Florida State / College of Law / Business and Tax Law / Faculty

Frederick M. Abbott, the Edward Ball Eminent Scholar, was a partner at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) prior to entering law teaching. He is highly regarded for his scholarship and professional activities in international intellectual property rights and global economic issues.

“Innovation and intellectual property are key drivers of the U.S. and international economy. Lawyers play an essential role in shepherding innovative businesses through the complex maze of intellectual property regulation. Florida State University College of Law has an outstanding curriculum addressing the legal environment surrounding innovation.”

Kelli A. Alces, the Loula Fuller and Dan Myers Professor, formerly practiced with Gardner, Carton & Douglas in Chicago. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of corporate law and bankruptcy law, with a special emphasis on corporate governance in bankruptcy and the strategic interactions between creditors and shareholders in financially distressed companies.

“We’ve seen in the last few years that problems with corporate governance can affect the entire economy. It’s important for students to have an understanding of how public corporations and the securities markets work. I hope my students will gain an appreciation for how notions of fiduciary obligation shape corporate governance and how investors discipline and influence management.”

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Shawn J. Bayern, the Larry and Joyce Beltz Professor of Law, previously clerked for a federal court of appeals judge and at the U.S. Department of Justice. His research focuses on common-law issues, primarily in contracts, torts, and corporate law.

“My teaching in the business program focuses on small-business law.  Larger corporations get more attention, but more lawyers work with partnerships and LLCs.  My recent casebook in the subject moves away from more formalistic legal doctrines, trying to help students see business realities.”

Joseph Dodge, the Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson Professor, is one of the nation's leading tax experts. He is an academic fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel and has been chair of both the Tax Section and the Donative Transfers Section of the Association of American Law Schools.


“Issues like the tax treatment of debt underlie many of today’s business, social and economic problems.”

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Steve R. Johnson, the University Professor, practiced law with Willkie Farr & Gallagher and the Internal Revenue Service. Professor Johnson is a nationally recognized scholar on tax litigation and procedure, including legislative and administrative law topics in tax.


“The national aspirations of the United States will not be achieved without a vibrant and growing business sector. Lawyers are key members of the team for all successful businesses. In my tax courses, I stress close reading of statutory text and awareness of the policy dimensions and institutional relationships that influence interpretation of the tax laws and shape their evolution. I also emphasize the need to balance business realities with tax objectives and the role of the tax attorney in adding value to his or her clients’ transactions.”

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Jeffrey H. Kahn, the Charles W. Ehrhardt Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, practiced tax law at the Chicago office of McDermott, Will & Emery. His scholarship focuses on the federal tax area and he is the author of several treatises.

“My research, scholarship and teaching are concentrated in the doctrinal area of federal income taxation. While income tax issues pervade throughout both commercial and noncommercial activities, they are of special significance to the conduct and planning of business transactions. For example, many corporate transactions are structured to accommodate tax objectives. The advanced tax courses Business Entity Taxation and International Taxation all concentrate on business transactions. Even the foundational tax course devotes a significant portion of its attention to commercial activities. Familiarity with the operation of the income tax system is essential to the successful conduct of a career in business law.”

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Jay Kesten, an assistant professor, practiced corporate law in Boston with Cooley Godward Kronish LLP. Professor Kesten's research concentrates on both theoretical and empirical aspects of corporate governance.

"In our business curriculum, we give students the opportunity to tackle real world problems head-on. For example, this spring, I'm offering a seminar that will examine complex and cutting edge topics in corporate governance and corproate finance. In the classroom, I draw on both my scholarship and experience from practice to provide students with tools they will need to enter a sophisicated corporate practice upon graduation.

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Tahirih V. Lee, an associate professor who is fluent in Mandarin, has developed innovative courses that allow students to participate in simulated international trad negotiations. Students get their business plans critiqued "real time" by businesspeople in China.


"My scholarship on China deepens my understanding of law in the United States, as well as helps me appreciate the importance of China's rise in the world. It is not a place developed primarily by outside investment, but is helping to develop the rest of the world with its exports and investments. Florida State's China Trade Simulation course is an example of this. It uses an online platform created largely in Shanghai, and in part at FSU, to connect Florida State students with future trad officials in China and help them through the paces of realistic trade negotiations. This gives my students unique insights into international law that they could not get from a book or lecture.

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Bruce A. Markell, the Jeffrey A. Stoops Professor, was a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Nevada and a Member of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


“Bankruptcy and commercial law provide the essential rules necessary for any country’s daily life; these laws affect every type of exchange, from buying a Twinkie to building a hydroelectric dam. No company or entrepreneur can do anything without considering their effect on each transaction undertaken. My scholarship seeks to explore how these laws developed domestically, how to refine them optimally, and how they are spreading and evolving internationally.”

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Murat C. Mungan, an assistant professor, holds a Ph.D. in economics from Boston College and a J.D. from George Mason University. He teaches students basic accounting, finance theory, and economic analysis.


“I use modern economics to shed light on the incentive, behavioral, and welfare aspects of legal rules. My work generally applies microeconomic theory, including game theory, to study optimal law enforcement strategies, antitrust, innovation and intellectual property, and criminal law and procedure. My latest work focuses on an issue in the intersection of antitrust and patent laws, namely the dynamic and static effects of illegalizing reverse payment settlements.”

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Manuel A. Utset, Jr., the William & Catherine VanDercreek Professor, practiced corproate law at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City. He is a leading scholar on applying behavioral law and economics to issues in corporate law and has recently explored the implications of time inconsistent behavior for this and other areas of law.


"Standard corporate law and finance models assume that participants in firms and traders in capital markets have perfect self-control and
unbounded rationality – i.e., they have the time and ability to make sense of complex contracts and financial markets in a timely fashion. My scholarship focuses on the theoretical and doctrinal implications that follow if we replace these two assumptions with ones more firmly
grounded in how real-world businesspeople and lawyers behave. My seminars on Financial Regulation and on Corporate Law Theory and Finance give special attention to these issues.”

More information about Professor Manuel A. Utset, Jr.