Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Race, Gender, And Sexual Orientation In The Legal Workplace

Robert Nelson (Northwestern), Ioana Sendroiu (Toronto), Ronit Dinovitzer (Toronto) & Meghan Dawe (Toronto), Perceiving Discrimination: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in the Legal Workplace, 44 Law & Soc. Inquiry 1051 (2019):

Using quantitative and qualitative data from a large national sample of lawyers, we examine self-reports of perceived discrimination in the legal workplace. Across three waves of surveys, we find that persons of color, white women, and LGBTQ attorneys are far more likely to perceive they have been a target of discrimination than white men. These differences hold in multivariate models that control for social background, status in the profession and the work organization, and characteristics of the work organization. Qualitative comments describing these experiences reveal that lawyers of different races, genders, and sexual orientations are exposed to distinctive types of bias, that supervisors and clients are the most frequent sources of discriminatory treatment, and the often-overt character of perceived discrimination. These self-reports suggest that bias in the legal workplace is widespread and rooted in the same hierarchies of race, gender, and sexual orientation that pervade society.

May 27, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

First-Ever Open Book, Online Bar Exam Set For July

Following up on my previous post, July Bar Exam Update: Nevada:  Karen Sloan (, First-Ever Open Book, Online Bar Exam Set for July:

Nevada BarA third jurisdiction has moved its July bar exam online.

The Supreme Court of Nevada has ordered a reformatting of the state’s attorney licensing exam and called for it to be delivered remotely. It joins Indiana and Michigan in the move to an online test. But Nevada is taking a different tack by making its online test open book—a concession to the fact that it’s difficult to police test takers when they are in their own homes. It’s also keeping the test at two days, whereas Michigan and Indiana has reduced it down to one day.

“The [Nevada Board of Bar Examiners’] proposal adequately balances a number of important issues,” reads the court’s order May 20. “First, proceeding with a modified examination in July 2020 provides stability to applicants in uncertain times. Second, the proposal protects applicants and examination administrators by following COVID-19 social distancing requirements.”

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

Why Won’t Universities Spend Their Money During The Pandemic? Endowment Hoarding By Presidents.

Following up on my previous post, University President Explains Why Faculty/Staff Pay Freezes And Layoffs Are Preferable To Dipping Into Endowment During COVID-19:  Brian Galle (Georgetown), If Not Now, When: Why Won’t Universities Spend Their Money?:

CoronavirusThese are tough times for higher education. Even name-brand institutions are announcing hiring freezes and salary cuts, among other austerity policies. ... [W]hat on earth explains why Stanford and Harvard are taking similar measures? These are institutions with tens of billions of dollars in endowment savings. Harvard, as I have pointed out elsewhere, could cease operations tomorrow and still cover its bills for twelve years. Equally insane, these are schools with guaranteed donative revenues that are sure to exceed their annual endowment payouts by several multiples. That is, Harvard brings in more money in donations every year than it spends out of its endowment. Any first-year finance student would tell Harvard to borrow against its future inflows by spending out of the existing endowment.

So put another way, the present moment should end forever the argument that university endowments are rainy day funds. If institutions aren’t drawing on their supposed reserves now, when will they ever? ...

One possible explanation for why universities act so irrationally is because the law forces them to. ... [T]he legal argument is nonsense. ...

[A] team of finance professors has what I think is a more persuasive answer [How University Endowments Respond to Financial Market Shocks: Evidence and Implications, 104 Am. Econ. Rev. 931 (2014)] ... Their answer is agency costs. Basically, university administrators use endowment as a measure of their own success. As fairly compelling evidence, the profs show that universities do sometimes dip into endowment spending, but almost never to the point where the endowment would fall below what it was worth when the current president took office. Presidents protect their endowment “legacy,” at the cost of their real legacy. (Wharton legal studies prof Peter Conti-Brown also argued this point, albeit with less empirical basis, in his student note [Scarcity Amidst Wealth: The Law, Finance, and Culture of Elite University Endowments in Financial Crisis, 63 Stan. L. Rev. 699 (2011)]; see also this nice paper  [The Coming Showdown Over University Endowments: Enlisting the Donors, 77 Fordham L. Rev. 1795 (2009)]). ...

[A]dministrators who are not constrained by ego should be aggressively drawing down endowment spending right now. ... [T]he marginal returns to present spending are very high, and they have lasting benefits. Many cut-backs are hard to reverse and have long-lasting sting (once you sell off your engineering school, it doesn’t come back). Students and support staff are in need. Opportunities to hire or poach faculty away from shorter-sighted schools are highly available.

Inside Higher Ed, Will Colleges Tap Large Endowments During Pandemic?:

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May 27, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The NCBE's Wrong-Headed Response To The COVID-19 Pandemic

Michael S. Ariens (St. Mary's), The NCBE's Wrong-Headed Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

NCBE (2020)The NCBE issued a White Paper in early April 2020 attacking proposals to admit 2020 graduates of law schools through a diploma privilege with some additional requirement of supervised practice hours. Its justifications are both self-serving and inconsistent. In an unprecedented time, the NCBE chose to protect its monopoly position in providing bar examination products rather than the 2020 bar applicants upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its claim to protect the public from the licensing of "incompetent" bar applicants rings hollow.

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Jonathan Choi To Join Minnesota Tax Faculty

ChoiJonathan Choi, a Fellow at NYU, has accepted a tenure-track tax position at Minnesota beginning in August. He graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 2011, with a triple major in Computer Science, Economics, and Philosophy, and from Yale Law School in 2014, where he was Executive Bluebook Editor of the Yale Law Journal and founding Co-Director of the Yale Journal on Regulation Online. Jonathan practiced tax law at Wachtell in 2014-18. His recent publications include:

May 26, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Debate: Will COVID-19 Cause A Massive Shift By Colleges (And Law Schools) To Online Education?

New York Times op-ed:  The Future of College Is Online, and It’s Cheaper, by Hans Taparia (NYU):

CoronavirusUp until now, online education has been relegated to the equivalent of a hobby at most universities. With the pandemic, it has become a backup plan. But if universities embrace this moment strategically, online education could expand access exponentially and drop its cost by magnitudes — all while shoring up revenues for universities in a way that is more recession-proof, policy-proof and pandemic-proof. ...

[U]niversities don’t need to abandon in-person teaching for students who see the value in it. They simply need to create “parallel” online degrees for all their core degree programs. By doing so, universities could expand their reach by thousands, creating the economies of scale to drop their costs by tens of thousands.

There are a few, but instructive, examples of prestigious universities that have already shown the way. Georgia Tech, a top engineering school, launched an online masters in computer science in 2014. The degree costs just $7,000 (one-sixth the cost of its in-person program), and the school now has nearly 10,000 students enrolled, making it the largest computer science program in the country. Notably, the online degree has not cannibalized its on-campus revenue stream. Instead, it has opened up a prestigious degree program to a different population, mostly midcareer applicants looking for a meaningful skills upgrade.

