Deals: About the Dean's Specialty

Deals: The Work of Dean Schizer
David Schizer has taught federal income taxation, the taxation of financial instruments, corporate tax, and an introduction to corporate transactions, known as the "Deals" course and the "Deals Workshop" ­ curricular offerings he helped launch. And while hešs also written extensively on many tax-related topics, hešs carved out a unique scholarly niche on the intersection of tax and corporate governance.

Dean Schizer walks up to address new students during his first speech to them as the 14th Dean of Columbia Law School.
Photo: Dustin Ross

"This is largely unexplored territory, because corporate scholars typically don't have expertise in tax, while tax scholars are not usually immersed in corporate governance," says Dean Schizer.

Of his work in the field, Bill Gifford ­ a senior partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell ­ says, "He has distinguished himself as an expert in the taxation of financial products, the most intellectually challenging part of an already intellectually challenging discipline."

Much of Dean Schizer's work focuses on making the tax and corporate governance systems work more harmoniously. His articles have appeared in the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, the National Tax Journal, and other publications.

"Sometimes, the systems are supposed to promote the same goals or to police the same concerns," says Dean Schizer. "For example, each system has reason to be suspicious when executives secretly sell, or 'hedge,' their stock options. Unfortunately, in other cases, our corporate governance and tax systems undermine each other. For example, I've written about the penalty the tax law inadvertently imposes on certain efficient forms of equity compensation (so-called "indexed" stock options, which reward executives only for outperforming the market as a whole). We can't fix these problems, though, unless we know the details of these two complicated systems and their interactions with each other."