Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Magic-8 Ball concurs.

Student [in the role of defense counsel]: I would ask for a [Rule] 5(k)(1) motion [which, for you who care, would inform the sentencing judge that the defendant gave substantial assistance during the investigation]..

Prof: Student [in role of prosecutor], are you going to give the defendant a 5(k)(1) for his help?

Student: Ummm… No.

Prof: That’s a fairly arbitrary exercise of discretion there.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Somebody give that contract a blanket!

From Commissioner v. Ferrer, Judge Friendly:

“Attempts to do this [frame a definition] in terms of the degree of clothing adorning the contract cannot explain all the cases, however helpful they me in deciding some…; it would be hard to think of a contract more ‘naked’ than a debenture…”

Why are these words taking up space in my book?

From Federal Income Taxation, p. 727:

“The fact that there are a host of recent cases revolving around self-employment tax due on insurance termination payments suggests, correctly, that the self-employment tax generates considerable litigation.”

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tax reform, anyone?

From Nonprofit Organizations, p. 785:

“If this discussion of public support leaves you hopelessly confused, do not feel alone. The U.S. Tax Court stated that these rules are ‘almost frighteningly complex and technical.’”

Monday, November 27, 2006

Don't mess with lawyers!

Prof (re: getting the attention of a person whom a client was trying to sue): But after I threatened to take his house and put his family out on the street, he started taking my calls. After that I was busy for a week or two and I wouldn't take his calls--let him sweat a little bit.

Does Al Gore know about this?

Sifting through legislative history for a bill passed in 1988 I came across this gem:

"States routinely exchange information with each other for unemployment purposes through an arrangement sometimes referred to as "INTERNET."

Has it really been that long?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I hate Blogger bugs


Sorry, folks. Not sure what's causing the problems...

This is not the kind of question law students like to answer either.

From An Invitation to Family Law, in an evaluation of alimony policy:

"This is not the kind of question law professors like to ask because answering it would require them to do degrading things like empirical research."

[Originally posted by Becca. Reposted by Monica to try to fix techie bugs.]

Monday, November 20, 2006

Heh Heh

Saturday, November 18, 2006

At least the authors have a sense of humor.

Tax textbook (p. 17-3): "[T]he estate tax is reincarnated for transfers by death after 2010."

Get it? Death? Reincarnation? Ha ha.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Just speculating

Student: You say these are simple examples. If we were to have, say, an exam, and I'm sure we will, would you say those examples will be this "simple"?

Prof: You will have an exam. Unless I get hit by a bus. Don't try it...

capitulation at its finest

Prof [after attempting to answer a student's question]: You still look confused. Did that answer your question?

Student: I'm probably about as close as I'm ever going to be to understanding this.

Winter in South Bend

Student 1, passing in staircase: Hey, stop looking out the window forlornly.

Student 2, still sadly staring out the window: ...Someday I'll see the sun again...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Surviving the IRS

Prof: (The character in the textbook problem) underpaid her taxes by a fairly noticeable amount, $250,000. ... Maybe she was one of those "Survivor" people. ... The IRS must be harder than hanging out under palm trees or in Mongolia or whatever.

McDonald's Dollar Menu?

[Background info: All the grad students got an email today that we were charged an extra $1 on our most recent tuition statements, and that the correction will be on our next statements. A discussion erupted before class.]

Student 1: So think about what you're gonna do with your dollar!
Student 2 (who is perhaps ready to be finished with school): Maybe I'll go buy a noose to hang myself.

Advanced communication

Speaker: The defendant has made it clear that he doesn’t want to go to jail and he’ll do anything.

Prof: How has he made it clear?

Speaker: He said, “I don’t want to go to jail and I’ll do anything.”

Is there a right to remain silent in class?

Prof: Let me give you a hint: The feds had no problem getting the kilo [of cocaine]. Student, could you get a kilo easily?

FBI Agent: [surveying room with raised eyebrow] Could anybody here?


Prof: I suppose there may be some isolated counties somewhere--Alabama comes to mind as a place where that might be the case--but in most places you're allowed to play bingo.

Pretty sure that's unrelated

Prof: Say you're a cemetery, but on the side you operate a driving range or something.

What your university really does

Prof (re: unrelated business income and Cornell's inheriting a pasta factory): They hope they're not just in the business of making pasta, although I have to admit that in the engineering program, they seem to make pasta out of the minds of some of the students...

What do bears, stem cells and "herbs" have in common?

Prof: [Tax-exempt organizations that might want to exert political influence include] anything from the Sierra Club, who thinks you should go out and hug bears, to people who oppose stem-cell research, to people who think you should grow herbs and, uh, other things that other people don't think are legal.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

When you put it that way...

Prof: Litigation over those trusts was enough to send about twenty lawyers’ children through college.

So do they have dependent clauses?

From our oh-so-profound tax book (yes, this is a grad-level text) on p. 632:

"A complex trust is any trust that is not a simple trust."

Yes, folks, that's all the explanation you get. From there we launch into an explanation of how said complex trusts are taxed.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'd represent the other one?

Prof: Now if you were a liberal, which party would you be representing? ...Who's the good guy in this case?

