Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

What Is Causing The 3+ Week Delay In The U.S. News Law School Rankings?

US News (2023)Following up on my previous posts:

Mike Spivey has an interesting theory of the reason for the delay in the law school rankings:

Another *possible* USNWR law/med rankings delay theory: peer assessment voting was somehow messed up when excluding non participating schools. Might explain why med & law were the two delayed, since both have assessment scores that *should* be excluded for the non participants.

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May 3, 2023 in ABA Tax Section, Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Law School Rankings: Federal Judicial Clerkships

Reuters, These Law Schools Sent the Most Grads to Federal Clerkships:

A relatively small number of law schools dominate the federal clerk hiring market. The 10 law schools with the highest percentage of federal clerks produced one-third of all clerks nationwide this year, according to the ABA figures.


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May 3, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Yale Law School Accepted A $105,000 Donation For Justice Thomas's Portrait. Five Years Later, It Is Nowhere To Be Seen.

Washington Free Beacon, Yale Law School Accepted a Donation for Clarence Thomas's Portrait. Five Years Later, the Painting Is Nowhere To Be Seen.:

Yale Law Logo (2020)In the spring of 2018, Yale Law School dean Heather Gerken happily acknowledged the receipt of a donation from the Texas billionaire Harlan Crow to fund the commission of a portrait of Crow's friend, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. ...

"We are so pleased to welcome the justice to our outstanding gallery of portraits," Gerken wrote. "They will always have a place of prominence at Yale Law School." Five years later, students and faculty members say they've never seen it, and certainly not displayed in a place of prominence.

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May 2, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Law Schools Face An Inflection Point With Diversity, Equity And Inclusion

Following up my previous post, The ABA Needs Ideological Diversity to Ensure Its Future:  ABA Journal Op-Ed:  Law Schools Face an Inflection Point With Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, by Josh Blackman (South Texas; Google Scholar):

In recent years, there has been a rise in law students heckling speakers. In 2018, I was shouted down at the CUNY Law School in New York. In 2022, Ilya Shapiro was shouted down at the law school formerly known as Hastings. And more recently, Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan of the Fifth Circuit was shouted down at Stanford Law School.

We were protested for speaking on different topics, but there was a common thread: Students at each institution insisted that we were not welcome on campus; that our mere presence made them feel unsafe; and that our messages were not worth the pain and suffering we would cause. Thus, the students refused to let us speak.

Who is to blame for these protests? Of course, the students who heckled speakers, in clear violation of university policy, were at fault. But the blame goes much deeper. These students have been taught from the earliest age that harmful speech has no place in educational institutions. ...

Universities and faculties in particular should take decisive action to prevent [DEI administrators] from subverting the core principles of academic inquiry. At this inflection point, I propose a five-course action plan.

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May 2, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tax Prof Twitter Problems: Suspension, Hack

Andy Grewal (Iowa) and Daniel Hemel (NYU) are two of the more active Tax Profs on twitter. Both have lost access to their accounts for different reasons.

Twitter suspended Andy's account (@AndyGrewal) as a result of a twitter conversation with a friend (Andrew Dhuey) over the proper response to the alleged controversy around Justice Thomas. Andrew argued that serious ethical violations had occurred and he sought a monetary penalty. I thought this was a grave overreaction. To illustrate my position, I sarcastically said that I would "prefer the guillotine" for Justice Thomas.

Twitter concluded that the tweet was an attempt to "threaten, incite, glorify, or express a desire for harm or violence:"

GrewalMany people, including Andrew, tried to explain that Andy's silly tweet did no such thing. But Twitter has rejected his appeals. Andy engaged in some self-help and is now tweeting on a new account (@ProfGrewal) but has lost thousands of followers.

Daniel (@DanielJHemel) took to Slate to announce My Twitter’s Been Hacked. But Hasn’t Everyone’s?:

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May 2, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax News, Tax Profs | Permalink

Monday, May 1, 2023

Legal Ed News Roundup

NY Times: How Scalia Law School Became A Key Friend Of The Court

New York Times, How Scalia Law School Became a Key Friend of the Court:

George Mason Scalia (2020)The school cultivated ties to justices, with generous pay and unusual perks. In turn, it gained prestige, donations and influence. ...

[George Mason] law school had long stood out for its rightward leanings and ties to conservative benefactors. Its renaming after Justice Scalia in 2016 was the result of a $30 million gift brokered by Leonard Leo, prime architect of a grand project then gathering force to transform the federal judiciary and further the legal imperatives of the right. An ascendant law school at George Mason would be part of that plan.

Since the rebranding, the law school has developed an unusually expansive relationship with the justices of the high court — welcoming them as teachers but also as lecturers and special guests at school events. Scalia Law, in turn, has marketed that closeness with the justices as a unique draw to prospective students and donors.

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

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Pepperdine Caruso Law's New Religious Clinic Engages Its First Direct Representation Of Clients: Two New Jersey Churches Denied County Historic Preservation Funds

Pepperdine Caruso Law's new religious liberty clinic has engaged its first direct representation of clients

ComplaintPepperdine Caruso Law’s Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Religious Liberty Clinic, in collaboration with the First Liberty Institute and Jones Day, has filed a federal lawsuit against Morris County, New Jersey on behalf of The Mendham Methodist Church and The Zion Lutheran Church Long Valley in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

The suit challenges Morris County’s policy of excluding houses of worship from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund, which grants public funds to organizations and entities whose purposes include historic preservation. Past grant recipients have included a local theater, a Masonic lodge, and a restaurant. Meanwhile, two centuries-old churches with a longstanding community presence are excluded from the historic preservation program simply for being faith-based institutions.

“This case is important because we are not asking that churches get anything beyond what any other organizations would receive –– we just ask that churches with substantial interests in historical preservation be considered equally for the same generally available funds that non-religious organizations receive,” said Tiereney Souza, a second-year law student at Pepperdine Caruso Law who helped write the complaint.

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April 30, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Saturday, April 29, 2023

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Top Ten 2Legal Education:

  1. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), U.S. News Releases Preview Of 2024 Law School Rankings: Top 14 And New Methodology
  2. Mike Spivey, Projected 2024 U.S. News Rankings For All 191 Law Schools
  3. New York Times, Rankings Schadenfreude: Elite Law Schools Boycotted U.S. News But Now May Be Paying A Price
  4. ABA Section of Legal Education, Employment Data for Graduating Law Class of 2022
  5. Reuters, An Early Preview Of The 2025 U.S. News Law School Rankings: Employment
  6. Derek Muller (Iowa), Some Law Schools Don't Understand The U.S. News Rankings, In Part Because Of The Opaque Methodology
  7. Reuters, UC-Berkeley Law School Rolls Out AI Policy Ahead of Final Exams
  8. Neil Buchanan (Florida), 5-Part Series On The Stanford Free Speech Controversy
  9. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), U.S. News Delays Release Of Law School Rankings Again Due To 'Unprecedented Number Of Inquiries,' Including From Schools That Are Ostensibly Boycotting The Rankings
  10. U.S. News FAQ, Law School Scholarly Impact Rankings


  1. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: Prepare Once, File Twice
  2. Bloomberg Businessweek, Inside the IRS’s Shrinking Band of Wealth Hunters
  3. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Actual Payment Doctrine
  4. New York Times, IRS Whistleblower Claims Administration Is Mishandling Probe Of Hunter Biden
  5. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: Attend Carefully To Your Entity Baskets
  6. Wall Street Journal, The Problem With The IRS Pledge Not To Audit More Earners Under $400,000
  7. BYU News, ChatGPT Bombs Accounting And Tax Exams: 47% v. 77% For Students
  8. SSRN, The Top Five New Tax Papers
  9. Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Cardozo), Review Of The Internet Tax Freedom Act At 25, By Walter Hellerstein (Georgia) & Andrew Appleby (Stetson)
  10. Roundup, Tax Policy In The Biden Administration


  1. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Pepperdine Caruso Law 3L Commissioning Service

April 29, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Weekly Top 10 TaxProf Blog Posts | Permalink

The Top Law Schools For Placing The Class Of 2022 In BigLaw Jobs

Following up on yesterday's post, An Early Preview Of The 2025 U.S. News Law School Rankings: Employment:  Reuters, Large U.S. Law Firms Love Hiring From These Schools:

Cornell Law School has done it again.

The Ivy League school sent a higher percentage of its 2022 graduates into jobs at large law firms than any other U.S. law school, new data from the American Bar Association shows. Cornell took the top spot in 2021 as well.

Nearly 80% of Cornell’s 2022 juris doctors landed jobs at firms of 251 or more lawyers within 10 months of graduation, up from 76% the previous year.


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April 29, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

University Of Arizona Law School Shifts Classes And Final Exams Online Due To Alleged Threat, UArizona Law Classes, Exams Go Remote Due to Alleged Threats:

Arizona (2023)For the second time this month, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law was forced to cancel in-person classes—including switching final exams to remote—due to alleged threats.

In-person classes were cancelled through Wednesday and were being held online—similar to what happened on April 10 through April 12—local news stations, including KGUN9, have been reporting.

The closure comes out of “an abundance of caution,” University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Robbins told KGUN9. ...

The person who precipitated these events that began on Monday, April 10, has been barred from campus. ...

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April 29, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, April 28, 2023

An Empirical Study Of The Bar Examination’s Disparate Impact On Applicants From Communities Of Color

Following up on yesterday's post, An Empirical Analysis Of Racial Bias In The UBE: A Law School’s First-Time Bar Pass Rate Decreases As Its Percentage Of Students Of Color Increases: Scott Devito (Ave Maria; Google Scholar), Kelsey Hample (Furman; Google Scholar) & Erin Lain (Drake; Google Scholar), Onerous Disabilities and Burdens: An Empirical Study of the Bar Examination’s Disparate Impact on Applicants From Communities of Color, 43 Pace L. Rev. ___ (2023):

This Article provides the results of the most comprehensive and detailed analysis of the correlation between bar passage and race and ethnicity. It provides the first proof of racially disparate outcomes of the bar exam, both for first-time and ultimate bar passage, across jurisdictions and within law schools. Using data from 63 public law schools, we found that examinees from Communities of Color underperform White examinees by between 12.3 and 72.72 percentage points with all but one racial/ethnic group underperforming by more than 20 percentage points.

Bar Pass

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April 28, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

An Early Preview Of The 2025 U.S. News Law School Rankings: Employment

UpdateThe Top Law Schools For Placing The Class Of 2022 In BigLaw Jobs

Following up on my previous posts:

Reuters, These Law Schools Aced the Job Market in 2022:

The University of Virginia School of Law had a banner year on the jobs front in 2022. More than 95% of the school’s 2022 juris doctors secured permanent, full-time jobs that require passing the bar — the most among all 197 American Bar Association-accredited law schools, new figures show. ...

Reuters analyzed the ABA's numbers to determine which law schools’ grads fared the best on the entry-level job market. Eight of the so-called T-14 schools, ranked in the top 14 by U.S. News & World Report, were among the 20 schools with the highest percentage of 2021 graduates in permanent, full-time jobs that require bar passage. 


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April 28, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

ABA Releases Class Of 2022 Jobs Data: Full-Credit Jobs Rate Is 84.6%, Up From 83.0% Last Year

ABA Legal Education Section Releases Employment Data for Graduating Law Class of 2022:

Employment data for the graduating law class of 2022 as reported by American Bar Association-approved law schools to the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar as of April 5, is now available.

The 2023 Employment Outcomes Table provides select national outcomes and side-by-side comparisons for the classes of 2021 and 2022. Further reports on employment outcomes, including links to individual school outcomes and spreadsheets aggregating those reports, will be available soon on the ABA Required Disclosures page of the section’s website. Schools can make minor corrections to their individual school outcomes for the Class of 2022 until Dec. 20. These corrections will be reflected in the Employment Summary Reports that are required to be posted publicly on their websites, as well as on the ABA Required Disclosures page. ...

For the class of 2022, the aggregated school data shows that 30,512 or 84.6% of the 2022 graduates were employed in full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs roughly 10 months after graduation. That compares to 29,624 or 83% of the graduates reporting similar full-time, long-term jobs last year. The actual number of full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs increased by 888 (+3%) year-over-year.


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April 26, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Neil Buchanan's 5-Part Series On The Stanford Free Speech Controversy

Duncan Stanford

Neil H. Buchanan (Florida), A Public Statement About Law Students (and Others) Acting Like Children, from a Fictional University President— Or, the Stanford Incident is Not What You Think (Apr, 13, 2023):

[T]he current cause célèbre among those who claim that American universities have been overrun by “illiberal leftist extremists” whose minds are supposedly closed to reasonable engagement is an incident at Stanford Law School last month in which an extreme right-wing federal judge was “shouted down” (maybe) by students who object to his substantive views and his treatment of vulnerable people. Cue the outrage from the usual commentators on the right and center, always on the lookout for any way to cloak themselves in the righteous garb of free inquiry. See? they exclaim innocently, Those liberals on campus are a bunch of crybabies who cannot even engage with their opponents’ ideas—and at a law school, no less! All we want is a chance to have a robust debate.

Color me skeptical. Among other things, right-wing virtue signaling was never so transparent. In any event, I was recently forwarded an email from a friend at another university, in which one of the top administrators at a highly ranked university said that his school’s students are “durable” and strong enough to accept “viewpoint diversity on campus” and promising that nothing like what happened at Stanford can happen at his university. Although the term viewpoint diversity has become code on the right for “we get to say any hateful thing we want, and you can’t criticize us for it,” I want to take that administrator’s idea seriously, in particular the claim advanced by others on the right that the Stanford protesters were acting like pampered children.

In that spirit, I have named myself the president of the fictional Fair-minded University (FU), and the remainder of this column is the letter that I have sent to my campus in response to the Stanford imbroglio.

Fabricated Outrage and the Right's Attack on Higher Education (Apr. 14, 2023):

The key takeaways from my [April 13 column above] were: (1) that the judge in question was the most childish of any of the actors in that over-hyped drama, a shameless bully who apparently thinks that being invited to speak at a major law school gives him license to be a fucking asshole braying jackass and then whine about how he was treated; and (2) that the other students in the story, the members of the conservative law school club who invited the judge to speak, were acting like nasty, vindictive children.

Here, I want to ask whether my second point in that Verdict column matters.  That is, does the intent of those who invited the speaker to visit the campus in fact change how we should think about the overall controversy?  I will also point out that my explanation for how the incident began shortchanged another part of the story: a national organization's efforts to contrive controversies like this, not out of childishness but as a matter of strategic political warfare. ...

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April 26, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Private College Tuition Discount Rate Hits All-Time High Of 56.2%

NACUBO, Tuition Discount Rates at Private Colleges and Universities Top 50 Percent:

In the 2022 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study, 341 private, nonprofit colleges and universities reported an estimated 56.2 percent average institutional tuition discount rate for first-time, full-time, first-year students in academic year (AY) 2022-23 and 50.9 percent for all undergraduates—both record highs. By providing grants, fellowships, and scholarships, these institutions forgo more than half the revenue they otherwise would collect if they charged all students the tuition and fee sticker price.


