Paul L. Caron

Monday, November 11, 2019

Sisk: Citations — 'A Valid, If Imperfect, Proxy For Faculty Scholarly Impact On A National Scale

Gregory C. Sisk (St. Thomas-Minnesota), Measuring Law Faculty Scholarly Impact by Citations: Reliable and Valid for Collective Faculty Ranking, 60 Jurimetrics J. ___ (2019) (reviewing Paul J. Heald (Illinois) & Ted M. Sichelman (San Diego), Ranking the Academic Impact of 100 American Law Schools, 60 Jurimetrics J. ___ (2019)):

No single metric of faculty scholarly activity can fully capture every individual contribution. For that reason, evaluating a single professor’s scholarly work requires a nuanced, multifaceted, and individually focused assessment. However, for a contemporary sketch of the collective scholarly impact of a law school faculty, citation measurements in the legal literature are both reliable and valid.

The new Heald-Sichelman study of citations in the HeinOnline database confirms the reliability of the multiyear results of the Leiter-Sisk Scholarly Impact Ranking based on the Westlaw journals database. Despite using a different law journal database, counting citations differently, including pre-tenure faculty, and even adding download statistics into the mix, the Heald-Sichelman ranking correlates powerfully at 0.88 with the most recent Leiter-Sisk ranking. An objective citation measurement is time-sensitive and corresponds to informed awareness of law school faculty developments around the country. A citation-based ranking thus is a valid, if imperfect, proxy for faculty scholarly impact on a national scale.

With appropriate qualifications and necessary adjustments, a citation-based ranking should be considered in any evaluation of the overall quality of a law school faculty. For the U.S. News ranking of American law schools, an up-to-date, citation-based ranking would have considerable merit as an objective forward-directed control to the subjective past-looking academic reputation survey. ...

In an ideal world of infinitely elastic resources, the eternity of time, and omniscient observers, every individual law professor and every law school’s faculty would be fully known, sensitively understood, and thoroughly evaluated based on complete, detailed, and nuanced information. A dean or faculty committee conducting an annual evaluation of an individual faculty member may conduct a more focused individualized assessment. Similarly, a candidate for a faculty position at a particular law school may have the opportunity for a more targeted exploration of the scholarly culture and activity and arrive at a more specified assessment of that school’s progress as a scholarly community.

When comparing large numbers of law faculties across the country, however, a generalized assessment approach has considerable merit and the imperfections of a robust proxy for scholarly accomplishment will wash out at the macro level. That is no reason to be insensitive to flaws in a particular method or to resist adjustments that improve the accuracy and meaning of the results, even if at the margins. And honesty demands acknowledging the limitations of any single approach, allowing the reader to avoid ascribing perfect confidence.

With those qualifications in mind, a citation-based measurement of law faculty scholarly impact has proven to be a reliable method and should be recognized as a valid if imperfect proxy for faculty scholarly achievement. Citation ranking has established itself as a worthwhile factor in comparative assessment of law faculty scholarly impact.

November 11, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Heald & Sichelman: The Top 100 Law School Faculties In Citations (Hein) And Impact (SSRN Downloads)

Paul J. Heald (Illinois) & Ted M. Sichelman (San Diego), Ranking the Academic Impact of 100 American Law Schools, 60 Jurimetrics J. ___ (2019):

U.S. News & World Report and rankings-minded scholars have constructed several measures of faculty impact at U.S. law schools, but each has been limited in a variety of ways. For instance, the U.S. News “peer assessment” rankings rely on the qualitative opinions of a small group of professors and administrators and largely mirror the overall rankings (correlations of 0.96 in 2016). While the scholarly rankings improve upon U.S. News by using the quantitative measure of citation counts, they have relied on the Westlaw database, which has notable limitations. Additionally, these rankings have failed to capture the component of scholarly impact on the broader legal community. We overcome these limitations by offering citation-based rankings using the more comprehensive Hein database and impact rankings based on Social Science Research Network (SSRN) download counts, as well as a combination of the two metrics.

Notably, we find a high correlation with the previous scholarly rankings (about 0.88), but a significantly lower correlation with the U.S. News peer assessment rankings (about 0.63). Specifically, we find that many law schools in dense urban areas with large numbers of other law schools that are highly ranked in the U.S. News survey are underrated in the U.S. News peer assessment rankings relative to our faculty impact metrics. Given the relatively low correlation between our rankings and the U.S. News peer assessment rankings—and the fact the U.S. News peer assessment rankings largely track its overall rankings—we strongly support U.S. News’s plans to rank schools on the basis of citation counts and recommend that U.S. News adopt a quantitative-based metric as a faculty reputation component of its overall rankings. ...

Here, pursuant to our suggested weighting discussed earlier, we combine the SSRN and Hein scores equally. Because SSRN download counts are substantially higher than Hein citation counts, we determine the number of standard deviations (z-score) from each school’s score from the mean for that metric, then average the SSRN and Hein z-scores together for a final score.

Table 3. Ranking by SSRN Download and Hein Citation Metrics

Combined Ranking


Total SSRN Score

Hein Total Score

SSRN Z-score






































































































G. Mason










































St. Thomas


































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November 11, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Ambassador Scott Brown Named New England Law School Dean, Replacing Nation's Longest Serving (And Perhaps Highest Paid) Dean

Boston Globe, After New Zealand, Here’s What Scott Brown (Yes, That One) Is Doing Next:

Brown 2Scott Brown, the Wrentham selectman turned state representative turned state senator turned US senator turned US ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, will have a new title at the end of next year: law school dean.

Brown and New England Law Boston announced Friday that Brown will become president and dean of the law school in December 2020 after completing his time as ambassador.

“It’s an exciting opportunity, something new and interesting,” he said in a telephone interview from New Zealand, where he’s been the top American diplomat since 2017. “I was a law student. I was a solo practitioner. I’ve been in JAG (judge advocate general). I’ve written laws as state rep, state senator, US senator.”

Brown, 60, said he is looking forward to working collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students. He said he is also excited for the public-facing part of the job, from fund-raising to boosting the profile of the downtown Boston school in the region and beyond.

Brown replaces John O'Brien, who is America's longest serving dean (32.5 years when Brown takes over in December 2020). O'Brien's $867,000 salary drew scrutiny from The Boston Globe in 2013 amidst soaring tuition and declining job prospects for New England Law Boston graduates. The Globe reported at the time that O'Brien's salary was higher than other law school deans. According to the most recent information available (2017), O'Brien's compensation is $800,000. reports that the average law school dean salary is $291,952 and a typical range of $254,086 - $341,151. 

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November 10, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo: Being A Christian Leader

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Being a Christian Leader:

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good morning, everyone.  (Cheers.)  Good morning.  Good morning, thank you.  Thank you.  Good morning.  Good morning, everyone.  Thank you, Dr. Clinton, for that kind introduction.  It’s great to be with you and your wife, Julie.  It’s a real privilege to be with you, and it’s a heck of a deal to be out of Washington today.  (Laughter.)  I was going to give you some wisdom, said maybe you’ll hold your conference there next year, but I thought about it and that’d be a bad idea.  (Laughter.)  But Washington could use your spirit and your love.

And I want, too, to take just a moment to pass along – I spoke to the President yesterday, and I told him I was coming down here.  He reminded me that Tennessee won the country.  (Laughter.)  I told him I knew that.  But he said to send his regards and his love and his appreciation for what you do taking care of people all around the world.

I did want to talk to you about why I’m here.  I’m the Secretary of State.  I spend most of my time traveling around the world, but I wanted to come here because I have a profound appreciation for your mission.  And when I had a chance to talk to Tim about the opportunity to come speak with you, I was thrilled to get the chance.

Look, we share some things in common.  We talk to people through hard times.  We find ourselves in the middle of disputes and we seek to mediate them and try and identify their root causes.  We try to keep conflict minimized, at bay.  And when you think about those missions, the missions that you all have, it sounds a lot like the diplomacy that me at the State Department and my team engage in every day.

We’re both in very people-intensive lines of work, and we’re both appealing to the hearts and minds to change behaviors.  As believers, we draw on the wisdom of God to help us get it right, to be a force for good in the life of human beings.

Now, I know that even having just said that, I know some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work.  (Applause.)  But you should know, as much as I’d like to claim originality, it is not a new idea.  (Laughter.)  I love this quote from President Lincoln.  He said that he – he said, quote, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”  (Laughter.)

And so with that in mind, I want to use my time today to think about what it means to be a Christian leader, a Christian leader in three areas:

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November 10, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

NY Times: Should You Try Dopamine Fasting — The Latest Silicon Valley Fad — For A Better, Saner Life?

New York Times, How to Feel Nothing Now, in Order to Feel More Later: A Day of Dopamine Fasting in San Francisco:

Everything was going really well for the men of Tennessee Street. Women wanted to talk to them, investors wanted to invest, their new site got traffic, phones were buzzing, their Magic: The Gathering cards were appreciating. This all was exactly the problem.

They tried to tamp the pleasure. They would not eat for days (intermittent fasting). They would eschew screens (digital detox). It was not enough. Life was still so good and pleasurable.

And so they came to the root of it: dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in how we feel pleasure. The three of them — all in their mid-20s and founders of SleepWell, a sleep analysis start-up — needed to go on a dopamine fast.

“We’re addicted to dopamine,” said James Sinka, who of the three fellows is the most exuberant about their new practice. “And because we’re getting so much of it all the time, we end up just wanting more and more, so activities that used to be pleasurable now aren’t. Frequent stimulation of dopamine gets the brain’s baseline higher.”

There is a growing dopamine-avoidance community in town and the concept has quickly captivated the media.

Dr. Cameron Sepah is a start-up investor, professor at UCSF Medical School and dopamine faster. He uses the fasting as a technique in clinical practice with his clients, especially, he said, tech workers and venture capitalists. ...

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November 9, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Penn Receives $125 Million Naming Gift, Largest Gift Ever To A Law School, Penn Law, With Record-Breaking Donation, Gets New Name:

Penn Law (2020)The University of Pennsylvania Law School has received the single largest donation to a law campus on record and is changing its name in honor of the donor.

The school will now be called the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School after receiving $125 million from the W.P. Carey Foundation. That tops the $115 million gift James E. Rogers made to the University of Arizona’s law school in 1998 and the $100 million donation from the Pritzker family to Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 2015. ...

Naming rights have become an increasingly important avenue for fundraising in legal education. Last month, Pepperdine University’s law school was renamed the Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law after it received $50 million from its namesake, who is a Los Angeles-area real estate developer.

The $125 million gift will be spent on these six priorities:

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November 9, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Five Law Schools With Top Bar Pass Rates Share Their Secrets, How'd They Do It? Law Schools With Top Bar Pass Rates Share Their Secrets:

We’ve asked five law schools with the highest July pass rate in their respective jurisdictions to tell us about their secrets to bar exam success, and why their graduates tend to do so well on the licensing exam.

Most jurisdictions have released the results of the July 2019 bar exam, and the news is largely positive. Pass rates went up in most states, though closely watched California likely won’t release results for another week or so.

Here are the top performers in their states: Florida International University College of Law (overall pass rate of 96%); Baylor University School of Law (93% first-time pass rate); the University of Georgia School of Law (94% first-time pass rate); the University of Pennsylvania Law School (88% overall pass rate); and Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law (100% first-time pass rate.) ...

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November 8, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Remembers The Borderline Shooting And Woolsey Fire


One year ago our campus community was forever changed by the events of the Borderline Shooting and Woolsey Fire. In what felt like a mere instant, countless members of our precious Waves family suffered unspeakable loss as we had just begun to grieve a senseless shooting rampage, the loss of one of our students, and destruction from flames more powerful than our community had ever seen. But even amidst unthinkable tragedy, the generous hearts and united spirit of our Pepperdine family prevailed, and today, one year later, we continue to selflessly serve one another as we rebuild, renew, and hope forward—together. This week we remember those who were lost, and we carry in our hearts those whose lives were changed by these tragedies as they demonstrate each day not only their love for each other, but their unyielding strength to carry on.

Posted by Pepperdine University on Thursday, November 7, 2019

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

November 8, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

UNH Law Dean: School's Deficit Is Part Of Long-Term Strategy To Break Even In 2023-24

Following up on my previous post, UNH Law School Budget Deficit Exceeds 100% Of Revenues:  New Hampshire Public Radio, UNH Law Dean: School's Deficit Is Part Of Long-Term Strategy

UNH Logo (2019)Law schools across the country have struggled in the last decade with declining enrollment.

In that time, the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law has seen many changes. It’s no longer a private school and it’s seen growing deficits.

The school spent more than double its operating budget last fiscal year, but university officials say these losses are an investment in the law school’s long-term success and things are starting to look up.

NHPR’s Morning Edition Rick Ganley spoke with the dean of UNH Law, Megan Carpenter. ..

I understand you've got a long term strategy, of course, to increase enrollment. Numbers have gone up. But ideally, you should be breaking even at some point. I imagine that's the long term goal here. When does the school projected a financial return on all of this long term investment?

In higher education, we see an ebb and flow over time. Sometimes, you know, STEM is up and liberal arts is down. Sometimes liberal arts is up and STEM is down. That's why we really think of higher education in a holistic way. Higher education is not sort of designed to be a profit center. However, we project a breakeven point at 2023-2024. ...

What is your argument to an average resident in New Hampshire about why spending that much money to keep the law school afloat is worth it?

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November 7, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

WSJ: More Women Pursue MBAs As Elite Schools Step Up Recruiting

Wall Street Journal, More Women Pursue M.B.A. as Elite Schools Step Up Recruiting:

MBA 2As applications to American business schools decline, the percentage of women enrolled in full-time M.B.A. programs continues to rise, climbing this fall to an average of 39% at more than 50 of the top programs in the U.S., Canada and Europe, new data show.

Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School came closest to an even split between male and female students, with 49% women enrolled this fall, according to data collected by the Forté Foundation, a nonprofit focused on advancing women into leadership roles through access to business education. Others with high percentages of female students include the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, which each had 45% or more women enrolled.

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November 7, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Does A Professor Violate Copyright Law By Posting His Published Work On His Website?

Inside Higher Ed, What Happened When a Professor Was Accused of Sharing His Own Work On His Website?:

CopyrightLike many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles — published and soon-to-be — on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit.

So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by a takedown notice he received from the American Psychological Association, telling him that the articles he had published through the organization and then posted on his website were in violation of copyright law. The notice triggered a chain of responses — including a warning from his website platform, WordPress, that multiple such violations put the future of his entire website at risk. And because the APA had previously issued similar takedown notices, the threat of losing his website seemed real to Cunningham.

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November 7, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Professor's WSJ Op-Ed: 'Strategic Plans Are A Fraud'

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why ‘Strategic Plans’ Are Rarely Strategic—or Effective, by Wyatt Wells (Auburn University):

AuburnAuburn University at Montgomery, where I teach, recently completed a common organizational ritual: It drafted a strategic plan. The process took months and entailed work by a variety of committees, at considerable expense. When it was completed, faculty and staff applauded. Then most, on returning to their offices, promptly consigned the new document to the trash. In the majority of organizations, workers respond to strategic plans with the same cynicism, nodding and smiling in public while sighing and rolling their eyes in private.

The typical strategic plan begins with an anodyne statement of principles, lists several general goals, and finally recounts a series of initiatives that the institution will undertake to realize these objectives. In its statement of principles, AUM’s plan asserts that the university seeks to “provide quality and diverse educational opportunities,” offering a “student-centered experience” with “excellence as our standard.” These are more specific than Google’s old mantra, “Don’t be evil,” but not much. Presumably every institution of higher learning shares these goals—none would boast that “adequacy is our standard.” ...

