Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 5, 2020

MBA Applications Surge At Elite Business Schools During COVID-19

Wall Street Journal, Applicants Flock to Elite Business Schools to Ride Out the Coronavirus Pandemic:

MBA ApplicationApplications to some top-tier M.B.A. programs are soaring this year after schools extended application deadlines and loosened their standardized testing requirements amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

After several years of falling application numbers, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Columbia Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management and other elite programs are reporting double-digit percentage application increases for their fall 2020 classes. It is an early indication that at least the top few M.B.A. programs are managing to stay stable through the pandemic and reversing several years of declining demand, according to the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council, which tracks hundreds of M.B.A. programs.

Students typically flock to B-schools and graduate programs during economic downturns, as advanced degrees are seen as a way to help further careers even as the job market languishes. ...

Applications to American M.B.A. programs have been falling for five straight years due to a hot job market and high tuition costs. It can’t be determined yet how applications at most U.S. M.B.A. programs outside the top few universities have fared until GMAC releases more data later this fall. ...

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

Sunday, October 4, 2020

87-Year-Old Hopes To Pass California Bar Exam On Fifth And Final Try Tomorrow After Studying 'Several Minutes Every Day'

San Francisco Chronicle, ‘Probably My Last Chance’: 87-Year-Old Seeks One Last Try at Bar Exam:

California Bar ExamLike most people 87 years of age, Porter Davis is running out of time.

"This year is probably my last chance,” he said. “A lot can happen when you’re 87.”

Davis said he is trying to tie up loose ends in his life. The biggest loose end from his nearly nine decades on Earth is passing the California bar exam and becoming a lawyer. There may be 1.3 million lawyers in the U.S., according to the American Bar Association but, Davis said with a sigh, none of them is him.

As a young man in the 1960s, he attended two law schools [his LinkedIn page says he attended UC-Hastings in 1958-62] and took the bar exam four times. He flunked out of one of the law schools. He also flunked the bar exam, all four times.

That was then, Davis said. With a lifetime of experience, he’s smarter now. He’s ready to try again — if a technical impasse with the State Bar gets resolved.

“I believe in being optimistic,” he said. The exam will be administered Monday and Tuesday.

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October 4, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Selina Farrell And Bob Pushaw Win Pepperdine University Teaching Award

Congratulations to my friends and colleagues Selina Farrell, Director of Academic Excellence and Associate Professor of Legal Research and Writing, and Bob Pushaw, James Wilson Endowed Professor of Law, for receiving Pepperdine University's highest teaching honor, the Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence:

Howard A White Teaching AwardThis annual award honors the legacy of Pepperdine University's fifth president, Dr. Howard A. White, who was a gifted teacher and scholar of history and a faithful steward of the University throughout his thirty years of service to Pepperdine. The Howard A. White Award is the highest distinction given at Pepperdine for teaching and recognizes outstanding educators who embody the institution's commitment to excellence. This award highlights the work of teachers who inspire and challenge students to think critically and creatively as well as those who instill in their students a lifetime love of learning.

This is the first time in 12 years that two law school professors have received the university's annual teaching award. I was proud to support their nominations:

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

Saturday, October 3, 2020

18 Notre Dame Law Faculty Who Attended Amy Coney Barrett's White House Ceremony Await COVID-19 Test Results

Washington Post, Notre Dame Faculty Who Attended White House Event Await Test Results Amid Concern on Campus of Exposure:

Notre Dame Law (2020)Multiple faculty members from University of Notre Dame were awaiting coronavirus test results late Friday after attending a White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett along with the school president, who announced he had tested positive.

Around 18 faculty members who traveled to Washington for the Sept. 26 event were tested with nasal swabs on Friday, according to a person familiar with the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private health matters. Results from the tests are expected within 48 hours, the person said. ...

Trump and administration officials were criticized by public health experts about their staging of the ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, where guests sat closely together and most did not wear masks. ...

University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, who attended the White House event, said earlier Friday that he had tested positive for the virus and was in quarantine. ... Like Jenkins, several others attendees from Notre Dame at the White House ceremony did not wear masks, according to the person familiar with the event.

Some Notre Dame professors expressed dismay Friday that so many faculty members had attended an event that did not adhere to public health protocols and concern about the school’s handling of the situation.

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

Friday, October 2, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Male Partner Pay Grew At Twice The Rate Of Female Partner Pay In Last 10 Years

American Lawyer, Male Partner Compensation Grew at Nearly Twice the Rate of Female Partner Comp in Last 10 Years:

Male equity partners in major law firms saw an increase of 42% in their overall compensation over the past decade, while female equity partners saw 22% growth, the biennial study on partner compensation by legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa found in its latest results.

Non-equity partners stayed relatively flat at 10% growth, according to the study.

Lawyer Compensation 2

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

NBC Dateline: Tallahassee Trap — The Dan Markel Murder

Watch the entire episode here.
Dennis Murphy has the latest on the case of a Florida law professor murdered in his garage, including new details, newly-released evidence and bombshell testimony from a long-awaited trial.

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October 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Supreme Court Rejects Deans' Request To Make Oct. 5-6 Online Bar Exam Open Book With No Proctoring

Following up on my previous post, California Law School Deans Request Supreme Court To Make Oct. 5-6 Online Bar Exam Open Book With No Proctoring:

California Bar ExamLetter From California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to California Law School Deans (Oct. 1, 2020):

Dear Deans,
Thank you for your September 14, 2020 letter suggesting that the October California Bar Examination be administered as an open book exam and without the use of remote proctoring software. The court appreciates your concerns about the software being used to administer the exam.

As the attached letter, from the State Bar explains, the proctoring software will not determine any examinee’s identity, integrity, eligibility, or passing grade, nor will the software be used to prevent any applicant from completing their exam. Instead, multiple layers of human review of the exam videos will permit human proctors to make those determinations.

