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Tahk sows the seeds for next generation of attorneys

Tahk sows the seeds for next generation of attorneys

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Although she went to Yale Law School, Susannah Camic Tahk knew she wanted to teach.

“I always wanted to work with students and get them excited about the law, particularly tax law,” said Tahk, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. “I know tax law doesn’t sound exciting, but it’s so important and plays a key role in many of our social policies. I try to show them that in what I do.”

To pique students’ interest in the topic, which she describes as “very detailed and complex,” Tahk will dress up in costumes and use humor.

“I know I need to keep the students engaged and help them understand it and that these are really big issues,” she said. “I want them to see not only how the law is written in the book, but how it plays out in the real world.”

Tahk came to the University of Wisconsin to teach in 2010 after working for a couple of years in the tax group of a Washington, D.C., law firm. She was attracted not only to the opportunity to teach, but also to research how tax policy relates to social issues.

She took a special interest in poverty and welfare poverty. An affiliate of the UW Institute for Research on Poverty, Tahk received the university’s 2015 Vilas Early Career Investigator Award.

“Taxes play a key role in social policy and also deal with the big questions of fairness and justice,” she said. “When you look at poverty, we’re basically using the tax code to fund programs, and I’m intrigued with how that is all done.”

Beyond teaching and conducting research at the school, Tahk serves as a Moot Court coach and as the faculty advisor to the Women’s Law Student Association and the Christian Legal Society. She also supervises students who, through the Volunteers Income Tax Assistance program, do taxes for low- and middle-income persons and families.

“Susannah is a great teacher of tax law, a subject that’s notoriously difficult. She writes prolific and insightful scholarship about tax law and policy, and she’s a dedicated community volunteer to many causes that she cares about,” said Margaret Raymond, dean of the UW Law School. “She’s a wonderful role model to our students and new graduates.”


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