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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Spotlight_1_1Andrew Pike (American)

        • B.A. 1972, Swarthmore
        • J.D. 1976, Pennsylvania
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Pike Unlike many professors highlighted in the Taxprof Spotlight, I was a tax geek early on. Before my first year at Penn Law, my career goal was to work in the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy!

  As background, I majored in economics at Swarthmore College and, after graduation, I worked as a research assistant to the late Joseph Pechman of the Brookings Institution. There, I helped Dr. Pechman analyze proposed changes to the tax laws, with a primary focus on the magnitude and distributional consequences of proposed legislative changes to the tax laws. I was hooked, and tax law became my likely career specialty. This was reinforced at Penn Law, where I had the additional good fortune to study with Danny Halperin and Al Warren.

Following law school, I clerked for two years at the United States Tax Court for the late Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. and then spent two years as an associate of Cohen and Uretz, a small tax boutique firm.

I then moved to the Treasury Department’s Office of the Tax Legislative Counsel. In my four years at TLC, I focused on the usual tax issues that one encounters in practice: the tax treatment of life insurance and insurance companies; the R’n’D tax credit; the arbitrage restrictions on state and local bonds; consolidated returns; the parsonage allowance; and, of course, the parameters of the excise tax on artificial fish bait. As I was approaching the end of my tenure at Treasury, a tax position opened up at American University’s law school. I started teaching at AU in 1984, and I have been happily ensconced here ever since.

While in academia, I have taken advantage of our Washington location to serve as a Special Counsel to the Internal Revenue Service and to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. I also traveled extensively to several republics of the former Soviet Union, where I provided assistance concerning the reform of the tax laws and the systems of tax administration in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic. I also assisted in drafting proposed tax laws for the governments of Moldova, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. I viewed these experiences as a quasi Peace Corps experience for a middle-aged tax professor. I also spent 11 years moonlighting in a second career – coaching both of my daughters’ soccer teams!

At the law school, I have taught a broad range of tax courses, including Federal Personal Income Taxation, Federal Income Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders, Comparative Taxation, Federal Estate and Gift Taxation, Pension Law, Tax Policy and the Tax Litigation Clinic. I became one of the school’s academic deans in 1997. Notwithstanding the responsibilities of this position, I have continued to relish the joy of introducing the joy of tax law and policy to new generations of law students. In April, I received the University’s award for Outstanding Teaching by a Full-time Member of the University faculty.

At present, I am working on a short article discussing certain lessons learned from the travails of our former University President. In addition, I am working on a piece to be presented next February at a symposium on tax issues affecting low income taxpayers to be held in honor of my late and dear colleague, Janet Spragens.

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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