For Professor James M. Puckett who recently joined the faculty at Penn State Law, the name of the game is fairness. He is a scholar of distributive justice. “I examine perspectives on how resources should be distributed in society and their implementation in the tax system,” he explained. “This is an interdisciplinary approach and it sometimes challenges classical notions of happiness, such as the idea that everyone maximizes their happiness if left alone.”
His recent research focuses on personal expenses and how the tax code treats differently situated people. He authored articles recently on using cost of living to achieve tax equity and on reevaluating tax treatment of “traditional” and “contemporary” families. “I usually pay close attention to the effects of a provision on low and moderate-income taxpayers,” he said.
This semester he is teaching Basic Federal Taxation; in the spring he will teach Corporate Tax and Trusts and Estates. He reports that classroom teaching is one of his favorite things to do. “Everyone in the class has something to contribute, some perspective or experience that can enrich others,” he said. Professor Puckett said he strives to create a friendly class environment where everyone is involved, “even better if the class can have fun or get a few laughs.”
Before joining Penn State, Professor Puckett was a visiting assistant professor at the Seattle University School of Law and the University of Alabama School of Law. Prior to his academic career, Professor Puckett was a tax associate at the Washington, D.C. office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where he analyzed tax aspects of mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, private equity, and financial products.
He holds an LL.M. from NYU and a J.D. and B.A. from the University of Virginia.