TaxProf Blog

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

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Marty Ginsburg: "The Funniest [Tax] Law Professor in America"?

In my pre-tenure attempt at tax humor (Tax Myopia, or Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Tax Lawyers, 13 Va. Tax Rev. 517 (1994)), I relied on several items about tax legend Martin Ginsburg.  Dan Solove pointed me (via Peter Lattman) to Marty's wonderful web bio:

Professor Ginsburg attended Cornell University, stood very low in his class and played on the golf team. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School which, in those years, did not field a golf team.

Professor Ginsburg entered private practice in New York City in 1958. He withdrew from full-time practice when appointed the Beekman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and moved to Georgetown University in 1980 when his wife obtained a good job in Washington. ...

In 1993, the National Women's Political Caucus gave Professor Ginsburg its "Good Guy" award; history reveals no prior instance of a tax lawyer held to be a "Good Guy," or even a "Decent Sort." ...

Professor Ginsburg's spouse was a lawyer before she found better work. Their older child was a lawyer before she became a schoolteacher. The younger child, when he feels grumpy, threatens to become a lawyer.

One of Marty's students may be right:  "He may actually be the funniest law professor in America."

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Oh my, yes. I had a friend who had Prof. Ginsburg for tax and she said the same thing. Additionally, there was a preamble to something he wrote which basically went "Tax shelters so bad only dentists were interested in them".

I suspect only a tax lawyer finds that idea funny.

Posted by: Patrick Hoffman | Dec 28, 2007 10:25:40 AM

That bio appears in the exceptional Mergers and acquisitions. His co-author Jack Levin's bio is also funny and takes some hilarious shots at Ginsburg.

Posted by: guy in the veal calf office | Dec 28, 2007 11:21:14 AM