When President Lyndon Johnson appointed Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. to the United States Tax Court in 1965, he was not yet 50 years old but had already forged a lifetime of remarkable academic, professional and public service achievements. First in his class at the Harvard Law School, he went on to become a leading tax practitioner for more than two decades at the New York firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During World War II, he served as a Special Adviser to the Air Force in the European and Pacific Theatres. He later served as counsel to New York Governor Averell Harriman, as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of State during the Truman Administration, and as a member of the Kennedy Task Force on Foreign Assistance.
Throughout his almost 35 years on the bench, Judge Tannenwald distinguished himself as one of the foremost tax jurists of our time. He authored more than 1,000 opinions and served as the Chief Judge of the Tax Court from 1981-83. In addition to many charitable and civic pursuits, he served as a member of the Council of the ABA Section of Taxation and taught law school courses in taxation at the University of Miami, the University of San Diego and George Washington University. In 1998 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the ABA Tax Section and delivered the Griswold Lecture to the American College of Tax Counsel.
Despite being a prodigious worker, Ted Tannenwald always had time for other people. He was a revered colleague, mentor, counselor and friend to his law clerks, to fellow judges and their clerks, and to countless tax practitioners and academics of all ages. Following his death in 1999, a group of individuals who were fortunate to have known and worked closely with Judge Tannenwald began to discuss ways in which his name and remarkable contributions could be perpetuated for the benefit of future generations. After considering many options and consulting with the Tannenwald family, the Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship was established in 2000 as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The overriding purpose of the Foundation is to encourage and foster in law students the intense passion that Judge Tannenwald had for rigorous and insightful legal analysis, for precise legal writing, and for quality legal education. The Foundation's primary activity is to sponsor, in conjunction with the American College of Tax Counsel, an annual law student writing competition for which cash prizes are awarded. Papers by both undergraduate and graduate law students are accepted. All papers must be sponsored by a faculty member. The winning papers are selected by a panel of tax professors and practitioners. In order to encourage the widest possible participation in the writing competition, and to maintain a consistently high level of quality for submitted papers, the Foundation has enlisted a dedicated group of tax professors throughout the country to help publicize the competition and to work with interested students in developing topics and discussing drafts of their papers.
Since its inception, the Foundation has received over 600 entries to its annual writing competitions from students representing 83 law schools throughout the United States. Cash prize totaling almost $200,000 have thus far been awarded.