Associate Dean William Byrnes recently returned from a week in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia (Russia) where he presented a week-long course at the Siberian Federal University Law Institute on international tax and investments, and led a two-hour faculty workshop on distance education. Dean Byrnes heads the Graduate and Distance Education Programs at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and developed one of the first totally online LLM programs in International Taxation and Financial Services more than a decade ago.
In between his lecturing while in Russia, Dean Byrnes made three conference appearances. At the Comparative Law Department Conference on Constitutionalism, he delivered a talk on the topic of “DTAs, TIEA, IGAs and the U.S. Constitution. Exploring the Executive / Senate Treaty authority, House of Representative 'Origination' of Tax authority, and Congressional Regulation of Commerce with Foreign Nations authority." For the opening of the Siberian Tax Conference, he addressed the scope and procedures of financial information exchange about tax matters between Russian and the U.S. in the context of the current negotiation for an intergovernmental agreement to resolve Russian firms’ challenges of compliance with Russian law and that of the U.S.'s new FATCA financial information gathering regime. Finally, Dean Byrnes sat on a two-hour afternoon panel discussing appropriate transfer pricing methodologies to apply to complex multinational transactions and value added chains.
The Director of Siberian Federal University, Irina Shisko, and the head of the Comparative Law Department praised Dean Byrnes for his presentations: "We received excellent feedback from the students concerning your course of lectures and three or four of them would like to get your advice to study International Tax Law in the future......We thank you kindly for the brilliant presentation in the plenary session of the international conference, which certainly brightened up our forum."
Dean Byrnes also had praise for the university there. “I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the facilities at Siberian Federal University, including state-of-the-industry smart-boards and multimedia in each classroom, as well as the attentiveness and engagement of the students during and after lectures," said Dean Byrnes. "In fact, the university's library, with more than two million English volumes in print, and its sciences department, which has equipment such as the highest resolution electron microscope, rival that of UCSD."
For the international tax lectures, Dean Byrnes provided context and captivated interest by employing Apple, Google and Starbucks as case studies around which to build a series of issues. He leveraged company reports, videos, Congressional and Parliamentary testimony and selections from one of his text books as the course skeleton.
“All the professors, students, government officials from Siberia and Moscow, and attorneys from the prestigious Russian law firm Pepeliaev that I met were very warm and accommodating," noted Dean Byrnes. "I spent many dining hours in discussions on topics as diverse as learning theory to Eastern Orthodox ethos. I heard many intriguing viewpoints, reminding me that there are often several perspectives of an issue outside of the U.S. norms.”
Clearly, Dean Byrnes and his subject matter are popular in Russia. He is being hosted by Moscow Finance University in cooperation with University of Amsterdam to present on similar topics at the end of October in Moscow during a series of week-long events.
For more information about the Graduate and Distance Education Programs at TJSL, visit www.tjsl.edu/graduate-programs.