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Saturday, September 30, 2006

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For over 30 years, the University of Florida Graduate Tax Program has been one of the nation's leading programs for the advanced study of tax law. Among the country's 30 graduate tax programs, Florida has by far the largest number of full-time faculty and is the only school to offer three advanced tax degrees:

 

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Graduate tax students assist in the publication of the Florida Tax Review, one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed tax journals in the country.  In this 12-part series, TaxProf Blog will profile the Florida Graduate Tax Faculty.

Mcdaniel_2Paul R. McDaniel is the James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar in Taxation and Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. He is entering his fortieth year as a full-time tax professor, tax practitioner, and government tax official.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. After graduating from Harvard in 1961 (a member of what came to be known as the “tax class”), Paul returned to his home in Oklahoma City and joined the Crowe, Dunleavy firm. He was firmly on a track designed to make him a tough litigator. However, after a few extremely difficult and unpleasant trials, he decided that tax law offered the prospect of a less stressful and more interesting way to practice law.

Bruce Johnson was Paul’s tax mentor at the firm. He customarily traveled to D.C. to meet with IRS and Treasury officials. He returned from one such trip in early 1967 and, uncharacteristically, did not talk to Paul about it for about three days. Bruce called him into his office then and told him that Stanley Surrey, the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy, had inquired whether he had any tax associates who might be interested in a position in the Tax Legislative Counsel’s office in the Treasury. Sheepishly, Bruce admitted that he told Surrey that did not know of anyone. However, plagued by his conscience he told Paul that he would recommend him to Surrey if he wanted that experience. Paul did, and joined the Treasury TLC staff in April 1967.

With the change of Administrations, Surrey left the Treasury to return to teach at Harvard and appointed Paul and Dan Halperin as Acting Associate Tax Legislative Counsel, pending appointments to be made by the new Treasury officials. Ed Cohen and Jack Nolan were appointed to the top Treasury tax positions. They proposed to make permanent the appointments of Dan and Paul, but following the new Administration’s policy, they were required to get the approval of the Senators from Oklahoma (for Paul) and New York (for Dan). Senator Bellman, from Oklahoma, objected to Paul’s appointment as co-head of the TLC office on the ground that he was an ardent Democrat. Ed and Jack unsuccessfully argued the case with Bellman and passed the matter up to the Secretary’s office. He, too, made no headway and sent the matter over to the White House. Finally, in the summer of 1969, Jack Nolan asked Paul to go to lunch. He advised him that Senator Bellman had told the White House that if Paul was not out of the Treasury by September 1, he would vote against the ABM Treaty, a vote which would have defeated ratification. Needless to say, Paul felt a little outmatched on receiving this information and submitted his resignation. The New York Times, however, picked up the story and gave Paul his fifteen minutes of fame with a front-page exposé of the events.

Paul then joined the staff of Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee, who was the third-ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and wanted to take an active role in the Senate consideration of what was to become the Tax Reform Act of 1969. It was a valuable experience and led to a decade of frequent consulting with different Senators, particularly Senator Edward Kennedy.

In 1970 Paul left Washington to join the faculty of the Boston College Law School where he remained for 17 years. In 1987 he left teaching to become a partner at the Boston firm of Hill and Barlow and served as chair of the firm’s tax department.

Then, in 1993, Noel Cunningham, at NYU, called with the news that the faculty had voted to institute a new degree program, the LL.M. in International Taxation, and invited Paul to come to New York to design that program. After three years of planning the first class entered for the 1996-1997 academic year. Paul was the Director of the ITP and subsequently assumed the directorship of the Graduate Tax Program itself.

During his nine years at NYU, Paul maintained his principal home in Massachusetts, commuting each week between Boston and New York. As he has told friends, he became more tired of the commute earlier each year and by the beginning of his ninth year, he was tired of it in August.

Paul returned to BC for two years as an Adjunct Professor. But in December, 2003, Marty McMahon called from Florida to see if he would be interested in discussing the Freeland Chair with the Florida faculty. In late December Paul and his wife, Ginny, were looking out the window on a very, very cold night, with snow up to the windowsills, and asked themselves why they were living there. The decision was made to follow up on Marty’s invitation and Paul accepted Florida’s offer for his present position.

Paul has co-authored eight books and is the author or co-author of nearly sixty articles on taxation. He teaches primarily courses in the new LL.M. in International Taxation program instituted by Florida in 2005. He strongly advises his international students, before taking a position with a firm, to get a commitment that the firm will finance annual trips to the Congresses of the International Fiscal Association, which are held in highly desirable locations around the world. Happily, at the 2006 IFA Congress in Amsterdam, he met several former NYU and Florida students who had taken his advice.

For prior Florida Graduate 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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