Professor Kwall is Loyola’s Kathleen and Bernard Beazley Professor of Law. He is the author of The Federal Income Taxation of Corporations, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies and Their Owners (6th ed., University Casebook Series, Foundation Press, 2019), a leading casebook that has been adopted by more than 60 law schools. Professor Kwall has also published numerous articles about federal tax law in top academic and practitioner journals, and is currently writing an Individual Income Tax casebook for Foundation Press. For more than 20 years he served as of counsel to the Chicago law firms of Schwartz & Freeman and Michael Best & Friedrich.
What do you like best about teaching at Loyola?
My students. Loyola Law students are bright, hardworking and receptive to learning how to practice business and tax law. They energize me and make me as enthusiastic about teaching today as I was when I started many years ago.
Federal Income Tax is one of the School of Law’s most popular courses. Why are students surprised to discover how much they enjoy tax law?
Very few students enter law school with an interest in tax law. Once students are exposed to tax law, however, they quickly observe that tax is one of the most intellectually challenging areas of law. As a result, students with a wide variety of backgrounds (including humanities and the arts) gravitate to tax law. In addition, the many students interested in practicing business law quickly learn that the major decisions that corporate lawyers must make are generally governed by tax considerations. These students gravitate to tax courses so that they will be equipped to be leading business lawyers.
Why is Loyola University Chicago a good choice for tax law?
Loyola is unique among law schools because it has one of the most robust JD tax programs in the country, with three full-time tax faculty and many top practitioners who serve as adjunct professors. Loyola’s JD program is an ideal venue in which to study tax law. We offer a unique Tax Certificate program, which is awarded to students who complete five specific tax courses (14 credits) with at least a 3.0 average. In recent years, approximately 10% of the JD class has earned a Tax Certificate. Our tax graduates have a strong presence in all the major Chicago law firms and beyond. As a result, the Tax Certificate is a highly respected credential and creates a strong connection to alumni practicing in a wide range of venues.
What advice can you give students interested in pursuing a career in tax law?
I typically counsel students interested in tax to expand their horizons and focus on becoming business lawyers with strong tax backgrounds, rather than limiting themselves to practicing tax law. First, a business lawyer with a strong tax background will be in a position to quarterback transactions rather than merely doing the tax work. Second, as a practical matter, there are many more jobs in corporate law than in tax law. Those students who are interested in starting off in tax law will generally land in jobs at accounting and tax consulting firms but do not practice law in those venues. There are many excellent opportunities for graduates with a strong tax law background, and we follow their careers with great pride.