TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Spotlight_2Danshera Cords (Capital)

      • B.A. 1991, University of Washington
      • J.D. 1998, Seattle
      • LL.M. (Taxation) 2000, NYU   

   

Dcords_1My path to law school and the academy as a tax professor was indirect. From the time I was in grade school and we visited the Washington State Supreme Court and met with one of the justices on a field trip, I knew that when I grew up I wanted to be a lawyer. The only times I didn’t want to be a lawyer was when I wanted to be a teacher.

Having started college at a very young age meant that I graduated from college at 19. I had taken the LSAT and GMAT and was completing my joint JD/MBA applications, when I was presented with an opportunity to take a management role in a transportation business. It occurred to me that I would get a lot more out of my law school experience if I took a little time off and later returned to school. Well, most people can guess where the story goes from here – one year led to several. However, the experiences I had during those years were very valuable.

Working in small businesses both during and after my undergraduate education made me see two things about tax law. First, it was a challenging, interesting, ever-changing area of law. Second and perhaps more important, my experience showed that solid tax and business planning advice could make all the difference to an enterprise, determining whether it failed or succeeded.

I entered law school, now about the average age of a law student, declaring that I wanted to be a tax lawyer. As most will understand, my family, friends, and classmates thought I was crazy. However, that didn’t stop me or even slow me down.

After graduating from law school, I worked at a small firm doing bankruptcy and civil litigation. Still wanting to be a tax lawyer, I started my LL.M. at NYU a year later. While I was there, I thought that I would see the other side of tax practice and worked for KPMG in their state and local practice group. I then had the incredible opportunity to clerk for Tax Court Judge Maurice B. Foley.

I have now been teaching tax at Capital for 3 years. My teaching areas include corporate tax, partnership tax, business entities taxation, and tax policy. This year, I have had the opportunity to become the Academic Director for Graduate Law Programs, which means working closely with the students and faculty in our LL.M. in Tax, LL.M. in Business, and LL.M. in Business and Tax.

My recent publications are:

  • How Much Process is Due? I.R.C. Sections 6320 and 6330 Collection Due Process Hearings, 29 Vt. L. Rev. 51 (2004) [blogged here]
  • Collection Due Process: The Scope and Nature of Judicial Review, 73 U. Cin. L. Rev. ___ (2005) (forthcoming)

Given the diversions along the way, it often seemed that my goals and dreams of becoming a lawyer and teaching would be unattainable. However, I have ended up fulfilling all my dreams, something that unfortunately few people can claim.

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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