TaxProf Blog

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Field: A Tax Professor's Guide To Formative Assessment

Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings), A Tax Professor's Guide to Formative Assessment, 22 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2019):

The ABA Standards now require formative assessment to be integrated into law school courses, and there is extensive literature, both in legal education and education more generally, about the goals and methods for formative assessment. This Article makes the key insights of that literature accessible and actionable for professors teaching tax courses. This crash course on formative assessment is intended to enable tax professors to integrate formative assessment into their classrooms effectively and efficiently without having to become legal pedagogy scholars in addition to being tax law scholars. The formative assessment techniques discussed herein range from those that require relatively little time and effort to those that may be particularly impactful but that require additional time and work. This Article also discusses strategies for reducing the burden of even the work-intensive approaches.

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June 12, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Clint Wallace Wins South Carolina Classroom Teacher Of The Year Award

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What This Law Professor Learned by Becoming a Student Again

Larry Cunningham (St. John’s), What This Professor Learned by Becoming a Student Again:

For the past year, I have been a student again.  Once I finish a final paper (hopefully tomorrow), I will be receiving a Graduate Certificate in Assessment and Institutional Research from Sam Houston State University.

I enrolled in the program at “Sam” (as students call it) because I wanted to receive formal instruction in assessment, institutional research, data management, statistics, and, more generally, higher education.  These were areas where I was mainly self-taught, and I thought the online program at Sam Houston would give me beneficial skills and knowledge.  The program has certainly not disappointed.  The courses were excellent, the professors knowledgeable, and the technology flawless.  I paid for the program out-of-pocket, and it was worth every penny.  It has made me better at programmatic assessment and institutional research. (I also turned one of my research papers into an article, which just came out this week [Building a Culture of Assessment in Law Schools, 69 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 395 (2018)].)

But the program had another benefit: It has made me a better teacher.

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May 8, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Jeffrey Kwall Named 2019 Professor Of The Year At Loyola-Chicago

Kwall
Jeffrey Kwall named 2019 Professor of the Year:

The Student Bar Association (SBA) at Loyola University Chicago School of Law has named Jeffrey L. Kwall, Kathleen and Bernard Beazley Professor of Law, the school’s 2019 Professor of the Year. Each year at Loyola, graduating law students honor one member of the full-time law faculty for excellence in teaching, mentoring, and advising. Kwall was also voted Professor of the Year by the Class of 2016.

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May 7, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Winners Of The 18th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge

18thABA Tax Section, 18th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge Winners:

J.D. Division

1st Place:
Jordan Fruchter and Thomas Boland
Albany Law School
Coach: Danshera Cords

2nd Place:
Emily Eash and Eliana Hoeppner
Western New England University

3rd Place:
Luis Garcia and Janette Duran
University of New Mexico Law School

Best Written Submission:
Luis Garcia and Janette Duran
University of New Mexico Law School

Semi-Finalists:
Scott Lee and Brittany Johnson
Georgetown University

Daniel Rowe and Mark Goshgarian
Loyola Law School

Kaitlyn Cornett and Thomas Koelbl
University of Memphis

LL.M. Division

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May 4, 2019 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Lederman Wins Indiana University Research/Teaching Award

Lederman (2018)Lederman to Receive Sonneborn Award:

Leandra Lederman, William W. Oliver Professor of Tax Law and director of the Law School's tax program, is the recipient of Indiana University's 2019 Tracy M. Sonneborn Award. The award honors faculty for accomplishments in the areas of teaching and research. Named for the late eminent scientist Professor Tracy M. Sonneborn, the award is given to an exemplary researcher who is also well known as an exemplary teacher. Lederman will deliver the annual Sonneborn Lecture this fall. She is currently on a sabbatical leave as a Fulbright Scholar in Luxembourg.

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April 12, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Winners Of The 2019 National Tax Moot Court Competition

Florida Bar, 2019 National Tax Moot Court Competition Winners:

LibertyWinner: Liberty [right]
William Baker, John Riordan, Jonathan Shbeeb
Coach: Tim Todd

1st Runner-Up: Stetson 
Deanna Cipriano, Romina Drazhi, Mark Joseph
Coach: Katie Everlove-Stone

2nd Runner-Up: Baltimore
Brenton Conrad, Dara Polokoff
Coach: Fred Brown

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April 9, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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March 5, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 1, 2019

