Paul L. Caron
Dean



Saturday, August 22, 2020

126 Public Interest Organizations Back Diploma Privilege For Law Grads

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Public Interest Organizations Back Diploma Privilege for Law Grads:

The postponement of bar exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic is creating attorney licensing delays that will hit low-income clients the hardest.

That’s according to a coalition of more than 125 public interest law organizations that recently joined the bar exam fray. The groups sent a letter to the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the 30 jurisdictions that are planning either for in-person bar exams next month or online October exams, asking them to adopt an emergency diploma privilege that would enable law graduates to be licensed without taking the bar exam. Their letter argues that disrupting the flow of new attorneys into the profession will have the deepest impact on government employers, direct legal service providers and public interest organizations, which will in turn exacerbate the nation’s access to justice problem at a time when the legal needs of low and middle-income Americans are higher than ever.

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

Boston University Uses F-Bomb In Marketing Slogan To Get Students To Follow COVID-19 Guidelines On Campus

Boston Magazine, BU’s COVID-Era Message to Students This Year: “F*ck It Won’t Cut It”:

BUUnless things change in the next few short weeks, thousands of potentially COVID-infected undergrads are headed to Boston this fall. You can plan all you want for that reality—and the city’s colleges have tried, setting up rigorous testing plans, dramatically scaling back in-person instruction, and building isolation chambers in mobile homes just in case. But ultimately a lot of the responsibility for stopping the spread of the virus will fall on the college students themselves. And the very last thing we want at a time like this is for any of those students to have a blasé attitude about it.

So a new student-led campaign at Boston University, which has the support of higher-ups at the school, aims to banish an all-too-common phrase from fun-loving students’ vocabulary: “f*ck it.”

This semester, students will be bombarded with PSAs declaring, in atypically vulgar fashion: “F*ck It Won’t Cut It.”

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August 22, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, August 21, 2020

ABA Relaxes Audit Of Employment Outcome Reported By Law Schools, Forms Committee To Examine Reporting Of Bar Exam Pass Rates During COVID-19

ABA Journal, ABA Legal Ed Council Addresses Reporting Requirements Amid Law Schools’ COVID-19 Concerns:

ABA Logo (2016)Going forward, the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will review fewer law school files with individual student information for purposes of employment outcomes reporting.

Additionally, given that some jurisdictions have postponed admissions in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the section has established a committee to address reporting bar exam pass rates. The changes were discussed Friday at a remote meeting of the council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

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August 21, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

FIU's Antony Page Is Third Law School Dean To Make Major Gift To Students During COVID-19

Following up on Tuesday's post, Deans Double As Donors:  FIU News, Law Dean Creates Scholarship For First-Generation Students:

FIUAntony Page, dean of the FIU College of Law, recently made a $200,000 planned gift to the university to establish a scholarship for law students who are among the first generation in their families to attend college.

“I was drawn to FIU because of its mission as a public school. It is a transformational place. The FIU College of Law is majority first-generation, majority-minority, and we’re a law school that successfully delivers an outstanding legal education,” Page said of his motivation to give.

Howard Lipman, CEO of the FIU Foundation, said Page’s gift “symbolizes his commitment to FIU and its students, both in and out of the classroom. “Dean Page is helping our dedicated first-generation students pursue their dreams, continue to break the cycle and attain graduate-level degrees,” Lipman said.

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August 21, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

University Of Florida Law Students Fight Denial Of Professor's Request To Teach Racial Justice Online

Gainesville Sun, UF Law Students Fight Denial of Professor's Request to Teach Racial Justice Online:

JacobsUniversity of Florida law students are demanding college officials grant a professor's appeal to teach her racial justice courses online this semester, a request that was denied by the school, effectively canceling the classes.

Early this week, UF Levin College of Law students were informed that two classes offered this fall — Critical Race Theory and Criminal Procedure: Police and Police Practices — taught by longtime UF law professor Michelle Jacobs, had been canceled. The courses were set to begin next Monday.

Jacobs, a criminal law expert, emailed her students that the law school had denied her request to teach online, which resulted in the cancellation.

More than 150 students, some enrolled in either class, are now demanding for Jacobs’ ability to teach remotely, and for the courses to continue as planned. “We are writing because we have learned that the College of Law has refused, despite the ongoing public health crisis, to allow Professor Michelle Jacobs to teach remotely for the fall 2020 semester,” a letter penned by the students, addressed to UF law school Dean Laura Rosenbury, begins. “It is hard to imagine a time in recent history when the topics of race and policing were more important to study and understand than they are now.”

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August 21, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Michigan State Law School Fully Integrates With University

Michigan State University College of Law Completes Full Integration with Michigan State University:

Michigan State Logo (2013)As a new class of future Spartan lawyers begins its first week of law school, the Michigan State University College of Law also starts a new chapter in its 129-year history by completing its full integration into Michigan State University on August 17, 2020.

Prior to the integration, the College of Law had retained its private, financially independent status since starting instruction on MSU’s campus in 1997, though the two institutions grew progressively close over the years. College of Law and MSU leadership committed to the integration in 2018 with the unanimous support of both schools’ governing Boards of Trustees and work began toward full financial, legal and administrative integration. College of Law faculty and staff became MSU employees on Jan. 1, 2020, and the College of Law’s Board of Trustees was dissolved on August 17. The College of Law’s financial reserves were absorbed by the university, and moving forward, operations will be financed in a manner consistent with all other constituent colleges at Michigan State University.

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

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Record 12,000 Registrations For California's Online October Bar Exam, Perhaps Drawn By Lower Cut Score

The Recorder, Record Registrations for California's Online October Bar Exam:

California Bar ExamA record 12,000 would-be lawyers have registered to take California’s October bar exam, even as uncertainty continues to swirl around the novel online test.

A state bar spokeswoman confirmed the five-figure registration figure Wednesday while cautioning that the number is sure to drop by the time the two-day test starts on Oct. 5. Applicants have until Sept. 8 to withdraw from the exam and receive fee refunds.

The number of applicants who actually complete the entire test typically drops off in any given year, too. While more than 10,000 law school graduates registered to take the July 2017 exam, for example, just 8,545 actually completed the test, the first to be held over three days instead of two.

Still, the enormous interest in taking the upcoming exam suggests that the new lower passing score of 139 may have attracted more test-takers than the online format has scared away, at least for now. ...

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

First They Came For Adjuncts, Now They'll Come For Tenure

Chronicle of Higher Education, First They Came For Adjuncts, Now They'll Come For Tenure:

I have an uncomfortable question for you: If, by their own accord or by caving to outside political pressures, university administrators take the current crisis as an opportunity to eliminate tenure once and for all, who’s going to stop them?

Put another way: Are there enough academic workers with a stake in the tenure system left to defend it? Sure, the tenured and tenure-track faculty who currently make up less than 30 percent of the college teaching force would be pissed, but could they count on the great nontenured masses of university workers — contingent faculty, grad students, staff members, etc. — to come to their defense? Why would they? Seriously, I’m asking: Why would they? If you’re a tenured or tenure-track faculty member, what concrete reasons have you given your university colleagues to fight with (and for) you to defend what you have and they don’t?

If tenure is going to have a future, tenured professors need to do something that academia rarely encourages them to do: see themselves not as separate or elite, but first and foremost as labor. As go the adjuncts and the nonacademic staff today, so go the tenured faculty tomorrow. You know the quote, “First they came for. … ” This is a crisis from which no one will be exempted in time. ...

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

Legal Education Faces Its Waterloo As Wile E. Coyote

Mark A. Cohen (CEO, Legal Mosaic), Post-Pandemic Legal Education:

Higher education is confronting an existential crisis, and law schools are its poster child. Even before Covid-19, the law school business model, pedagogy, culture, faculty composition, marketplace detachment,  poor student outcomes, and ever-escalating cost/massive student debt have drawn withering criticism. The pandemic has elevated law schools’ challenges and accelerated their reckoning.

Law schools have staunchly resisted online learning until Covid-19 rendered it a necessity. The tech-enabled, crisis-created shift from classroom to online learning occurred with astonishing speed, pervasiveness, and seamlessness. The transition exposed technology’s latent potential to support new models for delivering and consuming legal education and training. Distance learning is just the start.

What will post-pandemic legal education look like?

The Art Of The Possible: Legal Education Reimagined
The tools, resources, and market appetite exist to reimagine legal education and to create models that better serve students, customers, and society. In the new paradigm, legal education will morph from a place to a process; appointed time to on-time and in real-time learning; and an artisanal delivery model to a tech-enabled, scalable one. Legal education will be more affordable, data-enhanced, results-driven, and accountable. ...

Traditional legal education’s Waterloo may come as a surprise to many in academia, but not for business where pan-industry disruption of dominant provider models has become routine. ...

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August 20, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

New York Enters Reciprocity Agreements With 8 States And D.C. For October Online Bar Exam

New York State Board of Law Examiners, Reciprocity For the Transfer of Scores Earned on the Remote Bar Admission Examination on October 5-6, 2020:

NYSBA (2017)The New York State Board of Law Examiners is making arrangements to allow candidates to transfer scores earned on the remote bar admission examination to be administered on October 5-6, 2020. At present, the Board has entered into reciprocity agreements with the following jurisdictions: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and Vermont. The Board will continue its efforts to secure reciprocity with other UBE jurisdictions administering the remote exam, and will provide updates as additional information becomes available.

The following candidates will be eligible to transfer a score earned on the remote exam in a reciprocal jurisdiction:

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

Pepperdine Will Not Furlough/Lay Off Any Employees Through Dec. 31, Thanks To Reductions In Executive Compensation

Jim Gash (President, Pepperdine University), Starting Off Strong:

Pepperdine Campus Helicopter (040219) (Brighter)As the school year starts, and as we are learning more about the enrollments at each of our five schools, the Steering Team has been addressing our projected COVID-induced deficit. Last week, I outlined for you a number of steps we have already implemented to backfill this deficit, and I am enormously grateful to our community for instituting the expense optimization measures we have developed. This University-wide effort has made a tremendous contribution to the FY20 budget cycle (which ended on July 31), as well as the FY21 budget.

In addition to the continuation of the general expense optimization measures, we announced last week several specific steps we have taken to help address our deficit. These included deferring certain strategic allocations made in the annual budgeting process, deferring certain capital maintenance and improvement projects, and realigning the telecom allowance. Also included was a one-year suspension of the University's retirement matching program for all employees. This decision, which was approved by the University Benefits Committee, leaves in place the four percent contribution the University makes to employee 403(b) retirement accounts, but suspends the University's match of up to an additional six percent of what employees contribute to their own retirement accounts.

Because this projected deficit is so significant, however, and because personnel costs make up more than 60 percent of our total annual budget, I informed the community at last week's President's Briefing that we would need to go through a due diligence exercise to determine whether furloughs and layoffs would be needed to fulfill our commitment to balance the University's budget.

Furloughs and Layoffs Decision
As Pepperdine's leadership deliberated on this decision, two of the values referenced above came into sharp focus for us, making this a very difficult decision. Those competing values are 1) taking care of our people, our greatest asset, and 2) being good stewards of the resources God has provided for us to fulfill our mission.

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Alexa, Do I Have To Unplug You So I Don't Violate The Attorney-Client Privilege When I Work From Home?

Bloomberg Law, Lawyers Practicing at Home Should Remember Alexa Is Listening:

AlexaAmong the ethical dilemmas posed by attorneys working from home full time due to Covid-19: what to do with Alexa or other voice activated devices that could impinge upon attorney-client confidentiality?

Devices like Alexa or Google Home present “low-level” risks for confidentiality breaches, said speakers at an online ethics panel Saturday at the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers’ annual meeting.

It’s a concern because they’re always listening to know when you say something to prompt it, said Brian S. Faughnan, a lawyer with Lewis Thomason in Memphis.

To be safe, fellow panelist Joseph A. Corsmeier, a solo practitioner in Palm Harbor, Fla. recommended unplugging voice-prompted smart devices when they’re not being used.

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August 19, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Uber/Lyft Advocacy Group Hounds UC-Hastings Law Prof On Twitter

Slate, Why Is an Advocacy Group Funded by Uber and Lyft Hounding a Law Professor on Twitter?:

DubalUber has long been notorious for its hard-knuckled business practices, but these days the company is trying to sound like the reasonable compromiser. On Monday, for example, the New York Times published an op-ed from Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi responding to criticisms that gig-economy companies fail the workers on their platforms. While maintaining Uber’s usual argument—that turning independent contractors into employees would deprive them of the freedom to work however much they want—Khosrowshahi offers what he frames as a third way: new state laws that would require companies like Uber to establish benefit funds for workers, but not formalize their employment.

Uber isn’t just fighting to maintain its business model on op-ed pages, however. The magnanimous, levelheaded tone of Khosrowshahi’s piece belies the combativeness of the campaign Uber has funded to resist a landmark California law that would require the company to grant employee benefits and protections to its drivers. That was underscored in an incident last week. A group formed by Uber and several of its industry peers has recently taken to targeting a law professor on Twitter over her efforts to get their workers classified as employees. The Twitter account for Yes on 22, a committee dedicated to promoting the California Proposition 22 ballot measure that would keep some gig workers as independent contractors, encouraged users to post screenshots of notifications that they had been blocked by University of California–Hastings law professor Veena Dubal. The account subsequently retweeted screenshots from users who purported to be gig drivers. ...

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

Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame Bail On In-Person Classes

Inside Higher Ed, Higher Ed's Moment of Truth:

“It’s a shitshow in the making,” said A. David Paltiel, a professor of public health at Yale University.

Jeff Hirsch (North Carolina), A View From Chapel Hill:

Despite the law school being in good shape and the university allowing us to stay open, our Dean decided to go all remote yesterday. While I was personally bummed about this--I really liked being able to see my students in person--I think it was the right call.

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

WMU-Cooley Shutters A Second Campus In As Many Years

Law.com, Cooley Law School to Shutter a Second Campus in as Many Years:

Thomas Cooley Logo (2017)Western Michigan University Cooley Law School is shrinking … again.

The law school—once the largest in the country by both enrollment and number of campuses—announced this week that it will shutter its Grand Rapids location at the end of the academic year, leaving a single location in both Michigan and Florida. That decision comes a year after Cooley unveiled the closure of its campus in Auburn Hills, outside of Detroit. Cooley Dean James McGrath said enrollment has fallen dramatically at Grand Rapids, prompting the closure.

“Auburn Hills and Grand Rapids were both undersubscribed,” he said. “There was not really enough students to make it work. Each campus operates almost like its own law school, so the expenses are the same, whether it’s 100 students or 500 students. We were hoping the Auburn Hills closure would be enough. With COVID—even though applications to law school are up slightly—the applications to us in the range of students we’re trying to attract is way down.”

Cooley is trying to admit stronger incoming students in light of the American Bar Association’s 2019 decision to tighten its bar passage standard, McGrath added.

The Cooley law school of today is far different than it was a decade ago. In 2010, the school had 4,000 students across four Michigan campuses and was two years from opening a new branch campus in Tampa Bay. This year, the school expects to have about 900 students spread across its main campus in Lansing, and the campuses in Grand Rapids and Tampa Bay, McGrath said.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Florida State Board Of Trustees Condemns Name On Law School Building

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  WCTV, FSU Board of Trustees Approves Resolution Condemning Name on Law Building:

B.K. RobertsThe Florida State University Board of Trustees is calling on the state legislature to change the name of its law school building.

The board voted on a resolution on Thursday afternoon supporting efforts by the University and the College to remove the name B.K. Roberts from the main law building.

B.K. Roberts, as the Florida Supreme Court’s Chief Justice “openly defied the US Supreme Court in steadfastly resisting the racial integration of Florida’s public law schools,” according to the resolution. ...

Roberts’ family isn’t happy with the development. His granddaughter, MaryAnne Terrell, sent a statement to WCTV, that accuses FSU President John Thrasher, among others, of doing their best to ‘run my grandfather’s name through the mud.”

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August 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (17)

Deans Double As Donors

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Spotlight on Law Deans:

This week, I’ve got lots of news about law deans—those hard-working folks who are keeping their campuses moving forward despite the myriad challenges 2020 is throwing at them. ... Finally, I’m checking in with deans at Penn State Dickinson and Pepperdine who are opening their wallets to help students.  ...

Deans Double As Donors
... I’m checking in with Paul Caron, dean of the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law. He and his wife Courtney have donated $125,000 to the law school’s Student Emergency Fund, which is helping students pay for their emergency needs during the COVID-19 crisis. The fund, which was started several years ago by a pair of law students, has since helped more than 100 buy food and supplies, find emergency shelter, and travel home. (The Carons also donated $50,000 to the school’s scholarship fund in November.)

Caron’s not the only law dean reaching into his own pockets to help out. A few weeks ago in this very column, I wrote about Penn State Dickinson law dean Danielle Conway donating $125,000 to her law school’s emergency fund. Caron told me that he was inspired by Conway’s generosity and would like to see a movement of deans offering funds to help their students get through these tough times.

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August 18, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Prof Hiring Is Down 50% This Year

AALS (2018)Brian Leiter (Chicago) notes that only 32 law schools (including Pepperdine) have listed open tenure-track/tenured faculty positions in the initial AALS Faculty Appointments Register, down over 50% from last year.

August 18, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Retrial In Dan Markel Murder Case Delayed Until 2021

WCTV, Retrial in Dan Markel Murder Case Delayed Until 2021:

MagnaubaA woman accused in the murder for hire of Florida State University Law Professor Dan Markel won’t go to trial until 2021.

Katherine Magbanua’s last trial ended in a mistrial, and her retrial was postponed after COVID-19 forced the courts to halt jury trials.

A judge said during a Zoom hearing Thursday that given the pandemic and the number of jurors needed, Magbanua’s trial won’t happen until next year.

Magbanua’s defense team told the judge they’ll ask the courts to release Magbanua on bond or house arrest until then. That motion has not yet been filed and a hearing date has not yet been set.

As of Thursday, court records show Magbanua has been in jail for 1,404 days since her arrest in 2016.

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August 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 17, 2020

New Mexico Law School Grapples With Aftermath Of Cyberattack As Classes Begin

Following up on my previous posts:

Albuquerque Journal, UNM Law School Grapples With Aftermath of Cyberattack:

Classes begin Monday, and a cyberattack against the University of New Mexico School of Law is still causing havoc with some professors’ lesson plans, according to the dean.

Some professors are fine, because their important documents were cached in their computer or saved elsewhere, said School of Law Dean Sergio Pareja. But others can’t see their course notes, prior tests, articles or drafts of research papers, he said. ...

The law school was victim of a ransomware cyberattack last month, which school officials said has blocked access to law school-specific email accounts and a file-sharing system. ...

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

Florida Postpones Bar Exam Three Days Before Online Test Due To Technology Failure, Announces Supervised Practice Program

Following up on Saturday's post, Florida's Aug. 19 Online Bar Exam In Jeopardy As Software Crashes; Deans, Legislators Demand Plan B:  Florida Board of Bar Examiners, Florida Board of Bar Examiners Announces Postponesent of August 2020 Bar Examination and Creation of Supervised Practice Program:

Florida BarThe Florida Board of Bar Examiners, with the approval of the Supreme Court of Florida, announces that the bar examination that was scheduled for Wednesday, August 19, will not go forward. Despite the board’s best efforts to offer a licensure opportunity in August, it was determined that administering a secure and reliable remote bar examination in August was not technically feasible. In addition, the live trial of the examination software scheduled for Monday, August 17 is also canceled.

The board remains committed to offering an examination to applicants in 2020 and will reschedule the examination for a date to be determined in October. The October examination will have the same content as the examination that had been scheduled for August. The board will announce the date and other information for the October examination in the coming weeks. When this information is announced, August 2020 applicants will have the opportunity to take the October examination or to postpone to the February 2021 examination.

In addition, the board, with the Court’s approval, announces that it is creating a supervised practice program, along the lines of the already existing Certified Legal Intern program, that will allow for practice with supervision by a member of The Florida Bar.

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

Organ: Net Law School Tuition Trends Revisited

Over the last several years I have published two articles focused on net tuition trends across law schools in the period since the Great Recession.  Net tuition is an approximation of the tuition per student after accounting for scholarships.  The first article focused on the period through 2014-15; the second article focused on the period through 2016-17.  This blog posting carries forward the analysis of net tuition trends through the 2018-19 academic year, highlighting that law schools still have not regained much pricing power yet.  This blog also looks at likely trends carrying forward from the 2019-20 academic year.

What happened between 2010 and 2016?
The first article, Net Tuition Trends by LSAT Category from 2010 to 2014 with Thoughts on Variable Return on Investment, discussed here on TaxProf Blog, focused on net tuition trends among first-year students in different LSAT categories between 2010 and 2014.  It noted that while average net tuition had increased roughly 10% for first-year students with LSATs of 165 or higher and those with less than 145, net tuition had declined significantly (12% or more) for first-year students with LSATs of 155-159 and for those with LSATs 150-154, and had declined modestly for first-year students with LSATs of 160-164 and those with LSATs of 145-149 (roughly 5% and 3% respectively).

The second article, Competitive Coping Strategies in the American Legal Academy: An Empirical Study, discussed here on TaxProf Blog, focused, among other things, on net tuition trends across private law schools between 2010 and 2016, looking at private law schools in three broad categories based on reputation derived largely from entering class credentials.  While all three categories of private law schools saw declines in net tuition through 2016, law schools in the middle reputational category saw the largest net tuition decline (roughly 16% compared to roughly 5% for the reputationally strongest law schools and roughly 6% for reputationally weakest law schools). (This study used inflation-adjusted figures in making net tuition calculations.)

What is the simple story between 2010 and 2016?  In the face of a declining applicant pool, and an applicant pool that also weakened in terms of the LSAT composition of the applicant pool, law schools became much more competitive in trying to attract students, particularly students with stronger LSAT/GPA profiles, by greatly increasing their scholarship offers.  Between 2011 and 2016, the percentage of all law students on scholarship increased from slightly less than 50% to nearly 70%, while the average median grant went from slightly more than $13,000 to nearly $17,000.  As a result, as reflected in the two articles identified above, net tuition at the vast majority of law schools declined during this period.

What Happened in 2017-18 and 2018-19?
What has happened since the 2016-17 academic year?  Is the tuition discounting that law schools engaged in through 2016-17 sustainable?

The admissions cycle for the 2017-18 academic year did not see a meaningful increase in applicants to law schools (56,400 — roughly the same as in the two previous years).  The admissions cycle for the 2018-19 academic year, however, not only saw the first meaningful increase in applicants in several years (60,700 applicants up nearly 8%), it also saw an increase in the relative strength of the applicant pool.  (This trend continued into the 2019-20 admissions cycle (63,000 applicants up nearly 4%) with a further strengthening of the applicant pool.)

If one were of the view that the tuition discounting in which law schools have been engaged is “unsustainable,” one might expect that in the face of a growing applicant pool (and particularly an applicant pool that has grown stronger), law schools might take advantage of this increased “demand” to increase net tuition.  But the available data suggest that net tuition has increased only modestly across 2017-18 and 2018-19.  Somewhat surprisingly, most of that increase was in 2017-18 rather than 2018-19.

Charts 1 and 2 are drawn from the net tuition dataset compiled by Law School Transparency.  I downloaded all of the net tuition data for the 2012-13 to 2018-19 academic years to look at changes over time.  I focused only on private law schools (given the challenges of calculating net tuition for public law schools with resident and non-resident tuition and an unknown mix of resident students and non-resident students).

I broke the private law schools into four categories based on USNews rankings using the March 2013 published rankings.  I then integrated enrollment data to calculate weighted averages for net tuition and changes in net tuition over time across all the law schools in a given rankings category.  Note that the net tuition calculations are based on the entire student body, not just first-year students, as the ABA requires law schools to report scholarship and grant data across all JD students.

Chart 1 — Weighted Average Annual Percentage Changes in Net Tuition
Across 109 Private Law Schools in Four Rankings Categories
Between 2013-14 Through 2018-19 (Source: LST Net Tuition Tables)

Organ 1

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August 17, 2020 in Jerry Organ, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Idaho Law School Accepts 110 Transfer Students, Hires 6 Faculty, From Closed Concordia Law School

University of Idaho College of Law Press Release, U of I Accepts 110 Transfer Students from Concordia Law, Largest Number of Law School Transfers in the Western U.S.:

Idaho LogoThe University of Idaho College of Law will grow this fall by 110 students, rendering the transfer of Concordia Law students and the largest-ever transfer for a western law school.

Nearly all of the students will have the opportunity to still complete their legal education in Boise. Two of the students chose to relocate to the law school’s Moscow location at the main U of I campus.

Concordia’s parent institution, Concordia University in Portland, announced in February that the university was closing its Boise location due to financial reasons. Concordia Law School sought to partner with another Concordia institution, but that fell through in late June.

According to the American Bar Association, the organization that oversees law school accreditation, the highest number of transfers in recent years was 110 to Georgetown in 2016. The last large transfer of law students to U of I was in 2014 when Concordia was unsuccessful in securing ABA accreditation. Fifty-three students transferred at that time and 42 later graduated from U of I.

U of I has hired eight faculty to accommodate the increase in transfer students, including six professors from Concordia Law.

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

Will Morris: PwC's Deputy Global Tax Policy Leader And Part-Time Priest

Financial Times, Test of Faith: Will Morris, PwC Tax Expert and Part-time Priest:

Morris (2020)On the third Sunday of Lent last year, Will Morris, deputy global tax policy leader at accounting giant PwC, admitted he felt conflicted when he became a part-time priest.

“I had asked myself whether I was — as a very well-paid tax lawyer for a large US corporation — subconsciously trying to cleanse a job that some viewed as ethically dodgy, by throwing a priestly cloak over it all,” he told a congregation at London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields church, describing his ordination a decade earlier.

Mr Morris operates at the highest levels of corporate tax and policy. As chairman of the OECD tax advisory committee, he is a powerful lobbying force. As one ally put it, he “can corral an impressive list of tax directors and policymakers into a room”.

The distinction between his professional and priestly life was thrown into particularly sharp relief this month. Mr Morris was one of five former General Electric executives who negotiated a $1bn tax break in the UK in 2005 that HM Revenue & Customs now claims was fraudulently obtained

St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Revd William Morris:

Will Morris is an assistant priest at St Martin’s, having been here since his ordination in 2009. He is a Self Supporting Minister who also works at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) as Deputy Global Tax Policy Leader. At St Martin’s he focuses on faith and workplace issues and wrote Where is God at Work in 2015, and Love thy Colleague: Being Authentically Christian at Work in 2017.

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August 16, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Florida's Aug. 19 Online Bar Exam In Jeopardy As Software Crashes; Deans, Legislators Demand Plan B

Justice Department: Yale Illegally Discriminates Against Asians And Whites In Admissions

Department of Justice, Justice Department Finds Yale Illegally Discriminates Against Asians and Whites in Undergraduate Admissions in Violation of Federal Civil-Rights Laws:

Yale University LogoThe Department of Justice today notified Yale University of its findings that Yale illegally discriminates against Asian American and white applicants in its undergraduate admissions process in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The findings are the result of a two-year investigation in response to a complaint by Asian American groups concerning Yale’s conduct.

“There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division. “Unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness, and division. It is past time for American institutions to recognize that all people should be treated with decency and respect and without unlawful regard to the color of their skin. In 1890, Frederick Douglass explained that the ‘business of government is to hold its broad shield over all and to see that every American citizen is alike and equally protected in his civil and personal rights.’ The Department of Justice agrees and will continue to fight for the civil rights of all people throughout our nation.”

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

Friday, August 14, 2020

Law Professors Ask ABA To Shelve Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement During Pandemic

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Law Professors Ask ABA to Shelve Bar Passage Rule During Pandemic:

SALT (2020)A law professor group has renewed calls for the American Bar Association to suspend enforcement of its bar passage standard for law schools, arguing that the bar exam is in disarray amid COVID-19 and that schools should not be held to the same measures during the pandemic.

The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), in a letter to the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, argues that the current bar passage standard is unworkable at a time when states are taking divergent approaches to attorney licensing. Some have adopted emergency diploma privileges that allow law graduates to skip the test, others are administering abbreviated online tests, and some are sticking with a traditional two-day, in person exam. ...

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August 14, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

NCBE President To Bar Exam Test-Takers: 'I Understand Your Anxiety And Anger'

Karen Sloan (Law.com), 'I Understand the Anxiety and the Anger,' Says Top Bar Exam Official:

NCBE (2021)To say that tensions are running high over the bar exam would be an understatement.

Thousands of recent law graduates are aggressively lobbying jurisdictions across the country to adopt emergency diploma privileges that would allow them to get licensed without taking the bar exam—arguing that in-person tests are unsafe and online ones are riddled with technical and ethical problems. Hundreds more showed up for in-person exams last month, donning masks and trying—sometimes with limited success—to socially distance. At least one examinee in Colorado tested positive for COVID-19, learning of the result mere hours after finishing the in-person exam. And many candidates say they are frustrated by ongoing changes in plans surrounding the exam, with some tests postponed or altered mere days ahead of time.

Perhaps no one has taken more flak over the exam’s rocky pandemic rollout than Judith Gundersen, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which designs the exam used by nearly every jurisdiction. ...

Law.com caught up with Gundersen this week to get her assessment of the current bar exam cycle, if she thinks online exams are feasible, and what she meant by that character and fitness comment. He answers have been edited for length and clarity. ...

There are a lot of people who feel very angry and who feel like this process has been mismanaged. Do you understand where that response is coming from?

I absolutely get it. You’ve gone to law school for three years. You think you are going to take the bar exam—which is stressful enough—then you think you can look for a job. And now it’s all been thrown into question. I understand it. But I guess I would say to them that the states and the courts are doing the best job they can and are trying to react to a situation that is very dynamic. I certainly understand the anxiety and the anger.

I think a lot of people are looking back to that April white paper the NCBE put out, which basically argued that a diploma privilege puts the public at risk. ...
Does the NCBE have a conflict of interest on the diploma privilege issue given that the whole purpose of the organization is to create and perpetuate the bar exam? ...
People have seized on the fact that you didn’t take the bar exam. You were licensed through Wisconsin’s longstanding diploma privilege program, which lets graduates of the state’s two law schools bypass the bar exam. And they have called you a hypocrite because of it. What’s your response to that?

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

Law School Deans Push For Diploma Privilege In Washington, D.C.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Louisiana Joins Indiana In Giving Open Book Bar Exam By Email

Following up on my previous post, Indiana To Give OPEN BOOK BAR EXAM VIA EMAIL:  New Orleans Times-Picayune, Louisiana Bar Exam to Become Open-Book Email Test For Those Still Required to Take It:

Lousiana GmailThe unlucky group of people left taking Louisiana’s bar exam in August and October can call off the cramming.

The Louisiana Supreme Court announced Wednesday that those registered for the August and October exams will have an open-book test that they can submit via email. After abruptly canceling the July bar exam amid coronavirus concerns, the high court agreed a few weeks ago to license hundreds of recent law school graduates as attorneys without making them pass the grueling bar exam.

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

NALP: Law School Class Of 2019 Attains Highest Employment Rate (90.3%) In 12 Years As Uncertainty Looms For Class Of 2020

NALP, Class of 2019 Attains Highest Employment Rate in 12 Years as Uncertainty Looms for Class of 2020:

NALP 2The National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) today released its Employment for the Class of 2019 — Selected Findings, a synopsis of key findings from the upcoming annual Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law School Graduates. The release of the full Jobs & JDs report is anticipated in October 2020. This year’s Selected Findings show that the Class of 2019 experienced the highest employment rate in the dozen years since the start of the Great Recession, as the overall employment rate for the Class of 2019 was up 0.9 percentage points to 90.3% of graduates for whom employment status was known, compared to 89.4% for the Class of 2018. This marks the highest employment rate recorded since the 91.9% rate for the Class of 2007.

“The good news is that employment outcomes and salary findings for members of the Class of 2019 are among the strongest ever measured and set several new highwater marks,” noted James G. Leipold, NALP’s Executive Director. “The bad news is that they are not likely to be predictive of the employment outcomes for the next several classes, as the recession and other changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to provide a much more challenging job market for some years to come.”

Selected Findings — Other Highlights:

• The percentage of graduates taking jobs for which bar passage is required or anticipated grew by 3.4 percentage points, increasing from 72.8% in 2018 to 76.2% in 2019, following a one percentage point increase in the previous year.

• 74.3% of graduates with known employment status were employed in a full-time, long-term bar passage required job.

• Well over half (55.2%) of employed graduates obtained a job in private practice, a slight increase of 0.4 percentage points over the previous year and the closest the percentage has come to the 55.9% figure for 2009 since then.

• 96.3% of jobs were full-time positions. The percentage of jobs reported as part-time has declined for eight years in row, and now accounts for just 3.7% of jobs, compared with 4.5% for 2018. Less than two percent (1.5%) of jobs were both temporary (defined as lasting less than a year) and part-time, compared with 1.9% for 2018.

• 30.2% of law firm jobs were in firms of more than 500 lawyers.

NALP

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August 13, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Adam Chodorow Named Vice Dean At Arizona State

ASU Law Announces New Leadership Positions:

Arizona State Logo (2016)The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has announced the following new appointments and expanded roles on its leadership team.

Adam Chodorow is now vice dean, taking on broader responsibilities in the external relations of the school, in addition to continuing to serve as the Jack E. Brown Professor of Law.

August 12, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blackman: Should Colleges (And Law Schools) Force Students To Turn Their Cameras On In Online Classes?

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Should Colleges Force Students To Turn Their Cameras On?:

Zoom 49 (2)Zoom University will soon be in session. I suspect many faculties are wrangling with an issue: should students be forced to turn their cameras on during class?

I can see several arguments in favor of requiring students to turn on their cameras. First, if students know they are being watched, they are more likely to stay in one place and pay attention. ... Second, a professor is better able to gauge a student's understanding by looking at his or her face. ... Third, the camera helps to ensure integrity of attendance rules. ...

There are several arguments against requiring students to turn on their cameras. First, and foremost, is privacy. ... Second, students may not wish to have their backgrounds visible to others. ... Third, there is a technological problem. ...

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August 12, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Harvard Law Prof Bruce Hay Sues New York Magazine Over Its Article: 'The Most Gullible Man In Cambridge'

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Grant: What I Learned About Teaching Online After A Summer Of Virtual Conferences, Classes, And Meeting

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  What I Learned After a Summer of Online Conferences, Classes, and Meetings, by Emily Grant (Washburn):

GrantWhen I first started teaching at Washburn University School of Law, I spent a semester sitting in on class sessions taught by as many other professors in the building as possible.  It was such an illuminating experience to watch my colleagues teach and to learn some of their tricks and strategies for classroom management.  But it was also incredible to be reminded what it feels like to sit in the audience of a law school class.  (<shameless plug> You can read about that adventure here:  At the [Other Side of the] Lectern, 64 J. of Legal Educ. 103 (2014).)

I had a very similar (and at the same time drastically different) experience this summer.  One upshot of the global pandemic is that I took advantage of far more professional opportunities this summer than I normally do—legal education conferences, undergrad pedagogy conferences, happy hours with people from around the country, trainings offered by my school, trainings offered by other schools.  My travel budget just had to cover my Diet Coke consumption, so I was excited about the many events to attend.

And attend I did.  I learned a ridiculous amount from brilliant educators and technology gurus.

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

Three Tenured Professors Request New Mexico Law School To Delay Tomorrow's Start Of On-Ground Classes Due To COVID-19 And Cyber Attack

Daily Lobo, UNM Law Professors Request Delayed Fall Semester After Two Test Positive for COVID-19:

New Mexico Logo (2015)A group of tenure track School of Law professors at the University of New Mexico have formally requested a delay in the start of the fall semester.

According to a letter obtained by the Daily Lobo, law school faculty members Christine Zuni Cruz, Barbara Creel and Marc-Tizoc González sent a letter to UNM School of Law Dean Sergio Pareja on Aug. 5 urging him to push back the start of the semester until Sept. 8.

The letter referenced that the law school has reported two positive cases of COVID-19 in the past few weeks. ...

According to the employee, policies were not in place prior to the first positive case, and multiple employees have expressed concern over the lack of COVID-19 protections for faculty, staff and students with the pending school year.

In addition to the coronavirus disruption, the letter also referenced that on July 27 an “illegal intrusion into the IT environment” had occurred. The letter referenced it as a possible “ransomware attack” which had “rendered the law school network server completely inaccessible.” The letter stated that “the hack resulted in the deletion of information and data preventing faculty from preparing for the semester.”

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

Pepperdine Caruso Dean Follows Lead Of Penn State Dickinson Dean In Giving $125,000 To Help Law Students With Emergency Needs

Last week, I read about and blogged Penn State Dickinson Law Dean Danielle Conway's $125,000 gift to provide relief to her students in financial need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My wife Courtney and I were so inspired and challenged by Danielle's gift that we decided to follow her lead at Pepperdine Caruso Law:

Caruso School of Law Dean Paul L. Caron Makes Gift to Provide Relief for Students in Need:

CaronsPaul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, and his wife, Courtney, have made a $125,000 gift to help endow the Student Emergency Fund at Caruso Law.

“Courtney and I have been moved by the difficulties faced by so many of our students during the pandemic. We were inspired by the recent news of Danielle Conway, dean of Penn State Dickinson Law, who made a $125,000 gift to her student emergency fund,” said Dean Caron. “We are enormously grateful for the opportunity to serve in these roles at Pepperdine and believe it is only right for us to try to live out the University's commitment to Matthew 10:8, ‘Freely ye have received, freely give.’ We are especially pleased that our gift will help endow the Student Emergency Fund started by Alex Caruso (JD ’17) and Caelan Rottman (JD ’18) when they were students.”

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August 11, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (4)

California Refuses To Retroactively Lower Bar Exam Cut Score

Following up on yesterday's post, California Bar Exam News:  The Recorder, California Justices Won't Retroactively Lower Bar Exam Passing Score:

California State Bar (2014)California’s Supreme Court said Monday it will not retroactively apply the lower passing score on the bar exam despite pleas to do so from hundreds of law school deans, graduates and state lawmakers.

In a letter to the state bar, court clerk Jorge Navarrete said that the justices are “unaware of any jurisdiction in the past decade that has lowered the exam passing score and applied that decision retroactively.”

The decision is a blow to many law school alumni who had lobbied the court to apply the lower score it adopted in July—139, reduced from 144—at least as far back as the February 2020 exam. An additional 376 applicants would have passed the February test if the lower cut score had been in place at the time, according to figures provided by the state bar.

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August 11, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Death Of Gersham Goldstein

Gersham Goldstein:

GoldsteinGersham Goldstein, z"l, died Aug. 6, 2020, at age 81. He is survived by his wife, Pauline, and daughter, Deborah, and her husband Magid, daughter-in-law Jennifer, and his four grandchildren, Noah, Krystal, Logan and Jakob. He was preceded in death by his son Marcus in 2015.

He was a prominent Portland tax lawyer and an active member of the Jewish community. He served as president of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland from 2009 to 2011. He also served on the boards of the Robison Jewish Home, Congregation Neveh Shalom and Greater Portland Hillel. He was also active with Chabad in Portland for many years.

Gersham was born in Brooklyn, New York on Dec. 5, 1938. After matriculating at City College of New York with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1959, he attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1962. Immediately following graduation, Gersham took a position as a research assistant for Gerald L. Wallace at NYU who became a significant influence in his career.

In 1963 Gersham drove to Oregon to work for Oregon Supreme Court Justice Alfred T. Goodwin. Over his early career he worked for Governor Mark Hatfield, Jacob Javits and taught at New York University and the University of Cincinnati. In the mid 1970s he and his wife, Pauline, returned to Portland where he took a position at Davies Biggs, which later became Stoel Rives, from which he retired as partner.

From Jack Bogdanski (Lewis & Clark):

My friend and former partner, Gersham Goldstein, died of cancer on Thursday. He was 81.
Gersh was a tax lawyer, nationally known and for many years the pre-eminent tax practitioner in Oregon. Before going into law practice, he had been a law professor at the University of Cincinnati and the first law clerk of the Oregon Tax Court. He was the editor-in-chief of the journal Corporate Taxation for more than 45 years, up to the time of his death.

Gersh was a collaborator (that's the guy who does all the work) on the Seventh Edition of Bittker & Eustice's corporate tax treatise. "B&E," as it's known, is the best known book of all time on U.S. income taxation. In the 20 years since the Seventh Edition appeared, no one has been able to update the whole thing, as Gersh did. No one has been crazy enough even to try. He was also the "compiler" (again, the source of the elbow grease) for a publication known as the Index to Federal Tax Articles. Back in the day before computerized tax research, it was the bomb.

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August 11, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, August 10, 2020

California Bar Exam News

Welcome, Pepperdine Caruso Law School Class Of 2023

Launch Week

Welcome to the members of the Pepperdine Caruso Law School Class of 2023 who begin their legal education today in a week-long introduction to law school and professional formation, as well as the over 400 students pursuing jointLL.M., and masters degrees and certificates, including our LL.M. and certificate programs in Entertainment, Media, and Sports and our online masters in Legal Studies and Dispute Resolution and our online LL.M. in Dispute Resolution.

Our incoming J.D. class is the first to enter our re-named Rick J. Caruso School of Law and the first to begin their legal education online. We are thrilled that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a higher than expected yield rate produced a class of over 180 1Ls (much larger than our 160 enrollment target), with higher median LSAT scores (162) and UGPAs (3.68) as well as more students of color and first-generation students than last year. 

This is my fourth year as Dean, and I am thrilled that you have decided to join our very special law school community. We cannot wait until you will be able to learn and study on our spectacularly beautiful campus in Malibu with easy access to Los Angeles, one of the world's most vibrant cities for young professionals. Beginning today you will experience the faculty and staff's faith-fueled commitment to you and to your success that manifests itself in various ways, large and small, in daily life at Pepperdine Caruso Law. My fervent wish is that you will love your time at Pepperdine Caruso Law as I have since joining the faculty in 2013, and that you will leave here with a deep sense of your professional and personal calling in law and in life.

This is an especially exciting time at Pepperdine Caruso Law. In March, we rose to #47 in the U.S. News law school rankings, the highest ranking in our school's history. We are well positioned with the resources provided by our $50 million naming gift to continue our ascent. 

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

Law School Deans, Recent Graduates Urge Maryland To Be Fifth State To Adopt Diploma Privilege During COVID-19

Baltimore Sun, Maryland Law School Deans, Recent Graduates Urge State to Temporarily Waive Bar Exam:

Maryland BarMaryland law school deans and recent graduates are calling on the state’s highest court to waive the bar exam for new lawyers, citing concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants to the Maryland Bar, who are scheduled to sit for the Oct. 5-6 bar exam, took the unusual step of filing a petition July 31 with the Maryland Court of Appeals requesting the waiver.

Deans Donald Tobin of the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law and Ronald Weich of the University of Baltimore School of Law also delivered a letter Wednesday in support of the petition to Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. ...

Prior to the pandemic, Wisconsin was the only state that allowed graduates from its two accredited law schools to secure a law license without taking the bar exam — a practice known as “diploma privilege,” Weich said.

As the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardizes states’ ability to safely proctor the two-day exam, Washington, Oregon, Utah and Louisiana have temporarily adopted “diploma privilege.”

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

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Software That Monitors Students During Tests Perpetuates Inequality And Violates Their Privacy

MIT Technology Review:  Software That Monitors Students During Tests Perpetuates Inequality and Violates Their Privacy, by Shea Swauger (University of Colorado Denver):

MIT Technology ReviewThe coronavirus pandemic created a surge in demand for exam proctoring tools. Here’s why universities should stop using them.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a boon for the test proctoring industry. About half a dozen companies in the US claim their software can accurately detect and prevent cheating in online tests. Examity, HonorLock, Proctorio, ProctorURespondus and others have rapidly grown since colleges and universities switched to remote classes.

While there’s no official tally, it’s reasonable to say that millions of algorithmically proctored tests are happening every month around the world. Proctorio told the New York Times in May that business had increased by 900% during the first few months of the pandemic, to the point where the company proctored 2.5 million tests worldwide in April alone.

I'm a university librarian and I've seen the impacts of these systems up close. My own employer, the University of Colorado Denver, has a contract with Proctorio.

It’s become clear to me that algorithmic proctoring is a modern surveillance technology that reinforces white supremacy, sexism, ableism, and transphobia. The use of these tools is an invasion of students’ privacy and, often, a civil rights violation. ...

Technology didn’t invent the conditions for cheating and it won’t be what stops it. The best thing we in higher education can do is to start with the radical idea of trusting students. Let’s choose compassion over surveillance.

August 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

‘Racism Makes A Liar Of God’: The Catholic Church Wrestles With The Black Lives Matter Movement

New York Times op-ed:  ‘Racism Makes a Liar of God’: How the American Catholic Church Is Wrestling With the Black Lives Matter Movement, by Elizabeth Bruenig:

Black CrossIn 1963, when 250,000 demonstrators gathered at the Lincoln Memorial and heard the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, they did so under the prayerful invocation of Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle of Washington. He called for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of Christians to the injustice of racial discrimination, condemned violence and praised the activists who had possessed the courage to go forth, like Moses, in search of a beautiful country.

Five decades later, these hopes seem in many respects unfulfilled. About one in five Americans identify as Catholic, and as of 2018, roughly six in 10 white Catholics felt that police killings of Black men were isolated incidents rather than evidence of a profound and lethal bias. Prominent Catholic commentators, including Bill O’Reilly and Father Dwight Longenecker, fear and reject the Black Lives Matter movement.

American Catholic unease with Black Lives Matter has been particularly noticeable during the protests over the killing of George Floyd. Statues commemorating Junipero Serra, a Spanish monk responsible for founding several of California’s Catholic missions in the early days of European colonization, have been torn down by protesters outraged by what they say was Father Serra’s eager participation in the conquest of North America, including the torture, enslavement and murder of some of the Native Americans he intended to convert — accusations disputed by many Catholics.

Other religious statues, too, have been damaged by protesters. Coupled with the vandalism of a handful of Catholic churches along with a slew of ordinary buildings, the attacks on statuary have sparked fury among conservative Catholics, confirming what they perhaps already believed: that racial justice movements — or at least this particular one — are antithetical to the Christian faith, rooted in Marxism and atheism. ...

Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic writer, argued in July that Black Lives Matter and Christianity are “fundamentally incompatible world views.”

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

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Why Do Liberal Universities Eschew Progressive Budget Cuts That Would Take More From Highly Paid Administrators And Faculty?

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  The Biggest Cuts Need To Come From The Top, by Silke-Maria Weineck (Michigan):

It is true that academics vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. This has led conservative enemies of higher education to claim that universities are left-wing institutions. They are not. They are quintessentially bourgeois institutions — liberal, sure, but not on the left in any meaningful sense. Their prime function is the reproduction of civil society and the managerial class. ...

Universities are facing terrifying budget shortfalls as a result of the Covid-19pandemic, and they need to do one or a combination of three things. (1) They can spend their endowments — but most colleges either don’t have the amounts they would need, or, like my home institution, they do have the money but, for a mixture of good and bad reasons, do not want to dip into it too deeply. (2) They could take steps to increase revenue — but the very circumstances that have led to the crunch make that nearly impossible, certainly to the extent necessary. (3) They can cut expenses — meaning cut staff and salaries, which are by far the biggest budget item.

A left-wing or even a left-liberal institution would make sure those cuts come from the top and are structured like a progressive income tax, with those earning more forking over not only more of their salary but a higher percentage of their salary. Progressive taxation is the bedrock revenue principle of liberal democracies, including the United States. It’s impossible to imagine leftists, left liberals, or even centrist Democrats advocating for a flat tax.

And yet, all over the country, this is what universities are doing. If they are not firing faculty and staff members, shuttering entire departments, or cutting salaries directly, they are pausing retirement contributions. ...

This is a flat cut. The staff member who makes $30,000 a year is giving up the exact same percentage of her salary as the business-school professor raking in $300,000. 

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August 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Concerned Girlfriend Goes Public With Boyfriend’s Plan To Quit Law School To Become Sports Podcaster

Legal Cheek, Concerned Girlfriend Goes Public With Boyfriend’s Plan to Quit Law School to Become Podcaster:

We’ve been together 2 years, ... and things were great until May when my boyfriend and his friends started a sports podcast. At first it was just a hobby, my boyfriend is a big podcast nerd so it was really nice to see him do something he liked so much. But then he started getting more and more invested, and stopped watching his remote classes/studying to dedicate his full time to his podcast.

He is seriously considering dropping out of law school because he “can’t concentrate on both studying and running a podcast” and he “would rather do what he loves." Which would be fine if what he loved wasn’t a 2 month old podcast with barely 30 listeners and the same content of at least a hundred other podcasts.

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August 8, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, August 7, 2020

Tenured Law Prof Suspended For Use Of N-Word In Torts Class Sues Emory And Former Dean For Libel And Retaliation

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Law360, Emory Law Prof Calls Punishment For Using N-Word Unjust:

ZwierAn Emory University School of Law professor hit his employer and former boss with a libel and retaliation suit Thursday, telling a Georgia federal court that they wrongfully suspended him and irreparably damaged his reputation after he used the N-word during a torts class in 2018.

Paul Zwier, who is white, has taught torts, evidence and advanced negotiations at Emory's law school in Atlanta since 2003. He has also written about equity and inclusion, race relations, racism in courts and the rule of law. According to the suit, his Emory career went without incident until a fateful first-year torts class in August 2018. ...

"Professor Zwier's use of the racist term was part of the class discussion and used as an example of how a tortfeasor's words could elevate the severity of the tort being committed," according to the complaint. "Professor Zwier did not direct the word at any individual student, but instead used it as a teaching moment and integral part of the lecture and discussion."

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

Nevada Pushes Forward With Online Bar Exam Next Week, Despite Petition For Diploma Privilege Amid Pandemic

Nevada Independent, Supreme Court Rules To Keep Plans For Remote Bar Exam in Place, Despite Petition For Diploma Privilege Amid Pandemic:

Nevada BarAfter more than 170 comments bombarded the Supreme Court over the last three days, the court’s seven justices denied a petition to allow law school graduates to temporarily practice without passing the bar in an order issued late Wednesday.

The decision marks the end of a months-long debate over just how to handle the administration of the bar exam in the middle of a pandemic and paves the way for a remote essay-based test on Aug. 11 and 12. ...

Wednesday’s decision follows reports late Monday that another beta test of the software being used to administer the remote exam had experienced yet more technological hiccups. ...

The issue of the exam’s timing has also become a mounting frustration for many recent law school graduates, who cannot work before becoming barred and are left both with thousands in outstanding debts and no timeline for a new possible income stream.

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August 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: The U.S. Is Pursuing The Worst Possible COVID-19 Education Policy, Forcing Young Children Online While Risking On-Ground Classes For College Students

New York Times:  The United States Is Reopening Many of the Wrong Schools, by Susan Dynarski (Michigan):

When it is safe enough to return to school, young children would benefit the most. Yet financial pressures are pushing colleges to reopen most rapidly, an economist says.

With coronavirus cases spiking in dozens of states, the prospect of anything resembling a normal school year is fading fast.

Schools can’t safely reopen if infections are exploding in the communities they serve.

But in regions where the pandemic appears to be under control, it is most important to get the youngest children back into school buildings, to stop the alarming slide in their learning. Older students, especially those in college, are better equipped to cope with the difficulties of online education.

That is the broad consensus among experts on back-to-school priorities. But, as things stand now, much of the United States is preparing to do exactly the opposite.

In many towns, college students are more likely than kindergartners to return to school for in-person instruction. An example is my home of Ann Arbor, Mich., where schoolchildren will be learning completely online and university students will be attending at least some classes in person. ...

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

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Teaching Law Online: A Guide For Faculty

Nina A. Kohn (Syracuse), Teaching Law Online: A Guide for Faculty, 69 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2020):

As law school classes move online, it is imperative that law faculty understand not only how to teach online, but how to teach well online. This article therefore is designed to help law faculty do their best teaching online. It walks faculty through key choices they must make when designing online courses, and concrete ways that they can prepare themselves and their students to succeed. The article explains why live online teaching should be the default option for most faculty, but also shows how faculty can enhance student learning by incorporating asynchronous lessons into their online classes. It then shows how faculty can set up their virtual teaching space and employ diverse teaching techniques to foster an engaging and rigorous online learning environment. The article concludes by discussing how the move to online education in response to COVID-19 could improve the overall quality of law school teaching.

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August 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)