Julie Manasfi, Longtime Faculty and Tax Law Partner, Returns as New Executive Director of Tax LLM Program

Julie Manasfi, a tax law maven whose influence has extended from Big Law to the legal academy, has been selected as the next executive director of the Tax LLM program at LMU Loyola Law School (LLS) following a nationwide search.

A foundational figure in many of the law school’s offerings, Manasfi joined the LLS faculty more than 15 years ago and later helped establish its online Tax LLM curriculum.  She joins the program as it approaches its 25th anniversary.

Manasfi was a visiting assistant professor of taxation at LLS from 2008-2010, a visiting professor from 2019-2022, and an adjunct professor since 2022. She was previously a professor of law with tenure at the University of La Verne College of Law and an associate professor at Whittier Law School.

Equipped with a wealth of practice experience, Manasfi draws on her years with some of the top names in tax law. Her practice includes being an associate in Sidley Austin LLP's Tax Group in Los Angeles, an associate in White & Case's Tax Group in New York, and a partner in Best Best & Krieger LLP's Business Services Practice Group in Los Angeles, advising on a broad range of federal and state income taxation matters. She is licensed to practice in both California and New York.

Manasfi didn’t always know she was interested in tax law. One of her professors at NYU School of Law thought her interest in statutory interpretation and her technical-leaning personality might fit well with tax law, so he encouraged her to take additional tax classes.

“I hadn't planned on taking so many tax classes,” she said. “But I just took one after another after another, really, because of professors that mentored me into it.”

Manasfi earned her Tax LLM and went into practice before gravitating toward teaching, guided by LLS tax faculty including Ellen Aprill, Katie Pratt, and Ted Seto. “In reality, teaching tax law is not all that different from running a tax practice,” she said. “You're teaching clients and other lawyers how the tax rules work, or you're teaching students.”

Manasfi dispels the misconception that  tax law  is all about crunching numbers. In fact, having a Tax LLM can open doors to a variety of opportunities, from law firms of all sizes to accounting firms to the IRS and business. “Every person engages with taxes, so there is much value to add,” Manasfi said. She enjoys mentoring students and showing them all the different career options in tax law.

“I’ve found that students are really open to learning about a topic that scares some people,” she said. “It's so cool to see that light flicker on when they realize ‘I can speak this language.’”

Even before COVID-19 forced classrooms across the world online, Manasfi helped build Loyola Law School’s Online Tax LLM courses in partnership with educational publisher Wiley, Inc. The online Tax LLM offers students access to the law school’s 20,000-strong  alumni network while also providing the flexibility to take classes from anywhere in the world.

“The online program wasn't something that was created lightly; it was really thoughtful. It’s not just a professor talking on a video,” she said. Faculty worked carefully to create custom courses that would keep students engaged while learning remotely.

Her goal for the program, as its new director, is simple: continue helping students start or elevate their tax careers. She’s excited about the incoming class and can already see their potential to thrive at Loyola and beyond. And she inherits a Tax LLM program that has regularly been ranked among the Top 10 nationally.

“Ten years from now, they’re going to be the tax partners in law firms,” she said.