TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, July 18, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1166

IRS Logo 2The Daily Signal, House Conservatives Explain Latest IRS Chief Impeachment Push: ‘Leadership Has Been Too Timid to Go After Corruption’:

The House Freedom Caucus has launched a pressure play against Republican leadership in an effort to force a vote on impeaching John Koskinen, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

Before Congress skipped town Thursday for a seven-week recess, Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., and John Fleming, R-La., filed a parliamentary measure known as a privileged resolution on behalf of the Freedom Caucus.

The effort hinges on maximizing public pressure on lawmakers during their summer recess, Huelskamp told The Daily Signal. Conservatives hope that populist opposition to the IRS in congressional districts will translate into support for impeachment on Capitol Hill.

But when Congress returns Sept. 6., lawmakers have two legislative days to vote on either impeaching Koskinen or tabling the measure.

And by going straight to the floor, the Freedom Caucus has bypassed the regular committee process, bucked GOP leadership, and widened an expanding chasm within Republican ranks.

Establishment aides describe the effort as a publicity stunt while their conservative contemporaries say it is part of a greater effort to overcome leadership’s opposition to impeachment. ...

Koskinen’s lawyer, in a statement to Bloomberg News, described the Freedom Caucus case as an “unfortunately repeated conspiracy theory that was long ago discredited.”

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July 18, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, July 17, 2016

IRS Rejects 501(c)(3) Status For DNC Convention As Too Partisan, Causing Donors To Pull Out Due To Lost Deductions; DNC Devises Workaround To Funnel Contributions Through Philadelphia Convention Bureau

DNCFollowing up on my previous posts (here and here):  Philadelphia Inquirer:  Turned Down by the IRS, Philly's DNC Host Committee Goes for Plan B:

The IRS has turned down the long-running effort by the Democratic convention's Philadelphia host committee to win a tax exemption.

Word of the decision, a setback for efforts to raise the last of the $60 million needed to help pay for the July 25 to 28 convention, came Friday from its adviser, David L. Cohen.

When the decision came - and why - is less clear. Cohen would say only that the IRS "recently" turned down the application for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3 of the tax code, which the committee had sought for more than a year.

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July 17, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

NY Times Op-Ed:  The Carried Interest Non-Loophole

NY Times Dealbook (2013)New York Times Deal Book: The Carried Interest Loophole? What Loophole?, by Steven B. Klinsky (Founder & CEO, New Mountain Capital):

Many politicians want to close the carried interest tax loophole for private equity managers. The only problem is, no such loophole exists. ...

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July 17, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

Revised Bar Passage Law School Accreditation Standard Threatens Compliance With Diversity Standard

ABA Logo (2016)Law Practice Today: Proposed ABA Law School Accreditation Standard 316: A Threat to Diversity in Law Schools and the Legal Profession?, by Robert Furnier:

On the one hand, the amendment to Standard 206 (Diversity and Inclusion) would strengthen the obligation that law schools “demonstrate by concrete action a commitment to diversity and inclusion.” On the other hand, the revised Standard 316 (Bar Passage) would hamstring the ability of law schools to comply with Standard 206 by toughening the bar passage requirement for accreditation.

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July 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1165

IRS Logo 2Washington Examiner, How Conservatives Hope to Win the IRS Impeachment Vote:

Conservative lawmakers behind the resolution to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen have a not-so-secret weapon that they hope will lead to a successful impeachment vote in September: public outrage.

Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., and John Fleming, R-La., made a motion on Thursday to call up their impeachment resolution on a privileged basis, essentially forcing the House to vote on it. That motion won't be considered until the House returns in September from conventions and the summer recess.

Some already see the intervening seven weeks as a cooling off period that gets Republican leaders off the hook, since they don't want to hold the vote.

But Huelskamp and Fleming say the time back home might subject lawmakers to several weeks of pressure from constituents who are demanding an impeachment vote to finally hold somebody in Washington — anybody — accountable. ...

GOP leaders don't agree, and would rather focus on a more moderate agenda that gives voters a reason to keep Republicans in charge of the House and Senate. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Thursday tried to calm things down by saying the GOP would have a "family" discussion about impeachment once members return. ...

