Paul L. Caron

Friday, June 14, 2019

Tax Analysts Rebrands Tax Notes

Harvard Tax ReviewTax Analysts has announced that it is changing the name of its influential weekly publication from Tax Notes to Tax Notes Federal (and its sister publications to Tax Notes State and Tax Notes International). It is a shame that Tax Analysts did not heed Erik Jensen's suggestion in Critical Theory and the Loneliness of the Tax Prof, 76 N.C. L. Rev. 1753, 1755 n.13 (1998):

I wrote a short essay, only partly tongue-in-cheek, urging that Tax Notes, which has become the tax professional's bible, change its name to something more pompously academic, like the Harvard Tax Journal. See Erik M. Jensen (Case Western, Tax Notes by Any Other Name Would Smell Sweeter, 74 Tax Notes 641 (1997). It was an issue that struck a chord, attracting several professorial letters of support and a practitioner rebuttal. Despite its name, Tax Notes is great. A recent anthology of about 150 tax articles included more from Tax Notes than from any other publication. See Letter from Paul Caron, 74 Tax Notes 966 (1997), noted in Tax Report, Wall St. J., Mar. 19, 1997, at Al.

More from Erik's article:

[N]o one wants to talk to us, and no one except (maybe) other tax lawyers wants to read what we write. The sense of isolation from law school colleagues is exacerbated by the perceived reluctance of top student-edited law reviews, the reviews that non-tax people see, to accept tax articles. Once in a blue moon a top-ten review will take a serious, technical, doctrinal tax article, but blue moons don't seem to come around as much as they used to.

The 'problem is twofold; First is the prevailing preference in legal scholarship for grand unified theories. As Paul Caron has noted, "Current trends in legal scholarship favoring 'abstract theory' at the expense of more traditional, 'practical' work may place tax professors at a competitive disadvantage with their non tax peers." [Fn: Paul L. Caron, Tax Myopia, or Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Tax Lawyers, 13 Va. Tax Rev. 517, 518 (1994).] Whether Caron's competitive-disadvantage point is correct or not, it's true that doctrinal work is not as valued in the academy as it once was.

Second, tax profs are more likely these days to bypass the student-edited reviews that other law profs publish in. Those reviews aren't the best places for tax types if they want their stuff to be published on a timely basis and to be seen by other tax specialists. But it's a dilemma. Write for generalist reviews and you run the risk that tax professionals, especially those outside academe, won't see the articles. But if you publish in technical tax publications, your academic colleagues-those people who think you're from another planet to begin with-may characterize the work as insufficiently theoretical. Publish in Tax Notes, say, and you may be slitting your throat if you hope to be promoted, or otherwise rewarded, for "scholarly" effort.

Scholarship, Tax | Permalink


Harvard Tax Notes would be less prestigious.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Jun 15, 2019 2:08:24 AM


Posted by: Steven Willis | Jun 14, 2019 11:24:19 AM