Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Fri 4/7 - IRS $47b to Compliance, NYU Law Review Students Want to Get Paid, Thomas the Jetsetter and M&A Deals are Way Down

Fri 4/7 - IRS $47b to Compliance, NYU Law Review Students Want to Get Paid, Thomas the Jetsetter and M&A Deals are Way Down

In today’s episode we have the IRS allocating $47b to improve compliance, NYU students on law review want to get paid, Clarence Thomas is a jetsetter and M&A deals are way down.

The IRS plans to use more than half of its $80 billion in new funding to increase enforcement efforts on large corporations and wealthy individuals who are not paying their fair share of taxes. The agency will devote $47.4 billion to auditing “taxpayers with complex tax filings and high-dollar noncompliance,” including large corporations and complex partnerships. The agency has seen a decline in its staff of auditors working on large, complex cases, which has reduced its ability to maintain sufficient audit coverage. However, the new funding will enable the agency to hire more accountants, attorneys, data scientists, and specialists, and boost the size of its enforcement workforce by more than 7,200 by fiscal 2024. The IRS will also increase its scrutiny of digital asset transactions, listed transactions, and certain international issues that it has not had the resources to fully examine in the past. The stepped-up audits will not affect those earning less than $400,000 a year, as promised by the Biden administration. The increased enforcement efforts are not only important in their own right, but they will also increase people’s willingness to pay the taxes they owe and maintain their trust in the fairness of the tax system.

IRS to Devote Much of $80 Billion to Auditing Rich Taxpayers (1)

Students at New York University School of Law are demanding pay or academic credit for working on law journals. Currently, students who work on law reviews, which are considered a stepping stone to elite legal circles, do so without pay or academic credit. The students argue that the lack of compensation limits access to law review membership, as only those who can afford to work for free are able to participate. The students also contend that the reflected prestige of law journals benefits the university, and that the cost of paying students is reasonable given the high tuition fees at NYU Law. The administrators have met with students to discuss the issue, but no decisions have been made. While NYU does offer academic credit to third-year students for checking citations, it does not compensate students for their journal work. Law firms value law review experience as a training ground and as a way for budding lawyers to distinguish themselves from their peers, and students at NYU hope that paying law students for journal work will become a precedent at other law schools.

Making Law Review Is Career Gold. NYU Students Want Cash Too

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin has announced that his committee will take action following a ProPublica report that revealed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted luxury trips from a Dallas-based GOP donor. The report detailed gifts of trips on private yachts and jets and luxury accommodations over two decades, which Thomas never reported. This appears to violate a Watergate-era law requiring justices and other federal officials to disclose most gifts they receive. The nine justices of the Supreme Court are the only federal judges who aren’t formally bound by a code of conduct. Durbin called the report a “call to action” and said it shows the high court needs a statutory code of conduct. Another Democratic senator, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, said the report will give fresh momentum to his long-standing drive for legislation that would require the Judicial Conference of the United States to create a code of ethical conduct for the Supreme Court.

More specifically, the ProPublica report outlines how Clarence Thomas has taken luxury trips every year for over two decades with Dallas businessman and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, without disclosing them. If he had chartered the plane and yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Thomas is a public servant with a salary of $285,000. He has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht, flown on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet, and spent about a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks. The extent and frequency of Crow’s apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court. Through his largesse, Crow has gained a unique form of access, spending days in private with one of the most powerful people in the country. By accepting the trips, Thomas has broken long-standing norms for judges’ conduct, ethics experts and four current or retired federal judges said. ProPublica uncovered the details of Thomas’ travel by drawing from flight records, internal documents distributed to Crow’s employees, and interviews with dozens of people.

Clarence Thomas Secretly Accepted Luxury Trips From GOP Donor — ProPublica

Clarence Thomas Luxury Gift Report Prompts Ethics Code Talk (1)

Global mergers and acquisitions activity has declined to its lowest level in over a decade in the first quarter of 2023, with the total value of global announced M&A deals reaching $580bn, down 44% from the same period last year, according to data from Refinitiv. The decrease in activity is due to rising interest rates, high inflation, and recession fears, leading companies to be cautious in dealmaking. Leading law firms have been impacted by this decline, with fewer deals being advised on and a smaller combined value of deals.

Law firms share the pain as global M&A deals dry up | Reuters

Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
The idea is that this podcast can accompany you on your commute home and will render you minimally competent on the major legal news stories of the day. The transcript is available in the form of a newsletter at
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Andrew Leahey 🦣