But while leaders hope things calm down, supporters of impeachment are hoping voters let lawmakers know they're mad as hell. That would put more pressure on the House to not only hold the vote, but to vote in favor of impeachment.

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July 17, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

NY Times:  Law Firms Offer Cash to Help New Lawyers Pay Student Loans—Like 'Sushi In The Workplace Cafeteria'?

NY Times Dealbook (2013)New York Times Deal Book: Firms Offer Cash to Help New Lawyers Pay Student Debt, by Elizabeth Olson:

Young lawyers, struggling with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, are finding relief from a new source: their employers.

Some law firms are starting to contribute cash to help their newly hired lawyers meet monthly payments on education loans that can be as large as a mortgage payment on a house. That is a step beyond what some law firms now do in helping their junior lawyers refinance with lower-interest loan

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, a large firm founded in San Francisco that specializes in technology, energy and infrastructure law, plans to announce on Friday that it will contribute a monthly amount to its new associates to offset accumulated education debt. Other firms are also beginning to embrace the idea, seeing substantial debt as a big worry for their entry-level lawyers. ...

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July 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

WSJ:  Europe’s Tax Punishers

BrexitWall Street Journal editorial, Europe’s Tax Punishers:

What most frightens European leaders about Brexit? Perhaps it is that Britain might make a success of its departure from the European Union. Witness the furious backlash against proposals to improve Britain’s attractiveness to foreign investors.

Departing Chancellor George Osborne last week suggested slashing Britain’s corporate-tax rate, to below 15% from the current 20%. The U.K. already was the bane of high-taxing continentals, especially after Mr. Osborne introduced phased cuts to bring the corporate rate down to 17% by 2020. But his latest idea, which would bring Britain’s rate into the same league as Hong Kong and Singapore, and nearly down to Ireland’s 12.5%, has set off a new wave of neuralgia across the Channel. ...

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July 16, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Memphis Gives Adjuncts 40% Raise; Adjunct Teaching Full Load Would Earn Less Than Minimum Wage (But No Adjuncts Teach Full Load Because Of ObamaCare)

MemphisInside Higher Ed, When a 40% Raise Is Just Getting Started:

The University of Memphis has proposed a 40 percent increase in minimum adjunct pay, from $1,500 to $2,100 per three-credit-hour course. This marks the first pay raise for adjuncts at the university in three decades. Yet as adjuncts at other universities are winning contracts with minimums more than three times higher, progress may not mean that adjuncts at the University of Memphis will be taking home a decent wage. ...

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July 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1164

IRS Logo 2American College of Tax Counsel, Letter to Paul Ryan, Kevin Brady, Nancy Pelosi & Sander Levin (July 13, 2016):

On behalf of the Officers and the Board of Regents of the American College of Tax Counsel, I write to express our significant concerns with the resolutions being considered with respect to the possible impeachment and censure of Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen. It is our view that such actions are not commensurate with the alleged conduct and will damage the agency at a time when it needs strong leadership. We do not see any benefit to the agency or our system of laws that could arise from moving forward with these actions.

The Officers and Regents of the College are senior, experienced tax lawyers with decades of experience in dealing with the Internal Revenue Service. Many of our colleagues have devoted years of their professional careers to working at the agency, in service of our country. We have watched the agency struggle with significant decreases in funding that have caused staffing and morale issues. In our practices we have seen the negative impact this has had on our clients, the taxpayers. We often disagree with actions taken by the Internal Revenue Service, and at times we think that things should be done differently. Overall, however, we think that the agency serves the American people in a manner consistent with its vital mission, especially in view of the complexity of the tax law, the additional responsibilities that it has been given over the past few years, and the severe financial constraints under which it operates.

We see the benefits of the steady hand that Commissioner Koskinen, an experienced, dedicated and respected public servant, provides. Ifhe were to be replaced now, the agency would have its fifth Commissioner in four years. This is an enonnous organization - it employs over 78,000 people and processes nearly 150 million individual income tax returns filed each year. To be an effective leader, the Commissioner needs to take time to build up the knowledge base, as Commissioner Koskinen has done, and it takes time to build up trust in the employees. We think that the agency and the country will be well served if he is willing and allowed to continue on the path that he has set.

