Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Have you hugged an S Corp today?

Prof: [Tells us that Subchapter S corporations are much easier than partnerships, as far as taxes are concerned.] I mean, hug a Sub S. They're good guys. Or, whatever. I'm not sure exactly what gender they are.

It isn't obvious?

Prof (to class): And of course the partner's outside basis has to be--everybody? Anybody?

Who writes these tax laws, anyway?

Prof: The people who developed this law were either thrown out of Congress or went to jail. And yet the law remains.

Reader discretion advised

Prof (trying to encourage us not to be too embarrassed to ask questions in class): Embarrassment is just--I mean, you could parade around the room with no clothes on and it doesn't matter in this world we live in. [reaction from class] ... It was just a figure of speech. I can see it now--"[Professor] dismissed from faculty for..."

Monday, October 30, 2006

Finally, an honest assessment of Justice Cardozo!

From Federal Income Taxation regarding a tax case printed in the book:

"Welch is a famous and often-cited decision. This reflects its showy, relentless phrasemaking and the fame of its author [Cardozo] rather than its capacity to aid in the analysis of subsequent fact patterns, which (to put it as kindly as possible) is extremely limited. Pompous and needlessly Delphic, it has generated considerable confusion."

Prof: Don't you dare quote any of the language in this case back to me on the exam. Automatic five points off.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Product alert

I'm a fermata... hold me.

HT: Monica/facebook

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What is is

Prof: [Making fun of a student's answer about the materiality of a saleman's misrepresentation about a car] Now we're getting all metaphysical... But Plato said... It's the cave behind the car.

The defenses of the mind

Also from the Seventh Circuit's Judge Posner in United States v. Coffman:

"The fact that a reasonable person would not have been deceived [by a 'scheme (that) was aimed at an idiot'] would be no more relevant than the fact that a murder victim would have survived had he been wearing a bulletproof vest."

Not sure if the defendant should feel insulted or not.

From United States v. Coffman, 94 F.3d 330 (7th Cir. 1996) (Chief Judge Posner):

"There may be attempts so feeble, such as sticking a pin into a voodoo doll of your enemy in an effort to kill him, that the attempter is entitled to be acquitted, as a harmless fool. The defendants' scheme, though harebrained, was not that harebrained."

Monday, October 23, 2006

slow day in class

[IM discussion between students concurrent with class discussion on religious implications of a tax provision]

montana chica40: so if I had kids because I'm Catholic and don't use birth control, can I deduct the cost of their care?
montana chica40: :-)
LegolasBec: um
LegolasBec: you could try it...
montana chica40: probably not
LegolasBec: Yeah, I wouldn't get pregnant in reliance.

It's going to their heads.

Proffered argument in Income Tax text for childcare deductions: "Child-care allowances will encourage people to have more children." Now I don't know how tax lawyers operate, but I'm doubting normal people sit around and think, "Hmm, let's have a baby so we can get a tax deduction for the childcare!"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chill out!

Prof: And if I don't adhere to that, I want a couple of you to stand up and say, "Chill out, [prof's name]!"


Student: What was the average score on the exam?
Prof: Do you have to know?
Student: It makes us feel better. ... It helps me rationalize.
Prof: It might make some of you feel worse. All right, as long as you understand that I care about each of you as individuals, it was 79.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Kids are kids the world over and sometimes we need to teach them things that are not in the lesson book. This week I did that twice. One time it started as a discussion about tattleing and ended up talking about rules. During the "lesson" I brought up the "WWJD" thing to encourage the kids to think through things before they did them. Would Jesus do _____? Later in the day I heard John C. say to Jack "Remember; What would Jesus do?....Can you borrow me a piece of paper?" Then Jamie told me at the end of the day that John K. did the same to him.

(The kids confuse "lend" and "borrow" all the time.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A new perspective on predestination?

Prof: [Engineers] think they're preordained to immediately understand everything about tax.

[Ed.--I'm bitter with Blogger for not letting me in while I was still in class and could still remember the entire quotation. It was good. This particular prof has some sort of issue with engineers, I think.]

