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Fashion and Taxes Are Lawyer’s Muse

Posted Aug 31, 2007 1:15 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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One of the first tax commentators to complain that hedge fund managers are being taxed at a lower rate for their earnings is Lee Sheppard, a writer for Tax Analysts who resembles a “nostalgic, if high-end, punk-rock groupie.”

That’s the conclusion of a New York Times profile of the woman who intersperses her knowledge of popular culture and designer couture with analysis of tax law intricacies.

“In the breadth of one paragraph, she can write authoritatively about accounting for uncertainty in income taxes and the latest Marc Jacobs handbag with Art Deco-style jewel-encrusted clasps,” the Times concludes.

Sheppard practiced tax law at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in Chicago until the late 1970s. Known for taking the government’s side on disputed tax topics, she describes herself as a generalist who doesn’t pull any punches.

“Tax is like a microcosm of all the socioeconomic problems in America,” she told the Times. “Sometimes I perform the function of saying what other people aren’t willing to say.”

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