Paul L. Caron
Dean


Friday, July 3, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Hamilton At Pepperdine And On Disney+

Hamilton 2

To celebrate today's release of Hamilton on Disney+, Pepperdine Caruso Law hosted a zoom webinar with Federal District Judge Charles Eskridge ('90) on the historical context of all 46 songs in the musical. Charles previously gave the talk to a full house in 2018 at Pepperdine Caruso Law, and over 75 alums and students joined us online for the reprise on Wednesday.

The movie version of Hamilton looks spectacular:

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July 3, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

It Is Safer For Cornell And Other Schools To Reopen Than To Go Online

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why Cornell Will Reopen in the Fall, by Michael Kotlikoff (Provost, Cornell) & Martha Pollack (President, Cornell):

CornellColleges and universities in the U.S. face a difficult choice in the coming weeks. Some have decided that closing their campuses and offering online classes is the safest option. For others, the safer and more responsible alternative may be to allow students to return while putting in place a comprehensive virus-screening program that minimizes the risk of transmission. Contingent on New York state’s approval, we will be opening Cornell for residential instruction this fall.

Consider two scenarios. University A decides to reopen. For the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, it institutes a screening program to identify asymptomatic students infected with the novel coronavirus and prevent them from spreading it by repeated testing and isolation. The school also monitors symptoms daily, restricts group sizes, modifies classrooms and dorms, secures extensive quarantine capacity, restricts travel, and imposes requirements for masks and social distancing.

University B decides that this is too risky and chooses to play it safe. The school doesn’t reopen for residential instruction this fall and opts instead to teach all courses online. It takes cautious steps to open for selected professional or graduate programs and research efforts, but doesn’t implement the complex process of screening thousands of undergraduates and modifying the learning environment for social distancing.

Surprisingly, epidemiological modeling done by a group led by Cornell Prof. Peter Frazier [COVID-19 Mathematical Modeling for Cornell’s Fall Semester] suggests that despite playing it safe, sometime during the fall University B may well experience markedly worse health outcomes in its community, while University A will have more effectively safeguarded public health.

For many universities, closing the campus to undergraduates is probably not the safest option—notwithstanding concerns that college students may not adhere to public-health guidelines. That’s because at many colleges, students will gather on and around campuses whether classes are held in person or online. ...

As universities like Cornell make difficult decisions about the fall semester, it’s important to consider the risks of not reopening alongside the risks of opening. Epidemiological modeling suggests, perhaps counterintuitively, that if a university is prepared to put in place a comprehensive virus screening program followed up with supportive quarantine and isolation—in addition to other effective public health measures—reopening may be the more responsible option.

COVID-19 Mathematical Modeling for Cornell’s Fall Semester:

Initial modeling results suggest that a combination of contact tracing, asymptomatic surveillance, and low initial prevalence (supported through testing students prior to, and upon, returning to campus) can achieve meaningful control over outbreaks on Cornell’s Ithaca campus in the fall semester if  symptomatic surveillance is sufficiently frequent and if we have sufficient quarantine capacity. This would dovetail with a complementary effort at Cornell to reduce transmissions through housing policy, class organization, and regulations on social gatherings.

Cornell 1

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July 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Rodriguez: On-Ground/Hybrid Approaches Are Doomed To Fail; Law Schools Should Go Entirely Online In Fall 2020

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Online or In Person? Law Schools Diverge in Fall Semester Plans:

At least five law schools have unveiled plans for fully online classes in the fall, even though the majority of schools are hoping to offer a mix of in-person and online coursework amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following up on my previous post, How To Teach A Hybrid Law School Class:  Dan Rodriguez (Northwestern), Nonsense and Sensibility: Hybrid Is Not the Answer:

Debbie Merritt is one of our most thoughtful, rigorous legal educators, and someone who always puts students first in her thinking about legal education and its (dis)contents.  Here is what she had to say on Facebook about this predicament from the vantage point of her own law school:

I listened today to a presentation on how our university will hold on-campus classes this fall. The on-campus venture is beginning to sound like the Ptolemaic model of the universe, with eccentricities and epicycles continuously added to address all the problems. First we decide to hold classes in super-sized rooms so that students can sit 6 feet apart. Then we require everyone to wear masks. Then we reduce the number of people in the building each day by having some classes alternate between in-person and online. Then we tell everyone to leave the building asap after class--no socializing in the hallways or other public spaces. I think it's time to realize that on-campus classes will not be the center of our universe this fall. We need to embrace a model in which online classes are at the center, with careful prep by professors over the next two months. Let students use their in-person time to be with friends and family, meet in study groups (1Ls), hold part-time jobs or externships (UL), and carry on their lives. What do they really gain from sitting masked in a classroom, separated from other students, and listening to a professor whose voice is muffled by a mask?

And also this in a follow-up comment:

Students, of course, are asking for tuition discounts given the compromised nature of this on-campus education. Universities, naturally, are rejecting that. Ironically, I think we would be in a better position tuition-wise if we said, "We are moving most of our fall classes online and the dean has directed faculty to spend the rest of the summer preparing first-rate online classes rather than conducting research. You can be confident that all of your tuition money is going towards maintaining a first-class legal education. We are also adding additional resources to externships and career services because we know those experiences and prospects are vital to students.

This is an honest reflection on a difficult issue, and I endorse it entirely. Prof. Merritt speaks simultaneously to the dilemma (and, potentially, the disaster) of reopening live and also the understandable angst of students who wonder "why exactly are we expected to pay 100% tuition for this experience?"

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July 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Florida And Massachusetts Switch From On-Ground To Online Bar Exams

NCBE, Bar Update (July 1, 2020):

CoronavirusFlorida
The Florida Board of Bar Examiners, with the approval of the Supreme Court of Florida, announced in a July 1 press release that the in-person July administration of the exam is canceled. The Board will instead administer an online exam on August 18 consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions and three essay questions. For the August exam only, applicants will not be required to take the MBE.

Massachusetts
On July 1, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners announced that a remotely administered exam for admission to the Massachusetts bar will be offered in lieu of the UBE on October 5-6.

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

UC-Hastings Law School Goes 100% Online In Fall 2020

David Faigman (Dean, UC-Hastings), Classes Remain Online for Fall 2020:

UC-Hastings Logo 3I hope this message finds you well. As I am sure you are aware, the trajectory of the pandemic is of increasing concern, statewide and nationally. And I know that you, like many across the globe, are feeling the impacts in your personal and professional lives. In light of this, I write to share important news about the coming fall semester.

