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  • A Bi-Monthly Electronic Publication for Section Members
  • DECEMBER 2007

TE Article


New Taxation LL.M.s Available on the Internet Next Fall

By: John C. McCaffrey, Research Scholar NYU School of Law Graduate Tax Program, Chair, Economics & Technology of the Practice Committee, ABA Real Property Trusts & Estate Section.

Starting next Fall, lawyers from around the world will be able to get two new LL.M.s in Taxation online. Both the University of Alabama and New York University Schools of Law are planning on opening their virtual doors to qualified students on the Internet.

University of Alabama

On November 8, 2007 the University Of Alabama announced that it would start a two-year program organized around webcasted, interactive, audio and video. According to Dan Powell, Director of the Program, professors selected by the University of Alabama from around the country will be able to log in and lead discussions from their desktops.

This program is innovative in that it is using web-streaming video conference technology. According to the U of A press release, students will interact in real-time with professors using video, audio, and instant messages and they can also view archived videos. Students will also meet and collaborate with other students using these same methods, as well as download course materials and communicate through instructor-sponsored bulletin boards on the course websites.

Interactivity is a major goal of the classes conducted by this program, added Mr. Powell. Students will be able to see the instructor, speak, or text chat in real-time with the instructor and classmates, view and even share whiteboards during class sessions. Students will be able to move to break-out rooms to collaborate on a project, and then present it to the entire class, as the class is being conducted.

Classes will meet on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. (CST) for six semesters over two calendar years. The first session begins in August 2008. The application deadline is May 1, 2008. According to U of A's website, the following will be the curriculum for the Program:

Summer 2008

One Weekend Orientation at Law School
Introduction to Tax Research

Fall 2008

Personal Income Tax
Tax Procedure

Spring 2009

Corporate Tax
Capital Transactions

Summer 2009

Partnership Tax
Comprehensive Exams/Advanced Research at Law School

Fall 2009

Estate and Gift Tax
State and Local Tax

Spring 2010

Students choose one of the following combinations

Advanced Partnership Tax/
Advanced Corporate Tax

Income Taxation of Estates & Trusts/
Tax Exempt Organizations

Students also choose one of the following courses

Estate Planning/Drafting
Tax Accounting

Summer 2010

Students choose one of the following courses

International Tax
Criminal Tax Procedure

And one of the following courses

Deferred Compensation
Advanced Capital Transactions

The University of Alabama School of Law has offered a tax LL.M. program since 1977, and has been providing distance education video conferencing components as part of the Southern Regional Educational Consortium. For more information or an application, visit www.alabamallm.com, or send an email to llmtax@law.ua.edu.

. NYU School of Law Graduate Tax Program

On September 19, 2007, the NYU Law School faculty voted unanimously to approve the launch of an “Executive LL.M. in Taxation” in the Fall 2008 semester. The program is currently seeking regulatory approval with the New York State Department of Education, so some final details of the program may be subject to change.

The proposal stated that nearly every aspect of this degree will be identical to that which current part-time students at the NYU Graduate Tax Program enjoy: the same admissions criteria, same grading curve and pool as full-time and part-time students, same professors, courses, assignments, exams, etc. The difference is that online students will “attend” lectures by viewing videos via their course websites.

Unlike the University of Alabama program, NYU does not propose to enable students to communicate live with the professors teaching the class. Rather, NYU video records selected Graduate Tax classes that are occurring in the Law School and then posts those recordings on the course web sites. In addition, if the lectures and materials are still pedagogically sound, the videos and course materials will be made available in subsequent semesters, with the same professor monitoring Discussion Boards, answering questions via e-mail, phone, drop-in office hours, etc. Students are all required to keep apace with one another by attendance requirements monitored by the program’s staff. According to Noel Cunningham, Faculty Director of the NYU Graduate Tax Program, this will enable NYU to have a broader array of online offerings.

This new degree, which builds on an existing pilot program for current part-time LL.M. students in place since 2004 (which permits part-time students to complete up to half of their degree requirements online), will permit Executive LL.M. students to earn all but 4 of their 24 credits toward their degrees online. NYU also has three Advanced Professional Certificate programs -- in Corporate Taxation, Estate Planning, and International Taxation, each of which only requires 12 credits and which may also be obtained online. For more information on these programs, send an email to Rebecca Richards, Director of the Graduate Tax Program at richardsr@juris.law.nyu.edu.


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