Trial work, in particular a reasonable comp case involving the dress manufacturing business, taught me how much more fun it would be to teach law. Not that learning about dress manufacturing wasn’t fun in itself but I grew weary deposing the president of the company in Kansas City for five days, then traveling to Cleveland to depose the CEO of a NYSE-listed company for comparability, trying the case, and writing pre-trial and post-trial briefs.
So, in 1974, Richard Nixon and I left Washington. I began my teaching career at Loyola in New Orleans, which included intro to tax where I taught reasonable comp in no more than a class period. New Orleans was a great place to experience Mardi Gras, mystic wills and naked ownership (remainders in the common law world) but they couldn’t hold the Yankee in me.
In 1978, I visited at Albany and returned in 1979 where I have been ever since. My 1981 tenure piece on the interaction between perpetuities and transfer taxation reflects my teaching and scholarship areas of highest interest: the wealth transmission process, which at one time I taught in nine credits over three semesters.
John Gaubatz and I did a massive integrated casebook in 1983 but we discovered that most professors were either tax or property oriented so beginning in 1989 we separated the book into two: a trusts and estates book and the federal taxation of trusts, estates and gifts. I’ve continued with several editions of both books, most recently teaming up with Roger Andersen on a trusts and estates coursebook-we’re working on the third edition of Fundamentals of Trusts and Estates (LexisNexis).
So I can keep off the streets, I’ve been the principal author of a 2 volume treatise on drafting New York Wills for over 15 years. Fortunately, Bill LaPiana (New York Law School) now helps out as LexisNexis insists on two 300-page releases a year. But in my spare time, apart from law reform interests through ALI, ACTEC, and the New York State bar and legal aid work, I like to travel, dance, draw, play tennis, and sleep. I work out at the gym most reluctantly.
One constant has been my love of teaching. Everything I do always finds its way into the classroom, with the concomitant benefit of reduced class prep time.
[Editor's Note: In 2002, Ira was named the Justice David Josiah Brewer Distinguished Professor of Law.]