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April 25, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The ABA Needs Ideological Diversity to Ensure Its Future

ABA Journal Op-Ed:  The ABA Needs Ideological Diversity to Ensure Its Future, by Josh Blackman (South Texas; Google Scholar):

A generation ago, nearly half of the lawyers in the United States were members of the American Bar Association. Today, that number is probably closer to 20%, if not lower. This decline is often attributed to an unwillingness of young attorneys to join civic organizations. Or perhaps lawyers no longer see tangible benefits from membership. Or maybe the dues are too high. All of these explanations ignore the elephant in the room—and I mean elephant in the figurative and political sense. The American Bar Association consistently skews to the political left. And this progressive mandate alienates conservative lawyers. ...

Historically, the ABA has enjoyed a position of privilege and power in our polity. That authority was due, in large part, to the ABA’s capacity to broadly represent the legal profession. But there is no guarantee this distinguished role continues.

Indeed, the ABA’s progressive slant risks its own obsolescence by alienating members. And that process already has begun. ...

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April 25, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, April 24, 2023

Legal Ed News Roundup

Muller: Some Law Schools Don't Understand The U.S. News Rankings, In Part Because Of The Opaque Methodology

Following up on Saturday's post, New York Times, Rankings Schadenfreude: Elite Law Schools Boycotted U.S. News But Now May Be Paying A Price: Derek Muller (Iowa; Google Scholar), Some Law Schools Fundamentally Misunderstand the USNWR Formula, in Part Because of USNWR's Opaque Methodology:

US News (2023)Earlier this week, USNWR announced it was indefinitely postponing release of its law school rankings, after delaying their release one week. It isn’t the first data fiasco that’s hit USNWR in law rankings. In 2021, it had four independent problems, two disputed methodology and two disputed data, that forced retraction and recalculation.

There are likely obvious problems with the data that USNWR collected. For instance, Paul Caron earlier noted the discrepancies in bar passage data as released by the ABA. I noticed similar problems back in January, but (1) I remedied some of them and (2) left the rest as is, assuming, for my purposes, close was good enough. (It was.) The ABA has a spreadsheet of data that it does not update, and individual PDFs for each law school that it does update—that means any discrepancies that are corrected must later be manually supplemented to the spreadsheet. It is a terrible system. It is exacerbated by the confusing columns that ABA uses to disclose data. But it only affected a small handful of schools. It is possible USNWR has observed this issue and is correcting it. And it is possible this affects a small number of schools.

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April 24, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

BigLaw Bias: To Represent Conservative Clients, Top Lawyers Often Forced To Leave Their Firms

Aaron Sibarium (Washington Free Beacon), The Big Law Bias: To Represent Conservative Clients, Top Lawyers Often Forced To Leave Their Firms:

The indictment of former president Donald Trump—unprecedented in U.S. history and based on what many experts say are flimsy foundations—has stoked fresh fears about the politicization of the justice system. But it has also highlighted a trend that began long before Trump's arraignment: the politicization of top-flight law firms.

Todd Blanche, a longtime partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham, & Taft, resigned last week from the elite firm to represent Trump, who was indicted on April 4 by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg (D.). Though Cadwalader has been tight-lipped about the circumstances of Blanche's departure, Blanche himself said something interesting. "Obviously," his parting email indicated, "doing this as a partner at Cadwalader was not an option, so I have had to make the difficult choice to leave the firm." Within hours, Cadwalader had scrubbed Blanche's bio from the firm's website. Neither Blanche nor Cadwalader responded to requests for comment.

The resignation, and the ultimatum from Cadwalader that it implied, was not a one-off. Like their corporate clients, top law firms have taken a sharp left turn over the past decade, joining groups like the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance and even hosting drag queens for Pride Month. That flight from the political center, lawyers and legal commentators say, has made "Big Law" much less willing to take conservative clients—especially when their last name is Trump. ...

Top attorneys now face a choice between cushy partnerships and conservative clients, whom white-shoe law firms won't represent. That has in turn fueled an imbalance of power within the legal system, as America's biggest and best-heeled firms increasingly do the bidding of one political party. ...

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April 24, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, April 22, 2023

NY Times: Rankings Schadenfreude — Elite Law Schools Boycotted U.S. News But Now May Be Paying A Price

New York Times, Elite Law Schools Boycotted the U.S. News Rankings. Now, They May Be Paying a Price.:

US News (2023)It may be a case of be careful what you wish for.

Seven months ago, dozens of elite law schools and medical schools announced that they were boycotting the U.S. News & World Report rankings and refusing to give the publication any data. The rankings, they said, were unreliable and skewed educational priorities.

Last week, U.S. News previewed its first rankings since the boycott — for the top dozen or so law and medical schools only — and now, it seems, many of these same schools care quite a lot about their portrayal in the publication’s pecking order.

In fact, their complaints about the methodology were so forceful that U.S. News announced on Wednesday that it had indefinitely postponed the ranking’s official publication. ...

This latest skirmish — which comes as students are committing themselves to schools, often with U.S. News as a guide — demonstrates that even a boycott enveloped in the ivy of Yale and Harvard may be no match for the influence of the U.S. News rankings system.

Yale exited in November, followed shortly thereafter by Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, Columbia and the University of California, Berkeley, among others. Harvard was the first medical school to depart, followed by schools like Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania.

Facing a revolt, U.S. News went on a listening tour of more than 100 schools and conducted what it said was the most significant revision of its methodology ever. To fill in the missing data from boycotting schools, it used public numbers from sources like the American Bar Association.

When the rankings preview was released, not much changed. Yale Law School was still No. 1 (though now tied with Stanford). U.C.L.A’s law school bumped Georgetown out of the “Top 14.” Harvard Medical School dropped to No. 3 from No. 1 in the research ranking, replaced in the top spot by Johns Hopkins.

But boycotting schools were still upset over some of the data, especially the way that U.S. News counted after-graduation employment.

U.S. News had said that it would change its methodology and count students on fellowships as employed, with the caveat that the fellowships were long term and required passage of the bar exam (or, at the very least, that a law degree gave an advantage to the fellowships).

Factoring in the fellowships, Yale expected its employment rate to rise to nearly 100 percent [96.8%] from 90 percent. Instead, it dropped to 80 percent [79.6%], at least from what Yale said it had gathered from hearing about the data through media reports. (Yale said it had not purchased access to the data or been in touch with U.S. News.) ...

The University of California, Berkeley, had similar complaints, saying that students in its joint law and Ph.D. program, who take longer to graduate, were being counted as unemployed.

[As I noted on April 18th, this criticism is incorrect. Although U.S. News for some reason excluded graduates working in law school-funded fellowships and pursuing advanced degrees from the jobs data in the spreadsheet emailed to law school deans, U.S. News included those positions in their calculation of the rankings:

U.S. News could not have used the 79.8% figure because that would have ranked Yale 136th in the jobs metric (before adjustment by U.S. News), which is given a significantly increased weighting this year and thus would have prevented Yale from being tied for #1 in the overall ranking. Instead, U.S. News must have used the 96.8% figure because that would have ranked Yale 12th in jobs and enabled them to be tied for #1 in the overall ranking.

Derek Muller (Iowa) and Mike Spivey also have noted that this criticism is incorrect.]

To some university officials, the dust-up reveals the hypocrisy of the high-minded schools.

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

UC-Berkeley Law School Rolls Out AI Policy Ahead of Final Exams

Reuters, University of California Berkeley Law School Rolls Out AI Policy Ahead of Final Exams:

UC Berkeley (2022)The University of California, Berkeley School of Law is among the first law schools to adopt a formal policy on student use of generative artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT.

The policy, rolled out April 14, allows students to use AI technology to conduct research or correct grammar. But it may not be used on exams or to compose any submitted assignments. And it can’t be employed in any way that constitutes plagiarism, which Berkeley defines as repackaging the ideas of others.

The policy means that law students would be in violation of the school’s honor code if they used ChatGPT or a similar program to draft their classwork and merely reworded the text before turning it in. ...

