Paul L. Caron

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Penn Receives $125 Million Naming Gift, Largest Gift Ever To A Law School, Penn Law, With Record-Breaking Donation, Gets New Name:

Penn Law (2020)The University of Pennsylvania Law School has received the single largest donation to a law campus on record and is changing its name in honor of the donor.

The school will now be called the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School after receiving $125 million from the W.P. Carey Foundation. That tops the $115 million gift James E. Rogers made to the University of Arizona’s law school in 1998 and the $100 million donation from the Pritzker family to Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 2015. ...

Naming rights have become an increasingly important avenue for fundraising in legal education. Last month, Pepperdine University’s law school was renamed the Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law after it received $50 million from its namesake, who is a Los Angeles-area real estate developer.

The $125 million gift will be spent on these six priorities:

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November 9, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Is The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act GILTI Of Anti-Simplification?

Christine Davis (S.J.D. (Tax) 2020, Florida), Is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act GILTI of Anti-Simplification?, 38 Va. Tax Rev. 315 (2019):

In December 2017, Congress enacted tax reform legislation, commonly referred to as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” or “TCJA,” which fundamentally changed the United States’ international corporate taxation system. The TCJA was enacted quickly; the bill was signed into law less than 2 months after the House of Representatives introduced it. Since that time, tax professionals across the United States and around the world have worked overtime to try to understand the new tax laws. Now that the U.S. Treasury Department is releasing and requesting comments on proposed tax regulations, practitioners must have a thorough understanding of the TCJA. This paper attempts to reduce the complexity of the TCJA’s international tax provisions by examining global intangible low-taxed income (“GILTI”) and its interaction with other provisions that implement income taxation of cross border corporations.

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November 9, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Elkins Reviews Listokin's Posner on Tax: The Independent Investor Test

This week, David Elkins (Netanya) reviews a new work by Yair Listokin (Yale), Posner on Tax: The Independent Investor Test, 86 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1159 (2019):

Elkins (2018)

Richard Posner is one of the most influential legal scholars of recent generations. He is perhaps best known as a leading figure in the school of Law and Economics. Complimenting his academic work, he served as a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for 36 years before retiring in 2017. In the field of taxation, one of his more memorable decisions was Exacto Springs Corp. v. Commissioner, 196 F3d 833 (7th Cir. 1999), which concerns the characterization of payments from closely held corporations to individuals who are both shareholders and employees: is the payment properly classified as a salary or as a distribution?

The question of how to characterize payments to shareholders arises whenever shareholders provide services or sell property to the corporation that they control. If a shareholder leases property to a corporation, is the payment that the parties describe as rent truly rent or is it only partly rent and partly a distribution? The issue of classification is particularly significant in the field of international taxation. For example, if a corporation operating in Country A pays what it describes as a royalty to a parent (or otherwise related) corporation in Country B, is the payment actually a deductible royalty or is it a nondeductible distribution? The answer to that question may determine whether Country A can collect tax from the economic activity in its territory.

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November 8, 2019 in David Elkins, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Trump's Taxes And Tax Returns

Kim Presents The Digital Services Tax: A Cross-Border Variation Of The Consumption Tax Debate? At BYU

Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah) presented The Digital Services Tax: A Crossborder Variation of Consumption Tax Debate at BYU yesterday as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

KimAs highly digitalized business models, such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, have been mainstreamed in the economy, the traditional profit allocation and nexus rules of taxation are further strained. Traditionally, profit is allocated to market countries when the business has physical presence there. However, highly digitalized business models can generate profits in market countries without physical presence. Thus, market countries, especially the EU, have started imposing a digital services tax (“DST”) on the gross revenue generated in jurisdictions with highly digital business models, which has ignited heated debate across the globe.

DST is criticized as “ring-fencing,” or segregating, certain digital business models, because it arguably imposes a disguised corporate income tax on the profits of only certain digital firms, which discriminates against American tech giants. However, while DST is politically driven, the criticism is largely based on practical concerns and focused on the imminent impact, such as who is the winner and loser in the short term, rather than considering DST theoretically. More importantly, there is little discussion of the consumption tax aspect of the DST. DST is a turnover tax, which is a subcategory of consumption tax levied on the gross revenue of a firm. However, strangely, there is little discussion of the theoretical value of DST as a consumption tax.

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November 8, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Five Law Schools With Top Bar Pass Rates Share Their Secrets, How'd They Do It? Law Schools With Top Bar Pass Rates Share Their Secrets:

We’ve asked five law schools with the highest July pass rate in their respective jurisdictions to tell us about their secrets to bar exam success, and why their graduates tend to do so well on the licensing exam.

Most jurisdictions have released the results of the July 2019 bar exam, and the news is largely positive. Pass rates went up in most states, though closely watched California likely won’t release results for another week or so.

Here are the top performers in their states: Florida International University College of Law (overall pass rate of 96%); Baylor University School of Law (93% first-time pass rate); the University of Georgia School of Law (94% first-time pass rate); the University of Pennsylvania Law School (88% overall pass rate); and Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law (100% first-time pass rate.) ...

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November 8, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hemel & Kysar: The Warren/Sanders Wealth Taxes Would Raise Zero Revenue Because They Are Unconstitutional

New York Times op-ed:  The Big Problem With Wealth Taxes, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago) & Rebecca Kysar (Fordham):

Senator Elizabeth Warren unveiled a new wealth tax proposal last week that she says will raise — along with her previously announced wealth tax plan — $3.75 trillion over the next decade. Senator Bernie Sanders says his wealth tax will yield $4.35 trillion over the same period.

We fear these figures are vast overestimates. The likeliest outcome is that a wealth tax will raise exactly zero dollars. The problem, alas, is the Constitution. The Warren and Sanders plans run headlong into more than two centuries of precedent that cast doubt on the constitutionality of wealth taxation.

We are tax law professors who identify as liberal Democrats, donate to Democratic candidates, publicly opposed the Trump tax cuts and strongly support higher taxes on the affluent. We are heartened that prominent Democratic presidential candidates are taking the problem of wealth inequality very seriously. We are worried, though, that leading figures in our party are coalescing around an idea whose constitutionality is doubtful at best.

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November 8, 2019 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pepperdine Remembers The Borderline Shooting And Woolsey Fire


One year ago our campus community was forever changed by the events of the Borderline Shooting and Woolsey Fire. In what felt like a mere instant, countless members of our precious Waves family suffered unspeakable loss as we had just begun to grieve a senseless shooting rampage, the loss of one of our students, and destruction from flames more powerful than our community had ever seen. But even amidst unthinkable tragedy, the generous hearts and united spirit of our Pepperdine family prevailed, and today, one year later, we continue to selflessly serve one another as we rebuild, renew, and hope forward—together. This week we remember those who were lost, and we carry in our hearts those whose lives were changed by these tragedies as they demonstrate each day not only their love for each other, but their unyielding strength to carry on.

Posted by Pepperdine University on Thursday, November 7, 2019

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

November 8, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Columbia Journal Of Tax Law Publishes New Issue

Columbia Journal of Tax Law Logo (2020)The Columbia Journal of Tax Law has published Vol. 10, No. 2:

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November 7, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

UNH Law Dean: School's Deficit Is Part Of Long-Term Strategy To Break Even In 2023-24

Following up on my previous post, UNH Law School Budget Deficit Exceeds 100% Of Revenues:  New Hampshire Public Radio, UNH Law Dean: School's Deficit Is Part Of Long-Term Strategy

UNH Logo (2019)Law schools across the country have struggled in the last decade with declining enrollment.

In that time, the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law has seen many changes. It’s no longer a private school and it’s seen growing deficits.

The school spent more than double its operating budget last fiscal year, but university officials say these losses are an investment in the law school’s long-term success and things are starting to look up.

NHPR’s Morning Edition Rick Ganley spoke with the dean of UNH Law, Megan Carpenter. ..

I understand you've got a long term strategy, of course, to increase enrollment. Numbers have gone up. But ideally, you should be breaking even at some point. I imagine that's the long term goal here. When does the school projected a financial return on all of this long term investment?

In higher education, we see an ebb and flow over time. Sometimes, you know, STEM is up and liberal arts is down. Sometimes liberal arts is up and STEM is down. That's why we really think of higher education in a holistic way. Higher education is not sort of designed to be a profit center. However, we project a breakeven point at 2023-2024. ...

What is your argument to an average resident in New Hampshire about why spending that much money to keep the law school afloat is worth it?

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November 7, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Carried Interest Warning From Court May Be Trouble For Treasury

Bloomberg Tax, Carried Interest Warning From Court May Be Trouble for Treasury:

A recent court case meant to clarify the definition of a corporation intensifies questions about the tax treatment of carried interest, a prized perk for private equity and hedge fund managers [Charleston Area Medical Ctr. v. United States (Fed. Cl. Oct. 17, 2019)].

The IRS argued for a broad definition of the term “corporation” in the case. But the legal issue that could come up in the future is whether it’s reasonable for Treasury regulations to interpret the term more narrowly in the carried interest context, affecting who can qualify for the treatment.

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November 7, 2019 in New Cases, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ: More Women Pursue MBAs As Elite Schools Step Up Recruiting

Wall Street Journal, More Women Pursue M.B.A. as Elite Schools Step Up Recruiting:

MBA 2As applications to American business schools decline, the percentage of women enrolled in full-time M.B.A. programs continues to rise, climbing this fall to an average of 39% at more than 50 of the top programs in the U.S., Canada and Europe, new data show.

Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School came closest to an even split between male and female students, with 49% women enrolled this fall, according to data collected by the Forté Foundation, a nonprofit focused on advancing women into leadership roles through access to business education. Others with high percentages of female students include the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, which each had 45% or more women enrolled.

