What excites you most about joining the UCI Law faculty?
I look forward to working with everyone at UCI Law, students, faculty, and staff, to build the culture and traditions of a new law school. I am particularly excited to meet and work with the UCI Law students, because I think it takes an unusual law school applicant to step away from the mainstream and the rankings and choose the challenge of shaping a promising but unproven law school. And I look forward to joining the rich intellectual environment of the larger UCI campus and exploring some of the colloquia and other offerings outside of the law school.
Finally, I feel particularly honored and lucky to have the chance to join the law faculty of a new University of California law school because my grandfather, David N. Bortin, graduated from Boalt Hall in 1950, after his service in World War II. He was essentially a small-town lawyer here in California, and he provided his long-term clients with whatever legal support they might need. He also represented death row clients. I hope to help my University of California law students become the sort of lawyer he was: kind, responsible, and devoted both to clients and to public service.
Describe your scholarship.
My scholarship currently focuses exclusively on tax law and policy. Within tax, I am primarily interested in two related topics: first, the role that risk and probability, and discourse about risk and probability, play in tax policy, and, second, the assumptions that underlie consequentialist and law and economics approaches to analyzing tax law and policy.
What is your teaching style?
My students and I read the tax code closely, paying attention to the ways that various sections do (or don’t) fit together. More specifically, I use the problem method to teach most of my classes: students work on assigned problems before class, and during class we talk through the solutions. In addition, because tax shapes so much in our day-to-day world, and tax law is always changing, we discuss tax-related news stories as they happen.