In order to protect the health and safety of all community members and to allow students, staff, and faculty to plan in the face of uncertainty, I have made two decisions:

  1. We will move all classes online in the Fall 2020 (“F20”) term; and
  2. We will have an on-campus presence this fall, with socially-distanced in-person engagements including community events, social activities, faculty office hours, and study opportunities, as soon as San Francisco Department of Public Health (“Public Health”) guidelines permit.

Fall 2020 Online Classes
In May, I asked Academic Dean Morris Ratner to work with faculty to create a hybrid curriculum for our incoming 1L students and to schedule a mix of online, in-person, and hybrid options for upper-division, MSL, and LLM students. Our faculty and staff have committed an enormous amount of time and energy since the start of the pandemic to creating hybrid instructional models, and we stand ready to pivot to that modality when we can. My decision not to do so for F20 did not hinge on our readiness or capability to offer hybrid options. Rather, we simply do not have enough information at this time to be confident that we can provide a safe in-person or hybrid course experience when classes resume in August. Furthermore, I believe it is likely that Public Health guidance will require us to be online for all or part of the semester. By making our decision now, before course registration starts, students, staff, and faculty will be better able to plan for the fall. Under this model, all classes will be equally available to students regardless of their ability to come to campus.

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July 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Only Question For Law School Reopenings: How Do You Ask a Person To Be The Last Person To Die For A Mistake?

William H. Widen (Miami), The Only Question for Law School Re-Openings: How Do You Ask a Person To Be the Last Person to Die For a Mistake?:

CoronavirusThat is the question American law school deans and their supervisors must consider as the fall term approaches. I pose this question to advocate for law schools to teach fully online in fall 2020 because a law school might take a conservative approach in the short term without serious jeopardy to their academic mission. ...

Administrators should strategically reduce overall campus population density by teaching law online because law adapts well to distance learning. ...

Law school management must prepare to answer this question if they open classes in-person, despite reservations about safety, or the efficacy of social distancing measures. Harvard Law School and UC Berkeley Law School led with decisions to cancel in-person instruction for fall 2020. Other schools have taken notice and are in various stages of deciding the way forward, including hybrid learning approaches that mix in-person and online instruction, also designed to minimize risk, as an alternative to the risk mitigation strategy advocated for here. UC Irvine just announced a hybrid approach—all online for upper-division, with a choice given to incoming 1L students.

For 1L courses, a large classroom with active discussion is common—but not strictly necessary. Conventional wisdom suggests that a failure to hold in-person classes will result in a dramatic decline in first-year law school enrollment and, thus, tuition revenue. Financial ruin follows because law students will only pay for the in-person Socratic experience. Economics drives the decision to take the risk to open with in-person classes. The brunt of the risk is borne not only by students but also by faculty and staff—groups situated below the pay grade of the administrators sending them into harm’s way.

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July 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

L.A. Times Farewell To Ed Kleinbard (USC)

Following up on Monday's post, Death Of Ed Kleinbard (USC):  Los Angeles Times (Michael Hiltzik), Farewell to USC’s Ed Kleinbard, 68, a Peerless Champion of the Public Interest

Kleinbard (2015)A couple of things set Ed Kleinbard apart from the army of tax experts who spend their hours delving into the minutiae of tax law.

For one thing, he was smarter than most of the others. But more important, having developed his store of knowledge at an elite corporate law firm and then as a top congressional advisor, he chose to deploy it in the public interest — as a professor of law at USC, as a widely-read commentator on tax policy and as the author of an indispensable book on how to make fiscal policy function for the betterment of American life.

Kleinbard died Monday at 68, following a long battle with cancer. He had been my guide through the thickets of tax policy since I first profiled him in 2014 and a source for dozens of columns since then. He was always gracious, lucid and amusing when I pestered him for his insights, even during his bouts with illness toward the end. His passing will be profoundly felt by his family, his colleagues, my readers and a world that is immeasurably poorer for the loss.

Let’s learn why.

We can begin with his career trajectory. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1976, he moved into corporate law, rising to a partnership at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. In 2007 he jumped to the public sector as chief of staff to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, then joined USC’s Gould School of Law in 2009.

“Only people who are practicing law at a very high level know exactly how corporations do things like move income around to minimize taxes and the other tax games major corporations play,” says Kleinbard’s friend, cycling companion and USC Law colleague Gregory Keating. “And most of the people who have that kind of knowledge are working with the companies. Ed had that expertise and was committed to coming up with solutions as an academic and a policy person that were public-spirited and public-minded.”

Coupled with that was an engaging persona that his colleagues remembered as “funny, loyal, passionate, and acerbic,” as Daniel N. Shaviro of NYU Law School put it in a valedictory on the TaxProf blog.

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July 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Deans Of Texas's Ten Law Schools Call On Court And Bar To Rethink In-Person Bar Exam In July And September

Austin Stateman, Texas Law Schools Call For Changes to Bar Exam Amid Coronavirus Surge:

The deans of 10 Texas law schools are calling on the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Board of Law Examiners to rethink plans to administer an in-person bar exam in July and September as coronavirus infections continue to rise across the state.

The Texas bar exam is typically administered in July and February and is the final hurdle for law school graduates before receiving their full license to practice law. Earlier this spring, the Supreme Court added another test date in September and ordered the July and September tests be shortened, reducing the normally three-day test to two. Test-takers would also be required to wear masks during the exam.

But some say it’s not enough. In a letter to the court and the board on Monday, 10 law school deans, including those from the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and Baylor University, said “the arc of the pandemic has changed” and current precautions are no longer sufficient. ...

One option includes converting the July and September tests to optional or mandatory remote delivery. Another includes adopting an apprenticeship system that would permit licensure upon the completion of a certain number of hours of supervised practice. Finally, all 10 law schools said they would support a one-time diploma privilege option for graduates of their law schools — an option that many law graduates favor. As of Monday night, nearly 2,000 had signed a petition to grant the privilege to all Texas graduates. ...

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July 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Statement Of The Deans Of The Ten Texas Law Schools Condemning Racism And Remembering George Floyd

Statement Of The Deans Of The Ten Texas Law Schools Condemning Racism And Remembering George Floyd:


TexasEach of us is the dean of one of the ten Texas law schools. At first glance, our ten schools might be considered a collective study in contrasts: Private and public. Large and small. Faith-based and secular. Urban and rural. Old and new.

[Recent] events ..., however, have caused us to transcend those differences and to consider those issues that draw us together, including our steadfast, unwavering commitment to the values of equality, nondiscrimination, and diversity.

Each of us released statements to our communities in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African American, while he was handcuffed in police custody; those statements are hyperlinked below. They contain common themes condemning racism, as well as a commitment to stand in solidarity with those in our society who all too frequently have been on the margins of our democracy, and all too horrifically have been subjected to violence.

Our nation seemingly is poised to have important and significant conversations about race and racism, particularly in our systems of justice. We recognize that our law schools have a special responsibility not only to add our voices to the conversation, but also to consider those actions each of our schools can take.

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

Oregon Is Third State To Offer Diploma Privilege To 2020 Law Graduates (All In-State Law Schools, Out-Of-State Law Schools With 86%+ Bar Pass Rate)

Following up on my previous post, Oregon Law School Deans Request Emergency Diploma Privilege For All Students Registered For July Bar Exam: NCBE, Oregon Bar Update (June 30, 2020):

Oregon BarThe Oregon Supreme Court announced on June 29 that it would grant a one-time diploma privilege to candidates who timely submitted complete applications for the July 2020 Oregon bar exam and who either 1) graduated in 2020 from one of the three Oregon law schools or 2) graduated in 2020 from any other ABA-accredited law school that had a minimum of 86% of graduates pass a 2019 bar exam on their first attempt. For those candidates who do not qualify for the diploma privilege option, the Court has announced 1) a one-time reduction in the passing score for the July exam from 274 to 266; and 2) the option to instead take a remotely administered exam in October, with scores on that exam not qualifying as UBE scores.

Derek Muller (Iowa), Three Curiosities of Oregon's Diploma Privilege Rule for the 2020 Bar Exam

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July 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

UNC Responds To Letter From Black Law Students

The Daily Tar Heel, UNC School of Law Responds to Letter From Group of Black Students:

North Carolina Logo (2020)Early in the month of June, the UNC School of Law received a letter titled Why UNC Law is Not a Place for Black Students. The letter, signed by "A Group of Black UNC Law Students," condemned the school's lack of support and its culture of antipathy towards Black students, as well as Dean Martin Brinkley for a failure to retain and promote Black students and faculty, among other concerns.

The letter cites numerous events that have made Black students feel unwelcome at the school, including the UNC System Board of Governors stripping the Center for Civil Rights of its ability to litigate in 2017, administrative efforts to prevent the formation of a Civil Rights Review at UNC and the overall lack of Black faculty and administration in the law school.

"I think, from my point of view, the most important thing was that there were students who felt this way," said UNC law professor Erika Wilson. "Some of the very technical points in the letter about things may not have been exactly perfect. But I think the bigger issue is that you have students who feel this way, and this is how they perceive the law school environment." 

Wilson was referenced in the letter as the school's lone Black female professor, and upon whose shoulders Brinkley "allows the burden of handling all things Black at UNC Law to rest on." 

She said that, while uncomfortable for her to read, the letter was a wakeup call to herself and the school about the feelings of Black law students.

After the original letter was sent from a group of anonymous students, the Black Law Students Association sent the law school a packet including a list of five demands, which called for the creation of a UNC Law Office of Diversity and Inclusion, expanded recruitment efforts for Black professors, the introduction of a mandated "Critical Race Theory" class, establishment of a diversity scholarship for Black students and installment of a mental health counselor of color for students.

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July 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

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July 1, 2020 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vermont Law School Goes 100% Online In Fall 2020

Seven Days, Vermont Law School to Hold Classes Online This Fall:

Vermont Law School Logo (2017)The Vermont Law School will hold all classes online this fall in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the college said Monday.

The decision comes as higher education institutions across the nation are grappling with how best to balance learning experience with safety amid the virus' continued spread.

"The most demanding challenge posed by the pandemic is uncertainty," said Thomas McHenry, president and dean of Vermont Law School, in a press release. "We want to provide as much notice to our students, faculty, and staff, in order to plan appropriately and deliver the high-quality course content and access to faculty that VLS is known for." ...

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July 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

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July 1, 2020 in About This Blog, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Blacklists, Caribbean Autonomy And The New Tax Colonialism

Jakub Bartoszewski (Texas A&M) & Andrew P. Morriss (Texas A&M), An Archipelago of Contrasts: Blacklists, Caribbean Autonomy and the New Tax Colonialism:

Blacklists generally, and European blacklists in particular, are effectively discouraging the only successful development strategy in the Caribbean. We label this effort to forcibly impose European policies the ‘New Tax Colonialism’. Many of the same European powers who once colonised the Caribbean and forced its societies into sugar plantation economies now seek to fiscally recolonise it, crippling the most effective way to achieve economic prosperity in the region. ...

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June 30, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Is A Law School Meltdown Coming?

Following up on my previous post, 87% of Students Say Online-Only Legal Ed Is Overpriced; 61% May Reconsider Legal Career Or Take A Hiatus If Law Schools Cannot Be On Ground Due To COVID-19: Richard K. Vedder (Ohio University), Is a Law School Meltdown Coming?:

CoronavirusWe need lawyers, and lots of them, to enforce the rules and laws that allow for a prosperous, orderly society.

Enter Covid-19 and the possibility that law schools will forgo in-class legal education this fall. Already Harvard Law has said its fall courses are going to be taught remotely. How does this impact law students facing tuition and other fees often in the $50,000 range or even more? The apparent answer, based on a survey of 1,651 law students: “considerably.” ...

I suspect most law schools are going to realize the implications of this survey and push hard to reopen next fall, particularly as mounting evidence exists that younger people seem to be far less likely to be lethally impacted by the novel coronavirus than older adults. The health arguments against live instruction may be seriously overstated. Law schools have enormous fixed costs and are mostly exceedingly tuition-dependent. Even with risks, the live show must go on for most of them or, in a few cases, they literally may die.

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June 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Williams College Cuts Tuition 15%, Cancels Fall Sports Due To COVID-19

Williams College, Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Williams (2020)Will tuition, room and board change to reflect all the changes on campus?
In recognition of the extraordinary circumstances and of this academic year and the uncertainty we face in the year ahead, the total cost of attendance has been reduced by 15%. Tuition, room, and board for the 2020-2021 academic year will be $63,200. Family contributions for students receiving financial aid will also be reduced by 15%. The Student Activities Fee has been eliminated for all students. Students who study remotely will not pay room and board for the time they’re not on campus. ...

Will there be athletic competition?
NESCAC and the NCAA have issued statements about expectations for a safe return to play. Those statements leave a great deal to the discretion of individual schools, but strongly recommend a phased approach to return to play and competition. This means that any athletic engagement will begin and proceed slowly and with an abundance of caution. Knowing how important athletics is in the lives of many students, we hope to provide opportunities for team engagement. Teams will be able to practice outside in small groups if they adhere to social distancing guidelines, and may progress to more game-like practice activities if conditions improve.

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June 30, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Bashing Administrators While The University Burns

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Bashing Administrators While the University Burns, by Gabriel Paquette (Oregon):

CoronavirusIn a recent piece in The Chronicle Review, François Furstenberg, a historian at the Johns Hopkins University, and a former colleague whom I greatly respect, blasts his university’s administration, which recently cut its contribution to its employees’ retirement plans. He diagnoses and denounces this policy as an inevitable outcome of the corporatization of the university and the centralization of authority within it. Norms of shared governance have given way to dirigisme.

Furstenberg joins a venerable tradition of scholars, stretching from Thorstein Veblen to his colleague Benjamin Ginsberg, who decry the misplaced priorities of universities and those who lead them. Infected by the mentality of the marketplace, these custodians of tradition contend, universities have abandoned their lofty (and laudable) mission as creators and repositories of knowledge. They have been reduced to mere finishing schools for the offspring of the One Percent. Their endowments serve as tax shelters for latter-day captains of industry whose philanthropic priorities conflict with, and eventually supersede, long-cherished academic values.

The elegiac tone of Furstenberg’s essay is justified. The following are incontrovertible: the adjunctification of the professoriate; the proliferation of deans; the defunding of public universities; the depreciation of the humanities; the sharp rise in managerial salaries; the comparative stagnation of faculty and staff compensation; the conflation of a university’s reputation with the fortunes of its athletic teams; and the asset-stripping that sometimes accompanies university partnerships with private enterprise.

It is not my purpose to rebut Furstenberg’s critique or to rationalize the injurious slashing of benefits. Yet his essay suffers from a defect that undermines its forcefulness — a false nostalgia for a purportedly lost Golden Age of faculty-led university governance, insulated from and impervious to market forces. This notion is widely shared in contemporary academic culture. It is also harmful, stifling reform when universities can ill afford complacency.

If universities are to survive the present crisis (and, sadly, many will not), a collective drive for self-preservation must replace the internecine jostling between the faculty and administration. Averting a mass-extinction event will necessitate a radical restructuring of the university, which can only succeed with an unprecedented degree of collaboration.

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June 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Franklin Pierce Biographer Urges Consideration Of 14th President's Progressive Civil Liberties Record Before Removal Of His Name From UNH Law School

Following up on my previous post, UNH Franklin Pierce Law School May Drop Name Of 14th U.S. President (1853-57) Because He Did Not End Slavery:  Concord Monitor op-ed:  The Most Important Legacy of Franklin Pierce, ‘An Attorney of the First Order’, by Garry Boulard (author, The Expatriation of Franklin Pierce—The Story of a President and the Civil War (2006)):

UNH FP (2020)[W]hat can only be described as a cleansing campaign has reached Concord with the move to remove the name of Franklin Pierce from the University of New Hampshire’s School of Law.

On the surface this effort seems entirely justified. Pierce, who served one term in the White House from 1853 to 1857, and endured the humiliation of not even being re-nominated by his own party, was an apologist for the Old South.

While he was privately opposed to slavery, Pierce opposed abolitionism as a movement that he thought was destined to destroy the United States, a country that during Pierce’s presidency was still just over 75 years old.

Keep the country together, Pierce argued, and worry about slavery later.

Although this stand had many adherents in the 1850s, including perhaps even a majority of Northerners, it is one that clearly now that puts Pierce on the wrong side of history.

That students of all colors should, in turn, want to see Pierce’s name removed from the School of Law makes perfect sense and is entirely justifiable.

But yet precisely because the discussion centers on a law school, and these are law students, should another aspect of Pierce’s career be considered: During the Civil War, Pierce emerged as a critic of the way in which that war was being conducted.

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June 30, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Can Faculty Be Forced Back On Campus?

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Can Faculty Be Forced Back on Campus?, by Arlene S. Kanter  (Syracuse):

CoronavirusUntil an effective vaccine is widely available, it is impossible for any college to be completely safe from Covid-19. Yet many institutions are planning to resume residential life in August. Much has been written about protecting students, but we also need to ask: If faculty members decide that it is too risky to return to campus, do they have the right to work from home?

I come to this question as a law professor from the field of disability-rights law. The Disability Rights Movement’s slogan, “Nothing About Us Without Us” reminds us that decisions should be made by the people most directly affected by them. But even if faculty members are involved in decision making, what do “we” want? Some will want to work from home; others will prefer to return to campus. What is less clear is whether faculty members who are concerned about the risks of returning to campus have the right to teach remotely from home. Several Covid-related regulations and federal and state laws can help guide us.

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June 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Death Of Mike Lang (Chapman)

Los Angeles Times Obituary, Michael B. Lang:

LangSeptember 17, 1951 — June 28, 2020. Born in Washington, DC, he was the son of Sue and Ezra Lang. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Harvard College, and the Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, PA. He was a full-time faculty member of Chapman University School of Law since 2002. Prior to that he taught at several other law schools including the University of Maine where he served as associate dean and Professor of Law. Professor Lang was active in the American Bar Association Section of Taxation where he held several committee chair posts and served as moderator of many panels. He was the author of numerous books and articles on taxation. Michael was an avid reader, tennis player, environmental champion and foodie. He will be remembered for his wit, intelligence, and kind heart.

He is survived by his son Leonard Lang, daughter Julie Lang, and his brother, Jonathan Lang.A memorial service is planned for 2021 at Hillside Memorial park in Los Angeles, CA. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to any organization designed to protect the environment.

You may leave a message of condolence for Mike's family here.

Message from Chapman University Provost Glenn Pfeiffer:

The Fowler School of Law mourns the loss of Professor Mike Lang, who passed away due to complications from a stroke he suffered last week.

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June 30, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Death Of Ed Kleinbard (USC)

From Joe Bankman (Stanford):

Kleinbard (2015)I am sorry to report that my great friend (and co-author), Ed Kleinbard (USC), died last night.  The cause of death was cancer.

Ed was a towering presence in our field and is well known to members of this group.  He had every ability a tax lawyer and academic could want: an amazing knowledge of doctrine, great analytic skills, and great passion.  He was a wonderful writer: clear, folksy, funny, and rhetorically strong.  He was motivated by a strong belief in justice and equal opportunity. 