In addition, to alleviate any privacy concerns involving the use of the proctoring software, the court has just recently expressed agreement with the State Bar’s decision to exercise its contractual authority to request that ExamSoft, and its third-party providers, destroy all of the personally identifiable information collected by the proctoring software. (See attached.) The court has also directed the State Bar to provide a timetable to outline the process of how this deletion will take place.

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

Why Law Firms Seem To 'Eat Their Young' During Downturns, Why Law Firms Seem to 'Eat Their Young' During Downturns:

With associates suffering the brunt of the negative impact of the pandemic—losing work to partners, layoffs, less mentoring, slowed development—it has some industry observers wondering if law firms are sacrificing their futures for short-term gain.

Firms have said this isn’t a replay of the Great Recession. And while there haven’t been mass associate layoffs, consultants believe the outcome might be the same: a less certain future for some firms and their younger talent.

But what would drive firm leaders to make decisions they know full well could have far-reaching negative consequences down the road? Is the pull of the moment that strong? Perhaps it is, according to various legal industry experts., The Pandemic Has Put Associate Development Back on the Back Burner:

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

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A Conversation With Orly Mazur (SMU): Taking On Tax And Tech

Forbes, A Conversation With Orly Mazur: Taking On Tax And Tech:

Mazur (2020)Orly Mazur is a pioneer working to shape the tax law to adapt to rapidly changing technology. While leading classes at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law through examinations of various aspects of the tax law, she focuses her scholarship on cutting-edge issues in the digital economy and has become a leading voice on the intersection of tax and technology.

The influence of a standout mentor led Mazur to find her place in the front of the classroom at SMU — where she has won accolades from her students — and into the pages of many law journals. Her mentor's work has been a model of combining scholarship and policymaking, and Mazur’s own scholarship on the implications of technology has positioned her to follow a similar path. ...

Balancing classes with research and writing is a constant challenge for professors, but Mazur has made many contributions to tax scholarship, and her articles have landed in highly regarded journals. Mazur also makes an effort to involve students whenever possible so that they gain experience doing research and are able to explore new areas of the law. Thinking about the direction the tax law should take and training future lawyers combine to make for a fulfilling career that Mazur clearly loves.


October 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Orly Mazur, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Firm Climate Change Rankings

Law Students For Climate Accountability,  Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard:

Climate CoverExecutive Summary
When future generations look back at the origins of the climate crisis, they will see that too many law firms were on the wrong side of history. Law firms constitute an indispensable pillar of support for the fossil fuel industry. When fossil fuel companies want to build new pipelines and refineries, law firms write the contracts and advise the project financing. Law firms lobby public officials to roll back environmental regulations and give tax breaks to polluters. And when fossil fuel companies face lawsuits seeking to hold them liable for violating laws and damaging communities, law firms work to get them off the hook in exchange for substantial legal fees.

The 2020 Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard is the first to detail the scale of top law firms’ role in the climate crisis. Using the best data available, the 2020 Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard analyzes litigation, transactional, and lobbying work conducted by the 2020 Vault Law 100 law firms—the 100 most prestigious law firms in the United States—from 2015 to 2019. Each firm receives an overall Climate Score reflecting its contribution to the climate crisis based on the data in these three categories. ...

This report shows that Vault 100 firms lend their services to clients engaged in expanding fossil fuel dependence and exacerbating climate change far more than clients working to mitigate climate change. From 2015 to 2019:

  • Vault 100 firms worked on ten times as many cases exacerbating climate change as cases addressing climate change: 286 cases compared to 27 cases.
  • Vault 100 firms were the legal advisors on five times more transactional work for the fossil fuel industry than the renewable energy industry: $1.3 trillion of transactions compared to $271 billion of transactions.
  • Vault 100 firms lobbied five times more for fossil fuel companies than renewable energy companies: for $36.5 million in compensation compared to $6.8 million in compensation.

Of the Vault 100 firms, only four firms receive an A Climate Score, while 14 receive a B, 15 receive a C, 41 receive a D, and 26 receive an F.

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October 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

80% Of Americans Support Bar Exam Requirement To Practice Law

Michelle Drumbl Named Bentley Professor Of Law At Washington & Lee

Michelle L. Drumbl has been named Robert O. Bentley Professor of Law at Washington & Lee:

Drumbl (2020)Professor Drumbl's scholarship focuses on the intersection of low-income taxpayers and fiscal policy, exploring such issues as filing status, innocent spouse relief, and return preparer fraud. Her book, Tax Credits for the Working Poor: A Call for Reform (Cambridge University Press, 2019) identifies shortcomings in how the United States delivers social benefits through its tax system and gazes elsewhere — to programs abroad — to reimagine possibilities for improving administration of the earned income tax credit and bolstering the credit's effectiveness.

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October 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

How Elite Institutions Can Prove That Black Lives Matter

Gaga Gondwe (NYU), How Elite Institutions Can Prove That Black Lives Matter:

I have been a lone Black face in mostly white spaces for most of my life. I went to college at Harvard, and law school at Yale; I clerked for a federal judge, and worked at a top law firm. I will soon embark on a new adventure, becoming a law professor through the NYU Visiting Assistant Professor in Tax program.

In the past few weeks, I’ve read statements from each of these elite institutions, each one solemnly proclaiming that “Black Lives Matter.” All of them have made similar statements in the past. And in the past, all of their declarations have invariably failed in key areas to improve conditions for their Black stakeholders.

It’s time for those institutions to take a step back and examine what ending anti-Black racism actually requires. It’s time for them to recognize that it’s not enough simply to admit Black students, or to hire Black associates.

I was one of those students. I am one of those associates. And I’ve experienced firsthand what happens when organizations end diversity efforts at the admissions stage: their Black constituents suffer emotionally, educationally, and professionally.

I’ve seen too many institutions fall short in their efforts to combat anti-Black racism when they limit their idea of diversity and inclusion to increasing representation of people in different minority groups. When the problem is framed as “do we have enough of X type of person,” the solution will only require that the organization add at least one of that type of person to their ranks.

But that dramatically underestimates the scope of the problem. It doesn’t create lasting institutional change, and it leaves minorities with the burden of convincing their institutions that more is needed, and urgently. ...

