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History and Traditions

Leon E. Irish

Leon E. Irish taught at the University of Michigan Law School, 1985-1988.

Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 


Following a highly successful and satisfying career as a practicing attorney who helped build one of the country's most prominent law firms, Leon ("Lee") Irish (J.D.'64) has returned to his alma mater to begin a second career. For 17 years, Irish was associated with the Washington, D.C. firm of Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered, where he practiced federal tax law.

Irish's loyalty to the Law School, his zest for new challenges, and his sense of rootedness in Ann Arbor, where he grew up, all contributed to his decision to join the faculty here. The difficult transition from the fast track of Washington to the more contemplative atmosphere of a university has been aided by the fact that his wife, Cally, an Episcopal priest, has been called to be the vicar of the Church of the Holy Cross in Saline, just outside of Ann Arbor.

Irish (who also holds the D. Phil. from Oxford) brings to the U-M a wealth of experience, not only in the area of tax practice, but also in the legislative arena, in international law, and in teaching.  He has worked on every major federal tax bill in the past decade, represented the Secretary of Defense at the U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea, and taught tax and legal philosophy as an adjunct professor at George Washington and Georgetown Law Schools for 10 years. He has also lectured widely on employee benefits subjects and played a leadership role in ABA activities.

Irish's extracurricular activities at the present time center around his role as chairman-elect of the largest committee in the Tax Section of the ABA (the Employee Benefits Committee) and his efforts as a representative of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in attempting to establish a private foundation in Poland.  The foundation would help revitalize the agriculture of that country, which is still predominantly conducted by independent farmers.  In addition, Irish serves as a director and vice-chairman of VITA (Volunteers in Technical Assistance), the oldest and largest private organization providing technical assistance in connection with Third World development problems.

-- From the University of Michigan Law School's Law Quadrangle Notes, V. 30, Iss. 01 (Fall 1985).

More Information About Leon E. Irish




Class Notes

Law Quadrangle Notes Articles

*    "Irish returns to private practice," 33 L. Quadrangle Notes 4 (Fall, 1988).


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