Thursday, July 28, 2016

Some questions for Professor Benjamin H. Barton about his use of IRS data to estimate solo practitioner incomes (Michael Simkovic)

After Tuesday's post explaining why IRS schedule C data dramatically underestimates incomes for solo practitioners and other sole proprietors, Professor Benjamin H. Barton emailed to indicate that his views remained unchanged and he did not intend to respond beyond his previous comments on Professor Stephen Diamond's blog.  Barton's comments did not address many of the issues I raised. 

On Wednesday, I asked Professor Barton to consider the following questions:

1) Do you think that 20 million or so U.S. small business owners are living below the poverty threshold for a 2 person household?

2) Do you think the IRS is wrong about its own data and schedule C does not in fact understate net income?  Why do you think that you understand IRS data, IRS enforcement capabilities, and the level of tax evasion better than the IRS?

3) Do you think that everyone who files schedule C has no other sources of income?

4) Do you think that Treasury and JCT estimates of tax expenditures are way off and exclusions and deductions from tax concepts of income are negligible?

5) If apples to apples comparisons using schedule C data show that legal services sole proprietorships are more profitable than 97 percent of sole proprietorships, is that something you should mention?  Would you at least agree that using schedule C data for legal services and census data for everyone else is a methodological error?

Professor Barton has not yet responded.

July 28, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Science, Weblogs | Permalink

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

10 Most-Cited Family Law Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive) [CORRECTED]

Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:    

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Martha Fineman

Emory University

  580

66

2

Naomi Cahn

George Washington University

  540

58

3

Elizabeth Scott

Columbia University

  520

71

4

Lynn Wardle

Brigham Young University

  380

69

5

Mark Strasser

Capital University

  360

61

6

June Carbone

University of Minnesota

  340

62

 

Nancy Polikoff

American University

  340

64

 

Robin Wilson

University of Illinois

  340

48

9

Joanna Grossman

Southern Methodist University

  310

48

10

Susan Appleton

Washington University, St. Louis

  260

68

   

Runners-up:

   
 

Jill Hasday

University of Minnesota

  250

44

 

Carol Sanger

Columbia University

  250

68

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Martha Minow

Harvard University

1160

62

 

Janet Halley

Harvard University

  420

64

 

Katharine Bartlett

Duke University

  380

69

 

Mary Anne Case

University of Chicago

  330

59

 

I. Glenn Cohen       

Harvard University

  320    

38

 

July 27, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How much do lawyers working in solo practice actually earn? (Michael Simkovic)

In 2015, Professor Benjamin Barton of the University of Tennessee estimated for CNN.com, and Business Insider that attorneys working in solo practice earn an average of slightly less than $50,000 per year.  Barton made similar estimates in his book, “Glass Half Full.”  Professor Stephen Diamond of Santa Clara argues that solo incomes are quite a bit higher. (Barton responded in the comments section).

There is little doubt that solo practitioners typically earn substantially less than lawyers working in large Wall Street Law firms.  However, a closer reading of the Internal Revenue Service data on which Barton relies and Census data both suggest that solo practitioner average (mean) annual earnings are likely closer to $100,000.  

 

    I. Average (Mean) Incomes of Lawyers: Census Income Data vs. IRS Schedule C Net Income Data

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, average (mean) total personal income for lawyers who are “self employed, not incorporated” (a proxy for those in small legal practice) was around $140,000 in 2012 and 2013.  For those who were self-employed, incorporated (a proxy for those who are owners of larger legal practices) average total personal income was around $180,000 to $190,000.  These average figures include those working part time.  Restricting the sample to those working full-time increases average earnings for “self employed, not incorporated” lawyers to around $160,000 to $165,000 and for the “self-employed, incorporated” lawyers to $185,000 to $200,000.

Barton based his earnings estimates on average “net income” data from the Internal Revenue Services Statistics of Income for Non-farm Sole Proprietorships  for “Legal Services (NAICS Code 5411)”.  This data is based on Schedule C of form 1040, which is used to calculate one of several sources of income on an individual tax return (“Business Income or Loss”). 

Looking at the same IRS schedule-C net-income data for all non-farm sole proprietorships and applying Barton’s reasoning suggests that in 2013, 24 million American small business owners earned an average (mean) income of $12,500.  This is barely above the poverty threshold for a 1 person household, and considerably lower than average (mean) earned income figures for all Americans reported by the U.S. Census’s American Community Survey (around $47,000 including only those who are employed in some capacity, and $22,000 averaging in everyone—children, the retired, and those not in the work force).

 

    A. IRS Schedule C Data Is Biased Downward:

What explains the large discrepancy between low IRS sole proprietor net income data and higher Census earnings data—for lawyers and for everyone else?  There are several problems with IRS sole proprietor data that are likely to lead to dramatic underestimation of individual earnings. 

Continue reading

July 26, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Science | Permalink

Annals of "bullshit" rankings

Rankings are fun, sure, but it's good to figure out wheter the metric means something (anything!) lest one produce nonsense.  Case in point:  ranking law reviews by Google Scholar h-indices.  The problem (we've encountered it in philosophy in the past, but now everyone there knows Google  Scholar is worthless for measuring journal impact) is that there is no control for the volume of publishing by each journal, so any journal that publishes more pages and articles per year will do better than a peer journal with the same actual impact that publishes fewer articles and pages.

UPDATE:  In the case of philosophy, Synthese was the number 1 journal in "impact" according to the nonsense Google number--this was obviously ludicrous, as everyone in academic philosophy knew.  But Synthese also publishes five to ten times as many articles per year as the actual leading journals in the field.  One philosopher adjusted the results for volume of publication, and lo and behold, Synthese rank fell dramatically.

July 26, 2016 in Rankings | Permalink

Monday, July 25, 2016

Most-Cited lists: what's coming

Two more subject-matter areas:  Family Law and Legal Ethics/Legal Profession/Professional Responsibility.  And then a list of schools by the per capita rate at which their tenured faculty made one of the many most-cited lists.   I should have these lists out by mid-August at the latest.

July 25, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lateral hires with tenure or on tenure-track, 2015-16

THIS IS THE LAST TIME I AM MOVING THIS TO THE FRONT FOR THE PAST HIRING SEASON--THE 2016-17 INITIAL LIST WILL APPEAR HERE ON AUGUST 1

These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2016 (except where noted); I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in.   Recent additions are in bold. Last year's list is here.   

 

*Edward Afield (tax) from Ava Maria School of Law to Georgia State University.

 

*Lisa Alexander (corporate, contracts, housing & urban development law) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison to Texas A&M University.

 

*Mark Alexander (constitutional law, law & politics) from Seton Hall University to Villanova University (to become Dean).

 

*James Anaya (international human rights) from the University of Arizona to the University of Colorado, Boulder (to become Dean).

 

*RonNell Anderson (constitutional law, First Amendment, media law) from Brigham Young University to the University of Utah.

 

*Margo Bagley (patents, international patent law) from the University of Virginia to Emory University.

 

*Craig Boise (tax, international tax, corporate tax) from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University to Syracuse University (to become Dean).

 

*Zack Buck (health law) from Mercer University to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (untenured lateral).

 

*Michael Cahill (criminal law) from Brooklyn Law School to Rutgers University (as Co-Dean).

 

*Dale Carpenter (constitutional law) from the University of Minnesota to Southern Methodist University.

 

*James Coleman (energy law) from the University of Calgary to Southern Methodist University (untenured lateral).

 

*Nicolas Cornell (contracts, law & philosophy) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to the University of Michigan (law) (untenured lateral) (starting in fall 2017).

 

*Eric Dannenmaier (environmental law) from Indiana University, Indianapolis to Northern Illinois University (to become Dean). 

Continue reading

July 24, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

Friday, July 22, 2016

Revenge porn law introduced in Congress

An important milestone; law professor Mary Anne Franks (Miami), the primary author of the bill, is quoted in the article.

(Thanks to Jason Walta for the pointer.)

UPDATE:  An op-ed by Prof. Franks about the law.  If there is, in fact, a successful First Amendment challenge to the law, it would just be a further indication of how wrong U.S. free speech doctrine is in important respects.

July 22, 2016 in Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ten Most-Cited Antitrust Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive)

  Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:    

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Herbert Hovenkamp

University of Iowa

1070

68

2

Daniel Crane

University of Michigan

  400

46

3

William Kovacic

George Washington University

  390

64

 

Joshua Wright

George Mason University

  390

39

5

Michael Carrier

Rutgers University (Camden)

  370

47

6

Christopher Leslie

University of California, Irvine

  340

52

 

Daniel Rubinfeld

New York University

  340

71

8

C. Scott Hemphill

New York University

  310

43

9

Spencer Waller

Loyola University, Chicago

  280

59

10

Timothy Muris

George Mason University

  250

67

   

Runners-up for the top ten

   
 

Jonathan Baker

American University

  240

61

 

Fred McChesney

University of Miami

  240

68

 

William Page

University of Florida

  240

65

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Mark Lemley

Stanford University

2400

50

 

Louis Kaplow

Harvard University

1150

60

 

Einer Elhauge

Harvard University

  680

55

 

George Priest

Yale University

  570

63

 

Keith Hylton

Boston University

  440

56

 

July 21, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Obligations of law faculty to disclose research supported by those with a stake in the findings?

Prof. Jeff Sovern (St. John's) writes:

I have been wondering about the extent of law professors’ ethical obligations to disclose when their research has been supported by a grant from a group with a stake in the findings, and because you are the de facto moderator of the law professor village square, I wondered if you would consider posting the item below to your blog and seeking comment. I apologize for its length.

 

A grant that results in the publication of a law review article or similar publication should be acknowledged in the article, but what about later work in the same general area that espouses a policy position consistent with what the grantor would have wanted? That issue is germane to a 2013 article in The Nation, The Scholars Who Shill for Wall Street which criticized academics (notably, George Mason’s Todd Zywicki) for failing to disclose in papers, congressional testimony, speeches, op-eds, etc. compensated work for the financial industry.  The AALS has been rather vague on this subject, but here’s what it said in its Statement of Good Practices by Law Professors in the Discharge of Their Ethical and Professional Responsibilities: “Sponsored or remunerated research should always be acknowledged with full disclosure of the interests of the parties. If views expressed in an article were also espoused in the course of representation of a client or in consulting, this should be acknowledged.” It’s not at all clear to me that the conduct described in The Nation article violated that policy.

 

My own concern is more personal.  My law school (St. John’s) accepted a grant from an organization with ties to a particular industry.  My co-authors and I conducted a survey financed by this grant (we had to purchase a software license, compensate those who completed the survey, and so on) and published a law review article about our findings.  We had complete control over the survey and what we wrote about our findings and the grantor did not comment on them; in all respects, its behavior was exemplary.  We acknowledged the funder in the article.  Later, I wrote some op-eds about our work, and acknowledged the grantor again.  Still later, I wrote op-eds about the broader subject, giving no more than a sentence to our research, or not mentioning it at all. Do I have an obligation in the later op-eds to mention the grantor?  Would readers want to know that my law school accepted money from the grantor which supported my research?  If your answer is no, do you see anything wrong with the conduct described in The Nation article?  If you answer is yes, would it be different if the funder were not associated with a particular industry or point of view?

 

Perhaps the AALS would consider updating and elaborating on its statement.  It might be a good project for professors specializing in professional responsibility. When the AALS re-evaluates a school for membership every seven years, does it inquire into compliance with this aspect of its Statement of Good Practices?  Should it? 

Good questions, I've opened it for comments.  (Submit your comment only once, comments are moderated, and may take awhile to appear.)

July 20, 2016 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hiring committees can announce themselves...

...and their curricular priorities here.

July 19, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, July 18, 2016

A first sign of trouble with the new Elsevier-owned SSRN

Ten Most-Cited Torts/Products Liability/Insurance Law Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive)

 Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:   

 

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

John C.P. Goldberg

Harvard University

  550

55

2

Benjamin Zipursky

Fordham University

  470

56

3

Tom Baker

University of Pennsylvania

  450

57

4

Robert Rabin

Stanford University

  410

77

5

Catherine Sharkey

New York University

  400

46

6

Kenneth Abraham

University of Virginia

  350

70

7

Anita Bernstein

Brooklyn Law School

  290

55

 

Stephen Sugarman

University of California, Berkeley

  290

74

9

David Rosenberg

Harvard University

  270

73 (est.)

10

Michael Green

Wake Forest University

  240

66

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in these areas

   
 

Richard Epstein

New York University; University of Chicago

2680

73

 

Steven Shavell

Harvard University

1340

70

 

Saul Levmore

University of Chicago

  550

63

 

Keith Hylton

Boston University

  440

56

July 18, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Penn Law (joint with Political Science) hires leading international affairs and human rights scholar Beth Simmons from Harvard

Penn's press release.

July 12, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

Cooter & Ulen's famous Law & Econ text is now available for free download...

...from Berkeley.

(Thanks to Dean Rowan for the pointer.)

July 12, 2016 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice | Permalink

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Most-Cited Critical Theory Law Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive)

This includes faculty who work in critical race theory, feminist legal theory, and critical legal studies (though the latter has been moribund for some time).  Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:   

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Martha Minow

Harvard University

1160

62

2

Richard Delgado

University of Alabama

  860

76

3

Catharine MacKinnon

University of Michigan

  730

70

4

Kimberle Crenshaw

Columbia University; University of

California, Los Angeles

  650

57

5

Robin West

Georgetown University

  610

62

6

Martha Fineman

Emory University

  580

66

7

Michelle Alexander

Ohio State University

  550

49

8

Angela Harris

University of California, Davis

  540

55

9

Joan Williams

University of California, Hastings

  530

64

10

Jerry Kang

University of California, Los Angeles

  520

48

 

Dorothy Roberts

University of Pennsylvania

  520

60

12

Lani Guinier

Harvard University

  500

66

13

Charles Lawrence

University of Hawaii

  490

73

14

Ian Haney Lopez

University of California, Berkeley

  470

52

15

Devon Carbado

University of California, Los Angeles

  460

50

16

Elizabeth Schneider

Brooklyn Law School

  450

68

17

Randall Kennedy

Harvard University

  430

62

18

Charles Ogletree

Harvard University

  410

64

19

Katharine Bartlett

Duke University

  380

69

20

Katherine Franke

Columbia University

  370

57

   

Runner-up for the top twenty

   
 

Ruth Colker

Ohio State University

  360

60

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in critical theories of law

   
 

Mark Tushnet

Harvard University

1880

71

 

Jack Balkin

Yale University

1710

59

 

Deborah Rhode

Stanford University

1080

64

 

G. Mitu Gulati

Duke University

  860

50

 

July 6, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Number of "highly-cited" law faculty by school

So far, we've covered 15 specialty areas (putting to one side the "ten most-cited list" all of whom showed up elsewhere obviously):   Constitutional & Public Law, Corporate Law & Securities Regulation, Commercial Law, International Law, Administrative and/or Environmental Law, Criminal Law & Procedure, Intellectual Property, Civil Procedure, Property, Tax, Evidence, Law & Economics, Law & Social Science (excluding Economics), Legal History, and Law & Philosophy.   Some more areas will be coming during the summer, but now seems a good time to take a look a the breakdown of faculty affiliations.  Schools differ in faculty size, of course, so I've put them into three rough clusters--the number of ranked faculty (no one was counted twice, even if they appeared more than once) appears in parentheses after the school.  I only listed schools with at least five faculty on the lists.

Schools with roughly 80-100 tenured faculty

New York University (22)

Harvard University (21)

Georgetown University (10)

Schools with roughly 50-65 tenured faculty

Yale University (22)

Columbia University (17)

University of California, Berkeley (15)

University of California, Los Angeles (10)

George Washington University (7)

University of Texas, Austin (7)

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (6)

University of Virginia (5)

Schools with roughly 45 or fewer tenured faculty

University of Chicago (13)

Stanford University (12)

Duke University (9)

University of Pennsylvania (9)

Vanderbilt University (8)

Cornell University (7)

Northwestern University (6)

University of California, Irvine (5)

University of Minnesota (5) 

July 5, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, June 30, 2016

10 Most-Cited Civil Procedure Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive) (CORRECTED, June 30)

Once again, drawing on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:   

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Arthur Miller

New York University

1300

82

2

Judith Resnik

Yale University

1060

66

3

Kevin Clermont

Cornell University

  680

71

4

Stephen Burbank

University of Pennsylvania

  580

69

5

Richard Marcus

University of California, Hastings

  490

68

6

Deborah Hensler

Stanford University

  430

74

7

A. Benjamin Spencer

University of Virginia

  390

42

8

James Pfander

Northwestern University

  360

60

9

Scott Dodson

University of California, Hastings

  310

43

 

Linda Mullenix

University of Texas, Austin

  310

66

 

Linda Silberman

New York University

  310

72

 

Runner-up

     
 

Michael Solimine

University of Cincinnati

  300

60

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Geoffrey Miller

New York University

1150

66

 

Martin Redish

Northwestern University

1105

71

 

Samuel Issacharoff

New York University

1080

62

 

Pamela Karlan

Stanford University

  830

57

 

Robert Bone

University of Texas, Austin

  700

65

June 30, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

One benefit of Elsevier taking over SSRN...

...you can now search the full text of papers on SSRN.

June 30, 2016 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

The "Chicago-Style" article

Finally, a clear explanation of what most of my colleagues are doing!

June 30, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

10 Most-Cited Property Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive)

Once again, drawing on the data from the 2015 Sisk study: 

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Carol Rose

University of Arizona

710

76

2

Henry Smith

Harvard University

680

51

3

Joseph William Singer

Harvard University

580

62

4

Michael Heller

Columbia University

560

54

5

Vicki Been

New York University

450

60

6

Stewart Sterk

Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University

400

66

7

Lee Fennell

University of Chicago

390

50

8

Gregory Alexander

Cornell University

360

69

9

Eduardo Penalver

Cornell University

330

45

10

Nestor Davidson

Fordham University

280

49

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Thomas Merrill

Columbia University

1590

67

 

Gideon Parchomovsky

University of Pennsylvania

  650

48

 

Lior Strahilevitz

University of Chicago

  440

43

 

Stuart Banner

University of California, Los Angeles

  390

53

 

David Dana

Northwestern University

  350

51

 

June 28, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink