Signing on the dotted line: Meet Associate Professor Erick Sam

Aug 18, 2023 | Faculty

by Lindsay Wilcox

Associate professor Erick Sam, a man with dark-brown hair and dark brown eyes and olive skin wearing a charcoal suit jacketWith a background in tax law and contracts, it’s only fitting that Associate Professor Erick Sam has now signed on the dotted line for a position at Utah Law.

I come to S.J. Quinney by way of New York University, where I was a fellow in the law school and visiting scholar in the philosophy department. I received my PhD in philosophy from Duke University, my JD from Yale Law School, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in philosophy and in economics from Brown University,” Sam says. “After law school, I cut my teeth practicing as a tax attorney in the New York office of the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.”

Sam will be teaching courses on tax law and policy and says he will approach them from an interdisciplinary perspective by employing law, philosophy and economic theory.

“I’m interested in what these disciplines jointly have to tell us about big-picture questions of distributive justice and their practical ramifications for the tax-and-transfer system,” he says. “I bring to bear my training in all three fields to explore the optimal institutional approach to distribution policy, develop key dimensions of a theory of global tax justice, and elicit surprising implications of the economic theory of market failure for tax policy.”

S.J. Quinney College of Law is also attractive because of Salt Lake City and the opportunity to build his network, Sam says.

“I really look forward to getting to know my students and learning about their intellectual interests and professional aspirations. I’m also excited to engage more deeply with my new colleagues’ research, and to trade ideas and insights,” he expresses. “As a bonus, Salt Lake City has to be one of, if not the, most picturesque cities I’ve happened upon during my earthly tenure. I feel so lucky to be able to teach, write, and reside here.”

Excited to start a brand-new school year, Sam says he wants to make broader, potentially collaborative connections across the university and to discover the full extent of what Salt Lake City has to offer.

“I couldn’t be happier to be joining such a superb faculty at a first-rate public law school, which delivers tremendous value to its students,” he says.

Tax law and contracts aren’t Sam’s only passions.

“In my leisure, I really enjoy composing and performing classical, jazz, and instrumental guitar music, as well as playing chess. I’ve written music throughout my life as a hobby, and I find great joy in presenting it to others for enjoyment (and critique),” he says.