Paul L. Caron
Dean




Thursday, September 30, 2021

2021 Christopher Bergin Award For Excellence In Tax Writing

Bailey Hans (J.D. 2021, Notre Dame; LL.M. (Tax) 2022, NYU), GoFundMe: The Gift That Keeps on Giving, All Tax Season Long, 172 Tax Notes Fed. 2173 (Sept. 27, 2021):

BerginIn this article, Hans examines the tax consequences of donations made through crowdfunding platforms, focusing on the Duberstein standard and tax policy principles, and she explores ways to provide certainty to donors and donees in the absence of administrative or congressional tax guidance.

This article was entered into Tax Analysts’ annual student writing contest and received the 2021 Christopher E. Bergin Award for Excellence in Writing.

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September 30, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Manoj Viswanathan: The Professor Who Inspired Me To Love Tax

Philip Wolf (J.D. 2019, UC-Hastings; Tax Associate, Belcher, Smolen & Van Loo, San Francisco), Manoj Viswanathan: The Professor Who Inspired Me to Love Tax, 172 Tax Notes Fed. 1615 (Sept. 6, 2021):

Tax Notes Federal (2020)Out of the thousands of different professions, how does one end up choosing tax? I can tell you exactly how it happened with me. During my second semester of law school, I was permitted to take one elective class. I selected basic income taxation. Although I knew nothing about the subject, I sensed it might somehow be helpful to my goal of starting a business one day. Little could I have imagined where the class would lead me!

In our first session, in walked the ebullient yet sincere professor, Manoj Viswanathan, or as he asked us students to call him, “Professor V.” Every lecture, Professor V. emphasized how everything we’d learn in his class would be practical and relevant in the real world. Time seemed to melt away in each Tuesday and Friday lecture, and I caught myself pondering what he’d said many hours after each class. It was Professor V.’s introductory tax class that would make me decide to change my career plans and become a tax lawyer.

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September 15, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Analysts, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

ABA Tax Section Releases 21st Annual Law Student Tax Challenge Problem

The ABA Tax Section has released the J.D. Problem (rules; entry form) and LL.M. Problem (rules; entry form) for the 21st Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

ABA Tax Section Law Student Tax Challenge (2021-22)An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge (LSTC) is organized by the Section’s Young Lawyers Form. The LSTC asks two-person teams of students to solve a 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 to the Section’s Midyear Meeting, where each team presents 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.

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September 7, 2021 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Lawsky: Teaching Algorithms And Algorithms For Teaching

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern; Google Scholar), Teaching Algorithms and Algorithms for Teaching, 24 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2021):

Florida Tax Review (2021)This Article focuses on what it calls the “algorithm method,” a common method used to teach tax classes that presents students with unambiguous problems that guide students through complex statutes and regulations. The Article describes a novel teaching tool created by the author: a website that randomly generates tax problems with objectively correct answers; multiple choice answers that reflect common errors that students make; and explanations for each answer that either respond to the underlying error or give a full explanation of the correct answer. The Article explains the purpose and use of the website for professors and students, respectively, and proposes approaches to make using the website, and indeed the algorithm method, more effective.

Introduction
Common methods of instruction in the law school classroom include the “case method” and the “problem method,” each of which requires law students to confront difficult and ambiguous problems in law. U.S. law does include many difficult and ambiguous problems. Less recognized is that some U.S. law, including the Internal Revenue Code and its accompanying regulations, is difficult not only because portions of it are ambiguous but also because it consists of complex interlocking rules. Deciphering even the unambiguous parts of these rules is both difficult and critical to the role of the lawyer.

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July 7, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Why I No Longer Grade Class Participation

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Should We Stop Grading Class Participation?, by James M. Lang (Assumption University):

I no longer grade class participation. I seem to be in the minority on that, based on my conversations with other faculty members. But I have come to believe that grading student participation is a poor pedagogical choice, and that a better alternative exists. Here I’ll explain why — and how I cultivate participation in my courses, even without hanging a grade-based incentive over my students’ heads.

What drove me away from grading student participation was an uneasy feeling — and it grew each year — that grades were not something that should be fudged based on my hunches and instincts, or influenced in any way by my informal observations and memories. In retrospect, it seems ridiculous to believe that I could accurately measure how much every student participated in all my courses during a 15-week semester.

Such a “system” is subject to every kind of bias imaginable. In addition to whatever unconscious biases I might be carrying toward students based on their identities, I might find myself looking more favorably on a student whose comments or demeanor remind me a little of myself — or unfavorably on a student who reminds me of someone I dislike.

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May 4, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

CSI: Law School. Forensic Science In Legal Education

Brandon L. Garrett (Duke), Glinda Cooper (Yeshiva) & Quinn Beckham (Duke), Forensic Science in Legal Education:

In criminal cases, forensic science reports and expert testimony play an increasingly important role in adjudication. More states now follow a federal reliability standard, following Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals and Rule 702, which call upon judges to assess the reliability and validity of such scientific evidence. Little is known about what education law schools provide regarding forensic and scientific evidence, or what types of specialized training they receive on scientific methods or evidence. Whether law schools have added forensic science courses to their curricula in recent years was not known. In order to better understand the answers to those questions, in late 2019 and Spring 2020, we conducted searches to identify course offerings in forensic sciences at U.S. law schools and then surveyed their instructors, asking for syllabi and information concerning how the courses are offered, how regularly, and with what coverage.

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May 4, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Explicit Instruction In Legal Education: Boon Or Spoon?

Beth Brennan (Montana), Explicit Instruction in Legal Education: Boon or Spoon?, 52 U. Mem. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

Legal education too often teaches students how to be lawyers by teaching them as though they already are lawyers. Like other disciplines, legal education fails to consistently recognize the meaningful cognitive differences between novices and experts. Novice learners use their existing schema to make sense of what happens in the classroom. Blinded by the curse of knowledge and loathe to ruin students’ future as creative thinkers, law professors frequently teach novice learners as though they are mini-experts — assuming, omitting, rushing. 

Explicit instruction is an important pedagogical tool that should be used intentionally and thoughtfully in the law school classroom. Law is not so special that it has its own pedagogical rules. Cognitive psychology research supports initial explicit instruction in new domains — even law.

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April 25, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

Thursday, April 22, 2021

2021 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 2021 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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April 22, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Pittsburgh Tax Review Call For Papers: Teaching Tax

Pittsburgh Tax Review Call For Papers: Teaching Tax Law:

Pitt Tax Review (2020)In the second issue of its 19th volume, the Pittsburgh Tax Review will publish a series of contributions addressing the teaching of tax law. The aim of this special issue is to collect in one place the insights of leading tax teachers as a service for all those who are interested in and devoted to educating current law students and future tax lawyers. The Pittsburgh Tax Review has already secured the participation of five distinguished scholar/teachers: Alice Abreu (Temple University Beasley School of Law), Samuel Donaldson (Georgia State University College of Law), Heather Field (UC Hastings College of Law), Deborah Geier (Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law), and Katherine Pratt (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles).

The Pittsburgh Tax Review invites proposals from others for one to two additional contributions to be included in this special issue. Proposals for a contribution of between 8,000 and 10,000 words are welcome from all who teach tax law.

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April 20, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Thursday, March 25, 2021

LoPucki: A Comprehensive Theory And Style For Using PowerPoint To Teach Law

Lynn M. LoPucki (UCLA), The PowerPoint Channel, 17 U. Mass. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

PowerPoint 1This Article is the first to present a comprehensive theory and style for using PowerPoint to teach law. The theory is that presentation software adds a channel of communication that enables the use of images in combination with words. Studies have shown that combination to substantially enhance learning. The style is based on an extensive literature regarding the use of PowerPoint in teaching law and other higher education subjects as well as the author’s experimentation with PowerPoint over two decades. The Article states fourteen principles for slide or slide sequence design, provides the arguments from the literature for and against them, and explains the techniques by which the author implements them. It argues that PowerPoint is effective for eight kinds of presentation:

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March 25, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Better Than Our Biases: Using Psychological Research To Inform Our Approach To Effective, Inclusive Feedback

Anne Gordon (Duke), Better Than Our Biases: Using Psychological Research to Inform Our Approach to Effective, Inclusive Feedback, 27 Clinical L. Rev. ___ (2021):

As teaching faculty, we are obligated to create an inclusive learning environment for all students. When we fail to be thoughtful about our own bias, our teaching suffers — and students from under-represented backgrounds are left behind. This paper draws on legal, pedagogical, and psychological research to create a practical guide for clinical teaching faculty in understanding, examining, and mitigating our own biases, so that we may better teach and support our students.

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March 16, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Bainbridge: Why The Lecture Method Is Superior To The Socratic Method

March 11, 2021 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Crespi: Teaching A Class On Income And Wealth Inequality

Gregory S. Crespi (SMU), Teaching a Class on Income and Wealth Inequality:

I am offering a course on “Income and Wealth Inequality” for the first time during this spring, 2021 semester at the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, and the course is going well. I am here discussing my choice of materials and providing my course syllabus and my weekly reading assignment list for use by anyone else who is considering offering such a course at the college or graduate or law school level.

March 3, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Thursday, February 25, 2021

2020 IFA International Tax Student Writing Award; Call For Entrants In 2021 Competition

The winner of the International Fiscal Association's 2020 International Tax Student Writing Competition is Shay Moyal (S.J.D. 2020, Michigan; Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York), Don’t Stop the Beat, 166 Tax Notes Fed. 721 (Feb. 3, 2020).
Faculty Sponsor: Reuven Avi-Yonah

IFA Logo (2015)The recent addition to the Internal Revenue Code, the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT), is a subject of concern for many tax scholars and practitioners. This new provision joins a large family of measures that have been adopted worldwide and in the U.S.; however, unlike the other new International Tax provisions from the 2017 reform, the BEAT has neither a predecessor in prior laws nor in former proposals. To start, the phrase “Base Erosion” itself lacks clarity. Furthermore, the relatively short amount of time lawmakers took to enact the addition and the lack of any stated objectives require an inquiry into the objectives and original intent of this complex section of the code. This paper seeks to illuminate the original intent of the BEAT and the expansive language of its provisions by examining multiple factors such as its structure, legislative history, other International Tax principles, and the BEAT’s similarities to recent international tax trends – like Pillar II of the OECD BEPS or the Digital Services Minimum Taxes around the globe.

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February 25, 2021 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

USC Prof: I Like Teaching On Zoom

New York Times op-ed:  I Actually Like Teaching on Zoom, by Viet Thanh Nguyen (USC):

Zoom 49 Participants (2020)Here’s an unpopular opinion: I like teaching on Zoom.

Many accounts of teaching on Zoom or other online platforms recount its horrors. And much is horrible: teachers and students without stable internet connections or adequate technology; too much intimacy, with overcrowded homes that teachers or students might find embarrassing for others to see; and not enough intimacy, with the human connection attenuated online.

As a college professor, I, too, miss some of the elements of teaching in a classroom, including the intellectual energy that can flow around a seminar table, the performative aspect of lecturing to a large audience and the little chats that take place by happenstance during breaks or after class with students.

What I don’t miss is my 10-mile drive to campus and back. I don’t miss pondering my wardrobe choices in the morning. The relative informality of the Zoom era means that I would feel overdressed if I wore a blazer to teach. And if I don’t wear a blazer, I don’t have to wear slacks. Or put on shoes. Why would I wear shoes inside my house, anyway?

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February 17, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Law School For Helicoptered Millennials

Katerina Lewinbuk (South Texas), Taci Villarreal (J.D. 2020, South Texas) & Elena Bolonina (J.D. 2020, South Texas), The Voice of the Gods Is Crippling: Law School for Helicoptered Millennials, 10 St. Mary's J. on Legal Malpractice & Ethics 30 (2019):

As millennials dominate law school classrooms, many professors are recognizing the importance of altering the traditional methods of teaching law. Millennials act, think, and learn differently. Numerous factors are linked to why this new generation of law students is distinctively different than previous generations. This article examines these factors and how they influence millennials’ learning styles. Alternative methods of teaching millennial law students are also discussed and proposed, along with a specific example of a tailored professional responsibility textbook and course to the modern law student.

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January 27, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Fostering And Teaching Creativity In The Law School Curriculum

Jason Dykstra (Idaho), Teasing the Arc of Electric Spark: Fostering and Teaching Creativity in the Law School Curriculum, 20 Wyo. L. Rev. 1 (2020):

Amidst an era of tumultuous disruption, the legal profession remains needlessly static, reflecting an ingrained tendency to preserve the status quo. Rather than turning to creative non-lawyers for help upending a business model largely unchanged since the days of Charles Dickens, lawyers can initiate innovative solutions that allow the legal profession to grow and strategically change. This Article explores the nature of creativity, crafting a broad working definition of creativity and addressing why the demographic bubble of baby boom era attorneys may prove an unlikely creative catalyst for law firm innovation. For law firms faced with an era of ongoing, tumultuous disruption, this seems acutely problematic given that eighty-five percent of the managing partners at the top 100 law firms hail from the baby boom generation. Compounded by the ingrained law firm culture that tends to quash creativity and resist innovation, the demographic bubble of baby boom partners appear unlikely to be the creative catalysts needed for law firm innovation. Thus, newly minted attorneys need creativity to both address the on-going disruption of the legal services industry and for the everyday creative expression and problem-solving skills needed for effective lawyering.

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January 23, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

Monday, January 11, 2021

2021 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 2021 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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January 11, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Tax Prof AALS Teachers Of The Year

AALS, Teachers of the Year:

AALS (2018)AALS Teachers of the Year are exceptional faculty members nominated by their peers for their excellence in teaching and contributions to their law schools.

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink

Thursday, December 10, 2020

2020 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Winners

Tannenwald (2016)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship has announced the winners of the 2020 tax writing competition:

First Prize ($5,000):
Ryan Bullard (North Carolina), I Am “QOZ,” The Great and Terrible: A Policy Analysis of the Qualified Opportunity Zone Nominations Process
Faculty Sponsor:  Leigh Osofsky

Second Prize ($2,500):
Heydon Wardell-Burrus (Harvard), Blending Under A Global Minimum Tax
Faculty Sponsor:  Alvin C. Warren, Jr.

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December 10, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Pandemic Syllabus

Sarah Schendel (Suffolk), The Pandemic Syllabus, 90 Denver U. L. Rev. F. ___ (2020): 

A syllabus is a contract, an introduction, a statement of values, a todo list, a plan. It is often the point of first contact between professor and student, or between student and an area of law. Beyond the technological challenges, for many professors Fall 2020 was also the first-time coming up with a camera policy or amending attendance expectations to consider a pandemic. For some, this is also the first time explicitly engaging in antiracist pedagogy in the classroom or considering practices like trauma informed teaching. This essay offers a practical, “nuts and bolts” walkthrough of promising practices for each part of the syllabus while also touching on complex pedagogical questions such as issues of accessibility, setting a cooperative tone for class, and preparing students for sometimes challenging discussions. This essay is not only about the transition to online teaching, but more broadly about shifts within legal education that only promise to become more relevant. The essay is a practical and helpful guide for those planning future semesters, even in a post-pandemic world.

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December 8, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Beatles, COVID-19, And Teaching Law Online

Ira Steven Nathenson (St. Thomas), Teaching Law Online: Yesterday and Today, But Tomorrow Never Know, 65 St. Louis U. L.J. ___ (2021):

If The Beatles were to write an album about COVID-19, they might sing, “Yesterday, all our troubles seemed so far away, but now it looks as though Zoom’s here to stay.” The Beatles were creatures of the 1960s, and to all our benefit, they chose to sing rather than go to law school. But legal educators in 2020 and beyond need to grapple with the mysteries of online teaching, something that many of us ignored “yesterday,” and which all of us will have to grapple with today and tomorrow.

So what is online legal education? Is it the use of online casebooks? CALI lessons? Websites with handouts? Online books? Zoom lectures? Is it “Live” (synchronous) or is it “Memorex” (asynchronous)? Is online legal education merely a set of technological tools or does it involve a set of dedicated pedagogies? Is it really worse than in-person teaching or is it just different? Once the pandemic ends, should online teaching continue in some form?

Such questions are starting points for a "Magical Mystery Tour" that some legal educators have taken and others have avoided, but which none can ignore any longer.