At least she enjoyed her work

Prof: We actually filed one of these (lawsuits) for fun when I was practicing law. Oh, it was lots of fun. (The landlord) breached the (lease) contract. ... I mean, come on now, you've got four lawyers. What makes you think they're not gonna sue? We did it over lunch one day.

So do I have to pay my rent?

Prof: And certainly the room is not habitable if you've got to fight the bees to go to bed.

One big happy family...

Prof: And that's one of the things I love about [a specific area of NC]; they're all related, and they can all tell you exactly how they're related.

Friday, November 10, 2006

But Career Services might be able to help you.

Prof [re filing joint tax returns]: Imagine Cindy says to Doug, “I know you don’t like me and don’t even know me, but if you marry me, you’ll save $3,000 on your taxes.” What do you think about that system?

Student: Does Cindy have a sister?

Prof: *laughs* It’s a hypo.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Does that mean I need to buy new shoes?

Nik Nikas, describing the arguments before the Supreme Court on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban: Justice Stevens is the new O'Connor!

Smart cats!

Prof: So if my cats join the S corp ... they must be paid reasonable amounts.

Honesty is the best policy!

Prof: If I've lost you (in explaining the lecture material), I have failed, and I will go home and [pause] forget about it.

Tax terminology...

Prof: Now we have ... the AAA bypass election. Sounds like a kind of surgery or something.

Is this why you combed your hair today, too?

Prof: And, undoubtedly, some of you are wondering, "Why is he wearing a tie? He doesn't seem to be a tie kind of person." Well, you're right; I'm not. ... We have some folks coming in from (an accounting firm) later this afternoon, and consequently, I thought I should look a little more presentable than I usually do. ... And I didn't want to pull a Superman and try to find my tie between classes.

Tell it like it is.

Prof: But I find that liking and disliking (the lecture material) is sort of irrelevant; I'm supposed to teach it, and you're supposed to learn it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Have a little respect for yourself.

Prof [re writing tax opinion letters for less than $2 million]: If you're going to sell yourself, sell yourself for a lot.

Let's hope the lawyers and the doctors don't get together on this.

Prof [explaining that the estate tax holiday will sunset in 2010 and probably won’t be renewed]: So 2009 is the last year this provision will be available. This is the year your relatives should die. You should inform them of that.

It really is the economy, stupid.

Prof: I don’t really care what the elections mean for minor issues, like Iraq policies. What really matters, of course, is what they mean for tax regulations.

...but if you want to ask us later, we'll be happy to tell you.

From Church of Scientology of California v. Commissioner, 9th Cir. 1987, Judge Tang:

"Because it is unnecessary to our decision, we express no opinion on whether supporting a Church's founder and his family aboard a yacht cruising the Mediterranean constitutes a reasonable Church expense."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And he's always right.

Conductor [introducing a stand-in trumpet player]: You might remember him as a pianist. He played the Mendelssohn Concerto with us two years ago. He's also an Air Force man, which means he can kill you like ten different ways. With his bare hands.

Just try not to levitate.

Conductor: We'll probably go into one four measures before the presto, but for now I'll just... flail like Ahab.

Only if he asks a question about it on the exam.

Prof [after showing this video clip]: Can the teacher deduct the cost of the cell phone as an "ordinary and necessary" business expense?

Thank goodness we've grown up!

Student: [Studies have shown that corporal punishment is not that effective.]

Prof: That’s been my policy with students. Have you noticed that?

Student: Well, I’ve heard stories from your first-year students…

Prof: That’s first year. [Student #2] already said it works for the younger students.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Choosing your clientele...

Prof (re: an audit question regarding welfare recipients): Although, really, was this the best deal you were able to get? Are these the kind of clients that you're going to really get the big bribery bucks from?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Face it, we have wireless.

Prof [While student struggles for an answer]: Somebody email or IM him an answer.

[a minute later]
Prof: What time does the football game start?
Student: [calling out] Six minutes ago.
Prof: *laughs*
Student: It’s nothing-nothing.

Hey, one's an improvement.

Prof: Student… you’ve been a hard one for me because in your picture you have glasses.

Student: I get more girls without them.

Prof: Yeah. I can tell [observing who’s sitting near student]… You’re surrounded by one girl. And that line of guys behind you… That’s all I wanted to ask. [Calls on another student]

No problem--we do what we can.

Prof [re Social Security]: I want to thank the younger generation for participating in this pyramid scheme.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Tragedy in One Act

[Scene: Oct. 31, entering Law of Education class]

Prof (a.k.a. "The Smiling Assassin"--ref to test grades): Hail Caesar!

Student wearing a toga: Et tu, Brute?


Prof: I'm not going to teach you how to create tax shelters for yourselves; I'm going to tell you how to not go to jail for other people's tax shelters.

I went to this school so I could avoid those clients...

Prof: IRC § 280E denies a deduction for expenses of drug trafficking, but you can still deduct for cost of goods sold. So remember, for your drug-dealing clients, they have to choose FIFO or LIFO system of accounting.

The good ol' days

Student: [Outlines defendant’s argument in a case]
Prof: [sarcastically] They’re complaining about the definition of a tax term?
Student: *giggle*
Prof: Well, it was 1945. It was an innocent age.