Saturday, September 15, 2007
Kim Brooks (McGill University, Faculty of Law)
- B.A. 1994, University of Toronto
- L.L.B. 1997, University of British Columbia
- LL.M. 2001, York University (Osgoode Hall Law School)
I have a soft spot for Bruce Springsteen. When I was a little kid, my father would play “Hungry Heart” on high volume on our stereo, and we would jump around on our living room couches screaming the lyrics. It meant little that neither of us could carry a tune. Teaching tax law, at its best, is rather like those moments – it requires enormous energy, should be understood as a group effort, leads to sweating, and is a great deal of good fun. I love teaching tax, corporate tax, and international tax. I am always surprised that someone actually pays me to spend my days at this job.
A dedicated and dynamic tax professor, and the conceptual problems tax law presents, drew me to the subject in law school. It is hard to imagine another subject that combines such wonderful and complex problems alongside such obvious social and economic policy issues and the need to employ statutory interpretation tools.
The problem-solving aspects of tax law led me to practice tax law at a firm in Toronto for several years. However, I missed the conversations that occur in a law school environment, and was fortunate to be hired to teach beginning in 2001.
I have spent my first years as an academic building my substantive tax law and tax theory grounding. I have been fortunate to visit San Jose as the San Jose State University International Tax Policy Research Fellow and to visit Sydney as the Abe Greenbaum Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales (Atax). Indeed, I have learned an enormous amount from the close connection between Australian and Canadian tax scholars generally.
This year, I moved from UBC’s faculty of law to McGill’s faculty of law to assume the H. Heward Stikeman Chair in the Law of Taxation. Although I never met Heward Stikeman personally, I did practice at the firm he formed with partner Fraser Elliott. Stikeman was renowned for his energy and optimism, his beekeeping, and in the tax world, for his commitment to simplification of tax legislation.
I am particularly delighted to have joined McGill’s faculty – a faculty that is committed to bijuralism, bilingualism, and bringing a comparative approach to the study of law. I hope that as our tax program develops more over the next several years I am able to see some of you in Montreal!
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