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December 3, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

An Empirical Study Of Law School Externships

Anahid Gharakhanian (Southwestern), Carolyn Young Larmore (Chapman) & Chelsea Parlett-Pelleriti (Chapman), Achieving Externship Success: An Empirical Study of the All-Important Law School Externship Experience, 45 S. Ill. U. L.J. ___ (2020):

With law school externships more popular than ever, the need for an empirical evaluation of externship success is timely and essential. The promise of getting closer to practice readiness propels many law students to enroll in an externship (also known as field placements). But no study has empirically measured whether and to what extent law students get close to first-year law practice readiness through their externship, and what factors lead to that success. Without such a study, the American Bar Association’s regulation of externships and law schools’ externship design decisions are made without the benefit of critical data. This Article describes the year-long, multi-school Externship Study conducted to concretely measure (1) whether and to what extent externships lead to practice-readiness and (2) which attributes of the law school, the externship placement, or the students themselves are the most important contributors to that success.

In this Article, the authors use statistical models, descriptive summary, and narrative summary to analyze data from hundreds of law students and the lawyers and judges who supervised them in externships. The results reveal a high level of externship success, measured in terms of practice readiness.

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November 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Study Finds Gender Bias In TA Evaluations Too

Inside Higher Ed, Study Finds Gender Bias in TA Evals Too:

Students’ biases about gender and other factors have been shown to skew how they evaluate their professors’ teaching. Growing wise to this, more and more universities are limiting the role that student evaluations of teaching, or SETs, play in high-stakes personnel decisions such as tenure and promotion.

But what about teaching assistants, who aren’t quite faculty, but whose instruction is still often rated by the students with whom they interact? Do the same biases show up in SETs of graduate student instructors as in SETs of professors?

Yes, according to a forthcoming study in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal. Simple in design and sobering in its results, the study found that students in an online course who had the same TA gave that TA five times as many negative evaluations when they believed that she was a woman, as compared to when they thought she was a man.

TA

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November 7, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, October 2, 2020

Chodorow: How I’ll Teach Trump’s Tax Returns

Trump 750 Adam Chodorow (Arizona State), How I’ll Teach Trump’s Tax Returns:

I’m always excited to find stories in the news that touch on the tax law and policy I study and teach. Usually in my classes, we might spend about 10 minutes on such an item before moving on to the day’s lesson. The New York Times’ recent revelations about President Donald Trump’s taxes supply enough material for an entire semester. While most people will view the fact that Trump paid almost nothing in income taxes over the past 15 years as a political matter—does this hurt or help him? Is he actually bad at business?—those of us who teach tax law see a treasure trove of policy questions highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of our current tax system. If I were to build a class around Trump’s taxes, here’s how I’d do it.

One top-line issue is whether Trump was entitled to claim a loss (and if so what kind of loss) when he abandoned his interest in his failing casino business—which ultimately formed the basis for a $72 million refund request to the Internal Revenue Service that is still pending. Taxpayers should be allowed to deduct economic losses they suffer if they have basis in the amounts lost. Generally speaking, this means that they have already paid tax on the money lost. This is why you can’t deduct a loss when a stock you own goes from $100 to $150 and then back down to $100. You never paid tax on the $50 of gain when the price rose, so you can’t deduct the $50 loss when it falls back again. Basis is a core tax concept, and one that students often struggle to grasp. ...

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October 2, 2020 in Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Reynolds: A Simple 3-Camera TV Studio Classroom For Lively Online Teaching

Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee), Tired of Looking Gray and Boring Online? A Simple 3-Camera TV Studio Classroom For Lively Online Teaching:

Tired of the dreary webcam-look in my online classroom, I created a fairly simple and reasonably inexpensive three-camera studio using real video cameras for online teaching. This paper outlines how it was done, and provides suggestions for simpler, cheaper alternatives that are still far superior to traditional webcam approaches.

Reynolds 1

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September 20, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

2020 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition (Sept. 30 Deadline)

IFA Logo (2015)The deadline in the International Fiscal Association's 2020 International Tax Student Writing Competition is September 30:

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 2019-20 academic year (including independent study and summer 2020 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 2019 or spring and summer 2020.
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 DeadlineSeptember 30, 2020.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Chicago on April 22-23, 2021.

Here are the recent winners:

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September 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

ABA Tax Section Releases 20th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge Problem

The ABA Tax Section has released the J.D. Problem (rules; entry form) and LL.M. Problem (rules; entry form) for the 20th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge (infographic):

LSTCAn alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge (LSTC) is organized by the Section’s Young Lawyers Form. The LSTC asks two-person teams of students to solve a 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 to the Section’s Midyear Meeting, where each team presents 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.

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September 9, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Laughter, Learning And Well-Being In The Law School Classroom

Diana Simon (Arizona), Laughing Your Way to Academic Success: Can Laughter Impact Learning and Well-Being in the Law School Classroom and are there Cross-Cultural Differences?:

Unfortunately, the truth is that law students are unhappy and can suffer from anxiety and depression at unusually high rates. Is there anything we, as professors, can do to help with that? While what transpires in the classroom is only a small piece of the puzzle that forms a student’s psychological well-being, the answer is we can do our part in the classroom to not only relieve student anxiety but improve learning in the process.

After briefly examining the findings about the mental health of law students, this article reviews: (1) research on whether humor in the classroom can improve learning; (2) research on whether humor in the classroom can decrease student anxiety; (3) research on whether there are gender differences associated with the use of humor; and (4) research on whether there are cross-cultural differences in the perception and effectiveness of humor with a special focus on China. ...

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

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Teaching Law Online: A Guide For Faculty

Nina A. Kohn (Syracuse), Teaching Law Online: A Guide for Faculty, 69 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2020):

As law school classes move online, it is imperative that law faculty understand not only how to teach online, but how to teach well online. This article therefore is designed to help law faculty do their best teaching online. It walks faculty through key choices they must make when designing online courses, and concrete ways that they can prepare themselves and their students to succeed. The article explains why live online teaching should be the default option for most faculty, but also shows how faculty can enhance student learning by incorporating asynchronous lessons into their online classes. It then shows how faculty can set up their virtual teaching space and employ diverse teaching techniques to foster an engaging and rigorous online learning environment. The article concludes by discussing how the move to online education in response to COVID-19 could improve the overall quality of law school teaching.

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August 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Common Mistakes In Online Teaching

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indianapolis), Common Mistakes in Online Teaching:

This article explains five common mistakes in online teaching and how to fix them. To do so, this article draws on student comments coming from mid-semester surveys in an Online Trusts & Estates course, as well as focus groups on online law courses.

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August 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Curricular Change In Legal Education: Number Of Tax Faculty Is Down 46% Since 1973

William J. Carney (Emory), Curricular Change in Legal Education:

This article surveys basic changes in legal education from 1973 to 2017-2018, using a comparison of the sizes of the student body with the professoriate, and changes in the allocation of faculty resources over this period.

The paper documents law school enrollments over this period. In summary, student enrollments have been on a roller coaster, and now have declined to 1973 levels after a 40% increase. At the same time, faculty numbers have increased by 70%. While this has resulted in more favorable faculty-student ratios, bar passage rates nationally have declined from 82% to 72%. This is a classic picture of a failing industry, with high fixed costs due to tenure and cyclical revenues, forced to raise tuition to support what has become a bloated faculty. It also raises questions of whether declining bar passage rates are caused by the declining academic credentials of law school applicants, or modern failures in teaching.

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July 23, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

What Works In Online Teaching

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indianapolis), What Works in Online Teaching, 64 St. Louis U. L.J. ___ (2021):

T Zoom Meetinghis Article offers lessons from an empirical study of an Online Trusts & Estates course. More than 280 law students were surveyed over three semesters on what works well for them and what does not in this online course. Their top three answers in each category serve as guidance for faculty creating online courses. Specifically, students found that flexibility, course powerpoints, and video lectures worked well for them. Meanwhile, they wanted open modules and more assessments. These lessons informed future versions of this online course and aim to help other faculty creating online courses.

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May 13, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

2020 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 2020 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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April 28, 2020 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Lawsky Presents Teaching Algorithms And Algorithms For Teaching Online At Florida

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern) presented Teaching Algorithms and Algorithms for Teaching online at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series sponsored by the Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture Series:

Lawsky (2017)This article focuses on what it calls the “algorithm method,” a common method used to teach tax classes that presents students with unambiguous problems that guide students through complex statutes and regulations. The article describes and situates within current pedagogies a novel teaching tool: a website that randomly generates tax problems with objectively correct answers; multiple choice answers that reflect common errors that students make; and explanations for each answer that either respond to the underlying error or give a full explanation of the correct answer. The article explains the purpose and use of the website, highlights advantages of and potential issues with the website, and proposes approaches to make using the website, and indeed the algorithm method, more effective.

April 13, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Blackman: Law Professors Quietly Oppose Pass/Fail Grading

Following up on Monday's posts:

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Law Professors Quietly Agree With My Post on Pass/Fail Grading:

Blackman (2020)"I was just steamrolled by my faculty on this — almost everyone but me joined the copy HARVARD-STANFORD train."

Yesterday, I published a lengthy post about grading for the Spring 2020 semester. I knew the post would be unpopular in certain quarters. First, many professors have long opposed grading on a curve; I criticize a deeply-held position. Second, many students will oppose my position. The bulk of the class falls along the middle of the curve. They would stand to benefit from a pass/fail grading system. Students at either tail-end would be harmed from a pass/fail mandate. Third, some people may view my position as insufficiently compassionate. Fair enough. Empathy was never my strong suit.

But I knew that my post would resonate in other quarters. There are some professors who vigorously oppose the pass/fail movement. They are less likely to publicly state their views for the three reasons I mention above, and others: they do not wish to alienate their colleagues. But they privately messaged me.

One professor wrote, "Just saw your article on law school credit/no credit grading and wanted to let you know that you nailed it. I was just steamrolled by my faculty on this — almost everyone but me joined the copy HARVARD-STANFORD train." Another wrote, "Great stuff. We are trying to stick to our guns, but it is getting increasingly hard." A third wrote, "The University informed our law school that we could not have a pass/fail option. We can only do all standard grading or all pass/fail. Seems pretty stupid to force us into that choice, but there we are." And so on.

I am not optimistic my position will prevail at law schools nationwide. But I hope my post gave some voice to professors who can respectfully dissent.

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March 25, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, March 23, 2020

Free Online Content: Business Taxation/Subchapter K

CoronavirusIf you are looking for “plug and play” online content for your business taxation or partnership taxation course, Professor Cass Brewer, Georgia State University College of Law, is offering numerous videos that he created for his fall 2019 online Partnership & LLC Taxation course. See the table below for details. Brewer warns, “Caveat emptor: The videos are far from perfect because they were created for the first iteration of my online Partnership & LLC Taxation course. Some of the videos have technical glitches, and the closed captions for many of the videos contain typos and other errors. In a pinch, however, you may find the videos useful to finish out the semester.”

Quick Links to Online Materials Regarding Subchapter K (Partnership & LLC Taxation):

Topic

IRC Sections

Video Link

Definition of a Partnership and Choice of Entity

IRC §§ 761(a); 7701(a)(3); skim IRC § 199A

Video 1: Definition of Tax Partnership

Video 2: Types of State-Law Business Organizations

Video 3: Four Federal Income Tax Regimes

Video 4: Classification (a/k/a “Check-the-Box”) Rules

Video 5: Tax Hieroglyphics

Partnership Formation: Basics

IRC §§ 704(c)(1)(A) & (c)(3), 705(a), 721, 722, 723, 731(a)(1), 733

IRC §§ 1245(b)(3), 1223(1) & (2)

Video 1: Introduction

Video 2: AB, LLC Formation

Video 3: Formation/Conversion

Video 4: Formation/Conversion

Video 5: Formation/Conversion

Partnership Formation: Advanced (Special Rules, Liabilities, and Gain Recognized)

IRC §§ 704(c)(1)(A) & (c)(3), 724

IRC §§ 731(a)(1), 752(a)-(c)

Video 1: IRC §§ 704(c) and 724

Video 2: IRC §§ 704(c) and 724 Illustrated

Video 3: Formation and Liabilities Part One

Video 4: Formation and Liabilities Part Two

Video 5: Formation (Gain Recognized)

Partnership Operations: Taxable Years, Methods of Accounting, Allocations, Outside Basis Adjustments, Outside Basis Loss Limitation

IRC §§ 446(a)-(c), 701, 702(a)-(b), 703, 704(a) & (d)

IRC §§ 705(a)(1)-(2), 706(a)-(b)(1)(B)

Skim IRC §§ 448(a)-(c), 6031(a)-(b)

Video 1: Taxable Years and Methods of Accounting

Video 2: Allocations of Tax Items

Video 3: Outside Basis Adjustments and Loss Limitation

Substantial Economic Effect

IRC § 704(a) & (b)

Video 1: Introduction

Video 2: Analysis of Orrisch

Issuing Partnership Interests in Exchange for Services

IRC §§ 83(a)-(c), (h); 721; 1061

Video 1: Introduction

Video 2: Capital v. Profits Interests

Video 3: IRC § 1061 (“Carried Interests)


Built-In Gain (Loss), Revaluations, Tax/Book Depreciation (Traditional Method), and Anti-Character Conversion Rules

IRC § 704(c)(1)(A) & (3)

IRC § 704(b)

IRC § 724(a)-(c)

Video 1: Introduction

Video 2: Book/Tax Gain (Loss) Allocations

Video 3: Revaluations

Video 4: Reverse 704(c) Allocations

Video 5: Anti-Character Conversion (§ 724)

Partnership Liabilities: Recourse v. Nonrecourse

IRC §§ 704(c)(1)(A) & (3); 752(a)-(c)

Video 1: Recourse v. Nonrecourse Debt

Video 2: Nonrecourse Deductions

Video 3: Liability Sharing Rules of IRC 752

Video 4: Recap

Transfers of Interests

IRC §§ 705(a); 706(c); 741; 751(a), (c), (d), (f); 752(d)

Video 1: In General

Video 2: Seller’s Perspective

Video 3: Buyer’s Perspective

Current and Liquidating Distributions of Cash

IRC §§ 731-735

Video: In General

 

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March 23, 2020 in Coronavirus, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Law Teaching In The Age Of Coronavirus

CoronavirusSeth Oranburg (Duquesne), Josh Blackman (South Texas), Howard Wasserman (Florida International), and Diane Klein (La Verne) offer their thoughts on online law school teaching:

Seth Oranburg (Duquesne), Distance Education in the Time of Coronavirus: Quick and Easy Strategies for Professors:

A worldwide pandemic is forcing schools to close their doors. Yet the need to teach students remains. How can faculty — especially those who are not trained in technology-mediated teaching — maintain educational continuity? This Essay provides some suggestions and relatively quick and easy strategies for distance education in this time of coronavirus. While it is written from the perspective of teaching law school, it can be applied to teaching other humanities such as philosophy, literature, religion, political theory, and other subjects that do not easily lend themselves to charts, graphs, figures, and diagrams. This Essay includes an introductory technology section for those techno-phobic faculty who are now being required to teach online, and it concludes with five straightforward steps to start teaching online quickly.

Table of Contents
I.   Introduction ........................................................ 3
II.  Prepping: Tools for Distance Educators ............. 5
     A. Computer ....................................................... 5
     B. Microphone..................................................... 7
     C. Webcam ........................................................ 8
     D. Software......................................................... 9
         1. Widows....................................................... 9
         2. MacOS ....................................................... 9
         3. Other Software...........................................10
III. Creating Audio-Video Content .......................... 11
     A. Creating a Voice-Over-PowerPoint Video..... 12
          1. Creating the Slides....................................14
          2. Scripting the Voice Over............................14
          3. Recording/Exporting the Presentation.......14
     B. Creating a “Talking Head” Video................... 16
     C. Repurposing Existing Video ......................... 18
     D. Synchronous “Zoom” Meetings..................... 19
IV. Deploying Online Content ................................. 20
     A. Organizing Content........................................ 20
     B. Uploading versus Linking Videos .................. 21
     C. Juxtaposing Learning Activities ..................... 22
         1. Tests ...........................................................22
         2. Essays.........................................................23
         3. Journal Entries ............................................23
         4. Discussion Boards.......................................25
V. Conclusions: 5 Steps to Online Teaching ........... 26

Seth Oranburg (Duquesne), More on Online Teaching:

Law school is going online, suddenly and quickly. Are you ready? Most of us are not – but here are some suggestions that will make teaching online simpler.

First you need to understand your options. There are two main ways to go online: synchronously and asynchronously. What’s the difference and which should you pick? ...

What Is It ...
Pro ...
Con ...
Tips and Tricks ...
Bottom Line ...
Summary
Whether you go with a synchronous or an asynchronous format depends in large part on your goals: are you trying to get by in a crisis, or is this an opportunity to step up your teaching skills and create valuable new content for the future?

In general, the synchronous approach is lower risk and lower reward. It’s essentially an inferior substitute for meeting in person, but it will get the job done, and it’s not that hard to do well enough. If your goal is to get through this coronavirus kerfuffle, you should probably just set up a virtual classroom and keep going through the term’s material.

The asynchronous approach, on the other hand, is a chance to turn lemons into lemonade, in the sense that the really good online learning environment can substantially improve student learning. If you want to look at this pandemic as an opportunity to step up your teaching skills, go for it! Be cautioned, however, that it’s a lot of work to do it right, and distance education is ineffective when done wrong.

I hope this short post helps you decide how to move forward with distance education in this time of coronavirus. If you would like to take a deeper dive into these concepts, please check out my article on SSRN.

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Thoughts and Tips on Teaching with Zoom:

Wednesday evening, the South Texas College of Law Houston announced that it would immediately halt all in-person classes. We had less than 24-hours to prepare for distance learning. This afternoon, I taught my first class using Zoom. This post will offer some thoughts and tips on the process.

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March 15, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Winners Of The 19th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge

ABA Tax Section, Winners of the 19th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

J.D. Division

ABA JD1st Place:
Amanda Krugler and Scott Sullivan [right, with ABA Tax Section Chair Thomas Callahan] [more here]
University of Kentucky College of Law
Coach:  Jennifer Bird-Pollan

2nd Place (Tie):
Matthew Foran and Harry Gao
Seton Hall Law School
Brian Krastev and Matthew Marcellino
Syracuse University College of Law

Best Written Submission:
Ryan Hartnett and Mitchell Renfrew
Western New England University School of Law

Semi-Finalists:
Anita Alanko and Jennifer Galstad
Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law

Mark Watterson and Taylor Monroe
UNT Dallas College of Law

Ryan Hartnett and Mitchell Renfrew
Western New England University School of Law

LL.M. Division

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March 12, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 FBA Tax Law Student Writing Competition Winner

The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation has announced the winner of its 2020 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing CompetitionElizabeth Burlington (Frost & Associates, Annapolis, MD), The Letter and the Spirit: the §501(c)(3) Religious Exemption and American Churches:

BurlingtonThis paper analyzes the tax treatment of churches in America from the inception of the §501(c)(3) exemption through the present. While churches enjoy tax-exempt status under the umbrella of the §501(c)(3) charitable designation, they also enjoy more preferential treatment than other similarly classified organizations. Church tax policy is unusual for several reasons: the lack of a clear guidance as to what constitutes a “church,” the requirements necessary to support an examination of the church’s tax-exempt status, and the lack of any specific or substantive criteria to “prove” an organization church and therefore entitled to the exemption.

This unusual policy is further muddied by the fluid and ineffable nature of religion and churches themselves, as well as by the actions of some more enterprising and high-profile individuals over the past few decades. The unique—and sometimes confusing—state of the church-specific tax laws leave the door open for abuse. This analysis illustrates the ways by which these issues can be addressed without eliminating the §501(c)(3) exemption for churches.

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March 5, 2020 in Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 28, 2020

2019 IFA International Tax Student Writing Award; Call For Entrants In 2020 Competition

IFA

The winner of the International Fiscal Association's 2019 International Tax Student Writing Competition is David Rubin (Virginia), EB OR NOT EB? That is the Question Treasury Must Answer After Brexit, 49 BNA Tax Mgmt. Int’l J. 1 (2020).
Faculty Sponsor: Ruth Mason

The United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union could have a significant effect on international and U.K. domestic taxation. Brexit will likely impact aspects of the United Kingdom's value added tax and withholding tax regimes, customs and excise taxes, State Aid determinations, and double tax treaties. This article discusses one discrete issue that has not yet been decided by the U.S. Treasury and that could have significant consequences for entities currently claiming the benefit of U.S. tax treaties: whether the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union means that U.K. shareholders will no longer be considered “equivalent beneficiaries” for purposes of the derivative benefits test in the limitation on benefits provision in U.S. tax treaties.

This article evaluates the arguments for and against extending equivalent beneficiary status to U.K. residents post-Brexit, considers historical analogs that might provide insight on the question, and discusses Treasury's options for extending equivalent beneficiary status in light of the possibility that some approaches could create issues with its treaty partners or the U.S. Senate.

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 2019-20 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 2019 or spring and summer 2020.
Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2020.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Chicago on April 22-23, 2021.

Here are the recent winners:

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February 28, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 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 2020 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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January 16, 2020 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Winners

Tannenwald (2016)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship has announced the winners of the  2019 tax writing competition:

First Prize ($5,000):
Christine Davis (Florida), More Anti-Simplification: PTI and GILTI After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Faculty Sponsor:  Mindy Herzfeld

Second Prize ($2,000):
Alexandra Ferrera (NYU), Incentivizing the Care of Adult Family Members Through a Two-Part Tax Credit
Faculty Sponsor:  Lily Batchelder

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December 10, 2019 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 6, 2019

Lawsky's Free Income Tax Problem Generator

Sarah Lawksy (Northwestern) has created a great free website that generates multiple-choice federal individual income tax practice problems in a variety of subject areas.  From the FAQ page:

Lawsky (2017)Q: What does this website do?
A: It generates multiple-choice federal individual income tax practice problems. The problems are a random selection of facts, names, and randomly (but thoughtfully) generated numbers about a range of basic tax topics. You can pick a particular topic, or you can have the website to pick both a topic and problem at random.

Q: Are the answers also random?
A: Mostly, no. The multiple-choice answers are based on mistakes people commonly make (though one random answer is usually thrown in there).

Q: What happens once I pick an answer?
A: If you pick a wrong answer, the website usually provides a substantive hint about what you did wrong. A right answer usually returns a full explanation. In many of the explanations of answers both right and wrong, there is a link to the relevant code section.

Q: Do the questions repeat?
A: Eventually--there are not an infinite number of problems--but there are a lot of different problems. Setting aside the numbers' changing, which doesn't necessarily provide conceptually different questions, different types of problems toggle a bunch of different facts and relationships between the numbers, all of which change the problem conceptually. For example, for like-kind exchanges, there are five different facts than can toggle (asset is personal use or business use, whether there is debt relief and whom that debt relief favors (someone who provides boot or not), etc.) and four different questions. For installment sales there are even more toggles; for unrestricted property as compensation, many fewer.

Q: What is this for?
A: Whatever you want. A professor can use to generate problems for teaching or to give students direct access to it; a student can use it to practice for tax class--whatever works for you. The website is free and is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license, which means, roughly, that you can share this or use it for any purpose, just so long as you give appropriate credit, distribute the material so other people can use it under the same terms, and don't create any additional restrictions.

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December 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Tax Prof Mildred Robinson, UVA's First Black Female Faculty Member, To Retire

Robinson

Professor Mildred Robinson Set To Retire:

Professor Mildred Robinson, a groundbreaking tax law instructor whose scholarship and community service have emphasized equity, will teach her last class at the University of Virginia School of Law at the end of this semester. She will retire this spring after almost 35 years on the faculty.

Robinson was UVA Law’s first African American female tenured professor. She was hired with tenure in 1985 from Florida State University.

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

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2L In Harvard Tax Clinic Argues Case In U.S. Court Of Appeals For The 7th Circuit

Harvard Law Today, Clinic Stories: Prepping for the U.S. Court of Appeals:

HarvardThrough Harvard Law School’s Federal Tax Clinic, students have the unique opportunity represent low-income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS, both before the IRS and in federal court. Working individually and in teams, they represent taxpayers involving examinations, administrative appeals collection matters, and cases before the United States Tax Court and federal district courts.

In this video, we follow Adeyemi “Yemi” Adediran ’21, a second year student in the Clinic, as he prepares to argue an appeal on behalf of a military veteran with PTSD in the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago. The veteran’s appeal to the Seventh Circuit centered on his eligibility for innocent spouse relief under the Internal Revenue Code. Over a three year period, the veteran’s wife embezzled $500K from the Appleton, Wisconsin Blood Bank—where she worked as a bookkeeper. She was arrested and sentenced to jail, but because the couple filed taxes jointly and embezzled money is taxable, they were both legally responsible for back taxes on the money.

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December 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Data-Visualization And Student Evaluations: Male Profs Are Brilliant And Funny; Female Profs Are Mean And Rude

Chronicle of Higher Education, What a Data-Visualization Tool Tells Us About How Students See Their Professors:

Student evaluations of teaching are both widely used and, as a host of studies have shown, deeply flawed. They don’t measure teaching quality particularly well. They also reflect students’ bias, in that women and minorities tend to receive more critical evaluations. The problem is significant enough that 18 scholarly associations signed onto a statement in September asking colleges to not rely on them heavily in determining teaching effectiveness.

Thanks to Ben Schmidt, a clinical associate professor of history and director of digital humanities at New York University, we also have an interesting way to visualize the differences in the ways that students evaluate male and female professors. And we can see how different disciplines are described.

A few years ago, Schmidt mined 14 million reviews on RateMyProfessors to create an interactive tool, Gendered Language in Teacher Reviews. Plug a term into the chart and you can see how many times per million words of text it is used, broken down by gender and discipline. It’s a fascinating — and highly addictive — look at the way in which students perceive their professors. 

Brilliant

Mean

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November 27, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (10)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

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)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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  2020 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition (rules; 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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October 23, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Case Western Tax Prof Is Still Teaching At 92 Years Old

Cleveland.com, Case Western Reserve University Law Professor Still Teaching at 92 Years Old:

GabinetYou know that saying, “when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life?”

Well, at 92 years old and still teaching four days a week, Professor Leon Gabinet is the true embodiment of that.

“I think at 92, I must be the oldest living professor,” Gabinet said, laughing.

News 5 checked with the American Association of University Professors, and while we're told the data around professor's ages isn't maintained, a spokesperson couldn't immediately think of professor above that age still teaching.

Gabinet teaches federal income tax law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law — a place he has been a fixture since 1968. ...

“You would think going into a federal income tax class that it was going to be really dry and boring,” said law student Jess Ice. “But I laugh every class. I just have a great time. He has forgotten more about tax than I’ll ever learn in my life.”

It’s true — Professor Gabinet, at 92, has much of the tax code memorized by heart. And still, he spends hours before each of his classes every week reviewing materials and getting prepared. ...

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October 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)