Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Racial Disparities Persist In Bar Exam Pass Rates: White: 88%, Asian: 80%, Hispanic: 76%, Black: 66%

Following up on my previous post:  Racial Disparities Persist In California Bar Exam Pass Rates: White: 72%, Asian: 66%, Hispanic: 61%, Black: 31%

Press Release, ABA Section of Legal Education Releases First-Time Report on Bar Passage Data:

The Managing Director’s Office of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar released today a new set of bar passage data outcomes for ABA-approved law schools that provides national “ultimate” and first-time pass rates based on race, ethnicity and gender. ...

Under 2019 revisions to the bar passage rule known as Standard 316, ABA-approved law schools must have 75% of their graduates who take the bar examination pass within two years of graduation or face the potential of being found out of compliance. The section maintains both percentage pass rates for first-time takers and the two-year aggregate figure, known as the “ultimate” pass rate.

“During discussions about the amendments to Standard 316, commenters expressed concern about the lack of national data on bar passage by members of different racial and ethnic groups,” said Bill Adams, ABA managing director of accreditation and legal education. “We promised to collect and publish such aggregate data and consider whether the requirements of the standard needed to be reconsidered in light of what we collected. This report is consistent with that promise and will be further evaluated in the months to come.”

ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, Summary Bar Pass Data: Race Ethnicity, and Gender (2020 and 2021 Bar Passage Questionnaire):

The following charts present the performance of the various racial and ethnic groups based on data submitted in the 2020 and 2021 Bar Passage Questionnaire (the “BPQ”). The left column reports the Ultimate Pass Rate for the graduating classes after two years. The middle column reports the Ultimate Pass Rate for the graduating classes in that year after one year. The right column reports the First Time Pass Rate for that year’s graduating classes. The reported information does not depict differences in bar passage rates based on any other background variables.


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June 22, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Moving Toward A Competency-Based Model For Fostering Law Students' Relational Skills

Susan L. Brooks (Drexel), Marjorie A. Silver (Touro), Sarah Fishel (Drexel) & Kellie Wiltsie (Drexel), Moving Toward a Competency-Based Model for Fostering Law Students' Relational Skills, 28 Clinical L. Rev. __ (2022):

Legal education has long been criticized for failing to provide adequate professional training to prepare graduates for legal practice realities. Many sources have lamented the lack of sufficient attention to the range of competencies necessary for law graduates to be effective practitioners and develop a positive professional identity, including those that are intra-personal, such as self-awareness, critical self-reflection, and self-directedness; those that are interpersonal, such as deep and reflective listening, empathy, compassion, cross-cultural communication, and dialogue; and those that engage with the social/systemic dimension of lawyering, such as appreciating the role of multiple identities, implicit bias, privilege and power, and structural racism. For this article, we refer to this entire set of competencies as relational competencies. One notable exception to this sustained critique of legal education has been the field of clinical legal education, including law school clinics and externships.

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June 22, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Jordan Barry Leaves San Diego For USC

Jordan Barry (San Diego; Google Scholar) has accepted a lateral offer from USC. (Ariel Jurow Kleiman also is leaving San Diego for Loyola-L.A.). Jordan's recent publications include:

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June 22, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

Wellness And Law: Reforming Legal Education To Support Student Wellness

Janet Thompson Jackson (Washburn), Wellness and Law: Reforming Legal Education to Support Student Wellness, 65 How. L. J. __ (2021):

No one goes to law school with the expectation that their mental health and overall well-being will be significantly compromised during those three years. But, for a substantial number of law students, it is. It does not have to be this way.

This is not a typical law review article. It cannot afford to be. Most law students begin law school as reasonably happy and well-adjusted people. We must ask, what is it about law school that contributes to the disproportionate decline in student wellness? The answer to that question is complex because many of the very factors that make good lawyers also contribute to their mental health challenges.

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June 22, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Monday, June 21, 2021

Unentitled: The Power Of Designation In The Legal Academy

Rachel Lopez (Drexel; Google Scholar), Unentitled: The Power of Designation in the Legal Academy, 73 Rutgers L. Rev. 101 (2021):

Last December, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed that questioned whether Dr. Jill Biden should more appropriately be addressed as Madame First Lady, Mrs. Biden, Jill, or even kiddo, characterizing her desire to be called doctor “fraudulent” and a “touch comic.” Many were understandably outraged by the lack of respect afforded to Dr. Biden, which had a distinctly gendered dimension. More recently, after a controversial decision by the University of North Carolina’s board of trustees to deny her tenure, Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur “genius grant” winner, was instead appointed as a “Professor of Practice” on a five year fixed term contract. These high-profile examples put in sharp focus what many women of color in the legal academy already know all too well: labels have an innate power to confer or diminish status. This Essay explores the role that titles play in the legal academy and, in particular, their often depreciative consequences for women of color. Drawing from my story, those relayed to me by others, and other empirical evidence, I will show how titles perpetuate stereotypes and entrench existing racial and gender hierarchies in the legal academy, although they appear race- and gender- neutral.

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June 21, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Using Exam Wrappers To Foster Self-Assessment Skills In Law Students

Sarah Schendel (Suffolk), What You Don't Know (Can Hurt You): Using Exam Wrappers to Foster Self-Assessment Skills in Law Students, 40 Pace L. Rev. 154 (2019):

“Where did I go wrong?”