Similarly, in 2015, the University of Illinois launched an online M.B.A. for $22,000, a fraction of the cost of most business schools. In order to provide a forum for networking and experiential learning, critical to the business school experience, the university created micro-immersions, where students can connect with other students and work on live projects at companies at a regional level. ...

Many universities are sounding bold about reopening in-person instruction this fall. The current business model requires them to, or face financial ruin. But a hasty decision driven by the financial imperative could prove lethal, and do little to help them weather a storm. The pandemic provides universities an opportunity to reimagine education around the pillars of access and affordability with the myriad tools and techniques now at their disposal. It could make them true pathways of upward mobility again.

Bloomberg op-ed:  College as We Know It Coming to an End? Don’t Bet on It, by Joe Nocera:

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May 26, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

COVID-19 And Law Teaching: Developing Asynchronous Online Courses For Law Students

Yvonne Dutton (Indiana-Indianapolis) & Seema Mohapatra (Indiana-Indianapolis), COVID-19 and Law Teaching: Guidance on Developing an Asynchronous Online Course for Law Students, 65 St. Louis U. L.J. ___ (2020):

CoronavirusMost law schools suspended their live classroom teaching in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly transitioned to online programming. Although professors can be commended for rapidly adapting to an emergency situation, some commentators have nevertheless suggested that the emergency online product delivered to students was substandard. Based on our own experiences in designing and delivering online courses, we caution against embracing a broad-reaching, negative conclusion about the efficacy of online education. Indeed, much of this emergency online programming would be more properly defined as “emergency remote teaching,” as opposed to “online education.” Delivering online education to students involves more than giving the same classroom lecture on Zoom. Online education requires professors to design their courses to be delivered at a distance, with the goal being to create a course driven by pedagogy using technological tools to inform and enhance the learning experience. COVID-19 is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, and because some schools might be unable to bring all of their students back into the classroom in the fall, we urge faculty to prepare to deliver their courses online. Law schools and faculty should not wait for another emergency and should prepare to deliver at least some of their courses online in the fall. To aid with this transition, this Article offers some guidance on how to develop and implement an effective asynchronous distance-learning course for law students.

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May 26, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can Law Schools Safely Teach On Campus In Fall 2020?

Ilya Somin (George Mason), Some Tentative Suggestions for Safely Restarting In-Person Teaching at Universities:

CoronavirusUniversities around the country are pondering the question of whether and how to resume in-person teaching during the upcoming fall 2020 semester. In-person instruction has major advantages over the online version many of us have experienced this spring. But it would be foolish and irresponsible to ignore the risks of spreading Covid-19. I don't have anything approaching a comprehensive solution to this dilemma. But in this post, I offer some tentative suggestions for how in-person teaching can be restarted, while minimizing risk, while also avoiding creating an unbearable dystopian on-campus environment. ...

The proposals I offer rely on three key ideas. First, the advantages of in-person education are far greater for some types of classes than for others. Second, there are ways to protect faculty and students who face especially high risks without moving to a fully on-line model for the classes they teach or take. ...

I. Exploiting Variation in the Relative Advantages of In-Person Teaching

[S]chools can potentially keep smaller classes online, while reserving limited classroom space for bigger ones. This may seem like the exact opposite of what might be useful for maintaining social distance. Obviously it is easier for a small group to do so than big one. But by moving smaller classes online, schools can free up a lot of classroom space that would otherwise be used for them. That in turn can allow them to split up larger courses between two rooms.

The professor can be in one room, along with however many students can fit in there with while maintaining social distancing. The remaining students can be in the second room. They can watch the professor (and other students) on a large TV monitor set up at the front. The professor can in turn see the students in the second room on a monitor set up in her room.

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May 26, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Technology For Faculty Office Hours In Fall 2020

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Ten Law Schools With The Most Discounted Tuition

U.S. News & World Report, 10 Law Schools That Offer the Most Tuition Help:

Here are 10 schools where students received enough grants to cover more than half of their tuition:

  Law School     Students With Grants > 50% Tuition Median Grant US News Rank
1 Penn State - Carlisle 93.2% $49,896 62
2 Penn State - Univ. Park 90.0% $49,896 60
3 Belmont 88.2% $32,572 129
4 UNLV 85.6% $25,900 62
5 George Mason 84.7% $30,000 42
6 Nebraska 81.3% $15,800 76
7 Illinois 80.6% $35,000 31
8 Washington Univ. 79.3% $40,000 17
9 Villanova 78.0% $40,000 62
10 Liberty 77.8% $20,075 Tier 2

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

Before COVID-19, Tuition Discount Rate Hit All-Time High Of 52.6%; Pandemic May Force 340 Colleges Out Of Business

Before COVID-19, Private College Tuition Discount Rates Reached Record Highs:

In the 2019 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study, 366 private, nonprofit colleges and universities reported an estimated 52.6 percent average institutional tuition discount rate for first-time, full-time, first-year students in 2019-20 and 47.6 percent for all undergraduates – both record highs. By providing grants, fellowships, and scholarships, these institutions forgo about half the revenue they otherwise would collect if they charged all students the tuition and fee sticker price.


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

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Faculty Cuts Begin, With Warnings Of More To Come

Chronicle of Higher Education, Faculty Cuts Begin, With Warnings of More to Come:

When the Covid-19 pandemic threatened to deplete projected budgets, college leaders ... looked to minimize expenses and make difficult choices about priorities. While decisions were still up in the air, faculty members, especially those off the tenure track, feared that their ranks would be thinned. Now, those cuts are starting to be made across academe. (The Chronicle is tracking them here.)


Thirty-one faculty members were laid off at Missouri Western State University, while 20 others will receive terminal one-year contracts, Inside Higher Ed reported. St. Edward’s University, in Texas, eliminated an unknown number of employee positions, including some faculty members on and off the tenure track, the Austin American-Statesman reported. City University of New York colleges have begun announcing plans to remove hundreds of adjunct positions, according to the CUNY faculty and staff union; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stood in solidarity with the union, saying in a statement that “austerity is not the answer.” And rumors have swirled at Ohio University that instructor positions will be eliminated, speculation that was confirmed in a Friday-evening message to the campus from the president. ...

Faculty leaders on various campuses are scrutinizing those decisions. They say they appreciate the need to be frugal but don’t understand why contingent faculty members, who are often the lowest paid and do the bulk of the teaching, are on the chopping block. ...

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May 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Blackman: The Empty Threat Of 2Ls And 3Ls Transferring To Receive In-Person Instruction

Josh Blackman (South Texas), The Empty Threat of 2Ls and 3Ls Transferring To Receive In-Person Instruction:

TransferStudents would be foolish to transfer to another school in the middle of a pandemic when there is no guarantee in-person instruction will continue anywhere.

