Lawrence A. Zelenak
Pamela B. Gann Distinguished Professor of Law

Lawrence Zelenak teaches income tax, corporate tax, and a tax policy seminar.  His publications include numerous articles on tax policy issues and a treatise on federal income taxation of individuals.  His most recent books are A Half-Century with the Internal Revenue Code: The Memoirs of Stanley S. Surrey (Carolina Academic Press, 2022) (Zelenak and Mehrotra, eds.) Figuring Out the Tax: Congress, Treasury, and the Design of the Early Modern Income Tax (Cambridge University Press, 2018), and Learning to Love Form 1040: Two Cheers for the Return-Based Mass Income Tax (University of Chicago Press, 2013). He is coauthor of an income tax casebook (with Schmalbeck, Lawsky, and Oei), of a treatise on the federal income taxation of individuals (with Bittker, McMahon, and McGovern), and of a leading student’s guide to the federal income tax (with Chirelstein).

Zelenak’s recent articles include  "The Income Tax, The Constitution, and the Unrealized Importance of Helvering v. Griffiths," Virginia Tax Review (forthcoming, 2024); "1924, 2021: Taxes of the Ultrarich, and Mark-to-Market Reforms," 172 Tax Notes Federal 583 (2021); “Leaving It Up to Treasury: Congressional Abdication on Major Policy Issues in the Early Years of the Federal Income Tax,” 81 Law and Contemporary Problems 137-165 (2018); “SALT Ceiling Workarounds and Tax Shelters,” 160 Tax Notes 542-556 (2018), “Mitt Romney, the 47 Percent, and the Future of the Mass Income Tax,” 67 Tax Law Review 471-500 (2014); “Custom and the Rule of Law in the Administration of the Income Tax,” 62 Duke Law Journal 829-855 (2012); and “The Great American Tax Novel,” 110 Michigan Law Review 969-984 (2012) (reviewing David Foster Wallace, The Pale King (2011).

Prior to joining Duke Law in 2003, Zelenak was a member of the Columbia Law School faculty. Earlier he was a faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of Law; professor in residence at the Office of the Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service, Washington, D.C.; an assistant professor at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon; and an associate with the firm of LeSourd and Patten in Seattle. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Utah and Northwestern University schools of law.

Zelenak received his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Santa Clara, and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1979.

Lawrence A. Zelenak portrait

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