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

Friday, April 21, 2023

U.S. News Indefinitely Postpones Law And Medical School Rankings Amid Backlash

US News (2023)Update:

Following up on Wednesday's post, U.S. News Delays Release Of Law School Rankings Again Due To 'Unprecedented Number Of Inquiries,' Including From Schools That Are Ostensibly Boycotting The Rankings: Reuters, U.S. News & World Report Indefinitely Postpones Law and Medical School Rankings Amid Backlash:

U.S. News & World Report has delayed the release of its law school and medical school rankings for a second time, without a new publication date. ...

[L]aw school consultant Mike Spivey [said the] indefinite delay has not gone over well. ... “The ire from a number of law school deans is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.” ...

[A]fter receiving a preview version of the rankings on April 11, some law schools raised concerns about potential errors in the rankings data and asked for further review.

"Although we no longer participate in the U.S. News rankings, we expect the magazine to use accurate, publicly available numbers if it intends to continue to make representations about our law school,” wrote Harvard Law assistant dean Marva de Marothy in a Wednesday letter to U.S. News that it shared with Reuters.

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

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Stanford BLSA Refuses To Help Recruit The Class Of 2026 Due To Administration's Response To Judge Duncan's FedSoc Event

ABA Journal, Stanford Law's Black Law Students Association Pulls Out of Recruiting Activities After Federalist Society Event:

Stanford Law (2022)Stanford Law School’s Black Law Students Association will not participate in formal recruiting events, following the school’s apology to Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans.

That includes official admit events for the law schools class of 2026, according to a letter posted on the group’s Instagram account. ... [Deans] Martinez and Tessier-Lavigne did not immediately respond to an ABA Journal interview request.

Letter From Stanford BLSA:

We, the Stanford Black Law Students Association, will no longer participate in formal recruitment efforts organized by Stanford Law School. We are deeply disappointed and frustrated with the administration’s handling of division within the law school community. BLSA is dedicated to supporting and guiding Black law students. However, presenting ourselves as aligned with the administration would be insincere and conflict with our organizational values. As a logical next step, we formally communicate our decision to boycott official admit events for the SLS Class of 2026.

Stanford’s administration has actively marginalized its Black community, most recently by scapegoating Dean Tirien Steinbach in an apology to Judge Duncan. The failure of the University to stand on its proclaimed values of diversity, equity, and inclusion is apparent and concerning to us. Dean Martinez and President Tessier-Lavigne’s statements continuously minimize Duncan’s behavior and the impact of his work. As a result, Dean Steinbach, the people for whom she advocated, and the law school’s DEI values were all abandoned. The apology was intimately aligned with White supremacist practices, leaving our members ashamed of the institution we were once excited to attend.

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

Lessons For Law Students And Law Schools From The Stanford Free Speech Imbroglio

Vikram David Amar (Dean, Illinois) & Jason Mazzone (Illinois), What Law Students Should Take Away from the Stanford Law School Controversy Involving Disruption of a Federal Judge’s Speech: Part One in a Series:

National attention has recently been directed to the boisterous protest by Stanford Law School (SLS) students at a Federalist Society Event featuring Judge Kyle Duncan, a conservative Trump-appointed judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In response to the disruption of Judge Duncan’s remarks, Jenny Martinez, Dean of Stanford Law School, penned a 10-page letter to the SLS community explaining why what some students did ran afoul of Stanford’s free-speech policy, why the actions by those students were not protected by the First Amendment (assuming that Stanford, a private university, should respect First Amendment rights the same way a public university would have to, either as a matter of policy or by virtue of a California statute known as the Leonard Law), and what next steps SLS was taking to prevent recurrence of similar episodes.

Dean Martinez’s letter is quite excellent and adopts (what we think is ordinarily) the right approach to avoiding future replays: better education—rather than punishment—of the offending students. As Dean Martinez points out, punishing those students who crossed what is a “sometimes uncertain boundary line between permissible audience reaction and impermissible disruptions at an event” might be particularly difficult in the Duncan episode because a Stanford administrator present at the event sent, at best, “conflicting signals about whether what was happening was acceptable or not.”

A centerpiece of Dean Martinez’s plan to better educate students (as well as, perhaps, staff) about “freedom of speech [at Stanford] and the norms of the legal profession” is a mandatory half-day educational programming before the end of the current academic year. Dean Martinez’s letter says that she and her SLS faculty colleagues are (rightly) still figuring out the precise contours of this training and will offer more details as they emerge.

In the meantime, in a true spirit of institutional friendship, we thought we would offer our own thoughts about five topics that would be worthwhile to explore in some depth at this training session—or at comparable sessions other law schools might be inspired to hold. In this column and the next one, we itemize and preliminarily explore each of these five questions:

  1. What, Precisely Is “Shouting Down” of a Speaker, and Why Can Such Activity Be Prohibited and Punished? ...
  2. What About the Venerable Tradition of “Civil Disobedience”?

Vikram David Amar (Dean, Illinois) & Jason Mazzone (Illinois), Friendly Advice for Law Schools Seeking to Inculcate Proper Free-Speech Values and Understandings in Light of the Stanford Episode with Judge Kyle Duncan: Part Two in a Series:

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

U.S. News Delays Release Of Law School Rankings Again Due To 'Unprecedented Number Of Inquiries,' Including From Schools That Are Ostensibly Boycotting The Rankings

US News (2023)


At 1:30 PM ET today, U.S. News emailed Deans and other law school administrators the following:

As we announced last week, we are dealing with an unprecedented number of inquiries including requests to update data submitted after the collection period from law and medical schools during the initial embargo period and are working to address these inquiries. The level of interest in our rankings, including from those schools that declined to participate in our survey, has been beyond anything we have experienced in the past.

As a result of these inquiries, the updated embargo and final files for 2023-2024 Best Medical Schools and 2023-2024 Best Law Schools rankings and supporting documents will be released when this work has been completed.

We take our role as a journalism enterprise very seriously and are working as quickly as possible to produce the best information available for students. You will receive a notification when the updated embargo site has launched for law and medical schools.

Mike Spivey chides U.S. News for taking a "pubescent shot" at the 42 law schools who publicly announced boycotts of the rankings.

See Derek Muller's take here and here.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage: 

April 19, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Should College (And Law School) Be More Like Prison?

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  College Should Be More Like Prison, by Brooke Allen (Hudson Review):

Many of us who care deeply about education in the humanities can only feel despair at the state of our institutions of “higher” learning. Enrollment in these subjects is plummeting, and students who take literature and history classes often come in with rudimentary ideas about the disciplines. Interviewed in a recent New Yorker article, Prof. James Shapiro of Columbia said teaching “Middlemarch” to today’s college students is like landing a 747 on a rural airstrip. Technology such as messaging apps, digital crib sheets and ChatGPT, which will write essays on demand, has created a culture of casual cheating.

Never have I been more grateful to teach where I do: at a men’s maximum-security prison. My students there, enrolled in a for-credit college program, provide a sharp contrast with contemporary undergraduates. These men are highly motivated and hard-working. They tend to read each assignment two or three times before coming to class and take notes as well. Some of them have been incarcerated for 20 or 30 years and have been reading books all that time. They would hold their own in any graduate seminar. That they have had rough experiences out in the real world means they are less liable to fall prey to facile ideologies. A large proportion of them are black and Latino, and while they may not like David Hume’s or Thomas Jefferson’s ideas on race, they want to read those authors anyway. They want, in short, to be a part of the centuries-long conversation that makes up our civilization. The classes are often the most interesting part of these men’s prison lives. In some cases, they are the only interesting part.

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April 19, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Amy Wax And The Limits of Academic Freedom

Following up on my previous posts (links below):, Penn Carey Law Professor Amy Wax Says There's 'Not a Single Shred of Evidence' of Bias:

Embattled University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School professor Amy Wax presented a webinar Thursday titled, “Amy Wax and the Limits of Academic Freedom,” openly discussing her pending grievance against the law school, as well as the school’s ongoing disciplinary proceedings against her. ...

“I don’t think there is any warrant for sanctioning me, I don’t think the charges have any valid basis and I will keep defending myself to the best of my ability for as long as it takes,” Amy Wax said during the webinar. “Penn is very powerful, rich, ruthless and unprincipled and will do everything they can to wear you down from my experience so far—I’m sorry to have to issue such a harsh judgment, but there it is.” ...

Penn Carey Law did not reply to request for comment.

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April 19, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

What Is Behind The Delay In Releasing The U.S. News Law School Rankings?

US News (2023)Update:

Following up on last week's posts:, US News Delays Release of Law School Rankings Amid Questions About Discrepancies:

Adding to the recent tumult U.S. News & World Report has experienced over its annual law school rankings, the publication has now delayed the release of its much-anticipated 2023-24 “Best Law Schools” list by a week.

U.S. News sent an email to media late Friday evening announcing that the rankings would now be released April 25 instead of April 18, blaming the delay on what it said was “an unprecedented number of inquiries” from law schools.

Law schools were notified Friday afternoon about the changes, according Michelle Day, a spokesperson for U.S. News. ...

Paul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and professor of law at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, speculated that the cause of the delay may pertain to bar passage data.

“In my March 15 post, Preview Of The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings: First-Time Bar Passage, I noted apparent miscalculations or discrepancies/inconsistencies in the data of eleven law schools on the ABA bar passage spreadsheet of all 196 law schools and noted the ABA’s warning at the top of the spreadsheet,” Caron wrote in an April 14 blog post.

“I wonder if U.S. News relied on the ABA bar passage spreadsheet without checking the ABA site for corrected data for updated bar passage information for each of the 196 law schools,” Caron wrote. ...

Some law schools have told that there were discrepancies in employment outcomes that U.S. News included in last week’s embargoed data. ... [A] Yale Law School spokesperson told on Monday, “If this is the employment metric they are using for Yale Law School, it is entirely incorrect and flatly inconsistent with the changes in methodology outlined on their website.” ... If U.S. News gives full credit for Law School Funded and grads in grad school, Yale’s employment outcome would be 96.8%, not 79.8%, according to the embargoed data released to law schools last week. 

U.S. News could not have used the 79.8% figure because that would have ranked Yale 136th in the jobs metric (before adjustment by U.S. News), which is given a significantly increased weighting this year and thus would have prevented Yale from being tied for #1 in the overall ranking. Instead, U.S. News must have used the 96.8% figure because that would have ranked Yale 12th in jobs and enabled them to be tied for #1 in the overall ranking.

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April 18, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, April 17, 2023

Legal Ed News Roundup

Promising Signs For Free Speech At Stanford And Other Elite Schools

New York Times Op-Ed:  Promising Signs for Free Speech on Campus, by David French:

Stanford Law (2022)William Butler Yeats’s “The Second Coming” has been called the most plundered poem in the English language, and it’s easy to see why. The poem, written in the immediate aftermath of World War I and during the height of the Russian Civil War, vividly captures the feeling that events are sliding out of control. Three lines in particular resonate in troubled times. “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” writes Yeats. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” ...

 The extremist attack on free speech (from right and left) degrades American democracy, and that attack is especially acute on college campuses, whether it comes from angry left-wing students who shout down conservative speakers, vengeful right-wing legislators who pass laws restricting free expression in the academy or the online activism that often demands that universities discipline scholars for engaging in provocative (but constitutionally protected) speech.

I’ve never interpreted the center in Yeats’s poem to mean something like a politically moderate middle but rather a moral foundation, the ideological core of a nation and its people. The United States is certainly a nation built through raw power, as so many nations are, but at its best, it’s also built around a series of ideas, a declaration that its center requires, at a bare minimum, the promises of the Bill of Rights, including freedom of speech.

This isn’t a column about doom, however, but rather about hope. There is no question that the worst are still “full of passionate intensity,” and we do live in a precarious place in our national life. But there are also some signs that the center is fighting back on some of the most elite campuses in the country, that some of the “best” still do, in fact, possess the necessary convictions. I litigated free speech issues on college campuses for almost 20 years, and I’ve never seen such widespread, institutional academic support for free expression.

Let’s take Stanford University, for example. In the days and weeks since law students shouted down and disrupted a speech by a federal judge, the center has taken a stand. The dean of Stanford Law School, Jenny Martinez, penned a powerful, 10-page memorandum that mandated a half-day of instruction on free speech and legal norms, reaffirmed the school’s dedication to the Stanford Statement on Academic Freedom and declared: “Unless we recognize that student members of the Federalist Society and other conservatives have the same right to express their views free of coercion, we cannot live up to this commitment nor can we claim that we are fostering an inclusive environment for all students.”

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April 17, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, April 15, 2023

More On The Law School Free Speech Wars At BYU, Stanford, And Yale

Deseret News, Sen. Mike Lee Responds to Campus Free Speech Issues at Stanford, BYU Law Schools:

Sen. Mike Lee has expressed concern on Twitter about recent events on college campuses where conservative speakers were disinvited or, as was the recent case at Stanford Law School, met with anger, vitriol and loud protest, when invited to speak.

When federal Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan spoke last month at Stanford Law School, he was drowned out by student protesters, then lectured by a dean at the school. The dean is now on leave, and the law school president released a lengthy memo stating her commitment to free speech. 

Soon after the event, Lee responded on Twitter, saying it was “anything but an isolated incident. While disparate treatment of conservative viewpoints has become all too common in American law schools, Stanford has managed to take this trend to a new low,” he said as part of a tweet thread. ...

When news broke Tuesday about the potential cancellation of an event at Brigham Young University Law School, Lee expressed similar frustration. While tweeting out an article by the Cougar Chronicle, an off-campus conservative news website, Lee wrote that he hates “to see this at any law school, especially my alma mater.” Lee’s father was Rex E. Lee, BYU Law School’s founding dean and a former U.S. Solicitor General.

Aaron Sibarium (Washington Free Beacon), Texas Bar Application Adds Questions About 'Incivility' and Free Speech in Wake of Stanford Law School Fracas:

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

The U.S. News Law School Rankings: Say Hello To The New T14

US News (2023)Update:

Following up on this week's posts:

David Lat (Original Jurisdiction), The U.S. News Rankings: Say Hello To The New T14:

Some observations: ...

  • [T]hese are the same 14 schools as the traditional T14, with one exception—UCLA edging out Georgetown for #14.
  • Stanford Law has caught up with Yale Law—not just in disruptive protests, but in U.S. News. For what I believe to be the first time in the rankings, Yale is tied for #1 rather than alone at #1. Is this a sign that SLS is gaining on YLS, such that Stanford might be the undisputed #1 in some future year? Stay tuned.
  • As was the case in last year’s rankings, the “Holy Trinity” of “HYS”—Harvard, Yale, Stanford—was disrupted. Once again, Chicago took the #3 spot, ahead of Harvard, and Harvard had to share the #4 spot—last year with Columbia, this year with Penn. (Sniffed a friend of mine who’s an HLS alum, “HLS tied with UPenn shows these rankings are meaningless.”) ...
  • Overall, there wasn’t much movement within the T14—and I’m guessing this was by design, with U.S. News and rankings guru Bob Morse experimenting with different weightings of factors until they got a result that looked “right.” Of the 14 schools, only four moved by more than a single spot. The schools that moved up by more than one spot were Duke (+5), Northwestern (+3), and Penn (+2), and only one school moved down by more than one spot, Columbia (-4).

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April 15, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, April 14, 2023

U.S. News Delays Release Of Law School Rankings By One Week Due To 'Unprecedented Number Of Inquiries From Schools.' Is Bar Data To Blame?

