TaxProf Blog

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

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Spotlight_1The UCLA School of Law made one of the largest leaps in the latest US News survey of tax programs, moving from #25 in 2002 to #6 in 2004. In large part, this move was fueled by the unprecedented hiring of three tax professors in 2003, joining the four tax professors already on the faculty to form one of the strongest tax faculties in the country. 


Ucla_seal_1The resurgence of UCLA’s tax program is evident in its many activities planned for this year, including its Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium this Spring, the UCLA Law Review's Symposium on Rethinking Redistribution: Tax Policy in an Era of Rising Inequality in January, UCLA’s Institute on Tax Aspects of Mergers and Acquisitions in May, and the hosting of a Conference on Historical Perspectives on Tax Law & Policy in July. Moreover, because of the combination of an expanded tax faculty and substantial student interest, the UCLA Program in Business Law and Policy will offer a separate tax track in its business law concentration starting next year.

In a seven-part series, TaxProf Blog will spotlight the tax professors who make up the heart of UCLA’s tax program.

Thompson_1In Spring 2003, UCLA School of Law welcomed back Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. as Professor of Law and Director of the UCLA Law Center for the Study of Mergers and Acquisitions. The Center holds annual conferences on tax, corporate and related aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Sam is a leading expert on mergers and acquisitions and teaches courses on Business Planning for Mergers and Acquisitions, Special Topics in Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Taxation, International Taxation, Investment Banking, Banking Law, Telecommunications Law, and Antitrust.

Thompson earned a B.S. from West Chester University in 1965, where he played varsity football, an M.A. in Applied Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Graduate School of Economics in 1969, a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1971, and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University in 1973. Between his first and second years of law school, he served for three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising to the rank of captain. He received the Navy Commendation Medal for service in Vietnam.

Sam's done just about everything a tax law professor could do, but not necessarily in the same order as anyone else. In 1971-72 and again in 1975-76 he was an associate with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. From 1973-75, Sam served his first academic stint as an assistant and an associate professor of law at Northwestern. He served as an attorney-advisor in the Office of Tax Legislative Counsel and International Tax Counsel for the Treasury Department (1976-77). He subsequently joined the faculty at Virginia as a professor (1977-81). Feeling he had more to learn, Thompson then returned to practice and for the next nine years served as the Partner-in-Charge of the tax department at the Chicago law firm of Schiff Hardin & Waite.

Wanting to return to law teaching, branch out from his pure tax practice, and explore broader issues in mergers and acquisitions, Thompson joined the UCLA faculty in 1990, teaching courses on mergers and acquisitions and corporate taxation. In 1994 he left to become Dean of Miami. After leaving the deanship in 1998, he remained a member of the Miami faculty while also serving as the Jacquin D. Bierman Visiting Professor at Yale, as a Tax Policy advisor, on behalf of the Treasury Department, to the Ministry of Finance, Pretoria, South Africa for 15 months, and as the Edwin S. Cohen Visiting Professor of Law at Virginia.

In addition to these posts, Sam performed government service at a number of different levels. In Summer 2001, he served as an Attorney Fellow in the Office of Mergers and Acquisitions at the SEC, and in the Summer 2002 he served as a consultant on merger issues with the FTC. In the Summer 2003, he served as a consultant in the European Commission’s Merger Task Force in Brussels, which scrutinizes mergers for antitrust compliance.

Sam has published numerous books and articles, including: Business Planning for Mergers and Acquisitions (Carolina Academic Press, 2d ed. 2001) and Taxation of Business Entities (West, 2d ed. 2001). Sam’s most recent book, Citizen’s Guide to U.S. Economic Growth and the Bush-Kerry Economic Debate (blogged here) was published in September 2004. His new book Corporate Taxation through the Lens of Mergers and Acquisitions (Carolina Academic Press, 2005) is in press. He is also working on the third edition of Business Planning for Mergers and Acquisitions and on a new book, U.S. International Tax Planning and Policy (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming).

Sam’s hobby is jogging and he loves running on the UCLA track, where he watches with awe elite runners like Maurice Greene train. For many years, Sam has run in the Masters’ 4x400 Relay (i.e., the old guys) in the Penn Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Although his team never wins, he always gets great enjoyment out of competing in the country’s largest relay event. Sam’s father, who ran in the Penn Relays in 1927, first took Sam to the Penn Relays when Sam was 12. In the past 49 years, Sam has only missed the relays four times. He has been on a relay team for ten years, most recently with his brother, Eddie.

Sam is particularly happy to have come back to UCLA amidst its renaissance in tax and business law. In a comment almost as fast as his 400m times, he explained his return: “Res Ipsa Loquitur!”

For prior UCLA tax faculty profiles, see:

Each Saturday, TaxProf Blog shines the spotlight on one of the 700+ tax professors in America's law schools. We hope to help bring the many individual stories of scholarly achievements, teaching innovations, public service, and career moves within the tax professorate to the attention of the broader tax community. Please email me suggestions for future Tax Prof Profiles. For prior Tax Prof Profiles, see here.

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