Linda Sugin

photo of Linda Sugin 240x240

Gail D. Hollister '70 Distinguished Research Scholar, Professor of Law

SSRN (academic papers)
[email protected]
Office: Room 7-101

Faculty Assistant: Daphne Mercedes, [email protected]

Areas of Expertise: Nonprofits/Charities, Tax-Individual

  • Linda Sugin joined the Fordham Law faculty in 1994 and has taught courses in Federal Taxation, Tax Policy, Nonprofit Organizations, Corporations, Contracts, and Quantitative Methods for Lawyers. She was the 2021 recipient of the Dean’s Medal of Achievement and the 2007 recipient of Fordham Law School’s Teacher of the Year Award. Her scholarly interests focus on issues of distributive justice in taxation and the governance of nonprofit organizations.

    Sugin’s works on political philosophy and taxation, particularly those focused on John Rawls and the implications of his theory for the design of fair taxes, have been downloaded 20,000 times. She was an early critic of the reliance of tax scholarship on law and economics orthodoxies. She adopted a framework for tax policy built on democratic fairness and equal individual respect, and she introduced a philosophically driven perspective on optimal taxation into the scholarly literature

    Her work draws attention to the way that taxation both reflects what is valued in society and shapes that society. Sugin has long advocated a shift in the tax burden from labor to capital and defended progressivity. She is a leading voice on the treatment of tax expenditures in constitutional cases and has warned of the dangers in treating policies in the tax law as beyond legal scrutiny. Her research on nonprofit organizations combines theory with practical advice for regulators and nonprofit leaders. She has written about nonprofit governance, philanthropy and inequality, and corporate philanthropy. Sugin is co-author of a textbook for the basic course on federal income taxation, The Individual Tax Base, published by West, now in its third edition. Her op-eds on payroll taxes, Donald’s Trump’s charitable organization, and the 2017 tax law have appeared in the New York Times, and she is regularly quoted in the media on issues of nonprofit governance.

    Sugin served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2017 through 2021. In that role, she focused on students, transforming the Fordham Law School student experience through new programming, resources, and courses. She also focused on strengthening students’ academic experience in multiple ways. Fordham Law School’s professionalism program reflects Sugin’s vision for expanding the scope of legal education to include emotional support, leadership training, and essential skills that are not traditionally included in the law school curriculum. She designed and started the Law School’s two signature professionalism programs: the Peer Mentorship Program and the House System.

    Under Sugin’s leadership, Fordham Law School recruited nine tenure-track faculty members, enriching the school’s scholarly profile and curricular offerings, and increasing the gender and racial diversity of the faculty. She also oversaw the introduction of a January term for upper-level students, designed to offer students small-credit courses in a condensed time frame that benefited from the intensity of the schedule. 

    Sugin reconceptualized aspects of the Law School’s August orientation for incoming students to focus on professional identity development and emotional preparation for law school. She crafted new elements to supplement and dovetail with the other academic-focused programs in orientation, including Quantitative Methods for Lawyers, a four-part course on quantitative tools that lawyers need to use, which Sugin spearheaded and designed, and continues to teach with three faculty collaborators.

    Sugin also conceived the January orientation -- introduced in 2020 -- for first-year students as a day focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She worked with the full-time faculty to add diversity, equity, and inclusion training to full-time faculty development, and implemented mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all adjunct faculty. As chair of a committee of faculty, students, alumni and administrators, she recruited Kimathi Gordon-Somers to be the Law School’s Assistant Dean of Students and Diversity.

    As Associate Dean, Sugin was particularly attentive to the challenges of students enrolled in the part-time program. To help address part-time students' needs she shifted class schedules, launched a remote learning pilot project, and sponsored a course reduction in the first year curriculum. Sugin managed the design, development, and introduction of the Law School’s online MSL degree in compliance, its first fully online academic program. 

    Academic support has been another focus of Sugin’s attention as Associate Dean. She worked with the Office of Student Affairs to redesign academic support to make it more available earlier in a student’s law school career and more useful by focusing narrowly on student needs. Sugin also worked with the faculty to create a policy that defines the role of student teaching assistants in large classes. By supporting the widespread employment of student teaching assistants and the commitment of resources to them, Sugin encouraged faculty to create more opportunities for formative assessment and feedback for students, particularly in the first year. 

    Sugin directed the streamlining and rationalization of the administration’s touchpoints with students, organizing all the student-facing departments to foster administrative cooperation for student benefit. Overhauling the school’s intranet and making it mobile-friendly and easily navigated was a high priority for her, and she has overseen a transformation in the way that the Law School communicates with students. 

    As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Sugin guided the Law School’s academic program through the pandemic, keeping the school open with substantially reduced in-person capacity.  She oversaw the transition to online learning in March 2020, and the return to partial in-person instruction for Fall 2020. Sugin directed a wide variety of policy and operational changes in response to the emergency, and supported faculty, students, and administrators throughout the disruption. She created the schedule of classes in order to minimize public health risks, accommodate students unable to be present in New York, and maximize student preference satisfaction as to course modalities. Sugin rearranged course offerings to ensure that students’ academic programs would continue without disruption, and oversaw technology upgrades and training for all constituencies. Working closely with both the full-time and adjunct faculty, Sugin prepared all teachers for online instruction and provided continuing institutional support through the year.

    Sugin is a graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Law, where she began her academic career as an Acting Assistant Professor of Law.  She also served as a Visiting Professor at NYU in 2001-02. As a student, Sugin received the Law Review Alumni Association Award for second-highest academic average, the Maurice Goodman Memorial Prize for outstanding scholarship and character, American Jurisprudence Awards in Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law, and the Pomeroy Prize. She served as an editor of the NYU Law Review and is a member of Order of the Coif.  After law school, Sugin clerked in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg and practiced tax law at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson. She is a member of the New York bar and the American Law Institute, and a former member of the board of advisors of the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law.


    • Harvard, B.A.
    • New York University, J.D.
  • Representative Publications

    Tax Benefits and Fairness in K–12 Education 

    Does Law School Have to Suck? (Part 3) 

    Does Law School Have to Suck? (Part 2) 

    Does Law School Have to Suck? 

    The Social Meaning of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 2018 Yale L.J.F. 403

    Competitive Philanthropy: Charitable Naming Rights, Inequality, and Social Norms, 79 Ohio State L.J. 122 (2018)

    • Income Taxation
    • Nonprofit Organizations and Philanthropy
    • Peer Mentoring and Leadership
    • Quantitative Methods for Lawyers
    • Tax Policy and Distributive Justice

Linda Sugin Press Highlights

The New York Times: Prof. Linda Sugin Comments on Right-Win Nonprofit Paying Companies With Ties to Its Own Leaders

Seven Fordham Law Professors Named Distinguished Scholars

Marta Ricardo Appointed Assistant Dean of Professionalism, Maya FitzGerald Appointed Director of Professionalism

National Law Journal: Professor Linda Sugin Authors Three-Part Series on Sources of Grief for Law Students

Fordham Law’s Entrepreneurial Law Program, Peer Mentoring & Leadership Program Recognized by Bloomberg Law

2023 AALS Conference Features Slate of Fordham Law Professors

Peer Mentorship for Professional Development

Reimagined Spring Orientation Shines Spotlight on Growth Mindset

Jeff Bezos’s $200 Million, 50-Year Naming-Rights Deal With the Smithsonian Does Not Include a ‘Morals Clause’

Path to Well-Being in Law Podcast

Associate Dean Linda Sugin Honored for Transforming the Student Experience

Fordham Law Professors Joseph Landau and Clare Huntington Appointed to Senior Administration Roles

Virtual Advising Gala Brings Students and Faculty Together

Fordham Law Names Inaugural Class of Professionalism Fellows

Adapting Legal Education in the Age of Coronavirus

Spring Orientation Adds Professional and Leadership Training to the Law School Curriculum

Americans Donate Big to British Royal Family Charities Which Skimp on Their Cause

Taxes: Making Sense of It All

Cutting a Digital Path

Al Sharpton Sells His Life Story Rights for $531G — to His Own Charity