Paul L. Caron

Monday, January 10, 2022

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 9, 2022

NY Times Op-Ed: 10 New Year’s Resolutions That Are Good For The Soul

New York Times op-ed:  10 New Year’s Resolutions That Are Good for the Soul, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3I accomplished zero percent of my New Year’s resolutions last year. I’m obviously no sage of discipline. But I’d argue that the chief value of resolutions is not found in our success or failure at keeping them. Instead, they help us reflect on what our lives are like, what we would like them to be like and what practices might bridge the difference. There is goodness then in the very process of making resolutions. There is hope in the idea that we can change — that we can keep growing, learning and trying new things. This hope of renewal is the point of resolutions for me.

For 2022, I became curious about what resolutions I might adopt that would help my soul. The practice of spiritual resolutions is not new. In the 18th century, Jonathan Edwards, known for his fiery sermons and his mention in “Hamilton” as Aaron Burr’s grandfather — the “fire and brimstone preacha (preacha, preacha)” — made a list of spiritual resolutions and reviewed them weekly.

They began, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions.”

So with Edwards’s caveat and prayer as my own, I asked for help in thinking about resolutions that would benefit our souls, as individuals, or that would help the “soul” of our nation and our world. I asked friends who are pastors, writers, scholars and spiritual leaders to offer suggested “reSOULutions” for 2022.

Here were some of the many responses I received: ...

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January 9, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: What I Learned About Death From 7 Religious Scholars, 1 Atheist, And My Father

New York Times op-ed:  What I Learned About Death From 7 Religious Scholars, 1 Atheist and My Father, by George Yancy (Emory):

YancyJust a few days before my father died in 2014, I asked him a question some might find insensitive or inappropriate:

“So, what are your thoughts now about dying?”

We were in the hospital. My father had not spoken much at all that day. He was under the influence of painkillers and had begun the active stage of dying.

He mustered all of his energy to give me his answer. “It’s too complex,” he said.

They were his final spoken words to me before he died. I had anticipated something more pensive, something more drawn-out. But they were consistent with our mutual grappling with the meaning of death. Until the very end, he spoke with honesty, courage and wisdom.

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January 9, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

AALS Hosts Three Four Virtual Tax Events Today

AALS (2018)11:00 am ET:  The Promise and Pitfalls of the Global Tax Deal:

In October 2021, 136 countries struck a ground-breaking tax deal for the digital age. This panel will discuss the proposed two-pillar tax system from the perspective of the United States, the EU, and other regions, what these two pillars do, the likely approaches in many countries, practical concerns, and the impact on existing measures, such as DSTs, tax treaties, 15% global minimum tax, GILTI, BEAT, Subpart F, and foreign tax credit rules.

  • Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah) (moderator)
  • Steven Dean (Brooklyn)
  • Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)
  • Susan Morse (Texas)
  • Diane Ring (Boston College)

11:00 am ETNonprofit and Philanthropy Law:

Nonprofit organizations engage in discriminatory practices without losing their tax-exempt status. However, tax law may be used as a powerful tool to eradicate institutional discrimination among nonprofit organizations. This panel will explore nonprofit organizations and discriminatory practices, almost forty years after the landmark Bob Jones University v. U.S. case. In this decision, the Supreme Court held that the IRS may deny tax-exempt status to institutions whose policies violate “fundamental public policy,” even if those policies are allegedly based on religious beliefs. The panel will address the legacy of this decision today in educational, religious, and broader settings.

  • Khrista McCarden (Tulane) (moderator)
  • Samuel Brunson (Loyola-Chicago)
  • JoAnne Epps (Temple)
  • Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer (Notre Dame)

2:00 pm ETSocial Networking Session:

Take a break from formal programming and join your colleagues from the Section on Taxation for informal conversation.

  • Adam Thimmesch (Nebraska) (Incoming Chair)
  • Kathleen Delaney Thomas (Chair)

4:45 pm ETNew Voices in Taxation:

This program will feature works in progress by three emerging tax scholars, each of whom will be paired with a senior tax scholar discussant.

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January 9, 2022 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Saturday, January 8, 2022

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Kuehn: Shifting Law School Faculty Demographics

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Shifting Law School Faculty Demographics, by Robert Kuehn (Washington University; Google Scholar):

In 1980, one-third of law students and only 14% of all law teachers were female, and a mere 9% of students and 4% of faculty were identified as non-white. Today, law faculties are more diverse by gender and race/ethnicity. Yet, the demographics of faculty subgroups diverge widely and, importantly, faculty remain less diverse than their students.

Focusing principally on law clinic and field placement teachers (full time, excluding fellows), over two-thirds identified as female (cis or trans) in the latest 2019-20 Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE) survey. The graph below reflects a trend of increasingly female clinical faculty beginning in the late 1980s/early 1990s and continuing through all five tri-annual CSALE surveys:[1]

Kuehn 1B

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January 8, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Third-Party Sexual Harassment: The Challenge Of Title IX Obligations For Law School Clinics

Ty Alper (UC-Berkeley), Third-Party Sexual Harassment: The Challenge of Title IX Obligations for Law School Clinics, 96 Wash. L. Rev. 1 (2021):

Washington Law ReviewLaw faculty who teach and train students in clinical settings regularly expose students to the potential for sexual harassment. Because clinics involve actual cases in real-world contexts, students may encounter sexual harassment from third parties such as clients, witnesses, and judges. Do faculty who tolerate this exposure run afoul of their obligations under Title IX to stop and remedy sexual harassment about which they are, or should be, aware?

