When offered a stint as an acting assistant professor in the graduate tax program, she took a leave of absence from the firm: “NYU was a terrific place to begin as a taxprof rookie” Mary says, “with generous mentors for teaching and scholarship-in-progress as well as regular lunchtime conversation and pizza around the corner in the Village.” Mary served as assistant editor of the Tax Law Review, working closely with a team of graduate student editors and editor-in-chief Deborah Schenk. At NYU she taught timing issues under the income tax and tax policy in the graduate tax program and basic federal income tax in the J.D. program.
At Richmond, Mary regularly teaches federal income taxation, corporate taxation, legislation, and a tax policy seminar. In addition, she has co-taught feminist legal theory. She received a university-wide teaching award in 1998: “Students come to their first class burdened with a certain amount of tax dread, and some of them are surprised when they discover that tax law illuminates broader public policy issues.”
“I took a very indirect path to tax. Although I loved Jack McNulty’s tax class at Boalt, and later returned to tax, a first amendment seminar with Anthony Lewis and a course on sex discrimination with Herma Hill Kay ignited an interest in civil liberties/civil rights law. My experience as an advocate both before and after law school made me see tax within a broader public law framework.”
After a federal district court clerkship, Mary moved to New York for a one-year fellowship in the American Civil Liberties Union’s national office, which has principal responsibility for litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court. She argued and briefed cases before the Court and “had the rare opportunity to work beside some outstanding Supreme Court advocates, including legal directors Bruce Ennis and Burt Neuborne (who began his career as a tax lawyer).” She stayed five more years as staff counsel for ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. Mary served as trial counsel for a national class of flight attendants in a pregnancy discrimination suit and represented women professors in several pension discrimination cases: “As a result of successful litigation against TIAA-CREF, some of my taxprof colleagues will receive higher benefits at retirement.”
Mary writes on tax and social policy issues, including how tax provisions relate to child care and welfare-to-work policies. Recently, she has argued for greater transparency and accountability in the tax legislative process.
She’s served on AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure since 2003, and has been a member since the mid-‘90s of the editorial advisory board for the Community Tax Law Project’s Community Tax Law Report.
Mary’s spouse and two teenagers sometimes rope her into mountain climbing and backpacking expeditions: “Others in my family share Blake’s view: ‘Great things are done when men (sic) and mountains meet;/This is not done by jostling in the street.’ Closer at hand, we’ve all enjoyed the James, a beautiful river running through Richmond, with a launching spot for kayaks and canoes just a five-minute drive from the law school.”
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