Paul L. Caron
Dean



Monday, September 28, 2020

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

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September 28, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 27, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baynes: What I Learned From Law Professor Ginsburg

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

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

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

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

Can A Christian Be A Corporate Lawyer?

R. Garrett Rice (Ross Aronstam & Moritz, Wilmington, DE), Can a Christian Be a Corporate Lawyer? Tracing Corporate Law's Religious Roots and Identifying How We Can Integrate Our Faith and Work, 43 J. Legal Prof. 143 (2019):

The ways in which members of certain professions (ministers, for example) can serve Christ in the workplace are self-evident. For the Christian corporate lawyer, integrating faith and work may require more conscious effort, but is no less possible. This article begins to explore the ways in which a Christian can serve Christ in the corporate law arena.

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September 27, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, September 26, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 26, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Bar Exam Update

Friday, September 25, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

The Vitruvian Lawyer: How To Thrive In An Era Of AI And Quantum Technologies

Hilary G. Escajeda (Denver), The Vitruvian Lawyer: How to Thrive in an Era of AI and Quantum Technologies, 29 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 421 (2020):

We live in an exciting and tumultuous time as artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum technologies unleash more transformations than the agrarian, industrial, and computer revolutions combined. This new age, popularly called “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” describes the convergence of increasingly powerful and capable digital and robotic technologies.

As human-machine teaming becomes the norm, new and mid-career lawyers should actively cultivate the uniquely human personal and professional skills that machines cannot supplant. A short list of these skills includes curiosity, cognitive range (depth and breadth), creativity, and emotional intelligence. In their work as knowledge entrepreneurs and inventive problem solvers, modern lawyers must also continuously augment and leverage their education, training, and insights to spot, imagine, generate, and deliver client value.

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

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

Suffolk Law Launches Innovative Hybrid JD Program:

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

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

Faculty Struggle With Burnout During COVID-19

Inside Higher Ed, Faculty Struggle With Burnout:

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

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

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

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

How Philanthropy Benefits The Super-Rich

The Guardian, How Philanthropy Benefits the Super-Rich:

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 24, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why choose Flex JD?

A flexible format that fits your busy life

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

Connect with classmates during limited campus visits

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

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

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

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

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

Tax Prof Twitter Census (2020-21 Edition)

TwitterAccording to Bridget Crawford's latest census, there are 1,368 Law Profs on Twitter (55.4% male/44.5% female), including 85 Tax Profs (several with tax in their Twitter handles):

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

Madison: Legal Education's Waterloo — Urgency, The Fire Swamp, And The End Game

Following up on my previous post, Legal Education Faces Its Waterloo As Wile E. Coyote:

Mike Madison (Pittsburgh), Legal Education’s Waterloo: Urgency:

Just about every provost in the US, just about every law dean, just about every former law dean, just about every would-be law dean, and a growing number of “regular” law professors know that the financial jig is up. At most law schools, student tuition dollars total nowhere near the amount needed to pay the school’s operating expenses. At a few law schools, endowments and real estate portfolios help a lot. At many, parent universities cover some and even much of the budget. University piggy banks and patience may be running thin. Legal education is far from the only part of the university that struggles to pay its bills. It’s often a smallish part, and in research universities, it rarely brings in many research dollars. ...

Mike Madison (Pittsburgh), Legal Education’s Waterloo: The Fire Swamp:

TL/DR [Too Long/Didn't Read] version: Strap in. Change is going to be messy, maybe ugly, and no one has a game plan for it or for you – practitioners, judges, academics, students and new graduates, entrepreneurs. Least of all me. It’s like the fire swamp, from The Princess Bride. Survive it? You’re only skeptical because no one ever has. ...

The challenge now is that there are at least three stories competing for the future of law. Pick the right story, and you may do better. Pick the wrong story, and you may do worse. Which is which? Welcome to the awkward, messy, and ugly middle space.

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September 24, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Welcome To The ‘Turbulent Twenties’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020s

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

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September 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Schizer: The Conservative Legacy Of RBG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Court 1

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Yet Another Generous Dean: Laura Rosenbury

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Yet Another Generous Dean:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then the coronavirus happened. And the fires.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NY Times: How Climate Migration Will Reshape America

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

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

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

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

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

Map

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

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

Monday, September 21, 2020

Congressional Research Service Seeks To Hire Head Of American Law Division

Assistant Director and Senior Specialist (American Law Division):

CRS LogoSummary:  The Congressional Research Service (CRS) seeks a senior manager to lead its American Law Division (ALD), one of CRS’ five research divisions. CRS provides objective, nonpartisan, and authoritative legislative research, analysis, and consultative support exclusively to the U.S. Congress.

Salary:  $131,239 to $197,300 per year

Responsibilities:  This position serves as head of the American Law Division, a major CRS research division. In this capacity, and reporting directly to the Director of CRS, the Assistant Director leads, plans, directs, and evaluates the work of a team of attorneys in its production of written products and consulting services in support of the U.S. Congress.

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

Bar Exam Update

2019-20 Survey of Applied Legal Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 20, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Reynolds: A Simple 3-Camera TV Studio Classroom For Lively Online Teaching

Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee), Tired of Looking Gray and Boring Online? A Simple 3-Camera TV Studio Classroom For Lively Online Teaching:

Tired of the dreary webcam-look in my online classroom, I created a fairly simple and reasonably inexpensive three-camera studio using real video cameras for online teaching. This paper outlines how it was done, and provides suggestions for simpler, cheaper alternatives that are still far superior to traditional webcam approaches.

Reynolds 1

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September 20, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Papers: Yale Law Journal

Yale Law Journal (2020)

The Yale Law Journal asked me to post the following:

Submissions for Vol. 130 will close on Sept. 23rd. We encourage authors with Articles and Essays to submit their pieces well before the close of submissions. We are no longer accepting submissions of Features, Book Reviews, and Forum.

Yale Law Journal, Submissions:

To submit, please use our online submissions system

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

The Journal’s Style Guide is available here.

The Journal’s Empirical Work Policy is available here.

ARTICLES AND ESSAYS

The division between these two forms of professional scholarship serves not merely to separate longer pieces from shorter ones, but also to encourage two distinct and complementary approaches to legal analysis.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

  1. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: Rejected e-Filed Return Starts The SOL On Assessment
  2. Rory Bahadur (Washburn), Attrition And Bar Performance
  3. Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Berkeley), David Faigman (Dean, UC-Hastings), Kevin Johnson (Dean, UC-Davis), Jennifer Mnookin (Dean, UCLA) & Song Richardson (Dean, UC-Irvine), Joint Statement About the Value of Critical Race Theory
  4. David French, The Use And Abuse Of Critical Race Theory In American Christianity
  5. NALP, More Salary Data For The Law School Class Of 2019
  6. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), September 11th At Pepperdine
  7. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Tax Profs On Both Sides In Case Pending in Supreme Court: CIC Services v. IRS
  8. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), History Is Happening Tonight At 6:00 PM PT On Zoom
  9. U.S. News, 2021 College Rankings
  10. Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Berkeley), Margaret Dalton (Dean, San Diego), Allen Easley (Dean, Western State), David Faigman (Dean, UC-Hastings),  Susan Freiwald (Dean, San Francisco), Andrew Guzman (Dean, USC), Anna Han (Dean, Santa Clara), Jenny Martinez (Dean, Stanford), Jennifer Mnookin (Dean, UCLA), Matt Parlow (Dean, Chapman), Song Richardson (Dean, UC-Irvine), Michael Schwartz (Dean, McGeorge), Sean Scott (Dean, California Western) & Michael Waterstone (Dean, Loyola-L.A.), Letter Request Supreme Court To Make Oct. 5-6 Online Bar Exam Open Book With No Proctoring

September 19, 2020 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax, Weekly Top 10 TaxProf Blog Posts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Protecting Privacy And Security In Online Instruction: A Guide For Students And Faculty

Mary Anne Franks (Miami), Protecting Privacy and Security in Online Instruction: A Guide for Students and Faculty:

COVID-19 forced educational institutions all over the globe to shift abruptly to online instruction. Online instruction presents many challenges to both faculty and students accustomed to in-person learning. Among those challenges are serious equity concerns, including wide variation among students and faculty in terms of technological literacy, access to reliable Internet service and related “digital divide” issues, time zones, caretaking responsibilities, and personal situations that may make remote learning difficult or impossible (e.g. unsafe home conditions). Another serious category of concern are privacy and security issues, which are the subject of this memo.

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September 19, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Public Universities To Be Online In Spring 2021

Los Angeles Times, Cal State Universities Will Stay Online All Year Amid COVID-19 Pandemic:

CSUThe nation’s largest public university system will continue with primarily online instruction for the remainder of the academic year amid the state’s ongoing coronavirus crisis, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White announced Thursday in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

White said he had consulted extensively with campus presidents and considered the state of the pandemic in California as well as university operations.

“The disease continues to spread,” he said. “While the current mitigation factors do make a difference, in the absence of a vaccine and of sufficient, cost-effective, timely testing and contact-tracing infrastructure, we are not able to return to a normal, principally in-person schedule in January 2021.”

There will be some limited exceptions for classes that cannot be delivered remotely. On-campus housing will also be reduced. ...

Across the Cal State system, less than 7% of classes will be offered in person this term, with significant variability by campus. White said that he expects similar variations in the spring and that in some cases it may be possible to increase the amount of in-person instruction, whereas in others it may be necessary to pull back.

Los Angeles Times, UC Should Prepare For Online Classes, Limited Dorms Beyond Fall, UC Health Chief Says:

University of California (2020)The University of California’s top health executive has told UC officials to prepare to continue online learning and limited access to campus beyond the fall as the COVID-19 pandemic will probably cause at least another year of disruption to university operations.

“This is not something that will go away quickly,” Dr. Carrie L. Byington, who heads UC Health, told regents during their two-day online meeting this week. The university’s $13-billion health enterprise includes 19 health professional schools and six health systems, five of them academic medical centers.

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

Friday, September 18, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tech Vendor Backs California Law School Deans: Online Bar Exam Proctoring Is A Chimera

Following up on my previous posts:

Extegrity Statement (Sept. 14, 2020):

EE 2Re California law school deans letter (14 September 2020) advocating an unproctored remote exam in October.

Extegrity is relieved to see so many California law school deans reach the same conclusion we did back in July. While it is too late to spare applicants the dramatic uncertainty of the past six weeks, it is not too late to reconsider the undue risk of remote proctored exams.

Remote proctoring was not envisioned — nor has it been proven ready — for large-scale, high-stakes, simultaneous-start "event" exams like the bar exam. But we are not saying all remote exams carry undue risk. The obvious low risk example is what the deans are suggesting: “takehome” exams, exactly as we have helped law schools nationwide administer by the many-tens-of-thousands, semester after semester, for two decades.

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

The Changing Law School Curriculum: More Courses, Less Rigor?

National Jurist, More Course Offerings, But Less Rigor?:

William Carney, a retired University of Emory School of Law professor who spent nearly 40 years in legal education, wanted to know just how law school curriculum has evolved over the decades. ...

The result was a recently published paper aptly called, “Curriculum Change in Legal Education,” which tracks changes from 1973 to 2018. Through his research, he noticed a shift from a number of bedrock law offerings to less traditional ones. ...

Why is this a big deal? Students are still taught core subjects, such as torts and Constitutional law, right? Why can’t they have a little spice?

Well, Carney argues that the changes he discovered may indeed be affecting student success. In 1973, the national average bar passage rate for first-time takers was 82%. By 2017 the passage rate had fallen to 72%. ... Many of these new courses are not covered on the bar exam, so students could jeopardize their chances if they are too reliant on them, he said. ...

He found some new courses that left him confounded. He wrote that they “defy my attempts to rationalize their existence, either because of my ignorance of their content or suspicions about their usefulness in the practice of the profession. In some cases, they appear to represent approaches that are more political and polemic than legal.”

Such courses include animal law and feminist legal theory, he wrote.

That did not sit well with professors who teach feminist legal theory.

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September 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Shurtz: Tax, Class, Women, And Elder Care

Nancy E. Shurtz (Oregon), Tax, Class, Women, and Elder Care, 43 Seattle U. L. Rev. 225 (2019):

Elder care is a large and growing sector in the comprehensive health care system in the United States. It is an issue of particular importance to women because women live longer than men, have higher incidences of degenerative ailments, and are more likely to be institutionalized. Women also face greater financial challenges in funding their health care maintenance. Whereas wealthy individuals enjoy a multitude of elder care choices and can even self-insure to avoid the steep expense and risk of long-term care insurance, most women do not possess the resources to exercise such a wide degree of choice. Middle-income women increasingly feel the squeeze of concurrent rises in medical and housing costs and must often engage in contingency Medicaid planning. Low-income women, particularly those who are single, living in rural areas, or members of an ethnic minority, have few viable health care options and are the most likely to be herded into institutional care facilities. Nursing homes carry high costs and often do not offer high-level or personalized care. Current tax policy, however, is structured to favor institutional care. Conspicuously lacking are adequate subsidies to facilitate home-based options and meaningful support for caregiving labors, both key factors that contribute to the dearth of care options for our poorest citizens. The tax system is in dire need of modification to address this exploding elder care crisis, requiring explicit acknowledgment of the need to generate revenues dedicated to fulfilling our public commitment to the basic welfare of this rapidly growing cohort of the American population.

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September 18, 2020 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Kristin Hickman Named McKnight Presidential Endowed Professor At University Of Minnesota

Professor Hickman Named a McKnight Presidential Professor:

Hickman (2020)Professor Kristin Hickman has been named a McKnight Presidential Professor.

The McKnight Presidential Endowed Professorship program at the University “is one of the highest honors for faculty and recognizes highly distinguished, world-class scholars. In recognition of their excellence, the names of all McKnight Presidential Professors are engraved on monuments that line our Scholars Walk.” Recipients are chosen based on their academic and research accomplishments and their contributions to advancing the University among its peers.

Hickman, who joined the Law School in 2004, is a leading authority in the fields of tax administration and administrative law. Her articles on these topics have appeared in the Columbia Law ReviewCornell Law Review, and Duke Law Journal, among other publications.

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September 17, 2020 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professors Have Given Seven Times As Much To Biden Than To Trump

Inside Higher Ed, Higher Ed Gave Five Times As Much To Biden Than Trump:

IHEThough the nation finds itself deeply divided, it’s clear whom employees at the nation’s higher education institutions are supporting financially in the presidential race.

According to federal elections records, those who listed their employer as a college or university have given Democratic candidate Joe Biden about $4.9 million in contributions, more than five times as much as the $890,000, including donations from for-profit college executives, that they have given President Trump.

The contributions to Biden have come widely, from about 8,800 donors, compared to the 2,800 higher education employees who want to see another four years of a Trump administration.

Even more pronounced are whom those college or university employees, who listed their occupation either as professor, instructor or teacher, are giving to. The educators have given about $2.7 million to Biden, according to Federal Election Commission records in the election cycle beginning in January 2019 -- or seven times as much as the $353,00 they have to Trump. ...

The list of institutions whose employees have given the most to Biden’s campaign is topped by major universities. Employees of the University of California system have given Biden $186,000, followed by the $152,000 donated by employees at Stanford University and the $135,000 donated by Georgetown University workers.

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September 17, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

More NALP Salary Data For The Law School Class Of 2019

House Of Cards: Can The American University Be Saved?

The Nation:  House of Cards: Can the American University Be Saved?, by Daniel Bessner University of Washington):

The Nation (2020)The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the glaring contradictions in American higher education. State research universities are preparing to decrease services in light of anticipated budget shortfalls as small liberal arts colleges teeter on the brink of financial ruin. Meanwhile, Ivy League and other rich universities have refused to dip into their massive endowments and have instead chosen to pursue austerity while increasing tuition—and increasing debt—for their students.

Across the country, universities are canceling classes and furloughing workers, leaving thousands stranded without income. Though some schools have lengthened the tenure timelines of assistant professors, the majority have refused to extend a similar courtesy to graduate students. Staff members and adjuncts have likewise been abandoned—forced to work fewer hours or unceremoniously let go. The situation is likely to get worse as students refuse to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to take subpar online courses while sitting in their living rooms. Without exaggeration, American higher education may be on the verge of a total breakdown.

To those who labor in universities, the precarious condition in which academia finds itself is no surprise. For years, the university system has been operating on borrowed time. Beginning in the 1980s, college administrators, often employing high-fee consultants, hollowed out the academic workforce, replacing full-time jobs with contingent positions that were poorly paid and benefited. At the same time, exploding tuition costs obliged students to take out enormous loans that compelled them to view higher education primarily as a precursor to employment—employment that, as the economy worsened, was rarely guaranteed. This house of cards, built on exploitation, anti-intellectualism, and massive debt, was doomed to collapse.

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September 17, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Requiring Security Of Position For All Skills Faculty Under ABA Accreditation Standard 405(c) (And Eliminating Standard 405(d))

J. Lyn Entrikin (Arkansas-Little Rock), Lucy Jewel (Tennessee), Susie Salmon (Arizona), Craig T. Smith (North Carolina), Kristen K. Tiscione (Georgetown) & Melissa H. Weresh (Drake), Treating Professionals Professionally: Requiring Security of Position for All Skills-Focused Faculty under ABA Accreditation Standard 405(c) and Eliminating 405(d), 98 Or. L. Rev. 1 (2020):

Standard 405 is imperfect at best. In theory, it began as a way to ensure competent law faculties by affording security of position and academic freedom. But its later permutations, Standards 405(c) and (d), create and perpetuate a hierarchy that favors mostly male, doctrine-focused faculty and discriminates against mostly female, skills-focused faculty, even though both groups teach the same students.

All law faculty should be eligible for tenure and the protections it affords. At this juncture, we recognize that advocating for tenure opportunities for all faculty likely represents too large a leap. Thus, this paper calls on the ABA to both (1) require that all professional skillsfocused faculty—both clinical and legal writing faculty—be afforded protection under Standard 405(c) at minimum, and (2) eliminate Standard 405(d).

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September 16, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

History Is Happening Tonight At 6:00 PM PT On Zoom

At the Pepperdine Caruso Law Christian Legal Society weekly bible study:  "What I Wish I Knew About Justice When I Was a Law Student"

CLS

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

WSJ: MBA Hiring Is Down 60% This Year

Wall Street Journal, M.B.A.s Are Usually Swimming in Job Offers by Now. Not This Year.:

WSJBusiness school students are bracing for an uncertain job market this coming school year as many traditional corporate recruiters shelve their usual fall hiring plans.

At a time of year when many business school students are polishing their networking skills and getting their business haircuts, a number of big companies, including consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers, say there will be no jobs on offer to second-year M.B.A. candidates, beyond those who interned this summer, looking to lock down a position before they graduate.

The murky job market has both students and schools worried. M.B.A. students can pay $200,000 or more to attend some of the most elite programs, once two years of living costs are factored in, for the promise of an accelerated career and higher salary. Schools market strong job-placement rates to prospective students; those rates ranged between 80% to 90% for many highly ranked programs before the pandemic hit.

PwC said it has no plans to hire up to 100 second-year M.B.A. students as it usually does each fall. ...

Other companies [Bain and EY] say they are taking a wait-and-see approach. ... Kevin Stacia, an M.B.A. career coach and corporate-relations manager at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, said students and employers are stuck in limbo for now. “Nobody is making commitments yet,” he said. ...

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September 16, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)