Following up on this morning's post, Florida Law Prof Writes 24-Page Critique Of Graduate Tax Program: Go Online Or Shut Down — 'Hiring More Tax Faculty Is Like Hiring More Sailors To Man The Titanic Once It Has Hit The Iceberg': TaxProf Blog op-ed: Dear TaxProf Community, by Martin J. McMahon, Jr. (James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar and Director, Graduate Tax Program, Florida):
As the Director of the University of Florida College of Law Graduate Tax Program, I can assure the TaxProf Community that the UF Graduate Tax Program is and will continue to be as strong as is has been for decades. Once again this year, we have an excellent group of 85 full-time students and last year’s graduates have had success in seeking post-graduation employment as tax lawyers. Our students, as they always have been, are being taught principally by a highly dedicated and knowledgeable full-time faculty that has produced many tax textbooks, treatises, and articles. We have, and will continue to have, a robust curriculum, including our specialized LL.M. in international tax, which currently enrolls twenty-two students from all around the globe. We have hired a respected consultant who is on-site as an interim director of Graduate Tax Admissions to modernize our application process and expand our outreach to prospective graduate tax students. Some recent retirements by long-time tax faculty members, who are continuing to teach as adjuncts courses in which they had a particular expertise, have opened up three faculty slots which we are seeking to fill this year, as was recently announced on Tax Prof Blog.
Professor Robert Rhee’s highly inaccurate and distorted memorandum critiquing the University of Florida Graduate Tax Program was prepared by him as an individual, not in any official capacity. He did not consult with any member of the tax faculty or directly ask any tax faculty member for any information regarding the long-standing success of the program before preparing and publishing his memorandum. Thus, his memorandum reflects very limited knowledge regarding the long-standing success of the Graduate Tax Program in educating young tax lawyers and helping them to find employment upon graduation.
Professor Rhee’s motivation in preparing and disseminating the memorandum was entirely personal. He holds a grudge against the individuals who teach tax here at the UF College of Law, as well as a number of professors who are not associated with the Graduate Tax Program in any way, because they openly challenged his judgement with respect to procedural matters and substantive decisions made by him in his role as the chair of the UF College of Law Appointments Committee in 2015-2016. He has cherry-picked the data in a manner that is designed to present the Graduate Tax Program in the worst possible light, omitting positive data and making inapposite comparisons. The inadequacies of his analysis are obvious to any careful reader.
I, and all of the other members of the University of Florida College of Law Graduate Tax Program greatly appreciate the assistance all of you have provided us over the years in recommending that your J.D. students who are interested in tax law apply to and attend the University of Florida College of Law Graduate Tax Program. All of you have sent us very well prepared students with a solid grounding in tax law, which has facilitated all of us here at UF in taking their understanding of the tax law to a higher level. With your help and with ours, they have all prospered in their careers as tax lawyers all over the country, whether working in Big Law, the Big Four, the IRS Chief Counsel’s Office, tax boutique firms, on the Staff (and even as Chief of Staff) of the Joint Committee on Taxation, on the Staff of the Congressional Tax Writing Committees (including the current Majority side Chief of State of the Senate Finance Committee), or simply going home, wherever in the country or world that might be, to serve people by practicing tax law in a firm of any size.
With your help sending us students, the UF Graduate Tax Program will continue long into the future, as it has for decades, to provide a great tax education for bright young lawyers to become tax lawyers all over the country and the world.
Update: More On The Critique Of Florida's Graduate Tax Program