Paul L. Caron
Dean


Friday, April 3, 2020

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Avi-Yonah Presents Tax Expenditures Online Today At British Columbia

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan) and Nir Fishbien (S.J.D. 2020, Michigan) present Tax Expenditures and Horizontal Equity: A Lost Lesson from Stanley Surrey online at University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series (poster) hosted by Wei Cui:

Avi-Yonah 2Tax expenditures are “revenue losses attributable to provisions of the Federal tax laws which allow a special exclusion, exemption, or deduction from gross income or which provide a special credit, a preferential rate of tax, or a deferral of tax liability.’’ The concept of tax expenditures was coined by the first Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Stanley S. Surrey, in the late 1960s. The concept relies on the Haig-Simons definition of income (with certain adjustments) as the baseline, a deviation from which is considered a tax expenditure.

There are two basic problems with attempts to define tax expenditures against a Haig-Simons baseline. First, it is not clear why the Haig-Simons, and not other definitions of income, should be used as a baseline. Second, it is not clear why such deviations are normatively problematic. That, presumably, is why the literature now accepts the view we should just learn to live with the tax expenditures. Surrey would have disagreed, and this article represents an attempt to recapture his original view of tax expenditures and assess its present-day implications.

Continue reading

April 3, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

My Daughter, My Hero

Jayne NYUAlmost four years ago, my beloved, brilliant, and beautiful daughter Jayne began her medical education at NYU. Her mother and I had planned to be at her graduation in seven weeks, but instead she and her classmates are graduating today in a virtual ceremony due to the coronavirus. We are thrilled that Jayne will be doing her residency near us at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a mere 25 miles from Malibu. Yet instead of taking a well-deserved vacation after a grueling four years of medical school, Jayne has volunteered to work at the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic at NYU's hospital beginning on Monday. 

My late mother would have turned 93 tomorrow. Jayne is named after my sister, who died shortly after birth. My mother was a secretary at a nursing school and absolutely loved the medical profession. Shortly before my mother died in 1992, my pregnant wife and I told her we were going to name our daughter Jayne. My mother would be bursting with pride and gratitude today, tinged with fear for Jayne's safety, just as Jayne's parents and brother are.

Last week, Jayne wrote about her desire to serve in On Being An Almost Doctor During A Pandemic:

Today I found out that I matched to become an obstetrician/gynecologist. On Friday I will discover where I matched. For those in the medical community, “Match Day” is a huge celebration with family, friends, peers and mentors coming to celebrate your accomplishments. You all get together, open your envelopes (sometimes on stage in front of everyone) and cry either happy or sad tears with all of your closest friends and family and the people with whom you have survived four years of medical school. Instead, this year, I will get an e-mail at noon in my apartment alone. I will FaceTime my brother in Madison, WI and my parents in Los Angeles, CA who could no longer come in person to celebrate with me. My brother’s fiancé is on immunosuppressive medications for IBD and has a father going through chemotherapy right now. My parents are over the age of sixty. We all agreed the risk was far too great to be together in person. Quite frankly, I don’t know when I’ll see them again. 

In two and a half months I will graduate and become a fully-fledged physician. I don’t know right now if this timeline will be sped up as NYC is depleted of physicians who are not sick themselves or under quarantine and as more and more patients present for care. Part of me yearns to graduate early, to be able to do something instead of stay at home, aimlessly refreshing my phone for virus news, hoping for a glimpse into what is going on inside the halls of the hospitals that have become my home over these past four years, hospitals that I am now no longer allowed to visit because I am not “essential personnel.” I answer texts and questions from family and friends and send along the emails and graphics from my medical institution, calming panic, urging social distancing, trying to stay positive for the other people in my life. And yet, I think, lying in bed, put me in coach, wishing my medical school would send the promised email this morning about what we as medical students could do to help.

Continue reading

April 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

'Nobody Is Recruiting Over The Summer': OCI Season Postponed

Law.com, 'Nobody Is Recruiting Over the Summer': OCI Season Postponed:

CoronavirusLaw firms won’t be recruiting summer associates in late July and early August this year.

All but one of the so-called T-14 law schools by Thursday had announced postponements to their on-campus interview programs due to the coronavirus pandemic, and a growing number in the top 50 of the U.S. News & World Report rankings have followed suit.

Columbia Law School, which sends a higher number of graduates into associate jobs at large firms than any other school, became the first to postpone OCI on March 23. But the movement picked up steam this week when Harvard Law School, New York University School of Law and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School joined the list of campuses delaying summer associate recruiting. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is the one T-14 school that hasn’t yet announced a delay.

Continue reading

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

Legal Internships In The Administrative State During The Covid-19 Summer Of 2020

Christopher J. Walker (Ohio State), Legal Internships in the Administrative State During the Summer of 2020:

CoronavirusFor a half dozen years or so, I’ve had the privilege of directing my law school’s Washington, DC, summer program. Each summer we place about twenty students (mostly rising 2Ls) in our DC summer program—usually in unpaid internships and most often at federal agencies, on the Hill, and at non-profits. As part of the summer program, I teach a professional responsibility class a couple evenings each week, and the students write a final term paper based on a topic from their internship. More details about the program are here.

In these unprecedented and uncertain times, I have spent dozens of hours more than usual communicating with potential host organizations in DC to brainstorm how to navigate through all of the uncertainty. I been so impressed with the flexibility and creativity that many federal agencies, congressional committees and member offices, and nonprofits have embraced for their internship programs this summer.

I thought I’d highlight in an anonymous fashion some of what we are learning and discussing, with the hope that these ideas will help state and federal administrative agencies, legislative staffs, and nonprofits structure their internship programs this summer. I’m focusing on legal internships that intersect with administrative law and regulatory practice, but all of these ideas have broader applicability to summer internships more generally.

Continue reading

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

Tax Lawyers Can Fight The Coronavirus Crisis With The Internal Revenue Code

Bob Rubin (Boutin Jones, Sacramento), Tax Lawyers Can Fight the Coronavirus Crisis with the Internal Revenue Code:

CoronavirusUnder section 139, gross income does not include any amount received by an individual as a qualified disaster relief payment. A qualified disaster relief payment is one of four types of payments made to, or for the benefit of, an individual, but only to the extent any expense compensated by the payment is not otherwise compensated for by insurance or otherwise. The first and most relevant type of payment is any amount paid to reimburse or pay reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, or funeral expenses incurred as a result of a qualified disaster. President Trump’s Stafford Act Declaration for New York, California and Washington made section 139 applicable.

The section 139 grants are not income to the employee/grantees, are not subject to employment taxes, are deductible by the employer/grantor and are not subject to information reporting under section 6041. The section 139 plan cannot discriminate based upon length of service or position. The grant cannot be in the nature of income replacement.

Continue reading

April 3, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Osofsky Presents Automated Legal Guidance Online Today At Duke

Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina) presents Automated Legal Guidance, 106 Cornell L. Rev. __ (2020) (with Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine)) online at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Richard Schmalbeck and Lawrence Zelenak:

Osofsky (2019)Through online tools, virtual assistants and other technology, governments increasingly rely on artificial intelligence to help the public understand and apply the law. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, encourages taxpayers to seek answers regarding various tax credits and deductions through its online “Interactive Tax Assistant.” The U.S. Army directs individuals with questions about enlistment to its virtual guide, “Sgt. Star.” And the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suggests that potential green card holders and citizens speak with its interactive chatbot, “Emma.” Through such automated legal guidance, the government seeks to provide advice to the public at a fraction of the cost of employing human beings to perform these same tasks.

This Article offers one of the first critiques of these new systems of artificial intelligence. It shows that automated legal guidance currently relies upon the concept of “simplexity,” whereby complex law is presented as though it is simple, without actually engaging in simplification of the underlying law. While this approach offers potential gains in terms of efficiency and ease of use, it also causes the government to present the law as simpler than it is, leading to less precise advice, and potentially inaccurate legal positions. 

Continue reading

April 2, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avi-Yonah: Using The Corporate Tax Rather Than Antitrust To Curb The Power Of Big Tech

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Antitrust and the Corporate Tax: A Missed Opportunity?:

Big Tech have clearly become for early 21st century America what Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, and the railroads were to early 20th century America: The embodiment of corporate power that enjoys a near monopoly on an important segment of economic activity. In response, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has proposed to treat the Big Tech as common carriers (forbidding them from selling their own goods and services on their platforms) and force them to dispose of their recent anti-competitive acquisitions. There may, however, be another way of reining in the power of the Big Techs that is less drastic than breaking them up, and may be a helpful complement to antitrust enforcement. This way derives from the other early 20th century innovation that was intended in 1909 to curb the power of the monopolies: The corporate tax.

The corporate tax can limit corporate power in three ways. First, even a low rate corporate tax requires corporations to provide the government with detailed information about their activities that is hard to obtain without a corporate tax (e.g., it forces them to calculate profits per taxing jurisdiction, which they may not otherwise do). Second, potentially the corporate tax, like any tax, involves the power to destroy if the rate is high enough. The knowledge that this could happen may limit the aggressiveness of corporate management (i.e., in the case of the Big Techs, their founders). Third and most important, the corporate tax can be used as a regulatory device, with the effective rate being raised or lowered either for specific desirable or undesirable activities (e.g., maintaining or compromising privacy) or in response to an overall corporate social responsibility score.

Continue reading

April 2, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Provides Covid-19 Legal Resources For Those In Need

CoronavirusIn response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pepperdine Caruso Law School's Community Justice Clinic has assembled resources to help (1) nonprofits, churches, and other organizations navigate federal loan, grant, and tax programs under the new CARES Act, and (2) employees who lose their jobs during this crisis, including this memorandum.

Kudos to Assistant Dean of Clinical Education and Global Programs and Associate Clinical Professor of Law Jeff Baker and his team for once again using their legal talents to help those in need during difficult times.

Continue reading

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

‘A Decidedly Suboptimal Set of Circumstances’: Harvard Law Profs Evaluate Online Instruction

Harvard Crimson, ‘A Decidedly Suboptimal Set of Circumstances’: Harvard Law Professors Evaluate Online Instruction:

CoronavirusHarvard Law School’s transition to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic has garnered mixed reactions from professors — while some report no significant difficulties in teaching online, others say they struggle to facilitate class participation. ...

Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen, who teaches the course “Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment,” wrote in an email that her class was able to transition smoothly to the video conference platform Zoom because of its discussion-based format.

“The Socratic method that I use involves cold-calling students and engaging in questioning and dialogue,” she wrote. “It translates well to an online format: I call on a specific student, they unmute themselves, and we do the same thing that we would be doing in person.” ...

Continue reading

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

2021 U.S. News Trial Advocacy Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2021 U.S. News Trial Advocacy Rankings include the trial advocacy programs at 188 law schools (the faculty survey had a 52% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.1 Stetson
2 4.0 Baylor
2 4.0 Temple
4 3.9 American
5 3.8 Chicago-Kent
5 3.8 Loyola-L.A.
7 3.6 Samford
7 3.6 South Texas
9 3.5 Fordham
9 3.5 Denver
9 3.5 Pacific
12 3.4 Georgetown
12 3.4 Loyola-Chicago
12 3.4 Washington University
15 3.3 Campbell
15 3.3 Drexel
15 3.3 Syracuse
15 3.3 UC-Berkeley
19 3.2 Northwestern
20 3.1 St. Mary's 
20 3.1 Suffolk
20 3.1 UC-Hastings
23 3.0 Emory
23 3.0 UCLA
25 2.9 Georgia State
25 2.9 Akron
25 2.9 Florida
25 2.9 Georgia
25 2.9 Notre Dame
25 2.9 Wake Forest
31 2.8 Faulkner
31 2.8 NYU
31 2.8 Texas Tech
31 2.8 Alabama
31 2.8 Maryland
36 2.7 Florida State
36 2.7 Harvard
36 2.7 Hofstra
36 2.7 St. John's
36 2.7 UIC-John Marshall
36 2.7 Missouri (Kansas City)
36 2.7 South Carolina
36 2.7 Texas
44 2.6 Ohio State
44 2.6 Pace
44 2.6 Stanford
44 2.6 Tulane
44 2.6 Houston
44 2.6 William & Mary
50 2.5 Case Western
50 2.5 George Washington
50 2.5 Loyola-New Orleans
50 2.5 Nova
50 2.5 Pepperdine
50 2.5 Arizona
50 2.5 UC-Davis
50 2.5 Colorado
50 2.5 Villanova

2021 U.S. News Specialty Rankings:

Continue reading

April 2, 2020 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Primer On How To Navigate The Recovery Rebate This Time

Two new posts from the eminent Carl Smith explain how the current rebate refund provisions differ from two past versions, and highlight what issues to anticipate with IRS administration of the provisions. 

"So, How Will the "Recovery Rebate" Refunds Work This Time? Part I:"

Section 6428 operates as a refundable credit – just like the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit.  Section 6428(b).  ... Because it has been awhile since this recovery rebate credit has been in the law (and because I litigated on behalf of taxpayers the only district court and appellate court opinions addressing the 2008 version of section 6428; see Sarmiento v. United States, 812 F. Supp. 2d 137 (E.D.N.Y. 2011), aff’d in part and rev’d in part, 678 F.3d 147 (2d Cir. 2012), and Maniolos v. United States, 741 F. Supp. 2d 555 (S.D.N.Y. 2010), aff’d per order, 469 Fed. Appx. 56(2d Cir. 2012)), I thought it would be useful for me to give a practical primer on how the new recovery rebate is written, how it was administered last time, and how I think it will be administered this time – because I anticipate the IRS will make administrative choices in 2020 similar to those that the IRS made in 2008....

"So, How will the "Recovery Rebate" Refunds Work This Time? Part II:"

This post is to discuss two issues under the prior versions of section 6428 that led to litigation and how those issues have or have not been addressed by the current legislation.  The two issues are:

  1. Whether the IRS may apply the recovery rebate credits (including stimulus checks) under section 6402 to reduce certain outstanding debts; and
  2. Which taxable year is the stimulus check “for” for purposes of bankruptcy?

The answer to the first question is decidedly “no”, with one exception.

The answer to the second question is still open – at least outside the Second Circuit.

Continue reading

April 2, 2020 in Bryan Camp, Tax, Tax News, Tax Practice And Procedure | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hawaii Is Fourth State To Postpone July Bar Exam

In the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii, In the Matter of the July 2020 Hawaii Bar Examination for Admission to the Bar of the State of Hawaii:

CoronavirusUpon consideration of the public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and upon consultation with the Hawaii Board of Bar Examiners,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. The July 2020 Hawaii bar examination presently scheduled to take place on July 28, 2020 and July 29, 2020 will not be administered on those dates. The examination will be rescheduled to the Fall of 2020, on dates to be determined.
2. The deadline to submit the application for this examination is extended from April 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

Continue reading

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

Wealth Taxes And Capital Markets

John D. Stowe (Ohio University), Wealth Taxes and Capital Markets:

Wealth taxes have been adopted or considered as an adjunct to existing tax systems such as income taxes, property taxes, and consumption taxes. Discussions about a wealth tax are usually a mixture of political, social, and economic issues, with many of the published papers designed to serve an author’s agenda. The purpose of this note is to leave many of these issues behind and to focus on the effects of a wealth tax on capital markets.

Highlights

Continue reading

April 2, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Miller & Maine: Wealth Transfer Tax Planning After The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

John A. Miller (Idaho) & Jeffrey A. Maine (Maine), Wealth Transfer Tax Planning after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 2020 BYU L. Rev. ___:

On December 17, 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Among its many impacts, the TCJA increased the inflation adjusted estate tax basic exclusion amount to $10,000,000 on a temporary basis. This has dramatic implications for many existing and future estate plans, including a major crossover impact on income tax planning. In this article we explain the operation of the federal wealth transfer taxes (the estate tax, the gift tax and the generation skipping transfer tax) in the wake of the TCJA and of the newly issued regulations interpreting the TCJA changes. We also explain the basic tax planning techniques for wealth transmission. The overall design of this article is to bring the reader into the current wealth transfer tax planning picture while providing references to more detailed treatments of particular topics within this broad field.

Continue reading

April 1, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ: Pelosi May Tie Future Coronavirus Relief To Retroactive Repeal Of Limitation On State & Local Tax Deduction

Wall Street Journal editorial, Pelosi Pitches a Blue-State Bailout:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held up last week’s coronavirus relief bill with demands related to corporate diversity, carbon emissions and election reform. But Democrats are far from finished using the crisis to try to force through partisan priorities they couldn’t pass in normal times. Mrs. Pelosi is now hinting the price for further economic relief may include expanding a regressive tax deduction for high-earners in states run by Democrats.

On Monday Mrs. Pelosi told the New York Times she wanted Congress to “retroactively undo SALT.” In the 2017 tax reform, Republicans limited the state and local tax deduction to $10,000. That raised federal tax revenue mostly from high-tax parts of states like California, New York and New Jersey and helped pay for the rate cuts on corporate, small business and individual incomes. According to the Tax Foundation, the cap raised almost $33 billion in 2018 from those earning more than $1 million per year and had little impact for those earning less than $100,000.

Continue reading

April 1, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law School Transparency's 2025 Vision

Law School Transparency's 2025 Vision:

LST CoverLST's 2025 Vision: A Guide To Our Way Forward:
The challenges facing legal education in 2020 run deep and, in some cases, will take several decades to address. Our vision for lower tuition, lessfinancially stressed graduates, and a more diverse profession requires that we change the environment in which law schools operate. Over the next five years, we believe it is possible to create the conditions necessary to achieve both rapid and long-term positive change.

Our plans and proposals are intricate and thorough, making this report lengthy and dense. The next few pages will serve as a guide to the report’s two main parts. The first part of the report looks at how LST plans to remake law school incentives. This part begins with a section on the U.S. News law school rankings methodology and how the rankings negatively impact students, schools, our profession, and more. The next section estimates the cost to buy or license the rankings—a thought experiment that demonstrates the absurd power U.S. News has over law schools. The next section examines two projects from LST aimed at fostering competition with U.S. News as part of an effort to mitigate its influence on law school operations. The last section describes a change to the rankings methodology that LST is encouraging U.S. News to adopt.

Continue reading

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

How Faculty Can Cure Law Student And Lawyer Distress

Susan Wawrose (Dayton), A More Human Place: Using Core Counseling Skills to Transform Law School Relationships, 55 Willamette L. Rev. 133 (2018):

The problem of law student and lawyer distress is longstanding, severe, and remarkably resilient in the face of efforts to address it.

In this article, I propose increased attention by law faculty to relationship building during law school as a way to begin to reverse the downward spiral that draws in so many of our students and holds them captive, sometimes until long after they graduate from law school. Research shows that supportive social connections are the single most important factor in protecting against stress, increasing resilience, and contributing to greater feelings of happiness. Moreover, if the goal of improving student wellbeing is not, in itself, sufficient motivation for addressing law student distress, there is the strong likelihood that taking steps to improve students’ wellbeing will also improve their academic performance. Numerous studies show that happier people are more successful and resilient than their distressed and unhappy counterparts.

Faculty

Continue reading

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

With Pass/Fail Now The Norm, Outlier Law Schools Face Student Backlash

Karen Sloan (Law.com), With Pass/Fail Now the Norm, Outlier Law Schools Face Student Backlash:

CoronavirusLaw students at Arizona State, University of Georgia and Georgia State are among those pushing campus administrators to adopt mandatory pass/fail grading.

Arizona State University law dean Douglas Sylvester is well aware that he’s not the most popular guy on his (virtual) campus at the moment.

The school’s Student Bar Association on Monday issued an open letter denouncing the school’s handling of spring semester grading, saying students feel “betrayed” by the announced policy, which requires them to go through a formal accommodation process to request that their grades be reported as pass/fail. Students may choose to go that route immediately, or they may make that request after grades have been issued if their spring semester grade point average is lower than their cumulative GPA. Students have vented their frustrations on legal blogs and online forums such as Reddit, calling the scheme “heartless” and a “prisoner’s dilemma.”

Sylvester is among a number of law deans and university administrators receiving backlash from students who are unhappy over the grading policies their schools have rolled out amid the coronavirus pandemic. The University of Georgia School of Law, the University of Michigan Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, and Georgia State University College of Law also have seen pushback over grading, as have numerous other schools. Though students harbor an array of opinions over what grading system is best, the most vocal and organized among them are pushing for mandatory pass/fail grading.

Continue reading

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

2021 U.S. News Legal Writing Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2021 U.S. News Legal Writing Rankings include the legal writing programs at 179 law schools (the faculty survey had a 54% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.3 UNLV
2 4.2 Oregon
3 4.1 Seattle
3 4.1 Stetson
5 4.0 Suffolk
6 3.9 Wake Forest
7 3.8 Arizona State
7 3.8 Denver
7 3.8 UIC-John Marshall
7 3.8 North Carolina
11 3.7 UC-Irvine
12 3.6 Drake
12 3.6 Georgetown
12 3.6 Marquette
12 3.6 Temple
12 3.6 Texas Tech
12 3.6 Michigan
18 3.5 Drexel
18 3.5 Lewis & Clark
18 3.5 Mercer
18 3.5 Nova
18 3.5 Rutgers
18 3.5 Washburn
24 3.4 Indiana (McKinney)
24 3.4 Northwestern
24 3.4 Arizona
24 3.4 Arkansas (Little Rock)
24 3.4 Missouri (Kansas City)
29 3.3 Duquesne
29 3.3 Texas A&M
29 3.3 Villanova
32 3.2 Brooklyn
32 3.2 Chicago-Kent
32 3.2 St. John's
32 3.2 Arkansas (Fayetteville)
32 3.2 Tennessee
32 3.2 Pacific
38 3.1 Boston College
38 3.1 New York Law School
38 3.1 Northeastern
38 3.1 Ohio State
38 3.1 Baltimore
38 3.1 Memphis
44 3.0 Duke
44 3.0 Elon
44 3.0 Emory
44 3.0 George Washington
44 3.0 Loyola-L.A.
44 3.0 Santa Clara
44 3.0 Texas

2021 U.S. News Specialty Rankings:

Continue reading

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

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

SubscribeWe offer three ways to have TaxProf Blog content automatically delivered to your computer, tablet, or smart phone:

RSS Feeds:  You can subscribe to one of three different feeds to receive TaxProf Blog posts via your RSS reader:

Email:  You can subscribe to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email through one of three approaches:

  • FeedBlitz:  Enter your email address here to receive TaxProf Blog posts via email, delivered to you either daily, every 12 hours, every 8 hours, every 4 hours, or hourly (at your option).
  • TaxProf Blog Tax Email Service:  Email me to be added to my twice daily (during the week) and once daily (on the weekend) emails to the TaxProf Discussion Group with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on tax topics.
  • TaxProf Blog Legal Education Email Service:  Email me to be added to my email distribution list with titles and links to recent TaxProf Blog posts on legal education topics.

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

Avi-Yonah, Saez & Zucman: Taxes In The Time Of Coronavirus — It Is Time To Revive The Excess Profits Tax

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Taxes in the Time of Coronavirus: Is it Time to Revive the Excess Profits Tax?:

At a time when most American citizens and businesses are suffering catastrophic economic damage from the Coronavirus recession, some corporations—such as Amazon, 3M, Gilead, and Zoom—are seeing their profits rise dramatically because of the pandemic.

Given that most corporations are losing money, but some are now earning enormous profits due to the crisis, it is time to revive the wartime excess profits taxes that the US deployed in World War I and World War II to prevent corporate winners from achieving this form of opportunistic unjust enrichment.

The most recent US excess profits tax was enacted shortly before the US entered World War II. It was first adopted in 1940, amended in 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1945, and repealed in 1950. ...

Given the diversity of the corporations that are likely to profit from the pandemic and the fact that most of them are not engaged in capital intensive activities, the tax should use the average earnings method based on 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The rest of the World War II methodology can be applied unchanged. Thus, to use Amazon as an example, one would start with Amazon’s 2020 net income, subtract a credit for average 2016-2019 earnings plus 8% of R&D (the principal capital investment), and apply a 95% tax rate to the excess profits. The resulting tax can be reduced by credits for wages of additional employees hired in 2020 to encourage the winners to hire and pay well during the recession.

It is unconscionable that some corporations would profit from the current crisis while everyone else suffers. Moreover, the federal government will be spending trillions to save the economy, and much of this spending will benefit the winners since it will be spent on their services. There is no reason not to use this opportunity to revive the excess profit tax and apply it to profits that derive entirely from the pandemic.

New York Times op-ed:  Jobs Aren’t Being Destroyed This Fast Elsewhere. Why Is That?, by Emmanuel Saez (UC-Berkeley) & Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley):

Some businesses, more broadly, will disproportionately benefit from the pandemic. While tens of thousands of brick-and-mortar stores are closed, Amazon sales rise. The Seattle-based company is one of the few S&P 500 firms whose stock price is higher today than at the beginning of the year. Cloud computing is exploding. Facebook traffic is booming.

But these windfall profits have a fair, comprehensive and transparent solution: The government should impose excess profits taxes, as it has done several times in the past during periods of crisis.

In 1918, all profits made by corporations above and beyond an 8 percent rate of return on their capital were deemed abnormal, and abnormal profits were taxed at progressive rates of up to 80 percent. Similar taxes on excessive profits were applied during World War II and the Korean War. These taxes all had one goal — making sure that no one could benefit outrageously from a situation in which the masses suffered.

To help make this happen, the next bill needs an excess profits tax. If Congress fails to act, the pandemic could well reinforce two of the defining trends of the pre-coronavirus American economy: the rise of business concentration and the upsurge of inequality.

Some will say that the solutions we’ve outlined show excessive faith in government. They will correctly point out that some of these policies are undesirable in normal times. But these are not normal times. The big battles — be they wars or pandemics — are fought and won collectively. In this period of national crisis, hatred of the government is the surest path to self-destruction.

April 1, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Support TaxProf Blog By Shopping On Amazon

Amazon-associatesTaxProf Blog participates in the amazon.com affiliate program. You can help support TaxProf Blog at no cost to you by making purchases through Amazon links on the blog and through the "Shop Amazon" tab on the header at the top of the blog:

Header

and the search box in the right column of the blog:

Amazon Search

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

Law Schools' Pass/Fail Decision Doesn't Ace All Tests

Washington Times, Law Schools' Pass/Fail Decision Doesn't Ace All Tests:

CoronavirusLaw schools, like colleges and universities, increasingly are assigning pass/fail grades to facilitate remote learning amid travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. But the grading scheme doesn’t level the playing field, professors say.

“For those [students] who are in the middle of class, this was a god-send. For students who were already very high in their class, this is good news because they can’t go down,” said Josh Blackman, who teaches constitutional law at the South Texas College of Law in Houston. “But for students who want to move up in the class row and are set to graduate, this is definitely a setback.”

Law school grades play an outsized role in graduates landing clerkships and entry-level professions, meaning that third-year students now eyeing graduation, the state bar exam and future employment face greater uncertainty than ever before.

Continue reading

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Satterthwaite Presents Tax Status As A Signal Online Today At Georgetown

Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto) presents Tax Status as a Signal online at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Brian Galle:

Satterthwaite (2019)Can an entrepreneur’s choice of tax status act as a signal that conveys valuable private information about her firm in a real-world marketplace?There have been hints that this happens, but exactly how such signaling would work and whether it is normatively desirable has received little scholarly attention. Building on recent survey evidence that small-firm entrepreneurs may view voluntary value-added tax (“VAT”) registration as a way to secure reputational advantages, this paper applies the costly signaling model of Spence (1973) to propose a novel informational account of firms’tax status choices in the context of a VAT. It explores whether an entrepreneur’s choice to voluntarily VAT-register her small firm might function as a signal of the firm’s quality in much the same way that a job applicant’s investment in education can function as a signal of the applicant’s productivity.

Continue reading

March 31, 2020 in Colloquia, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Tax Maven Podcast Episode 3: Do Your Taxes Like Nobody's Watching (Jeff Hoopes)

Episode 3, Do Your Taxes Like Nobody's Watching — Because Honestly, They Probably Aren't (Jeff Hoopes (University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School)):

Tax MavenEpisode Summary:  A typical consumer spends exactly zero hours a day thinking about corporate tax compliance. Jeff Hoopes, a Tax Maven who devotes approximately 100% of his time to thinking about tax as the research director of the UNC Tax Center, explains why that disconnect matters. In this Episode, he explains the power and the limits of sophisticated enforcement tools such FIN 48 and the Schedule UTP and the humble credit card. He explores whether firms that donated to a particular political party respond differently to tax breaks such as those delivered by the 2017 tax law changes. Hoopes also shows why data from corporate tax returns challenge the conventional wisdom that private companies engage in more aggressive tax planning. His Pencil Question comes from an article by Edward J. Mccaffery in the Wisconsin Law Review.

Episode Notes: Jeff Hoopes is an associate professor and the Harold Q. Langenderfer Scholar of Accounting at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. Hoopes focuses on understanding how taxpayers respond to tax laws and changes in tax enforcement and uses his expertise to explain why. His work emphasizes the intersection of tax law, accounting, public economics, and finance.

Continue reading

March 31, 2020 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

AccessLex Donates $25,000 To Student Emergency Funds At All 200 Law Schools

AccessLex Institute Donates $5 Million to Establish Law Student Emergency Relief Fund:

AccessLex (2020)The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has sparked fear, disruption and uncertainty across the country, and law students have not been spared. In response, AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping aspiring lawyers find their path to professional success, has created a $5 million Law Student Emergency Relief Fund to provide direct resources to law students during this unique time. Beyond the concerns around adapting to online learning, completion of hands-on legal clinics, and the potential for delays in the bar exam, this crisis has exacerbated financial pressures on law students—in many cases, to a level that can jeopardize the continuation of their studies.

Through this $5 million fund, AccessLex will make $25,000 available to every nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-approved law school in the nation, with monies going directly to each school's designated student emergency fund. Law schools will then administer the funds in a manner consistent with the established criteria for emergency relief on their campuses.

Continue reading

March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amid More Bar Exam Delays, Push For Diploma Privilege Grows

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Amid More Bar Exam Delays, Push for Diploma Privilege Grows:

CoronavirusNew York on Friday became the first jurisdiction to officially postpone the July bar exam, clearing the path for others to follow suit, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, which both announced Monday that they will also postpone the exam to an as-yet-undermined date in the fall.

Those announcements come after the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which develops the test, said last week that it will offer a separate exam in the fall for jurisdictions that can’t or don’t want to move ahead with the test in July amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The move to fall bar exams is distressing many law students, who fear additional postponements and cancellations if the COVID-19 pandemic drags on as some public health officials predict. Those changes could put their professional future on hold for the foreseeable future, they say. ...

Law students in New York, Florida, California, the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions have circulated petitions and open letters to bar examiners, urging them to go the emergency diploma privilege route. A group of legal educators last week kicked off the diploma privilege push with a paper that recommended it as a practical way to deal with attorney licensing at an unprecedented time. ...

Continue reading

March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Connecticut Is Third State To Postpone July Bar Exam

State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, Connecticut Bar Examining Committee, Connecticut Bar Exam Postponed:

CoronavirusThe Connecticut Bar Examining Committee announces today that, due to the ongoing public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Connecticut bar examination will not be administered on July 28 – 29, 2020 as previously scheduled. The bar exam has been postponed until fall, on dates to be determined.

The Connecticut Bar Examining Committee will suspend acceptance of applications after March 31, 2020, and will announce at a later date the rescheduled dates for the examination and for an extended application filing period.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

Continue reading

March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2021 U.S. News International Law Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2021 U.S. News International Law Rankings include the international law programs at 187 law schools (the faculty survey had a 52% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.7 NYU
2 4.4 Harvard
3 4.3 Georgetown
4 4.2 American
4 4.2 Columbia
4 4.2 Yale
7 4.1 Michigan
8 4.0 George Washington
9 3.9 Duke
9 3.9 Stanford
11 3.8 UC-Berkeley
11 3.8 Virginia
13 3.7 Cornell
14 3.6 Penn
14 3.6 Texas
14 3.6 Vanderbilt
17 3.5 Temple
17 3.5 UCLA
17 3.5 Chicago
17 3.5 Washington Univ.
21 3.4 Fordham
21 3.4 Northwestern
21 3.4 Georgia
24 3.3 Case Western
25 3.2 Arizona State
25 3.2 UC-Irvine
25 3.2 Minnesota
28 3.1 Indiana (Maurer)
28 3.1 Tulane
28 3.1 UC-Hastings
28 3.1 Notre Dame
32 3.0 Boston University
32 3.0 UC-Davis
32 3.0 Wisconsin
32 3.0 William & Mary
36 2.9 Arizona
36 2.9 Miami
36 2.9 Pacific
36 2.9 Washington & Lee
40 2.8 Boston College
40 2.8 Emory
40 2.8 Santa Clara
43 2.7 Ohio State
43 2.7 Pittsburgh
43 2.7 Washington
46 2.6 Brooklyn
46 2.6 Pepperdine
46 2.6 SMU
46 2.6 Houston
46 2.6 North Carolina
46 2.6 USC

2021 U.S. News Specialty Rankings:

Continue reading

March 31, 2020 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Third Of MBA Admits May Defer; 43% Want Tuition Lowered If Classes Are Online

Poets&Quants Survey, A Third Of Admits May Defer, While 43% Want Tuition Lowered If Classes Are Online:

CoronavirusThe disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is fueling a lot of anxiety among MBA applicants, admits and students in the top MBA programs. Roughly a third of prospective students already admitted to top business schools say they may want to defer their admission this year if classes fail to return to campus in the fall. Even more worrisome for B-schools, 43% believe tuition fees should be cutback by an average of 37.5% if the first part of their MBA program is shifted online due to the pandemic.

The results come from a Poets&Quants survey of more than 300 current admits to top MBA programs this year. Some respondents believe their tuition bills should be cut on a prorated basis for the time they are denied a more fully immersive on-campus learning experience. Only 17% of the prospective MBA students say they would be okay attending online classes, while 96% say that missing out on the full on-campus experience such as face-to-face classes, participating in co-curricular activities, building a network with peers and relationships with faculty is a major concern. ...

Continue reading

March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Arizona Board Of Regents Demanding Repayment Of Room & Board For Students Displaced By Covid-19

Lawsuit Filed Against Arizona Board of Regents For Displacement of Students Amid COVID-19:

Arizona Board of RegentsA class action lawsuit has been filed against the Arizona Board of Regents, the governing board for Arizona's three public universities, after the three schools refused to refund room, board and campus fees to students who were displaced because of coronavirus.

All three universities, Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, moved their classes to online only for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester to protect students and staff and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Students who lived on-campus were either told to move out or encouraged to do so. The lawsuit says the Arizona Board of Regents has refused to offer refunds for the unused portion of their room and board and their campus fees. The lawsuit seeks payment of the prorated, unused amounts of room and board and fees that the class members paid but were unable to use.

Continue reading

March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 30, 2020

Polsky Presents Explaining Choice-Of-Entity Decisions By Silicon Valley Start-Ups Online Today At BYU

Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents Explaining Choice-of-Entity Decisions by Silicon Valley Start-Ups online at BYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Cliff Fleming and Gladriel Shobe:

Polsky (2018)Perhaps the most fundamental role of a business lawyer is to recommend the optimal entity choice for nascent business enterprises. Nevertheless, even in 2018, the choice-of-entity analysis remains highly muddled. Most business lawyers across the United States consistently recommend flow-through entities, such as limited liability companies and S corporations, to their clients. In contrast, a discrete group of highly sophisticated business lawyers, those who advise start-ups in Silicon Valley and other hotbeds of start-up activity, prefer C corporations.

Prior commentary has described and tried to explain this paradox without finding an adequate explanation. These commentators have noted a host of superficially plausible explanations, all of which they ultimately conclude are not wholly persuasive. The puzzle therefore remains.

Continue reading

March 30, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Tax Prof's Day In Covid-19 America Without Child Care

Slate, A Day in America Without Child Care:

CoronavirusAs the COVID-19 pandemic shuts down day cares and schools, countless parents have been left with no child care at all. Some are trying to do their jobs remotely, while also changing diapers and helping bored teens figure out online courses and brainstorming games to distract toddlers. Some essential workers are still going in every day, while exhausted family members take on child care duties or school-age kids find ways to entertain themselves. So we picked a single weekday—last Thursday—and asked a bunch of parents all around the country to record how that stretch of time unfolded for them without child care, hour by hour. Here’s the combined timeline of their days.

8 p.m. Steven, New York, tax law professor: We play bingo with a college buddy of mine. I send her a photo of a bingo card and patch her in by video. My wife ends up winning and our son comes in second, followed by a team of stuffed animals that was also playing.

9 p.m. Steven, New York, tax law professor: Simpsons!

Continue reading

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

Spivey: How Will COVID-19 Impact Law Schools?

Mike Spivey (Spivey Consulting Group), How Will COVID-19 Impact Law Schools As The Summer Progresses?:

CoronavirusWith the [Covid-19] growth factor still curving upward, where does this leave law school applicants and law school classes? First to the applicants. The March LSAT was recently canceled, and the April administration is looking precarious (for context, combined those tests had/have about 20,000 registrants). This is actually good news if you are on a waitlist at a law school and you did not plan to retake the LSAT. Why? Schools will likely not be getting an influx of either new applicants from spring LSAT exams (although this is heavily stratified by score range, with top ranked schools generally having nearly their entire applicant pool already in and lower ranked schools having closer to 80 percent, 70 percent, or even 60 percent) nor a heavy supply of retakers hoping to increase their score. Put another way — look for significant waitlist movement below the top range of schools. While we expect almost all schools to have some waitlist movement, the effects of canceled LSAT
administrations will compound the lower a given school’s LSAT median. ...

[A] significant swath of what would normally be applicants in this cycle’s pool (or retakers) are now not in the pool. Many schools were counting on those folks. As the summer carries on, we expect this to mean considerably more admits — especially below the 165 LSAT score-band threshold where applicants were already down this cycle. ...

One final issue is that of the overall economic viability of law schools. Since the Great Recession, many law schools have been underwritten by central universities. This poses a problem because universities are currently facing a much greater financial threat than law schools. As a factual matter, Moody’s Investors Service just recently downgraded the outlook on higher education as a whole from “stable” to “negative,” driven primarily by the fact that many auxiliary sources of income for universities (housing, dining, parking, athletics, etc.) and enrollments are threatened.

Continue reading

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

Massachusetts Joins New York In Postponing July Bar Exam

Following up on Saturday's post, New York Postpones July Bar Exam To Fall; Students Demand Emergency Diploma Privilege To Practice Law:  Boston Globe, Mass. Bar Exam For Law School Grads Postponed Amid Coronavirus Pandemic:

CoronavirusThe Massachusetts bar exam for newly minted law school graduates will be postponed from July to the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the state Supreme Judicial Court and Board of Bar Examiners.

The two entities confirmed the delay in a statement Monday. The two-day exam, which law school graduates must pass to practice in Massachusetts, was initially scheduled for July 28 and July 29. It’s been rescheduled for the fall on “dates to be determined,” the statement said. ...

“In the event that limitations on large gatherings continue to interfere with a fall administration of the Massachusetts bar examination, alternative means for testing of applicants for Massachusetts bar admission will be devised and announced,” the statement said.

Continue reading

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

University Of Chicago Law School Sticks To ‘Status Quo’ Grading, Bucking Peers’ Move To Mandatory Pass-Fail

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Chicago Maroon, Law School Plans to Stick To ‘Status Quo’ Grading, Bucking Peers’ Move to Mandatory Pass-Fail:

Chicago (2016)The University of Chicago Law School plans to keep its “status quo” grading system for spring quarter, Dean Tom Miles told students in an email on Tuesday, despite a push by some students to move to a pass/fail system.

The choice contrasts with those of a number of other top law programs—including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Cornell—that have switched to blanket pass/fail or equivalent grading for the spring term, after the response to the coronavirus pandemic disrupted many students’ plans.

“Student opinion here, as at other schools, is sharply divided, and any path is sure to disappoint many students,” Miles wrote in Tuesday’s email:

Dear Students,
I hope you are doing well during this unusual time and that you are taking steps to remain healthy.

You may be aware that some law schools have adjusted their grading practices for spring semester. Many of you have contacted me and Dean of Students Charles Todd directly about this. Student opinion here, as at other schools, is sharply divided, and any path is sure to disappoint many students. Please know that Dean Todd and I have read every single one of your emails and petitions, and that your varied points of view have very much been a part of all conversations about grading. I have also been listening carefully to the faculty and administration, as well as the many employers who have contacted me in the past week. There is no answer that is right for everyone, and the considerations are many and complex.

Continue reading

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

Lesson From The Tax Court: One Plus One Equals One

Tax Court (2017)Author’s Note: Like so many others I am now working from home and climbing various learning curves, some steeper than others.  So please accept my apologies if today’s post contains more errors than normal.  Hopefully they will just be errors of the fingers and not of the brain.  

The case of Sean McNamee v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2020-37 (Mar. 18, 2020) (Judge Lauber) teaches us that taxpayers have only one opportunity to challenge a tax liability in a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing, even though the Tax Code provides for up to two CDP hearings for any given tax liability.  In today's case the IRS erroneously refused to let Mr. McNamee challenge a tax liability in his first CDP hearing.  He did not obtain Tax Court review of that decision.  Instead, he re-challenged the liability in a second, later, CDP hearing involving the same underlying liability.  Mistake.  The Court held that even though the IRS screwed up the first time, the taxpayer’s failure to obtain judicial review of the first hearing precluded him from challenging the underlying liability in the second.  The lesson here centers on a tricky quirk in the CDP rules.  Details below the fold.   

Continue reading

March 30, 2020 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

2021 U.S. News Intellectual Property Law Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiThe new 2021 U.S. News Intellectual Property Law Rankings include the intellectual property law programs at 188 law schools (the faculty survey had a 58% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.7 UC-Berkeley
2 4.6 Stanford
3 4.4 NYU
4 4.0 Santa Clara
5 3.8 George Washington
5 3.8 Houston
5 3.8 New Hampshire
8 3.7 Texas A&M
8 3.7 Penn
10 3.6 American
10 3.6 Boston University
12 3.5 Duke
13 3.4 Columbia
13 3.4 Georgetown
13 3.4 Chicago-Kent
13 3.4 Michigan
13 3.4 Cardozo
18 3.3 Harvard
18 3.3 Texas
18 3.3 Washington
21 3.2 Fordham
21 3.2 Indiana (Maurer)
21 3.2 Northeastern
21 3.2 Northwestern
25 3.1 UC-Irvine
25 3.1 UCLA
25 3.1 Colorado
25 3.1 Notre Dame
25 3.1 Richmond
25 3.1 Vanderbilt
31 3.0 Boston College
31 3.0 George Mason
31 3.0 Loyola-L.A.
31 3.0 San Diego
31 3.0 Virginia
36 2.9 DePaul
36 2.9 Emory
36 2.9 UC-Davis
36 2.9 UIC-John Marshall
40 2.8 Case Western
40 2.8 Cornell
40 2.8 Ohio State
40 2.8 Chicago
40 2.8 Minnesota
45 2.7 Loyola-Chicago
45 2.7 Suffolk
45 2.7 UC-Hastings
45 2.7 Villanova
45 2.7 Washington Univ.
45 2.7 William & Mary

2021 U.S. News Specialty Rankings:

Continue reading

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

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Zatz: Crisis Grading Policy 2.0: Universality Over Carve-Outs

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Noah Zatz (UCLA), Crisis Grading Policy 2.0: Universality over Carve-outs:

Zatz 2As law schools continue to debate grading policy changes in response to the COVID-19 crisis, a new wrinkle has emerged. The first round largely focused on whether to move away from standard grading and, if so, whether to take an opt-in versus a mandatory pass/fail approach. I’ve previously explained my support for a mandatory over an opt-in approach, and law schools largely seem to be going in this direction. The wrinkle is whether to adopt some kind of hybrid, with a mandatory approach to some courses (especially larger, curved courses) and an opt-in approach to others (such as seminars and/or experiential courses). Most schools taking a mandatory approach have considered but rejected such carve-outs, as Cornell did when it adopted a mandatory pass/fail policy early on. My own institution (UCLA), however, recently included carve-outs for seminars and experiential courses, and so that approach is likely to receive additional interest. This post explains why I believe carve-outs are a mistake, and why a simple, universal approach is preferable.

Continue reading

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

Klein: Of Prisoner's Dilemmas And Straw Men — A Response To Blackman, Adler, And Krauss On Law School Grading

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Diane Klein (La Verne), Of Prisoner's Dilemmas and Straw Men: A Response to Blackman, Adler, and Krauss on Law School Grading:

CoronavirusDramatic (probably temporary) changes to grading policies are afoot in America's law schools, and in higher education more generally, in response to COVID-19, the all-online transition, and the seismic disruption taking place in education across the United States. ...

Fa lively debate has been taking place about whether law schools should adopt mandatory pass/fail grading for spring 2020, leave their grading systems alone, or do something in the middle.  A midsemester transition to all pass/fail recommends itself to many faculty members and administrations, based on a sense of compassion for students, and in acknowledgement of the extraordinary dislocation created by the circumstances we are all in.  Led by Dorf on Law's eponymous founder, Prof. Michael Dorf, Cornell Law was among the first to decide to adopt mandatory pass/fail, as they announced on March 16, 2020, and an informal survey suggests that other elite institutions have largely followed suit.

This has triggered a somewhat predictable backlash from some conservatives among the legal professoriate. Josh Blackman of South Texas College of Law [here, here, and here] and Prof. Jonathan Adler of Case Western both blogged about it at The Volokh Conspiracy, and Prof. Michael Krauss of George Mason University Law wrote in Forbes. All take something like a "tough love" approach; all, in my view, minimize the magnitude of what is unfolding; mistakenly fixate on grades as the sole way for professors to convey their assessment of students (to students themselves and to potential employers); and (perhaps most surprisingly!) miss some of the problematic game-theoretic dimensions of what is taking place, leading to their support for an even worse option than no change at all: individualized opt-in to pass/fail.

Continue reading

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

Krauss: Should Law Schools Grade Pass-Fail This Semester?

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Michael Krauss (George Mason), Should Law Schools Grade Pass-Fail This Semester?:

CoronavirusQuite a few top law schools have chosen to grade students on a pass-fail basis during this coronavirus-infected semester. ... I am extremely disappointed to have to teach the second half of this semester remotely. ... [O]ur class sessions are less rich when students only see each other as postage-stamp-size photos on the screen. For this I am truly sorry. But should this loss impact the type of grading that takes place? ...

Lawyers must confront many problems in their practice. Court dates conflict. Children are ill and must be cared for despite constant pressures of practice. Deadlines constantly loom, and witnesses occasionally vanish. Conflicts of interest counsel against taking cases, yet payrolls of assistants and paralegals must be met.

Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has imposed costs on law students, as it has on us all. No, throwing out the grading structure and denying excellent law students the opportunity to demonstrate their excellence is not the appropriate response to these costs. Law students should be allowed to demonstrate excellence, not merely pass. True, elite schools and median students will not be impacted by the change to a pass-fail structure, while excellent students at non-elite schools will be the biggest losers. Is that the redistribution we want to encourage?

Continue reading

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

Muller: Thoughts About (And Mostly Against) Pass-Fail Law School Grading During Covid-19

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Some Thoughts About (and Mostly Against) Pass-fail Law School Grading During Covid-19:

CoronavirusPass-fail is a luxurious advantage for the highest-ranking law schools. They can easily move to pass-fail and know that the vast majority of their students will experience little difference in likelihood of employment outcomes.

For many other students at the vast majority of law schools, however, I do think there will be disadvantages to moving to pass-fail.

Maybe I’m overstating it, and maybe there won’t be a significant change in judges’ or employers’ experience. Maybe the concerns of the students who I identified as potentially disadvantaged should be outweighed by the concerns of others. But I offer my own thoughts here and look forward to reading more of the robust debates in the days ahead—and to seeing how law schools react.

Continue reading

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

Saturday, March 28, 2020

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

New York Postpones July Bar Exam To Fall; Students Demand Emergency Diploma Privilege To Practice Law

New York State Bar Exam Rescheduled for Fall 2020:

CoronavirusThe Court of Appeals today announced that the New York State Bar Examination will not be administered on July 28-29, 2020 as previously scheduled.

The Bar Examination will be rescheduled for dates in the fall, to be determined.

Karen Sloan (New York Law Journal), New York Postpones July Bar Exam Amid COVID-19 Pandemic:

The Court of Appeals’ announcement came after the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which develops the nationwide test, said Friday that it will offer an alternate date for the all-important licensing exam for jurisdictions that cannot, or choose not to, move forward with the July administration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue reading

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

Zatz: The Case For Mandatory Pass/Fail Grading In Spring 2020

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Noah Zatz (UCLA), Grading in a Time of Crisis:

Zatz 2I am of the firm and strong view that we should go mandatory P/NP. I have thought about it a lot over the past week, steadily moving in this direction after pausing to consider a variety of alternatives. This includes many conversations with my Section 3/4 1Ls, including after I solicited viewpoints opposing such a move to make sure I was not missing something.

These have been extremely illuminating, often heart-wrenching conversations. I have heard from students struggling with mental health difficulties exacerbated by stress, isolation, and worry. I have heard from students relocating across the country to be with family members who are extremely vulnerable, for whom they are terrified, and with whom they confess they will find it very difficult to live in close proximity, despite their love. I have heard from students in precarious economic circumstances whose ability to study has been seriously disrupted by loss of access to the library, both as a physical space in which to study relative to their marginal housing situation and as a way to access books, and who lack reliable internet access from home. I have also heard from other students sheepishly acknowledging that they have so far have suffered little direct effect, and in fact have benefited from additional time to study, as they live comfortably in LA and have their family nearby, and some of them have had the self-awareness to observe that this relative insulation actually confers additional and unfair advantage on them in any competitively structured process.

Continue reading

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

Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline For The Age Of The Coronavirus: 'Hands ... Washing Hands'

Showing my age (and cheesy musical tastes): here is Neil Diamond's adaptation of Sweet Caroline for the age of the coronavirus:

Continue reading

March 28, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, March 27, 2020

Auerbach Presents U.S. Inequality And Fiscal Progressivity: An Intragenerational Accounting Online Today At British Columbia

Alan Auerbach (UC-Berkeley) presents U.S. Inequality And Fiscal Progressivity: An Intragenerational Accounting (with Laurence J. Kotlikoff (Boston University) & Darryl Koehler (Economic Security Planning)) online at University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Wei Cui:

Auerbach (2020)This study measures inequality and fiscal progressivity. It differs from prior such analyses by measuring inequality based on remaining lifetime spending rather than particular resources, like wealth and current income, that only partially determine lifetime spending, and by considering inequality and progressivity within generations.

To estimate the distribution of remaining lifetime spending, we run the 2016 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances (after imputing missing data from other surveys) through The Fiscal Analyzer (TFA), a life-cycle consumption-smoothing program that incorporates remaining life-time resources, borrowing constraints and all major federal and state tax and transfer programs.

We find that inequality in wealth and income dramatically overstate inequality in remaining lifetime spending. For example, the richest 1 percent of forty year olds, where resources are measured as the sum of human plus non-human wealth, have 34.1 percent of the cohort’s total non-human wealth, but account for only 14.5 percent of the cohort’s total remaining lifetime spending. The poorest quintile of forty year olds own just 0.6 percent of the cohort’s wealth, but account for 7.3 percent of its remaining lifetime spending.

Continue reading

March 27, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

De La Feria Presents The Impact Of Public Perceptions On VAT Rates Policy Online Today At Indiana

Rita de la Feria (University of Leeds) presents The Impact of Public Perceptions on VAT Rates Policy (with Michael Walpole (University of New South Wales)) online at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Rdlf-brazil2018The traditional view in VAT is that excluding certain products from its base decreases the natural regressivity of the tax. Whilst this traditionally view has been consistently put into question over the last thirty years by economic and legal evidence, public perceptions are still heavily influenced by it. Using the old European VAT system and the newer Australian VAT system as case studies we demonstrate how policy debates and changes as regards VAT rates have been heavily influenced by those public perceptions, against the evidence, and how industry groups, which would be set to lose out from specific policies, are able to use the information asymmetry subjacent to those perceptions to defend their interest in favour or against reform.

Continue reading

March 27, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)