TaxProf Blog

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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Female Chairs Improve A Department's Gender Diversity And Equity

Inside Higher Ed, The Impact of Female Chairs:

It’s common advice: to increase faculty gender diversity, increase the gender diversity of institutional leaders. But what about department chairs, a kind of middle-management position -- do they make a difference? And beyond gender diversity, does having a female chair help improve the success of female academics?

The answer to much of the above is yes, according to a new working paper finding that in departments with female chairs, gender gaps in publication and tenure rates are smaller among assistant professors [Female Managers and Gender Disparities: The Case of Academic Department Chairs]. The pay gap also shrinks. After departments replace a male chair with a female chair, they see an increase of about 10 percent in the number of incoming female graduate students, with no change in students’ ability levels.

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November 29, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Generation Z Goes To Law School: Teaching And Reaching Law Students In The Post-Millennial Generation

Laura P. Graham (Wake Forest), Generation Z Goes to Law School: Teaching and Reaching Law Students in the Post-Millennial Generation, 41 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. ___ (2018):

In 2017, law schools welcomed the first members of Generation Z to their halls. While Generation Z students (born between 1995 and 2010) share some commonalities with their predecessors, the Millennials, they have a distinct peer personality that has been shaped by the culture and events of their youth. This Article begins with the premise that legal educators would benefit from learning what makes Generation Z students “tick,” so that we can partner with them more effectively as they prepare to enter the legal profession.

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November 29, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Rise Of The Creative Law School

Gregory W. Bowman (Dean, West Virginia), The Rise of the Creative Law School, 50 U. Tol. L. Rev. ___ (2018):

U.S. legal education is currently experiencing rapid and massive change that is both destabilizing and disconcerting. Across the nation, law schools face enormous challenges and a future filled with programmatic and financial uncertainty. This essay uses the work of urbanist Richard Florida to discuss these challenges and suggest ways to develop paths forward that best benefit law students, the public, and law schools themselves.

November 29, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How To Grow A Lawyer: A Guide For Law Schools, Law Professors, And Law Students

How To Grow A LawyerE. Scott Fruehwald, How to Grow A Lawyer: A Guide for Law Schools, Law Professors, and Law Students (2018):

We live in a world of accelerating change. Yet, legal education still relies mainly on a teaching approach developed in 1870. Is this any way to grow a lawyer?

Law schools need to radically transform legal education. They must base this transformation on research of education scholars both within and without legal education. They must reject everything from the past that does not grow effective lawyers.

This book shows how law schools and law professors can use the new scholarship to become better teachers and how they can help their students become better learners. In brief, legal education should involve active learning, teaching students metacognition, and formative assessment. This book contains exercises, particularly reflection exercises, at the end of each subsection to help the reader better absorb the new approaches to teaching and learning.

November 28, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

UC-Davis Funds Faculty Searches Focused On Diversity, Not Disciplinary Expertise

UC Davis University Logo (2018)Inside Higher Ed, Open Searches and Diversity:

Hoping to increase faculty diversity, UC Davis is holding eight open searches focused on candidates' contributions to diversity, instead of narrow disciplinary expertise.

The University of California, Davis, is launching a pilot hiring program that eliminates the requirement — typical in department searches — that candidates have a specific disciplinary specialty. Davis says the research-backed approach will help it increase faculty diversity. ...

Davis is funding the program with some $422,000 of a $7 million University of California System-wide investment in faculty diversity, in addition to existing campus funds.

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November 28, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Assessing Academic Law Libraries' Performance And Implementing Change While Reducing Budget

Linda Kawaguchi (Chapman), Assessing Academic Law Libraries' Performance and Implementing Change: The Reorganization of a Law Library, 49 U. Tol. L. Rev. 35 (2017):

The confluence of the crisis in legal education and the evolution of legal information presents the perfect opportunity for law schools to actively decide what the role of the law library should be, and to make considered, deliberate changes based on the best interests of the institution. The Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University recognized the opportunity to strengthen the institution by creating, essentially, a brand new law library.

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November 28, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Law Rises From The Ashes: Better, Stronger, United

Pepperdine Law reopened on Monday after being closed for 17 days due to the Woolsey Fire. I was hugely disappointed that I was unable to welcome students, staff, and faculty back to campus. I spent Saturday evening in the UCLA Hospital ER and learned that I had detached retinas in both eyes. I had emergency eye surgery on Monday and am now on my way to a full and speedy recovery.  

The 17-day closure forced us to institute a compressed class and exam period. Our leadership team worked tirelessly to ease the burden on everyone by creating a week-long schedule of community activities. Monday featured a full breakfast and lunch followed by a Deans Forum. Because I could not attend in person, we displayed my doppelganger in the form of a 6-foot cardboard cut-out

Launch 1

My dear friend and Dean of Students, Naomi Goodno, read the following statement from me while standing in front of my double:

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November 28, 2018 in Ari Glogower, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Creative Initiatives At U.S. Law Schools

Christine Cimini (University of Washington), Roberto Corrada (Denver), Myra Berman (Touro), Christine Cerniglia (Stetson), Katherine Kruse (Mitchell Hamline), Creative Initiatives at U.S. Law Schools, 7 Elon L. Rev. 1 (2015):

Creative initiatives and programs that address problems in legal education are underway at many law schools. Some are entirely new in design and aim, running the gamut from full programs to individual innovative courses. Other initiatives build on or give new direction to existing programs, such as clinics and externships. Others are designed to address the costs and time commitment associated with a traditional three-year JD. The breadth and variety of these many efforts signal that law schools hear, take seriously, and are responding to criticisms being leveled at legal education. This report begins the process of identifying and cataloging creative programmatic initiatives in law schools.

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November 28, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Eight Innovative Ideas From Law Schools

Legal Tech News, You Think Legal Education Can’t Change? 8 Innovative Ideas from Law Schools:

  1. BYU:  LawX Eviction Cases
  2. Cleveland-Marshall:  Global Legal Blockchain Consortium
  3. Cornell:  Legal Aid Apps
  4. Florida:  e-Discovery in China
  5. Harvard:  Legal Hackathon
  6. Harvard:  Caselaw Access Project
  7. Hofstra:  Legal Tech Bootcamp
  8. Vanderbilt:  V-Legal Executive Online Certificate

November 27, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Students Are Taking Time Off After College Before Law School

PennDaily Pennsylvanian, Instead of Heading Straight to Law School, More Students Are Taking Time Off After College:

Penn Law students are taking time off after college graduation at a higher rate than in previous years, following a national trend toward delaying law school to join the workforce temporarily. ... Of the current first-year students at Penn Law, 75 percent have spent one or more years out of school before enrolling in law school.  ...

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November 27, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Princeton Review's Best 165 Law Schools (2019 Edition)

Princeton ReviewThe Princeton Review has published the 2019 edition of The Best 165 Law Schools (press release) (FAQs) (methodology):

The Princeton Review tallied its lists based on its surveys of 17,700 students attending the 165 law schools [an average of 107 per school] in 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18. The 80-question survey asked students to rate their schools on several topics and report on their experiences. Some ranking list tallies also factored in school-reported data.

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

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

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

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November 27, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Disappointing Impact Of Encouraging Students To Study More, The Disappointing Impact of Encouraging Students to Study More:

Time studying is strongly correlated with grades earned, but the amount of time that students spend studying has declined dramatically. This column describes an intervention at three higher education campuses that offered coaching and help for students to plan their time. Students were highly engaged, but there was no effect at all on their grades. This is consistent with previous results that suggest this type of intervention does not change student behaviour in a sustained and meaningful way.

November 27, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, November 26, 2018

Evelyn Brody: Tax Prof Artist

Sam Brunson (Loyola-Chicago) has a great post describing Suspended Animation an exhibition of  pastels by Tax Prof Evelyn Brody (Chicago-Kent) at the Leslie Wolfe Gallery.  You can check out her pastels and drawings on her website, including a description of her work.

Brody 2

November 26, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Big Law Firm First, O’Melveny To Use Neuroscience And AI To Recruit Associates Hiring Based On Cognitive And Emotional Traits Rather Than Pedigree

O'MelvenyBloomberg Law, O’Melveny Could Set Trend With Law Student Cognitive Testing:

O’Melveny & Myers will ask law students interested in joining the firm to play computer games designed to test their cognitive skills while rooting out hiring biases, an approach that may signal a new industry recruitment trend.

Starting in January, first-year law students can opt to play the series of 12 games, which take about 30 minutes to complete in total, to boost their applications for a job at the firm. The software behind the games makes use of artificial intelligence and a customized algorithm to analyze talent in a highly competitive market for the best and brightest candidates.

These cognitive assessment tools are common in corporate hiring, but law firms often rely on more traditional methods. Cognitive skills tests like O’Melveny’s, which appears to be the first of its kind used in Big Law, aim to eliminate bias and encourage candidate diversity, but are also known to have limitations.  ...

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November 26, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Oxford Seeks To Hire A Tax Prof

Oxford (2016)The Professorship of Taxation Law provides an excellent opportunity for an enthusiastic candidate with outstanding intellectual leadership skills to consolidate and enhance Oxford's reputation as a centre for excellence in research and teaching in tax law. As well as offering tax courses as part of its undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, Oxford is home to the part-time MSc in Taxation, launched in 2016, which is taught jointly with colleagues at the Centre for Business Taxation in the Said Business School, so this is a particularly exciting time to join the tax community in the university.

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November 26, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Legal Ed Council Sends 75% Within 2 Years Bar Passage Accreditation Standard Back To House of Delegates

ABA Logo (2016)ABA Journal, ABA Legal Ed Council Sends Bar-Passage Standard Back to House of Delegates:

Paperwork for the ABA’s House of Delegates to again consider a proposed revision of the bar passage standard for law school accreditation has been submitted, said Barry Currier, director of accreditation and legal education, on Friday at a council meeting for the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

The council would like the delegates to reconsider the proposed revision at the January 2019 Midyear Meeting. Rejected by the House in 2017, the proposal calls for a bar passage rate of at least 75 percent within two years. Language for the proposed revision remains unchanged, Currier said.

There are various ways to meet the standard’s current requirements, and it’s been reported that no law school has ever been out of compliance with it. ...

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November 26, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 3, 2019 Trial Date Set For Suspects In 2014 Dan Markel Murder

Magnauba GarciaTallahassee Democrat, Summer Trial Set for Dan Markel Murder Suspects:

The two suspects accused of plotting and executing the murder of Florida State law professor Dan Markel will face a jury next summer.

A June 3 trial date was set for Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua on Tuesday, nearly five years after Markel was gunned down in his Trescott Drive garage in what investigators say was a murder for hire plot.

Garcia and his girlfriend Magbanua face charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder. They have both pleaded not guilty to all charges. ...

Their motive was a $100,000 payout by the family of Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, following the couple’s contentious divorce, Tallahassee Police say.

Investigators say Adelson’s mother and brother — Donna and Charlie Adelson — paid to have Markel killed because of the family’s desire to have the couple’s two young sons move to South Florida after the split.

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November 26, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Fifty Ways To Promote Law School Teaching And Learning

Gerald Hess (Gonzaga), Michael Hunter Schwartz (Dean, McGeorge) & Nancy Levit (UMKC), Fifty Ways to Promote Teaching and Learning, 67 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2018):

In 1999, the Journal of Legal Education published an important article for law schools seeking to improve the quality and quantity of faculty scholarly output, James Lindgren’s Fifty Ways to Promote Scholarship, 49 J. Legal Educ. 126 (1999). ... Professor Lindgren detailed numerous ideas for improving scholarship and the intellectual life of a law school. ...

This article addresses the other side of the coin, teaching. Most law schools make claims about the high-quality instruction students will receive. And we believe that all law school faculties and nearly all individual law professors aspire to excellence in the classroom. This article focuses on the efforts law schools and professors can make to fulfill that aspiration.

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November 25, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Is Walter F. George Disappearing From Mercer Law School?

Mercer13WMAZ, Why Is Walter F. George Disappearing From Mercer's Law School?:

Over the summer, the Mercer Law School made a small cosmetic change -- they altered the name of the sign on their front lawn.

That decision has prompted a big discussion on the legacy surrounding its namesake.

Mercer's law school is formally known as the Walter F. George School of Law, named after the prominent senator who held a spot in Washington from 1922-1957.

He was also a segregationist and is the first name signed on the document known as the Southern Manifesto, which opposed Brown vs. Board of Education -- the Supreme Court decision that determined the segregation of public schools was unconstitutional.

The law school's new sign left off his name.

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November 25, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Federal District Court Allows Former Male John Marshall Law School Employee's Gender Discrimination Claim To Proceed

John MarshallABA Journal, Former Male Chicago Law School Employee Alleges Gender Discrimination:

A former employee at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago has won the right to continue his federal complaint of gender discrimination against the school, although claims of age discrimination and retaliation were dismissed.

John Bergholz, 59, was the law school’s executive director of development and alumni relations from 2015 to 2017. His complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in December 2017, claimed individuals attempted to orchestrate a Title IX complaint against him after he met for lunch with a donor at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

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November 24, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: Conservative Heritage Foundation Revives Training Academy For Judicial Law Clerks

HeritageFollowing up on my previous posts:

New York Times, Conservative Heritage Foundation Revives Training Academy for Judicial Clerks, by Adam Liptak:

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative group that has played a leading role in moving the courts to the right, is reviving a “federal judicial clerkship academy,” according to materials posted on Wednesday on the group’s website.

