September 17, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

St. Mary's To Launch Nation's First Fully Online ABA-Accredited JD Degree In Fall 2022 With 25 Students

Following up on my previous postSt. Mary’s Law Launches the Nation’s First Fully Online J.D. Program Approved by the ABA:

St. Mary's LogoThe online J.D. program will begin recruiting for Fall 2022 with accreditation by the American Bar Association.

St. Mary’s University and its School of Law today announced that it is the first law school in the nation to approve offering a fully online J.D. program that is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Following the ABA’s approval of the School of Law’s online program request in May, St. Mary’s University leaders this week announced their intention to move ahead with the innovative program and recruit a cohort of students who will begin their studies online in Fall 2022.

“As the only law school serving San Antonio and the southernmost school serving South Texas, St. Mary’s Law has a tradition of excellence in legal education stretching back to its founding in 1927,” said Patricia Roberts, J.D., St. Mary’s Law Dean and Charles E. Cantú Distinguished Professor of Law. “This new fully online J.D. program — the one and only of its kind — exemplifies how St. Mary’s Law continues to lead with tradition and innovation.”

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September 15, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

What’s Wrong With Sex Between Professors And Students?

New York Times op-ed:  What’s Wrong With Sex Between Professors and Students? It’s Not What You Think., by Amia Srinivasan (Oxford; Author, The Right To Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century (2021)):

Right to SexNetflix’s new hit comedy “The Chair” revels in certain clichés of university life — mock-Gothic buildings, wood paneling, crusty old-timers who don’t know how to use a photocopier, and, of course, an ambiguous relationship between a professor and a student: Bill is a charismatic English professor who is in a tailspin after the death of his wife, and Dafna is a literature-loving undergrad who is desperate to get into Bill’s class. She gives him a ride; they quote T.S. Eliot to each other; he signs a copy of his book for her; she makes him a pie. We think we know where this is going, because we’ve seen it so many times before: in “Election” (1999), “The Squid and the Whale” (2005) and “Elegy” (2008), based on Philip Roth’s novel “The Dying Animal” — to take just a few recent examples. “The Chair” ultimately upends our expectations in a way that is both comic and poignant. Don’t have sex with me, Dafna in effect says to Bill: Teach me.

The cultural fascination with professor-student affairs seems to have grown in step with policies restricting them. (“Be careful,” the dean warns Bill in “The Chair.” “This department is hanging on by a thread.”) Policies prohibiting professor-student sex — “consensual relationship policies” as they are usually known — are now common in the United States. A 2014 study found that 84 percent of the American universities surveyed had some prohibitions on professor-student relationships. ...

Despite the bans’ origins in feminist activism, some feminists at the time denounced these prohibitions as a betrayal of their principles. To deny that women students could consent to sex with their professors, they argued, was infantilizing and moralizing. Were women university students not adults? Were they not entitled to have sex with whom they pleased? Did such policies not play into the hands of the religious right, which was all too keen to control women’s sex lives? ...

In many ways, the contemporary focus on consent is a victory. Historically, sexual assault was defined not by the absence of consent but by the presence of force, which meant that the countless women who froze with fear or chose to submit rather than face the alternative were not, legally speaking, raped. But in recent years our interest in consent has become single-minded. The habit of viewing all kinds of exploitative, creepy or troubling sex solely through the lens of consent has left us unable to speak, in many situations, about what is really going wrong.

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September 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Scores Suggest Longer LSAT Was No Problem For August Test Takers

Reuters, Scores Suggest Longer LSAT Was No Problem for August Test Takers:

The Law School Admission Test just got longer, but aspiring attorneys still managed to do pretty well.

The average score earned by the 24,907 people who took the LSAT this August was 154.19, just 1.4 points lower than the 155.6 average score among August 2020 LSAT takers. Both exams used an at-home, online format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the most recent test was four sections long—one section longer than the August 2020 iteration.

Officials with the Law School Admission Council, which designs and administers the LSAT, say the score difference between the latest tests is negligible and the data throws cold water on the theory that LSAT scores have soared over the past year because a shorter exam is inherently easier. (The number of people who applied to law school with LSAT scores of 160 and above last admissions cycle was up 25% or more in each five-point score band, and the number of applicants with the highest scores of 175-180 more than doubled.)

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September 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Brian Leiter v. Richard Painter

Brian Leiter (Chicago), Richard Painter (Minnesota) Is An Astonishingly Dishonest Person:

Some readers will recall some posts from July about Twitter's most unhinged law professor. Remarkably, he continues to lie about me almost two months later, I guess because he's not used to getting any pushback on his unethical behavior. ...

Richard even tried to smear other law professors (including two of my colleagues) as racists; commenting on this paper about lax tenure standards in law schools by three younger scholars (one of whom, contrary to Richard, is untenured) [Adam Chilton (Chicago), Jonathan Masur (Chicago) & Kyle Rozema (Washington U.), Rethinking Law School Tenure Standards, 50 J. Legal Stud. 1 (2021)], he tweeted:

Painter smearing Chilton Masur as racists

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September 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Katherine Magbanua's Attorneys Seek To Disqualify Prosecutor In Dan Markel Murder Trial

Tallahassee Democrat, Dan Markel Murder: Magbanua Attorneys Look to Disqualify Prosecutors Over Evidence Exhibits:

Magnauba (2021)Attorneys for Katherine Magbanua are seeking to disqualify prosecutors, who allege she was involved in the plot to kill Dan Markel, saying they intentionally provided the jury misleading evidence and left out information that was exculpatory during her first trial.