I am sure that there will be a festchrist in his honor and that we will have an opportunity to reflect on his contributions.  I didn't ask the family anything about memorial services. I am guessing it will be small, private and (like everything else these days) on-line.   I would guess that his wish for us would be to work for tax and fiscal reform and justice -- and to consult his many works for guidance.

I got to know Ed well after moving to Southern California. He graciously agreed to speak at Pepperdine three times:  at my tax policy workshop series in 2015 and 2017, and most poignantly at the Critical Tax Conference in 2019 in the midst of his long battle with cancer. As Joe says, Ed was a towering presence in every sense, but what I will remember most is his biting wit, self-deprecation, and abiding belief that "we are better then this." 

Dan Shaviro (NYU), In Memory of Ed Kleinbard:

I wanted to express my very great grief, both personally and professionally, regarding the death of Ed Kleinbard, who succumbed last night to a vicious cancer that he had been fiercely, bravely, and creatively battling for many years.

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June 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (10)

July Bar-Takers Raise Concerns About In-Person Exam

Missouri Lawyer, July Bar-Takers Raise Concerns About In-person Exam:

While officials from the Missouri Board of Law Examiners say they are working to ensure the safety of everyone who is present during the upcoming July bar exam, some test-takers say they are growing increasingly anxious about testing in person in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. ...

In the past week, in-person bar exam testing has come under greater scrutiny as recent graduates across the country have echoed the anxieties of test-takers in Missouri. One such Twitter thread that illustrated the plight of test-takers, shared by Alyssa Leader, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, was shared more than 2,300 times and received more 6,200 likes.

Bar

News & Observer, NC Bar Exam to be Held In-Person Despite Coronavirus Health Concerns:

About 750 people are expected to sit for the North Carolina bar exam in Raleigh next month despite calls to move the test online as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in the state. ...

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June 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2L: Radical Left Makes Inroads At Scalia Law School Under Banner Of Black Lives Matter

Jacob Meckler (J.D. 2022, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University), Radical Left Makes Inroads at Scalia Law School Under Banner of Black Lives Matter:

It will come as no surprise to most Americans that academia has been lost largely to the Left. To put this in perspective, college professors donate to Democratic candidates over Republican ones by a ratio of 95-1, Yet, there are notable holdouts in the academic world, among them the aptly named Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, just outside Washington, D.C.

As one may guess from its namesake, Scalia Law is well known for its libertarian and conservative professoriate and for its resistance to unyielding pressure to change that outlook. Unfortunately, all of this is now under assault by a group of students themselves.

George Mason ideology 3

Adam Bonica (Stanford), Adam Chilton (Chicago), Kyle Rozema (Northwestern) & Maya Sen (Harvard), The Legal Academy's Ideological Uniformity, 47 J. Legal Stud. 1 (2018)

This week, Scalia Law’s Student Bar Association (SBA), in contravention of its supposed non-partisanship, issued a letter to the school’s administration, copying the entire student body, which contained a set of radical, Black Lives Matter-esque demands. The letter demanded, among other things, full tuition scholarships for all black students, affirmative action programs, special funding for “diverse” clubs to bring speakers of “intersectional identities”, and mandatory “race equity” trainings for all faculty, staff, and students. ...

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June 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

College Fall 2020 Plans And U.S. News Rankings: Higher Ranked Schools Are More Likely Online, Lower Ranked Schools Are More Likely On-Ground

Andy Thomason (Chronicle of Higher Education), U.S. News Rankings and Fall Plans:

Green: plans that don't (yet) imagine on-campus instruction ("planning for online," "waiting to decide," "considering a range of scenarios")
Orange: some in-person and some online ("proposing a hybrid model")
Red: "Planning for in-person" ...

The top 20 were much more reticent to pledge a return to campus, as compared to institutions 81-100:

USN Fall 2020

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June 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Eric Wilson Named Pastor Of Pepperdine's University Church

Wilson (2020)At yesterday's service, Pepperdine's University Church announced that Eric Wilson has been appointed our full-time preaching minister. As long-time readers of this blog know, my wife and I came to faith relatively late in our lives in 1996 at Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, now the third largest church in America. Since moving to Malibu, we have been members of Pepperdine's University Church.

Over the past 25 years, we have been blessed by the the five pastors who have guided us on our spiritual journey: Brian Tome, Brian Wells, Chuck Mingo, Rich Little, and Al Sturgeon. We could not be more excited about Eric's appointment and are very much looking forward to deepening our faith under his leadership. Here is more about Eric:

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June 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Deans Of Florida's 12 Law Schools Form Consortium For Racial Justice

Florida’s 12 Law Schools Propose Solidarity and Unified Approach with New Consortium For Racial Justice:

Florida Law Schools 2In light of longstanding and recent acts of racist violence, the Deans of the 12 law schools in Florida have formed the Florida Law Schools’ Consortium for Racial Justice (FLSCRJ). This collective will leverage the strengths and educational roles of every law school in the state to assist community organizations fighting for racial justice and policy reform throughout Florida.

FLSCRJ manifests each of the law schools’ commitment to racial justice. The law schools stand against bigotry and racism and seek to act in concrete ways to make the state of Florida more just for all. Michèle Alexandre, Dean and Professor at Stetson University College of Law, announced the consortium by stating, “Supreme Court Justice and civil rights legend Thurgood Marshall once said, ‘Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on. You are ready. Go to it.’ This advice is timeless. For law schools, lawyers, and law students, it is a moral imperative.”

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June 28, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Ford Foundation President: Are You Willing To Give Up Your Privilege?

New York Times op-ed: Are You Willing to Give Up Your Privilege?, by Darren Walker (President, Ford Foundation):

Walker 2I have lived on both sides of American inequality. I began life in the bottom 1 percent but found my way to the top. And I know, all too personally, that the distance between the two never has been greater.

Last winter, at a black-tie gala — the kind of event where guests pay $100,000 for a table — I joined some of New York’s wealthiest philanthropists in an opulently decorated ballroom. I had the ominous sense that we were eating lobster on the Titanic. ...

No chief executive, investor or rich person wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and says, “Today, I want to go out and create more inequality in America.” And yet, all too often, that is exactly what happens.

Even before the coronavirus, before the lockdowns, and before the murder of George Floyd — during the longest sustained economic expansion in American history — income inequality in America had reached staggering levels. Social mobility, the ability for a person to climb from poverty to security as I did, had all but disappeared.

This contributes to a hopelessness and cynicism that undermines our shared ideals and institutions, pits us against one another, and drives communities further apart. That’s why I am worried about our democracy, deeply and for the first time in my life.

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June 28, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

UC-Irvine To Be 100% Online For 2Ls/3Ls In Fall 2020; 1Ls May Choose To Be On Ground For 1 Or 2 Classes Each Week

Following on on yesterday's post, UC-Berkeley Joins Harvard In Going 100% Online For Fall 2020 Semester:

Letter From L. Song Richardson (Dean) & Christopher Whytock (Vice Dean) To UC-Irvine Law Students On Fall 2020 Plans:

UC Irvine Logo (2019)June 23, 2020
Dear Students,

Now is a more important time than ever to be a law student. The world needs you. It needs lawyers dedicated to racial justice, a diverse and inclusive legal profession, and the public interest. It needs lawyers ready to ensure equal access to legal representation and to help communities and businesses rebuild as we emerge from the global pandemic. We’re committed to equipping you to meet these important legal needs, preparing you to be leaders for systemic improvement of our justice system, and giving you the foundations for launching successful careers as lawyers. We can’t wait to get started in the fall.

We hope you’re as eager for the fall semester as we are. We understand, however, that not knowing exactly what the fall semester will look like can cause anxiety. We’re so appreciative of your patience and understanding as UCI Law’s faculty and administration work to navigate the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic and frequently changing public health directives to plan the best legal education possible for you. Although these unprecedented circumstances mean we can’t offer definitive answers to all of your questions, we’d like to give you this further update on UCI Law’s planning for the fall semester.

Law school orientation and fall classes will begin on schedule. We look forward to welcoming you and to the amazing things we’ll all do together, inside and outside of class, in the fall and beyond.

All UCI Law students who need or want to take their fall classes online will be able to do so. We know that while many of you will be on campus, some of you might not be ready to return due to the public health situation. You will be able to pursue your UCI Law education on schedule whether or not you are physically present.

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June 27, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Minnesota High Court Mulls Letting Law Grads Bypass The Bar Exam

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Minnesota High Court Mulls Letting Law Grads Bypass the Bar Exam:

Minnesota BarMinnesota could become the third jurisdiction to adopt an emergency diploma privilege that allows law graduates to skip the bar exam during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an order establishing a public comment period on the diploma privilege idea, which was proposed in a petition submitted by three recent graduates of the University of Minnesota Law School. The public has until July 6 to weigh in.

“In light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the hyper-local impact of the George Floyd killing and subsequent unrest, and the uncertain, unsafe, and disparate impacts of proceeding with the proposed examination plan, Petitioners respectfully request that the Court waive the bar examination requirement of Minnesota’s Rules for Admission to the Bar,” reads the petition.

Utah in April became the first jurisdiction to grant an emergency diploma privilege to law graduates who meet a series of requirements, among which is completing 360 hours of legal work under the supervision of a licensed attorney by the end of 2020. Washington State followed suit June 12, issuing an order allowing any graduate of an American Bar Association-accredited law school who had registered for the July or September bar exams to skip the test without further requirements. The deans of Oregon’s three law schools, as well as recent law graduates in the state, on June 15 sent letters to the Oregon Supreme Court requesting a diploma privilege, though the court has yet to announce any action on that front.

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June 27, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, June 26, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

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June 26, 2020 in Legal Education, Scott Fruehwald, Weekly Legal Ed Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

UC-Berkeley Joins Harvard In Going 100% Online For Fall 2020 Semester

Letter From Dean Erwin Chemerinsky To UC-Berkeley Law School Community On Fall 2020 Plans:

UC Berkeley (2016)June 6, 2020
Dear Law School Community,
I apologize for the length of this message, but I wanted to share with you the decisions that have been made concerning Fall 2020 instruction.

After great reflection and study, I am writing to inform you that all of our Fall 2020 classes will be conducted remotely.  For many weeks we have worked very hard to develop a schedule of in-person classes for the Fall semester that could be offered within the severe constraints created by the COVID-19 health emergency.  Our plans have gone through many iterations as we have learned more in terms of campus requirements and public health necessities.   I am enormously grateful to Molly Van Houweling, Annik Hirshen, Susan Whitman, and Beth Borowski for the huge amount of time they have spent on this.  Lisa Ferrari, Kathleen Vanden Heuvel, and Charles Cannon have made a tremendous effort to determine what we can do in the building to have in-person classes while maintaining social distancing at all times, reducing building occupancy by 75-80% as required by campus, and taking all necessary health precautions.  We have submitted detailed plans to campus and worked closely with the Provost’s office to make this work.

But after all of these efforts, I and the Contingency Planning Committee have concluded that the best course — for the health of those in our community and for our educational program — is to have the Fall semester’s classes be online.  Our top priority is protecting the health of our students, staff, and faculty.  At the same time, we want to do what is best educationally for our students.

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

Concordia Is Sixth Law School To Close Since 2017

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Concordia University School of Law to Close:

Concordia Logo (2018)Concordia University School of Law, which has been providing high-quality legal education in Boise since 2012, will close permanently at the end of the summer term as part of the closure of Concordia University—Portland (University). Although the University had signed a letter of intent in February to transfer the School of Law to Concordia St. Paul (CSP), the parties were unable to consummate the transaction.

Interim Dean Latonia Haney Keith said the decision to close the law school is devastating in light of the tireless efforts made by the University and CSP to secure a transfer agreement and the approval of the American Bar Association (ABA) and accrediting bodies.

“We are absolutely heartbroken for our prospective and current students, our alumni, our faculty and staff, and our supporters and donors who have worked so hard over the last eight years to build a law school up from scratch. I can’t thank everyone enough for their work, energy, and commitment to this law school and the values we stand for,” she said.

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

What Needs To Change To Improve Mental Health In The Legal Profession?

Lauren Henderson & Bill Henderson, What Needs to Change to Improve Mental Health in the Legal Profession?:

Mental HealthThe title of this article is based on an open-ended question presented to more than 3,800 professionals who responded to ALM Intelligence’s recent Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey (ALM Survey).

Granted, this is a population of very busy people, so not everyone took the time to fill out the text box with their proposed solutions or suggestions to the serious challenge of mental health.  That said, 1,882 lawyers and allied professionals shared their views, with responses that ran the gamut for hilarious to blunt to deeply pessimistic.  One of us (Lauren) just graduated with a degree in Anthropology, and thus had the time, skill, and curiosity to read every response, looking for patterns and themes. The other (Bill) is skilled in quantitative research and has a strong grasp of the legal marketplace.  The open-ended question at the end of the ALM Survey gave us a perfect opportunity to leverage our respective skills.

What did we learn?  Here are a few findings presented in more detail below:

  • In both volume and substance, women professionals had a lot more to say than their male counterparts.  If holding on to this talent is important, we wonder, “Is anyone listening?”
  • Within law firms, allied professionals appear to be the most tuned in to the mental health challenges, though all professionals are in broad agreement the law firm business model and related cultural factors are significant drivers of unhappiness, anxiety, and stress.
  • Cutting against stereotypes, older legal professions tended to be most in tune with mental health awareness and stigma issues, yet cutting in the opposite direction, they were also less likely–often by relatively wide margins–to cite specific causes, such as high billable hour quotas, unrealistic expectations, lean staffing, or inability to disconnect from work.

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June 26, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Women Law Professors: The First Century (1896-1996)

Catherine J. Lanctot (Villanova), Women Law Professors: The First Century, 65 Vill L. Rev. ___ (2020):

This article addresses the history of women as law professors from 1896 to 1996. It discusses the discrimination faced by women in legal academia over time, and also illustrates the contributions women have made to legal education.

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June 25, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawyer Health And Adverse Childhood Experiences

Karen Oehme (Florida State) & Nat Stern (Florida State), Improving Lawyers' Health By Addressing the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, 53 U. Rich. L. Rev. 1311 (2019):

The legal community has recently acknowledged that many in the profession suffer from the effects of poor mental health and has called for steps to improve lawyers’ well-being. Though well intentioned, this movement has largely ignored what the Centers for Disease Control calls a “basis for much of adult physical and emotional health problems”: adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs. Research by neuroscientists and others has concluded that much of adult physical and mental illness has its roots in the unresolved trauma of childhood adversity. At the same time, research also indicates that understanding the impact of these early experiences can alleviate such illness and its attendant maladaptive coping behaviors. Thus, efforts to help lawyers improve their mental health without addressing adverse childhood experiences will inevitably fall short. This Article recommends that bar associations and law schools take measures to educate attorneys and future attorneys about the potentially far-reaching consequences of these experiences and means to overcome them.

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June 25, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Orin Kerr's The Legal Academy

Orin Kerr (UC-Berkeley) has launched The Legal Academy, a show about law professors on YouTube and Apple Podcasts. Orin has produced six episodes thus far, including one with Northwestern Tax Prof Sarah Lawsky:

 

Other episodes include:

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

Harvard Rising 2Ls: Law Schools’ Complicity On Racism Must Be Challenged

Tyler Ambrose, Zarinah Mustafa & Sherin Nassar (J.D. 2022, Harvard), Law Schools’ Complicity on Racism Must Be Challenged:

Corporationsnewsrooms, and political institutions have faced public pressure to denounce and combat racism as activists nationwide have pushed for police reform. However, there is an institution guilty of perpetuating racial inequality that we have yet to scrutinize: American law schools.

These institutions produce the legal professionals we rely on to interpret and uphold the law, such as the district attorneys who prosecute the police. Yet, they are overwhelmingly misguided and underinformed on issues of racism in the law. And it is not entirely their fault. 

Law schools are complicit. As rising second-year Black and brown students at Harvard Law School, we are keenly aware of our privilege. While America is embroiled in a people’s movement for justice long denied, we recognize and embrace our responsibility to challenge the racially sterile curriculum of law school classrooms. 

We cannot allow these legal institutions to continue producing race-illiterate lawyers. The consequence of this illiteracy is not hypothetical. It is police killing Black people with impunity, and harsher sentences for Black and brown men, women and children. It is judges selling Black boys to prisons for profit. It is protesters marching for weeks during a pandemic. 

Law schools can no longer refuse to depart from the status quo while in the same breath claim they believe Black lives matter.  ...

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June 25, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

What Law Schools Must Do To Help Law Students With Mental Health And Substance Abuse Issues

David Grenardo (St. Mary's), You Are Not Alone: What Law Schools Must Do to Help Law Students With Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues, 10 HLRe: Off the Record 7 (2019):

Substance abuse and mental health issues remain pervasive in the legal profession and require a coordinated response to address those issues. This article discusses the crisis of mental health conditions and substance abuse afflicting law students and lawyers, and it provides practical, tangible solutions for law schools and law students to address the crisis. This article concludes that law schools must educate their law students to let them know they are not alone as many others are suffering as well, and these law students are not alone in their battle because law schools will support them vigorously.

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Black Law Deans Take On Racism In Legal Ed

AALS Black Law Deans

Karen Sloan & Vanessa Blum (Law.com), ‘Pictures in My Head’: Black Law Deans Take on Racism in Legal Ed:

After the police killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, Dickinson Law Dean Danielle Conway says she felt haunted by two sets of images.

One was a collage of dozens of black law deans commemorating the John Mercer Langston Legal Education Awards. The other set of images were the faces of black people killed by the police. “I couldn’t get away from the comparison. … That’s when I said I’m moved. I have to do something with this image, because but for one instance or one event with police, we could be in the other collage.”

Conway’s determination to take action helped to spur the Law Deans Antiracist Clearinghouse Project, a five-phase plan announced on June 11 to mobilize law schools and their communities in the fight for racial equality. The project is led by five black women law deans: Conway; Angela Onwuachi-Willig of Boston University School of Law; Kim Mutcherson of Rutgers Law School; Carla Pratt of Washburn University School of Law; and Danielle Holley-Walker of Howard University School of Law.

June 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rising 2L Sues Harvard Law School, Demands Lower Tuition For 'Inferior' Online Classes

Following up on my previous posts:

Karen Sloan (Law.com), 'Subpar in Every Aspect': Harvard Law Student Sues Over Online Classes:

A Harvard Law student has filed a class action against the university, arguing that students should be charged a lower tuition for online classes on the grounds that they are inferior to in-person instruction.

Harvard is the latest target in a wave of litigation focused on college and university tuition reimbursements amid the COVID-19 pandemic—at least 100 campuses have been sued thus far. Plaintiffs firms Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, which is representing incoming second-year law student Abraham Barkhordar, has also filed suit against 13 other universities.

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June 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

80% Of George Washington Law School Faculty Call For Alumnus William Barr To Resign As Attorney General

Law Faculty of George Washington University Calls For Investigation, Censure, and Resignation Of GWU Law Alumnus William P. Barr:

Barr GWIn a statement released today [Statement Regarding Attorney General William H. Barr From Members of the George Washington University Law School Faculty], on the eve of an oversight hearing on the Attorney General and the Department of Justice in the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, 65 current and emeriti faculty members of George Washington University Law School condemned the actions of Attorney General William P. Barr and called for him to resign his office. The statement is a highly unusual rebuke of a leading alumnus. Barr received his J.D. from the law school in 1977, served on its Board of Advisors, and has been honored by the law school and the university. The letter is signed by over 80% of the active full-time faculty with voting privileges, joined by 18 emeritus professors, deans, and legal professionals. The signers of the non-partisan statement include members of both major political parties, and of none.

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June 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

New York Reverses Course, Will Seat Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools For September Bar Exam

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  New York State Board of Law Examiners, Update Regarding the September 2020 Bar Examination:

NYSBA (2017)The application process for the September bar exam is now complete. All candidates who successfully completed an application to sit for the bar exam will be assigned seats, provided their proof of eligibility is timely submitted and demonstrates compliance with the requirements of Court of Appeals Rule 520.3 or 520.6. See Board Rule 6000.4. The deadline to submit such proof has been extended until July 15, 2020. No handwriting specimen will be required.

Candidates will be notified regarding their seat assignments after the review of eligibility proofs has been completed.

The deadline to complete the laptop registration with Examsoft has been extended to Monday, June 29, 2020 at 4:30 P.M. Eastern Time.

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June 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2020 Law School Graduates: Beware The October Online Bar Exam!

TaxProf Blog op-ed: 2020 Law School Graduates: Beware the October Online Bar Exam!, by Mitchel L. Winick (President & Dean, Monterey College of Law):

WinickThe California Supreme Court notified the California State Bar Board of Trustees last week that it is considering delaying the next bar exam until October 2020 so that California applicants can be provided an online bar exam option.

However, the details are very concerning.

According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), the October online testing option will not constitute a full Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). Scores earned on the remotely administered test will be valid only in the state(s) where it is administered and will not be eligible to be transferred as UBE or MBE scores when applying for admission to other jurisdictions.

California and other jurisdictions that choose to use this set of MBE materials  will be responsible for their own scoring, equating to previous exams, and scaling (adjusting scores from the written essay portion of the test based on the modified MBE portion) -- functions that the NCBE supports for the in-person version of the exam.

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June 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Moritz Family Seeks To Reopen Estate To Enforce Terms Of Ohio State Law School Naming Agreement

Following up on my previous post, Moritz Family Fights Ohio State Over Undisclosed 1% Annual Development Fee Charged Against Naming Gift To Law School, As Endowment Has Shrunk From $30m To $22m In 17 Years:

Ohio State LogoColumbus Dispatch, Moritz Family Still Want Estate Reopened to Bargain With Ohio State Over Endowment:

Family members continue to fight to reopen the estate of the late Michael E. Moritz, for whom the Ohio State University’s law school is named, in an effort to ensure his donation to the school is used for the full-ride scholarships he intended.

After years of back and forth, the family of Michael Moritz filed an appeal in the Fifth District Court of Appeals earlier this month, seeking to reopen the late lawyer’s estate. Reopening the estate doesn’t mean the family would immediately sue the university, the family’s attorney David Marburger said, but it would allow them to negotiate with OSU over what they feel is improper endowment spending that could diminish Michael Moritz’s legacy.

“If the estate were to be reopened, all we would try to do is bargain,” Marburger said.

Moritz’s son, Jeffrey Moritz, sought to reopen the estate in 2017, after he discovered the $30.3 million gift his father gave to Ohio State in 2001 had shrunk by $8.4 million over the years to $21.9 million, a decline of 28%. University officials said an annual development fee, which cumulatively totaled about $3 million in 2017, had been taken from the endowment since its inception. Such fees go toward pursuing and entertaining potential donors, and pay the salaries of university fundraising employees.

The 2001 Moritz gift was intended to endow four faculty chairs and give 30 annual scholarships to law students. In recognition of the gift, Ohio State renamed its law college in honor of Michael Moritz.

But when Jeffrey Moritz looked into the endowment several years ago, he found it was being tapped for only 12 to 16 full-ride scholarships each year instead of the 30 grants mandated in the gift agreement.

The family contended that Ohio State was diminishing the Moritz legacy by illegally draining millions of dollars in the “development fees” from the endowment and not properly distributing the full number of scholarships.

Ohio State officials have previously said the withdrawal of the development fees is legal and is a widespread practice among universities. ...

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June 23, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Faculty Want A Say In Whether They Teach Face To Face. The Conversation Is Not Going Well.

Following up on Saturday's post, Penn State Faculty Demand Right To Decide Whether To Teach In Person Or Online, Guarantee Of Jobs, Full Salary, Benefits, Raises, And Hiring Of New Faculty:  Chronicle of Higher Education, Faculty Want a Say in Whether They Teach Face to Face. The Conversation Is Not Going Well.:

In announcing its plans to resume in-person instruction as of August 10, the University of Notre Dame became one of the first major institutions to answer the question on higher education's collective mind: How will we approach the fall semester? Weeks after that announcement, Notre Dame's president, John I. Jenkins, doubled down on the importance of face-to-face education in a New York Times op-ed [We’re Reopening Notre Dame. It’s Worth the Risk.], writing that "the mark of a healthy society is its willingness to bear burdens and take risks for the education and well-being of its young."

But in doing so, Jenkins and the administration raised a second, equally thorny question: What if faculty members don't want to take those risks? That's the concern shared by 140 Notre Dame faculty members who have signed a petition asserting that “all faculty members should be allowed to make their own prudential judgments about whether to teach in-person classes."

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June 23, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Testy: LSAT-Flex And Supporting Candidates During COVID-19

The LSAT-Flex and Supporting Candidates in the Time of COVID-19
Kellye Y. Testy (President & CEO, Law School Admission Council)

Testy (2019)

We have just completed the June administration of the LSAT-Flex, the online, remotely proctored delivery of LSAT that we designed to give law school candidates the opportunity to complete their application to law school despite the COVID-19 restrictions on travel and large gatherings.

More than 8,000 candidates took the LSAT-Flex last week, bringing to nearly 18,000 the number of candidates who have successfully completed the LSAT-Flex over the past 5 weeks. Many of these candidates are applying for admission to law school this fall, and schools are delighted to be able to continue to count on the same score scale and the reliability, validity, and fairness of the LSAT as one factor in their holistic admission decisions. Each year, roughly 99% of law school matriculants include an LSAT score in their successful applications.

Obviously, an online remotely proctored test raises important questions of equity and access to technology. LSAC was committed to helping every test taker to have the equipment and resources they needed.  

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