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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Female Economists Report Rampant Sexual Harassment And Gender Discrimination

AEA LogoFollowing up on my previous posts:

A new survey and accompanying letter from the American Economic Association reveal rampant sexual harassment and gender and racial discrimination in the economics profession.

March 19, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Rankings: Incentives, Culture, And Change In Legal Education

U.S. News Law (2019)Caleb N. Griffin (Regent), Incentives, Culture, and Change in American Legal Education, 87 U. Cin. L. Rev. 325 (2018):

In theory, law school rankings merely describe law schools as they are, providing basic details about each school that may be relevant to prospective law students. In practice, however, law school rankings have a tremendous influence on law students and the legal profession. For better or for worse, the rank of a given student’s school will often have a substantial impact on the arc of his or her legal career.

Rankings also have a tremendous influence on law schools themselves. One source of this influence is that a high ranking draws strong candidates, and strong candidates reinforce the high ranking. This phenomenon of self-reinforcement has the effect of cementing law schools in a relatively static position and obscuring important changes relevant to prospective students and legal employers.

But is this a problem? The status quo might be acceptable if law school rankings were based solely on objective data that measured factors in a way that was truly reflective of the needs of students, legal employers, and society at large. Such an ideal ranking would provide a useful service for prospective students, and it would incentivize law schools to engage in socially beneficial behavior.

This Article sets out to explore what factors ought to be used in an ideal ranking system.

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March 19, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

2020 U.S. News Health Care Law Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2020 U.S. News Health Care Law Rankings include the health care law programs at 130 law schools (the faculty survey had a 52% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.5 St. Louis
2 4.3 Georgia State
2 4.3 Loyola-Chicago
4 4.2 Boston University
5 4.1 Harvard
6 4.0 Georgetown
6 4.0 Houston
6 4.0 Maryland
9 3.9 Case Western
9 3.9 Northeastern
11 3.7 Indiana (McKinney)
11 3.7 Seton Hall
11 3.7 Stanford
11 3.7 UC-Hastings
15 3.5 American
16 3.4 Arizona State
16 3.4 Duke
16 3.4 Temple
16 3.4 Yale
20 3.3 Pennsylvania
21 3.2 Mitchell Hamline
21 3.2 Wake Forest
23 3.1 DePaul
23 3.1 Drexel
23 3.1 Michigan
23 3.1 Minnesota
27 3.0 Arizona
27 3.0 North Carolina
27 3.0 Ohio State
27 3.0 Pittsburgh
27 3.0 Virginia
32 2.9 George Washington
32 2.9 Texas
32 2.9 Washington Univ.
32 2.9 Wisconsin
36 2.8 Emory
36 2.8 UCLA
36 2.8 Univ. of Washington
36 2.8 UNLV
36 2.8 Utah
36 2.8 Vanderbilt
42 2.7 Georgia
42 2.7 Washington & Lee
44 2.6 Quinnipiac
44 2.6 UC-Berkeley
44 2.6 UC-Irvine
47 2.5 Chicago
47 2.5 Columbia
47 2.5 Indiana (Maurer)
47 2.5 Louisville
47 2.5 USC

As I blogged last fall, U.S. News has dramatically changed their ranking of nine law school specialty programs:

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March 19, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Digital Pro Bono: Leveraging Technology To Provide Access To Justice

Kathleen Elliott Vinson (Suffolk) & Samantha A. Moppett (Suffolk), Digital Pro Bono: Leveraging Technology to Provide Access to Justice, 92 St. John's L. Rev. 551 (2018):

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Sound familiar? Although we pledge this when we stand in front of the American flag, hands over our hearts, all people do not have access to justice in the United States. While individuals have the constitutional right to legal assistance in criminal cases, the same does not hold true for civil matters. Low-income Americans are unable to gain access to meaningful help for basic legal needs. Although legal aid organizations exist to help low-income Americans who cannot afford legal representation, the resources available are insufficient to meet current civil legal needs. Studies show more than 80 percent of the legal needs of low-income Americans go unaddressed every year.

This article examines how law students, law schools, the legal profession, legal services' agencies, and low-income individuals who need assistance, all have a shared interest—access to justice—and can work together to reach the elusive goal in the Pledge of Allegiance of "justice for all."

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March 19, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Washburn Law School Launches Third Year Anywhere Enrollment Option

Washburn Law Launching Third Year Anywhere Enrollment Option:

Law students who are admitted fall 2019 or later will have the opportunity to complete their final year of law school through the innovative Third Year Anywhere enrollment option. Students who participate in this option will increase their practice-readiness by completing an externship in the geographic area where they plan to practice after graduation.

Students will earn academic credit while gaining real-world experience practicing law under the supervision of a licensed lawyer 20 hours per week in one of six sectors: corporate, government, higher education, judicial, law firm, or public interest. Opportunities also exist for students to participate in an externship in underserved rural locations.

Third year coursework will be completed through substantive online law courses, including a course in Law Practice Competencies which will teach students successful project management skills, how to use legal technology, how to read financial statements, and other competencies essential for successful law practice.

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March 18, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Rankings By Attractiveness To Students (25/50/75 LSAT/UGPA, Transfers In/Out)

CJ Ryan (Roger Williams) & Brian L. Frye (Kentucky), The 2019 Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools:

In 2017, we published A Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools, which presented the first (intentionally) objective ranking of law schools. Other law school rankings are subjective because their purpose is to tell prospective law students where to matriculate. Our “revealed-preferences” ranking is objective because its purpose is to ask where prospective law students actually choose to matriculate. In other words, subjective rankings tell students what they should want, but our objective ranking reveals what students actually want. These rankings were originally based on an average of the previous five-years of LSAT and GPA quartile and median averages for law schools. We updated these rankings with a 2018 ranking that focused exclusively on the 75th, median, and 25th quartiles of each of these measures for the entering class in Fall 2017. We have modified our rankings yet again to evaluate law schools based not only on their success at matriculating the most desirable first year law students, but also on their success at retaining those students and attracting transfer students.

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March 18, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

2020 U.S. News Environmental Law Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2020 U.S. News Environmental Law Rankings include the environmental law programs at 188 law schools (the faculty survey had a 55% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.5 Lewis & Clark
1 4.5 Pace
3 4.4 UC-Berkeley
4 4.3 UCLA
4 4.3 Vermont
6 4.1 Columbia
6 4.1 Harvard
8 4.0 Colorado
8 4.0 Georgetown
8 4.0 NYU
8 4.0 Oregon
8 4.0 Utah
13 3.9 Duke
13 3.9 Maryland
13 3.9 Vanderbilt
16 3.8 George Washington
16 3.8 Stanford
16 3.8 Tulane
19 3.7 Denver
19 3.7 Florida State
21 3.5 Arizona State
21 3.5 Florida
21 3.5 Houston
24 3.4 UC-Davis
24 3.4 Virginia
24 3.4 Yale
27 3.3 Boston College
27 3.3 Minnesota
27 3.3 Texas
30 3.2 Hawaii
30 3.2 Indiana (Maurer)
30 3.2 UC-Hastings
30 3.2 UC-Irvine
30 3.2 Univ. of Washington
35 3.1 Michigan
36 3.0 American
36 3.0 Arizona
36 3.0 William & Mary
39 2.9 Montana
39 2.9 Pennsylvania
41 2.8 BYU
41 2.8 Cornell
41 2.8 CUNY
41 2.8 Fordham
41 2.8 Loyola-New Orleans
41 2.8 North Carolina
41 2.8 Northwestern
41 2.8 Notre Dame
41 2.8 Widener (DE)
50 2.7 Emory
50 2.7 Idaho
50 2.7 Illinois
50 2.7 New Mexico
50 2.7 South Carolina
50 2.7 Wake Forest
50 2.7 Washington Univ.

As I blogged last fall, U.S. News has dramatically changed their ranking of nine law school specialty programs:

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March 18, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Can Christian Conservatives Transform Law Through Legal Education?

ALRJoshua C. Wilson (Denver) & Amanda Hollis‐Brusky (Pomona), Higher Law: Can Christian Conservatives Transform Law Through Legal Education?, 52 Law & Soc'y Rev. 835 (2018) (more here):

The allure of law schools as transformative institutions in the United States prompted Christian Right leaders to invest in legal education in the 1990s and early 2000s. The aspiration was to control the training of lawyers in order to challenge the secular legal monopoly on law, policy, and culture. In this article, we examine three leading Christian conservative law schools [Ave Maria, Liberty, Regent] and one training program [Blackstone] dedicated to transforming the law. We ask how each institution seeks to realize its transformative mission and analyze how they organize themselves to produce the kinds of capital (human, intellectual, social, cultural) needed to effectively change the law. To do so, we develop a typology of legal institution‐building strategies (infiltration, supplemental, and parallel alternative) to compare the relative advantages and disadvantages of institutional forms.

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March 17, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Simkovic: At Yale, The Federalist Society Loses Friends And Alienates People

Following up on my previous post, I Thought I Could Be A Christian At Yale Law School. I Was Wrong.:  Michael Simkovic (USC), At Yale, the Federalist Society Loses Friends and Alienates People:

Although most Christians—especially young and highly educated Christians—favor greater acceptance of gays, a leader of the Federalist Society claimed that by inviting the anti-gay group he was simply “attempting to be a Christian at Yale Law School.”

The numerous Christian groups that are active at Yale did not band together to invite to campus a group that has advocated criminal prosecution of homosexuals.  That decision was the sole prerogative of the Federalist Society or some of its members. ...

The entire unfortunate turn of events could have been avoided if the Federalist Society vetted its speakers more carefully and favored substance over shock value.  There are plenty of other highly capable lawyers who can argue effectively for religious freedom in situations that challenge progressive views of gay rights, and who are not associated with any actual or suspected hate groups. ...

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March 17, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Can You Bribe Your Way Into Law School?, Can You Bribe Your Way Into Law School?:

The nation has been riveted by the college admissions scandal that has revealed the dark secrets of the higher education admissions game. Federal prosecutors have charged 50 people—including Hollywood headliners, a Big Law leader and financiers—and allege a complex scheme of fraudulent ACT and SAT scores and a network of athletic coaches at elite colleges who were on the take.

Few people know the admissions world better than Anna Ivey, former admissions dean at the University of Chicago Law School who now coaches applicants on how to get into top colleges, law schools and MBA programs. We talked with Ivey on Thursday about whether such illegal admissions schemes exist at the law school level, and how applicants legally circumvent the traditional admissions process. ...

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March 16, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Apollo 13 And The Importance Of Time-Pressured Performance Tests In Preparing Law Students For The Bar Exam (And Practice)

Apollo 13 3Kathleen Elliott Vinson (Suffolk) & Sabrina DeFabritiis (Suffolk), Under Pressure: How Incorporating Time-Pressured Performance Tests Prepares Students for the Bar Exam and Practice, 122 W. Va. L. Rev. ___ (2019):

“Houston, we have a problem.” In 1970, an explosion on board the Apollo 13 spacecraft’s flight to the moon damaged the air filtration system, causing carbon monoxide to build up in the cabin. The astronauts on board would be dead in mere hours if the system could not be fixed or replaced. NASA’s Mission Control in Houston, Texas called for engineers, scientists, and technicians to work with a set of materials identical to those on the spacecraft to build a filtration system under extreme time pressure. The result may have been ugly, inelegant, and far from perfect, but it saved the astronauts’ life. The Apollo 13 situation may be a dramatic example of problem solving, creativity, and completing a task under extreme time pressure with life or death consequences; however, lawyers also work in stressful environments, under time pressure, while juggling multiple tasks involving life, liberty, or millions of dollars. How do recent law school graduates perform when facing a time-sensitive task when the stakes are high, when they are accustomed from law school of having several weeks or more, with feedback along the way, to complete that type of assignment?

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March 16, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

2020 U.S. News Clinical Training Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2020 U.S. News Clinical Training Rankings include the clinical training programs at 182 law schools (the faculty survey had a 65% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.6 Georgetown
2 4.4 American
3 4.3 CUNY
3 4.3 Yale
5 4.2 NYU
6 4.1 Michigan
7 4.0 Denver
7 4.0 Maryland
7 4.0 Stanford
7 4.0 UC-Berkeley
7 4.0 UC-Irvine
7 4.0 Washington Univ.
13 3.9 District of Columbia
13 3.9 Northwestern
15 3.8 Baltimore
15 3.8 New Mexico
15 3.8 Seattle
15 3.8 UC-Hastings
19 3.7 Fordham
19 3.7 Harvard
19 3.7 Suffolk
19 3.7 Tennessee
23 3.6 Columbia
23 3.6 Loyola-New Orleans
23 3.6 Pennsylvania
26 3.5 George Washington
26 3.5 Georgia State
26 3.5 Northeastern
26 3.5 Rutgers
26 3.5 Texas
26 3.5 UCLA
26 3.5 Univ. of Washington
33 3.4 Chicago
33 3.4 Georgia
33 3.4 Miami
33 3.4 Pepperdine
33 3.4 UC-Davis
33 3.4 Washington & Lee
33 3.4 Wisconsin
40 3.3 Boston College
40 3.3 Brooklyn
40 3.3 Drexel
40 3.3 Mitchell Hamline
40 3.3 South Carolina
40 3.3 Texas A&M
40 3.3 Tulane
40 3.3 UNLV
48 3.2 Alabama
48 3.2 Albany
48 3.2 Boston University
48 3.2 Duke
48 3.2 Indiana (Maurer)
48 3.2 Loyola-Chicago
48 3.2 Minnesota
48 3.2 North Carolina
48 3.2 Notre Dame
48 3.2 St. Thomas (MN)
48 3.2 Temple
48 3.2 Virginia
48 3.2 William & Mary

As I blogged last fall, U.S. News has dramatically changed their ranking of nine law school specialty programs:

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March 15, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Students Demand To Review Tenure Of Conservative Professor Over NY Times Op-Ed

AbramsInside Higher Ed, When Students Want to Review a Tenured Professor:

A group of student activists at Sarah Lawrence College want the tenure of a conservative professor of political science reviewed, and they want to do the reviewing.

The professor, Samuel Abrams, says the college should be doing more to defend him and, more generally, academic freedom and the “viewpoint diversity” that he advocates.

Abrams — who has identified himself as an anti-Trump, moderate conservative — has always been a political outlier within the overwhelmingly liberal college. But things have been especially tense for him since he wrote an New York Times op-ed in October [Think Professors Are Liberal? Try School Administrators], saying that student affairs administrators are even more liberal than faculty members. ...

[A] student group called the Diaspora Coalition occupied a campus building and published a list of demands in the students newspaper, The Phoenix. Many of the demands echo those made by other student groups elsewhere during campus protests about diversity: more educational and extracurricular support for first-generation and low-income students, scholarships for students of color, the hiring of more minority faculty members, and more classes with an intersectional approach.

But one demand was more unusual. Referencing Abrams’s Times October op-ed, the group demanded that “Abrams’s position at the college be put up to tenure review to a panel of the Diaspora Coalition and at least three faculty members of color.”

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March 15, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

NALP: Perspectives On 2018 Law Student Recruiting

NALPNALP, Perspectives on 2018 Law Student Recruiting (press release):

[L]aw firm recruiting activity in 2018 was brisk, with offer rates coming out of summer programs reaching an historic high. On many other metrics, Big Law Recruiting volume and practices resembled those measured before the recession.

NALP Executive Director James Leipold summarized the findings, saying, “After a period of great volatility following the recession marked first by a prolonged slowdown in law student recruiting and then a period of rapid escalation in recruiting, we have seen the recruiting market stabilize over the last four or five years. The recruiting climate is most accurately described as steady in 2018, though as with law firm profitability, there remain large differences between individual firms in terms of the number of offers being extended for summer programs and the size of the summer programs themselves. Meanwhile, offer rates coming out of summer programs are at historic highs, as are yield rates on those offers, and the 3L recruiting market remains quite anemic, findings that are closely linked.”

Significant Findings:

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March 14, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2020 U.S. News Dispute Resolution Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2020 U.S. News Dispute Resolution Rankings include the dispute resolution programs at 92 law schools (the faculty survey had a 54% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.5 Ohio State
2 4.4 Pepperdine
3 4.3 Harvard
3 4.3 Missouri (Columbia)
5 4.1 Mitchell Hamline
5 4.1 UNLV
7 4.0 Oregon
8 3.9 Cardozo
8 3.9 Marquette
10 3.8 Arizona State
10 3.8 Northwestern
10 3.8 UC-Hastings
13 3.7 Maryland
13 3.7 Texas A&M
15 3.5 Quinnipiac
16 3.4 Suffolk
17 3.3 Columbia
17 3.3 Georgetown
17 3.3 Stanford
17 3.3 UC-Davis
21 3.2 Creighton
21 3.2 Fordham
21 3.2 Texas Tech
24 3.1 Florida
24 3.1 Lewis & Clark
24 3.1 Michigan
24 3.1 Nebraska
24 3.1 Texas
24 3.1 USC
24 3.1 Washington Univ.
31 3.0 South Texas
31 3.0 Stetson
31 3.0 UC-Berkeley
31 3.0 Willamette
35 2.9 Baltimore
35 2.9 Chicago-Kent
35 2.9 Kansas
35 2.9 Pace
35 2.9 Penn State (Dickinson)
35 2.9 Pennsylvania
35 2.9 St. John's
35 2.9 UCLA
35 2.9 Univ. of Washington
44 2.8 Arkansas (Little Rock)
44 2.8 Georgia State
44 2.8 Houston
44 2.8 Michigan State
44 2.8 Northeastern
44 2.8 NYU
44 2.8 William & Mary

As I blogged last fall, U.S. News has dramatically changed their ranking of the nine law school specialty programs:

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March 14, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Hampshire Is Ninth Law School To Offer Hybrid Online J.D., First With IP Focus

HybridUNH Hybrid JD:

Launching in fall 2019 UNH Law is offering a new Hybrid (online and residential) JD Program with an Intellectual Property and Technology Law focus. This innovative program allows JD students to complete required coursework through both synchronous and asynchronous online channels with minimal residential requirements (only needing to come to campus for select and well-planned periods of residency each term), replacing the need to relocate to New Hampshire to earn their law degree.

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March 14, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Senate Committee Approves Bill Authorizing Florida State To Remove Name Of Avowed Segregationist From Main Law School Building

Florida State 2Tallahassee Democrat, Senate Committee OKs Bill That Lets FSU Strike B.K. Roberts Name From College of Law:

Despite passionate opposition from one of its members, the Senate Education Committee Tuesday voted in favor of a bill that would give Florida State the option of removing B.K. Roberts’s name from a building at its law school.

Senate Bill 7076 also requires the Florida Board of Governors to come up with appropriate guidelines on the naming or renaming of state university facilities.

Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said while he “loved FSU and (FSU President John) Thrasher” he could not support the measure that would allow the university to remove the avowed segregationist's name. "I think it’s a terrible precedent to strip out everything we don’t like,” Baxley said. “We are erasing our history. It is what it is. I think we should build more monuments and realize we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.

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March 13, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

2020 U.S. News Tax Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiAs I blogged last fall, U.S. News has dramatically changed their ranking of nine law school specialty programs:

Law school specialty rankings ... are based solely on peer assessments by law school faculty who teach in that specialty area. The peer assessment surveys for the specialty law school area rankings were conducted in fall 2018 and early 2019 by U.S. News.

This year for the first time, law school faculty members who teach in each specialty area rated the other law schools in that specialty area on a 5-point scale. Those schools with the highest average scores among those raters who rated them appear in the rankings and are ranked in descending order based on their average peer score they received in that specialty area. In all the previous law school specialty rankings, the law school raters chose their top 15 in a specialty area. This new methodology produced a significantly larger number of schools that were ranked in each specialty area – in some cases five or six times more. ... [A]ll programs that received 10 or more ratings are numerically ranked in that specialty. Schools with less than 10 ratings in a specialty aren't listed. [The response rate of the tax faculty survey was 50%.].

The new 2020 U.S. News Tax Rankings include the tax programs at 175 law schools. Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.9 NYU
2 4.5 Georgetown
3 4.4 Florida
4 4.2 Northwestern
5 4.1 Virginia
6 4.0 Columbia
6 4.0 Stanford
8 3.9 Harvard
8 3.9 UC-Irvine
8 3.9 UCLA
11 3.8 Chicago
11 3.8 Michigan
11 3.8 Pennsylvania
14 3.7 Boston College
14 3.7 Boston University
14 3.7 Duke
14 3.7 Loyola-L.A.
14 3.7 USC
14 3.7 Texas
20 3.6 Indiana (Maurer)
20 3.6 Yale
22 3.5 San Diego
23 3.4 UC-Berkeley
24 3.2 Miami
25 3.1 Temple
25 3.1 UC-Hastings
25 3.1 Minnesota
25 3.1 North Carolina
25 3.1 Pittsburgh
25 3.1 Univ. of Washington
25 3.1 Villanova
32 3.0 Florida State
32 3.0 Fordham
32 3.0 George Washington
32 3.0 Pepperdine
32 3.0 UC-Davis
37 2.9 BYU
37 2.9 Alabama
37 2.9 Georgia
37 2.9 Houston
37 2.9 Washington & Lee
37 2.9 Washington Univ.
43 2.8 Arizona State
43 2.8 Georgia State
43 2.8 Notre Dame
46 2.7 Brooklyn
46 2.7 Emory
46 2.7 Ohio State
46 2.7 Tulane
46 2.7 Illinois
46 2.7 Iowa
46 2.7 William & Mary

Among the law schools in the tax rankings last year, ranked last year Here are the biggest upward moves:

  • +13:  Stanford (#6)
  • +8:  Chicago (#11), Penn (#11)
  • +6:  Columbia (#6)
  • +5:  Duke (#14)

Here are the biggest downward moves:

  • -30:  Denver (55)
  • -8:  Univ. of Washington (#25)
  • -7:  Boston University (#14)
  • -6:  Loyola-L.A. (#14), San Diego (#22)
  • -5:  Yale (#20)

Here are the rankings of law schools with graduate tax programs:

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March 13, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Florida Coastal Law School Drops Lawsuit Against ABA

Florida, Another Law School Drops Suit Against ABA:

The flood of accreditation lawsuits filed against the American Bar Association by law schools in 2017 and 2018 has all but evaporated, with just one of the four litigations still pending.

Florida Coastal School of Law and the ABA’s legal education arm on Tuesday filed notice in federal court that they are jointly dismissing the suit the Jacksonville school brought last May, which alleged that the ABA’s law school accreditation standards are unlawfully vague and applied unevenly across campuses. The ABA had found the school out of compliance with its admissions standards.

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March 13, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Legal Ed In the Absence of Rankings (Should AccessLex Buy U.S. News?)

U.S. News Law (2019), Legal Ed in the Absence of U.S. News Rankings:

We've asked some experts what law schools would look like without the annual U.S. News rankings looming over them.

  • Danielle Conway (Dean, Maine; Incoming Dean,  Penn State-Dickinson:  “Absent the spectre of [the U.S. News ranking], I believe that legal education could flourish under a more placed-based model, allowing law schools to be more responsive to the specific opportunities and challenges facing their respective communities."
  • Kyle McEntee (Law School Transparency):  "The U.S. News rankings play a direct role in increasing legal education costs and decreasing the commitment schools can have to access, affordability, and innovation. If U.S. News went away tomorrow, the impact would be between ‘some’ and ‘a lot.’ It depends on whether schools really want to change."
  • Dan Rodriguez (Former Dean, Northwestern): "In the absence of U.S. News, law schools will continue to compete hard–for students, for faculty, for accolades. The prestige race didn’t begin with U.S. News and it wouldn’t end with its demise. However, the fine-grained character of the competition, focusing on some matters which are only tangentially related to educational quality (such as expenditures-per-student) and others which are honestly beyond the law school’s control (such as reputational surveys) would change."

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March 12, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Top Ten Law Firms In Diverse, LGTB, And Female Attorneys, There's A Diversity Problem At Law Firms - What Can Be Done?:

Legal Compass has the data to benchmark firms against each other and against the high performers in diversity. The table below lists out the top ten firms in ALM Legal Intelligence’s Diversity, LGBT and Female law firm data. Keep in mind this table only includes Am Law 200 and NLJ 500 law firms. Nevertheless, this data gives GCs something tangible and measurable to use toward their call to action movement.

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March 12, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2020 U.S. News Law School Peer Reputation Rankings (And Overall Rankings)

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiContinuing a TaxProf Blog tradition (see links below for 2009-2019), here is the full list of the 192 law schools ranked by academic peer reputation, as well as their overall rank, in the new 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings (methodology here):

Peer Rank Peer Score School Overall Rank
1 4.9 Stanford 2
1 4.9 Harvard 3
3 4.8 Yale 1
4 4.7 Chicago 4
4 4.7 Columbia 5
6 4.6 NYU 6
7 4.4 Penn 7
7 4.4 Virginia 8
7 4.4 Michigan 9
7 4.4 UC-Berkeley 10
11 4.3 Cornell 13
12 4.2 Duke 10
12 4.2 Northwestern 10
12 4.2 Georgetown 14
15 4.1 UCLA 15
15 4.1 Texas 16
17 4.0 Vanderbilt 18
18 3.7 USC 17
18 3.7 Washington Univ. 18
20 3.6 Minnesota 20
21 3.5 Notre Dame 21
21 3.5 George Washington 22
21 3.5 Boston University 23
21 3.5 UC-Irvine 23
21 3.5 Emory 26
26 3.4 Boston College 27
26 3.4 UC-Davis 31
26 3.4 North Carolina 34
29 3.3 Georgia 27
29 3.3 Iowa 27
29 3.3 Florida 31
29 3.3 Indiana (Maurer) 34
29 3.3 Ohio State 34
29 3.3 Wisconsin 34
29 3.3 Fordham 39
29 3.3 William & Mary 39
29 3.3 Univ. of Washington 44
38 3.2 Alabama 25
38 3.2 Arizona State 27
38 3.2 Washington & Lee 34
38 3.2 Arizona 39
38 3.2 Illinois 39
43 3.1 Wake Forest 31
43 3.1 Colorado 45
43 3.1 Florida State 48
43 3.1 UC-Hastings 62
47 3.0 Tulane 52
47 3.0 Maryland 52
49 2.9 BYU 39
49 2.9 Utah 47
49 2.9 Connecticut 52
52 2.8 Cardozo 52
52 2.8 Denver 67
52 2.8 Miami 67
52 2.8 American 77
52 2.8 Oregon 83
57 2.7 George Mason 45
57 2.7 Temple 48
57 2.7 Pepperdine 51
57 2.7 SMU 52
57 2.7 Richmond 52
57 2.7 Houston 59
57 2.7 Loyola-L.A. 62
57 2.7 Georgia State 67
57 2.7 Pittsburgh 77
57 2.7 San Diego 86
67 2.6 UNLV 58
67 2.6 Tennessee 59
67 2.6 Missouri (Columbia) 64
67 2.6 Kansas 67
67 2.6 Brooklyn 71
67 2.6 Case Western 71
67 2.6 Kentucky 71
67 2.6 Loyola-Chicago 77
67 2.6 Rutgers 77
67 2.6 Chicago-Kent 87
67 2.6 Howard 108
78 2.5 Seton Hall 59
78 2.5 Northeastern 64
78 2.5 Oklahoma 71
78 2.5 Villanova 71
78 2.5 Hawaii 91
78 2.5 South Carolina 91
78 2.5 Santa Clara 104
78 2.5 Indiana (McKinney) 108
86 2.4 Baylor 48
86 2.4 Penn State (Univ. Park) 64
86 2.4 Nebraska 77
86 2.4 Texas A&M 83
86 2.4 Cincinnati 83
86 2.4 Michigan State 91
86 2.4 New Mexico 91
86 2.4 Lewis & Clark 104
94 2.3 St. John's 77
94 2.3 St. Louis 90
94 2.3 Marquette 91
94 2.3 Syracuse 91
94 2.3 Arkansas (Fayetteville) 91
94 2.3 Seattle 122
100 2.2 Penn State (Dickinson) 71
100 2.2 Drexel 100
100 2.2 Hofstra 100
100 2.2 LSU 100
100 2.2 West Virginia 100
100 2.2 SUNY-Buffalo 104
100 2.2 CUNY 108
100 2.2 Univ. of Mississippi 108
100 2.2 Missouri (Kansas City) 108
100 2.2 Maine 126
100 2.2 DePaul 132
100 2.2 Arkansas (Little Rock) 143
112 2.1 New Hampshire 87
112 2.1 Florida Int'l 91
112 2.1 Wayne State 91
112 2.1 Stetson 104
112 2.1 Catholic 108
112 2.1 Louisville 108
112 2.1 Montana 115
112 2.1 Gonzaga 117
112 2.1 Baltimore 126
112 2.1 Idaho 126
112 2.1 Loyola-New Orleans 138
123 2.0 Tulsa 87
123 2.0 Albany 115
123 2.0 Wyoming 132
123 2.0 Suffolk 143
127 1.9 Creighton 117
127 1.9 New York Law School 117
127 1.9 Texas Tech 117
127 1.9 St. Thomas (MN) 117
127 1.9 Drake 122
127 1.9 Pace 122
127 1.9 Quinnipiac 126
127 1.9 Toledo 126
127 1.9 Chapman 132
127 1.9 Washburn 132
127 1.9 Vermont 136
127 1.9 Mercer 138
127 1.9 San Francisco Tier 2
127 1.9 Pacific Tier 2
127 1.9 Willamette Tier 2
142 1.8 Duquesne 122
142 1.8 Cleveland State 126
142 1.8 Memphis 138
142 1.8 South Dakota 138
142 1.8 Akron 143
142 1.8 Mitchell-Hamline Tier 2
142 1.8 Southwestern Tier 2
142 1.8 North Dakota Tier 2
142 1.8 Widener (DE) Tier 2
151 1.7 Roger Williams Tier 2
151 1.7 John Marshall (IL) Tier 2
151 1.7 Dayton Tier 2
154 1.6 Elon Tier 2
154 1.6 N. Illinois Tier 2
154 1.6 Nova Tier 2
154 1.6 Samford Tier 2
154 1.6 South Texas Tier 2
154 1.6 S. Illinois Tier 2
154 1.6 St. Mary's Tier 2
161 1.5 Ohio Northern 136
161 1.5 Cal-Western Tier 2
161 1.5 Campbell Tier 2
161 1.5 Florida A&M Tier 2
161 1.5 Golden Gate Tier 2
161 1.5 Mississippi College Tier 2
161 1.5 New England Tier 2
161 1.5 NC Central Tier 2
161 1.5 N. Kentucky Tier 2
161 1.5 Oklahoma City Tier 2
161 1.5 St. Thomas (FL) Tier 2
161 1.5 Tuoro Tier 2
161 1.5 Detroit Mercy Tier 2
161 1.5 UMass Tier 2
161 1.5 District of Columbia Tier 2
161 1.5 Widener (PA) Tier 2
177 1.4 Belmont 138
177 1.4 Capital Tier 2
177 1.4 Southern Tier 2
177 1.4 Texas Southern Tier 2
177 1.4 W. New England Tier 2
182 1.2 Appalachian Tier 2
182 1.2 Ave Maria Tier 2
182 1.2 Barry Tier 2
182 1.2 Charleston Tier 2
182 1.2 Faulkner Tier 2
182 1.2 Florida Coastal Tier 2
182 1.2 Liberty Tier 2
182 1.2 Regent Tier 2
182 1.2 La Verne Tier 2
191 1.1 W. Mich. Cooley Tier 2
191 1.1 Western State Tier 2

2020 U.S. News Specialty Rankings:

Prior Years' U.S. News Peer Reputation And Overall Rankings:

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March 12, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pepperdine’s Place In The 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)By now many of you have seen the news that Pepperdine Law has risen to #51 in the 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings. Our rise is especially gratifying in light of the decision by U.S. News last year to remove us from the rankings when we self-reported a single data reporting error one week before the publication date (for more details, see the links at the bottom of this post).

We have improved our ranking from #72 in 2017 to (unofficially) #62 in 2018 and #51 in 2019. This 21-point increase in our ranking over the past two years is the largest increase of any law school among the Top 100 law schools as ranked by U.S. News. We are in the second year of our plan to reduce the size of the student body by 20% to increase the quality of all aspects of our academic program.

We do not chase rankings at Pepperdine Law. Every decision we make is guided by a single question: what is in the best interest of our students? Often those decisions produce a rankings benefit as well, and we gladly reap those results. I am proud that our rankings rise is driven by the increasing selectivity of our incoming 1L class, the improved outcomes achieved by our graduates, the additional resources we have been able to deploy to improve our students’ educational experience, and our growing reputation among legal academics, lawyers, and judges.

Pepperdine Law also was recognized by U.S. News for excellence in several specialty programs in rankings voted on by faculty in those fields, including rankings of #2 in dispute resolution, #32 in tax law, and #33 in clinical training.

This news is especially meaningful to us following the Woolsey Fire last August which caused massive destruction in Malibu and threatened Pepperdine. Thanks to great planning by our university and the heroic efforts of firefighters on the ground and in the air, not a single building on campus was lost (for more, see the links at the bottom of this post).

Fire High Res 5 (No Ocean)

I have a confession to make. Our annual law school dinner is ordinarily held each year in early March. But after last year’s rankings hiccup, I decided to move this year’s dinner to March 30 so it would take place after the release of the new law school rankings. I was so confident about the direction of our law school that we decided that the theme of this year’s dinner would be that Pepperdine Law is “on the rise.” As I wrote when we re-opened the law school after being closed for 17 days after the fire (and following my emergency surgery for detached retinas in both of my eyes), Pepperdine Law Rises From The Ashes: Better, Stronger, United.


Prior TaxProf Blog coverage of Pepperdine's 2019 U.S. News ranking: 

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage of the impact of the Woolsey Fire on Pepperdine:

Update, Latest US News Law School Ranking Offers Few Surprises:

Back on the list this year is Pepperdine University School of Law, which nearly cracked the top 50, coming in at No. 51. U.S. News left Pepperdine off the rankings last year after the school flagged a mistake in the figures it had reported to U.S. News pertaining to the median LSAT score of its newest class. (U.S. News provides each school an early copy of the list to check the accuracy of the data.) School administrators predicted that Pepperdine would have claimed the 62nd position had the correct LSAT number been factored in. The school’s last official ranking was No. 72.

Pepperdine law dean Paul Caron said he believes his widely read TaxProfBlog has helped spread the word about the law school and raise awareness of its strengths. That exposure, coupled with the stronger credentials and employment outcomes that the school has achieved due to smaller class sizes, has bolstered its ranking, he said.

“Our law school dinner is ordinarily held each year in early March,” Caron said. “But after last year’s rankings hiccup, I decided to move this year’s dinner to March 30 so it would take place after the release of the new law school rankings. I was so confident about the direction of our law school that we decided that the theme of this year’s dinner would be that Pepperdine Law is ‘on the rise.’ I am glad I was right, or it would have been a very awkward dinner!”

The Recorder, Stanford Holds Steady, USC Jumps 2 Spots In Latest US News Law School Ranking:

This year's list is unusually stable compared with previous years. But Pepperdine University School of Law nearly cracked the top 50 after the school was omitted from the list last year after flagging a mistake in the figures it reported pertaining to the median LSAT score of its newest class.

Above the Law, This Law School Had A Great Year — At Least According To The Latest U.S. News Rankings:

After a big snafu last year, the law school's back on track.

According to the leaked U.S. News Law School Rankings for 2020, what school’s ranking increased the most?

Hint: Due to some misreporting, the school was unranked in the 2019 rankings, but the 2020 list puts them up 21 spots from where they were in 2018.

Answer: Pepperdine. You can find out all about last years rankings misadventure for the school here, and read all about this year’s rankings here.

Above the Law, The LEAKED 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Here:

Way to go, Pepperdine! After a rankings hiccup last year that landed the school among the unranked thanks to some misreporting, the school has soared.

March 12, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 11, 2019

How The U.S. News Scholarly Impact Rankings Could Hurt Niche Subjects

U.S. News Law (2019)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Jeff Sovern (St. John's), How the New US News Scholarly Impact Ranking Could Hurt Niche Subjects, Like Consumer Law:

There's been a lot of talk among law professors about the US News plan to measure faculty scholarly impact in part by citations to faculty scholarship (see here for a blog post citing to commentary).  While for now US News says it will not incorporate the citation rankings into its general law school rankings, US News may in the future replace the faculty reputation measure to some extent with a measure of how frequently professors are cited.  That could create disturbing incentives for faculty hiring and retention, as well as affect what professors write about. 

To be more concrete, imagine that a law school is hiring a new professor and has two candidates.  One candidate writes about criminal law and the other writes about consumer law.  The law school wants to maximize its ranking, and so wants to hire the candidate whose work will be cited more.  The universe of people writing scholarly articles about criminal law is much larger than the universe of professors writing about consumer law, and so, all other things being equal, the criminal law professor is likely to rack up more citations and so help with the school's ranking more.  ...

This isn't just bad for consumer law scholars. It's also bad for consumer law, and indeed any subject that isn't taught at all or nearly all law schools.

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March 11, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Minnesota Judge Issues Injunction Against Old Man Winter, Banning Any More Snow

Snow StormABA Journal, Citing Petition by Law Firm 'Sue, Grabit, and Run,' Judge Enjoins Old Man Winter:

A Minnesota judge has not only complained about the weather—he decided to do something about it.

In a March 7 order, Judge Kevin Burke issued an injunction barring any more snow this winter in specified areas of Minnesota—especially in Hennepin County where he presides. Above the LawWCCO and the Star Tribune have coverage. Burke identified the plaintiffs as the citizens of Minnesota, represented by the law firm of “Sue, Grabit, and Run.

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March 11, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Trump Bump' Continues To Fuel Law School Applications

KaplanFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Kaplan Test Prep Survey, Nearly 90 Percent of Law Schools Say the Political Climate Was a Significant Factor in Application Increase:

According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2018 law school admissions officers survey, an overwhelming 87 percent report that the current political climate in the U.S. was a significant factor in this past cycle’s application increase*. This includes 30 percent who describe it as a “very significant” factor. These were the results from a phone survey which included 121 law schools.

This politics-driven application bump may continue, according to a separate Kaplan survey of pre-law students**. Forty-five percent say that the current political climate impacted their decision to apply to law school, a marked increase from the 32 percent who answered this way in a Kaplan survey released last year.  Overall, 57 percent of those surveyed say they plan to use their law degree to advocate for political or public policy issues they care about.

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March 11, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Black Associate Sues For 'Diversity Fraud,' Says Law Firm Used Her As 'Diversity Prop' To Impress Clients

Sharika_RobinsonABA Journal, Firm Uses Minorities as 'Diversity Props' to Impress Clients, Suit Alleges:

A black associate has filed a lawsuit claiming that her North Carolina law firm uses minorities as “diversity props” to impress clients and also misrepresents its inclusiveness to potential employees.

Sharika Robinson claims in her March 4 lawsuit that Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson in North Carolina maintained in its advertising and in her job interviews that it was committed to the ideals of diversity and inclusion. ...

In reality, Robinson says, she is one of only two black associates at the 165-lawyer firm’s three offices, and the firm has had no more than 10 black lawyers since 1960. Robinson began working at Robinson Bradshaw in 2015 after two federal judicial clerkships, including a clerkship with Judge Damon Keith of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati.

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March 10, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Thought I Could Be A Christian At Yale Law School. I Was Wrong.

Yale Law Logo (2019)The Federalist op-ed:  I Thought I Could Be A Christian And Constitutionalist At Yale Law School. I Was Wrong, by Aaron Haviland (3L, Yale Law School):

I am a third-year student at Yale Law School. Before law school, I attended the Naval Academy and the University of Cambridge, and I served in the Marine Corps. I am also a member of my school’s Federalist Society chapter. ...

[M]y friends and I sent out a school-wide email announcement about a guest speaker event for the upcoming week. A lawyer from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian legal group that has won numerous First Amendment cases at the Supreme Court, would be discussing Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Given that ADF has been smeared as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, we expected some controversy. But what we got was over-the-top even by Yale standards.

The first condemnation was from Outlaws, the law school’s LGBTQ group. They attacked the Federalist Society for inviting ADF to campus and called for a boycott of the event. Over the next 24 hours, almost every student group jumped onto the bandwagon and joined the boycott. ...

In addition to the boycott, some students said people who supported ADF’s position should no longer be admitted to the law school. One student emailed a list of the Federalist Society board members (publicly available information) so students would know whom to “thank” for this event.

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March 10, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Saturday, March 9, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

How Law Schools Are Like Comcast And Charter Spectrum: They Persist In Bundling Legal Education In A World That Demands Unbundling

CableMegan M. Carpenter (Dean, New Hampshire), Legal Education Unbundled (and Rebundled), 50 U. Tol. L. Rev. 265 (2019):

Abstract: This essay calls for an unbundling of legal education, much like the kind of unbundling we have seen in the cable, music, and print news media. It suggests that the standard legal education “bundle” — the generalized JD — is just one of many forms of legal education that can be packaged appropriately for today’s legal education market needs.

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March 9, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, March 8, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

44% Of LSAT Test-Takers Use Khan Academy's Free Online Prep, Khan Academy's Free, Online LSAT Prep Proves Popular With Test Takers:

It turns out you can’t beat free.

More than 40,000 people each month are using Khan Academy’s new free, online Law School Admission Test prep program, according to figures released Wednesday by the Law School Admission Council and Khan Academy. That’s a healthy chunk of the roughly 100,000 people who sit for the entrance exam annually.

The council and Khan Academy jointly launched the program in June with a goal of making LSAT test prep more affordable and reaching a wider array of prospective law students. The groups say the early results indicate the program is hitting those targets.

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March 8, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Pepperdine Hosts Conference Today On An Islamic Case For Pluralism, Equal Citizenship, And Religious Freedom

UnnamedPepperdine hosts a conference today on An Islamic Case for Pluralism, Equal Citizenship, and Religious Freedom (agenda), sponsored by Pepperdine's Sudreau Global Justice Program, Pepperdine's Center for Faith and Learning, Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, Zaytuna College, Bayan Claremont School of Theology, and Baylor University's Institute for the Studies of Religion:


  • John Barton (Pepperdine)
  • Elizabeth Crouse (Religious Freedom Institute)

Plenary #1: Seven Seeds of Emerging Religious Freedom in Islam

  • Daniel Philpott (Notre Dame)

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March 7, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Western State Law Students Turn To Courts, GoFundMe As School 'Teeters On The Edge Of Closure'

Western State LogoFollowing up on yesterday's post, ABA: Western State Law School Has Few Options As Its Parent University Is Placed In Receivership:  MarketWatch, With Their Law School Nearing Collapse, These Students Are Using the Courts to Fight Back:

It took several weeks of not receiving the financial-aid money she’s owed, rumors her law school was teetering on the edge of closure and few answers about how these challenges would affect her classmates before Marina Awed took action.

She decided to use her legal education to take matters into her own hands. “I just got tired of feeling helpless and I was like, you know what I can do this on my own,” she said.

Late last week, Awed filed a motion asking a judge to give her a say in the receivership — essentially a form of bankruptcy — of Argosy, the company that owns Awed’s law school, Western State College of Law. The judge granted Awed’s motion earlier this week, giving her a voice in the process. ...

If her school collapses, it could put their plans of sitting for the bar later this year in jeopardy. ...

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March 7, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Hidden Power Of The Invited Talk

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Hidden Power of the Invited Talk:

For scholars, the phrase "publish or perish" has become an ironclad rule of academic career development. Without a sufficient number of publications in the right kinds of journals, tenure and promotion are just a pipe dream. But another, much less studied aspect of faculty work can also shape the arc of a career in the professoriate. It is not teaching or service. It is the invited talk.

The talks can take many forms. There are the ever-popular seminar series, lectures, colloquiums, workshops, symposiums, and keynotes.

These invitation-only spots come with their own codes and meanings, and often reflect disciplinary mores that can be inscrutable to people early in their careers. And careers can be shaped by them. ...

[I]nvited talks aren’t just about getting in front of graduate students, postdocs, faculty members, and at times the general public. The talks are more than potential opportunities to collect the occasional honorarium.

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March 7, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Muller: Gaming The New U.S. News Citation Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Gaming Out Hein Citation Metrics in a USNWR Rankings System:

There are two reasons to be worried—non-random biases and law school administrative reactions. ... [M]y colleague Professor Rob Anderson notes one virtue of the Sisk rankings that are not currently present in Hein citation counts: “The key here is ensuring that Hein and US News take into account citations TO interdisciplinary work FROM law reviews, not just citations TO law reviews FROM law reviews as it appears they might do. That would be too narrow. Sisk currently captures these interdisciplinary citations FROM law reviews, and it is important for Hein to do the same. The same applies to books.” 

We simply don’t know (yet) whether these institutional biases exist or how they’ll play out. But I have a few preliminary graphics on this front.

It’s not clear how Hein will measure things. Sisk-Leiter measures things using a formula of 2*mean citations plus median citations. The USNWR metric may use mean citations plus median citations, plus publications.

Understanding that Sisk-Leiter is an approximation for Hein at this point, we can show the relationship between the top 70 or so schools in the Sisk-Leiter score (and a few schools we have estimates for at the bottom of the range), and the relationship of those schools to their peer scores.

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March 6, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

On Being A Child-Free Professor

BabiesChronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  I Don’t Regret Not Having Kids, and I Don’t Resent Yours, Either, by Shannon McMahon (College of Saint Mary):

When I first started teaching at the college level, I was young enough to be considered temporarily-delayed mother material, at least biologically. By then, my husband and I had already decided not to have kids, but I still looked like I had time to change my mind.

One day in class, we were talking about an article in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have it All, and my childfree status came up in the course of class discussion. Suddenly, I found myself discussing my choice with a student who seemed to have assumed I had a medical problem that prevented childbearing.

"You can adopt or be a foster parent," she offered. I understood her meaning in two ways: first, that there were medical advances that could "fix" me, and, second, that I might make a pretty good mom. There was no malice in our repartee but I did find myself in a curious reflective posture. I realized that the student considered me "childless" — namely, that I was lacking in something essential to being a woman and was somehow sad about it. I also realized the student wanted to relate to me as a parent.

Over the years, I’ve fielded my share of similar comments about being "childless," not just from students but also from well-meaning colleagues who assumed there might be a physical problem and/or just didn’t know what else to say. The issue came up often enough to start me thinking about using a different word to describe my situation: "childfree."

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March 6, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA: Western State Law School Has Few Options As Its Parent University Is Placed In Receivership

Western State LogoFollowing up on last week's post, The Future Of Western State Is In Doubt As Law School Is Placed In Receivership And Students Cannot Access Federal Financial Aid: Inside Higher Ed, End of the Road for Argosy University:

The Education Department said Wednesday it would block plans by Argosy University to go nonprofit. In the same announcement, it said it would also boot the for-profit college from the federal student aid program.

The decision, which was driven in part by recent failures by Argosy to make payments to thousands of students, means the likely closure of its institutions.

In an announcement on the Federal Student Aid website, the Education Department said that the roughly 8,800 students enrolled at Argosy campuses could seek to transfer their credits elsewhere or apply for loan cancellation in the event their campus shuts down.

Inside Higher Ed, ABA: Few Options for Western State College of Law:

In a memo to students at Western State College of Law Monday, the American Bar Association said it did not have the authority to direct the disbursal of student aid that has yet to be released for the spring semester.

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March 6, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.


  • 1st Place:  $5,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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March 5, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

BU Launches 24-Unit Tax MSL (Alternative To 32-Unit Tax LL.M.)

BU LogoBU Law Launches Master in the Study of Tax Law:

Boston University School of Law is pleased to announce the launch of its Master in the Study of Tax Law (MSL). Offered through the school’s renowned Graduate Tax Program, the master’s is a 24-credit program designed to provide foundational tax law training to aspiring and current accountants, auditors, and other business professionals. The program will enroll its inaugural class in the fall 2019 semester. ...

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March 5, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fordham Symposium: Legal Education In Twentieth-Century America

Fordham Logo (2019)Symposium, Legal Education in Twentieth-Century America, 87 Fordham L. Rev. 859-1031 (2018):

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March 5, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

America’s Disappearing Private Colleges

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  America’s Disappearing Private Colleges, by Allen C. Guelzo (Gettysburg College):

Over the past decade, the idea that the higher-education bubble is about to burst has been waved away as headline pessimism or conservative sour grapes over the leftward drift of college faculties. Yet the biggest threat to higher education comes not from rising tuition or political bias but demographics. The Great Recession not only played havoc with financial markets and subprime mortgages; it persuaded anxious adults not to have children. Birthrates plunged by almost 13% from 2007 to 2012, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes fertility could fall further.

In “Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education,” economist Nathan Grawe finds that the “birth dearth” will cost America 650,000 people of college age in the 2020s. At the prevailing rate of college attendance, which has plateaued at 65% in the past decade, that means 450,000 fewer U.S. college applicants. Hardest hit, unfortunately, will be those areas most populated by private colleges: New York, Pennsylvania, New England and around the Great Lakes.

There are approximately 1,800 private four-year degree-granting institutions in the U.S., including some of the most visible names in elite education, such as Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke and the schools of the Ivy League. But the vast majority are more like Concordia. These schools may be long on history, but they’re short on money and shorter on students. ...

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March 5, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Monday, March 4, 2019

Hamilton And The Oxford Comma

HamiltonNew York Times, Oxford Comma Dispute Is Settled as Maine Drivers Get $5 Million:

Ending a case that electrified punctuation pedants, grammar goons and comma connoisseurs, Oakhurst Dairy settled an overtime dispute with its drivers that hinged entirely on the lack of an Oxford comma in state law.

The dairy company in Portland, Me., agreed to pay $5 million to the drivers, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

The relatively small-scale dispute gained international notoriety last year when the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that the missing comma created enough uncertainty to side with the drivers, granting those who love the Oxford comma a chance to run a victory lap across the internet.

But the resolution means there will be no ruling from the land’s highest courts on whether the Oxford comma — the often-skipped second comma in a series like “A, B, and C” — is an unnecessary nuisance or a sacred defender of clarity, as its fans and detractors endlessly debate. (In most cases, The Times stylebook discourages the serial comma, often called the Oxford comma because it was traditionally used by the Oxford University Press.)

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March 4, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law Schools Emphasize Tech Skills, But Is The Job Market Ready?

ABA JournalABA Journal, Ahead of the Curve: Law Schools Emphasize Tech Skills, But Is The Job Market Ready?:

The data is similarly fuzzy when it comes to measuring the success of law school technology programs—at least when it comes to getting a job after graduating law school. The promise of these programs is twofold: Students will be prepared for a rapidly changing job market and the school will be differentiated from its many competitors. Indeed, it’s easy to find press releases and marketing materials advertising law school technology programs that prepare students for the changing practice of law. Twenty-four law schools responded to an ABA Journal inquiry about when they launched technology programs, 12 of which started programs in the past eight years. Of those 12 schools, nine were outside of U.S. News & World Report’s top 20 law schools. Some schools with post-2011 programs were located in states with more than five law schools, as well as cities with several competing law schools, where differentiation with technology offerings could help attract more students. That includes New York’s Cornell Law School, Chicago’s Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Boston’s Suffolk University Law School and the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.

But some recent graduates—as well as attorneys with hiring responsibilities—say that there are few tech jobs for new lawyers, largely because the profession isn’t ready for this new cadre of tech-savvy grads.

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March 4, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The New Normal In The Job Market For New Lawyers

Bernard A. Burk (formerly North Carolina), The New Normal Ten Years In: The Job Market For New Lawyers Today And What It Means For The Legal Academy Tomorrow, 12 Fla. Int’l L. Rev.___ (2019):

Despite record-low general unemployment and a strong economy, the graduating law-school Class of 2017 entered a much smaller and more constrained labor market than existed ten years before. Overall, the number of entry-level, strongly law-related jobs (“Law Jobs”) that the Class of 2017 obtained was 26% lower than the Class of 2007, and remains at levels not seen since the early 1990s. The only reason that greater proportions of the graduating class are obtaining Law Jobs than in recent years is the dramatic decrease in the number of students attending law school since 2010.


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March 4, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

First Female Federal Appeals Law Clerk (#1 In Columbia Law Class Of 1945), Later Snubbed at SCOTUS, Dies At 94

New York Law Journal, First Female Federal Appeals Law Clerk, Later Snubbed at SCOTUS, Dies at 94:

Carmel Ebb, believed to be the first female to clerk for a federal appeals court judge, died in Maryland on Feb. 10 at age 94, leaving a legacy as a pioneering lawyer who overcame barriers that made a career in the law difficult for women.

According to her obituary, Ebb—then Carmel Prashker—finished first in her class at Columbia Law School in 1945. Nonetheless, she wrote in an ABA Journal article last year, “female graduates couldn’t expect to be recommended as law clerks to sitting judges, no matter how well their records stacked up against their male classmates.”

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March 4, 2019 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)