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September 30, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Virginia Rep. Asks George Mason To Rename Law School The 'Scalia-Ginsburg School Of Law'

Connolly Calls on GMU To Rename Law School the “Scalia-Ginsburg School of Law”:

Scalia Law SchoolCongressman Gerry Connolly, Chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee, released the following statement calling on George Mason University to rename the law school the Scalia-Ginsburg School of Law.

I call on the George Mason University Board of Visitors to rename the Law School the Scalia-Ginsburg School of Law. It honors the bequest but adds the balance in jurisprudence the current name lacks. A statue of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be erected facing the existing Justice Scalia statue signifying that there are competing views of the law and no one view will dominate George Mason University’s academic studies.

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September 30, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

LSSSE: New Research Provides Insight Into Diversity And Inclusion In Law School

LSSSE, New Research Provides Insight into Diversity and Inclusion in Law School:

LSSSENewly-released data by the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) provides a compelling look at law student perceptions and experiences along various measures of diversity and inclusion.  Data from this Report, Diversity & Exclusion, draw from a new Diversity and Inclusiveness Module that LSSSE began offering this year.  Of the 68 law schools that participated in the LSSSE survey in 2020, 28 law schools opted to administer the additional Diversity and Inclusiveness Module, which resulted in over 5,200 student participants.

“While many law schools have focused on improving diversity, this report reveals that we must not lose sight of inclusion,” said Meera E. Deo, Director of LSSSE.   “Many of our most vulnerable students—including those who are marginalized based on their race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, debt load, and first-gen status—are telling us that we need to do more to show we value them, to prove they belong, to make them comfortable in legal education and the legal profession.”

Noteworthy findings from the report include:
Institutional Support

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September 30, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Arbitrator Sides With University Of Akron In Layoff Of 100 Faculty

Following up on my previous post, Budget 'Bloodbath' As University Of Akron Lays Off 23% Of Full-Time (Including Tenured) Faculty Due To COVID-19:, Arbitrator Sides With University of Akron in Layoff of Nearly 100 Union Faculty:

AkronAn arbitrator on Friday sided with the University of Akron administration in its decision to eliminate the positions of nearly 100 unionized faculty as part of the university’s cost-saving measures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling by arbitrator Jack Buettner – which you can read here – came Friday afternoon, and stated that UA was within its rights to lay off the faculty under the “force majeure” clause in its contract with the Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors. ...

Akron-AAUP President Pam Schulze said the arbitrator’s decision is “terrible news for our institution.” You can read both full statements from Miller and Schulze at the bottom of this post. ...

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September 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bringing Students Back To College Campuses Has Been A Public Health Disaster

Bloomberg editorial, Colleges Are Making the Coronavirus Crisis Worse: Bringing Students Back Has Been a Public Health Disaster:

Across the U.S., the reopening of college campuses is fast becoming a new public-health crisis. The arrival of students for the start of the fall semester has caused Covid-19 infections to spike in college towns from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to Chico, California. Of counties where college students are at least 10% of the population, half have seen Covid cases hit their highest-ever levels in the past month.

Given lack of guidance from federal and state officials and the inadequacy of the U.S.’s testing system, mounting infections among college students were all too likely. College administrators failed to anticipate the scale of the outbreaks or develop plans for containing them. To protect students, faculty and residents of surrounding communities, colleges now need to curtail student activities and move classes online.

About half of the country’s colleges, including many of the biggest public universities, have tried to resume some form of in-person instruction. Officials said failing to do so would harm students, cause enrollments to plunge and decimate local businesses. But without adequate capacity to test and trace, schools had to rely on students policing themselves. Unfortunately, too many students have proved unwilling to behave responsibly and resist the lure of bars and parties — a breathtaking lack of awareness that has come with significant costs for schools and the communities that surround them. Even universities that are testing large numbers and isolating the sick have seen hundreds of cases within weeks of resuming classes.

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September 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Caruso Law Announces Guaranteed Half To Full Scholarships For Students From Historically Black Colleges And Universities

Pepperdine Caruso Law Announces Guaranteed Scholarships for Students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Students Will Receive Half to Full Tuition in Scholarship Support:

Caruso Logo (Two Lines)Pepperdine University’s Rick J. Caruso School of Law has begun critical work to broaden access to high quality law school education for exceptional but historically underserved student populations. During a speech on September 19 at the school’s Law School Admissions Conference, co-sponsored by For People of Color, Dean Paul Caron announced that students from underrepresented communities at any of the 106 historically black colleges or universities (HBCU) who are admitted to and attend Caruso Law will be guaranteed a 50 percent tuition scholarship. In addition, up to five of those students will be named Caruso Excellence Scholars, with full tuition scholarships.

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September 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Penn Law Removes Statement On RBG’s Death After Inclusion Of Amy Wax Quote Sparked Outrage

Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn Law Removes Statement on RBG’s Death After Inclusion of Amy Wax Quote Sparked Outrage:

RBGPenn Law deleted its public statement on the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg after students lambasted it for including a quote from controversial law professor Amy Wax.

Ginsburg, the second woman to sit on the Supreme Court and an advocate for women's rights, died of pancreatic cancer on Sept. 18 at age 87. The statement, posted to the law school’s Facebook page on Sept. 23 at 8:51 a.m., quickly garnered recoil from Penn Law students and graduates for including an excerpt from Wax's book review [Notorious: What Does Ruth Bader Ginsburg Mean For Women?] — published in Claremont Review of Book's Winter 2020 edition — on Jane Sherron De Hart's "Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life."

Let us now praise Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There is ample grist available for hagiography: in the year 2018 alone, a slew of glowing retrospectives celebrated Ginsburg’s status as a feminist heroine and champion of women’s rights. There was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a biography by U.C. Santa Barbara history professor Jane Sherron De Hart. There was a Netflix documentary about Ginsburg’s career, simply entitled RBG. And the list goes on. But these accounts paid a price for their relentlessly laudatory tone. Missing was any serious appraisal of her professional legacy, its place within larger judicial and legislative debates, and its implications for the shifting and often conflicting roles of women in modern society.

Penn Law students noticed the statement had been deleted around 4:40 p.m. later that day.

While Wax applauds Ginsburg's professional legacy in the selected quote featured in Penn Law's statement, the book review itself casts Ginsburg's admirable work ethic as an outlier for women. Wax wrote in the book review "it is rare that women, regardless of their profession, ability, or training, are willing to work long hours routinely and consistently" as Ginsburg had done.

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September 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, September 28, 2020

USC Dean Responds To The Greg Patton / 'Neige' Controversy

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Eugene Volokh (UCLA), USC Marshall Business School Dean E-Mail on the Greg Patton / "Neige" Controversy:

USC Marshall (2020)A number of themes emerged that we will work on together in the months ahead. But one issue that stands in the way is the email I sent to our first-year full-time MBA students announcing that Professor Greg Patton was stepping aside from his GSBA 542 three-week course. I felt compelled to immediately address the genuine and serious concerns expressed by a number of student groups and individual students, including some enrolled in GSBA 542 who said they would stop attending the remaining two weeks of class. I will always respect and support students who come forward with concerns and will take them seriously, as I did in this case.

However, many of you have read that note as suggesting that I had prejudged the case. As I said when asked about this in the department meetings, this was not my intention. Nor was it my intent to cast aspersions on specific Mandarin words or on Mandarin generally. But I can see how reasonable people could draw a different conclusion in both cases from my email [see the original email below -EV]. I can only offer my sincere apologies that I left that impression, as I believed Professor Patton when he said he did not intend to do his students any harm and I have apologized to him as well.

The university's Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX (EEO-TIX) looked into this matter and concluded that the concerns expressed by students were sincere, but that Professor Patton's actions did not violate the university's policy. They have also communicated this to the professor and he allowed me to share their conclusion with you. ...

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September 28, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Fall 2020 Undergraduate Enrollment Down 2.5%, Graduate Enrollment Up 3.9%

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment (press release):


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September 28, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lipman: Pro Bono Matters On the Basis of Sex

Francine J. Lipman (UNLV), Pro Bono Matters On the Basis of Sex, 164 Tax Notes Fed. 1037 (Aug. 12, 2019):

On-the-basis-of-sexThe movie On the Basis of Sex begins on the testosterone-dominated stairs of Harvard Law School, to the booming blare of “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard,” the still-popular Harvard fight song. Framed by the equal partnership that is Kiki and Marty Ginsburgs’ true-love story, the movie chronicles now Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s methodical path to overturning laws that discriminated on the basis of sex. Central to the movie is a pro bono tax case. This essay describes the tax case and why pro bono mattered so very much to the taxpayer, Charles E. Moritz, a 63 year-old bachelor living in Denver with his mother, Mrs. B.E. Moritz. Mrs. Moritz was 89 and in poor health, suffering from arthritis, loss of hearing, lapses of memory, and other senior ailments. Mr, Moritz cared for his mother by paying for care in his home. He filed his tax return claiming a tax benefit that was statutorily not allowed for unmarried men. Mr. Moritz went to the U.S. Tax Court and lost. Marty Ginsburg, a renowned tax attorney, read the decision and handed the written transcript over to his wife, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg sought to represent Mr. Moritz on his appeals a pro bono basis. Pro bono tax mattered deeply to Charles and his mother and, in turn, it jump-started a successful litigation strategy that in time lead to the U.S. Supreme Court finding that discrimination on the basis of sex was unconstitutional.

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September 28, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

36 Law Professors Weigh In On Amy Coney Barrett's Nomination

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September 28, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Garvey: Here’s What People Get Wrong About Amy Coney Barrett's Faith

Washington Post op-ed:  I Taught and Worked With Amy Coney Barrett. Here’s What People Get Wrong About Her Faith., by John Garvey (President, Catholic University):

Barrett (2020)I first met Amy Coney Barrett from behind a veil of academic anonymity.

I was teaching a First Amendment class at Notre Dame Law School. She was a student, just a face in the crowd. On the final exam, someone — the bluebooks were anonymous — had written an answer so impressive that I rushed to share it with one of my colleagues. This student, I said, gave a response to my own question much better than the one I had come up with myself. That student was Amy Coney.

I hired the future judge as my research assistant. ... After she graduated from law school, I wrote a one-line letter of recommendation for her to Justice Antonin Scalia: “Amy Coney is the best student I ever had.” He was wise to hire her as a clerk. ...

I would be astonished if anyone were to oppose her nomination on the basis of character or intellect. Anxiety about her confirmation instead seems driven by the fear that her religious belief is somehow incompatible with the impartiality demanded of a judge. Some have tried to attach a sinister significance to her association with the People of Praise, an ecumenical Christian organization started by Notre Dame students in the 1970s. ...

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September 27, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Baynes: What I Learned From Law Professor Ginsburg

Houston Chronicle op-ed:  What I Learned From Law Professor Ginsburg, by Leonard Baynes (Dean, Houston):

RBGI was a student of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s at Columbia Law School. She taught me and 150 other first-year students a two-credit civil procedure course. Little known to us, it was her last semester of teaching before being elevated to the D.C. Circuit of Appeals and then later to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At Columbia, at that time, there was little diversity among the law faculty. Ginsburg was the first tenured woman, and Kellis E. Parker was the first tenured African American. For many students, both professors Ginsburg and Parker were godsends. They were approachable, dedicated to students and excellent classroom teachers. They were distinct from the other professors by not conforming to the then-popular Socratic method of instruction exemplified by the stereotypical law professor Charles Kingsfield, as presented in the book and movie “The Paper Chase.” In the classroom, Ginsburg didn’t hide the ball. She was clear and concise. She served as arole model for those who aspired to be law teachers. More importantly, I also learned a lot of substantive legal concepts about the rights to juries, appeals and final judgments. ...

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September 27, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Law Schools In Chicago And Cleveland Consider Removing Chief Justice John Marshall From Their Names

Cleveland 19 News, Cleveland State Considering Renaming Cleveland Marshall College of Law Due To Its Racist Roots:

John Marshall Law Schools (2020)Hanna Kassis has spent months fighting for the names of two prominent law schools to be changed. ...

Who was John Marshall? Research by historians has revealed Marshall owned hundreds of slaves. Some suggest the Supreme Court justice made decisions in favor of slave owners because of his ties to the slave trade. ...

Kasssis, who lives in Cleveland, wants Cleveland Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State to be renamed as well as his alma matter, UIC John Marshall Law School in Chicago, and the other elementary and high schools named after Marshall across the country.

“It’s proof of systemic racism and the whole argument that we’re erasing history is kind of bogus because the act of renaming itself becomes history, and there’s a right side to that history and there’s a wrong side to that history," Kassis said.

Kassis started a petition in June. He also started a website; and multiple social media accounts and his efforts have worked. Kassis is on a committee to rename John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

19 News reached out to Cleveland State about this. They denied our request for an on-camera interview but they did send us a statement:

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September 26, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Bar Exam Update

Friday, September 25, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Suffolk Is Twelfth Law School To Offer Hybrid Online J.D.

Suffolk Law Launches Innovative Hybrid JD Program:

Hybrid JDA new approach
Suffolk University Law School has launched a pioneering new Hybrid JD Program (HJD). The program is the first to offer full- and part-time students a traditional in-person first-year classroom experience, followed by the option of taking all remaining classes online. By enrolling in the same first-year courses as all other students, HJD students will have an opportunity to develop close connections with classmates and faculty, while gaining a new level of flexibility to live and work where they want during the remainder of law school. Applications are available now to enroll beginning fall 2021.

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September 25, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Faculty Struggle With Burnout During COVID-19

Inside Higher Ed, Faculty Struggle With Burnout:

"Faculty burnout -- exacerbated by pandemic-related stressors, absent childcare and school, and unrelenting or even accelerating work expectations from colleagues -- poses real and serious risk for mental health challenges of unprecedented scope," said June Gruber, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Gruber co-wrote a column for Science last month saying that academe needs a "reality check" regarding expectations for faculty this semester. ...

Lisa Jaremka, assistant professor of social-health psychology at the University of Delaware, and co-author of a recent paper on "common academic experiences no one talks about" -- including burnout -- also said that the main consequences of burnout include mental health issues. Disillusionment with work is another danger.

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September 25, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

How Philanthropy Benefits The Super-Rich

The Guardian, How Philanthropy Benefits the Super-Rich:

Philanthropy, it is popularly supposed, transfers money from the rich to the poor. This is not the case. In the US, which statistics show to be the most philanthropic of nations, barely a fifth of the money donated by big givers goes to the poor. A lot goes to the arts, sports teams and other cultural pursuits, and half goes to education and healthcare. At first glance that seems to fit the popular profile of “giving to good causes”. But dig down a little. 

The biggest donations in education in 2019 went to the elite universities and schools that the rich themselves had attended. In the UK, in the 10-year period to 2017, more than two-thirds of all millionaire donations — £4.79bn — went to higher education, and half of these went to just two universities: Oxford and Cambridge. When the rich and the middle classes give to schools, they give more to those attended by their own children than to those of the poor. British millionaires in that same decade gave £1.04bn to the arts, and just £222m to alleviating poverty.

The common assumption that philanthropy automatically results in a redistribution of money is wrong. A lot of elite philanthropy is about elite causes. Rather than making the world a better place, it largely reinforces the world as it is. Philanthropy very often favours the rich — and no one holds philanthropists to account for it.

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September 25, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 24, 2020

D.C. Is Fifth Jurisdiction To Adopt Diploma Privilege During COVID-19

Karen Sloan (, District of Columbia Adopts Diploma Privilege in Bar Exam's 11th Hour:

DC Bar (2020)The District of Columbia Court of Appeals on Thursday adopted a diploma privilege program that will allow recent law graduates to be admitted to practice without taking the bar exam, provided they practice under the supervision of a local attorney for three years.

That makes Washington, D.C., the fifth jurisdiction to create a pathway into the profession that bypasses the bar exam amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Utah, Washington, Oregon, and Louisiana have already taken similar measures.

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September 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Seattle Is Eleventh Law School To Offer Hybrid Online J.D.

Seattle University School of Law, Flex JD Program: The Best of Both Worlds:

Hybrid JDSeattle U Law’s new part-time hybrid-online JD program, starting fall 2021*, will prepare you to become a practicing attorney
*Pending ABA acquiescence

Why choose Flex JD?

A flexible format that fits your busy life

Complete most coursework online through an innovative hybrid online format, providing maximum schedule flexibility for students with work and family commitments.

Connect with classmates during limited campus visits

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September 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Supreme Court Rejects Emergency Diploma Privilege For Law School Graduates During COVID-19

In Re Temporary Waiver of the Bar Exam Requirement For Admission to the State Bar of California and Provision of Emergency Diploma Privilege, No S264358 (Cal. Sept. 23, 2020):

California Bar ExamThe court has considered petitioners' request for an emergency order waiving the California bar examination requirement for admission to the practice of law and granting immediate diploma privilege admission to applicants who have graduated from law school with either a J.D. or an LL.M degree; who are currently registered for the October 2020 California Bar Examination; and who otherwise meet all qualifications for admission to the State Bar of California. The request is denied.

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September 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Prof Twitter Census (2020-21 Edition)

TwitterAccording to Bridget Crawford's latest census, there are 1,368 Law Profs on Twitter (55.4% male/44.5% female), including 86 Tax Profs (several with tax in their Twitter handles):

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September 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Welcome To The ‘Turbulent Twenties’

Jack A. Goldstone (George Mason) & Peter Turchin (Connecticut), Welcome To The ‘Turbulent Twenties’:

Almost three decades ago, one of us, Jack Goldstone, published a simple model to determine a country’s vulnerability to political crisis. The model was based on how population changes shifted state, elite and popular behavior. Goldstone argued that, according to this Demographic-Structural Theory, in the 21st century, America was likely to get a populist, America-first leader who would sow a whirlwind of conflict.