We would respectfully request that Congress reject impeachment and censure, and instead apply its time and attentions to improving both the tax law and the administration of our tax system.

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July 16, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 15, 2016

More On The Law Prof/Law Review Editor Publication Spat

Update on Wednesday's post, Law Review Editor And Prof Spar After He Declines To Publish Article Rather Than Accept Offer From Low-Ranked Journal:  Above the Law, Fight Between Law Professor And Law Review Editor Gets Published:

Well, we just had to know what was the real story behind the article. Was it an actual conversation that happened between an editor and a law professor? Inspired by actual events? Was it just a work of satire, or meant to be a “teachable moment”? I reached out to the author, Dan Subotnik, a professor at Touro Law Center, to get the scoop, and he was coy in his response. Though he was able to confirm the article was NOT purely fictional/satirical:

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July 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Albany Is 16th Law School To Offer 2-Year J.D., But First To Charge Only 2 Years Of Tuition

Albany logoAlbany Law School Announces 2-Year J.D. Program:

Accelerated Track Offers One-Year Tuition Savings and a Faster Return to the Workforce

Albany Law School today announced the launch of an accelerated program for highly motivated students to earn a law degree in two years, eliminating tuition costs for the third year. The program begins January 2017.

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July 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Weekly Tax Roundup

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

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July 15, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy Center Seeks To Hire A New Director

Tax Polcy Center Logo (2017)The Urban Institute seeks a Center Director/Robert C. Pozen Director for the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center:

The preferred candidate will be an entrepreneurial leader in the field of taxation and public finance who offers a compelling vision for the Tax Policy Center’s future. 

Background on TPC
Founded in 2002 as a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center is the preeminent nongovernmental tax policy organization in the United States. We have built a record of clear, evidence-based, and objective analysis of tax policy.

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July 15, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mike Pence:  ‘No One I Know Likes Law School’

TP1Wall Street Journal, Mike Pence: ‘No One I Know Likes Law School’:

Unlike Mr. Trump, [Mike Pence] has a law degree. And his bumpy experience earning it may be relatable to some.

From a 1994 profile of Mr. Pence published in the Indianapolis Business Journal:

[Pence] tried to enter the Indiana University School of Law, but scored far too low on the admission test. So he spent the next two years traveling to what seemed like every town in the state as an admissions representative for Hanover–gaining a great education about Indiana, he said.

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July 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Grads Are 'Terrified' Of Failing The Bar Exam

WhisperAbove the Law, Law School Graduates ‘Terrified’ About Failing The Bar Exam:

With graduation in the rearview mirror, law school graduates now find themselves about a week away from one of the most important tests of their lives: the bar exam. This one test will determine whether or not they’ll be able to find success in the job market and whether or not they’ll become practicing lawyers.

It’s an intense time for recent law school graduates, and following wave after wave of record-setting failure rates on bar exams nationwide, many of them are incredibly nervous about how they’ll perform on the July 2016 exam. How confident are they?

Recent law school graduates have started using Whisper, an anonymous messaging service, to tell the world about how they’re feeling about the bar exam.

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July 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

15 Years Later, Legally Blonde is Still Inspiring People To Go To Law School

LBPeople Magazine, Legally Blonde Is Still Inspiring People to Go to Law School – Plus, How Reese Witherspoon is Celebrating the Film's 15th Anniversary:

Fifteen years ago, Legally Blonde hit screens – and the legal profession has never been the same.

Suddenly, law school was no longer just for "ugly, boring and serious" people (Elle Woods' words, not ours). Bright pink dresses were deemed acceptable courtroom attire. Identifying shoe designers and hair care procedures became integral in cracking a case. Okay, so not all of Legally Blonde applies to actual life as a lawyer, but regardless, it's had a big impact.

Elle Woods has inspired a lot of people – men and women – to go to law school, including Shalyn Smith, 24, of Columbus, Ohio. A sorority president in California, Smith says she always felt a connection with Elle – especially because people would underestimate her and her ambitions for a career in law, despite the fact that she had a 4.0.

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July 15, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1163

IRS Logo 2Washington Post, House Conservatives Try to Force Vote to Impeach IRS Chief:

A group of House conservatives is making a last-ditch effort to force a floor vote to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen because of their continuing frustrations over how the agency has treated small-government groups.

House Freedom Caucus members John Fleming (R-La.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) on Thursday employed a rarely used procedural maneuver that allows any member to have an issue considered by the full House.

The move means that any action would probably happen shortly after lawmakers return in September following a seven-week recess.

“Congress has held countless congressional hearings on the impeachable offenses of Koskinen — but there have been zero consequences for his behavior,” Huelskamp said in a news release. “It is time for him to be impeached and removed.”

The lawmaker said a vote is “necessary to bring national attention to this disgrace and to impeach and remove at least one Obama Administration official.” ...

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has resisted holding a vote to impeach Koskinen, but the move by Fleming and Huelskamp will force him to deal with the issue in September. ...

The IRS said Thursday that history is on Koskinen’s side. “Commissioner Koskinen believes that a traditional, fair impeachment process that follows historical precedent would demonstrate that neither impeachment nor censure is warranted,” the agency said in a statement. “If this proceeds, he deserves an opportunity to refute the allegations and fully respond to these charges before a House vote on the allegations. The Commissioner has made it clear that he testified truthfully and that the facts clearly do not support the claims.”

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July 15, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Journal of Tax Administration Hosts Workshop Today On U.S. And U.K. Trends In Tax Exceptionalism And Tax Litigation

JOTAThe Journal of Tax Administration hosts a workshop today on Trends in Tax Exceptionalism and Tax Litigation (program):

In the United States, the Supreme Court's 2011 decision in the Mayo Foundation case has fundamentally changed tax litigation and tax administration. Previously, tax administration functioned with a mindset of "tax exceptionalism" from the administrative statutory requirements, legal doctrines, and norms that applied to other federal government agencies. The legal veracity of tax exceptionalism had not been tested; it was an unchallenged assumption, but one that persisted for some decades. In Mayo Foundation, the Supreme Court expressly rejected tax exceptionalism from general administrative law requirements, doctrines, and norms absent "good reason" — which is generally thought to mean unless the Internal Revenue Code provides an express exception.

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July 14, 2016 in Colloquia, Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools Should Teach Students How To Write Email

GmailKatrina Lee (Ohio State), Process Over Product: A Pedagogical Focus on Email as a Means of Refining Legal Analysis, 44 Cap. U. L. Rev. 655 (2016):

The prevalence of emails in law practice alone provides a compelling reason for assigning emails in the 1L legal writing course. Law students should learn how to write the types of documents they will be expected to write in law practice. Not surprisingly, over the past several years, email communications have increasingly become part of legal writing curricula.

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July 14, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Cravath Names First Woman Managing Partner

CravathNew York Times, Faiza Saeed to Become First Woman to Lead Cravath, Swaine & Moore:

One of the biggest deal makers at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, a pre-eminent law firm on Wall Street, is poised to take over its top spot — and become the first woman to do so.

Cravath plans to announce on Thursday that Faiza J. Saeed, one of the two leaders of its mergers practice, will become the 16th presiding partner in the nearly two-century history of the law firm. Ms. Saeed’s 25 years at the firm have been punctuated by some of the most prominent corporate deals in recent history. ...

Among the nation’s 200 largest law firms in 2015, only three had women as managing partners, according to a study by the National Association of Women Lawyers.

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July 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Advocacy Group Launches

AuditTax Revolution Institute, National Tax Watchdog Launches First Independent Audit of the Internal Revenue Service:

The Tax Revolution Institute (TRI) — a Washington-based nonprofit group that promotes “justice and integrity in the tax system” — is taking a whole new approach to shedding light on the Internal Revenue Service: Today, it is announcing the launch of the first-ever independent audit of the IRS.

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July 14, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Cockfield:  Big Data And Tax Haven Secrecy

Florida Tax Review  (2015)Arthur J. Cockfield (Queen's University), Big Data and Tax Haven Secrecy, 18 Fla. Tax Rev. 483 (2016):

While there is now a significant literature in law, politics, economics, and other disciplines that examines tax havens, there is little information on what tax haven intermediaries — so-called offshore service providers — actually do to facilitate offshore evasion, international money laundering and the financing of global terrorism. To provide insight into this secret world of tax havens, this Article relies on the author’s study of big data derived from the financial data leak obtained by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

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July 14, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

UC-Berkeley, Oxford & Tax Policy Center Host Program Today On Corporate Tax For The 21st Century

UCBThe Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance at UC-Berkeley and Tax Policy Center are hosting a program today on Corporate Tax for the 21st Century:

Welcome and Introduction: Michael Devereux (Oxford)

Panel:  The Need for Reform and Current Policy Proposals

  • Alan Auerbach (UC-Berkeley) (moderator)
  • Michael Devereux (Oxford)
  • Michael Graetz (Columbia)
  • Justus S. Hotchkiss (Yale)
  • Mark Mazur (Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, U.S. Treasury Department)
  • John Vella (Oxford)

Session:  Residual Profit Allocation Proposal

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July 14, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Case Western To Close During Republican Convention After Faculty, Students Object To Housing Police In Campus Dorms

RNCHeat Street, Students Scared of Cops on Campus Force University to Take Drastic Measures During RNC Convention:

Students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland were so traumatized by the prospect of sharing their campus with armed police officers during the Republican National Convention next week that the university has opted instead to essentially shut down for the week.

The students were incensed that school officials had agreed to allow police officers imported to maintain order during the convention to stay in campus housing. More than 300 of them signed an online petition demanding that, among other things, the “riot police” store their weapons off-campus between shifts, restrict themselves exclusively to the residence halls and abide by university rules regarding anti-discrimination and sexual harassment. 

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July 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (9)

Netanya Hosts Roundtable Today On Taxation And Tax Policy

American Action Forum:  Tax Inversion Rhetoric—Debunked By Dogs

July 14, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1162

IRS Logo 2Politico, Freedom Caucus Goes All-In On IRS Impeachment:

The House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday set in motion a plan to force a vote to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, bucking House GOP leaders who oppose the idea and worry it will lower the bar for such extreme actions in the future.

The group of right-wing rebels led by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) on Tuesday had warned Paul Ryan they would file a privileged resolution — effectively bypassing leadership — if the House speaker did not agree to initiate impeachment proceedings in the Judiciary Committee.

Reps. John Fleming (R-La.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) filed the measure calling for Koskinen's ouster. Due to the procedure they used to introduce the resolution, it is not "privileged" and is therefore referred to the Judiciary Committee, which does not have to act on the controversial measure.

However, Fleming and Huelskamp are expected to refile a similar measure on Thursday using a slightly different procedure, according to Republican leadership sources. This second resolution would be "privileged," meaning whoever files it can force a floor vote on the measure, although with the House ready to adjourn for a seven-week recess, that would like not take place until September.

Huelksamp said there "will be some action on it tomorrow," but declined to say exactly what he, Fleming and the Freedom Caucus are planning.

Some senior Republicans believe the move to impeach Koskinen — which will fail if the Senate doesn't go along — is a cunning political ploy by the Freedom Caucus. It puts Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in a box; he and other top Republicans can oppose the motion and be portrayed by conservative critics as protecting Koskinen, or they can support it despite concerns that it is not an appropriate action by the House.

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July 14, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Law Review Editor And Prof Spar After He Declines To Publish Article Rather Than Accept Offer From Low-Ranked Journal

Dan Subotnik (Touro), A Law Review Editor and Faculty Author Learn to Speak Honestly, 32 Touro L. Rev. 441 (2016):

[From Professor S on Aug. 28 via ExpressO] ...
I am a law teacher of twenty-five years standing and am widely published in the areas of contracts, professional responsibility, and legal education. Attached is an article for your consideration, “Forward to the Law School Past,” which I am sending to a select number of law reviews. ...

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July 13, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (16)

Clinton Aims Party’s ‘Wall Street’ Tax At Flash Boys, Not Banks

Hillary Logo (2016)Bloomberg: Clinton Aims Party’s ‘Wall Street’ Tax at Flash Boys, Not Banks, by Lynnley Browning:

The Democratic Party’s proposed 2016 platform supports “a financial transaction tax on Wall Street” -- but presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton is focused on a narrower approach that isn’t likely to target big banks.

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July 13, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

A Game Theory Model Of Law Faculties: Greater Turnover Needed To Curb Antisocial Faculty Behavior

Shi-Ling Hsu (Florida State), A Game-Theoretic Model of Cooperation in Law School Faculties:

A standard account of group cooperation would predict that group stability would bring about greater cooperation, because repeat-play games would allow for sanctions and rewards. In an academic unit such as a department or a law faculty, one might thus expect that faculty stability would bring about greater cooperation. Faculty turnover, by contrast, would cause faculty to invest less in each other, and depress cooperative behavior.

However, academic units are not like most other groups. Tenured professors face only limited sanctions for failing to cooperate, for engaging in unproductive conflict, or for shirking. It is thus open to question as to whether faculty turnover actually leads unambiguously to a decline in cooperation. This article posits that within limits, some faculty turnover may enhance cooperation. Certainly, excessive and persistent loss of faculty is demoralizing, and reduces the number of individuals among which administrative work can be spread. But for less dire losses, faculty turnover may play the disciplining role that academic units are deprived of by the tenure system.

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July 13, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Allegations Against Chancellor Roil UC-Berkeley

UC Berkeley Primary Logo Berkeley BlueFollowing up on my previous posts (links below) on the leadership turmoil at UC-Berkeley:  Los Angeles Times, UC Berkeley Chancellor Under Investigation for Alleged Misuse of Public Funds, Personal Use of Campus Athletic Trainer:

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks is under university investigation for the alleged misuse of public funds for travel and the personal use of a campus athletic trainer without payment, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

A whistleblower complaint alleged that Dirks had failed to pay for use of the campus Recreational Sports Facility and its professional services, and that he used public funds to pay for travel with a recreational sports employee on non-university business, according to an April 11 letter to Dirks from Rachael Nava, the University of California’s chief operating officer.

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July 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Chodorow & Hackney:  Post-Graduate Legal Training — The Case For Tax-Exempt Programs

ASUAdam Chodorow (Arizona State) & Philip Hackney (LSU), Post-Graduate Legal Training: The Case for Tax-Exempt Programs, 65 J. Legal Educ. 463 (2016):

The challenging job market for recent law school graduates has highlighted a fact well known to those familiar with legal education: A significant gap exists between what students learn in law school and what they need to be practice-ready lawyers. Legal employers historically assumed the task of providing real-world training, but they have become much less willing to do so. At the same time, a large numbers of Americans — and not just those living at or below the poverty line — are simply unable to afford lawyers. In this Article, we argue that post-graduate legal training, similar to post-graduate medical training, is a good way to address these market failures and reduce the gap in both skills and legal services.

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July 13, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

CBO:  In 30 Years, U.S. Will Have Highest Debt-To-GDP Ratio In Our History—141%

Congressional Budget Office, The 2016 Long-Term Budget Outlook:

If current laws remained generally unchanged, the United States would face steadily increasing federal budget deficits and debt over the next 30 years—reaching the highest level of debt relative to GDP ever experienced in this country. 

Figure 1-1

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July 13, 2016 in Congressional News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Do People Regret Going To Law School?

Journal of Legal Education (2014)JSTOR Daily, Do People Regret Going to Law School?:

Once upon a time, law school was a sure bet. You had three years of study and panicked over passing the Bar, but as soon as that was done you’d be set for life in a prestigious, high-paying job. Not so much anymore. The profession is in crisis, with more new lawyers than demand, and law schools are scaling back to protect their students.

Critics have suggested that going to law school is no longer a smart investment because with so few jobs, only those who go to the top 10 schools stand a chance of paying off the massive debt that law school incurs.

But these are the critiques from the outside. What do lawyers themselves say? In a 2013 paper, researchers Ronit Dinovitzer [Toronto], Bryant Garth [UC-Irvine] and Joyce Sterling [Denver] analyzed various sets of data to determine whether law school grads really had buyers’ remorse. [Buyers' Remorse? An Empirical Assessment of the Desirability of a Legal Career, 63 J. Legal Educ. 211 (2013)] ...

