Deborah A. Geier (Cleveland State)
A.B., 1983, Baldwin-Wallace College
J.D. 1986, Case Western Reserve University
In this three-part series, we profile the authors of one of the truly great federal income tax casebooks: Federal Income Tax: Doctrine, Structure and Policy -- Text, Cases, Problems (LexisNexis, 3d ed. 2004), by Joseph M. Dodge (Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson Professor of Law, Florida State), J. Clifton Fleming Jr. (Associate Dean & Ernest L. Wilkinson Professor of Law, Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School), and Deborah A. Geier (Leon M. and Gloria Plevin Endowed Professor of Law, Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law).
To earn my tuition as a student at Fairview Hospital School of Nursing in Cleveland in the mid 1970s, I worked at Rose Bridal Shoppe at 18th and Euclid downtown selling wedding gowns. On the other side of 18th and Euclid was Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University. I remember thinking back then, “Wow, law school. There must be a lot of smart people in that building.” When I began working as a registered nurse in 1978 in Maternity Surgery (labor and delivery) at Fairview Hospital, I still had no inkling that I would someday be a lawyer and then law professor. But I had started to take classes during the day (I worked evening shift) at Cleveland State University for my undergraduate degree immediately upon graduating from nursing school, just because I wanted to be a college graduate. (I’ve always loved academics.) As I became increasingly dissatisfied as a registered nurse, however, my studies became the means to change careers. I began to think (audaciously, I thought) that I could, indeed, be a lawyer. When I learned that Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea (a Cleveland suburb) would give me a year’s worth of college credit for my three years of nursing school, I transferred. Even though the tuition at this private school was much higher, I could graduate that much sooner and get to law school. For one sleep-deprived year, I even went to school full time during the day and worked full time during the evening as the Assistant Head Nurse of Maternity Surgery, finally graduating with my bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1983. I then took a deep breath, took the LSAT, and applied to the two Cleveland law schools. I was accepted to both and decided to attend CWRU. (I continued to work as an R.N. through my first two years of law school.)
When I started law school, I naturally assumed that I would somehow combine my background in medicine and the law. But then I took Basic Tax with Erik Jensen, and I was hooked. I took every tax class with Erik, Leon Gabinet, and Karen Nelson Moore (now a 6th Circuit judge) that I could. And I’ve followed in Erik Jensen’s footsteps ever since: clerking for the same federal judge for whom he clerked (Monroe G. McKay in the 10th Circuit), joining the tax group at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, where he worked, and becoming a law professor in Cleveland (albeit at the other school, across the street from where I once worked selling wedding gowns).
I love living in Cleveland, where 5 of my 7 nieces and nephews live, and where the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Indians both play (two of my favorite organizations). But I do enjoy visiting elsewhere every now and then, and have done so at the Universities of Florida (Gainesville), Michigan (Ann Arbor), and Alabama (Tuscaloosa). Next spring, I’ll be visiting at Washington University Law School in St. Louis. Because they have been kind enough to offer to pay for flights back and forth each week, I won’t have to miss my beloved Cleveland Orchestra concerts—or my weekly cello lesson. Yes, as an adult beginner student with no music lessons as a kid, I started cello lessons two years ago. As you might expect of an adult beginner student, I’m pretty awful, but I absolutely enjoy it to death. The members of the Cleveland Orchestra cello section certainly have nothing to fear from me, though.
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April 16, 2005 in Tax Prof Spotlight | Permalink
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