This Article is the first to identify and propose a method for addressing a phenomenon that strikes at the intersection of three sets of priorities for clinical faculty: duty to serve the client, duty to educate the student, and duty to protect the student. When a law student may face sexual harassment from a third party in the course of representing a client, the values underlying those priorities are in tension and admit no obvious solution; some remedies that Title IX arguably requires are, in many cases, impossible to square with the duties of loyalty and zealousness owed to a clinical client, not to mention the educational goals of the clinic.

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January 8, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, January 7, 2022

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Next Week’s Tax Workshop

Next Week's Tax Workshops - twitterWednesday, January 12: Dominic De Cogan (Cambridge) will present The Unaccountability of Tax Devolution: A Case Study of Business Rates as part of the Toronto James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Robert Lines.

For individual tax workshop posts, see here.

January 7, 2022 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

2022 Princeton Review Law School Rankings: Academic Experience

Update2022 Princeton Review Law School Rankings: Overall Ranking

Princeton Review

I previously blogged the lists of the Top 5 law schools in fourteen categories in the 2022 edition of the Princeton Review's Best Law Schools. In a series of posts, I will highlight the Top 50 schools in the five categories for which the Princeton Review provides individual law school data:

Academic Experience:  This rating measures the quality of the school's learning environment on a scale of 60 to 99. Factors taken into consideration include the Admissions Selectivity Rating, as well as how students rate each of the following: the quality of teaching and the accessibility of their professors, the research resources at their school, the range of available courses, the balance of curricular emphasis on legal theory and practical lawyering, the tolerance for diverse opinions in the classroom, and the degree of intellectual challenge that the coursework presents.

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January 7, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Pepperdine Symposium: Wealth And Inequality

Pepperdine Symposium

Symposium, Wealth and Inequality, 48 Pepp. L. Rev. 875-1129 (2021):

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January 7, 2022 in Conferences, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Acceptance Rates Dropped By 34% At Most Prestigious Law Schools

Following up on my previous post, Law School Rankings By Fall 2021 Acceptance Rate:  preLaw, Law School Acceptance Rates Dropped by 34% at Most Prestigious Schools:

More than half of ABA-accredited law schools lowered their acceptance rate by 10% or more this past year, according to new data released by the American Bar Association. The median acceptance rate for all law schools dropped by 10% from 45.3% to 40.8%. But the change was far more dramatic for the nation’s most prestigious schools.

The 15 law schools with acceptance rates below 15% dropped by 34.9% from an average of 17% to 11.1%.

Harvard Law School saw the greatest percent decline in its acceptance rate, dropping from 13% to 6.9%, for a 46.9% decline. Yale Law School recorded the lowest acceptance rate at just 4.1%. That was down from 7.4% from the year before. ...

Acceptance Rate

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January 7, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Toussaint: Monuments Of American Sorrow

Etienne C. Toussaint (South Carolina; Google Scholar), Monuments of American Sorrow, 69 UCLA L. Rev. Disc. 128 (2021):

The COVID-19 pandemic not only exposed the socio-political and economic hardships that plague vulnerable communities across the United States, but it also challenged academicians with caregiving responsibilities. Teaching from home threatened the very notion of work-life balance. Compounding these pressures, faculty members were tasked with teaching online amidst the traumas of the continued police killings of unarmed Black people, the unanswered demands of Black Lives Matter protestors, the divisive rhetoric of a contentious presidential election, and the concentrated health effects of the coronavirus in low-income and minoritized communities nationwide. This Essay argues that such trauma weighs heavily on Black and other racially and ethnically minoritized law faculty who must balance teaching a legal doctrine that is often portrayed as neutral and colorblind, yet in many instances defines their very marginality, both inside and outside of the classroom.

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January 6, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Assessing Heinonline As A Source Of Scholarly Impact Metrics

Karen L. Wallace (Drake; Google Scholar), Rebecca Lutkenhaus (Drake; Google Scholar) & David B. Hanson (Drake), Assessing Heinonline as a Source of Scholarly Impact Metrics:

HeinAfter the February 2019 U.S. News & World Report announcement of a planned law school scholarly impact ranking based on HeinOnline data, law schools accelerated efforts to ensure that HeinOnline captured their faculty’s work product and citations to these publications as accurately and completely as possible. In summer 2021, U.S. News abandoned its plans, but the endeavors undertaken by law schools during the two and a half years the proposal was live, reveal much about the scope and accuracy of HeinOnline ScholarCheck metrics, as well as the power U.S. News exerts over law schools. This article notes some of the actions law libraries pursued during that period, specifically detailing an extensive citation analysis project conducted by the Drake Law Library. This study found that HeinOnline missed a significant rate of available citations (14.6 percent) in their ScholarCheck service, and it provides anecdotal data on some common HeinOnline citation-matching errors responsible for the missing citations. Hein was quite amenable to correcting ScholarCheck errors, but the process was somewhat slow and incomplete, likely due to a surge in submitted corrections after the U.S. News announcement.

