Note: The following is an excerpt from the introduction to the article as published in The Tax Lawyer. Author citations have been omitted for brevity. Tax Section members may read the article in its entirety in Adobe Acrobat format.
THE RELEVANCE OF FEDERAL INCOME TAX COURSES IN THE LAW SCHOOL CURRICULUM AND
IN LAW PRACTICE: NOW MORE THAN EVER
Assistant Professor of Law, Florida A&M College of Law; Boston University, B.S., 1984; North Carolina Central University, J.D., 1988; University of Florida, LL.M., 1989.
In this Commentary, I address law school teaching: what is good and not so good about it, and, more importantly, what it should be or should become. I have decided to discuss this issue before I acquire too much experience in teaching law because I want to avoid the corrosive effect of having too much familiarity with the subject. 1 In this Commentary I hope to offer what consultants offer to businesses: a fresh perspective unfogged by extensive familiarity with the business. Additionally, I hope this Commentary rekindles discussions about the MacCrate Report, 2 probably the most influential report on the perceived gap between the recent law graduate and the practicing lawyer.
This Commentary also addresses how best to prepare the next generation of lawyers. This is an appropriate topic to discuss because students trust us to guide them in their journey to becoming lawyers. 3 My assumption is that more time studying the federal income tax laws will be beneficial to any law student who hopes to become an accomplished attorney. I believe that if we can make our students comfortable deciphering the Code, they will be able to tackle any statute. 4 Certainly, that view will have the support of my tax brethren who have dedicated their lives to becoming tax lawyers. I may, however, be accused of professional bias. This is not necessarily an unfair attack, but it misses the point of this Commentary: how best to prepare students in a world of complex and changing laws. In other words, what tools should we, as law teachers, give law students that will serve them well in their practice?