Esteemed tax scholar and USC Gould Professor Edward Kleinbard, 68

The committed educator and influential author passed away June 28.

June 30, 2020 USC News staff

Edward D. Kleinbard, Ivadelle and Theodore Johnson Professor of Law and Business at the USC Gould School of Law, died on June 28 of cancer. He was 68.

Widely regarded as one of the finest tax scholars in the country, Kleinbard was deeply respected as a passionate educator, said USC Gould Dean Andrew T. Guzman. He served on the faculty for more than a decade.

“Without a doubt, Ed was a tax practitioner at the highest level, a policymaker at the highest level and a legal scholar at the highest level. We were fortunate to have him as our colleague for as long as we did,” said Guzman, holder of the Carl Mason Franklin Chair in Law.

After earning his law degree from Yale, Kleinbard worked at several prominent law firms, including becoming partner at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP. In 2007, he became chief of staff at the U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Taxation.

He joined USC Gould in 2009 and furthered the law school’s distinguished tradition of tax scholarship. Many know him for his book, We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money (Oxford University Press, 2014). The nonpartisan policy organization Tax Analysts named him 2016 International Tax Person of the Year.

“Colleagues at Gould will attest that Ed thought of legal scholarship as applied moral philosophy, and consider him a virtuoso practitioner of such scholarship. Ed’s work viewed the details of tax doctrine and policy through the prism of moral and political philosophy,” Guzman said. “He understood that basic questions of tax are basic questions of justice and collective commitment. As a result, Ed worked tirelessly to improve our commitments.”

Details of a commemoration of Kleinbard’s life and contributions will be announced at a later date.