Saturday, May 26, 2007
The SMU Graduate Tax Program began more than 50 years ago and prospered under Dean Charles O. Galvin. Today, U.S. News ranks SMU among the Top 20 law schools in tax and among the Top 10 graduate tax programs. In recent years, the SMU Law Review has published a special tax issue, including
In this five-part series, TaxProf Blog will profile SMU's full-time Graduate Tax Faculy.
- B.S. 1961, Fordham
- J.D. 1964, Stanford
- LL.M. (Tax) 1965, NYU
I am a native New Yorker and graduate of Fordham with a degree in mathematics. I changed both career path and geographic location upon graduation by attending Stanford Law School, I certainly had no thought of becoming a tax lawyer until I took the basic income tax course from Professor Joseph T. Sneed, a gifted and charismatic teacher whose insights into the tax system I still find valuable today. After Stanford, I returned to New York for a year to earn a graduate tax degree from NYU. My year as a student with that outstanding tax faculty was a great intellectual opportunity.
During my five years of tax practice in Southern California, I taught in the UC system to professional groups in the evenings and on weekends. Realizing these teaching experiences were the high points of my work life, I decided to try full-time teaching. My wife and I and our two small daughters then moved to Oregon and I taught at Willamette Law School for eleven years.. I enjoyed the intimacy and sense of community offered by teaching at a small law school. That was balanced by the three occasions in those eleven years when I was invited to teach in graduate tax programs. In my third year of teaching, I spent a year as a visiting professor in the NYU Graduate Tax program, a truly memorable experience to be on the faculty for a year with so many of my former teachers. I was later a visiting professor on the Florida graduate tax faculty, another exceptional group of individuals. Finally, we came as visitors to Dallas for a year so I could teach in SMU's J.D. and LL.M. tax programs. That visitorship has turned into a twenty six year affiliation with a tax program which was built by Charley Galvin in his years as Dean at SMU. I have appreciated having my former NYU student Hank Lischer and Christopher Hanna, another NYU LL.M., as tax colleagues.
I enjoy studying and teaching tax law with all that it reveals not only about commerce, law and politics, but about the human condition as well. I derive different satisfactions teaching in the J.D. and the LL.M. tax programs. I still find the vast landscape of the four-hour basic income tax course to be the most challenging to teach, but in many ways the most rewarding. I have taken particular satisfaction in having students with no prior interest in tax indicate that they now want to pursue tax as a career. I also find the basic tax course to be the best venue to engage in my secret desire to be a stand up comedian. On the other hand, the graduate tax courses I teach give me an opportunity to master some really complex Code provisions and, hopefully, make them understandable to our students.
I have published numerous tax articles and in 1990 co-authored a multi-volume treatise, Federal Taxation of Close Corporations (Thomson-West 1991), with my good friend Ed Hood of UMKC. This work is supplemented twice a year. For a number of years I have supplemented the twenty-four chapters covering Subchapter C, Subchapter S, and Employee Benefit Plans without the assistance of my co-author. I have also co-authored a treatise, Closely Held Businesses in Estate Planning (Aspen 2d ed. 1998), which we supplement annually.
In my 37 years of law teaching, there has rarely been a day that I have not looked forward to being in the classroom. I feel fortunate to have come upon the perfect career for me. Even after I retire from full-time teaching, I hope to teach as a visitor from time to time.
For prior SMU 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.