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November 7, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times: Trump Tax Return Case Confronts Supreme Court With A Momentous Choice

New York Times, Trump Tax Return Case Confronts Supreme Court With a Momentous Choice:

Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton sustained unanimous losses when they sought to withhold evidence, suggesting that President Trump may face an uphill fight.

In a matter of days, President Trump will ask the Supreme Court to rule on his bold claim that he is absolutely immune from criminal investigation while he remains in office. If the court agrees to hear the case, its decision is likely to produce a major statement on the limits of presidential power — and to test the independence of the court itself.

Mr. Trump has been the subject of countless investigations and lawsuits since he took office, including a 22-month inquiry by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel appointed to look into his campaign’s ties to Russia. But the new case, concerning an investigation by Manhattan prosecutors into hush-money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump, will be the Supreme Court’s first chance to consider the president’s arguments that he is beyond the reach of the justice system.

The case concerns a subpoena to Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, from the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat. On Monday, the federal appeals court in Manhattan rejected Mr. Trump’s request to block the subpoena, which seeks eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns.

The appeals court’s ruling was narrow and modest, hewing closely to the circumstances of the dispute before it. If the Supreme Court adopted the lower court’s reasoning, it would answer only the question of whether state prosecutors may require third parties to turn over a sitting president’s financial records for use in a grand jury investigation.

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November 7, 2019 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Does A Professor Violate Copyright Law By Posting His Published Work On His Website?

Inside Higher Ed, What Happened When a Professor Was Accused of Sharing His Own Work On His Website?:

CopyrightLike many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles — published and soon-to-be — on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit.

So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by a takedown notice he received from the American Psychological Association, telling him that the articles he had published through the organization and then posted on his website were in violation of copyright law. The notice triggered a chain of responses — including a warning from his website platform, WordPress, that multiple such violations put the future of his entire website at risk. And because the APA had previously issued similar takedown notices, the threat of losing his website seemed real to Cunningham.

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November 7, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Matching Tax With Economics In Subchapter K

Zhiyuan Zuo (Cleary Gottlieb, New York), A Gain Must Lie Where It Falls: Matching Tax with Economics in Subchapter K, 11 Colum. J. Tax L. ___ (2019):

Columbia Journal of Tax Law Logo (2020)Society suffers efficiency costs when tax and economics are mismatched. This principle is illustrated by the tax neutrality doctrines that are the cornerstone of the U.S. international tax system and by the BEPS’s efforts to combat arbitrary income shifting. While society has an interest in maximizing pre-tax income from all economic activities, self-interested taxpayers seek only to maximize their after-tax income. A good, non-arbitrary tax policy must thus incentivize taxpayers to maximize both their pre-tax and after-tax income. This note provides a novel efficiency analysis of the rules under Subchapter K and reveals the efficiency costs that arise when arbitrary tax liabilities sever the positive connection between pre-tax and after-tax income. It applies the insight gained from the efficiency analysis to the Treasury’s various flawed efforts under Subchapter K to match tax with economics, including the Substantial Economic Effect (SEE) safe harbor and doctrines under section 704(c). The Article then explores alternatives to the Treasury’s “one-size-fits-all” solution, focusing on a detailed analysis of the economic effect equivalence (EEE) test and so-called target allocations

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November 7, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Financial Transactions Tax: If Not Now, When?

Doron Narotzki (Akron), Financial Transactions Tax – If Not Now, When?, 165 Tax Notes 47 (Oct. 7, 2019):

In this article, Narotzki discusses the short history of the financial transaction tax in the United States and why now is the perfect time to adopt it.

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November 7, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Kysar Presents Unravelling The Tax Treaty Today At Pennsylvania

Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) presents Unravelling the Tax Treaty, 103 Minn. L. Rev. ___ (2019), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

Kysar (2018)Coordination among nations over the taxation of international transactions rests on a network of some 2,000 bilateral double tax treaties. The double tax treaty is, in many ways, the roots of the international system of taxation. That system, however, is in upheaval in the face of globalization, technological advances, taxpayer abuse, and shifting political tides. In the academic literature, however, scrutiny of tax treaties is largely confined to the albeit important question of whether tax treaties are beneficial for developing countries. Surprisingly little consideration has been paid to whether developed countries, like the United States, should continue to sign tax treaties with one another, and no formal revenue or economic analyses of the treaties has been undertaken by the United States government. In fact, little evidence or theory exists to support entrance into tax treaties by the United States, and examination of investment flows indicates the treaties may even lose U.S. revenues. Problematically, the treaties also thwart reforms of the antiquated and broken international tax system. The trajectory of the recent U.S. tax legislation illustrates this phenomenon.

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November 6, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor's WSJ Op-Ed: 'Strategic Plans Are A Fraud'

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Why ‘Strategic Plans’ Are Rarely Strategic—or Effective, by Wyatt Wells (Auburn University):

AuburnAuburn University at Montgomery, where I teach, recently completed a common organizational ritual: It drafted a strategic plan. The process took months and entailed work by a variety of committees, at considerable expense. When it was completed, faculty and staff applauded. Then most, on returning to their offices, promptly consigned the new document to the trash. In the majority of organizations, workers respond to strategic plans with the same cynicism, nodding and smiling in public while sighing and rolling their eyes in private.

The typical strategic plan begins with an anodyne statement of principles, lists several general goals, and finally recounts a series of initiatives that the institution will undertake to realize these objectives. In its statement of principles, AUM’s plan asserts that the university seeks to “provide quality and diverse educational opportunities,” offering a “student-centered experience” with “excellence as our standard.” These are more specific than Google’s old mantra, “Don’t be evil,” but not much. Presumably every institution of higher learning shares these goals—none would boast that “adequacy is our standard.” ...

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November 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Federal Taxation Of Cannabis

CannabisKat Allen (Wykowski Law, San Francisco), Federal Taxation of Cannabis, Parts I - III:

  • Part I: The Tax Law's War on Drugs, 164 Tax Notes 855 (Aug. 5, 2019): "In the first of a three-part series on the
    taxation of cannabis, Allen provides a framework for debate regarding the tax code’s treatment of illegal activities or payments.
  • Part II: Timing Is Everything, 164 Tax Notes 1041 (Aug. 12, 2019):  "In this second installment of a three-part series, Allen examines the code’s timing rules for state-regulated cannabis businesses."

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November 6, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Listokin: Posner on Tax — The Independent Investor Test

Yair Listokin (Yale), Posner on Tax: The Independent Investor Test, 86 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1159 (2019):

This paper, written in honor of Judge Richard Posner’s retirement from the federal judiciary, uses his opinion in Exacto Spring v. Commissioner [196 F.3d 833 (7th Cir. 1999)] as a lens into his tax law jurisprudence more generally. In Exacto Spring, Posner delivers a devastating rejection of the muddled multifactor test then in effect to distinguish reasonable salaries, which are deductible from corporate income, from disguised dividends, which aren’t. Posner replaces the multifactor test with the independent investor test, which focuses the judicial inquiry on the substance of the transaction. I critique Posner’s application of the independent investor test to the problem of salary disguised as dividends, showing that it yields perverse outcomes by treating equity as a fixed claim, rather than a residual claim. But I show that, when applied to dividends disguised as debt, the independent investor test offers great promise.

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November 6, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Princeton Review's Best 167 Law Schools (2020 Edition)

Princeton ReviewThe Princeton Review has published the 2020 edition of The Best 167 Law Schools (press release) (FAQs) (methodology):

The ranking lists, reported in 14 categories, each name the top 10 law schools. The education services company tallied the lists based on its surveys of 19,000 students attending 167 law schools [an average of 114 per school] in the U.S., and of administrators at those schools. The Princeton Review's 80-question student survey for this project asked students to rate their law schools on dozens of topics and report on their school experiences. The survey of law school administrators, which numbered more than 200 questions, covered topics from academic offerings and admission requirements to data about currently enrolled students as well as graduates' employment. Six of the 14 ranking lists were tallied using both student and administrator-reported data, five solely from student data, and three solely from administrator data.

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

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

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

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November 6, 2019 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ: Tax Cuts For The Wealthy Make Inequality Worse

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Make Inequality Worse, by Alan S. Binder (Princeton):

Here’s a short test of your value judgments. (There’s no right answer.) If free markets start dishing out increasingly unequal pretax incomes, should the government ignore it, mitigate it by making the tax system more progressive, or exacerbate it by making the tax system less progressive?

The question isn’t hypothetical. And you may be surprised to learn that the U.S. political system has given a clear answer: Exacerbate it. ...

[I]ncome inequality in America now stands at, or just a tad below, its all-time high. The essential fact is that inequality has been rising for almost 40 years.

What about tax progressivity? Two economists at the University of California, Berkeley, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, just published an important new book, The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay. Perhaps the most stunning finding: “For the first time in the past hundred years, the working class today pays higher tax rates than billionaires.”

Chew on that for a moment. You may remember Warren Buffett bemoaning that he paid a lower average tax rate than his secretary. Apparently, he wasn’t alone. ...

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November 6, 2019 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Professors' Slow, Steady Acceptance Of Online Learning

Inside Higher Ed, Professors' Slow, Steady Acceptance of Online Learning: A Survey:

Inside Higher Ed's 2019 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology, conducted with Gallup and published today, shows a continuing uptick in the proportion of faculty members who have taught an online course, to 46 percent from 44 percent last year. That figure stood at 30 percent in 2013, meaning that the number has increased by half in six years.


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November 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Student Tax Papers: 2020 Chris Bergin Award for Excellence In Writing

Tax Notes 2

Christopher E. Bergin Award for Excellence in Writing:

The Christopher E. Bergin Award for Excellence in Writing recognizes superior student writing on unsettled questions in tax law or policy. It is named in honor of the late Christopher E. Bergin, former president and publisher of Tax Analysts and longtime editor of Tax Notes Federal. The award, given annually, epitomizes the qualities that Chris championed.

No one cared more than he did about clear, precise writing about taxation, and he instilled that passion in our whole staff.
Cara Griffith, Tax Analysts President and CEO

To learn more about Christopher E. Bergin, click here.

Eligibility: Must be enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program during the academic year.
Topic: Submissions should focus on an unsettled question in federal, state, or international tax law or policy.
Evaluation: Our editorial staff blindly evaluates entries on originality, readability, organization, reasoning, and overall quality of content.
Due Date: June 30, 2020

Click here for competition guidelines.

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November 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Fleurbaey Presents Optimal Income Taxation Theory And Principles Of Fairness Today At NYU

Marc Fleurbaey (Princeton) presents Optimal Income Taxation Theory and Principles of Fairness at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Marc_Fleurbaey2The achievements and limitations of the classical theory of optimal labor-income taxation based on social welfare functions are now well known. Even though utilitarianism still dominates public economics, recent interest has arisen for broadening the normative approach and making room for fairness principles such as desert or responsibility. Fairness principles sometimes provide immediate recommendations about the relative weights to assign to various income ranges, but in general require a careful choice of utility representations embodying the relevant interpersonal comparisons. The main message of this paper is that the traditional tool of welfare economics, the social welfare function framework, is flexible enough to incorporate many approaches, from egalitarianism to libertarianism.

November 5, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Glogower Presents Progressive Tax Procedure Today At UC-Hastings

Ari Glogower (Ohio State) presents Progressive Tax Procedure (with Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine)) at UC-Hastings today as part of its Tax Speakers Series hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:

Glogower (2019)Discussions of progressive taxation in the United States—and of whether the rich pay enough in taxes—generally focus on the structure of the substantive tax law, such as the marginal rates, income brackets, deductions, and credits under the federal income tax. Despite recent reports of tax avoidance and noncompliance by high-income taxpayers, these discussions have not focused on the structure of the tax procedure rules, which govern the Internal Revenue Service’s administrative responsibilities and taxpayers’ compliance obligations.

This Article presents the case for a new system of “progressive tax procedure.” Currently, tax procedure rules—such as tax penalties and the statute of limitations—typically apply in a uniform manner to all taxpayers, irrespective of their income. Under progressive tax procedure, in contrast, these rules would vary depending on the taxpayer’s income. For example, a high-income taxpayer would face higher tax penalty rates or longer periods where the IRS could assess tax deficiencies.

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November 5, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Brunson: Taxing Student Athletes

Sam Brunson (Loyola-Chicago), Taxing Student Athletes: An Explainer:

NCAA LogoAbout a month ago, California Governor Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, which allowed California college athletes to be paid for the use of their image, name, and likeness. Other states, including Illinois, have proposed similar legislation. And today, the NCAA caved; though its concession is not entirely clear, it looks like the NCAA has paved the way to allow NCAA athletes to make money off of their image.

For some reason, this has provoked backlash by Senator Burr of North Carolina. On Twitter, he announced that he plans on introducing legislation that would tax college athletes who accepted payment for the use of their image, etc., on their scholarships.

The ensuing discussion following his tweet has evinced a lot of misunderstanding of what’s going on here, what the current tax treatment of scholarships is, and what “double taxation” means, among other things. So I thought I’d do a quick explainer: ...

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November 5, 2019 in Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

JD Not Necessary For Legal Ops Leaders, Experts Say, JD Not Necessary for Legal Ops Leaders, Experts Say:

Experts say the number of legal operations leaders who do not have law degrees is increasing, with little downside to having someone without a juris doctor lead the function.

“There is a recognition that legal operations do not have to be led by a lawyer. Often it is better if it is not led by a lawyer. It could be a finance professional or a technology professional or even an MBA,” Robin Snasdell, managing director at Consilio LLC, said. “It’s not just lawyers that in-house legal departments need.”

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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clausing Leaves Reed College For UCLA Law School

Kimberly Clausing, Thormund A. Miller and Walter Mintz Professor of Economics at Reed College, has accepted an offer to join the faculty at UCLA Law School. Her most recent publication is Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019):

Clausing (2017)With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

A leading authority on corporate taxation and an advocate of a more equal economy, Clausing agrees that Americans, especially those with middle and lower incomes, face stark economic challenges. But these problems do not require us to retreat from the global economy. On the contrary, she shows, an open economy overwhelmingly helps. International trade makes countries richer, raises living standards, benefits consumers, and brings nations together.

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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 2019 Massachusetts Bar Exam Results

Here are the results of the July 2019 Massachusetts Bar Exam Results for first-time test-takers by law school, along with each school's U.S. News ranking:

First-Time Bar Pass Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

MA (Overall)

1 (98.3%)


1 (3)

2 (92.4%)

Boston University

2 (23)

3 (89.9%)

Boston College

3 (27)

4 (89.3%)


4 (64)

5 (82.6%)


 6 (Tier 2)


Statewide Avg.


6 (76.7%)

W. New England

6 (Tier 2)

7 (70.5%)


5 (143)

8 (70.4%)

New England

6 (Tier 2)

9 (47.2%)

Mass (Andover)


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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Florida Coastal Law School Makes Another Bid For Nonprofit Status

Following up on my previous post, Florida Coastal Law School Asks ABA To Reconsider Its Request To Shed For-Profit Status:  Inside Higher Ed, After First Rejection, Florida Coastal Law School Makes Another Bid To Go Nonprofit:

Florida Coastal (2017)Florida Coastal School of Law, a Jacksonville-based for-profit institution, suffered a setback last month in its bid to reclassify as a nonprofit.

The law school’s application was rejected by its accreditor, the American Bar Association, last month in a confidential decision. But Florida Coastal, which has posted improved bar-passage rates after years of dismal numbers, says it’s full steam ahead on the push to go nonprofit.

“We’re focused on moving forward with this application,” said Peter Goplerud, Florida Coastal’s president.

The law school submitted a second application to the ABA last week and still hopes to reclassify as a nonprofit institution by next year.

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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2019 Christopher Bergin Award For Excellence In Tax Writing

Benjamin M. Satterthwaite (J.D. 2019, South Carolina; LL.M. (Tax) 2020, Florida), Nash Bargaining Theory and Intangible Property Transfer Pricing, 164 Tax Notes 2275 (Sept. 30, 2019):

Tax NotesThis article was the winning entry in Tax Analysts’ annual student writing contest and received the 2019 Christopher E. Bergin Award for Excellence in Writing. [Honorable Mention: Daniel Pessar (Harvard)]

In this article, Satterthwaite proposes a transfer pricing framework for unique intangibles that integrates the economic fundamentals of John Nash’s bargaining theory with the “realistic alternatives” language of amended sections 367(d) and 482.

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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 4, 2019

McCaffery Presents Thomas's Taxing Nudges Today At Loyola-L.A.

Kathleen Delaney Thomas (North Carolina) was scheduled to present Taxing Nudges at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Ted Seto:

Thomas (2019)Governments are increasingly turning to behavioral economics to inform policy design in areas like health care, the environment, and financial decision-making. Research shows that small behavioral interventions, referred to as “nudges,” often produce significant responses at a low cost. The theory behind nudges is that, rather than mandating certain behaviors or providing costly economic subsidies, modest initiatives may “nudge” individuals to choose desirable outcomes by appealing to their behavioral preferences. For example, automatically enrolling workers into savings plans as a default rather than requiring them to actively sign up has dramatically increased enrollment in such plans. Similarly, allowing individuals to earn “wellness points” from attendance at a gym, redeemable at various retail establishments, may improve exercise habits.

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November 4, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Matray Presents Higher Dividend Taxes, No Problem! Evidence From Taxing Entrepreneurs In France Today At UC-Berkeley

Adrien Matray (Princeton) presents Higher Dividend Taxes, No Problem! Evidence From Taxing Entrepreneurs in France (with Charles Boissel (HEC Paris)) at UC-Berkeley today as part of its Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar Series:

Matray 3We exploit a large increase in the dividend tax rate in France that affected three-quarter of firms to estimate the effect of dividend taxation on corporate policies. Using administrative data covering the universe of firms and employees, we find in a differences-in-differences setting that affected firms swiftly cut dividends, both at the extensive and intensive margin, with an implied elasticity of around -0.5. Part of the resulting cash retention is used to increase investment and employment, with a positive elasticity around +0.30. The rest is accumulated as liquidity and used to extend credit to customers. Newly-taxed entrepreneurs do not appear to engage in income shifting to evade tax increase.

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November 4, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pittsburgh Symposium: The 1969 Tax Reform Act And Charities — Fifty Years Later


The Pittsburgh Tax Review hosted a symposium last Friday on The 1969 Tax Reform Act and Charities: Fifty Years Later (video):

Panel #1: Investing for Charity 

  • Ray Madoff (Boston College), The Five Percent Fig Leaf
  • Dana Brakman Reiser (Brooklyn), Foundation Regulation in Our Age of Impact
  • Commenter:  Carolyn Duronio (Reed Smith, Pittsburgh)

Panel #2: Origins of Private Foundation Rules and their Meaning for Today 

  • Jim Fishman (Pace), Does the Origin of the 1969 Private Foundation Rules Suggest a Match for Current Regulatory Needs?
  • Khrista McCarden (Tulane), Private Operating Foundation Reform & J. Paul Getty
  • Commenter:  Penina Lieber (Dinsmore & Shohl, Pittsburgh)

Panel #3: Regulating Charitable Actors  

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November 4, 2019 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Akron Is Tenth Law School To Offer Hybrid Online J.D.

Akron Law introduces innovative Blended Online J.D. Program:

Hybrid JDFull-time jobs, family obligations and other responsibilities can make it difficult for part-time law school students to attend classes three or four nights every week. That’s why The University of Akron School of Law is introducing an innovative program — unique among Ohio law schools — designed to make law school more accessible to part-time students.

Beginning fall 2020, the new Blended Online Juris Doctor (J.D.) program will allow part-time students, in the first two years of their four-year program, to attend classes in person just two nights per week and complete the rest of their coursework online.

“During these first two years, students can take the remaining courses on their computer each week at a time that fits their schedule — in the morning before work, in the evening after work, or over the weekend,” said Christopher J. (C.J.) Peters, dean of Akron Law.

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November 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lesson From The Tax Court: No Jurisdiction Over Ambiguous NOD

Tax Court (2017)Jurisdiction is just a fancy word for “power.”  In a speech later published as The Path of The Law, the sainted Justice Holmes said: “in societies like ours the command of the public force is entrusted to the judges in certain cases, and the whole power of the state will be put forth, if necessary, to carry out their judgments and decrees.”  To Holmes, and others, courts are an instrumentality of government power.  The Tax Court is one such court.

In the tax arena, §6214 gives the Tax Court the power “to redetermine the correct amount of the deficiency even if the amount so redetermined is greater than the amount of the deficiency...”  And the whole force of the state---via the IRS---will be put forth, if necessary, to carry out its judgment regarding the correct amount of a deficiency.

Last week’s decision in U.S. Auto Sales, Inc. v. Commissioner, 153 T.C. No. 5 (Oct. 28, 2019), teaches a lesson in how the Tax Court takes a pragmatic approach to exercising its power to “redetermine...the deficiency.”  In that case, the IRS sent the taxpayer an erroneous NOD.  The error was in the taxpayer’s favor, to the tune of over $6 million.  The taxpayer filed a petition, ostensibly asking the Tax Court to wield it’s power to “redetermine...the deficiency.”  Un uh.  The IRS moved to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction because, it claimed, the erroneous NOD was also invalid.  Accordingly, there was no deficiency over which the Tax Court could exercise its power of review.

The Tax Court held that the NOD was invalid and so the Court could not exercise its power.  But the vote was 9-6, spread over five different written opinions.  My take-away is that what splits the majority and dissenting positions are different practical judgments about what parts of an NOD the Court should consider when deciding whether its jurisdiction has been properly invoked.  NOD's serve different purposes and different parts of an NOD package contribute to those different purposes. Details below the fold.

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November 4, 2019 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Latest Developments In The Dan Markel Murder Case

  • Markel SuspectsThe jury voted 10-2 to convict Katherine Magbanua of first-degree murder, resulting in the mistrial
  • Katherine Magbanua retrial begins April 13 (pretrial conferences on March 17 and April 9)
  • Sigfredo Garcia is transferred to state prison and vows to exhaust every appeal of his murder conviction and life sentence: "“I plan on fighting this with every breath I have. I’m going to start with my direct appeal and continue exhausting every appeal in the book until they get so tired of seeing me they’ll give up and free me.”
  • Law Profs react to the jury's verdict: Paul Horwitz (Alabama), Orin Kerr (UC-Berkeley), Jason Solomon (Stanford), Howard Wasserman (Florida International)

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November 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Washington Nationals Players Face 46% Tax On Their World Series Bonus, Houston Astros 37%

Bloomberg Tax, Nationals, Tax Collectors Set to Score Post-World Series:

The Washington Nationals are World Series champions for the first time—and for the first time in line for lofty bonuses subject to a mix of taxes and fees.

Each Nationals player is in line for an estimated $416,837 for their postseason efforts, although they’ll bring home about $238,639 after taxes if they live in Maryland or Virginia. Players who live in the nation’s capital will forfeit an extra $13,339 due to the District of Columbia’s higher income taxes. World Series runner-up the Houston Astros are set for $262,027—$165,077 of which they’ll pocket after similar fees.

World Series

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November 4, 2019 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Top Five Graduate Schools For This Year’s Forbes 400

The Top Five Graduate Schools For This Year’s Forbes 400:

Forbes 400Going to graduate school could boost your earnings—to the tune of billions. Despite a few famous dropouts like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, nearly 80% of the billionaires on this year’s Forbes 400 list have a college diploma. And 40% of them even stuck around for graduate degrees. ...

54% of the Forbes 400 members with graduate degrees went to just a handful of schools. Here are the five grad schools that the most Forbes 400 members attended.

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November 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times: The Next Trump Legal Battle — Claiming Florida As His Legal Residence; 'It’s Hard For Mr. New York to Disavow His Residency'

New York Times, Can Trump Avoid Taxes by Leaving New York? It’s Not So Simple.:

Like a long line of other wealthy New Yorkers, President Trump has decided to establish his legal residence in Florida, apparently at least in part to save money on his taxes.

But changing one’s legal home is not so simple.

New York State has a platoon of state auditors who zealously examine whether people are trying to skirt paying its state and local taxes by improperly claiming that they live elsewhere.

Those officials regularly face off against an industry of accountants and lawyers who specialize in tax avoidance strategies.

Under state law, taxpayers who spend 184 days a year in New York — more than half the year — have to pay state taxes on all of their income. But even if a person does spend most of the year out of state, that is not enough.

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November 3, 2019 in Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Overstated Collapse Of American Christianity

New York Times op-ed:  The Overstated Collapse of American Christianity, by Ross Douthat:

Fifty years ago, many observers of American religion assumed that secularization would gradually wash traditional Christianity away. Twenty years ago, Christianity looked surprisingly resilient, and so the smart thinking changed: Maybe there was an American exception to secularizing trends, or maybe a secularized Europe was the exception and the modernity-equals-secularization thesis was altogether wrong.

Now the wheel has turned again, and the new consensus is that secularization was actually just delayed, and with the swift 21st-century collapse of Christian affiliation, a more European destination for American religiosity has belatedly arrived. “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace” ran the headline on a new Pew Research Center survey of American religion this month, summing up a consensus shared by pessimistic religious conservatives, eager anticlericalists and the regretfully unbelieving sort of journalist who suspects that we may miss organized religion when it’s gone.

The trends that have inspired this perspective are real, but the swings in the consensus over a relatively short period should inspire caution in interpretation. One important qualifier, appropriate to the week of Halloween, is that the decline of Christian institutions and the weakening of Christian affiliation may be clearing space for post-Christian spiritualities — pantheist, gnostic, syncretist, pagan — rather than a New Atheist sort of godlessness.  ...

But the post-Christian possibilities aren’t the only reason to qualify a narrative of secularization. Here are three points more specific to American Christianity that should be considered alongside the stark declinist story in the Pew data.

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November 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #4:

  1. SSRN Logo (2018)[2,114 Downloads]  Taxing the Rich: Issues and Options, by Lily Batchelder (NYU) & David Kamin (NYU)
  2. [259 Downloads]  Boiling Starbucks’ Roasting Down to the Essence of its Residual, by William Byrnes (Texas A&M)
  3. [229 Downloads]  Education Planning and the SECURE Act: Creating a Tax Law Paradox, by Ross Riskin (American College of Financial Services)
  4. [185 Downloads]  Implications for Apple in the Lower Court Rulings in Starbucks and Fiat, by Ruth Mason (Virginia)
  5. [179 Downloads]  Digital Service Taxes and the Broader Shift From Determining the Source of Income to Taxing Location-Specific Rents, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU) (reviewed by Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah) here)

November 3, 2019 in Tax, Tax Scholarship, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 2, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Clinical Legal Education And The Replication Of Hierarchy

Minna J. Kotkin (Brooklyn), Clinical Legal Education and the Replication of Hierarchy, 26 Clinical L. Rev. 287 (2019):

Clinical legal education is now a significant and widely touted feature of every law schools’ curriculum. The 2008 recession, which resulted in fewer law jobs and fewer applicants, spurred law schools to beef up their experiential offerings, both in response to the call for “practice ready” graduates and to enhance law schools’ appeal to potential applicants. This essay explores two aspects of collateral damage that have resulted from the growth and institutionalization of clinical education. They both stem from the replication of hierarchies that have long existed in law school faculties and in the legal profession in general.

First, the expansion of clinical offerings has not resulted in more clinical tenure-track positions—their number has steadily decreased. Instead, hiring has been largely through short-term fellowship, visitor or staff attorney appointments, or at best long-term contract eligible positions, without voting rights on the issues that shape the future of the institution—appointments and tenure. Thus, instead of increased integration of clinical education into the academy, a new underclass has been created within faculties, without job security or long-term academic prospects.


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November 2, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Johnson: Payback Of The 2017 Tax Act By Wealth

Calvin H. Johnson (Texas), Deficits by Tier: Payback of the 2017 Tax Act by Wealth, 164 Tax Notes 1893 (Sept. 16, 2019):

In his American Economic Association Presidential Address Olivier Blanchard argued that the deficits caused by the 2017 Tax Cut are welfare enhancing. Growth of the economy is greater than interest costs, both currently and usually and that indicates we are borrowing when we are relatively poor and will repay when richer.

But the 2017 Act gave a tax cut as incentives to capital shared pro rata to wealth, when capital was in glut. Pure capital did not have a positive net present value because risk-free interest rates were negative and now hovering around zero. Now we are told the borrowing must be repaid by cuts to Medicaid, social security and regressive sales tax.

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November 2, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Maryland To Restructure, Terminate Contracts Of 100 Faculty Who Can 'Recompete' For Their Jobs

Chronicle of Higher Education, Maryland’s Giant Global Campus Is Restructuring. And Professors Were Asked to ‘Recompete’ for Jobs.:

MarylandA major restructuring at the University of Maryland Global Campus has alarmed some faculty members after more than 100 employees were told that their current contracts would be terminated and that they would need to “recompete” for their jobs.

“Any way you go, it’s going to be tough,” Peter Smith, the campus’s interim chief academic officer, told The Chronicle of the transition. “It is a big change. But you can’t do it incrementally.”

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November 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)