Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Conor Clarke ’15, PhD candidate

I think one of the things that really made me interested in the PhD degree here was the flexibility of the program. I think that flexibility comes through in a couple different ways. For me personally, I felt really strongly that I wanted to be part of a program that also left me free to some extent to do things like clerk or maybe take some time to do something more practice oriented. The program at Yale has just been fabulous on those fronts.

I think another thing that really drew me to the PhD program here was some of the program-specific resources that they have as well. So one of the things the program does is a series of sort of workshop lunches for all of the PhD students. I think for myself and others this was just something that’s really very useful when you have ideas, when you have drafts, works in progress, things you’re about to submit—just hearing the feedback of that PhD community as a whole has been really valuable for me.

Primarily what my research is focused on now is taxation, and I’m particularly interested in looking at questions of tax law but from a more empirical, data-driven perspective. The project that I’m primarily working on now is about income inequality but studying that through the lens of some previously unused corporate tax data and seeing how the story of income inequality in the United States changes when you look at changes in the corporate tax law.

One thing that I really love about being here is that I love living in New Haven, which to some extent might not be the most common report you hear about the place, but I’m just very happy living here. It’s cool to be in a place where you can walk basically anywhere. My view is, relative to New York, New Haven’s also a great place to live to access outdoor things. There’s a lot of really great hiking and climbing that’s only a fifteen or twenty minute drive from where we are. For that reason, I’m very happy to spend some extra time here. 

A student perspective on the PhD program and tax law at Yale Law School.