Michelle Lyon Drumbl Appointed Interim Dean of the Washington and Lee School of Law
Michelle Lyon Drumbl, Robert O. Bentley Professor of Law and director of the Tax Clinic at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been appointed to a one-year term as interim dean of the law school effective July 1, 2021.
Drumbl succeeds Brant Hellwig, who has served as dean since 2015 and recently announced his intention to step down at the end of the current academic year.
W&L President William C. Dudley and Interim Provost Elizabeth Goad Oliver announced Drumbl’s appointment, noting that a national search for a new law dean will take place during the 2021-22 academic year.
“I am pleased that Michelle has agreed to serve in this critical role,” said Dudley. “Her clinical and teaching experience and wide-ranging service to the university will be invaluable in her leadership of the law school during this time of transition. I look forward to working with her next year as we search for our next law dean.”
Drumbl joined the law school faculty in 2007. She holds a B.A. in political science from Emory University, a J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law, and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law.
She founded the law school’s Tax Clinic, training students to provide pro bono representation for low-income taxpayers who have post-filing controversies with the Internal Revenue Service and educate taxpayers about their tax rights and responsibilities. Under her supervision, clinic students represent clients before the IRS in examinations, collections, appeals, and a variety of other matters. Since 2008, the Tax Clinic has been awarded more than $900,000 in federal funds from the Internal Revenue Service’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic grant program.
Drumbl’s extensive service to the university includes chairing the law school’s Educational Planning and Curriculum and Library committees, serving on the law school Strategic Planning Task Force, and as a member of the law school’s Admissions, Building, Clinical Programs, Faculty Appointments and Frances Lewis Law Center committees. She has been a faculty representative to the university’s Board of Trustees and a member of the university’s Faculty Executive Committee and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Task Force.
“Michelle will be an excellent interim dean,” said Oliver. “She is a respected teacher and scholar, active in the profession, and her leadership of the Tax Clinic gives her valuable insight into the experiential component of the law school curriculum that makes our program so distinctive.”
Drumbl’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of low-income taxpayers and fiscal policy, exploring such issues as filing status, innocent spouse relief, and return preparer fraud. She is the author of two books, including “Tax Credits for the Working Poor: A Call for Reform” (Cambridge University Press, 2019), and numerous articles and essays in journals such as the Oregon Law Review, Temple Law Review, Tax Notes, the Florida Tax Review, the Columbia Journal of Tax Law, the Pittsburgh Tax Review, and the eJournal of Tax Research. She is currently vice chair of the Teaching Taxation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tax Section and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of The Tax Lawyer, the nation’s premier peer-reviewed tax law journal.
Prior to joining the faculty of the School of Law, Drumbl was an attorney at the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, where her work focused on the legal interpretation of bilateral income tax treaties and other cross-border taxation issues for the U.S. government. Her private practice experience includes tax controversy work and tax planning. She is a member of the bar in Virginia and Arkansas.
“I am grateful to Brant for his years of service as our dean,” Drumbl said. “Thanks to his steady leadership, the law school is on a very positive trajectory, and I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff and alumni next year to carry on this momentum as we undertake a national search for the leadership of the future and continue to build a creative, diverse, energetic, and supportive law school.”