2018 IFA International Tax Student Writing Award; Call For Entrants In 2019 Competition

IFA Logo (2015)The winner of the International Fiscal Association's 2018 International Tax Student Writing Competition is Ivan Ozawa Ozai (McGill), Tax Competition and the Ethics of Burden Sharing, 42 Fordham Int'l J. 61 (2018). 
Faculty Sponsor:  Allison Christians

2020 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition:
Subject: Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
Open to: All students during the 2018-19 academic year (including independent study and summer 2018 school courses) pursuing a graduate degree (J.D., L.L.M., S.J.D., M.S.T., MTA, Masters of Taxation, or similar program). Any appropriate papers written in fall 2018 or spring and summer 2019.
Publication: The winning author will be entitled to publish his/her article in the Tax Management International Journal, which is produced by Bloomberg BNA.
Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2019.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Boston on Feb 27-28, 2010.

Here are the recent winners:

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March 1, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Should You Allow Laptops In Class? Here’s What The Latest Study Adds To That Debate

LaptopChronicle of Higher Education, Should You Allow Laptops in Class? Here’s What the Latest Study Adds to That Debate:

Point: Laptops are a menace, undermining how students take notes in class and distracting not only those using them but also their neighbors.

Counterpoint: Laptops are a lifeline, allowing students with disabilities to participate fully in class.

Plenty of professors have strong opinions about whether laptops belong in the classroom. They also pride themselves on holding opinions based on research. So a new paper investigating the difference between taking notes longhand or on a laptop was bound to attract attention. But that doesn’t mean it offers a definitive answer.

The paper, How Much Mightier Is the Pen Than the Keyboard for Note-Taking? A Replication and Extension of Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014), was published this week in Educational Psychology Review. As the title suggests, the authors tried to replicate a well known study that found that students who took notes by hand fared better on conceptual test questions than did those who typed notes on a laptop [The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note-Taking]. Students who took notes on a laptop wrote more, and were more likely to write what a lecturer said verbatim, according to the original study. Perhaps, the authors of that study wrote, students taking notes on laptops did so “indiscriminately or by mindlessly transcribing content,” did not form a deep understanding of the material, and therefore did worse on the items that demanded such understanding.

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February 26, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Great Disappearing Teaching Load: From 3-3, To 3-2, To 2-2, To 2-1; 1-1 Is The Next Maginot Line

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Great Disappearing Teaching Load: How Few Courses Are Too Few?:

Course ReliefYale has gone 2-1," a faculty member in political science told me, in the tone he presumably used in the classroom when discussing the perils of nuclear proliferation.

It became a refrain. During my 10 years as dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame, the question of teaching schedules — a phrase I unsuccessfully tried to substitute for "teaching loads" — hovered in the periphery of my day-to-day life. Sometimes it occupied center stage. At times I wondered if the question — "Could I have a course off for that?" — would be chiseled on my tombstone.

It’s a "first-world problem," as the kids say, and I hasten to acknowledge that deans or department chairs struggling with collapsing budgets, or faculty members routinely teaching four courses per semester, may want to proceed to the next article in The Chronicle Review.

For the rest of you, a question: How many courses per semester should a faculty member at a major research university teach?

The question is rarely asked — because it’s in no one’s interest to ask it. Not presidents, since in public institutions they, unlike faculty members, have to answer questions from more or less curious and informed state legislators about how professors use their time. Not provosts, deans, and department chairs, struggling to sustain the Maginot Line of standard teaching schedules while also competing to hire faculty members. Not graduate students, whose courses are typically taught by tenure-line faculty members anyway. And not professors, eager to conduct more research, certainly, but also craving the flexibility of a schedule not burdened by the day-to-day rhythm of class meeting times.

It’s actually in the interest only of innocent undergraduates, who don’t realize that the tenure-line faculty members supported by their tuition dollars may be teaching a decreasing number of courses. And although they don’t know it, it’s in the long-term interest of faculty members themselves. ...

John Boyer’s absorbing recent history of the University of Chicago is one of the few places where the topic is discussed. (Not coincidentally, Boyer is a longtime dean.) I suspect that the pattern he outlines there is typical: Tenure-line faculty members taught six courses per year (that is, two per quarter) through the 1960s, then five, and now, at most, four. Over time, teaching schedules, like salaries, began to vary a good deal by department or program.

Dame’s pattern was similar: Faculty members in the humanities, social sciences, and arts moved from 3-3 on a semester system in the 1970s to 3-2 and then 2-2 in the late 1980s. When I started as dean, in 2008, tenure-line faculty members in science and engineering taught 1-1, with the expectation that they would be running funded labs; those in business taught 3-0. The "0" came about when the business school identified a semester without teaching, remarkably, as the uniform policy at the top business schools. Humanities, social-science, and arts faculty members taught two courses per semester.

The first strike came in economics. "We need to go 2-1," the chair politely explained, "because otherwise we can’t hire anyone." He was right, and so we did, with the proviso that teaching would be more than 2-1 for faculty members without strong research programs. Economics at Notre Dame had a spectacular decade, zipping up the rankings. Now I’m warned, somberly, that "some faculty at Duke are 1-1." ...

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February 13, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Morrow: TCJA — Teaching A Tax Code Just Adopted

Rebecca Morrow (Wake Forest), TCJA: Teaching a Code Just Adopted, 8 Wake Forest L. Rev. Online 57 (2018):

The spring 2018 semester at many law schools started approximately three weeks after the Tax Cuts Jobs Act (TCJA) passed. This essay reflects on the experience of teaching tax law in a semester when all textbooks and statutory supplements were outdated and tax scholars scrambled to make sense of the new law while simultaneously teaching it to our students. It concludes, paradoxically, that teaching the TCJA so soon after it passed offered some huge advantages from a pedagogical perspective: it proved to students that they must rely primarily on the statute, rather than secondary sources, and must develop strong statutory interpretation skills to understand tax; highlighted the importance of the first rule of statutory interpretation, to “keep reading”; and increased the already high marketability of tax law expertise.

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February 11, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

2018 Tax Prof Teachers Of The Year

AALS Teacher of the Year 2
Tax Profs recognized at the AALS annual meeting in New Orleans as Teachers of the Year:

January 24, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

2018 Law School Teachers Of The Year

It was great to see four of my colleagues (Trey Childress, Steve SchultzVictoria Schwartz, and Peter Wendel) recognized at the AALS Annual Meeting in New Orleans as 2018 Teachers of the Year:

AALS Teacher of the Year

January 23, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Helicopter Law Professors Are Hurting Their Students

Helicopter 2Emily Grant (Washburn), Helicopter Professors, 53 Gonz. L. Rev. 1 (2018):

Helicopter professors, like their parenting counterparts, hover over students, guiding them precisely, and swooping in to rescue them from any hint of failure or challenge. Just as helicopter parenting can be harmful to children, helicopter professoring poses similar threats to students, not the least of which is creating disengaged students dependent on professors for all aspects of their learning and development.

The instinct to be a helicopter professor is understandable in light of several social and cultural circumstances of today’s legal education. First, law students today are largely Millennials who were helicoptered parented and educated in a system that often focused solely on test results. Second, law professors are at times overly focused are garnering positive student evaluation scores, which may be easier to do with a little extra spoon feeding. Professors too may themselves be helicopter parents in their non-work hours, a behavioral pattern that too easily can infiltrate the classroom. Finally, law schools today are seeing a rise in students that have a consumerist attitude and in some cases lower academic credentials; those types of students expect and perhaps need additional assistance. But satisfying that need, combined with the focus on quantifying assessment practices and on improving teaching techniques, may easily cross the line into helicopter behavior.

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December 18, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Winners

Tannenwald (2016)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship has announced the winners of the 2018 tax writing competition:

First Prize ($5,000):
Colin T. Halpin (Washburn), A Step in the Right Direction: The Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Need for Further Reform
Faculty Sponsor:  Lori McMillan

Second Prize ($2,000):
Betting on an Uncertain Future: The Tax Consequences of Large Third-Party Litigation Financing
Faculty Sponsor:  Gregg Polsky

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December 13, 2018 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

From Podcasts To Treasure Hunts: Using Technology To Promote Student Engagement

Marcia L. McCormick (Saint Louis), From Podcasts to Treasure Hunts—Using Technology to Promote Student Engagement, 58 St. Louis U. L.J. 127 (2013):

Three influential calls for reform in legal education, the MacCrate Report, the Carnegie Report, and most recently the Stuckey Report, have all recommended that professors use teaching methods to provide greater opportunities for students to practice problem solving skills and receive feedback on their performance. Being a lawyer is much more than memorizing rules; students need to be able to understand the big picture and use the details to problem solve. This article details how to use audio and written podcast summaries to help students see the big picture in a subject and how each smaller topic fits together into that bigger picture. On the detail side, quizzes and “Treasure Hunts” get students to read statutes apply them to different problem situations.

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December 4, 2018 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

FBA Tax Law Student Writing Competition

Alexander

The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation invites J.D. and LL.M. students to participate in the  2019 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition (flier):

The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation sponsors an annual writing competition and invites law students to participate. The Section on Taxation has named this annual competition—the Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition—in honor of former IRS Commissioner Don Alexander, who passed away in 2009. Throughout his career, Mr. Alexander was both a widely admired role model and an advocate for writing skills and style in tax law.

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December 4, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 30, 2018

Dorothy Brown Receives Emory University Teaching Excellence Award

Brown (Dorothy) (2015)Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown Receives Teaching Excellence Award:

Dorothy Brown has been selected to receive the Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award, given through the Georgia Independent College Association (GICA). The award recognizes outstanding faculty members who demonstrate strong academic skills in the classroom and provide leadership and support in the other areas of campus life.

Dorothy Brown is a nationally recognized scholar in tax policy, race, and class and has published extensively on the racial implications of federal tax policy. She is highly sought for her expertise in workplace inclusion issues, a respected speaker in the legal community, and a regularly engaged expert by media including CNN, National Public Radio, The New York Times, National Law Journal, The Washington Post and Forbes. She is currently working on a book entitled The Whiteness of Wealth.

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November 30, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Fifty Ways To Promote Law School Teaching And Learning

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 8, 2018

2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000, and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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October 8, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

2018 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition (Sept. 30 Deadline)

IFA Logo (2015)

2018 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition:
Subject: Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
Open to: All students during the 2017-18 academic year pursuing a graduate degree. Any appropriate papers written in fall 2017 or spring and summer 2018.
Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2018.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Feb 2019.

Here are the recent winners:

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September 29, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Online Law School Classes Deliver Results For Law Students

Yvonne Dutton, Margaret Ryznar & Kayleigh Long (Indiana-Indianapolis), Assessing Asynchronous Online Learning in Law Schools: Students Say Online Classes Deliver, 96 Denv. L. Rev. ___ (2019):

This is the first article to provide empirical data on the effectiveness of distance education in law schools since the ABA this summer approved increasing the total number of credits that law students could earn through online classes from 15 to 30. Our data, composed of law student surveys and focus groups, reveal not only the success of distance education in their experience, but also the methods that are most effective for them.

Margaret Ryznar, Insights on Online Teaching:

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

Friday, September 21, 2018

Teaching Symposium: How A Law Faculty Stays Ahead Of The Curve

Indiana Indianapolis LogoSymposium, Upward! Higher: How a Law Faculty Stays Ahead of the Curve, 51 Ind. L. Rev. 413-70 (2018):

Full-time and part-time faculty of the IU McKinney School of Law convened together with campus and university partners from the IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning and Indiana University e-Learning Design and Services for the second annual “Upward!” teaching symposium at the beginning of Fall Semester 2017. The two-day gathering involved panel discussions on topics including online teaching, online course design, teaching externships, designing lessons for the law school’s active learning classrooms, teaching international students, and teaching with an eye to the bar exam. Participants enjoyed a field trip to IUPUI campus offices supporting the university’s teaching mission, including the Center for Teaching and Learning and the recording studio. Panelists contributed to this joint publication, which includes sole- or joint-authored submissions by Professors Adams, Baker, Boyne, Huffman, Ryznar, Shope, and Sullivan; an introduction by Dean Klein and Professor Huffman; and reactions to the primary papers. These submissions reflect a variety of scholarly methods, drawing from empirical study, anecdotal observation, and theoretical analysis.

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September 21, 2018 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cracking Student Silos: Linking Legal Writing And Clinical Learning Through Transference

Mary Bowman (Seattle) & Lisa Ellen Brodoff (Seattle), Cracking Student Silos: Linking Legal Writing and Clinical Learning Through Transference:

Why do highly competent and hard-working law students struggle to apply what they learn in legal writing to later clinical courses and law practice? The authors of this article are uniquely qualified to answer this question and to provide strategies for helping students overcome these common struggles. The authors direct the nationally renowned legal writing and clinical programs at Seattle University School of Law, where they have engaged in cutting-edge collaborative teaching projects for nearly a decade. Even so, they found that their students, when faced with the messiness of real client representation, struggled with typical research and writing problems even as the legal writing faculty exclaimed "We know we taught them that!" So the program directors extensively studied the educational literature on transference, then spent nearly two years taking each other's courses to understand more deeply how we could help our students apply what is taught in each program to future client work. This article describes what we learned from these endeavors.

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September 19, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Stark: Implementation Negotiation

Tina Stark, a leader in transactional skills education for lawyers (Fordham, Emory, and Boston University), Implementation Negotiation: A Transaction Skill that Builds on and Transforms Classic Negotiation Theory, forthcoming, Transactions, The Tennessee Journal of Business Law.

Implementation negotiation is the specialized negotiation in which deal lawyers engage after the principals negotiate the business terms of the transaction. Classic negotiation principles guide these deal term negotiations. But once the parties agree, the dynamics, tone, content, and purpose of the negotiation change. Parties are no longer looking at whether they can find a way to agree. They do agree. Now, the lawyers must transform the clients’ bare bones agreed-on business terms into a contract that memorializes the parties’ joint vision. This is implementation negotiation, a new way of thinking about contract negotiations. Implementation negotiation theory does not displace classic negotiation theory. It simultaneously builds on that framework and transforms it to work in a different context. This article begins by reviewing classic negotiation theory and principles and then explains how implementation negotiation builds on and transforms those principles, including why BATNA recedes to the background, why seasoned negotiators know the parties’ interests and issues and the expected zone of agreement, even before negotiations begin. The article next details the multiple subcategories of implementation negotiation through narrative and a series of illustrative, simulated negotiations. It concludes by briefly discussing the implications of this new pedagogy for legal education.


When the business parties have agreed on the basic terms of a deal typically requiring far more complex documentation, it now falls upon the lawyers to get it done without blowing the deal.  This essay, chock full of examples, is in the tradition of James Freund's iconic Anatomy of a Merger, teaching both how to see the forest and how to deal with the trees.

September 14, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

ABA Tax Section Releases 18th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge Problem

LSTCThe ABA Tax Section has released the J.D. Problem (rules; entry form) and LL.M. Problem (rules; entry form) for the 18th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL .M. Division receive a free trip (including airfare and accommodations for two nights) to the Section of Taxation 2019 Midyear Meeting, January 17-19, 2019 in New Orleans, where each team will defend its submission before a panel of judges consisting of the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including tax court judges. The competition is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community. On average, more than 50 teams compete in the J.D. Division and more than 30 teams compete in the LL .M. Division.

IMPORTANT DATES

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September 12, 2018 in ABA Tax Section, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

How Faculty Can Build Resiliency In Law Students Through A Growth-Mindset Culture In Our Classrooms

Susan Shapcott (Bath), Sarah Davis (Wisconsin) & Lane Hanson (Wisconsin), The Jury Is In: Law Schools Foster Students’ Fixed Mindsets, 42 Law & Psychol. Rev. 1 (2018):

The legal education community remains concerned with the resiliency of law students and lawyers. In other fields, a growing body of research suggests that students' mindsets are linked to their resilience, and it is assumed that the findings will hold in legal education. However, to date, there has been no empirical research to support these assumptions. This article describes an empirical study of law students' mindsets based on responses from 425 students at six law schools across the United States. Our results unveil a troubling trend in law students' mindsets at different stages of the law school experience.

This article reports our findings that law schools may foster maladaptive mindsets in their students. It also offers some pedagogical interventions that might counter this trend and points law schools in a direction that could not only improve performance, but also students' resiliency as they move from law school into legal practice. It is written from the normative position that fixed mindsets are maladaptive and growth mindsets should be fostered. Based upon research to be outlined, this article subscribes to a belief that when law students are struggling—an inevitable part of law school and practicing law—their mindset will differentiate their ability to learn from mistakes, persist, and remain resilient.

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September 6, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Building A Culture Of Assessment In Law Schools

Larry Cunningham (St. John's), Building a Culture of Assessment in Law Schools:

A new era of legal education is upon us: Law schools are now required to assess learning outcomes across their degrees and programs, not just in individual courses. Programmatic assessment is new to legal education, but it has existed in higher education for decades. To be successful, assessment requires cooperation and buy-in from faculty. Yet establishing a culture of assessment in other disciplines has not been easy, and there is no reason to believe that it will be any different in legal education. A survey of provosts identified faculty buy-in as the single biggest challenge towards implementing assessment efforts. This article surveys the literature on culture of assessment, including conceptual papers and quantitative and qualitative studies. It then draws ten themes from the literature about how to build a culture of assessment:

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August 28, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

In Defense Of Student Evaluations Of Teaching

Student Evaluations (2017)Following up on yesterday's post, Why We Must Stop Relying On Student Ratings Of Law School Teaching — Like The University Of Oregon Is Doing:  Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  In Defense (Sort of) of Student Evaluations of Teaching, by  Kevin Gannon (Grand View University):

[W]e know student evaluations matter. Perhaps the better question is: Should they? Given their many demonstrable and potential flaws, why would we still use them to gather feedback on teaching and learning? It turns out the answer is more complicated than appearances suggest.

