Thomas J. Brennan ’01 to join Harvard Law faculty

Thomas-BrennanThomas J. Brennan ’01, a scholar specializing in tax and finance, will join the Harvard Law School faculty in July 2015 as a professor of law.

Since 2008, Brennan has been on the faculty of Northwestern University School of Law. He has also been a professor of finance (by courtesy) at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Also trained as a mathematician, Brennan focuses his research on the use of finance and economics to analyze and inform tax policy, as well as the use of empirical methods to investigate the effects of tax laws and the strategic behavior of taxpayers. In addition, he analyzes how finance and economics can inform other areas of the law, with a recent focus on regulations designed to limit risk, and he applies mathematical methods to gain insight into the theory of finance.

“Tom is a triple-threat: his detailed knowledge of contemporary finance and tax, his talent for integrating doctrinal and empirical studies, and his teaching each reveal meticulous and rigorous work and imagination,” said Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School. “His rigorous, empirical study of a wide range of subjects – from tax law to judicial decisions – yields important analyses of policy effectiveness and powerful lessons for law students, practitioners, policymakers, and scholars. Plus his generosity and kindness pervade his teaching and his collegiality. We are thrilled to welcome this wonderful alum to our faculty.”

Brennan co-authored the chapter “Portfolio Theory” for the Princeton Companion to Applied Mathematics, which will be published this year by Princeton University Press. He has also contributed to numerous scholarly journals, including the Yale Journal on Regulation, the Annual Review of Financial Economics, the Texas Law Review, the Quarterly Journal of Finance, and Management Science.

“I am thrilled to be joining the faculty, and I am delighted to be returning to the Cambridge area with my wife, Cathryn, our twin sons, Johnny and Tommy, and the new baby we are expecting this July.,” said Brennan.  “The tax faculty at Harvard has an extraordinary tradition of excellence, both in scholarship and in teaching, and I am particularly honored to become a part of it.  My love of tax developed and flourished under the guidance of Bill Andrews and Al Warren during my years as a student at Harvard Law School, and I am incredibly excited to have the chance to share my passion for the subject with a new generation of students.  Harvard also provides an incredibly rich environment for my research to thrive as I apply financial, economic, and empirical insights in both tax and other areas of the law, and I am overjoyed as I look forward to learning from and collaborating with all my new colleagues.”

Prior to teaching at Northwestern University School of Law, Brennan was an assistant professor of law at the Drexel University School of Law. He was a visiting scholar affiliated with the Laboratory for Financial Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management and a lecturer in the finance and economics department of the Boston University School of Management.

Before entering academics, Brennan worked as a strategist in the Capital Markets Strategies Group of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and as an associate in the tax department of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

Brennan received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2001. He also holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University. He received his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Princeton University.