This article is a tribute to the career and contributions of Professor Janet Spragens, who created the Federal Tax Clinic at the American University, Washington College of Law (WCL). During testimony before the historic Internal Revenue Service Restructuring Commission, Prof. Spragens advised the Commission to create better education of the public and greater availability of free advocacy for low-income taxpayers through federal funding of more clinics. In its landmark legislation of 1998, Congress responded to this testimony with the enactment of 26 U.S.C. §7526, which authorized a program to fund academic and pro bono clinics working to educate non-native English speakers about the tax system and to represent the working poor in their disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. Prof. Spragens was instrumental in commenting on the program’s design and took a leadership role in educating the new clinicians. Congress sought her counsel on many tax matters, as did the administration, the press, and the community of tax experts. She was also devoted to classroom teaching and taught abroad in China, in Colombia, in Israel and in Chile. She chaired a joint program with the University of Haifa and was a player in the creation of WCL’s summer program with Yediteppe University in Istanbul, Turkey.
Abramowitz, Nancy S. “Professor Janet Spragens: In Memory of a Friend, In Celebration of an Idea.” American University Law Review 56, no. 5 (June 2007): 1123-1125.