Many law schools may decide to bring 1Ls on campus, but hold 2L and 3L classes online. The thinking here is at once compassionate, but also pragmatic. The first-year of law school is a surreal experience. The pressure of classes forms something of a crucible: students are forced to acclimate to a brand new environment in a short period of time. By the time students get to the second year, they have developed a certain familiarity with the process, and are able to deal with classes more efficiently–even though they do not prepare as well for class. I see a world of difference between Property I students (in the second semester) and Property II students (in the third semester). If law schools have to make tough choices about who to admit on campus, objectively, 1Ls should be given priority.

There is also a pragmatic dimension to this choice. Incoming 1Ls, who feel they will be shortchanged by online instruction, may not enroll. Maybe they will decide to defer a year. Or maybe they'll pick a law school that promises in-person instruction. Rural campuses over urban campuses may be more desirable. These promises should be taken with some caution. Shut-down orders may come in October, requiring everyone to go back online. And the experience in class may soon become intolerable. But, incoming 1Ls demand in-person instruction. And law schools, dependent on tuition, will be pressured to oblige.

But what about 2Ls and 3Ls? Do they need the same in-person experience? The old adage may have some truth: 1L scares you to death; 2L works you to death; and 3L bores you to death. But 2Ls and 3Ls will be quite upset if their classes move entirely online. What can they do? Some will demand tuition refunds. This option is not viable. A school's costs stay roughly the same, whether operations are inside our outside the building. You can only save so much money by turning off the lights and lowering the air conditioner.

For sure, some students will threaten to transfer to another law school. Let me voice some skepticism for that option. ...

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May 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Yes, Online College Sux. You Should Do It Anyway.

Rebecca Schuman, Yes, Online College Sux. You Should Do It Anyway.:

CoronavirusA few days ago I was leading my five-year-old daughter along the stretch of block we walk every day, half-assedly scanning for errant joggers to shame, and I snapped this photo of some sidewalk art by the occupants of a student house share. “BE NICE :),” they wrote. “ONLINE SCHOOL SUX.”

I mean, they’re not wrong. Online school — “remote learning” as we like to call it, “hybrid pedagogical delivery models” if you’re feeling fancy — does, indeed, sux, when that’s not the specific experience you signed up for. Deliberately-online programs, on the other hand, (entire degrees or just single course offerings) are different; not only are they often less expensive than their in-person counterparts, online courses are just built differently. Deliberately online courses often use a “flipped,” partially asynchronous model, where the “lecture” component is actually a series of short, digestible videos that students can watch on their own time, supplemented by videoconference sessions with small groups that work through problems or issues in the “homework” in more depth.

Intentionally online courses are also taught by instructors who have specific training in digital pedagogy and “remote course delivery.” The same cannot be said for the thousands of poor souls who, in Spring 2020, had to put all of their courses online with zero notice and less experience, a fact which contributes mightily to the extent to the current state of sux.

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May 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Coronavirus Leadership Lesson From Margaret Thatcher: 'Great Love That Stirs Others'

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  The Iron Lady and the Coronavirus Age, by Peggy Noonan:

Thatcher BiosColumnists often say things like “the tectonic plates are shifting.” They are shifting as never before and all at the same time. We have never seen this earthquake.

What is essential now from our political class? I find inspiration in a monumental work, the journalist Charles Moore’s three-volume biography of Margaret Thatcher. It is a masterpiece of fairness and insight. It is also something new, a work of justice done to a woman in modern politics.

At its heart it is not a story about political survival but about seriousness—about the purpose of politics, which is to guide your nation safely through the world while creating the conditions and arrangements by which your people can flourish. It is about winning the argument about how to achieve safety and flourishing.

In his stirring epilogue, Mr. Moore sums up Thatcher’s career, legacy, and essential nature. She cannot be understood, he writes, based only on her public statements. She must be seen also in light of her character: “Its contradictions were striking. She was high-minded and highly educated, yet had a common touch. She was fierce, but kind; rude, and courteous; calculating, yet principled; matter-of-fact, yet romantic; frank, yet secretive; astute, yet innocent; rational, yet capricious; puritanical, yet flirtatious.” She “combined an immense assurance about following her own way with a permanent uneasiness in life.” ...

What at bottom drove her? “If there was one uniting force in everything Mrs. Thatcher did, it was her love for her country.” All truly great political leaders have this love, which involves a heightened vision of their nation. Thatcher’s love was not always requited. “But great loves such as hers go beyond reason, which is why they stir others, as leaders must if they are to achieve anything out of the ordinary.”

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

Graduation In Your PJs? Law School Commencements Go Virtual

Karen Sloan (, Graduation in Your PJs? Law School Commencements Go Virtual:

Zoom MeetingThis year’s law graduates won’t have to worry about tripping on their gowns as they get their  diplomas or mugging for the camera as they shake the dean’s hand.

Law schools have been forced to ditch the in-person pomp and circumstance routine, with many holding “virtual” affairs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first digital ceremonies [began two weeks ago] and will continue through mid-June as new lawyers wrap up their studies and launch their careers at an unprecedented time. Many law schools have said they plan to hold an in-person celebration at a later date, but, for now, ceremonies will be online. ...

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

Friday, May 22, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

July Bar Exam Update: Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada

CoronavirusMichigan Supreme Court, Revised Format for July 2020 Michigan Bar Examination (May 18, 2020):

In recognition of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, in light of various current and projected pandemic-related restrictions, and pursuant to the Court’s constitutional and statutory authority to supervise and regulate the practice of law, 1963 Const, Art VI, Sec 5, and MCL 600.904, and in consultation with the Board of Law Examiners (Board), the Court orders that in lieu of the two-day exam previously scheduled for July 28-29, 2020, a one-day exam will be administered on July 28, 2020. The exam will be conducted online, and will consist solely of the essay portion of the traditional exam. ...

Supreme Court of Minnesota, July 2020/September 2020 Bar Examination (May 20, 2020):

The Minnesota Board of Law Examiners met on Friday, May 15, 2020 to discuss whether to move forward with the administration of the July 2020 Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). The Board carefully considered information provided by many sources both before the meeting and during the public meeting on May 15, 2020. The Board determined that it plans to administer the UBE as scheduled on July 28 and 29, 2020. In order to accommodate as many of the registered applicants as possible, the Board also plans to administer the UBE on September 9 and 10, 2020. This will permit the Board to provide adequate social distancing for all registered applicants. Applicants registered for the July 2020 examination will be provided with an opportunity to select their preference for the July or September administration of examination on or before June 3, 2020. Applicants registered for the July 2020 examination who do not wish to sit for the examination in July or September will be provided with additional options. ...

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

Shattering Harvard Law School’s Glass Ceilings

Harvard Law Record, Shattering Harvard Law School’s Glass Ceilings:

HLS12For five consecutive years, the Women’s Law Association (WLA) has published a statistical analysis of Latin Honors and gender at Harvard Law School. For all five years, that study has found a statistically significant difference between the number of men and women graduating with Latin Honors, as compared to the expected numbers based on the gender breakdown of each class.

Women in the Class of 2015 received only 36.9% of Latin Honors awarded. For the Class of 2016, women received 43.2% of the awards. In 2017, the number decreased to 41.7%. For the Class of 2018, this number decreased again to 39.7%. Last year, women received 44.5% of the Latin Honors awards for the Class of 2019. This means that 45.6% of the men in the class of 2019 received Latin Honors, compared to only 34.1% of women. This is not the kind of improvement we would have hoped to see over a five-year period, especially one in which massive strides have been made for equity elsewhere on campus.

In stark contrast to the persistent Latin Honors gender gap, the past five years have seen three of HLS’ most prominent by-application student organizations –  Harvard Legal Aid Bureau,  Board of Student Advisors, and Harvard Law Review – achieve gender parity. All three organizations have even had majority female membership at times. This is the kind of progress that we would have hoped to see for Latin Honors disparities. ...

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May 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

ABA Finds Texas Southern Law School Out Of Compliance With Admissions Accreditation Standard Amidst Fraud Investigation

Following up on my previous posts (links below):   ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Council Decision, Notice of Finding of Significant Noncompliance With Standard 501(a) (Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law) (May 2020):

Thurgood Marshall Logo (2017)At its May 14-15, 2020, meeting, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (the “Council”) considered the status of the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law (the “Law School”) and concluded that the Law School is not in compliance with Standard 501(a).

In accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations (34 C.F.R. § 602.26) applicable to recognized accrediting agencies, the Council is required to post a notice describing the basis for an action when it finds significant noncompliance with one or more of ABA Standards pursuant to Rule 11(a)(4). The Council considers any finding of noncompliance with Standard 501 to be such a finding. Consequently, pursuant to ABA Internal Operating Practice 5 of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, this public memorandum is being issued within 24 hours of the time the Law School was notified of the Council’s decision.

The Law School has been asked to submit a report by August 1, 2020, and to appear before the Council at its November 19-21, 2020, meeting. The Council will consider the written report at its August 13-15, 2020, meeting. If the information provided in the written report demonstrates compliance with the Standard listed above, then the Council will find the Law School to be in compliance with the Standards and cancel the hearing.

ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Council Decision, Notice of Compliance and Removal of Requirements of Specific Remedial Actions Standard 501(b) and Interpretations 501-1 and 501-2 (Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law) (May 2020):

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

University Of Minnesota Law Professor Falsely Accused of Rape Wins $1.2 Million Defamation Judgment

Following up on my previous post, Minnesota Law Prof Francesco Parisi Accused Of Rape; His Lawyer Says Charges Are Frivolous:  Minnesota Star-Tribune, University of Minnesota Law Professor Falsely Accused of Rape Wins $1.2 Million Defamation Judgment:

ParisiIn what appears to be the largest award of its kind in state history, a University of Minnesota Law School professor has won nearly $1.2 million in his defamation case against a woman whose false rape allegation had him locked up in jail for three weeks and charged with a felony.

Francesco Parisi prevailed Monday in Hennepin County District Court after a bench trial in September. Judge Daniel Moreno ruled that more than $800,000 of the award will go to Parisi for economic losses, along with $325,000 to cover emotional, punitive and reputational damages.

The County Attorney’s Office dropped the charges against Parisi in March 2017 after saying there was no evidence to support the allegations that he raped the woman in 2015. ...

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

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Dean Amar: Why It Is Unconstitutional For State Bars, When Doling Out Bar-Exam Seats, To Favor In-State Law Schools

Following up on my previous post, New York's Discrimination Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools Is Unconstitutional — 'Whether It’s Toilet Paper Or Bar Exam Seats, Hoarding Is Wrong':

Vikram Amar (Dean, Illinois), Why It is Unconstitutional for State Bars, When Doling out Bar-Exam Seats, to Favor In-State Law Schools:

Amar 3As bar examiners around the country grapple with administering bar exams this summer (either in July, as originally scheduled, or a month or two later) in the kind of socially distanced format the COVID-19 pandemic seems likely to require, a troubling pattern is emerging. Starting with New York (three weeks ago), a number of states—anticipating that there will be more demand for exam seats than can be accommodated—have announced policies that give formal priority for exam registration to people who graduated from in-state law schools, and that discriminate openly against out-of-state schools and the graduates therefrom. Massachusetts and Tennessee (like New York) recently made clear they will give formal preference to, and only to, graduates of all in-state law schools. So too with Maine and North Dakota (the only law school in each state being that of the public flagship university). And Connecticut and Missouri will give preference to graduates of in-state law schools along with some graduates of out-of-state (but often nearby) schools.

This trend is disturbing, because of the message it sends (about selfishness in times of crisis) and also, even more importantly, because the actions of most of these state bars (Connecticut and Missouri may be more complicated) are unconstitutional.

To be sure, administering a professional licensure exam in these times is challenging. And many states—especially those states that give the so-called Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), a test whose score can be used to seek admission in over 30 states in the nation—are probably correct in expecting that more people will seek to take the test in their states than can, given social distancing, be accommodated. (I am fully supportive of efforts of my law dean colleagues around the country to brainstorm about ways to expand the number of exam seats, but the reality is that demand for exam spaces could easily exceed supply in many states this summer). Scarcity is unfortunate. But as public agencies (generally overseen by state high courts), bar examiner bodies must manage that scarcity in ways that are consistent with the United States Constitution. And treating all in-state law schools more favorably than all out-of-state schools simply won’t fly, constitutionally speaking. (Although many constitutional challenges might be made, in this essay I limit myself to Commerce Clause concerns.) ...

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

Harvard Makes Online Zero-L Course Free For All U.S. Law Schools Due To Coronavirus


Harvard Crimson, Harvard Law School Makes Online Zero-L Course Free for All U.S. Law Schools Due to Coronavirus:

Harvard Law School announced Wednesday it will offer its online, pre-term “Zero-L” course for free for all United States law schools this summer in an effort to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the success of incoming law students.

The Law School and the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning created the Zero-L program in 2018 to ensure students from all backgrounds could enter the school with foundational knowledge about the legal field. The name Zero-L refers to the names of 1L, 2L, and 3L for first, second, and third-year law students.

The program is taught by Law School professors and features self-paced modules that students can refer back to throughout their entire first year. It covers topics such as how to read a case and the stages of civil litigation. ...

In 2019, four other law schools — Seton Hall University, Northeastern University, Boston College, and the University of Baltimore — adopted the program.

The Law School had planned to make the Zero-L program available to other schools for a fee, but decided to waive that fee in light of the pandemic. All law schools in the United States who wish to participate can offer the course to their incoming students starting July 1. ... [T]he Law School has not eliminated the possibility of reinstating the fee in future years.

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May 21, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

More On ABA's Decision To Approve Power To Permit Online Legal Ed During Pandemics, New Distance Ed Rules; Reject Call To Suspend 75% Bar Passage Requirement

Following up on my previous post:  ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Summary of Actions of the Section’s Council at its Public Meeting (May 15, 2020):

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar met virtually on May 15 to consider recommendations, reports and other issues on its agenda. The Council took these key actions:

• Adopted the first formal steps, including a revision to Rule 2 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedures for the Approval of Law Schools, to permit the Council to take action to provide law schools appropriate and necessary relief from the requirements of the Standards in the event of disasters or emergencies. The Council’s Standards Review Subcommittee recommended the proposed change because of uncertainty surrounding the next academic year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the absence of such authority in the current rules.