When we fail it’s tempting to forget it and move on. However, reflecting on poor performance and figuring out how to proceed is critical to being a successful student and lawyer. Unfortunately, when students receive a disappointing grade they often lack the ability to understand what went wrong and how to change.

Creating self-regulated learners who can identify what they don't know and make a plan to improve is key to helping students succeed. In order to do so – and in order to produce ethical, productive lawyers – law schools should place a greater emphasis on fostering the skill of self-assessment among students.

I propose exam wrappers as an effective and adaptable tool to strengthen law students’ self-assessment skills.

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June 21, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

The New Yorker: What Is Going On At Yale Law School?

Following up on my previous posts:

The New Yorker, What Is Going On at Yale Law School?:

New Yorker (2014)The prestigious institution has tied itself in knots over a dispute involving one of its most popular—and controversial—professors, Amy Chua.

A decade ago, back when we talked about things besides new coronavirus strains and vaccination rates, there was a weeks-long media frenzy over a parenting memoir called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In that book, Amy Chua, an American daughter of Chinese immigrants, described her efforts to raise her children the “Chinese” way. For her, that meant dispensing with squishy Western conventions like “child-led learning” and participation trophies, and ruthlessly driving her two young daughters to master their classical instruments and maintain perfect grades. The book provoked a fierce backlash, much of which centered on Chua’s tactics, which ranged from threatening to burn her older daughter’s stuffed animals to rejecting a hand-scrawled birthday card that demonstrated insufficient effort. Chua’s younger daughter “rebelled” at the age of thirteen, choosing competitive tennis over concert-level violin, but, for the most part, Chua’s system worked. Her daughters became musical prodigies and successful athletes, who attended Harvard and Yale. The phrase “tiger mom” entered the cultural lexicon and spawned a Singaporean TV show, “Tiger Mum,” and a show in Hong Kong, “Tiger Mom Blues.”

That was the last time many of us heard about Amy Chua—unless you’ve been following the news out of Yale Law School, where Chua is a professor. If so, you know that the discussion kept going. Over the past few months, Chua has been at the center of a campus-wide fracas that, nominally, concerns the question of whether she hosted drunken dinner parties at her home this past winter. The controversy began in April, when the Yale Daily News reported that the law-school administration was punishing Chua for the alleged offense by removing her from the list of professors leading a special first-year law class called a “small group.”

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June 21, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Lederman & Christians: An Overview Of U.S. Federal Tax Controversies

This video provides a general overview of the common paths of a U.S. federal tax controversy involving a tax deficiency or refund, from audit through potential litigation. It includes discussion of the administrative IRS Appeals process, the multiple trial-level courts available, where appeal lies, which precedent applies, and some factors that may arise in choosing a tax litigation forum. 

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June 21, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 20, 2021

How An Autistic Man With Cerebral Palsy Found His Faith

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  The Faith of an Autistic Man, by Jory Fleming (Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University; Author, How to Be Human: An Autistic Man’s Guide to Life (2021)):

How To Be HumanIt was an unlikely connection. A literal, logical person, challenged by basic verbal communication, and an unseen spirit, who communicates through the Word. Yet I reached out to God, and he reached out to me. We both answered the other’s call.

As an autistic person, I struggle to make connections. I did not communicate much as a young child and only barely as an adolescent. Even now, my thoughts exist independent of language. My mind undergoes a vast translation process, back and forth, to relate to the human world.

Yet the Christian faith spoke to me through one word: love. I often feel as if, by relying on only a single word, God designed this message for people like me. There is no complicated work to interpret that message. You are loved by your Creator. You are commanded to love others and also to love yourself.

It frequently surprises people that my faith is based entirely on logic and reason. It has no emotional base. Many may wonder how that squares with the message of love. But to me, it comes down to the principle of mutual recognition: If you believe in a Creator, then you believe that the Creator knows his own handiwork. You believe that each of us has a place, has equal value, and fully belongs in this world. There is not one correct path to life or to God. Mine may be unusual, but it can still be strong.

I first contemplated the Christian faith when I was in high school and began engaging more with the outside world. Beyond autism, I have a metabolic condition and cerebral palsy. The limits placed on me by my disabilities were a daily reminder of my own brokenness. The only part of my body that was not negatively impacted was my mind. And I used it to come to a fuller understanding of God. ...

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June 20, 2021 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink

IRS Denies Tax-Exempt Status To Organization That Encourages Christians To 'Pray, Vote, Engage' Because '[B]ible Teachings Are Typically Affiliated With The [Republican] Party'

Christians EngagedNewsweek, First Liberty Appeals Denial of Tax Exemption for Group Alleged to Have Republican Ties:

Christian legal organization First Liberty Institute is appealing the recent denial by the IRS to grant tax exemption status to a Texas Christian group that the federal agency alleges supports the Republican Party.

In May the IRS denied 501(c)(3) status to the Texas-based prayer group Christians Engaged because it encourages its members to vote for state and national leaders. The federal agency specifically noted in its rejection that the group supports Republican candidates.

In its letter, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Stephen A. Martin concluded the group does not qualify as an organization described in IRS Section 501(c)(3) because it is not operated exclusively for religious and educational purposes. Specifically Martin noted, "You are engaged in prohibited political campaign invention" and "You are also not operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes...because you operate for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interest of the 'D party.'" The "D party" is a reference to the Republican Party, according to a "legend" provided at the top of Martin's letter to the religious group.

Press Release, IRS Denies Religious Group Tax Exempt Status; States “Bible Teachings” Are “Affiliated With the Republican Party”:

Today, First Liberty Institute appealed an IRS determination denying tax exempt status to Christians Engaged, a nonprofit organization that exists to educate and empower Christians to pray for our nation and elected officials, vote, and be civically engaged. In a letter issued in May, the IRS argued that Christians Engaged was not eligible for 501(c)(3) status in part because “[B]ible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates.” ...

“The IRS states in an official letter that Biblical values are exclusively Republican.  That might be news to President Biden, who is often described as basing his political ideology on his religious beliefs,” said Lea Patterson, Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Only a politicized IRS could see Americans who pray for their nation, vote in every election, and work to engage others in the political process as a threat. The IRS violated its own regulations in denying tax exempt status because Christians Engaged teaches biblical values.”

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June 20, 2021 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Getting To Know 0Ls

My wife Courtney and I just completed hosting our fifth annual round of meetings with Pepperdine Caruso Law's incoming 1L students. Last year, due to the pandemic, we replaced our usual Dinner With The Dean in our home with a virtual Coffee With The Carons.  This year, as California emerges from the pandemic, we offered both formats and hosted eight outdoor dinners in our yard for vaccinated students and six virtual coffees for unvaccinated and out-of-state students. 

0L Dinner 8

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June 20, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Saturday, June 19, 2021

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Deo: Investigating Pandemic Effects On Legal Academia

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law hosts a free online program on Pandemic Effects on Legal Academia: A Discussion With Law School Faculty on Wednesday. June 23 at noon - 3:00 P.M. MDT: 

The session will begin with a presentation by Meera E. Deo on her new national empirical study of law faculty, Pandemic Effects on Legal Academia (PELA) followed by a panel of deans responding with their own personal and institutional experiences. Participants will then have the opportunity to break out into working groups organized around specific topics to brainstorm challenges and potential solutions to the obstacles presented by the earlier presentations.

Preliminary analyses of the PELA study reveal troubling patterns of how the effects of COVID-19 exacerbate previously existing raceXgender barriers documented in Southwestern Law School Professor Meera Deo’s book, Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia. Challenges—which are felt most acutely by mothers and other caregivers, junior scholars, untenured faculty, and women of color—include a lack of time and bandwidth to produce scholarship, the blending of home life with work life, an inability to prioritize one’s own well-being, and significant negative mental health effects. This session provides an opportunity for faculty to learn from the data and brainstorm solutions.

Meera E. Deo (Southwestern), Investigating Pandemic Effects on Legal Academia, 89 Fordham L. Rev. 2467 (2021):

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June 19, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Gender And Institutional Bias In The Publication Process

Fulya Y. Ersoy (Loyola Marymount) & Jennifer Pate (Loyola Marymount), Invisible Hurdles: Gender and Institutional Bias in the Publication Process in Economics:

Tenure decisions in economics are strongly tied to the quantity and quality of publications in peer-reviewed journals. We examine whether female economists and economists at lower- ranked institutions face discrimination in the publication process. To do so, we conduct an experiment with the editors of top 100 journals in economics. Editors were tasked with evaluating the quality of abstracts for various solo-authored papers. The papers vary along the dimensions of gender and institution rank of the author. The experimental variation is whether editors observe name and/or institution of the author. We find that there is positive institutional bias for economists in the top institutions. However, once the name of the author is visible in addition to the institution information, this positive institutional bias only applies to male authors. Hence, institution serves as a signal for quality of work for men, but not for women.

Inside Higher Ed, Gender, Institutions and Bias:

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June 19, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, June 18, 2021

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

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June 18, 2021 in Legal Education, Scott Fruehwald, Weekly Legal Ed Roundup | Permalink

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Monday, June 21: David Hasen (Florida; Google Scholar) will present Forget (Arguing About) Redistribution virtually at Florida as part of its Summer Virtual Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Charlene Luke.

Friday, June 18: Stefan Hammerl (Graz) & Lily Zechner (Graz) will present Taxing Profit and Consumption in Market Jurisdictions: Equity and Administrability in the Digital Era virtually as part of the Indiana|Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman or Leopoldo Parada.

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June 18, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

White Male Prof Sues Denver Law School For Gender Bias

Bloomberg Law, Male Law School Trial Advocacy Director Sues Alleging Bias:

SchottThe director of the Center for Advocacy at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law says in a new suit in federal court that, because of his gender, debunked allegations of sex discrimination were wrongly used against him to delay consideration of the renewal of his teaching contract.

David Schott says the sex discrimination ensued after Viva Moffat, the associate dean of Academic Affairs, told him in 2016 that she didn’t “want to see white men teaching anymore in the Center for Advocacy,” a comment he immediately reported to Bruce Smith, the dean of the law school.

Schott, who is White, says “he felt pressure not to hire white men to teach” at the center, even when they were the most qualified applicants.

He was also soon “the target of a steady barrage of adverse actions and false statements that have damaged his reputation and violated the terms of his employment contract” that were “largely orchestrated by Moffat, but with at least the tacit support of Smith,” the suit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado alleges.

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June 18, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

What I Learned About Teaching Law By Being An Art Student

Michael Thomas Colatrella Jr. (Pacific), What I Learned about Teaching Law by Being an Art Student:

This article relates lessons that I learned about teaching law from my time as an art student in an atelier system that are supported by science-based pedagogical best practices. 

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June 18, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Academic Law Libraries And Legal Education: A Primer For Deans And Provosts

Academic Law Libraries Within the Changing Landscape of Legal Education: A Primer for Deans and Provosts (Joan S. Howland (Minnesota), Scott B. Pagel (George Washington) &  Michelle M. Wu (Georgetown) eds., 2020) (2021 Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award):

LibraryIn a world where technology advances appear daily, deans and provosts often have questions about law libraries, their purposes, and whether technological innovations should lead to changes in library spaces, collections, and/or services. This book seeks to answer those questions, which came straight from deans, examining the factors involved in an analysis of what a community needs from their library, and demonstrating why the answer to these questions might vary from library to library.

The commentaries by multiple directors will be useful to highlight different approaches in analysis as well as changing cultures in law libraries. This valuable title will be of help to newer and experienced law library directors, law school deans, and university provosts (where the university has a law school).


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June 17, 2021 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Affirmative Action And The Leadership Pipeline

Joni Hersch (Vanderbilt), Affirmative Action and the Leadership Pipeline, 96 Tul. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

Race-conscious affirmative action in higher education admissions is currently permitted in order for universities to meet their compelling interest in pursuing the educational benefits of a diverse student body. But the legality of affirmative action, which plays a prominent role in creating a diverse student body at elite educational institutions, is under attack. I develop and provide an empirical basis for an expanded understanding of the educational benefits provided by affirmative action: namely, of fostering a pipeline of future societal leaders and professionals. Using data on nearly 500,000 college graduates, I demonstrate that the likelihood of earning a professional or graduate degree—an outcome that is closely linked to employment in influential positions—drops off dramatically in the universities attended by the majority of college graduates, as compared with elite universities that use affirmative action. Further, race is a relatively unimportant predictor of professional or graduate degree attainment among graduates of similarly elite schools. Curtailing race-conscious affirmative action would thereby exclude many students from underrepresented minority groups who would successfully earn professional and graduate degrees—and later, enter into influential positions that shape society.

Bloomberg Law, Why Big Law Has a Stake in the Harvard Admissions Case:

Economist Joni Hersch ... [argues] that affirmative action is critical to achieving diversity in the professions and society at large. Her thesis is that elite undergraduate schools feed elite professional schools, and that considering race in admission to undergraduate institutions is vital to sustaining a diverse pipeline. ...

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June 17, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Assessing Affirmative Action's Diversity Rationale: Student-Run Law Reviews

Adam Chilton (Chicago; Google Scholar), Justin Driver (Yale), Jonathan S. Masur (Chicago; Google Scholar) & Kyle Rozema (Washington University; Google Scholar), Assessing Affirmative Action's Diversity Rationale, 122 Colum. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

Columbia Law ReviewEver since Justice Lewis Powell’s concurring opinion in Bakke made diversity in higher education a constitutionally acceptable rationale for affirmative action programs in 1978, the diversity rationale has received vehement criticism from across the ideological spectrum. Critics on the right have argued that efforts to attain diversity will necessarily lead to lower quality results, as “less meritorious” applicants are selected in place of people with ostensibly stronger qualifications. Critics on the left have charged that diversity is a “subterfuge” and an empty formulation. On the diversity rationale’s legitimacy, then, it would seem that there is precious little diversity of thought. In particular, prominent scholars and jurists have frequently cast doubt on the diversity rationale’s empirical foundations, claiming that it is a mere hypothesis, and an implausible, unsupported one at that. This critique has made its way into the pages of the United States Reports, and it threatens the foundations upon which affirmative action rests.

To assess the diversity rationale, we conduct an empirical study of student-run law reviews.

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June 17, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates, by R.R. Reno (First Things):

I’m not inclined to hire a graduate from one of America’s elite universities. That marks a change. A decade ago I relished the opportunity to employ talented graduates of Princeton, Yale, Harvard and the rest. Today? Not so much.

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June 17, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

AccessLex & Gallup: Law School In A Pandemic — Student Perspectives On Distance Learning And Lessons For The Future

AccessLex & Gallup, Law School in a Pandemic: Student Perspectives on Distance Learning and Lessons for the Future:

In spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced law schools across the U.S. to shift their programs completely online. Prior to the pandemic, no American Bar Association-accredited law school offered a fully online degree program, and fewer than ten offered hybrid programs. As a result, even if their universities had the infrastructure to support the migration of their courses to an online platform, faculty may not have had the experience needed to make such a rapid transition. Moreover, few students had any exposure to — let alone a preference for — an online legal education.

To quantify the impact of these challenges on law students' education, AccessLex partnered with Gallup to produce Law School in a Pandemic: Student Perspectives on Distance Learning and Lessons for the Future, a nationally representative study of currently-enrolled U.S. law students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research finds that while law students report a strong preference for in-person education, there are several indications that this unprecedented period of emergency remote teaching may provide a useful foundation for future distance learning J.D. programs.

Less Than Half of Online J.D. Students Say Program Was Good or Excellent
The format of the courses had a noticeable impact on how students viewed the quality of their program. Just under half (48%) of students who learned mostly or completely online in spring 2021 rated their J.D. program as "good" or "excellent." In contrast, 73% of students who were learning mostly or completely in person said the same.

Access Lex Gallup 1

While students attending primarily in person were more positive than online students about the quality of their program, the data suggest the pre-pandemic experiences of 2L and 3L students may have influenced their perceptions of the overall quality of their program.

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June 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times: Law Schools Scramble To Get Incoming 1Ls To Defer; Columbia Offers $30k, Duke Offers $5K

New York Times, Law Schools Scramble for Deferrals:

In the most competitive year in recent memory, some schools are offering incentives to ease their over-enrolled classes. ...

Too many law students?
Law schools experienced a surge in applicants over the past year, driven by a mixture of factors, including the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Perhaps the biggest driver, however, was a spike in LSAT scores: Applicants took a shorter version of the admissions test, which was administered online, and had more time to study during pandemic lockdowns. ...

To ease the load, many schools have promised that scholarships will be in place for students if they choose to defer. A few are offering financial incentives. Duke promised $5,000 to students who accepted a “binding deferral” and promised to go next year.

Columbia University also dangled money in front of some students: $30,000 if they deferred. The school focused on recent graduates and also offered some career placement help, like two sessions with a career counselor and a list of open jobs. ...

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June 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Stanford Law Review Call For Tax Articles

Stanford Law ReviewDear Tax Law Scholars,
My name is Saraphin Dhanani, and I am the Senior Articles Editor for Volume 74 of the Stanford Law Review.

The Stanford Law Review will begin accepting submissions through Scholastica for the fall term on July 15, 2021. We currently have 6-7 slots to fill this volume, and we are particularly interested in publishing pieces that focus on tax law. We strongly encourage you to submit your manuscript for consideration through our Scholastica portal. You can find more details about our submission process on our website. As in 2020, you must follow the Scholastica links on our website to reach our submission portal.

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June 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Law Professor’s Desk Reference: A Handbook For Work And Life In The Legal Academy

Jon M. Garon (Nova), Law Professor’s Desk Reference: A Handbook for Work and Life in the Legal Academy (2021):

Law ProfLaw Professor's Desk Reference serves as a how-to guide for faculty members, addressing the everyday issues that shape legal education as well as the growing external social and economic pressures reconceptualizing the study of law. Law school faculty members are expected to be legal scholars, effective teachers, and engaged institutional partners, but the information essential to develop these fundamentals skills has not been published in one single source, until now.

The book provides a foundation to help faculty develop the best practices for student learning and engagement. It provides an important summary of learning outcomes, formative assessment, summative assessment, course design, and the operational mechanics needed to be an effective classroom and online teacher.

The book offers faculty members a roadmap to develop meaningful scholarship with practical advice on how best to create a sustainable scholarly agenda. It explores the role faculty play in shared governance for their institutions. It addresses academic freedom, hiring procedures, tenure, and status issues. It also covers accreditation and various regulations on accessibility, accommodation requirements, Title IX, employment laws, plagiarism, and much more.

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June 16, 2021 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

New York State Bar Association Calls For State To Withdraw From Uniform Bar Exam

New York State Bar Association Calls for State To Withdraw From the Uniform Bar Exam:

NYSBAThe (NYSBA) Task Force on the New York Bar Exam is recommending that the state withdraw from the Uniform Bar Exam and develop its own bar admissions test so that attorneys have a better understanding of state law before being admitted to practice.

The task force’s recommendations were approved June 12 at a meeting of the association’s governing body, the House of Delegates.

“This would ensure that New York’s legal system would continue to be a national leader,” said NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown. “The task force recommendations outline a smart and achievable strategy for how the bar exam can be transformed to make sure newly admitted lawyers have a comprehensive grounding in New York law.”

NYSBA is calling on the New York Court of Appeals to appoint a working group that would, in conjunction with the Board of Law Examiners, develop a New York Bar Examination that is fair and equitable and encourages the study of New York law.

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June 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

16th Annual Junior Tax Scholars Workshop At San Diego

Junior Tax 2021

Ed Fox (Michigan) & Zachary Liscow (Yale) (presenting), A Mark-to-Market Tax on Businesses
Commentators: Daniel Schaffa (Richmond), Hillel Nadler (Program on International Financial Systems)

Hillel Nadler (Program on International Financial Systems), Taxing Zero
Commentators: Ed Fox (Michigan), Eleanor Wilking (Cornell)

Hayes Holderness (Richmond), Noncomparative Interstate Tax Discrimination
Commentators: Shelly Layser (Illinois), Andrew Appleby (Stetson)

Andrew Appleby (Stetson), Now You Can't Leave: State and Local Exit Taxes
Commentators: Christine Kim (Utah), Hayes Holderness (Richmond)

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June 15, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

U.S. News: The Ten Most Expensive Law Schools

U.S. News & World Report, 10 Most Expensive Law Schools:

Among the 191 ranked law schools that provided this data, the average tuition and fees for out-of-state students during the 2020-2021 school year was around $47,300. Costs were even higher among the 10 most expensive law schools, with an average cost of about $69,600.

Law School  Tuition & Fees U.S. News Rank
 1. Columbia $74,995 4
 2. NYU $71,304 6
 3. Cornell $70,274 13
 4. Chicago $69,975 4
 5. USC $68,828 19
 6.  Northwestern $68,800 12
 7. Virginia $68,500 8
 8. Pennsylvania $68,130 6
 9. Yale $68,117 1
 10. Michigan $67,198 10

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June 15, 2021 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

The Elephant In The Virtual Law Classroom: Different Perspectives But A Common Loss

Tiffany Perez (Miami), The Elephant in the Virtual Law Classroom: Different Perspectives but a Common Loss:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, law schools had to pivot to virtual legal education quickly. In the wake of the pandemic, scholars have eagerly written about the dos and don’ts of the virtual law classroom. Although some articles have represented the law students’ perspective and some have represented the law professor’s perspective, none have done both in an attempt to create empathy and bridge the gap between what students’ desire, and what law professors are currently providing, and what good virtual legal education requires. As such, based on several interviews with law professors and students, this Article begins by describing one online Contracts class first from the professor’s point of view and then from the student’s point of view. The professor and students’ different perceptions of the same class are then analogized to John Godfrey Saxe’s poem The Blind Men and the Elephant. Then, using the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle as a vehicle build empathy and understanding, this article attempts to demonstrate the similarities that exists between students and professors’ feelings about online virtual education, namely that both professors and students alike are avidly grieving a common loss: in-person, Socratic law school days of old.

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June 15, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Attorneys Of Color Reveal Alarmingly Higher Instances Of Mental Health Struggles, Attorneys of Color Reveal Alarmingly Higher Instances of Mental Health Struggles:

ALM’s 2021 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey laid out the caustic damage the pandemic has had on overall attorney well-being as the more than 3,200 respondents revealed clear upticks in depression and anxiety.

But when the data is broken down by race, it is apparent that the last year and a half has not equally affected everyone: Minority attorneys reported higher rates of suicidal thoughts, depression and isolation than their white colleagues, aligning with a previous study by the ABA, which also tied race to mental health outcomes.

Perhaps the most stark data point lies in the response to suicidal tendencies. Roughly 31% of Black respondents said they have contemplated suicide throughout their legal career, the highest among the racial groups.

About 20% of Asian attorneys and 23% of Hispanic and Latino attorneys have also said the same. By comparison, almost 19.4% of white attorneys say they have contemplated suicide.

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June 15, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Over 500 U.S. Colleges Will Require Students And/Or Faculty/Staff To Be Vaccinated For The Fall Semester

Chronicle of Higher Education, Here’s a List of Colleges That Will Require Students or Employees to Be Vaccinated Against Covid-19:

As colleges look toward the fall semester, they’re grappling with whether to require — or just strongly encourage — students to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Below is a map showing the locations of colleges that are requiring vaccines of at least some students or employees. The states are color-coded based on how each voted in the 2020 presidential election. That’s followed by a graphic showing the pace at which campuses have made their announcements. Below that is a searchable list of those campuses. Institutions that have said their requirement hinges upon full approval of one or more vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are included in this list.


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June 15, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Death Of Richard Bird (University Of Toronto)

Richard M. Bird, Professor Emeritus of Economic Analysis and Policy at the University of Toronto, died suddenly on Wednesday June 9, 2021, at the age of 82:

BirdHe will be deeply missed by his loving wife Marcia, his family (Paul, Sandra, Marta, Abbey) and his grandchildren (Austin, Spenser, Jack, James, Rose). At his request, a private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations to Doctors without Borders would be greatly appreciated. Sign the Guestbook.

From his Toronto faculty webpage:

Richard Bird is Professor Emeritus at Rotman; Senior Fellow of the Institute for Municipal Governance and Finance, Munk School of Global Affairs; Distinguished Visiting Professor, Andrew Young School of Public Policy in Atlanta; and Adjunct Professor, Australian School of Taxation and Business Law in Sydney. He has lectured and published extensively on tax and public finance issues in many countries. He currently chairs the Advisory Group of the International Centre for Tax and Development at the Institute for Development Studies (UK). 

Current research interests include tax policy, tax administration, local finance and intergovernmental fiscal relations particularly in developing countries.

His Google Scholar numbers are extraordinary:

Bird Citation Stats

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June 15, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Monday, June 14, 2021

LSAT Takers And Khan Academy Preparation

Gregory Camilli (LSAC), Kimberly Dustman (LSAC), & Ann Gallagher (LSAC), LSAT Takers and Khan Academy Preparation:

Khan Academy LSAT (2021Free online Law School Admission Test (LSAT) preparation resources from the Law School Admission Council and Khan Academy have been widely utilized by LSAT and LSAT-Flex test takers. In September 2020, nearly 70,000 individuals engaged with Khan Academy’s Official LSAT® Prep platform. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential effects of engagement on actual LSAT performance. Our analyses showed that a higher level of engagement (measured in terms of practice time and number of practice exams taken) was associated with higher performance on the LSAT. These results held not only for the overall population but also across multiple demographic subgroups. The results also showed that the performance of test takers with lower initial practice exam scores was associated with slightly higher LSAT score gains per practice minute, indicating that these students benefitted at least as much as students who scored higher initially.

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June 14, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Washington & Lee University Board Votes 22-6 To Keep Lee’s Name (Faculty Had Voted 188-51 To Remove It)

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  New York Times, Board of Washington and Lee University Votes to Keep Lee’s Name:

W&L University LogoWashington and Lee University, the private liberal arts school in Virginia, will not change its name after a monthslong review over whether to remove its reference to the Confederate general Robert E. Lee, the school announced on Friday.

The school’s board of trustees voted 22-6 on Friday in favor of keeping its current name, which developed as an acknowledgment of a donation given by George Washington in the 18th century and Lee’s tenure as school president after the Civil War. The vote came after a nearly yearlong review of the school’s name and the symbols connected to its history and campus surroundings in Lexington, Va.

Press Release, The Future of Washington and Lee University

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June 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Miami Searches For Interim Dean After Controversial Firing Of Tony Varona, Who Sought To Reduce Overhead Tax Law School Pays To University

Ediberto Roman (Florida International), More on Miami Law's Dean Firing Fiasco...:

[A] faculty committee at Miami is hurriedly soliciting internal and external candidates from faculty contacts for a one or two year interim dean position. One of the candidates approached told me that would be akin to crossing a picket line and academia is no more sacred a place than a field of grapes--either way it didn't feel right to that candidate.

Miami Herald, The Firing of UM’s Popular Law Dean Baffled the Legal Community. There Could Be Backlash:

The controversial firing of popular University of Miami School of Law Dean Anthony Varona could backfire on UM President Julio Frenk in his efforts to attract a top-notch dean and meet ambitious fundraising goals, say outraged alumni and faculty. ...

“This was such an out-of-order action, so odd and so sad that many qualified people will not apply for that job,” said Marc-Tizoc González, University of New Mexico law professor and chair of the Association for American Law Schools’ Section on Minority Groups, which wrote a scathing letter calling for an investigation of Varona’s termination.

“The applicant pool could be very small, which makes you wonder if there’s already someone lined up,’’ he added. “How will a new dean interact with professors and students when you’ve had an awkward removal of a stellar, well-liked dean, and the faculty members who would typically drive such a decision were not even consulted? How can a new dean successfully fund-raise given the time that will be lost and the anger of potential donors?” ...

The UM School of Law Academic Review Committee warned in a June 1 letter to Frenk that a new dean would be doomed in achieving Frenk’s own goal “to make Miami Law as strong and successful as it can be.” The independent panel of deans from three U.S. law schools — University of Houston, American University and Boston University — was selected by Provost Jeffrey Duerk to monitor the performance of Varona.

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June 14, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 13, 2021

It's Okay: God Is On The Bathroom Floor

Check out this award-winning performance Tuesday night on NBC's America's Got Talent of It's Okay by Jane Marczewski (stage name: Nightbirde), who is battling a very aggressive cancer with a 2% survival rate:

Nightbirde, God Is On The Bathroom Floor:

After the doctor told me I was dying, and after the man I married said he didn’t love me anymore, I chased a miracle in California ...  On nights that I could not sleep, I laid in the tub like an insect, staring at my reflection in the shower knob. I vomited until I was hollow. I rolled up under my robe on the tile. The bathroom floor became my place to hide, where I could scream and be ugly; where I could sob and spit and eventually doze off, happy to be asleep, even with my head on the toilet.

I have had cancer three times now, and I have barely passed thirty. There are times when I wonder what I must have done to deserve such a story. I fear sometimes that when I die and meet with God, that He will say I disappointed Him, or offended Him, or failed Him. Maybe He’ll say I just never learned the lesson, or that I wasn’t grateful enough. But one thing I know for sure is this: He can never say that He did not know me.

I am God’s downstairs neighbor, banging on the ceiling with a broomstick. I show up at His door every day. Sometimes with songs, sometimes with curses. Sometimes apologies, gifts, questions, demands. Sometimes I use my key under the mat to let myself in. Other times, I sulk outside until He opens the door to me Himself.

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June 13, 2021 in Legal Education | Permalink

Rising 2L Sues Law School, Says Required COVID-19 Vaccination Violates His Full Ride 'Unconditional' Scholarship

Universal Hub, Law Student Who Doesn't Want to Get a Covid-19 Shot Sues His School, Which Says He Has To:

New England Law Logo (2013)A student at New England Law says the school's policy that his attendance this fall is conditional on his showing proof of Covid-19 vaccination violates the "unconditional" scholarship he says he was awarded, so he's suing.

In his suit against the school and its president, Scott Brown, George Artem says Covid-19 shots are "experimental" and dangerous and he's just not going to put up with it. The school also requires proof of vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis-B; Artem did not raise those in his complaint, which he filed himself yesterday in US District Court in Boston.

In the complaint, Artem asks a judge to either force the school to stop the alleged nonsense or, in the alternative, pay him the full value of the scholarship he won, the costs of his moving cross country to attend a school in Boston and the lost income he otherwise make with a JD from New England Law.

Artem v. New England Law | Boston, Scott Brown in his official capacity as President and Dean (June 11, 2021):

On or about January 15, 2020, New England Law | Boston Chief Enrollment Officer offered Mr. Artem the Sandra Day O'Connor Scholarship, covering full tuition worth more than $152,000 with a "no strings attached" policy. ...

In significant reliance on the offer and acceptance of the unconditional Sandra Day O'Connor scholarship, Mr. Artem moved across the country from Seattle, WA to Boston, MA in the Summer of 2020 to attend New England Law | Boston. ...

[O]n May 14, 2021, Mr. Artem requested ethical, philosophical, or religious exemptions to any Sars-CoV- 2, COVID-19 requirements that may be part of the defendant's return to campus policy. ...

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June 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Kim Kardashian Fails California Baby Bar Exam For A Second Time; Her Score Dropped From 474 To 463 (560 Is Passing)

Following up on my previous post, Kim Kardashian Failed California Baby Bar Exam; Her 474 Score Was 'Extremely Close' To 560 Passing Score:  New York Post Page Six, Kim Kardashian Failed the ‘Baby Bar’ For Second Time:

Will the third time be the charm?

Kim Kardashian revealed that she has again failed the “baby bar” exam, during Thursday night’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” finale.

“I failed! F–k! I failed,” the 40-year-old, who is going to law school online, told her lawyers on the phone about her second attempt at the test. “This is really annoying.”

The mom of four said her score was “pretty much the same thing … [but] a little bit worse” than the first time she took it and failed.

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June 13, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Dorothy Brown On The ProPublica Tax Report, Racial Justice, And The Gig Economy

Saturday, June 12, 2021

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

BigLaw First Year Associate Pay Rises To $200,000 $205,000

Applications From International Students Are Up 43%

Following up on my previous post, New International College Enrollments Plummet 43% Due To COVID-19 (Nov. 18, 2020):  Institute of International Education, COVID-19 Snapshot Survey Series: Preparing for the Future: The Path Forward for International Educational Exchange:

Applications and Enrollment of New International Students in Fall 2021
U.S. higher education institutions are motivated to reinvigorate student mobility after significant declines in 2020. Approximately 43% of responding institutions indicated an increase in their application numbers from 2020. This is in stark contrast to this time last year, when only 22% indicated growth. As of May 2020, over half (52%) of the reporting colleges and universities noted decreases in application numbers, whereas only 38% indicated a decline as of 2021. The remaining institutions noted similar numbers compared to last year. There were some differences by institutional type. For example, more than half of reporting doctoral universities (59%) noted an expected increase in applications. Conversely, most associate’s colleges (58%) reported declining applications.

International Students

Chronicle of Higher Education, After Deep Drops, International Applications Rebound, Survey Finds:

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June 12, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Cravath 'On Tax' Podcast: Kiran Sheffrin

The latest Cravath 'On Tax' Podcast features senior tax attorney Kiran Sheffrin:

Cravath on TaxKiran Sheffrin is a senior attorney in Cravath’s Tax Department. In this episode of On Tax, she talks to Cravath partner and colleague Len Teti about how she has always wanted to be a lawyer; the opportunities she pursued while a student at Brooklyn Law School (and how Rebecca Kysar mentored her); and how she has embraced her role as a mentor, guiding junior associates much in the same way that she was brought up at the Firm.

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June 12, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Friday, June 11, 2021

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshop

Titus PresentsTax Policy For Developing Countries Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Afton Titus (Cape Town; Google Scholar) presents Tax Policy for the Future of Developing Countries: The Synergies Between Covid-19 and Automation virtually today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

TitusThe COVID-19 global pandemic has devastated economies around the world – an impact which is miniscule compared to the toll it has taken on human lives. Daring to see that something good may come from this tragedy, this paper argues that there are clear synergies to be drawn between the health measures required as a consequence of the global pandemic and the opportunities offered by automation and digital technologies. It is further argued that the tax policies adopted to check the impact of COVID-19 may be adapted to better harness the
potential prospect of improved productivity that automation offers.

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June 11, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Alstott Discusses Building A Law And Political Economy Framework: Beyond The 20th-Century Synthesis Virtually Today At The Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs: Tax Meets Non-Tax Series

Anne Alstott (Yale) provides commentary on Jedediah Britton-Purdy (Columbia), David Singh Grewal (UC-Berkeley), Amy Kapczynski (Yale) & Sabeel K. Rahman (Brooklyn), Building a Law-and-Political-Economy Framework: Beyond the Twentieth-Century Synthesis, 129 Yale L.J. 1784 (2020), virtually today at the Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs: Tax Meets Non-Tax Series hosted by Tsilly Dagan and Ruth Mason. Here is the abstract of the article:

Alstott_anne_ala23-2017We live in a time of interrelated crises. Economic inequality and precarity, and crises of democracy, climate change, and more raise significant challenges for legal scholarship and thought. “Neoliberal” premises undergird many fields of law and have helped authorize policies and practices that reaffirm the inequities of the current era. In particular, market efficiency, neutrality, and formal equality have rendered key kinds of power invisible, and generated a skepticism of democratic politics. The result of these presumptions is what we call the Twentieth-Century Synthesis: a pervasive view of law that encases “the market” from claims of justice and conceals it from analyses of power.

This Feature offers a framework for identifying and critiquing the Twentieth-Century Synthesis. This is also a framework for a new “law-and-political-economy approach” to legal scholarship. We hope to help amplify and catalyze scholarship and pedagogy that place themes of power, equality, and democracy at the center of legal scholarship.

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June 11, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink