TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, July 23, 2004

New Columbia Dean Says Teaching Tax Is Like Making Students Eat Spinach

Friday, July 23, 2004

PopeyeThe Chronicle of Higher Education has a nice quote from new Columbia Dean (and Tax Prof) David Schizer on teaching tax:

Mr. Schizer, who won a teaching award at Columbia in 2003, says he believes that the stereotype of the dull tax lawyer has been a benefit to him. "It's like spinach -- they think they have to eat it," he says of students taking tax-law courses. "But then it turns out that there are all these legal and policy issues. In the teaching of tax we benefit from the power of low expectations."
I made a similar point in my article, Tax Myopia, or Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Tax Lawyers, 13 Va. Tax. Rev. 517, 521 (1994):
The students' initial hostility toward tax and the complexity of the Code often inure to the benefit of the professor. Most students approach tax with trepidation, and are relieved when the course is not as bad as they had feared. The students generally appreciate the tax professor who helps them through the complexity thicket. In the rare case where the tax course is every bit as bad as they had feared, the students tend to blame the subject more than the professor.
(Thanks to Eric Lustig (New England) for the tip.)

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Would law students be more interested in tax law if they were better aware of tax policies behind Code provisions?

Posted by: Shag from Brookline | Jul 23, 2004 5:28:02 AM