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January 6, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

2022 Princeton Review Law School Rankings: Admissions Selectivity

Update2022 Princeton Review Law School Rankings: Overall Ranking

Princeton Review

I previously blogged the lists of the Top 5 law schools in fourteen categories in the 2022 edition of the Princeton Review's Best Law Schools. In a series of posts, I will highlight the Top 50 schools in the five categories for which the Princeton Review provides individual law school data:

Admissions Selectivity:  This rating measures the competitiveness of admissions at each law school on a scale of 60–99. Factors taken into consideration include the median LSAT score and undergraduate GPA of entering 1L students, the percentage of applicants who are accepted, and the percentage of applicants who are accepted and ultimately enroll. 

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January 6, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Tax: One Of The 20 Hottest Law Jobs For The Next Decade

20 Hottest Law Jobs

The 20 Hottest Law Jobs for the Next Decade, Nat'l Jurist, Fall 2021, at 18:

[I]t’s hard to predict which areas of law will become most in demand, because it’s hard to predict where society is headed. ... We turned to top experts, the three authors of Law Jobs: The Complete Guide, to get their opinions on which fields show the most promise. ... The authors are: Andrew McClurg, professor emeritus of The University of Memphis - Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law; Christine Nero Coughlin, a professor at Wake Forest University School of Law; and Nancy Levit, a professor at University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law. They offer personal and professional advice on the 20 hottest practice areas. ...

Tax LawMartin Ginsburg, a tax lawyer, a beloved tax law professor and the [late husband of former]  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, once famously said: “Basic tax, as everyone knows, is the only genuinely funny subject in law school.”

Tax lawyers assure us that tax law can be “genuinely funny.” While we may find that questionable, there is no question that tax law is hot. Tax lawyers help evaluate how changes in the tax law affect individuals and businesses. Given the changes to the tax code under the Trump administration and the shifting policies in the Biden administration, tax lawyers are in high demand.

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January 6, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Penn Law Dean Ruger Responds To Comments Made By Professor Wax


A Statement From Dean Ruger in Response to Recent Comments Made by Professor Wax:

Penn Law (2020)Once again, Amy Wax has, through her thoroughly anti-intellectual and racist comments denigrating Asian immigrants, underscored a fundamental tension around harmful speech at American universities. Like all racist generalizations, Wax’s recent comments inflict harm by perpetuating stereotypes and placing differential burdens on Asian students, faculty, and staff to carry the weight of this vitriol and bias. Yet Wax makes these statements as a faculty member with tenure, a status that has done, and continues to do, important work in protecting the voices of scholars on a range of controversial topics including those who are actively challenging racism, sexism, and other inequities in society. The same academic freedom principles that permit current scholars to engage in critical and overdue analysis of this nation’s historical and structural discrimination — despite zealous efforts to censor such speech by some — also apply to faculty like Wax who voice xenophobic and white supremacist views.

That Wax’s speech may be protected does not permit this Law School to ignore the real harms such speech causes. As we have previously emphasized, Wax’s views are diametrically opposed to the policies and ethos of this institution. They serve as a persistent and tangible reminder that racism, sexism, and xenophobia are not theoretical abstractions but are real and insidious beliefs in this country and in our building. This reality sharpens and deepens our commitment to support our community as we continue to work to advance equity and inclusion.

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January 6, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The 26 Law Schools With Tuition Discount Rates Greater Than 50%

Law School Scholarships: Who Gives the Most?, Nat'l Jurist, Fall 2021, at 15:

The percentage of students getting scholarships rose from 50% in 2011 to nearly 80% by 2020. And the dollar figure — an average of more than $25,000 last year for private schools — continues to grow, according to a National Jurist Magazine analysis.

Indeed, annual net tuition — the amount remaining to be paid after scholarships have been subtracted — has been trending downward for years. At private law schools, it went from $30,278 in 2015 to $29,051 in 2020, which is an 8.5% drop when inflation is accounted for, according to the National Jurist analysis. This has happened even though actual tuition — the sticker price — has gone up.

Here are the 26 law schools with tuition discount rates over 50%:

Tuition Discount Over 50 Percent 3

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January 5, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

A Tale Of Two Law School Admissions Seasons: 2021 (Up 13%), 2022 (Down 5%, So Far)

Reuters, 2021 Was the Year Everyone Wanted to go to Law School:

When it comes to law school admissions, 2021 was one for the record books.

The number of applicants vying to be first-year law students this fall jumped 13%—the biggest year-over-year increase since 2002. That translated to 12% more 1Ls showing up on campus.

Law School Admission Test scores also shot up, with more than double the number of applicants scoring in the highest band of 175 to 180. As a result, the median LSAT score among the new classes at nearly every law school went up, with some jumping by a previously unheard of three points.

Andy Cornblatt, dean of admissions at Georgetown University Law Center, said the 2021 cycle was a “perfect storm” of the pandemic and current events pushing people to apply to law school., With Applications for 2022 'Robust' So Far, Some Law Schools Eye Fewer Enrollments:

[T]he most recent figures show a 4.7% year-over-year decline in applicants. ...

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January 5, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

AALS Hosts Virtual Panel Today On Tax Policy In The New Administration: Priorities And Opportunities

The AALS Tax Section hosts a Zoom panel today on Tax Policy In The New Administration:  Priorities And Opportunities at 11:00 AM ET:

AALS (2018)President Biden’s administration has proposed a broad tax reform agenda aimed at providing middle and lower income tax relief and curtailing tax abuse. This panel will bring together experts from across the country to examine priorities and opportunities for reform. Topics covered will include: advancing racial equity in the tax system, IRS enforcement, global digital taxation, the American Families Plan, and other tax relief efforts.


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January 5, 2022 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink

2022 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2022 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

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


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

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January 5, 2022 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink

Sarah Lawsky Named Vice-Dean At Northwestern

Sarah Lawsky, Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Stanford Clinton Sr. and Zylpha Kilbride Clinton Research Professor of Law, has been promoted to Vice Dean at Northwestern:

LawskyLawsky’s promotion from Associate Dean of Academic Programs to Vice Dean allows her to provide strategic leadership across numerous areas of the Law School. “This promotion acknowledges Dean Lawsky’s tremendous work and the breadth of leadership that she has taken on this fall,” Osofsky said. “Her insights paired with the hard work needed to advance needed action are invaluable, and I am grateful for her leadership and our partnership.”

“I’m excited to continue the work that I’ve focused on previously, like curriculum and academic programs, and also for the opportunity to engage in new ways with the faculty, staff, and students, all of whom make Northwestern Pritzker Law the thriving community that it is,” Lawsky said. “I’m grateful to Dean Osofsky, and I am looking forward to working with her in my new role.”

Sarah's recent tax articles include:

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January 5, 2022 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

TaxProf Blog 2021 Traffic Data

For the second consecutive year, TaxProf Blog recorded over 20 million pages views in 2021:

TaxProf Blog Traffic 1

My top demographic is ages 25-34, and the gender breakdown is 63% female and 37% male:

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January 4, 2022 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Whittington: The Value Of Ideological Diversity Among University Faculty

Keith E. Whittington (Princeton), The Value of Ideological Diversity Among University Faculty, 37 Soc. Phil. & Pol'y 90 (2021):

Conservatives in the United States have grown increasingly critical of universities and their faculty, convinced that professors are ideologues from the political left. Universities, for their part, have increasingly adopted a mantra of diversity and inclusivity, but have shown little interest in diversifying the political and ideological profile of their faculties. This essay argues that the lack of political diversity among American university faculty hampers the ability of universities to fulfill their core mission of advancing and dissemination knowledge. The argument is advanced through a series of four questions: Is it true that university faculty are not ideologically diverse? Why might it be true? Does it matter? How might it be fixed?

Keith E. Whittington (Princeton), The Value of Ideological Diversity in Academia:

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January 4, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Organ: Evaluating Fall 2021 First-Year Enrollment Through The Lens Of 2024 Employment Outcomes

With the ABA’s posting of the 2021 Standard 509 Reports, we have the ability to compare first-year enrollment for 2020 and 2021.  In compiling the information for this blog posting I used the data in the First-Year Class spreadsheets for 2020 and 2021.

First-year enrollment increased by 9.5% in 2021 from 2020, going from roughly 38,100 to roughly 41,700, an increase of roughly 3,600. (This calculation excludes Florida Coastal from the 2020 tally as Florida Coastal did not welcome a 2021 entering class.) As shown in Chart 1, this is the first significant increase in first-year enrollment since 2010 and represents the largest first-year class since the 2012-13 academic year (with 42,900 first-years). It also breaks an eight-year run in which first-year enrollment was under 40,000.


Screenshot 2022-01-03 112537

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January 4, 2022 in Jerry Organ, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Princeton Review's Best 168 Law Schools (2022 Edition)

Update2022 Princeton Review Law School Rankings: Overall Ranking

Princeton ReviewThe Princeton Review has published the 2022 edition of The Best 168 Law Schools (press release) (FAQs) (methodology):

The Princeton Review’s lists ... name the top 10 law schools in 14 categories. The company tallied the lists based on data from its surveys of 15,000 students attending 168 law schools [an average of 89 per school] in the U.S., and of administrators at the schools. ... The Princeton Review's student survey for this project asked students to rate their law schools on dozens of topics and report on their experiences at the schools. The administrator survey collected data on everything from admission requirements, academic offerings, and financial aid to facts about enrolled students and information on graduates' employment. Of the 14 categories of ranking lists, The Princeton Review tallied six lists based on student- and administrator-reported data. Five lists were based solely on student data, and three solely on administrator data.

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).

  1. Virginia
  2. Vanderbilt
  3. Florida State
  4. Samford
  5. Penn

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. Chicago
  3. Duke
  4. Washington & Lee
  5. Stanford

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January 4, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Emory Law Journal Revokes Acceptance Of Larry Alexander's Race-Related Essay In Festschrift Honoring Michael Perry; Other Authors Pull Their Essays


Gail Heriot (San Diego), The Emory Law Journal Finds My Distinguished Colleague's Words “Hurtful and Unnecessarily Divisive” (also here):

Emory Law JournalBeing a conservative can make it a little harder to get one’s articles published in a traditional law review. And if one is writing about race or sex, it can be quite a bit harder. (I don’t even try; I go straight for one of the four specialty law reviews that were founded in part for the purpose of ensuring that articles by conservative scholars get published.)

I was therefore pleased to learn that my colleague Larry Alexander—one of the University of San Diego’s Warren Distinguished Professors of Law—had been invited to write for the Emory Law Journal and that Larry had chosen to write on a race-related theme.

But it was not to be. After offering to publish Larry's essay (which was for a Festschrift for Professor Michael Perry) and then trying to edit away the meat of his argument, the ELJ has now withdrawn its acceptance.

Editor-in-Chief Danielle Kerker sent an ultimatum to Larry: Either “greatly revise” the essay or the ELJ will have to “withdraw[] our publication offer.” Larry understood how destructive to academic values it would be to cower under such pressure. He declined to revise the article.  Good for him.

Kerker wrote that the ELJ Executive Board had “unanimously stated they do not feel comfortable publishing this piece as written.”  “We take issue with your conversation on systemic racism, finding your words hurtful and unnecessarily divisive.” ...

I suspect the real beef the ELJ Executive Board has with the essay is that Larry explicitly stated that racism isn’t the problem today.

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January 4, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, January 3, 2022

The Top 10 Legal Education Posts Of 2021

ABA Proposes Changes To Diversity And Inclusion Accreditation Standard

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  In a 12-page December 16 memo, Leo Martinez (Council Chair) and William Adams (Managing Director of Accreditation and Legal Education) reported that at its meeting held on November 18-19, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved for Notice and Comment proposed revisions to Standard 206: Diversity and Inclusion:

ABA Legal Ed (2021)Section 2: Revisions to Standard 206
Revisions to Standard 206: Diversity and Inclusion
Explanation: Revised Standard 206 aims to achieve the effective educational use of diversity, the compelling state interest recognized in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), Fisher v. University of Texas, 570 U.S. 297 (2013) (Fisher I), and Fisher v. University of Texas, 136 S. Ct. 2198 (2016) (Fisher II). Subsection (a) outlines three things a law school must provide in service of this goal, related respectively to the student body, faculty and staff, and an inclusive and equitable environment.

Subsection (a)(1) requires a school to provide full access to the study of law and membership in the profession to all persons but focuses particularly on underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity. This focus acknowledges the unique historical injustices and contemporary challenges faced by those groups. Subsection (a)(2) requires a school to include members of underrepresented groups in its faculty and staff, but again requires a particular focus on underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity. Subsection (a)(3) requires an inclusive and equitable environment for a larger list of groups.

Subsection (b) indicates that subsections (a)(1) and (2) will be enforced through analysis of data collected by the law school through the ABA Annual Questionnaire (AQ). However, the law school is required to publish the data already collected to ensure public scrutiny of its progress in meeting the Standard.

Subsection (c) focuses on the enforcement of Subsection (a)(3) by requiring an annual assessment of the inclusivity and equity of a law school’s educational environment. The law school is required to provide the results of this assessment (which could be a law school climate survey, the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), or similar assessment mechanism) to the faculty and to the Council upon request and is required to take concrete actions to address any deficiencies.

Several interpretations are newly added or substantially revised. In Interpretation 206-1, “underrepresented groups” and “faculty” are defined. Interpretation 206-2 further explains the concept of “effective educational use of diversity.” Interpretation 206-3 provides a non-exclusive list of concrete actions towards creating an inclusive and equitable environment. Interpretation 206-4 continues to provide that a religious school need not act inconsistently with the essential elements of its religious values and beliefs provided that its actions are protected by applicable law. Interpretation 206-5 clearly states that law schools in jurisdictions prohibiting the consideration of race or ethnicity in employment and admissions are not compelled by Standard 206 to consider race and ethnicity in those decisions. Interpretation 206-6 protects academic freedom by clarifying that schools need not prohibit or censure academic discussion of ideas that may be controversial or offensive to some.

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January 3, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

ABA Proposes Changes To Distance Learning Accreditation Standard

In a 12-page December 16 memo, Leo Martinez (Council Chair) and William Adams (Managing Director of Accreditation and Legal Education) reported that at its meeting held on November 18-19, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved for Notice and Comment proposed revisions to Distance Education Definitions (7)-(8) and Standards 306 & 311(e):

ABA Legal Ed (2021)Section 1: Revisions to Distance Education Definitions (7)-(8) and Standards 306 & 311(e)
The Managing Director’s Office has received questions from law schools regarding what constitutes a distance education course and the credit hour limits on distance education. Also, the U.S. Department of Education (the “Department”) now has in effect a revised definition of “Distance Education,” which specifically defines what “substantive interaction” and “regular interaction” must include. Note: These revisions do not contemplate changes to the existing distance education credit limits at this time. 

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January 3, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Tim Keller: Growing My Faith In The Face Of Death

The Atlantic:  Growing My Faith in the Face of Death, by Timothy Keller (Founding Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City):

On DeathI have spent a good part of my life talking with people about the role of faith in the face of imminent death. Since I became an ordained Presbyterian minister in 1975, I have sat at countless bedsides, and occasionally even watched someone take their final breath. I recently wrote a small book, On Death, relating a lot of what I say to people in such times. But when, a little more than a month after that book was published, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I was still caught unprepared. ...

My wife, Kathy, and I spent much time in tears and disbelief. We were both turning 70, but felt strong, clear-minded, and capable of nearly all the things we have done for the past 50 years. “I thought we’d feel a lot older when we got to this age,” Kathy said. We had plenty of plans and lots of comforts, especially our children and grandchildren. We expected some illness to come and take us when we felt really old. But not now, not yet. This couldn’t be; what was God doing to us? The Bible, and especially the Psalms, gave voice to our feelings: “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?” “Wake up, O Lord. Why are you sleeping?” “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?”

A significant number of believers in God find their faith shaken or destroyed when they learn that they will die at a time and in a way that seems unfair to them. Before my diagnosis, I had seen this in people of many faiths. One woman with cancer told me years ago, “I’m not a believer anymore—that doesn’t work for me. I can’t believe in a personal God who would do something like this to me.” Cancer killed her God.