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November 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Princeton Review's Best 167 Law Schools (2020 Edition)

Princeton ReviewThe Princeton Review has published the 2020 edition of The Best 167 Law Schools (press release) (FAQs) (methodology):

The ranking lists, reported in 14 categories, each name the top 10 law schools. The education services company tallied the lists based on its surveys of 19,000 students attending 167 law schools [an average of 114 per school] in the U.S., and of administrators at those schools. The Princeton Review's 80-question student survey for this project asked students to rate their law schools on dozens of topics and report on their school experiences. The survey of law school administrators, which numbered more than 200 questions, covered topics from academic offerings and admission requirements to data about currently enrolled students as well as graduates' employment. Six of the 14 ranking lists were tallied using both student and administrator-reported data, five solely from student data, and three solely from administrator data.

Best Professors:  Based on student answers to survey questions concerning how good their professors are as teachers and how accessible they are outside the classroom.

  1. Virginia
  2. Duke
  3. Chicago
  4. Washington & Lee
  5. Stanford
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Boston College
  8. Boston University
  9. Michigan
  10. Northwestern

Best Quality of Life:  Based on student answers to survey questions on: whether there is a strong sense of community at the school, whether differing opinions are tolerated in the classroom, the location of the school, the quality of social life at the school, the school's research resources (library, computer and database resources).

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November 6, 2019 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professors' Slow, Steady Acceptance Of Online Learning

Inside Higher Ed, Professors' Slow, Steady Acceptance of Online Learning: A Survey:

Inside Higher Ed's 2019 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology, conducted with Gallup and published today, shows a continuing uptick in the proportion of faculty members who have taught an online course, to 46 percent from 44 percent last year. That figure stood at 30 percent in 2013, meaning that the number has increased by half in six years.


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November 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Student Tax Papers: 2020 Chris Bergin Award for Excellence In Writing

Tax Notes 2

Christopher E. Bergin Award for Excellence in Writing:

The Christopher E. Bergin Award for Excellence in Writing recognizes superior student writing on unsettled questions in tax law or policy. It is named in honor of the late Christopher E. Bergin, former president and publisher of Tax Analysts and longtime editor of Tax Notes Federal. The award, given annually, epitomizes the qualities that Chris championed.

No one cared more than he did about clear, precise writing about taxation, and he instilled that passion in our whole staff.
Cara Griffith, Tax Analysts President and CEO

To learn more about Christopher E. Bergin, click here.

Eligibility: Must be enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program during the academic year.
Topic: Submissions should focus on an unsettled question in federal, state, or international tax law or policy.
Evaluation: Our editorial staff blindly evaluates entries on originality, readability, organization, reasoning, and overall quality of content.
Due Date: June 30, 2020

Click here for competition guidelines.

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November 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

JD Not Necessary For Legal Ops Leaders, Experts Say, JD Not Necessary for Legal Ops Leaders, Experts Say:

Experts say the number of legal operations leaders who do not have law degrees is increasing, with little downside to having someone without a juris doctor lead the function.

“There is a recognition that legal operations do not have to be led by a lawyer. Often it is better if it is not led by a lawyer. It could be a finance professional or a technology professional or even an MBA,” Robin Snasdell, managing director at Consilio LLC, said. “It’s not just lawyers that in-house legal departments need.”

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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clausing Leaves Reed College For UCLA Law School

Kimberly Clausing, Thormund A. Miller and Walter Mintz Professor of Economics at Reed College, has accepted an offer to join the faculty at UCLA Law School. Her most recent publication is Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019):

Clausing (2017)With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

A leading authority on corporate taxation and an advocate of a more equal economy, Clausing agrees that Americans, especially those with middle and lower incomes, face stark economic challenges. But these problems do not require us to retreat from the global economy. On the contrary, she shows, an open economy overwhelmingly helps. International trade makes countries richer, raises living standards, benefits consumers, and brings nations together.

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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 2019 Massachusetts Bar Exam Results

Here are the results of the July 2019 Massachusetts Bar Exam Results for first-time test-takers by law school, along with each school's U.S. News ranking:

First-Time Bar Pass Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

MA (Overall)

1 (98.3%)


1 (3)

2 (92.4%)

Boston University

2 (23)

3 (89.9%)

Boston College

3 (27)

4 (89.3%)


4 (64)

5 (82.6%)


 6 (Tier 2)


Statewide Avg.


6 (76.7%)

W. New England

6 (Tier 2)

7 (70.5%)


5 (143)

8 (70.4%)

New England

6 (Tier 2)

9 (47.2%)

Mass (Andover)


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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Florida Coastal Law School Makes Another Bid For Nonprofit Status

Following up on my previous post, Florida Coastal Law School Asks ABA To Reconsider Its Request To Shed For-Profit Status:  Inside Higher Ed, After First Rejection, Florida Coastal Law School Makes Another Bid To Go Nonprofit:

Florida Coastal (2017)Florida Coastal School of Law, a Jacksonville-based for-profit institution, suffered a setback last month in its bid to reclassify as a nonprofit.

The law school’s application was rejected by its accreditor, the American Bar Association, last month in a confidential decision. But Florida Coastal, which has posted improved bar-passage rates after years of dismal numbers, says it’s full steam ahead on the push to go nonprofit.

“We’re focused on moving forward with this application,” said Peter Goplerud, Florida Coastal’s president.

The law school submitted a second application to the ABA last week and still hopes to reclassify as a nonprofit institution by next year.

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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2019 Christopher Bergin Award For Excellence In Tax Writing

Benjamin M. Satterthwaite (J.D. 2019, South Carolina; LL.M. (Tax) 2020, Florida), Nash Bargaining Theory and Intangible Property Transfer Pricing, 164 Tax Notes 2275 (Sept. 30, 2019):

Tax NotesThis article was the winning entry in Tax Analysts’ annual student writing contest and received the 2019 Christopher E. Bergin Award for Excellence in Writing. [Honorable Mention: Daniel Pessar (Harvard)]

In this article, Satterthwaite proposes a transfer pricing framework for unique intangibles that integrates the economic fundamentals of John Nash’s bargaining theory with the “realistic alternatives” language of amended sections 367(d) and 482.

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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Akron Is Tenth Law School To Offer Hybrid Online J.D.

Akron Law introduces innovative Blended Online J.D. Program:

Hybrid JDFull-time jobs, family obligations and other responsibilities can make it difficult for part-time law school students to attend classes three or four nights every week. That’s why The University of Akron School of Law is introducing an innovative program — unique among Ohio law schools — designed to make law school more accessible to part-time students.

Beginning fall 2020, the new Blended Online Juris Doctor (J.D.) program will allow part-time students, in the first two years of their four-year program, to attend classes in person just two nights per week and complete the rest of their coursework online.

“During these first two years, students can take the remaining courses on their computer each week at a time that fits their schedule — in the morning before work, in the evening after work, or over the weekend,” said Christopher J. (C.J.) Peters, dean of Akron Law.

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November 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Latest Developments In The Dan Markel Murder Case

  • Markel SuspectsThe jury voted 10-2 to convict Katherine Magbanua of first-degree murder, resulting in the mistrial
  • Katherine Magbanua retrial begins April 13 (pretrial conferences on March 17 and April 9)
  • Sigfredo Garcia is transferred to state prison and vows to exhaust every appeal of his murder conviction and life sentence: "“I plan on fighting this with every breath I have. I’m going to start with my direct appeal and continue exhausting every appeal in the book until they get so tired of seeing me they’ll give up and free me.”
  • Law Profs react to the jury's verdict: Paul Horwitz (Alabama), Orin Kerr (UC-Berkeley), Jason Solomon (Stanford), Howard Wasserman (Florida International)

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November 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Top Five Graduate Schools For This Year’s Forbes 400

The Top Five Graduate Schools For This Year’s Forbes 400:

Forbes 400Going to graduate school could boost your earnings—to the tune of billions. Despite a few famous dropouts like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, nearly 80% of the billionaires on this year’s Forbes 400 list have a college diploma. And 40% of them even stuck around for graduate degrees. ...

54% of the Forbes 400 members with graduate degrees went to just a handful of schools. Here are the five grad schools that the most Forbes 400 members attended.

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November 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Overstated Collapse Of American Christianity

New York Times op-ed:  The Overstated Collapse of American Christianity, by Ross Douthat:

Fifty years ago, many observers of American religion assumed that secularization would gradually wash traditional Christianity away. Twenty years ago, Christianity looked surprisingly resilient, and so the smart thinking changed: Maybe there was an American exception to secularizing trends, or maybe a secularized Europe was the exception and the modernity-equals-secularization thesis was altogether wrong.

Now the wheel has turned again, and the new consensus is that secularization was actually just delayed, and with the swift 21st-century collapse of Christian affiliation, a more European destination for American religiosity has belatedly arrived. “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace” ran the headline on a new Pew Research Center survey of American religion this month, summing up a consensus shared by pessimistic religious conservatives, eager anticlericalists and the regretfully unbelieving sort of journalist who suspects that we may miss organized religion when it’s gone.

The trends that have inspired this perspective are real, but the swings in the consensus over a relatively short period should inspire caution in interpretation. One important qualifier, appropriate to the week of Halloween, is that the decline of Christian institutions and the weakening of Christian affiliation may be clearing space for post-Christian spiritualities — pantheist, gnostic, syncretist, pagan — rather than a New Atheist sort of godlessness.  ...

But the post-Christian possibilities aren’t the only reason to qualify a narrative of secularization. Here are three points more specific to American Christianity that should be considered alongside the stark declinist story in the Pew data.

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November 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, November 2, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Clinical Legal Education And The Replication Of Hierarchy

Minna J. Kotkin (Brooklyn), Clinical Legal Education and the Replication of Hierarchy, 26 Clinical L. Rev. 287 (2019):

Clinical legal education is now a significant and widely touted feature of every law schools’ curriculum. The 2008 recession, which resulted in fewer law jobs and fewer applicants, spurred law schools to beef up their experiential offerings, both in response to the call for “practice ready” graduates and to enhance law schools’ appeal to potential applicants. This essay explores two aspects of collateral damage that have resulted from the growth and institutionalization of clinical education. They both stem from the replication of hierarchies that have long existed in law school faculties and in the legal profession in general.

First, the expansion of clinical offerings has not resulted in more clinical tenure-track positions—their number has steadily decreased. Instead, hiring has been largely through short-term fellowship, visitor or staff attorney appointments, or at best long-term contract eligible positions, without voting rights on the issues that shape the future of the institution—appointments and tenure. Thus, instead of increased integration of clinical education into the academy, a new underclass has been created within faculties, without job security or long-term academic prospects.


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November 2, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

University Of Maryland To Restructure, Terminate Contracts Of 100 Faculty Who Can 'Recompete' For Their Jobs

Chronicle of Higher Education, Maryland’s Giant Global Campus Is Restructuring. And Professors Were Asked to ‘Recompete’ for Jobs.:

MarylandA major restructuring at the University of Maryland Global Campus has alarmed some faculty members after more than 100 employees were told that their current contracts would be terminated and that they would need to “recompete” for their jobs.

“Any way you go, it’s going to be tough,” Peter Smith, the campus’s interim chief academic officer, told The Chronicle of the transition. “It is a big change. But you can’t do it incrementally.”

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November 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 1, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

EY Training Program: Women's Brains Are Like Pancakes, Men's Brains Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Pancakes:

PWA seminar at accounting firm EY, which has received much bad press, draws curious distinctions between men and women.

How did mega accounting firms morph into exemplars of corporate cool? Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never found anything remotely sexy or edgy about accountants.

Somehow, though, the Big Four accounting firms gained reputations over the years as progressive institutions. I mean, you can’t go to one of those women or diversity conferences without some expert citing the Big Four as shining examples of what institutions like law firms should do to promote women and minorities. And of course, they’re always on those lists of “best” places to work for women and minorities.

Well, it turns out all that coolness is hype. The accounting firm Ernest & Young, now known by the snappy initials EY (sorry, but doesn’t that sound like a brand of personal lubricant?) got hit with a barrage of bad press after HuffPo’s Emily Peck wrote about its Power-Presence-Purpose program for female employees. Peck got her hands on the 55-page presentation on leadership and empowerment, which turned out not to be so empowering. ...

 [T]he presentation also included tidbits about women’s brains and how they hold information. The audience was told that women’s brains are “6% to 11% smaller than men’s,” absorbing “information like pancakes soak up syrup.” While men’s brains operated like waffles, collecting information in little squares with greater focus. Got that? ...

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November 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

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November 1, 2019 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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November 1, 2019 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clinical Legal Education Association Statement On The U.S. News Clinical Program Rankings

Statement on U.S. News and World Report Rankings for Clinical Programs:

2020 US News Law SchoolThe Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) recognizes that many who receive U.S. News & World Report ballots in their capacity as clinical program directors find this ranking process uncomfortable. There are a number of problems with the ranking of clinical programs. First, it places us in competition with each other, when we as a group see ourselves in a shared struggle for social justice, equality, and improved legal education. Second, there are no articulated factors for ranking clinical programs, so the voting can be arbitrary to a degree. Third, some schools may unfairly suffer because they do not have the budget or the support of their administration to market their program or send their clinical faculty to annual conferences.

While we might wish the rankings did not exist or hope to solve the collective action problem that bedevils creative responses, the USNWR rankings have remained a feature of our collective landscape. So, since rankings presently exist, what can we do now as faculty who teach clinics?

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November 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Bar Pass Rates Are Up. Is the Worst Over?

National Law Journal, Bar Pass Rates Are Up. Is the Worst Over?:

The six-year slide in bar exam pass rates looks to be at an end.

All but a handful of jurisdictions have thus far announced their results for the July 2019 exam, and the vast majority posted modest gains in their overall pass rates while a smaller number saw pass rate increases of 7% or more. That’s a welcome change for legal educators, who have been trying for years to reverse the decline in bar passers. ...

The National Conference of Bar Examiners predicted higher pass rates in early September, when it revealed that the national average score on the Multistate Bar Exam—the daylong, multiple-choice portion of the exam—had increased 1.6 points from the previous year, which represented a 34-year low. ...

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October 31, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Faculty Complain George Washington Violated Shared Governance In Unilaterally Deciding To Reduce Enrollment By 20%

Following up on my previous post, George Washington To Reduce Enrollment By 20% To Increase Quality:  Inside Higher Ed, Shut Out of Shared Governance:

George Washington University LogoGeorge Washington University faculty members are unhappy about being left out of the process that led to a plan to reduce undergraduate enrollment. They are determined to learn more about how university administrators arrived at the decision in which faculty members say they had little to no input.

Thomas LeBlanc, the university's president, announced in July that the university would move to decrease the undergraduate population and increase the number of students majoring in STEM subjects. The move surprised and concerned many faculty members, who publicly questioned the wisdom and long-term implications of such a far-reaching decision.

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October 31, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 2019 Georgia Bar Exam Results: Georgia #1 For 6th Consecutive Year

Georgia State BarHere are the results of the July 2019 Georgia Bar Exam Results for first-time test-takers by law school, along with each school's U.S. News ranking:

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

GA (Overall)

1 (93.7%)


2 (27)

2 (87.6%)

Georgia State

3 (67)

3 (87.4%)


1 (26)


Statewide Avg. (GA Law Schools)


4 (81.3%)


4 (138)


Statewide Avg. (Non-GA Law Schools)


5 (66.2%)

John Marshall

5 (Tier 2)

6 (50.1%)



Daily Report, Pass Rates Jumped Across the Board for Georgia Bar Exam

October 31, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

July 2019 Texas Bar Exam Results: Baylor #1 (For 3rd Year In A Row)

Texas BarHere are the results of the July 2019 Texas Bar Exam Results for first-time test-takers by law school, along with each school's U.S. News ranking:

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

TX (Overall)

1 (93.5%)


2 (48)

2 (93.3%)


1 (16)

3 (90.7%)

Texas A&M

5 (83)

4 (88.7%)


3 (52)

5 (85.3%)


4 (59)

6 (82.8%)

Texas Tech

6 (117)


Statewide Avg. (Texas Law Schools)



Statewide Avg. (All Law Schools)


7 (76.4%)

South Texas

7 (Tier 2)

8 (69.8%)

St. Mary's

7 (Tier 2)

9 (67.6%)

North Texas


10 (57.6%)

Texas Southern

7 (Tier 2)

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October 30, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Prof Pledge To Reduce Academic Marketing Waste

From S.I. Strong (Missouri):

In honor of International Day of Climate Action (October 24), a group of law professors have announced the Pledge to Reduce Academic Marketing Waste, which seeks to address the routine and indiscriminate use of paper-based flyers, newsletters, offprints and postcards by law professors and law schools.  Most of this material is discarded without ever being read.  However, law schools continue to produce and distribute these materials in an effort to increase or maintain their national and international rankings.

Continuing this practice is unconscionable in the current era, given the availability of electronic marketing options.  Limiting or eliminating reliance on paper-based materials will not only reduce the destruction of forests, it will also reduce carbon emissions generated as part of the printing and transportation processes.

Given the competitive nature of higher education, it is unlikely that individual law schools will act on their own initiative to stop or significantly curtail paper-based marketing for fear of risking their rankings.  However, positive results may be obtained by coordinating actions across numerous law schools. 

Individual faculty members as well as law schools both inside and outside the United States are therefore invited to join the Pledge to Reduce Academic Marketing Waste by emailing Prof. S.I. Strong to indicate their support.  The names of individual law professors and institutions who have adopted the Pledge will be published on a webpage housed at Pace University.  That webpage is regularly updated to show increased support for this initiative.

The language of the Pledge is as follows:

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October 30, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

La Verne May Be Sixth Law School To Close Since 2017

The Recorder, LA's Turbulent Law School Market Could Take Another Hit:

Laverne (2017)Yet another law school is under threat of closure.

Trustees at the University of La Verne are scheduled to determine the fate of the Ontario, California, law school when the board meets on Nov. 18. Earlier this month, the board tasked two separate committees with evaluating the school’s financial sustainability and future.

If the board votes to close the campus, it will become the sixth law school to shut down since 2017 [The others are Arizona SummitCharlotteIndiana TechValparaiso, and Whittier]. (That figure does not include branch campus closures and mergers.) And it would also be the second law school to wind down within the Los Angeles area—where a number of lower-tier law schools have struggled amid legal education’s downturn. Ontario is about 40 miles east of Los Angeles in what is known as the Inland Empire. ...

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October 30, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Freestanding Law School Student Loan Default Rates Are Below 2%

The National Jurist, Law School Loan Default Rates Low, With Median Below 2%:

[T]he law school with the highest default rate for [2016] was Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, a school that is not accredited by the American Bar Association, at 5.5%. Coming in second was Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minn., at 4.80%.

The numbers come from a national survey of default rates by LendEDU, a website that helps consumers learn about and compare financial products. It broke down data provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The full report can been seen here.

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October 30, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

July 2019 Arizona Bar Exam Results

Arizona Bar (2019)Here are the results of the July 2019 Arizona Bar Exam results for first-time test-takers by law school, along with each school's U.S. News ranking:

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

PA (Overall)

1 (88.1%)

Arizona State

1 (27)

2 (67.7%)


2 (39)

3 (16.7%)

Arizona Summit

3 (Tier 2)

October 29, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Society For Empirical Legal Studies Urges U.S. News To Use Google Scholar Rather Than HeinOnline In Scholarly Impact Rankings


Following up on my recent posts on the U.S. News Faculty Scholarly Impact Rankings (links below): Kevin Cope (Virginia) passed along this five page letter to Robert C. Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News & Woirld Report) from the Society for Empirical Legal Studies (SELS) Board of Directors (David S. Abrams (Pennsylvania), David Bjerk (Claremont McKenna College), Dawn Chutkow (Cornell), Christoph Engel (Max Planck), Michael Frakes (Duke), Andrew Green (Toronto), James Greiner (Harvard), Eric Helland (Claremont McKenna), James Hines (Michigan), Daniel Ho (Stanford), William Hubbard (Chicago), Daniel Krauss (Claremont McKenna College), Anthony Niblett (Toronto), J.J. Prescott (Michigan), Paige Skiba (Vanderbilt), Sonja Starr (Michigan), Eric Talley (Columbia), Albert Yoon (Toronto) & Kathryn Zeiler (Boston University)):

2020 US News Law SchoolWe write on behalf of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies (SELS) to express our concern about U.S. News’ plan to create a law school “scholarly impact” ranking based on HeinOnline data. We appreciate your willingness to consider input from the legal academic community, and particularly your May 2, 2019, statement that “neither the methodology nor the metrics for the proposed new rankings have been finalized.” We were further reassured to read that — contrary to other recent reports — you “do not have any current plans to incorporate scholarly impact rankings . . . in [your] Best Law Schools rankings.” We hope those plans do not change; for the reasons explained below, incorporating the HeinOnline data into Best Law Schools would introduce statistical biases that could do serious damage to U.S. legal education.

Although no ranking system is perfect, one strength of the existing ranking approach — as U.S. News officials themselves have argued — is that it provides several accurate metrics for consumers to evaluate for themselves. Unlike other indicators like graduation rate and bar-passage rate, however, HeinOnline’s current citation system does not appear to accurately capture what it represents to. HeinOnline’s metric would purportedly measure a faculty member’s “scholarly impact.” But the method suffers from a variety of systemic measurement flaws so significant that they undermine its validity as a measure of scholarly impact — and with it, the validity of any metric incorporating it. Making the HeinOnline data part of the Best Law Schools ranking would therefore deviate from your longstanding practice of offering readers accurate information.

HeinOnline’s present citation-measurement system has three principal problems: (1) it is biased against interdisciplinary legal scholarship; (2) it omits all book manuscripts and chapters; and (3) it systematically undervalues the academic contributions of junior scholars, which would inhibit law schools from recruiting diverse faculties. We elaborate on each of these problems below and suggest an alternative for measuring scholarly influence. ...

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October 29, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

UNH Law School Budget Deficit Exceeds 100% Of Revenues

New Hampshire Public Radio, UNH's Law School Faces 'Extreme Situation' When It Comes To Losses:

UNH Logo (2019)The University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law — the state’s only law school — has been losing millions of dollars annually since at least 2014, according to budget reports obtained by NHPR. (See UNH Law School Budget (2014-2019) ...

In the 2018-19 year, the law school’s total operating budget was $5.5 million, but it spent $11.9 million. That’s more than double its operating budget, with a total loss of $6.4 million in that year alone.

The most dramatic year to date was the 2017-18 year, with a total loss of $6.7 million, and an operating margin of  negative 130 percent. ...

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October 29, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Monday, October 28, 2019

Merritt & McEntee: Gender Equity In Law School Enrollment

Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State) & Kyle P. McEntee (Law School Transparency), Gender Equity in Law School Enrollment: An Elusive Goal, 68 J. Legal Educ ___ (2020):

Women finally make up more than half of law students nationwide, but that milestone masks significant gender inequities in law school enrollment. Women constitute an even larger percentage of the potential applicant pool: for almost two decades, they have earned more than 57% of all college degrees. As we show in this article, women are less likely than men to apply to law school — or to be admitted if they do apply. Equally troubling, women attend less prestigious law schools than men. The law schools that open the most employment doors for their graduates enroll significantly fewer women than schools with worse job outcomes and weaker access to the legal profession.

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October 28, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

At More Than One-Third Of The Largest Law Firms, Minority Partners Are Disproportionately Nonequity

Following up on my previous post, Minority Partners Are Disproportionately Placed In Nonequity Partnership Tier:  American Lawyer, At More Than One-Third of the Am Law 100, Minority Partners Are Disproportionately Nonequity:

Minority partners at more than three dozen Am Law 100 firms disproportionately occupy the nonequity tier, according to an analysis by The American Lawyer.

Firms that show a sizeable disparity between the percentage of minority and white equity partners in their ranks say the gap is a byproduct of their recent efforts to build a diverse pipeline—that in time, many of those minority nonequity partners will gain equity status. But diversity advocates say the strikingly higher percentage of minorities in the nonequity tier casts doubt on the progress Big Law has made in bringing minority attorneys into firm leadership.

Using survey data submitted by firms, The American Lawyer analyzed the U.S. partnerships of 148 two-tiered law firms between fiscal years 2014 and 2018—131 of which are in the Am Law 200 and 66 occupying the Am Law 100—and found that minorities are joining the nonequity ranks at three times the rate of their white colleagues.

Am Law 100

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October 28, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Texas Supreme Court Justice Tweets Out 72-Page Pass List After Texas Bar Website Crash Prevents Bar Takers From Getting Their Results

Texas Lawyer, Want to Know Who Passed the July 2019 Texas Bar Examination?:

Texas BarTexas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby provided a link via Twitter on Friday to the results of the July 2019 Texas Bar Examination.

The Texas Board of Law Examiners, which normally posts the pass list, had website issues Thursday and Friday, preventing some test-takers from seeing their scores.

Above the Law, Massive Bar Exam Screw-Up Leaves Law School Graduates In Panic; Did You Pass the Bar Exam? Good Luck Trying to Find Out.:

Imagine this: The bar exam results are supposed to be released on a specific day, and after waiting for months to see if you passed, on that day, you receive an email from the Board of Law examiners letting you know that “important information” has been posted to your account. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for.

Did you pass? Did you pass?! DID YOU PASS?!?!?!?!

You try to log in to your account, but you can’t. The page is down. You try reloading the page… but nothing happens. This happens again, and again, and again, and again, and again. After hours of trying to find out if passed the bar exam, you finally get the page to load, but the login option has been completely removed.

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October 27, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)