Less than a month before Magabnua goes back on trial for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder, her Miami attorneys are asking a judge to oust the State Attorney’s Office from her prosecution.

Their claims, filed in Leon County Circuit Court Friday afternoon, lie in exhibits presented at Magbanua’s first trial in 2019. A hung jury was unable to decide her fate and a mistrial was declared. She will again face a jury October 4.

The exhibits include phone and bank records for Magbanua that they say not only were inaccurate but contained information kept from the jury that may have provided evidence in her favor.

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September 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, September 13, 2021

Jason Kilborn, UI-Chicago Law School Settle Controversy Over December 2020 Civ Pro Final Exam Question

Following up on my previous posts:

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE’s New Defense Fund Is Here to Save College Faculty Jobs. And We Just Closed Our First Case.:

When the University of Illinois Chicago suspended and launched an investigation into law professor Jason Kilborn, he initially didn’t know where to turn.

He had posed a long-used hypothetical question in a December 2020 law school exam using redacted references to two slurs. The question about employment discrimination included a plaintiff being called “a ‘n____’ and ‘b____’ (profane expressions for African Americans and women)” as explosive evidence of the discrimination. But even redacting the terms didn’t save him from criticism — or eventually being targeted by his school. ...

In January, just before the first class on the first day of spring semester, UIC’s administration abruptly suspended him. He said they refused to explain the basis for the indefinite suspension, despite being asked. ...

On Jan. 19, FIRE called on UIC Chancellor Michael D. Amiridis to reject “any intent to punish Kilborn over his protected expression.” FIRE gave UIC a good-faith opportunity to back off Kilborn and to reaffirm his academic freedom rights.

UIC responded to confirm that it was, in fact, conducting an investigation into Kilborn’s exam and rejecting our concerns about his academic freedom rights. The move earned UIC a spot on FIRE’s annual list of the 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech, as well as pointed criticism from outlets and commentators across the country.

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Northwestern University law professor Andrew Koppelman billed the situation as “punitive overreactions of university administrators grow[ing] ever more demented.” ...

Through the fund, FIRE connected Kilborn with a local attorney, Wayne Giampietro. With help from the FLDF team at FIRE, the pair reached a resolution with UIC. Kilborn agreed to alert the dean before responding to student complaints about racial issues, and the audio of his classes would be recorded — both stipulations Kilborn welcomed in order to protect himself against spurious complaints, and one he’d already decided to take independently. 

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September 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, September 11, 2021

September 11th At Pepperdine

September 11

Today is a very special day at Pepperdine. For the 14th consecutive year, we displayed 2,887 American flags for each American life lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and 90 international flags representing the home countries of those from abroad who also were killed.

Pepperdine University to Commemorate 20th Anniversary of 9/11 with Annual Waves of Flags Display and Remembrance Events:

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September 11, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

9/11 Near Miss Still Haunts Law School Admissions Community

Reuters, Two Decades On, 9/11 Near Miss Still Haunts Law School Admissions Community:

Michael Goodnight was halfway into his flight from Fort Lauderdale to New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, when the pilot told passengers that air traffic to their destination was halted because a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. Soon the pilot said a second plane had hit the other tower and that they would turn back.

“Everybody was scared,” said Goodnight, who was then dean of admissions at the University of Miami School of Law. “We knew something bad was happening.”

Goodnight was among more than 300 admissions officers and thousands of aspiring students preparing to attend the Law School Admission Council’s New York City Law School Forum – the year's largest law school recruiting event. The forum was planned for Sept. 14 and 15 at the Marriott World Trade Center, a 22-story hotel that straddled the iconic twin towers' base before its destruction in the nation’s worst-ever terrorist attack.

Goodnight and about 10 other forum participants were scheduled to check into the Marriott on Sept. 11. None made it on site before the attacks that morning, saving them from the experience of thousands of direct 9/11 victims and survivors. But the near miss left current and former law school admissions officers contemplating what might have happened had the forum been just a few days earlier, or the attacks a few days later. ...

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September 11, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, September 9, 2021

California Bar to Attorneys: Disable Alexa When Working From Home

Reuters, Calif. Bar to Attorneys: Disable Alexa When Working From Home:

AlexaWorking from home under emergency circumstances isn’t an excuse for attorneys to slack off on their ethical obligations.

That’s the takeaway of a draft opinion from the State Bar of California’s Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct released Thursday for public comment. The opinion clarifies that attorneys have the same ethical duties under the California Rules of Professional Conduct when working remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or other disasters as they do when they are in the office. The state bar is accepting public comment on the opinion through Nov. 12.

“Lawyers and law firms should implement reasonable measures, policies, and practices to ensure continued compliance with these rules in a remote working environment, with a particular focus on the duties of confidentiality, technology competence, communication, and supervision,” the opinion reads.

