Paul L. Caron
Dean


Friday, May 8, 2020

Florida To Proceed With July Bar Exam With Temperature Checks, Social Distancing, Masks, And 14-Day Quarantines For Out-Of-State Applicants

Florida Board of Bar Examiners Release (May 5, 2020):

Florida BarThe Florida Board of Bar Examiners, with the approval of the Supreme Court of Florida, plans to proceed with the administration of the General Bar Examination on July 28 and 29, 2020 in accordance with Rule 4-14 of the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar.

The Board has been working closely with the Florida Department of Health (“FDOH”) and other medical experts to identify and implement protocols that the FDOH requires for the safe administration of the exam for all involved, including applicants, administrators, and proctors. Those protocols will include:

  • Administration in Tampa and Orlando. The Board will administer the July 2020 General Bar Examination at the Tampa Convention Center and the Orange County Convention Center to create additional space for social distancing. The Board will assign each applicant to either Tampa or Orlando.
  • Screening Questions and Temperature Checks. FDOH officials will ask screening questions and check the temperature of all applicants, administrators, and proctors before they can enter an exam site. Applicants with a temperature of 100.4° or higher will not be allowed to sit for the exam. Applicants who leave the exam site will be required to be screened again before re-entry.
  • Social Distancing. Only one applicant will sit at a table, and tables will be at least six feet apart in all directions. Applicants must remain six feet apart when in line to enter or exit an exam site and during the administration of the exam.
  • Wearing Masks. All applicants will be required to wear a mask during the exam and when in line to enter or exit an exam site. Applicants will not be allowed to sit for the exam if they do not wear masks. Applicants will be asked to leave the exam if they remove their mask during the exam. Administrators and proctors also must wear masks.
  • Out of State Applicants. The Governor of the State of Florida has issued Executive Orders 20-82 and 20-86 relating to persons traveling to Florida from out of state. Based on these or any subsequent Executive Orders, applicants traveling to Florida for the bar exam may be required to quarantine for 14 days or some other time period prior to the start of the examination.

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May 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Professor Group Calls For Suspension Of ABA Accreditation Standard 316 Requiring 75% Bar Passage Within Two Years Due To COVID-19

Society of American Law Teachers, SALT Calls for Suspension of ABA Standard 316:

SALT LogoIn light of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting disruptions of bar-exam administration, SALT has called upon the Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar to suspend ABA Standard 316. The standard, as part of the law-school accreditation process, requires that at least 75% of a law school’s graduates have passed the bar exam within two years of graduation. As SALT’s statement (below) makes clear, the pandemic renders uncertain the ability of law-school graduates to take and pass the bar in the near future. Applying Standard 316 in this environment would render uncertain the status of law schools with high percentages of graduates disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Suspending Standard 316 is a reasonable accommodation to the current crisis.

SALT Calls on the Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the ABA to Suspend ABA Standard 316:

COVID-19 disruptions to the 2020 bar exam nationwide necessitates that ABA Standard 316, Bar Passage, be suspended.

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May 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

If Law Schools Can’t Offer In-Person Classes This Fall, What Will They Do Instead?

ABA Journal, If Law Schools Can’t Offer In-Person Classes This Fall, What Will They Do Instead?:

CoronavirusStudents may not feel safe attending courses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s also true for professors, say law school deans, many of whom want in-person classes this fall but are making various plans they hope meet ABA accreditation standards. ...

Some deans predict law schools will have hybrid courses in the fall, with both in-person and remote class time.

“We have to do what is best for the health of our students and faculty, and I am sure that in the pandemic, regulatory bodies will be reasonable about this,” says Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of University of California at Berkeley School of Law.

Other deans are less confident and wonder if they will need accommodations for the ABA’s distance education standard.

Under ABA Standard 306, law schools can offer up to one-third of their credits online, 10 of which can be for first-year classes. In February, the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar published a guidance memo, which stated distance learning could be a good solution for emergency situations where law school facilities are unavailable or something makes it hard for students to get to the campus. ... However, some deans question if the writing will extend through the fall. ...

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May 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Advice To Law Students In The Time Of Covid-19: Your Path To Big Law

Law.com, Advice to Law Students in the Time of Covid-19: Your Path to Big Law:

CoronavirusWe don’t know how long this recession will last. We do know it will change Big Law hiring numbers, timing and processes. If you’re one of the many talented, driven, prelawyer types whose plans just took a jolt, let me say I’m really sorry. This is no fault of yours, and it stinks. But it has happened, so how should you respond to it all? Let me start with two particulars on how firms hire, turn to their implications for particular cohorts of candidates and conclude with important themes for all would-be recruits.

Hiring’s Third Dimension: Success-Oriented Behaviors
A decade ago, firms looked for two things in candidates: smarts and interpersonal skills. The former was appraised based on academics and that later based on chatty in-person interviews. Over the past decade, things changed. Firms did some form of study of the characteristics of recruits that correlate with success at the firm. Success was measured as longevity (i.e., how long a recruit stays, the logic being that hiring and training associates is a major investment; associates have to stay five years to provide a decent return, and longer—through to partner—if they’re to be part of successfully building the institution.

The studies typically produced three findings that, in retrospect, should not have been surprising. First, regarding “smarts,” the studies showed no correlation between smarts (measured by GPA, prestige of law school or college, clerkships, etc.) and success at the firm. Indeed, in some ways, there was a negative linkage (e.g. associates from the elite law schools didn’t stay as long as their less-credentialed contemporaries).

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May 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

New York Should Replace Discriminatory Bar Exam Plan With Emergency Licensure Open To All Law School Graduates

Following up on this morning's post, 54 More Deans Ask New York To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam:

Bloomberg Law op-ed:  New York’s Bar Exam Changes Are Misguided—Here’s a New Proposal, by Claudia Angelos (NYU), Eileen Kaufman (Touro), Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State) & Patricia E. Salkin (Touro):

NYSBA (2017)Jurisdictions around the country are struggling to offer the bar exam during the Covid-19 pandemic. The difficulties are particularly acute in New York, which hosts about 10,000 bar takers each July, has been hit hard by the pandemic, and faces an increasingly desperate need for legal services throughout the state. ...

The New York Court of Appeals moved quickly to acknowledge the public health realities, postponing the July exam until September and announcing plans for a distinguished working group to explore contingency plans if that exam, too, needs to be canceled or postponed.

But the court has issued a plan for the September exam that is misguided: the plan confirms that there will be insufficient seats for all candidates wishing to take the exam; prioritizes graduates of New York law schools for claiming seats; and encourages graduates to take the exam in other states.

The announcement makes clear that New York needs to find another means for licensing new lawyers. The court should be facilitating, not obstructing, entry to the profession at a time when clients desperately need legal help and new lawyers are eager and ready to work.

We write here to propose what New York should do, as a practical, policy, and constitutional matter, in order to maintain entry to the profession.

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

Finding Real Life In Teaching Law Online

The New Yorker:  Finding Real Life in Teaching Law Online, by Jeannie Suk Gersen (Harvard):

New Yorker (2014)During my first year teaching at Harvard Law School, I fell flat on my face. In addition to prepping for class like a maniac, I spent an inordinate amount of time cultivating a professional aura. I always dressed up for class, did my hair, and put on makeup. One day, I found myself late getting to class. In my pencil skirt and heels, I entered the amphitheatre-style classroom from the back. My fifty students were already seated and ready. Rushing down the gauntlet of steps toward the podium, carrying my casebook, teaching notes, seating chart, and a hot tea, I felt my ankle buckle. Everything flew out of my hands and I face-planted. The univocal gasp of my students still haunts my nightmares. I thought, in that moment, that my teaching career was over, but I got up, walked to the podium, and began teaching the class, because I didn’t know what else to do. I was immediately more relaxed and comfortable than I’d ever been in the classroom—and so, it seemed, were my students, who loosened up immensely.

Earlier this month, I logged in to Zoom to teach my constitutional-law class. That day, we were covering the gay-rights and same-sex-marriage cases. I looked at my hundred and fifteen students’ faces Brady Bunched onscreen and got the first sentence out—and realized my voice was quivering and my face was contorting. I was crying in class. A friend had died in the hospital the previous evening, after years of serious pulmonary illness and a double lung transplant. I told my students and asked for a minute to turn off my camera. When I returned, the group chat had exploded with messages of support from students, which made me cry more. Loss and sadness now in the open, we continued on with learning the Supreme Court’s due-process and equal-protection doctrines.

As we move toward the end of the school year in lockdown, the need to practice social distancing has made teaching and learning online the norm. And, though most schools have not made official decisions about what to do for this coming fall, they are being forced to consider continuing with online instruction if the pandemic doesn’t abate. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine how, having sent students away as the virus spread, universities could welcome them back to classrooms and dormitories in the absence of a vaccine.

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May 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

COVID-19 Is Disproportionately Impacting Research By Women Faculty

The Lily, Women Academics Seem to be Submitting Fewer Papers During Coronavirus. ‘Never Seen Anything Like It,’ Says One Editor:

CoronavirusMen are submitting up to 50 percent more than they usually would.

Six weeks into widespread self-quarantine, editors of academic journals have started noticing a trend: Women — who inevitably shoulder a greater share of family responsibilities — seem to be submitting fewer papers. This threatens to derail the careers of women in academia, says Leslie Gonzales, a professor of education administration at Michigan State University, who focuses on strategies for diversifying the academic field: When institutions are deciding who to grant tenure to, how will they evaluate a candidate’s accomplishments during coronavirus?

“We don’t want a committee to look at the outlier productivity of, say, a white hetero man with a spouse at home and say, ‘Well, this person managed it,’” says Gonzales. “We don’t want to make that our benchmark.” ...

[T]the anecdotes are consistent with broader patterns in academia, says Gonzales: If men and women are at home, men “find a way” to do more academic work.

When men take advantage of “stop the clock” policies, taking a year off the tenure-track after having a baby, studies show they’ll accomplish far more professionally than their female colleagues, who tend to spend that time focused primarily or solely on child care. Some of the responsibilities are determined by biology: If a woman chooses to breast-feed, that takes up hours every day. Women also face a physical recovery from giving birth.

Inside Higher Ed, Early Journal Submission Data Suggest Covid-19 Tanking Womens Research Productivity:

It was easy to foresee: within academe, female professors would bear the professional brunt of social distancing during COVID-19, in the form of decreased research productivity.

Now the evidence is starting to emerge. Editors of two journals say that they’re observing unusual, gendered patterns in submissions. In each case, women are losing out.

Editors of a third journal have said that overall submissions by women are up right now, but that solo-authored articles by women are down substantially.

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May 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

54 More Deans Ask New York To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam

Following up on my previous posts:

Letter From 54 Law School Deans To Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (May 6, 2020):

The Honorable Janet DiFiore
Chief Judge
New York State Court of Appeals
20 Eagle Street
Albany, New York 12207

Dear Chief Judge DiFiore:

To begin, we sincerely hope that you, the judiciary, members of the Board of Law Examiners, and your families are staying well in these very difficult times. We recognize the considerable administrative strain that has been placed on the Court with respect to the bar, and thus, we will be brief and direct.

As deans of law schools from outside of your state, who each year send talented, earnest students to sit for the New York Bar, we wish to express our full support regarding the concerns and potential solutions communicated by our colleagues in their letter of May 1, 2020, appended hereto.

We are grateful to you for considering these proposals, and are fully prepared to join the effort to help the Court, the Board of Law Examiners, and our fellow law school deans find solutions that could expand testing capacity for all non-New York law school graduates.

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May 7, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bar Exam Set For July, But Many States Still Delaying

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Bar Exam Set for July, but Many States Still Delaying:

CoronavirusThe July bar exam is a go.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners announced May 5 that it intends to provide a July test to jurisdictions that choose to stick with the tradition exam timeline—a decision that had been up in the air due to the coronavirus. The conference also left the door open to change course should the COVID-19 pandemic warrant it.

Nineteen jurisdictions so far have announced plans to push the test back to September, while the remaining jurisdictions have either said they intend to give the test as scheduled in July or have yet to make any announcement about their exam plans.

“Based on this information, [the national conference] has determined that there will most likely be a sufficient number of July examinees to administer the bar exam,” reads the announcement, which stated that the conference will make the three components of its exam available to the jurisdictions that wish to give the test in July. ...

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May 7, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Bar Exam Does Little To Ensure Attorney Competence, Say Lawyers In Diploma Privilege State

ABA Journal, Bar Exam Does Little to Ensure Attorney Competence, Say Lawyers in Diploma Privilege State:

CoronavirusIn his 60 years of law practice, Milwaukee attorney Franklyn M. Gimbel has known good and bad attorneys. And, according to him, whether they passed a bar exam, which in Wisconsin is not required for most in-state law school graduates, has no bearing on their lawyering abilities or character.

“I know a lot of lawyers who have misbehaved—I’ve represented some of them,” says the former State Bar of Wisconsin president. “While the bar exams have become more difficult and longer, I’m not sure if you look at a lawyer a couple of decades down the road that the bar exam really was a filter.”

Wisconsin is the only state in the nation with what is known as diploma privilege, whereby in-state law school graduates can become lawyers without sitting for the bar, but many law school students—and some deans—are now urging other states to adopt the licensing procedure in the event that the July bar exam can not be administered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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May 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

CLEA Statement On The July 2020 Bar Examination

Clinical Legal Education Association, Statement of the CLEA Board of Directors on the 2020 Bar Examination:

CLEA 3The Clinical Legal Education Association (“CLEA”), the nation’s largest association of law professors, urges State authorities in charge of attorney licensure to promulgate rules and policies in response to the current pandemic that expand the availability of legal representation for underserved clients and equitably account for the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on recent law school graduates. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, we are called to work together to protect each other. We must be pragmatic, flexible and caring. While we are strongly drawn to precedent and tradition, as are all lawyers, we urge that strict adherence to the current model of a single, high stakes, timed bar examination as the primary gatekeeper to the profession will needlessly exacerbate inequality and further injustice during this pandemic.

As this crisis has developed, a number of approaches to bar licensure have emerged. Some jurisdictions have announced plans to postpone the bar exam a few months and then require applicants to sit for the traditional exam. These plans seem not to fully grapple with the difficult situation in which we find ourselves. CLEA joins others in calling for jurisdictions to adopt alternatives to the bar exam, such as supervised practice, sequential licensing, and diploma privileges. We recognize that one size may not fit all and that solutions will vary according to the needs and circumstances of each locale. Nevertheless, one thing is certain – this is not a time for business as usual.

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May 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NCBE July Bar Exam Update

National Conference of Bar Examiners, Update (May 5, 2020):

NCBE (2020)As of May 5, 19 jurisdictions have announced that they intend to cancel or postpone the July bar exam; the other jurisdictions either plan to go ahead with the July exam or have not yet made a decision. Based on this information, NCBE has determined that there will most likely be a sufficient number of July examinees to administer the bar exam. Accordingly, we plan to make our exam materials (MBE, MEE, and MPT) available to those jurisdictions that choose to administer an exam in July.

As we announced on April 3, NCBE is also making additional sets of exam materials available for two fall administrations for those jurisdictions that have delayed their July exams or decided to offer an additional administration in the fall in the event they must limit seating for the July exam. For information about jurisdiction announcements, visit our July 2020 Bar Exam: Jurisdiction Information page.

We also continue to study and formulate options for an emergency remote assessment for those jurisdictions that cannot administer an in-person bar exam due to COVID-19 restrictions.

We will continue to work closely with jurisdictions in the weeks ahead to help ensure that law graduates have the answers they need as they prepare for licensure.

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May 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harvard Faces $1.2 Billion Shortfall Due To COVID-19

Following up on my previous posts:

Bloomberg, Harvard Sees $1.2 Billion Revenue Shortfall Due to Pandemic:

Harvard University, the richest U.S. college, is forecasting a revenue shortfall of nearly $1.2 billion over two academic years, showing how the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic are crippling schools.

Harvard faces a drop of $415 million in anticipated revenue for the year ending June 30, and a further $750-million shortfall compared to budgeted expectations for the year beginning July 1, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp said in a statement Tuesday. ...

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May 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Minneapolis Law Schools Grappling With Grading Policies In The Wake Of COVID-19

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Twin Cities Law Schools Grappling With Grading in the Wake of COVID-19:

CoronavirusTwin Cities law schools weighed this semester how best to grade students amid COVID-19, hoping to reward hard work while also being fair to students whose performance may have been hobbled by the pandemic.

At the University of St. Thomas Law School, students will receive one of three grades: high pass, pass or fail. At the University of Minnesota Law School, students will get pass/fail grades.

But at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, some students are objecting to their school’s decision to let them see their marks and then decide whether to take a letter grade or pass/fail.

They think the choice benefits those students whose lives have been minimally disrupted by the coronavirus, got better grades as a result and can afford to take a letter grade, which some employers may prefer to pass/fail. They want to make pass/fail grades mandatory so everyone is in the same boat.

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May 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Secure Online High Stakes Testing In Legal Education

Sara Berman (AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence), Gregory Brandes (Dean, St. Francis School of Law), Megan Carpenter (Dean, University of New Hampshire School of Law) & Andrew L. Strauss (Dean, University of Dayton School of Law), Secure Online High Stakes Testing: A Serious Alternative as Legal Education Moves Online:

Pandemic-related health and financial issues, travel and group gathering bans, and public service and protection demands all point to an immediate need to develop alternatives to traditional in-person law school and bar exams, for this summer and an unknown amount of time thereafter. Secure, online remote-proctored exams should be thoroughly studied as one possible alternative, and protocols for high stakes exams that account for these new realities must be considered, analyzed, and pilot-tested as soon as possible.

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May 5, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For 15 Pre-Recorded Presentations For CALIcon2020: Pandemic + Legal Education + Tech

CALI 2CALIcon2020 is putting out a brand new, clean slate Call For Speakers. We want you to do a 15 minute pre-recorded session on some topic related to Pandemic + Legal Education + Tech. This can be a screencast, interpretive dance, podcast, Zoom panel discussion – whatever you want, but you have to record it and upload it to us by Midnight on Friday, May 15, 2020.

We will choose 18 of these and assemble them into clusters of three presentations.

Conference Description:
We are in the midst of the largest distance learning experiment in legal education history. Everyone – faculty, students, Teknoids, law librarians, edtech folks — everyone — has experienced it differently and had to make adjustments or witnessed a rapid change. We want you to talk about that. How’d it go? Does this mean real, permanent change for legal education? What did you learn? If you could go back in time to December 2019, what advice would you give yourself? You get the idea.

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May 5, 2020 in Conferences, Coronavirus, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores, 1998-2020

Robert L. Jones (Northern Illinois), Academic Reputation Scores for Law Schools Rise Significantly in 2020:

This Article summarizes the results of the U.S. News & World Report rankings published in 2020 with respect to the academic reputation scores of law schools. In addition to analyzing the most recent results for the U.S. News rankings, the Article supplements the more extensive longitudinal study published by this author in 2013. The Article also includes updated appendices from the prior study that catalog the U.S. News academic reputation scores for every law school between 1998 and 2020.

Jones 1

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May 5, 2020 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

July Bar Exam Update: DC, Maine, Massachusetts

CoronavirusDistrict of Columbia Court of Appeals, Order (May 4, 2020) (press release):

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals plans to administer the Uniform Bar Examination (“UBE”) on September 9-10, 2020, pandemic-related conditions and restrictions permitting. Social distancing protocols as a health and safety measure will be implemented, which will almost certainly limit the available seating. Each examinee will be required to bring, and to wear at all times while in the examination venue, a face mask. As conditions warrant, in the discretion of the Committee on Admissions, examinees may also be required to have their temperatures taken and to be free of fever and to satisfy other screening requirements to gain entry to the exam.

The court expects to administer the examination at multiple venues. We encourage examinees to submit their completed applications to sit for the examination early during the registration period. Seating priority will be given to examinees who will be first-time takers of the bar examination who obtained JD degrees in 2019 or 2020 from an ABA-approved law school (“priority registrants”). Seating of others (for the full UBE examination) will be available on a first come first served basis if space permits.

Registration for priority registrants for the September 9-10 UBE will open on May 18, 2020, and will close on May 28, 2020. 

Bloomberg, D.C. Appeals Court Delays Bar Exam Until September Due to Virus

Maine Board of Bar Examiners, September 2020 Maine Bar Examination – Seat Limit Reached:

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, the Maine Board of Bar Examiners is limiting the number of seats available for the upcoming September 30/October 1, 2020 Uniform Bar Examination. As of May 4, 2020, the Maine Board of Bar Examiners reached its seating limit and is unable to accept any additional applications at this time.

Massachusettts Board of Bar Examiners, Important Notice - Massachusetts Bar Exam, September 30-October 1, 2020:

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May 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Chicago Students Demand 50% Tuition Cut Due To Coronavirus

Chicago Sun-Times, Hundreds Refuse to Pay UChicago as Tuition Strike Takes Off, Organizers Say: ‘This Isn’t a Bluff’:

Chicago (2020)As hundreds of students refuse to make payments to the University of Chicago, organizers say they hope the tuition strike will convince the school’s leadership to come to the bargaining table.

Students with UChicago for Fair Tuition demanded earlier this month that the university cut tuition by 50% and eliminate student fees for as long as the coronavirus pandemic continued, citing changing financial situations for students due to skyrocketing unemployment.

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May 5, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, May 4, 2020

Don't Trust Your Provost With Your Life This Fall

Diane Klein (La Verne), A Twenty-Year Professor on Trusting Your Provost With Your Life: Don’t.:

CoronavirusThe executive suites and Presidential cabinets of America’s universities appear to include far too many people willing to put your life at risk to keep from shutting down. As a faculty member, will you go along with it, if called back to campus? Before you decide, ask yourself a few simple questions.

1. Is your provost Dr. Zeke Emanuel? ...
2. Does your provost listen to the faculty? ...
3. Does your provost care about faculty well-being? ...

The challenge COVID-19 presents to higher education is vast and potentially cataclysmic. Administrators are right to fear for their institutions’ . Many  further downturns in enrollment, and administrators may think ordering professors back onto campus could stanch that bleeding.

But faculty should beware of heeding that call, when it comes in the absence of testing or a realistic plan for pandemic response.

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May 4, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Dean Amar: New York's Discrimination Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools Is Unconstitutional — 'Whether It’s Toilet Paper Or Bar Exam Seats, Hoarding Is Wrong'

Following up on my previous posts:

Vikram Amar (Dean, Illinois), The New York Bar’s Misguided Discrimination Against Out-Of-State Law Schools:

As has been widely reported, the New York Board of Law Examiners (BOLE) last Thursday confirmed that the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) originally scheduled for late July in New York would be administered on September 9 to September 10 instead. No surprise there. What was surprising was the related announcement that BOLE would discriminate in favor of the 15 ABA-approved law schools located in New York state by giving graduates from these schools an exclusive 10-day window (from May 5 to May 15) to apply for September-test seating, before allowing graduates from out-of-state schools to apply for any seats that may (or may not) be available after the in-state schools were served.

I say this is surprising because it is unfair. And unconstitutional. And because one would expect the highest court in New York, which oversees BOLE, to care about such things. ...

[W]hen times are tough, and when there is not enough of something to go around to all who might deserve it, our leaders must set the right tone and the right example. Whether it’s toilet paper or bar-exam seats, hoarding is wrong.

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May 4, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Colleges Face 15%-20% Drop In Enrollment; S&P Lowers Credit Rating Of 25% Of Colleges

Wall Street Journal, Coronavirus Pushes Colleges to the Breaking Point, Forcing ‘Hard Choices’ About Education:

WSJ 1From schools already on the brink to the loftiest institutions, the pandemic is changing higher education in America with stunning speed.

Schools sent students home when the coronavirus began to spread, and no one knows if they will be back on campus come fall. Some colleges say large lecture classes and shared living and dining spaces may not return. Athletics are suspended, and there is no sense of when, or if, packed stadiums, and their lucrative revenue streams, will return.

Every source of funding is in doubt. Schools face tuition shortfalls because of unpredictable enrollment and market-driven endowment losses. Public institutions are digesting steep budget cuts, while families are questioning whether it’s worth paying for a private school if students will have to take classes online, from home.

To brace for the pain, colleges and universities are cutting spending, freezing staff salaries and halting plans for campus building.

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May 4, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

July Bar Exam Update: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri

CoronavirusIllinois Supreme Court Postpones Bar Exam Until September (court order):

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that the Illinois bar exam, originally scheduled for July 28-29, 2020, has been rescheduled to September 9-10, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Chicago Tribune, Illinois Bar Exam Delayed, and Now Law Students Seeking Jobs and Path to Pay Off Loans Face Major Complications

Iowa Supreme Court Notice To Bar Applicants:

July 2020 Bar Exam Applicants:

  • The Iowa Board of Law Examiners still intends on administering the July 2020 Iowa Bar Examination as scheduled on July 27-29, 2020, at the Airport Holiday Inn in Des Moines.  We are working closely with the National Conference of Bar Examiners and monitoring state and local directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic to consistently evaluate whether administering the July exam as scheduled can be done safely. 
  • If the July 2020 bar examination cannot be administered as scheduled, the Iowa Board of Law Examiners intends to administer the Iowa Bar Examination on September 8-10, 2020.  Should a change occur, we will notify applicants via email and this website.

Maryland State Board of Bar Examiners (SBLE), To July 2020 Bar Exam Applicants:

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May 4, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, May 3, 2020

July 2020 Bar Exam Status By Jurisdiction

Deans Ask New York To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam

Following up on Friday's post, New York Will Give Priority To Graduates From New York's 15 Law Schools For Limited Spots To Take September Bar Exam

Letter From 21 Law School Deans To Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (May 2, 2020):

NYSBA (2017)Hon. Janet DiFiore Chief Judge
The New York Court of Appeals
20 Eagle Street Albany, New York 12207

Dear Chief Judge DiFiore:

We are deans of non-New York based law schools who have among the most substantial numbers of students who sit for the bar in your state each year. Collectively, the undersigned schools had over two thousand JD and LLM graduates take the New York bar exam in 2019. We write in response to your Court’s April 30 Notice stating that, in light of the conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, you will offer limited seating for New York’s September 9-10 administration of the Uniform Bar Exam and will give priority to JD and LLM graduates of the 15 New York-based law schools.

We recognize that the Court’s decision is framed against the need to protect public health in the midst of a pandemic that has brought devastating loss of life, with New York hit especially hard. And we are mindful of the very difficult decisions and trade-offs that all institutions, including your Court, must make at this time.

Still, as you can imagine, the news of your approach has fallen hard on the many students who had planned to sit for the bar in New York this summer or fall, a number of whom have already physically returned or relocated to New York during this pandemic. And we worry that the resulting delay in the exam’s administration and admission to practice will fall hardest on the most economically vulnerable of our graduates and on those whose continued presence in the United States will be compromised by the delay.

We stand ready to help find solutions that could expand testing capacity in feasible ways. We write collectively to offer our support to put in place some combination of the following measures to mitigate the effect of your April 30 decision on graduates from out-of-state schools:

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

NY Times: In God We Divide

New York Times op-ed:  In God We Divide, by Thomas B. Edsall:

A steady religious realignment has reshaped the white American electorate, turning religious conviction — or its absence — into a clear signal of where voters stand in the culture wars.

As mainstream Protestant denominations have declined over the past half century, there has been a hollowing out of the center among white Christians of all faiths. New generations of Americans have joined the ranks of evangelical churches, while others, in larger numbers, have forsaken religion altogether.

These two trends have transformed the strategic underpinnings of political campaigning.

The more religiously engaged a white voter is, the more likely he or she will be a Republican; the less religious the voter, the more likely to be a Democrat. ...

[I]n 1988, 55.7 percent of Americans were members of traditional, mainstream denominations, 36.6 percent were members of evangelical and born-again denominations and 7.7 percent said they were not religious.

By 2018, membership in traditional denominations had fallen 20 points to 35.5 percent, born-again evangelical church membership had grown by 4.8 points to 41.4 percent, and the share of the nonreligious had tripled to 23.1 percent. ...

In God We Divide

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May 3, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, May 2, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Dogs, At Least, Love Home Quarantine

New York Times op-ed:  Dogs, at Least, Love Home Quarantine, by Alexandra Horowitz (Dog Cognition Lab, Barnard College; author, Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond (2019)):

DogsAs a writer and dog-cognition researcher, I can — and do — spend the greatest part of the day observing dogs, talking to dogs and hanging out beside my dog while working. And now, in this extraordinary time, many more of us find ourselves working at home with our dogs full time. Good for us — and great for the dogs.

Quarantine, and even social distancing, is meant to impose an isolation that most of us, as a highly social species, work hard throughout our lives to avoid. Even the most introverted of us need company — some touchstone of a shared existence through time. ...

Our drive to keep animals, dogs in particular, strikes me as similar in nature: Their simple presence, and their willingness to be touched, is viscerally satisfying. Time spent reading on the couch is massively improved by a dog’s head resting on my leg; a warm, snuffling muzzle directed at me is instantly calming. Social media abounds with images of dogs (some bemused, some wagging their tails so hard as to sprain them) alongside their isolated persons: Dogs are now our proxy for other humans. ...

[O]ur current situation highlights that, as indulged, attired and birthday-party-feted as the average owned dog is in the United States, many dogs are ordinarily in a daily condition of social isolation. Unless owners are able to work from home, or their home is their work, their sociable canids must stay captive and alone for the majority of their days. Now, the coronavirus quarantine, by imposing similar hardship on us, is actually giving dogs something that they’ve deserved all along: more of our companionship. ...

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

U.S. News Law School Rankings And College Football

Noah Chauvin (J.D. 2019, William & Mary), Finally, a Use for the U.S. News Law School Rankings, 11 Cal. L. Rev. Online 1 (2020):

USNCFThe U.S. News & World Report law school rankings are highly influential among people applying to law school. Nonetheless, they are widely panned among the legal community for the often-arbitrary criteria they use to distinguish between law schools. In this essay, I seek to rescue the rankings from this derision by proposing a novel use for them: picking the winner of college football games against the spread.

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May 2, 2020 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, May 1, 2020

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

The 250 Most-Cited Legal Scholars

New York Will Give Priority To Graduates From New York's 15 Law Schools For Limited Spots To Take September Bar Exam

New York State Board of Law Examiners, COVID-19 Update (Apr. 30, 2020):

NYSBA (2017)APPLICATION PERIOD FOR THE SEPTEMBER 2020 BAR EXAMINATION:
The New York administration of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) is presently scheduled for September 9-10, 2020. The application period for the exam will open on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 12:00 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time.

Our efforts to seat as many candidates as possible remain ongoing. To that end, the Board of Law Examiners has been in contact with representatives of New York’s fifteen law schools, who have generously offered their facilities to accommodate test-takers. We remain hopeful that, with the assistance of these valued partners, it will be possible to administer the September exam in a safe and responsible manner.

However, given current conditions in New York – including ongoing public health concerns, social distancing guidelines, and limitations on large gatherings – it is clear that our seating capacity for the September exam will be sharply limited, and therefore the Board likely will not be able to seat all applicants who wish to take the exam. As a result, the application process for the September exam will proceed on a rolling basis as space permits. From Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 12:00 A.M. through Friday, May 15 at 11:59 P.M., applications will be accepted from any J.D. or LL.M. candidate who is sitting for the bar examination for the first time and who has graduated (or will graduate in Spring 2020) from one of the fifteen law schools located in New York State: Albany Law School, Brooklyn Law School, University at Buffalo School of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Columbia Law School, CUNY School of Law, Cornell Law School, Fordham University School of Law, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, New York Law School, New York University School of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, St. John’s University School of Law, Syracuse University College of Law, or Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. Registration will remain open for the duration of the May 5 to May 15 application period and priority will not be given based on the date a candidate registers within that period. At the close of the first application period, the Board will assess available seating in light of existing health and safety guidance. If seating remains available, the Board will then open the application period to a larger pool of candidates.

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

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

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

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

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Top 100 Law Schools, Based On 5-, 10-, And 15-Year Rolling Average U.S. News Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)Bradley A. Areheart (Tennessee), The Top 100 Law Reviews: A Reference Guide Based on Historical USNWR Data:

The best proxy for how other law professors react and respond to publishing in main, or flagship, law reviews is the US News and World Report (USNWR) rankings. This paper utilizes historical USNWR data to rank the top 100 law reviews. The USNWR rankings are important in shaping many – if not most – law professors’ perceptions about the relative strength of a law school (and derivatively, the home law review). This document contains a chart that is sorted by the 10-year rolling average for each school, but it also contains the 5-year and 15-year rolling averages. This paper also describes my methodology and responds to a series of frequently asked questions. [Were there any ties? If two law school’s 10-year rolling averages were within 2/10 of a point, I tied them and then attempted to break those ties based on the current year’s peer reputation scores. You’ll see that where there was a tie, I have included the peer rep scores in parentheses for those schools. If the peer rep scores were the same, I allowed the tie to remain.] The document was updated in April 2020.

Here are the Top 75 law schools based on their 10-year rolling average overall U.S. News ranking:

Rank School 10-Year Rank
1 Yale 1.0
2 Stanford 2.3
3 Harvard 2.5
4 Columbia (4.7) 4.3
5 Chicago (4.6) 4.2
6 NYU 6.0
7 Pennsylvania 7.0
8 Virginia 8.0
9 UC-Berkeley (4.5) 8.9
10 Michigan (4.4) 8.9
11 Duke 10.5
12 Northwestern 11.2
13 Cornell 13.1
14 Georgetown 13.9
15 Texas 15.1
16 UCLA 15.8
17 Vanderbilt 16.6
18 Washington Univ. (3.7) 18.5
19 USC (3.6) 18.4
20 Minnesota 20.4
21 Notre Dame 22.5
22 George Washington 22.7
23 Emory 23.1
24 Boston University 23.8
25 Iowa 25.2
26 UC-Irvine 26.2
27 Alabama 26.7
28 Arizona State 28.0
29 Indiana (Maurer) 29.5
30 Boston College 29.8
31 Washington 31.1
32 Georgia 31.5
33 Washington & Lee 32.4
34 Wisconsin 32.7
35 William & Mary 32.9
36 UC-Davis 33.2
37 Ohio State 33.9
38 Fordham 34.3
39 North Carolina 34.7
40 Wake Forest 37.0
41 Illinois 37.7
42 BYU 39.6
43 Arizona 42.0
44 Florida (3.3) 42.2
45 George Mason (2.7) 42.2
46 Colorado 43.1
47 Utah 45.6
48 Maryland 45.9
49 Florida State (3.1) 48.7
50 SMU (2.7) 48.6
51 Tulane 49.6
52 Baylor 52.2
53 UC-Hastings 53.0
54 Temple 54.2
55 Richmond 54.9
56 Houston 55.3
57 Pepperdine 56.1
58 Connecticut 56.4
59 Cardozo 60.3
60 Georgia State 62.3
61 Tennessee (2.7) 62.6
62 Seton Hall (2.5) 62.7
63 Kentucky 63.5
64 Case Western 65.0
65 Loyola-L.A. 65.4
66 Penn State (Dickinson) 66.5
67 Miami 68.2
68 UNLV 68.4
69 Oklahoma (2.5) 68.8
69 Penn State (Univ. Park) (2.5) 68.8
71 Nebraska 69.1
72 American 69.5
73 Denver 69.7
74 Missouri 70.8
75 Kansas 73.0

April 30, 2020 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leiter: The Legal Problem With Diversity Statements

Chronicle of Higher Education:  The Legal Problem With Diversity Statements, by Brian Leiter (Chicago):

When Abigail Thompson, a mathematician at the University of California at Davis, wrote an opinion piece last fall in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society lamenting the use of mandatory diversity statements in job applications, comparing them to the loyalty oaths of the McCarthy era, it unleashed a torrent of commentary, both condemning and supporting her. Thompson, after praising other efforts to diversify the mathematics profession, wrote:

In 1950 the Regents of the University of California required all UC faculty to sign a statement asserting that "I am not a member of, nor do I support any party or organization that believes in, advocates, or teaches the overthrow of the United States Government, by force or by any illegal or unconstitutional means, that I am not a member of the Communist Party." Eventually 31 faculty members were fired over their refusal to sign … Faculty at universities across the country are facing an echo of the loyalty oath, a mandatory "Diversity Statement" for job applicants. The professed purpose is to identify candidates who have the skills and experience to advance institutional diversity and equity goals. In reality it’s a political test, and it’s a political test with teeth.

The teeth derive from the fact that some universities and departments are using scores on the diversity statement to make the first cuts in faculty searches. That would not be objectionable if it were only a device for weeding out candidates unwilling to work with a diverse student body: The ability to do so obviously goes to the core of a faculty member’s professional duties. The problem is that the new diversity statements go well beyond that, requiring candidates to profess allegiance to a controversial set of moral and political views that have little or no relationship to a faculty member’s pedagogical and scholarly duties.

The University of California at Berkeley has made its criteria for evaluating diversity statements public, and they bear out Thompson’s analogy to loyalty oaths. A job candidate will get a disqualifying score if he or she "defines diversity only in terms of different areas of study or different nationalities, but doesn’t discuss gender or ethnicity/race" or if she or he discounts "the importance of diversity." ...

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

2020 World Law School Rankings

QS RankingsQuacquarelli Symonds has released the 2020 World Law School Rankings as part of its World University Rankings. The methodology is 50% academic reputation, 30% employer reputation, 15% h-index per faculty member, and 5% citations per paper.  The rankings consist of 300 law schools, 48 in the United States.  Here are the U.S. law schools, along with each school's position in the latest SSRN Top 750 Law School Faculty Rankings -- Total Downloads):

QS Ranking School SSRN Ranking
1 Harvard 1
4 Yale 5
5 Stanford 2
7 UC-Berkeley 4
8 Columbia 6
9 NYU 3
11 Chicago 7
18 Georgetown 9
26 UCLA 15
29 Michigan 13
31 Penn 11
32 Duke 18
41 Cornell 27
46 Northwestern 14
51-100 American 44
51-100 Boston University 29
51-100 George Washington 8
51-100 Texas 31
51-100 Virginia 24
101-150 Fordham 17
101-150 Notre Dame 55
101-150 UC-Irvine 28
101-150 USC 30
101-150 Washington  66
101-150 Washington Univ. 41
101-150 Wisconsin 102
151-200 Boston College 84
151-200 Florida 53
151-200 Michigan State 76
151-200 North Carolina 68
201-250 Florida State 51
201-250 George Mason 20
201-250 Illinois 33
201-250 Loyola-Chicago 65
201-250 Minnesota 26
201-250 Ohio State 37
201-250 Penn State (Univ. Park) 96
201-250 UC-Davis 32
201-250 Vanderbilt 16
251-300 Arizona State 57
251-300 CUNY 167
251-300 Arizona 46
251-300 Colorado 71
251-300 Emory 56
251-300 Indiana (Maurer) 34
251-300 Iowa 106
251-300 UIC-John Marshall 162

April 30, 2020 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Texas Moves Forward With July Bar Exam, Adds September Option And Expands Practice With Supervision Program

Texas Supreme Court, Thirteenth Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster:

Texas BarORDERED that:
1. The Court, in consultation with the Board of Law Examiners (“Board”) and the deans of Texas law schools, has determined that the Board should administer the Texas bar examination as scheduled on July 28-30, 2020, subject to change based on state and local orders and the guidance of public health authorities. The Board is consulting with public health authorities regarding best practices for administering the examination safely and will continue to do so.

2. In light of uncertainty regarding the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent to which public health may require the continuation of measures (such as social distancing and limitations on maximum group size) to impede the spread of the virus, the Court has determined that the Board should also offer an administration of the Texas bar examination on September 9-11, 2020. ...

7. The Court is mindful that any delay in licensure will have consequences for the livelihoods and careers of recent law school graduates. Accordingly, after consultation with the State Bar of Texas, the Board, and Texas law school deans, the Court repeals the Rules and Regulations Governing the Participation of Qualified Law Students and Qualified Unlicensed Law School Graduates in the Trial of Cases in Texas, promulgated in conjunction with the State Bar of Texas in 1978, and adopts updated Rules Governing the Supervised Practice of Law by Qualified Law Students and Qualified Unlicensed Law School Graduates in Texas (“Rules”).

Texas Lawyer, Texas Moves Forward With July Bar Exam, Adds September Option:

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April 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

July Bar Exam Update: New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania

CoronavirusNew Mexico Supreme Court, In the Matter of the Administration of the Bar Examination By the New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency:

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the bar examination previously 17 scheduled to take place in July 2020 shall be postponed until September 2020, 18 subject to the requirements set forth in this order;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the “in-person attendance” requirement for successful completion of the course on New Mexico law under Rule 15-103(G) NMRA may be satisfied via a live, web-based instruction platform approved by the Board of Bar Examiners until further order of the Court;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that an ad hoc working group shall be formed by the executive director of the Board of Bar Examiners to identify possible venues to recommend to this Court for a rescheduled bar examination to take place 6 in September 2020, and, in making its recommendation, the ad hoc working group shall focus on the possibility of administering the September bar examination from multiple, small-group venues at the same time if necessary to comply with gathering restrictions that still may be in place at that time because of the ongoing 10 and evolving public health emergency;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the ad hoc working group shall develop a 12 recommendation for a temporary, alternative practice program that would provide 13 a limited, supervised opportunity for legal practice by applicants awaiting an 14 opportunity to take a bar examination should an ongoing public health emergency 15 require the cancellation of the anticipated -- but yet to be scheduled -- September 16 2020 bar examination ...

Law.com, NY Law Grads Can Do 'Limited' Legal Work Under Supervision, Chief Judge Says:

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

College (And Law School) Campuses Must Reopen In The Fall. Here’s How We Do It.

New York Times op-ed:  College Campuses Must Reopen in the Fall. Here’s How We Do It., by Christina Paxson (President, Brown):

CoronavirusIt won’t be easy, but there’s a path to get students back on track. Higher education will crumble without it.

Across the country, college campuses have become ghost towns. Students and professors are hunkered down inside, teaching and learning online. University administrators are tabulating the financial costs of the Covid-19 pandemic, which already exceed the CARES Act’s support for higher education.

The toll of this pandemic is high and will continue to rise. But another crisis looms for students, higher education and the economy if colleges and universities cannot reopen their campuses in the fall.

As amazing as videoconferencing technology has become, students face financial, practical and psychological barriers as they try to learn remotely. This is especially true for lower-income students who may not have reliable internet access or private spaces in which to study. If they can’t come back to campus, some students may choose — or be forced by circumstances — to forgo starting college or delay completing their degrees.

The extent of the crisis in higher education will become evident in September. The basic business model for most colleges and universities is simple — tuition comes due twice a year at the beginning of each semester. Most colleges and universities are tuition dependent. Remaining closed in the fall means losing as much as half of our revenue.

This loss, only a part of which might be recouped through online courses, would be catastrophic, especially for the many institutions that were in precarious financial positions before the pandemic. It’s not a question of whether institutions will be forced to permanently close, it’s how many. ...

The reopening of college and university campuses in the fall should be a national priority. Institutions should develop public health plans now that build on three basic elements of controlling the spread of infection: test, trace and separate. ...

Taking these necessary steps will be difficult and costly, and it will force institutions to innovate as we have never done before. But colleges and universities are up to the challenge. Campuses were among the first to shutter during the Covid-19 pandemic. The rapid response that occurred across the country stemmed from our concern for the health of our students and communities, and our recognition that college campuses pose special challenges for addressing infectious disease.

Our duty now is to marshal the resources and expertise to make it possible to reopen our campuses, safely, as soon as possible. Our students, and our local economies, depend on it.

Inside Higher Ed, A Growing Number of College Announce Intent to Reopen in the Fall:

A growing number of colleges [Baylor, Georgia Fox, James Madison, Midwestern State, Purdue, Radford, Wheaton, William Jewell] announced plans to reopen their campuses for the fall semester, in some cases using language that was more definitive than previously seen in higher education so far in the crisis.

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

Legal Ed’s Online Grade For Spring 2020: B-/C+

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Is Online Legal Education Making the Grade?:

Mayer (2020)In last week’s briefing, I wrote that the law professors and administrators I’ve spoken with over the past month have said the shift to online teaching has been relatively smooth. I wanted to get a second opinion on that assessment, so I rang up John Mayer, the executive director of the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction—better known as CALI. For more than 30 years, Mayer and CALI have been advocating for learning the law via computer resources, and the nonprofit organization has compiled more than 1,000 interactive online legal lessons. (The group is also an enthusiastic supporter of open-sourced, online casebooks.) All of which is to say that if anyone could offer me a clear-eyed assessment of legal education’s pivot online, it’s Mayer.

So I asked him to grade law schools on their performance this semester. His verdict? B-/C+. I’ll let him explain:

The B- is because 8,000 or so law faculty did it. They went home and they got online. They had to, but the amount of grumbling I heard was pretty minor. People bucked up. I’m proud of the ed tech folks who scrambled to support them.

The C-, however, is for the lack of imagination law faculty have generally employed in translating their courses into distance education.

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

Why Is Zoom So Exhausting?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Why Is Zoom So Exhausting?:

Zoom 49In this anxious and isolating time, Zoom — the brand name now used as a shorthand to describe a whole technology (videoconferencing) — has emerged as a stand-in for just about every interaction that would normally be happening face to face or handled with a quick email.

Professors flocked to the platform once they learned they’d be teaching remotely for several weeks; then several weeks became the rest of the semester. Many appreciate having the technology to see the faces of students they had expected to keep seeing in person. The faces of students they worried about, students they missed. Many professors hoped to replicate the in-person experience as closely as they could. But one word comes up time and again when they talk about teaching on the platform, or using it for meetings. ... Exhausting.

What is it, exactly, that’s so depleting about interacting with a grid of faces on video chat? Heavy users and experts in psychology and communication point to a number of factors: The body language and other cues that we expect but can’t access; the way we monitor our own appearance; the stimulation of staring into faces at close range; the inability to take a break, move, or change our surroundings. ...

Social conventions around videoconferencing remain in their early days, which could also be a factor in Zoom fatigue. Suddenly, everyone’s Zooming all of their professional and personal contacts, possibly all from the same corner of their home. Everything has been flattened. ...

There are lots of other ways to communicate from a distance, of course. Email, text, group chat, a regular old phone call. Why the surge of interest in this one?

Well, we’re all a little starved for human contact. And Zoom feels like the next-best thing. Maybe that’s part of the problem.

For complete TaxProf Blog coverage of the coronavirus, see here.

April 29, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Horwitz: How To Shorten 4-Hour Zoom Faculty Meetings

Paul Horwitz (Alabama), Zoom Faculty Meeting Incentive Structures: Some Urgent Proposals:

Zoom 49We just had our first faculty meeting since the advent of what the TV commercials are calling "These Uncertain Times." ... It was a genuine pleasure to see my colleagues' faces again. It was not, however, a short meeting. No one is to blame! But it reminded me, with a chill of recognition, of a legal academic Facebook friend's Boschian description of a faculty meeting, relatively early in the Uncertain Time era, that was still going after four hours. And it occurs to me that, perhaps without our recognizing it, the incentive structures for faculty meetings have suddenly changed significantly and dangerously.

I take as a general proposition and guide for living that any meeting that lasts longer than 60 minutes should be counted as a failure. (There are exceptional cases, of course, but they should be as limited as possible.) Usually, a meeting scheduled at an inconvenient time, or near the end of day and around the advent of rush-hour traffic, offers at least some incentive for people to wrap things up and head to class, home, or otherwise to get the heck out of Dodge. But Zoom meetings already take place at home. You're already seated in your favorite chair. You're not dependent for refreshment on catering, which at well-organized meetings can be cunningly organized to maximize the desire to wrap things up in a hurry. (For example, offering a tiny number of diet Cokes and a large number of Sprites, or a nut mix calculated to maximize the unpopular nuts and provide an insufficient snack to each person given the attendance number, or rigging the ratio of chocolate chip to oatmeal cookies.) Those who enjoy long meetings--there's one in every bunch--and who perhaps are not weighed down by child- or elder-care requirements or other responsibilities can protract the meeting indefinitely and literally at leisure. Impatient looks and sighs directed at that colleague, which rarely work even in person, are even less effective online.

This simply won't do. ...

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Using Hamilton’s 'Farmer Refuted' To Teach Oral Argument

Heather Baxter (Nova), Using Hamilton’s “Farmer Refuted” to Teach Oral Argument:

Hamilton (2018)You don’t have to be a regular in the New York theater scene to have heard of the Broadway musical Hamilton. Arguably one of the most popular Broadway shows of all time, especially among younger generations, Hamilton has captivated audiences around the country. Broadway veteran Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the lyrics and music and starred in the original production of this show that chronicles the life of our first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. The production won 11 Tony Awards in 2016 and has launched several regional productions and tours, bringing the show to millions around the world.

Although I have been a fan of the musical almost since its inception, I first saw the show in 2017—and, yes, it was worth all the hype. But my pedagogical interest in Hamilton began soon after I was first introduced to the original cast recording. One day, while walking the dog and listening to the music, I realized that the sixth song in the production, entitled “Farmer Refuted,” was a virtual blueprint on how to conduct an effective oral argument. So, as I listened to it “nonstop,” a plan began to form about how I could use that song to teach oral argument to my first-year legal writing students. ...

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April 28, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Supreme Court Orders July Bar Exam Delayed To Sept. 9-10, Administered Online

News Release, California Supreme Court Orders Bar Exam Delayed, Administered Online:

California Supreme Court LogoThe Supreme Court of California on Monday ordered the July California Bar Exam be postponed to Sept. 9-10, and directed the State Bar to make every effort to administer the test online with remote or electronic proctoring.

The court made its decision considering the “enormous challenges this public health crisis has placed before those who seek admission to the California bar, including the graduating law school class of 2020.”

“These adjustments recognize and will advance the manifest public interest in maintaining access to justice through competent and qualified legal services,” the court wrote.

The State Bar of California should also allow those registered to withdraw with a full refund through the day before the exam, Sept. 8. Exam results should be disclosed to takers no later than Dec. 31.

Among the other measures approved by the court and outlined in its letter to the State Bar Board of Trustees:

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April 28, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

For The First Time, Less Than 25% Of Law Students Pay Full Tuition

Matt Leichter, 2018: Full-Time Law Students Paying Full Tuition Fall By 2.2 Percentage Points:

At the average law school not in Puerto Rico in 2018, the proportion of full-time students paying full tuition fell by 2.2 percentage points from 25.6 percent to 23.4 percent. At the median law school now not even one in five students pays full tuition.

Leichter

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

Harvard Business School Lets Incoming Students Defer Admission For Two Years Due To COVID-19

Poets&Quants, HBS To Offer Deferment For Incoming MBAs:

Harvard Business School (2020)In a move that will cause reverberations across the graduate business education universe, Harvard Business School has announced that it will offer deferment to incoming MBAs should they decide against attending fall classes that may be taught partially or entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an email today (April 24) to accepted applicants, MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Director Chad Losee and Jana Kierstead, executive director of the MBA and doctoral programs, write that admits will have a window between May 15 and June 1 to request a deferral to start the full-time MBA program in 2021 — or even later — instead of this fall.

“We realize that the world has changed significantly since you applied — your employment, health, visa, or financial situation (or that of your families) may have shifted in the past few months,” Losee and Kierstead write. “To provide you as much flexibility as possible, we will consider allowing you to defer your offer of admission.” ...

Admission consultants expressed surprise at the news. “It’s unprecedented, but then, everything is unprecedented now,” says Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions, a top MBA admissions consulting firm.  ... [I]t opens the floodgates for a million excuses.  I just have to wonder what the quality of the experience will be like for those who don’t defer. It could devolve into a big mess, and create even more uncertainty.”

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April 28, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 27, 2020

What If Colleges (And Law Schools) Don’t Reopen Until 2021?

The Atlantic, What If Colleges Don’t Reopen Until 2021?:

CoronavirusOverall, colleges have responded quickly to the multifaceted coronavirus threat. Universities swiftly moved classes online, canceled spring sports, and instructed students to vacate their dorm rooms. (Some institutions refunded fees for on-campus housing, or found ways to get study-abroad students home.) Still, shutting down was the easy part. Now administrators have to figure what their institutions will do once this semester ends. “If you were to design a place to make sure that everyone gets the virus, it would look like a nursing home or a campus,” Paul LeBlanc, the president of Southern New Hampshire University, which has more than 130,000 students enrolled online, told me yesterday.

When university presidents are asked whether they’ll open their campuses for the fall 2020 semester, most couch their answers in conditionals and assumptions. By now they’ve realized that they can’t just open for business on September 1 and let everyone rush back onto campus like excited Black Friday shoppers. Ohio State President Michael Drake suggested he might start bringing professors back to campus in a few weeks. Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University, said he would reopen its campus in the fall and separate those older than 35 from those younger. But even he called the declaration “preliminary."

When there are tens of thousands of dollars at stake for students and their families, I don’t know is not a satisfying answer. Why would students plunge themselves into years of debt for an online education instead of the full college experience they signed up for? Some soon-to-be high-school graduates have proposed taking a gap year, but for a lot of students—low-income students, minority students, adult students—that is not a practical option. ...

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