Thursday, October 01, 2015

Chirelstein memorial session

The Chirelstein memorial session at Columbia was quite nice. Lots of people have great memories of him, with complementary stories, and a very clear picture emerges of a unique and delightful man.

One thing we heard a lot about, at the session, was how much Chirelstein ostensibly liked students. He definitely liked teaching and performing. But one thing my group at Yale Law School - an extremely skeptical and hard-bitten group regarding most of our professors, but unabashed Chirelstein fanboys - most liked about him was that he wasn't cuddly or ingratiating or seeking our approval or friendship.  He seemed above all that - albeit wholly lacking (thank goodness) in Kingsfieldian pretense and pomposity.

Oddly, of the 8 speakers, only one of them (Stephen Cohen) was part of the tax world. We heard lots and lots about Chirelstein's engagement with colleagues concerning contracts (and also about his path-breaking corporate finance work), but very little about tax.

I'm not sure why there weren't more tax speakers - for example, his Columbia tax colleagues Graetz and Raskolnikov were there, not to mention his one-time Columbia tax colleague (and co-author) Zelenak. I also would have had plenty to say about Chirelstein, if I had been asked. But admittedly I was by no means an intimate of Marvin's, nor I suspect, were these other individuals.  The answer may be that Chirelstein preferred the contracts world and contracts people to those in tax, leading to closer personal connections there, by his choice.

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