When working from home, attorneys should ensure other household members can’t access confidential client information. Separate accounts should be created for anyone else who uses a lawyer’s computer.

September 9, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The 31 New Law School Deans

AALS, New Deans Starting in the 2021-22 Academic Year (*Indicates Interim Deans):

  1. Roger A. Fairfax, Jr., American University, Washington College of Law
  2. Keith Faulkner, Appalachian School of Law
  3. Adam Chodorow, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law* Interim Co-Dean
  4. Zachary Kramer, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law* Interim Co-Dean
  5. Diane Ring, Boston College Law School*
  6. Bryant Garth, University of California, Irvine School of Law*
  7. Lolita Buckner Inniss, University of Colorado Law School
  8. Jens David Ohlin, Cornell Law School
  9. Jelani Jefferson Exum, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
  10. LaVonda N. Reed, Georgia State University College of Law
  11. Colin Crawford, Golden Gate University School of Law
  12. Johanna Kalb, University of Idaho College of Law
  13. Julie M. Spanbauer, University of Illinois Chicago School of Law*
  14. Joseph J. Martins, Liberty University School of Law
  15. Zelda Harris, Loyola University Chicago School of Law*
  16. Lars Smith, University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law*
  17. Nell Jessup Newton, University of Miami School of Law*
  18. Linda S. Greene, Michigan State University College of Law
  19. Allison M. Dussias, New England Law | Boston* Co-Acting Dean
  20. Lisa R. Freudenheim, New England Law | Boston* Co-Acting Dean
  21. Sara Gordon, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law*
  22. Hari Osofsky, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  23. James Houck, The Pennsylvania State University – Penn State Law*
  24. Rose Cuison-Villazor, Rutgers Law School* Interim Co-Dean
  25. Michael J. Kaufman, Santa Clara University School of Law
  26. Darby Dickerson, Southwestern Law School
  27. Rachel Rebouché, Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law*
  28. Elizabeth McCormick, The University of Tulsa College of Law*
  29. Michelle L. Drumbl, Washington and Lee University School of Law*
  30. Amelia Smith Rinehart, West Virginia University College of Law
  31. Michael J. Hussey, Widener University Commonwealth Law School

September 9, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

University Of Arkansas Chancellor Removes President Clinton’s Name From Endowed Professorship At Law School

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, The Beat Goes On:

Arkansas Little Rock (2021)The discordant beat at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Bowen School of Law in Little Rock unfortunately continues.

Two UALR law professors who questioned the way an endowed professorship had its title quietly changed to attach the name of William J. Clinton have found their lives and careers significantly altered since a legislative hearing on the name change not long ago.

Professor Tom Sullivan, who earlier this summer sent an open email to the faculty about the Clinton name change, has left the school on his own volition within the past two weeks.

Professor Robert Steinbuch, who publicly questioned the change, has seen both seminar classes he's taught for nearly 20 years yanked away and canceled, and he's been reassigned to teach an unfamiliar class vacated by Sullivan's departure.

Asked about these developments, Bowen Law School Dean Theresa "Terri" Beiner told me in an email exchange that she "cannot comment on personnel matters. Generally, courses are assigned by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs based on the needs of the law school. Any recent decisions had nothing to do with the Aug. 19th legislative hearing or any events leading up to that hearing." ...

My understanding of the fallout at Bowen following that state Senate hearing into this months-long flap are as follows:

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September 8, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Starting Salaries For District Attorneys In All 50 States

District Attorney Salaries:

We've compiled a list of the starting salaries for district attorney offices (or equivalent) in the largest 50 cities, along with the largest city in every state.

The four highest DA starting salaries are in California:

  1. San Jose:  $127,518
  2. Sacramento:  $115,257
  3. San Francisco:  $114,816
  4. Oakland:  $104,540  

Five DA starting salaries are $45,000 or less:

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September 8, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ABA Finds Cleveland-Marshall Law School Out Of Compliance With Financial Resources Accreditation Standard

ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Council Decision, Notice of Finding of Significant Noncompliance With Standards 202(a), (c), and (d) Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Aug. 31, 2021):

ABA Legal Ed (2021)At its August 19-20, 2021, meeting, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (the “Council”) considered the status of Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (the “Law School”) and concluded that the Law School is not in compliance with Standards 202(a), (c), and (d). ...

(a) The current and anticipated financial resources available to the law school shall be sufficient for it to operate in compliance with the Standards and to carry out its program of legal education. ...
(c) A law school is not in compliance with the Standards if its current financial condition has a negative and material effect on the school’s ability to operate in compliance with the Standards or to carry out its program of legal education.
(d) A law school is not in compliance with the Standards if its anticipated financial condition is reasonably expected to have a negative and material effect on the school’s ability to operate in compliance with the Standards or to carry out its program of legal education.]

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September 8, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Pandemic Leads To Spike In Demand For College Tuition Insurance

Inside Higher Ed, Pandemic Leads To Spike In Demand For Tuition Insurance:

GradGuardStringent tuition refund policies at colleges and universities have led to students and their families purchasing tuition insurance, in case COVID-19 forces them to withdraw from the academic term. ...