Certainly, students are not experts qualified to evaluate us on, say, whether we used the best and most applicable course readings. But they are experts on what they experienced and learned in a course, and they ought to have a voice. Just because their feedback is sometimes misused doesn’t mean it’s invalid or unnecessary.

In fact, course evaluations — despite their many problematic elements — may still provide the most accurate information available on teaching effectiveness. Elizabeth Barre, whose research into student evaluations — in particular, the metastudies of the subject — is essential reading, observed that "we have not yet been able to find an alternative measure of teaching effectiveness that correlates as strongly with student learning. In other words, they may be imperfect measures, but they are also our best measures."

And therein lies the rub: We need to assess teaching, and we often have to rely on not the best, but the least worst, option. ...

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May 8, 2018 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Why We Must Stop Relying On Student Evaluations Of Law School Teaching — Like The University Of Oregon Is Doing

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Why We Must Stop Relying on Student Ratings of Teaching, by Michelle Falkoff (Northwestern Law School):

Few academics will be surprised to hear that more evidence has come out showing that student evaluations of teaching are often biased.

The latest study [Gender Bias in Student Evaluations], released this year by the American Political Science Association, found that the "language students use in evaluations regarding male professors is significantly different than language used in evaluating female professors." The study also showed that "a male instructor administering an identical online course as a female instructor receives higher ordinal scores in teaching evaluations, even when questions are not instructor-specific."

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Kristina Mitchell, one of the study’s authors, summarized its findings in Slate last month and concluded: "Our research shows they’re biased against women. That means using them is illegal." Academic institutions must stop giving an inordinate amount of weight to student evaluations when making employment decisions, she argued, until the institutions can account for, address, and eliminate bias.

Unfortunately, there’s no consensus on how best to do that, and gender isn’t the only kind of bias at issue. Still, it’s time for academic institutions to do better on this front. ...

[I]t’s time to stop relying primarily on one approach — in this case, student evaluations of teaching — and move to a more holistic strategy in which multiple factors contribute to a more accurate, consistent, and well-rounded assessment.

I was convinced of that by my experience as director of the program in communication and legal reasoning at Northwestern University’s law school.

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May 7, 2018 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Call for Papers: New Voices In Tax Policy And Public Finance (2019 AALS Annual Meeting)

The AALS Tax Section committee is pleased to announce the following Call for Papers:

CALL FOR PAPERS:
AALS SECTION ON TAXATION WORKS-IN-PROGRESS SESSION
2019 ANNUAL MEETING, JANUARY 2-6, 2019, NEW ORLEANS, LA
NEW VOICES IN TAX POLICY AND PUBLIC FINANCE
(co-sponsored by the Section on Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law and Section on Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation)

The AALS Section on Taxation is pleased to announce the following Call for Papers. Selected papers will be presented at a works-in-progress session at the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA from January 2-6, 2019. The works-in-progress session is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, January 5.

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May 3, 2018 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship, Shuyi Oei, Tax, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

More Evidence That Student Evaluations Are Biased Against Women

Following up on last week's post, Students Rate Male Professors More Highly Than Female Professors:  Daily Tar Heel, NC State Research Shows Male Professors Receive Higher Ratings Than Female:

UNC

For professors, student evaluations are used to assist decisions on promotions, raises and tenure. But research from North Carolina State University shows that the evaluations a professor receives are linked to their gender, with male professors receiving higher and more favorable ratings than female professors [What’s in a Name: Exposing Gender Bias in Student Ratings of Teaching].

In 2014, researchers at N.C. State used online courses, where an instructor’s gender could be hidden, to test this gender bias. Four sections of an online class were taught by two instructors: a female instructor and a male instructor. Each taught two sections, using their true identity for one and adopting a name of the opposite gender for the other.

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April 17, 2018 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Global IFA Writing Competitions

IFA Logo (2015)Following up on my previous post, 2018 IFA International Tax Student Writing CompetitionGlobal IFA Writing Competitions (2018):

  • IFA President YIN Scientific Award
  • Mitchell B. Carroll Prize
  • Maurice Lauré Prize

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March 14, 2018 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 2, 2018

University Of Minnesota Study: Enhanced Individualized Feedback In One Core 1L Class Improves Student Performance In Other Classes

Minnesota LogoDaniel Schwarcz (Minnesota) & Dion Farganis (J.D. 2017, Minnesota), The Impact of Individualized Feedback on Law Student Performance, 67 J. Legal Educ. 139 (2017):

For well over a century, first-year law students have typically not received any individualized feedback in their core "doctrinal" classes other than their final exam grades. Although this pedagogical model has long been assailed by critics, remarkably limited empirical evidence exists regarding the extent to which enhanced feedback improves law students' outcomes. This Article helps fill this gap by focusing on a natural experiment at the University of Minnesota Law School.

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March 2, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2017 IFA International Tax Student Writing Award; Call For Entrants In 2018 Competition

IFA Logo (2015)The winner of the International Fiscal Association's 2017 International Tax Student Writing Competition is David Maranjan (Virgina), What’s in a Name? XILINX, ALTERA, and Why Using “Arm’s Length” as a Catchall is Causing Problems for Treasury,  47 BNA Tax Mgmt. Int'l J. ___ (2018)
Faculty Sponsor:  Ruth Mason

2018 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition:
Subject: Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
Open to: All students during the 2017-18 academic year pursuing a graduate degree. Any appropriate papers written in fall 2017 or spring and summer 2018.
Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2018.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Feb 2019.

Here are the recent winners:

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February 28, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

NY Times Op-Ed: The Misguided Drive To Measure 'Learning Outcomes'

Here at Texas Tech University School of Law we are gearing up for our ABA site inspection.  In the past few years the ABA has required law schools to create "Learning Outcomes."  Here's the language from Section 3.02:

A law school shall establish learning outcomes that shall, at a minimum, include competency in the following:
(a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law;
(b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context;
(c) Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system; and
(d) Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.

This is the first year that the site teams will be evaluating a law school's compliance with the new standard.  We knew it was coming and I have been on a committee for the past three years that has been trying to translate this standard into operation. While I believe we have done a good job with it, I also believe the standard to be of questionable value. 

I read with pleasure this New York Times op-ed by Molly Worthen, The Misguided Drive to Measure 'Learning Outcomes'.  I especially like its concluding line:  "[T]here's just no app for that." 

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February 25, 2018 in Bryan Camp, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Charleston Law Students Win 7th Consecutive National Tax Moot Court Competition

2018 National Tax Moot CourtPost and Courier, Charleston School of Law Moot Court Team Defends its Dynasty With 7th National Title:

To the uninitiated, tax moot court might sound like a bit of a snoozefest.

Unlike the academic marathon of a spelling bee or the sassy courtroom repartee of "Judge Judy," deliberations over the finer points of U.S. tax code do not make for a lively spectacle.

But to the Charleston School of Law, the 2018 National Tax Moot Court Competition in St. Pete Beach, Florida, was a chance to defend a dynasty. The school's Moot Court Board had won the championship six years in a row leading up to the event on Feb. 1-3, and its team was ready to notch a seventh national title. ...

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February 23, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

2017 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Winners

Tannenwald (2016)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship has announced the winners of the 2017 tax writing competition:

First Prize ($5,000):
David Berke (Yale), Reworking the Revolution: Treasury Rulemaking & Administrative Law
Faculty Sponsor:  Anne L. Alstott

Second Prize ($2,500):
Daniel W. Blum (NYU), Treaty Shopping and its Prevention in a Post-BEPS World Limitation-on-Benefits, Beneficial Ownership and the Principal Purpose Test: Evolution, Underlying Rationales and Interrelation
Faculty Sponsor:  H. David Rosenbloom

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February 22, 2018 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Colker: Stop Banning Laptops In Law School Classrooms!

LaptopRuth Colker (Ohio State), Universal Design: Stop Banning Laptops!, 39 Cardozo L. Rev. 483 (2017):

Banning laptops in the classroom constitutes a needless barrier to academic performance that is increasingly common at the university level. In this article, I review the existing literature that is cited to support laptop bans and show how that literature does not, in fact, support such a ban. Further, I report a modest empirical study that reflects that students who use laptops in a large lecture class do as well as students who do not use laptops so long as Internet use of the laptop is clearly and effectively banned. The article concludes that a permissive laptop policy should be on the list of Universal Design features that supports effective learning for all students.

Colker

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January 21, 2018 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, January 12, 2018

American College of Employee Benefits Counsel Student Writing Competition

ACBThe American College of Employee Benefits Counsel is sponsoring its 14th Annual Employee Benefits Writing Competition on any topic in the field of employee benefits law. The competition is open to any J.D. and graduate (L.L.M. or S.J.D) law students enrolled at any time between August 15, 2017 and August 15, 2018.

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January 12, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 5, 2018

From Business Tax Theory To Practice In Law School Clinics

Alina S. Ball (UC-Hastings) & Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings), From Business Tax Theory to Practice, 24 Clinical L. Rev. 27 (2017):

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the number of business law clinics in legal academia. This increase in clinical transactional courses has not, however, resulted in a proliferation of transactional tax clinical offerings. Although tax issues, including federal, state, and local tax matters, are an integral consideration of nearly every business transaction, most business law clinics explicitly exclude tax representation from their client services. For clients of business law clinics that are social enterprises — companies that combine market-based business strategies and social mission — this lack of tax-focused representation is problematic for two reasons.

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January 5, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

An Empirical Analysis Of Law School Learning Strategies

Jennifer M. Cooper (Tulane) & Regan A. R. Gurung (Wisconsin), Smarter Law Study Habits: An Empirical Analysis of Law Learning Strategies and Relationship with Law GPA, 62 St. Louis. L.J.  ___ (2018):

Non-empirical law school study advice that emphasizes reading and briefing cases, memorizing rules, and outlining without frequent self-testing and formative self-assessment is contrary to cognitive science and leads to a "law school learning trap." Law students fall into a "law school learning trap" by focusing on memorization of cases and rules for "class prep," putting off practice application of the law as "exam prep." Law students and legal educators misjudge the power of testing as a learning tool, instead relying on non-empirical, anecdotal resources to guide law student study methods.

Empirical research from a Law Student Study Habit Survey shows that practice application of the law through self-testing, self-quizzing, and elaborative strategies positively correlates with academic success in law school, while reading and briefing cases, weak critical reading skills, and rote memorization of rules without practice applying the law negatively correlates with academic success in law school.

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November 28, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Socratic Method

The Socratic method is much maligned these days.  I do not personally use it when teaching Tax.   I use a problem method where I lecture on a topic then assign homework problems to the students which we then go over in the next class period.  

But I do use the Socratic method of teaching when I teach my first year students Civil Procedure.  I confess I am not great at it, but I think that, properly used, it really helps students learn how law is both determinate and indeterminate at the same time.   It's not determinate when you are trying to predict the legal outcome (is the deduction allowable or no?  does the court have personal jurisdiction over the defendant or no?).  But it becomes determinate once the legal authority rules!  That was the point of my post the other week about the power of fact-finding.  

Here's a nice opinion piece in the Washington Post about how Socrates would not make it as a teacher in today's high schools.

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November 26, 2017 in Bryan Camp, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2018 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2018 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000, and publication in the Florida Tax Review
  • 2nd Place:  $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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November 22, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A 'Marvel'ous Dinner

Tax Court (2017)On October 19th the Tax Court was in Lubbock in the person of Chief Judge Paige Marvel.  The Court’s involvement with the ABA Tax Section is well known, but I did want to give a shout-out to its equally important involvement with legal education.  Each year the tax faculty at Tech Law (myself, Alyson Outenreath, Steve Black, Vaughn James, and Terri Morgeson) hold a Tax Careers Panel at the Law School (graciously sponsored in recent by the Texas State Bar Tax Section). We always time it so that we can invite the Tax Court Judge to be on the panel. We are delighted that every judge has participated.

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October 28, 2017 in Bryan Camp, Law School, Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

FBA Tax Law Student Writing Competition

FBA

The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation invites J.D. and LL.M. students to participate in the 2017 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition:

The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation is once again sponsoring an annual writing competition and invites law students to participate. The Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition is named in honor of former IRS Commissioner (1973-1977) Don Alexander, who passed away in 2010. Mr. Alexander was a widely admired role model and advocate for writing skills and style in the area of tax law throughout his career.

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October 10, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition

IFA Logo (2015)The International Fiscal Association is sponsoring the 2017 International Tax Student Writing Competition:

Subject:  Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.

  • Open to:  All students during the 2016-17 academic year pursuing a graduate degree. Any appropriate papers written in fall 2016 or spring and summer 2017.
  • Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2017.
  • Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in February 2018.

Here are the recent winners:

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September 24, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

ABA Tax Section Releases 17th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge Problem

ABAThe ABA Tax Section has released the J.D. Problem (rules; entry form) and LL.M. Problem (rules; entry form) for the 17th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL .M. Division receive a free trip (including airfare and accommodations for two nights) to the Section of Taxation 2018 Midyear Meeting, February 8-10, 2018 in San Diego, CA, where each team will defend its submission before a panel of judges consisting of the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including tax court judges. The competition is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community. On average, more than 50 teams compete in the J.D. Division and more than 30 teams compete in the LL .M. Division.

IMPORTANT DATES

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September 9, 2017 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)