Currently, Standard 107(a)(1) provides for a variance to a particular school for emergencies and disasters. That authority will continue, but the proposed change would permit the Council to provide temporary relief from a rule or the requirements of a standard to allow law schools to respond to a regional or national emergency, such as weather disasters and pandemics. The relief granted would be effective only for the duration of the extraordinary circumstance and only to the extent specifically provided. The proposed change will go out for Notice and Comment with the intent to submit it to the House of Delegates for its August 2020 meeting so that the Council will be in a position to address potential issues for the 2020- 2021 academic year.

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

Valparaiso Graduates Its Last Law School Class Of 14 Students

Following up on my previous post, Valparaiso Law School To Close In May 2020:  The Times, Valparaiso University Graduates Last Class of Law Students in Midst of Coranvirus Pandemic:

Valpo (2019)In the last three years, Valparaiso University’s final class of law school graduates have studied under extraordinary circumstances — first learning their school, a 141-year-old institution, would be closing upon their graduation, then completing their legal education in the midst of a sweeping global pandemic. ...

On Friday, VU Law students participated in a modified celebration — including the awarding of Latin honors, distribution of regalia and participating in an end-of-year VU tradition, the "Cane Walk." Fourteen law school students make up this spring's Class of 2020. ...

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

U.S. Department Of Education Extends Online Education Flexibility Through Fall 2020 Semester

UPDATED Guidance for interruptions of study related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (May 15, 2020):

Department of Education LogoThe Department appreciates that postsecondary institutions and their students face continued challenges resulting from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This guidance provides updated information that expands upon the Department’s March 5, 2020 and April 3, 2020 guidance. Here, we provide additional regulatory flexibilities due to the President’s declaration of a national emergency due to COVID-19 and provide information about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Pub. L. No. 116-136, signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020. We will provide additional guidance on our COVID-19 webpage as needed.

Department Guidance

Distance Education
We are aware of the need for institutions to plan how they will offer instruction for upcoming periods of enrollment. Many institutions have informed us of their intent to offer both the summer and fall terms using distance education. To provide the necessary flexibility for institutions to make timely decisions, we are expanding the broad approval for the use of distance education as provided in the April 3, 2020, EA to include payment periods that overlap March 5, 2020, or that begin on or between March 5, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

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

COVID-19 May Cause Higher Ed To Finally Confront Runaway Academic Spending, Including 67% Of Tenured Faculty Who Are Underproductive

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  How to Address the Elephant in the Room: Academic Costs, by Paul N. Friga (University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School): 

American higher education is widely regarded as the best in the world. At the same time, critics have suggested that it is slow to change, unresponsive to student demands, bloated, and expensive. With Covid-19, higher education is now facing its most significant challenge. We have an opportunity to do everything we can to make strategic shifts not only to survive but also to thrive through this crisis. It won’t be easy. ...

In early March, I predicted scenarios with damage up to 50 percent to universities’ operating expenses. Other surveys, including one just completed in late April of chief financial officers, suggest potential negative impacts closer to 10 to 15 percent of revenues, as shown below.


I believe that the time has come to discuss the elephant in the room. No doubt this will be a delicate subject on many campuses. Even with the recognition that we are facing dire financial situations, the initial reaction often is that academic spending is “core to our mission and must be maintained.” My recommendation is to approach this conversation carefully, strategically, and inclusively, with three key steps — organize, analyze, and prioritize. ...

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May 20, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Why Bill Cartwright, Not Michael Jordan, Was The Chicago Bulls' Most Valuable Leader

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Michael Jordan Didn’t Manage People, He Lit Them on Fire, by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Captain ClassEight episodes into The Last Dance, ESPN’s 10-part docuseries about the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s, the same old question continues to bedevil us.

Was Michael Jordan a brilliant leader, or a merciless tyrant?

In the time I’ve spent studying leaders, I have never succeeded at stuffing Michael Jeffrey Jordan into any categorical box. We’ve all worked with talented, demanding people. But very few of them were hypermagnetic global icons. The only other name that comes to mind is Steve Jobs.

It’s indisputable that both men possessed thermonuclear competitive drive and pushed their organizations to unprecedented success. And yet, was that because of or despite the fact that they scared the hell out of people?

“The Last Dance” is a Jordan-sanctioned production that occasionally sands down its protagonist’s rough edges. But it does a surprisingly thorough job of showing how punishingly high Jordan’s standards were and how he ridiculed anyone who failed to meet them. “He was a jerk,” former teammate Will Perdue said in the film. “He crossed the line numerous times.”

Both Jordan, and Steve Jobs, were staunchly unapologetic about this. “My job is not to be easy on people,” Apple’s co-founder once said. “My job is to make them better.” Or as Jordan put it: “Winning has a price. And leadership has a price. So, I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled.” ...

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

Horwitz: A Skeptical Comment On The Wisconsin Diploma Privilege

Following up on last week's post, Using The Diploma Privilege To Reflect On What We Do And What We Ought To Do:  Paul Horwitz (Alabama), A Skeptical Comment on the Wisconsin Diploma Privilege:

Wisconsin BarAnent my previous post on using the Wisconsin diploma privilege to "reflect on what we do and what we ought to do" in legal education, I heard from Jason Yackee, who teaches at the University of Wisconsin's law school. My post featured a piece quoting Wisconsin lawyers and regulators discussing the privilege--a useful source of information to those of us who have discussed or invoked the privilege without first-hand experience. More information is better, and Prof. Yackee offers his own experience-based judgment, which is more skeptical than that of the people I quoted earlier. With his permission and my thanks, I offer his response below, with some comments following.

The Covid-19 pandemic has called into question the ability of states to safely administer in-person examinations for admittance to the bar. One potential solution, perhaps only temporary in nature, is to substitute some version of a “diploma privilege”, through which students who have graduated from certain law schools are granted permission to practice without taking a traditional bar exam. Recent posts on Prawfsblawg and on Paul Caron’s Taxprof Blog have suggested that Wisconsin’s long-standing diploma privilege regime might serve as a model. Wisconsin is, famously, the only state to allow graduates from in-state law schools (of which there are only two, at UW-Madison and Marquette University) to bypass the Wisconsin bar exam. That exam consists of the Multistate Bar Exam, which is developed by an organization based—note the irony—in Madison, Wisconsin. Graduates of all other law schools in the union, from Yale on down to Thomas Jefferson, must take and pass the test. This system has very occasionally and never successfully been challenged in federal court as impermissibly discriminatory (under dormant commerce clause or equal-protection logics) against students who have graduated from out-of-state law schools.

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

Remembering Jim McGoldrick

McGoldickPepperdine University Mourns the Passing of Professor James M. McGoldrick:

Pepperdine University is saddened to announce the passing of Jim McGoldrick (’66), professor of law at the Caruso School of Law, who died today, May 16, 2020, following complications related to COVID-19. He was 76.

