Paul L. Caron

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Spotlight_1_1Pamela Champine (New York Law School)

        • B.S. 1985, Illinois
        • J.D. 1988, Northwestern
        • LL.M. (Tax) 1990, NYU



Champine In my 20th year after graduating from law school, I enjoy tax as much as I did when I took my first tax class with Charlotte Crane. Initially, I was drawn to tax law by the Code’s ostensible precision and organization. I quickly learned that the Code offered fewer clear answers and more underlying inconsistencies than I had first thought, but that drew me even more strongly to tax. Having received my undergraduate degree in Accountancy, I welcomed the opportunity to integrate my understanding of the established principles and provisions of tax law with the opportunities to see ambiguities and to think about how alternative interpretations of ambiguous provisions advance competing tax policies.

After a year of general practice in a small Chicago firm, I headed to NYU to improve my understanding of tax law. I joined the Personal Affairs (a/k/a Trusts & Estates) Department of a major NYC law firm, where I focused on estate and gift tax, private foundations, and individual income tax planning. Eventually, practice became routine and I looked for a new challenge. I found that in the Law Department of the New York County Surrogate’s Court, serving first as Principal Court Attorney and later as Law Secretary to Surrogate Eve Preminger. I had dreamed of becoming an academic, but understood the improbability of securing a teaching appointment without a federal clerkship or law review experience.

My dream of an academic appointment came true when I joined the faculty of New York Law School. At NYLS, I focus on trusts & estates and teach tax courses as well. Similarly, I write about trusts and estates issues that involve tax as well as trusts and estates issues that have no significant tax component to them. My current scholarship interests focus on testamentary capacity, and specifically the use of forensic psychology to improve evidentiary determinations in this area.

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