The foundation canceled an earlier version of the program last month after an article in The New York Times raised questions about some of its features, including requirements that participants keep teaching materials secret and promise not to use what they learned “for any purpose contrary to the mission or interest of the Heritage Foundation.”

John Malcolm, a Heritage Foundation official, said the revised program eliminated those requirements, which he said had been the subject of widespread and warranted criticism. “We led with our chin, and we got hit,” he said. “It was a self-inflicted wound.”

“The language that was in the original application was totally unnecessary and was just a misguided attempt to protect the reputations of the people who were involved,” Mr. Malcolm said. “But it was silly, and we shouldn’t have done it. It was never our intention to have some kind of loyalty oath. People do not have to be loyal to the Heritage Foundation.” ...

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November 24, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, November 23, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Key Lawmaker Urges State Bar To Re-Evaluate Bar Exam

California Bar ExamFollowing up on my previous post, July 2018 California Bar Exam Pass Rate Falls To 67-Year Low:  The Recorder, Key Lawmaker Urges State Bar to Re-Evaluate Bar Exam:

The chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday urged the state bar and California Supreme Court to “take a fresh look” at the viability of the bar exam in light of the historically low pass rate on the July 2018 test.

Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, said he was “dismayed and concerned” by figures released Friday that show only 40.7 percent of test-takers passed. The success rate was the lowest since 1951, and it marked the fifth year in a row that more people failed the California bar exam than passed it.

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November 23, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Carter: The Thanksgiving Address America Needs To Hear

Stephen L. Carter (Yale), The Thanksgiving Address America Needs to Hear:

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving in our angry and divided country, let us travel back 150 years, to the Thanksgiving of 1868, a time when the country was far angrier and more divided. Just three years had passed since the end of the Civil War, and resentments still smoldered. The Pulaski Riot in Tennessee and the Camilla Massacre in Georgia were fresh in the nation’s memory. In the victorious North, meanwhile, anti-immigrant sentiment was rising.

That’s what makes the Thanksgiving address of a certain Dr. Marcus Jastrow, rabbi of Philadelphia’s Congregation Rodeph Shalom, so extraordinary. His stirring message still resonates, and if we take it seriously, we will be the better for it.

Jastrow took as his text the 100th Psalm ...

[Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.]

which he interpreted as a call for national unity:

The principle of freedom and equality to all, the principle on which American institutions are based, calls upon every American to obliterate all differences, both political as well as religious, at the moment of celebrating a national idea. ...

Before God, the Creator of us all, there is no difference between man and man, and so it ought to be among mankind. You have no right to establish a discrimination between the children of the same Father – you have no right to assign the country to one faith or one sect, for it is God that made us; it is He that made this nation and enabled it to erect its government of freedom. ...

Therefore, remember thy origin, O! American people, remember that it was the banner of freedom and equality to all, inscribed with the idea that the Creator has made all men equal and endowed them with inalienable rights, remember that it was the banner of freedom and equality to all under which God gave thee victory and success! Be cautious and never change this universal banner into an exclusive one! ...

Remember that we are all His people and the flock of His pasture; and all who dwell on the fields of this country have the same rights to its rich pasture, consisting not alone in the material food it gives to its inhabitants, but far more in the sweet satisfaction and happiness of mind, which this great country with its free institutions offers to the poorest as well as to the richest of its children, to the exclusion of none.

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November 22, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

WKRP In Cincinnati Thanksgiving Turkey Drop

Kirkland & Ellis Drops Mandatory Arbitration For Associates Amid Law Student Boycott

KirklandFollowing up on last week's post, Harvard Law Students Launch Campaign To #DumpKirkland Over Mandatory Arbitration Agreements For Associates:, Kirkland & Ellis Drops Mandatory Arbitration for Associates Amid Law Student Boycott:

Kirkland & Ellis will no longer require associates and summer associates to sign mandatory arbitration agreements.

The change comes after a group of Harvard law students last week called on classmates to boycott the firm during the upcoming summer associate recruiting season unless Kirkland abandoned the 10-year-old policy. A Kirkland spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday on why the firm decided to do away with mandatory arbitration for all associates, nor was it clear whether the policy change applied to firm staff as well.

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November 22, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

70 Percent Of New Partners Are Dissatisfied With Their Job

American Lawyer, Some New Partners Are Troubled by Perceived Bias in the Workplace:

More than 70 percent of new partners surveyed said they were dissatisfied with some part of their partnership so far, and they were asked to pinpoint the reason. About one-tenth of respondents—9.6 percent—pointed to gender bias, and a similar number—10.1 percent—pointed to cronyism as the reason for their dissatisfaction. ... Only 1.4 percent of respondents said their dissatisfaction stemmed from racial bias, and less than 1 percent said it was due to sexual orientation bias. ...

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November 21, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Why Pepperdine Stays Put When Wildfires Rage

Following up on my previous posts:

Curbed Los Angeles, Why Pepperdine Stays Put When Wildfires Rage:

The prospect of relocating a university using the gridlocked PCH isn’t feasible when an entire city of car-dependent residents are evacuating themselves.

“Some students are away from home and don’t have cars,” said Malibu city manager Reva Feldman, responding to questions a few days later at a town hall for evacuees. “There’s no way to quickly evacuate 3,500 18- to 20-year-olds without vehicles.”

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November 21, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Big Change In The U.S. News Law School Specialty Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)U.S. News Report is making a dramatic change in their ranking of nine law school specialty programs (Clinical Training, Dispute Resolution, Environmental, Health Care, Intellectual Property, International, Legal Writing, Tax, Trial Advocacy).  Since their inception, the specialty ranking ballots have asked professors teaching in those areas to identify up to a given number (currently 15) of law schools having the top programs in the area.  This year, the ballots give faculty the opportunity to rank all 200 law schools on a 1-5 scale, the approach used in the overall peer reputation survey:

Please review the entire list of law schools before rating individual programs. Identify the law schools you are familiar with, and then rate the overall academic quality of their _____ law courses or programs. In making your choices consider all elements that contribute to a program's academic excellence, the depth and breadth of the program, faculty research and publication record, etc. Rate programs on a scale of outstanding (5) to marginal (1). If you are not familiar with a school’s faculty, programs and graduates, please mark “No answer.”

US News

I contacted Robert Morse, Director of Data Research at U.S. News, for an explanation of the change.  His answer:

Our intent/goal is to enable more programs to get enough ratings to be ranked. We don’t expect raters to have in depth knowledge of a specialty in all schools. We do believe they likely know more than 15. They should definitely only rate the schools they know. Our intent/plan is that the law specialties rankings would be based on the average peer score and we would show the average score so there would be more of understanding of the “difference” between schools. 4.8 vs 3.2 for example.

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November 20, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Seattle Law School Suspends Externship With ICE

Seattle Logo (2017)Seattle News, Seattle University Law School Suspends Externship with ICE:

After pressure from students, Seattle University School of Law administrators suspended its externship with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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November 20, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  This ranking includes downloads from two 30- and 35-page papers by 12 tax professors on the new tax legislation that garnered a lot of media attention (including the New York Times and Washington Post) and generated a massive amount of downloads (the papers are the most downloaded papers over the past 12 months across all of SSRN and the most downloaded tax papers of all-time by over 200%).  See Brian Leiter (Chicago), 11 Tax Profs Blow Up The SSRN Download Rankings. (For some reason, Mitchell Kane (NYU) — the twelfth academic co-author of the two papers — is not included in the SSRN download rankings (although the downloads are included on his individual author page)).  Here is the new list (through November 1, 2018) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Daniel Hemel (Chicago)



David Gamage (Indiana)


David Gamage (Indiana)



Lily Batchelder (NYU)


Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) 



Daniel Hemel (Chicago)


Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings)



Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Cliff Fleming (BYU)


Lily Batchelder (NYU)



David Kamin (NYU)


David Kamin (NYU)



Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings)


Cliff Fleming (BYU)



Rebecca Kysar (Fordham)


Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 



Ari Glogower (Ohio State)


Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) 



Michael Simkovic (USC)


Gladriel Shobe (BYU)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


Jacob Goldin (Stanford)  



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Michael Simkovic (USC)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Kirk Stark (UCLA) 



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


Joe Bankman (Stanford) 



Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



Jim Hines (Michigan)


Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis) 



Gladriel Shobe (BYU)


Ruth Mason (Virginia) 



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Sam Donaldson (Georgia St.)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Kyle Rozema (Chicago)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)  



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Hugh Ault (Boston College) 


Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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November 20, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Clinic Rises From The Ashes

Pepperdine Disaster Releif ClinicFollowing up on my previous post:, Ahead of the Curve: A Clinic Rises From the Ashes:

Last year, Pepperdine University School of Law developed a one-semester disaster relief clinic to help people impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas to file appeals with the Federal Emergency Management Agency when their applications for financial assistance were denied.

Clinic director Jeff Baker joked at the time that the clinic framework would come in handy when an inevitable earthquake rocked Southern California and people needed FEMA help locally. But it turns out wildfires were the first major natural disaster to strike the area, with the Woolsey fire ravaging Ventura County. And Pepperdine is once again diving into disaster relief. This time, its client base is in the school’s Malibu backyard.

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November 20, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

UCLA Law Prof Files Lawsuit To Obtain UC Admissions Data

Wall Street Journal, Law Professor Seeks Data on Admissions at UC System:

A law professor and an Asian-American politician are suing the University of California for data they believe would reveal that the state university system is illegally using race in its admissions process.

The suit, filed Thursday in a California state court, asks for the socioeconomic and academic characteristics of applicants who enrolled in the nine undergraduate colleges that make up the University of California over the last 12 years. ...

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November 20, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 19, 2018

What Are Law Schools Training Students For?

Forbes:  What Are Law Schools Training Students For?, by Mark A. Cohen (CEO, Legal Mosaic):

The legal profession and the trillion-dollar global industry are undergoing a transformation. The seminal elements of legal practice—differentiated expertise, experience, skills, and judgment—remain largely unchanged. The delivery of legal services is a different story altogether. New business models, tools, processes, and resources are reconfiguring the industry, providing legal consumers with improved access and elevated customer satisfaction from new delivery sources. Law is entering the age of the consumer and bidding adieu to the guild that enshrined lawyers and the myth of legal exceptionalism. That’s good news for prospective and existing legal consumers.

The news is challenging for law schools, most of whom seem impervious to marketplace changes that are reshaping what it means to be a lawyer and how and for whom they will work. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), a branch of the Department of Education, rebuked the American Bar Association (ABA) in 2016 for its lax law school oversight and poor “student outcomes.” Paul LeBlanc, a NACIQI member, concluded that the ABA was “out of touch with the profession.”

Law schools have made some strides during the past few years-- experiential learning, legal technology, entrepreneurship, legal innovation, and project management courses,   are becoming standard fare. A far bigger—and more important step would be for the legal Academy to forge alignment with the marketplace. That would be a “win-win-win” for students, law schools, and legal providers/consumers. Students would be exposed to the “real world” and the skills, opportunities, and direction it is taking. The Academy would acquire context, use-cases, and an understanding of consumer challenges and needs—a strong foundation from which to remodel legal education and training, address the "skills gap," as well as to improve “student outcomes.” Legal providers/consumers would benefit from a talent pool better prepared to provide solutions to the warp-speed pace and complex challenges of business. ...

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November 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Observations On Enrollment Patterns For The Fall 2018 Entering Class Based On Preliminary Data

In a blog posting in August relating to projections for the fall 2018 entering class, I suggested that with applicants up over 60,000 (up over 8% from 2017) the fall 2018 entering class might be over 40,000 (up roughly 8%). I made this prediction based on the strength of the applicant pool and the perception that given the opportunity, law schools would seek to regain revenue lost over the last few years. I also suggested that the distribution might be “lumpy” with some of the increase concentrated in highly-ranked schools (given the growth among applicants with high LSATs of 165 or higher).

We will know more one month from now when the ABA releases data from the Standard 509 reports for all ABA-accredited law schools, but based on preliminary reports from 142 law schools (nearly 72% of the 199 law schools in the 48 contiguous state and Hawai’i), I appear to have over-estimated the growth in matriculants, while correctly predicting significant “lumpiness” in enrollment growth skewed toward law schools with higher median LSATs.


The first-year class across the 199 ABA-accredited law schools in the 48 contiguous states and Hawai’i in 2017 totaled roughly 36,900 students. Across the 142 law schools on which I have available data for 2018, the 2017 first-year enrollment totaled 28,352, or roughly 76.8% of the total across all 199 law schools in the sample. First-year enrollment at these 142 law schools in 2018 increased by 1,231 to 29,583, an increase of 4.3%. If the remaining 57 law schools see a comparable increase in enrollment of 4.3%, the 2018 first-year class across these 199 law schools would be roughly 38,500. In all likelihood, however, it will be even smaller than that. As shown in Table 1 below, the 57 law schools for which data is not presently available are disproportionately law schools that had median LSATs of less than 155 in 2017, across which the smallest average gains in enrollment have been seen for the fall 2018 entering class.

My prediction that the first-year class might be over 40,000 appears to have been erroneous for three reasons. First, I failed to account for two law schools that ended up not enrolling classes for fall 2018 (Arizona Summit and Valparaiso).  Second, I failed to account for the impact of ABA regulatory efforts on law schools with lower median LSATs, a number of which significantly reduced enrollment to improve the LSAT profile of their entering classes. Third, and perhaps most significantly, however, I believed higher-ranked law schools would take advantage of a larger applicant pool with stronger credentials to welcome more students to enhance revenue. In doing so, I failed to heed one of the key points highlighted in research I have been working on with Bernie Burk and Emma Rasiel -- that law schools tend to favor profile over revenue. Thus, a number of law schools that could have enrolled more first-years without impacting their first-year class profile chose instead to increase their class profile rather than increasing enrollment as much as they might have.


The information in Table 1 highlights the enrollment patterns for fall 2018 across the 142 law schools with available data, highlighting the number and percentage of law schools with first-year enrollment increases or decreases of 5% or more overall between 2017 and 2018, and also showing the number and percentage of first-year enrollment increases or decreases across law schools within different LSAT categories based on median LSAT for the 2017 entering class.

There are a couple of things worth noting in Table 1. First, data are available on a much larger percentage of law schools with median LSATs of 155 or higher than law schools with median LSATs of 154 or lower. Second, as I predicted in August, more law schools with median LSATs of 155 or higher showed increases in first-year enrollment of 5% or more compared to law schools with median LSATs of 154 or lower.

Table 1 - Increases or Decreases in First-Year Enrollment of 5% or More

Median LSAT








Overall Total

% Reporting



















































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November 19, 2018 in Jerry Organ, Law School, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

With Sharp Rebuke to Law School, Judge Tosses Prof's Suit That Included ABA

Charlotte Logo (2016)National Law Journal, With Sharp Rebuke to Law School, Judge Tosses Prof's Suit That Included ABA:

A federal judge in Florida has tossed a whistleblower lawsuit brought by a former professor at the Charlotte School of Law against the defunct school, its parent company InfiLaw Corp. and the American Bar Association.

Judge Roy Dalton, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled that plaintiff Barbara Bernier’s claims that Charlotte and InfiLaw defrauded the federal government of more than $285 million by admitting unqualified students were too vague to move forward. Moreover, two earlier False Claims Act actions against InfiLaw’s soon-to-close Arizona Summit Law School bar Bernier’s suit because they brought very similar allegations, Dalton ruled.

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November 19, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 18, 2018

New International Student Enrollment In American Higher Ed Fell 6.6% In 2017, On Heels Of 3.3% Decline In 2016

Institute of International Education, Fall 2018 International Student Enrollment:

Figure 2

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November 18, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

July 2018 California Bar Exam Pass Rate Falls To 67-Year Low

California Bar ExamThe California State Bar has released the results from the July 2018 bar exam. The overall pass rate was 40.7%, down 8.9 percentage points from last year and a 67-year low. For California ABA-accredited law schools, the pass rate was 64%, down 6 percentage points from 2017.  The mean scaled MBE was 1404 compared with the national average of 1395 (a 32-year low).

The Recorder, Nearly Six in 10 Failed California's July 2018 Bar Exam:

The results mirror lower bar scores in other states. The percentage of successful test-takers in Pennsylvania, Texas [results by school], New York [results by school], Florida [results by school], and Indiana all dipped year over year. ... But California’s nearly six-in-10 failure rate is shocking for a state that has tried to boost scores by shortening the test by a day and conducting studies of the notoriously difficult exam.

State Bar of California, State Bar Releases July 2018 Bar Exam Results:

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November 17, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, November 16, 2018

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Pepperdine At Daybreak

We feel grateful and blessed to be back at our beloved Pepperdine this morning.

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November 16, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Northwestern Law Is Paring Back Amid Budget Woes. Are Other Elite Schools Next?

Following up on my previous post, Northwestern Law Dean Cites School's 'Difficult Time' As Reason For Faculty Cuts:, Northwestern Law Is Paring Back Amid Budget Woes. Are Other Elite Schools Next?:

The recent decision to trim staff and lecture faculty at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law amid a budget shortfall illustrates that even elite law schools are subject to the financial pressures of staying competitive in a soft legal education market.

But make no mistake: Name-brand law schools on the whole are faring better than their counterparts further down the legal education food chain.

That’s according to experts who have studied the changing economics of law schools and deans at several schools within U.S. News & World Report’s top 20, who say that fundraising has been strong and that the financial shortfalls that emerged in the midst of the so-called crisis in legal education have largely been addressed. Put another way, don’t expect top law schools to announce drastic cuts any time soon. ...

Former University of North Carolina law professor Bernie Burk and University of St. Thomas School of Law professor Jerome Organ examined enrollment, tuition and scholarship trends in legal education from 2010 to 2016 to conclude that the nation’s law schools are collectively losing $1.5 billion annually due to lower enrollment and lower actual cost for students.

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November 16, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSAC Hit With $480k Attorney Fees In LSAT Disability Litigation

National Law Journal, LSAT Maker Hit With $480K in Fees for Disability Violations:

A federal judge has ordered the Law School Admission Council to pay nearly half a million dollars in attorney fees to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in connection to litigation over its accommodation of Law School Admission Test takers with disabilities.

The California agency sought more than $567,000 in attorney fees after it successfully petitioned the court to hold the council in civil contempt for violating a 2014 agreement on how it would handle requests for accommodation on the LSAT. The parties met for a court hearing on Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday largely sided with the agency in finding that the council must pay $480,000. ...

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November 16, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Next Big Innovation In Law School Teaching: Low Tech

Nikos Harris (British Columbia), The Risks of Technology in the Law Classroom: Why the Next Great Development In Legal Education Might Be Going Low-Tech, 51 U. British Colum. L. Rev. 773 (2018):

It is often assumed that technology improves every facet of our lives, including learning in the university classroom. However, there is mounting evidence that traditional lecturing and note-taking techniques may provide the optimal learning environment. Student use of laptops, and professor use of electronic course slides, may actually impair learning in a manner which has particular significance for legal education. This emerging evidence suggests that law professors can make a justifiable decision to bring about a "low tech revolution" in their classrooms.

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November 15, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

SCOTUS Clerk Signing Bonuses Reach $400,000; Jones Day Hires 11 Clerks, Including Pepperdine Law Grad

Supreme Court (2018)National Law Journal, $400K for SCOTUS Clerks: A Bonus Too Far?:

[T]he prevailing hiring bonus for Supreme Court clerks is $400,000—up from $300,000 in 2015. And that does not include salaries. If the trend continues, the clerk bonus will soon approach twice the annual salary of the justices they work for. Associate justices are paid $235,000, and the chief justice gets $267,000.

Firms such as Jones Day, which announced Tuesday that it hired 11 clerks from last term’s “class,” take the number in stride, even as in the case of Jones Day if it amounts to a $4.4 million investment. The firm has recruited 47 Supreme Court clerks since 2012. The firm declined to discuss its compensation practices.

Bloomberg Law, Jones Day Lands Almost a Third of Latest Supreme Court Clerks:

The Jones Day arrivals include five women:

  • Cynthia Barmore, a Stanford Law School graduate who clerked for Justice Stephen G. Breyer, and will work in the Washington office.
  • Elizabeth G. Bentley, a Harvard Law School graduate who clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and will work in the Minneapolis office.
  • Carmen G. Iguina Gonzalez, a New York University School of Law graduate who clerked for Sotomayor, and will work in the Washington office.
  • Brittney Lane Kubisch, a Pepperdine University School of Law graduate who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, and will work in the Los Angeles office.
  • Mary H. Schnoor, a Harvard Law School graduate who clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and will work in the Chicago office.

The other clerks Jones Day hired are:

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November 15, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Elite Teaching The Elite: Who Gets Hired By The Top Law Schools?

Eric Segall (Georgia State) & Adam Feldman (USC), The Elite Teaching the Elite: Who Gets Hired by the Top Law Schools?:

Do you want to teach at a top 25 law school? If so, you had better excel at something you will encounter years before you will even consider applying to be a law professor. Something that has no relationship at all to the skills academics need. You better score extremely high on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) (or now at some schools the GRE). If you don’t score towards the very top, you will likely not be admitted to a top 10 ranked law school. And if you do not attend a top 10 ranked law school, no matter what you accomplish during the school you do attend (even a top 20 school) or afterwards, your chances of teaching at a top law school are virtually non-existent. The reality is that by far the most important credential one needs to teach at a top law school is to attend a top law school. The elite, teaching the elite, who will then teach more elites.

Top 10(1)

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November 15, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

HELP NEEDED FROM VOLUNTEER LAWYERS: The Pepperdine Disaster Relief Clinic And The Woolsey Fire

PDRDear Lawyers, Law Professors, Legal Clinics:

We need your help. Today, I am officially launching the Disaster Relief Clinic to serve Malibu, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Conejo Valley here in Southern California where the Woolsey Fire is still burning.

Pepperdine students are displaced and scattered, and we are closed through Thanksgiving, when we are embarking on a massively ambitious, dense final week of school and finals, all while we try to be compassionate to the students. I do not want to put volunteering on their plate until we can launch the clinic course in January.

So now, we need volunteer lawyers and clinical law profs. We're going to run an emergency, triaged VLP. I need lawyers and law profs to take cases by referral.

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November 14, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)