“The passing of Professor Jim McGoldrick is a profound loss to our community,” says President Jim Gash, long-time associate and former student of McGoldrick. “Jim was one of my favorite professors when I was a law student at Pepperdine and was a beloved colleague during my 20 years of teaching alongside him. His dry wit and easy laugh will be greatly missed.” 

Prior to his nearly 50-year career at Pepperdine, McGoldrick spent his first few years as an attorney working for the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice and as a trial lawyer with California’s Tulare County Legal Services. Ron Phillips, the senior vice chancellor and Caruso School of Law Dean Emeritus, reflects, “Jim McGoldrick was the third full-time professor ever hired by Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, and the longest serving by a wide margin, beginning in 1971. He likely taught more of our students than anyone else. Jim entertained his students as he taught them. He made friends easily, including me. Jim was one of a kind, and will be sorely missed—and fondly remembered.” ...

McGoldrick 1976“Professor McGoldrick was a larger than life figure in his 50 years on the Pepperdine Caruso Law faculty, beloved by generations of students, staff, and faculty,” says Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean Paul Caron. “He leaves a lasting legacy at the law school and in the lives of all who passed through here.”  ...

McGoldrick is survived by his wife, Jan; his daughter, Julie M. McGoldrick (’92, JD ’04); his son, John T. McGoldrick (JD ’00); and his granddaughter, Sadie B. White.

In Memory of Jim McGoldrick:

Pepperdine mourns the loss of Professor Jim McGoldrick who was beloved by generations of students in his 50 years on the Caruso School of Law faculty. He will be deeply missed. For those who wish to leave a lasting tribute, please share your memories of Jim by clicking on the Comments tab. You may also make a gift to the Jim McGoldrick Memorial Law Scholarship in his memory by clicking the Make My Gift tab.

I shared this memory of Jim on the tribute page:

I first met Jim when he walked into my office as a brand new visiting professor to invite my wife and me to dinner with some other Pepperdine professors at one of his favorite Malibu restaurants. Courtney and I were especially touched as this was our first social occasion as members of the Pepperdine community. Other dinners followed through the years, and we will always remember Jim's kindness and wit. As a faculty member and then Dean, I witnessed first hand Jim's incredible talent and dedication as a teacher. Courtney and I have hosted hundreds of students in our home for dinners in my three years as dean, and we always go around the table asking students which professor has had the biggest impact on them. Jim's name is mentioned time after time after time -- the students simply loved him. And Jim loved his students. I will never forget discussing with Jim how we could minimize the impact of his COVID-19 illness on his students moments before he was to be put on a ventilator. I am in awe that, in that scary moment, Jim's main concern was his students. Pepperdine Caruso Law School will not be the same without Jim physical presence. But we will strive in our own ways to put our students first in everything we do, as Jim did for 50 years.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Flaws Of Implicit Bias — And the Need For Empirical Research In Legal Scholarship And In Legal Education

Adam Lamparello (Former Associate Dean of Experiential Learning, Indiana Tech), The Flaws of Implicit Bias — And the Need for Empirical Research in Legal Scholarship and in Legal Education:

Nowhere is the necessity of using empirical research methods and statistics in formulating legal arguments more obvious than in recent legal scholarship concerning implicit bias.

By way of background, the concept of implicit, or unconscious, bias has recently enjoyed its ‘fifteen minutes of fame,’ garnering substantial support from many scholars, including some law professors, who contend that implicit biases cause discriminatory behavior, including behaviors that disparately impact traditionally marginalized groups. Indeed, scholars have advocated for programs and policies that instruct incoming law students and faculty regarding the existence of its implicit bias and its alleged role in perpetuating overt and subtle racism.

But there is a problem — a very big problem — that plagues legal scholarship in this area and that casts doubt on these policies.

Specifically, recent empirical studies by social psychologists strongly suggest that implicit bias is not predictive of biased behavior. In fact, the science regarding implicit bias’s connection to biased behavior is so flawed that social psychologists doubt its validity and question the utility of policies that attempt to link implicit bias to biased behavior.

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May 19, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Citing Covid-19, Minnesota Law Graduates Seek To Bypass Bar Exam To Practice In Wisconsin

Newsweek, Citing Covid-19, Minnesota Law Graduates Seek to Bypass Bar Exam to Practice in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin BarAs jurisdictions across the country continue to evaluate whether it will be possible to administer state bar examinations as scheduled this July during the coronavirus outbreak, recent law school graduates have requested a temporary suspension of requirements that currently prevent them from practicing without taking the test.

In a Saturday report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, three graduates from University of Minnesota's law program filed a petition with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April with that objective in mind. Each student has already secured fall employment at firms based in Wisconsin, according to the outlet, pending results of their respective examinations.

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

Clinical Law Faculty And Their Courses, 2019-20

Tax Prof Blog op-ed:  A Sneaky Peek at CSALE 2019-20: Clinical Law Faculty and Their Courses, by Robert Kuehn (Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Washington University):

Kuehn (2019)The Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE) is in the final weeks of collecting data for its 2019-20 tri-annual survey of clinical legal education.

The CSALE Master Survey was completed in the fall by over 94% of law schools; the follow up CSALE Sub-Survey was sent earlier this year to almost 2,000 law clinic and externship instructors. The ongoing Sub-Survey collects information on each instructor’s position and courses and will remain open for additional respondents until the end of May. CSALE will publish a detailed report on the 2019-20 survey, its fifth, in late summer, available with prior reports on its website.

But there’s no need to wait. Some of the data in the CSALE Master Survey is available now, and it shows both stability and change in clinical legal education. Relatively unchanged was the number of law clinics, with schools reporting 1,521 clinics, a median of 7 per school, unchanged over the last three surveys. Six schools offer no law clinics and three offer just one, while seven schools reported more than 20. There are some significant changes in the substantive focus of clinics. The most common now is Immigration (displacing Criminal Defense), offered at 63% of schools, a 34% increase in just three years. Intellectual Property clinics also greatly increased in number (at 35% of schools, up 50% from the last survey), as did Entrepreneur/Small Business (now at 36% of schools).

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

Michigan To Give Online One-Day Essay-Format Bar Exam In July

Bloomberg Law, More States Move Upcoming Bar Exams Online in Response to Virus:

Michigan BarMichigan is the latest in a growing number of states that have decided to hold their upcoming bar exams online, as others weigh safety concerns and logistical issues related to administering tests during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Michigan Supreme Court announced Monday that the Board of Law Examiners will administer a one-day bar exam on July 28, in the form of an online, essay-format exam. That’s a departure from the traditional two-day in-person exam that most states have decided to delay, ditch, or both, because of the public health concerns associated with the coronavirus.

Michigan is following Indiana, where Hoosier state officials said earlier this month they’ll be holding their exam remotely on the same day. That state’s one-day exam will include the Indiana Essay Examination and short-answer questions on topics tested on the Multistate Bar Examination. At the same time, several other jurisdictions also are weighing if, and possibly how, to administer their tests online, including California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

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

Monday, May 18, 2020

A Firm-By-Firm Guide To BigLaw Summer Associate Programs During COVID-19

Karen Sloan (, Summer Associate Programs and COVID-19: How Law Firms Are Responding:

CoronavirusA firm-by-firm guide to how Big Law is shifting its summer plans in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Big firms have been forced to shorten, cancel or otherwise shift their summer associate programs in light of closed offices across the country, remote working arrangements and the economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic. We will continue to update the list below as changes continue to roll in.

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

Simkovic: Legal Occupations Prove Resilient During COVID Shutdowns

Michael Simkovic (USC), Legal Occupations Prove Resilient During COVID Shutdowns:

CoronavirusInternational efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus have come at heavy economic cost.  According to figures recently released by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. national unemployment rates have spiked from less than 5 percent to more than 14 percent as of April 2020, reaching the highest level since the Great Depression. ...

Legal occupations have proved remarkably resilient and currently have the lowest unemployment rate of any category tracked by the BLS.  Unemployment for legal occupations reached only 3.7 percent in April of 2020.  Unemployment rates for lawyers are likely even lower because legal occupations include lawyers as well as occupations that typically have significantly higher unemployment rates than lawyers, such as paralegals and other legal support workers.  In the first quarter of 2020, these non-lawyer legal occupations had unemployment rates around 2.3 to 2.5 percent, compared to 1.1. percent for lawyers.

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May 18, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Pepperdine's Restoration Plan For Fall 2020

Pepperdine Campus Helicopter (040219) (Brighter)

A Message from President Gash: Pepperdine Restoration Plan:

We are living in extraordinary times. The novelty of the challenges we are facing in every sector of society and in every nation on earth are unrivaled in our lifetime. Those of us in the education sector find ourselves at the intersection of many of the biggest challenges—health and safety, economics, family stability, and employment—just to name a few. At Pepperdine, we also see an opportunity to shine our light in the midst of this storm. As C.S. Lewis astutely observed, Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” I couldn’t agree more.

As more fully discussed below, we are proceeding with plans to resume in-person instruction this fall on our Malibu campus, our campuses throughout Southern California, and our international campuses around the world. ...

The Pepperdine Restoration Plan
I shared last week that the University is developing a comprehensive COVID-19 strategic preparedness plan, which we are formally calling the Pepperdine Restoration Plan. This plan is based upon the facts as we know them today and will evolve with changing public health orders and guidance that will be in place in August at the start of the fall semester. The plan is built on the following assumptions:

Classes in Person this Fall
One of the distinctive contributions that Pepperdine offers to higher education and to its students is small classes and direct access to nationally recognized faculty scholars and teachers of authentic faith. There is something very special and exceptional about the learning environment on our campuses. It is, therefore, our current plan to restore in-person classes to our campuses beginning no later than the start of the fall term in August.

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

A Free Virtual Summer Class On 'Seinfeld And The Law'

Karen Sloan (, It's Real and It's Spectacular: A Free Summer Class on 'Seinfeld' and the Law:

Seinfeld 3The Newman U.S.P.S. Professor of Law. The Jacopo “J.” Peterman Chair in Jurisprudence and Fashion Design. The Jackie Chiles Chair in Constitutional Criminal Procedure.

If the names of those endowed professorships don’t make you chuckle, you’re probably not a “Seinfeld” obsessive like University of Iowa law professor Gregory Shill—the mastermind behind the Yada Yada Law School (and the Art Vandelay Dean & Kenny Rogers Roasters Foundation Chair in Business Law.)

For the uninitiated, each of those (made-up) names reference characters and plot lines from the much-beloved ‘90s sitcom “Seinfeld,” which is the focal point of a free, online summer lecture series that explores the law through the lens of the show. The Yada Yada Law School will run for 10 weeks over the summer, with faculty from across the country offering up their expertise each Wednesday over Zoom.

Shill had been batting around the idea of teaching a “Seinfeld”-centered reading group for years, but other commitments always got in the way. The COVID-19 quarantine, however, means that he and many other professors have more time on their hands than usual. Not to mention a desire to have a little fun in challenging times. ...

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 17, 2020

University President Explains Why Faculty/Staff Pay Freezes And Layoffs Are Preferable To Dipping Into Endowment During COVID-19

Stephen Wood, A University President Responds to Those Who Have Suggested The School Should Dip Into the Endowment:

CoronavirusTo the esteemed members of our faculty and staff,

First of all, let me say that I sincerely hope you are all safe and healthy during this trying time. As president of this University, there is nothing more important to me than the health and safety of our community. Though I’m currently away from campus, summering on my private island off of Maine, my thoughts are almost always with you, and my secretary is literally always available to field your questions and hear your concerns.

What’s not here for you, however, is the University’s endowment.

I bring this up because a number of you have reached out to provide us with valuable feedback regarding our recently announced budget adjustments. Specifically, many of you have asked why an institution with a $46 billion endowment is freezing salaries, rescinding job offers, refusing to adjust tenure tracks, and laying off staff instead of using an endowment the size of Iceland’s GDP to keep our community afloat.

Let me say this: We hear you. You are valid. You. Matter. Secondly, and no less importantly, let me make something clear: The. Endowment. Is. Not. For. You.

I know what you’re thinking: “Sir, we dip into 5 percent of the endowment per year to cover operating costs, so why don’t we just go up to, like, 7 or 8 percent instead of leaving our employees to twist in the wind?” Let me personally assure you that I hear what you’re saying, and it’s horseshit. Under no circumstances may we touch the endowment. We would sooner take Henry Kissinger’s name off our Center for the Study of Human Rights than take another penny out of the endowment.

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May 17, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

If Liquor Stores Are Essential, Why Isn’t Church?

New York Times op-ed:  If Liquor Stores Are Essential, Why Isn’t Church?, by Michael McConnell (Stanford) & Max Raskin (NYU):

CoronavirusChurches and synagogues were tragically empty [last month], among the holiest days of the year for America’s Christians and Jews. With few exceptions, the nation’s faithful found solace via computer screens and in solitary prayer, acquiescing to restrictions on their constitutional liberty that would have seemed unthinkable a few months ago.

But many are asking: How long must this go on? America was founded in no small part so that people of every creed and conviction could worship without hindrance, in accordance with conscience and tradition. ...

[I]n the days ahead, religious leaders and public health officials will need to find new ways to deal with the novel conundrums forced on us by this novel coronavirus. Fortunately, these new arrangements can be fashioned with some very old materials: the centuries-old principles of the First Amendment.

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

Saturday, May 16, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

ABA Council Approves Power To Permit Online Legal Ed During Pandemics, New Distance Ed Rules; Rejects Call To Suspend 75% Bar Passage Requirement

Following up on my previous posts (here and here):  ABA Journal, Expanded Online Law School Classes Could Continue Under Plan Endorsed by ABA Legal Ed Council:

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)The council of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar would have more authority to enact short-term, emergency policies and procedures for schools under a proposed law school accreditation rule change endorsed Friday by the council. ...

A May 8 standards review subcommittee memo detailed the proposal, which suggests adding new language to Rule 2, authorizing the council to adopt emergency policies and procedures in response to “extraordinary circumstances” under which meeting the standards would constitute an extreme hardship for law schools. The proposal would apply to law schools regionally or nationally, not individually. ...

Separate from the rule proposal, the council Friday also voted in favor of a plan to delete Standard 306 and fold it into Standard 105, which deals with substantive changes in programs, Bill Adams, managing director of ABA accreditation and legal education, told the ABA Journal.

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

MBA Programs Brace For Enrollment Declines, Deferrals Due To COVID-19

Following up on my previous posts:

Wall Street Journal, M.B.A. Programs Across the Globe Anticipate Drop in Fall Enrollment:

Business schools in the U.S. and abroad are bracing for a decline in enrollment for the rest of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic upends higher education and threatens already-fragile graduate programs.

In past years, an economic downturn typically results in an uptick in prospective students going to business school because they are eager to get a leg up in a tough job market. But the current threat of Covid-19, which has cleared out college campuses and forced many schools to complete spring semesters online, coupled with a recession is shaping up to be different.

Nearly half of business schools now say they expect enrollment to slide for academic terms that start within the next six months, according to a survey released Thursday by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the business-school accrediting firm.

Wall Street Journal, Top MBA Programs Ponder Deferrals:

Business schools are weighing whether to allow admitted students to postpone enrollment by a year or two as colleges and universities across the U.S. grapple with whether and how to reopen campuses this fall.

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

Friday, May 15, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Law Schools Need Improvement Science, Now More Than Ever

Chance Meyer (Nova), Law Schools Need Improvement Science, Now More Than Ever:

CoronavirusTimes of crisis force important decisions under circumstances that make good decisions unlikely. The COVID-19 pandemic has required law schools to make major changes in a rush, in distress, and in the dark as to what the future holds. The downstream consequences, for students and educators, will be significant. For years to come, law schools will need to continuously reassess and redesign programs and operations in the unstable conditions of the pandemic’s aftermath.

The customary approach law schools take when deciding what organizational changes to make and how to see those changes through will not lead reliably to success. To thrive in the challenging times ahead, law schools need a disciplined methodology for developing and implementing changes designed to have the most beneficial—or least harmful—impact on outcomes, based on the unique characteristics of individual law schools.

When a law school faces a new challenge, the customary approach is to form a committee or task force to gather information and brainstorm ideas. Ideas generally involve adopting the latest, most touted teaching methods, products, or resources. The favorite ideas of the people with the greatest influence win the day. Those ideas are implemented to find out whether and how they work for the law school.

This approach is common and long-standing. It is also deeply flawed, biased, and—from an improvement standpoint—backwards. ...

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May 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

July Bar Exam Update: Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington

CoronavirusSupreme Court of Colorado, Colorado Supreme Court Announcement Regarding July 2020 Bar Examination (May 14, 2020):

The Court presently intends to hold the Colorado bar examination, which is a Uniform Bar Examination, as scheduled on July 28 and 29, 2020. Applicants should prepare to strictly comply with all applicable public health recommendations and exam protocols, which may include wearing masks, keeping six-foot distances, and cooperating with temperature checks. Proctors and exam administrators likewise will be abiding by such recommendations and protocols. The OAA is working with public health officials to develop detailed protocols, and will announce those details as they become available [here]. Because of the evolving nature of the current pandemic, those details are subject to change.

Should the public health environment require that the next bar examination not occur on July 28 and 29, it will be rescheduled for September 30 and October 1, 2020. If that occurs, all applicants who submitted a timely July examination application under C.R.C.P. 203.4 will be automatically registered for the September 30-October 1 bar examination, with the application fee transferred to that exam. If the September 30-October 1 bar examination cannot be held, the application fees for that examination will be automatically transferred to the February 2021 bar examination. Applicants not wishing to take the next scheduled bar examination may request a refund of the application fee and a withdrawal of the application. All requests for refunds must be made by a date to be announced by the OAA. If it should become necessary to postpone the February 2021 bar examination, the Court will address related contingencies in a later announcement.

The Court understands that the COVID-19 pandemic currently presents a number of frustrating uncertainties in the timing for licensure. As such, the Court has issued an Emergency Rule Concerning Certification for Limited Practice as a Graduate Before Admission By Examination. The rule, C.R.C.P. 205.8, is triggered if the July 2020 bar examination is postponed, and allows recent graduates to engage in supervised practice pursuant to the conditions outlined in the rule. It can be found [here].

Supreme Court of Delaware, Supreme Court of Delaware Postpones July Bar Exam (May 11, 2020):

The Supreme Court of Delaware announced today that, due to the ongoing public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Delaware bar examination will not be administered on July 27 – 29, 2020 as previously scheduled. The examination is rescheduled to September 9-11, 2020. Further details will be posted and communicated to the 2020 applicants as they become available. 

Kansas Supreme Court, Kansas Will Offer Uniform Bar Exam July 28-29 (May 14, 2020):

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May 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Modeling The Spread Of COVID-19 At UCLA

Daily Bruin, Modeling the Spread of COVID-19 in UCLA Classrooms:

Key takeaways

  • According to our model of the undergraduate student network, each UCLA student shares a class with 228 other students on average.
  • Our simulation shows that with an R0 value of 5.7, 94% of UCLA undergraduates could be infected by the end of fall quarter, and with an R0 value of 2.0, 8% of UCLA undergraduates could be infected.

In the middle of a global pandemic, uncertainty has become the new normal. Many states across the country are now beginning to lift restrictions, but colleges must weigh the difficult decision of how to keep students and staff safe while still providing a quality education. While UCLA has already decided to move summer sessions A and C online, the fate of fall quarter is still up in the air. Crowded lecture halls and dorm rooms make it nearly impossible for students to practice social distancing without a disruption to normal college life. As UCLA grapples with whether to welcome students back to campus in the fall, The Stack examines how quickly COVID-19 could spread through the undergraduate student body. Inspired by professor Kim Weeden’s model of course enrollment networks at Cornell University, we created our own model of how connected UCLA students are based on the classes they enroll in. We also thank Professor Mason Porter and Professor Stephanie Wang from the UCLA Math department for providing guidance on modeling the student networks and for their constructive comments in the development of this piece. ...

In our model network, students had an average of 228 connections. We ran the simulation 100 times from week 0 to finals week with an R0 value of 5.7, and found that on average, 94% of students were infected by the end of fall quarter. The peak of new cases occurred at week 6 with over 11,000 new cases. With a smaller R0 of 2.0, we found that 8% of students were infected by the end of fall quarter. We also calculated the average number of infections over 100 runs for several different values of R0. The following chart shows the number of people infected on average through the 11 weeks, for varying values of R0:


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May 15, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)