“We’ve seen almost four times growth in the business in two years,” said John Fees, co-founder and CEO of GradGuard, a company that offers tuition insurance. “We are seeing record numbers of purchase rates, and we’re paying a lot of claims. More students and more universities are adopting the program.”

Most colleges and universities don’t offer students refunds on their tuition if they have to withdraw from the semester after a certain number of weeks have passed. That’s where tuition insurance comes in — it provides reimbursement for the cost when a student can’t complete an academic term due to an unforeseen, covered circumstance. Illnesses are usually considered justified reasons for reimbursement, but circumstances such as a college choosing to switch from in-person to virtual classes are not.

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September 8, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Harvard Dean Manning: 'Being A Lawyer Is A Superpower’

Harvard Law Today, ‘Being a Lawyer is a Superpower’:

Harvard Law School Logo (2021)In his welcome address to incoming Harvard Law students this year, Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning ’85 made the case that lawyers and the legal profession will be central to resolving many of the challenges facing the nation and the world today.

“This past year and a half has again brought focus on grievous ills that have been with us too long and that can no longer wait for solutions—racism, inequality, public and private abuses of power, intolerance, threats to democracy, the list goes on,” said Manning, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law. “And the profession you have chosen is integral to solving all of these problems.”

In a beginning-of-the-year tradition that goes back decades, Manning spoke to more than 700 incoming J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D students in Harvard University’s historic Sanders Theatre on Aug. 26. As part of the school’s effort to support the community’s health amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and reduce the number of people in the room at any one time, the students who normally attend as one group were divided into two cohorts, which the dean addressed separately.

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September 7, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Season Was One For The Ages: Applicants Were Up 12.6%, With Biggest Increase (66%) Among The 170+ LSAT Band

LSAC has released preliminary end-of-year data on the Fall 2021 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants reported by LSAC was up 12.6% compared to last year.



Fall 2020

Fall 2021










185 of the 200 law schools experienced an increase in applications. Applications were up 50% or more at 8 law schools, and 30% or more at 65 law schools:


Applicants were up the most in Northwest (22.5%), Midwest (17.1%), and New England (16.4%); and up the least in the Great Lakes (9.2%), Other (10.5%), and Mountain West (12.1%):


Applicants' LSAT scores were up 66.3% in the 170-180 band, 25.8% in the 160-169 band, and 8.5% in the 150-159 band; and down 3.7% in the 120-149 band:

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September 7, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, September 6, 2021

How The Pandemic Breathed Life Back Into Law Schools

James Goodnow (CEO & Managing Partner, Fennemore Craig), How The Pandemic Breathed Life Back Into Law Schools:

When the going gets tough, the tough go to law school. For most of the past decade, as America crawled out of the Great Recession, law school applications overall were in decline, and we had little reason to think they’d bounce back any time soon.

And then, as is so often the economic story these days, along came COVID-19. Law school applications leapt 13% this year. The industry hadn’t seen that kind of increase in interest since 2002. ...

Whether this increase is a good or bad thing is a matter of perspective.

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September 6, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Debate Continues Over Vermont Law School's Underground Railroad Murals That Black Students Call Racist

Vermont Mural

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Jenna Sutherland, Vermont Law School Is Right to Cover Over a Controversial Mural:

When Vermont Law School (VLS) released a plan to cover a 1993 campus mural with acoustic tiles, the last thing the administration expected was to be taken to court by the artist. VLS’s decision responded to student criticism of the mural’s caricature-like depictions of African Americans and its emphasis on White saviorism. The mural, “The Underground Railroad, Vermont and the Fugitive Slave,” which consists of two eight-feet-by-24-feet panels painted by Sam Kerson in 1993, was designed to address Vermont’s role in the liberation of enslaved people. The first panel, with vignettes of punishment, auction, and forced labor, also shows a crowd of African Americans holding drums, masks, and spears. The second panel depicts famous abolitionists and features, in a particularly prominent role, a White woman blocking a man tracking down escaped enslaved people. In December 2020, Kerson decided to sue the school, claiming its plan violates the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) which protects art from “intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification.” ...

In defense of his mural, Kerson contends that VLS is “using the smoke screen of student complaints” to, “be the arbiter of what the public is allowed to see,” a line of thinking which misleadingly focuses the conversation on the issue of censorship. Kerson is free to produce as much art expressing his views as he wants. In fact, he’s already created a new series of paintings called “The Muralist Imagines the Destruction of His Works,” referencing the mural at VLS. The plan to cover the mural doesn’t censor Kerson by prohibiting him from producing work nor does it permanently destroy the mural. VARA legal protections are meant to preserve the ideas embodied in art and protect the artist’s integrity, not ensure that the artwork can be viewed forever. As the lawyers representing VLS cleverly pointed out, nowhere in VARA does it mention that an artwork must remain viewable.

The more crucial issue this controversy brings to light is the means employed by academic institutions to foster more inclusive campus cultures, especially through the visual arts. ... As societal views on race, colonization, and American history shift, more debates over controversial artwork will no doubt emerge. Setting the precedent that VARA permits institutions to cover murals is legally sound (as expected from a law school) and provides schools with a way to resolve similar dilemmas in the future. Free speech is a fundamental right that should be protected. VLS’s decision, though, is not about the censoring of speech. It’s a case of a school taking a necessary action to create a more conscientiously inclusive campus than the one they had previously.

Marc James Léger, Asleep at the Woke Switch: Save the Sam Kerson Murals at the Vermont Law School:

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September 6, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Young And Secular Are Least Vaccinated, Not Evangelicals

Religion Unplugged, The Young And Secular Are Least Vaccinated, Not Evangelicals:

As the delta variant has caused COVID-19 to surge again in the United States, there’s been a flurry of attention paid to the share of Americans who have chosen to forgo the vaccine against the coronavirus. Trying to understand the causal factors that would lead to one not getting the inoculation seems to be the first task when it comes to finding ways to reduce vaccine hesitancy coast to coast.

One of the primary dimensions that news outlets seem to be focusing on is religion. The headlines are published nearly weekly - evangelical Christians are the ones who are the most reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Yet, when I review the data from a survey that was conducted on May 11, 2021 that was administered by Data for Progress, I don’t find a lot of evidence that evangelicals are the ones lagging behind. In fact, I find that those without any religious affiliation were the least likely to have received at least one dose of any COVID-19 vaccine.


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September 5, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Law Schools At A Crossroads

Law360, Law Schools At A Crossroads:

Law360 2The COVID-19 pandemic forced law schools to move online nearly overnight and adopt new approaches to teaching. It also upended much of how the legal industry operates and has likely permanently reshaped the landscape that future graduates will be entering.

Now, as the dust begins to settle, law schools find themselves at a crossroads: Do they return fully to their traditional pre-pandemic models, or do they move forward by embracing some of the lessons from the crisis? And what exactly should they be teaching future attorneys about the practice of law?

In this series, Law360 Pulse takes a closer look at the juncture law schools find themselves in, including both the opportunities and challenges in updating their curriculum for a post-pandemic future, the potential costs of making wholesale changes and how law firms should be stepping into the conversation. ...

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September 4, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, September 3, 2021

Harvard Law School Is Now More Popular Than Harvard Business School

Poets & Quants, Harvard Law Now More Popular Than Harvard Business School:

HBS HLSFor many years, Harvard Business School attracted more applicants and could boast a lower admit rate than its equally prestigious Law School.

No more.

Harvard Law School received a total of 9,993 applications, up 33% over the 7,505 applications received a year earlier. The school admitted 685 candidates to get to its enrolled incoming class of 560 students for an acceptance rate of 6.9%, well below the 12.9% admit rate last year.


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September 3, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Here's How Georgetown Law School Crushed 2021 Admissions

Following up on Monday's post, Admissions Data At Nearly Half Of The U.S. News Top 50: Higher LSATs, UGPAs, And Enrollment:  Reuters, Q&A: Here's How Georgetown Law Crushed 2021 Admissions:

Georgetown University Law Center’s admissions dean Andrew Cornblatt knew something unusual was happening last October, when his office had received far more applications than normal for that time of year. The surge never died down.

By the end of the admissions cycle, Georgetown had 14,000 applicants, a 41% increase from the previous year. It was the largest applicant pool on record at any law school, outpacing the national 12.6% increase in law school applicants. ...

Its median LSAT score rose three points to 171, while the median grade-point average increased to 3.85 from 3.78 a year ago. Other top law schools also made gains in their LSAT and GPA medians this year, though Georgetown is thus far alone in posting a three-point LSAT increase.


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September 3, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Syracuse Offers AccessLex Institute’s New Helix Bar Review Course To Its Students At No Charge

Syracuse Law Announces Plans to Offer AccessLex Institute’s Helix Bar Review to Students at No Charge:

Helix 2In a national first, Syracuse University College of Law has partnered with legal education nonprofit AccessLex Institute to offer AccessLex's interactive Helix Bar Review prep course free of charge to all Syracuse Law students [the usual cost is $1,199 for the UBE and $279 for the MBE].

Helix Bar Review is a state-of-the-art, comprehensive bar review program that offers students full access to the program during their third year of law school, up to 20 weeks before the bar exam. Early access is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Helix Bar Review, and it ensures that students with multiple responsibilities in law school, at work, or at home, can start their review early and complete the entire course on the schedule they choose.  Other bar preparation programs are not fully open to students until much later.

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September 2, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Bird-Pollan Named Associate Dean For Academic Affairs At Kentucky

Professor Jennifer Bird-Pollan Named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs:

Bird-Pollan (2021)Jennifer Bird-Pollan, a tax law professor who joined the faculty in 2010, has been named associate dean of academic affairs for the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law. ...

“Jennifer is committed to our academic program, our students and faculty success,” UK Rosenberg Law Dean Mary J. Davis said. “She has a wealth of leadership experience in our college and across campus, and I look forward to working with her.”

Bird-Pollan serves as the Judge William T. Lafferty Professor of Law and teaches federal income tax, estate and gift tax, international tax, partnership tax, corporate tax, and a seminar in tax policy. Her research lies at the intersection of tax law and philosophy, specifically regarding the taxation of wealth transfers and issues of sovereignty in international taxation.

In 2017, Bird-Pollan won the law school’s Duncan Teaching Award, which is presented annually to a faculty member who has excelled in the classroom, courtesy of the Robert M. and Joanne K. Duncan Faculty Improvement Fund.

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September 2, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Targeting Of Scholars For Ideological Reasons From 2015 To Present

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), The Targeting of Scholars for Ideological Reasons from 2015 to Present:

Scholars have long been targeted for sanction by ideological adversaries. However, some worrying trends are emerging. The current research reveals that since 2015 targeting incidents are on the rise and are increasingly coming from within academia itself — from other scholars and especially from undergraduate students. These targeting incidents take a multitude of forms, including demands for an investigation, demotion, censorship, suspension, and even termination.

This research documents the ways and reasons that scholars have faced calls for sanction; how scholars and institutional administrators have responded to different forms of targeting; and what (if any) sanctions scholars have ultimately faced in response to these targeting incidents, from 2015 to the present (up to and including July 31, 2021).

The key findings of this report include:

  • Over the past five and a half years, a total of 426 targeting incidents have occurred. Almost three-quarters of them (314 out of 426; 74%) have resulted in some form of sanction.
  • The number of targeting incidents has risen dramatically, from 24 in 2015 to 113 in 2020. As of mid-2021, 61 targeting incidents have already occurred.
  • Scholars were targeted most often for speech involving race (e.g., racial inequality, historic racism, racial slurs, BLM, DEI).

Fire 1

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September 1, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

How Much Is A Law School Dean Worth? $500?

As a sitting law school dean, search firms often contact me for names of potential dean candidates. Last week was the first time a search firm offered to pay me:

Dean Search

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September 1, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

St. Mary's To Launch Nation's First Fully Online ABA-Accredited JD Degree

Law360, ABA Nod To St. Mary's U Online Law School A Turning Point:

St. Mary's LogoSt. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio recently received approval from the American Bar Association to offer the nation's first online-only ABA-accredited law degree program, and while the effort was heralded by many law professors and experts, it also drew the frustration of others.

Because accreditation matters are confidential, the ABA could not comment on specifics. However, a representative of the ABA did confirm that St. Mary's received approval in May on a requested variance relating to the online program.

"The short answer is that St. Mary's online program has been approved by the [ABA's] Council," the representative told Law360 Pulse. ...

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September 1, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Legal Education, Remote Learning, Technology, And Access To Justice

Legal Tech News, Law Schools Are Offering Vendors Tuition Revenue in Bid to Grow Remote Education:

More law schools are considering offering remote courses after the pandemic. But that transition to digital education comes with a price—which can take the form of the law school paying a portion of its tuition revenue to an online program management (OPM) company for multiple years of aid. While some caution that such arrangements could be opaque and unfair, many note that as law schools accelerate their transition to remote education, the need for OPMs is only going to increase.

Lee Bradshaw, chief strategy officer of online program management provider Noodle, said the final holdouts to remote higher education—law and medical schools—are finally beginning to embrace a hybrid learning model.

“We’re seeing an undercurrent in medical and law,” said Bradshaw. “I know [of a] few university-driven initiatives to bring in a bunch of universities to have conversations about online [education] for law and medical schools. For me, that’s the beginning of a sea change for those disciplines.”

Specifically, he said, more U.S. law schools are applying to the American Bar Association for a 306 distance education variance. 

Legal Tech News, COVID Didn't Spark Law Schools' Tech Transformation, but It Did Accelerate It:

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August 31, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

2nd Circuit Backs NYU Law Review In Challenge To Diversity Policy

Following up on my previous post, Lawsuits Against Harvard, NYU Law Reviews Claim Racial, Gender Preferences:  Reuters, Appeals Court Backs NYU Law Review in Challenge to Diversity Policy:

Harvard NYU Law ReviewsNew York University School of Law's flagship law review can claim another court win over a group of academics challenging the journal’s diversity policies.

A three-judge panel from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday unanimously affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of the group’s 2018 lawsuit against the NYU Law Review [Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences v. New York University, No. 20-1508 (2d Cir. Aug. 25, 2021)]. The appeals court agreed that Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences (FASORP) lacked standing. ...

FASORP sued the NYU Law Review in 2018, alleging that its diversity policies violate "Title VI and Title IX by using race and sex preferences when selecting its members, editors, and articles." It also sued the Harvard Law Review in federal court in Boston on nearly identical grounds in a suit that was dismissed in 2019, which it did not appeal. ...

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August 31, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, August 30, 2021

They Offered Early Retirement To Faculty. Here’s Why I Took It At 51.

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  They Offered Early Retirement. Here’s Why I Took It at 51., by James M. Lang (Assumption College):

[O]ver the past few years I have felt an increasing sense of imbalance in my professional life. My primary passion has always been writing. I write out of a compulsion that I don’t fully understand, but that gives my life purpose and joy. ...

I’m happiest when I am writing, and I am convinced I have many more books left in me. But with each passing year, as my teaching, service, and administrative duties grew, I seemed to have less and less time to write.

I thought a lot about how to make more time for it but couldn’t see any easy remedies. My university paid me a salary, after all, and had given me a good life. My first responsibilities had to be toward my students, my colleagues, and my institution. Sure, research and writing are part of my job — but a relatively small part at a teaching-intensive institution like mine.

In short, I began to feel less like a plant blooming in a sunny garden and more like one fighting for sun in a shady corner of the yard, sending out tendrils and vines in search of new soil and light. But I had been in that container for so long I couldn’t see how to uproot myself and embark upon a different kind of professional life.

Along came the pandemic. Strange how a global health crisis can clarify the mind: I have only so many years left on the planet. Someday my back will indeed begin to stiffen, and all the yoga in the world won’t turn back time. Someday my passion for writing may diminish. And someday the ideas and words may not flow as easily as they do now.

In April I received an email letting me know that — due to a combination of age and years of service — I was eligible for an early-retirement package.

When the email arrived, I dismissed it. I’m too young for that, I thought. But I kept it in my inbox. For two or three weeks I thought about the retirement package, talked it over with my wife, and thought about it some more.

And then, dear reader, I took it.

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August 30, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Admissions Data At Nearly Half Of The U.S. News Top 50: Higher LSATs, UGPAs, And Enrollment

Following up on last week's post:  with Spivey Consulting reporting the admissions statistics for nearly half of the U.S. News Top 50 law schools, LSAT (+1.3) and UGPA (+0.4) medians are up, as well as enrollment (+17.0):

1L Class Updated (090321)

Ten law schools increased enrollment by 15% or more:

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August 30, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

BigLaw Associate Hiring Surges 24% As Legal Business Booms

Bloomberg Law, Big Law Hiring Practices Bring Shortages as Client Demands Grow:

Conservative entry-level hiring practices that bolstered Big Law firms after the Great Recession constrain them now as they struggle to find associates for the mountains of work after pandemic shutdowns.

Am Law 200 firms have hired more than 8,500 associates this year through Aug. 20, a 24% increase over the previous three-year average, according to data from Decipher, which provides lateral hiring due diligence services for law firms.


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August 30, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, August 28, 2021

A Survey Of Deans On The Impact Of The COVID-19 Pandemic On Their Law Schools

D. Benjamin Barros (Dean, Toledo) & Cameron M. Morrissey (J.D. 2021, Toledo), A Survey of Law School Deans on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, 52 U. Tol. L. Rev. 241 (2021):

We conducted an anonymous survey of deans at ABA-accredited law schools asking questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on legal education and on law school students, faculty, and staff. Invitations to participate in the survey were distributed through a listserv maintained by the ABA. The first invitation was sent out on November 20, 2020 and the last response was received on December 18, 2020. The survey was comprised of 56 questions, including six optional, extended response prompts. We received 51 total responses, representing a bit more than 25% of the 199 deans of ABA-accredited law schools. Not all respondents completed all of the questions, but we received responses for all of the questions on the survey from at least 20% of the 199 deans of ABA-Accredited law schools.

Our key findings include the following:

  1. Deans overall have moderate concern over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their students’ education, with some reporting high concern and some reporting no concern.
  2. Most deans did not feel political pressure to maintain in-person classes during the pandemic. A small number of deans at public institutions, however, did feel substantial political pressure to maintain in-person classes.
  3. Most law schools had relatively low rates of COVID-19 infections among students, faculty, and staff.
  4. J.D. enrollment at most law schools increased at most law schools during the pandemic. Enrollment by non-J.D. students and international students tended to go down. Overall enrollment at parent universities also tended to go down.
  5. The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on: a) the finances of many, but not all, law schools; b) the emotional wellbeing of law school students, faculty, and staff; c) the stress level of law school deans.


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August 28, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Reflections On Elite Education: In A Just World, Would The College I Teach At Exist?

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Reflections on Elite Education: In a Just World, Would the College I Teach at Exist?, by Jonny Thakkar (Swarthmore):

SwarthmoreOne of the wonders of modern academe is that the ideal of workplace democracy should be so prevalent among people who regularly endure faculty meetings. It’s not hard to see how lived experience might lead academics to a Churchillian argument for workplace democracy as the least-bad option, a way of preventing administrative tyranny and legitimating decisions, but how anyone can take seriously the Arendtian vision of speechifying as some higher form of life I really don’t know.

Swarthmore College, where I have taught for the last four years, is run pretty democratically as a result of its Quaker heritage, to the point where any erosion of faculty governance is still noticed and lamented even if the most important decisions seem to be out of our hands. Much of the work is trivial but slow. ... Whether professors’ time is best devoted to such Solomonic inquiries is a question I have not yet seen raised — this is what faculty governance looks like, apparently, and in any case nobody forces you to show up.

The problem with not showing up, of course, is that sometimes important things do get debated, and every so often they even get decided. ... Something about the setting encourages melodrama and grandstanding, not to mention a tendency toward digression that can make concentration, especially via Zoom, seem like a mark of sainthood. A lot has to do with the internal logic of this kind of gathering; everyone has a right to speak, but it’s first-come-first-served and some were born with their hands up. But if people jump up to speak (as I sometimes do) or if they feel compelled to enter a comment in the chat, it’s generally because they care deeply, not only about the issue at hand but also about the underlying question of what Swarthmore stands for. It is this question, unresolved and for the most part unposed, that is the ultimate source of conflict.

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August 28, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, August 27, 2021

Deep Applicant Pool Yields Record-Breaking Diversity At Top Law Schools

Reuters, Deep Applicant Pool Yields Record-breaking Diversity at Top Law Schools:

A wave of top law schools brought in their most diverse first-year classes ever this month, aided by a nearly 13% increase in the national applicant pool, with Harvard and Yale law schools reporting that students of color made up more than half of their 1L enrollment.

At Harvard Law School, 56% of the J.D. class of 2024 are students of color, up from 47% a year ago, and 54% of the new class are women, the school reported. ... 

Students of color comprise 54% of Yale Law School’s new 1L class, up slightly from 52% the previous year, according to recent data released by the school. Women account for 51% of the new class, while 17% are first-generation college students. ...

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August 27, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Seven Years After Dan Markel's Murder, Katherine Magbanua's Attorneys Seek Delay In October Trial Due To COVID Concerns

WCTV, Magbanua Defense Team Pushes to Delay Trial, Citing Rising COVID-19 Cases:

Magnauba (2021)Katherine Magbanua’s defense team raised COVID-19 concerns, asking to delay her trial in a Wednesday afternoon case management hearing. ... Magbanua’s defense attorneys, Christopher DeCoste and Tara Kawass, say current COVID-19 case numbers are concerning. Both are cancer survivors and immunocompromised.

During the hearing, they added that Magbanua had tested positive for COVID-19 ten days prior, but negative Wednesday morning.

They added that socially distancing from her during trial could unintentionally sway the jury. ...

The defense team also brought up concerns about masks in courtrooms. DeCoste cited the old practice of putting a hood over a person being hanged, so that the spectators wouldn’t have to see facial expressions. He argued the jury could be more inclined to convict Magbanua primarily because they could not see the bottom half of her face under a mask. ...

Judge Robert Wheeler denied the verbal request to continue the trial to a later date in court on Wednesday, but he instructed the defense to file a written motion about their concerns.

The trial date is currently set for October 4.

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August 27, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Most-Cited Deans At The 68 Most-Cited Law Schools

Following up on yesterday's post, The 68 Most-Cited Law Faculties: here are the 30 deans among the 10-most cited faculty at the Top 68 law schools:

3.  Harvard:  John Manning
6.  UC-Berkeley:  Erwin Chemerinsky
9.  Vanderbilt:  Chris Guthrie
15. Cornell:  Jens David Ohlin 
22. UC-Davis:  Kevin Johnson
23. Boston University:  Angela Onwuachi-Willig; St. Thomas (MN):  Robert Vischer 
27. Arizona:  Marc Miller; William & Mary:  A. Benjamin Spencer 
29. USC:  Andrew Guzman 
30. San Diego:  Robert Schapiro
31. Illinois:  Vikram Amar
36. Utah:  Elizabeth Kronk Warner; Case Western:  Jessica Berg
40. UC-Hastings:  David Faigman
43. Ohio State:  Lincoln Davies; Georgia:  Peter Rutledge
46. American:  Roger A. Fairfax, Jr.; Florida State:  Erin O'Hara O'Connor
49. BYU:  Gordon Smith; Wake Forest:  Jane Aiken 
52. Florida:  Laura  Rosenbury; Iowa:  Kevin Washburn; Richmond: Wendy Collins Perdue
57. Missouri:  Lyrissa Lidsky; San Francisco: Susan Freiwald
59. Boston College:  Diane Ring; Wisconsin:  Daniel Tokaji; Pittsburgh: Amy Wildermuth
63. Pepperdine:  Paul Caron 

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August 26, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

ABA Requires Law Schools To Disclose Student Loan And Diversity Data

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA Journal, Student Loan Data Will Become Part of Law Schools' ABA Required Disclosures:

ABA Legal Ed (2021)Starting with the 2023-2024 school year, law schools’ Standard 509 Information Reports will include information about the number of students who receive student loans, and the data will be categorized by race, ethnicity and gender.

The council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved the change Friday, when it met virtually. Data collection for loan information will start with the 2022-2023 school year, according to a memo from the questionnaire and template committee.

The council also approved a committee recommendation that the reports include data about students who receive scholarships and grants that is categorized by race, ethnicity and gender. Committee members found the information would help the council determine law school compliance with Standard 206, which addresses diversity and inclusion.

Kyle McEntee (Law School Transparency), The ABA To Expand Law School Diversity Data:

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August 26, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Pepperdine Seeks To Hire An Associate Director of Career Development

This is a great opportunity to join the professional staff at Pepperdine Caruso Law: Pepperdine Jobs, Associate Director of Career Development:

Best Campus Photo (2021)Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law is seeking an Associate Director of Career Development to guide and advise students and alumni on their career paths. The Associate Director of Career Development works directly with students and alumni on their career development and professional skills training, and collaborates with the CDO team to prepare resources, provide programs, and expand opportunities for employment.


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August 26, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink