Thursday, March 6, 2014
Suffolk University Law School is launching a master of laws (LLM) program in taxation that will allow students to receive an LLM and juris doctor (JD) in the same amount of time it takes to receive a JD.
Suffolk will be the first law school in New England to offer a joint degree in tax LLM. Compared to the JD program, the only additional time spent would be in an intensive 12-credit, 10-week summer program beginning May 2015. Students would also have to take eight credits of required tax courses as well as six credits of tax electives.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Charlotte Goldberg recently published a book entitled, Community Property, (August 2013). Provided below is a description of the book from Aspen Law:
With a unique, comparative approach and a problem-based pedagogy, Community Property helps students grasp the different ways each community property state address issues. The book follows a hypothetical couple, presenting issues such as premarital agreements, separate property business, divorce, and the like, and shows how each of the nine community property states would analyze the problem with statutes and representative cases. Interesting, accessible, contemporary cases illustrate important principles, and helpful charts in every chapter summarize how each community property state treats the concepts. Author Charlotte Goldberg has over thirty years of teaching experience and writing expertise; she is the author of the successful Examples & Explanations: California Community Property, as well as numerous law review articles on family law and marital property. Community Property’s manageable length makes it perfect for two-credit courses. Well-crafted Problems and Discussion Questions help students test their knowledge and facilitate class discussion, and a comprehensive Teachers Manual includes answers to questions and problems as well as teaching suggestions.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The South Carolina Law Review is hosting a symposium entitled, On Task?: Expanding the Boundaries of Legal Education, on February 27-28, 2014, at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Provided below is a description of this event:
The event will focus on a host of issues regarding how the market for legal services delivery continues to evolve, as well as the responses and challenges associated with that evolution. Our distinguished presenters, panelists, and authors are focusing on matters such as the expectations of clients and firms in today’s market, changes within and outside of the JD curriculum, and new platforms in legal services delivery, among other topics.
The Symposium will begin Thursday, February 27 at the University of South Carolina School of Law with a panel addressing ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education Report. The first day will conclude with a keynote address by James R. Silkenat. Currently serving as President of the American Bar Association, Mr. Silkenat has an illustrious record of service. He was a member of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, a member of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, and Co-Chair of the ABA Solo and Small Firm Leadership Coalition. He will undoubtedly provide those in attendance with unique insight into how the legal curriculum and profession can catch up to, and keep pace with, changes in the market for legal services delivery.
Friday, February, 28 will consist of presentations and panels addressing topics that are relevant to how law schools, and the legal academy more generally, can better prepare law students to enter the profession. Barbara Madsen, Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court, will deliver the Luncheon Keynote focused on limited licensing. The additional presentations and panels will also focus on ways in which lawyers, as well as law firms, can keep up with the rapidly evolving marketplace. The Symposium will offer attendees 9.25 hours of CLE credit, including 3.25 hours of ethics credit. Please note that the South Carolina Commission on CLE & Specialization has extended their postmark deadline until March 3, 2014 to accommodate those attending the event.
Friday, February 7, 2014
An American philanthropist donated $6 million to Cambridge University to fund a professorship in cosmology in Stephen Hawking’s name, but the donation is in danger of being rejected for being “too generous.”
Critics have circulated leaflets among members of the university’s governing body, Regent House, demanding a vote on the bequest because it is a “threat to meritocracy.”
The professorship is designed to ensure its holder earns twice as much as other University professors. Opponents of the bequest suspect it is intended to attract US academics, who are used to higher salaries than British professors.
See Paul Rodgers, US Philanthropist’s $6M for Stephen Hawking Professorship Is ‘Too Generous’, Say Cambridge Critics, Forbes, Feb. 5, 2014.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
New Alabama State University President Gwendolyn Boyd, is receiving some perks as she takes charge of the institution. Boyd, is earning $300,000 annually for her two year renewable contract. Additionally, she will also receive the standard employee benefits as well as a $1,000 monthly stipend to use her own vehicle. Moreover, the board of trustees will pay the vehicle insurance payments, and the school will give Boyd a credit card for gas and maintenance of the car. Boyd is also being compensated for relocating from Maryland with a $10,000 maximum relocation reimbursement.
See Evan Belanger New Alabama State University President to get $1,000-per-month Vehicle Allowance, up to $10,000 For Moving Expenses, Blog.al.com, Jan. 8, 2014.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Harvard University owns some bizarre things due to peculiar bequests by donors. Here are the top ten:
- The Falik Men’s Room. Alumnus William A. Falik donated $100,000 to the Law School, suggesting the university build a new restroom after him.
- The Walter Gropius-designed Dining Hall Tray. The German architect and chairman of Harvard’s Department of Architecture designed this tray, which stopped being used everyday in the late 60s and came to be called ‘the trashcan lid.’
- Gore Vidal’s fortune. Even though the renowned writer didn’t go to Harvard, he left his multimillion-dollar fortune to the university.
- A. E. Pillsbury’s “anti-feminism” bequest. The former Massachusetts Attorney General bequested $25,000 in 1931 to be used to combat the feminist movement. Harvard refused to accept.
- Name scholarships. Some donors leave scholarship money to be given to future students with a particular last name, like Thayer or Downer.
- Professor Arthur A. Maass’ free orchestra tickets. The government professor established a first-come, first-serve free ticketing program providing seven to eight free tickets a week to the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
- Real estate. Thanks to generous donors, Harvard Real Estate, Inc., owns and manages real estate all over the world.
- George Andrew Reisner’s mystery collection. The renowned Egyptologist bequested an extensive collection of mystery and thriller novels, some of which he personally graded.
- Forests. Harvard owns two forests: the Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, New York, and the Petersham in Worcester County.
- An unbelievable amount of money. Hansjorg Wyss broke the record in 2008 with a $125 million donation.
See Sally H. Na, 10 Peculiar Bequests in Harvard’s History, The Harvard Crimson, Dec. 5, 2013.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Karen J. Sneddon (Mercer Law School) recently published an article entitled, Trusts and Estates Drafting: Avoiding Rigor Mortis in the Law School Curriculum, Mercer Law Review Vol. 63, p. 1071, 2012 (November 19, 2011). Provided below is the abstract from SSRN:
Every day lawyers sit with fingers curled above keyboards and pens poised above notepads. Lawyers are writers. There may have been a time when the practice of law primarily involved oral communication. However, the practice of law has long since become one of written communication. Although most law schools pride themselves on producing client-ready graduates, few schools actually deliver on this promise, especially as it relates to transactional practice. This essay explores a course that I have developed, Trusts and Estates Drafting, and how the course complements recent curriculum changes at Mercer Law School.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
According to a recent survey, only a third of Americans over age 50 could answer these three questions correctly:
- Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2 percent a year. After five years, how much do you think you would have if you left the money to grow? More than $102, exactly $102 or less than $102?
- Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1 percent a year and that inflation was 2 percent. After one year, would you be able to buy more than, the same as or less than you could today with the money?
- Do you think this statement is true or false: “Buying a single company stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund”?
This lack of financial literacy is troubling given the complexity of our modern economy. One approach gaining steam is to include household finance in basic high school curriculum. However, a new paper by three business school professors concludes that financial education is not particularly helpful.
A viable alternative may include just-in-time education, which provides assistance right before a decision is made. Just-in-time education could help with student loans, mortgages, and retirement; however, those most in need of such help would be unlikely to seek it out.
Another approach is to develop simple rules of thumb that would help people cope with big decisions. Examples could include “invest as much as possible in your 401(k) plan” or “save 15 percent of your income.”
A third approach, and probably the most helpful, would be to make our current financial system more user-friendly. Making it simpler to choose a suitable mortgage, invest in 401(k)s, and use credit cards and checking accounts would have to help people make sounder financial decisions.
See Richard H. Thaler, Financial Literacy, Beyond the Classroom, The New York Times, Oct. 5, 2013.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Last year, Warren Buffett alone gave away $3.084 billion to charity. Now, Buffett is teaching others how to follow in his footsteps and maximize charitable giving with his free online course, Giving with Purpose. One of the biggest takeaways from this course is a four-step process known as the RISE Framework for Social Change, which helps those wishing to give to decide whether a given charity merits their contribution.
- Relevance. Determine what motivates you personally to ensure your money will make a real difference.
- Impact. Make sure the money you are giving to charity as well as the time, skills, or outreach you are providing is going to an organization that actually has an impact.
- Sustainability. Invest in nonprofits that aren’t solely dependent on asking donors for more money.
- Excellence in Management and Operations. Observe the organization’s facilities, communications, and management to determine if the cause is being adequately addressed.
See Allison Kade, 4 Charitable Giving Tips from Warren Buffett, Forbes, Sept. 6, 2013.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Now that the Labor Department has required 401k plans to report fees to retirement savers, Yale researcher Ian Ayres is planning to publish fund fees comparisons of thousands of 401k plans. Professor Ayres isn’t doing this merely for the sake of academia; he’s sending letters to “high cost” plan sponsors demanding they change their practices and offer low-fee products or end up being identified as “high cost” in his research.
This plan has the retirement industry up in arms with investor lawsuits and Congressional hearings soon to be expected. Afraid of this unwanted publicity, plan advisers are calling Professor Ayres’s tactics “harassment.” This reaction is understandable as a plan comparison would beg “the uncomfortable question of why high adviser fees don’t necessarily correspond to better performance.”
See Mitch Tuchman, Meet the Yale Prof Ripping the Lid Off 401k Fund Fees, Forbes, July 26, 2013.