Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Philip Wolf (J.D. 2019, UC-Hastings; Tax Associate, Belcher, Smolen & Van Loo, San Francisco), Manoj Viswanathan: The Professor Who Inspired Me to Love Tax, 172 Tax Notes Fed. 1615 (Sept. 6, 2021):
Out of the thousands of different professions, how does one end up choosing tax? I can tell you exactly how it happened with me. During my second semester of law school, I was permitted to take one elective class. I selected basic income taxation. Although I knew nothing about the subject, I sensed it might somehow be helpful to my goal of starting a business one day. Little could I have imagined where the class would lead me!
In our first session, in walked the ebullient yet sincere professor, Manoj Viswanathan, or as he asked us students to call him, “Professor V.” Every lecture, Professor V. emphasized how everything we’d learn in his class would be practical and relevant in the real world. Time seemed to melt away in each Tuesday and Friday lecture, and I caught myself pondering what he’d said many hours after each class. It was Professor V.’s introductory tax class that would make me decide to change my career plans and become a tax lawyer.
I asked Professor V. how he decided to become a professor, and more importantly, a tax professor. I found his response to be unexpected, for his path was far from straightforward. He didn’t join the tax profession thinking he’d become a full-time academic, but he eventually realized that legal academia combined two of his passions: thinking about tax law’s role in shaping public policy and teaching students who were serious about learning. ...
I am lucky to consider myself part of the tax community. This is in many ways thanks to Professor V. If it weren’t for Professor V. and his ability to inspire me to want to become a tax practitioner in his intro to taxation class, I would probably be in a completely different place in my career. He used an eclectic set of life experiences combined with innate intelligence and practicality to discover that his passion is teaching tax to students. I’m very glad he did.