Then ten years ago, the other of us, Peter Turchin, applied Goldstone’s model to U.S. history, using current data. What emerged was alarming: The U.S. was heading toward the highest level of vulnerability to political crisis seen in this country in over a hundred years. Even before Trump was elected, Turchin published his prediction that the U.S. was headed for the “Turbulent Twenties,” forecasting a period of growing instability in the United States and western Europe.

Given the Black Lives Matter protests and cascading clashes between competing armed factions in cities across the United States, from Portland, Oregon to Kenosha, Wisconsin, we are already well on our way there. But worse likely lies ahead.

Our model is based on the fact that across history, what creates the risk of political instability is the behavior of elites, who all too often react to long-term increases in population by committing three cardinal sins.

First, faced with a surge of labor that dampens growth in wages and productivity, elites seek to take a larger portion of economic gains for themselves, driving up inequality.

Second, facing greater competition for elite wealth and status, they tighten up the path to mobility to favor themselves and their progeny. For example, in an increasingly meritocratic society, elites could keep places at top universities limited and raise the entry requirements and costs in ways that favor the children of those who had already succeeded.

Third, anxious to hold on to their rising fortunes, they do all they can to resist taxation of their wealth and profits, even if that means starving the government of needed revenues, leading to decaying infrastructure, declining public services and fast-rising government debts.

Such selfish elites lead the way to revolutions. They create simmering conditions of greater inequality and declining effectiveness of, and respect for, government. But their actions alone are not sufficient. Urbanization and greater education are needed to create concentrations of aware and organized groups in the populace who can mobilize and act for change. ...

In applying our model to the U.S., we tracked a number of indicators of popular well-being, inequality and political polarization, all the way from 1800 to the present. These included the ratio of median workers’ wages to GDP per capita, life expectancy, the number of new millionaires and their influence on politics, the degree of strict party-line voting in Congress, and the incidence of deadly riots, terrorism and political assassinations. We found that all of these indicators pointed to two broad cycles in U.S. history. ...

Writing in the journal Nature in 2010, we pointed out that such trends were a reliable indicator of looming political instability and that they “look set to peak in the years around 2020.” In Ages of Discord, published early in 2016, we showed that America’s “political stress indicator” had turned up sharply in recent years and was on track to send us into the “Turbulent Twenties.”


The Political Stress Index (PSI) combines the three crisis indicators in the Goldstone-Turchin theory: declining living standards, increasing intra-elite competition/conflict and a weakening state. Growing PSI indicates increased likelihood of political violence. The Well-Being Index indicates greater equality, greater elite consensus and a more legitimate state.

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September 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

92% Of Law Schools Weigh Shorter (105 Minutes) Online LSAT The Same As Longer (175 Minutes) On-ground LSAT In Admissions Decisions

Kaplan Survey, Law Schools Say Applicants Who Take At-Home Version of LSAT® Amid COVID-19 Not at Admissions Disadvantage:

LSAT-FlexThere’s good news for law school applicants amid the most unpredictable admissions cycle in recent history. According to a new Kaplan survey of nearly 100 law schools across the United States, taking the shorter, one-hour and 45 minutes, at-home version of the usual LSAT exam—called the LSAT-Flex—will not put aspiring attorneys at an admissions disadvantage compared to those who submit scores from the regular exam*. According to the survey, 92 percent say they will evaluate applicants equally regardless of which LSAT version they take.

Another survey result finds that 60 percent agree that an at-home version of the LSAT “would produce a fair, reliable score for test-takers that I would have confidence in as an admissions officer evaluating applicants”; 13 percent disagree, while the remaining 27 percent didn’t offer a definitive opinion. ...

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

Schizer: The Conservative Legacy Of RBG

David M. Schizer (Former Dean, Columbia), The Conservative Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

RBGWith the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we have lost one of our nation's greatest legal minds. While she obviously was much beloved on the political left, we should not forget key aspects of her legacy that also resonated powerfully on the other side of the aisle, including her commitment to meritocracy, family, incremental change and the rule of law. I speak from personal experience, as a conservative who served as her law clerk during the October 1994 term—her second year on the Supreme Court—and stayed in close touch with her ever since.

RBG's friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the court's great conservative thinkers (who passed away in 2016), was perplexing to some commentators but made perfect sense to both justices. In part, their friendship sprang from the admiration each felt for the other's considerable talents, as well as from their shared love of opera. But their friendship was grounded also in common values. ...

[I]f you had asked me who exemplified the value of meritocracy—of letting people compete and show what they can do—RBG ... would have been my pick. As a champion for women's rights, she showed that everyone deserved to be judged on their merits. The Declaration of Independence promised us all the right to "the pursuit of happiness"—to develop our talents and pursue our dreams. RBG urged the nation to honor this commitment to women, as well as to men. Success should be based on ability, not biology.

RBG knew firsthand the frustration of not being judged on merit. Even though she was at the top of her law school class, no one would hire her after graduation in 1959. She would joke that as a woman, a mother and a Jew, she was a triple threat.

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September 23, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

NY Times: Law Firms Pay Supreme Court Clerks $400,000 Bonuses; New Study Confirms Their Influence With Their Justice

New York Times, Law Firms Pay Supreme Court Clerks $400,000 Bonuses. What Are They Buying?:

Supreme Court justices make $265,600 a year. The chief justice gets $277,700.

Their law clerks do a lot better. After a year of service at the court, they are routinely offered signing bonuses of $400,000 from law firms, on top of healthy salaries of more than $200,000.

What are the firms paying for? In a profession obsessed with shiny credentials, a Supreme Court clerkship glitters. Hiring former clerks burnishes the firms’ prestige, making them more attractive to clients.

Still, the former clerks are typically young lawyers just a couple of years out of law school, and the bonuses have a second and more problematic element, said Stephen Gillers, an expert on legal ethics at New York University. “They’re buying something else: a kind of inside information about how the court is thinking and how individual justices might be thinking,” he said.

The Supreme Court appears to recognize that this is a problem. Its rules impose a two-year ban barring former clerks from working on “any case pending before this court or in any case being considered for filing in this court.” (The rules also impose a permanent ban on working on “any case that was pending in this court during the employee’s tenure.”) ...

A new study in Political Research Quarterly suggests that the ban has not been completely successful [Ryan Black (Michigan State) & Ryan Owens (Wisconsin), The Influence of Personalized Knowledge at the Supreme Court: How (Some) Former Law Clerks Have the Inside Track.].

It examined about 3,600 Supreme Court arguments over two decades, controlling for many factors, and found that former clerks making arguments before the court were no more likely to persuade most justices than other lawyers. Another study last year came to a similar conclusion [Michael Nelson (Penn State) & Lee Epstein (Washington University), Lawyers With More Experience Obtain Better Outcomes].

But the new study identified one striking exception. Former clerks were 16 percentage points more likely to attract the votes of the justice for whom they had worked. The relationship increased their chances of obtaining their former boss’s vote to about 73 percent, from about 57 percent.

Court 1

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September 23, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

USC Professors Are 'Scared To Death To Teach' After Colleague 'Thrown Under The Bus' By Dean For Using Mandarin Word 'Nèige' In Class

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘Scared to Death to Teach’: Internal Report Cites ‘Chilling Effect’:

USC Marshall (2020)An anonymous survey of 105 professors at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business suggests that many of them have lost confidence in the dean, and that they feel “livid,” “betrayed,” and “scared of students” after a fellow faculty member was “thrown under the bus,” as several of them described it, following a controversy over his use of a Chinese word [see 29-page report here].

The faculty member, Greg Patton, a professor of clinical business communication, used the word nèige (那个), which literally means “that” in Mandarin, but is also commonly used as a filler word like “um” or “er.” It was part of an example during a Zoom class last month on how such words can prove distracting during presentations. The word is pronounced “nay-ga,” and some Black students in the class complained in an email to administrators that it sounded like the n-word.

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September 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Yet Another Generous Dean: Laura Rosenbury

Karen Sloan (, Yet Another Generous Dean:

Rosenbury (2020)I’m checking in on this welcome trend of law deans cutting big checks to their schools. The latest entrant is the University of Florida’s Laura Rosenbury. ...

I’ve been keep track of law deans making major donations to their schools during these crazy pandemic times, and I’m happy to add another one to the list. University of Florida law dean Laura Rosenbury has donated a total of $100,000 to various student support and scholarship programs. She joins Penn State Dickinson law dean Danielle Conway, Pepperdine law dean Paul Caron, and Florida International University law dean Antony Page in making six-figure gifts to their law schools in recent weeks.

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

California Bar Applicants Confront Pandemic, Fires, And Dubious Online Test

San Francisco Chronicle, California State Bar Exam, Delayed Amid Pandemic, Becomes Contentious:

California Bar ExamSamuel Humy graduated from Cornell Law School this year and moved to California.

With a job lined up with the Santa Clara County Public Defender Office, he planned to take the California State Bar exam over the summer and start work in early August as a full-fledged lawyer.

Then the coronavirus happened. And the fires.

The State Bar pushed the test normally scheduled in July back to September, then to October as it figured out the software and security issues around a new online format for the hours-long exam, which normally involves test takers crammed into conference rooms.

Humy and his partner, who is also taking the bar, found a place in Santa Cruz to study, but the CZU Lightning Complex fires forced them to evacuate.

“The bar is a stressful test,” without having to worry about a pandemic, fires and an untested online format, Humy said.

Plenty of other would-be lawyers around California are also unsettled. ...

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September 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

U.S. Department Of Education Launches Civil Rights Investigation Following President's Admission Of Racism At Princeton

Chronicle of Higher Education, Princeton Acknowledged ‘Embedded’ Racism. The Education Dept. Says That’s Grounds for an Investigation:

PrincetonThe U.S. Education Department is investigating Princeton University for a possible violation of federal civil-rights law after the university’s president made public comments acknowledging systemic and embedded racism at the institution.

Department officials expressed concern in a letter to the university, dated September 16, that Princeton, “based on its admitted racism,” was not compliant with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits institutions that practice racial discrimination from receiving federal funds. Noting that Princeton had received “well over $75 million” in federal support since 2013, the letter stated that the university’s prior nondiscrimination and equal-opportunity assurances “may have been false.”

In this case, the “admitted racism” was an open letter that Princeton’s president, Christopher L. Eisgruber, sent to the Princeton community earlier this month. In the message, Eisgruber outlined steps his administration planned to take “to address systemic racism at Princeton and beyond.”

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September 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

NY Times: How Climate Migration Will Reshape America

New York Times Magazine, How Climate Migration Will Reshape America:

In recent years, summer has brought a season of fear to California, with ever-worsening wildfires closing in. But this year felt different. The hopelessness of the pattern was now clear, and the pandemic had already uprooted so many Americans. Relocation no longer seemed like such a distant prospect. Like the subjects of my reporting, climate change had found me, its indiscriminate forces erasing all semblance of normalcy. Suddenly I had to ask myself the very question I’d been asking others: Was it time to move?

I am far from the only American facing such questions. This summer has seen more fires, more heat, more storms — all of it making life increasingly untenable in larger areas of the nation. Already, droughts regularly threaten food crops across the West, while destructive floods inundate towns and fields from the Dakotas to Maryland, collapsing dams in Michigan and raising the shorelines of the Great Lakes. Rising seas and increasingly violent hurricanes are making thousands of miles of American shoreline nearly uninhabitable. As California burned, Hurricane Laura pounded the Louisiana coast with 150-mile-an-hour winds, killing at least 25 people; it was the 12th named storm to form by that point in 2020, another record. Phoenix, meanwhile, endured 53 days of 110-degree heat — 20 more days than the previous record.

For years, Americans have avoided confronting these changes in their own backyards. The decisions we make about where to live are distorted not just by politics that play down climate risks, but also by expensive subsidies and incentives aimed at defying nature. In much of the developing world, vulnerable people will attempt to flee the emerging perils of global warming, seeking cooler temperatures, more fresh water and safety. But here in the United States, people have largely gravitated toward environmental danger, building along coastlines from New Jersey to Florida and settling across the cloudless deserts of the Southwest.

I wanted to know if this was beginning to change. Might Americans finally be waking up to how climate is about to transform their lives? And if so — if a great domestic relocation might be in the offing — was it possible to project where we might go? To answer these questions, I interviewed more than four dozen experts: economists and demographers, climate scientists and insurance executives, architects and urban planners, and I mapped out the danger zones that will close in on Americans over the next 30 years. The maps for the first time combined exclusive climate data from the Rhodium Group, an independent data-analytics firm; wildfire projections modeled by United States Forest Service researchers and others; and data about America’s shifting climate niches, an evolution of work first published by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last spring. (See a detailed analysis of the maps.)


What I found was a nation on the cusp of a great transformation

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

Monday, September 21, 2020

Bar Exam Update

2019-20 Survey of Applied Legal Education

The Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE) has released Robert R. Kuehn (Washington University), Margaret Reuter (UMKC) & David A. Santacroce (Michigan), 2019-20 Survey of Applied Legal Education:

CSALEThe report summarizes the collective survey responses from 95% of law schools and over 1,300 law clinic and field placement instructors. The 2019-20 survey, CSALE’s fifth tri-annual survey, provides the most comprehensive, accurate picture to date of clinical legal education programs, courses, and faculty.

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

The Cost Of The University Of Florida's Ascent Up The U.S. News Rankings, From #52 (#17 Among Public Universities) To #30 (#6)

Following up on my previous post, 2021 U.S. News College Rankings:  Chronicle of Higher Education, The Rules of the Game:

Florida US NewsHow the U.S. News rankings helped reshape one state’s public colleges.

For Bernie Machen, it started before he’d been hired. The University of Florida’s Board of Trustees was looking for a president who would commit to moving the institution up the U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings.

“The thing that would bring us all together was to be able to bring the university, that we all went to and loved, to the top 10,” said Manny Fernandez, a tech-company executive who chaired the 2003 presidential search. At the time, the University of Florida ranked No. 52 over all and No. 17 among public universities. The board wanted to see the Gators among the top 10 public institutions.

Fernandez was tired of the reactions he would get when he divulged his alma mater at parties. Either people wouldn’t have really heard of the University of Florida — “or somebody would say, ‘Wasn’t that voted No. 1 party school by Playboy?’” Fernandez was offended. “I believe I am who I am today because I went to this school,” he said. “We needed to change the external perception of the University of Florida.” U.S. News was one very effective way to do that.

Machen, too, believed in the goal. While many people inside and outside of higher education today argue that a high ranking doesn’t necessarily translate to quality, Machen believed in many of U.S. News’s metrics. “I feel that many of them are relevant and worth shooting for,” he said, “and I think improving on those variables made us a better institution.”

He became the president of the University of Florida in January 2004. He would not see the Gators reach his goal; he retired in 2014, when UF was No. 14 among public universities. But he set the ball for the next administration’s spike. The Gators would break into the top 10 in 2017. On Monday, in U.S. News’ latest rankings, they ranked sixth — on the verge of reaching their latest goal: top five.

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

Did USC Professor Get What He Deserved For Using Mandarin Word 'Nèige' In Class?

Following up on my previous post, USC Professor Removed From Class After Using Mandarin Word That Sounds Like English N***** Racial Slur:  Chronicle of Higher Education, How One Word Led to an Uproar:

USC Marshall (2020)Greg Patton was accused of using a racial slur in class. Did the business professor get what he deserved — or is he a convenient scapegoat?

Greg Patton said the word near the end of class. He was explaining how, when you make a presentation, it’s helpful to pause sometimes to let your audience absorb the information. Nervous speakers tend to fill the gaps with ums and ers when silence is preferable. It’s the kind of nuts-and-bolts advice that Patton, a professor of clinical business communication, has dispensed to M.B.A. students at the University of Southern California for a couple of decades now. He thought nothing of it at the time.

Many of his students aren’t from the United States. A typical M.B.A. class at Southern Cal’s Marshall School of Business is about one-third international, though that proportion is lower this year — around 12 percent — because of the pandemic. Patton tells students who aren’t native English speakers that he’s not a stickler on word choice or pronunciation; he cares more about their ideas. He also tries to mix in culturally diverse examples. When he talks about the importance of pausing, for instance, he notes that other languages have equivalent filler words. Because he taught in the university’s Shanghai program for years, his go-to example is taken from Mandarin: nèige (那个). It literally means “that,” but it’s also widely used in the same way as um.

And it sounds a bit like the n-word. The resemblance isn’t exact: The first vowel is a long “a” rather than a short “i,” and there’s no “r” sound at the end. It’s more like “nay-ga.” But it’s similar enough that, when it’s said rapidly and repeatedly, and heard out of context, an English speaker could mistake it for the racist slur. That is how several of Patton’s students apparently heard it in a class on August 20, and they complained to the administration. The complaint led to Patton’s removal from the course.

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September 21, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Sunday, September 20, 2020

State Auditor Tries To Fire Tenured Professor Who Participated In #ScholarStrike

Following up on my previous post, #ScholarStrike: Professors Plan Strike For Racial Justice:  Clarion Ledger, State Auditor Investigating Ole Miss Professor Who Participated in Strike:

#ScholarStrikeState Auditor Shad White is pushing Ole Miss to fire one of its professors, James Thomas (@Insurgent_Prof), saying Thomas illegally participated in a two-day strike last week.

White sent a letter to Ole Miss Chancellor Glenn Boyce on Monday describing a "work stoppage" the sociology professor participated in on Sept. 8 and 9. The nationwide event was called "Scholar Strike," and involved professors and others in academia halting their classes and other duties to protest racism, police brutality and other racial injustice issues.

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September 20, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)