Saturday, January 7, 2006
Joni Larson (Thomas Cooley)
J.D. 1989, Montana
- LL.M. 1990, Florida
Teaching is not something you usually envision one of the quietest students in the class doing. Or litigation either. But, that is where my path from law school has led me.
After graduating from the University of Montana School of Law I traveled to the University of Florida to earn my LL.M. in Taxation. After that, a position at the United States Tax Court clerking for Judge Irene Scott gave me an insider’s perspective on tax litigation. While I hadn’t had any interest in litigation during law school, a unique set of circumstances led me to accept a job as a tax litigator in Austin, Texas, for the IRS’s Office of Chief Counsel.
It was a fantastic job and one I would never have imagined myself doing when I started law school. The office was headed by a very outspoken and somewhat controversial attorney and was known for not settling cases; I learned a tremendous amount about tax and was able to try more cases in the three years I was there than many attorneys try in their entire careers. From there I did a short stint in private practice in Washington state before returning to the Office of Chief Counsel, this time in Washington, D.C. I worked for the Passthroughs and Special Industries Branch of the Field Service Division and then in the National Office of the Small Business/Self-Employed Division.
Somewhere along the way I discovered that I loved teaching. I had done some adjunct teaching throughout my career and when a fulltime position came open at Cooley Law School, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I love to watch the students go from dreading tax (fear of the unknown?) to both loving the logic behind the system and realizing that they can, in fact, understand tax. In addition, I have the opportunity to teach Partnership Tax and Federal Tax Research in the LL.M. program. Through this program I have an opportunity to work with students who have a passion for and desire to learn tax.
I truly love to write. Every few years I try to update my article on the rules of evidence in the Tax Court. In between updates I have written on a variety of topics, mostly procedural matters, even though my primary area of interest is partnership tax. I am hoping to, some day, finalize an article on IRC 704(b).
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