What would happen to me? I felt like a surgeon who was suddenly on the operating table. Would I be able to take my own advice?

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January 2, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

If You Can Only Read One Book In 2022: Believing Is Seeing Is A Life-Changing Choice

Following up on my previous post, Why Atheists Need Faith:  Mark Tapscott (HillFaith), Believing Is Seeing: Once Upon a Time, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away:

Believing Is Seeing 5If you can only read one book in 2022, Believing is Seeing by Dr. Michael Guillen could well be a life-changing choice regardless whether you are a determined atheist, a hard-nosed scientific materialist, or a Bible-believing Christian.

The subtitle of the book describes this work perfectly: A Physicist Explains How Science Shattered His Atheism and Revealed the Necessity of Faith.

But Guillen is not just any physicist, he’s one with expertise in physics, astronomy and mathematics, an award-winning former Harvard professor and for years the ABC News Science Editor.

To get a deeper idea of why I recommend this book so highly, check out the following excerpt from pages eight and nine of the book as he describes the beginning of his realization as a Cornell graduate student that the universe is vastly more complicated than he had ever dreamed:

Very quickly, I learned that galaxies rotate slowly, like enormous merry-go-rounds. According to a scientific law called the Virial Theorem, the more massive the galaxy, the faster it spins.

I also learned that galaxies spin much faster than they should, in apparent violation of the Virial Theorem. It’s as if they are far more massive than they appear — like they’re bloated with some kind of unseen material that makes them spin abnormally fast. My astronomy professors called this mystery the Missing-Mass Problem.

Today, we call this hypothetical missing mass Dark Matter. Based on what little we know, we speculate it could be an entirely new invisible form of matter, ruled by an entirely new kind of force. But honestly, we don’t know what it is — or even if it really exists.

More recently, we’ve discovered another oddity about the heavens that is also totally invisible: Dark Energy. From what we can tell (which is precious little), it behaves like a repulsive force that causes the universe to balloon out an accelerating speed.

And get this: Together, Dark Matter and Dark Energy seem to constitute 95 percent of the entire universe. That’s right, scientist now believe that 95 percent of the universe is invisible to us.

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January 2, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

The New Yorker: What It Means To See Jesus

The New Yorker, What It Means to See Jesus:

Seeing JesusA young man once told me that he had seen the face of Jesus in the trunk of a chestnut tree, the bark moving as if it were flesh. An older woman told me that Christ had appeared to her in the afternoon light that poured through her hospital window. A father who was dying of lung cancer confided that he had looked up at a crucifix years ago in a church and watched as the body hanging there writhed and wriggled, coming alive before his eyes; it had been so terrifying that he had never previously told anyone.

I cherish such stories, and collect them the way others do rare works of art or first editions or vintage cars. Even secondhand stories will do, which is why I took so much pleasure from Robert Hudson’s Seeing Jesus: Visionary Encounters from the First Century to the Present.

Images of Jesus are all around us, but Hudson’s book is about people who claim to have really seen Jesus, the way the disciples did in the days and years after his death—crucifixion wounds fresh, descending and ascending from heaven onto hilltops, blinding rays of lights all about him: the sort of psychologically upending seeing we do in our lives from time to time, as when we see our ex-husband and go ashen, or see our future wife and blush.

Hudson’s book is organized according to two taxonomies: types of seers (disciples, ascetics, mystics, trailblazers, and moderns) and types of seeing (appearances, apparitions, and visions). The first of these taxonomies is essentially a chronology, which starts with those who saw Christ shortly after his death and ends with contemporary seers. It’s less useful than the second taxonomy, which is borrowed from mystical studies and offers a way of organizing these kinds of sightings. What Hudson calls appearances are communal visions, with more than one person seeing the same image of Jesus at the same time; apparitions are when Jesus seems to be present in the physical world, as though anyone can see him, yet only the visionary actually does so; with visions, the visionary alone can see Jesus, and is fully aware that no one else can. ...

Hudson’s reluctance to legitimatize any or all of the visions that he has chosen to include is curious in a book with a markedly faithful tone, published by a religious press. He notes his own Christian faith, and confesses to yearning for a vision of Christ, yet he is skeptical of all such visions. ...

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January 2, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, January 1, 2022

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

NY Times: How COVID-19 Has Rewritten The Leadership Playbook

New York Times, ‘We Threw Out Any Plans We Had’: C.E.O.s Are Forced to Embrace Uncertainty:

Business leaders are trained to “shoot, move and communicate.” But the pandemic has called on them to rewrite the leadership playbook.

In normal times, there are few words that C.E.O.s like more than “certainty.” Certainty allows executives to issue sales forecasts with oracle-like conviction. Certainty instills leaders with the confidence they need to invest $500 million in a new factory, or spend $20 billion buying a competitor. Certainty gives them the verve they need to preside over virtual town hall meetings with their employees and discuss race relations, furloughs, remote work and more.

But at companies large and small, new and old, public and private, 2021 was a year that played havoc with expectations. Through it all, C.E.O.s swapped some of their favorite tropes — timelines, confidence, strategic plans — for something new: saying “I don’t know.” Or even: “I changed my mind.” ...

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January 1, 2022 in Legal Education | Permalink

Hamilton Potpourri

Friday, December 31, 2021

Weekly Legal Education Roundup: The Year-In-Review

Quote of the Year: "Whether or not we act responsibly sometimes crucially depends on whether we believe responsibly and, thereby, shows the relevance of responsible belief." Rik Peels

Weekly Legal Ed RoundupHere is my annual list of the best legal education articles of the year.

Best Legal Education Articles of 2021

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December 31, 2021 in Legal Education, Scott Fruehwald, Weekly Legal Ed Roundup | Permalink

2021 Legal Education Year-In-Review

Retirement Of Michael Graetz (Columbia & Yale)

Today marks the end of one of the most storied tax academic careers in history:  Michael Graetz is retiring at age 77 after 49 years as a professor at Virginia (1972-1979), Cal-Tech (1979-1983), Yale (1983-2009), and Columbia (2009-2021):

Graetz Through The YearsThis year marks another momentous occasion for Graetz: After serving on the Law School faculty since 2009, he is retiring at the end of December. Graetz has had a celebrated career as a scholar, author, academic, and public servant. A leading expert on national and international tax law, he joined the Columbia Law School faculty after 25 years at Yale Law School, and he has held several positions in the federal government, including as a senior official in the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush. 

Michael's CV captures the highlights of his extraordinary career. In a 2014 survey, Michael was among the top eight vote-getters for a Tax Prof Mount Rushmore (along with Bill Andrews (Harvard), Boris Bittker (Yale), Marvin Chirelstein (Columbia), James Eustice (NYU), Marty Ginsburg (Georgetown), Erwin Griswold (Harvard), and Stanley Surrey (Harvard) (37%)). In The Most-Cited Tax Articles of All Times, 36 Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (May 11, 2019), Jonathan Choi identified two of Michael's articles as among the fifty most cited tax articles of all time (#10: To Praise the Estate Tax, Not to Bury It, 93 Yale L.J. 259 (1983); #15: The “Original Intent” of U.S. International Taxation, 46 Duke L.J. 1021 (1997)) — Michael is among the eight Tax Profs with two or more articles among the fifty most-cited tax articles.

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December 31, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Pressure Builds On Law Schools To Cancel Contracts With Lexis-Nexis And Westlaw: #NoTechForICE

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Inside Higher Ed, Law Students Protest LexisNexis and Westlaw Contracts With ICE:

Lexis WestlawStudents at multiple law schools are pressuring administrators to sever ties with LexisNexis and Westlaw, which they claim help the Department of Homeland Security target undocumented immigrants.

Coordinated multicampus protests this fall have left law schools in an unenviable position, stuck between meeting student demands and providing access to the resources at the center of the controversy—LexisNexis and Westlaw—which are under fire for contracts with law enforcement.

The LexisNexis and Westlaw research databases are vital for law schools and the students they serve, who will go on to use these tools throughout their legal careers. But contracts with the Department of Homeland Security have students calling for greater scrutiny of LexisNexis and Westlaw and demanding that law schools wield their political power to renounce these ties. Students have also expressed a desire for law schools to invest in alternative legal research tools.

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December 30, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Muller: 1L Academic Dismissals Fully Rebounded In 2021, But Not 2L Dismissals

Following up on my previous post, ABA Releases Data On Law School Admissions: Derek Muller (Iowa; Google Scholar), After 50% Drop in 1L Academic Dismissals in 2020, Little Increase in 2L Academic Dismissals in 2021:

Last year, I flagged the sharp decline in 1L academic dismissals in 2020. 1L academic dismissals declined by more than 50%. ... [This year, c]umulative 1L academic attrition rebounded to its 2019 level. But 2L academic attrition rose only slightly compared to 2020 and remained below 2019.

December 30, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Capers: The Law School As A White Space

I. Bennett Capers (Fordham; Google Scholar), The Law School as a White Space, 106 Minn. L. Rev. 7 (2021):

Minnesota Law Review (2021)In this moment when the country is undergoing a racial reckoning, when law schools have pledged to look inward and become anti-racist and truly inclusive, it is past time to acknowledge how law schools function as “white spaces.” For starters, there are the numbers. There is a reason why just a few years ago, The Washington Post ran a headline describing law as “the least diverse profession in the nation.” But the argument goes beyond numbers. This Essay argues that law schools—even law schools at HBCUs— function as white spaces. They are white spaces in what they teach, in how they teach, and even in their architecture.

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December 29, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Muller: Non-JD Enrollment Falls For First Time In Over A Decade

Following up on my previous post, ABA Releases Data On Law School Admissions: Derek Muller (Iowa; Google Scholar), Law School 1L JD Enrollment Climbs to 9-Year High as Non-JD Enrollment Dips Slightly:

For the last seven years, 1L JD enrollment has been between 37,000 and 38,500, remarkable consistency. This year, it’s up to 41,710. That’s the biggest class since 2012-2013, which had an incoming class of 44,481. ...

[N]on-JD enrollment is a different story. For the first time in a long time, non-JD enrollment declined. ... 21,044 were enrolled in non-JD programs, a drop of around 250 students over last year. It’s now about 15% of all law school enrollment. ... 

Here I also highlight a handful of schools with the highest non-JD enrollment as a percentage of total law school enrollment.

NonJD Enrollment 2

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December 29, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Message To White Law Faculty: Mentor Racial Minority Students

Gregory S. Parks (Wake Forest; Google Scholar), A Message to White Law Faculty: Mentor Racial Minority Students:

Pursuant to Law School Survey of Student Engagement’s (“LSSSE”) 2020 Diversity and Exclusion Annual Survey, there are troubling findings with regard to racial minority students’ sense of belonging and institutional support. ... Students of color are more likely to believe that their school does “very little” to ensure they are not stigmatized based on identity characteristics.  Twenty-five percent of Black, 18% of Latinx, and 14% of Native American students—compared to 9%  of White students—agree with the statement.


Faculty of color often shoulder a disproportionate amount of emotional labor in supporting students of color. As such, White law faculty can and should play a meaningful role in making the law school experience one where racial minority law students feel a greater sense of belonging and institutional support. That is through mentoring. ...

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December 28, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Help Create An Inclusive, Diverse, And Equitable ABA Tax Section

Julie Divola (Chair, ABA Tax Section), Help Create an Inclusive, Diverse, and Equitable Tax Section:

ArgrettI am delighted to announce the launch of the Loretta Collins Argrett Fellowship and the creation of the Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (JDEI) endowment fund.

The Loretta Collins Argrett Fellowship seeks to identify, engage, and infuse historically underrepresented individuals into the Tax Section, create a more accessible, equitable, and inclusive pathway into Tax Section leadership, support the expansion, diversification, and inclusiveness of the tax profession, and create a sense of belonging for members looking to become involved with the Section.

The Loretta Collins Argrett Fellowship is a three-year program open to any individual with a diverse background and/or a demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tax bar. The Section aspires to award up to five (5) three-year Fellowships each fiscal year. Applications for the inaugural class of Fellows are due by Sunday, April 3, 2022. Please help us by sharing information about the Fellowship with your networks and colleagues. And please let me know if you have connections or partners who can help us spread the word.

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December 28, 2021 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Will 2024 Law Grads Find Jobs After Law School Enrollment Boom?, Will 2024 Law Grads Find Jobs After Law School Enrollment Boom? Location May Be Everything:

Enrollment for 2021 at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University was the largest class “in our more than 50-year history with over 300 first-year J.D. students attending,” Andrew Jaynes, assistant dean of admissions at the law school told on Monday.

The law school enrolled 234 1L students in 2020 and enrolled 307 (+31%) in 2021, according to the school’s 509 Reports.

The American Bar Association released the law schools’ 2021 509 Reports last week, which showed that law schools reported 42,718 first-year students began studies in the fall of 2021 (plus the preceding winter/spring/summer terms for schools with multiple start dates). This is an increase of 4,516 (11.8%) 1L students from the 2020 reporting cycle. ...

Law schools with some of the most dramatic increases in 1L enrollment between 2020 to 2021 include Boston College Law School, which went from 255 to 353 [+38%]; Columbia University Law School, which went from 394 to 479 [+22%]; Harvard University Law School; which went from 501 to 562 [+12%]; New York University School of Law, which went from 425 to 484 [+14%]; the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, which went from 249 to 309 [+24%]; Seton Hall University School of Law, which went from 219 to 307 ]+40%]; and the School of Law at University of Texas-Austin, which went from 295-417 [+41%]., Law School Enrollment Is Way Up—But Will the Job Market Ever Be Able to Match It?:

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December 28, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, December 27, 2021

Cleveland State Law School Seeks Comments On Removing Chief Justice John Marshall From Its Name

Following up on my previous posts (links below):

Cleveland Law Logo (2021) 3Dear Member of the CSU Cleveland-Marshall community,
I am writing to strongly encourage you to provide feedback on the very important issue of whether our Law School should continue to be named after Chief Justice John Marshall, who, in addition to being the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was also a slaveholder. Your opinion is very important to us.

Please complete the short Feedback Form at the below link by Monday, January 17, 2022:
Law School Name Feedback Form

While the ultimate authority for deciding whether to change our name rests at the University level, our Law School has a responsibility to provide our University partners with as much relevant information as possible so that an informed decision can be made. The results of the Feedback Form from all of our various stakeholders will be one very important piece of the information we will provide to the University.

Below is a link to the Law School Name Framing Document. This document outlines in much greater detail the controversy surrounding Chief Justice John Marshall’s name and provides arguments both for and against changing the name of our Law School. It should be noted that the primary issue before us now is whether to retain or remove the name of John Marshall from our Law School. We have, however, included a brief section in the Framing Document devoted to some possible alternative names simply for context and discussion.
Law School Name Framing Document

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December 27, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Generation Z And The Future Of Legal Education

Tiffany Atkins (Elon), #Fortheculture: Generation Z and the Future of Legal Education, 26 Mich. J. Race & L. 115 (2021):

Michigan Journal of Race and LawGeneration Z, with a birth year between 1995 and 2010, is the most diverse generational cohort in U.S. history and is the largest segment of our population. Gen Zers hold progressive views on social issues and expect diversity and minority representation where they live, work, and learn. American law schools, however, are not known for their diversity, or for being inclusive environments representative of the world around us. This culture of exclusion has led to an unequal legal profession and academy, where less than 10 percent of the population is non-white. As Gen Zers bring their demands for inclusion, and for a legal education that will prepare them to tackle social justice issues head on, they will encounter an entirely different culture—one that is completely at odds with their expectations. This paper adds depth and perspective to the existing literature on Generation Z in legal education by focusing on their social needs and expectations, recognizing them as critical drivers of legal education and reform. To provide Gen Z students with a legal education that will enable them to make a difference for others—a need deeply connected to their motivators and beliefs—law school culture must shift. Reimagining, reconstituting, and reconfiguring legal education to create a culture of inclusion and activism will be essential and necessary.

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December 27, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup