Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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 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 Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

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 (1)

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 (0)

Monday, August 10, 2020

California Bar Exam News

The Professional Responsibility Case For Valid And Nondiscriminatory Bar Exams

Joan W. Howarth (UNLV), The Professional Responsibility Case for Valid and Nondiscriminatory Bar Exams, 33 Geo. J. Legal Ethics ___ (2020):

Title VII protects against workplace discrimination in part through the scrutiny of employment tests whose results differ based on race, gender, or ethnicity. Such tests are said to have a disparate impact, and their use is illegal unless their validity can be established. Validity means that the test is job-related and measures what it purports to measure. Further, under Title VII, even a valid employment test with a disparate impact could be struck down if less discriminatory alternatives exist.

Licensing tests, including bar exams, have been found to be outside these Title VII protections. But the nondiscrimination values that animate Title VII disparate impact analysis for employers apply just as fundamentally to attorney licensing through principles of professional responsibility and legal ethics.

This Article examines the civil rights cases from the 1970s that established bar examiners’ immunity from Title VII.

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

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 Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

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 Swaugerarchive (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 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

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

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 Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

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

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

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)

Women’s Experiences At The University Of Chicago Law School

Mallika Balachandran (J.D. 2018, Chicago; Sidley, New York), Roisin Duffy-Gideon (J.D. 2018, Chicago; Law Clerk, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois) & Hannah Gelbort (J.D. 2018, Chicago; Law Clerk, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), Speak Now: Results of a One-Year Study of Women’s Experiences at the University of Chicago Law School,  2019 U. Chi. Legal F. 647:

The Women’s Advocacy Project (WAP) was a research project designed and run by law students at the University of Chicago Law School (“the Law School” or “UChicago Law”) during the 2017–2018 academic year—the first study of its kind to be conducted there. WAP collected data in an attempt to accumulate a rich and detailed set of information about women’s experiences at the Law School. WAP had four primary research components: classroom observations, achievement data collection, a student survey, and professor interviews. The project represents the efforts of over seventy law students. This article, written in the fall and winter of 2018, is a condensed version of WAP’s initial report. Readers interested in more detailed information about WAP’s methodology, findings, and recommendations should access the report here.

WAP found significant differences between men’s and women’s experiences at the Law School, many suggesting that women still face considerable roadblocks and hurdles in legal education there. For example, women graduate with honors proportionately less frequently,

Table 3

participate voluntarily in class less,

Graph 1

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August 7, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

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 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 Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Report On The Future Of The Indiana Bar Exam

Report of the Study Commission on the Future Indiana Bar Exam: Findings and Recommendations:

Indiana ReportExecutive Summary
The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order on December 4, 2018, creating the Study Commission on the Future of the Indiana Bar Examination, to evaluate current trends and issues and to make recommendations to the Court.

Following a series of productive public meetings, the review of comments from the Indiana legal community and careful deliberation, the Study Commission recommends the following:

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

W&L Law Prof: University Must Drop Both Robert E. Lee And George Washington From Its Name

Brandon Hasbrouck (Washington & Lee), White Saviors, 77 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 47 (2020):

W&L Logo (2020) (3)It is time for Washington and Lee University to drop both George Washington and Robert E. Lee from the University name. The predominantly White faculty at Washington and Lee recently announced that it will petition the Board of Trustees to remove Lee from the University name. This is the first time in Washington and Lee’s history that the faculty has drafted such a petition. It is worth exploring why the faculty has decided to make a collective statement on Lee now and why the faculty has not included a demand to drop Washington in their petition. The answer is simple—it is no longer acceptable, profitable, or convenient to be associated with Lee but it is for Washington. At least for now. ...

Truth and reconciliation require moremore everything. At Washington and Lee University, it starts with the following:

1. The removal of both namesakes;

2. Acknowledgement from this predominantly White faculty that you all have profited and benefitted from Black pain—through promotion, tenure, competition, and other ways;

3. Acknowledgment from the predominantly White faculty that you all have been deaf or unresponsive to Black suffering—and that the difference is immaterial;

4. Acknowledgment from the predominantly White faculty that each year you have remained silent, neutral, or worse, harm was committed against Black people;

5. Acknowledgment from the predominantly White faculty that your (at best) neutrality perpetuated racist thinking and policy decisionmaking;

6. Acknowledgment from the predominantly White faculty that it has been students, particularly law students and students of color, who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and advocacy on issues of race and racial justice and equality;

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August 6, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

At Least 1/6 Of Law Schools Will Be Online This Fall

National Law Journal, Law Schools That Planned to Return to Campus in Fall Are Reversing Course:

CoronavirusAt least 32 law schools—or about a sixth of the law campuses accredited by the American Bar Association—have thus far announced that they will be entirely online for the fall semester, or will offer a very limited amount of in-person instruction to select groups of students. Harvard Law School in early June became the first to say it would remain virtual for the fall. Among the campuses that have followed suit are all five law schools within the University of California systems [Berkeley, Davis, Hastings, Irvine, UCLA] (though Irvine hopes to offer a few 1L classes on campus); the University of Southern California Gould School of Law; George Washington School of Law; Howard University School of Law; and the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Deans say the process of planning for the fall semester has been difficult given the intensification of the pandemic, changing local and state public health directives, and the additional layer of university-mandated safety measures. ...

Nearly every law school is giving students the option to complete their studies entirely online during the fall, but not every school is extending the option to attend at least one or two classes in person. And there is little geographic uniformity in the reopening decisions that schools are making.

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August 6, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Political Discrimination And Law Professor Hiring

James C. Phillips (Chapman), Political Discrimination and Law Professor Hiring, 12 N.Y.U. J.L. & Liberty 560 (2019):

There are comparatively few conservative and libertarian law professors on U.S. law school faculties. Why is this? One possible explanation is discrimination based on political orientation. This paper tests this using a model of discrimination based on the work of Nobel Prize-winning economists Gary Becker and Kenneth Arrow in order to measure the “rank gap”—the difference in the ranking of a hiring law school based on one’s political orientation after controlling for other predictors of that ranking (clerkships, publications, the law school one graduated from, etc.).

The paper, using matching statistical methods, finds that upon comparing conservative/libertarian law professors hired from 2001- 2010 with equally-credentialed liberal law professors, conservatives/libertarians end up, on average, at a law school ranked 12-13 spots lower (i.e., less prestigious). (See pages 36-37.) This rank gap is not uniform, being more moderate with the top 75 schools, non-existent with schools 76-100, and the largest with the lowest-ranked schools. (See page 40.) The paper finds a similar “rank gap” for law professors whose political orientation was unknown or moderate compared to their liberal peers. Thus, while there may be other mechanisms causing the dearth of conservative/libertarian law professors in the legal academy, those who do make it in the door appear to experience discrimination based on political orientation.

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August 6, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

South Dakota Is 24th Law School To Receive A Naming Gift ($12.5 Million)

Following up on my previous post, The 23 Law School Naming Gifts ($3 Million - $125 Million): Press Release, USD Law School Receives Historic Gift, Honors David Knudson with Renaming:

South Dakota Law SchoolTo honor the legacy of Sioux Falls lawyer, businessman and public servant David Knudson, the University of South Dakota’s law school will take on the name of the University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law, as announced today.

The naming of the USD Knudson School of Law is the result of a $12.5 million gift from Knudson’s friend and colleague, T. Denny Sanford. The gift will ensure the law school remains a national leader in excellence, service and leadership.

"It's quite meaningful to see an investment of this size and to see the vision Mr. Sanford and Mr. Knudson have for securing the future of law in the state of South Dakota," said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. "The USD Knudson School of Law is the only law school in the state, and most of our graduates practice in the state and regionally. This gift is very important to continuing law in South Dakota."

"This gift is tremendous because it more than doubles the size of our current endowment at the law school, and it will fund up to 10 full-tuition student scholarships for every incoming class," said Neil Fulton, dean of the law school. "It literally changes the lives of 10 students every year, and it gives us the opportunity to help 10 students begin their careers right here in South Dakota."

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August 5, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Votes 64%-36% To Urge States To Ditch In-Person Bar Exams During COVID-19

ABA Press Release, ABA House Concludes Historic Meeting After Adopting Robust List of New Policies:

ABA Logo (2016)The American Bar Association House of Delegates adopted nearly 60 new policies at its two-day meeting that ended today, including a resolution that urges state lawyer-licensing authorities to make public health issues paramount for upcoming bar exams and provide options for recent graduates who cannot take the bar.

The HOD, as the 597-member group of state, local and specialty bar associations is known, met virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic to conclude the 2020 Virtual ABA Annual Meeting, which began July 29. ...

The bar exam resolution, 10G, was adopted by a 256-146 vote. It asks the highest court or bar admission authority in each state or other licensing jurisdiction to cancel or not administer in person the examination during the COVID-19 crisis unless cleared by public health authorities. The resolution offers several alternative approaches to the bar exam, including a diploma privilege during the crisis. It does not favor any specific option.

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

Common Mistakes In Online Teaching

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indianapolis), Common Mistakes in Online Teaching:

This article explains five common mistakes in online teaching and how to fix them. To do so, this article draws on student comments coming from mid-semester surveys in an Online Trusts & Estates course, as well as focus groups on online law courses.

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August 5, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Texas Lifts Tampon Ban At Bar Exam

Following up on my previous post, Tampons And The Bar Exam:  Texas Tribune, Texas Lifts Tampon Ban at Bar Exam After Complaints Over Discriminatory Policy:

Tampons and pads are no longer contraband at the upcoming bar exam for aspiring lawyers in Texas.

Pausing a practice that critics called retrograde and discriminatory, the state’s board of law examiners said in late July that test takers will be allowed to bring feminine hygiene products in clear plastic bags with them to the grueling, multiday exam that’s needed to obtain a law license. It’s unclear if the policy will remain in place for a later exam, in February; the board’s executive director, Susan Henricks, said the board doesn’t know the “conditions” under which the test will take place due to the pandemic. ...

Hundreds of lawyers, law professors and students recently signed a letter to the National Conference of Bar Examiners that said test takers unable to access the size and kind of menstrual product they want would be taking the test in conditions more “onerous and stressful” than for others.

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

COVID-19 Update For Fall 2020 Semester

Penn State Law Prof: Faculty Should Put Aside Their Scholarship And Devote 100% Of Their Time To Teaching This Fall

Karen Sloan (, Should Faculty Ditch Scholarship Next Semester?:

SharbaughHere’s something I’ve never heard before in my decade or so of covering legal education: A law professor arguing that teaching loads should be higher. So when I caught wind that a professor from Pennsylvania State University Law School was making the case that law faculty ought to put aside their scholarship next semester in order to concentrate fully on teaching, I had to hear more. I hopped on the phone with Tom Sharbaugh, the director of the school’s Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic, last week to get the pitch.

But first, some caveats: Sharbaugh isn’t your typical tenured law professor. He’s a “professor of practice” who spent 35 years in the law firm world. For 15 of those years, he was the managing partner of operations at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. ...

[L]aw schools are facing unprecedented challenges in the fall semester with most if not all classes happening online. Instead of teaching just one or two courses during the fall while working on their scholarship, he said law professors should put their scholarly endeavors aside temporarily and take on more teaching responsibilities so that law students have more classes to choose from and can learn in smaller sections.

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

NY Times: More Than 6,600 COVID-19 Cases Have Been Linked To U.S. Colleges

New York Times, More Than 6,600 Coronavirus Cases Have Been Linked to U.S. Colleges:

As college students and professors decide whether to head back to class, and as universities weigh how and whether to reopen, the coronavirus is already on campus.

A New York Times survey of every public four-year college in the country, as well as every private institution that competes in Division I sports or is a member of an elite group of research universities, revealed at least 6,600 cases tied to about 270 colleges over the course of the pandemic. And the new academic year has not even begun at most schools.

NY Times Map

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

Ransomware Attack Blocks New Mexico Law School Faculty, Staff, And Student Access To Email, Shared Files

Albuquerque Journal, Suspected Ransomware Attack Hits UNM Law School:

New Mexico Logo (2015)Officials at the University of New Mexico School of Law believe they have been attacked by ransomware, a malicious software that is preventing students, faculty and staff from accessing emails and shared files at the school.

It appears that the attack is only disrupting computer systems at the law school, and not other parts of campus, according to a letter from Dean Sergio Pareja that was sent to students Thursday evening and posted to UNM’s website.

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

Monday, August 3, 2020

Campbell Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Campbell LogoCampbell University School of Law invites applications for up to three Faculty Positions to begin in August 2021. Primary areas of interest are: property law; wills, trusts, and estates; tax; civil procedure; corporate finance; and health law. Other areas of interest include: mergers and acquisitions; securities regulation; law and technology; environmental law; and conflicts of law. The position(s) will be full-time, tenure track appointment(s). All applicants should have excellent academic credentials and demonstrated skill in teaching and mentoring students. We welcome applications from candidates whose background will contribute to excellence through institutional diversity. Cover letters must explain how the candidate is able and willing to support each of the five distinctives set forth below. Candidates should be prepared to discuss and demonstrate their approach to remote-teaching. Designation of Assistant Professor or Associate Professor title commensurate with experience.

Located in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, Campbell University School of Law is a highly demanding, purposely small community of faculty and students whose aim, guided by transcendent values, is to develop lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion and professional competence, and who view the practice of law as a calling to serve others and to create a more just society.

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August 3, 2020 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Acquiescent No More: Tenured And Tenure-Track Are Finally Fighting Back

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Acquiescent No More: Tenured and Tenure-Track Are Finally Fighting Back, by Rebecca Kolins Givan (Rutgers):

Too often, complacency is the assumed natural state of the tenured professor. Solidarity, on the other hand, is an elusive and foreign concept. Even before higher education was plunged into a full-blown public health and economic crisis, the “widespread inaction” of tenured faculty has been, for some, an embarrassing and persistent reality. Even as universities risked becoming pared-down sites of work-force preparedness, resting on exploited, contingent academic labor and funded by exorbitant costs pushed onto students, many in the secure professoriate sat idly on the sidelines. Entrenched acquiescence, coupled with a lack of institutionalized bargaining rights, has helped to normalize a lack of direct political engagement from the most comfortable and well-protected academic workers.

As opportunities to land a tenure-track job have evaporated, those who have risen to the few remaining secure positions in the profession have by and large refused to use their professional privileges to speak out, whether on behalf of their contingent colleagues or to push for broader investment in public higher education, accepting instead that “the system is horrible, unethical, but it works for them.” While some tenured professors simply feel too overworked to participate in political activities, labor struggles, etc., others don’t see any reason why they should in the first place, choosing to identify “as thinkers rather than as workers.” But, as Jennifer Fredette forcefully argues in a group faculty interview for The Chronicle Review, “To have tenure and to stay in your lane is to be complicit with the injustices of the system in which you have secured this privilege.” While addressing the need to defend the most precarious workers on campuses, Naomi Klein put it even more succinctly: “Got your tenure? Make some trouble!” ...

Draconian cuts, disproportionately hitting the most vulnerable in campus communities, coupled with unsafe plans for a return to face-to-face instruction have moved faculty, especially tenured and tenure-track faculty, from acquiescence to action.

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August 3, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

University Of North Carolina Faculty Tell Students It Is Not Safe To Return To Campus, Prepare Class Action Lawsuit To Prevent Planned August 10 Reopening

Newsweek, UNC Tenured Faculty Tell Students to Stay Home Amid COVID Concerns: 'It Is Not Safe for You to Come to Campus':

UNCTenured faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) told undergraduate students in an open letter not to return to campus this fall because of coronavirus concerns, the latest move in the debate over reopening schools.

Spectrum News 1, UNC Faculty, Staff Prepare Lawsuit to Delay In-Person Classes:

Faculty and staff, concerned about reopening North Carolina’s public universities, are preparing a class-action lawsuit. A lawyer for the UNC employees says there is no way the universities can guarantee they’ll be safe when students return to campus.

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

Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Prediction: Applications Up, Scholarship Aid Down

Mike Spivey (Spivey Consulting), Predicting the 2020/2021 Law School Admissions Cycle:

[W]e think applications will be up, and our best guess is about 5-7%. ...

This does not necessarily mean the cycle will be more competitive. The need for increased revenue at law schools (and in higher education generally) is real. For 20+ years I have seen predictions of law schools having to admit larger classes or decrease tuition remission (merit scholarships) for financial viability, and for 20+ years we have yet to see this at the macro level. If that ever changes, it will be in the next year or two. Law schools have been tuition- and central university-dependent for capital infusions, and we don't see how most universities will be able to continue their financial support of law schools with COVID-19 and the 2026 Demographic Cliff both severely changing their way of operating.

This may mean larger class sizes at many schools, which is good for applicants hoping to get in, though not necessarily great for job prospects. It also may mean less merit aid. When you look at line item expenses for law schools, the first two that pop out are faculty salary and tuition remission, a.k.a. scholarships. We've talked about this before — every year schools increasingly use scholarships to woo high-stat or otherwise desirable applicants. It's reached a point where almost three-quarters of law school students are getting some kind of tuition discount:


It will be hard for schools not to reduce such remission if they want to stay budget positive. Such potential reductions make it even more beneficial to apply early, before potentially depleted merit scholarship budgets are exhausted.

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

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Allard: ABA, NY Must Respond To The Bar Exam Chaos

Nicholas Allard (Former Dean, Brooklyn), ABA Must Seize Opportunity To Respond To Bar Exam Chaos:

The American Bar Association was established in 1878 to improve legal education, to set requirements for gaining admittance to practice, and to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information among members of the profession.

As the ABA's first-ever virtual annual meeting continues through Tuesday, it will soon consider and vote on a new resolution that goes to the heart of its worthy founding purposes. This proposal could prove to be one of the most important measures ever to be before the ABA for many reasons.

Resolution 10G will be considered by the ABA House of Delegates, the organization's policymaking body. In brief, the resolution urges the highest court and bar admissions authority in each of the 50 states, the five territories, the District of Columbia, and Native American tribes to take emergency actions with respect to the admission to the bar and licensure of new attorneys that best fit the local circumstances of each jurisdiction.

The resolution is accompanied by a detailed report that explains the pressing need for additional adjustments to the steps already taken, but are now demonstrably inadequate, in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The report explains why local authorities should anticipate problems and accommodate and mitigate the hardships of needed new approaches that predictably will hit the less advantaged and disabled especially hard.

What is apparent is that no less than the future of the profession is at stake. It is not someone else's responsibility. Each and every one of us should become informed, engaged, and be open to ways to pitch in and help make the novel approaches work.

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

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August 3, 2020 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 2, 2020

150 Deans Ask ABA To Require Law Schools To Provide Anti-Bias Training To Students

Deans Letter to Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar on Bias Training (July 30, 2020)

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Dear Members of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar:
Preparing law students to be lawyers requires that they should be educated with respect to bias, cultural awareness, and anti-racism. Such skills are essential parts of professional competence, legal practice, and being a lawyer. We believe that every law school should develop such training and education for its students.

The American Bar Association mandates the minimum requirements that every law school must meet, though often it is left to individual law schools to decide how to implement these obligations. We believe that the ABA should require, or at least consider requiring, that every law school provide training and education around bias, cultural competence, and anti-racism. That said, we do not believe that the specific content of such training and education should be mandated by the American Bar Association; instead, we believe such work should be left to each law school to decide for its students.

We therefore collectively urge the Council to charge the Standards Review Subcommittee to study and consider enacting a requirement that every law school must provide training and education of its students with regard to bias, cultural awareness, and anti-racist practices. We are in a unique moment in our history to confront racism that is deeply embedded in our institutions, including in the legal profession, and we hope that the Council will take this important first step.

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August 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

COVID-19 Should Prompt Us To Get Rid Of New York’s Racist Bar Exam Forever

Johanna Miller (Director of the Education Policy Center, NYCLU), COVID Should Prompt Us To Get Rid Of New York’s Bar Exam Forever:

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped reveal just how outdated and discriminatory the New York bar exam is, and why we should strongly consider doing away with it. New York must take this opportunity to permit diploma privilege for law grads, not just for the class of 2020, but into the future.

Over several weeks, in response to the pandemic, the New York Board of Law Examiners (BOLE) announced a series of restrictions to the 2020 bar exam. These culminated in the ultimate decision to cancel the in-person exam in favor of an online-only version, and the issuance of an emergency rule allowing graduates to work in supervised environments until they can take the exam.

But the Board’s attempts to preserve the in-person bar exam are dramatically misaligned with the reality that law grads are living. It is not humane to ask people to invest the time, focus, and money required to prepare for the bar in this time of global trauma and social upheaval. It is not safe, secure, or equitable to require an online-only test. It is not realistic to tell people they can work temporarily under supervision — assuming employers will hire them — but will still have to find the time to study for a future exam.

It is not worth saving the bar exam.

Like other high-stakes standardized tests, the bar exam has its roots in racism and has a discriminatory impact today.

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

The Cancel Culture, Forgiveness, And Hamilton

Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the power of forgiveness and its brilliant portrayal in Hamilton:  Jordan J. Ballor (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty) & Eric J. Hutchinson (Hillsdale College), Forgiveness as a Political Necessity:

Hamilton HUman ConditionIn an age of Twitter mobs and cancel culture, it’s becoming clearer every day that no cultural artifact or icon, no matter how old, banal, celebrated, or grandiose, is safe. One of the latest targets is the smash Broadway hit musical Hamilton. The tragicomedy of targeting a phenomenon like Hamilton is manifest in the reality that the musical actually has much to teach us about how to live, and perhaps even to flourish and prosper, together in the midst of injustice, turmoil, and suffering.

Near the opening of the show, a young Alexander Hamilton reflects on the prospects for the movement for independence. War, it seems, is a necessity; the revolution is coming and Hamilton is committed to fighting for it. But, he wonders, “If we win our independence, is that a guarantee of freedom for our descendants? Or will the blood we shed begin an endless cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants?”

In these brief lines Hamilton captures the two possible futures for America, one leading to life and the other leading to death. In recognizing these possibilities Hamilton shows himself to be a prescient student of history and the consequences of revolution. The dominant image called to mind by the word “revolution” is that of a wheel (from revolvere, “to revolve”) so that as the wheel turns, the cycle progresses. Those who were on the bottom end up on top and those who were on top are laid low—until the next turning of the wheel.

The problem with revolutions is that those who were on the bottom and are newly in charge very quickly use that power to tyrannize those who are now on the bottom. Using a complementary image, the Puritan Roger Williams was among those who observed that those who have been liberated from tyranny rapidly become tyrants themselves. Such hypocrites “persecute when they sit at the helm, and yet cry out against persecution when they are under the hatches” of the ship of state.

Thus, as Hamilton recognizes, those who have been wronged will eventually become powerful enough to avenge themselves on their oppressors; in so doing, they will create a new generation of the aggrieved, who will in turn repeat the pattern until it becomes “an endless cycle of vengeance and death.”

The only other option is one of new possibilities for life together, one in which the nation continually seeks to live up to the covenant made in the promissory note affirming the equality of all people before their Creator. Rather than retribution and revenge, this narrower path is opened up by a novel phenomenon: forgiveness. We see this new dynamic at work toward the conclusion of the musical, when Eliza Schuyler Hamilton somehow finds a way forward with her husband Alexander after betrayal and grief.

Eliza’s sister Angelica narrates their reconciliation, which is accomplished through Eliza’s forgiveness of Alexander. “There are moments that the words don’t reach,” sings Angelica, “There is a grace too powerful to name.” This is the unimaginable grace of forgiveness for those who do not deserve it. This is a grace that allows a relationship to exist in the face of unimaginable suffering and wrong.

Perhaps we can see easily enough how such forgiveness is a necessity at the level of personal friendships and even marriages. But does forgiveness have any role to play in secular, public, and cultural affairs? Can we think of forgiveness as a political reality?

If we make the effort, we immediately meet with an impediment. For if forgiveness has any corporate meaning for us at all, a society still sipping digestifs in the dusk of the long sunset of Christendom likely thinks of it—but only in a vague way—as little more than a relic of ecclesiastical procedure. This churchly association is no coincidence. Indeed, some political philosophers have looked to Jesus as the originator of our notions of forgiveness. In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt remarks that “the discoverer of the role of forgiveness in the realm of human affairs was Jesus of Nazareth.” ...

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

Saturday, August 1, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

WSJ: Purdue Closes MBA Program Due To 70% Enrollment Decline; B-Schools Outside Top 20/30 Will Struggle To Survive

Wall Street Journal, Covid-19 Prompted Purdue University to Shut Its M.B.A. Program. More Closures Are Expected.:

PurdueSeveral U.S. business schools have closed their struggling full-time M.B.A. programs in recent months, and the coronavirus outbreak may endanger more.

Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management in Indiana said last month that it would stop admitting students to its two-year resident M.B.A. program for the 2021 academic year, making it one of the most high-profile schools yet to close its program.

The news followed announcements by the University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business and the University of St. Thomas’s Opus College of Business in Minnesota, both of which said they wouldn’t admit a new M.B.A. class this fall.

The pandemic accelerated Purdue’s decision to shut down its traditional M.B.A. and focus on other graduate and undergraduate degrees, said Tim Newton, a spokesman for the Krannert school.

“I don’t think we’ll be the last school to pause our M.B.A. program,” he said. “Within the next five or 10 years, there will only be a pretty select group of residential M.B.A. programs left. A lot of schools outside of the top 20 or 30 will struggle to keep afloat.”

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

140 LSAT Scores Lost Amid Tech Failure

Karen Sloan (, Ooops! LSAT Scores Lost Amid Tech Failure:

LSAT (2017)A glitch with the online version of the Law School Admission Test this month caused the answers of about 140 test takers to get lost, leaving them without a score.

The Law School Admission Council, which administers the LSAT, confirmed the problem Thursday, saying that a technical issue on the LSAT Flex—as the shorter online exam is known—prevented the answers from a “small number” of test takers from storing properly.

“We have tried multiple ways to recover the answers and are continuing to investigate the issue in hopes that we can recover answers and provide scores for at least some of the affected candidates,” reads a prepared statement from the council.

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

NY Times: Trump Again Tries To Block Subpoena For His Tax Returns, Calling It ‘Wildly Overbroad’

New York Times, Trump Again Tries to Block Subpoena for Taxes, Calling It ‘Wildly Overbroad’:

President Trump on Monday mounted his most forceful and detailed legal attack yet on the subpoena for his tax returns by the Manhattan district attorney, arguing the request was “wildly overbroad” and “issued in bad faith,” a new court filing shows.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked a federal judge in Manhattan to declare that the subpoena from the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat, was “invalid and unenforceable.”

They also asked that the judge issue an order barring Mr. Vance from “taking any action to enforce” the subpoena — which sought years of tax and other financial records from his accountants — and that he block Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, from turning over any of the information.

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

Friday, July 31, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Artist Defends Mural Honoring Underground Railroad And Abolitionist Movement That Vermont Law School Plans To Paint Over Because Some Black Students Say It Is Racist

Vermont Mural

Sam Kerson, the artist who painted the commissioned mural celebrating Vermont's role in the underground railroad and the abolitionist movement, read my coverage (here and here) of Vermont Law School's decision to paint it over unless he removes it because it makes some Black students uncomfortable. He asked that I share this 9-page letter "as a visit to the mural with the artist, in which the reader will see the images of the mural and hear a few ideas about each image from the artist himself." The letter concludes:

Save the The Underground Railroad, Vermont and the Fugitive Slave, it is our culture, all of our culture, and no one has the right to destroy it.

Subjective views of the art rendered in the form of a mural will change with every viewer. But the mural as an object will stay in its present form for many years.

The people who are objecting to the mural suggest that a black painter might come to VLS and paint a black person’s version of this history. Nothing like that has ever happened at VLS or in Vermont and dollars to donuts it never will. The smart thing to do would be to recognize the value of the bird we have in hand and protect it.

Mike Alewitz, Fear No Art: "Discomfort Does Not Justify Destroying Art":

(I wrote this Letter to the Editor of Seven Days newspaper in Vermont. The destruction of the mural by Sam Kerson is similar to the attack on the San Francisco mural by Victor Arnautoff, a renowned communist and WPA artist. See:

To the Editor:

It was disturbing to learn about plans to destroy "The Underground Railroad, Vermont and the Fugitive Slave” a mural at the Vermont Law School by Sam Kerson.

Using the smokescreen of student complaints, the school administration has decided to become the arbiter of what the public is allowed to see.

One reason cited: figures were painted in greens. Apparently, these custodians of propriety are unaware that great artists like Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso also painted green figures. Should their work be destroyed as well?

Also cited: the “over-exaggeration” of figures. Again, apparently, the aspiring lawyers and school administrators are unaware that great African-American artists, as stylistically diverse as Robert Colescott, Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence and Jean-Michel Basquiat exaggerated and distorted the human figure.

Authoritarian regimes often demand that art be “realistic,” most famously demonstrated by the 1937 “Degenerate Art Exhibition” organized by the Nazi Party. Why such animosity to modernism or abstraction? Because it encourages people to think critically.

It’s appropriate for students to question art which they may not understand. It’s also fine for people to dislike a work of art.

But "discomfort" does not justify destroying art. Controversy should be cherished — particularly in an institution of higher learning.

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July 31, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Phillips: Which Law Schools Will Thrive (46), Survive (65), Struggle (23), Or Perish (18) In The Age Of COVID-19?

Following up on my previous post, Which Of The 436 Universities Ranked BY U.S. News Will Thrive, Survive, Struggle, Or Perish In The Age Of COVID-19?:

James C. Phillips (Chapman), Will My Law School Perish?:

Based on Professor Galloway’s predictions, 18 law schools will perish in the near future (because their university will perish). That is 1 school in the top 50, 5 in the 51-100, 5 in the 101-147, and 7 in the unranked law schools. I have listed them below in order of ranking:






Seton Hall






















New England




Detroit Mercy





Here are the projections for the U.S. News Top 50 

US News Ranking

Law School

Galloway Categorization


















































Washington U.









Boston University






Notre Dame



George Washington



Arizona State


















North Carolina



Boston College












Washington & Lee



William & Mary









Ohio State









George Mason



U. Washington



Wake Forest





















Florida State





Here are the totals:

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July 31, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)