US News (2023)Update

At 3:15 PM ET today, U.S. News emailed Deans and other law school administrators the following:

As part of its normal graduate school ranking publication process every year, U.S. News gives schools an opportunity to review their data during an “embargo period”. This year, we received an unprecedented number of inquiries from schools and are devoting additional time to comprehensively address these inquiries.

As a result, U.S. News will now publish the full 2023-2024 Best Graduate School Rankings on April 25, 2023.

Schools participating in the embargo period will receive a link to the updated embargo site on Wednesday, April 19. Information found on that site will be embargoed until 12:01 am ET on Tuesday, April 25, at which time it will be live at

In my March 15 post, Preview Of The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings: First-Time Bar Passage, I noted apparent miscalculations or discrepancies/inconsistencies in the data of eleven law schools on the ABA bar passage spreadsheet of all 196 law schools and noted the ABA's warning at the top of the spreadsheet:

First Time Bar Passage Calendar Year 2021 (Any corrections in the data after April 23, 2021 can be found at

I wonder if U.S. News relied on the ABA bar passage spreadsheet without checking the ABA site for corrected data for updated bar passage information for each of the 196 law schools. 

Shades of 2021:

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April 14, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Deans Lawson & Gerken: Law Schools Should Replace Merit-Based Scholarships With Need-Based Scholarships

Chronicle of Higher Education Op-Ed:  Law Schools Should Abandon Merit-Based Scholarships, by Tamara F. Lawson (Dean, University of Washington) & Heather K. Gerken (Dean, Yale):

One of the most problematic aspects of U.S. News’s rankings is the effect its methodology has on low-income students, who need financial aid to take the opportunities they’ve earned. For decades, educational leaders have used precious aid dollars to pursue students with scores that can deliver a rankings boost. In our field, a top LSAT score has become a golden ticket to financial aid, even as many institutions allow lower-income students to struggle with higher tuition bills. Such practices keep law school financially out of reach for many highly qualified, indisputably meritorious applicants.

In our view, admissions decisions should be merit-based, and standardized-test scores and grade-point averages should continue to be important factors in those decisions. But once an applicant has earned a seat, financial aid should be based on need, and need alone.

Because of the current rankings formula, deans are under terrible pressure to focus on scores rather than need in awarding financial aid. As a result, need-based financial aid is eroding, while scholarship awards without regard to need are exploding. ...

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

Thursday, April 13, 2023

NY Times: Behind The Story Of The Stanford Law School Free Speech Controversy

New York Times, Behind the Story: Free Speech Controversy at Stanford:

Stanford Law (2022)This week, my colleague Vimal Patel wrote about what happened at Stanford, including the recent release of a 10-page memo by Jenny S. Martinez, the law school dean, that supported Duncan’s right to speak on campus and criticized Steinbach’s response. The memo also announced that Steinbach was on leave.

I spoke to Vimal, who covers higher education for The New York Times, about his reporting and how this incident fit into our current high-pitched political environment and understanding of free speech at universities nationwide. Here’s our conversation, lightly edited: ...

As you’ve written, the issue of free speech on college campuses isn’t a new one. Why did this particular incident garner so much attention?

The recorded remarks by Steinbach came at a time when diversity, equity and inclusion jobs are under attack from conservatives. Her intervention felt like a Rorschach test. What did you see? A D.E.I. dean expressing sympathy for students heckling a federal judge and also admonishing him? Or a deft administrator stepping into a challenging situation, calming students down and insisting they listen to the judge?

New York Sun, Stanford ‘Diversity Dean’ Regrets Heckling and Jeering of Judge Duncan, Admits Mistakes Were Made:

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

90% Through The Fall 2023 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Down -3.7%, With Biggest Decline (-8.0%) In The 150-154 LSAT Band

We are now 90% of the way through Fall 2023 law school admissions season. The number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is down -3.7% compared to last year at this time:


129 of the 198 law schools are experiencing a decrease in applications. Applications are down -10% or more at 45 law schools:


Applicants are down the most in New England (-9.3%), Northwest (-8.9%), and Far West (-8.4%); and are up in Other (+16.9%):


Applicants' LSAT scores are down -1.0% in the 170-180 band, -6.6% in the 160-169 band, -7.5% in the 150-159 band, and -4.2% in the 120-149 band:

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

Duncan Event At BYU Law School Is ‘Canceled’

Ed Whelan (National Review), Duncan Event at BYU Law School ‘Canceled’:

BYU Law (2020)Not Fifth Circuit judge Kyle Duncan this time, but Nebraska law school professor Rick Duncan (no relation).

Believe it or not, BYU law school administrators—yes, Brigham Young University—canceled a Federalist Society event last fall in which Rick Duncan was to discuss the Supreme Court’s abortion decision in Dobbs with his friend BYU law professor Fred Gedicks. Duncan was expected to offer an approving view of Dobbs, while the liberal Gedicks was expected to be more critical. ...

BYU’s administrators objected to Duncan’s participation in the event because of a talk he gave in 2021 on the topic “True Diversity Means Inclusion, Not Exclusion.” In that talk, Duncan had cited transgender pronoun ideology—the insistence that everyone state one’s “preferred pronouns”—as an example of coerced speech. Some BYU law students claimed to have been “offended” by his remarks and on that basis objected to his appearing on campus for the Dobbs event. And the administrators chose to surrender to the objecting students. ...

It’s obviously a coincidence that two Duncans have been victims of woke cancel culture. But it’s not a coincidence that transgender ideology has driven those cancelations. ...

Addenda: 1. One source at BYU law school tells me that Duncan’s 2021 event on diversity generated complaints that Duncan had been “disrespectful” to a university DEI administrator who took part in the event. This same source says that law-school administrators told Federalist Society leaders that they were welcome to seek approval for Duncan to speak on Dobbs at a later date, which would allow administrators to prepare adequately for the event.

Garrett Hostetter (BYU 3L), BYU Cancels Debate Event on Abortion: Beams Before Motes

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

‘Radical Turn Away’ From Admissions Tests? Deans Say Claims Of Increased Diversity From Making The LSAT Optional May Be Unfounded

Indiana Lawyer, ‘Radical Turn Away’ From Admissions Tests? Deans Say Claims of Increased Diversity May Be Unfounded:  

LSATIndiana University Maurer School of Law Dean Christiana Ochoa said those who want to do away with requiring law school admission tests for diversity’s sake have it backward.

The idea that law school diversity would increase if tests like the LSAT and Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, became an optional part of the admissions process is unfounded, Ochoa said.

Instead, she said she’s worried the opposite is true — that the move would actually hurt diversity.

And she is not alone.

Ochoa was one of 60 deans to sign a letter last September pushing back against the proposed change to Standard 503 offered by the Council of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Also signing the letter were Karen Bravo, dean of the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and G. Marcus Cole, dean of Notre Dame Law School.

In the letter, the deans said an unintended consequence of removing the testing requirement is that it could “diminish the diversity” of incoming law school classes. They also said standardized tests like the LSAT can be one of many useful data points to assess applicants. ...

Ochoa and other deans appear to be fighting an uphill battle, though.

The council of the legal education section voted almost unanimously in favor of the change in February, even after the ABA House of Delegates rejected it earlier that month.

The resolution is now back with the House of Delegates, which will consider it for a second time at its August meeting in Denver.

Under ABA rules and procedures, the House of Delegates can review a proposed change to the standards twice and concur, reject or make recommendations, but the ultimate decision belongs to the council.

The new standard would not take effect until the 2025-2026 admissions cycle for the class that enters in the fall of 2026. ...

[D]eans have said the move feels rushed.

“It is very difficult to sign on to an immediate and radical turn away from the LSAT,” Ochoa said, adding that the move seems “very careless.”

For deans who support keeping an admissions test requirement, part of the argument is that the test helps present a fuller picture of the applicant.

Bravo used the example of a student who doesn’t do particularly well in their undergraduate years or a student who graduates but doesn’t immediately decide on law school, creating a gap in their academic resume. Those students bring a different experience, Bravo said, and a test like the LSAT can offer law schools a more rounded look at that student. Getting rid of the requirement, she said, would have a “detrimental” impact on those applicants.

I was one of the sixty deans who signed the letter to the ABA opposing the proposal to make law school admission tests optional. I hope the House of Delegates and Council will take into account the data released by the ABA yesterday when they vote in August:

ABA Bar Pass Date (2020-2022)

U.S. News announced yesterday a reduction of the weights given to median LSAT/GRE scores (11.25% in the 2023 rankings) and median UGPAs (8.75%) in the 2024 rankings to be released on April 18.

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April 12, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ABA: First-Time Bar Pass Rates: 83% For Whites, 57% For Blacks

Press Release, ABA Releases New Report on Bar Pass Data By Race, Ethnicity, Gender:

The Managing Director’s Office of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar released today a new set of bar pass data for American Bar Association-approved law schools that provides national “ultimate” and first-time percentage pass rates based on race, ethnicity and gender.

The charts, which are incorporated into the section’s Legal Education Statistics, include aggregate data in nine different ethnicity categories.

ABA Bar Pass Date (2020-2022)

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April 12, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

U.S. News Releases Preview Of 2024 Law School Rankings: Top 14 And New Methodology


Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist U.S. News), Focusing on Outcomes for Students: A Preview of the 2023-2024 U.S. News Best Law School Rankings:

2024 Rank

2023 Rank


1 2 Stanford
1 1 Yale
3 3 Chicago
4 4 Harvard
4 6 Penn
6 11 Duke
6 7 NYU
8 4 Columbia
8 8 Virginia
10 10 Michigan
10 13 Northwestern
10 9 UC-Berkeley
13 12 Cornell
14 15 UCLA

As education costs continue to soar, students and their families are increasingly focused on the student experience, career opportunities and tangible outcomes that a law school education can offer. To meet this demand, the 2023-2024 U.S. News Best Law Schools methodology prioritizes measures that identify clear and transparent outcomes for prospective students. These changes reflect the insights and input of more than 100 law school deans as well as other experts in the legal field across the country. As always, U.S. News rankings, data, and journalism provide students with the information they need to make the most informed decisions.

The 2023-2024 Best Law Schools methodology includes:

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April 11, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Are 17 Law Schools Out Of Compliance With The ABA Faculty Diversity Accreditation Standard?

ABA Journal, How Can Law Schools Comply With Faculty Diversity Accreditation Standards? Some Deans Have Questions:

It’s been almost a month since ABA notice was posted that the University of Oregon School of Law was out of compliance for a diversity accreditation standard, and Marcilynn Burke, the dean, still hasn’t figured out why. She’s in the process of finding out, and in the meantime, is getting a report ready to demonstrate compliance. ...

Oregon is one of three law schools in the past four months found to be out of compliance with the standard, and various deans have said its current version lacks guidance.

Oregon’s notice was regarding part-time or adjunct faculty. The law school’s 509 Report shows that 17.31% of the non full-time faculty are people of color. According to February 2023 data from the Oregon State Bar, 5.8% of its active members identify as people of color. ...

The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University received public notice for noncompliance with Standard 206(b) in December, regarding full and part-time faculty. The council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar determined the law school demonstrated compliance in March.

At the Long Island, New York, school, 14% of its full-time faculty are people of color, as are 6.49% of the part-time faculty, according to its most recent 509 Report. For the previous year, the data showed people of color representing 10.64% of the full-time faculty, and 8.64% of the part-time faculty.

Also, Baylor University School of Law received public notice for noncompliance in March.

According to ABA data, at least 15 law schools that have not received public notice on Standard 206 have lower percentages of full or part-time faculty of color than the three schools that did. ...

Law Schools With 206(b) Diversity Scores Below 6.49%

Law School Faculty of Color (Full-time) Faculty of Color (Part-time) Female Faculty (Full-time) Female Faculty (Part-time)
University of Akron School of Law 13.04% 2.94% 34.78% 35.29%
Albany Law School 25.00% 6.38% 52.27% 36.17%
Appalachian School of Law 0.00% 18.18% 38.46% 18.18%
Brigham Young University Law School 13.16% 5.66% 36.84% 33.96%
Catholic University School of Law 20.83% 5.33% 62.50% 32.00%
Hofstra University School of Law 14.00% 6.49% 54.00% 35.6%
University of Idaho College of Law 0.00% 0.00% 44.74% 46.58%
University of New Hampshire School of Law 3.70% 4.00% 55.56% 40.00%
University of North Dakota School of Law* 15.00% 7.41% 55.00% 35.00%
Ohio Northern University College of Law 11.11% 0.00% 33.33% 20.00%
University of South Dakota School of Law 5.00% 15.00% 45.00% 55.00%
Syracuse University College of Law 19.61% 5.41% 49.02% 27.03%
Texas Tech University School of Law 16.67% 4.55% 38.89% 31.82%
University at Buffalo School of Law 15.00% 5.26% 47.50% 43.86%
West Virginia University College of Law 13.79% 5.71% 48.28% 40.00%

  • indicates numbers have changed since 509 Report released

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

What Happens When ChatGPT Gets It Wrong?, What Happens When ChatGPT Gets It Wrong?:

Open AI ChatGPTUsing ChatGPT to check someone’s biographical information is like a game of “Two Truths and a Lie”—or in the case of Paul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and professor of law at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law— 21 “lies.”

In a blog titled, “ChatGPT Thinks I Am Way More Interesting Than I Am,” Caron published on his TaxProf site last month, he showed just how inaccurate ChatGPT can be when he asked for it to create his biography.

“Lie” 1: “He was born in the United States and grew up in the Chicago area,” according to ChatGPT.

Truth: He grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, Caron told me in an email last week.

“Lies” 2 & 3: ChatGPT said Caron graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy.

Truth: Caron earned a B.A. in Political Science from Georgetown University, according to Caron. It is correct that the degree was earned with honors: magna cum laude, according to Caron’s bio.

“Lies” 4 & 5: Caron’s J.D. is from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Truth: J.D. from Cornell Law School; editor of Cornell Law Review. ...

“Lies” 18-21: ChatGPT said that Caron is an “accomplished musician” and an “accomplished photographer” adding that “he has released several albums of original music and his photographs have been featured in exhibitions and publications around the world.”

Truth: None of that is true, Caron said.

“The only musical connection I have is that my parents made me take accordion lessons as a young boy—it was so embarrassing when my friends found out,” Caron wrote in an email to me. “I begged them to let me take lessons on a cool instrument, but they refused.”

While all this misinformation seems fairly innocuous overall, and as Caron said, showed him in a more favorable light, what about when ChatGPT really messes up?

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

Monday, April 10, 2023

Legal Ed News Roundup

Will Law Schools With Strong Tax Programs Get A Boost In The 2024 U.S. News Rankings?

NY Times: At Stanford Law School, The Dean Takes A Stand For Free Speech. Will It Work?

New York Times, At Stanford Law School, the Dean Takes a Stand for Free Speech. Will It Work?:

Stanford Law (2022)Stanford Law School was under extraordinary pressure.

For nearly two weeks, there had been mounting anger over the treatment of a conservative federal judge, whose talk had been disrupted by student hecklers. A video of the fiasco went viral.

An apology to the judge from university officials had not helped quell the anger.

Finally, on March 22, the dean, Jenny S. Martinez, released a lawyerly 10-page memo that rebuked the activists.

“Some students might feel that some points should not be up for argument and therefore that they should not bear the responsibility of arguing them,” she wrote. But, she continued, that “is incompatible with the training that must be delivered in a law school.”

She added, “I believe that the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion actually means that we must protect free expression of all views.”

Free speech groups hailed Dean Martinez for what they said was a stirring defense of free expression. “We need Dean Martinezes at every school where this is an issue right now,” Alex Morey, an official with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a free-speech group, said in an email. ...

The question for Stanford and other institutions is whether the memo can ease tensions in this fraught and seemingly intractable political climate. In an era of high-pitched politics, living up to lofty free-speech principles can get messy on the ground.

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April 10, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, April 9, 2023

WSJ: Christian Colleges And Law Schools Can Be Good For Jewish Students

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  Christian Colleges Can Be Good for Jews, by Rebecca Sugar (New York Sun):

Acceptance rates for Jews at top colleges have been declining, as entire categories of applicants have become disfavored by university admissions offices. For religiously observant Jews, there is another problem: Even schools with large numbers of Jewish students may not be viable options. Religious Jews need a critical mass of committed coreligionists on campus for prayer quorums and holiday celebrations. They need kosher food, which many colleges don’t offer.

Even if they get a coveted spot at a top school, observant Jews will often face anti-Semitism and find they have to defend themselves against radical ideologies that target their beliefs. There is unexplored potential, however, at an array of institutions that Jewish applicants usually overlook: Christian schools.

Institutions that honor the Judeo-Christian tradition and celebrate Western civilization tend to resist the academic decay, and attendant anti-Semitism, now plaguing many first- and second-tier campuses. Christian institutions frequently offer the classical-liberal education most of academia has abandoned. Words such as “God,” “truth” and “morality” haven’t been reimagined. Free speech is honored. Jews and Israel are generally respected. ...

According to the Israel on Campus Coalition, which tracks publicly reported anti-Semitic and anti-Israel events across 1,100 campuses nationwide, during the 2021-22 academic year only two of the 225 incidents recorded took place on Christian campuses. Neither was violent. ...

At Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., there are 200 to 300 Jewish students. Michael Helfand, a law professor, says the university is “the right environment for the right Jewish student.” Mr. Helfand wears a kippa on campus and describes Pepperdine as free from “a lot of the things some Jewish students say make them uncomfortable in other places.” ...

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April 9, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, April 8, 2023

More Commentary On The Disruption Of A Federal Judge's Speech At Stanford Law School (Part 6)

Washington Post:  Stanford Should Work on Diversity, But Bad-Faith Arguments Don’t Help (Part 1), by Tim Rosenberger (Stanford 3L; President, Federalist Society; Vicar, University Lutheran Church (Palo Alto)):

Stanford Law (2022)In her April 5 Wednesday Opinion essay, Confessions from Stanford Law’s silent majority, my classmate Tess Winston referred to “far-right” students at Stanford Law School. Ms. Winston seemed to be attending a different law school than I do.

She asserted that there are a half-dozen far-right students in our class. After all my time here, I cannot name five other students who voted for Donald Trump, much less any who would be “far-right.” It’s hard to imagine that I, one of the only openly conservative students, would, as a gay man from Cleveland’s inner city, be embraced as far-right. ...

I ran for Federalist Society president on a platform of building a collaborative chapter that would work across the law school. Despite inviting only a slate of serious, uncontroversial speakers, we have found it impossible to get other student groups to join us in events or debates, including a talk on free speech with the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union. We invite professors to respond to or debate almost every speaker. Only one professor has been willing to do such a response this year. Our efforts at civility and balance have been consistently met with contempt and hostility. Stanford has a great deal of work to do in forming a faculty, administration and student body that reflect the diversity of American viewpoints.

Asserting that Stanford’s very small and very moderate right-of-center contingent is “far-right” is precisely the kind of irrational intolerance that erodes the fabric of our discourse.

Washington Post:  Stanford Should Work on Diversity, But Bad-Faith Arguments Don’t Help (Part 2), by Robert Doubek (University of Illinois):

Tess Winston’s April 5 Wednesday Opinion essay reminded me of an experience I had at Georgetown’s law school 50 years ago, after having served in Vietnam. Among the few opportunities to really learn how to function as a lawyer were legal “clinics,” in which students actually would appear in court. Having applied and interviewed for all, to my chagrin, I was rejected by all.

Years later, I was drinking with a friend of a friend, who happened to be a professor running one of the clinics. He confirmed that we Vietnam veterans were rejected outright as we all were presumed to be right-wing zealots who would use the clinic experience to become prosecutors.

Wall Street Journal, First, Depoliticize the Stanford Admissions Office:

The law dean is playing with Marquess of Queensberry rules against social revolutionaries.

In Employers Need to Put the Squeeze on Woke Intolerance, Gerard Baker was right to point out that Stanford diversity dean Tirien Steinbach’s clarification in your pages (Diversity and Free Speech Can Coexist at Stanford) is at best a case of “sorry, not sorry,” and at worst a doubling down on her hypothesis that freedom of speech might not be worth defending if feelings are hurt in the process.

Mr. Baker’s suggestion that employers look askance at job candidates who share Ms. Steinbach’s view (and are proud enough to post about it) is one solution. Another is to ask if the real problem is the college admissions officers who offer up their colleges and universities to these young political warriors. By giving priority to their favorite social causes over academic achievement, admissions officers have made clear to the students they accept that political activism is valued over scholarship.

Stanford Law Dean Jenny Martinez doesn’t get it (Stanford Law Rediscovers Free Speech) She’s playing with Marquess of Queensberry rules against social revolutionaries.

She hopes to redirect and re-educate the authoritarian cadres that have matriculated at her law school (and every law school in the country) with a brief program, a “mandatory half-day session . . . on the topic of freedom of speech and the norms of the legal profession.” Yet these students already had undergraduate degrees at prestigious universities and a variable time at her own law school. Does she really think they are so unformed intellectually that she can influence them to anything but contempt for the system that is so feckless in dealing with them?

Glenn Loury (Brown University), David Sacks (Stanford 1L), & Spencer Segal (Stanford 1L), Conservative Judge Shouted Down at Stanford:

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

NY Times: Conservatives Aim To Build A Chatbot Of Their Own

New York Times, Conservatives Aim to Build a Chatbot of Their Own:

RightWingGPTWhen ChatGPT exploded in popularity as a tool using artificial intelligence to draft complex texts, David Rozado decided to test its potential for bias. A data scientist in New Zealand, he subjected the chatbot to a series of quizzes, searching for signs of political orientation.

The results, published in a recent paper were remarkably consistent across more than a dozen tests: “liberal,” “progressive,” “Democratic” [The Political Biases of ChatGPT].

So he tinkered with his own version, training it to answer questions with a decidedly conservative bent. He called his experiment RightWingGPT.

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April 8, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, April 7, 2023

Does Law School Have To Suck?

National Law Journal Op-Ed:  Does Law School Have to Suck? (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3), by Linda Sugin (Fordham):

There is a mental health crisis in the legal profession, and it poses a grave danger for all of us. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, just under 7% of the adult population suffers from depression, but almost half of all lawyers do at some point during their legal career. ...

The mental health crisis starts in law school. In a recent survey of law students, half reported feeling depressed, and three-quarters reported that law school increased their anxiety. The numbers were worse for women, nonbinary students and students of color. Over one-third of lawyers struggle with alcohol abuse, which started in law school for a significant number of them. In its Mental Health Toolkit, the American Bar Association warns law students: “Through the duration of your legal education, the rates of substance use and mental health problems increase dramatically. If unrecognized and untreated, these issues can carry into your professional careers.” Anxious and depressed law students graduate and become anxious and depressed lawyers. ...

Based on my experience, I believe there are seven sources of personal and professional grief for law students:

  1. Competition
  2. Loneliness
  3. Lack of Preparation
  4. Spiritual Alienation
  5. Curricular Rigidity
  6. Faculty Distraction
  7. Cost

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