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July 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

NY Times:  Ireland, Home To U.S. ‘Inversions,’ Sees Huge (26%) Growth In GDP

IrelandNew York Times, Ireland, Home to U.S. ‘Inversions,’ Sees Huge Growth in G.D.P.:

In the United States, politicians, lawmakers and officials have derided “inversion deals,” which allow an American company to move its headquarters overseas to cut its tax bills. In Ireland, they are celebrating them.

The Irish government on Tuesday revised the country’s economic growth rate in 2015 to 26.3 percent from a preliminary estimate of 7.8 percent. While Ireland’s economy has been on the upswing since the country repaid its bailout, it wasn’t that the Celtic Tiger suddenly came roaring back in an unexpected way. Rather, it was the magic of those inversion deals and other sleights of finance.

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July 13, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times Debate:  Was It Proper For Justice Ginsburg To Denounce Trump?

NY Times Room for DebateNew York Times Room For Debate, Can a Supreme Court Justice Denounce a Candidate?:

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview on Friday. Trump’s election would have led her late husband to say, “‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,’” she added.

Her comments raised eyebrows even among her fans in the legal community. Is it ever appropriate for justices to announce a partisan position in an election?

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July 13, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (11)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1161

IRS Logo 2Politico, Freedom Caucus Threatens End Run Around Ryan on IRS Impeachment:

House conservatives are threatening to force a vote to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, bucking Republican leaders who don't believe his actions warrant such severe consequences.

Leaders of the House Freedom Caucus presented Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) with a choice on Tuesday: Move our impeachment resolution forward in committee on your own accord, or we will likely force the matter by filing a "privileged resolution." In other words, an end run around leadership to the House floor.

They want a commitment from Ryan by the end of the week on a timetable to advance the impeachment measure. ...

Ryan responded by asking the caucus to hold off on forcing any sudden action, according to a person familiar with a meeting with Ryan Tuesday at which caucus leaders brought up the matter. Republican lawmakers deserve a chance to discuss the matter in conference, Ryan said, adding that any further action on Koskinen should be a “team decision."

Conservatives used the same procedure a year ago to launch a pressure campaign that ultimately drove then-Speaker John Boehner from office. ...

Should Ryan and the Judiciary Committee fail to advance the impeachment resolution, the Freedom Caucus will likely file the privileged resolution. A floor vote, however, is unlikely to come before members break for summer recess this week. The House will return in September.

Even Republicans who don't like the idea and don't support it have said privately they will have to vote for impeachment for fear of how it will play back home should they vote the other way.

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July 13, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Access Group Releases New Law Student Loan Calculator

Access GroupAccess Group Launches New Student Loan Calculator for Law Students:

Access Group is pleased to announce the launch of a new and free student loan calculator designed for aspiring and current law school students as well as recent law school graduates.

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July 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Obama Administration Goes To Bat For Apple In EU Tax Dispute

ObamaAppleBloomberg, U.S. Treasury Chief Lew Set for Apple Tax Showdown With EU:

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew is set to meet with European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager this week as she prepares to deliver a final verdict on a probe into Apple Inc.’s tax affairs in Ireland.

The showdown comes days after Vestager’s team came up with two possible scenarios on how much tax Apple owes in Ireland, according to two people familiar with the case, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Lew has contacted Vestager urging her to avoid ordering any collection of back taxes from Apple, according to one of the people.

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July 12, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

IRS:  Birth Of Baby Is 'Unforeseen Circumstance' Justifying Pro Rata § 121 Exclusion Of Gain On Sale Of Home Owned Less Than 2 Years

NewbornThe § 121 exclusion of up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples) of gain on the gain on the  sale of a home requires that the home be used as the taxpayer's principal residence for at least two of the previous five years.  Section 121(c) allows a pro rata exclusion if the taxpayer's failure to meet the two year requirement is caused by "change of employment, health conditions, or such other unforeseen circumstances as may be specified by the Secretary."  Reg. § 1.121-3(e)(2) lists several unforeseen circumstances safe harbors, including:

  • involuntary conversion of the home
  • natural or man-made disasters or acts of war or terrorism resulting in a casualty to the home
  • death
  • unemployment
  • change in employment status that results in inability to pay housing costs and living expenses
  • divorce
  • multiple births resulting from the same pregnancy.  

In Priv. Ltr. Rul. 2016-28-002 (Apr. 11, 2016), the Service ruled that the birth of a second child constituted an unforeseen circumstance when the taxpayers purchased their two-bedroom condo.

July 12, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Israel To Deduct 'Martyr's Stipends' From Tax Payments To Palestinian Authority

FlagsReuters, Israel to Cut Palestinian Tax Transfers Over 'Terrorist Payouts':

Israel will reduce monthly transfers of tax collected on behalf of the Palestinians in what aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as a response to the killing of two Israelis in Palestinian attacks in the occupied West Bank this week.

The amount deducted from about $130 million sent to the Palestinian Authority (PA) each month will be equal to stipends it pays militants in Israeli prisons and the families of jailed or slain militants, Netanyahu's office said on Friday.

The move, which follows the killings of an Israeli man and girl in the West Bank this week, will be a blow to the already weak finances of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA). ...

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July 12, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morse & Deutsch:  Tax Anti-Avoidance Law In Australia And The U.S.

AUSSusan C. Morse  (Texas) & Robert Deutsch (Australia Administrative Appeals Tribunal), Tax Anti-Avoidance Law in Australia and the United States, 49 Int'l Law. 111 (2015):

In both Australia and the U.S., the tax anti-avoidance law has evolved to include two common doctrinal components. One component requires evidence of taxpayers’ tax avoidance purpose. The other component protects transactions clearly contemplated by the tax statute against charges of tax avoidance. The two bodies of law usually get to the same answer. Transactions involving loss generators, income assignment, and foreign tax credit generators illustrate this similarity.

But the two bodies of law sometimes arrive at different answers. This is because important but subtle doctrinal differences also exist. Australian law conceives of a tax avoidance transaction as a contrived, tax-motivated Plan B departure from the counterfactual of a more normal, Plan A course of action. Australia’s Part IVA has been applied to invalidate a planning step that is part of a larger, business-motivated merger transaction. In contrast, tax planning steps that are part of business-motivated merger and acquisition transactions generally are not vulnerable under U.S. law.

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July 12, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Law Professor Who Penned A 6-Page Response To Students Who Criticized Her 'Black Lives Matter' Shirt

LBLMFollowing up on Saturday's post:  Inside Higher Ed, The Law Professor Who Answered Back:

A few months ago, one or more anonymous students wrote a note to their law professor, complaining that she had been spotted at least once on campus wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt. The letter said wearing the shirt was "inappropriate" and "highly offensive." Further, it said "we do not spend three years of our lives and tens of thousands of dollars to be subjected to indoctrination or personal opinions of our professors," and urged the professor to avoid "mindless actions" that might distract students at a law school where not everyone is passing the bar.

The professor wrote back, not only defending her T-shirt, but also critiquing the students' understanding of the professor-student relationship. While the incident took place earlier this year, the students' letter and the professor's response went viral in the last week, as Black Lives Matters protests resumed after the killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Many have been applauding the professor, while some noted a lack of any information on who she was and whether the letters could be verified.

The professor is Patricia Leary, and she's been teaching at Whittier Law School since 1992. She's traveling right now andInside Higher Ed was unable to reach her directly. But the law school confirmed that the letters were legit and she was the author. Whittier is known for its diversity: nonwhite students make up a majority of the law school's student body.

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July 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

NY Times:  Liberal Profs Outnumber Conservative Profs 28:1 In New England

New EnglandNew York Times Sunday Review: There Are Conservative Professors. Just Not in These States, by Samuel J. Adams (Sarah Lawrence College):

In surveys of the ideological leanings of college faculty members by the Higher Education Research Institute from 1989 through 2014, the percentage of those identifying as liberal has always outnumbered moderates and conservatives, but the data show a notable shift left in the middle of the 1990s. In 1989, roughly 40 percent of professors were moderate and 40 percent were liberal; the remaining 20 percent were conservative. By 2014, liberal identifiers jumped to 60 percent, with moderates declining to 30 percent and conservatives to just 10 percent.

Lawrence 1A

But the story turns out to be more complicated than this, since the shift left is far from uniform. ...  Surprisingly, the factor that had the greatest impact on the ideological leanings of college professors was their geographic region.

And the region with the most impact? By far, New England.

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July 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)