Fall Break starts tomorrow.

Prof: What does Title VII cover?
Class: *silence*
*pin drops*
Prof: Right! Employment.

Judicial Activism License

Prof: What kind of relief can she seek? Look at the statute.
Student: “Such relief as may be appropriate.”
Prof: Clears that one right up.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I am your...

This week at SCS is Spirit Week and today we did the teacher skit. The kindergarten teacher is Korean and her line was "Luke I am your father" (no it was not a Star Wars skit - we chose our lines and her son is named Luke). Once she got back to her class her students (who speak very little English) kept telling her "I am your student". It was cute to see how they picked up on that. This is a picture of the kindergarteners doing their career song. If you look closely at the Fireman you can see he has a cup of fire in his hand. It was sooo cute.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Prof: Honeybees, I mean, what the heck, they're pretty wholesome creatures. Unless you happen to sit on one. Which brings me to another story, but I won't go into that. It involved one of my students.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ignorance is hard to prosecute

Prof: Don't ask me if your moving expenses for the summer are deductible if your firm reimburses you for them. You don't want to know, because then you can't claim ignorance when you do deduct them. Just don't ask.

On the up side...

According to the Income Tax professor, you can claim a roommate who is bumming off you and refuses to get a job as a dependent on your income tax return. Just so ya know...

Excuse me, do you have more than 12 items?

My Family Law professor just revealed that sometimes she gets exam questions from "those magazines you read in the grocery store line." I know where I'm going to study...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Politically incorrect

Student: Is Scientology considered religious for tax deduction purposes?

Prof: Oooh, Scientology… Now there’s an interesting story…. If you are a Scientologist and I’m slandering you, I apologize, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fun in tax class!

Sorry--I've been saving up again. The following specimens of quotable material are all courtesy of my tax professor:
  • I've always dreamed of having a gnome [i.e., assistant] or something. ... If I were at a great big school teaching 500 students, I would have a gnome. But I don't want to teach 500 students.
  • I'm glad [the computer that I just accidentally shut down] isn't some sort of nuclear reactor. I always loved chemistry, but I wasn't any good in the lab.
  • Again, if you miss a [easy] question like that ... you need to do something else. Become an artist or a marketer or something.
  • As an aside, if you have family out there, make sure they die in the right state.
  • I'm really into saving people money. I think it adds value to the course.
  • I always hear about a professor being brilliant, and sometimes I think the measure of brilliance is how fast he can put his subjects to sleep.
  • Oh, man. Too many numbers and names and whatever. It's a wonder I can find my way back up to my office.
  • There were a lot of really good grades [on the test], and a lot of not-so-good grades. What distinguished the good and the not-so-good, other than a lot of red marks...

Perceptions of the tax collector

My Federal Tax Research book quotes Christopher Bergin: "When I was young, I was taught the story of Jesus and the taxman. The point was that Jesus was good to everyone; so much so that he would even eat with the taxman. The story tells a lot about being good, but it also tells a lot about historical perceptions of the tax collector."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Legal realism

Hypo: You’re the newly-hired lawyer of United Way and you discover a bunch of scandals in the governance. What should your first step be?

Student: Meet with the board. And make sure your resume is up-to-date.

Lawsuits are fun!

Prof (re: defective products and the implied warranty of merchantibility): I would argue that [a washing machine that broke after only five years] was defective. ... That would be fun for me; it would be annoying for most people. ... Some people play basketball [for fun]; I file lawsuits.

Monday, October 02, 2006

News flash: Prof hates CPA exam writers

Prof: "I want you to make a note of [rules regarding the identification of] unborn animals and growing crops [in sales contracts], because we will win. We will not be defeated by the CPA exam. ... Sorry, I've been in a little bit of a tiff with them since the first year I taught, they asked my students eight environmental law questions. Eight! Do you know how absurd that is? ... The only thing they should be asking you about environmental law is, 'Do you know that environmental law exists?' 'Yes.' 'What do you do if you have an environmental law question?' 'You pick up the phone and call an environmental lawyer.'"